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Just earlier this week, it was a teenage boy in Vietnam who was accused of killing a 7-year old neighbour in order to use her gold earrings to pay for video games. Now, a New Mexico woman has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for neglecting to care for her 3-year old daughter, Brandi. Why? Because she was too busy playing World of Warcraft. Brandi literally withered and died from malnutrition and dehydration. Apparently there was so little food for her that she ate cat food.

Let's be clear here. Rebecca Colleen Christie let her real child die for something not real. It's easy to point fingers at her--and perhaps rightfully so--but sometimes it's easy for all of us to get so caught up in fantasy and escape that we actually begin to neglect reality.  Our family. Our friends. Our children. Our jobs. Our lives. Many of us are probably dangerously close to even the same level of addiction as Christie, without even realizing it or being willing to admit it. This is not a "Look at  what this terrible woman did!" kind of post. This is a reality check for all of us. What are we spending way too much time on without really accomplishing anything real at all? Where in our lives are we being incredibly selfish? What do we need to do about it? Be honest with yourself. And do it. Before it's too late. Before something in your life--or someone--dies.

For the full story, click here.

 
 
We've talked about what real love truly looks like before on WakeUpWorld! This story is a perfect example of it. A tornado raged through Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, taking with it at least 126 lives and injuring more than 900 others, making it the deadliest tornado to hit the United States in 64 years. When the tornado struck, Don Lansaw did what he instinctively knew he had to do: he covered his wife's body with his own in their bathtub, and he was killed. What has happened in Joplin is tragic. But there is beauty to be seen even in the greatest of tragedies. Don Lansaw has given us a great example to follow. We may not all be called upon to give our lives literally, but we can give our lives in love to everyone around us each and every single day. Maybe that's what the Bible means when it talks about "dying to ourselves." After all, sometimes the difference between good and evil is simply selfishness.

"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
 
 
In May 2007, outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens and Christian pastor and apologist Douglas Wilson began to debate the topic of "Is Christianity Good for the World?" in writing. Their exchanges were made into a book and in the fall of 2008, filmmaker Darren Doane traveled with the Hitchens and Wilson on a tour promoting it. This is the film he made.

Two brilliant minds, two completely contrary viewpoints, two explanations for the most important questions ever asked about the world around us. Who wins? You decide. *If you are having problems viewing the film below, you can watch it by clicking here.
 
 
Never saw the point in giving up the things you love for Lent every year? Well, here's one reason that will actually make a difference. Drink only tap water from now until April 23 and give the money you otherwise would have spent on other beverages (coffee, tea, carbonated goodness) to provide people in Africa with clean drinking water! $1 can provide a year's worth of water for one person in Africa. $1! Who would have thought you could help others around the world get clean water simply by...just drinking water. Check it out at http://40days.bloodwatermission.com.
 
 
Abortion, rape, violence, oppression, cutting, low self-esteem, guilt, shame, abuse, family problems, divorce, a broken heart, failure...So many of us struggle with defining ourselves by our most personal character flaws and our most painful past experiences. Tenth Avenue North reminds us with this powerful video that we do not have to be defined by our past mistakes. What has defined you? What still does?
 
 
What would you die for? 

Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak finally stepped down last Friday as the largest pro-democracy protest in the country's 18-day uprising threatened to take place. Tunisia's former president is also in exile. The situation in Egypt, however, is far from over as many workers have gone on strike with their demands and the future of the country's leadership remains unclear. But several other nations, such as Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, Iran, Jordan and Lebanon are following in Egypt's and Tunisia's footsteps by taking to their own streets, decrying their governments and demanding change, even at the cost of their lives.

Thousands of protesters in Bahrain attended the funerals of the first martyrs for their cause on Friday. Rather than deterring the protesters, some are saying they are willing to be martyrs themselves. To them, the rights and freedoms of their people are worth the price of their lives.

WakeUpWorld! wants to know: What would you die for?
 
 
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Power is hard to get, harder to keep, and still harder to give up. As the violent pro-democracy protests continue in Egypt, president Hosni Mubarak announced on Thursday night that he will remain in office until his current term ends in September. With at least 300 deaths in Egypt since the violence began, Friday is set to become the largest protest yet, and possibly the bloodiest. Mubarak has clearly heard his people say that they want him out, and they want him out now. But he has also made it clear that he plans on clinging to power as long as he possibly can. Our cravings for power can hold quite a bit of power over us themselves, and Mubarak may be a prime example of it. When you give your life to satisfying one particular goal, one particular craving of the soul, then when you lose that one thing, you lose everything. Is it really worth holding on to one thing so tightly? Which of life's pursuits and offerings are worth such stubborn dedication, and which are not? What do you think?

Read WakeUpWorld!'s post on Humanity's Thirst for Power.

Read the National Post's analysis of the situation in Egypt by Peter Goodspeed.

 
 
Mary Karen Read's last words in her journal before being killed in the Virgina Tech shooting were about forgiveness. Do you think it's possible to forgive someone even for the most evil and horrendous crimes of our world? Do you think we should? What would you say to the person who took your life away?
 
 
Advent Conspiracy isn't the only campaign showing us what we can do to make a difference this Christmas. Check out this telling video from ForgottenChristmas.org!
 
 
Reach Records artists Swoope, Jai, Tedashii and Lecrae have collaborated on a song called "Actions Speak Louder," now being sold in the iTunes store with 100% of the proceeds going toward the building of an orphanage in war-torn Southern Sudan. Meaning we can help to change the world simply by buying a song on iTunes for just $0.99. It doesn't get much better than that. Click to hear the song below, and then go to the iTunes store and buy it (even if you don't like it)! Thank you Reach Records for caring more about the world and those in it than money.