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What do you think Mary felt and thought when the angel Gabriel announced to her that she would give birth to Jesus our Savior? I can only imagine. Mary was an amazing young lady, and from her life we learn two big life-lessons this Christmas.

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At the end of every year – especially if we move among faith communities – we hear protests against the secularization of Christmas.

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Near my home, there is a house with a cracked foundation. The family had to vacate the house. Yellow warning tape that says Do Not Enter covers all doors. A cracked foundation is dangerous for a house.

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I know that all Christians can’t stand the thought of another Easter like last year, where we sat at home, worried about what the future holds. We want to burst forward with the excitement of spring, singing at the top of our lungs

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When a child is born, the parents send birth announcements to tell the good news to family and friends. Have you ever wondered what our Savior’s birth announcement said?

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Church Health has grown to be a large and impactful organization and sometimes it can be easy to forget about the people who helped us get here in the first place.

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Virgye Shinn became a patient at Church Health almost immediately when we opened in 1987. That first Christmas, I took a group of friends to her apartment to sing Christmas carols. Long story short, Shinn asked us to leave. She felt so guilty that soon after, she began making regular, almost…

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Ora Alexander was one of my very first patients at Church Health. During her first visit, I went through the usual protocols, giving her a physical examination, but much like children anxiously awaiting the end of a road trip, she wouldn’t stop asking me when the exam would be over.

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People—that is, writers—often like to tinker with or play with names. Some of these can prove to be helpful or humorous. They can be like built-in-riddles. 

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I have forever had a morning ritual that I follow before going to work. It has rarely changed for years. The same is true on the weekends, but now COVID-19 has forced a disruption on my daily rituals.

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For most people, walking is a simple form of exercise, but a Lenten walking practice can be a time for spiritual development as well.

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The 2020 Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins Feb. 27, the day after Ash Wednesday and continues through April 3, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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New Year’s always inspires new goals for self-improvements or habits we’d like to change. Yet, even with the best intentions, very few of us make our resolutions a reality. This can leave us feeling frustrated and discouraged, but the problem is usually not with us—instead, the problem is of…

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The Bible gives a broad framework for living and aging well. Those who follow a pattern of wickedness find it hard to change. Those whose feet walk a righteous path must keep to the disciplines and choices it requires.

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Do you know anyone whose birthday is Dec. 25? I have several friends born that day. As a matter of fact, experts tell us 16 million people around the world were born on Dec. 25. So what’s so special about the fact Jesus was born on that day?

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The way we see ourselves, and how we perceive others see us, shapes our very identity. Yet older adults with Alzheimer’s disease experience a cognitive unraveling of the memories that weave together their sense of self. As our older brothers and sisters in Christ struggle to recall their own…

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Many Christians are observing the season of Lent now. The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days (excluding Sundays) until Easter. Prior to Jesus beginning his ministry, he spent 40 days of prayerful preparation in the wilderness, and Lent’s length commemorates that …

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins March 7, the day after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through April 12, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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As luck would have it, I was at the Crescent Center when the U.S. Marshals entered the offices of Stanford Financial about five years ago and seized the company’s assets. It was a heart pumping experience. Dressed in black, with an intense sense of purpose, the marshals made it clear I didn’…

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One of the best ways to add movement to your day as an individual is to consider where you can add movement naturally to things you’re already doing— parking farther away, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, walking an extra block with the dog, and so on.

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Mindfulness means being more fully aware of our experiences in the present moment. Often when we walk, whether to get from one place to another or for the purpose of exercise, we separate movement from our thoughts. Our bodies do one thing while our minds race in another direction altogether…

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Over 20 years ago when I first started my study of gerontology, I wrote a column based on the new research that said church or synagogue attendance would be a factor in successful aging, with positive proof that your life could be extended.

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown begins Feb. 15, the day after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through March 23, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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My November article was about changes that have taken place over the past 50 years that led to moral decline in our country. I spent quite a bit of time doing research and seeking wise counsel from several persons before writing the article. Soon after the November issue was distributed, I r…

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Nov. 1 was the first day of 2018 open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act Marketplace Exchanges. This year, the period lasts only six weeks and there has been almost no government sponsored advertising for people who are uninsured to know about it. There are far fewer healthcare navigator…

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A painting by well-known local artist Nancy Cheairs is featured on this year’s Church Health Christmas card, one of the healthcare organization’s biggest fundraisers of the year.

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Thirty years ago, when we opened our clinic doors for the first time, I was sweaty and jittery with nerves. What if no one came? My staff pointed fingers toward my upstairs office and told me to go there. They would call when I was needed. Fortunately, the patients came through the door, and…

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The education of the young was not an afterthought with the Puritans. Rearing children in the fear of the Lord was a sacred trust —and their textbook was the Bible. It was not uncommon for colonial children to have read the entire Bible by the age of 13 or 14, while their parents pored over …

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The Lenten Preaching Series at Calvary Episcopal Church downtown began March 2, the Thursday after Ash Wednesday, and will continue through April 7, the Friday before Palm Sunday.

