"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Faith-Based Character Traits
(Page Five)

Page One

Acceptance
Accountability
Authority
Cheerfulness
Cooperation
Courage

Page Two

Creativity
Democracy
Dependability
Empathy
Forgiveness
Generosity

Page Three

Gratitude
Honesty
Honor
Humility
Initiative
Kindness

Page Four

Learning
Motivation
Peacemaker
Perseverance
Resilience

Page Five

Respect for Others
Self-Confidence
Self-Respect
Sportsmanship
Virtue

color="#0000FF" >Respect

Anyone can count the number of seeds in an apple;
But only God can count the number of apples in a seed.

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A youth minister wanted to use currently popular styles of Christian music with his students, some of the church leadership objected. Rather than rebelling against their authority or putting them down, he offered a creative alternative patterned after Daniel in the Bible. He suggested, "Let the youth listen to this music for a period of time. If they are worse for it, we'll stop promoting it. If they are better, we'll continue promoting it." When the leadership saw the positive difference it made, they backed off. (� Copyright 2002 Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved)

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"Significantly, we have discovered that the closer people feel to God, the better they feel about themselves. They are also satisfied with their lives more than are others; they are more altruistic; they enjoy better health and have a happier outlook. We also discover that experiencing the closeness of God is a key factor in the ability of people to forgive themselves and others." (George Gallop, The Religious Life of Young Americans)

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We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. (Harry S. Truman, American President)

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Two high school students had so much going for them. They came from upper-middle class families. No struggle with poverty. They seemed to have stable homes. Their parents weren't divorced. They had activities like bowling and boy scouts. They were intelligent.

So what caused them to walk into Columbine High School and unleash an arsenal of weapons, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding many for life? Sure, they were fed up with the bullying, taunting and teasing. But lots of students take abuse from other students without plotting a sinister revenge.

I think a root of their problem goes back to their belief system. If they believed in God at all, they despised Him. So to them, people had no great worth in themselves. To them, people were just another species of animal. So what's wrong with taking a few of them out? How we view ourselves and other people makes a tremendous difference in how we treat ourselves and others. (Written by Steve Miller, Facts from Angie Cannon; Betsy Streisand; Dan McGraw; David Whitman; Douglas Pasternak; Chitra Ragavan; James Morrow; Franklin Foer, Why?. Vol. 126, U.S. News & World Report, 05-03-1999, pp 16.)

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"I learned more Christianity from my mother, than from all of the theologians in England." (John Wesley, powerful influence in a Great Awakening, founder of Methodism)

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"I am first and foremost a minister. I love the church, and I feel that civil rights is a part of it. For me, at least, the basis of my struggle for integration - and I mean the full integration of Negroes into every phase of American life - is something that began with a religious motivation....And I know that my religion has come to mean more to me that ever before. I have come to believe more and more in a personal God - not a process, but a person, a creative power with infinite love who answers prayers." (Martin Luther King, Jr., Redbook, September 1961)

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"The kingdom leader doesn't use people to get work done, he uses work to get people done." (David Schroeder, president of Nyack College)

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We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. (Harry S. Truman, American President)

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To paraphrase Christian author C.S. Lewis in his book, "The Weight of Glory," none of us have ever met a mere mortal. The most boring, plain, geeky person you've ever met may one day go to heaven and become a creature so gloriously awesome that, if you were to see him today, you'd be tempted to worship him. Or, he may become so corrupt and disfigured in hell that you'd look at him and shrink back in horror. All the people we rub shoulders with each day � our little brothers and sisters, our parents, that punk down the street and the nerdy Freshman who embarrasses us � we're nudging them toward one of those two destinies by the way we treat them. Those are immortals that we sit with in class, watch TV with at home, laugh with, laugh at, accept or snub. "There are no ordinary people."

