Monday, October 15, 2018

 Jack’s Winning Words 10/15/18
“To different minds the same world is a hell and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley)  Forget about traveling to Mars.  You can do explore something closer than that…your BRAIN!  Today’s elementary children are using a book, It’s All in Your Head, which looks at Why..we dream, we remember, we laugh or wink or run.  Scientists know 10% of what the brain does, but believe there’s more than 90% yet to discover.  Do heaven and hell exist in the brain?  ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  Jack,  i have been up all night waiting for your WWs.   just kidding:):)  Have you seen the October issue of Living Lutheran?  the cover story is about heaven and hell.  i am now going back to bed☺===JACK:  In that article I read that in Hell there is a Lake of Fire and that, when you tell someone to "Go jump in the lake," you're telling them to "go to Hell."  In 3rd grade the class was assigned to write a letter to someone.  I wrote, "Dear Miss Wilson, Go jump in the lake."  She told me to go to the principal's office.  I refused to go, but that's another story.

FROM WALMART REV:  "...there a lot of matter that matters up there!" 0;-)===JACK:  In the AG, when do you "count" your knowledge of a heaven and a hell?  At your time of commitment?  Or, is it back to the time when someone first talked about God and his love for you?  Or, are you making a daily commitment as you learn more?  Or, all of these?

Friday, October 12, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/12/18
“Nothing is enough for the one to whom enough is too little.”  (Epicurus)  Many churches emphasize stewardship (asking for money) in the fall of each year.  Synagogues ask for money, too.  As a pastor I never had a problem with asking, because it takes money to do charitable work.  The Bible has many stories about sharing the wealth and the sin of neglecting the needy.  If I were in the business of raising funds today, I might refer to the words of Epicurus.   ;-)  Jack

FROM SF:  Love this. ‘Enough’ is my new mantra.===JACK:  Somewhat related...I've been researching the philosopher Schopenhauer who was a known pessimist.  Life, for him was a negative, full of pain and suffering,  As a friend was dying, he leaned close to him and whispered into his ear, "Have you had enough?"  ...or something like that.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I once read in an article “money” once mentioned more than any word in the Bible.  I don’t believe it but I know it’s talked about a lot.  Money and the means to earn it are gifts.  It All belongs to the One who gifted us with both the means and the money.===JACK:  Talents is a word in the Bible that can mean money as well as special abilities.  The real message, as I see it, is that the haves should be willing to share with the have-nots.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/11/18
“The countenance is the portrait of the soul.”  (Cicero)  Countenance (facial appearance) has recently taken on a new meaning.  It’s now a newer form of personal I.D.  No two faces (even twins) are the same.  Instead of being fingerprinted, just look into the camera.  Now, if only there could be some way to look into a person’s face and read their feelings.  I guess that a smile gives a clue…or, a frown, a tear, a blush.  Were you watching the recent TV hearings?   ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP:  Heard a snippet on “Wait wait don’t tell me” that facial recognition software for phones has trouble first thing in the morning. And no it wasn’t part of the “bluff the listener game” just one of those odd stories they seem to dig up
===JACK:  Now, that is funny, as in strange.  It's also funny, as in funny.  Someone asked me...What if someone has plastic surgery?

FROM WALMART REV:  I think too close . . . as it left me with a "black eye" on American politics. 0:-/  Two portions of Scriptures did come back to mind (not intended to reflect pointedly at the judge's qualification, but back to Christ's crucifixion) . ."Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other" (Mark 14:56)  “Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town" (Acts 13:50)  I know now how that can actually take place in such a setting.===JACK:  Do you think that Jesus ever got a black eye for standing up for the poor and the women who were  oppressed?  It could happen to him or to anyone who turned the other cheek.===REV:  Compared to what He did suffer, a black eye only would seem trivial.===JACK:  Just wondering...

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Yes we did.===JACK:  And...did the countenances show anything to you?===JUDY:  Not really.  Did their countenances effect you?===JACK:  In my business I think that it's important to read the unspoken message, often seen in the countenance.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I liked the old wording of the Aaronic benediction which asked that God's countenance be upon us.===JACK:  That's partly the reason I chose today's quote...although back in those days countenance was a "churchy" word that I didn't understand.

FROM RJP:  Body language at the hearings was very interesting. Because I study body language in my sales approach I had some strong opinions. But I usually do, don't I.
What is your opinion.??===JACK:  You asked for my opinion...Forgetting the politics and concentrating on body language, the one being considered as a potential judge for the Supreme Court did not appear to have a judicial demeanor.  Agitated, argumentative, unmeasured...  I would cross him off as a candidate for a sales rep, let alone as a judge.  Yes, he was defending himself, but I would expect it to be done in a calmer way.  REMEMBER, I'm giving an opinion on body language and not on politics.  Now, put away your elephant pin and tell me what you saw.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Jack, do you get much sleep? I'm in the process of changing my go-to-bed habits to hopefully get more sleep.===JACK:  I never feel sleep deprived, but I do have a desire to put some Winning Words on your computer so that they appear as your day begins.  I try not to send them before midnight (PDT), realizing that friends in Europe may be getting them mid-morning.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I believe that there is something that happens when two people look into each other’s  eyes. Sometimes, the experience is so overwhelming that almost all cognition fails and one may not even be able to verbalize thought. This is not just about romance. It’s what makes us human. “ Sensitive” ,Intuitive, empathetic people are sometimes plagued with this process because the other person may feel, “ you are not listening to me.” Quite the opposite.. the person  may be “listening” to a far higher degree than anyone thought possible. Listening then takes on a whole different meaning than just interrupting sound waves.  Thanks for stimulating this thought of mine, Jack.===JACK:  The eyes are being used as another form of ID.  I've read that eyes have been called, "windows to the soul."  That's scary!  I asked my eye doctor about that, and she was she was peering into my eyes.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  What a a wonderful world in which we live and what a wonderful country in which we live!===JACK: It sounds as though you've been listening to your "South Pacific" song again,,,I'm Only a Cock-eyed Optimist.  BTW, Has Hurricane Florence affected you?===SHIRL:  We have had a lot of rain and the tides have been high-closing the sponge docks at tarpon springs. But we were spared this time! Luckily it moved fast and didn’t linger like Florence. But it is still a catastrophe for those affected!

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Countinance is king.  We've always been taught that a smile is contagious, and in my experience that is mostly true. Now and then we run into folks that have apparently been inoculated.===JACK:  Have you heard someone say, "Wipe that smile off your face, or I'll wipe it off for ya"?===JON:  No for 40   I always liked, "If you are happy, notify your face."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That is true, I think, of identical twins; being one, I know our faces were slightly different in shape!  The TV hearings, which I did watch, while caring for my daughter-in-laws' 92 yr. old blind mother. She never misses a news broadcast, on TV, and by careful listening stays abreast of the world.  I definitely thought Kavanaugh lacked the demeanor and calm authenticity of a judge, and would not have voted for him; But he was defending his honor, and reputation, with his children and wife & friends watching, which would be unnerving to say the least. Of course so was she, and she was very believable, in my opinion. But as usual these days, politics prevailed...  In yesterday's blog, concerning Eddie Rickenbacker, Bill and my first date was to see the movie, "They Were Expendable", depicting his 42 days in the Pacific on a raft Impressed me! He was indeed a Hero!!===JACK:  In the hearings (sadly) it became a search for a hero rather than a search for truth (IMO).  Truth, as well as beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/10/18
“Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you’re scared.”  (Eddie Rickenbacker)  E.R. was a hero in my growing up years…a WW 1 Flying Ace, and an Indy 500 race car driver.  Scared?  In his life he nearly died many times.  Once was in 1942, when his plane had to ditch in a remote area of the Pacific, and he was adrift for 24 days.  I never thought of him as being afraid of anything, but I guess that’s part of being a hero.   ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i have wondered whether people like mad dog mattis, donald trump get scared... i suppose they do. but they plow ahead anyway, and make it look easy.===JACK:  I like the nickname, "Mad Dog."  It sounds scary.  "The Donald," sounds rather tame.  Did you ever have a nickname.  I was sometimes called, "Freak."===LIZ:  no, my parents had endearing nicknames for me, tho.===JACK:  Yes, Snookums is an endearing nickname.

