Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/30/14
“Be yourself.  Everyone else is taken.”  (Nicole Barutha)  “Just look at yourself!” is a phrase that children hear when they need to clean up.  Maybe it’s something that adults need to hear also.  Look at yourself! That face staring back in the mirror is yours and no one else’s.  Say to that face…Let the past go…You may not be perfect, but you have strengths; you have value.  Today’s a day for new beginnings.  Carpe Diem!    ;-)  Jack 

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Well, as Popeye says, I "I yam who I yam!". And , though I'm an imperfect piece of pottery,(coming off the wheel of the master pottery creator, I'm comfortable and very thankful that God, through Jesus, has cleaned the slate for me. And as my very good friend, Shirley, always says, "Enjoy the day!" Great WW.====JACK:  I like The Thimble Theater for its clever sayings..."Blow me down...Gloryski...Olive, my sweet patootie."  Early on in my life, I began to like spinach because of Popeye.  I still eat spinach today...the "Popeye" brand.

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: The self-made man is a good example of when you assign a task to an incompetent.====JACK:  In reality, I guess that none of us is self-made.  We are each of us the product of people and events that have shaped us.===CHESTER:  "I think he's got it!"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Great w"Words" for me today.  I'm afraid to look in the mirror this morning after a very pain-filled (dear Uncle Arthur-rite-tis)!  However, it's a wonderful day, another beginning and we are all here today to enjoy it!  Seize the Day!  Smile Away!  God is good....all the time!====JACK:  Have you ever seen an outhouse with a mirror in it?====JUDY:  Yes many outhouses have mirrors  especially in Alaska, in the coasts and in the south.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/29/14
“We are all manufacturers.  Some make good; others make trouble; and still others make excuses.”  (A.A. Stagg)  Stagg was one of great football coaches of all time.  The Univ of Chicago fired him as their coach thinking that he was too old at age 70.  He kept coaching at other places and retired when he was 96.  The precursor of the atomic bomb was manufactured under the grandstand of the Univ of Chicago’s abandoned Stagg Field.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm up and at it now to "manufacturer" a brand new day and week never lived in before . . .join with me, Jack??====JACK:  "This is the day the LORD has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."  (Psalm 118:24)  I'm going to try to be happy enjoying God's creation.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Listen to the excuses for the Ryder Cup. It's just a game of golf, and look how it has become so "important" that excuses are even thought to be necessary!====JACK:  It's hard for me to look at golf as a team sport.  However, I do think that an occasional match-play tournament breaks up the sameness of week after week medal play.  I like the Steve Martin refrain, "Well, excu-u-use me!" 

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  What a wonderful story of this coach!!!!! And the people who asked him to coach--even at 96!!!!====JACK:  Maybe the Michigan Wolverines should reactivate Lloyd Carr. 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/26/14
“Knowing that there is worse pain doesn’t make the present pain hurt less.”  (Real Live Preacher)  I’ve made the mistake of trying to help people who have problems by telling them of others who are in a worse situation.  Whether it’s harsh or minor, pain is still a pain.  When mother kisses the child’s “owie”, it’s not the kiss that heals, but the caring words, “there, there,” that stop the tears.  This world needs more caring.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  rabbi kushner says that hurting people don't need explanation (why is this happening to me?).  rather, they need consolation.====JACK:  Can anyone really say, I "know" how you feel?  Is it ever possible to get inside another's skin? 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  One of the gifts of the body is that we cannot recall "pain". We can recall painful experiences; but the actual pain remains forgotten. It is a great gift. Maybe this partially accounts for my mother having so many children?!?! And, "this too shall pass" comes to mind. ====JACK:  If God had wanted birth control, perhaps he should have chosen to give the father the same pain that was given to the mother.

FROM TARMART REV:  Very well stated, Jack . . . a good memory to recall, hopefully the next time . . .====JACK:  I was reading that there is such a thing as selective amnesia...usually (but not always) brought on by a head injury...where we can purposely forget certain experiences and feelings.====REV:  Not unusual when sharing a 5th Step with a person in AA that they don't recall many of those earlier years in their childhood. 0:-/

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  In the Stephen Ministries training a group of us took, we mulled over the helpful and unhelpful things to say to someone in distress and it seems that, when the caregiver is uncomfortable and in distress over some sort of sharing from the carereceiver, they try to reduce the level of distress by pointing out someone somewhere has it much worse. I believe the problem isn't so much in pointing out the greater reality but "in the feelings" between the caregiver and carereceiver and who finally is getting their feelings taken care of, which may be more the caregiver's. The caregiver is uncomfortable realizing the nature of the carereceiver's pain and suffering. Challenge of life is coming to grips with what is uncomfortable I guess. Maybe it's the cross.====JACK:  There are times when we become uncomfortable in the presence of someone who is uncomfortable.  That can cause us to try to ease our pain by "saying" or "doing" things!

 FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Did you happen to see the youtube video of Naftali’s mom (one of the three boys executed in Israel 2 months ago) regarding Rosh Hashanah?  It’s inspirational in my opinion…..taking the pain and instead being thankful for the outpouring of support and unity she experienced.====JACK:  No, I did not see that.  I'll have to check it out.  I was in the Post Office on Rosh  Hashanah.  I've never seen it so empty.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  When I was a child I was knocked off my bike and had lots of cuts and grazes.  By the time I arrived home I was crying and in pain.  My mother said " Are you dead"   l replied No!  Then she said " Let's get you cleaned up and have some cake and a cup of tea" 
In England we always have a cup of tea when there are problems.====JACK:  A cup of tea is better than a dose of castor oil.  Your mother seems like she was a wise woman.

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  Oh I don't know Jack. There is also something to be said for keeping things in perspective . Don't you think? But I agree a kind caring word is always welcome! ;-). I still get owies!!====JACK:  Generally speaking, truisms are true, but there are always exceptions.  I remember talking with you about a friend of mine who has ALS. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/25/14
“A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.”  (Elbert Hubbard)  The Minimum Wage idea is nothing new.  It seems to have begun in England in the 14th Century and was called, “The Living Wage.”  Long ago my pastor told me that he never asked for a salary increase, quoting the Bible:  “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”  But this isn’t a perfect world, and some people are underpaid.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Like anything, (as in the parable of the talents) one appears to be obligated to use one's talents wisely. Also, (as in the parable of the talents), each of us have different amounts or quantities. We need to keep our focus on the wise utilization of our own talents. Charity, morality, or righteousness are not "talents" that can be legislated by man. Mankind has to wake up to the source of such things and behave in accordance with the same --- and stop looking to a government for a legal fix, which can never be the fix anyway. Let's make a law that forces Christians to behave like Christians!====JACK:  As far as making a law is concerning, we already have The Law (The Decalog) and Jesus' interpretation of that Law..."You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind, and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself."  Love cannot be legislated.  Just because people have a head and hands does not necessarily mean that they have equal talents in the use of them.  That's where "helping" the less fortunate comes into play. ====RAY:  It seems like you are rephrasing my point. The Law of the Spirit is already written; but not necessarily followed. No law of man can fix that. I don't argue that man is corrupt; but I must focus on my own corruption and avoiding its occasions. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless is not the provision of the government; it is my own. If I give the government one dollar, 15 cents might get to a person for food. If I give one dollar to a person, (s)he gets one dollar. You and I need to be of direct service to those who require what we have to offer. I cannot defer this function to another and satisfy any guilt I have for "burying my talent". The government is not a "church" but an industry whose tendencies are for power, not for righteousness. I have no faith in man's law -- however well-meaning it is portrayed. I will pay a "living wage", feed others, or clothe the naked because it is right. I will avoid patterning my life after the Pharisees who have been corrupted, whilst they speak of virtue. I am aware that of what I note is a narrow road indeed...but we are instructed to follow it.====JACK:  I like this, attributed to Edward Everett Hale, a Unitarian clergyman from the 19th century.
I am only one,
 But still I am one.
 I cannot do everything,
 But still I can do something;
 And because I cannot do everything,
 I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  too many hard-working people live without a "living wage." ====JACK:  Do you remember the song, Sixteen Tons, especially the line...."and what do I get?  another year older and deeper in debt."====MARY:  saint peter don't you call me cause i can't go...i owe my soul to the company store...my dad used to sing that song in his beautiful baritone voice as far back as i can remember.  we learned so many lessons about so many things including how fortunate we were through song.====JACK:  Have you noticed...how many lessons are taught through songs?...and through parents singing those songs to us as we were growing up?  "If you're happy and you know it comes to mind.

 FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  i never asked either but it helped being in a union town like Detroit where a yearly raise or at the least a COLA was just expected.  and here in AV, we were affluent enuff that increases came with real regularity.  but i also know of some very stingy churches where pastors almost had to beg...====JACK:  One solution for compensation issues that congregation might have is to explore being yoked with another congregation.  My first call was to a parish composed of three congregations.  It was a great call!====PAUL:  once in the old ALC a seminary prof was promoting the idea of equal pay for all clergy no matter where they served.  it went over like a lead balloon.====JACK:  When I moved to Michigan, a group of pastors wanted to form a union and push for equalizing salaries.  The same lead balloon tried to float.====PAUL:  its very hard to inflate lead...====JACK:  The problem is not so much the lead in the balloon as it is the lead in the seat of the pants.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Part of my working experience has been working for small individual businesses. My earlier experiences were working for large organizations (secretarial work) where there was a set salary and periodic raises. The first small business I worked in was a shop where the woman did alterations. To be fair, it was me who approached the woman and asked if I could apprentice to her. She offered to pay me $2/hour and then I worked taking out zippers, hemming pants, etc. But after a year and a half I was still doing the same work, she was still paying me $2/hr. and I really had no basis to ask her for a raise, nor did she try to train me on more complicated tasks--there were always plenty of zippers and pants needing hemming. The other two jobs were boutique and also dry cleaners, working for $5/hr. In all these jobs, the business person was thinking mostly of their business and also "let off the hook" with me as they knew my husband was the main breadwinner but there was not much connection between "what I could do with my aptitudes" and rewarding my level of work with financial remuneration. The need was really for cheap labor and not experienced labor as my bosses had that cornered. I really don't begrudge these experiences because they taught me something about what a great many people in our financial culture daily cope with. People on the bottom of the pyramid can demand, agitate, fight for better working conditions but often their situation just prompts them to have so many self-doubts and lack of self-esteem and "feelings that they don't deserve any better" that there is a sort of invisible slave mentality in place. Also, I believe many employers rationalize that their help is privy to the safety net for their needs--and so they set wages low too--i.e. Walmart. This is my 2 cents into the discussion.====JACK:  I feel sorry for the single mom who is stuck with a minimum wage job, with no prospect of getting out of the rut...and not being able to meet the bare necessities...and then having the food stamp program cut back.  There are some really sad stories out there in the world.  I admire the churches that operate food pantries for the needy.

FROM JAYHAWKER DON:  Can I say I'm glad I'm not paid what I am worth?  (Check Lake Wobegon genes.)====JACK:  I must admit...sometimes I have felt that the congregation has given me "too" much.  I suppose that could be remedied if I emulated Kagawa.

FROM TARMART REV:  Not that she needs the money for survival, I'm still amazed at the amount of work Hallmark Card Shop at our local mall gets from my wife at $8 an hour, and that is with the recent statewide mandatory raise. I tell her she should look for something better, but she is very comfortable with her working environment.  0;-/ ====JACK:  I'm impressed with how happy most of the Hallmark workers seem to be.  I'm saddened by people who are not happy doing their work, whatever the pay.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  All I can say is that when the momentous occurrence came when the minimum was raised to 25 cents an hour way back when. It was such a blessing. ====JACK:  I can remember the times when I was glad to have a job, minimum wage, or not.  But I can't remember ever having to struggle as much as some minimum wage workers are having to struggle today.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/24/14
“Be charitable before wealth makes thee covetous.”  (Sir Thomas Browne)  Are you one of the “rich” people in America?  Are you a 1%-er?  Before we pride ourselves in what we have, we ought to read about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) which says that the roles of rich and poor will be reversed in heaven, especially when the rich ignore the poor.  I advise my grandchildren…“Remember the poor!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Sometime ago, I was out with best friends having breakfast. We were talking about the economy and how hard it was "to make ends meet." They were surprised to learn ( I actually had to prove it to them) that the people sitting around that table were in  the upper 10% of wealth on a national level.  They just couldn't wrap their minds around that and it's implications. "Poor" is one of those words that have so many shades when not in the extreme.====JACK:  It's just a matter of perspective.  During the Great Depression I remember being sent to the bank to cash a check for 3 cents, because we needed the money.  Loretta Lynn sings of her childhood..." Well, I was born a coal miner's daughter   In a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler   We were poor but we had love. That's the one thing that daddy made sure of   He shoveled coal to make a poor man's dollar."

FROM LB IN MICHIGAN:  Did you see Warren Buffett's comments while in Detroit?  He tells billionaires to give away half their money.  He talked about writing a book called "How to manage on $500 million".====JACK:  Warren seems to be a "conscience" for those with extra-ordinary wealth.  The super-1%-ers listen, because he puts his checkbook where his mouth is.  The rest of us could benefit from a similar book, because covetousness seems to be endemic.  Maybe that's why "Thou
shalt not covet" was included as one of the Ten Commandments..

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL: i always liked the line: what am i doing with my wealth and what is my wealth doing to me??====JACK:  Oooh!  That hurts.

FROM TARMART REV:  If my memory serves me well this morning, I believe this was one of the prerequisite for including Paul's ministry among that of the apostles: "Always remember the poor." ====JACK:  People named, Paul, have a lot to live up to.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  ANYONE WHO HAS TRAVELED, ESPECIALLY IN UNDER DEVELOPED COUNTRIES, REALIZES THAT EVEN THE "POOR" IN U.S. ARE RICH IN THE EYES OF THE WORLD, WITH ENOUGH TO EAT OF A WIDE SELECTION OF FOODS, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS, AND TRANSPORTATION AT THE READY.  I HAVE SEEN THIS FIRST HAND, AND NEVR FORGET HOW WELL I AM ABLE TO LIVE, AS A MIDDLE CLASS AMERICAN!  WE NEED TO BE GENEROUS!!====JACK:  I think that most of us would be more generous if we saw the conditions of the poor 1st-hand as you have.  Reading about it in the papers, or seeing it on TV, doesn't have the same impact.  Jesus's Parable of the Talents is a biting one...Then the righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and not feed you? Or thirsty and not give you something to drink? Or a stranger and not show you hospitality? Or naked and not give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and not visit you?’  And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did not do it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were not doing it to me!’

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think like everything, wealth is a blessing. Health is a blessing. Intelligence is a blessing; and so on... The challenge that besets those of us who have been so richly blessed, is that we cannot credit ourselves and "all our hard work" and the "timeless hours spent" in the fruitful management of those blessings. "Success" is the lure and seduction of evil that whispers a sort of self-idolatry into one's ear. A person who is blessed with much might come to believe in it, by virtue of the fear of losing it. It isn't the "success" that pulls one into the lure; it is the belief that it is one's cure. For this seems to be the main reason that it so difficult for the rich man...(s)he can't "let go" of his/her stuff. For those who are not rich, they get to pretend that they are okay and free from such things.====JACK:  I like that scene from the movie, THE JERK, where Steve Martin (who's been poor, then rich, then poor, again) is deciding what he needs to keep...ashtray, paddle game, remote control, matches, lamp, chair, magazine and dog.  "Do you think I'm some kind of jerk?"  What is it that we really need?

