It’s Part of the Job Description

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By Mark Vermilion

Back in the eighties, I worked as a part-time sports writer for a local newspaper as I paid my way through college. Most of the time, I covered local high-school and college basketball and football games, but sometimes I got to cover major NCAA and pro sports events.

One of my best assignments was covering a Chicago Bears football game just a few months before Bears’ running back Walter Payton broke the NFL career rushing record. I interviewed Payton for a sidebar article I wrote to accompany the game article. It focused on the factors that had contributed to Payton’s success.

I felt a little awkward and nervous as I took my place with a few other reporters and stood next to Payton at his locker while he finished dressing...

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When God Doesn’t Make Sense (Giving Up on God Part 2)

Young man thinking

By Mark Vermilion

I trust God. I’ve learned that he’s trustworthy. But as I shared in Part 1, I don’t always understand him and the things he does. I have doubts at times. And I have questions. Lots of questions.

Maybe you do, too.

In Part 1, I shared that suffering is an evidence that God loves us. But I don’t understand why God allows so much suffering in people’s lives all over the world. (Does he have to love us so much?) I’ve heard a number of very smart people take their best stab at it, but their explanations seem thin to me. Some of them sound like they’ve appointed themselves as God’s public-relations rep, trying to spin a negative into a positive.

And I don’t understand why God allows evil people to prosper with wealth and health while some of his most committe...

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Disappointed in God (Giving Up on God Part 1)

Two friends

By Mark Vermilion

“My friends, do not be surprised at the painful trials you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12-13

Not long ago, I talked with a friend (we’ll call him Jason) who had given up on God.

I asked him why.

Jason told me that he had given up on God–if there even is a God–because God had given up on him.

I asked him how he knew that.

Jason told me that God hadn’t been answering his prayers. He told me that his life was full of hardship, and God didn’t seem to care. He said God seemed distant. He told me that it’s a whole lot easier to give up on God than to have faith in Him.

He was shocked when I agreed. (Well, I sorta agreed.)

And Jason was further shocked when I told him that I had been on the brink of giving up many times...

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A Two-Hour Adoption

People on Plane

By Mark Vermilion

On a flight from Denver to Dallas a few months ago, I sat next to Kenny, a high-school junior from Westminster, Colorado. Kenny was very talkative, and I soon found out he was on his first-ever flight.

He was a little nervous, which was probably at least part of the reason why he was so talkative.

He passionately spoke about his love for Harry Potter books and movies—as well as popular dystopian books and movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent (his favorite). I soon realized that I would have to steer the conversation if we were going to talk about anything other than popular books and movies.

I did, and over the next 30 minutes or so, I learned that Kenny lived with his mother and older sister...

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Which states are keeping track and which aren’t

When bad teachers are fired or disciplined, how easy is it to track them?

Only seven states got an “A” in a USA Todaysurveythat ranked states across the nation on background checks, transparency on teacher disciplinary actions, mandatory reporting laws and how states handle sharing information about teachers’ misconduct with other states.wholesale jerseys

The survey indicates there are big gaps in info about teachers and points to a need for better coordination in collecting and sharing information about the misconduct of teachers. It refers to America’s process for vetting teachers as “a loosely connected patchwork of state laws and procedures, inconsistent practices by school districts and state officials, and wide variations in who’s accountable for what and how accountable they are...

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Bystanders

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By Mark Vermilion

I wrote this article one year ago. I’ve seldom had as much of a response to anything I’ve written before or since. A year later, I’m posting it again because my life is still different because of this experience.

Defining moments don’t happen very often in our lives. But I experienced one this week when I was in Loveland, Colorado, on business.

After a long afternoon of meetings, I stopped at a fast-food restaurant on the way out of town. I ordered at the counter and then stepped into the restroom while I waited for my food to be prepared. When I returned from the restroom, I was surprised to find every customer and employee standing at a wall of windows on one side of the restaurant, looking out into a busy street.

Several women were gasping and screaming in response...

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Eye Contact

Eyes

By Mark Vermilion

For two decades, I’ve been working with public speakers. I started by teaching freshman public speaking courses and then more advanced speaking courses at Taylor University and Indiana Wesleyan University. For the past decade, I’ve been coaching ministry communicators who want to maximize the impact of their speaking.

Some are pastors, some are itinerant speakers, some are NFL players who speak part-time to corporate or church audiences in the off-season, and some are musicians or entertainers who speak on the side.

When coaching the delivery of a speaker, I immediately address the speaker’s eye contact with the audience. Anyone who’s taken a communication course of any kind understands the importance of eye contact. However, I want speakers to understand why authentic ...

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So You Believe in God, Huh?

Prop Plane

By Mark A. Vermilion

I travel a lot for my work. And a lot of my travel is by air. I’m usually very tired when I get on flights, and it’s always a challenge for me to talk to the person sitting next to me on the plane.

It’s not that I’m anti-social, but I am an introvert who talks to people all day and interacts with groups of people for a living. Especially when I travel. By the time I drop into my seat on a plane, I’m ready to go into an introvert coma (only an introvert would fully understand that last sentence.)

But God often seems to have other plans when I’m on planes. He has different ways of letting me know when he wants me to rise to the occasion and engage with the person next to me. At times, I can sense that he’s orchestrating an important connection...

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Why I Gave Up on my Dreams and You Should Too! By: Daniel James

basketball

There are few things in this world that I love more than basketball, and if you’ve ever been around me for more than 10 minutes you know exactly what I mean. I grew up watching, and playing basketball all my life. While I was never the most talented athlete, I would pride myself on a thorough understanding of the game…. even if it was from the bench. You see I spent years continually trying to develop into the star athlete that was going to make it big. While I thought that I might have had a chance as the run-n-gun shooting guard for the infamous Pinellas Park Rec. League “Magic”, years passed and it seemed that some other kid with the last name “James” was the guy who was actually going to be the NBA star.

I spent much of my childhood chasing the all american basketball dream, ...

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What Happens When Pro-Life Meets Pro-Love?

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By Mark A. Vermilion

What do you think of when you hear about the pro-life movement?

Do you think of protestors? Do you think of picketers carrying signs in front of abortion clinics? Do you think of bumper stickers that say things like “Abortion kills” or “Abortion stops a beating heart”? Do you think of political activists trying to overturn abortion laws? Do you think of debates about when life begins? Do you think of heated arguments between pro-lifers and pro-choicers?

Well, those things don’t define what it means to be pro life.

Not anymore.

There’s a new movement of youth, young adults, and adults of all ages who are taking a different approach to being pro life.

The new pro-life movement doesn’t involve screaming...

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