Friday, February 23, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/23/18
“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  (1640 Proverb)  The first mass inoculation of the anti-polio vaccine was on Feb 23 in 1954.  At its peak in 1952, there were 60,000 cases, with 21,000 paralyzed and 3,000 fatal.  Parents were terrified.  But scientists Salk, Sabin and others found a way and the disease has been practically eradicated.  I’m sure we can all agree that gun violence in schools need to stop. Do we have the will to work together to solve this problem?    :-(  Jack

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/22/18
“Man needs forgetfulness as well as memory.”  (James Stephens)  I’d be impressed if you could define, hippocampus.  It’s that part of the brain that controls memory.  Part of its function is to allow us to forget certain stuff in order to make room for new stuff…or something like that.  Life goes better when we can let go of past bad episodes and move on to the more positive things that are happening around us.  Our brain is trying to help us make right choices.    ;-)  Jack

   FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Years ago when I was teaching one of my favorite quotes was “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. ====JACK:  Things seemed simpler in "the good old days."  But, were they, really? ====SHIRL:  Absolutely!  We were not bombarded with such a crass culture!====JACK:  The I-phone seems to nave become more of an influence than TV.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  it’s there... just in storage!====JACK:  Some stuff is stored in places where no one seems to know the combination.  But, be thankful that you do have access to some memories that can brighten your life as they are recalled.  Dig deep...and see if you can find a special one today.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  So is it “Forget the mistakes of the past”or “learn from the mistakes of the past”  Or maybe both.====JACK:  It is what you want it to be.  I'm in favor of letting the author's words of what has become The Optimist Creed remain the author's words..."to forget the mistakes of the past."  There's a "Del" key on the computer for a reason.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Memory makes our lives so rich: My  twin lost her memory, due to a stroke, and at 78 had to build new ones, getting to know husband, children, relatives and friends ...through pictures and stories, she regained some memory, but it is a gargantuan task. Yes, if we can erase bad episodes, and focus on the good ones,  it enhances our lives positively, but lets enjoy and be thankful we DO have a Memories...old or new!!====JACK:  I get frustrated when I "lose" memory on my computer.  I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to lose the memory of people standing before you.  There seems to be a bond between twins that is stronger that the one between "just" siblings.  Your frustration must have been great, too.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i thot that was part of the U of MN Campus...====JACK:  In Hutto, Texas, the high school has a hippopotamus as its mascot.  Their school grounds are referred to as the "Hippo Campus."


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/21/18
“I’m going to walk the earth like Kung Fu.”  (Samuel Jackson)  These words are from the movie, Pulp Fiction, and indicate that there comes a time in life to do other things.  The “Jackson words” were recently spoken by a man who’s closing his comic book store.  “It’s time to move on to a new adventure.”  I was intrigued by the Kung Fu reference and did some research.  I saw Kung Fu, not as a person, but as a life-search for self-improvement.  Good advice…Let’s start walking like Kung Fu!   ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "Grasshopper" will certainly take your advice!!====JACK:  You're combining two movies, but that's OK.  They both have reference to Kung Fu.  I see you as one who came to a decision-point in your life last year and decided to "walk the earth like Kung Fu."  ====REV:  You can readily see I’m not a movie buff. I was thinking of the TV series.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I have zero knowledge of Kung Fu or his movies, but I like the idea your propose.  I had to laugh at cartoonist Bill Watterston's quote in the Wall St. Journal, "Life's
disappointments are harder to take if you don't know any swear words." :-) Maybe with enough self-improvements, we won't need any! Worth a try...====JACK:  A person that I know, who is very circumspect with her words, lets out an occasional, "Damn!"  Is that swearing?  BTW, as I pointed out in WWs, Kung Fu is a way of life, a path to self-improvement.====OAKS:  But it isn't a character in comics or movies too? I got the impression it was both....!====JACK:  Yes to one and No to the other.  The Pulp Fiction quote is by one who sees "Kung Fu" as a martial arts discipline which is to leave the past behind and move on to the more important thing...self-improvement.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  Like it… I’m in!====JACK:  Walking like Kung Fu is not like Walking like an Egyptian.

The Bangles - « Walk like an Egyptian » - YouTube

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Great words!  We should approach each day looking for new adventures.   There's a place, actually two places, where we love to visit.  One is an airboat adventure on Lake Kissimmee in Flordia.  It is a nature tour and it is absolutely fantastic!  We see stunning birds of every type and color, big and small; alligators of every size, turtles, water plants, fish, just everything you would expect in Florida.  It is truly a wonder.   The second tour is a 4 hour bus safari through a 160 acres of exotic animals from around the world who live in an environment like Florida's.  Many are very rare and have been saved from poachers or given to keep the species pure.  Many of whom I can't even pronounce their names.  We hand feed ostriches, zebras, water buffalo and llamas.  Another wonderful blessing of an adventure!====JACK:  I wonder what you might be missing back on the farm?  Mice?  Skunks?  Deer?  Rabbits?

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  are you sure its not Kung Phooey:):)====JACK:  I know that you are trying to be funny, but for your enlightenment, Kung Fu is a term describing Chinese martial arts in general.  One of the strengths of martial arts is being "focussed."  One of the strengths of preaching is "keeping focussed" on the message being presented.  Not to do that is "Phooey Preaching." ====PAUL:  thanks for the info.   wasn't there a show on TV about Kung Fu with David Caradine?   for some reason, i could never get "into" that show.  i am sure i also have a  bias in that some of our church programming conflicted with Karate classes at a nearby strip mall and Karate always seemed to trump the church programs. i suppose the parents thot that after putting down there $$$ down for the classes,  they were not going to walk away without getting their money's worth.====JACK:  The problem of making choices seems to be perpetual with the Church, whether it be with confirmation classes, stewardship or who to serve..."Choose this day etc."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/20/18
“That’s who you really like…the people you can think out loud in front of.”  (John Green)  I read some definitions of “Friend.”  The one I like best is: “The one who knows all about you and likes you just the same.”  Obviously, God comes to mind, but I’m thinking of that person you can sit down with and express innermost feelings…and then say, “Let me re-say that.”  And your friend will let it happen without being judgmental.  I have a few like that?  Do you?    ;-)  Jack 

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This made me remember again a saying of Christopher Hutchens, (of the Guardian, U.K._ "A melancholy lesson of advancing years is the realization that you can't make old friends." Amen to that, and most of those "sitdown" friends are gone, including Husband and twin sister...but do have one BFF remaining, and cherish that relationship. Lots of friends to share activities with, (blessings!) but real confidante's run deeper!  Thinking "friendly",====JACK:  The one-time head of CBS News was Fred Friendly.  I always wondered if he was a friendly guy.  BTW,  do you remember the song recorded by Willie Nelson...?
Old friends pitching pennies in the park
Playing croquet till it's dark old friends mhm old friends
Oh old friends swapping lies of life and loves
Pitching popcorn to the doves old friends mhm old friends
Old friends looking up to watch the birds
Holdin' arms to climb a curb old friends mhm old friends
Old friends Lord when all my work is done
Bless my life and grant me one old friend just one old friend
====OAKS:  No, but I like it. Amen to that!

