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At Pentecost the Church commemorates the exciting signs and wonders of the book of Acts and longs to rekindle that same power. But even this falls short of what was originally called Shavuot, which took place seven weeks after the children of Israel miraculously crossed the Red Sea.

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You don’t have to be a soccer fan to cheer and gasp at the sensational dribbling in the World Cup. Whenever a player takes control of the ball and uses clever foot tricks to propel it forward past his opponents and then past the goalie right into the net, everyone is on their feet.

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The six thousand year old building technique of slapping straw and mud on branches woven together is making a surprising come back. Today, this “wattle and daub” tradition seems to appeal to the new generation of eco-conscious building designers. Popular TV programs show off the ingenuity and extent to which people will go to build their low impact sustainable dream houses. Some will spare no expense just as long as their ambitious plans are green and groundbreaking.

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Despite many attempts at Jewish-Christian dialogue there is still little common ground after two thousand years of anti-Semitism perpetrated in Jesus name. Yet today the Synagogue and the Church alike are defined by the world’s agenda.

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The news reports of early 2014 seemed to be stuck in a rut as one after another Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Great Britain, France, were systematically ravaged by storms and flooding. And in disbelief we watched the same familiar scenes of helicopter rescues and people wading through murky waters that we had witnessed the previous year on our TV screens.

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Post World War II baby boomers promoted a mindset of self-gratification and greed. It birthed a generation that felt entitled to be as happy as the guy next door. It also bred a culture of “my rights” and “my needs” that nurtured convenience based commitments. “As long as it works for me, I’ll go with it, but the moment it does not, I’ll quit”.

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As a child I loved sheltering under my grandfather’s one and only tree. His garden was small but his weeping willow had the impact of a forest on me. Many years later I returned to his house to revisit the past. This was a devastating experience! My magnificent willow tree was a pitiful scraggy bush not much bigger than a bonsai.

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Commonly used as synonyms “envy” and “jealousy” have in fact different Latin roots and meanings. Envy is about wanting what someone else has. Jealousy is about protecting what is yours from being taken by someone else.

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In our global world and our mobile society, patriotism seems to be a thing of the past, except of course in the military. In some countries the National Anthem is no longer a compulsory part of the school curriculum. And in stadiums athletes can stand proudly on a podium but struggle with the lyrics. Yet, sentimental or not, attachment to ones homeland generally still brings some measure of national pride.

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In 1943 the psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced his concept of man’s hierarchy of needs in the shape of a pyramid. As long as physiological and safety needs were met, love and belonging were his priority even before esteem and self-actualization.

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Genealogy is one of the most popular topics on the Internet. Like many others we might have searched our past ancestry for a trace of fame or royalty, only to discover that our family tree does not distinguish us from the ordinary. Nonetheless our lineage is about a family story which is absolutely unique.

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The murex, a little mollusk found in the Mediterranean Sea, was used in ancient times to produce a precious purple dye. It was a laborious and costly process as a thousand sea snails yielded only one ounce of the rare pigment. But it generated such a thriving industry in Canaan that the Greeks called the Canaanites of Tyre and Sidon “Phoenecians” or “traders in purple”.

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From the Ancient Greek philosophers to today’s evolutionist scientists, the dilemma of ‘the chicken or the egg’ has baffled everyone. But debating the paradox of what comes first has not yet yielded any satisfactory answer. And it won’t any time soon, because no logic or chronology can explain the miracle of creation.

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Wherever they are in the world, and regardless of their circumstances, the Jews seem to flourish and get to the top of their game. Even Richard Dawkins, the guru of Atheism, is intrigued by the disproportionally high amount of Nobel prizes won by Jews. In politics, law, science, finance, arts, you name it, they are proportionally more successful than anyone else.

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The subjects of Israel and the Jews generate strong reactions, much inconsistency and many aberrations both in the world and in the Church. Some Christians, often victims of anti Israel propaganda, say that they love the Jews but hate Israel. Others say that they love Israel because Jesus walked there, but in practice they hate the Jews or have no interest in them. And others who seem to have a passionate love for Israel and for the Jews are actually serving a sentimental agenda or their own need to "feel chosen"...Israel and the Jews have become their religion.

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If we're looking to reach our potential countless self-help books are out there to help us self-actualize. More often than not they're likely to take us on an ego trip. Yet, even if it's buried deep, the desire to succeed and the will to win are in each one of us. It's actually inherent to our make up. It just needs to be tapped and harnessed into actions. God cheers us from heaven when we honor him with the excellence that he has put in us. He has created us to fulfill our unique destiny with the tools He has already embedded in his Word.

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Have you ever thought about all the many different ways that you could swim? You can swim on the surface of the water or under the water. You can swim indoors or outdoors. You can swim to relax or to exercise. You can swim to win a medal or to rescue someone. You can swim in fresh water or seawater. The list is endless.

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