Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/17/18
“The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”  (Oliver Wendell Holmes)  Marketers are very interested in studying the behavior of various generations.  Today’s focus is mainly on “What makes the Millennials tick?”  Surprisingly, these 3, Boomers, Xers and Ms have more in common, than expected.  They all like blog articles, e-books and dislike white papers.  Give them short-stuff.  It even shows in a preference for shorter sermons.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I like all of them variety is the spice of life.====JACK:  As a member of "The Greatest Generation," your opinion is very much respected...However, as the number of GGers continues to shrink, their statistical influence continues to shrink, as well.====SHIRL:  Our young polish priest is always short and right on point and always includes some humor and historical fact new he is from Chicago ====JACK:  And you like him, don't you?  Which makes my point.  "You don't put new wine in old wineskins," said Jesus.Yes he certainly understands what life holds for everyone ⛪️⛪️⛪️====JACK:  Some criticize priests and their comments on marriage, because they've never been married.  But most of them have grown up in a family and have observed and made judgment on what works and what doesn't work.  Good sense or non-sense is not the possession of any age group or any religion.

FROM TARMART REV:  Very true . . . with shorter responses.====JACK:  Even letter-writing seems to be a lost art, being replaced by brief e-mails, or even shorter texts.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "It doesn't matter how old you are, or where you're from, manners, kindness, compassion and respect will always be the sign of a decent human being." .I jotted this down from some source and posted it on my PC!  The GG's influence is fading, or at  least in
question by the current gov't leaders. Discouraging to say the least, but I'm still convinced that the majority of us strive to be decent human beings!====JACK:  It's been my observation that many GGers see things in black or white, right or wrong.  They tend not to mess with Mister In-between.  Is that just me?  Millennials seem to be more accepting of "different" people.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Oh boy…does this mean we’re headed for the shallows rather than the depths?  I hope not!====JACK:  Shallow or deep thinking doesn't depend on the number of words used, but on the choice of the words.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/16/18
“Have faith, hope, and charity; that’s the way to live successfully.”  (Dale Evans)  Dale and her husband (Roy Rogers) were both very religious people.  Her quote is from a song she wrote, called, “The Bible Told Me So,” based on 1 Corinthians 13:13.  Colin Powell, describing what makes a successful life, says: “Have a plan and be structured…Focus on commitment…Get rid of distractions and negativity…Associate with positive people.”  Maybe it’s a blend.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  For years, especially the couple where I chaired the 150th anniversary of the Nova Scotia Pony Express, I signed correspondence with "Happy Trails".
One night I woke up dreaming about Dale Evans--hadn't thought about her since I listened to the Roy Rogers Show on radio when I was a kid. When I heard the news that morning, Roy Rogers had died.
That's the whole story.====JACK:  Here's an interesting sidelight..."Janis Joplin left a taped recording of Happy Trails as a birthday greeting for John Lennon on October 1, 1970, three days before her death. Lennon, whose birthday was October 9, later told Dick Cavett that her taped greeting arrived at his home after her death."
Some trails are happy ones, Others are blue.
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you.
Happy trails to you, Until we meet again.
Happy trails to you, Keep smiling until then.
Who cares about the clouds when we're together?
Just sing a song, and bring the sunny weather.
Happy trails to you, Until we meet again.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:   ...and eliminate the negative.====JACK:  Always focus on the positive.

FROM TARMART REV:  Well stated, Jack! ====JACK:  St Paul said it first and said it best.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  How true: You can't surround yourself, or hang out with negative people, and expect to live a positive life!! I have a pillow that says, CHOOSE HAPPY. Often it IS a choice,
and becomes a habit, or way of life!  Even our mourning of lost loved ones can be positive, thankful for the years we had together, rather than bemoaning our loss!  Interesting facts about the Happy Trails song on your blog! I'd forgotten the verse part of that song. So today we'll ride the frigid wintry trail with a positive attitude of gratitude!====JACK:  One of my all-time favorites is Johnny Mercer's, "You Gotta Accent the Positive, Eliminate the Negative."   (You can probably sing it) ====OAKS:  YES! My Sis and I used to sing the chorus of that song in our programs.
Good advice for any time and occasion!

Gather 'round me, everybody  Gather 'round me while I'm preachin'
Feel a sermon comin' on me  The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
If you wanna hear my story  The settle back and just sit tight
While I start reviewin'  The attitude of doin' right

You've got to accentuate the positive  Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative  Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum  Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium's  Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark  Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

(Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")  ("Eliminate the negative")
("And latch on to the affirmative")  Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive  Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative  Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, don't mess with Mister In-Between

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Roy and Dale were very special people.  We loved their program and it was one we were always allowed to watch.  Colin Powell lives the life he talks about and in politics that’s rare.  We all need a blend!====JACK:  "Blend-ship, just a perfect friend-ship."

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  that being said, i bet Powell was more than happy to get out of that GW Bush White House!====JACK:  I wonder if the General still identifies with the GOP.

FROM PH:  Interesting. My father (a professional magician) knew both of them. He also was friends with Milky the Clown. Fond memories.====JACK:  Yes, I do remember that your father was a magician...and that you were his assistant.  Do you ever watch The Carbonaro Effect on Tru TV?  He is good, and the show is funny at times.  BTW, are you still collecting for Toastie Toes?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/15/18
“We relish our heroes, forgetting that we are extraordinary to someone/”  (Helen Hayes)  Just as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so are our heroes.  Lincoln was admired by many, but not by all..  MLK Jr is considered to be an America hero, but not all would agree.  Even Jesus couldn’t reach 100% in terms of admiration.  What do you consider to be the attributes of a hero?  Helen Hayes points out that each of us, in some way, can be heroic to someone.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Helen lived in nyack on the Hudson and had a book club which met there (I am sure they discussed many heroes) my bridesmaid was a member of the club and an English teacher ====JACK:  Sometimes we forget that "stars" are just ordinary people who read books, who have friends, who discuss topics, who tell jokes and laugh.  It's interesting that you and H.H. had a mutual friend like that.====SHIRL:  Helen Hayes would come to Ann Arbor and read to cappaert's daughter in the iron lung.  lael wrote a book about it "And God said no" Andi died at 28 London while disembarking from a plan she got polio at 2 years in Michigan

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Attributes of a hero?  How about....puts others before themselves, humble, a giver, an example you would want your children to emulate....to name a few.====JACK:  Something to ponder today....Who has been a hero in my life?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Heroic, definitely in the eye of the beholder! Over the years, Bill became a "hero" in the eyes of the family, and often to his church "family", but he would say, "I wish I was half the guy they think I am!"  We all know we have feet of clay...I don't know that I thought of them as "heroes", but I certainly had people I looked up to, and wanted to emulate, as I grew up.  I'm sure Helen Hayes had a good point: We may not consider ourselves heroic, but we surely are in the eyes of at least a few! That's a bit scary! :-)====JACK:  I certainly remember Bill as a hero at Augustana  College when we were classmates there.  (Reading from the college website) "If a poll were taken to determine Augustana’s all-time greatest athlete, it is almost a certainty that every ballot would at least mention the name of Bill Oaks. During his athletic career at Augustana, Oaks earned 11 varsity letters and was a four year regular in both football and baseball and a three year starter in basketball.  Oaks wasted little time displaying his caliber after arriving at Augustana. As a freshman on the Vikings’ football squad, he was singled out as one of the team’s hardest hitting linemen, despite the fact that he hadn’t even been issued shoulder pad yet because of an equipment shortage! Oaks went on to compile a brilliant football career, which included numerous all-conference and all-state awards. He was named to two Little All-America teams and was signed to play professional football with the Chicago Bears. After breaking into the Bears starting lineup at pulling guard, Oaks’ career was ended by a knee injury.  The talented gridder also held the distinction of being the only three year team captain in Augustana history.  He didn’t limit his talents to the gridiron, however. He stepped into the starting lineup on the Augustana baseball team as a freshman and stayed there for four years, playing every position except shortstop and centerfield. He was a consistent .300 hitter and attracted the attention of several professional teams as a catcher.  Oaks left his mark on the hardcourt as well, where he displayed the same rugged aggressive style of play that exemplified his football career. He was a defensive specialist who readily admitted that there were several times when his points scored in a single game were less than his fouls committed.  Oaks, a 1950 Augustana graduate, went into the ministry after graduation and eventually served as the president of the American Baptist Churches of the Great Rivers Region. He also served on an advisory committee of equal opportunity in education for the state superintendent of instruction."  ...and, he was a great and humble, person, too.  Heroic!  ====OAKS:  WHOO-HOO! That is awesome! I haven't seen that for years and years. Can't remember if that is in his Augie Hall of Fame write up, but I doubt it.  Thanks, Jack!  Bill deserves to be our Hero!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Helen Hayes played Emily Dickenson at the Fox Theatre.  Loved her and the play.    A hero has to be someone willing to sacrifice by action or word, for something or someone.  There are so many people who have changed this world for good or bad who have left a tremendous mark on us all.====JACK:  I think that the greatest heroes of all are the ones who have personally impacted our lives, often in an unsung way.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Amen! for Helen's insight!====JACK:  The most effective pastors are not necessarily those appearing on TV or those serving the large congregations.  "When the roll is called up yonder," don't be surprised when people come up to you and thank you for your influence upon them.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Is it just the sign of the times or is it something that has always been  so...The hero for some is the despite of others.  I think about this more often than I’d like.  ====JACK:   Please clarify.  Is it despite, or despise? \====PAUL:  Despite  Using it as a noun. ====JACK:  I checked up,,,because it's use in that way seemed questionable.  So...You are tight, but "despite" as a noun is rarely used anymore.  Despise as a noun is also unusual.  I always enjoyed the study of English.