FROM JT IN ST JOE: This Winning Words hit home as my best friend of over 50 years died suddenly two weeks ago.  We spent a lot of time together and shared much.  she was riding the stationery bike at the health club  (she was healthy)  had a stroke, fell off the bike, had a brain bleed and died the next day.  so sudden, I had just visited with her and planned to play cards with her and her husband the following evening.  710 people came to her funeral.  I was not the only one her life impacted.  I am still trying to think it is real.  I know her death changes my life more than if my sister died.  Hard to say but it is true.====JACK:  Thinking of the loss of your dear friend....Such a close friend can be as if God were at our side.  I believe that people can come into our lives as part of the will of God.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Yup! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€====JACK:  ...and the church where they meet is called, St, Sunny's.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Old friends and new friends are priceless====JACK:  I remember our first reconnection after H.S. graduation.  It was at a class reunion at Short Hills in the lobby.  "The years go by, as quickly as a wink..."  Do you recall that song?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Yes, I have a few who stood by me in thick and thin.  One of my "friends" said to me, "I have more friends than you".  Yes, she did however, I have friends who love me no matter what happens.  I stood by her when her husband was admitted to a hospital with a mental breakdown.  Where were her other friends?!? ====JACK:  When times get tough, I'd celebrate the friends who are there to stand by me.  Life's too short to fret about the others, ====JUDY:  Yes, very true!!! Make new friends but keep the old: one is silver and the other ones gold.  Girls Scout Song.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/19/18
“Hey, I found your nose.  It was in my business again.”  (Unknown)  I recently discovered that the word, vaping, refers to inhaling and exhaling the vapor from electronic cigarettes.  Ann Landers, in giving advice, would sometimes write, MYOB (Mind Your Own Business).  When is it OK to enter someone else’s “space.”  I’ve been involved in some interventions with regard to substance abuse.  When do you choose (or not) to stick your nose in?  Any ideas?     ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I’ve often found it to be a good “discussion starter” with the one I felt an intervention was in order, if they were open to it....Case in point—a gentleman I personally know who was sober and used greatly with the local AA group for over 40 years, decided suddenly to fall back into alcoholism. He had lost his wife to death a few years prior.  He has now found not being in good health, having dropped all relationship with the local AA chapter he was so heavily involved with, moved into an independent housing complex and has been seen inebriated a number of times by others in the complex and at the Eagle Club he frequents often. He was always a good source and reference I would be helped with and used in regard to helping others with their addiction.  There is not one piece of advised I can give him that is not already known to him. I’m thinking he has concluded that his life is coming to an end, he no longer desires any relationship with soberness necessary and he might as well enjoy the addiction once again all my himself until death.  I just now have been in contact with him once again while visiting another family in the complex he is resides in. I’m working on an opportunity to ask the question to him, “In his experience over the years with AA, how does one do an intervention with a person who has been sober for over 40 years, helped countless others overcoming their addiction and now has decided to once again have a relationship with the old addiction once again?’ Stay tuned!?!?====JACK:  You answered the right call.  This world needs more people like you, not more professional bowlers.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  I think there are two issues related to "minding someone else's business".  First, do you really want to help the person, and then, it's not whether you stick your nose in, but the manner in which you express your concern for them.  I've heard of people saying to a smoker, "I hope you enjoy your cigarette, and I hope you will enjoy your lung cancer too!"  I think that sort of uppity attitude won't convince anyone to change.====JACK:  You're right!  An "uppity attitude" turns people off, or as we say in the church business... a "holier than thou" attitude.  You have to really care to express real care.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Perhaps when you strongly feel someone may be a danger to himself or others - i.e. Nikolas Cruz?====JACK:  After the fact, it's easy to say, "Woulda, coulda, shoulda."  ====RS:  Yep - Hindsight is usually 20/20.====JACK:  It's been a long time since I've seen 20/20 on an eye-chart, but, thankfully, I have my wits about me...sorta.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Ordinarily I would not interfere with adults unless someone was in danger. With children I might use a different technique ====JACK:  How does that strategy work with the Parable of the Good Samaritan?  That's a rhetorical question.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  HA! Funny! In our families we often are tempted to "Poke our nose in", but Bill used to say, "All we have to do is love them; If they want our input, they'll let us know..." Many times we were thanked for our "unconditional love"! :-) But in cases of intervention (and we've had a few) it is a loving and concerned thing to do, and usually much needed, but the kicker is it has to be done with really warm love and caring, which often is not the case!  I read once that our noses and ears continue to grow throughout our entire life; Hopefullyl they won't be "found" where they are not wanted! Oh dear!====JACK:  My experience with "intervention" was at the request of relatives and the therapist...not by the one who had "the problem." It's a very intimidating experience.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  When the individual is a danger to him/herself and /or others. If you are qualified to help. If not then find a professional ====JACK:  Just like with medications, the wrong ones can do more harm than good.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  I think you have to stick your nose in someone else’s business if you are fearful for their safety, their lives or the lives of others around them.  Years ago we did a family intervention with my oldest sister who was found sleeping in her car. She had no heat or water in her house trailer.  We knew some things weren’t going well for her, but each time we confronted her as individuals, she had a believable answer for us.  This went on until one morning her neighbor reported that she’d come to her home for coffee and wasn’t making any sense; she’d seen her sleeping in her car with the motor running.  It was very difficult for us to do this but we asked her pastor to join us to keep things civil.  Alas we got her moved into better living conditions and 5 months later she crossed a highway on a raining night wearing dark clothes to buy a lottery ticket and was hit by a car and she died.  We were never sorry for sticking our noses in her business, but were sorry she lost her life for such a silly thing.  We also felt immense pain for the lady who hit her; have often wondered how her life moved forward. ====JACK:  An "intervention" means that you care.  It is simply one way to confront a problem.  To do nothing is another way.   Alvin Toffler said:, "It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution."

FROM BCESQ:  My approach for my kids:
1. Does it involve their safety or the safety of others;
2. Does it involve legality
3. Does it involve morality
Almost anything else, I respect their privacy.
====JACK:  I guess the only question is about morality.  Different people have different moral values.  You would probably mean commonly accepted values.====BC:  When I talk about it with my kids, I reference the foundational moral values learned at church.====JACK:  One of my favorite tasks as a pastor was teaching confirmations classes (7th,8th,9th graders) which included basic morality, centered on the Commandments...not only learning the Commandments, but also learning, "What does this mean?"

Friday, February 16, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/16/18
“Wealth hasn’t changed who I am.  My feet are still on the ground.  I’m just wearing better shoes.”  (Oprah)  I remember during the Great Depression…I had a hole in the sole of my shoe, my dad cut out cardboard and put it in the shoe to cover the hole.  Maybe you, too, can recall times that were “tougher” than they are today.  Robert Schuller wrote a book, “Tough Times Never Last.  Tough People Do.”  Hang in there, and keep your feet on the ground.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM HONEST JOHN:  And everyone wore Thom McAnn (sp.?) shoes.====JACK:  I always wondered why Tom McAnn would misspell his name as, Thom McAn.====JOHN:  I thought I remembered that spelling but it seemed reasonable that it should be other....I was too lazy to look it up....thanks====JACK:  I wasn't being picky.  It was a name that seemed to be misspelled.  Out of curiosity, I discovered that the shoe store name was inspired by Scottish golfer Thomas McCann. The first Thom McAn retail store opened in New York in 1922.  The brand is now sold by K-Mart and Sears.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  another good WW.  I remember the cardboard to cover the holes in my shoes. And if Mom took me to buy a pair of Tom McCann shoes I was in Hog Heaven. ====JACK:  Only "rich" people could afford Florsheim's.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The thing about the depression of the 1930’s is that everyone seemed to be having the same problem. We were just busy having fun with friends with things that did not require a lot of money-like jumping rope, building forts in the woods, climbing trees, etc. I remember the holes in the shoes too!====JACK:  Sometimes, instead of the cardboard, I went to Mr Ringquist, the shoemaker, who would cut a piece of leather in the shape of a half-dollar and nail it over the hole.  He changed 10 cents for the repair.

FROM DMF:  I suppose the carboard had to be replaced regularly====JACK:  You are right... especially when the weather was snowy or rainy.  And, sometimes the cardboard would wear out because of walking or running.

FROM TARMART REV:  You just scored “a hole in one” kind of post this morning, Jack!! Thank you!! 0;-)===JACK:, Why do golfers wear two pair of pants?  Ans: In case they get a hole in one.====REV:  ;-))====JACK:   Bowling One Liners...I go bowling once every four years to make sure I still hate it...Bowling is a sport that should be right down your alley. If you can't hear a pin drop, then something is definitely wrong with your bowling...If our small town didn't have bowling, there'd be no culture at all.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  my Mom told many similar stories from her days on the farm in the 1930s.  even Margaret tells of having some dresses made out of those somewhat colorful feed sacks on her farm.  good memories in some ways too.  the movie, Grapes of Wrath, was on TV the other night.  almost hard to believe that some Americans were truly that poor. ====JACK:  Loretta Lynn sings the song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," to tell what it was like, growing up poor.  Many of the Greatest Generation have some similar stories to tell.

Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter
In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler
We were poor, but we had love  That's the one thing that Daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar.

My Daddy worked all night in the Vanleer coal mines
All day long in the field a-hoin' corn
Mommy rocked the babies at night  And read the Bible by the coal-oil light
And ever'thing would start all over come break of morn'.

Daddy loved and raised eight kids on a miner's pay
Mommy scrubbed our clothes on a washboard ever' day
Why, I've seen her fingers bleed  To complain there was no need
She'd smile in Mommy's understanding way.

In the summertime we didn't have shoes to wear
But in the wintertime we'd all get a brand new pair
From a mail order catalog  Money made from sellin' a hog
Daddy always managed to get the money somewhere.

Yeah, I'm proud to be a coal miner's daughter
I remember well - the well where I drew water
The work we done was hard  At night we'd sleep 'cause we worked hard
I never thought of ever leaving Butcher Holler.

Well, a lot of things have changed since way back then
And it's so good to be back home again
Not much left but the floor  Nothing lives here anymore
Except the mem'ries of a coal miner's daughter.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Most of us who grew up in the 30's and early 40's remember putting cardboard in our shoes to "to "Patch a hole" in the sole!   But most everyone was in the same situation, so we just took it as a part of life! Rich in memories of good times that cost very little! A deck of cards or a balloon or ball, was cheap entertainment!====JACK:  Movies at the Roxy were 10 cents.  We used to do a lot of walking instead of paying bus fare.  In those days, walking was called, "Hoofing it."  Women and girls used to "do" their own hair.  Do you remember "Which twin has the Toni?"   Did you and Jan ever try that?

