Purpose

These May Sound Unbelievable, But They Are All True!

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Check these out!  Strange But True

  1. Home Alone was released closer to the moon landing than it was to today.
  2. Strawberries aren’t berries but a banana is.
  3. So are avocados and watermelon.
  4. Cookie Monster’s real name is Sid.
  5. The man who voiced Fry on Futurama, Billy West, also voiced Doug on Doug.
  6. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
  7. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.
  8. New York City is further south than Rome, Italy.
  9. There is 10 times more bacteria in your body than actual body cells.
  10. And 90% of the cells that make us up of aren’t human but mostly fungi and bacteria.
  11. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
  12. Not once in the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme does it mention that he’s an egg.
  13. The last time the Cubs won the world series, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and New Mexico were not yet states.
  14. The toy Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  15. Turtles can breathe out of their butts.
  16. And while we’re at it, Mr. Clean’s full name is Veritably Clean.
  17. It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
  18. Vending machines are twice as likely to kill you than a shark is.
  19. A thousand seconds is about 16 minutes.
  20. An octopus has three hearts.
  21. One in every 5,000 babies is born with a condition known as “imperforate anus.” This means the baby is born without an anus and has to have one created manually in the hospital.
  22. Betty White is actually older than sliced bread.
  23. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
  24. And women did not have the right to vote in the United States.
  25. Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of The Fresh Prince.
  26. The name Jessica was created by Shakespeare in the play Merchant of Venice.
  27. Hippo milk is pink.
  28. Nintendo was founded as a trading card company back in 1889.
  29. The show the The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. Today, in 2014, if one were to make a similar show, it would cover the years 1994–1999.
  30. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.
  31. Peanuts are not nuts. They grow in the ground, so they are legumes.
  32. Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas.
  33. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most well documented events in history.
  34. The last time the Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series, the Ottoman Empire still existed.
  35. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
  36. France was still executing people with a guillotine when the first Star Wars film came out.
  37. Duck Hunt is a two-player game. Player two controls the ducks.
  38. If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds just like Pac-Man.
  39. North Korea and Finland are separated by one country.
  40. The difference in time between when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between Tyrannosaurus Rex and now.
  41. The pyramids were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.
  42. Maine is the closest U.S. state to Africa.
  43. Alaska is simultaneously the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern state in the U.S.
  44. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
  45. Pluto never made a full orbit around the sun from the time it was discovered to when it was declassified as a planet.
  46. The heart of a blue whale is so big a human can swim through the arteries.
  47. A million seconds is about 11 days.
  48. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.
  49. And there’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of water.
  50. The probability of you drinking a glass of water that contains a molecule of water that also passed through a dinosaur is almost 100%.
  51. At the time the current oldest person on Earth was born, there was a completely different set of human beings on the planet.
  52. And at the time you were born, you were briefly the youngest person in the entire world.
  53. A billion seconds is about 32 years.
  54. And one trillion seconds is about 32,000 years. A trillion is a lot.
  55. Armadillos nearly always give birth to identical quadruplets.
  56. But the good news is: Honey never spoils. You can eat 32,000-year-old honey.
  57. Mammoths went extinct 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.
  58. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.
  59. Carrots were originally purple.
  60. For every human on Earth there are approximately 1.6 million ants. The total weight of all those ants is approximately the same as the total weight of all the humans on Earth.
  61. Mario hits blocks with his hand, not his head.
  62. John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, has a grandson who’s alive today.
  63. The CEO of Food For The Poor is named Robin Mahfood.
  64. You can’t hum while holding your nose.
  65. If a piece of paper were folded 42 times, it would reach to the moon.
  66. If you dug a hole to the center of the Earth and dropped a book down, it would take 42 minutes to reach the bottom.
  67. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of humanity in the 19th century.
  68. The dot over an “i” is called a “tittle.”
  69. Woody from Toy Story has a full name too — it’s Woody Pride.
  70. There are more atoms in a glass of water than glasses of water in all the oceans on Earth.
  71. If you shrunk the sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States.
  72. The average chocolate bar has 8 insects’ legs in it.
  73. The ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.
  74. A rhino horn is made of compacted hair.
  75. A polar bear’s skin is black. Its fur is not white, but actually clear.
  76. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  77. Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
  78. Cat’s urine glows under a black light.
  79. A male emperor moth can smell a female emperor moth up to 7 miles away.
  80. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo.
  81. A giraffe can go without water longer than a camel can.
  82. Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
  83. In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere.
  84. The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
  85. It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.
  86. In ancient Egypt, Priests plucked ever7 hair from their bodies, including their eyebrows and eyelashes.
  87. You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
  88. The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds, that makes the catfish rank No. 1 for animal having the most taste buds.
  89. A cockroach will live nine days without its head, before it starves to death.
  90. Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
  91. Butterflies taste with their feet.
  92. You consume 1/10 of a calorie every time you lick a stamp.
  93. Women blink nearly twice as much as men.
  94. Babies are born without knee caps. They don’t appear until the child reaches 2 6 years of age.
  95. Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.
  96. If you fart consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
  97. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
  98. A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.
  99. More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes.
  100. A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