FROM ROBERT:  Sharing for today... "To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."  (Martin Luther King, Jr)====JACK:  When I would ask Confirmation student who Martin Luther was, almost always they would describe MLK Jr.  It would give me an opportunity to talk about both men and their impact on the Church and the world. 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I have many heroes....one of them would be Abe Zlincoln....independent thinker...great athlete....stood up for the fight....married the belle of the ball....tougher things out when he had to....loved to read....incredible human being.....enormous contrast to our present Prez. ====JACK:  Is that a typo?  Or, is there are a real Abe Zlincoln? ====JOHN:  My iPad does that on a regular basis...corrects my when I type in a capital letter...I usually try to change it....must have missed that one

Friday, January 12, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/12/18
“While I relish the warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.”  (Tom Allen)  What’s your favorite season of the year? – Spring: the smells, colorful gardens, going for walks, trees in bud – Summer: turning on the grill, baseball, going to the beach, the ice cream truck – Autumn: fall colors, football games, bonfires with s’mores, cider and donuts, Halloween – Winter: building snowmen, singing carols, nostalgia, outdoor sports.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Autumn. From when I was in school:  it was NEW BEGINNINGS: New school year, out with classmates (Jr. High, MHS, college), making new friends, new things to do and see, etc.====JACK:  I thought the season was called, Fall, because leaves fall during that time, but I was surprised to learn that "fall" comes from the Old English word feallan which means “to fall or to die.”

FROM SNOWBIRD SANDI:  Nah. 😎 ====JACK:  What was the holiday like in Florida?  I went to Minnesota for Christmas.====SANDI:  It was lovely. So blessed to have this choice! We really love our winters here! Hope you are well and ‘forming your character’ in the Michigan winter! 😎 ====JACK:  To be able to choose...What a great opportunity.  Sometimes we take it for granted.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  it’s all good!====JACK:  It all depends on the view you want to take.  I could have focused on negatives in each of the seasons, because there are negatives all around, if you want to look for them.====LIZ:  spring negatives that are really positives in disguise:
thunderstorms!  too short/fleeting... makes us appreciate spring’s beauty  any other negatives for spring?====JACK:  I hate the "false starts"--nice  one day--then snow--then melting--then rain--then  tornado sirens.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  all year in Florida with air conditioning when necessary otherwise fall would. E second choice====JACK:  Isn't it great that people choose to live in various places in the world.  It would be pretty crowded if everybody tried to live in Tampa.  You'd probably want to move.====SHIRL:  4 million people in 1963 now 20 million and counting====JACK:  That's another good thing about living in the Detroit area.  Comfortable growth.

FROM TARMART REV:  From you posts, it looks like they all are very appealing!!====JACK:  There are times when the unappealing turns out to be appealing...given time and circumstances.

FROM DM IN LIV:  I love them all! 😊====JACK:  I purposely left out the negatives.  "Into each life some rain must fall."  A meaningful life is being able to adjust to change.====DM:  Well, it worked.  As someone who loves summer, I realized how all four season have wonderful offerings thanks to your message.  I do believe that our difficulties and challenges in life help us to appreciate and enjoy the good moments all the more.====JACK:  Griping is an onomatopoeia word.====DM:  LOL, I had to look up onomateopoeia and I agree!  Thank you for your WINNING WORDS! 😊

FROM KF:  all of the above - that's why we love Michigan : )====JACK:  When I lived in Illinois, our community on the Mississippi was called, "The armpit of the nation."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i love all seasons...everyday bringing it's surprises and gifts.  i am approaching a new life season.  yesterday i announced my retirement.  bittersweet but excited to see who else "ms.mary" can be.😏====JACK:  I think that with the change of season, you are going to miss how each new class of youngsters will relate to them.  How long have the Lillstroms been related to that school?

FROM LP IN SP:  Mine is Fall   I do love the change though – only not today when it is -10 below ====JACK:  College Football in the Fall.  I love it...even more than the pros.====LP:  Me too!  BUT Go Vikings this weekend!  Purple City around here this weekend ====JACK:  Can you imagine what it would be like if the Vikings were to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Yes!  All of the seasons are my favorite!  Everyone is special and I love something of them all!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It's hard to choose, as I would definitely miss the 4 distinct seasons, if I lived where it was always warm and sunny, or cold and dark, but I think Spring and Fall have the edge if I really needed to make a choice!  So blessed to be able to enjoy life in any season!! Our play "Couplings" opens tonight for 3 performances over the weekend at the Playhouse on the Square. I portray an older lady dealing with advancing Alzheimers...(But my "husband" still thinks I'm as beautiful as the day we met! HA!) Thankful to be "clothed and in my right mind!"====JACK:  The gift of "mind" is beyond comprehension.  Why this?  Why that?  Why anything?




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/11/18
“If you try the best you can, the best you can is good enough.”  (Radiohead)  Who would guess a “morality” quote would come from a rock band, like Radiohead.  Two of their hits were Creep and Hail to the Thief.  But think about it…If you are doing your best at anything, what more can be expected.  My mother-in-law would tell her children, “Just do your best.”  That’s good advice for any leader to his followers…or, should the goal be to reach 110%?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Just do your best God will do the rest====JACK: Sometime, during my lifespan, I seem  to remember praying before a test.  I don't recall that it improved the test score.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  To define one's best is the problem....maybe we are settling for less than our best but consoling ourselves with the thought that we have really tried our best....JACK:  I can see that "good" and "better" can have qualifying definitions ( good and better that...what?)  But, to me, best is best (finest, greatest, top, foremost, leading, preeminent, premier, prime, first, chief, principal, supreme, of the highest quality, superlative, par excellence, unrivaled, second to none, without equal, nonpareil, unsurpassed, peerless, matchless, unparalleled, unbeaten, unbeatable, optimum, optimal, ultimate, incomparable, ideal, perfect).====JOHN:  The problem is that we don't always know what our own best is.    It is not the word best that needs to be defined but what we need to know is what our best is.   Holcomb really pushed me in debate and I think I did my best there.   I think I did my best in parish ministry.   In some pursuits I think I settled for a best that really wasn't.  ====JACK:  The problem, then, is not with the word, but with the self.  Generally, that's the case with many problems...even with commitment to our God.  It's hard to hear that "our righteousness (best) is as filthy rags."

