In the News
group magazine: January-February, 2012
by Stephanie Martin
'HERO' ATHLETE RESCUES INJURED OPPONENT
Andover, Minn.—When he encountered a badly hurt competitor during a cross-country meet, Josh Ripley decided to stop and help. The 16-year-old runner carried freshman Mark Paulauskas a quarter-mile back to the starting line, praying for him along the way. Josh then resumed his race, finishing near the back of the pack.
Mark, who needed 20 stitches in his ankle, was "incredibly grateful" that Josh stopped when others hadn't. Meanwhile, Josh deflected talk of heroism. "I just did the right thing," he says. "It was an act of kindness that I know I needed to accomplish."
Sources: abcnews.go.com, rivals.yahoo.com
Questions: Is Josh a hero? a good sport? Explain. Why did his actions make headlines? Think of a time when you've been a good Samaritan or have been helped by one: How does it feel to put your own needs last or to have someone else put your needs first? When you're shown mercy, do you feel obligated to "pay it forward"? Why or why not?
Josh helped a rival—what are some of the challenges you'd experience if you wanted to do the same? What motivates you to perform acts of kindness, service, or good works: thanks? recognition? the promise of blessings? Explain. How do good works supplement or boost your faith? How has God behaved like Josh in your life?
Scripture links: Luke 6:27-36; Luke 10:25-37; James 2:12-18; and 2 Peter 1:5-9.
CHURCHGOERS RECEIVE 'REVERSE OFFERING'
Morristown, N.J.—Instead of collecting money one Sunday, pastor Tim Lucas distributed it. Worshipers at the Liquid Church received either a $10, $20, or $50 bill, with instructions to keep it if they needed it. Others were encouraged to make a difference with their cash.
Lucas wanted to reduce people's cynicism about religion and show that all money is God's. "Every dollar in our economy is printed with the words 'In God We Trust,' but we want to teach people that 'God Trusts Them,' " he says. "We're not a rich church…but we're trying to teach our people to be rich in good deeds."
Sources: cnn.com, nj.com, newjerseynewsroom.com
Questions: What would it be like to take rather than give money during an offering? Would you feel guilty keeping the cash if you needed it? Why or why not? What's one way you could use that gift to help others—or to grow it for bigger purposes?
Would those who know you well say that you're trustworthy with God's gift of money? Why or why not? What's your attitude about giving money to church? Are you confident that God will provide for all your earthly needs? Is achieving financial wealth one of your goals? Why or why not? To what extent are you "rich in good deeds"? What are some ways you invest your time, talent, and treasures to help other people or to grow God's kingdom?
Scripture links: 1 Chronicles 29:1-9; Matthew 25:14-30; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19.
Stephanie, a contributing editor for GROUP, writes weekly Breaking News discussion starters for GROUP's online resource ministryandmedia.com. She's also the editor of The Parent Link— theparentlink.com.
Book: Ever By My Side, Dr. Nick Trout
DVDs: Pearl Jam Twenty, Page One: Inside the New York Times
New Role: Aunt to twins (Gioia & Michael)