When I think about Girl Scouts I think about their thin mint cookies. I’ve always thought the organization was one that held traditional values and taught them to girls. Perhaps that has been your experience with them. But this week I read a startling report that the Senior Girl Scout Handbook, (for ages 14-17) talks about how girls can end a pregnancy and advocates euthanasia under some circumstances.


Has abortion become so accepted in our day that the Girl Scouts feel it is their responsibility to inform girls about it?

Psalm 139:15 NLT “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.”


A person's faith does make a difference in how they view abortion. According to George Barna, 43% of non Christian adults believe abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances compared with 73% of Christian adults.

—REV, Nov/Dec 2001, p. 79

What accounts for the 30% difference? Not an affiliation with a political party, but a world-view that values life. Life is sacred—all life—even the life of an unborn child. Children are a gift from God, after they are born, and before.

Psalm 127:3 KJV "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."


It is one thing to preach against a problem and another to become part of the solution. Mike and Jane Nason are part of the solution forty times now.

The Nasons decided to become foster parents after hearing a preacher say, "If abortion is outlawed, what will happen to the babies?" They were led of the Lord to contact the Tennessee Baptist Children's Homes about becoming foster parents.

"Baby Jane" an abandoned baby born in a restroom and left in a trash can to die became their fortieth foster child. A janitor found a blood trail that led to the dumpster and called the police. A policeman retrieved the tiny baby and rushed her to a hospital, now she is safe and sound in the arms of parents who feel that caring for her is a part of their "ministry."

—Baptist Press,1/6/00


Planned Parenthood released a line of products to promote “abortion pride” for post-abortive women. The line of products includes coffee mugs, bumper stickers and a T-Shirt with the words “I had an Abortion.”


Even if Planned Parenthood is successful at removing the negative stigma surrounding abortion, they won’t be able to eradicate the guilt and personal pain that decision causes.

Psalm 127:3 (NASB) “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward.”


When photographer Michael Clancy was invited to photograph a rare surgical procedure, he never dreamed his world view would be changed. When doctors at Vanderbilt Medical Center anaesthetized Samuel Armas while still in his mother's womb and surgically treated his spinal bifida. When diagnosed, many parents opt for abortion rather than face the prospect of a disabled child. In an interview in USA Today his parents said, "We wanted people to know that there is an educated, professional couple out there who love and value their child even though he is "defective" by society's definition.

Near the end of the operation, Clancy, who was taking pictures for USA Today, said he saw "this little hand come out like a punch…and he grabbed (the doctor's) finger." Clancy snapped the photo, which has heightened awareness of the highly developed state of unborn children. Clancy said he hadn't realized abortions could legally be performed into the fifth month of pregnancy and later. The 21-week old unborn boy he photographed on August 19th, 1999, would have been unable to survive outside the womb, but had distinct human characteristics. "It made a pro-lifer out of me," he said.

—The Tennessean, (1/9/00)



According to Dr. Hymie Gordon, Professor of Medical Genetics & a Physician at the Mayo Clinic, life begins at conception. "Now we can say unequivocally that the question of when life begins is no longer a question for theological or physiological dispute. It is an established scientific fact. Theologians and philosophers may go on to debate the meaning of life or the purpose of life, but it is an established fact that all life, including human life begins at conception."

—SBC Life, January 2002, p. 1

Jeremiah 1:5 NASB "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you;"


New scanning techniques have produced amazing pictures of babies inside the womb, which show babies apparently smiling and crying. The procedure has been pioneered by London obstetrician professor Stuart Campbell at the Create Health Center for Reproduction and Advanced Technology. The new techniques, known as 3D and 4D scanning, make a more detailed picture examination of the fetuses possible.

The new pictures offer new insight into fetal behavior. The techniques have captured images of fetuses yawning, blinking, and sucking their fingers. They even seem to smile and cry, and move their limbs at very young ages.

Campbell says, “There are many questions that can now be investigated.” He asks, “Does the fetus smile because it is happy, or cry because it has been disturbed by some event in the womb?” Campbell also wonders, “ Why does a fetus blink when we assume it’s dark inside the uterus?”

Up to now, doctors did not think infants made expressions like those captured until after birth. They previously thought babies learned to smile by copying their mothers.