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  jobs are the best cure for poverty. jobs build self-esteem, self-sufficiency, & are the foundation of a functional society.  w/all the gov't provides our poor - food, phones, medical care, etc - it's really not all that dire, is it? not like other countries' poor, who don't eat.
what i hate to hear is how cities now are forbidding the feeding of homeless (usually mentally ill) people...cruel.  to be generous because one is angling for a spot in heaven is selfish, in actuality.
just my humble opinions...====JACK:  With regard to "angling" for heaven, the Parable of the Talents is the response of Jesus to one who asks, "What do I do to gain eternal life (heaven)?"  So, it is Jesus giving the answer....to care for the needy.  It was the Church that pioneered caring for the sick and the poor.  In some places it has become a political issue, but there are still people who care, because they do care.  I'm sure that you're not in the "caring" business just for the money.====LIZ:  believe me, there is no money in what i do for a living, but i am happy to have a job that is rewarding & helps people.====JACK:  That's my point.  The world is better off because of people who care, not thinking of it as quid pro quo.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  For me, the concept of "poor" is mostly lack of material wealth. However, (This being another thought-provoking WW.) ,,upon further reflection ...we can be, can witness, can help in instances of impoverishment in many other facets of life. Poverty as in health, educational opportunities, hearing, eyesight, comprehension, ambulatory skills...on and on. And, as well, as, assisting monetarily...there are many additional ways to "be good to the poor". Thanks, again.====JACK:  One of the meanings of poor is...needy.  Obviously the poor who have limited (or no) funds need things, but are unable to buy them.  People in poor health need medical attention.  A grade school teacher once gave me POOR in deportment.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/23/14
“Realize that everything connects to everything else.”  (Leonardo DaVinci)  John Muir, the naturalist, echoed this…”When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”  The interconnectedness of people and things is amazing.  The sooner we learn that we are in the same lifeboat, the safer we will be.  Enough with the bickering.  There’s a planet that needs protecting.    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I thought it was interesting that  "Occupy" is choosing Climate change as it's main mission in their protest  on Wall Street. Your words today are so important, Jack. Just think about them in relationship to Chaos Theory.  They are one in the same.  Fun!!! If we could just stop yelling at each other and just listen more.====JACK:  The sign at the railroad crossing reads:  STOP LOOK LISTEN.  We need a new one:  STOP LISTEN THINK.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I constantly contemplate the "butterfly effect".====JACK:  I read yesterday that when a butterfly flaps it's wings in Brazil, a tornado happens in Texas.  Is that the butterfly effect?

FROM ERIC THE CHIRO:  The hip bone's connected to the...thigh bone. The thigh bone's connected to the...knee bone.====JACK:  The interconnectedness of the skeleton is amazing, isn't it?

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  more good words for this day, Jack.  thanks...====JACK:  You can't go wrong with Da Vinci and Muir.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  leonardo and chief seattle:)====JACK:  The ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) includes Chief Seattle in its Calendar of Saints (June 7).  I guess there are other saints besides those we typically hear of.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  Amen!====JACK:  A preacher is usually encouraged by the "Amens" that come from the pews.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The Hilltoppers refuse to be connected to the Maroons.  ( except, of course, that my mother graduated from Moline Hugh School)====JACK:  When I grew up it was the Tri-Cities (Moline, Rock Island and Davenport).  Then East Moline wanted to be included, so it became the Quad Cities.  I always thought that it should be one metropolitan area named, Moline.

FROM JAYHAWKER DON:  I don't know to whom it is attributed, but in those days back in the '70s, we were taught "You can't do ONE thing."====JACK:    I like that thought, so I Googled it to find out more.  Richard Heinberg said it in a conversation with Michael Stone.  The Google site shows the conversation.


FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It seems like people are what needs protecting as long as some people are even killing their own families and others are chopping off heads. When we learn how to take care of each  other, the planet will fall into place.====JACK:  It's a wild world out there.  Has it always been that way...or does the "instant" news simply make it seem that way?  The religious wars of today can be a reprise of the Crusades, or even of the Biblical wars between the believers and the pagans.

FROM TARMART REV:  Often said when we are conversing with another, we are just two or three persons away from a common relationship with the same person.====JACK:  Does that mean that I'm related to you?====REV:  Just two o'l poor boys enjoying relationship serving our God who has made us rich in Christ!!

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Leonardo knew how to connect the dots!!!!====JACK:  I remember seeing "The Last  Supper" done in a paint-by-numbers format.  It looked pretty good, but, of course, I've never seen the original.  BTW, paint-by-numbers was "invented" by a man from the community in which I live.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How true!  It's too bad so many see their ideas as the only right one.  My brother-in-law is researching the family heritage along with some help from the rest of us.  It's amazing how many people we are related too, right in our own state!  We are all connected and we all need that lifeboat at some time or another....jump in!====JACK:  I've never been much for creating Family Trees, but I appreciate the work of those who care about such things.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/22/14
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life.  Go to sleep in peace.  God is awake.”  (Victor Hugo)  I recall HUGO as the answer to a crossword “clue” last week.  Victor is  famous for having written, Les Miserables (The Miserable Ones).  There was sadness in his life, too, with the untimely death of 3 of his children.  But, evidently, he found some solace in knowing that God was aware of “his misery” and cared.    ;-)  Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  What a neat WW -- go to sleep in peace. God is awake. So simple, probably everyone of us is thinking "I could have thought of these WW." Yet I didn't. Victor Hugo did. These WW help us to remember and celebrate his faith and to be thankful and appreciate him and you for bringing us these WW another time today.====JACK:  Is worry keeping you awake at night?  Someone said, "We're told that God never slumbers nor sleeps, so I turn my worries over to him.  There's no sense in both of us staying awake."

FROM TARMART REV:  "Never to leave us nor forsake us . . . as we place our trust in Him!!" ====JACK:  It's sometimes easier said than done....but good advice often needs to be repeated. ====REV:  It's that last part that presents the most difficulty with me...I talked with a Jewish young lady in Willmar (not many of them in these parts)...I shared with her how I wished Abraham had trusted God a little longer before giving in to Sarah's request to have Hagar and Ismael!====JACK:  You've said in the past that "God has a reason" for how things develop.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  It has taken me a long time getting my mind around this, but if Jesus Christ the Son of God had to undergo pain and suffering during His time on earth, how can we mortals expect less?  With the knowledge of God's love for us, and faith in His care secure within us, we get the strength to endure the "great sorrows of life", trusting fully that God is there in charge of things.  As stated in Proverbs 3:5, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.====JACK:  When I was "learning" to be a pastor I spent some time with a hospital chaplain going from bed to bed in a large Chicago hospital, visiting patients...many of them from Skid Row.  I would see him bend down and say to each one..."I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is revealed to us in Jesus."  One of my favorite songs begins..."This world is not my home, I'm justa passin' through.  My treasures are laid up, away beyond the blue."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I like that thought "God is awake".    I think that way when I am put out for surgery.====JACK:  ...and I'm hoping that the doctor has gotten a good night's sleep, too.


FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  A little bit of levity lightens the lesson. but not the impact! I've never really thought about God being awake...all the time. But I d0 rely on His availability at any time...day or night. Presumptuous! and Oh, so comforting.====JACK:  The idea of GOD is impossible for human comprehension.  That's one of the purposes for "Jesus"....God coming in human form to help us understand what he (there again, using "he" in a case when it does not refer to sexuality) is like.  But he is MORE than the human form.  (Excuse my philosophical/theological speaking.)

