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Walking To School The First Day Back
by Misty Bus

The Day The Car Pool Forgot Me
by I. Rhoda Bike

Can't See The Chalkboard
by Sidney Backrow

Practical Jokes I Played On The First Day Of School
by Major Crackupp

What I Dislike About Returning To School
by Mona Lott

Making It Through The First Week Of School
by Gladys Saturday

Is Life Over When Summer Ends?
by Midas Welbee

What I Love About Returning To School
by I.M. Kidding

Will Jimmy Finally Graduate?
by I. Betty Wont

What Happens When You Get Caught Skipping School
by U. Will Gettitt

When a book titled Life Together landed on my desk years ago, I was
skeptical. The subtitle promised "a discussion of Christian fellowship."

Wary of Christian culture and often preferring to remain on the fringes
of group life, I saw fellowship as a means of shutting oneself off in
stagnant, self-affirming circles. I was weary of feel-good religion;
I was also bothered by the charade of unity carried on in pluralistic
crowds. But the book was given to me, and the giver was insistent
that its author, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was a man I had to meet.

Life Together was written in the thick of a mounting Nazi regime, during
Bonhoeffer's unique experience with 25 vicars in an underground seminary.

It took me only a few pages to realize that he was speaking with weighted
words on a topic I had unfairly deemed "fluffy" and suspicious. Almost
immediately I was convicted of the skepticism that kept me on the
outskirts of Christian community, clutching an impaired image of the
Christianity I professed. "Christianity," Bonhoeffer announced in the
first few pages, "means community through Jesus Christ, and in Jesus

In the community of believers we are encouraged and admonished, uplifted
and stretched (some of the reasons I suspect many of us try to avoid it).

As the priests called out to the crowds in the book of Nehemiah, we are
called to attention, called to remember together the one who unites us:
"Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to
everlasting" (9:5). In community we are repeatedly shown that Christ
has called us to die to ourselves and live in him.

Bonhoeffer reminds the cynical not to overlook the opportunity of
Christian fellowship. "It is not simply to be taken for granted that the
Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus
Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples
deserted him. On the cross he was utterly alone." Being in the
presence of other believers is indeed a hopeful gift. In the Garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus repeatedly cried out to his disciples that they stay
awake and keep watch with him. While in prison, the apostle Paul called
for Timothy, his "true child in the faith", to come visit.

Our fellowship is important not in and of itself, but in and of the God
profess. We don't want to avoid being a part of a believing community,
neither do we want to make it an end instead of a means. Christ's call
the disciples was a call to community even as it was a call to a common
vision to reach the world with the reality of God's love. Before going
the Cross, he asked the Father, "that they may be one even as we are one…
so that the world may know that you sent me." Surrounded by an
unbelieving world, our collective praise is a compelling testimony of his
presence to a world He longs to reach.

Notably, even as Bonhoeffer recognized the privilege of living with
Christians, he chose to live in the midst of enemies also. Given the
opportunity to move outside of Nazi Germany, he declined.

As God's people we remain scattered throughout the nations, but held
together in Jesus Christ. Even as God places people around us that we
learn from and grow with, the reach of a believing community goes beyond
physical presence. Hearing a song written by Fernando Ortega recently,
"Take heart, my friend, the Lord is able," I was stirred by the words God
knew I needed to hear, and moved to praise Him. We are united in Christ,
members of a community beyond our imagination because of the one to whom
we collectively bow. We can be encouraged by the believer beside us or
the person we don't know, and heartened at the thought of the one who
knows us both. A thousand voices tuned to the same instrument are
automatically in tune with each other. Take heart, He is among us as we

"For where two or three are gathered in my name," said Christ, "there am
among them" (Matthew 18:20). Jill Carattini

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He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His
good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into
effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to
bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one
head, even Christ. --Ephesians 1:9-10


Where is the peace and joy, where is the demolition of my wrong desires,
where is the increase of wealth and security, where is the fulfilled
promises of Christianity?"

I must admit that this has been a too often heard question not easily
answered. Talking with my colleague, Stuart McAllister, he told me this
is probably the most common question he hears today across Europe.
Disillusionment is a growing theme in our churches. In fact,
disillusionment has led many to leave the church. It was G.K. Chesterton
who said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It
has been found difficult; and left untried." (1) However, many come to
Christianity, thinking they have found the ideal treasures that it
and have walked away.