On this entire list… why is it so many people have no problem accepting 99 of them as truth, but they struggle with the historical truth of #33?

Think about it.

By the way, it’s true.  Want more answers?  Check out Lee Stroebel’s book “The Case for Easter” on Amazon.com.  Click HERE to get a copy!  

An Open Letter from Your Ballot

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Hello… it’s me, your ballot. 

We don’t see each other that often I know, but I thought maybe we needed to talk before the presidential election rolls around.  This election that is coming up, well, it’s kind of important. I hope you’ll take just a few minutes to consider a few things before we meet up again in November.

I know I’ve already met up with a few of you this primary season.  If so, good.  It shows you care.  So many Americans just take for granted many of the things that are either scarce or non-existent in other parts of the world… clean water, food, freedom and yes, voting.  I know you’ve seen the “Freedom isn’t free” bumper stickers, and heard all of the quaint, nostalgic slogans that are supposed to warm your heart and entice you to vote. 

But can I just be blunt for a moment?  Straight up… people have had their limbs blown off fighting to protect your freedom.  Others have been shot in the face.  Many, many more soldiers never came home, and their families spent every birthday, holiday and graduation with a tear on their cheek, an empty chair at the table and a hole in their heart because their loved one took their final breath fighting for you… for you.

That’s pretty heavy.  It should be.  This way of life we live is unique across history, and it has done more than any other in history to alleviate the suffering of mankind, while at the same time elevating the quality of life around the globe.  This is America.  Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.  So why is it that when it comes to elections we become the Land of the Party and Home of the Lazy?  Have we really fallen so far that when it comes to Election Day, people only vote if it’s convenient or if they are really angry? It seems more and more that when you come to the polling place to visit me, you’re committed to the candidate of your party more than the conviction of your heart.  I watch as you check the box to elect people to office that you wouldn’t allow to babysit your children or balance your checkbook. 

Many who stop to see me in November have made their decision based on the views of their buddies at the bar or their pals at the office.  Many more have allowed the media to craft a tale and spin the facts to shape an alternate reality that fits the worldview of their news outlet. I have to say, I’m not a big fan of either of these approaches.  There’s a third crowd that is even more troubling than these two… I hope you aren’t one of them.  This group doesn’t engage with friends or foes about the candidates.  They don’t watch the news or follow the media information.  They simply just show up and vote their ignorance. 

Seriously people… so many fall into one of those four groups:

  1. “DON’T GIVE A CRAPPERS”- Stay at home and miss the vote.
  2. “SNOW GLOBERS”- Voting based on what their narrow little group of friends tells them.
  3. “TALKING HEAD/VOTING HEAD”- Voting exactly how your new media outlet suggests.
  4. “IGNORAMUS ELECTORS”- Just pulling a lever, checking a box or pushing a button based on party alone.

I want to ask a favor.  It’s not a big one.  OK, it’s a big one.  Be in Group #5, the “PONDERS” Group.  Being in this group means following this simple request, and it comes in two parts.  If you could do this before you come to see me in November, it would be incredible.  Really incredible.  First, would you just go be still and quiet on a daily basis, and during that time either pray or just spend time thoughtfully contemplating what makes this country great?  If you are a person of faith, ask your Creator to give you wisdom about how to exercise this amazing gift of liberty as you step into the polling booth this Fall.  Either way, spend time… enough time… a lot of time thinking about how you will vote. 

Second, make sure your vote matches your values.  That doesn’t mean your candidate believes everything exactly like you believe.  It doesn’t even mean he or she agrees with most everything you believe.  It may mean that you vote based on what you believe is the greater good for your family, your country and for the world. 

Something awesome happens when you and I get together.  It’s not magic, but it’s really, really close.  So come see me this November.  Come prepared.  Read.  Engage with others.  Pray.  Listen.  Watch.  Think about all of it.  Spend some time “PONDERING”… that’s what you do when you think about something that matters.  So “PONDER”… then come see me. 