FROM RBJR:  Always fear God without Anxiety, but in prayer and supplication (Phil. 4:4) - yielding Courage in Christ (Phil 4:13)===JACK:  Thanks for the biblical "courage" reminder.  When I think of Bible stories of courage, I think of Daniel and...Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. or as we referred to them in seminary as Your Shack, My Shack and A Bungalow.

FROM WALMART REV:  I'm afraid you're right! 0;-)===JACK:  What does "Fear God!" mean to you?===REV:  Words like respect, respond to and rely on for my eternal life decisions and salvation-- sounds like a sermon outline, I know... 0;-)===JACK:  There are sermon outlines around us every day.  Next Sunday I could be preaching on Hurricane Michael and tying it in to Jesus stilling the storm.  The hymn might be.... Master, the tempest is raging!  The billows are tossing high!
The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness.  No shelter or help is nigh.
Carest thou not that we perish?  How canst thou lie asleep
When each moment so madly is threat’ning  A grave in the angry deep?

FROM LBP:  At cub scouts on Monday we talked about the difference between being brave and being a daredevil. Sounds like ER May have been a bit of both ===JACK:  I've never thought about it before...Is that why Indigenous People (I still think Indians) are called, "braves?"===LBP:  And I never thought about that :)===JACK:  Peter Gorman says: "The word "brave" (as an adjective) first appeared in English in the late 15th century from the Middle French brave (splendid, valiant), which itself came from the Italian bravo (bold) or Spanish bravo (courageous, untamed, savage).

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Remember Eddie Ricketyback in Lil Abner?===JACK:  Although I was an Abner fan, I can't remember Eddie,  Maybe it's because I was concentrating on Moonbeam McSwine  ===JOHN:  Moonbeam was a piece of work.===JACK:  ..and for us preachers, there was Marryin' Sam.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I wonder if a milder form of courage exists, where, without fear we choose to do the small right (correct) things daily.  Cumulatively being courteous, kind, just, and setting aside provisions for your family and self over many years are habits we can cultivate.  These over 20 or 40 years may rate far more "courageous" than a simple show of courage began in fear or not.===JACK:  Yes, there are different kinds of courage.  Perhaps one is being confident enough to say and do things the little boy who said, "The emperor has no clothes."  Too often, we weigh the consequences, before taking the action.  I like the song..."Doin' What Comes Naturally."
Folks are dumb where I come from  They ain't had any learnin'  Still they're happy as can be   Doin' what comes naturally.

FROM DB IN WB:  That guy was fabulous! A man’s man. You can be sure, he was afraid. But its about pushing past it and doing the right thing, something our better generation did so well and the current generation ………………..===JACK:  Sometimes it takes time to make a proper judgment.  I haven't yet given up on our young people.  Eddie was once a young man.  His exploits, as he grew older, weren't as daring as in his youth.  That happens to a lot of people...even me.

FROM INDY GENIE:  Ain’t it the truth! I’m envisioning the Lion in the Wizard of Oz saying “courage!”....with his knees knocking:)===JACK:  I think that, of the 3 characters, I liked the lion best.  But, in fact, I liked the whole movie...even Miss Gulch.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  If you’re scared you make errors.  He probably wasn’t scared like you or me but he did have to have a lot of faith whether in himself or God or hopefully both!===JACK:
Maybe the military chooses young pilots, because, at that age, they're fearless, or pretend to be.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I just checked his life on Google! Fantastic ! I started my job at Eastern in January 1978! It was great and we all saw the world! 🌎🌎🌎===JACK:  It really is a "perk" when airline employees can fly for free...even if it's standby.

FROM SANDY BEE:  Thank you for your “Winning Words.” Today’s reminded me of the story I read about Eddie Rickenbacker: He was sustained after his plane ditched in the Pacific by catching a seagull and eating it when he was near starvation. Later as an elderly man, Rickenbacker went out to the beach near his home daily to feed the seagulls in gratitude for the one that had sacrificed its life for him.===JACK:  Your last line causes me to ponder...What do I do in gratitude for the one that has sacrificed his life for me?

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/9/18
“When you have 435 people who are opinionated, sometimes agreeing on things is difficult.”  (Rodney Frelinghuysen)  Have you ever been on a committee?  It can be frustrating.  Even husbands and wives can disagree.  And then there’s the U.S. Senate!  Recently I overheard some millennials talking in the next booth, and one of them said, “I can dance with that!”  I’d never heard that expression?  Have you?  Interesting…getting along is like dancing.   ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i can dance with that!===JACK:  It's a catchy expression, isn't it?

FROM WALMART REV:  Square dancing may be a problem, as it is the "caller" that sets the direction and response?! Always food for thought-- thanks, Jack!! 0;-)===JACK:  Is the Senior Pastor at your church the square dance caller?  ...or is it your wife?  ...or does it depend on which dance hall your at?===REV:  I "dosey-doe" to my wife's call much more nowadays! 0;-)

FROM INDY GENIE:  Oh how I love that! “Dance with that”.... I’m claiming  it.  You never know what you’re going to learn from the next booth!===JACK:  One of my favorite "new" songs is "The Lord of the Dance."  This song was written by Sydney Carter in 1963 and follows the idea of a traditional English carol, "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" which tells the gospel story in the first person voice of Jesus of Nazareth, portraying his life and mission as a dance.===GENIE:  “Lord of the Dance” is one of my favorites, too. Didn’t know about the connection to the English Carol ....beautiful lyrics !

FROM TRIHARDER:  "I don't get no respect." (Rodney Dangerfield)===JACK:  I "respect" those Borscht Belt comics...Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Andy Kaufman, etc.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I'm positive that millennials, with a lot of help from the rest of us will bring us back into BONDAGE.===JACK:  Are you talking about "bondage" in an apocalyptic way?  If so, what have millennials got to do with it?===GEORGE:  Jack, there are 8 steps for the Rise & Fall of a Democracy:  1. Bondage    2. Spiritual Growth    3. Great Courage    4. Liberty (1940s for USA)   5. Abundance    6. Complacency    7. Apathy    8. Dependence===JACK:  This reminds me...I haven't gotten around to making commentary on CBS, your Bible Study group.  While I'm a firm believer in interpreting the Bible with regard to the time and circumstances in which it was written, I tend to be turned off when it is used to justify a current political agenda...just as you might be turned off when it appears to be used to support a current social agenda.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  We argue and disagree, we communicate and send inspirational phrases, we can laugh and be serious and that is why I really appreciate you after all these years. SO Thank you on this Pastor appreciation day . I just wanted to take the time to say you are and have been appreciated.  God Bless You,===JACK:  Thank you.  I didn't know that there was such a day...but in researching, I found that you can get your pastor a coffee mug with his "mug" on it and the words: "Pastor on Fire!"  (Don't bother!)

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  And sometimes it seems IMPOSSIBLE!  What a quagmire our congress
has become! So discouraging. "Dance with it" is a good phrase: move together in symmetry, with rhythm and purpose. My Youth choir sang "Lord of the Dance"; a Delightful words, tune and rhythm!! My Scottish friend had a phrase that I took to, when when she said, "The wee smalls"
aren't fun..."  Turns out she meant the wee small hours of the night when one is troubled or grieving and can't sleep!  The "wee smalls" can some-times be a problem! :-) Another catchy phrase! ===JACK:  "The wee smalls!"  I like it...not what it represent...but how it sounds.  Today, I'm going to think about how it can be turned into a positive.

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Thanks for teaching me a new expression.  You are full of surprising, vibrant information.===JACK:  I heard that expression at the Courtyard.  My "surprising" led to listen to Marvin Gaye's oldie..."I Heard It (At) Through the (Courtyard) Grapevine." 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It’s fun isn’t it?  If you listen instead of giving your opinion, it’s amazing how everyone is wrong!!   Lol     I have never heard the term “dance” used for a thing other than dancing.===JACK:  When I was in college, the only dancing allowed on campus was square dancing.  "Close" dancing had to done in other places.  That has changed with the times.  That never bothered me, because I was a klutz when it came to square or close or toe.===JUDY:  We learned square dancing in Junior High.  We did a lot of different dances in Girl Scouts. But my favorite is the Polka!  My parents had many many parties and we all danced, even the babies were lifted in arms and danced away!  Wonderful moments!!===JACK:  Dancing wasn't for me in Jr. Hi.  I didn't to touch girls.  Cooties!===JUDY:  We didn’t want to either but back then, you did what the teacher told you.