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To love a person means to see him as God intended him to be. (Dostoevsky)

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Next to the Blessed Sacrament, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. (C.S. Lewis)

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Bill was an unusual college student in Portland, Oregon. Although he was brilliant intellectually, he always had this far-away look in his eyes and seemed to care nothing about his appearance. His hair was always a mess and he never wore shoes, all year round. This was probably during the 60's, during the hippie movement when there was a vast generation gap between the older, conservative folks and the young radicals. It was like the older and the younger lived in different worlds. So Bill became a Christian and decided to go visit the church across the street from his campus. Problem was, this was a middle-class church full of well-dressed folks. So picture the scene in your mind as Bill strolls into the church, hair going everywhere, wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt, and of course, bare footed. He makes his way up the aisle but so many people are there that he can't find a seat. No problem for Bill. When he gets to the front, he just squats down on the carpet. Now that would be fine a laid back student ministry. But at a formal church?

As you can imagine, the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Some of the people must have been thinking, "What does this kid mean coming in here dressed like that and sitting on the floor." So it was no shock to them when an elderly gentleman began making his way down the aisle toward Bill. Some of the people who were there thought, "You can't blame him. He'd never guess Bill is a Christian. And his world is too distant from Bill's to understand. You can't blame him for what he's going to do."

So the church fell silent as all eyes focused on the old man. But to their amazement, he slowly and with some difficulty seated himself on the floor beside Bill. There on the carpet, Bill and the old man worshipped God together that Sunday. And members of the congregation wept. I doubt anyone remembers the sermon that was preached that Sunday. But nobody will forget that act of love. (Reworded by Steve Miller from Out of the Salt-Shaker and Into The World, by Rebecca Manley Pippert, 1979, Inter-Varsity Press, pp. 177,178)

Self-Confidence

Anthony Clark - the World's Strongest Man
A Story of God's Father Love

Not everyone grows up in a loving home. Anthony Clark grew up just trying to survive his father's abuse. As a teenager he said, "I just wanted to get away. I didn't want to live anymore, because it wasn't worth it, it wasn't worth getting rejected and getting beaten all the time."

All Anthony wanted during his childhood was love from his father. His mother was a Filipino and his father was a Black American. The abuse started once the family moved from the Philippines to the United States. School was another arena of difficulty for Anthony. "I didn't understand that either, because to me I didn't see any colors, but maybe it was a color thing."

In high school he began to lift weights and play football, which gave him some of the acceptance he was looking for. But he only wanted to impress one person - his father. In one memorable game where Anthony completed four touchdowns, he looked for his dad.

"I looked up in the stands," said Anthony, "I didn't see my mom or dad there. I watched everybody else getting hugged by their moms and dads." Anthony went home happy from the game and his dad met him at the door in a rage. That was the start of one of the worst beatings Anthony ever experienced.

The next morning Anthony woke up and heard his mom crying over him. "Mom why does my father have to do that to me? What did I do wrong? What's wrong with me?" She said, "Son, I don't know."

By the age of 14, Anthony had tried to take his own life three times. Hope finally shined into Anthony's life when a speaker at a school assembly spoke on making the right choices in high school. The speaker invited anyone who wanted to hear more to attend a pizza party after school. That's the first time Anthony heard of God's unconditional love for him. "I didn't know what he was talking about, a father who can love unconditionally." Anthony heard the truth of John 3:16 for the first time "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." I thought how can a father do that? That night Anthony ran home into the arms of a Heavenly Father who loved him unconditionally. And his life was changed.

Today Anthony is 30 and holds world records for weight lifting. He's known as the world's strongest man. More importantly, he's known as a man who tells young people about the unconditional love of his Heavenly Father. "There's not a time that I've needed Him that He hasn't been there for me," said Anthony. (Adapted by C.K. Miller from an interview by David Kithcart, on the Christian Broadcasting Network website at www.cbn.org )

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I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own powers. But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them, but through them. And they see something divine in every other man. (John Ruskin)

color="#0000FF" >Self-Respect

"Significantly, we have discovered that the closer people feel to God, the better they feel about themselves. They are also satisfied with their lives more than are others; they are more altruistic; they enjoy better health and have a happier outlook. We also discover that experiencing the closeness of God is a key factor in the ability of people to forgive themselves and others." (George Gallop, The Religious Life of Young Americans)

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We believe that all men are created equal because they are created in the image of God. (Harry S. Truman, Former American President)

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In Mark Twain's delightful book, The Prince and the Pauper, the king's son became weary with his highly structured life. So, he switched clothes with a look-a-like pauper and scurried off to enjoy real life with the peasantry. Of course, life wasn't quite as he had expected, but he did give us a great illustration of our inherent worth as children of God.