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  this reminds me of a great church sign that i read a couple of years ago.  i may have already shared it with you, but it's worth repeating.  "don't worry about tomorrow.  god is already there."  i think of that when i go to bed troubled.====JACK:  Your song for the day: 
When I'm worried and I can't sleep   I count my blessings instead of sheep
 And I fall asleep counting my blessings   When my bankroll is getting small
 I think of when I had none at all   And I fall asleep counting my blessings

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/19/14
 “We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.”  (Erik Erikson)  The people of Scotland have chosen to remain a part of Great Britain.  I wonder if the 16-yr-old vote made the difference?  Now comes the healing and the reaffirmation of interdependence.  “No man is an island” is a truth that needs to be re-stated in many situations..nations..religions..homes.  We are voting our wish each day.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  One of my favorite heroes!  Love his philosophy!====JACK:  I like his idea that both "trust" and "mis-trust" must be understood in order for there to be "hope".  I think that's a lesson that needs to be learned by both sides in a seemingly divided country...and where there are personal differences of opinion.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I'm not much of a betting man, but I'm betting that after they evaluate the votes, they'll find it is the 16 year olds that wanted to break away because they don't appreciate how much wisdom there is in your message.  P.S. If I win you'll owe me a bagel.====JACK:  I tend to agree with you.  The younger generation(s) seem to be more accepting of the idea that the newer is the better.  The older generation(s) seem to be more prone to nostalgically recall the good old days!

FROM DR IN MICHIGAN:  This one especially spoke to me today. Thank you! It is exactly what I needed to hear!====JACK:  "I shot an arrow into the air,  It fell to earth, I knew not where."  I feel that way often when I send out Winning Words.  I'm glad today's arrow landed near you.  God is always speaking to us...sometimes in surprising ways.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The people of the Southern United States decided in 1865 to remain a part of the Union....their options were limited.====JACK:  There is still talk of secession, and not just in Texas.  Even some in the U.P. want to be independent from the L.P. 

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  amen!====JACK:  Your song for the day..."People who need people!"

FROM EMT SINGS IN TRAVERSE CITY:  One of my own "Thoughts For The Day" is:  "Treat others as if your life depends on them---it truly does you know!"====JACK:  Along the same line...I was driving in a subdivision and saw a sign, reading:  Drive as though one of your kids lived on this street.

FROM DR JUDY:  Really nice!!!! So true. Great spin on this situation!====JACK:  "This" situation...and others, too.  We need each other!

FROM TARMART REV:  Hadn't kept up on that until this morning...would have been interesting to see how that would shake out if it went the other way...ironically, there may be a state or two here in America who would desire independence themselves. ====JACK:  The Civil War was fought over this issue...among others.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  How true!! Love Barbra Streisand's song "People who need people are the luckiest people!" My job is do dependent and interdependent on people it couldn't be done without the support of others!  TGIF!! Have a terrific day & weekend!====JACK:  When I came to Michigan to start a new congregation, we had a slogan...People are our only business."

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  A friend posted on my Facebook "Friends of ours who are English, however, want Scotland to stay united because the Scots keep the parliament more progressive." Made me wonder how the English would have voted should they have had an opportunity to vote yes or no on Scotland staying united. It is kind of nice that some people want to stay together and continue to "work out their differences and common problems." I found it a refreshing vote of hope for a peaceful part of their neck of the woods.====JACK:  Living together in any kind of relationship is a matter of making compromises.  We can't always have it, "MY WAY!"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/18/14
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  (Steve Jobs)  Did you know that Steve Jobs, as a parent, wouldn’t let his kids use electronic devices in the home?  How odd is that?  But this quote doesn’t refer to parenting.  If it were from Ann Landers, she’d add, ”MYOB.”  I can remember those letters spoken to my sister when she was commenting on what I should do…or was it the other way around?    ;-)  Jack 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Even if my time wasn't limited, of what usefulness would it be to pretend to be someone I am not? There are many reasons for this; but unfortunately, I think we don't fully know or understand who we truly are. As a result, we too often become actors who merely live out a script. "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts" Proverbs 20:27. I think all our innermost parts speak of something very significant, none of which ever require "acting", just its honest, authentic expression.====JACK:  We all wear masks of one sort or another.  Even our "skin" is a kind of mask.  Who are we....really?  ====RAY:  I believe that there is a significance to the comment that we are created in the image and likeness of the Creator. I think that the "innermost parts" referenced in the Proverbs quote are where this significance lives within us. This is what is covered up by our "skin", "masks", and "other lives" we might live instead of our own. I think so anyway...I am still searching...====JACK:  When I read the Bible, I try to think of the times (and understandings)of when it was written.  Sometimes it's hard to translate the ancient concepts into the modern idiom.  That's why multiple translations of the Bible can lead to a better understanding.  I see "image" to mean that we have a spirit that can identify with God as a Spirit.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, I think I found out in a kind of grim way that God holds all the cards in my game of life and there has been nothing else to do than to finally be myself, and "choose life", choose even to live happily with what has been dealt out to me and when I started looking out for all the silver linings, it all ain't that bad. The hardships do serve a good purpose in this world after all. Don't get me wrong--there has been plenty of joy too. Especially accompanying others in their life journeys with God too.====JACK:  Those who believe in predestination seem content to believe that God lives their life for them.  In my belief...even though God holds all the cards, he allows us to participate in the game of life, by way of "free will."====SHARON:  When death comes to the seed of your body, and not one death but three deaths, it doesn't feel much like free will, Pastor. ====JACK:  I understand where you're coming from.  Words do not always give the full explanation to life's puzzlements.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I have barely time for my own.====JACK:  The 24 hours come and go, no matter how busy you are.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I just read that all of the tech innovators/gurus limited their children’s time on any screen device and banned them from bedrooms.  It makes sense; they wanted learning to take place in a variety of ways. Have a great day.====JACK:  Maybe the McGuffey Readers weren't so bad, after all.  A "smart" person that I know began to read the Encylopaedia, starting with Book A.  When he got to "Arabic," the article and pictures so interested him that he decided to learn that language.  Eventually, he did.  Facebook (if it had existed) would have been boring to him.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/17/14
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”  (Winnie the Pooh)  I knew a person who’d never say, “Goodbye.”  It would be “See ya, Toodeloo, Ciao”…whatever, but not, “Goodbye.”  Jimi Hendrix sang, “Life is quicker than the wink of an eye—hello and goodbye.”  It’s about love and life…so fragile.  We don’t want to see it go.  But when the time comes, as it will, we say, “God go with you.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  How blessed we are to have been allowed the ability to cherish some person or experience to the extent that it makes losing or letting it go so difficult. For Pooh, honey was a favorite. We can claim that our blessings are a "taste of honey" as well. Like the water that we drink serves as a refreshment that quenches our thirst for a brief time, so does honey serve a momentary pleasure. Maybe these simple tastes of heaven can serve as reminders of the eternal water that completely quenches any thirst forevermore; or the sweetness of honey that also awaits us in the eternal. In this way, such things are no longer temporal. We haven't lost them at all; they await our arrival.====JACK:  I liked the book, BLINK, which is a reminder how quickly things come and go...in the blink of an eye.  I'm watching the second hand on the clock above my computer...click, click, click.  The NOW is here.  Oops...now it's gone.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Wow, beautiful comment, Ray. Precious WW again this morning, Pastor Freed.====JACK:  Do you remember the song, "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do"?  The death of someone you love is harder than that.====SHARON:  Ah but the holes those goodbys leave in the heart....

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ: "If ever there comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart.  I'll stay there forever.  --Winnie the Pooh====JACK:  Children's books can be adult books, too.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  God is the only one with us all the way....Immanuel====JACK:  I'm reminded of the story of a little Chinese boy, Lo, who was asked what was his favorite Bible verse?  He replied, "Matthew 28:20" .....Lo, I am with you always.

FROM TARMART REV:  God be with you too, Jack Freed . . . but hopefully a few more seasons ahead before its time for one of us!!====JACK:  The days are dwindling down to a precious few... It's September already!