FROM LK IN IL:  Well, Getting out and having fun even in very weird times.  Frankly, millennials may be in our faces with their yoga gear but their music can remind us of sitting in the dentist chair. How funny is that !  Who programs that setting music anyway?  It's at the pools clubs too!  And how about watching a cable station that has your phone number tied to your phone number that elderly people have on their preprogrammed large number phones? Boy, How inaccurate and unsafe is the" polling media. Today we have xyz, tomorrow it's something else or is it the food purchased within 25 miles or by a household with the same last name? Talk about something to dance with and laugh at/ with !!!  Fun indeed!  So wrong and so funny.===JACK:  I  am intrigued by millennials, especially since my grandchildren are in that age-group.  When G-S Joe picks me up in his car he switches the music on the radio from "whatever" to Sousa marches which we both like.  But, I get your point.  Things that are out of our comfort zone can be annoying.  I can dance with those times by trying to find something new.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  is it a square dance?  the tango?  or the rumba? :):):)===JACK:  As a pastor, did you permit dancing in your church building?  In my first parish a member complained because the Boy Scouts were learning Indian dancing, dancing that she considered to be pagan. ===SP:  yes, we have had a few dances that sotv over the years.   when i went to college there was a joke on campus that sex on campus was forbidden because it might lead to dancing!

FROM LK:  Thank you all for reminding us of goodness.

Monday, October 08, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/8/18
“America had often been discovered before Columbus, but it had always been hushed up.” (Oscar Wilde)  Columbus got the credit, but it may have been some Portuguese sailors, or maybe some Phoenicians, or the Vikings (500 years before Columbus) who first set foot on America.  However, the 7 continents began to be formed 200 million years ago, each waiting to be discovered.  History is not only “the story” but the “hushed up story” behind the story.   ;-)  Jack

FROM SHALOM JAN:  It seems to me that those whom we call "Native Americans" were the first to set foot on the Americas -- both North and South.  However, the idea of discovery by humans is what counts here.  The animals didn't discover; they just enjoyed the freedom and variety of the lands! ===JACK:  I would not be surprised to "discover" that there were people in the Americas before the "Indians" discovered it.===JAN:  Yes, the mastodons had more than one humanoid enemy, I'm sure!===JACK:  Do you suppose that Samson might have used the jawbone of a mastodon?

FROM WALMART REV:  Was that an eye witness you quoted from, mentioning the "continents being formed 200 million years ago"===JACK:  I've learned that eye-witnesses aren't always reliable, especially when some people are interpreting what the eyewitnesses saw.  I'm lean toward trusting those who read rocks.  My faith rests on "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" ...and let it go at that.===REV:  I haven’t counted out that one “to be found” bone and stick figure drawing in a newly found cave indicating possible continents 200 million years ago...anything is possible nowadays.===JACK:  EXACTLY!  Michelangelo is famous for having said:  "Ancora Imparo," I am always learning.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I like it.===JACK:  It's probably because we've probably read many of the same books.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  On our recent road trip to Maine our destination included Nova Scotia where there are supposedly Viking remains of their landings. But we scratched that plan because it was so far from Acadia and because rain was predicted! We did Provincetown and Plymouth instead!===JACK:  If I were in Nova Scotia, I'd first visit my friends in Victoria Beach, the watch the tide activity at the Bay of Fundy...and then visit the Viking landing place (even if it it were raining).

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I started reading "Lies My Teacher Told Me".   Very interesting and sad that so much of what really happened never gets taught in our schools.===JACK:  Now, there's an eye-catching title!  How about another..."Lies My Pastor Told Me"?  Would you want to pick it up and read it?===RS:  Absolutely!

FROM PROUD MARY:  many years ago at school we started celebrating the indigenous peoples history before columbus came, before the vikings came, and pondered who may have been the original discoverer.  it was interesting, fun, and mind expanding.  we were the explorers.  experiencing, exploring, and viewing the world through a child's eyes and heart is an amazing gift! ===JACK:  What does the modern teacher do with Columbus?  Not mention him at all?  Or, say that in the past some people thought that he had discovered a "new" world, because they had never heard of it before?  Ways of teaching and preaching evolve with new information.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We are thankful for whoever discovered it.  We are also very thankful our ancestors decided to go through very tough travels to get here!  God bless America!!===JACK:  New information is welcomed in helping us to better understand a subject.===JUDY:  That’s very true.  Each day a new discovery!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Thinking in terms of 200 million years ago, kinda puts today in perspective doesn't it ? The little "dash" we live is microscopic indeed! (1930-?) We'll probably never know who came before 
Columbus, but history keep wending its way through each generation, and we do what we can to make a difference in our little corner o the world... !===JACK:  For good reason, given the information that was available at the time, people believed that the earth was flat.  We ought not to fear letting go of "old facts" and adjusting our knowledge.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Biblically the earth and universe is only ~6 - 8,000 years old.===JACK:  Yes, there are some people who believe as you do.  And, there are other "God-believers" who have a different opinion.  Each group believes that the information they have affirms their opinion.  The important issue is not, How? but Why?

FROM WB IN WB:  His story.===JACK:  Yes, some people see God as being active in history.  "History is His story."

FROM BB IN CHGO:  Leave it to Wilde and to you for digging that one up.  Are folks in your vicinity calling it  Indigenous People’s Day?===JACK:  I see that people in Columbus, Ohio, are using it as a day to honor veterans.  (Another blow to the Indigenous People!)

FROM EILEEN:  We can all  better ourselves in someway or another. Being more conscientious, being more conscience, and aware and in tune with others===JACK:  One of the things I like about the community where I live is its diversity.  It helps me to be aware that there are "other fish in the sea."===EILEEN:  Always swim with you, never there something like that in Scripture?===JACK:  Maybe it's in the Noah story or in the parting of the Red Sea.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  What about the indigenous people===JACK:  It's good, but will be even better when calendars list the 2nd Monday in October as "Indigenous Peoples' Day" instead of Columbus Day.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/5/18
“People love company, even if it is only a small burning candle.”  (George Lichtenberg)  Don’t invite a fire fighter to a candlelight dinner or leave burning candles unattended.  Even if you’re in a romantic mood, he/she will be blowing the candles out, because they can be a fire hazard.  My step-father (a Fire Chief) would do that all the time.  Candles start two out of five home structure fires.  For romance, dim the lights and play Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.”  ;-)   Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  two out of five?  wow.    i suspect another one or two would be smoking in bed.  plus faulty electric space heaters and then Christmas tree fires, etc.   be safe, ===JACK:  For the Christmas Eve Candlelight Services, the handheld "candles" are now battery powered.  Not the same effect, but safer (and cleaner).  The Fire Marshal likes it.===PAUL:  .  i am now going to blow out some candles:):)  and yes,  the Christmas Eve services always left the fabric pew covers full of wax and it was almost impossible to get them clean again.  we now have all new pew covers and carpeting too.  hate to see all that get "waxed".   but i am no longer in charge:):):)

FROM SHALOM JAN:  My personal experience with home fires is limited, but of the ones that have affected me in any way (three) one was started by a citronella candle left burning in the night and the other two by a globe ceiling light and a bathroom fan motor, so I'm more frightened by the people in the apartment below mine keeping their bathroom fan running for hours and hours when there is no one home.  Of course, I have no idea if they're burning candles at the same time!===JACK:  When I was in Sunday School, each Sunday when someone had a birthday, a real candle was lit on a fake birthday cake, and everyone would sing...":Jesus bids us shine, With a clear, pure light,  Like a little candle burning in the night; In this world of darkness, we must shine,  You in your small corner,
And I in mine."  The Fire Dept was never called.

FROM KF:  When our children were small I taught them to hold back their hair when blowing out birthday candles. Candles worry me; we have lots of battery operated fake candles at our house : ) ===JACK:  It only takes once to say,  "I shoulda..."