May I suggest that the question is improperly phrased. This isn't so
a problem with Christianity, but often a problem of a misconception of
Christ promises. This often comes at the fault of the listener. But
often, too, the messenger is not guiltless.

Michael Shermer is an example of one who has tasted and walked away. He
is publisher of Skeptic Magazine and was recently seen on the PBS special
"The Question of God." The day after the broadcast, he participated in
online discussion where he was asked of his "faith background." He
answered, "I became an evangelical born-again Christian in 1971 and
an agnostic in 1977. I attended Pepperdine University to major in
but switched to psychology and there discovered science. By the time I
graduated from a graduate program in experimental psychology I had
abandoned religion." (2)

Personally, I believe Dr. Shermer has a misunderstanding of the
of science which skews his view. But regardless of his view, Dr. Shermer
still came to Christianity and found it undesirable after a short six

Why is this the case? I do not know Dr. Shermer's personal life, but I
have heard testimonies of many who have taken a similar pathway. It is
usually marked with pain that may wear many faces: pain suffered by
personal tragedy, felt through the death of a loved one, experienced
through the abuses of others, or held in the angst of unanswered
intellectual questions. Whatever faces pain may wear, the justification
for leaving Christ's pathway is taken.

As believers, we want to be sure that we have the message of Christ
clearly understood. He was no alien to pain, nor did he promise that his
followers would be free from it. He knew that freedom was found in
him—and him alone—but only after one follows him shouldering a cross. He
knew that moral character was available to all, but only applied to those
who allow the heart to be probed by the Holy Spirit. He knew that
suffering was inevitable, but that those who possess his life will live
beyond the grave—and will be given strength and grace in this life to

I can imagine Paul having a conversation with a skeptic who had left the

Paul: Why are you leaving?

Skeptic: Because the promises I heard were not delivered to me.

Paul: What promises are those?

Skeptic: That I would have peace and comfort. But I don't. I lost my
father, I'm sorting through financial ruin, and I'm struggling with the
same sin I had before I came to Christ.

Paul: It sounds like you are in the right place to grow.

Skeptic: What do you mean?

Paul: Losing a father is never easy. Nor is losing a whole family,
is what I faced in following Christ. Christ never said it would be easy,
but he did say he would be with us all the way. As to your financial
ruin, I can relate. I traveled many places, practically penniless, and
had to learn the hard lesson of contentment. Believe me, I know it's a
hard lesson. It isn't learned overnight, but Christ promises to provide
our essentials until our earthly timetable is up. Stick to your
and walk in wisdom. But the sin issue takes even harder work. Your will
and mine need constant upkeep and discipline. The Holy Spirit will help
us, but we must cooperate. Take the sins in your life, one at a time,
figure out a strategy to begin changing your beliefs and shaping your
desires in those areas. It works in time, but we mustn't make excuses.

Skeptic: And what if it doesn't work?

Paul: I've seen it work. And, besides, what do you have to lose? Your
father cannot return, your financial troubles will still with you, and in
your character struggles, you will be powerless without Christ. It
better to me to suffer with one who has suffered for us, than to suffer
alone. Besides, he does much more than merely meet us in suffering. But
you must journey a little longer to walk into those answers.

You see, the problem with Christianity is not a problem at all. We, as
messengers, must be responsible not to project upon Christ a mindless
faith filled with promises of certain success, physical well-being, or
perpetual happy feelings that he never intended. That kind of message
often makes immediate converts, but it also makes inevitable casualties.
Christianity isn't a club to join, but a life to walk in. Real life.
life. And as we are promised through the apostle Paul, "Christ Jesus,
died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God
and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of
Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness
or danger or sword? […] No, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him who loved us" (Romans 8:34b-35, 37).
Dale Fincher

(1) G.K. Chesterton, "What's Wrong with the World?", (Dodd, Mead and
Company, 1910. Reprinted, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994), 37.