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/15/18
“moms thank u for showing me how to live and to spread the word  Love u more today than I did yesterday”  (Text from Snoop Dogg to his mother)  Believe it, or not…Dogg is in the process of creating an album of Gospel music.  He gives credit to his mother for inspiring him.  She’s an ordained evangelist and an advocate for battered women.  As her children were growing up, their home was always open for the neighborhood kids.  Think of how home has influenced you.    ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  snoop’s a stoner, but a good guy, pretty much...===JACK:   You got the message.  Even someone with a "rep" like Snoop Dogg's has a past.  I just wanted to point out the influence that a "home" can have on a person.  I recall that you've often mentioned the influence of home on your life.====LIZ:  people are born w/a sense of right & wrong to some extent. a conscience is a very real gift from god...====JACK:  My opinion, right or wrong, is that conscience is neutral at birth and is shaped by the social environment into which we are born.  Sociologists, psychologists and theologians may debate the subject, but who knows...for certain?====LIZ:  personality is largely genetic. intelligence is, for sure. psychoses are chemical in nature. ====JACK:  When it comes to how the brain works, I think that there are more questions than there are answers. ====LIZ:  agreed

FROM HONEST JOHN:  It not only lingers it has been exported to the North.   Amos would be appalled to see our country today....we make eighth century Israel look good.====JACK:  Where is that "Amos" of today who's willing to call out..."Listen to this, you fat cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria. You make it hard for the poor. You crush those in need. You say to your husbands, “Bring us something to drink!”  As the Lord God is holy, He has promised, “The days are coming when they will take you away with meat hooks. And the last of you will be taken with fish hooks.  You will go out through breaks in the walls. Each of you will go straight out. And you will be sent to Harmon,” says the Lord."  Substitute, if you will, names for the fat cows, the name of a place instead of Bashan, and Hell in place of Harmon.====JOHN:  They are not being heard....the fat cows of Bashan make too large a racket....and too many of those who call themselves either are deaf to the injustices or lack any credibility====JACK:  As we go back to each age in history, we see that things have a way of repeating themselves.  I'm reminded of the song lyric, "When will we ever learn?"

FROM TARMART REV:  More than I can think of . . . more so subconsciously, I'm sure! 0;-) ====JACK:  In many instances, it's not so much the "words" heard, but the examples seen.  As the Book of Proverbs says: "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  My mother took care of her father for ten years while he had dementia.he stayed up all night and walked and slept all day. My father and I worked or went to school all day! Mother had the patience and love to do that for so many years!====JACK:  Snoop Dogg's words could be your words..."moms thank u for showing me how to live."

FROM GDJ IN WI:  Snoop Dog is one of my favorites!====JACK:  I'm more of a Spike Jones fan.

FROM CS:  Love this!====JACK:  It sounds like the home your boys grew up in.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/14/18
“Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you.”  (Unknown)  Last week I read: that the Church needs to get over telling people how bad they are (all have sinned and fallen short) and concentrate on explaining the “grace of God.”  We continue to be caught up in seeing a gradation of sin (some are worse than others).  There’s a biblical word, propitiation, which the Church needs to define, so all may know that there’s a simple way to reach the Pearly Gates.    ;-)  Jack

FROM NW:  Your blog posts provide most of my inspiration and I always learn something from them.====JACK:  Then they accomplish what I intend them to accomplish...sometimes with a light touch , using Pearly Gates instead of Heaven.

FROM PT:  Blessed Ash Wednesday to you, Jack! The issue with that first quote about the church needing to get over telling people how bad they are, as you well know, is that we wouldn’t need the gospel and God’s grace then. Jesus said “I’ve not come to call the righteous but sinners…” No sin = no need for the Cross = no Jesus! We’re using Willimon’s book “Sinning Like A Christian” this Lent, and he says “It is a sure sign of a compromised church -  a church that has retired from doing battle with the principalities and powers, a church without prophets – when one finds a church that has ceased dealing with sin.”  As you read in that comment you quoted, I believe many churches and preachers like Joel Osteen and others have already ceased dealing with sin and put out a message that we’re basically good, wholesome people. Maybe that’s why churches are declining??? As you mention, we need to talk about God’s offer of forgiveness in Christ after we are honest about our true nature as sinful people who have fallen short of the glory of God!!  Thanks again for your ministry of encouragement!!!===JACK:  Thanks for your comments.  They show that you got the point that I was trying to make.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  that’s why i like episcopal church. never once have i been lectured abt sin from the pulpit.====JACK:  What is your definition of sin?====LIZ:  i don’t think a person can sin unless they know what they’re doing is wrong...====JACK:  ...and, how do they know unless someone explains it to them?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Let those without sin be the first to throw stones====JACK:  It seems to me that "the confessional" is not such a big thing for Catholics anymore.  How about at your congregation?====SHIRL:  Lots of things have changed. Our priest is very good at understanding modem times====JACK:  No confessional booths at your church?  In the Lutheran Church our worship begins with the congregation joining in the "confession."  God's forgiveness is announced for all who believe.====SHIRL:  Yes we have the confessional booths and also one night with many priests who hear individual confessions in private all around the ⛪ k

FROM TOM WITH WINGS:  Happy Valentines Day Jack.  Today's winning words rings so true!  Similar to Jesus' telling us to remove the rock from our own eye before remove the pebble from someone else's eye!  Hope you are well.  All the best and have a nice day.====JACK:  The ashes of Ash Wednesday are a reminder that, in the end, we each must stand before God.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Not having gradation of sins is difficult, as some sins DO seem, worse than others. But we are told sin is sin, and ALL have fallen short, so in God's eyes we would be sinners!  Therefore the need for forgiveness and Grace! I Like the WW admonition, "not judging others for "different sinning" than mine. :-) Something to ponder, as your words usually are. Thus, we usher in Lenten season! Happy Hearts day, by the way. We who have lost our mates can still be valentines to kids,, etc. etc. Love makes the world go round.====JACK:  Seeing some sins as worse than others (or, not as bad as others) is something akin to believing that salvation comes by the good deeds that are done during a lifetime.  I see nothing wrong with having a eulogy at a funeral, but the danger is in giving the impression that "good works" are the key to heaven.  Sometimes theology gets so complicated.  Do you remember the words of a hymn..."If our faith were but more simple, we would take him at his word, and our life would be all sunshine in the glory of the Lord" (or something like that).====OAKS:  Yes, that is the last verse of "There's a Wideness In God's Mercy: If our Love were but more simple, We should take him at his word; And our lives would be all
sunshine, in the sweetness of our Lord!"  •    Yet another school shooting, with 17 innocent lives
taken. I see taking a life as a "worse sin" than many others. Can't help it! !!====JACK:  It's easier to talk about sin in the abstract, not in the concrete.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/13/18
“The Lone Ranger was inspired by an African-American U.S. Marshal who rode a silver horse and had a Native-American sidekick."  (Carter Woodson)  Did you know that fact about Kemosabe?  And did you know that February is Black History Month?  …and that the first A.-A. female pilot was Bessie Coleman?  BTW, a girl with me in 6th grade was named after her.  …and can you believe it, that interracial marriage wasn’t legal in all states until 1967?    :-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That is very interesting Jack . How did I know all of those facts? Shirley Briere and I had discussed Bessie Coleman and wondered what had happened to her. That was after Shirley moved to Florida.====JACK:  You knew about the origin of the Lone Ranger?  I've tried to trace Bessie Mae through her father, the Rev W.T. Coleman, of the Bethel  AME Church.  No luck.

FROM ROBERT:  Thanks for sharing with so many this important fact most AA children of my day were told.  This makes me wonder whether my children know or remember these facts? So I'll remind them with your WW's====JACK:  There comes a time when you become the older generation, responsible for passing down stories from the past.  I'm grateful for Black History Month when I can learn a portion of American History that I did not hear about.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Inspiring... what will people write years from now with the tag line, "Can you believe...?"====JACK: "Can you believe...that people drove their own cars?  ...that everybody didn't have equal opportunity for health care?  ...that the political mess is worse today that it was back in 2018?"

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  Born a Crime, by biracial late-night host Trevor Noah, is excellent reading if you haven't already checked it out.====JACK:  Does an American marrying a German count as a mixed-marriage?====HT:  I'm sure some would have considered it so at that time.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  african-american, native american... do you identify as swedish-american?
i use this:  german-norwegian-dog-eatin’ sioux-american   don’t perpetuate racism. we’re all americans!====JACK:  Like it, or not, we live in a world ways of identification need to be followed - to get Social Security coverage, to get a passport, to be able to vote, to get a driver's license, to get access to credit, etc.  The newest i.d. will be facial recognition.  BTW, I am of German-Swedish background.===LIZ:  you see my point... unless you are a minority, you are a regular old american. sounds racist to me.  but no ID to vote... curious, indeed.====JACK:  I.D. to vote often depends on what part of the country you're in, and...then...what color your skin is.

FROM TARMART REV:  Opened up the way to marry my “Italian-American” sweetheart for some 47 years now. Truly a blessed “Heinz’s 57” variety white boy, I am!! 0;-)====JACK:  Who was most apprehensive about this "mixed" marriage...her family, or yours, or neither?====REV:  The twelve siblings were probably the first to marry outside the Italian heritage. I’m assuming this as both the parents were born in Italy. Three of the sister married AG pastors.====JACK:  Perhaps the most traumatic for "the family" was when the Italian Catholics first strayed into the AG religion.

FROM GOOD SAM LEE:  Interesting,  we have come a long ways but then again we haven't? ====JACK:  To see how far we've come, look at the makeup of your congregation.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Is this the famed “Besame Coleman”?  Herb and Nancy always laughed about it when they’d request “Besseme mucho” from a mariachi band at a Mexican restaurant.====JACK: That's a vestige from our racist days, growing up in Moline.  Nancy's tease, was "Perky," Bob Perkins was an A.'A. in Nancy's grade.

