Friday, May 30, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/30/14
“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”  (Maya Angelou)
Maya, a poet, teacher and survivor, died this week.  She is an example of one who turned a negative life into a positive one…going from a strip club to reading one of her poems at a Presidential inauguration.  A survivor is one who copes, who carries on, in spite of…. You probably have some who come to mind, some you even know personally.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  she was raped by her mother's boy friend when still a little girl and she did not speak for 5 years after that trauma.  that event became the basis of her book entitled (i think) why the caged bird sings.====JACK:  Her faith in God no doubt helped her get through the rough places.  The song, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, could have has a special meaning for her.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me. Refrain:
I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

FROM TARMART REV:  Often feel that way about myself . . . my share of "sticking foot in mouth" disease . . .  "one who copes, who carries on, in spite of 'himself' . . . I still would not trade my life in for another one . . . its been a very adventurous, even with my stumbles and my foot found in my mouth at times!!====JACK:  Here's some advice....Be sure your brain is in gear before you open your mouth and step on the gas!

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  really like Maya... inspiration to so many!====JACK:  Do you have to "relate" in order to "appreciate" what Maya writes?  I'm just wondering.  Or, is it because you appreciate how a person can put a life into words?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  The defeats are what make our "overcomes" that much sweeter. ====JACK:  ...and make us stronger.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I had not heard this (I avoid most news). I always enjoyed seeing her on Oprah and listening to her poetry.  I especially loved her poem about the “Caged Bird.”  She will be missed.====JACK:  Much of her writing relates to personal experiences...for example, The Caged Bird.  I have saved several of her quotes which are truly Winning Words.====JON:   a great little blurb on Maya Angelou and a great quote:  “I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, give you experiences.”

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/29/14
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  (Eleanor Roosevelt)  E.R. would have made a great President, but she was born when women weren’t even permitted to vote.  So, she used her talents in other ways… being a social worker in the slums… helping care for wounded soldiers… working to end racial discrimination… helping to form the State of Israel and the United Nations.  Don’t be discouraged by, NO!    ;-)  Jack   

FROM TARMART REV:  Yes! I will not be discouraged by "No!".====JACK:  When do you say YES instead of NO, and when do you say NO instead of Yes?====REV:  Let's see now, that's somewhat a YES and NO answer isn't it!?!? . . . "Just say a simple yes or no, so that you will not sin and be condemned!" (James 5:12). I do know that there have been times in the past when I said one or the other and realized it would have been better to have used the other response instead . . . however, I have chosen to NOT remember those times.====JACK:  It was a good day when God invented "Grace!"

FROM TRIHARDER:  Think how ridiculously fictional Dick Tracey's wrist phone seemed.
Hand held computers; talking to computers that then responded.====JACK:  In today's news... it's the driverless automobile with no steering wheel, brake pedal, or gas pedal.   Are you ready to ride in one?

FROM CZB IN COLORADO:  Love Eleanor. So strong. And here's to another strong woman who died yesterday.  "Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God."  Maya Angelou.====JACK:  In fact, this morning's Free Press has a full page story about Maya and her death, along with several quotes of hers.  I'm in the process of choosing which to use.====CZB:  I know so many good ones to choose from! I want to read her book- caged bird... I just listened to an old interview of her on NPR. She certainly has an exceptional presence.====JACK:  She wrote to her daughter: "Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."  Isn't that great advice?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Too bad Frank didn't appreciate her. A real lady.====JACK:  We never know what goes on behind closed doors, but it does appear that they had a complicated relationship and seemed to be able to work it out.  Sometimes, we do what we have to do.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I had no idea; thanks for the inspiration.====JACK:  There's a lot of new stuff in history, if you look for it.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a phenomenal  woman Eleanor was! I've read two autobiographies of her, but the best insights were from Dorothy Kearn Goodwin's book NO ORDINARY TIME, about both Franklin and Eleanor (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for  history). fascinating read, monumental research, etc. it brings out that one of her  accomplishments  was getting the black sailors in the Navy during WWII, to be assigned something other than kitchen or Latrine duty, and seeing that some had the opportunity to become officers! She had a significant influence on her husband; He greatly respected her work and opinions, but she would never allow him into her bedroom again after his affair was discovered. (And he tried...!)  She's the one who said "Hope is the most important word in the English language". She'd have been an effective Pres., tho controversial, of course!  I taught Maya Angelou's book I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS to my 8th grade Lit. students. They were fascinated;  (Some parents felt it was too mature for them...) Just last year one of my former 8th graders wrote that she had met and shaken hands with her idol, Maya Angelou in Indianapolis where she spoke at a Seminar;, and she thanked me for introducing her to Maya many years ago! She, like me, had read all of her books since then. Multi-talented lady in a time when African Americans really had to prove themselves, to be noticed ! Her death is a real loss! ====JACK:  It's an effective teacher who has a student come back in later life and say, "Thank you."  BTW, your comment about her death being a real loss reminds me of "No man is an island."  Some teacher (lost in memory) taught me to appreciate poetic thoughts like that.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/28/14
“I’m smart enough to know that (selfies) can seem incredibly shallow, narcissistic and vain.”  (Philip Hitchcock)  Even the Pope and the Kardashians take selfies!  Is there anyone “out there” who hasn’t (besides me)?  There’s a link describing the etiquette of doing selfies at funerals and weddings.  Customs change with the times.  The I-phone has made a major impact on society, for better or worse…probably for the better.    ;-) Jack   

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  Amen to that.====JACK: Is "Amen" something that someone says (instead of "Cheese") when they take a selfie in church?====CS:  I have only done a selfie with my 91yr old mom.  I don't like to see myself up that close - but from now on I am saying amen instead of cheese!====JACK:  Now that I think of it, selfies came on the scene when mirrors were invented.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  A selfie is a selfie.   I'm with you in that I haven't taken one but it seems incredibly judgmental to conclude as Hitchcock has done.====JACK:  I'm always suspicious of that person who sets themself(ie) above the hoi polio.

FROM TARMART REV:  Very few times am I ever happy looking at a picture of myself or hearing myself speak . . . there are rare exceptions, but not often. I still recall seeing all those "early selfies" of the Confirmation Class graduates along with yourself hanging on the wall at Holy Spirit Lutheran Church!! 0;-))====JACK:  I notice how often former confirmation students will go to "the wall" to see the picture of their class.  "The wall" also gives me an opportunity to reflect on the privilege that was mine to be a teacher of the faith.

FROM PASTY PAT:  I haven't either --- but then I'm a dinosaur.====JACK:  I don't believe that there was any dinosaurs named, Pat.  But there was one called, Parasaurolophus.  Perhaps she had the nickname of Pat.====PAT:  Once again you've begun my day with a chuckle --- a truly nice way to start the day.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Enjoyed your WW this morning, as I always do.  Thought I'd share with you my one and only selfie.  We had our Southfield/Lathrup CROP Hunger Walk on May 4th and, in preparation for the Walk, made a sandwich sign to wear while taking photographs of all the walkers.  Unfortunately, things got so hectic that morning that I forgot to put my sandwich sign on but remembered the camera and still took quite a few photographs.  The reason I had to use my camera to take my selfie is that I really don't know--yet--how to fully use my cell phone.  So this is sort of an old-timers selfie.====JACK:  My blog chooses not to do pictures, so I'll leave it up to cyber-imagination.  Sometimes imagination allows for many pictures.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  a pastor friend of mine told me he looked up one morning while giving communion and there was a guy in line checking his phone for messages.  interesting what our technology is doing to us...====JACK:  Who are we to judge?  It could have been God using a modern means of connecting with someone.  I remember the first time I saw someone sitting in a church service drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup.  I've also seen a pastor stop his sermon and take a swig from a water bottle.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It is absolutely amazing what my kids, grandkids, and "greats" phones can do!  Mine will take pictures, but i do not use it for four yr old great granddaughter took a selfie of herself and I, and it was very good! Couldn'[t believe she could do that! Her mom is an excellent photographer; professional quality, so maybe she has those "genes"!  With the public's focus on constant texting (notice those waiting in line ANYWHERE) and on the Kardashions (WHY????!)...  20% of people vote, but almost 100% use I Phones constantly...where is  our society headed?  I guess every age has older people  thinking that the younger generation is "going to the dogs"....even back in Plato's day.====JACK:  My Grandson just returned from Israel with hundreds of pictures on his IPhone.  BTW, I can still recall my parents making comments about how much better the music was in "their" day than in "my" day.  I wonder if Bach's parents made similar comments about his music.

FROM HCC CHUCK:  I also am not a smart phone person  I still use a camera for my pics. ====JACK:  Just a few days ago my wife said how much she missed taking pictures with her Kodak and having them developed at the local camera shop.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I love taking pictures with the iphone and sharing them, but not selfies.  BTW your Tigers are having a gangbuster of a season.  The Rays are doing well yet.  We did see an exciting game at the Trop.which they won and which was full of action.  These are busy times.We will have a new dentist in the family after Saturday's graduation, a high school graduation here in Tampa, and a confirmation here-all in one week.  I love it all.====JACK:  Graduations of grandchildren are exciting events.  The torch of leadership is passed on.  I once had a confirmation service shortly after the Olympics.  A relative of one of the students participated in the pre-Olympic run carrying the flame and was given the torch that he carried.  We used that torch as part of the Confirmation service, using the theme...Passing on the Torch (Faith).

