Sometimes, we need to step back and ask a question like that.
Philippians 4:8 challenges believers to think and dwell on “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable.” So the Facts & Trends staff would like to regularly share our “Favorites” at the moment.
It might be a new book or podcast we’re enjoying or something going on in our lives we want to share. Hopefully, you’ll think about things that are your favorites right now and maybe find something else to add to that list.
Aaron Earls (@WardrobeDoor), online editor: Kindness deserves attention. In a society consumed with celebrities and controversies, it is refreshing to see someone gain notoriety through sacrificial love. That has happened to a Texas jewelry store worker named Noah.
Recently, a woman came into his store with two children to sell a gold necklace. Noah could tell she was upset about having to part with the jewelry. He found out it was a gift from her mother, but she needed the money for her family to pay bills.
Noah appraised the necklace and gave her the money for it and then gave her back her necklace as well. He even chipped in money from his own pocket to help her and her family.
He didn’t tell everyone about his good deed. It went viral after he simply shared it with a friend back home, which for Noah happens to be Syria. He is a refugee who fled the war torn nation with his family two years ago.
Noah said he is simply passing on kindness that has been shown to him as he has sought asylum in the United States.
But like his biblical namesake, Noah is a shining example of the faithfulness of God and a reminder for Christians to display Christ’s sacrificial love wherever we may be.
Carol Pipes (@CarolPipes), editor: Mike Harland, of LifeWay Worship, wrote this article for our Spring issue of Facts & Trends. I read it again this week and was reminded of the importance of worshiping God through song and how the songs we sing in church help us in our understanding of Jesus. He writes:
When we sing songs in worship, we imbed deep truths about God in the soul-center of our being—exactly where those truths belong. And on a day we least expect it—while we are walking away in disappointment and toward our own Emmaus—the lyric of one of those songs can bring Him right to our side and remind us who He is and just how closely He is walking with us on the way.
I can’t tell you how many times a familiar hymn or song has popped into my head at just the moment I needed the reminder of God’s greatness, faithfulness, peace, and love. Sometimes it’s a song I haven’t heard or sung in decades. But the truths I learned from those songs are embedded in my soul, as well as my memory.
Lisa Green (@lisaccgreen), managing editor: In the sweltering heat of August, I’m thinking about Christmas. It was always a magical time in my childhood, from the pageants at church to the packages under the tree. For me, the abundance of gifts symbolized the extravagance of God’s gift to us in the birth of the Christ child.
Though I’ve never been the type to finish my shopping early, I love getting a bargain. Already I’ve stashed away a few items I think my family will like after finding them on sale.
My favorite, though, was stumbling upon a toy clearance this week. Building blocks! Dolls! Art sets! Stuffed animals! Fancy tiaras and fighting dragons! Who could resist?
Yes, my kids are too old for toys. No, my nieces and nephews can’t possibly use all the things I bought. But I’m starting my collection for the holiday toy drive in my area, and it will only grow from here.
Bob Smietana (@BobSmietana), senior writer: This week’s favorite is a blast from the past—Davey and Goliath, the 1950s Christian television show for kids.
The show—produced by the studio that later brought us Gumby—was a surprise hit, with its 15-minute episodes airing across most of the country by mid-1960s.
Now available on YouTube and iTunes, Davey and Goliath still retains much of its charm. Part of the show’s appeal is the emphasis on God’s love and the importance of being kind. An episode entitled “Good Neighbors,” features a retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan.
“You mean people we don’t know are our neighbors,” Davey asks at one point. “God says anyone who needs our help is our neighbor,” his dad tells him. Davey’s response: “Golly.”
That lesson is put to the test later on when Davey has to choose between heading to a big event or helping a little girl who fell. It’s a small act of kindness, but the moral sticks.
What’s really striking is the aspirational tone of the show. Davey, with help from his dog, Goliath, wants to be kind. He wants to know about God and live out God’s commands. Not because he has to, but because those commands are good.
It’s a good reminder in today’s world, where much of our public discourse consists of bickering on social media and cable news networks. We can be better than this. And a little boy, and his goofy dog, can help show us the way.
Katie Shull (@KShull), graphic designer: The 2016 Rio Olympics begins this week. While I love watching all the athletes compete, as a designer, what I really care about are the logos.
One of my college professors helped develop the identity system and brand of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. It was cool seeing what all went into creating a universal look.
Here’s a link to this year’s branding info. The logo itself represents the people and culture of Rio, Brazil, with “Harmonious Diversity.” It uses fluid lines intertwined with each other to show the agility of the athletes’ movements. From the medals to pictograms to the tickets, everything was designed with careful attention to detail. It’s interesting to read how the design firm was chosen and what went into the brand.
Honestly, being selected to design the logo is like a “gold medal” among designers because it’s so prestigious to showcase your work to the world at the Olympic games.
What has made you smile so far this week? What would be your favorite today?