FROM GOPHER LYNN:  Good message today, as usual ====JACK:  David is my editor, to keep me from writing something stupid.  Frank Sinatra once had a hit song..."Saying Something Stupid."

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  our heritage of racism takes a very long time to totally eradicate!   this past October we spent 8 days traveling across Georgia,  Mississippi,  Alabama, and a part of Tenn. visiting many of the major sites of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s  while also meeting personally with many of  the "foot soldiers" who literally put their lives on the line advocating for change and progress.  some of their stories had us almost in tears.  amazing stories of suffering,  fear, hate, and also courage and hope.  not one of the speakers was bitter or vindictive tho they had every right be that way.====JACK:  I'm not proud of my racist roots, but it is what it was..and, hopefully, I've made some progress.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  Isn't it a shame that it couldn't have been portrayed in the color of the story. I wonder if the character in, was it Blazing Saddles, played by, was it Cleavon Little, is based on this story. Lots of questions and speculation... Just pondering! Sometimes I make my brain hurt. ====JACK:  I remember the Lone Ranger first on radio.  Black or white, you had to use your imagination.  When he appeared in the movies and on TV, it was at a time when a black ranger would probably have been unacceptable.  That was before the "marches."  Everything has its time....even though the idea of that may cause brain pain.

FROM AW:  Just a reminder that I continue to enjoy your Winning Words. I especially enjoyed today's history lesson, probably more because my late mother was named Bessie.  Thanks for continuing to share Winning Words.====JACK:  If your mom was born after the mid-20s to early 30s, she was probably named for that female pilot.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  When Richmond fell to union troops, Grant and a black regiment march in as part of the conquering force.====JACK:  I waited all day to hear from my Civil War experts to verify what you wrote.  One of them sent this account:  "On April 3, 1865, the Rebel capital of Richmond, Virginia, falls to the Union, the most significant sign that the Confederacy is nearing its final days.  For ten months, General Ulysses S. Grant had tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate the city. After Lee made a desperate attack against Fort Stedman along the Union line on March 25, Grant prepared for a major offensive. He struck at Five Forks on April 1, crushing the end of Lee’s line southwest of Petersburg. On April 2, the Yankees struck all along the Petersburg line, and the Confederates collapsed.  On the evening of April 2, the Confederate government fled the city with the army right behind. Now, on the morning of April 3, blue-coated troops entered the capital. Richmond was the holy grail of the Union war effort, the object of four years of campaigning. Tens of thousands of Yankee lives were lost trying to get it, and nearly as many Confederate lives lost trying to defend it.  Now, the Yankees came to take possession of their prize. One resident, Mary Fontaine, wrote, “I saw them unfurl a tiny flag, and I sank on my knees, and the bitter, bitter tears came in a torrent.” Another observer wrote that as the Federals rode in, the city’s black residents were “completely crazed, they danced and shouted, men hugged each other, and women kissed.” Among the first forces into the capital were black troopers from the 5th Massachusetts Cavalry, and the next day President Abraham Lincoln visited the city. For the residents of Richmond, these were symbols of a world turned upside down. It was, one reporter noted, “…too awful to remember, if it were possible to be erased, but that cannot be.”====DAZ:  I think that’s all substantially true. Not sure about the 5 th Mass but the story goes that a union general specifically picked a black regiment for the entry into Richmond.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  good fact!====JACK:  Will Rogers said: "All I know is what I read in the papers."  Today, "facts" come from the internet.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/12/18
“We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.”  (Anna Sewell)  I never liked the word dumb to describe animals or people who are unable to speak.  Voice is only one way to communicate.  Tail-wagging, smiling, growls, scowls, whimpering and tears express feelings, too.  A list of words that should be banned is published yearly.  I nominate the word, dumb.    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  This subject of “words” fascinates me. I think George Carlin brought the subject into mainstream thinking.  I’m gravitating towards making personal decisions over promoting banning. I see the example of the drive to ban the “N” word.  I don’t know anyone who uses this word in normal conversation. I don’t hear media personalities using this word in general conversations.  However, I do hear and see it being used in music and literature. How it’s used is interesting as a cultural study.  I think of this as s serious matter when concerned parents want to ban Tom Sawyer from school libraries.  Interesting topic and I do think people are largely “judged” by the words they chose to use.====JACK:  Words are words.  Banning them won't make them go away.  The use of words in context is part of education.  Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are not only novels, but a historical sociological tool, as well (given the right teacher).

FROM TRIHARDER:   Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being stumbled over.  (Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr)====JACK:  Some people are treated like dogs, and some dogs are treated like people.  When I was growing up our dog never once went to the vet.  Now, some people have pet medical insurance, and other people can't afford medical insurance for their children. Something's not right.====TH:  Yes, people will pay extreme amounts to provide care for their animals. I am not one of those people. 

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I just never like to refer to anyone or to anything as dumb. Period ====JACK:  In 7th grade, do you remember Dora C?  Even though she was pretty smart, we used to call her, Dumb Dora.  

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Mark's widow Lori brought her"Sweet Baby POO" puppy (Penelope Olivia Oaks) to lunch with us here yesterday, and she certainly could communicate, smothering with kisses when she was pleased with you, yelping when she wanted your attention, and pawing your leg, barking when she wanted out for a few minutes only( It was icy and frigid out!)  etc. She seemed to understand so much!  I'll never forget when our dog (growing up in Moline) had puppies, and one was still born. Roodles put her paw around that baby, and tears rolled down her furry cheek! I've never seen anything like that before or since,  We were dumbstruck!  There's a lot we don't understand in regard to animals !====JACK:  I've never heard of "dog tears" before, but if you saw them, I believe that they exist.  I used throw a wad of paper on the floor and tell our dog (Tiger), "Put it in the garbage," and he'd pick it up and put it in the waste basket.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i wonder if the word (found in places like the old King James version of the Bible) meant that there was a time when people truly thought speechless people were dumb or stupid??   i suspect so.  or was it like the word "suffer the little children to come unto me..."  which over time took on an entirely different meaning??    just curious....====JACK:  Most word searches go back to a German root, meaning: stupid.  I did see one pre-historical root: confusion, stupefaction.  Today, it has been enhanced to: dumbass.  ====PAUL:  that was a favorite word of David Letterman as i recall...

FROM DOWNRIVER JOHN:  Pastor Jack,  Thanks for all you do for all of us through Jack's Winning Words.  I hope this note finds you well and staying warm in this cold winter.  I couldn't help but send you this in response to your piece today. 
====JACK:  Thanks for the Jane Goodall video.  She's one of my favorite people.  Even the chimpanzees recognize and like her.  A perfect refutation of "dumb animals."  Have you seen any evidence of wildlife recognizing you?

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I'm beginning to want to nominate "fake" for reasons that don't need to be expressed====JACK:  I remember the term, fakir, referring to a Hindu aesthetic (strange person).  The one who continues to call out, "fake news," might now be called, the faker (strange person.

FROM DM IN LIV:  I couldn’t agree more!====JACK:  The dog is wagging his tail. 

FROM JE IN WLSD:  I agree Jack. Baxter, our cocker spaniel-poodle mix, is so expressive. To Rob’s chagrin, I taught Baxter to speak when he wanted something. So he barks – too much. I have to be more patient with him. He gives so much love and is such an important part of our family. He is the farthest from dumb ( agree this word should be banned) there is – he can give you all four paws – seriously, he can give you each of his back paws as well as the usual front paws when you command, “give me your paw.” Our Baxter wants to know which paw you want?====JACK:  When he gives me his hind leg I want to make sure he's only doing it to say "hello."====JE:  No worries if you’re inside. All bets are off if you’re outside. 

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  When we were growing up we used to celebrate πŸŽ‰ Lincoln s birthday on this date in illinois! It all seems like so long ago!====JACK:  .,,and Washington's birthday on the 22nd, and Armistice Day on 11/11 at 11 am.  "Stand and face the flag!"

FROM TARMART REV:  Even the so-called "dumb" have God on their side. if they accept His help--  "And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say" (Exodus 4:11-12 King James Version).====JACK:  God even made Balaam's "dumbass" to speak.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  I agree!!!! Wag wag;-)====JACK:  Is that you or the dog?

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  no words should be banned. many words have more than one meaning. but i agree w/your sentiments...====JACK:  Book banning (and burning) is dangerous, too.  Education is the process of using words properly.

FROM KF:  Dogs are amazingly honest and clear about what they are feeling; lack of words does not hinder expressing their feelings. Have you ever been so happy you wished you had a tail so you could wag it? : )   I have been known to substitute jumping up and down since I can't "wag".........====JACK:  
I could wash away sadness  Beatin’ hearts with the gladness  Wagglin’ all the same
And my friends would be laughin’  While my bum was busy dancin’  If I only had a tail!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/9/18
“Just when I think I’ve learned the way to live, life changes.”  (Hugh Prather)  Last week I saw a funny video…adults trying to pass a 3rd Grade test: history, grammar, spelling, science, with answers to be in cursive.  It’s funny, but not strange.  Times change.  If we don’t adjust to life’s changes, the 3rd graders will leave us behind.  Some friends of mine are involved in taking college courses for seniors..Lifelong Learning.  Yes, our learning should be lifelong.    ;-)  Jack

FROM JLF:  That sounds funny. Where did you find that video? I’d like to see that. I would probably struggle with it!====JACK:   Here you are....