FROM PLAINFOLKS CHESTER:  Selfies are idiot's pastime art.====JACK:  Evidently you don't have an Iphone.  Are you still using a rotary dial phone?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Selfies may seem shallow, narcissistic and vain to onlookers, but for the persons clicking the image, it's their way of recording the moment for the pleasure of looking looking back on it later.  (You may put me on your list of those who have not taken a selfie.)====JACK:  On Memorial Day 19-year-0ld grandson Joe were walking in the cemetery and I mentioned that former Detroit Tiger was buried "over there."  Joe said, "Isn't he the one who once used a corked bat."  I said that I didn't know.  With that, he pulled out his I-phone, and within a matter of seconds he had verified the information, along with various statistics of the player.  When I was his age, I never would have dreamed about having information like that.  Count me as one who is not a Luddite.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  me, either. narcissistic fad.====JACK: The first automobiles were called "a fad" also.  "The horse is here to stay!"====LIZ:  smartphones are here to stay... selfies, a fad.====JACK:  Egotism is here to stay.  But, the next new thing will replace selfies

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/27/14
“Lose the anger, lose the attitude, lose the prejudice, smile more, stop feeling sorry for yourself, see the good in people, appreciate what you have, and go out and do something for someone else.”  (Jeff Brayton)  These words are part of a eulogy given by a son in honor of his mother.  As we reflect on yesterday, let’s follow JB’s suggestion and honor our deceased loved ones by doing something “special” for someone.    ;-)  Jack

FROM  TARMART REV:  Taking that to heart and as my assignment for this very day!! Thank you, Jack!!====JACK:  I can imagine that most of us had someone to remember on Memorial Day...and the memories continue each day.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Great advice.  When we get involved in helping others who are struggling, we lose sight of the things troubling ourselves.====JACK: "Helping others" can be like a bridge over troubled waters.

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  A lot of good advice in one sentence!====JACK:  Eulogies from the heart are the best kind.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: Very, very good. The biggest lesson I learned in college was not to feel sorry for myself.====JACK:  Was that because of basketball in particular, or just the total college experience?

FROM JB IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you Jack.    I think of her every day and try hard to live by these words.   Of course, I fail often but they give me something to aim for!   Peace.====JACK:  If just one person is inspired by your words, the posting will be a winner...and, hopefully, ever more than one will be inspired to do something for someone today.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  I’ll have two opportunities today – one for a retired attorney, a widower – the second for a dear lady who had her right leg amputated a couple  of months ago.  ====JACK:  A florist friend of mine said that in his obituary, he wanted it to say "please send flowers," instead of "please omit flowers."  Jeff's suggestion to remember a loved one by doing a good deed for someone is unique...At least, I haven't heard of it before..

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  "There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take the time to look for it. For example, I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt."====JACK:  That's not a wrinkle.  That's a smile on your face.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  A SERMON IN A SENTENCE! GOOD WORDS TO LIVE BY!  MAKES ME THINK OF A QUOTE FROM C.S. LEWIS..."AND  YOU CANNOT GO ON INDEFINITELY BEING JUST AN ORDINARY, DECENT EGG. WE MUST BE HATCHED, OR GO BAD." ENOUGH SAID!====JACK:  Sometimes when the egg gets into hot water, it turns out to be something good.  I used to start out every Sunday morning with a 3-minute egg.  Now, it's a bowl of Shredded Wheat and a banana.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Inspirational; boy do those ever sound like a mother’s words!====JACK:  You guessed it.  The son eulogized his mother by using her own words.  Memorial Day is a day for remembering.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/23/14
“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways—either by losing hope and falling into destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find inner strength.”  (Dalai Lama)  In the Buddhist tradition, dalai means, great, and lama means, teacher…   Great Teacher.  One of the DL’s teachings is that we have an inner strength that can help with life’s challenges.  God, says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will answer you.”  A book title puts it this way, “Unleash your Inner Strength.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  Yes, I knew a whole generation of people like that.  My  parents and all of their friends.====JACK:  I think Tom Brokaw got it right when he called them, "The Greatest Generation."  The Finns have a word for a characteristic that they had...SISU!

FROM TARMART REV:  I have most likely posted this before to you in response to something . . . but worth re-posting again! " (Chorus) You can have A SONG IN YOUR HEART IN THE NIGHT, After every trial, after every mile. Anyone can sing when the sun’s shining bright. But you can have a song in your heart at night." A-nticipating Monday!!====JACK:  Hum a few bars for me, and maybe I'll recall it.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  the dalai lama is a cool guy, but i wish he'd get a dress with two sleeves... ====JACK:  Guys don't shop in the dress department.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  If you read Lost Survivor, you come away with the message that you can endure almost anything.  It puts your life into perspective, in my opinion.  Usually, though, when you are going through difficult time. you don't have the time to read an entire book.====JACK:  When it comes to a survivor story, I'm impressed with the story of Job from the Bible.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Hardships do come along in our lives, sometimes they seem insurmountable, we lose our rationale and can't seem to handle the situation.  Looking back I can remember such situations.  Fortunately, given a bit of time, things begin to sort themselves out.  Or another Hand does "handle the situation."  As a child I memorized the scriptural reference you quoted, "Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me."  It's still effective.====JACK:  I quoted it recently..."Give time time."  I think that "the younger generation" hasn't lived long enough to experience the real truth of that statement.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Inner Strength, the unseen perhaps unquantifiable “something” that we all draw upon in the low tides of faith. Life is Choices…====JACK:  Maybe the Inner Strength is what is expressed in this hymn...
 God be in my head, and in my understanding;
 God be in mine eyes, and in my looking;
 God be in my mouth, and in my speaking;
 God be in my heart, and in my thinking;
 God be at mine end, and at my departing

. FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong'o (12 years a Slave film) had a quote recently that made me think:"JOY is not the negation of pain, but rather acknowledging the presence of pain, and feeling happiness in spite of it."  Nice trick if you can do it!  I think by the time we are in our 8th decade, we have had sorely trying experiences, where inner strength was given. I have come to trust that!====JACK:  The former White Sox player, Luke Appling, used to be called, "Old Aches and Pains," because he often played, despite his aches and pains.  Life goes on!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/22/14
“Sandwich every bit of criticism between two layers of praise.”  (Mary Kay Ash)  MKA, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, used the Golden Rule as a philosophy for running her business.  She rewarded her employees, too.  A friend of mine once drove a Mary Kay pink Cadillac.  MK asked each employee to visualize the customer as wearing a sign, “Make Me Feel Important.”  Try making someone feel important today.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  These are great WW. I have someone I'm having difficulty with but he has so many good qualities too, not going to let how he treats me sometimes obstruct the two layers of praise. Thank you for these WW!!!!====JACK:  One of life's daily challenges...How to turn something bad into something good.  In his humanness, Jesus had that challenge, too.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  and add a lot of Mayo...====JACK:  People from Minnesota deserve to be proud of their Clinic.

FROM TARMART REV:  Good advice, Jack . . . ready now to set forth on that very mission!! Thank you, Sir!!====JACK:  Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work you go.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That should certainly work, but may be hard to do...One theologian I read, talked about the "Drum Major Instinct" in each of us. We want to be the one who is out in front, leading the band in a jazzy costume, twirling our batons....YES, we all want to feel IMPORTANT!!  I'm sure if we try, we can think of something positive to say, before the negative, and follow it up with another positive. Let me think....!====JACK:  There is controversy concerning this inscription on the MLK Jr Memorial in D.C....“I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness.”  Some have said that it makes him come off as being arrogant, when in fact, he was a humble person, relatively speaking.  The theologian you referred to was probably writing for the benefit of those pastors who have a hard time knowing what it's like to sit in the pew.  One of my favorite pictures of Jesus shows him sitting in the front pew during the sermon........sleeping.

FROM TRIHARDER:  10 attaboys for each criticism.  The criticism is much louder and generally perceived as more sincere.====JACK:  I wonder if our "broken" political system exists, in part, because potential candidates don't want the criticism that comes with negative ads.  "All the dirt that's fit to print (or televise).