—www.sky.com/skynews, September 12, 2003. Submitted by Jim Sandell

Psalms 139:13-16 NIV “For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All they days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”



According to the Barna Research Group,” only 9% of born again teens believe in moral absolutes and just 4% of the non-born again teens believe that there are moral absolutes.”


John 14:6 NASB “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”


In his book, The New Absolutes, William Watkins cited several studies and then concluded, "Roughly three out of four Americans claimed they embraced relativism and opposed absolutism." (p. 26)

Isn't the statement, "there is no absolute truth" a contradiction? Isn't it a statement that purports an absolute truth while denying its existence?

Some truths are not negotiable, they are absolute. It matters whether you breathe water or oxygen. If you breathe water you will drown, it is an absolute truth.

When I go to the doctor, I want him to prescribe me the proper dosage of medication I need. It wouldn't be right for her to say to me, "Take as much as you want." Too much could kill me, not enough wouldn't help me; I need the right dosage.

When I get ready to board an airplane, I want the counter person to tell me the correct flight to board, I don't want to hear, "It doesn't matter which plane you get on, they all will take you somewhere." I want to know the absolute truth.

With all due respect to the majority opinion in our society, there is an absolute truth. Jesus said, "… I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6 KJV



Each year the Michigan Lawsuit Abuse Watch holds a contest to highlight the lengths manufacturers must go through to avoid lawsuits resulting from misuse of their products.

The label winning fourth place in the Wacky Warning Label Contest was found on the package for a five-inch fishing lure with three large steel hooks. It read, "Harmful if swallowed." It’s a good thing fish can't read.

A Virginia man won $250 for a label on a snow sled, which advised users, "Warning, sled may develop high speed under certain snow conditions." The first place warning was found on a bottle of drain cleaner. It read, "If you do not understand, or cannot read all directions, cautions, and warnings, do not use this product."

Robert Dorigo Jones, president of the nonprofit group says the warning labels "are a sign of our lawsuit-plagued times." He adds, "It used to be that if someone spilled coffee in their lap, they simply called themselves clumsy. Today, too many people are calling themselves an attorney."

In our society, people don’t always take responsibility for their actions, but one day, we will all give account for what we’ve done, and God will hold us accountable.

—Associated Press, Group Points Out Wacky Warning Labels, January 12, 2004, Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Romans 1:20 NIV "For since the creation of he world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."


In his book, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge encourages men to seek more than accountability partners, he encourages them to find co-laborers. He writes, “Thanks to the men’s movement the church understands now that a man needs other men, but what we’ve offered is another two-dimensional solution: ‘Accountability’ groups or partners. Ugh. That sounds so old covenant: ‘You’re really a fool and you’re just waiting to rush into sin, so we’d better post a guard by you to keep you in line.’

“We don’t need accountability groups; we need fellow warriors, someone to fight alongside, someone to watch our back.”

—Wild at Heart, p. 175

Ephesians 6:12 KJV “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

For more information on Wild at Heart, go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0785268839/freshministry

A Fresh Illustrations Subscriber, Rodger Russell recommend I buy the book. He wrote, “I read "Wild at Heart" on a recommendation from a friend in FCA. I was absolutely touched by what I read. (tears in my eyes touched) I ordered six copies and sent one to each of my brothers and each of my sons. My brother who has a son of his own then bought three copies and sent one to his son, one to his son in law, and one to his brother in law. (His son, 19 years old and a freshman in college, said "Thanks dad for the book. I was beginning to wonder if there was something wrong with me.") It is a book written to men about their relationship to God, and how it has been distorted by the modern church.”

The book arrived yesterday afternoon, I’d finished it before I went to bed. Get this book. You’ll be glad you did.




In their book, Shine: Make them Wonder What You’ve Got, The Newsboys wrestle with the issue of crossing the line between bearing a positive Christian witness and hurting the cause with Christian activism, they write, “There is certainly a need to exercise our social and political freedoms. But the difficult question then becomes, how much have we really achieved? Have we illuminated the light of Christ in society so that it is changing people's hearts and making a significant difference in their lives? Or have we traded changing hearts for merely changing laws—as good as those laws may be?

We have asserted our prerogative to be part of the culture. Yet have we made ourselves just one more special interest group striving to be heard? We must ask if we have fought for our rights to proclaim the Gospel only to become another subculture in society rather than ‘a holy nation, a people belonging to God, who declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.’”