FROM PASTOR JAN:  I have a good friend who does not say, "Good-bye", too.  She has been severely abused -- by her father, other rapists, and then her husband (from whom she has been divorced for a long time) and it has something to do with having said, "Good-bye" to almost all the "safe" people in her life.  Sad, but true.  Maybe I need to revive the original, "God be with you" when hanging up a phone call with her.  Shalom, Jan====JACK:  Your typical use of "Shalom (peace) says it all, whether "Hello" of "Goodbye."  How about ending your phone call with..."Shalom!  God be with you"?====JAN:  Good idea -- I don't usually use Shalom on the phone, but for her it would be a good way to end a conversation.


FROM BLAZING OAKS:   Absolutely loved Winnie the Pooh; my kids all grew up with those stories and loved them, still refer to the Horrible Heffalumps, black cloud over Tigger, etc. Yes, we who have lost really special loved ones, as our spouses, and siblings, know we were lucky to have had them for many years, and yes, it is still a wrench to say even a temporary "good-bye" when they leave us!!! Good WW words, as usual. Am in and out of town this week, but laughed out loud at your reply yesterday to RJP in Naples!  Yep! pastors are all too human most of the time! :-) Reading the blog is a treat any day!!====JACK:  I like "The Gospel according to..." books, like, "according to Peanuts" and "according to the Simpsons."  Somebody should write one "according to Winnie the Pooh."  OOPS!  I just searched, and it's been done...along with "The Gospel according to...Superman, Oprah, Dr. Seuss, Starbucks, Waffle House, the Beatles, and Harry Potter."  There's even a Gospel according to Jesus.=====OAKS:  I did a Women's seminar over a  weekend, on "The Gospel according to Dr. Seuss"  dressed up as the Cat in the Hat, and used his stories for Gospel Truths, and some videos of his stories. It was a fun weekend!====JACK:  Next comes Oprah.

FROM MM IN FLORIDA:  Wow. Jack that was the best quote even for Winnie the Poo.  Thanks for this and talk soon again I hope.====JACK:  We've all had to say our GOODBYES in one form, or another, haven't we?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/16/14
“Nothing is as bad as it seems, and nothing is as good as it seems.”  (Lou Holz)  Holz is a true motivator of people.  I enjoyed watching him on the sidelines, “motivating” his players…and “correcting” the officials.  He’s often asked to speak at business meetings, because he makes sense in a down-to-earth way.  Lou says:  “I follow 3 rules.  Do the right thing, do the best you can and always show people you care.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  I met him 20 years ago at a golf outing in Indiana and what you see is what you get. He is the genuine article.====JACK:  I was walking with my pastor one day, and he farted.  I knew then that he was the genuine article.

FROM TARMART REV:  I can sure take that with me today . . . thanks.====JACK:  Your response reminds me of the song I learned in Sunday School..."Take the name of Jesus with you---Take it then where e're you go."

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  I agree.  Charismatic in a very folksy, yet effective way.  I watch few sports commentators, however I will keep on if Lou is there with the former Redskins lineman, Mark May, both of  whom have very different styles and approaches, but seem to play off each other constructively, sometimes with a bit of an edge.====JACK:  Of course, he wasn't a football coach, but when John Wooden spoke, it was usually something worth listening to.====ME:  Another of the all time favorites because he was not only a great coach, but a great human being.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I like/liked Lou Holtz for many years. Probably, especially when he was coach for Notre Dame. He exudes comfort with himself, respect and regard for others, as well as commitment to his teams. The "preachment" in our family has always been to "take the high road"....much like his three rules.====JACK:  I wonder what Lou is like when he's at home?

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i like lou. & notre dame.====JACK:  You can probably sing the Notre Dame fight song, too.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  Good morning.   Thanks for sharing your days and Winning Words.  Today was a two-fur.   I can picture Lou Holtz, good coach, good man.====JACK:  I liked to see his energetic strut.  He knew where he was going and what he was going to do.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/15/14
“What’s money?  A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to.”  (Bob Dylan)  This quote comes from a Dylan interview when he was at the peak of his popularity.  All he wanted out of life was to do what he wanted to do.  That was success!  Control what you can control; then, adjust.  BTW, what’s your favorite Dylan song?  I like “Highway 51.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  I really like " Blowin in the Wind ."====JACK:  I think the word, melancholy, describes that song.  The words certainly describe the time when it was popular.  In fact, it is probably relevant today, as well.  I like the tune.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  What is success?    To me it is being at peace with one's self.   That, for me, begins with being at peace with God.    It goes from there to mean that we have wisely used our talents.   Somewhere in there it includes a good bowl of ice cream!====JACK:  Did you and Dr. Celms ever share a bowl of Whitey's together?

FROM TARMART REV:  I'll trust your choice, Jack . . . never followed him . . . he was Michigan artist, wasn't he . . . my brother-in-law followed his music and performances quite regularly. ====JACK:  I think that he was Duluth, Minnesota.  When you were younger, you were probably into learning Biblical choruses instead singing the popular songs of the time.

FROM MY LAWYER:  It has been said that the greatest song lyrics of the 20th century were Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone".   I don't necessarily agree, but that is my favorite of his.  He sure was a poet of his time.====JACK:  Think about it....  Do you like a song because of the words, or because of the tune?====LAWYER:  Both.  Some contemporary songs have lyrics that are not understandable, but the melody and beat are OK.

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  I know a man who gets up very early in the morning so he can send inspiring and/or thought-provoking messages to a large constituency.  Proof of his success comes from the responses he receives and also from a very nice article in the September 14 Oakland Press. ====JACK:  I like what I do...and now have added a "brisk" 15 minute walk to the regimen.  I just got back and feel refreshed.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Can't think of many of his songs, but at one time liked Blue Moon, Can't Help Falling in Love, Blowin' in the Wind, and Christmas island and Do You Hear What I Hear?" I seem to remember he used "aint" a lot in his song titles...?  Would love to see the article about you in the Oakland Press. What a nice tribute!!  Not many of us can do "just what we want to"  all day, but more power to Bob D.!====JACK:  I'm surprised by the number of songs with ain't in the title.... Ain't Misbehavin'..He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother..Ain't Got No Sunshine..Ain't That A shame..I Ain't Got Nobody..Ain't Talking About Love....and many others.

PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Route 66====JACK:  I didn't know that Route 66 was his song.
Well if you ever plan to motor west
 Just take my way that's the highway that's the best
 Get your kicks on Route 66
 Well it winds from Chicago to L.A.
 More than 2000 miles all the way
 Get your kicks on Route 66
 Well goes from St. Louie down to Missouri
 Oklahoma city looks oh so pretty
 You'll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
 Flagstaff, Arizona don't forget Winona
 Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
 Would you get hip to this kindly tip
 And go take that California trip
 Get your kicks on Route 66
 Well goes from St. Louie down to Missouri
 Oklahoma city looks oh so pretty
 You'll see Amarillo and Gallup, New Mexico
 Flagstaff, Arizona don't forget Winona
 Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
 Would you get hip to this kindly tip
 And go take that California trip
 Get your kicks on Route 66

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  He did do that didn't he??====JACK:  But he still had questions, too, as his song, BLOWIN' IN THE WIND, indicates.