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  That's a tall order but it's the perfect way to handle people.
====JACK: The world record for the tallest sandwich is 50 feet.  Now, that's a tall order.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/21/14
“No matter how many mistakes you make, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”  (Tony Robbins – sent by Teri G)  Somebody has created this motivational poster…“If Plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters.”  Some may laugh and call Charlie Brown a “blockhead” because he keeps trying to kick the football.  Don’t feel “stupid” because of your misses.  Real success is in the fact that you’re trying!    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm reminded by your "Winning Words" post today of my attempt to write my own daily devotional that started back when I enjoyed my sabbatical in Michigan a couple of years ago. It was at that time I learned how to participate on Facebook. I'm somewhat amazed today that I'm still keeping up with it these many weeks since . . . but all that to say, it is not unusual to post a few paragraphs early in the morning, only to re-read them later and find grammatical errors I somehow overlooked that morning. They just glare out at me and I wonder how I missed seeing them. I'll even go back a edit the mistake, though the majority of those who follow the posting have already seen them (or at least I feel they have). When I entered Bible College as a freshman, one of my first classes was a "bonehead English refresher course" they called it. Hopefully, I'm getting better at it-- but it does keep one humble.====JACK:  "Bonehead English"....I like it.  How about "Bonehead Preaching" in seminary, or "Bonehead Surgery" in medical school...or  can you think of any others?====REV:  Dumb, I must admit . . . but not so dumb that I don't know who to call in time of need!! 0;-/

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN:  OMG Jack today this has a double meaning for me!!!  I guess today I am feeling sensitive and ill equipped.====JACK:  As my mother-in-law used to say to her piano students..."One step, and then another, and the longest journey is ended."  Take it (life, work, any problem) one step at a time.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  HA! I LOVE THE POSTER THOUGHT! IF PLAN A DOESN'T WORK, THERE ARE 26 MORE LETTERS!! A VERY GOOD IDEA TO KEEP IN MIND...WE SHOULD HANG THAT POSTER WHERE WE CAN SEE IT WHEN WE GET DISCOURAGED OR NEED TO THINK FURTHER ON SOMETHING....!====JACK:  If Charles Schulz had lived longer, he might have created a strip where Charlie Brown actually does kick the football.  It would have made a great poster with the slogan.....

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH: I like the motivational poster.====JACK:  When I printed Winning Words (then called Sentence Sermons) in the church's Sunday bulletins, they were meant to be motivational.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Mistakes are why we have erasers... then move on.====JACK:  Nowadays we have spellcheck and the "delete" key.  I can't remember when I last used an eraser.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  That makes be feel better!

FROM JB IN CHIGAGO:  I’m reading the book Risk Savvy which argues that we NEED to make mistakes in order to learn and that cultures that discourage mistakes are not going to be innovative and creative.  Thanks for your words, Jack!====JACK:  Risk Savvy sounds like an interesting book.  Think of what life would be like if we never took risks.  BTW, have you ever done a parachute jump?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/20/14
“The key to everything is patience.  You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.”  (Arnold Glasgow)  Besides the round-abouts, one of great new things in our town is a traffic signal showing the number of seconds before the red turns green.  If you are one of the “impatients,” here are some suggestions…“Take a deep breath…Try to see the big picture…Some things take time…Ask—What really matters?”    ;-)  Jack  

FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:   This month's issue of real simple magazine has an article on patience and tips for training us to be patient. One I like visualizing an event that tests your patience going well. They suggest your mind goes to recent experiences for how to act now and even imagine ones can help. Sadly, it's been a recurrent theme. But I've got many blessings and I know this. So now I've got to just get a grip!====JACK:  Whether it be testing your patience at work at home or at the stop light, count your blessings.  You'll probably get the "green light" before you finish counting.  BTW, I've never heard of Real Simple magazine, but as I Googled it, it looks interesting.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  good thoughts for today, old friend.  take care...====JACK:  Every so often, an idea hatches.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Patience and procrastination are close relatives. The trick is to know when to stop waiting.====JACK:  Some people "honk" (complain) when God takes too long to answer a prayer.====CHESTER:  You gotta admit, Gad sometimes takes his own sweet time. Or maybe he is not on our timetable.====JACK:  Look closely!  Have you ever seen God wearing a wristwatch?

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  Only men like roundabouts—all the women I know, including me, hate them.====JACK:  I guess the saying's true..."You can't teach old dogs new tricks."  Prediction!!!
There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home. - Ken Olson, President of Digital Corporation, 1977

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Here in Boston we have a lot of impatient drivers...I think the city is up among the top cities for discourteous drivers.  But speeding up to beat a traffic light going red, or jumping the gun when the light changes to green doesn't benefit much.  With the traffic jams at the intersections, one only gets hung up at the next light.  I enjoy granting space to a driver who wants to pull out into traffic from the curb, or letting a driver from a side street get into the line of traffic, and drivers behind me are honking to "get going".  Your suggestions for chilling out while driving are good.  Your note that West Bloomfield now has traffic roundabouts surprised me.  How many and where?  We have a lot of roundabouts here in New England...some that do an excellent job speeding up redirecting traffic, and others that are just losers, perhaps some traffic engineer's creation to bring his/her community into the "big time".====JACK:  We have three roundabouts near our home which we use all of the time.  I'm proud to say that I was a member of the Planning Commission that recommended that they be installed.  They have worked so well that a major roundabout will be installed where Northwester Hwy, Orchard Lake Rd and 14 Mile Rd come together.  Perhaps a dozen, or more, traffic signals will be eliminated.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Patience + Perseverance====JACK:  How long has it been since you've honked your car horn?

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  Using "poetic justice":Don't you find it interesting that you only need to change the letter m to n to get from impatient to in-patient?..mmm..====JACK:  And, if you don't use your seatbelt, you might become an out-patient.

FROM TARMART REV:  In Minnesota at this time it is patiently praying that the rain will let up enough to give the farmers a catch-up chance to plant in their fields. Patiently for some . . . impatiently for others, but behind a bit presently. ====JACK:  I once preached a sermon, "Does it do any good to pray about the weather?"====REV:  I would suppose since our Lord and Savior is found praying about matters beyond His control, it would be best for us to be found praying about such matters as well...understanding, "not our, but His will be done.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:   Do you find you are getting more patient as you get older?  I do.  The little things don't bother me nearly as much as they used to.  It's easier for me to forgive, forget (that's no problem at all these days) and move on.  I don't mind sitting at a red light or being behind a big farmer's tractor.  It just gives me more time to be thankful for those things I have.====JACK:  I laugh at the Jimmy John's commercial where the Old Guy places an order and it's delivered before he hangs up the phone.  He then says in a grumpy voice, "What took you so long?"  Not all of the elderly are as patient as you are.====JUDY:  When I am in pain or aggravated, I usually am very quiet.  I don't say much.  But my patience with everyday things don't bother me much anymore.  I'm not sure why, they just don't.  Hopefully, that means I won't be a crabby old lady.====JACK:  Try to be patient with the Jimmy John's delivery person.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  God makes impatient people so stuff gets done.====JACK:  In the story of the sisters, Martha and Mary, entertaining Jesus...You'd stick up for Martha, wouldn't you?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We don't have roundabouts; In fact Petersburg has only one stoplight!!  Ha! But I remember them in London, England, and was glad my  niece was doing the driving!  Calm is the new Happiness! And yes, taking a deep breath when you feel anxious or overwhelmed helps a lot! Good WW to remember!====JACK:  The new roundabouts aren't like the typical European ones.  Traffic really flows smoothly, except for the Nervous Nellies.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/19/14
“While we are postponing, life speeds by.”  (Seneca)  The problem of procrastination is not new.  Seneca wrote about it 2000 years ago.  Things need doing NOW;  you’re not going to live forever.  Many of us are motivated by “dead-lines.”  A doctor said, “I can help you, but none of us is going to live forever…not me, not you.”  Are there things that need to be done, relationships that need fixing?  Life is speeding by.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  Jack, i stayed up all night waiting for your WW and it was worth it! ====JACK:  The reward for staying up all night is the opportunity to take a longer nap this afternoon.

FROM TARMART REV:  Procrastination by forgetfulness... Dealing more with the "hereafter" in my life now than before...I find myself asking quite often on more occasions than I like admitting, "What am I hereafter, anyways?!?!"====JACK:  One of the results of aging is living the jokes that used to be told about those who are aging.

FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  Ha! Just started a stress management class. Hmmm... taking breaths.... too many things need doing NOW. This week's exercise is to stop being on auto-pilot. It seems that allowing life to "speed by" can be part of the problem. I'd guess that a future exercise will be about procrastination.====JACK:  It seems to me that you were writing about stress a few months ago.  If we could see a kind of "traffic cop" parked by the roadside of life, it might help us to slow down

