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by Dan Dowd

What motivates us? Is it money? Is it a career? Is it a goal such as having a certain type of house or being able to marry a certain person? Is it a particular lifestyle? Is your goal to go to a certain college, or to move out on your own or to purchase that special new car? Perhaps your motivation is more short-term—getting through the work week or planning a special outing.

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Posted August 26, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Victor Kubik

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching" (2 Timothy:4:2). These are strong words.

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Posted August 22, 2014 -
by Sherrie G

It is a difficult time for those living in and around the St. Louis Metro area. The shooting death of Mike Brown, at the hands of a police officer, has left the streets of Ferguson, MO in a state of turmoil. By day, protestors march along the streets carrying signs displaying the words, "No Justice, No Peace." When the sun goes down and night falls the protests often become riots, which result in the burning of businesses, looting, brawls, and shootings. This in turn is met by the police with smoke bombs, tear gas, and arrests.

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Posted August 22, 2014 -
by Randy Stiver

Have humans evolved far enough to no longer need face-to-face meetings to conduct business, negotiate peace treaties or spiritually fellowship?

Answer: Humans have not evolved, we were created! And research shows that we were created to communicate with each other at reasonably close quarters.

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Posted August 22, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Kevin Greer

Driving is something almost everyone does, and is something everyone can relate to. From our youth we’re fixated with Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, and then we strive to finally get our driver’s license when we come of age. We spend so much time in our cars that they become part of our identity and an integral piece of our lives. If our car breaks down, we hurry to fix it and secure alternate transportation. Since automobiles are so vital to our lives, what principles should a Christian keep in mind when on the road?

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Posted August 18, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Victor Kubik

As a long-time pastor and administrator, I'm regularly asked to give a few words of advice to young people. Based on my experience over the years, parents often ask me to write success pointers to a graduating son or daughter.

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Posted August 14, 2014 -
by Darris McNeely

The death of Robin Williams is a shock to anyone who loves to laugh. That he died by apparent suicide is a shock to all who love life. That both laughter and life were thought to be loved by one whom we loved is the true tragedy of this incident. Apparently Williams suffered from depression and most of us wouldn’t have known it. We were too busy enjoying his immense talent.

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Posted August 14, 2014 -
by Randy Stiver

Actor and comedian Robin Williams died this week of apparent suicide. He battled drug addiction most of his life, but for 20 years of his professional life he stayed clean. Not surprisingly, his Academy awards nominations came from his work during those two decades.

He was a funny man—although, like most modern comedians, sometimes he mocked things that ought not be ridiculed, like marriage, family, honor and God. Yet when his humor was clean, he was a master of comic timing and exaggeration, producing stress-reducing laughter for many people in many nations.

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Posted August 14, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by David Dance

And this is the confidence that we have before him: that whenever we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.1 John:5:14

Does God hear me when I pray? That is a question that many others and I constantly have asked as we walk through our spiritual quest with God. Sometimes it seems very easy to pray to God and incredible blessings follow. Yet other times praying can be difficult and it almost seems like we are just searching for things to say.

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Posted August 13, 2014 -
by Owen Spring

From July 23 to August 3 the best athletes from across the Commonwealth of Nations (an interconnected body of nations, most of whom were formerly members of the British Empire) gathered in Glasgow, Scotland for the Commonwealth Games (a level of competition on par with the Olympic Games). There are two vital ingredients one must have in order to reach the skill levels required to compete in such a prestigious event. The first is natural ability or talent.

1 comments
Posted August 12, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Janet Treadway

As an American, when I watch the news, I can’t help but be filled with gratitude that I’m not going through what others are going through. But at the same time, my heart is melting for all the suffering going on out there.

I am reminded of a song years ago sung by Diana Ross (among many others), “What The World Needs Now.”
 The lyrics:

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Posted August 10, 2014 -
by Carolyn Prater

A few days ago, I watched one of the videos showing members of a terrorist group in Iraq killing truckloads of people. Most of the victims were young men. Bullets were put into heads by cold, cruel hands. It was a blood bath. It is the face of pure evil.