FROM CS UP NORTH:  I have a wonderful Dylan album that is the soundtrack for No Direction Home, a Martin Scorsese film about Dylan.  It's called "the bootleg series number 7" I'm just learning to appreciate a lot of the lyrics and the poetry. I like "highway 61 revisited - an alternative take."  I also like "like a rolling stone"--especially now that I understand  what it was about. That is, imploring his band to "roll right over the naysayers."  Evidently, this was one of his most exciting performances when he was  dressing down a famous naysayer.  The directive on the album is to "play it loud"!
Always enjoy your "words".  Keep up the good work.====JACK:  Many songs (particularly in the 60's) are message songs....like Blowin' In the Wind.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/12/14
“Don’t give up!”  (Advice from a 1st Grader)  Some school children were asked to give advice to new Kindergarteners.  “Don’t ignore friends…Say nice words…Listen to teachers and parents…Be respectful…Don’t throw scissors.”  In a sense, everyone is a Kindergartener as each day begins.  If you were to give advice on how to meet the new day and be successful in your relationships with others, what would you say?    ;-)  Jack

  FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  We are living the dream! (An attitude to approach the day) ====JACK:  Sometimes it takes "retrospect" to realize the good things that have been a part of our life experience. 

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  First thing appreciate waking up, go to the computer and read the daily Word from ELCA office (this morning it's Psalm 103:1-13) WW, Henri Nouwen and Richard Rohr meditations. If the computer won't work, still wouldn't "give up" but read one of the Bibles and books we have here in the house. If the house burned down and all the books burned up, still wouldn't "give up" but just engage in conversation and begging my petitions to God. It's God who tells me not to "give up" in the very first place.====JACK:  When I was in Kindergarten I didn't know what a computer was.  In fact, I was just getting used to the miracle of listening to the radio.  Each "day" of life has its discoveries.  "When I was a child I thought and reasoned like a child, but when I became an adult, I still remembered my childhood, but moved on in my thinking."

FROM THE FLORIST:  Dying command of Captain Lawrence during the War of 1812 “Don’t Give Up the Ship” and used in Navy battle flag from time to time since then.====JACK:  That certainly fits with, "Don't Quit!" and it's a history lesson, as well.  Google allowed me to read "the rest of the story," but that's another story.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Yes, I like the "Don't throw scissors" concept.  I'm sure he was warned by some adult because he did it, at least once.  And especially if you live in a paper house.----JACK:  Isn't it strange that some adults have to be reminded that throwing scissors is not nice.  I absolutely abhor the current negative political campaign ads, recognizing that mud-slinging has always been a part of politics.  But, the unregulated use of BIG money and TV saturation exacerbates the problem.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Pray for it to be a positive day, smile, look people in the eye when speaking, listen when someone else is speaking, and think positive!====JACK:  Teachers aren't the only ones teaching in school.  It's good when a child (raised with a positive attitude) can "teach" others by actions, as well as words.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I like to repeat from the Optimist creed (almost rhymes,doesn't it?) that there is something special in them that they should be  proud of & that you are grateful that they're your friend.====JACK:  I like what TV's Mr. Rogers used to say to the kids...
You are my friend   You are special   You are my friend   You're special to me.
 You are the only one like you.   Like you, my friend, I like you.
 In the daytime   In the nighttime   Any time that you feel's the right time
 For a friendship with me, you see   F-R-I-E-N-D special   You are my friend
 You're special to me.   There's only one in this wonderful world   You are special. 

FROM TARMART REV:  My old standby: "The best is yet to come, Jack!!) At 67 years of age . . . I'm still standing by it!!====JACK:  I wonder if a kindergartener can understand, "the best is yet to come?"  Maybe it takes one who's been on this earth 3 score years and 7. ====REV:  I don't know for sure, but reading their verbal responses in you post today, “Don’t ignore friends…Say nice words…Listen to teachers and parents…Be respectful…Don’t throw scissors.”    I think they might?!?!

FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER:  Don't snore during nap time.====JACK:  ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "Your day will go the way your mouth is set---SMILE!"  I find it helps....====JACK:  IT ISN'T ANY TROUBLE JUST TO s-m-i-l-e!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Be helpful and kind. Did you ever read the book a few years ago about Everything I learned in Kindergarten?====JACK:  I heard about it, but only read excerpts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/11/14
“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.”  (George Eliot)  38-yr-old Heinrich Ackermann was one of the almost 3000 who died 13 years ago.  I don’t know who he was, but someone grieves his death.  With the passage of time, it’s easy to forget, but not if it involves a loved one.  We always remember.  “Our dead are never dead to us,” Eliot wrote.  We each have kinds of “9/11” reminders, don’t we?    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  As Mary and I have recently lost the presence of our friend, our little baby cat, her father, my brother, and now my mother...all since April, I have become even more convinced of our eternal bond of spirit with all of life through and in Jesus the Christ, and the creator of Life. In the "end", we are all a part of the Body, and we will experience how that is so, first hand. For now, the Spirit lives within us...for us to find in our inner most parts ("The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts." Proverbs 20:27). It is difficult to celebrate their return to our eternal home while we experience the loss of their presence here with us; but Jesus' promise is truly the only consolation. Hence, we can hope through the same faith in His promise while knowing that we are truly with Him while we are "here" or "there".====JACK:  One thing I like about Ash Wednesday is when the pastor places ashes on my forehead and says..."Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."  A hymn reminds me that earthy life is transitory.
I’m But a Stranger Here   By: Thomas R. Taylor
I’m but a stranger here,  Heaven is my home;
 Earth is a desert drear,  Heaven is my home;
 Danger and sorrow stand  Round me on every hand;
 Heaven is my fatherland,  Heaven is my home.
What though the tempest rage,  Heaven is my home;
 Short is my pilgrimage,  Heaven is my home;
 And time’s wintry blast  Soon shall be over past;
 I shall reach home at last,  Heaven is my home.
Therefore I murmur not,  Heaven is my home;
 Whatever my earthly lot,  Heaven is my home;
 And I shall surely stand  There at my Lord’s right hand.
 Heaven is my fatherland,  Heaven is my home.

FROM TARMART REV:  I always remember 9/11 and the anniversary of . . . wondering if someone somewhere would want to use this occasion to add to the deceased number on this date? 0:-/ ====JACK:  Another date that lives in "infamy" is 12/7/41. 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  We are up on Mackinac Island...stopped at Mary Lou's parents graves on the way up.   They are not forgotten.   I am in the midst of writing a short history of my family.   They are not forgotten either.====JACK:  My uncle used to be responsible for the upkeep of a small cemetery across the street from the Moline Swimming Pool.  I would sometimes spend the day with him.  My dog and I would play among gravestones.  I wonder if that was disrespectful of the dead?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/10/14
“ABC’s to Achieve Your Dream—Avoid negative people…Zip your lip.”  (Quoted by Larry Bielat)  In his book, Winning Words from Football Greats, Bielat has a list, A thru Z, of ways to achieve success.  Today, I picked just two.  There are 24 others…and more than that, I’m sure.  Do you have one to add?  Larry once belonged to the Optimist Club with me and was a former ass’t coach for Michigan State’s football team.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  Sounds like a great book,would he be available for a radio interview? ====JACK:  The last I heard, Larry is retired and living in Alabama. He has another book...Winning Words of Champions.

FROM TARMART REV:  The Assemblies of God actually have one of their own:   ABC’s of Salvation:   Knowing your sins are forgiven and you are ready for heaven is as simple as following these steps:   A. Admit you have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).   B. Believe in Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).  C. Confess and leave your sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)====JACK:  One ABC of Christianity: ''Always Be Cheerful'' [1 Thessalonians 5:16]”

FROM MY LAWYER:  Hi Larry,  Hope this note finds you and Lois doing well.  I'm not sure if you are a daily recipient of Rev. Jack Freed's Winning Words blog he publishes each morning.  In today's, he quotes from one of your books and I wanted to pass it along to you.  My days begin each morning with one of Jack's inspirational emails.  If you are on his list, you know what I mean.====JACK:  Yes, Larry does receive Winning Words.  I, too, will try to be in touch with him today, letting him know that people are still inspired by the "Winning Words" he has compiled during his years as a foot ball coach.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Betty Kay Carlson is a retired friend and teacher (and pastor's wife) who has written some books for students: The Civil War from A to Z; The Lincolns from A to Z, etc.,  found a way to make her subjects both interesting and very informative, even for adults. The ABC's lend themselves to many venues, do they not?!  Mr. Bielat's book sounds like a good read, if the WW today are indicative!====JACK:  Bielat writes in the book's introduction: "I have tried to gather the feelings of the game through the words of great coaches, players and writers.  Many winners are absent.  They got the job done without often being quoted."  A football player, like your Bill, has an appreciation of the game that spectators cannot even imagine.  I have to believe that football made him a better pastor. 