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  Gosh….why do we suppose they are called “dead” lines??? Good thought for the day.====JACK:  Friends of mine who are Civil War experts say that the term, "deadlines" goes back to the Civil War.  It began as a real line, drawn in the dirt or marked by a fence or rail, restricting prisoners in Civil War camps. They were warned, "If you cross this line, you're dead." To make dead sure this important boundary was not overlooked, guards and prisoners soon were calling it by its own bluntly descriptive name, the dead line.   "A railing around the inside of the stockade, and about twenty feet from it, constitutes the 'dead line,' beyond which the prisoners are not allowed to pass." Nothing could be more emphatic than dead line to designate a limit, so we Americans happily applied the term to other situations with strict boundaries. For example, the storyteller O. Henry wrote in 1909 about crossing "the dead line of good behavior." But it was the newspaper business that made deadline more than just a historical curiosity. To have the latest news and still get a newspaper printed and distributed on time requires strict time limits for those who write it.  Our urgent twentieth century has made such deadlines essential not just for reporters and other writers but in every kind of activity; there are deadlines for finishing a job or assignment, for entering a contest, for ransoming hostages, or for buying a product at the special sale price.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  INTERESTING EXPLANATION OF "DEADLINE"...NEVER HEARD THAT! IN TEACHING WE ALL HAD DEADLINES,   AND YOU'D BETTER BE READY! :-)  MOST OF US HAVE TO HAVE 'LAST MINUTES" HANGING OVER OUR HEADS TO REALLY GET MOVING, I'M AFRAID! I HAVE TO HAVE MY OLD REFRIGERATOR CLEANED OUT BY MID AFTERNOON FOR A NEW ONE TO BE DELIVERED, AND OF COURSE,  HAVING SPENT A DELIGHTFUL WEEKEND IN CHICAGO GOING TO A BROADWAY SHOW AND CHORALE CONCERT, AM JUST NOW GETTING TO IT! BUT IT WILL GET DONE....THESE ARE WW THAT WE ALL CAN RELATE TO. THANKS,  JACK, FOR YOUR FAITHFULNESS IN MEETING WW DEADLINES!!====JACK:  I've told this story before.  During a college class, the prof asked us to hand in the "theme" that was due.  I had forgotten the "deadline" for the work.  So, after class, I hurried home and typed out the assignment.  I went back to school and slipped it under the prof's office door with the note, "I forgot."  The next day the paper was handed back, marked with a D and the note, "I remembered."  Then, on the back page was a B and the note, "I forgave."  I never forgot that lesson of "grace."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Enjoy each day and be kind and helpful one day at a time.====JACK:  Or, "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you."====SHIRL:  Speaking of speeding, an OLLI lecturer at USF last week (a lady from Minnesota originally) rode her motorcycle from Apollo each day to USF in north Tampa on I 75 which is a major highway.  She has a lot of faith.  The speaker was a young woman from Albania whose family won the lottery to come to the US in 1996.  Her mother, father, and five children came.  She earned her BA and MA at USF and is now an assistant to the president of the university.====JACK:  Was the bike a Florida 3-wheeler?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  When I was in college there was a poster on the design studio wall with the caption, "Next week we've got to get organized!"  Another common saying is, "Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow?"  It many sound like it will make life easier but the truth is we're running out of "tomorrows."  I'm trying to improve on doing things when the need presents itself, but truthfully, the "back burner" is on overload.====JACK:  I'm looking at a sign on my wall..."If it weren't for the last minute, a lot of things wouldn't get done."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Life is speeding by at warp-speed!  There are so many things that need our attention, but none more important than our relationship with our Savior.  He's the One who needs the most attention.====JACK:  "Needs" or "wants?"  BTW, I've read that warp speed is faster than the speed of light.  That's fast!

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  During my advertising career, deadlines were a way of life. (Never missed one.) So now I'm retired and you are still pushing me? GOOD FOR YOU! I needed that.====JACK:  In my "work," the deadlines were pretty much set by  the job itself.  I was my own boss.  That continues to today.  I have a self-imposed of getting out Winning Words by 5:30 am.

FROM JM IN MICHIGAN:  Much like Martin Luther's: How soon not now becomes never.  Life goes at an increasingly higher speed the longer we live.  Maybe that is why older people appreciate "the little things" more than youth do.  Have a beautiful Spring day! Shalom.====JACK:  Luther said a lot of things.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I meant to write this morning…. Somehow I procrastinated. ====JACK::   Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson once wrote that procrastination is "really sloth in five syllables."  Sloth is an onomatopoeia word.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/16/14
“A book that is shut is but a block.”  (Thomas Fuller)  Grandson Jason visited the Library of Congress recently and sent me a picture of a page from the Gutenberg Bible. Have you heard the song, “Dust on the Bible?”  A Bible that is never opened, whatever the version, is just a block.   Right now I’m opening the “Possibility Thinkers Bible” to Psalm 121.  Is there a book that you’ve been reading that’s a “good” one?    ;-)  Jack  

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  i read that Psalm at nearly every funeral i have ever done. its a dandy.====JACK:  Have you every seen the Possibility Thinker's Bible...where all of the positive portions are highlighted in blue?  Psalm 121 is one of the passages.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme my favorite "Ikeism" is "DUSTY BIBLES LEAD TO DIRTY ROADS."====JACK: Dust on the Bible was sung by one of your favorite country singers, Hank Williams.  Here's the last stanza..."Dust on the Bible, dust on the Holy Word    The word of all the prophets, and the sayings of our Lord    Of all the other books you'll find, there's none salvation holds    Get the dust off the Bible and redeem your poor soul."

FROM TARMART REV:  "Hope Again" by Chuck Swindoll has caught my attention in recent times . . . just picked it up this week. I like to listen to books read as it seems to catch my attention better. Monday, perhaps!!====JACK:  Are you reading books like that while waiting for "customers" at Target and WalMart?  Or, are you just eating popcorn?====REV:  Found it hard to read anything while in Walmart or Target as my head is bowed and attention is drawn away from those walking in or by me...they feel they are interrupting and keep on walking by.====REV:  What causes someone to stop...and then sit down?====REV:  ...a welcoming smile, sometimes a hug...but most times it is a standing conversation at the outside rail in front of my high top table at Subway in Walmart and a request, "Got a moment?"... If anything needing more attention, I have moved over to another out-of-the-way table away from the oncoming traffic of people.

FROM TS IN INDIANA:  Yes - "Zion on the Mississippi"====JACK:  A religious group established  a city in northeastern Illinois to be based on God's teachings.  They named it, Zion, and it's still there.  However, it has become an ordinary city.====TS:  Interesting,        This book I referenced "Zion on the Mississippi" is about the establishment of the LCMS in St Louis and Perry County MO.   We really had our challenges in getting started here.====JACK:  The name, Zion, can be used to describe different places, but mainly, the place where God is.  I recall that Zion is often used as a name for Missouri Lutheran congregations.
FROM BB IN  ILLINOIS:  Yes! Lieberman’s book on the Sabbath.  Explains traditional/orthodox Jewish observances as well as highlighting the need and benefit of observing this commandment.  Inspirational and at times funny.====JACK:  Did you know that some of George Gershwin's music is based on music from Jewish religious services?   

FROM BLAZING OAKS  !HA! Soooo MANY books, so LITTLE time! :P.Yancy,(What's so Amazing About Grace, The Jesus I Never Knew, etc.) La Mott, A.Quindlen, Baldacci, Mccullough's bio's, Kate Middleton novels, Doris K. Goodwin (A Team Of Rivals; the best book I ever read about Lincoln!, and No Ordinary Time, and The Bull Pulpit, etc. etc, terrific!) I could go on all day; Loved Harry Potter, and Erma Bombeck  and mystery thrillers, and love stories!  The book I am reading right now "A Thousand Sisters: The worst place on Earth to be a Woman" by Lisa Shannon is a heart-breaker, about the violent, and endless war in the Congo, with the rape of 100's of 1,000's of women and children, maiming and killing of men., women and children...and yet survivors persevere, and even have hope for better days...We are so far removed from this situation, but we need to know and care, and support those who work with these people!====JACK:  Do you get those books from your local library?  Or, does your church have a library?  Or, do you patronize a religious book store?

 FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  A MIND THAT IS SHUT IS BUT A BLOCKHEAD. ====JACK:  It looks as though Lucy, from Peanuts, is influencing your choice of words.  Pretty soon you'll be shouting, "Good grief."

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  OK. But we should thinking of them as building blocks. Lots of potential in those “blocks” you can build with.  Since I own a small library of books in the 1,000’s I have to justify stacking up my “building” supplies.====JACK:  I have shelves full of blocks, too.  Some have been opened more than others, but all have been opened more than once.  Some are real favorites.  On the other hand....
FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  A mind that is shut is a problem.====JACK: A discerning mind is the best kind to have.

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Our house is filled with books; almost every room, all 3 floors; ). My conversation-starter at parties is "what's on your nightstand"? I got books from Steph & Rose for Mother's Day (food & travel). I am checking out a volunteer job at the Birmingham library sorting books! I LOVE books!!!====JACK:  I, too, love books.  One that is still a block has the title, "500 of the Weirdest & Wackiest Web Sites."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/15/14
“Talking with a friend is nothing else but thinking aloud.”  (Joseph Addison)  The average Facebook user has 200 “friends.”  The World Record is 6,223.  I don’t have that many, or even 200, but I do have some people that I can be with and “be myself.”  I’ve read that “a friend is someone who knows all about you and still likes you.”   You may not realize it, but Winning Words allows me to think aloud in front of YOU.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM MP IN MICHIGAN:  I like you.....====JACK:  I appreciate our "sit down" times together.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  & i get to "think back." thanks!====JACK:  I'm not going to "unfriend" you for that.  In fact, that's something I like about your responses to Winning Words. ====LIZ:  happy to count you among my friends!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Read the Non Sequitor comic in the Free Press today.   I think you will love it.====JACK:  Today's "comic" is a good example of why the strip has the name that it does.  I think that it's time for the church to reconsider "The Sermon" as a name for the sermon.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...appreciate "Winning Words"...appreciate our friendship...appreciate the challenge to see if I can up with a witty reply each weekday!!====JACK:  The thing I like about you is not necessarily your wit, but how you take "the faith" that is yours and put it into action.  Which reminds me of two American Indians looking at a smoke signal in the distance.  One asks the other: "What does it say?"  He replies, "Heap big smoke, but no fire."  Some preachers (and politicians) are like that. 