FROM JLF:  Do your best. I always remember mom saying that.====JACK:  Yes!  I can hear it now...and..."I am who I am."...and another..."Tired!  What's that>  Everybody's tired."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I remember cutting out and saving a column years ago by either Dear Abby, or Ann Landers entitled "Good enough is not good enough". It was very well said, and was a pitch to NOT settle for "Good Enough"...which many do all too often. I'm sure we've all also heard the old adage, "If something is worth doing, It's worth doing well!"  Why spend time in a mediocre effort? But as Quaker once said to me, "Sometimes if God cannot find a hammer to tap the nail into the wall, he'll use the heel of an old shoe."  In other words, God will get his work done, with those who are willing to say yes to the task! I never forgot that!====JACK:  Thanks to Google...          Dear Ann Landers: Our school district believes our schools are pretty good. Students score just barely above the national average on standardized tests, which gives administrators and teachers bragging rights.  To me, the national average is a disgrace, and scoring 0.1 percentage points above that is nothing to be proud of.  Several years ago, you printed a poem by Charles Osgood about a "pretty good student" in a "pretty good school." Please print it again. I hope our school board, teachers and administration see it and take heed.  John in Grand Junction, Colo.
Dear John: Here it is. Thanks for asking. And I hope every student who considers himself or herself "pretty good" will pay attention.
There once was a pretty good student,
Who sat in a pretty good class
And was taught by a pretty good teacher,
Who always let pretty good pass.
He wasn't terrific at reading,
He wasn't a whiz-bang at math.
But for him, education was leading
Straight down a pretty good path.
He didn't find school too exciting,
But he wanted to do pretty well,
And he did have some trouble with writing,
And nobody had taught him to spell.
When doing arithmetic problems,
Pretty good was regarded as fine.
Five plus 5 needn't always add up to be 10,
A pretty good answer was 9.
The pretty good class that he sat in
Was part of a pretty good school.
And the student was not an exception,
On the contrary, he was the rule.
The pretty good school that he went to
Was there in a pretty good town.
And nobody there seemed to notice
He could not tell a verb from a noun.
The pretty good student in fact was
Part of a pretty good mob.
And the first time he knew what he lacked was
When he looked for a pretty good job.
It was then, when he sought a position,
He discovered that life could be tough.
And he soon had a sneaky suspicion
Pretty good might not be good enough.
The pretty good town in our story
Was part of a pretty good state,
Which had pretty good aspirations,
And prayed for a pretty good fate.
There once was a pretty good nation,
Pretty proud of the greatness it had,
Which learned much too late,
If you want to be great,
Pretty good is, in fact, pretty bad.
--"The Osgood File," copyright 1986, CBS Inc.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Our advice to our daughters was “do the right thing even if no one is looking”====JACK:  "When no one's looking?"  We used to sing this song as Summer Camp:
"He's got his eye on you; He's got his eye on you.
My Lord, sittin' in the kingdom, He's got his eye on you."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  If you aren't satisfied with what your best is, then one may want to consider exploring how to make your best better.  Been trying to do that with my golf game for awhile. ====JACK:  Our BEST can be a movable target, changing from day to day and circumstance to circumstance.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  “Always strive to be your best”...something I was told growing up.  Great words!====JACK:  Part of the reason for Winning Words is an attempt bu me to reheat some of those adages that have grown cold with time.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  A retired pastor who served the congregation where I grew up in the shortage of pastors after WW II, driving down from Baltimore, MD to Arlington, VA each Sunday, would stand on the chancel step and talk to the children (no hoards of us running up to the steps).  He said, often enough that it became my mantra, "Do your best; angels can do no better."  That has served me well my whole life.  Jimmy Buffett is planning a concert to benefit one of the Caribbean islands, I forget which, in the hurricane aftermath.  Sometimes rock stars are more charitable than we think, most likely among the "spiritual but not religious" (SPNRs).====JACK:  "It's amazing what miracles and little angels and pure love around you can bring out."   (Tionne Watkins)  All the angels are not necessarily found in church-related places.====JAN:  As my best friend would say, "You got that right!"====JACK:  As a child, did you ever sing this song???..."All night, all day, Angels watching over me, my Lord.  All night, all day, Angels watching over me."

   










Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/10/18
“There’s no geist like the Zeitgeist.”  (Robert Hughes)  Try using the word, Zeitgeist (Zight guyst) in conversation today and see where it leads.  It’s a German word and means, the mood of a period of history, its ideas and beliefs.  What do you think was the Zeitgeist of the time you were growing up?  As I reflect, the early 50s were a comfort-calm in my life.  However, it was a false calm, hiding what was to come in the mid-to-late 60s.  ..and the geist of today?   ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  “unrest” is today’s zeitgeist. manufactured unrest, for political gain. ====JACK:  Times seem to change rapidly.  While your reference to the LGBT issue is relevant, even those initials are changing to LGBTQIA, and my reading sees that being replaced by "Me Too!"  Bob Dylan's 60s album, "The Times They Are A-Changing," again seems relevant.  Maybe today's geist is "rapid change."====LIZ:  the pendulum swings, & always returns to center...====JACK:  Pendulums are for the here and now, but are useless in the hereafter.

FROM DR JUDY:  Hmmmm.  Never thought about it that way Jack, the 50s were the calm before the 60s storm. Well we are certainly in a major storm right now. So I would hope that what is to come is the rainbow ====JACK:  Even the "rainbow" at the end of Noah's flood has been usurped by the LGBT movement.  Kermit, in The Rainbow Connection, asks: Why are there so many rainbow songs?  My favorite is "Somewhere, Over the Rainbow."

FROM ANONYMOUS:  Your writing about the comfort-calm of the 50's and then the upheavals of the 60's, putting things in a perspective that sometimes the current zeitgeist is more superficial than we are aware of, Pastor Freed, leads me to express that I see our current Zeitgeist as one wherein practically every institution is distrusted, government, media, school system, insurance systems, the benefit of regulations, the criminal system, even now the Supreme Court, and people being trained to lead them, sometimes studying years and years and being mentored and so forth to play their roles in administering institutions are now looked upon as likely to not lead well so that all sorts of people are evidently easily "moving over from one professional path to a totally different one". The qualities and training needed are sort of "being flattened out" and "becoming inter-changeable" from one profession to another, especially in what has been happening in the current administration of our President. It all makes me wonder what Zeitgeist is going to follow this one? Will more trust come about or will things blow up in a sort of chaotic way like they did in the 60's? Or maybe what we are experiencing is a Zeitgeist which has already blown up but I'm still trying to see it somehow as more calm and more effective than it is.====JACK:  Sometimes we become so obsessed with the "present" that we cannot see clearly into the future.  What calms me is the statement, "There is a God."

FROM MY LAWYER:  But, it was your calm.====JACK:  Part of the value of friendship and interaction is that we can help calm one another.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  The geist of today seems to be one of uneasiness and anxiety - N. Korea, politics, etc.   A good reason to turn to God for reassurance and comfort.====JACK:  One of my favorite biblical stories is about Jesus and the disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee.  A sudden storm arises.  Jesus is asleep.  The disciples call out to him, "Wake up!  Don't you care about this situation?"  He awakens and says, "Peace, be still," and the storm subsides.  The story is being relived today.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It will certainly be interesting to see how history records the Zeitgeist of  this era, that we "see" as chaotic and uncertain, with an inept leader at the guiding wheel of gov't.  My  sister and I used to laugh at the quirks of some of our children, saying, "After all, he/she was raised in the 60's!" I, too, remember the late 40's and fifties as a time of serene peace and prosperity, after WW2.  To me they were happy times for most. But we still had the racial issues!!====JACK:  Is not the present geist of our own creation?  Trumpism, continuing racial unrest, LBGT, etc, didn't happen in a vacuum.  Perhaps that's what democracy foments...along with the good.

FROM CS:  I agree.  My brother used to say the 50’s were the best .  I said “Certainly not for everyone!”====JACK:  I don't care what era it is, there always seems to be someone at the bottom.  I always saw Jesus and his followers reaching out to help those people.  I always like it, when at the end of the worship service, the pastor says: "Go in peace.  Remember the poor."

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/9/18
“The sweetest of all sounds is praise.”  (Xenophon)  Without “Googling”, who knows what band played “the sweetest music this side of heaven?”  No. it wasn’t Spike Jones.  We usually think of sugar when we think of something sweet.  But, how about people…like Sweet Sue?  Or, how about situations?  I remember how teens would like something and say, “Sweet!”  Were you one of those?  And we all like to hear what Xenophon described…”Sweet words!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Interesting that Xenophon should come up that is the name of my father in law right now several relatives are doing ancestry.com which is indeed fascinating ====JACK:  The choice of names for newborns is an interesting process.  In the "Top 50 most popular in 2017" Sophia is #1 among girls and Jackson for the boys.  John comes in at #46 and Shirley didn't make the list.  Sophia means, wisdom, and was a common name in the Middle Ages.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Anyone around back in the 50's knows "the sweetest music..." was from Guy Lombardo.====JACK:  A friend of mine used to call him, Gus Lumbago.  BTW, have you ever heard of lumbago?====RI:  Years ago there was a lot of talk about lumbago...like today you hear about fibromyalgia.  I think lumbago was about pain in the leg muscles.====JACK:  My father often complained about his lumbago.  I think that it was related to pain in the lower back.  I just looked it up...the lumbar is the lower part of the spine.

ROM HONEST JOHN:  Was it Glenn Miller?====JACK:  Your incorrect answer indicates that you're a whippersnapper.