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Take a time out when getting angry.  By definition, one's behavior when angry, is almost always inappropriate and counterproductive.====JACK:  I'd almost forgotten that there was a request for other ideas for achieving success.  Yours is a good one.  Another might be...Find yourself a good mentor/teacher.  The old saying is true...The good Lord gave us two eyes, two ears and one mouth, meaning that we should watch and listen more than we talk. 

FROM MSU COACH:   Thank you John for remembering the old coach..the books are still selling..Winning Words of Champions and Winning words of Football Greats..tell your readers they can order them direct from me..give them my email..Larry (larry.bielat@gmail.com)====JACK:  I have both books (signed by you) on my shelf.  Good stuff!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. AND Don't complain about something.  Do something yourself to make things better.====JACK:  That sounds like something you might have heard at home when you were growing up.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/9/14
“Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.”  (Arthur Ashe)  The men’s finals of the US Open tournament were played yesterday in a stadium named for Arthur Ashe, who won the original “Open” in 1968.  Is that why the stadium is named for him?  Or could it be because he broke the tennis “color” barrier?  I’d like to think that it’s called, Arthur Ashe, because Arthur exemplified today’s “Winning” Words.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It seems that Ashe's quote notes the importance of a fundamental honesty. Admitting what one "can do" with what one actually "has been given" starting at "this particular moment" requires a sort of inner accounting for application and use....right now. I think a similar message can be found in the parable of the "talents". Know the talents given to you by the One who is the owner of them; and utilize them so that fruit may result. Don't neglect them or wait until tomorrow to start using them...for the Master comes for an accounting at a time we know not.  ====JACK:  Thanks for catching the spirit of the quote and expanding on it.  Ashe was more than a tennis player...but we all are more that what we appear to be.====RAY:  I think it is easy to miss the "more than what one appears to be" because we get distracted by the "appearance". Hence, the question, was the stadium named after the great black tennis champion or the "more than what he appeared to be"?====JACK:  Sometimes "the rest of the story" is more interesting than the "original" story....something like the plant that comes from the seed.  Perhaps, instead of writing, "more interesting," I should have written, "adds further interest." 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Like.====JACK:  Arthur Ashe was a classy person.  I like that about him.

FROM TARMART REV:  Another good word today!! When a tragedy occurs (self-inflicted or inflicted by another), assess what you have left, use it for the glory of God and watch God multiply it for His use once again . . . I've kind of liked that thought as well over the years.====JACK:  I'm glad that you called attention to the gist of the Ashe quote.  Arthur's life was not an easy one.  Even his heath seemed "unfair."  But, somehow, negatives have a way of turning into positives.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Wouldn’t it be nice to get to a place where ‘color’ didn’t matter!====JACK:  That's one of the advantages that Helen Keller enjoyed.

FROM VW MARY:  I do like this advice.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/8/14
“There are still over one billion Chinese who don’t care if we win or lose.”  (John McKay)  How did “your” team do this past weekend?  Coach McKay puts winning and losing in perspective.  There are things in this world more important than a game.  Yes, I care about game outcomes, but I need a reminder to be more concerned about the people in this world who have needs far greater than who wins or loses a game.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  All the news coverage about death of a comedian skews our world, too.  Out of sight/sound, out of mind.  as loved as these comedians were and as many people as their lives touched, there are many, many important news events that don't get covered or get overshadowed because of the media's adoration.  ISIS was still killing, there is still conflict in Syria and girls are still getting enslaved in Africa.  ...====JACK:  Sometimes, entertainment is called a "diversion."  Even the way some funerals are held can be called a "diversion."  A homeless person dies on the street.  Who cares?  Give me the score of yesterday's game, or tell me the latest gossip!====TH:  I guess that's the point.  Talk about the countless of homeless dying on the street -- no coverage.  One celebrity and everyone gets out their towels. ...====JACK:  Did you notice the difference in the coverage of the deaths of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers? 

FROM TARMART REV:  Throughout life, we've heard it said, "It's not whether you win or lose. it's how you play the game!" A team effort. When Paul had an audience with the Apostles in Jerusalem "presenting the gospel he preached and the revelation he had received", he said "All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along" . . . sounds like good wisdom for us today, don't you think, Jack!!====JACK:  Jesus had a team, too.  On "Draft Day,"he picked them, one by one...Peter, Andrew, James and John.  Next came Philip, Thomas, too, Peter and Bartholomew.  James the one they called the Less, Simon, also Thaddaeus.  Twelfth disciple, Judas made.  Jesus was by him betrayed.

 FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I forgot to add my name: Ray.====JACK:  Does that mean you've gotten to the point where you couldn't care less about the "games" in which you're not involved?

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I am very clear that the ones who win or lose a game are the ones who actually played the game. The rest of us are merely watching. Although I enjoy excellence of all types, I am aware that I can make no claim of victory or loss by virtue of another's effort. I can't use the pronoun "we" when referring to the Wolverines, Spartans, Red Wings, Tigers, or Lions, etc. As you pointed out, it is best to keep perspective; and I would add that we find where we might excel, and remember to serve others our best efforts.===JACK:  But, but you are really a concerned player when it comes to Emmanuel's team.  You see the goal and do what you can to get there.  Go church, go!

FROM DP IN MINNESOTA:  AMEN ! ! !====JACK:  So, the Sports section is not first for you?  BTW, which of the "funnies" do you like best?

 FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Such a good point.  But...Go Lions! HA!====JACK:  The Lions are the NFL's version of the Chicago Cubs.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/5/14
“Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.  Plan more than you can do, then do it.”  (Joe Paterno)  We all need challenges.  JoePa had more than his share.  As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20.  But Paterno was a great coach and was able to fire up his players.  The 10 Commandments are more than a set of laws.  Each commandment is a life challenge.  Talk about biting off more than you can chew…    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Good comparison this morning, Jack . . . the 10 Commandments are definitely more than I can chew . . . guilty myself of not being able to keep them . . . may look as if I'm doing so on the outside, but definitely in need of a Savior from within my heart . . . guilty as charged, here, Jack!!====JACK:  10 Commandments?  Reread them and "chew-chew" on them.  That should be interesting, since you're a railroad chaplain.

FROM CS UP NORTH IN MICHIGAN:  Good morning. I heard that Linda Ellerbee has a new book out called "take big bites".  Sounds like fun.====JACK:  Linda's life has been more than what has been shown on TV. 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Like. & I still like & admire Joe Paterno... think he got a bum rap. ====JACK:  Joe was "old-school," and sometimes you get trapped by the "new school" rules.  It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise illustrious career 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/4/14
“I think there’s a god, and I know it’s not me.”  (Michael J. Fox)  There’s song, “If I ruled the world…”  Better yet, “If you were God…” what kinds of changes might you make?  M.J. Fox might do something about his illness--but maybe not.  There are times when we 2nd guess the rulers of the world.  2nd guessing God can happen, too.  But “when the chips are down,” suffering Job said it best, “I will trust the Lord.”    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TARMART REV: Back to my trusty old chorus book: I JUST KEEP TRUSTING THE LORD as I walk along, I just keep trusting the Lord and he gives a song.  Though storm clouds darken the sky o’er the heavenly trail, I just keep trusting the Lord, He will never fail!  His a faithful Friend, Such a faithful Friend, I can count on Him to the very end. Though storm clouds darken the sky o’er the heavenly trail, I just keep trusting the Lord, He will never fail.====JACK:  The one I like is, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The patience of Job is needed by everyone somewhere along the way. ====JACK:  I think I'll dust off the Bible and read (again) the Book of Job.