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On this thought my favorite quote is "Always be yourself! because the people that count don't mind & the people that mind don't count."====JACK:  I remember a time when I talked informally with Billy Graham.  It seemed like friend-to-friend conversation.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I like it that you try to encourage and inspire your readers to be the best they can. The sentence which struck me is "A friend is someone who knows all about you and still likes you." I also read daily meditations from Henri Nouwen and he stresses constantly that we are most intimate with each other when we allow each other to touch our woundedness. You've found another way, right from just being able to sit at your computer and send out and receive back our struggles in carrying our crosses. We get a lot out of thinking aloud in front of you too!!!!! ====JACK:  Sometimes it seems easier to "talk" to an inanimate computer screen....but nothing beats face-to-face.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Talking openly with a friend is everything.  Having someone trustworthy with whom to talk about anything is priceless.  I have someone like that, with whom I used to start the day over breakfast, talking about a range of issues, that gave me a fresh outlook for the rest of the day.  We don't do breakfast anymore, but I still get a lift in the morning from the thoughts he passes on to me.====JACK:  When we first came to Michigan we opened an account with the Detroit Bank and Trust.  Now, they've changed their name to ComericA Bank.  I miss the word, Trust!  I wonder if there are still banks with the word, trust, as part of their name?  "Trust" is a very fragile thing.  You only allow good friends to handle it.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  I wonder if Donald Sterling feels the same.  My response is purely a reaction to the quote and nothing more is implied or need be inferred.====JACK:  He said of his girlfriend, "I wish I had just paid her off."  I would not call their relationship, a friendship!

FROM FLYING CHUCK:  Keep thinking out loud Jack. I like it.====JACK:  We need to do it person sometime.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Tell that to Donald Sterling. He needs to start thinking before talking, with friends, or anyone….  Especially news media…====JACK:  I wonder if Donald really has any friends.  The saying, "Friends don't let friends drive drunk," should be changed in Donald's case to: "Friends don't let friends operate their mouth without first putting their brain in gear."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I believe it!====JACK:  Or, as we were taught in confirmation class..."It is most certainly so."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  OH HOW I MISS MY HUSBAND AND TWINNER, WHEN IT COMES TO TALKING FRANKLY!!  I DON'T DO FACEBOOK AT ALL...IT REQUIRES MORE T IME THAN I AM WILLING TO SPEND...A LOT OF MY FAMILY  DO KEEP UP WITH OTHERS IN THAT WAY. WE ALL NEED SOMEONE WE CAN "THINK ALOUD" IN FRONT OF, AND WHO ACCEPTS US UNCONDITIONALLY. (BESIDE JESUS....!)  HOPEFULLY WE ARE THAT PERSON FOR A FEW OTHERS...====JACK:  I was encouraged to put Winning Words on Facebook, but I think that it seems more personal (one on one) when the message goes out individually.  I really do think about certain people and how the WWs might come across to them.

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  I think I have 12 Facebook friends. I really only use it to keep up with out-of-towners.====JACK:  Although I have a Facebook account, I don't know that I have any friends. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/14/14
“You can’t love a crowd the same way you love a person, and a crowd can’t love you the way a single person can love you.”  (Hugh Macleod)  God has a tough job…loving billions of people, and then loving each one individually.  The question that bugs many…  Does God really know and care about me?   I like this song-- "Thank you Lord, for seeing me; thank you Lord, for knowing who I am; thank you Lord, for hearing me: it's so easy to get lost these days in the shuffle and the noise."   ;-)  Jack

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Such a wonderful and true quote.  Top ten of all time.====JACK:  I can understand how today's WWs might relate to the stressful environment that you are living in.  We all have (and have had) experiences that help shape us.  G-d sees and knows and cares!

FROM LS IN WISCONSIN:  What a small world!  I am so happy to hear from you and would love for you to add me to your daily positive message. I will pass your email along to Sue and Steve. Such a great surprise!====JACK:  What are the chances of two people meeting in Wisconsin and, in conversation, finding out that they know the same person in Michigan?  Slim!  But, God works in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform.  I'm happy to add you to the list (of over 400 worldwide) who receive Jack's Winning Words on a daily basis.  Amazing!

FROM TARMART REV:  Not a big thing any longer . . . but always used to appreciate the fact that God could count the hairs on my head . . . even I can do that nowadays! 0;-/ ====JACK:  A famous Hollywood make-up artist hired a girl to count the hairs on a human head.  The total was 135,168.  Since you no longer have that many, you can try counting the hairs in your beard.  You should find about 60,000.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It is comforting to know that God knows me amongst the crowd. Maybe we can avoid the trappings we generate through classifications of race, gender, age, etc. I remember how important it was to remember that the client before me was potentially the exception to the rule. Hence, there is no rule -- at least as it relates to the one-on-one relationship. And a crowd is nothing more than a bunch of one-on-ones.====JACK:  A bunch of one on ones?  I try to remind myself of that each day as I write and send out WWs.  I try to think of that, too, whenever I prepare a sermon.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There's not much to love about a crowd.  Crowds are a restraint to moving, seeing, and hearing ideally.  Such a gathering is a setting for adversity.  Many persons will use the cover of a crowd for perversity, to do things they would never do out in the open.  You can get lost in a crowd but don't let your love be lost on a crowd.====JACK:  I find it interesting...the various reactions that Jesus had toward crowds.  He had compassion of them.  He wanted to make sure that he was fed.  There were times when he wanted to get away to rest and pray (signs of his humanity).  One of my favorite Bible stories concerns the guys who wanted to bring their sick friend to Jesus for healing, but couldn't get near, because of the crowd.  So they removed part of the roof over the place where Jesus was and lowered their friend down in front of him.  Can't you just visualize the scene and appreciate the ingenuity?  Faith and love causes us to do things like that.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That of course is where Faith comes in; You can't decide questions about God for anyone else...with so many chaotic and horrible situations in the world, faith in a loving and caring God can certainly be  shaken.  We are called to love those around US, and do what we can to be His hands and feet in the world, which admittedly takes time, money and prayer!! And we could all do more than we do, with the gifts given to us, I'm sure. We count on God's mercy and caring, as to that!====JACK:   In the poem, "The Gospel According to You," there's this thought..."Be careful!  The only gospel some will read is the gospel according to you."  That's a responsibility, isn't it?

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Some of the people love all of the people all of the time and all of the people love some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people love all of the people all of the time. (Abe Frieden)====JACK:  Except, Jesus!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/13/14
“What value should be put on the hands of artists, of doctors and nurses, of athletes, of writers…on hands that beg for alms?”  (Dom Helder Camara – edited)  Archbishop Camara was an advocate for the poor of Brazil, like Pope Francis was when he lived in Argentina.  Read today’s quote…again!  At first glance it seems as though some hands are more valuable than others.  When it comes to people, who’s the judge?  ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The whole bankruptcy process in Detroit has been dealing with this question.   So far, it appears that the hands of attorneys collect the "Lion's Share."====JACK:  Lawyers usually get a bad rap...unless you're depending upon one to help you beat a rap.  Some of my best friends are attorneys.

FROM TARMART REV:  Good thought to ponder today, even to the encouragement of reaching out and shaking a few more today . . . I can recall seeing some hands over my present lifetime with only one finger attached doing wonders beyond my previous comprehension.====JACK:  Yesterday I saw a video of someone, without arms, playing ping pong.  He held the paddle in his mouth and tossed the ball up for serving with his foot...and he was good, too.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Artists, doctors, nurses, athletes, and writers don't often need anything from us.  They're rewarded for their work.  It's different for those who aren't fortunate enough to have a job to work at.  Regarding those who beg, who knows what set of circumstances caused them to be so down-and-out?  There's a lot of begging at the busy street intersections in Boston...vets, disabled, jobless, and probably some alcoholics...and my attitude is if they are willing to stand there in the public eye begging all day, to survive another day, I can afford to extend a buck when they pass my car window.====JACK:  Regarding beggars on the street...Some Christians wear a bracelet with the letters WWJD on it...and pass by.====RI:  That incident of the man being lowered from the roof is touching.  I remember the illustration in my Bible history book when I was in grade school, showing the man being lowered to Jesus by ropes on a pallet.  It was impressive and I'm sure the crowd was awestruck.  Crowds can be a positive force, like the enthusiasm and support that thrives at sports events, but Bostonians know from recent events that it only takes a couple of evil individuals to wreak great suffering.  Fortunately, in the case of the Marathon the terrorists didn't get away. ====JACK:  The poem, "Far From The Madding Crowd" by Nixon Waterman, seems to relate...
It seems to me I'd like to go
 Where bells don't ring, nor whistles blow,
 Nor clocks don't strike, nor gongs sound,
 And I'd have stillness all around.
 Not real stillness, but just the trees,
 Low whispering, or the hum of bees,
 Or brooks faint babbling over stones,
 In strangely, softly tangled tones.
 Or maybe a cricket or katydid,
 Or the songs of birds in the hedges hid,
 Or just some such sweet sound as these,
 To fill a tired heart with ease.
 It 'tweren't for sight and sound and smell,
 I'd like the city pretty well,
 But when it comes to getting rest,
 I like the country lots the best.
 Sometimes it seems to me I must
 Just quit the city's din and dust,
 And get out where the sky is blue,
 And say, now, how does it seem to you?