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/4/18
“Knowing that there is worse pain doesn’t make the present pain hurt any less.”  (Gordon Atkinson)  I’ve been reading about some things to say (or not to say) to express sympathy.  SAY: “I’m sorry…You’re in my thoughts…It must be hard…I love you…I don’t know what to say.”
AVOID: “I know how you’re feeling…You’ll feel better soon…Some things are worse.”  I know a man who said, “Is there anything I can do?”  “Yes,” said the widow, “You can spade my garden.”   ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:   there is also that old line that goes like this.   a hurting person asks, what did i do to deserve this?   does he really want an answer to that question???  of course not! ...I gave a talk at Forum Hour last Sunday on Why bad things happen to good people.  and i quoted Harold Kushner who in his book says something very similar to what you just wrote.  good words to remember.===JACK:   I think that many people want to do the right thing, but don't know how to do it.  Besides preaching... a pastor can help the congregation  when they have "hard questions" and when it comes to knowing what to say in "difficult situations."

FROM LG IN COMMERCE:  In the Jewish tradition we say "Baruch Dayan ha'Emet (Hebrew: Blessed Is the True Judge; Jewish bereavement blessing)"  For some explanations, see:
However, your expressions are typical of what most of use when speaking to one of the mourners.  A simple "I'm sorry for your loss" is appropriate.  And you are absolutely correct about "I know how you feel" or similar.  As you surely know better than I, nobody can know exactly how another person feels.  Wishing you a wonderful day!===JACK:  It's always a wonderful day when I learn something new which underscores what I already believe.  We're more alike than we are different.

FROM KB:  Another one of my favorites +++JACK:  You've had the experience of dealing with people in pain...and it wasn't always an owie.+++JACK:  I'll bet you've plowed more than one needy person's driveway.

FROM JT IN SJ:  Brought a chuckle Probably shouldn't have but I related  Have a good day ===JACK:  You could have said, "You can clean the barn."

FROM BB IN CHGO:  That last is a beautiful one; I can see your sister saying it right now!  Last night I went to Old St. Patricks, the oldest church building in Chicago and heard Nadia Bolz Weber (an ELCA pastor) who just worked the ELCA youth event.  Have you heard her?  What a pistol!  Speech laced with profanity, tattoo sleeves (of the church calendar) and a very sassy presentation. ===JACK:  Which last one?   "Is there anything I can do?  or  "You can spade the garden."

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/3/18
“Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.”  (Seneca)  I remember how, in 1969, it became OK to talk openly about death and dying.  Elisabeth KΓΌbler-Ross had written a best-selling book on that subject and its 5 stages…denial, anger, bargaining, despair, and acceptance.  While there were mixed reviews, conversing about death and dying became acceptable.  You’ve probably discussed it with family and friends, even recently.   ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Well!!! That’s a nice thought to wake up to! It’s like Carl Reiner  says, “When you wake up and don’t read your name in the Obit. , have breakfast!”===JACK:  Carl was one who knew how to make the subject of death funny.  So did Mary Tyler Moore.

Mary Tyler Moore at Chuckles the Clown's Funeral - YouTube

===PAUL:  That was one of the funniest moments of TV in its history! One of my absolute favorites.===JACK:  One of my favorite songs is Charlie Chaplin's, "Smile."
Smile, though your heart is aching  Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky  you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow  Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through  for you
Light up your face with gladness  Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near  That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying  You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just  Smile

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  A friend in California has made all of her arrangements including buying her coffin and flowers and lot. She has made her arrangements with her Greek priest.===JACK:  Some people do that in order to take the burden off of the survivors...or if there are no relatives.  Others do it, because they want to make sure that certain things (are/are not) done.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  odd, isn’t it, that speaking of dying in this way is a relatively recent phenomenon. the most basic & certain of human conditions is still a huge mystery. do you think it always will be?===JACK:  I have certainly seen a change in the "conversation" about dying and death.  Sometimes the seeming casualness can be a cover-up.  But it truly does HURT when a loved one becomes ill...and when a loved one dies.  One of the tasks of my work has been to "comfort the afflicted," to show that, even though death is the fate of all, that there is a message of hope in Easter.
===LIZ:  you are a blessing!===JACK:  We've been through a lot (with only one face-to-face), but somehow we've been able to "communicate."  God moves in mysterious ways, sometimes!

FROM A McC:  Began volunteering at St. Hugo's in 1971 with Christian service. Became involved in the field of aging and we all were interested in that book.  Still guided by the knowledge  and information.===JACK:  As I recall, you got into the age-caring "business" because of your father-in-law.  If there's a crown for you in heaven, it will have many stars.

Reba McEntire-Will There Be Any Stars In My Crown - YouTube

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/2/18
“We’d forgive most things if we knew the facts.”  (Graham Greene)  Being prejudiced means to judge before knowing all of the facts.  RLS wrote: “I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me…” and that shadow, at times, can be the tendency to form opinions based on partial knowledge.  Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, nationalism…these are more than words.  Leaning, left or right…we daily have to examine “our little shadow” of pre-judging.   ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I suppose that I should admit to have a tad of Molineism in me.... ===JACK:  If the facts were known, we would have less pride in certain "things/opinions" and more pride in others.  I continue to have pride in the Augustana Synod influence and, at the same time, being aware that it was not perfect.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Graham Greene used to be one of my favorite authors! We have to get as many facts as possible before making a decision! Don’t you think?===JACK:  Sometimes decision time comes upon us before all the facts are known.  If we were to wait until "we know it all," nothing would ever be decided.

FROM WALMART REV:  "It’s those continued piled on prejudiced assumptions (or hope something will finally surface to prove one's assertion) lately that's keeping me from those concluding and forgiving moments. 0;-)===JACK:  My continued "example" for forgiveness is the "Grace of God!"  How can he possibly do that?  To be "all-knowing: certainly helps.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Good Words.  “Just the facts, nothing but the facts!”===JACK:  We need to be careful with our judgments, because ONLY God knows all of the "facts."===JUDY:  Absolutely agree!

FROM AMcC: For me, it is best to forgive all unconditionally.  I work on that daly.===JACK:  Someone said:  "I know that it says in the Bible that you should love your neighbor, but you haven't met my neighbor.===A:  I laughed out loud.  Somehow I think about forgiveness as I age and find it easier.  Never was very grudgey.  More consciously closer to Christ.  Deepened faith is answer

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We rarely know  ALL the facts about  anything...I read something recently that  went like this : Don't judge a person for the option they choose: You don't know what choices they had to choose from!" Good point!  As the scripture in James says, "Who made YOU judge and jury of others? That's God's job!" :-)===JACK:  Jesus said, "I'm sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."  When we're among the wolves,  be sure to be wise (use your brain).

FROM DR J:  I like this one ALOT!  so true.. I have the little shadow hanging around too… and recognizing that the shadow exists is half the battle!===JACK:  I like this song...

My Shadow song for children - YouTube

Monday, October 01, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 10/1/18
“When I pray, coincidences happen.  When I don’t, they don’t.”  (Willian Temple)  Articles have been written, sermons preached trying to explain prayer…how it’s to be done and what it’s supposed to accomplish.  It’s still a mystery to me.  I’ve come to the point where I see prayer as talking with God, as I would to a good friend.  “This is what’s on my mind.  I’m grateful, but I really need your help.”  Forget the fancy words.  Just be yourself, and see what happens.   ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  Experiencing a long shot coincidence, I often say "What are the chances? I'd rather win the lottery."  And then I go on to consider all of the bad things that could happen with long odds -- lightning strikes, fires, other disasters-- and I temper my prayer for  those long-odds events to happen.===JACK:  Morse proof of what I said..."You are a religious person!", whether you think so, or not.


FROM INDY GENIE:  That’s good advice for prayer and life in general...”Just be yourself and see what happens!”===JACK:  Popeye followed that advice.  “I yam what I yam, and that's all what I yam.”