(2) "PBS: The Question of God" discussion transcript, September 16, 2004.
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The Apologetic of Signifcance
Jill Caratinni

English author Samuel Johnson once wrote, "There lurks, perhaps, in every
human heart, a desire of distinction, which inclines every man to hope,
and then to believe, that nature has given himself something peculiar to

I was startled by the clairvoyance of the editorialist who connected these
sentiments with America's escalating fascination with book writing. His
comments put flesh on the motive often hidden behind the guise of
individuality. "The search for personal significance," he writes, "was
once nicely taken care of by the drama that religion supplied. This
drama, which lived in every human breast, no matter what one's social
class, was that of salvation: would one achieve heaven or not? Now that
it is gone from so many lives, in place of salvation we have the search
for significance, a much trickier business."(1)

Though he does not necessarily articulate a sense of loss in regards to
the replacement of one pursuit for the other, his thought process is
helpful. As Christianity has been eclipsed in the West as a provider of
significance, humankind is left searching for other sources. From the
increased interest in book writing, to spirituality, to extreme sports, it
is a quest clearly observed. Nonetheless, the quest to find significance
apart from God is hardly a modern phenomenon. The desire to make a name
for oneself is as old as the hills upon which we have built our grand
towers and conquered great cities. The drive to define significance on
our own is as ancient as the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel. The
aspiration is nothing new; book writing is just one more outlet.

But what is interesting, in terms of understanding human history and
behavior, is that we should have this longing for significance in the
first place. If we are merely products of an indifferent materialist
universe, why are we not at home with our own insignificance? Why should
we seek transcendent meaning at all? Unless, indeed, there is something
about us that is not temporal, nor insignificant.

As Christians looking for windows of opportunity to offer an answer for
the hope that is within us, we do well to remember that the cry of the
heart for personal significance is a cry we have owned and responded to
ourselves. When we answered the call of the Lord to "come and follow," we
found in the person of Christ an answer to the cry we were incapable of
answering personally. Recognizing this cry as inherent in the neighbor
next door and the atheist in the next office is imperative in
understanding the need for a clear and coherent apologetic. Hearts are
crying out for the very message we long to offer.

The desire for significance is expressed in many ways. But such
expressions provide an opportunity to listen to the true searching behind
the searcher and in so doing attempt to remove the obstacles that block
him or her from seeing the Cross of Christ. The cry of significance also
provides a window by which the truth claims of Christianity can be

When Jesus proclaimed, "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it"
he was stating something essential for the one searching for significance.
Knowing who we are and what we need is the starting point of what we will
become. The quest for personal significance commonly among us today
reverses this, telling us that we must first become something in order to
meet our own needs and make a name for ourselves.

The song of the Christian apologist, 1 Peter 3:15-16, instructs us to
always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the
reason for the hope that you have. Peter adds to this command, "But do
this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that
those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be
ashamed of their slander." When we meet the heart of our neighbors and
the human desire for significance with gentleness and respect, many will
admit their vulnerability. Is my search for significance really panning
out? Will writing a book or climbing the corporate ladder really hush the
cry within me? Our task as heralds of the hope of Christ is to gently
proclaim the radical message of laying down our life in order to find it.

Christ is the one in whom our lives find their greatest significance
because he is the only one who accepts who we are and offers us what we
need. Attempts to define life's meaning apart from God will always be
empty, for significance, like life, is not manmade.


Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM)
"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
would enjoy receiving "A Slice of Infinity" in their email box each day,
tell them they can sign up on our website at If they do not have access to
the World Wide Web, please call 1-877-88SLICE (1-877-887-5423).
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* * * Four Important Things To KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

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But these are written so that you may
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the
Son of God, and that by believing in
Him you will have life. Jn 20:31

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call on Him while He is near. Let the
wicked forsake his way and the evil
man his thoughts. Let him turn to the
Lord, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for He will freely
pardon. "For My thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways," declares the Lord. "As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so
are My ways higher than your ways
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down
from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making
it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed
for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My word that goes out from My
mouth: It will not return to Me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and
achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth
in peace; the mountains and hills will
burst into song before you, and all the
trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the
pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle
will grow. This will be for the Lord's
renown, for an everlasting sign, which
will not be destroyed." Is 55

O Lord, you have searched me and you
know me. You know when I sit and when
I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying
down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know
it completely, O Lord. You hem me in -
behind and before; you have laid your
hand upon me. Such knowledge is too
wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where
can I flee from your presence? If I go up
to the heavens, you are there; if I make
my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide
me and the light become night around
me," even the darkness will not be dark
to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. For you
created my inmost 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 the days ordained
for me were written in your book before
one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts,
O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would
outnumber the grains of sand. When
I awake, I am still with you. Search me,
O God, and know my heart; test me
and know my anxious thoughts. See
if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Ps 139

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up,
that I may show My power in you, and that My
Name may be declared in all the earth. Ex 9:16

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
- - Isaac Watts

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