Was the prince any less a prince when he dressed up as a pauper? Of course not! His position as son of the king was sealed at his birth. His condition in life didn't change his position in life. Yet, his descent into the peasantry did change the way he experienced his sonship. He could no longer enjoy many of the benefits of being the king's son.

Just as the prince had certain irrevocable privileges due to his physical birth, so God's children have certain irrevocable privileges due to their spiritual birth. Just because you may often feel and look like a pauper, always remember that you're actually a prince in disguise! (Written by Steve Miller, Copyright January, 2003, all rights reserved.)

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A fellow named Walt volunteered to teach a Sunday School class, but the church offered him none. Now Walt had never made it past the 6th grade, and they were probably apprehensive at trusting him with a class. But they told him that if he could recruit a class, he could teach it. So Walt took on the challenge and went down the road inviting kids to Sunday School. Along the way, he found a nine-year-old from a broken home named Howie. When invited to Sunday School, Howie reasoned that anything to do with school, he didn't want. So Walt took another tactic. "Let's play marbles," he suggested. Walt played marbles, and Howie came to his class.

Now this man with the 6th grade education was more than a teacher. He was an equipper. Eleven of the 14 kids in his class went into vocational Christian work. Nine were from broken homes. Howie became one of the foremost Christian educators of our generation, Howard Hendricks. (� Copyright 2002 by Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved)

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"In the 3rd century debate on Christians, Celsus said to Origin "When most teachers go forth to teach they cry, 'Come to me, you who are clean and worthy' and they are followed by the highest caliber of people available. But your silly master cries "Come to me, you who are down and beaten by life and so he accumulates around him the rag, tag, and bobtail of humanity."

And Origin replied, "Yes, they are the rag, tag, bobtail of humanity. But Jesus does not leave them that way. Out of material you would have been thrown away as useless, he fashions men, giving them back their self-respect, enabling them to stand on their own feet and look God in the eyes. They were broken things. But the Son has set them free."

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"Students have always played a significant role in spiritual awakenings in this nation and around the world. History bears this out. Such was the case in 1806 when 5 college students in Massachusetts were caught in a thunderstorm and took refuge under a haystack. There they prayed for awakening of student interest in foreign missions. Although none of them knew, it this was the launching of the modern missionary movement. God used those students to launch the missions effort we see today.

In the late 1800's Evan Roberts was just a teenager when he began to pray for his nation of Wales. Within a few years God used him as a "fireseed" to ignite a spiritual movement in Wales that resulted in 100,000 people making decisions for Christ. That spiritual movement spread into the United States in the early 1900's." (Article from Student Venture News, quoting Chuck Klein)

"God is more interested in your M.Q. (motivation quotient) than your I.Q." (Heard from Dan Dehaan)

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"Don't worry about who you are, but whose you are." (Elisabeth Elliot)

Perhaps the best picture of how this can help personal esteem would be the movie "Toy Story," where "Buzz Lightyear" goes into depression when he realizes he's not the great galactic warrior who protects the galaxy. He's only a toy. But what brings him around is when Woody (the cowboy) shows him the thrill of belonging to Andy and giving pleasure to Andy. (You could use the clip of the part where Woody convinces Buzz of this fact.) What brought Buzz around was not realizing who he was, but whose he was. (� Copyright 2002 by Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved)

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I've heard of a man in the middle ages who was watching as a construction crew worked on a great cathedral. As one worker walked past, he inquired as to what he was doing. "Nothing much, just carrying some stones," he replied. "And what are you doing?" he asked another. "Oh, just carrying this wood," he replied. Then he saw a mason passing and asked what he was doing. "I'm building a cathedral!" he responded with excitement and wonder. So when you help with the work of the church, you're never just keeping rug rats in the preschool area. You're building God's kingdom on earth. When you visit a nursing home or write an encouraging note to someone who's not fitting into the youth group, your reaching the world for God. When you educate kids, you're not just making a living, you're changing the world. Never forget the big picture.