FFROM TARMART REV:  "It gets sweeter as the day goes by!" (Sweeter As The Days Go By - by Hezekiah Walker) ====JACK:  I thought that you might have referred to the hymn, "In the sweet by and by."

FROM CB UPNORTH:  Guy Lombardo -- I think of him every New Year's Eve. Oh-oh, showing my age!====JACK:  For almost 50 years. each New Year's Eve,, from the Waldorf Astoria, the Royal Canadians would begin the play "For Auld Lang Syne" at the stroke of midnight.  My granddaughter had never heard of him.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: You’ve got me on that song, o have no idea who sang it.  But the praise given out can make so much happiness!  Just thinking of our little ones and how happy they are to bring a page they colored or a picture they drew to us.  Especially because they know I save them in a special file after they have been on the refrigerator!  Or praise when someone makes something:  cookies, welding art, or whatever the gift is.  It can change lives which is what it’s all about!      Praise for the special “Winning Words” each day!====JACK:  A song that I learned in Sunday School went this way..."Jesus is the sweetest name I know,  And He’s just the same as His lovely name,  And that’s the reason why I love Him so;  Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know." ====JUDY:   How pretty and comforting.  I’ve never heard it but I will see if my organist friends can find it and play it for me.  !

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:    Nothing perks up a child's hearing like praise!  Something we should all do more of!  When given words of praise or appreciation, you are spurred on to continue and do even better!  I remember Guy Lombardo, but did not remember that  was his "slogan" .  I remember for awhile teens were saying "that was Bad!. .Meaning sweet or good!! Go figure!  Your WW are a sweet treat to readers! !====JACK:  Do you remember growing up with this slang?  Cheesey, Fuddy Duddy, In Cahoots, Flip Your Wig, A Gas.====OAKS:  Among many others, yes! Somethings were Rad! Some folks were Goofey; etc. It's all kind of a blur by now!

Monday, January 08, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/8/18
“The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.”  (John Pierpoint Morgan)  “Pierpoint”, as he wished to be called, was one of the great bankers of the early 20th century and was famous for taking over troubled businesses and turning them into successes.  He followed his own advice, as expressed in today’s quote.  If it worked for him, it can work for us, too.  “Nothing ventured; nothing gained.”  Dare to change!!!   ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL: How boring life would be without change!!!====JACK:  I seem to remember a time...when I was the teacher (or the student) and the class joined in groaning... B-O-R-I-N-G!  It must have been when I was among the students.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I stayed at an Inn n Upstate NY owned by JP Morgan, a descendant of the original....beautiful place.====JACK:  I wonder if that inn would have had a place for people, like Mary and Joseph?====JOHN:  Probably could not have afforded it....might have stayed at Motel Six!====JACK:  Was "the star" shining that night, or had Motel 6 left the light on?====JOHN:  It was a beautiful place....we were on our way to the Berkshire Hills....lovely trip....probably did have stars out that night....The present JP cooked a gourmet dinner for us....I love it out East....spent a summer there St Harvard's Institute of World Affairs....another summer as an intern in Middletown, Conn...with Art Larson...did you know him?....he was really a good guy to work with....

FROM BLAZING OAJS:  Kind of interesting that he used the unusual name "Pierpoint" rather than John, isn't it? More memorable forgood words for the new year too... sure!  ("John" seems more approachable!)  As homespun Dolly Parton once said, "If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one!"  It might take a bit of doing, but it will pay off in contentment and satisfaction...usually!====JACK:  How do most of your friends refer to you?  Marilyn? (probably not)  Mar? (probably, yes...), but is it Mar, as in the candy bar, or Mar, as in the "old gray...)?  BTW, Dolly's real name is, Dolly.  It seems more fitting for her than her middle name, Rebecca.  Did you ever use your middle name?====OAKS:  Our twin names were Marilyn Jean and Janet Eileen, but in Jr.High I tried going by Jean, so we'd be Janet and Jean (an at that time Marilyn was pretty common) but it was too late, my friends and fellow students had known me as Marilyn for too long...:-)  I suppose If I had persevered, it would have worked in a year's time, but I just reverted back to Marilyn! My good (old) friends call me Mar,  but everyone else calls me Marilyn...====JACK:  Pronounced, Mare, I suppose.====OAKS:  Mare, it is, but the old blonde, not grey, mare! :-)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  “Baby steps baby steps” as long as your moving forward!  It’s s good year to start!====JACK:  Isn't it fun to see a baby take its first steps?  It's also fun (sometimes) to watch a young person the first steps as an adult.====JUDY:  I was thinking of What About Bob.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:     good words for the new year too...====JACK:  Yep====PAUL:  is that an acronym for You're Extra Peppy?   or You're Eating Pretzels?   or You're Especially Prompt?   just curious...====JACK:  Tell me...You're kidding!  In the b & w cowboy movies, the hero's sidekich would often say, "YEP. instead of. YES.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/5/18
“If you’re around 50, you’re called: Generation Grumpy.”  (KingNews)  I recently watched “Grumpy Old Men” with my granddaughter.  She’d never seen it before, and we laughed together (probably at different things).  There’s a generation gap.  Grumpy can be funny at times, and also irritating.  We all have to share the same world, and it’s been my experience that living becomes more enjoyable when I try to learn from generations different from mine.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes it is an amazing world on which we live with all of the electronic changes ====JACK:  My new TV wasn't working properly.  A "younger generation" person stopped by, called a friend on her iPhone, and after a brief conversation and the push of a couple of buttons on the clicker it was working perfectly.  I still use a flip phone.====SHIRL:  I got my first iPhone in 2007 for 99 cents and am now on my third one====JACK:  ...and I thought that you were a Florida Fogie.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I'm enjoying being a curmudgeon.====JACK:  I've passed that stage.  Now, I'm just a sweet old grandpa.  "Here, let me help you with that.  We don't want you yo hurt yourself!" ====TH:  When a young person stops to open a door open for me, I say, "get your ass in there or I'll kick it."====JACK:  You remind me of that old guy in the Jimmy John's TV commercial..."What took you so long?"====TH:  OK, I gotta draw a line ... 

FROM TARMART REV: God advice, Jack, as always!!====JACK:   Have you reached the point of doing more teaching than learning?====REV:  Still a student, really . . . stronger as "foot soldier" out in the field receiving commands and putting the teaching to good use, hopefully.====JACK:  Do you ever stop being nice?  I'll have to ask your wife. ====REV:  Now, you are getting tooooo personal?!?!====JACK:  It takes one to know one. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I’d move the age back a little... to 80 maybe.  But it did make me laugh.  We haven’t seen the movie but I guess we should!  Any movies that make me laugh are the kinds I want to see...none of those grumpy old movies!!!====JACK:  Beneath the "grumpy" exterior of some people lies a heart of gold.  I even know some pastors like that.

FROM KANSAN DON:  Very good!! and Amen!   Sometimes I’m slow to learn.====JACK:  I paid attention when my TV was being fixed.  I used that "knowledge" this afternoon.  Hooray!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "Grumpy Old Men" with those seasoned two actors was a riot' My kids thought it was funny; don't know about gkids, tho!  I'm living with 4 generations in my family, and indeed our worlds are very different, but the Love transcends that!  Reminds me of the story of the grandma getting help on the computer from a bright 11 year old and him (after fixing the problem)
called it an Idtent problem. Told her to write it out;, when she questions what that was, and she'd understand, so she  did: Id10T.   She did feel like an idiot!!====JACK:  Mary would not allow our children to refer to anyone as an idiot.  She might have allowed Idtent.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  The older I get, the more I feel privileged to feel that way.====JACK:  What makes you grumpy?  Trumpy?


Thursday, January 04, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/4/18
“You can’t Google for knowledge.”  (Elaine Ostrach Chaika)  Elaine goes on to say that trivia doesn’t comprise knowledge.  Analyzing, hypothesizing, concluding from data and sharing insights are the signs of “knowing your onions.”  I learned that from Google when I researched quotes for today. Jan 4, celebrated as Trivia Day.  Today’s trivia: Bill Belichick was coach of the NY Jets for 1 day, Jan 4, in 2000.  Do you have any trivia to share?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  John Siefken started at left tackle against Moline in Ninth Grade...decided that tennis and debate were safer endeavors.====JACK:  Who knows?  You could have gone on to play left tackle for the Chicago Bears.  Have you ever played (in your mind), "What if...?"  You could have been the ICE BOX before there was the REFRIGERATOR.====JOHN:  Thinking like that could have gotten me killed!====JACK:  Andy Roddick once served a tennis ball at 155 mph.  Being hit by that might not kill you, but it would probably "smart" a bit.

