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Important: Please pray for our dog Sally. She is sick with end-stage kidney disease. Except for not eating or drinking much, she is acting normal right now. We are giving her subcutaneous fluids and oral medications to keep her comfortable. We had Lucy, Amy and Sally when we moved here 10 years ago. All three have had cancer, and Sally is the only one left. Sally is actually on her third cancer. All different types. It is her kidneys that are the real problem now. Thank you for praying.

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Alderson Arts is a content provider of biblical teaching and secular articles. Cody Alderson has a calling on his life as a teacher of God’s word. He has been writing for over two decades with almost a decade of paid professional experience. He and his wife Tina work together to provide biblical teaching articles to church and ministry websites as well as secular content for the health, nutrition and family safety genres.

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Church Super Bowl Parties and Other Copyright Infringements

The Guide One Insurance article titled “Touchdown! How to Enjoy the Super Bowl Without Copyright Infringement” contains valuable information for churches that invite people out to watch the big game through a live broadcast. Having a group of friends come over to your house to watch the Super Bowl on TV is different from inviting people out to the church to see it. The article explains the rules that were “clarified” in 2009. The commercial nature of having a Super Bowl party at church has specific rules that need to be followed to avoid copyright infringements. Surprisingly, they seem to be very easy to follow.

The serious nature of violating copyrights should be considered by churches on at least two fronts. Firstly, it would be a sin to knowingly and willingly violate the law. Secondly, churches that are prosecuted for copyright infringement issues may end up paying hefty fines or worse. Those FBI warnings on DVDs are not just there for show. Though the NFL now has some seemingly simple rules to follow for churches wanting to throw parties and have people watch the game live, those same churches should also consider other potential copyright violations.

Just because a person owns a DVD of a movie does not mean it comes with a right to show it to an audience at church. It also does not matter if it is an audience of two or 2000. The same goes for using any other creative work. Photocopies of pages from a book, using images downloaded from the Internet, or even playing music from CDs are all subject to licensing rules that can vary greatly from one thing to the next.

The creator of a video uploaded to YouTube may declare it free for all to use, but it is a violation of YouTube’s terms of service to download the content. I was given express permission from a popular ministry to download and use a video they had posted to YouTube. They were apparently unaware of the terms of service for the site. Still, it was my responsibility to find out. This is where things can get convoluted to the point of exasperation when a ministry wants to share content publicly. The only way the video could be legally and ethically used was to find another source for the actual video file that was going to be archived for later use in class.

Some productions and services allow videos to be streamed but not saved to a computer for later use. Some require not only a purchase of a public viewing license but also the purchase of a specific release of the video that will be shown. In other words, a special DVD or video file has to be purchased for the public viewing that makes the viewing license valid. Other licensing requirements are as simple as buying a copy of the official DVD at a store and paying for a license to show it online.

Licenses to show movies to audiences at churches are typically not prohibitively expensive. Also, it is not wise to rely on a blanket license to cover all potential copyright infringements. Again, each creative work has specific licensing requirements. So-called Christian movies are usually made affordable for all congregations sizes to show on a movie night. Some movies may have no public viewing license currently available.

I sought to obtain a license to show “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and was advised by the controlling company that no license was available for church viewing of the 1965 animated feature. On the other hand, a license to show “The Passion of the Christ,” that was thought to be unavailable at the time, was being offered by Swank Motion Pictures at their website.

This brings up another question.

If one does a search for licensing of movies to show at church, the results show several websites claiming to provide the licenses. The issue is that there is no real way to know if the company offering the license is 100 percent legitimate. It would not be hard for scam artists to set up a website claiming to sell online licenses to publicly show copyrighted material. Therefore, buyers should beware. It is important to ask questions and be as certain as possible that the license being purchased is legitimate. One way to be more certain is to contact the studio that produced the movie, asking where to obtain a license to show the movie to a church audience.

From what I have seen in some churches, it is very important for pastors and church boards to come up with written copyright infringement policies that should be rigorously enforced. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Fines of even a few thousand dollars could bankrupt small congregations and would be a waste of resources to larger ones.

This article is not legal advice, nor was it written by an attorney. It is just general information intended to get congregations to take copyright infringement issues more seriously. Every church should consult legal counsel for how copyright infringement could potentially affect them as well as for advice on implementing written policies to help prevent problems from occurring.