It matters.  It matters because you matter.

This weekend… Step into your DESTINY

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Destiny

This weekend… 

Read something that stirs your soul.  Watch something that makes you cry. Kiss someone that ignites your passion.

Taste something that drives your taste buds mad. Seek out the invigorating scents of summer, count the stars in the eastern sky, stroke the hair of your child while they sleep, make that call or visit you’ve been avoiding.  

Bow your head in prayer and lift your soul in worship as your spirit touches the heart of the One who made you
Spend this weekend becoming what you’ve always been meant to be.  

Come fully alive.

An Awfully Big Adventure

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“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” Kevin Aucoin

How would you like to live… really live?

Can I make a suggestion?

  1. STOP WHAT YOUR DOING, NOW.Big Adventure
  2. MAKE A LIST OF 3 AWESOME THINGS YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOU DIE…
  3. ADD TO YOUR LIST 3 REALLY COOL THINGS YOU’D LIKE TO OWN…
  4. CONTINUE WITH YOUR LIST BY ADDING 3 FUN PLACES YOU’D LOVE TO VISIT…
  5. FINALLY, ADD 3 AMAZING THINGS YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO FOR SOMEONE ELSE…

I can’t really see your list but if you did it, I can guarantee you it’s an awesome list of stuff!  Now here are the final two things to add to your list to finish it out…

  1. PICK ONE THING TODAY YOU CAN DO TOWARDS MAKING SOMETHING ON THAT LIST A REALITY…
  2. REPEAT #6 ON A DAILY BASIS.

Stop making excuses… “to live would be an awfully big adventure!” (Robin Williams as Peter Pan)  

Go have an adventure! 

 

 

Where do your limits begin?

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A Horizon… it’s that place out there where Heaven seems to touch the Earth.  4Vision Ends

Do you dream about what’s on the horizon? Beyond?  No matter whether you’re the owner of a small business, or an employee in a large corporation, “dreaming” should be a part of your job description.  More than that, it needs to be ingrained and become a very significant part of what makes you, well… YOU.
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The Cosmos And The Big Red Bronco

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What a day… what a day…1982_ford_bronco-pic-60815

I rounded the corner on Line Street, headed home, and thought to myself, “This was a really weird day.”  Oh, it was full of the same things that every other day in my life seems full of– lots of really normal stuff– dropping the kids at school, going to work, phone calls and a mountain of paperwork.  And it had been a morning a lot like the morning before, and that one like the one before it… but what a day…

Ronda was up early, as usual, hustling to get herself and the rest of the family ready for a day full of activity.  This meant washing and drying two loads of laundry; packing lunches for Erin and Nathan, the two older kids(they didn’t like what they were having at school in the cafeteria- but then who does like tuna loaf?); cleaning the kitchen dishes up from the night before; for Benjamin, the feisty three-year-old, she would lay out his clothes for the day(this was relegated because of my bad fashion sense more than any other reason); walking a mile on the treadmill while having her personal devotional time; and getting herself ready for school.  These minor miracles were usually all accomplished before 7:30 AM, which means they were done a long time before I rolled out of bed.  Little did I know what waited for me in my driveway that day.

I hugged and kissed the three elementary bound family members goodbye as they left for school.  I quickly checked on Benjamin, his Pop-Tart and the early morning cartoons before finally stepping into a steaming shower for just a few humid moments of heaven.  Then it was a quick shave, dress Benjamin then myself(I found it’s easier to wash pop-tart goo off of my skin than my clothes), and out the door to drop him at preschool and get me to work.  And there it sat in my driveway.  My ego… my pride and joy… my big red Bronco.  This would be my chariot to carry me on my travels during the day, and what a way to go!

So up we climbed, shut the doors, buckled our seat belts, and turned the key to start 350 horses of pure power!  But nothing happened.  Not the normal roar of the engine, not a tired groan, not even that weak little clicking noise that happens sometimes.  Nothing.  Nothing is right– there’s nothing like car problems to get your day started off on the wrong foot.  Or track.  Or wheel.  Whatever.

Anyway, I called Ronda at the school, and it paid off, because her class hadn’t started yet.  It wasn’t like she hadn’t done enough already, now she was bailing me out of car troubles, too.

