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Sunday, February 10, 2008

For Your Lord's Day Blessing

Coke Coupons

Would you believe it, discount coupons from cyber-space? According to a report in U. S. News and World Report, it’s true. Bruce Malinowski, vice president of marketing and sales for Coupons Online, says his firm will offer retrievable money-savers from an electronic database. The rage for clipping discount coupons began in 1895, when Atlanta druggist Asa Candler looked for a way to promote a sweet-tasting drink he had acquired. He had invested $2,300 in the formula and was concerned about earning enough money to make good on his investment. He distributed handwritten tickets offering his pharmacy customers free samples. So many people took advantage of his offer that Candler soon was producing more ornate tickets. From that was born, not only the Coca-cola business, but the discount coupon as well.

Today Candler’s idea has swollen into an industry that churns out 327 billion coupons a year, worth over four billion dollars to consumers. More than 3,000 manufacturers rely on coupons, which are used regularly by 71 percent of all consumers. Studies indicate that shoppers can save as much as 10 percent on their weekly grocery bills by spending 20 minutes clipping and organizing coupons.

Have you ever noticed how our ideas, our actions, even words we speak sometimes seem to take on a life of their own and go far beyond our wildest imaginations? Mr. Candler could not possibly have realized that his little sales trick would spark an industry leading all the way to the computer age. There are two sides to that coin. On the one hand a simple idea, a kind word, or thoughtful deed can flourish and grow to be a blessing to generations yet unborn. But a foolish idea, a cruel word, a careless deed can spread pain and sorrow everywhere it goes. That may be why the Bible urges to take every thought into captivity. Once it is loose you never know where it will go.

Visit www.normanwilson.org for more information on my sermon series this month.

Hope Above the Headlines

He said, she said

By Jerry Brecheisen

The presidential primaries are getting to be more fun than a church business meeting to decide on turning the multi-purpose building into a hockey rink “Can’t we all get along” has turned into a “can’t get a word in edgewise.” Jockeying in the biggest horse race in the land is taking a drastic turn for the verse. Split infinitives and split hairs are flying everywhere. He said, she said is the new political speak and we are the befuddled listeners. What’s worse is the fact that we’ve only just begun. A long season of rancor is blossoming like a Christmas Chia Pet in the Amazon forest.

Promises, premises, and presumptions have turned the airwaves into a dogfight to see who’ll be the predominate pooch. Whose word can you trust in a time like this? Ah, finally an answer! God sent the definitive word. One word, one solitary expression of every kept promise and every lasting premise: Jesus. And His quietest whisper to our hearts bear more assurance than the shouts of a thousand campaigners. A vote for Him really IS a vote for world peace. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 NIV).