—Shine, p. 34-35

Matthew 5:16 KJV “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

For more information on Shine, go to: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0883687720/freshministry



One-fourth of Americans do not exercise at all during the course of a week according to a new study released by the Center For Disease Control. The research conducted in the year 2000 is based on interviews with 32,000 people, which gauged the respondent’s work and leisure activities.

The study found that people who are not active in their work environment do not make up for it by being active at home. Instead, people with sedentary jobs remain sedentary at home. On the other hand, individuals who are active at work are also active at home. Statistician Pat Barnes says, “An example is someone who does landscaping is more likely to do some leisure activity than someone who sat at a desk all day long.”

Though roughly 75 percent of Americans claim to engage in moderate activity at least three times a week, 34 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Only 20 per cent of the respondents could be classified as very physically active.

The Government recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to fight obesity, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Health officials want to reach a goal of having 30 per cent of the population exercise 30 minutes or more, five days a week by the year, 2010.

—Associated Press, www.msnbc.com, May 15, 2003, submitted by Jim Sandell.

Good stewardship dictates that we care for our bodies. It also means that we must care for our souls.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 NIV “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”



Mike Torchina doesn’t mind wearing a scarlet letter at all. In a recent article he wrote for Newsweek Magazine, he publicly stated that he’s had affairs with around 40 married women. He said, “I don’t feel bad about having had affairs with married women, because they were feeling neglected and they just wanted to be loved.”

—NEWSWEEK, July 12, 2004, p. 53

2 Tim. 3:1-7 (NASB) “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. [2] For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, [3] unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, [4] treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; [5] holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these. [6] For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, [7] always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”



Dutch researchers have published evidence from a new study that suggests patients whose hearts stop beating experience an afterlife. The research appears in the medical journal, the Lancet. The two-year study in 10 Dutch hospitals found that 12 per cent of cardiac arrest survivors reported having various near-death experiences. The study is the most extensive scientific study of the phenomenon to date.

It used the latest medical equipment to confirm no signs of pulse or brain activity in the patients who reported near-death experiences. Researchers say the patients were clinically dead and therefore should not have been able to perceive anything. Researchers say the recollections are too structured to be hallucinations. They believe the phenomenon defies normal medical explanation.

Dr. Peter Fenwick, a joint author of a previous study that agrees with the latest research says, "If the mind and brain can be independent, then that raises questions about the continuation of consciousness after death. It also raises questions about a spiritual component to humans and about a meaningful universe with a purpose rather than a random universe."

Academics might use this new research to show the mind continues to work after the brain dies. Believers in Jesus see this study as evidence of what they already knew. There is more to this life than this life. There is a spiritual dimension. And there is more to come when this life is over.

—http://news.telegraph.co.uk/news, Saturday, December 15, 2001. Submitted by Jim Sandell

Matthew 16:24-26 NIV "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?"



"Almost 12-million South Africans are under the age of 15. At the current rate of HIV-infection, more than half this age group (over 6-million people!) could die of AID-related causes in the next five to 10 years."

—S'camto PRINT April 8 2001 Issue 10, submitted by Cornelius Claassen

Can the church sit idly by while these suffer? "I can't and I will not and I will continue to [minister], regardless of any opposition," says Cornelius Claassen of the Goldfields Revival Centre of Welkom South Africa, "To reach out to help those in need." He continued, "Let this Church become a Lighthouse pointing the way to Christ and a haven of hope for all suffering this dreadful disease."

Luke 1:37 "For with God nothing shall be impossible."



David Egner's regular activities include spending time teaching prison inmates about Jesus through Bible study classes. David says one day when he arrived at the checkpoint to enter the prison, he was told that his identification card had been misplaced.

In order to get in and teach his classes, the guard had to fill out a temporary permission slip for David. After he got inside, David glanced at the piece of paper and laughed. In the space provided to indicate who he was representing, the guard had written, "God."

Later, as he drove home, David thought about the permission slip more seriously. Although the guard may have had a sense of humor, she was right. Even though David had officially been representing a prison ministry, he was really representing God.

All believers in Jesus represent God wherever they are, and whatever they do. They are his ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5:20 "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God."

—http://www.gospelcom.net/rbc/odb, Our Daily Bread, December 10, 2001, Submitted by Jim Sandell.



Have you ever had your dreams shattered? Have you wondered where God was when life became too much to bear? Have you ever thought that if you had more in life you would get more out of life?