She drove the two blocks from the school to our house in no time, and quickly shifted herself into the passengers’s seat as Benjamin transferred himself from one vehicle to the other.  As I drove to work, thoughts of how my day would be interrupted with buying a car battery, installing it, and then making the big car exchange preoccupied my mind.  I might as well do something about the squeaky fan belt while I was at it, I thought to myself.

An average day at work, and before I knew it my day was gone.  Ronda was now in Tulsa, gone to see the foot specialist for the final time following her two bunionectomy’s… this left me to pick up Nathan at the school by 5:30, swing by the day care for Benjamin on the way to Nathan’s soccer practice at 6:00.

Now, the next move would take some finesse; the tricky part was that Erin needed a ride from Girl Scouts at the Presbyterian church by 6:00 as well.  So I had timed it perfectly, where I would drop Nathan off only five minutes early(his coach was always there by ten till six), then quickly pop back across town to taxi my Girl Scout from her meeting back to her brother’s soccer practice.

But what I hadn’t counted on was the scream.  That’s right, the scream.  I didn’t know exactly where it was coming from, but I had thought it was just the fan belt making noise.  But it got louder and louder each time I drove that day, until finally it was a full, loud and constant screaming from under my hood.

So I did what any responsible, red blooded American man would do in this situation.  I stopped off at the parts store on the way to the practice.  But my Bronco had greater plans than just to stop– it was his wish to die there, so die he did.  What had been presumed to be a worn out fan belt was instead an alternator whose usefulness had come to and end.  In other words, it was broken. Undaunted in my role as a chauffeur, I quickly bought an alternator(and a free set of instructions on how to install it), finagled a quick jump start out of one of my friends, and headed on my way.

Stop number one was a success!  Nathan was delivered as promised to the field of champions, his little league soccer practice!  Now it was up to the ailing Bronco, me, and an excitable preschooler to pick up a lonely girl scout, since by this time we were 15 minutes late.  “Surely this weak old alternator could hold out for just a few more minutes, couldn’t it” I asked myself.

Wrong.  It died ten blocks short of our destination, but only a couple blocks away from our church, where I could borrow a van to finish my important task.  This I did, and quickly sped towards the Presbyterian church where I was certain a very patient little girl in a green vest would assure her daddy that it was OK that he was late.  Only she wasn’t there.  Thankfully, her mother had returned from the doctor’s office early enough to rescue her from being abandoned.

The task that now lay ahead was one I did not look forward to.  I’d never changed an alternator before; I wasn’t dressed for doing something greasy or mechanical; and to be real honest, I wasn’t too excited about having to spend $120 for an alternator.  The man at the parts store assured me I would get $40 of that back if I just returned the old used up alternator.  I wasn’t even sure I could get the thing unhooked and removed, let alone the new one installed and the old delivered back to the store.  But I dove into the task anyway!

Seven good Samaritans, 75 minutes, and two errands for tools later, the job was finished.  And it actually worked!

I drove home with an incredible feeling of satisfaction and positive self-worth that evening.  Me, the guy who takes stuff apart and then can’t put it back together; me, the guy whose automobile expertise only includes changing the oil and filling the gas tank; me, the guy who wouldn’t know a fuel pump from a water pump, or an alternator from a generator; I had fixed my ailing Bronco!

As I basked in the glow of my own admiration and adulation, it struck me that I really wasn’t as great a mechanic as I might have thought.

Sure, I changed a broken part; but the guy at the parts store actually told me what was wrong… and I had three other guys who knew what they were doing talk me through it…  And when it came right down to it, I still don’t have a clue about what it takes to make a car and all of its thousands of parts work together and carry me down the road.

I wondered what it must have been like for those who took the very first automobile ride; how amazing it must have seemed to them.  And the designer, the creator of the first automobile– how proud he must have been!  To sit back and watch something he made bring so much joy and so much usefulness to those around him, because of this thing he had created!

From nowhere, a voice in the back of my mind seemed to shout out to me, “Wait! That’s not how it happened at all!  There was no inventor of the first automobile.  That is just a story that historians have made up to explain what their understanding is of how the car was probably invented.”  “That’s got to be the weirdest thought you’ve ever had jump out of the back of your mind.”, I thought to myself.  But that strange voice spoke up again.

“Not only was there no inventor of the automobile, but I’ll tell you how it really came to be, that beautiful red Bronco of yours.  Thousands of years ago, some rubber from a rubber tree, a patch of iron ore from deep in the earth, and a cow all were standing near one another when suddenly the ground around them exploded!  It was through this awesome phenomenon that your Bronco now has tires, a metal body, and nice leather seats!  That’s just the way that it happened– and you’ve got to believe it happened this way, because it makes so much more sense than to think that someone somewhere invented the automobile.  This Bronco Kaboom makes so much more sense than the idea of an inventor does.”