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"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young�." (The apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 4:12)

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In the early 1720s, Nicolas Zinzendorf, age 16, joined with five other teenagers to form a prayer group at a school in Germany. They were called "The Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed." And how appropriate! They were the seedbed of a revival prayer movement that swept all of Europe and beyond!

Or, take the 16 year old girl in Andrew Murray's church in Wellington, South Africa. In 1860 she led a revival prayer movement among her peers that totally threatened this internationally respected pastor. But eventually Murray repented of his opposition and blindness and went on to become one of the foremost writers and teachers on prayer and revival. In fact, he wrote over 120 books, many of which touched on these issues. His final volume, The State of the Church, was released in 1910 as a ringing call to pastors worldwide to unite in prayer for revival as the only hope for their generation. Thus, by leading a prayer movement, one 16 year-old-girl impacted the world. (From Concerts of Prayer newsletter, summer 1996)

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The US Government takes multimillion-dollar planes and puts them in the hands of their 19-year-old military recruits. When those same kids come to church, we won't even let them take up the offering. (From the collection of Barry St. Clair)

Sportsmanship

In last week's (January, 2003) Super Bowl, Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden led his Buccaneers to a masterfully orchestrated win over his former team, the Raiders. Since a year ago he was with the Raiders, having built them into Super Bowl material, some people called this match-up "The Gruden Bowl."

But there's more to life than football, as he was warned by a former mentor. About 13 years ago, Gruden worked as offensive assistant under Bobb McKittrick. Gruden idolized him, emulating his workaholic lifestyle and writing down everything he said. McKittrick was tough, smart and "spent all his waking hours making decent players great." McKittrick's hard work paid off. He coached the 49er's offensive line for over 20 years. Nine of his linemen went to pro bowls. His teams won five Super Bowls.

In 1999, after Gruden's first season coaching the Raiders, he received a sobering phone call. It was McKittrick.

"Jon?" McKittrick said over the phone. "I've got cancer and I'm going to die."

Gruden stammered a few words, but McKittrick wasn't listening.

"I wanted to call and tell you: It's not just about football," McKittrick said. "Go be with your kids and your wife. Football is irrelevant. I don't want you to be like me."

Did Gruden heed his advice? Who knows? But the more important question is, will we heed his advice. We have such a dangerous tendency to obsess on what we're good at, or what we most enjoy, neglecting the other great priorities of life. We can even obsess with good things, like ministry, at the expense of loving our families, visiting grandmom, or meeting personally with God. If you were diagnosed today with terminal cancer, would you be able to look back at your life and say, "I lived for things that really counted?" (Written by Steve Miller, Copyright January 30, 2003. Sources: Coach Chucky The Buccaneers' Jon Gruden has all the qualities of the perfect NFL coach: He's tireless, hypercritical and, occasionally, scary as hell Date: 09-09-2002; Publication: Sports Illustrated; Author: S.L. Price; also, http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0855464.html)

Virtue

'Nothing (and no one) can free the captives of addiction except God -- something even the secular world has begun to recognize. Joseph Califano, who served in President Carter's cabinet, once told me he was stunned to discover that nearly every ex-drug addict he meets cites religion as the key to breaking the addiction to drugs." (Chuck Colson, Breakpoint, April 3, 2000)

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"It's rare to find God mentioned in secular discussions on how to prevent alcohol or other drug problems. That God is left out of prevention material is ironic, because mention of Him saturates the literature on treatment. The first three steps addicted people must take in treatment are to admit they cannot handle the problem alone, acknowledge that God can handle it, and allow God to take control of their lives." (Drug-Proof Your Kids, Steve Arterburn and Jim Burns)

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Every once in a while I meet a youngster who knows I used to be a drug addict, as he is now. He asks what he can do to kick the habit. I tell him what I've learned: "Give God's temple, your body, back to Him. The alternative is death." (Popular Entertainer Johnny Cash)

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French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, after visiting America in 1831, said, "I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests--and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning--and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution--and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!"