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Take Better Care of Yourself Starting Right Now

You can learn this quickly:

“In a randomized controlled trial of primary prevention, no cardiologist would want to be compared against a good physical trainer or nutritionist. We would get trounced.” —Dr. John Mandrola (quote from Medscape.com Heartwire news article titled PARADIGM-HF: Some Say, ‘A New Day in Heart Failure’ Published January 12, 2015)

Primary prevention refers to steps you take to PREVENT diseases. In this case, heart disease. What I learn from Dr. Mandrola’s quote is that if cardiologists went up against those who teach people how to exercise and eat right, the cardiologists would lose as far as preventing heart disease is concerned.

That is because people who go to trainers and nutritionists learn and follow through with diet and exercise choices that end up drastically preventing occurrences of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, even if they have risk factors. People going to cardiologists—and most other physicians—are looking for them to FIX their problems as they occur rather than PREVENTING them from happening in the first place.

It is true that EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS. Try a little bit every day to make single or multiple choices toward better food options, less quantity and moving more. I try according to my own personal abilities each and every day I am given now. I can’t do anything about the days and years that have passed or exactly what I may do tomorrow. I can do something about today. So far that has helped me lose over 110 pounds.

Before the weight loss my blood pressure was climbing and my cholesterol was at the point my doctor was discussing with me the possible need to take a statin to lower it. I went back to lacto-ovo vegetarianism before the weight loss and my cholesterol dropped. I credit the weight loss with helping me with so many other problems. It appears that exercise is improving my HDL and LDL cholesterol numbers, and it is helping with further weight loss. It is working for me.

As always, talk to your doctor before making any medical choices of any kind. Medical Disclaimer.

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Alex Malarkey Sends Open Letter About Book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” – Story of Dying and Going to Heaven

NOTE: Just a bit of cursory research into this incident yields a strong feeling that there is more to the dynamic of the Malarkey family that is not being made fully public. That is perfectly okay. Most of us are not reality TV stars and have no wish to air our private lives. Of note is the lack of information about Alex’s father in this unfolding story. This article is written with the intent of supporting and applauding Alex Malarkey in telling the truth. Understand, he apparently has tried to tell the truth to the public at large for a long time, but only got national attention after the Pulpit and Pen website published his short open letter about the situation.

Alex Malarkey is listed as coauthor of the book, “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven.” His father, Kevin Malarkey, is listed as the other author. An NPR website news article reports that Alex sent out an open letter that was published by the Pulpit and Pen website recanting the story, indicating he made it up to get attention. Alex was just a little boy when the book was published. He is now 16.

Alex Malarkey is reported to have been in an automobile accident in 2004 when he was only 6 years old. It is also reported that he was in a coma for two months after the accident. After emerging from the coma, he told a story about going to heaven. I do not have the details of what actually led to Alex telling the story he did. Was it due to questions posed to him about his coma, or did he volunteer the information from the beginning? Regardless, Alex himself indicates he did it to get attention. Continue reading

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Life In A Cell Phone’s Contact List

My wife and I had our old cell phones for about four years. We replaced them with smartphones a little over a year ago for the whopping price of 98 cents each. The protective cases cost much more than the price of the phones under our two-year contract. Getting the prior generation of the phone model we wanted was far less expensive than going for the latest one.

With my interest in photography, I was immediately impressed with the photo and video capabilities of the cameras on our new smartphones. However, before playing with all of the cool features on our phones, we needed to transfer our contact lists from our old phones. We decided to do it manually, and in the process of transferring the information it stirred up a lot of memories for me. It made me realize how much has changed in our lives during the four years we had those old phones. Continue reading

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Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?

That old saying that makes people wonder whether or not they are capable of changing basic parts of their personalities is stated well in the question of whether or not a leopard is capable of changing its spots. There is meaning in the question itself. The intent is that as unlikely as it is for a leopard to fundamentally change the appearance of its spots, so to human beings cannot alter basic parts of their personalities. Continue reading

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The Snow in the Bar Parking Lot Versus the Church Parking Lot

aarts_snow_copyright_2015[1]My wife and I were out for our daily walk. There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground that had begun falling the night before. The daylight was far spent, and the busyness of the daytime traffic was coming to an end. As we passed by a local drinking establishment, I noticed that the entry to the parking lot had the snow compressed under the weight of car tires that had entered the lot. The bar had seen a number of visitors by the time we passed by in the late afternoon. Continue reading

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