BuzzFeed Video - Adults Try To Pass A 3rd Grade Test | Facebook

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Yup!!! And schools are criticized for not teaching kids “anything.”  Most parents have to study to help their 2nd graders with homework====JACK:  I even found that to be true when I was trying to help my children with homework during Middle School.

FROM PT AT OLCCP:  Jack – an old friend, Rev. Henry Jones, who was actually one of the preachers here at Orchard Lake back in the ‘30s and ‘40s when the church became Presbyterian, would always say “You only grow old when you think you’re too old to grow.” Much wisdom in those words for people of all ages!!====JACK:  I seem to remember Henry from the 70s when we were in the process of forming a Ministerial Association.  At the time I think he was a supply pastor in Commerce Twp or Walled Lake. 

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/8/18
*Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”  (Albert Einstein)  Much has been written about Einstein as a child.  Doctors were consulted, because he was slow to speak.  In school he was rebellious.  Classmates called him, “the dopey one.”  He was just different.  He had a great curiosity about things…like the compass his father gave him.  Maturation just isn’t the same for everyone.  That’s why we’re called, individuals.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I hate to debate with Einstein but I think education BOTH the learning of facts AND the training of the mind to think====JACK:  I'd rather discuss with "Einstein" what he meant by that statement.  Words taken out of context can mean different things.  That's why Bible quotes can be misunderstood without the context.  Even one's life in more than one incident.  ====JOHN:  I would guess that what he meant was that the latter was more important than the former.  With that I would agree.====JACK:  You're probably right, but only the context (or face to face conversation) may eliminate the "guess"work.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We still love to learn, don’t we?  We took a 4 hour Safari to see hundreds of exotic animals from around the world yesterday.  We fed ostriches, llamas and water buffalo and saw many animals who’s names I couldn’t pronounce!  That’s the kind of learning I enjoy!  Ps.  It was 86 and beautiful!  We saw the launch too along with a few hundred thousand people.====JACK:  ...and "what" did you learn?====JUDY:  Gary learned never to turn your back on a male ostrich...they bite hard.  I learned female ostriches bite gently.  And, I learned about animals I have never heard about before.  Also, i learned it’s good to leave Michigan for somewhere warm and toasty in February.  Or January or sometimes March!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That is one of the things that makes life interesting and challenging πŸ‘ ====JACK:   From your teaching days, does some "individual" come to mind who made great progress in learning...and thinking?====SHIRL:  Probably mostly in our children πŸ‘Ά a rocket scientist an enteprr eye a city planner A doctor and a lawyer All blessingsπŸ€====JACK:  Can you interpret…. an enteprr eye?====SHIRL:  Entrepreneur Ann owns her own swim team with camps private lessons etc which she has had since 1991. and All of her children were lifeguards thru high school and college

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I love Einstein's quote, "We all have ability for genius, but if you judge a fish by his ability to climb a tree, he will think himself stupid all his life"  I recently saw a cartoon illustrating that truth, picturing a penguin, an elephant, a fish, a dog and a monkey, and the trainer is saying "The winner will be the one to climb this tree the fastest!" (Tree behind them...) I think this quote is spot on, kids need to be taught to think for  themselves, but most teaching isn't aimed that way, and T/F or multiple choice tests are much more common that essay questions!  It seems that most real geniuses are eccentric in some way!  No worries there for me!  HA!====JACK:  We often hear that there are no more worlds to explore.  Quite the contrary.  There is so much more that is yet to be discovered and how it works.  And, what is it that gives us our personhood?  I'm not a fan of standardized testing.  To be able to answer a certain set of questions is only one phase of the learning process.  Why do some people "think" the way they do, and  why do other people think differently?  Who knows?  Perhaps in the Twilight Zone you and I are the real geniuses.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I didn't know that about dyslexic Albert Einstein. Thanx for the note! ====JACK:  I was talking with someone today about major college basketball players.  Few of them go on to make a living playing basketball.  What happens to the rest who have to go out into the world to make a living?  Do basketball "smarts" translate into business "smarts"?  Does their concentration on the sport leave time to absorb what is taught in the classroom?  Just wondering.
====GEORGE:  That's a good argument. After I graduated, bb athletes started practicing year-round. I couldn't spend that much time on the sport - I had engineering classes to study for. Plus I would get stale if I had to spend that much time on the sport. Today's bb players are so much more fit and "athletic" than my generation was. I felt the same way about jocks in the 40s, that we were far more advanced than they were.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/7/18
“We can have peace if we let go of wanting to change the past and wanting to control the future.”  (Lester Levinson)  I saw a cartoon where the guy says, “I’m not a control freak.  I just happen to be right 100% of the time.”  Whether it’s at home, in the office, or in politics, no one has all of the answers.  Life’s journey goes more smoothly when the suggestions of others are taken into consideration.  Even the GPS voice sometimes has to say, “Recalculating!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM DB:  Thanks Pastor Jack!====JACK:  Do you remember the song, "It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack?"  My kids used to sing it, changing "Master" to "Pastor."  This strange world does cause us to change our thinking from time to time...but that's OK.  That's how we get along with one another.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Nothing teaches  that better than debate.   You have to debate on either side of the issue...on the same day!    I was often amazed that at our synod conventions there was only one side to each issue.   The other side was considered heresy...even though there was no previous church teaching on it...or even if the previous church teaching was contrary to the new "truth."====JACK:  I think that the hoi poloi (me included) would have a difficult time with debate...too be able to see both sides of an issue and argue them passionately.  (Just wonderiing....) I know that you have firm opinions on certain issues.  Does your debate training cause you to "see the other side" of these issues?

FROM DN IN WB:  The Present (now) is the Present (gift) :)   Great job sharing WW!  Thank you so much!====JACK:  Curiosity caused me to look up "present."  It can be called either a homograph or a homonym.  As you used "present," which do you think it is, homograph or homonym or both?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  You will miss a lot in life if you don’t listen πŸ‘‚ to other people’s opinions ====JACK:  I don't always practice what I preach.  I never listen to Fox News.====SHIRL:  U r  not getting both sides to make a good decision for u there r always two sides at least to every issue ====JACK:  "Father, forgive me, for I have sinned."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The philosopher Eric Hoffer opines, "In times of change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned  find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists!" Never have changes  come so fast and furious as in this century...a world my grandparents couldn't have imagined! We know we can't change the past, so let it go; Harder not to try to control the future. I've had to "recalculate" more than  a few times, in my "later" years! :-) ====JACK:  Sometimes we have short memories.  It was scary when Russian ship were bringing missiles to Cuba, with launch pads pointed toward America.  Helicopters and war planes were flying daily in squadrons over of house in suburban Chicago.  I guess every generation has its story to tell about things that frightened them.  If we live long enough, we can span generations and see things in perspective.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  please send this to the current occupant of the Oval Office!! ====JACK:  I don't have his e-mail address.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/6/18
“I’m always sorry when pleasant things end.  Something still pleasanter may come after, but you never can be sure.”  (L.M. Montgomery)  Last Friday I watched the movie, Groundhog Day, for the umpteenth time.  Bill Murray lives the same day over and over and over again.  In some ways it’s tragic, but finally, that day ends, and it turns out to be perfect.  “Give time, time” and, the so-called bad things in life can turn out to be good.  Miracles do happen.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes they do!====JACK:  Usually we think of miracles as "out of the ordinary" events...but there are common things that happen each days that are miraculous in their own way--like breathing, like having people around to help us in our day to day living, etc.

FROM JK IN CA:  Thanks! I needed that!====JACK:  Seen or not seen, the presence of God surrounds us...and that includes you.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  You are so positive-thinking, Jack.  I admire you for that and I'm working at reviewing the joy in my life rather than the downers.  Thanks.====JACK:  Life is a challenge.  Even faith is sometimes a challenge.  "I believe; help my unbelief," said the distraught father to Jesus.  That's a sign of optimism.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  For some reason this made me think of Eugene O'Neill's play LAZARUS LAUGHED!  He pictures Lazarus' life after being raised from the dead, and much to the consternation of the pious and solemn religious leaders, he can't stop laughing, and his laughing (over what might have seemed a life challenge before) was contagious. The audience just had to join him in laughing! :-) The final enemy has been  defeated, what's not to laugh about? You got the message: Laughter is our soul's JOY song! So love one another, and enjoy the pleasant times, for sure, but "they'll know we are Christians by our Laughter", too!====JACK:  In the Bible it says that "Sarah laughed."  You would, too.  You might even faint.

