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HISTORY IS STORY OF UNFORSEEN
In the introduction to his A History of Europe, H.A.L. Fisher writes:
"Men wiser and more learned than I have discovered in history a plot, a rhythm, a predetermined pattern. But these harmonies are concealed from me. I can see only one emergency following another, as wave follows upon wave--there can be no generalization. There is only one safe rule for the historian--that he should recognize in the development of human destiny the play of the contingent and the unforeseen."
— Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations —
“In football they have a huddle, the goal of the huddle is to give you thirty seconds to call the play, that is why they give you a huddle.(At a professional football game there may be ) Sixty thousand people watching you huddle, they don’t mind you taking thirty seconds to call the play. They understand that you have to get organized, you have to know where you are going to go, the ends need to know where they are going to go, the quarterback needs to know where he is going to go, the backs need to know where they are going to go. A huddle is a necessary part of playing the game. But let me inform you if you do not already know, sixty thousand people do not pay $20 a ticket to watch you huddle. See, people don’t come to football games to watch the huddle. They want to see if their team can overcome the opposition who is daring them to snap the ball and move down the field to score. What they want to know is does your practice work? Now what Christians often do is get high on their huddles. We gather together on Sunday morning and Sunday nights and Wednesday nights and we go nuts over the huddle! We say, “Boy did we have a huddle!! My quarterback can call plays better than your quarterback. And boy do we go off on the huddle. But what people don’t seem to understand is, that the huddle is so that we can play the game. The effectiveness of your church cannot be measured by how well you do on Sunday morning. … The test of the church is what it does in the marketplace. What we need today is churches that are representative of Jesus Christ not only when gathered but when disseminated.” (Dr. Tony Evans. “The Power of God’s People.” (Sermon, 1987 – Church Growth Conference, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX)
A HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN
The Celtic festival of Samhain is probably the source of the present-day Halloween celebration. The Celts new year began on November first. A festival that began the previous evening honored Samhain, the Celtic lord of death. The celebration marked the beginning of the season of cold, darkness, and decay. It naturally became associated with human death. The Celts believed that Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes for this evening. On the evening of the festival, the Druids, who were the priests and teachers of the Celts, ordered the people to put out their fires. The Druids built a huge new year’s bonfire of oak branches, which they considered sacred. They burned animals, crops, and human beings as sacrifices. Then each family relit its fire from the new year’s fire. During the celebration, people sometimes wore costumes made of animal heads and skins. They told fortunes about the coming year by examining the remains of the animals that had been sacrificed.
All Saints Day: Many of the customs of the Celts survived even after the people became Christians. During the 800’s, the church established All Saints’ Day on November first. They made the old pagan customs part of this Christian holy day.
The Catholic Church later began to honor the dead on November second. This day became known as All Soul’s Day. The Catholics believed that you could pray the dead out of purgatory.
The Jack-o-Lantern originated with an Irishman named Jack who loved to play pranks on the Devil. Legend is that he was made to wander the world carrying a lantern to show him the way, going to neither heaven nor hell. Hollowed out pumpkins with candles lighted inside were supposed to scare evil spirits away.
The Irish initiated “Trick-or-treating” when farmers would go from house to house to collect food for the village.
Costumes went from children dressing up like martyrs in celebration of All Saints Day to the modern day costumes of witches, etc…
SOURCE: Encyclopedia Britanica and others.
Have you heard about Pocket God? It’s one of the top-selling video game applications for Apple’s iPhone. Here’s the game description found on iTunes:
"What kind of god would you be? Benevolent or vengeful? Play Pocket God and discover the answer within yourself. On a remote island, you are the all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders. You can bring new life, and then take it away just as quickly."
Seeing that game options include throwing islanders into volcanoes, using islanders as shark bait, bowling for islanders with a large rock, or creating earthquakes to destroy the islanders’ villages, designers seem to think...
“Getting to The Good Stuff!” Exodus 6: 1-12 Key verse(s): 12: “But Moses said to the Lord, ‘If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips’.”
When I was a boy I had the rather thankless job of feeding a herd of our neighbor’s hereford cattle. The job was in payment of some kindness the man had done our family; so there was no remuneration for the services rendered. The job was not one of my favorite things to do for a variety of reasons. First, it had to be done first thing upon returning home from school. When all the other kids were gearing up for at least an hour or so of bike riding and just hanging around, my brothers and I had to trudge across the meadow, down the hill and over to the cattle barn. The barn was not well kept so you always needed to be careful as to where you stepped. If you happened to step in the wrong place you could end up sinking up to your shins in something that looked like mud but didn’t smell like mud. And, of course, there was the poor lighting in the barn. As evening fell the barn got very dark and the few scattering light bulbs did little to relieve the fear that the sound you heard three stories up in the loft was something more than a cat or a barn owl. And there was the hay. How I hated the hay! It came in bales and those cattle ate a bunch of it. First you had to lug it, then snap the twine without cutting yourself, and then force it down the manger chute. All the while the air was filled with tiny bits of chaff that targeted my sinuses like ballistic missiles.
When all was said and done, this was often an unpleasant job. Sure, there was the occasional hay or feed fight to distract us from time to time. And, after a time we got to know each steer and cow pretty well. But, overall, I found the job to be tedious and difficult. I remember bumping into the farmer one evening as the three of us dragged into the barn for our evening chore. He could see that we looked none too excited to be there and decided to give us a hand with the lugging and the dumping for once. After a while he broke the silence with one of those declarative statements that just seem to come out of nowhere. Sensing the rigors and unpleasantness of our daily trudge he simply blurted, “Did you ever notice how the good timber always seems to be surrounded by a swamp?” We stared in respect but our lack of response evidenced our utter confusion. “You know.” He continued. “That one tree you really would like to cut down always seems to be more of a chore to get there than to cut down. Swamps! They’re everywhere!” He smiled and didn’t say another word.
For years I really thought that the man was daft. But, over time I began to understand what he was trying to get at. If you ever are going to find the good in this life, you have to be ready to deal with the bad. Feeding those cattle was not often fun. Yet, it was one more chore in life that built character and gave us skills. It was a sort of swamp that each of us boys had to pass through if we were going to get to that grown-up side of life waiting temptingly just around the bend.
The next time you feel yourself feeling confident, challenge yourself to do the impossible. You just may. There are legions of people with unchallenged genius potential. Take the story of two Irish music hall players who, in 1912, were spending an afternoon in a pub at Stalybridge in Cheshire, England. They were extolling the musical traditions of Ireland. It is said that on that day they boasted they could write and perform a song in the same day. It might have been a gimmick to stimulate attendance or it could have been genius jumping out of its bag, for “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” was performed that night at the Stalybridge Grand Theater by Jack Judge and Harry Williams. It was an overnight success that gained tremendous popularity during World War I as an Allies’ marching song. (Bits & Pieces, May 28, 1992, pp. 18-19.)