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The need for role models

"What is a functional family? I know I'm dysfunctional by a long shot, but what guidelines do we all have to go by? The Waltons? What I'm trying to say is, what is the family that we should all take our inspiration from?" (Ozzy Osbourne, of Black Sabbath fame and now starring in his own family's television show on MTV. Associated Press)

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"Ingrid Bergman was invited by Ed Sullivan to appear on his program around 1958 when she was living with an Italian film producer. She had left her husband and had a child. Before she actually went on the show, there was such a public clamor that he couldn't have her on. Can you imagine? Today every time Elizabeth Taylor gets married, it's seen as sort of a national holiday. The difference in the public reaction toward Ingrid Bergman then and Elizabeth Taylor now is solid sociological data of enormous consequence." (Christianity Today, "Listening to Mr. Right," interview with William Buckley, Jr., by Michael Cromartie, Oct. 2, 1995)

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Two high school students had so much going for them. They came from upper-middle class families. No struggle with poverty. They seemed to have stable homes. Their parents weren't divorced. They had activities like bowling and boy scouts. They were intelligent.

So what caused them to walk into Columbine High School and unleash an arsenal of weapons, killing 12 students and a teacher, and wounding many for life? Sure, they were fed up with the bullying, taunting and teasing. But lots of students take abuse from other students without plotting a sinister revenge.

I think a root of their problem goes back to their belief system. If they believed in God at all, they despised Him. So to them, people had no great worth in themselves. To them, people were just another species of animal. So what's wrong with taking a few of them out? How we view ourselves and other people makes a tremendous difference in how we treat ourselves and others. (Written by Steve Miller, Facts from Angie Cannon; Betsy Streisand; Dan McGraw; David Whitman; Douglas Pasternak; Chitra Ragavan; James Morrow; Franklin Foer, Why?. Vol. 126, U.S. News & World Report, 05-03-1999, pp 16.)

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When brilliant Philosopher Frederick Coppleston debated the popular atheist Bertrand Russell, the latter found difficulty reconciling his philosophy with his personal ethics. As Copleston relates the exchange, Russell said, "I find myself in a dilemma. On the one hand I certainly want to condemn the Nazi's behavior towards the Jews as wrong in itself. On the other hand my ethical theory does not allow me to say this." Russell had the statement taken out before it went on the air, because it obviously made him look poorly. (Written by Steve Miller, copyright May, 2003. Source: Frederick Copleston, Memoirs of a Philosopher, Sheed and Ward, 1993, Kansas City, MO)

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Don't keep rejecting the good and right. Watch over your heart and your choices. They affect the kind of person you become. Shock rocker Marilyn Manson kept rejecting God, even when he knew he should accept Christ, while he was in Christian School. Instead, he kept hardening his heart. The description of the development of hardened hearts in Romans 1:18-20 parallels Manson's life as described in his autobiography. Each time he came to a fork in the road, he seemed to choose the dark path.

When confronted with alcohol and drugs, he took them. When he had the opportunity to have sex, he went for it. When he saw the potential of power through black magic, he was positively intrigued. When his parents fought fell short of perfection, he grew bitter towards them. Eventually, his heart seemed to be almost devoid of compassion.

Although his parents were not perfect, like his dad telling him repeatedly that he wouldn't amount to anything and threatening to kick him out of the house, they also showed signs of love. His dad took him to hear his favorite band. His parents took money they had saved for a weekend getaway and instead bought him a set of professional racing skates for over $400.00. He admits that his mom spoiled him. But he was ungrateful and abused her. Marilyn Manson admits that he "hit her, spit on her and tried to choke her. She never retaliated. She just cried, and I never felt sorry for her." (Italics mine) When the family decided to move, he "was bitter and angry -- not just at my parents, but at the world."

His life became a series of one dark, selfish decision after another. Extremely conceited, other people were looked upon as dumb, beneath him. He stole, ingested drugs, and used people. Watch your heart and your decisions. You can either forgive and make compassionate choices, taking you down one road of life, or hold onto unforgiveness and bitterness, becoming a totally selfish person. His motivation to become a performer? "�I wanted to be the loudest, most persistent alarm clock I could be, because there didn't seem like any other way to snap society out of its Christianity - and media-induced coma." He took his stage name from sex symbol Marilyn Monroe and convicted murder instigator Charles Manson. Marilyn Manson identified with him and saw him as a "gifted philosopher, more powerful intellectually than those who condemned him." Shortly later he admitted, "By now, I had begun to feel removed from the everyday world of morality. Guilt had become more a fear of getting caught than any sense of right or wrong."