FROM CORNHUSKER DON:  Thanks for the word today -- from one of my favorites.  btw, you can add...And the penal system?====JACK:  You were the one who led me to get the book, "A Thousand Reasons for Living," by Dm Helder Camara.  I have a nephew who teaches the building trades to prisoners, so that that can have a skill when they are released.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  every job is important in the scheme of things. but those who invest time, education &/or money in their careers deserve to receive more for their labors.====JACK:  Jesus, in the Parable of the Talents, indicates that laborers are given different talents, but are responsible for showing a return to the master for what they have been given.  For those who have given much, much shall be required.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "We connect with God in our humanity...This is almost all I ever need to remember. Gravity and sadness yank us down, and hope gives us a nudge to help one another get back up, or to sit with the fallen on the ground." (Anne Lamott from her book STITCHES:A handbook on Meaning, Hope, and Repair.)    We hope we can be the someone who makes someone else look forward to tomorrow! We know God loves us all unconditionally!====JACK:  Just like with the sermons we preach/hear...The words are the easy part.  Putting them into action is something else.

FROM GENE BEE:  Thanks so much for your daily pithy sermonettes - Very inspiring.  Where in the world do you get all those choice tipbits, Jack?====JACK:  Jack's Winning Words is the result of lots of reading and clipping.  I probably discard five times more than I use.  I've always been fascinated with pithy statements.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Depends. If you can hit  a big league curve ball your hands seem to be worth millions. And teachers not so much. So you are right. Our system has some fundamental work/ reward problems.  Can you say overpaid executives who are paid millions even when their companies lose money ====JACK:  Some hands may be more valuable than others in this world's system of values, but with G-d, it's another story.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I think that the "hands" that God distributed are gifts to us as well as obligations. I, for one, am thankful for the "hands" that produce music, art works, medicine, well as the "hands" seeking alms. Those "hands" allow me/us to follow the Lord's admonition to help those in need.====JACK:  I like this poem by Annie Johnson Flint...
God has no hands but our hands to do his work today;
 God has no feet but our feet to lead others in his way;
 God has no voice but our voice to tell others how he died;
 And, God has no help but our help to lead them to his side.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/12/14
“Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”  (A.A. Milne)  There’s a sign standing in someone’s garden…”Pretty Weeds.”  In fact, many weeds are pretty…even the dandelion (which has been around for 30 million years).  A flower or a weed?  It’s a matter of judgment.  A weed is simply an unwanted plant.  Too often society judges people in a similar way.  Today, try looking at those around you…differently.  ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  If only dandelions would only bloom in the desert.====JACK:  If only the "undesirables" would somehow go someplace else....?====TH:  Have you ever seen "wildflowers" bloom in the desert?  They are rare and beautiful.  I was in Death Valley shortly after peak wildflower season -- a desert floor covered with yellow "flowers". The color of the dandelion, it seems, would be a welcome addition to the desert floor.====JACK:  I like the saying, "Bloom where you are planted."  Sometimes it takes the right time and circumstances to bring out the beauty in plants and people.  Van Gogh was not truly appreciated in his time and circumstance.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I remember as a kid bringing dandelion bouquets to my Mom. ====JACK: At what age do dandelions lose their "prettiness?"  Or, do they ever?  The old saying is true..."It's the thought that counts!"====JOHN:  My dandelion bouquets were probably amongst the best presents I ever gave anyone.====JACK:  I wonder at what age we change our sense of values?  I don't know that I would now go out and pick a bouquet of dandelions and give them to my wife.  But, maybe I should, and see what her reaction would be.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Some painting masterpieces feature poppies growing wild in the the field and they are valued at millions of dollars, yet dandelions like that are scorned.  Why?  I suppose each weed, like each of us, was put here for a purpose, so we should "cut some slack" for weeds, and have empathy for those indigent around us trying to survive.====JACK:  A few years ago when Detroit was hosting the Super Bowl and many out-of-towners came to the city, the streets were swept, vacant storefronts were boarded up, and pretty pictures were painted on them.  Even homeless people found room in the shelters.  Since then, improvements have been made...but what to do about the homeless is still a problem, as it is in many cities.

FROM TARMART REV:  ... or, to put it another way... look at ourselves differently, now... without such prejudices... it opens up into a much broader vision into God's creation!!====JACK:  Thanks for that reminder.  Sometimes when we are "down in the dumps," we might see ourselves as of not much value.  During those times we need a reminder that "God don't make junk!"

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Enjoyed your WW words again this morning.  In Southfield, we are having a Junior Master Gardener Volunteer class, 9 kids 8 to 11 years old.  Since it's so early and the weather is so iffy, hot and cold and hot and cold and we speculated we might not get outside on Saturday mornings to plant in the Peace Garden, about 5 weeks ago brought some weeds from the Peace Garden inside our house here.  They are making some sort of pretty houseplants.  Next Saturday, we are going to tip them out of the pots and examine the root system and so forth and talk about weeds.  Going to try to google the weeds I have here and see if I can get a list together of each of their good points.====JACK:  Since a weed is classified as an unwanted plant, maybe you're not growing weeds, after all.  When we study "the roots," perhaps the "unwanted (plants and people)" have a value that we don't recognize.  Congratulations!  In your community, you have Peace Places side by side, the garden and the church.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Were the Flower Children flowers or weeds? They were certainly different.====JACK:  I guess God loves both flowers and weeds, since he created them.  Do you suppose it could be that way with people, too? 

FROM JM IN MICHIGAN:  What a great idea for a children's message -- thanks, Jack!====JACK:  Not bad for an adult message, too.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  My favorite weed-flower is the dandelion, for its complexity, determination, willing to share seeds, and tenacity.====JACK:  I like the trillium, a reminder of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

FROM CORNHUSKER DON:  Why do we kill weeds in the lawn --- that want to grow -- and fertilize lawns for grass that doesn't 'want' to grow?====JACK:  In some ways, this could apply to what happens in our educational system, too.

FROM CWR IN MICHIGAN:  ....excellent.....from one weed to another....====JACK:  In God's garden you are regarded as a flower...child.

Friday, May 09, 2014

 Jack’s Winning Words 5/9/14
“A mother is a person who, seeing that there are only 4 pieces of pie for 5 people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”  (Tenneva Jordan)  The first attempt at starting a Mother’s Day was after the Civil War when groups of mothers, from North and South, whose sons had died in the war, would come together to share their grief.  The modern Mother’s Day has evolved into giving mom that “pie” she missed.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  To give birth, and quite often, to give birth more than once: that's something special! For myself, skipping a piece of pie is merely a mannerism of consistency! A mother carries life and brings life into form through her discomfort and sometimes even her own life. And this is by her choice: a willful decision to take on not only childbirth; but motherhood itself. I think words escape a description of the honorable mother. So, we have Mothers Day. I think, for men at least, it should include some moments of silence to reflect on what the whole experience must be like -- even if it can only be accomplished through our imaginations!====JACK:  Mothering, of course, is more than giving birth.  But, you're right in saying that giving birth is beyond man's imagination.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i miss my mom.  she used to take me out for blueberry pie once a month.  it was so special.====JACK:  There were many things special about her.  Isn't the ability to remember, a great gift?====MARY:  yes it is, and as she always told me, "the soul would have no rainbow had the eye no tear".  she understood my flowing eyes.  they have been flowing for her since her birthday, may 2nd.  she and daddy gave me permission to be who i am.  it's not a weakness, but a strength to wear one's emotions on the outside.

FROM TARMART REV:  Well spoken, Jack!====JACK:  One of my first Winning Words was, "Virtue is learned at mother's knee.  Vice is learned at other joints."

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  Jack,  i hate to tell you this but i don't think  you have this right.  as i have studied it,  it was the Mothers from both North and South after the civil war who wanted to remember their sons and this was the origin of Memorial Day, NOT mother's day.   Anna Jarvis first proposed the idea of a mother's day after her mother died.  that was 1907 and Anna lived in Grafton, West Virginia.   the idea caught on with Anna's strong efforts for promotion and Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional declaration in 1914 stating that the 2nd Sunday in May would become Mother'd Day.  he obviously did not know that this was also the big fishing opener her in Minnesota!   i am pretty sure that all of the above is correct. take care.====JACK:  Yes, I know that about "Decoration Day," but in my research, I found sources that put the beginning of Mother's Day in the post-Civil War era.  Most historians, as you state, trace the start of Mother's Day to 1907, give or take a couple of years.====PH:  perhaps the real story somehow got lost somewhere in the dust of history...====JACK:  The "real" story takes place every time a child gives his/her mother a home-made "Mother's Day" card for the first time.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I'm quite sure you saw Kevin Garnet's MVP award acceptance speech singling out his mother.====JACK:  The expressions on the faces of both son and mother showed that there was a lot of  "remembering" going on.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  A loving family would each give a fifth of their pie. ====JACK:  Most families aren't the Cleavers.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  As a mother, I'm enjoying reading your blog this morning, amused even, we mothers realize motherhood is an awesome, mysterious experience and the celebration of the day thinking and remembering us is even better that no one seems to have "the facts" about the holiday. We're just here and our sacrificial love and the urge to do it as mysterious and basically incredible to me, at least, even as how I came to have faith in God. Actually, I believe the babies' big eyes, soft skin and utter helplessness call the love out from us. And just to be fair to the fathers, out from them too.====JACK:  ...and soon to be a mother-in-law.  Will he call you Mom or Sharon or Mrs H?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Amen!  Imagine you know the piece below well.  I am sharing it on Facebook and hope that tomorrows rally in Daley Plaza on behalf of Bring Back our Girls is well-attended.
Mothers' Day Proclamation: Julia Ward Howe, Boston, 1870
Mother's Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons. Here is the original Mother's Day Proclamation from 1870, followed by a bit of history (or should I say "herstory"):
Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts,
whether our baptism be that of water or of fears!
Say firmly: "We will not have great questions decided by
irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking
with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be
taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach
them of charity, mercy and patience.
We women of one country will be too tender of those of another
country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From
the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance
of justice."
Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons
of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a
great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women,
to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the
means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each
bearing after their own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
but of God.
In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a
general congress of women without limit of nationality may be
appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at
the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the
alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement
of international questions, the great and general interests of
peace.  (Julia Ward Howe - Boston - 1870)
====JACK:  Each of those Nigerian girls has a mother who worries about their welfare.  All caring mothers join them in worrying...and praying fore their safe return.====BB:  When I hear about human trafficking/slavery it is deeply disturbing.  I thought the same as you – families grieving – perhaps even worse than death where you can commend them to the arms of the Lord at least….