FROM ANNE McC:  I believe in miracles.  See them daily.  Last Sunday, I text my kids (Packer fans) that I believe in miracles and was cheering for Eagles.  Only some believe in miracles.  O,ye  of little faith.  You know the ending!  Hope you are well.  Peace and prayers.====JACK:  Do you think that God ever watches football games?  Maybe He's too busy doing other stuff, like..."His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

Monday, February 05, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/5/18
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”  (Mahatma Gandhi)  I met someone recently and discovered that we have a mutual friend.  She referred to him as a mahatma.  I recall Gandhi being referred to as, Mahatma, but never checked the definition.  Now, I’m curious.  He’s someone highly regarded, a holy person, a sage.  If you’re into Star Wars, you might see Yoda as a mahatma.  I’m glad that I personally know one.    ;-)  Jack

FROM JS:  You are a mahatma.  At least, in my eyes.====JACK:  Usually eulogies (good words) are spoken after someone dies.  Thank you.  It's said that everyone can be an example to others...a good example or a bad one.  Your life, your enthusiasm, your integrity and your faith...They've been noticed and appreciated. 

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Mahatma Gandhi was a fascinating person, and certainly regarded as sage nd much respected.  You're fortunate if you have one or two Mahatmas in your life's journey. My son John did a superb job of officiating at the funeral of one of his best friends and fellow coaches this A.M., even though he is not a pastor or theologian. Mixing the Christian message and eulogy with funny stories; It was an upbeat service, and the room had SRO! (As the old theatre signs used to say, when all the seats were taken!)  I know you are considered  a Mahatma to many, and it's nice to hear that, before your funeral takes place!!  God bless!====JACK:  I'm sure that John's funeral message was well-received, because it was from the heart.  The "heart" that is his was nurtured by his father and his mother.  Take that as a truism and compliment.  I'm proud of my children, too, for how they have been influenced by the home in which they were raised.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i think his real name was Mohandas Gandhi and mahatma is something like "honored one"  or guru or sage, as you suggested.  not sure tho.  let me know if you find out more..====JACK:  Someone asked me today if Gandhi had a first name.  You're correct is writing that it was Mohandas.  Incidentally, Mohandas means "Son of Mohana" (a Hindu God),  so...Son of God.  Mahatma is simply a sign of respect for a wise person.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/2/18
“What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was the same and nothing you did mattered?"  (From the movie, Groundhog Day)  It’s that day…that movie ,,,and the same ending…again!  I know most of the dialog…”Do you know what today is?  Today is tomorrow!”  What day would you choose to live over again?  In reality, every day is new and special.  The Psalmist writes, “This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”      ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Enjoy each day ! Do your best !πŸ˜‡====JACK:  I doubt that any of us TRULY do our best.  But, at least, that's a good goal.====SHIRL:  If at first u don’t succeed try try again! Btw we r enjoying the beautiful beach at cocoa beach  Florida!what a wonderful day it is 😊 ====JACK: Michigan winter allows me to appreciate more what Cocoa Beach must be like.  ====SHIRL:  Tell me about it! It snowed in Ann Arbor either may 24 or 26 in 1963 the year we moved here ====JACK:  See!  You remember the pleasant things.

FROM TRIHARDER:  But he made the absolute perfect day.====JACK:  What's your idea of a perfect day?  In 1909 Carrie Jacobs Bond wrote the song, The Perfect Day, after watching a sunset in Riverside, CA.  It became so popular and was played so often that even Carrie got tired of hearing it.

When you come to the end of a perfect day,  And you sit alone with your thought,
While the chimes ring out with a carol gay  For the joy that the day has brought,
Do you think what the end of a perfect day  Can mean to a tired heart,
When the sun goes down with a flaming ray,  And the dear friends have to part?

Well, this is the end of a perfect day,  Near the end of a journey, too;
But it leaves a thought that is big and strong,  With a wish that is kind and true.
For mem'ry has painted this perfect day  With colors that never fade,
And we find at the end of a perfect day  The soul of a friend we've made.

====TH:  I used to have many perfect days. they involved activities with all of my loved ones.  We were camping in the Rockies. The skies were threatening. I took the kids on a short hike. It hot darker and darker. There were rainbows everywhere in the sky. So, we turn around and start hustling back. Dan was 7, Leah was 4. I threw her on my shoulders and we begin a sprint back to the tent and dive in, breathless, laughing as the skies open up. Jill is bewildered. We all lie in the tent cuddling waiting for the rain to stop ad the rain pounds the tent. The rain stops shortly and we resume our hike. That was a perfect day. ====JACK:  As Archie and Edith Bunker used to sing: "Those were the days, my friend.  We thought they'd never end."  I, too, had many happy days with my children when they were small.  Now, I have a different kind of enjoyment...relating to them as adults.====TH:  Yes, I enjoy that, too. But my face-to-face time is so infrequent.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  In Thornton Wilder's Our Town, Emily is advised to not go back to a big day but to an ordinary day.   I like that advice.   Some of our best days are "ordinary days." ====JACK:  Part of life's frustration is that we want to chase after "extra-ordinary" days and neglect enjoying the day at hand.  I think you're right with your comment afout the value of the ordinary day.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i am, & it doesn’t...====JACK:  For me, fantasy is fun.  I like to play the game....What if...?

FROM SHALOM JAN:  What I found interesting about "Groundhog Day" is that he actually did something different every day, such as learning to play the piano -- something he had wanted to do earlier in life but had pushed aside in his "climb" to success.  That's something I think a lot of us do, putting off till "a better time" things we could have enjoyed our whole life through.  And, I don't care what the little rodent says today with his shadow-watching, we're going to have six more weeks, and possibly more, of winter weather.  That 50-degrees several days ago?  That was just a much-needed break the Lord was kind enough to give us.====JACK:  Thanks for that insight of your...Being able to relive our todays would give us a chance to improve on what we have missed originally.  Of course, in some instances he did not always improve on the day...driving down the railroad tracks, jumping off of tall buildings.====JAN>:  Yes, of course, there were times when, to avoid repeating the same day one more time, he got a bit suicidal.  Can't say that I blame him.  Note: it was a human relationship that caused him to change that kind of behavior. ====JACK:  Right!  I'm watching it right now.  (on break.....I don't have to watch every minute, because I know what I've missed)  Back to the movie.

FROM VIKING LYNN:  Happy Groundhogs Day to you! I have already heard that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow.  Six more weeks of the snowy stuff this year ====JACK:  I read today that some people believe a rodent, but disbelieve climate change.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Good comments.====JACK:  God may not give us the chance to relive today tomorrow, but he does grant us forgiveness and the chance to do better tomorrow.

FROM LB:  Makes me think of my 102 (almost 103) year old mom living mostly in her bedroom with us.  The days are now so much the same for her that she doesn't know what day it is.  Yet, she can smile and get up and get dressed and enjoy a meal and isn't in any major pain.====JACK:  So what if some older people are forgetful?  It gives them a chance to relive their yesterdays and not be bored.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 2/1/18
“Ponce de Leon said, when he discovered the Fountain of Youth, ‘Where are the paper cups?’”  (Red Buttons)  Even though historians say that Ponce’s search for the Fountain of Youth is a myth, others continue to look for ways to end the aging process.  Some Silicon Valley billionaires are spending big money trying to solve “the problem of death.”  Ecclesiastes has it right.  “There’s a time to live and a time to die.”  Eternal Life is a spiritual thing.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  That's just it.    The problem of death has been solved.====JACK:  I recall the biblical "three score years and ten...or four score years," as being the norm for a lifespan.  I also remember being told that Methusalah, at 969 years old, was the oldest known person in the world.  With time, lifespans seem to change, but the end remains the same...death.====JOHN:  If they could cure any and every disease, there would still be one insurmountable problem...the human being.    We would be still liable to death at the hands of the sinfullness of our own species.    Original Sin rears its ugly head once again.====JACK:  So, O.S. is the cause of death?====JOHN:  If we solve all other problems related to is still there....====JACK:  Why do we tend to look upon death as a negative?  Didn't Bach write, Come, Sweet Death?====JOHN:  There are times at which I can totally relate to that.   I have known people at points in their life who longed for death.    My Dad was one.====JACK:  If we truly believe in the blessings of "Heaven," death loses its sting.
Come, sweet death, come, blessed rest!  Come lead me to peace  because I am weary of the world,
O come! I wait for you,  come soon and lead me,  close my eyes.  Come, blessed rest!

FROM KS:  I ended up talking to a retired guy at a coffee shop last week in Novi who said that a drug company he is associated with has discovered how to reverse the aging process and that it will be available in a few years.  Sounds unbelievable!  I like your quote and statement below.  Father Steve at “Spirit of Grace” said that in the Episcopal teachings it was taught to always pray for a death that you had time to be prepared for.  Thanks and have a blessed day.====JACK:  If that invention doesn't work, there's always cryogenic.  I understand that baseball legend Ted William's head has been frozen until such time as thawing works.  I think of the song, "I ain't got no body."  ====KS:  That’s funny !!!  I see that they are growing new ears.  Can’t replace your spirit….just heal it? ====JACK:  Let's see them try to grow a soul.