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Everything happens for a reason! We are home safely from Washington DC, Acadia National Park, little New England towns,Cape Cod and Plymouth Rock! Along the way we’re at a birthday party for a three year old great grandson and a surprise baby shower for a grandson and his wife! A very exciting life!===JACK:  A follow-up movie could be made...It's A Wonderful Life--Part 2.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Thanks for the words of encouragement that reflect my view of prayer, too.  I expect the Lord will understand what I cannot express in so many words or thoughts.  :-) ===JACK:  I think that I might express the feelings of others.  Some people seem to "pray" so much better than I do.  James Montgomery wrote: "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire, uttered or unexpressed."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  God is willing to help everyone, but we have to ASK, or SEEK, and I think, very specifically what we or whomever we're praying for needs. When our daughter, Sarah Suzanne, whom we often called "Sooz", applied for her car license plate, she asked for SOOZ 1. Turned out she had to take SOOZ 3, as there were 2 other "SOOZes!  Bill told her, "Hey, that's perfect for you, God first, Others, second, and Sooz 3rd. She liked that, because that is how she tried
to order her life, and has kept it ever since! She called it a God Wink,,,===JACK:  ===JACK:  Just a follow up on "God is willing to help...but we have to etc."  The "but" bothers me.  BTW, I like SOOZ 3 and her recognition of a winking God.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We all know they aren’t coincidences.  We call them “God sightings!”

FROM PR AW:  There are lots of  ideas of what prayer is to accomplish.  I am with you that it is me, a child , talking to my  Father.and sometimes listening or looking for a reply.===JACK:
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me;  Bless Thy little lamb tonight;
Through the darkness be Thou near me;  Watch my sleep till morning light.

All this day Thy hand has led me,  And I thank Thee for Thy care;
Thou hast clothed me, warmed and fed me,  Listen to my evening prayer.

Let my sins be all forgiven;  Bless the friends I love so well;
Take me, when I die, to Heaven,  Happy there with Thee to dwell.
===AW:  Thanks, Jack..I have not heard that prayer for a long time...and I am going to forward  it to my children.   Blessings and love to you and yours.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/28/18
“I don’t like that man.  I must get to know him better.”  (A. Lincoln)  Before Lincoln became President, an Illinois newspaper editor described him as “weak, wishy-wash, disgusting and an imbecile.”  I wonder if he was the one that Abe wanted to get to know better?  Usually, when someone says bad things about us, we “unfriend” them.  I once sat down with such a person to  get to know him better.  While I did not “re-friend” him, I did feel better afterward.   ;-)  Jack

FROM DR PHIL:  ,  Great quote. Hope you're well. Pray for your continued grace and effectiveness. ===JACK:  Your response is a reminder that God continues to be a worker of miracles.

FROM HONEST JOHM:  The whole business of "unfriending" someone on FB is kind of eerie.    In the past, you might just drift away from a person.   This new thing is so abrupt....and seems so irreversible.===JACK:  "Friend/Unfriend" has become a figure of speech.  "Friend" is added to the list of stolen words, like "Evangelical."  You can probably think of others.===JOHN:  I know of the Society of Friends....I wonder if there is a Society of the Unfriended?===JACK:  What a great name for a church...Society of Friends.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  what a good quote for the day!   whenever someone at the church had an "issue" with me or the church, i always tried to set up a coffee time to talk.  it usually worked wonders.   people today just want to be heard and taken seriously.===JACK:  To be taken seriously goes for both sides of the table.  I'm a firm believer in face-to-face over computer-to-computer.  ===PAUL:  there is no substitute for face to face.  that is why Jesus came incarnate.   flesh to flesh. ===JACK:  Jesus is God's way of helping us to know the unknowable.===PAUL:  PROFOUND!

FROM JB AT LSTC:  Thanks, Jack – this is wisdom for our time!===JACK:  I learned this kind of wisdom at Augustana Seminary, one of the founding schools of LSTC.  Through your writing, you are helping to carry on the "wisdom" teaching.

FROM JB IN OLV:  Love it!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  This world is in such a Godless place, filled with pure hate, it’s unreal.  What a sad sad commentary.  If we learned to listen without an agenda, what a wonderful thought.
We need a Lincoln and an open heart.===JACK:  "This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget!"  Lincoln was aware of that.  He mentioned it in some of his writings.  He was aware, even  in the midst of the Civil War, the worst war in our history...that our country had not been left God-less.  I know what you mean, Judy, be need to be reminded of God's promise: "I will never leave you nor forsake you."===JUDY:  I cling to that promise..”I will never leave you or forsake you!”  God has blessed this world with more good people than not.  I’m thankful for you and your words!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/27/18
“The day is what you make it!  So why not make it a great one?  (Steve Schulte)  A teaching of Buddhism is,,,We are what we think we are, or Thinking will make it so.  When the days are downers, try changing your way of thinking.  Robert Schuller would begin each worship service by saying, “This is the day that the Lord has made!  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  We can make today a great day by looking for the positives in it.  It will become as you see it .   ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i wonder if Schuller still said that on the day his entire ministry fell apart and the Crystal Cathedral was sold to the Catholic Church??===JACK:  I suggested that you could make today a great day by thinking positive thoughts!  Longfellow wrote these famous words: "Thy fate is the common fate of all,  Into each life some rain must fall,  Some days must be dark and dreary."  While Schuller was not perfect, he did accomplish good in his ministry, too.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I love it! Enjoy each day!===JACK:  Like Mr. Rogers would sing at the beginning of his TV show..."It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood."

FROM DAZ IN COLORADO:  Interesting you bring that up because you’ve got be careful about who you believe about events and battles. Generals who did dumb things by most standards would write to try to convince you it was smart. That make reading fun to read about.

FROM WALMART REV:  You and I were hitting on the same thought this morning! 0;-)===JACK:  In many ways, we are more alike than different.  You could become an ELCA pastor, but I'd have to learn to speak in tongues.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  EXCELLENT!===JACK:  I try not to send junk.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  We always begin our Morning Praise service with those words " This is the day " etc.  Wonderful words to begin the day!===JACK:  In Sunday School we used to sing...
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
And be glad in it, glad in it
This is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
And be glad in it, glad in it
This is the day that the Lord has made
I will rejoice and be glad in it
This is the day, this is the day
That the Lord has made

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/26/18
“Believe those who are seeking the truth.  Doubt those who find it.”  (Andre Gide)  You may remember Diogenes the Cynic who carried a lamp around searching for an honest man.  Today he’s been replaced by Snopes, the website that fact-checks stuff on the internet.  Last week a friend posted something on Facebook that didn’t seem right me.  I “snoped” it, and it was fake.  Wouldn’t it be great to fact-check some of the opinions expressed on TV these days?   ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  Amen to that===JACK:  I remember hearing a minister being called, "A Pompous Pulpit Prancer."  ...and it wasn't you or me.===PAUL:  sounds like Jimmy Swaggart.     blessings,===JACK:  Yes, Swaggart is a good name for one of "those."  BTW, you probably know that Swaggart and Jerry Lee Lewis are cousins.  How would you like to have Jerry Lee as your church pianist? 
Jerry Lee Lewis Great Balls of Fire - Rock - YouTube
When I was starting a new church in Michigan, the pianist for our worship services was a piano/bar performer.  He would sit on the piano bench sideways with his legs crossed.  One Sunday he played, "Send In the Clowns," as I processed to the altar.

FROM CS IN RO:  Thumbs up!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  If we are to believe those who are seeking the truth, then it follows that the truth must exist.    Thank God.===JACK:  Truth wears many disguises and  has many hiding places.===JOHN:  FROM HONEST JOHN:  Neither of those statements denies that it exists ...that is the point of opposed to the Relativists who deny that it exists.===JACK:  Oh, I believe that it exists,,,but we don't always recognize it when we see it.  What's it look like?===JOHN: The Word.===JACK: Even theologians see different kinds of Truth in the Word.  (bu, I know what you mean...I think) 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  so you’re on facebook?===JACK:  You've heard of "Secret Friends," haven't you?  I read, but I don't post.===LIZ: ha, a fb creeper! i’d friend request you, but you would not like most of what i have to say...===JACK:  Are you saying that I'm creepy?  I like using e-mail, because, for example, I'd like my "conversations" to be more personal than they'd be on Facebook.