In his book, Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb wrote:

"Satan's masterpiece is not the prostitute or the skid-row bum. It is the self-sufficient person who has made life comfortable, who is adjusting well to the world and truly likes living here, a person who dreams of no better place to live, who longs only to be a little better—and a little better off—than he already is."

—Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, p. 126, submitted by Ed Rowell

When it comes to spiritual things, we are all bankrupt before the Father. People who have true joy are God-dependant, not self-sufficient. They yearn for a better relationship with Him through difficult times and find their joy in that relationship, not the fulfillment of their dreams.

Matthew 5:3 KJV "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

For more information on Shattered Dreams go to, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1578564522/freshministry


Pop Artist Andy Warhol once said that in the age of television, every person would have 15 minutes of fame. Commenting on that thought in Our Daily Bread, David Roper says that though we may be given a brief moment of fame, we should not seek it.

David observes how selfish ambition often manifests itself in a passion for the "best seats," or in a quest for personal recognition. Unbridled ambition can cause us to dominate social situations, and insist on telling our story instead of listening to the concerns of others. Ambition makes us want to be noticed, prominent, and in the limelight, instead of sitting on the sidelines of life.

David suggests that each of us cope with the desire for fame and ambition by learning God's way of living, from Jesus. He says, God's way is the opposite of selfish ambition. Living God's way allows us to be content when others are elevated above us, to rejoice when someone is preferred over us, and to give other people credit instead of claiming it for ourselves. David says, "We begin to learn God's way from Jesus. He was gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29 ) and didn't try to protect His own dignity or position."

When we follow Jesus' example for dealing with ambition, others will be more likely to see Jesus when our fifteen minutes of fame arrives.

—Our Daily Bread, March 25, 2002, Selfish Ambition, Submitted by Jim Sandell



In an interview with Biography Magazine, Kelly Ripa, Regis' perky Co-Host on LIVE with Regis & Kelly, said: "a lot of people in show business are driven, I think, in their need to be famous. I've never had that desire. Every time I have a little bit of fame, I think, 'Okay, this is interesting, but I don't want to get any more than this.' Fame isn't what makes me happy. What makes me happy is doing my work and enjoying my friends and my husband and my children."

—Biography, June 2001, p. 116

Matthew 23:5-12 "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; [6] they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; [7] they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them 'Rabbi.'

[8] But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. [9] And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. [10] Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. [11] The greatest among you will be your servant. [12] For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."



Anger can kill. It may not be as quick as an automatic weapon, but it is just as deadly. In the introduction to their book Anger Kills, Williams & Williams say: "getting angry is like taking a small dose of some slow-acting poison—arsenic, for example—every day of your life. (p. vii )

"Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger," (Ephes. 4:26.)

Get Anger Kills online at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060976233/freshministry


Commenting on her song “Waiting for Love,” Pink said, “This is my first love song. I’ve only ever written hate songs. But I’d change this now if I had the chance. I’d change it to a hate ballad.”

According to Lorraine Ali, Pink (Alecia Moore) is one of “the pop scene’s most credible anti-heroes.” Ali describes her as a combination of obstinacy, attitude and anger.

—Newsweek, September 1, 2003, p. 56

That may be a winning combination to win the 2002 Video Music Award, but it is a losing combination for life.

Proverbs 14:29 NASB “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”



According to the December issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology anxiety among children is at an all time high. In fact, healthy children reported more anxiety during the 1980s than child psychiatric patients reported 30 years earlier.

“Contrary to views that children have nothing to worry about except bullies and Oedipal dynamics, these findings indicate that children's anxiety strongly reflects what is happening in the society at large,” concludes study author Dr. Jean M. Twenge, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Researchers cited the usual fears of crime and AIDS, yet the greatest cause may well be the social isolation caused by high divorce rates. In an interview with Reuters, Twenge added that people increasingly say that they do not trust others. "We see our world as a more threatening place and we do not feel the same sense of community that we did during the 1950s," she explained. The study results also point to an increase in depression and substance abuse, which can be consequences of anxiety, Twenge notes.

The study notes that while crime and fears about nuclear war have declined somewhat, divorce rates remain high and the number of people who live alone remains high. "Improvements in these statistics, and a general feeling of belongingness and closeness in our communities, would likely decrease feelings of anxiety. Until people feel both safe and connected to others, anxiety is likely to remain high," Twenge concludes.