FROM INDY GENIE:  When reading the blog, I noticed that you said something about growing a soul. Reminded me of a “soul story” I experienced with 4 and 5 year olds in school last spring.
When looking at a model of the skeletal system, we were identifying the bones, ie. clavicle, skull etc. Zoe listened and then said , “But where  is the soul?” Finley responded, “Zoe , the soul’s not a bone.” Benjamin said, “Then what is the soul?” Zoe answered, “it’s what makes the heart work.”  I have the best job in the world.====JACK:  Who says theologians have to be older people with a string of initials after their name?  Your's is the best response of the day.====GENIE: btw...even though Zoe really gets the credit for the best response of the day, I like that it was the best response of the day...hee hee! :)

FROM TARMART REV:  "....entering myself into this time to physically die and spiritually live again!, noting the best is yet to come" 0;-)====JACK:  Knowing and believing this has allowed you to preach the many funeral sermons that you've been asked to do.====REV:  Had my share, definitely. . . 6 since January 3rd

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Red Buttons was one of my favorites. I still watch him on the Dean Martin Roasts.====JACK:  Another from Red Buttons...Donald Trump’s mother, who said, "Donnie! Stop playing Monopoly and get in that barber’s chair! "  More...I had a dream last night that your mom was living in an apartment next to ours.  I ‘saw” her face exactly as I remember it.  In the dream, she was taking care of you, because you were very sick.  Rob was there in the dream, too.  It all ended before I found out whether or not you made it.====RJP:  Good Trump joke! Funny one....well I made it so far!!!!!!!!  I guess you too are a dreamer!!!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It is an πŸ˜‰ age in which we live when so many people live to be over one hundred πŸ’― years of ageπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘====JACK:  You're getting close.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'd LOVE to lay my hands on one of those! I'll bet they're for sale somewhere...!====JACK:  You might want to follow up on this ad..."Water From the actual Fountain of Youth located in historic St. Augustine, Florida.     Bubbling up from the Floridan aquifer for millennia, this spring water supported the Timucua people of Seloy – a Native American village that thrived on these grounds for over three thousand years. This unique water quenched Ponce de Leon’s thirst in his quest for eternal life, and this water was instrumental in the 1565 decision by Pedro MenΓ©ndez to establish the First Colony of St. Augustine here on the Park grounds.  We sell the bottle empty as a keepsake from the Park.  ​We then fill it with Fountain of Youth Spring water for FREE!"  ====OAKS:  WHOOPEE!  I wonder how busy they are?! :-(====JACK:  Ponce died in Cuba in 1521 and is buried in San Juan, Puerto Rico.====OAKS:  Yep ...the ratio of death to people is escaping that! Pablo Picasso says, "One starts to get young at 60, and then it's too late..."! :-)  But I agree with the quote by poet Samuel Ullman "Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." Amen to that!  Hopefully  our souls benefit from "The Fountain of Youth"!  Cheers!====JACK:  A friend of mine sells anti-wrinkle cream, but you probably don't need any.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i just forwarded this is a fellow who is real "shaky" in his faith.  it may help some...====JACK:  Shaky people need some support, a cane, a walker, or someone like you.

FROM SIGMUND FREUD:  The goal of all life is death.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  "a time for every purpose under heaven" of the day!  i love red buttons.  funny man.====JACK:  I was re-reading some of Red's jokes.  It's interesting how humor changes with the passing of time.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/31/18
“Cellist Pablo Casals was asked why he continued to practice at age 90.  ‘Because I think I am making progress,’ he replied.”  (Seattle Opera post)  I recall seeing my grandmother, at age 92, reading her Bible with a magnifying glass.  In her last letter to me, she wrote: “Just put your trust in the Lord Jesus.  He will never fail you.”  She and Casals had this in common… “You’re never too old to learn something more.”  I guess it’s time to follow Nannie’s example.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  You have jogged my memory about a trip to hear Casals in Iowa city with Mary Poulter and her father sometime in our high school years. It is good to learn new ideas πŸ’‘ every day.====JACK:  Thanks to the internet, new ideas are available at the touch of a key, and music can be recaptured by way of YouTube.  I think I'll listen to some Casals!====SHIRL:  🎻🎻🎻====JACK:  He is good!====SHIRL:  Even after all of these many many years! Some things never change

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Beautiful====JACK:  The quote? or Casals' music? or both?


FROM CZB IN NH:  Reminds me of you and my dad- always improving, always reinventing, always learning.====JACK:  I remember his love for opera and the time a limo-ride was arranged for your parents to take them to the opera in NYC .

FROM BB IN CHGO:  This one warmed my heart.  I love Casals quote and the happy thoughts of your mom and your Mary.  You’ve been surrounded by some pretty amazing women from my perspective; not forgetting Beth and Jeanne either!====JACK:  Shortly after I received that letter from my grandmother, I officiated at her funeral, together with another grandson who was a Catholic priest.  It was my first funeral as an ordained pastor.  She was one of those who we would classify as "a true believer," in the best sense of the word.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Amen to that on my birthday today!  I hope I never stop learning useful things and caring about learning more!====JACK:  It may not be Casals, but it's the thought that counts.

CrazyCello Happy Birthday - YouTube

====\JAN: Thank you for my evening laugh!!  Such fun to watch and, actually, I think the playing was grand.

FROM SC IN GL:  Pastor Jack, Thank you for your daily messages. I look forward to them everyday. I am 80 now and decided it was time for me to learn how to use this new computer I bought a year ago. Bless you.====JACK:  It's a whole new world out there when you learn how to use the computer.  One of the first steps is to learn how to Google.  It's also good to know someone who's computer-literate to help with with questions.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We have so many options for life-long learning these days; how fortunate we are! And ways to see and hear again the masters who are no longer performing  or writing, etc. Casals was the ultimate cellist; talk about making an instrument "sing"! Yes, we always have something new to learn, even in "old age"!====JACK:  Life-long learning?  Here's a suggestion...
5-Star Cello Lessons In Springfield, IL ~ Expert Cello teachers ›
Choosing whether to play the violin or cello can be difficult, but this article will help you consider the advantages and disadvantages of each. The violin and cello are two of the most well-known and commonly studied instruments in the string family. Each one is central to the makeup of the orchestra we know today.====OAKS:  HA! After just listening to Casals play THE SWAN, and SONG OF THE BIRDS, I think I'll let the majesty of the Cello go undisturbed by Marilyn! I had to learn to play a simple tune on both the violin (very difficult to get a decent sound!) and the cello, as part of my Music Ed. degree, but believe me, you would not have wanted to hear me render either in public! :-(
====JACK:  So...Cross off that learning option'  What others are there?

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Your grandmother could have written the anthem we sang on Sunday.  HE NEVER FAILED ME YET.  The theme that came thru all the time was “trust and never doubt, Jesus will always bring you out, He never failed me yet”.  It was a real jazzy number and the congregation erupted when we finished.  It was fun.====JACK:  I'm going to YouTube it.

HE NEVER FAILED ME YET   Words and Music by Robert Ray

I will sing of God’s mercy,
Every day, every hour, He gives me power.
I will sing and give thanks to Thee
For all the dangers, toils and snares
That He has brought me out.
He is my God and I’ll serve Him,
No matter what the test.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

I will sing of God’s mercy,
Every day, every hour, He gives me power.
I will sing and give thanks to Thee
For all the dangers, toils and snares
That He has brought me out.
He is my God and I’ll serve Him,
No matter what the test.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

I know God is able to deliver in time of storm.
And I know that He’ll keep you
Safe from all earthly harm.
One day when my weary soul is at rest,
I’m going home to be forever blessed.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

I will sing of God’s mercy,
Every day, every hour, He gives me power.
I will sing and give thanks to Thee
For all the dangers, toils and snares
That He has brought me out.
He is my God and I’ll serve Him,
No matter what the test.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

Didn’t my God deliver Moses from King Pharaoh?
And didn’t He cool the fiery furnace
For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
When I think of what my God can do,
He delivered Daniel,
I know He will deliver you.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

I will sing of God’s mercy,
Every day, every hour, He gives me power.
I will sing and give thanks to Thee
For all the dangers, toils and snares
That He has brought me out.
He is my God and I’ll serve Him,
No matter what the test.
Trust and never doubt,
Jesus will surely bring you out,
He never failed me yet.

FROM JE IN WLSD:  This is so very true. Each Sunday I do the word search in the Sunday News/Free Press and so does my mom. This week’s puzzle was a list of famous chefs. The answer, after finding all the words, or hidden word with remaining letters, was Paul Bocuse.  I said to my husband, who is Paul Bocuse? He said: “He’s the French Chef who created French Nouveau cooking/cuisine and he just died at 90.” He then handed me the New York Times front page article on Mr. Bocuse. Paul Bocuse said: “You’ve got to beat the drum in life. God is already famous, but that doesn’t stop the preacher from ringing the church bells every morning.”  Rock on, keep moving, do your best. Thank our Lord Jesus for every day we have to make a difference.====JACK:  A pastor friend of mine has a license plate which reads: GOD ROX.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  You had a very wise grandma!  We could all learn from her.
====JACK:  My other grandparents had died before I was born, but I'm glad to have been able to know her.

FROM ANNE McC:  I love my weekly Bible study class.====JACK:  A young boy asked his friend why his grandmother was always reading her Bible.  "I think she's studying for her finals."  Is that why you go to your Bible study class?