FROM TARMART REV:  As with everyday, if truly believed and carried out-- "The is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it", yesterday, today and forever!!====JACK:  Did your "Secret Santa" give you money to distribute again this year?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Nope.====JACK:  You've always been modest.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  380 Million years ago, life on this planet evolved on land! Wrap your mind around that!  Having the wisdom to use "knowing your onions" is another challenge! Jan. 4th is
Trivia Day. Who knew? Another new bit of "knowledge"! 

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  The only state capitol without a McDonald's is Montpelier, VT.====JACK:  I had to follow up on that..."Montpelier is dedicated to keeping things local and has kept McDonald's out for the time being. In fact, until 1996 the superstore, Wal-Mart, was kept out of our state as well. Incidentally, Montpelier, VT is also without an airport."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Michigan Trivia... Michigan is known for its strange language.  We say:
“Ope” as in hope without the h, when we bump into someone, We call it cran instead of crayon, cloze instead of clothes, ki-nuh instead of kind of, lieberry instead of library, melk instead of milk and you say “Yep” instead of yes!

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/3/18
“Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles.”  (Charlie Chaplin)  Chaplin’s first movie, The Kid, was probably his best among many.  It typically showed how “trouble’ is eventually overcome by the good.  I know that “trouble” in this world can seem insurmountable, but I encourage you to take the long view.  Good Friday eventually leads to Easter Sunday.  Be assured by God’s promise: “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  ;-)  Jack

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true!!!====JACK:  What is truth?  What makes something true?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Sounds like Heraclitus.   Plato would respectfully disagree...so would Aristotle.     So would Isaiah.     A formidable array lined up against Charlie Chaplin....====JACK:  I know it's futile to disagree with you, but just suppose, in the end, that Charlie turned out to be the Great Philosopher, just as he was once the Great Dictator?  I'm only saying, "Just suppose...." ====JOHN:  When he was the Great Dictator, he was acting....====JACK:  Perhaps it is as your "friend" Shakespeare wrote:  "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY: Hang in there. Life goes on until the next one. All I know is life is good and future life is abundant with promise and possibilities.====JACK:  Keep on thinking those optimistic thoughts.===MARY:   It’s how I make it through each day,especially the troubled ones ❤️



Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 1/2/18
“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that never were.”  (Rainer Maria Rilke)  I always like to see unopened packages under the Christmas tree, wondering what’s inside each.  One person in our family always tries to guess…and often is right.  But, who can guess correctly what each day in the new year will bring when it comes?  Only God knows, and he’s not telling, except as we read,  “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM SS:  Thanks, that is my favorite way to start the day!====JACK:  This song suggest still another way..."Roll out of bed in the morning  With a great big smile and a good, good morning  Wake up with a grin  There's a new day a-tumbling in  Wake with the sun and the rooster  Cock-a-doodle-do like the rooster, useta  You'll find it worth while  If you roll out of bed with a smile."

FROM BB:  Thanks for the warm inspiration.  I liked to guess gifts too; most of us were wrong on that score.  Great Rilke quote…====JACK: There's always a "rest of the story" behind the quote, and that is in the life of the author...and that's true with Rainer Maria, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  Her we go!!====JACK:  There used to be a radio program, The Original Anateur Hour.  At the beginning, Major Bowes would spin a wheel.  The numbers shown would determine the order of appearance by contestants.  As sound of the wheel could be heard, Bowes would say, "Round and round she goes, and where she stops nobody knows."  So  it is with this world of ours in 2018.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I for one am glad we can’t see the future.  Let’s wait to see what each day brings!====JACK:  As the old saying goes..."I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   YES! A year full of things that never were...I love that thought by Rilke! I also love the short meditation by Howard Thurman at the New Year:       "When the song of the Angels is stilled, When the star in the sky is gone, When the Kings and Princes are back home, When Shepherds are back with their flocks, The work of Christmas begins:  To find  the lost, to heal the broken, To feed the hungry, free the prisoners, To rebuild nations, to bring peace among brothers, To make music in the heart!"   I use it every year with my S.S. class and women's circle!====JACK:  If I were still in the business of preaching on Sundays, I could use Thurman's words as an illustrative idea starter.  "What happens after....?"  (the wedding?  the funeral?  the graduation?  the election?)  On and on on ans on.

FROM CAROLA:  Thank you for continuing your words of encouragement into this new 2018 year.
I always look forward to reading your comments.  Have a wonderful, Happy New Year.====JACK:  Over 500 people are on the Winning Words list, and many of these people forward the words on to others.  The internet is amazing.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/29/17
“Time passes quickly.  It’s almost as though we’re being swept by a current, a current of God’s all-possessing love.”  (Sent by PH)  This quote reminds me of the hymn verse written by Isaac Watts… “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away.”  People who have river rafted tell how exciting it is to be swept along by rapid and changing currents.  Life’s ride is even more exciting.  Think back and remember.  “Fear not!  I am with you,” said the Lord.    ;-)  Jack

FROM SHALOM JAN:  In the ELW that verse begins, "Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all our years away ..."  I like to think of the years rolling along like a stream rather than the bearing away of "sons".  Glad they changed that phrase!!  Which reminds me to say, "Blessings of love, joy and peace in the coming new year!"====JACK:  When I was in seminary (long ago) I remember asking the wife of a classmate if it bothered her that so much of biblical and theological language was male-directed.  She said that she didn't mind it a bit and hadn't given it much thought.  Of course, that was before political correctness came on the scene.  I thought that you'd be interested to know that I was ahead on the curve.  "Bears all it sons, or bears all its years"...a case can be made for each.  Thanks for your friendship and New Year's greeting.===SJ:  I have two sons, and two grandsons, which is more why that phrase bothers me than sexist language, believe me!  At least until I've exited this world I don't want my sons "borne away".I've thought about you and others I know whose spouse or other loved one has crossed over to the fullness of life eternal during this past year.  A very different holiday season without them, I know, no matter what the relationship was.  Thank you for your friendship and your shared wisdom!

FROM PZ:  Another thought inspiring quote. Why does the current seem to pick up speed as we get older? Is it because we feel we have less to look forward to, as we did once when we were young? ====JACK:  The biblical words that the length of life is 3 score years and 10, or if by reason of strength, 4 score years...it seems reasonable to think that the current begins to pick up speed at 40?  I noticed that.  Did you?====PZ:  Now that I've been given the formula, yes, I feel that the current speed just increased tenfold!====JACK:  In retrospect, the 10 years after my retirement were as productive as any other 10 years in my working life.  See what you can look forward to.

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  As Omar Khayyam put it, "The moving hand writes, and having writ, moves on, nor all your pity nor all your wit shall e'er call back a word of it." Freshman year, I took a course in Literary Masterpieces of the Near East, and one of our homework projects was to compare and contrast The Rubaiya with Ecclesiastes.====JACK:  What a great assignment for a freshman college student.  I find new insight every time I go back and read Ecclesiastes.  Somewhere along my educational trail I learned Omar's words, too.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Who said that you never step in the same river twice.   It is like time so that where you step might appear the same but everything has moved forward ====JACK:  It was Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher (circa 500 BCF).  He also said that change is the essence of the universe.  And, yet, there are many people who resist the inevitable.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  HA! We signed up to do the River rafting on our overland/Sea cruise of Alaska.  You are swept along alright, and I, taking a front position, was thoroughly doused with ice water, but we all go wet and C-O-L-D!!!  I laughed when we dragged ourselves back to the bus to return to the ship, seeing us all shivering, wet, and exhausted, and quipped, "Did EVER so many pay so much to be so miserable??/!"  And we all had a good laugh, and in fact laughed all the way back to the boat!  Time does sweep along more rapidly every year, so we have to be sure to enjoy the ride, even tho many of us have experienced our loved ones borne "away"...Having my family together for Christmas here, was time to cherish, although like riding the rapids, it can be a bit exhausting! :-) ! Happy  Healthy, Harmonious, New year, Jack, and all your blog readers!! What a blessing to  have WW to ponder and appreciate!!====JACK:  Have you heard the song, "An Empty Place at the Table."   I read some suggestions for those who has lost loved ones during the year.  Set an empty place at the Christmas table...Eat the loved one's favorite meal...Sing their favorite song.  I like what our youngest daughter did.  She went to the cemetery, laid down on the grave site and made a snow angel.====OAKS:  Yes, I know the song; We set a place at the head of the table for Bill, the first couple of years, but as the family grew, John migrated to that spot as the next generation "head" of the family...For Mark we also set an empty chair at our Thanksgiving gathering the first year he was missing, with the extended family.  Loved your daughter's snow angel. An original!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  A very very exciting ride!πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘====JACK:  What's the most exciting ride for you at Disney World?====SHIRL:  I don't do rides I like to walk around the lake at Epcot which goes around the world

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Life goes much faster than a wild river rafting adventure unless you are on the Gauley River in West Virginia. 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/28/17
“If only we possessed enough money or security or respect or love or faith or education or  power or peace or knowledge or something…we’d have fulfillment.”  (Steve Hagen)  Some teens were asked by Youngpost: “If only you could use 5 words the rest of your life, what would they be?”  Some answers: I am hungry…I love you…thank you…yes, no…pizza…hamburger.  One chose “Get me paper and pen.”  (then, I could write what I wanted).  Which 5 would you choose?    ;-)  Jack

FROM MP:  My five:  Happy New Year Jack Freed.====JACK:  I'm happy for your friendship.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I love you ❤️ thank you====JACK:  We go back many years.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"====JACK:  Those AG people know their Bible.  (...and come, quickly!)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I would probably say...”Paper and pen please, thank you!”====JACK:  My sister's license plate reads...PLS 10Q.====JUDY:  That is so cool!  That’s the best license plate yet!



Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/27/17
“The deepest thought a person can have—I’m a citizen of eternity.”   Jane Taylor who wrote, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star” also wrote:  “Though man a thinking being is defined, Few use the grand prerogative of mind. How few think justly of the thinking few! How many never think, who think they do!”  A cartoon showed two men in side by side cubicles. One office had a sign: THINK.  The other, a sign: JUST GOOGLE IT.  What are you thinking… today?    ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i think too much. wish i could turn it off...====JACK:  I guess we can't easily turn off the brain, but we can switch channels and work at thinking more positive thoughts.  For example, when we're obsessed with the bad things happening in the world, we can look for "good news" stories and examples of people who are working to make the world a better place.====LIZ:  i read that thoughts/emotions are fleeting if we allow them to “fleet.”  acknowledge the emotion  let it pass, don’t dwell  distract yourself (i added that.)====JACK:  I think you've got it!

FROM TARMART REV:  Just ordered this little novelty called "Amazon Alexa - Android Apps on Google Play" for my wife . . . it sits quietly on the kitchen counter, until someone asks it a question, "Alexa! At what temperature and how much time is needed to cook a turkey?" She then proceeds to answer. You can ask her any question you would like an answer for, just like the Google app on our laptop computers or iPhones. It will bring up any style of music to be played and even can be programmed to set temperatures and light settings in your home. This is much smaller with an inbuilt speaker, not taking up very much space. I'm thinking it will take the place of calling me into the kitchen and trying to come up with the answers to those same questions she can have answered in seconds now.====JACK:  I'm way behind the times.  I've just upgraded to Hig Definition TV.  Now, I have to relearn the "clicker."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  That IS a deep thought!  How many issues and problems would be solved if people thought....deeply, before they spoke!!  Marriages would be saved, Wars would not be started, abuse would never happen... etc etc etc.     For some very deep thoughts.  Check out Steven Wright and his deep thoughts!====JACK:  For deep thinking, I like to read the Bible and ponder what is the message behind the words.  "What is God really saying here?"====JUDY:  Sometimes we aren't supposed to know parts of the Bible.  We have to rely on faith.=====JACK:  I don't what parts of the Bible we're not supposed to investigate.

FROM DAVID L:  Always been heavy on the "feeling" side, but realizing what a gift those of you heavy on the "thinking"side are to me and to all of us. "Think on!" folks, and affirm your feeling side a little as well.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/26/17
“Therefore, Christian men, be sure  Wealth or rank possessing  Ye who now will bless the poor  Shall yourselves find blessing.”  (Good King Wenceslas)  Legends can be true.  Wen-ces-las was a real person, a Czech king who actually did go out in harsh winter weather to bring help  to needy people.  There are many Christmas songs that I like, but John Mason Neale’s story-carol is one of my favorites.  It’s appropriate to read or to sing or to listen to today.    ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i like that one, too====JACK:  The lyrics mention the Feast of Stephen, which falls on this day, Dec 26.  Stephen was the follower of Jesus who was stoned to death because he would not renounce his faith.  (Acts 6 & 7)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Each year St John’s Lutheran Church re-enacts King Wenceslas’ Boars head Festival.  Alyssa and Melanie have played the Sprite who carry the light into the story and back out to the world.  It’s a wonderful true story of a caring King who takes care of the poor!   May we all be so caring and giving in the New Year!====JACK:  The story of King Wenceslas is similar to the story of Saint Nicholas, but I like it better, because it has not been taken over by Santa Claus. ====JUDY:  Have you read anything about him?  I’d like to do some research about his life. ====JACK:  For questions like yours, God created Google.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  song of the day!  i will have to refer to the red hymnal for the words to this one.  only recall the first verse.  age perhaps?  merry christmas time and happy new year. ====JACK:  GKW is sort of like opera...The story is told to music, and the music is so easy.  There's a lilt to it.

FROM LBP:  I don’t know that I’ve ever read the full lyric of that song. Or at least I’d not thought on the story it contains. Nice====JACK:  YouTube has a great version by a traditional Choir, complete with words.  Maybe you and your children can sing it together.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/22/17
"The simple shepherds heard the voice of an angel and found their lamb; the wise men saw the light of a star and found their wisdom."  (Fulton J. Sheen)  Sheen was a popular radio and TV priest who appealed to Catholics and non-Catholics, as well.  He had a way with words.  Go back to his quote.  “Lamb” meaning, sheep, but also Jesus, as Lamb of God.  “Wise men” finding new wisdom.  What special “gifts” have you discovered during this season?    ;-)  Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Mostly patience and love.  How about you?====JACK:  A new appreciation for the meaning of family and friendship.

FROM KITTY  Merry Christmas, Jack. Thank you for your “daily gifts”. A great way to start my days====JACK:  It works for me, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm still here and experiencing life in welcomed pastoral ways!! ====JACK:  You are still in Willmar, probably as a fulfillment of Isaiah 55:8-9...  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." ====REV:  Thinking that is true for a season anyway.====JACK:  "Boast not yourself of tomorrow; for you know not what a day may bring forth."  (Proverbs 27:1)

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i recall his black and white TV show on Sunday mornings in the very early days of TV. early or mid 1950s.    it was a real novelty to have a priest in his robes (as i recall) talking to America in such a folksy manner.  i saw a clip of one of his shows sometime in the last few years.  i don't think he would be nearly as popular today because it all seems kind of archaic now.====JACK:  Archaic?  I guess it depends.  Is the Christmas story (many centuries older) to be considered archaic?  Fulton Sheen and his folksy way of preaching seems to be a forerunner of your style...and mine.

FROM KM:  Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Thanks for your daily winning words.  Enjoy reading them.====JACK: ...and I enjoy creating them and sending them to people such as you.

FROM HAWKEYE gEORGE:  Thanks for the quote.====JACK:  I thought that it was especially thought-provoking.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I loved your quote and your reminders that we find what we are looking for yet often in disguise.  Blessed Christmas!====JACK:  Most people expect to find a baby in the manger when, in reality, it's Go incarnate.   (Some might ask, "What's incarnate?")

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a neat turn of phrase! Bishop Sheen was quite  phenomenal In his day; I admired him, and think he had such a big following because he was a master speaker, and what he had to say made sense. He was not pretentious or distant, very personable. And a handsome man.  (What's not to like? :-)   The gift of comfort, and of renewed Hope in this season of good will. ====JACK:  His program showed that Catholic priests could be human.  I remember his smile and his piercing stare....and the prominent cross that he wore.

FROM SUNSHINE:  My dear wife claims to be math challenged, and she blames it on Bishop Fulton Sheen . . . the nuns said that if you watched the Bishop on TV and wrote a paragraph about the talk, you didn't have to do your math homework.====JACK:  I watched a YouTube of one of his programs today.  He was really a funny guy.  I, too, would rather watch him than do math homework.