1 Peter 5:7 NASB "casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you."



As the fighting began in Iraq, many of the nation’s biggest marketers pulled their advertisements from various media outlets. McDonald’s Toyota, MasterCard, PepsiCo, and several other companies with big advertising budgets pulled their ads from television, as well as trimming ads on the radio and in print. Experts think the moves could drain up to $1 million a day from the advertising industry.

Charlie Rutman, president of the Media buying company, Carat USA says marketers must judge the attitude and response of the consumer audience. He notes advertisers did not seem concerned with the Gulf War 12-years ago, but the September 11th attacks set new guidelines for marketing during times of political uncertainty. Rutman says, “Nobody wants to read in the newspaper the next morning: ‘This war sponsored by…’”

Vice President of marketing for McDonald’s, Dan Ryan says, “From a customer point of view, we wouldn’t want to do anything that wasn’t appropriate.” Another media expert agrees, adding, “War is not the time to pitch a product.”

—USA TODAY, War’s start prompts marketers to pull ads, by Theresa Howard, March 20, 2003. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Ecclesiastes 3:1,8 NASB “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— … A time to love, and a time to hate; a time for War, and a time for peace.”



I recently ran across an interview that Calvin Miller gave to the Wittenburg Door that was published in August-September 1985 that has caused me to think about the usefulness of art to communicate the gospel. Miller said, “I’ve always agreed with James that ‘every perfect gift comes down from the Father.’ I believe that great art of any kind comes from God, even if it’s created by an atheist.”

In his book, Being the Body, Charles Colson writes, “Though the Reformers are often pictured as iconoclasts, their world-view actually caused them to perceive art of all types as a means to give glory to God and to reflect the goodness and beauty of His creation.”

—Being the Body, p. 299

Though I’d want to qualify my agreement with these statements by saying that there are some exceptions to the rule, like the homoerotic art of Robert Mapelthorpe, Miller’s and the Reformer’s views carry tremendous truth. The creative process itself and the beauty it produces is one vehicle God uses to communicate to mankind—especially those that reflect the glory of God’s creation.

Romans 1:20 NASB “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

For more information on Being The Body, go to: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0849917522/freshministry



In 1996, Surrey British Columbia teen Kerry-Jo Klingbeil was awarded the Medal of Bravery by Governor-General Romeo LeBlanc for pushing a friend out of the path of a tow-truck.

Kerry-Jo was 11, in 1995, when she pushed Amanda Horne, 7, out of the truck's path in Arthur, near Kitchener, Ontario. However, during the rescue attempt, Kerry-Jo was caught under the tractor-trailer's rear wheels and received serious head injuries.

The accident left Kerry-Jo seriously disfigured and mentally and physically disabled. Six years later, the 17-year-old's family sued the friend and her parents for millions of dollars.

The lawsuit, claimed the Hornes family failed to supervise Amanda properly, or to instruct her on how to cross a road safely. Further, the claim said Kerry-Jo was "compelled" to "rescue" Amanda. But Amanda's family disagree. They say Kerry-Jo was injured because of her own negligence and that she did not have to rescue Amanda.

"What anyone would say is: 'Look, there are significant implications for this girl, for her future,'" Allen Wynperle, the lawyer representing the Klingbeil family, said "Sometime she's going to have to take care of things in the future. I'm not sure she'll be able to do it without help."

— The Vancouver Province, December 29, 2000, submitted by Dave Bootsma

Thankfully Jesus is a Savior without any regrets or second thoughts. He knew what he was getting into before he went to the cross and saw us as worth all of his suffering.

John 3:16 KJV "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."



Dean Rucker, the pastor of the Sunset Point Baptist Church in Clearwater, FL is teaching his four-year-old son to tithe.

Part of Dean's Sunday morning ritual is preparing Blaze's offering. He gives Blaze a dollar to put into an offering envelope with his name on it to give during his Sunday School class. Last Sunday, Blaze put the dollar in the envelope, licked and sealed it, and turned to his Dad and asked, "Is God going to open it?"

My prayer is that when we give to the Lord as an act of worship, we would do so with the mind-set that, indeed, God is going to open it!



After McGwire hit 70 home runs in a single season in 1998, collectors scrambled to purchase his 1985 Topps rookie card. Con men were also scrambling. Not to buy cards, but to produce forgeries to sell to the collectors. At $200.00 a card, con men were raking it in.