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/30/18
“The bourgseoi are other people.”  (Jules Renard)  Try to pronounce, boo r-zhwah-zee.  It’s French for the Rich People, as opposed to the Proletariat, the Working Class.  Like it or not, society tends to identify people “financially.”  I thought that we might move away from that, but divisions seem even sharper today.  Jesus encouraged his followers to see all people as creatures of God and not to be overly impressed by wealth, or turned off by poverty.    ;-)  Jack

ROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  that is what makes people strive to work hard/succeed... it is more a problem than ever bc politics has driven huge wedges between us====JACK:  In the 16th century, the time of this quote, the separation of rich and poor was even more stark than it is now.  Those who tried to change things, even by their words, were often imprisoned and sometimes were sent to the gallows.  It is said that Bradford uttered the words of his quote as he saw fellow reformers being hanged.  Much of the reform speaking had to do with equalizing wealth.====LIZ:  communism equalizes wealth... everyone suffers equally.====JACK:  Some have accused Jesus of being a communist (sharing wealth with the poor and needy).  What do you think?====LIZ:  jesus was a libertarian.====JACK:  I think that Jesus would eschew labels, including Libertarian, Communist, etc.  He was always there to help the disadvantaged.====LIZ:  jesus believed in personal responsibility, i’m sure... personal responsibility encompasses charitable works.  jesus believed in liberty? i am assuming yes.  god is the original libertarian..====JACK:  Can you cite specific instances where God/Jesus expresses libertarian views?  I saw a listing of famous libertarians and the name of Jesus wasn't among them.  The earliest name I saw was John Locke in 1690, and his views were not based on Christian principles.====LIZ:  where doesn’t he?!  god/jesus wants us to follow the NAP, or non-aggression principle, basis of the libertarian party. god/jesus wants us to be free from oppression, a tenet of libertarianism. god also made us free to roam... tho i am not an open borders libertarian.  the LP was founded last century, so you are correct that jesus was not an actual card-carrying libertarian, nor was he even an american...

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It doesn't matter how much money πŸ’° u have or don't have it matters what kind of a person u r====JACK:  A pastor received a call to a prestigious congregation.  Before accepting the call, he disguised himself as a poor person and attended worship on a Sunday.  What do you think?  Did he accept the call?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  There were a number of "rich" kids in our H.S. gang, but they really weren't "other " people to us; They've been life-long friends.  Of course even the poor in the U.S. would be considered "rich" in some other countries...but if you're talking multi-Millionaires or Billionaires, yes, to most of us it's how "the other 1% lives"...and wealth definitely does divide our country into factions. J.L.Kraft (say 'cheese'!) was a very generous American Baptist, and he seemed down-to-earth and humble just to talk to. He was besieged by appeals for financial help, and one Seminarian wrote to him, saying God had told him Mr. Kraft would pay for his seminary education. Mr. Kraft wrote back, "Good. when God tells me the same thing, I'll do it." :-) He'd worked hard, and expected others to do the same!  I imagine my pet rock will learn to talk before wealth is evenly distributed in this country or any other!====JACK:   S.S. Kresge and J.C. Penney were rich people who lived their faith.  Penney's was originally called, The Golden Rule store where employees were told to treat customers as they, themselves, would like to be treated.

FROM TARMART REV:  Thanks, Jack . . . this fit well with my Facebook devotional this morning . . . I shared it, hopefully with your blessing.====JACK:  Yes, I saw that, along with instructions as to how to sign up to receive Winning Words.  Thanks

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I always thought of it as representing the middle class people...particularly merchants....who often were rich, but not  necessarily so.    I know you look everything up, so I am probably off base.   I thought of them as a class that were no longer peasants but not aristocrats. ====JACK:  I suppose that there are nuances, but I think that the division was basically between the haves and have nots.  The have nots were pressing the communist view that the wealth should be shared.  In the 16th century there seemed to be much sharper divide that there is today.====JOHN:  I don't recall reading about Communists in the 16th century....the Chartists in England came much later....the Marxists came from  19th century the 16th century, the Peasants were looking for a break and done land....I don't recall them working for  a remaking of society.... ====JACK:  Note the small "c"..."communist view".  Regardless of labels, each age has seemed to have unrest because of the power of wealth.  Even the Rich Man & Lazarus story speaks of it.
====JOHN:  I think though that communism as a societal movement was a much later phenomenon.    The earlier struggles were mainly just uprisings that came from fury and a sense of injustice.....communism often flourished in families and small groups. (e.g.  The early church).   The "estates" were generally the nobility,  the bourgeois, the clergy and the peasants.    Peasants sought not a radical change of society but an upgrade in their daily lives.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  good words for today,  Jack.  thanks! ====JACK:  How is winter life among the bourgseoi?====PAUL:  temps in the 70s almost every day since we arrived a month ago.  sunny skies.  nothing to complain about whatsoever!!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/29/18
“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”  (John Bradford)  As Larry Nassar walked out of the courtroom last week, I thought of Bradford’s 16th century words, spoken as he watched criminals walk to the gallows.  What is it that keeps us from walking that walk?  What is it that determines the choices that we make?  Nature of nurture?  I’ll always be grateful for those who taught me right from wrong.  But ultimately, “free will” says that the choices I make are mine.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  We all need all the help we can get-especially the grace of GodπŸ‘ ====JACK:  Seen, or unseen, our faith assures us that God is always with us.====SHIRL:  We were so lucky πŸ€ to have grandparents and parents with such strong faith. It is much harder these days with our crass culture ====JACK:  Just a are now the parent, the Gparent and GGparent, the someone who is sharing the faith.====SHIRL:  And I ❤️ it all don't u?====JACK:  Yes

FROM SF:  My grandfather said this all the time. So do I. Thanks for the reminder! ❤️====JACK:
Like it, or not, teachers and preachers are looked upon as paragons.  Sometimes that's a heavy burden to bear, but it goes with the job.====SF:  Teachers...not so much any more. Still awfully proud of what we did, though!!

FROM GJ IN WI:  Good 😊 morning Jack!  How are you doing! K and I often share your words to start our day.  " But for the grace of God..."  is something my mother taught me and it started me on the path of compassion and humility.  I'm curious. The time stamp on your Winning Words is often deep in the night. Do you stay up late, wake up really early or is it an automatic post?   Things here are great. K& I are both officially retired. After 8 years of taking Interims etc. I'm DONE.   Love waking up to your words and the delicious irony of you still mentoring me after all these years.  ====JACK:  First...It's good to hear from you again.  Second...It's my feeling that "the grace of God" (together with our right choices) has kept us out of many troubling situations.  There's a song, titled, "My God and I."  In some ways it's syrupy, but the point is that God is active in our lives.  I like the 3rd stanza..."My God and I will go for aye together,  We'll walk and talk just as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,  But God and I will go unendingly.
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,  But God and I will go unendingly."  ...Finally, I try to send out Winning Words so that they are among the first words that people see on the screens in the morning.  Maybe it's habit, but I do wake up in the middle of the night.  Rather than toss and turn, I send out the WWs (if it's after 3 am...midnight on the west coast) and then go back to bed to resume tossing and turning.  I remember going into Detroit with you and seeing the neighborhood where you grew up.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  These were also (supposedly) the words of Billy Sunday, when he passed a drunk sprawled in a gutter.  Sometimes it seems like a seemingly innocuous decision turns out to have life-long consequences, either positive of negative. Some H.S .friends of Bill's, as Seniors, got the bright idea one night, of climbing his hometown  water tower, and painting the class graduation date, and their initials on it. Bill tried to talk them out of it, to no avail, and he decided not to participate, and went on home. they were caught "desecrating public property"...expelled from school, not allowed to graduate with their class, One young man who was an outstanding athlete, from a poor and unstable family, lost his college scholarship, since he didn't graduate, and ended up going down a path that led to incarceration for several years.  Oh, to have that few minutes back, to reconsider...!  They knew right from wrong, but as you say, with free will, chose poorly! ====JACK:  A seemingly "harsh" punishment for a high school prank.  From my point of view, I think that it could have turned into a more positive learning experience.  As I've said before, "The Greatest Generation" tended to see things as black and white...right is right and wrong is wrong, and you have to pay the consequences.  The fact remains that "free will" can be a dangerous gift. ====OAKS:  The Chief of Police insisted on severe consequences. The guys could graduate at the end of the summer, if they publically apologized for their "illegal act", which most did, and went on to college (or jobs) but this guy,backed by a couple of rowdy brothers, refused to comply...:-( ====JACK:  At least "grace" was offered.  It's the same with God's grace.  It's offered, but whether you take it or not is up to you.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Evil is strong in this Fallen world.  Temptation is at our finger tips.  It’s so very easy to think you can handle it, but for the Grace of God, we go there!  Somehow good people get caught up in bad stuff.  Not sure why.====JACK:  "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."  The difference is to rely on the grace of God.  "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I read once that there is a certain common strain in the DNA of serial killers.  The author said he had that, but that the love and caring he had in his childhood allowed him to overcome that tendency.  I agree that we all bear the responsibilities of our choices, but also that we are the products of our environment and that people can change/repent and make better choices going forward.  Chuck Colson might be an example of that.  Thank God that it is never too late to repent. ====JACK:  The bottom line is that sin is personal, an individual's need for God's grace.  Society make one sin worse than another...but, sin is sin.  There is no DNA that I know of that shows anyone to be sinless.