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One day an old cowboy rode his horse up to the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was the first time he had ever seen the sight. He looked to the right, then to the left, and finally his eyes stared down, down, down. He lifted his head and said, “Something mighty big sure happened here.” I can say…

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A painting by well known local artist Mary Sims will be featured on this year’s Church Health Christmas card, one of the organization’s biggest annual fundraisers.

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Everybody is concerned about details in various aspects of life. I like overseeing the details of my life to make sure I’m going in the right direction. I’m not always going in the right direction, as you can imagine.

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Native Americans were not allowed to practice their religion until Congress passed The American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. The following year Leonard CrowDog, a very respected Sicangu Lakota Medicine man,  created a sweat lodge for ceremony at the Fish Farm near First and Pioneers.

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Due to the coronavirus outbreak, please contact your house of worship to see if the following events have been cancelled.

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Otterbein United Methodist Church, 120 E. Chilhowie Ave., Johnson City: The congregation will meet at 9 a.m. for the Sunday worship service. The sermon will be “Keep Jesus’ Word.” Sunday school will follow at 10:15 a.m.

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In loving memory of DON MARKOVICH. May you rest in peace with your beloved brothers, ED AND JOE. Sending love and prayers to our cousins. Lynn, Karen and Janice and to their families. Hugs, the Payne Kids

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Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

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I recently reflected on the biblical figures of Simeon and Anna, who prophesized about Jesus when his parents brought the baby to be presented in the temple. They were venerable elderly people dedicated to prayer and fasting. They were so strong in their faith that they could recognize the long awaited Messiah. They were open to be surprised.

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WAVERLY – St. Paul’s Lutheran Church & School have responded to the refugee crisis caused by the conflict in Ukraine by contributing more than $17,000 to Lutheran Disaster Response. The congregation received photos from and a report of relief efforts from Bishop Tamas Fabiny, the presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Hungary and a video from an elementary teacher who lives on a farm just south of Kiev.

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God’s Call to Raise Obedient Children, Pt. 1

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MACON — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia and the Georgia Sheriff’s Association are teaming up with local law enforcement agencies to hold “Protecting Houses of Worship” safety training conferences at communities across the district this summer.

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One of my social media sites popped up memories for this month. Pictures of my wife’s and daughter’s past birthdays filled my phone. They reminded me of the joy and laughter that accompanied the memories of snow machining, vacations, and singing around the piano. These pictures, coupled with our baby graduating from high school, have caused a lot of reflection over the last 20+ years. My daughter lives out of state now with two of her own children. And I love watching them grow up, even if it is largely through her social media feed.

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All over the city of Rome, you will find many places where there is an 8 spoked wheel etched into the wall or ground. Hidden in that 8 spoked wheel is the ancient Greek acronym: IXTHYS. In ancient Greek, the word simply means “fish,” but each letter also stands for the initial letter of each Greek word—Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. Many think that these are hidden all over the city to mark the places where the local church was and where Sunday worship would happen. These 8 spoked wheels with the acronym of Jesus marked the place where the people of the 8th day worshipped!

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Grady and Laurie Sillings aren’t strangers to disaster – as longtime volunteers with N.C. Baptists on Mission and members of Beach Road Baptist Church, over the years the Boiling Spring Lakes couple has responded to their share of hurricane aftermaths and scenes of catastrophe.

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Most of the calendar year fall through the spring is filled with traditional church activities tied to holidays, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

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It’s really about giving and putting others first

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LINVILLE – Visitors came from near and far to bear witness to relics of Saint Bernadette in Linville, one of the many stops on the relic’s national five-month tour. The relics of Saint Bernadette stopped for a three-day period at the church that bears the saint’s namesake.

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When assembling a windmill wheel, it’s advisable to weigh off the individual sections, as the weight of the individual blade sections can vary by more than two pounds. Weighing them, and then carefully positioning the blade sections opposite each other based on weight helps the assembled wheel to balance and run smoothly. To this end, I use a small digital platform scales to weigh my windmill blades. Occasionally, I need to lay a piece of plywood on the platform first, to support the large sections. After I place the plywood on the platform, I push the “tare” button, so that the weight of the plywood is not included in the net weight of the windmill blades. The “tare” button causes the scales to register “zero.”

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Troy, Mo. - Members of Troy’s community gathered at Weinand Park last Monday to hold a prayer vigil in memoriam of a Troy youth who recently died by suicide. The natural beauty of the evening juxtaposed the somber tone of the vigil, making for a powerful service.