The best of the fakes were hard to detect. Because they were screened from the original, they are a bit fuzzier, but only slightly.

The real tip off wasn’t the imperfections of the fake, but the perfections. For instance, the fake had sharp 90 degree angles on the borders, the original’s were slightly rounded. The letters USA on the original has some random yellow dots surrounding them, the fake doesn’t.

—Beckett’s Baseball Card Monthly, July 1999, p. 6

Visual bonus—paid subscribers can download a graphic of McGwire’s rookie at http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations/mcgwire.jpg by typing “member” as the login name and the password you received with you paid your fee in the password box.


How do you spot real authenticity? Sometimes a forgery is easy to spot. Like in 1996 when a Western Union manager became suspicious of a young dockworker who tried to cash a check made out to “Roadway Express,” a shipping company in Dallas. When asked for an ID, the 18-year-old produced an ID with the name Mr. "Roadway V. Express."

The manager asked him to wait while he got him the money. He went in the back and called the police.


James 5:12 NASB But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but let your yes be yes, and your no, no; so that you may not fall under judgment.


A Georgia woman's outrageous attempt at fraud has landed her in jail under charges of forgery. 35-year-old Alice Pike attempted to pay for $1671.55 worth of merchandise at a Wal-Mart with a One-Million-dollar-bill.

When Pike handed the cashier the bill, the cashier refused to take it, and also declined to hand over the $998,000 change. She immediately called the manager, who also refused to take the bogus bill.

Pike reportedly offered $2.32 on a gift card, and then tried to cash the big bill again. At the point the manager called police, who took Pike into custody. Authorities found two more of the seven-figure bills in her purse. Police say Pike claims the bills were a gift from her husband, and she thought they were real. Chief of Police in Covington, Georgia, Stacey Cotton says, "The bill 'looks' real, but of course there's nothing real about this."

The U.S. Treasury does not print a one-million-dollar bill, but several varieties of the large bills are available as toys, novelty gifts, or souvenirs.

—www.nypost.com, Funny-$$ Gal 1 in a Million, by Amit Srivastava, March 10, 2004.

Submitted by Jim Sandell.

As they always say, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to money, merchants want the real deal. When it comes to the Christian life, the world deserves to see the real deal. People on an authentic journey, working to change the world.

Proverbs 21:27 (NASB) “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent!”


Blaise Paschal, the French scientist, mathematician and philosopher, was working at his laboratory shortly after his daughter died. A friend dropped by and was amazed by Paschal's sense of peace in the face of tragedy. The friend said, "I wish I had your creed; then I would live your life."

Paschal countered: "Live my life and you will soon have my creed." The faith that frees us is real, practical and experiential.

—Craig A. Loscalzo, Apologetic Preaching pp. 47-48, submitted by Dr. Tom Martin

For more information on Apologetic Preaching, go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0830815759/freshministry


In his book Morph, Ron Martoia defines authenticity as, “the ability to be honest and upfront about strengths and weaknesses, peaks and valleys, victories and struggles—both sides of the coin bring authenticity. The seeds of credibility start with humble acknowledgement of humble strengths, gifts and abilities, as well as honest identification of shortcomings, weaknesses, and areas need working.”

—Morph, p. 65

2 Cor. 12:9-10 NASB “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. [10] Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

For more information on Morph, go to: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0764424505/freshministry


In his book, Mission to Oz, Mark Tabb writes, “Living a moral life is the first step toward authenticity, but it barely scratches the surface. The one thing that truly sets followers of Jesus Christ apart is the relationship that they enjoy with Him.”

—Mission to Oz, p. 111

Following Christ isn’t just about living the right way—it is living in an authentic community with Him and His people.

Mark 12:30 (NIV) “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

For more information on Mission to Oz, go to http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0802442935/freshministry


Sixteen people, including three law enforcement officers suffered minor injuries when the crowd at a Dodge City, Kansas concert became unruly. The deputy police chief said, concertgoers who paid $20 for seats to hear Tejano artist Pedro Fernandez became upset when they did not see the performer they expected. The imposter was exposed when the audience noticed the man posing as Fernandez did a poor job lip-synching Fernandez’s songs.

Authorities said when the crowd realized the Pedro Fernandez on the stage was not the real Pedro Fernandez, they became disturbed and the situation began to get out of control. Law enforcement officials in Dodge City were out-manned and had to call in reinforcements from the local Sheriffs office. Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, and several people had to be treated at the scene by emergency medical teams.