4 comments
Posted August 9, 2014 -
by Jacob Mammen

2 Thessalonians:2:16 - May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

2 Thessalonians:3:16 - Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

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Posted August 8, 2014 -
by Frank Dunkle

This summer I’ve watched several episodes of a new cable TV series called “The Last Ship”. The premise of the show is that a deadly virus has spread around the world, decimating the population, and a doctor on board an uninfected U.S. naval vessel is the only hope of developing a vaccine to save the world.

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Posted August 7, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by David Dance

"So submit to God. But resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you." -James:4:7-8 (NET)

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Posted August 7, 2014 -
by Randy Stiver

Because you’re reading this you know about the end time prophecies to be fulfilled in the years ahead of us. You know what’s coming—the truly bad news that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…” (Romans:1:18). You know that society as we know it will self-destruct in a world war described as the Great Tribulation. Bad news aplenty!

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Posted August 6, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Carolyn Prater

In Matthew:22:36-40, Jesus teaches that we are to love God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind. And next, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. He said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

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Posted August 6, 2014 -
by Janet Treadway

We all want peace; no war, peace without sickness, and just peace of mind. If you want to be filled with fear, just turn on the negative-filled news. It is easy for fear to set in with all the negativity around us; fear of war, fear of the economy, fear of sickness, fear of loss of job, fear of crime, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown. All of these can rob us of peace of mind.

If people and circumstances do not rob you of peace, then Satan is quite busy hoping to steal what is left of your inner joy.

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Posted August 4, 2014 -
by Randy Stiver

The title of a Country song from the 1970’s comes to mind, “Makin’ the Best of a Bad Situation.”

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Posted August 1, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Jacob Mammen

Psalm:69:9: “Because zeal (passion) for Your house has eaten me up.

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Posted August 1, 2014 -
by Janet Treadway

Do you remember the song Grandpa, sung by the famous country music artists, The Judd’s? 

Some of the words go like this:

Tell me 'bout the good ole days/ Sometimes it feels like/ This world's gone crazy./ Grandpa, take me back to yesterday/ Where the line between right and wrong/ Didn't seem so hazy.

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Posted July 31, 2014 -
by Debbie Werner

According to their website, Facebook’s mission is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” There was an impressive average of 802 million active users per day in March.

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Posted July 28, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Jacob Mammen

“And he (Jahaziel) said, 'Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the  Lord  to you: " Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle   is   not yours, but God’s”'" ( 2 Chronicles:20:15).

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Posted July 26, 2014 -
by Amanda Stiver

We started out on our trip, a long cross-continental journey to see family in the Pacific Northwest and western South Dakota, with no GPS unit. Technically we had one, but it stopped tracking at the border of Illinois, dropping us into a void of non-digital migration. What could we do? Luckily, being fans of maps we were well supplied and it forced us to renew a skill we had neglected, map reading.

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Posted July 25, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Rachel Henderson

Have you ever seen a child after being told to clean his room, drag his feet, fold his arms, and lug himself ever so slowly towards that dreaded room? You know he is walking in the right direction, but it will take him three hours to get there, and once he gets there he sits down to read a book or play instead of getting down to business. In a stirring sermon I listened to recently, the speaker asked if that just might be a description of us as Christians. I am a child of God—that’s what I became when I was submerged under that water and had hands laid on me.

1 comments
Posted July 25, 2014 -
by Rachel Henderson

Just what does the Bible have to say about money? Are we as Christians held to some higher standard when it comes to money? Are there practical tips in Scripture we can use today with regard to our own budgets? I believe the answer to those questions is a resounding yes! Rather than go through the specifics of how to create a budget, plan, save, and so forth, I want to examine the fundamentals of monetary stewardship and how it begins in the heart (There are other excellent resources for those other things, such as UCG’s booklet Managing Your Finances).

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Posted July 23, 2014 -
by Owen Spring

A friend of mine recently moved away to attend college. As the move date approached, she started questioning her decision and asking herself if she was doing the right thing. This questioning is normal and it took me back to that time in my life. 

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Posted July 21, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Jacob Mammen

“So he (Saul), trembling and astonished, said, 'Lord, what do You want me to do?'”  (Acts:9:6)

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Posted July 18, 2014 -
by Michael Snyder

They used to call my city "Naptown." No more. Today para-military SWAT teams patrol the night streets of Indianapolis, trying to cool a savage murder streak that threatens to set a bloody new record of life-ending assaults. Recently a resident fatally cut down an Indianapolis police officer with an AK-47, spawning fresh outrage. Opportunistic politicians pointed fingers and called for law and order.