FROM WALMART REV:  Especially, Facebook and Twitter 0:-/===JACK:  Mark Twain is supposed to have said, "If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed."  Snopes says: "FAKE!"  The same would be said if he tweeted or posted.

FROM GDJ IN WISCONSIN:  Krista and I have been enjoying two weeks of solace with deer and eagles on a beautiful lake just south of Eagle River. Not that far from Merrill.  Peace to you this day as God has chosen to wake us again.   Fact-Checking Trump’s Speech to the United Nations  I came to love Central/Northern Wisconsin after meeting Mary there in 1954...and commenting on your "fact-check"...The UN's response: "Ha, Ha, Ha!"===GDJ:  Love it!!

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Sadly, believe little trust no one has become our mantra even Snopes has been wrong on occasion. The Internet is destroying people's trust in virtually everything. So trust and family good friends I believe in yourself ===JACK:  I've made mistakes.  Perhaps you have made one or two yourself.  I'm a believer that the internet has been a great invention.  The main problem comes from the people who post information and the people who believe (without checking) whatever they read.  It might be interesting, too, to have snopes available when listening to some sermons.  OOPS!  Did I say that?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Indeed! cks  politician's truths and lies, and our newspaper has begun to post their findings, regarding the Governor's candidates for election. Quite an eye-opener, and it's had its effect on their ads recently!  Wish we had more courageous people who did this. They ck. Trump, too, and so many of his statements are at least half true, and many are "pants on fire" lies :-(===JACK:  I'm not so much concerned about what the politicians are saying as I am about why they are saying it.  Constructive criticism seems to have been forgotten.  Imaginative thinking for the good of the country?  Where is it?


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Facts???  What are the facts?  Will we ever know?  I think a lot of the are fake but God knows all.  We mere mortals tend to mix up facts all the time.  If you ask one of my sisters or brother about the past, each one will tell it a little different.  We were all there but we all were looking at different things!
===JACK:  There are scientific facts...and then there are opinions about the facts...and then there are opinions about the opinions which some people take as factual.  "Ah, there's the rub!"===JUDY:  Yes, you are πŸ’― % correct!

FROM DAZ IN CO:  I always am suspect of stories the start  "The True Story of ......."===JACK:  Are there any TRUE stories of the Civil War?  As an aside, Jack Pearl was a comedian in my growing up years.  On his show, if someone questioned the truth of some experience that he was bragging about...he'd say, "Vas you der Sharlie?"  The phrase caught on, and you'd here people repeat it in conversation.  So, if someone questions you when your relating a Civil War story, respond: "Vas you der Sharlie?"===DAZ: Interesting you bring that up because you’ve got be careful about who you believe about events and battles. Generals who did dumb things by most standards would write to try to convince you it was smart. That make reading fun.===JACK:  Oftentimes historians don’t report history, they make (up) history.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/25/18
“A question that sometimes drive me crazy…Am I, or the others, crazy?”  (Albert Einstein)  As a child, Einstein was thought to have a mental disorder…not talking until 3 or 4…not reading until about 9.  He was dyslexic!  The world confused him, just as he confused others. At times I feel like Einstein…the world confuses me, especially when I hear the opinions of certain people.  Are they crazy, or am I?  The truth is: we can be confused and still be normal.  Are you normal, too?   ;-)  Jack

FROM VWMS:  Sometimes===JACK:

Almond Joy - Mounds Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut 1977 - YouTube

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ: not sure sometimes!===JACK:  I'd say that you are "out of the ordinary" a good way.

FROM WALMART REV:  I'm going to leave you guessing?! 0;-)===JACK:  I'm guessing that God knows...and that's all that counts.===LIZ:  thanks. i would say the same about you... i enjoy our friendship very much!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I wonder what "normal" is?===JACK:  Normal depends on who is doing the measuring and for what purpose.  In my opinion, you're normal--sometimes, and atypical--at your best

FROM SF:  Yup!!!! There are so many crazies in my extended family, that sometimes I feel like I am the crazy! No kidding! LOL! It’s a new norm! Yikes!===JACK:  I once saw a movie, "The Snake Pit", in which a sane person was put in an institution for the insane.  Scary!  Our world may not be like that, but sometimes it gets close.===SF:  Just watch the news!!!!===JACK:  I've been asked, "Have you ever seen anything like this?"  NO!  The internet, with instant comment (true or false or inane), instant "gotcha research, pictures without context.  Bizarre!

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I looked up the definition of abnormal.  Maybe I fit in that box - depending on who you aSK.===JACK:  There's a saying that you may have heard--Illegitimi non carborundum!  Don't worry about those weird ones who don't understand what normal is.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  To be normal today is not confusing! We're traveling in Maine and meeting all kinds of people! To each his own, and I don’t tell adults what to do or say!===JACK:  In the teaching and preaching professions, we're expected to give some guidance on how to think and how  to arrive at independent conclusions.  BTW, I'm energized by meeting "all kinds of people" and am not intimidated if they have views differing from mine.===SHIRL:  Me, too!

FROM CS:  Very good and very timely!===JACK:  I try to read the times and  public mood and write Winning Words accordingly.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Personally, I think we need Jesus back.  Everything we’ve always been taught is not ok.  Guilty until proven one tells the truth...who do we believe?!?  It’s a very unsettled world but we are here just a short time.  Thankfully!!!===JACK:  We  need Jesus back?  We need to understand that Jesus is already here!   (Matthew 25:31-40)  When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and sits on his throne in heaven. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then He will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, "I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’  “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV) ===JUDY:  ===JUDY:    We need to remember God's written words were not suggestions to be changed as needed.  Right is right and wrong is wrong.  The Bible is Very clear.  We have forgotten the Do onto Others, innocent until proven guilty and until we follow and get back into the Word. ===JACK:  I agree that some teachings are Black and White!  Is there any Gray?

MATTER HOW MANY ARE AGAINST IT, AND WRONG IS WRONG, NO MATTER HOW MANY ARE FOR IT!"  I THINK WE ARE BORN WITH THAT SENSE OF RIGHT  AND WRONG; BUT AS THE SITUATIONAL ETHICS COME INTO PLAY, WE MAY ENCOUNTER SOME GRAY...! :-(===JACK:  Born with a sense of right and wrong?  I'll have to think about that.   Early on I was taught that we are conceived and born in sin" (Ps 51:5)and took that literally.  Later on I came to accept that verse by changing the next to last word from "in" to "into."  We are conceived and born into a sinful world and are influenced by the world around us.  By accident, I was born into a Christian family where I was taught right from wrong.  And, by chance, some children did not have my good fortune, and that circumstance influenced them to make other choices.  The Good News is that we have an understanding God who is a God of love...and I'll leave the judgment of other up to his omniscience.  He also understands the situation in "situation ethics."  

Friday, September 21, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/21/18
“If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.”  (Charles Lindbergh)  I’ve flown in jet planes, open-air planes and a glider.  I like flying…but I’d like flying as birds fly, particularly the way hummingbirds do it at our feeder.  I also enjoy watching swallows and hawks.  I remember seeing a video of a man trying to fly with bird-like wings attached to his arms.  It didn’t work.  It was a good day when God had the idea of creating birds.   ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP:  Really? I don’t know if I’d have the stomach for it. I don’t mind flying but I appreciate the closed space of commercial jets so my brain doesn’t have to think of where we are. On the runway, take off or landing, I say a little prayer and typically acknowledge the absurd (non bird) idea of plane flight.===JACK:  You used to babysit for Jason who is now a pilot.  I know that he'd be willing and anxious to take you on a flight over the "places" where you grew up.  You wouldn't be afraid to fly with him, would you?===LBP:  He was a good kid, I'd be OK with it I suppose. It's just not my thing to take a plane ride for kicks.===JACK:  Do you remember the TV commercial for the new cereal, LIFE?  Two brothers didn't want to eat something they hadn't eaten before, so they turned to their little brother and said, "Mikey, try it; you'll like it."  Soooo...flying with Jason?  Try it; you'll like it."