With no God and no sense of right and wrong, even murder can be justified. In Manson's own words, "My respect for human life had long since dulled." He witnessed a head-on collision and was approached by a woman who was severely injured and distraught. She walked up to him and said, "Please, somebody hold me." Again, in his own words, "I could see the humanity and desperation well up in her brown eyes. She just wanted some kind of physical, nurturing contact as she died. But I kept walking. I wasn't part of it and didn't want to be part of it."

He hated a girl named Nancy, and decided to try to kill her. Here's how he justified his attitude: "With Nancy, while I didn't think it was right to take a human life, I didn't think it was right to deny myself the chance of causing someone to die either, especially someone whose existence meant so little to the world and to herself." (p. 111) A couple of police cars drove by and scared him before he could carry out the murder.

Shortly thereafter, Manson reflected that he had only "one weak spot still left in my cold black heart: pity, a word that over the course of the arduous year to come would be excised from my vocabulary."

After considering letting a fellow band member die in his own vomit, Manson said, "I was becoming the cold, emotionally crippled monster I always wanted to be, and I wasn't so sure I liked it. But it was too late." (p. 126)

(Written by Steve Miller, Copyright April 25, 2002. Source: Marilyn Manson in his autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Regan Books, 1998, pp. 20, 26, 46-48, 64, 80, 87, 96, 111, 112-114, 118, 125, 194, 197, 198)

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A student who grows up with no convictions has to look at all the options of sex, protected sex, no sex, wait till sex -- as all live options. Having to make your own choices on all matters of morals at young ages is too much weight to bear. That's one reason that having biblical standards makes decision-making so much less complicated. One high school student said, "Life's so much easier when you've already thought through your standards. You don't have to try to make up your mind when someone asks you to do something wrong." As Henry Kissinger once said, "The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously."

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"We have actually convinced ourselves that slogans will save us. Shoot up if you must, but use a clean needle. Enjoy sex whenever and with whomever you wish, but wear a condom. No! The answer is NO. Not because it isn't cool or smart or dying in an AIDS ward; but NO because it is WRONG, because we have spent 5,000 years as a race of rational human beings trying to drag ourselves out of the primeval slime by searching for truth and moral absolutes. In its purest form truth is not a polite tap on the shoulder. It is a howling reproach. What Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai were the Ten Commandments not the ten suggestions." (Ted Koppel Koppel, anchor of "Nightline," who has won every major broadcasting award, including 37 Emmy Awards, in a speech at Duke University)

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An African Christian described his battle with sin: "It's like two dogs are battling inside me." "Which one wins?" someone asked. He responded, "The one I feed the most."

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Are you infuriated at the masterminds behind the bombing of the twin towers? What if I were to tell you that there's another group of people that kill the same number of people every two years? Over the four years following graduation from high school, they'll kill twice as many. Would you be infuriated at them? I'm not speaking of terrorists. I'm speaking of those who encourage teens to drink.

A recent federally-funded study (1) found that college drinking contributes to 1,400 deaths each year. Drunk students fall off balconies, drown in swimming pools, die in auto accidents or from bingeing. But it also hurts the living, contributing to 500,000 injuries and at least 70,000 cases of date rape or other forms of sexual assault each year. Over 400,000 students end up having unprotected sex. (Side note: Especially for you girls. Date rape is extremely common in college. I urge you to get to know people in groups rather than one on one.) That's millions of injuries every four years and thousands of deaths, tons of misery due to ignoring two biblical warnings: 1 - "Don't get drunk�" (Ephesians 5:18) and 2 - since you're not of legal drinking age in America, God's command to obey your authorities (Romans 13:1ff).

Many students have no desire to drink, but can't resist a room full of people with a beer in each hand. Can I show a little emotion here? This burns me up! And who's to blame? People who encourage others to drink either by having a beer in their hands or offering it to others.

I challenge you to get alone at some time this week - just you, God, a notepad and a pen. Go to your bedroom or a park bench, but get alone. Then, while you're thinking straight, write down some standards that you want to govern your life.

You see, tons of people make their most important, life-impacting decisions at a Fraternity party following the dare of some idiot upper classman. At the extreme end, some will die of alcohol poisoning or following some crazy dare or initiation.