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Posted July 18, 2014 -
by Dan Dowd

History rarely turns on the impact of one lone event. It is more common that a major historical shift is built on the smaller events that precede it. The current anti-religious environment in the United States did not arrive without prior notice. Those seeds were planted a long time ago. However, a major public relations blow was dealt against having God at the center of society and education back in late July, 1925. It was known as the Scopes Monkey Trial.

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Posted July 17, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Aaron Booth

Are there items that you always carry with you everywhere you go? Things like small items that are always stuffed into your pockets, bag or purse that are used for common daily tasks or used in emergency situations? You never leave the house without them and if you forget them, you feel like you’re not fully prepared for the day.

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Posted July 16, 2014 -
by Victor Kubik

Katherine Rowland talks about the Ambassador Bible Center (ABC) library at the United Church of God's home office. The library has gone through significant reorganization and improvements in the past year. She talks about how the library uniquely serves the Church's ministry and the local congregations.

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Posted July 16, 2014 -
by Sherrie G

We are often told that to love others is to also accept their lifestyles, regardless of what the Bible may say about it. Society expects us to love and accept others as they are, and forbids us to judge in any way.

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Posted July 15, 2014 -
by Victor Kubik

I had a great story that I was just about tell you that someone else told me. But I won't. Why not? The story sounded good. I was moved by it. It had a great point. But after trying to verify the facts of a public event, I found that the real story was a lot different than what others said about the same event. It didn't check out. The person may have been just passing on a narrative that someone else told him. However, I'm not going to repeat something that I'm not sure is accurate.

1 comments
Posted July 10, 2014 -
by Victor Kubik

One question consistently shows up as one of the most-asked of all time. Most certainly you've asked yourself this question at one time or another. Some say it is "unanswerable." Simply put, the question reads like this:  "Why was I born?"   At some point in our lives, we ask: "Is there any reason for my existence?"

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Posted July 3, 2014 -
by Darris McNeely

As America celebrates it’s “glorious fourth”–the 4th of July–this week I have three events that remind me of the basic human liberty this nation holds dear, and rightly so, even nearly sacred.

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Posted July 3, 2014 -
by Darris McNeely

Tomorrow, June 28, marks the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on the streets of Sarajevo. One lone gunman, a Serbian anarchist named Gavrilo Princip fired two shots killing both and setting the fuse that led to the beginning of World I a few weeks later on August 4.

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Posted June 27, 2014 -
by Victor Kubik

When I was a teenager I once asked my minister: "Why is it so easy to think and do wrong, and why is it so hard to think good thoughts and do good deeds?"

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Posted June 26, 2014 -
by Dan Dowd

One of the many things I appreciate about the calling God has given to us, is that He doesn’t sugar-coat things.

3 comments
Posted June 20, 2014 - Vertical Thought Blog
by Darris McNeely

When I heard the news of a tragic car accident involving four friends I immediately thought of the words spoken by David, "...there is but a step between me and death".

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Posted June 16, 2014 -

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Latest Comments

linda effenberger said...

There is alot of aggression on the road. We, as Christians, do not need to add to it, but be an example behind the wheel. Still, there are times when I am driving the speed limit and the person behind my car does not like this. When I see a person in a hurry behind me, I slow up so that he can safely pass me.

dust_i_am said...

So is depression a choice? Like President Lincoln's quote: "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be"?

Or is it genetic and predisposed, as some claim homosexuality is?

Rosiek said...

I wonder sometimes you know when you do something and it just strikes you as funny and makes you laugh? I wonder if God thinks it is too and he may give a chuckle lol

Owen Spring said...

You're right about modern comedians sticking to the same script. A traveling comedy festival came through a few years back so I went along. There was one act that was funny and clever, the rest either mocked God, or were based around how cool it apparently is to be gay. That's not clever or witty at all. The comedy that...

linda effenberger said...

I am so sorry about Robin Williams. He was such a talented man and brought so much joy and laughter to people. Depression took hold of him and did not let him go. Depression makes one feel hopeless, as if there is no way out of the gloom.

I have battled with depression more than I would like to admit, but it was...

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