By this time I was wondering if I wasn’t just delirious from being late for supper, or from having been bent over so much in the previous few hours while working on my car.

But the little voice wasn’t through yet.  “Just kidding”, I heard him say.  “Pretty silly wasn’t it, to think that such an amazing contraption as this vehicle JUST HAPPENED?  It really was kind of crazy to think that something so intricate, so purposeful in its design, might be the result of a cosmic burp or galactic gurgle?  Who in their right mind could conceive that your bright red and shiny Bronco was anything but the product of a craftsman, whose mind had a purpose and whose heart had a flair for the beautiful and the unique?”

Who indeed…

And the last thing I heard this peculiar voice say to me has rung in my ears ever since.  He said, “And by the way, you’re a pretty good piece of work yourself.  You’re no ‘freak of fate’– you’re a work of art.  My workmanship, my pride and joy, the one that I look forward to seeing every morning.  Don’t ever let any one tell you different. And if they do, then just tell them about the Bronco that wasn’t an accident.”

I pulled into my driveway and turned off the engine.  For the longest time I just sat there, quietly taking in all I had thought and heard.  The curves on the dashboard took on a new meaning; the bend of the gearshift brought with it the reality of the designer who shaped it for a purpose…  And one more time I started the engine, just to hear the musical hum of the myriad of nuts and bolts, belts and hoses, pistons and plugs; to hear them move in perfect rhythm, and perform in concert to the tune the conductor had written for them.  And then, as simply as I had turned this magnificent machine on, I turned the key and it became still.

I walked slowly into the house, and as usual it was full of activity and life.  Ronda was working on supper and reading the daily mail; the kids each ran through the house, playing, laughing, enjoying those few free minutes before dinner; and I watched.  And as I watched, I thought to myself, “What a day… what a day…”

For some people, it takes a major crisis in their health to cause them to rethink their priorities.  For others, a critical break in a close relationship will serve as a stimulant for life evaluation.  But for me, today, I think God just wanted to use a broken alternator and a big red Bronco.

Zoo Life

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tiger in a cage angry

Another sunrise breaks the surface of the concrete horizon.  This day will be much like the day before, and the one before it.  Rising from his slumber, he growls his disapproval.  A barren cubicle,almost sterile in its vacancy.  Slowly and grudgingly he moves towards the food laid out before him.  He eats, then stops.  A momentary pause as he lifelessly absorbs the movement around him.  Then swallowing his final bite for the morning, he moves away from his dish.  Full, but not content.

With the sunlight blazing across the early sky, he now has a clear view of the city, and the bustle of activity by those around him preparing for the day.  Their lives seem so different from his… exciting- vibrant- free.  Being locked away in this dull existence feeds the loneliness and rage.  Thousands will come and go, passing this way.  Some will be curious, others will poke fun; some won’t even stop long enough to notice him… but all who come, also go.  And he is left alone again at the end of the day, pacing back and forth in this bleak chamber.

Each new dawn brings the same experiences.  Feeding, followed by a senseless effort to find a way out.  More feedings, and the uninvited intrusions of others.  Then comes acceptance and bitter resignation to his fate… and finally day is complete as he dozes off to sleep, with isolation and confusion his only companions.

This is not what creation’s clay is intended to be, or how it is to live.  From the first days in the Garden, each day of life has within it the promise of hope, the expectation of absolute freedom and exhilaration.  Each creature, fearfully and wonderfully made by Eternal Hands, uniquely contributing to the beauty of nature.  For this jewel of heaven’s handiwork to suff
er in captivity is not only miserable, but senseless.  And still, day after day the same scene plays over again.

Once more, over the rooftops and through the window panes the sunlight makes its early morning arrival.  And just like each day before, he rises from his restless night of sleep.  The phone rings.  “No sir, I won’t be late today,” he assures his boss.  Next door, an unhappy couple silently nod as each leaves for work.  Across the hall, an elderly woman cries as she faces another eo-SAD-MAN-facebookmpty day.

You see, a cage is a cage even if there aren’t any bars.  There’s really no difference between being hunted and chained, and feeling hopeless and trapped.  Lions and tigers are not the only ones who live in captivity.  People all around you sense their own feelings of confinement, of isolation, of no real freedom at all.  So look very hard when you stare through the fence into empty eyes… they may be your own.