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Advent Calendar without the Advent

November 28, 2008 --

BY Beaver Believer, Portland

I have always loved Advent Calendars as a kid eating my way through the 24 days before Christmas Eve. The calendars I grew up always had a nativity scene or angels which has been the tradition for hundreds of years when it began in Germany. I went shopping for Advent Calendars for my nieces and could not find a single calendar among many that had any spiritual reference. In desperation, I ended up printing my own door decorations (see photo) and pasting them on the calendar in at least three places. Now I feel much better.

Advent is from the Latin word Adventus which means “coming”. I suppose the great arrival of Santa Claus fits the definition of a great coming, but misses the spirit. What next? Frosty the Snowman sporting candy cane menorahs or reindeer Kwanzaa lightings?

I just wish that out of the five Advent Calendars at the store at least one would have been true to the original spirit of the Advent tradition. I think that would have made many customers like me very happy.

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Be Thankful. Live Thankful.

November 27, 2008 --

Blessings and best wishes this Thanksgiving

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How to motivate men. It is not impossible.

November 26, 2008 --

Rick Johnson,
Better Dads Ministry

As I travel around the country speaking the number one question I am asked is, “How can we engage and motivate men to be involved?” Clearly, this is an issue that affects everyone. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters program here in Portland reports that they have a waiting list of 900 boys with an average wait time of three years because they cannot find male mentors to be involved. So how do we engage men? Is it even possible?

I believe it is, but we have to first understand some things that are important to motivating men. Here are some key factors to encouraging and inspiring men to make a difference in the world:

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Oregon aid expert says catastrophic crises looms in Congo

November 25, 2008 --

Medical Teams International director of emergency relief calls for urgent aid

Medical Team International — All the signs for a looming, catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Congo are on the horizon, says Joe DiCarlo, emergency relief director for Medical Teams International.

“We could see more and more death as people lack access to health care and shelter,” says DiCarlo.  “The clock is ticking unless there is direct intervention to save their lives.  Cholera is also a huge threat.  Six have died this week….three yesterday.”

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Six virtues to give this holiday season

November 24, 2008 --

Judy Dippel, Eugene Author
The Art of Authentic Friendship: Real Women, Real Challenges, Real Solutions

Relationships are continually shifting and being redefined, and it seems that as we approach the holiday season, when we’ll be spending time with both friends and family, these pearls of wisdom from our “Relationship” chapter  in The Art of Authentic Friendship are something to strive to wear and give out at every gathering this Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We know that at the core of every important and meaningful friendship is a close relationship that adjusts and compensates as needed. In order to stay healthy, relationships require plenty of commitment. The following “pearls” are the qualities that can strengthen and help you sustain more satisfying relationships. We shop for the perfect gift, but if we wear these actions and attitudes every day, we help our friendships (and family relationships) remain dynamic and growing. These pearls are the perfect gift!

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Adoption Month: Giving kids in China something we take for granted

November 21, 2008 --

By Holt International, Eugene

A meal at a restaurant… a visit to the zoo… a new set of clothing… new school bags and stationery… 62 dictionaries.

These are some of the ways children in foster care and orphanage settings in China were treated to something special thanks to Holt sponsors and donors, who contributed over $4,400 to see that these vulnerable children had the kind of day other kids take for granted. All in all, nearly a thousand children had a special day and were made to feel special through gifts, treats, presents and special events.

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Uncomfortable truth about victims

November 20, 2008 --

Paul Coughlin,
Oregon Author of No More Christian Nice Guy

Like their tormentors, victims are misunderstood.  Many think they get picked on because they wear glasses, are fat, have above-average grades, and so on.  Thought some children with these characteristics are bullied, many are not.  The frustrating and painful truth goes deeper than spectacles, obesity, or ingenuity.

Here are characteristics that bind victims to isolation, humiliation, and despair:

~They acquiesce too quickly to demands.
~They cry and cower, sometimes making elaborate displays of pain and suffering, fueling further attacks.
~They offer too few healthy boundaries.  They refuse to defend themselves, leaving their attackers undeterred to future attacks.
~Their lack of self-defense is noticed and disliked by both aggressive and non-aggressive peers.

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Luis Palau reaches 150,000 in Southern Mexico

November 19, 2008 --

From Luis Palau Association,

OAXACA, Mexico, Nov. 18 /Christian Newswire/ — As the economy continues to downshift in markets around the globe, world evangelist Luis Palau continues to bring his message of eternal hope and encouragement to millions. Joining with local churches and government agencies, Palau campaigns are meeting the physical and spiritual needs of individuals in some of the hardest hit parts of the world.

His most recent campaign with son and fellow evangelist Andrew Palau took him to the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico, November 12-15. In a partnership with nearly 350 local churches, they shared the Good News in person with more than 168,000 individuals throughout the region and recorded an amazing 11,193 decisions to follow Jesus Christ. According to Daniel Gurrion, Oaxaca state representative, “This proved to be the largest evangelistic campaign the region has ever seen.”

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Why do men commit suicide for losing their job, but not their marriage?

November 18, 2008 --

By David Renshaw
Real Catholic Men, Hillsboro

With the recent economic down-turn and market volatility, those of us with a cursory knowledge of history think back to stories recalling how people jumped out of their office windows during the stock market crash of 1929.  Suicide due to job loss or economic hardship is still a reality almost 80 years later.  But is it really such a big deal to lose one’s job?  I mean, is it life-taking type serious?  Do we feel just as distraught when a marriage dissolves?

Of course not, but why not?

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Oregon author of The Shack continues to lead nation in sales

November 17, 2008 --

By Beaver Believer, Portland

Oregon author, William Young, continues to rank as the number one nonfiction paperback for the book The Shack which tells the story of a man who has a conversation with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. A local Christian bookstore said it has been their number one selling book since Christmas.

In non-fiction, the book 90 Minutes in Heaven, about a man’s short visit to heaven after a car accident has been on the best seller’s list for two years!

In a more humorous note, the book barely edges out “I hope they serve beer in hell” for the number sixth spot.

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