FROM SHALOM JAN:  With a number of my colleagues working now on Blessing of Animals rites for October, I'm reminded that my only pet was a canary.  After a while, even as a child, I felt bad for the bird being in a cage where there was no real room to fly.  No wonder Chippy didn't sing very much as he aged!===JACK:  I once served as an interim pastor to a congregation which had a bird (named Olive) in the narthex.  My children and g-children still refer to that place as Olive's church.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  do you recall Alfred Hitchcock's weird movie, The Birds??.   a few  people left the theater angry and wanting their money back:):):)   true story..===JACK:  Hitchcock was known for making some scary movies...and The Birds was one of them.  I remember seeing it and thinking that it could be real.  It is now considered to be a classic.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  One of my joys is sitting in my chair watching the birds at our 6 feeders and in our pond.  I have to shoo away our large birds such as Blue Herons, Storks, Egrets and Cormorants.  They eat my fish and frogs!  But I do watch them for awhile because they are so majestic!     The Cormorants do the most damage and they are the hardest to get out of the pond.  They swim the opposite way from me so it looks like we are performing some kind of strange dance.  I shoo them to the left and they turn right etc.  it makes me laugh every time.  God certainly blessed us with these wonderful friends.   I do have some of them named because they are back every year.  And, they let me know of their favorite feeder is empty!===JACK:  If you could be a bird, which one would you choose?===JUDY:  I’d like to say a beautiful songbird but I really want to be an eagle!  How about you?===JACK:  A Blackbird.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  angels have wings... πŸ˜‡===JACK: Many birds are mentioned in the Bible...eagle, hen, dove (I like the mention of the turtledove), swallow, quail and raven...there may be others.  Just as the word, angel, means messenger of God, so each reference to birds in the Bible, sees it connected to "a message from God."  I remember the time a classmate in seminary asked a professor, "How did the angels manage to get their robes over their wings?"  BTW, the depiction of angels with wings was a visual explanation of how these messengers were able to travel between heaven and earth.===LIZ: zippers===JACK:  Elias Howe came up with the "zipper idea" in 1851, but the naming of that closure as a zipper didn't happen until 1923.  Maybe the Biblical angels used Velcro.===LIZ:  I'll bet that you are right.===JACK:  Or, it was one of God's miracles.

FROM FCGF:  I am also an avid bird watcher , especially in the winter.  Though, I'm often appalled by their savagery towards each other, taking baby birds out of the nest to eat. It doesn't bother me as much when a hawk swoops down to catch a meal. I tell myself, I guess other baby birds have to eat too.===JACK:  Remember that the next time you're at Buffalo Wild Wings, or when you're choosing between "white or dark" at Thanskinging dinner.===GF:  Yeah, you're absolutely right.  Years ago we secured the used Christmas tree to an oak in the back yard.  A family of robins built a nest and Nancy was so happy to sit on the deck for morning coffee and watch things progress in the nest. One morning, they were all gone, too young to leave on their own, remnants of blood about the nest, Nancy very sad, was not comforted by my remark that baby owls have to eat too.===JACK:  During the Nixon investigation leading up to his resignation, one of his supporters said:  "My mind's made up.  Don't confuse me with the facts."  Your "owl story" reminded me of that.

FROM DM IN LIV:  I agree completely!  Birds are one of my favorite creatures, though I love them all.  I get so much joy from watching birds just do what they do.  One of my favorite experiences is when there’s a large flock of them and they’re all flying in the same direction with dipping and weaving.  I call this the dance of the birds.  Birds make my heart happy===JACK:  When birds are able fly in unison like that, how can you ever call someone a birdbrain?===DM:  Exactly!  So beautiful

FROM KANSAN DON:  What no helicopter?  My first flight washer St.Peter in  whirlybird. Never tried a parachute.===JACK:  I wasn't even a helicopter parent.   Grandson Jason recently took a helicopter ride in Nepal at the foot of Mt. Everest.  He also has done the parachute thing.  His brother, John, has done the Bungee Jump off of a high bridge.  I get those thrills vicariously.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Surprised that C. Lindbergh would not prefer airplanes, with his rich history of aviation! But I think we all appreciate the colorful variety of birds that enhance our lives. This reminds me to get feed for my winter feeder, which is the only time I feed birds (and squirrels with corn...). We took a plane ride around and over Mt. Denali when in Alaska to watch for wild animals and see the snow capped peak of the Mt. Awesome beauty, but few birds!===JACK:  He was called, Lucky Lindy, but his life after his solo flight across the Atlantic was not so lucky, but those are other stories.  His mother is buried in our little cemetery here in West Bloomfield, and he would have buried here, too, except for his wish to be buried in Maui, Hawaii., where he lived when he died.
===OAKS:  I didn't know his mother was from MI. What surprised me was the fact of his second family in Germany, which his wife didn't know about until after he died!  I understand the children from both of his families have corresponded and gotten together!  I am a big fan of his wife's writing. (Anne Morrow Lindbergh.) Especially her little book "Gifts of The Sea." Profound!===JACK:  Time, the people who come into our life and the events that occur have a way of shaping us into who we are...even you.....and me..

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/20/18
“Will you look back on life and say, I wish I had, or I’m glad I did?”  (Zig Ziglar)  What sad  words: “woulda, coulda, shoulda”…when it comes to missed choices and opportunities.  A man told me recently how he had Apple stock “in the beginning,” but sold it, because it wasn’t going to go anywhere.  “If only…”  The one thing gained by looking back is the experience of learning
how to make better choices.  What is it that has enabled you to say, “I’m glad I did?”    ;-)  Jack

FROM CONRO:  Good morning.  Thanks for continuing to start our days off with things to ponder.
===JACK: It's always a GOOD morning when it starts by hearing from friends such as you and knowing that we are pondering similar thoughts.  "I'm glad I did" get to know the St. Stephen's people.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Great Quote!!!! Says so much with such few words.===JACK:  So it is with much that can be little time.  We have to pick and choose wisely   I'd like to think that you and I have chosen wisely.  I remember a poem that begins..."Only one life, 'twill soon be past..."

FROM JT IN ST JOE  How true.  Sometimes I don't motivate myself well   So much easier to stay home.  But when it's completed and I'm back home I'm glad I did it  Again today I have events competing. I have to leave one early to attend another Not good either !===JACK:  Looking back (after you've rested (and are in the remembering mode), I'm sure that you'll look back and say, "I'm glad I did."

FROM MY LAWYER:  Spending about $5 in postage inviting friends to come for breakfast to learn about an Optimist Club!!!===JACK:  I join with many who will say that we're glad that you did invest the time, energy (and stamp money) to begin the Optimist Club of WB.

,FROM WALMART REV:  Those realities that indicate I made a good choice . . . They, of course, go along with those others that I wish now I hadn’t made. However, we can learn too from those latter experiences where we say they were good experiences to learn from?!?!?! 0;-)===JACK:  Just think!  You could have become pro bowler and made the BIG bucks.  But, compare that with the memories you have now.  It's been a Wonderful Life, hasn't it?===REV:  Who would know today, instead of “big bucks I could have fallen right into the gutter along with the bowling ball. I would not want to trade the ministry nor the experience of the ministry for any other profession, even if it was just for the pleasure of meeting you, Jack Freed!! 0;-)===JACK:  Do you know this hymn?  It helped call me into the ministry.
God calling yet! shall I not hear?  Earth’s pleasures shall I still hold dear?
Shall life’s swift passing years all fly,  And still my soul in slumber lie?
Chorus:  God is calling, calling yet,  God is calling ,  Sinner, hear his pleading voice.
God calling yet! I cannot stay;  My heart I yield without delay;
Vain world, farewell! from thee I part;  The voice of God hath reach’d my heart.
Chorus"  God is calling, calling yet,  God is calling ,  Sinner, hear his pleading voice.
===REV:  I’m going to “Google” it ...I’ll bet I can find it and listen to it...”callings” are precious...I’ll always remember what I’ve felt is mine in the Fall of 1965...been going strong with it for just shy of 50 years!