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  This was certainly true in our family.  My mom was an old-fashioned mom:  we grew and canned our fruit, veggies and even pie-filling.  We had to be home when the street lights turned on.  Homework was done right away.  I never got physically punished but my mom made us sit in a chair until we either fell asleep or she thought we had learned our lesson.  She is missed but we will be together again.====JACK:  "They may call me old-fashioned, but I think....."  Can you finish that sentence?

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/8/14
“This is what I was put on earth to do.”  (Steven Spielberg)  Not Jurassic Park or Jaws ...Spielberg’s greatest accomplishment is filming the stories of 52,000 Holocaust survivors, including his parents.  It’s beyond imagination!  Steven says that his parents taught him to do something every day to make the world a better place.  We’ve been put on earth for a reason.  To make the world a better place is a pretty good reason.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  good stuff here, Jack.  thanks as always...====JACK:  Spielberg saw this 20-year project as a mitzvah (good deed) ...putting together eyewitness accounts of the Shoah so they won't be lost as survivors die off.  It involved people from 58 countries, speaking 34 languages. It's beyond good stuff.  It's practically unbelievable!====PH:  part of the motivation as i gather it was from the making of the movie Schindler's List which was one of the most powerful films ever made in my estimation.  one other thought.   there were 11 million who died in the Holocaust: gays, blacks, Poles, mentally ill,  anyone with a physical defect, political prisoners from every nation in Europe, Gypsies, etc.   how come we never hear about them???  not even a monument to their deaths.  i think the Jews have a right to mourn their losses but why do we never hear about the other 5 million? ====JACK:     I suppose it’s because they don’t have an advocate….not because of any concerted effort to keep their stories silent.  There are many “voiceless” people in the world.====PH:  i agree.  still, you would think some survivor or living relative would do something on their behalf and in their memory.  and maybe they have and i just have not heard about it.====JACK:  Suppose that you were to be that voice...What would you say?  Spielberg's project was his answer to that question as it related to the Holocaust Jewish people.

FROM TARMART REV:  Sounds like another person I've become acquainted with during my lifetime . . . he came to earth to  give life and to have it more abundantly!!====JACK: and me and "everyone" has a reason for being.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  song of the day..."reach out and touch somebody's hand, make this world a better place if we can."====JACK:  Replace the "if" with a "yes."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Last night our Bible study group was shown a "clip" from Spielberg's film Schindler's List, a demanding story to document and Spielberg succeeded doing it.  When I stand before God's Throne regarding an account of my own life, having been put here for a reason, I'm not very confident that I fulfilled the assignment I was charged to do.  I shall have to hope for mercy. ====JACK:  I wonder....Has God written on a blackboard, a list of things that are ours to do?...or is it a blank slate, representing "free will?" 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It's truly the only in pray what I do fulfills that reason. ====JACK:  "Only" seems to be such a limiting word, but I'll accept it, knowing the point that you want to make.====RAY:  Given an understanding of God's Love for man, Jesus' reason and purpose on earth, our created likeness as that of the One who created us and all things, our command to seek first the kingdom and His righteous, and to Love one another as Jesus loves us, what other reason could there be?====JACK:  God only knows!

FROM TRIHARDER:  If everyone was taught that ... I told my kids, "Make the world a better place as a result of you having been here."  and "It's necessary to do more than your share because many refuse to carry their own weight."  I think I got through.====JACK:  Although I don't think I ever spoke those words, I tried to live them...most of the time.  I, too, think that they "got it!"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  He has touched most people in the world with his movies and his Holocaust quest.  That is a great reason from him to be on this earth.====JACK:  I'm pleased to see that there is a religious dimension to his life.

FROM ED SOON TO BE IN HAPPY VALLEY:  this is a good winning words. purpose. we all need one to be happy.====JACK:  As the saying goes..."Bloom where you are planted."  Since life usually places us in different places in different circumstances in different times...we can "bloom" wherever life puts us...and be happy!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Seeing my grandson and his wife at the baptism of their first child was a very joyous occasion.  The baptism was in Kill Devil Hills at Our Redeemer by the Sea.  Just remembering the journey of being a mother in the early days was fun. Because of the culture today it seems to be much harder unless you do have a strong faith.====JACK:  Culture does indeed, present difficulties.  However, medical breakthroughs have certainly lessened some of the stress of raising children.  Life has a strange way of replacing one stress with another.  A strong faith is needed, as you so wisely said.

FROM CPA BOB:  My aunt, who grew up in Sarajevo and escaped in 1941 to live the rest of her life in Italy, is one of the 52,000.====JACK:  I hope that you were able to get a copy of the interview so that your children, grandchildren and future generations may become "acquainted" with your aunt.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/7/14
“When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”  (Unknown)  Perhaps you were introduced to autism by the movie, “Rain Man.”  Some famous people, said to have been autistic, are Einstein, Darwin, Mozart, Michelangelo and the developer of Pokemon.  Autism or not…no two people are alike.  So try to look upon those you meet today, simply as people with differing abilities.  Be understanding and kind.  You also might want to Google…    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I've always found everyone presently carrying some kind of imperfection within or without their life and body.  God has a wonderful ability to use everyone of us as well with our imperfections to contribute to His Kingdom on earth and while completing His redemptive purposes to full restoration as planned at creation. Blessed to have Him as my God and Savior. ====JACK:  I've always found everyone presently carrying some kind of imperfection within or without their life and body.====REV:  You Lutherans just have the God-given knack to know how to cut to the chase so well!!every person. 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Just be understanding and kind to everyone.====JACK:  St. Paul said it in another context, yet the words seem to fit..."Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience." 

FROM CMP:  Good quote...====JACK:  Sometimes the words are meaningful, because of the experiences that we've had.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Who ever heard of Autism, Aspergers, ADD, and other related disorders when I was a kid?  They are well reported now and seem to be burgeoning in modern life.  Some sort of genetic changes apparently  cause brain malfunction.  I admit I know little about the disorders, and have been too disinterested to check into the research that's been done about it, but I wonder if the free lifestyle of the 60's with its extensive use of psychedelic drugs that was rampant then, has evolved into the problem that seems to be thriving now.====JACK:  My purpose in using today's WWs is to encourage people to see that the "differences" in others are a reminder that we are each "different."  Many parents have racked their brains "wondering" if they did something wrong to cause a difference in their child.  The scientific search is one way of approaching the problem.  Recognizing that there will always be "UNK UNKS" (unknown unknowns) is another way.  Believing that God works in  mysterious ways his wonders to perform is still another.  The workings of the brains are fascinating to me.  We have so much to learn.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  my goddaughter & her brother suffer from autism; his is especially severe. i am very proud of her, as she graduated from college recently.====JACK:  I'm reminded of the song that is usually sung in another context..."We shall overcome.  We shall overcome, someday."  Someday we shall have the answer to many puzzling questions.


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/6/14
“I have a new philosophy.  I’m only going to dread one day at a time.”  (Charles Schulz)  People love “Peanuts,” because the dialog is like real life.  Which of these do you remember and relate to?  “Why me?...Good grief…I’m still hoping yesterday will get better…Wouldn’t it be nice if we could fast forward through the crummy times…Life is like an ice cream cone.  You have to lick it one day at a time…Rats!”    ;-)  Jack

The more I trust Him, the more I love Him
Nothing good for me He'll deny
The longer I know Him, the better I can show Him
I couldn't stop now if I tried
It gets sweeter as the days go by
It gets sweeter as the moments fly
His love is richer, deeper, fuller, sweeter
Sweeter, sweeter, sweeter as the days go by
====JACK:  Sweet!