In Romans 12:2 the Apostle Paul writes:

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

If you make your decisions while you're sober and thinking straight, you're more likely to make wise decisions when someone turns up the heat.

(From Reach Out Illustration Database at www.reach-out.org . Written by Steve Miller, copyright April, 2002. Information Source: Study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, reported in April, 2002. Found in the Atlanta Journal, April 10, 2002, p. A16, by Bill Hendrick.)

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Just how virtuous are you? Your perception of how well you're doing is greatly impacted by who you're comparing yourself to.

If Rick grows up in a rough neighborhood where he is known as the "goody-goody" because the hardest drug he uses is marijuana and he never uses knives when he beats up strangers, then he can't see his bad points as all that bad. Sheila comes from a nice, but not religious family. She sees herself as incredibly spiritual because she hangs out with the church crowd and reads her bible occasionally. But place Sheila and Rick in a home with the apostle Paul as a father and mother Theresa as a mother and they'll both feel they are wicked creeps.

Now take that a huge step further and let the brilliantly white, spotless, totally pure Son of God appear in their home. You are there visiting. Even Mother Theresa's and the apostle Paul's white clothes look like coal miner's clothes in comparison. Suddenly they all realize how black their pride, unforgiving spirits, and secret sins appear before God. You feel worse than a spiritual worm. You're a dirty, fat, stinking worm.

Only when we understand the extent of our own sinfulness before a holy God can we fully appreciate His grace. And receiving His grace is the key to growing in Virtue rather than dispairing of how far we fall short. (� Copyright 2002 Steve Miller - All Rights Reserved)

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The way to grow in holiness is to be around people more holy than ourselves. We hear their stray comments and absorb their judgment of what's important. We listen to their prayers and find that God is bigger than we'd thought. (Oswald Chambers)

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Imagine that you've been working in the yard on a hot summer day and come in for a drink of water. As you survey the kitchen counter, you see a beautiful glass from your fine china collection, but upon closer inspection find it is all dirty. You put it in the sink, grab another pretty glass, but find that it has a roach in it. The only other available glass is a plain, old peanut butter jar that has recently been cleaned. Which would you use to drink your water? In the same way, God tends to use clean vessels for His work rather than beautiful vessels that are dirty.

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Bible Scholar Derek Kidner, in his commentary on Proverbs, notes that Solomon repeats over and over his admonition to listen to wisdom. Then, he notes, "�a major part of godliness lies in dogged attentiveness to familiar truths." (p. 68)

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"Anybody who leaves our ministry has to jump over two loving Christians." (Peter Lord)

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"I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've got a foot, and I'll fight it as long as I've got a fist. I'll butt it as long as I've got a head. I'll bite it as long as I've got a tooth. And when I'm old and fistless and toothless, I'll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition." (Billy Sunday)

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Reality vs. Life According to Television: A 1994 USA Today (4-1-94) survey found 88% of Americans saying that religion is important to their lives (59% surveyed called it "very important." Most attend church and many youth spend their school breaks on church retreats and consider their church youth group an important part of their lives. But you'd never know it from watching TV. How often do you see your favorite sitcom characters worshipping at church, going on a summer church retreat, or getting advice from their youth minister?

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In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up. (Rev. Martin Niemoller)

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At the moment (when lust takes control) God � loses all reality� Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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"When temptation attacks me, I grab hold of a passage and fix my grip on it." (Martin Luther, paraphrased from Table Talk by Donald Demaray)

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If the angel Lucifer could become the devil, none of us are invulnerable. (Source not found)

Need for Absolutes

There's harmony and inner peace to be found in following a moral compass that points in the same direction regardless of fashion or trend. (Ted Koppel)

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All problems are psychological, and all solutions are spiritual. (Dr. Thomas Hora, seminal thinker and pioneer researcher in Psychology and Psychotherapy)

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There is only one way to cope with life, namely, to find that system of values which is not subject to fashionable trends, which will never change, and will always bear good fruit in terms of bringing us peace and health and assurance, even in the midst of a very insecure world. (Dr. Thomas Hora, seminal thinker and pioneer researcher in Psychology and Psychotherapy)