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  great words for today!  thanks...===JACK:  Judging from the number of responses already received, the words seem to have hit a chord.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'm sure we will say both those things, but for the most part, mine will be "I'm Glad I Did!" I never dreamed as a child that I would travel so many places in the world, or have the rich family life I've had, or  the rewarding ministries and friendships.  "One day my life will end, and if some whim should prompt you to review it; Let her who knew the subject best, tell you the simple way to do it. Then say: Here lies one doubly blessed! Say: She was happy--Say: She knew it!" ===JACK:  It sounds as though you've "lived" Heaven on earth...but, then, the Bible says that "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of Marilyn The things which God has prepared for her who loves Him.”===OAKS:  Yes, I'm sure that if we could understand the details
of "Heaven", Jesus would have been more specific.  I think in our Mortal bodies, we don't have the capacity to envision what God's Kingdom is like!  Like Bill and I trying to picture what Chicago is like decorated for Christmas, to our bush country African friends in 1970...  They wouldn't have the background to understand that.  NOW, I suppose movies and TV have penetrated even remote areas of Congo with visual life in the U.S. They ALL had a dream of getting to America back then!

FROM GDJ IN WISCONSIN:  Morning Jack  I'm mostly in the "glad I did" category but at 72 with a chance to look back there are a couple "shoulda, couldas."  I turned down an offer to become a missionary on an island off the coast of Japan. I'd like to say it was because I understood Christian proselytizing as colonial and insulting to other religions ( which I believe it is) but it was really a lack of faith and will. I fantasize it and believe I wouldn't have brought anyone to Christ but would've learned how to fish the ocean and live a simple life and probably made some life time relationships.
There is always a shadow of failure, but there has always been a powerful witness to forgiveness and grace.   I tried to do no harm and make no excuses for the Gospel. So there's that and that's more than enough.  I love waking up your words and will always be grateful for your mentoring me.  Blessings to you,===JACK:  Just a comment on the "coulda."  Missionary work is what being a pastor is all about.  It does not necessarily mean to get people to choose one way of worshipping God over to another way.  I have seen my ministry as one of offering people a way to make their life more meaningful.  Whether it be on the "island," or FH, or WB, or in Dairyland, it's the same.  Bob Seger would sing, "It's all the same."  BTW, did you know that Bob Seger lives in Orchard Lake?===GDJ:  Did you see he announced his retirement yesterday? Not counting this last tour. Still the same.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I  glad that I took that job at Eastern Airlines and got to learn about computers and to see the world.===JACK:  Taking that teaching job at John Deere wasn't such a bad choice, either.===SHIRL:  That was lucky too. I wanted to be able to help mother and dad with grandpa who had hardening of the arteries and couldn’t be left alone. I think they call it Alzheimer’s these days. He had it for nine years from 1940 til December 1949.     I'm also glad that I chose 20 years of being an at home mother and doing tons of volunteer work!That was lucky too.===JACK:    “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I’m glad I had God in my life:===JACK:  An old Sunday School song:  "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought  Since Jesus came into my heart;
I have light in my soul for which long I have sought,  Since Jesus came into my heart."     

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Jack’s Winning Words 9/19/18
“On Yom Kippur we stand before God, hand on heart, and say, ‘It’s not your fault.  We are the problem.’”  (Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt)  I remember how nervous I was, standing before a judge for a traffic violation.  Nervous?  Think of yourself standing before God on Judgment Day!  In a sense my Jewish friends do that each year on Yom Kippur.  I wonder if they’re nervous.  I like the biblical concept of grace, where God offers forgiveness to those who repent.   ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Ethics means making hard choices....not simple ones.    I will go with Bonhoeffer on this one.===JACK:  I'm glad to see that you're finally buying into Situation Ethics!
===JOHN:  I never have and never will.    To understand that our reason is sometimes unable to grasp the mind of God is unequal to recognizing that there is no ethic at all.    Any relativism in ethics cannot be called Situational Ethics.   It is the denial of Socrates insisted.===JACK:  I knew that if I gave you an example of Situation Ethics, you'd find some reason to deny it.  Maybe it's the term, SE, that bothers you.  What's a better name for finding yourself in situations where "you're damned if you do, and damned if you don't?"===JOHN:  The term bothers me because it implies that there is no real Ethic....if the situation is determinative, we are left without an Ethic...and, in essence, without a God.   If this is acceptable to you, embrace it.   I can not ===JACK:  I agree that there is a basic ethic, a basic law.  Forget the word, situation... There can be a circumstance (the Hitler assassination attempt) when the Law (Thou shalt not kill) can be set aside.  And if that be a sin, so be it.  "God be merciful to me, a sinner."

FROM SF:  I find it very peaceful to be forgiven! No strings, no arguments, no guilt!! 😊===JACK:  That's what "grace" is a;; receive God's forgiveness, not because it's deserved, but because of God's love for us.  From an outsider's viewpoint, that seems to be the promise of Yom Kippur. ===SF:  Yes!===JACK:  I’ll always remember the time in college…I slipped a “late” assignment under the professor’s office door with a note on the front…”I forgot!”  It was handed back the next day with a grade of D with a note from the professor…”I remembered.”  At the end of the paper another note from the professor, “I forgave,” and a revised grade of B.  I may have forgotten everything else in that class, but I never forgot the lesson of the meaning of grace.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  if my memory serves,  Rabbi Kushner in his book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, also asks if we can forgive God for creating an imperfect world?   i don't like the question, but he does ask it.  lots of food for thought===JACK:  The Bible has many stories of people complaining to God about his action or inaction.  God can take it...and understand as parents often do with their children.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Rabbi Rosenblatt and his people would be right at home in the book of James, then! He insists our problems and conflicts stem from too much Ego, too much self obsession which breeds discontent, envy, slander of others & conflict, both in relationships and with God!
 Reminds me of a passage in Jess Lair's book, "I ain't much, baby,  but I'm all I've got", years ago (early 70's!) who after a massive  heart attack due to stress and conflict in his life, examined his life and relationships, and concluded  he was his own worst enemy. But he said since HE was the cause of his problems, sad as this was, it was also a happy thing, because now  he could get to work on it to fix it!" :-) Would that we all had such insights into how we REALLY are...! It was a good read! ===JACK:  WOW!  You could be a preacher.  OOPS!  I guess you already are one.  I do remember Lair and his quote.  It's a good one.  Self obsession can be a real problem.  You probably know the expression, "He's full of himself."  (opinionated, overbearing, poor listener, it's always about self}  Of course, that ain't me or you! 

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I liked your honesty in writing about your arrest when you were younger. I had several close calls with the law, though never arrested.===JACK:  I should add that it wasn't only once that I was arrested...but only once did I appear before a judge.  Standing before God's Judgment Throne will be a totally different experience.  However I'll have a good defense attorney...Jesus.  

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I like the idea of Yom Kippur.  I like the idea of a special day but I know my Savior died for my sins.  However I do sin none the less.===JACK:  Every day can be a  Yom Kippur for you...and me.

:FROM TRIHARDER:  We confess our sins; acknowledge we aren't perfect.  But what I liked out of today's Torah reading was that performing rituals are meaningless unless you perform good deeds -- much of which were helping, feeding, housing the poor.  I'm sure you could ably perform a sermon on this issue.===JACK:  Jews and Christians aren't that far least from the Jews who are friends of mine....and I just saw this NYT quote by Gerard Papa who runs a youth basketball program in Brooklyn:  "We’re a cross section of New York. We got yeshiva kids, madrasa kids. We have Jesus, Moses and Muhammad, all playing on the same court."===TH:  The name of our religion is just the brand of phone we use to talk to Gd. Imagine that. No bombs, pogroms, suicide killings,===JACK:  That has the makings of a song...
 Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I'm a dreamer  But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us  And the world will be as one
===TH:  I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do try to learn from moral teachings on those occasions that I attend services. Today's Torah reading instructed that performing rituals are meaningless unless you perform good deeds -- many of which are helping the oppressed, feeding, housing the poor, the less fortunate. Amen.===JACK:  Just what do you see as a “particularly religious person?” Is “self” the best judge of that?  Or, is it left to others? And, ultimately to G-d? ===TH:  One who prays regularly to his/her higher power, observes religious customs, rituals, attends services regularly, has a high awareness of the dogma and has a deep belief in it.===JACK:  Would you be embarrassed, offended or surprised to be called, "religious?"===TH:  Surprised.  Not offended. 

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Nervous?  Yes. That’s one of many feelings.===JACK: AWE-some!