FROM CS IN WISCONSIN:  Plan to share this with several friends we have who are going through some very difficult health situations.  I guess I can include myself in this one.  I have been trying to deal with all of it one day at a time – good days and not so good days.  Often wonder if I’ll ever be back to what I thought was “normal” life again.  Don’t complain too much as I’m able to be up and doing things – not like others in hospitals or rehab centers!  I am very thankful for that!!! 
Hope you are enjoying some lovely sunshine today.====JACK:  As the song goes..."One day at a time, Sweet Jesus, That's all I'm asking of you."  Your name is on my daily Prayer List.  And...the sun is shining brightly today.

FROM JM IN MICHIGAN:  "Rats!" has become one of my favorite expressions -- it's a lot nicer than some others that are "out there" and it is short for texting.====JACK:  Another short one that I like is..."AAUGH!"

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  In a strip where he was at his school desk and had gotten an "A" on a theme he had written complimenting his teacher. He turns to a fellow student and says, "Sooner or later you learn what sells."====JACK:  Recently I was talking with a pastor about taking a course in "Marketing."  Pastors are also in the business of "selling."

FROM INDY GENIE:  Good one Charlie Brown!!====JACK:  I'll never forget the time you and your sibs sang for me..."You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown."====GENIE:  Thanks for remembering. We had so much fun singing together ....still do when we get the chance.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Ha! Jan and I and some of our church friends traveled with a "charlie Brown skit to many churches" entitled "The secret of Life" full of his sayings, and "lessons'" People loved it. I got to say "RATS' as LUCY, AND JAN WAS A VERY ENERGETIC  SNOOPY!  Brings back fun memories!! ====JACK:  I'll bet you can still remember some of the dialog.  I still read the Peanuts comic (reruns) each morning on my computer.  Also, The Fusco Brothers.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/5/14
“Singing ‘Halleluia’ everywhere does not prove piety.”  (Eithiopian Proverb)  If you were asked, “What must I do to get to heaven?” how would you answer?  “Piety” usually is a description of things that you do or don’t to please God and earn a “PASS.”  With time, I’ve learned to appreciate the word “grace.”  It’s a freeing experience to know that you only have to give yourself to God’s mercy.  He knows you and loves you!    ;-)  Jack

FROM NOREAST ANITA:  Amen,  Thank God for his grace.  I have a sign by my computer  "Thank God for Damn Fools, otherwise God's work would never get done."====JACK:  I've never heard that expression before.  I think there's room for it by my computer.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  It is freeing to know that God knows us and loves us perfectly and we people in our imperfect ways can be signposts pointing out that love to each other. I think sort of a hard thing is realizing we are signposts to each other and when some of us are judgers of each other to try to sort out the reality of the situation and actually see what's going on. Maybe my religious experience, so far, isn't solid but do believe, at least for me, that being a Christian is challenging and not super simple.  Challenging WW this morning, chance to reflect, now on to the day's chance to responding again to God's and people's love.====JACK:  You've sung the song, "Jesus loves me, this I know."  Someone has rephrased it to, "Jesus knows me, this I love."

FROM TARMART REV:  "Mercy there was great, and grace was free; Pardon there was multiplied to me; There my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary!"====JACK:  That sounds like an "Old-time religion" song to me."  I'll bet the AG people sing it with gusto!====REV:  Correction...older A/G folk used to sing it with gusto until it was moved aside for newer songs and choruses...old folks just dream about those days now.

FROM PH IN MINNESOTA:  amen to that!====JACK:  Halleluia!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Philip Yancy's book "What's So Amazing About Grace?" and his Study on that book, is one of my favorites!!  Grace indeed is a wonderful word and promise:When you get what you don't deserve (or earn) in the positive sense, not the negative!! As this WW says, we need to "practice what we preach"!  Bill had signs placed over all of our church exit doors, saying, "YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD", Reminding us every time we left the bldg. what our Christian focus was to be. They remain there to this day.====JACK:  What a great reminder for the people as they go home from church.  Pastors come, and pastors go, but the memory of some linger on.  "Then I heard a voice from heaven say, 'Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'  Yes, says the Spirit, they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Rev 14:13)

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I suppose I would answer the question by saying that first, I need to accept that Jesus' sacrifice of Himself was the great blessing of Grace that allows for my salvation, and that because of my own imperfections (sin) any of my own sacrifices are likewise imperfect. Hence, Jesus is the only one qualified. I might add that my understanding of this knowledge makes its expression insufficient by itself. For the Spirit of Understanding inspires my very soul, directing my soul to be guided by the Holy Spirit and not by the will of my own brain. As Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments"; suggesting that simply telling people of them is of no merit if one does not "keep" them.====JACK:  The verse you quoted, "If you love me..." was in response to the question, "How do I gain eternal life?  Jesus illustrates it with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. ====RAY:  The "truth" seems to apply to multiple applications doesn't it

FROM HCC CHUCK:  AMEN to that . there is Grace enough for all if we but accept the gift. ====JACK:  Few people will turn down a FREE gift, but it's amazing that some do.

FROM DS IN SAN DIEGO:  "Grace" took me 70 years to understand it.   We discuss this at length in our Bible Study group quite often.  What an unbelievable thing He went through for us.    
Hardest part for me is forgiving myself.====JACK:  "Works righteousness" is so ingrained in us that we do, indeed, have a hard time accepting the concept of "Grace."  There's got to be a catch!  Nope!  It's free.  "Nothing in my hand I bring.  Simply to the cross I cling." 

Friday, May 02, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 5/2/14
“A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be.”  (Tom Paine)  The old Sears mail-order catalog would rate items as good, better, or best.  A purchaser knew that something was “good,” but also that there was something “better,” or even, the “best.”  So is life.  Choices are before us. Is good enough, good enough?  Tom Paine is known for his treatise, “Common Sense.”  In life’s choices, let’s use common sense!     ;-)  Jack

  FROM HONEST JOHN:  Define. "Common Sense."====JACK:  I suppose it can mean different things to different people in differing situations...but for Tom Paine, I think it meant using words that spoke both to the common folk, as well as to the intellectuals, about the need for a revolution.  Ergo, common sense can mean putting thoughts into words that appeal to a broad populace.  Of course, one person's sense is another person's non-sense.  ====JOHN:  Your definition went all over the place and tells us that "common sense" is whatever folks want it to be.   Often a rationalization of their own strange behavior.====JACK:  You asked for my definition of common sense.  It is what we make it to be.  You might have asked me for my definition of God.  ====JOHN:  Relativism at its utmost.  W/o definitions.  Discourse is impossible.====JACK:  You've said stuff like this about me before.  Slippery Jack is my name.

FROM JK IN CALIFORNIA:  Jack, Thanks for all your winning words. I read them everyday, think about them and even share them with others. :)====JACK:  One of my favorite parables from the Bible is "The sower and the seed."  ...which reminds me of the old Gospel song...
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves;
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows,
Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest, and the labor ended,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.

FROM TARMART REV:   . . . the "best" is always yet to come . . . but hopefully, "good enough" for today?!?! Even, better on Monday!!====JACK:  We must always be ready for the time when Monday doesn't come..====REV:  But..."Until then my heart will go on singing, Until then with joy I’ll carry on, Until the day my eyes behold the City, Until the day God calls me home!"

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  good is good enough, as long as you gave it your best.====JACK:  The word, good, is good when used as an opposite to the word, bad (or, evil).

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This reminds me of an old Dear Abby column that I cut out and kept on file, "Good enough is not good enough!".  We can always do "better"!  In other words, don't be content with giving the minimum effort.  Common sense involves the practical, and it is amazing sometimes how we lack the sense we were born with!  Hopefully most of the time  our choices do involve common sense. We need to be sense-i-tive! :-)====JACK  I didn't think that we were "conceived and born" with common sense.  I thought that it was "conceived and born in(to) sin."

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  This discussion is reminding me of a discussion we had a couple of weeks ago in Bible study. Some of us were wondering if sort of a low level of sinning was perfectly human and we didn't need to "beat ourselves up over it". Like some people always apologizing for everything. Others of us were thinking more that even no low level of sinning was acceptable--little sins not paid attention to lead to bigger sins eventually. Someone was emphasizing the consequences of "pride" At least we came away from that Bible study realizing what we all were most concerned about and wonder if those of us who are "hardest" on ourselves had an impact on others who are very at ease with themselves and vice versa. Maybe we've all been able to grow to be better--because of being afraid of pride won't write "best" yet.====JACK:  I think the problem we face is trying to judge what is sin.  It is God who is  the ultimate Judge.  We have all sinned and fallen short...It's not whether sin is large or small.  We all are in need of God's grace.  I'm reminded of two people who tried to jump over a chasm, 10" wide.  One person could leap 9'-11", while the other could only jump 3'.  Who was the better leaper?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I completely forgot about “good, better or best”  how did that get lost?  Sometimes that’s what we want to know.  Mom said, “you can’t have everything”!====JACK:  I always wanted the "best," but the "good" was usually good enough, but not usually as flashy!

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I really like the question "What is common sense?" Is it choice of behavior learned through personal and vicarious experience? Is it innate and/or intuitive? Is it taught? Is today's "common sense" the same as in prior periods of history? Is it theological or pragmatic? If I still had my "round table" what a discussion we could have! Thanks, again. ====JACK:   Tell me more about your Round Table.  It seems to be the perfect shape for questions that have varieties of answers, like "What is common sense?"