Police officials say they are pursuing possible fraud charges against the Denver concert promoter who organized the concert.

—Associated Press, July 17, 2002. Submitted by Jim Sandell

Sometimes, believers do such a poor job of imitating Jesus that the world can see through the ruse. The Apostle Paul urged believers to let the love of Jesus be seen in everything they did.

Ephesians 5:1-2 NIV “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”


The July cover of Redbook boasts a picture of Julia Roberts with the headline, “The Real Julia.” I don’t know if their coverage captured the real Julia or not, but the photograph certainly didn’t. The picture on the cover was actually a composite featuring Julia’s head and somebody else’s body. Hearst, the magazine’s publisher issued an apology saying, “We acknowledge that we may have gone too far.”

—NEWSWEEK, June 30, 2003, p. 21

May have? Hello? Saying something is “real,” doesn’t make it so. Actually, when it is, nobody has to say anything, because everybody already knows. It is easy to talk about authenticity, but much harder to be authentic.

2 Cor. 1:12 NIV “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God's grace.”


The state road directorate on the remote Norwegian Island of Svalbard has agreed to make changes to their road signs after tourists and residents complained the signs needed to be more realistic.

The Arctic archipelago, off the coast of Norway, is home to an estimated 2,000 polar bears. The road signs are standard issue depicting a black bear against a white backdrop. The signs have been popular with tourists who like to pose beneath it and take photographs. The sign is the only black bear for hundreds of miles around.

The road directorate says it will make a new sign, reversing the colors to depict a white bear against a dark background to make sure motorists watch for the right type of bear, while visiting Svalbard.

—Reuters, Black Polar Bear Gets Realistic Makeover, Friday, September 5, 2003. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Matthew 5:37 NIV “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’, anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”



A Massachusetts landlord has discovered a unique way to get his tenants to pay their rent on time. He is awarding prizes to tenants who pay on time. Douglas Rau has about 100 tenants and says he has tried just about everything to get people to pay their rent on time.

In the first ever give-away, tenant Pablo Gallero won a four day trip to the Bahamas. Rau says, “It’s pretty bad that you’ve got to do this to get people to do what they’re already supposed to do on their own accord.” He adds, “But it seems like everybody thinks somebody owes them something.”

The vacation package cost the landlord almost $1,000. The total is still one-fifth of the court and repair costs to evict a non-paying tenant. Rau says this month’s giveaway will not be the last, four tenants who were chronically late with their payments paid their rent promptly to be part of the drawing.

—World Magazine, April 26, 2003, Cheaper Than Eviction, Pg 12,. Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Romans 13:1 NIV “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that have been established by God.”


The National Football League fined Jon Kitna, the Quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals $5,000 dollars for wearing a baseball-style cap marked with a cross during a post-game news conference. NFL rules prohibit players from wearing non-NFL apparel at news conferences following a game. Kitna, an avid reader of the Bible will pay the fine without protest. He says, "That's what happens when you don't follow the rules. I won't wear it anymore. The Bible says submit to the authorities placed above you. The authorities say that's the rule."

—Indianapolis Star, December 19, 2003, Bengals QB Kitna fined for wearing cap with cross, Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Romans 13:1 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."



In July 1984 an automobile accident nearly claimed the life of Terry Wallis. He was so seriously injured that the 39 year-old man had been in a coma until June 2003. Wallis’s mother was standing by his bed when he awoke. She was startled when he spoke to her.

Angilee Wallis calls her son’s return to consciousness a miracle. His wife Sandi says, “It’s been hard dealing with it, it’s been hard realizing that the man I married can’t be there. We all, the whole family, missed out on his company.”

Wallis spent most of his time at the rehabilitation center, but his family often took him home for weekends and special occasions. Sandi Wallace says the doctors believe Wallis remembers things because his family kept his mind active.

Wallis is learning to speak again and has set his sights on another miracle. His daughter Amber was born shortly after the accident and is now 19-years-old. Though the accident left him a quadriplegic, Wallis hopes to walk again for his daughter.

—Associated Press, July 8, 2003, Man wakes after nearly two decades in coma, greets mother, Submitted by Jim Sandell.

Ephesians 5:14 NASB “For this reason it says, Awake sleeper and arise from the dead and Christ will shine on you.”