When It's Over

Blog

By Shawn Boonstra

The dead tree in my backyard has kind of a stark beauty that makes me reluctant to cut it down. The other morning, as I looked out of my bedroom window at the newly-greening lawn behind my house, I noticed that the tree wasn’t as ugly as I had remembered. True, there are still no leaves, no hope of new life. But the white bark, the red-tipped branches, and even the dead brown patches on the trunk looked oddly attractive with the living lawn as a backdrop.  

Constantine

Blog

By Jean Boonstra

In ancient Rome, the color purple was derived from Murex seashells and was, therefore, the most expensive dye available. This inky coloring was reserved for the cloth that would be stitched into clothes for the emperor and senators. And senators had limited access. They were allowed to wear some purple clothing, but if anyone dressed completely in purple, it was considered treason. Treason was punishable by death. 

Genocide—People or Numbers?

Blog

By Kurt Johnson

In April 1994, just 22 years ago (does not seem that long ago, does it?), years of underlying tension broke loose in uncontrolled violence. Ancestral bloodlines—Hutu or Tutsi—were your “ID Card” to live or die. The Hutus turned on the Tutsis and through the use of machetes, guns, and other means, slaughtered almost 1 million people. 

In Search of a Miracle

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By Alex Rodriguez

I was asked a couple of weeks ago if I would be available to perform her funeral. "If my schedule permits, I’m most willing," I responded. Nevertheless, I cringe at the thought. It is true; I want to be there. I just wish things were different. I wish my visit was for a happy occasion. Maybe a wedding or a child dedication. But death—why does it have to be this way?

I’m certainly not the only one who has felt this way. In fact, the question of why has likely passed through the minds of every human being since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

The 7-Eleven Mystery

Blog

By Shawn Boonstra

Have you ever looked really closely at the sign on your local 7-Eleven store? If you haven't, I've provided a picture of one in my town for your convenience. (It is, after all, a convenience store.) All of the letters in the word eleven are upper case, except for the last one. For some reason, the final "N" is lower case.  

It's 7-ELEVEn. 

Now that you've seen it, you'll never be able to UNsee it. You're welcome. 

Castaway

Blog

By Jean Boonstra

The three men were stranded on Fanadik Island for three days, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The small boat they were traveling on was swamped by a large wave and they swam for two miles in the darkness of night to reach the shores of the Micronesian Island that's about 3,000 miles southwest of Honolulu. 

Twice Turned

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By Shawn Boonstra

When the burden of leadership became too heavy for Moses, God gave him an administrative support team composed of 70 elders. "Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel," God instructed his servant in Numbers 11:16, "whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you."

Adventures in Lystra

Blog

By Jean Boonstra

It all started in Antioch. Paul and Barnabas, at the invitation of the local leaders, stood up in the synagogue to speak a few words of encouragement. The people liked what they heard and the next week they shared again. "On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God." (Acts 13:44) When several of the leading Jews saw their popularity, they became jealous and contradicted and reviled the men. The persecution built until the two disciples left the city, shaking the dust off of their feet.

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