Thursday, December 21, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/21/17
“Have you ever been to Bethlehem before?”  (Ruth the sheep)  A friend e-mailed me from Israel.  “Have you ever been here?  It’s beautiful.”  I was scheduled to go once, but a bomb scare cancelled the trip.  Now, I’m content to read descriptions, to imagine, and to sing: “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  I know that town is no longer like it was in Jesus’ day.  Times change.  What’s important is that the message stays the same.  “Love came down at Christmas.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  we were there 18 years ago.  and yes,  it has been overdone to say the least.  the Eastern Orthodox Church, for example, has filled the room with those very ornate lamps that hand from the ceiling.  and, of course,  no one knows the exact location tho this may have been close.  the church is very old and filled with history but if you were looking for a very humble manger scene,  you will not find it.  waaay too many tour buses and vendors trying to sell you something:):):)  hold on to whatever mental and spiritual image you have.   its likely more accurate than what we saw.====JACK:  I've always appreciated the carol. O Little Town of Bethlehem, because of the story of how it came to be written.  As a preacher, I'm sure that you've referred to it more than once during a Christmas sermon.====ST PAUL: at SLLC the congregation always picked the last hymn at the end of every service.  Cleo Neynaber always picked the Navy Hymn.  after some months i asked why she wanted to sing this hymn which often brought her to tears.  and her husband too.   it was because their son was a Navy pilot who landed on a Carrier,  somehow the plane flipped over and he was killed instantly.  so you never know how a hymn might have bearing on someone's life.====JACK:  Usually there's a reason behind things unusual.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Winter 2006  Dec 24 at 10:30pm  I was in Manger Square  Dec 25 at 12:15am  I was in Church of the Nativity====JACK:  Did you feel anything special on those occasions?  I would think not.  How about standing at the Wailing Wall?  Anything special?  I remember seeing a picture of a man facing the Wall....speaking into his cellphone.  Faith does not depend on place so much as it does on things esoteric.====HY:  It was very special to be at one of the holiest places for Christians on Christmas Eve. It was not spiritual or holy or religious but mice to be there and see the enjoyment and emotion on the faces of worshippers and pilgrims. I was simply there to observe a moment in time.  The Western Wall is deeply holy and emotional for me personally. ====JACK:  Did you ever see anyone endangering himself at the wall because of 2 Kings 9:8?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I am surrounded by family and love❤️❤️❤️I too missed trips to the holy land because of the danger====JACK:  Christmas Eve in church with family gets me into the Spirit.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  thank you, jack. i get that love of learning from my dad.  peace to you this season. i am glad we are friends!====JACK:  Needed more than ever...Peace on earth, goodwill to all."

FROM BB IN CHGO:  The book I mentioned, “Learning to Walk In the Dark” has an interesting passage about that special place in Bethlehem which was likely a cave rather than the lean-to wooden structure Westerners typically depict in crΓ¨che scenes.  Her take on how this affects the nativity story, spiritually is that Jesus life started in the dark.  Both the seed in the ground and the baby in the womb are embraced by the darkness (Jesus later spent 3 days in the tomb) and so there is something to be said for Christians appreciating the darkness of advent and the difficulties in life without thinking it all has to be light and joyful.  Miracles happen in the dark…====JACK:  Being a preacher, I know that you can make most circumstances fit the message you want to get across.  If I were preaching this Christmas Eve, I might title the sermon: Learning to Walk in the Dark.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Bill and I were there for a few days in 1970; Even stayed in a Kibbutz one night, and heard the shots resounding over the Golan Heights!  My main impression was that the only thing they haven't built a church over is the Sea of Galilee!  We walked the Via Delorosa, viewed the tomb, visited the supposed birthplace in Bethlehem,.. all the "sacred sights". One thing that Impressed me was going DOWN to Jericho..it IS down, down, down to Jericho & the dead sea, where you absolutely could not sink under the water; so salty!  My tour group had me sing "I walked today where Jesus walked" as we came out of the tomb, and looked down on the Mt. Of OLives! Also It is interesting that Christians, Muslims and Jews all mix and live together in Jerusalem...The call to Prayer over the loudspeakers 5 times a day for Muslims is resounding, and impressed both Bill and I!  The wailing wall , too, was a deep experience...I'm sorry you never got to take the trip! Very colorful and interesting.====JACK:  I'm comfortable with my non-visit.  Hearing accounts of visits by you and the others...and reading the biblical accounts...and singing O Little Town is sufficient.  And, as far as walking where Jesus walked, I've done that in hospitals and cemeteries and many other places, too.  At the same time, I'm happy that you and Bill had the "real" Bethlehem experience.====OAKS:  O Little Town of Bethlehem is my favorite carol.  My family and church family know this, so we always sing it at least a couple of times during Advent and Christmas!  Once in Royal David's City and Mary, Mary Did You Know? are also special, but really don't you love most all of the carols?!  Music is such a blessings!!====JACK:  Have you noticed that the tempo of We Three Kings replicates the pace of camels as they walk along?====OAKS:  I hadn't thought about that, but  having ridden a camel (You sway enough to make you seasick!) I can say that is true ! Interesting!====JACK:  Sometimes, when I have people sing that carol, I have them sway as though riding on a camel.

FROM PR AW IN ILL:  Jack, somehow  I was priviledged to study in  Israel 2 weeks and to visit there (once with Judy)  twice. God has  been good to me beyond  my wildest hopes.     Thanks for the reminder. A blessed Christmas to you and a meaningful New Year.====JACK:  Maybe this can be your "carol" this Christmas..."Count your many blessings, name them one by one."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  “Love oh love divine”, I am also content to heard the stories or watch videos of Bethlehem.  Love is all around us but it would be awesome to stand where Jesus stood. ====JACK:  I think that you and I will have to be content with figuratively standing where Jesus stood...when we help the poor and needy.  Afterall, that's what it's all about.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Yes.  As I am sure you know border access is guarded and Bethlehem has few Christians.  16 day trip that included Petra/Jordan was very educational but also discouraging.  Found that also to be true of stay in Jerusalem, which was at times very inspiring. ====JACK:  Travelling wasn't altogether easy for Mary and Joseph, either.  "All is calm" is probably a misrepresentation of those times.










Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/20/17
“The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle.”  (Robert Altinger)  Tonight marks the end of  Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.  By the lighting of candles, the story is told of how God helped the Jewish people.  At this season Christians use candles, too, representing, for them, Christ as the Light of the World.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that both Jews and Christians use candles as a sign of God’s intervention on their behalf.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Have you ever noticed that we celebrate salvific events...not creation..... since that is what really matters to us.....we love God because he cares for us and is there for us...we aren't left alone in a world run by the likes of Kim Jung UN, Donald Trump or Isis.====JACK:  I guess the birth of Jesus could be considered to be a "creation event."  And you're right...we need to reminded of the omnipresence of God, especially at this time.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Nerdiest of Christmases. Jack.  I'm grateful for your friendship.====JACK:  Sometimes the best gifts are those not wrapped in fancy papers with bows.  Friendship surely is one.
====TH:  My favorite stories, anecdotes, memories have very little to do with personal possessions.
(Though, I confess, I have been lucky all of my adult life to have avoided distracting financial problems.)====JACK:  You and I and those who control money have difficulty in knowing what it's like to be poor.  Even if we've been poor in the past, memory tends to fade.  At the close of worship at Holy Spirit Church the pastor will often say, "Go in peace.  Remember the poor."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Jack,  have you read any books by Bodie & Brock Thoene? They are a married couple who are Jewish Christians who write fiction about Israel. good reading. ====JACK:  No, I haven't  read any books by that couple, but I once had a church member who married a Jewish man and decided to raise their children as Jews in order to help preserve an endangered religious group.  I also know some Jewish/Christian couples who are working it out... better than some Christian/Christian couples.

FROM JAN F:  Here at work, we have a number of employees of Indian descent. They have taught us about Diwali, their festival of lights. It celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. A light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.====JACK:  Some in today's world decry diversity.  I embrace for all that we can learn from one another.  Part of learning. of course, is being able to use knowledge in a positive way.
====JF:  A big part of my job is working with the Diversity Council, Community Relations, and GenNext. With diversity, I am reminded daily that as people love to celebrate their differences, we are all far more similar than we are different. With Community Relations and GenNext, I have found that most millennials are dedicated to making the world a better place and they're willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work to do it. I have a great job!====JACK:  Fortunate are the people who have a job that they like and it, at the same time, rewarding.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Plus, I think it is timely given that the “dark” is the longest in late December...at least in our part of the world.  Merry Christmas ====JACK:  Plus. there no electric lights in those early days.  Candles were common.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As the old song goes, "If we all would light just one little candle, what a bright world this would be!" One can't imagine Christmas Eve without carols (song) and candles (light). Maybe we can light up someone's life as we reflect His Light! Love the WW today ====JACK:  Our church now uses battery candles as a safety measure and to avoid wax drippings.  It's different, but Silent Night still sounds the same.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  jesus’ cousin, possibly brother, correct?  i love the saints bc they were normal people!====JACK:  Yes, according to some scholars,  Iffy, according to some others.  You choose.
 




Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/19/17
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.  You are mine.”  (Isaiah 43:1)  Last Sunday I worshipped at a very large church,  When people came forward for Communion it looked like controlled chaos.  I followed along, one among many.  As the bread was offered to me, the server said, “The Body of Christ, given for you, Jack!”  What?  She said my name!   It was as if the words from Isaiah had come alive.  In this busy, busy world, when we sometimes feel lost in the shuffle, how comforting it is to hear that God knows us.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  indeed He does!   and how thankful we can be for that.  hope you are enjoying your sojourn to the North!   and remember, the days start getting longer this Friday.  spring is on the way....====JACK:  For me, the start of winter's end begins on Groundhog Day.  In fact, with the mild Minnesota weather that I'm experiencing...it seems as though Spring has already begun.  BTW, thanks for establishing such a church where the personal touch has not been lost in bigness.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  maybe you can explain this to gisela & me:  eating the body & blood of christ?!? ewww... cannibalism!====JACK:  In fact, after the first Easter the followers of Jesus were accused of cannibalism, thinking the followers of Jesus had stolen the body of Jesus from the grave and were eating it.  "This is the body!  This is the blood!"  But, that idea did not last.  Traditional Catholics and some Episcopalians believe that in the mass the bread and wine mystically change into the body and blood of Jesus, while still looking like bread and wine.  It's called Transubstantiation.  Most Lutherans believe that the bread and wine remain bread and wine and become vehicles whereby the Spirit of God is transported to the believer to give spiritual strength and assurance that the person's sins are forgiven.  People generally run into trouble when they mix literalism with figures of speech, whether it be in reading the Bible or in explaining Holy Communion.  I hope that makes some sense to you and your daughter.

FROM TARMART REV:  “The Body of Christ, given for you, Jack!” sure beats the words heard in that old song, "50 Ways To Leave A Lover"-- "...get in the back, Jack!" Merry Christmas!!!! ====JACK:  Probably more appropriate..."It's a strange world we live in, Master Jack."  Do you remember that song.  BTW, what do you AGs do when you attend a communion service where wine is offered instead of grape juice.  At Holy Spirit, both are offered.====REV: I wouldn’t think any problem would occur...I’ve told that story about me  asking for seconds when I partook at one of our Lutheran churches one Sunday morning years back.====JACK:  Years back, when you were into bowing, what did you do when there was a "beer frame?"  You probably said, "Make mine a ROOT BEER!"

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Big church, medium-size, or small, it's all about the greeting; the friendly personality.  A personal welcome is vital.====JACK:  It's a balance...to know when enough is enough without overwhelming the visitor.  Certain people have the technique.






Monday, December 18, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/18/17
“People don’t notice if it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”  (Anton Chekhov)  What makes you happy?  Money?  Health?  Friends?  For me, spending the holidays with family is the best.  Whether it’s in a warm climate, or in wintry Minnesota, family makes me happy.  Chekhov may have had a mixed-up life, but he had the insight to know the value of having a good time with good friends.  If you’re happy, and you know it…the weather doesn’t matter.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  unless its 15 below and the windchill is double that!:):):====JACK:
...said the one who's already packed his bags in anticipation of heading to Arizona.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true! Family time is the best ====JACK:  I suppose you head north to get away from the heat.====SHIRL:  after Southern California and Nassau and Ann Arbor Florida was our best choice in 1963 ====JACK:  It would be a pretty crowded country if we all tried to gather in one place, wouldn't it?

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Clap your hands!  Ha!  I’m glad you will be with David for Christmas.  Bring your long. Underwear!  Ha!====JACK:  My dad used to wear long johns, with a button flap in the back:  I smile when I think back..and remember..

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  If you're happy and you know it say "AMEN! :-) Have to agree, holiday time with family is the best, or with close friends, if family is not available!  In spite of the bittersweet feeling due to  loved ones no longer with us, we can be happy celebrating together; Winter or Summer. Hats off to Chekhov!====JACK:  I like the song..."O, the weather outside is frightful...let it snow, let it snow!"  Last night, to get into the spirit of the season, we watched a couple of "Christmas episodes" of the Beverly Hillbillies.  Two were enough!====OAKS:  I just went to a duo piano concert, and one of the guys sang "Let it Snow" and at the end added "Someplace Else!!" Got a big laugh, cuz most of us don't REALLY want a lot of snow. A heavy "dusting" is pretty, though!

FROM AMC:  so true.  Agree family friends... go for peace. ====JACK:  Pax Vobiscum!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 12/15/17
“Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—it takes time, and we haven’t time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  (Georgia O’Keefe)  This quote reminds me of others…”Never give up; some things take time…The greatest gift you can give your kids is time…Healing (of various kinds) takes time…The trouble is, you think you have time…Take it, one day at a time…Time’s a-wasting.”  Each quote gives us something to think about.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  and now its TIME for me to go back to bed:):)   wish me pleasant dreams...====JACK:  Dream when the day is through  Dream, and they might come true  Things never are as bad as they seem  So dream, dream, dream  Dream  So dream, dream, dream

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Scripture tells us that we will have a litany of experiences with "time".  According to Ecclesiastes 3, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to keep silence and a time to speak...".  We will be confronted with issues of time, whether we accept it or not.====JACK:  Ecclesiastes 3 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible.  "Everything" has its time...and then we move on.

FROM TRIHARDER:  We went to the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe last year. As I walked into the hall, my eyes were immediately drawn to one of her "provocative" flower painting. She denied that the flower was anything more than a flower. Others disagreed. I have attached my photo. ====JACK:  You piqued my interest (by your response and photo) to read more about O'Keeffe ... such as: "O'Keeffe created many forms of abstract art, including close-ups of flowers, such as the Red Canna paintings, that many found to represent women's genitalia, although O'Keeffe consistently denied that intention. The reputation of the portrayal of women's sexuality was also fueled by explicit and sensuous photographs that were exhibited of O'Keeffe."====TH:  She posed nude for boyfriend, later husband,  Alfred Stoeglitz, European photographer.====JACK:  Nudes are nothing new for artists.  They go with the job.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Especially at our ages when priorities come more into play.  My wife Marilyn goes to the head of that class-for which I am fortunate and from which I try to improve.  I know you to also have those in the proper perspective. ====JACK:  Life's choices always seem to involve priorities...whether aware of them, or not.====ME:  Probably more intuitive at an early age.  Which is why character is so important.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  She’s an extraordinary artist.  We visited her museum by Taos, New Mexico.  One of my favorite photo ops (besides outhouses and grandkids) are flowers.  I make Birthday, get well, all kinds of cards from the photos.  Time goes by so quickly, we don’t really look at them like we should.  God has blessed this world with some miraculous wonders!!====JACK:  I've read that G.O. studied at Chicago's Art Institute.  My sister has a granddaughter who got her degree from that place.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Space x is just going up now I am in Orlando for a few days just enjoy each day! We visited the Georgia o keefe museum in Santa Fe not too long ago====JACK:  From today's responses, it seems as though I'm the only one who hasn't visited that museum.

FROM SA IN WA:  Great quote. The great poets, revered throughout Western civilization, seem harder to find these days, but could be it takes time to see them. A piece of barn board I keep on my desk at work, 11 1/2" x 14" x 3/4" with a post-it-note; 188 years. (the time it took to grow enough to produce a board of that width) as a reminder good things take time. The knot hole was created from a branch when the tree was younger, which broke off, and then covered by the years of growth to the right of the hole. Perfectly straight and, even after 100 years of drying, this board has not 'cupped' but remains perfectly flat as well. It helps me keep life's stressors, deadlines and commitments, in perspective. Thank goodness a few of the magnificent trees, that continue their journey through nature's timeline, are preserved in the National Parks, for all to see, in time.====JACK:  Perhaps the favorite book in my library is Masterpieces of Religious Verse.  I've referred to it often, rather than going online.  There's something good about holding a book in your hands.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I have seen her home in NM—outside of Santa Fe.  Simple lines.  Love her stuff.====JACK:  Her poetry or her art or both?

FROM DL IN DULUTH:  Ah, time! Such a fleeting daily gift. For me the Advent season of 4 weeks is time gift of hope. ====JACK:  Is it just me, or does "Advent" seem less significant to those who aren't in the business of being a pastor?  Just wondering....

FROM JT IN MN:  Time has passed for us....but now we will meet again.  Time is good...let's take time for friends!!