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Change: 'may all the world be clothed & fed'!!!====JACK:  I think that this poem by Annie Johnson Flint explains how your "change" might happen.
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.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/3/14
“The older I get, the more deeply I believe, but the fewer beliefs I have.”  (John Shelby Spong)  Have you come to the conclusion that you have too much stuff, and you need to get rid of some of it?  “Stuff” can include opinions, too.  I like the Bible quote, “When I was a child, I thought, reasoned and acted like a child, but when I became an adult I put away childish things.”  Theologically, I tend to agree with Spong.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  This is true, it seems: The more you know, the more you know you don't know. For myself, everything I think is truly a working theory. Sometimes I think the amount of "passion" I assign to a "theory" is actually my defense against the probability that I might have to amend it! The word "fact" is a word that is difficult for me to even use...yet, I am sure there are some. ====JACK:  You've given me something to ponder today..."Is you is, or is you ain't?"  Is anything?  Philosophers have never really come up with the answer that all philosophers agree on.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  As I have become older, my focus has narrowed on to "Jesus Christ and him crucified (and resurrected)".    It all comes together there for me.====JACK:  Just curious...How do you relate this to those who are non-Christians (not by choice)?====JOHN:  Same as I would to a Christian...I need something from within my own sphere of understanding to allow me to relate to God.

FROM TARMART REV:  Yes sir . . . I would agree!====JACK:  How would you express (briefly) your core belief?====REV:  "We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose" (Romans 8:28 Amplified Bible) . . . "So then, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you may do, do all for the honor and glory of God" (I Corinthians 10:31 Amplified Bible). I Corinthians 10:31 was the first verse I memorized in the Bible when it was fashionable to participate in a Sunday evening Scripture verse recitation back in the 1950's . . . I would have been in third or fourth grade at the time.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  There is something good to look forward to in aging it seems with your WW today. I also get daily reflections from the Henri Nouwen Society and also Richard Rohr. Today Richard Rohr reflected on "non-dual consciousness is about receiving and being present to the moment and to the now exactly as it is, without judgment, without analysis, without critique, without your ego deciding whether you like it or whether you don't...you are not dividing the field of the moment (and eliminating anything that threatens your ego), but holding it all together." I don't know at what point of life, one can get to this point, but do believe if I haven't gotten to it yet at 80 or 90 and am in the nursing home somewhere, it will still be a great opportunity in life if I can "get to that point" and not always be busy about eliminating things in this world that threaten my ego but hold everything together. Maybe your WW today are in the same ballpark as Rohr's. Thanks.====JACK:  A famous theologian was asked to explain his belief about God.  He responded, "Jesus loves me, this I know."  I like what someone else has said.  "Jesus knows me, this I love.====SHARON:  My favorite greeting card of all time--so far anyway--has on the cover "Both in life and in death we belong to God" Romans 14:8 and inside "With deepest sympathy and prayers that God will comfort you." That's basically all I want for myself and for everyone else.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i have always been a "cut to the chase" thinker.====JACK:  I know that you care about many issues.  Is there a basic belief that directs your caring?

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  "The older I get, the more deeply I believe...." Yes!!...."but the fewer beliefs that I have." I'm not certain about that thought. Personally, at this age, I have fewer challenges to my beliefs. However, with local, national, international news some newer beliefs are being generated..... Not that I act upon them.====JACK:  So many "people" are trying to direct our opinions that I tend to think (while watching and reading), "in what way is my thinking trying to be manipulated?"  Maybe I shouldn't be so cynical.  The political TV ads are a real turn-off  But political directed newscasts are the same.  Not to mention the pill-pusher commercials.

FROM CWR IN MICHIGAN:  Welcome to the club.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 9/2/14
“If you’re the smartest person in the room, find a different room.”  (Richard Rusczyk)  Most of us can point to people who have come into our life and made a huge difference in our way of thinking.  Maybe it’s been a teacher, a relative, a friend, or even an experience.  For me, it’s been all of them…at different stages.  It’s good to avoid the pompous Bullwinkle-type character who pretends to be Mr.-Know-It-All.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Maybe it would be a good idea to find a different room on occasion even if you're not the smartest person in the room. Just like taking a different seat every Sunday at the service, I meet different people and I get a different perspective....variety and spice.====JACK:  On one occasion, at the beginning of the worship service, I asked the people to get up and move to a different pew in order to experience "church" n a new way.  I could see that some made the change with a smile.  However, it was not unanimous.  Just recently someone told me that she made a first-time visit to a church.  Not many people were there, so she took a seat in one of the empty pews.  Pretty soon someone came up to her and said, "You're sitting in my pew."

 FROM INDIANA NORM:  Good one Jack:  That's great sent it onto many!  I hope all is well, I have a new three year old grand son just adopted (his name is Jack) and another one on its way. ====JACK:  Sometimes I wonder hos many WWs readers forward the message on to others.  It's fun to be a grandpa, isn't it?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Those WW are an excellent bit of advice, a way to "grow" instead of "show".  I've attended events where group participation was expected, but became aware I was doing most of the talking.  It's kind of "scary" to realize you're leading the pack.  Seems to me it's important to have some other points of view.====JACK:  One of the things I like about doing WWs compared to preaching on a Sunday is the immediate feedback that the blog provides.  I can't remember that anyone ever raised their hand on a Sunday morning and asked for clarification.  I take that back.  One Sunday, when I was having a public discussion with a confirmation class, someone did raise his hand and ask it if was OK to ask the pastor some questions.  I said, "Sure!"  It turned out that he had an "agenda." 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Dr Celms would almost always be the smartest person in the room...but he wouldn't make anything of it.====JACK:  As you know, Dr Celms and his family came to the United States as "refugees."  I first got to know the Celms family as members of our church, before I ever encountered Dr Celms in a college classroom.  What nice people!

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  This was the person who most played that role for me:  GEORGE F. DORIOT DIES AT 87; MOLDER OF U.S. BUSINESSMEN
Georges Frederic Doriot, a professor at the Harvard Business School for four decades who was widely credited with inspiring and training more leaders of American corporations than any other person, died of lung cancer in Boston yesterday. He was 87 years old and lived in Boston.
Mr. Doriot was a founder and the first president of the American Research and Development Corporation, formed in 1946 as the first venture capital concern in the United States that was not family-owned.  Under his guidance, American Research and Development made its most successful investment in 1960, when it gave $70,000 to a young researcher who used it to start the Digital Equipment Corporation. Only 12 years later, the computer manufacturer had grown from three employees to 7,000.  Mr. Doriot remained president of American Research and Development until 1972, when it was merged with Textron. An All-Encompassing Course

I was privileged to be a member of his last class. I sometimes view “smart” people as cleverer, smarter and/or wiser than I am. The ones whose minds I admire the most, including General Doriot (which is how we always addressed him), were wiser than I was and smart enough to get the job done.  When I was involved in some difficult business decisions with potential impact on others, I sometimes pretended I was making a presentation to the General on what I had decided and why. I have known some people who were more clever than wise; their external impact has sometimes been damage. “The General” was short and thin, spoke quietly, and as the obit shows, was at least overtly modest about his own abilities. As I got to know him better in school and in a later visit with him at his home, I found him confident and centered, not so much in himself as in his view of the world.
====JACK:  I have found you to be such a person as "the general"...quietly wise...and funny, too.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I've done a lot of wrestling with the subject of these WW. Know some people who have lectured me more than anything else and gone to a different room and felt badly that I couldn't get along better with them. Somewhere heard that when a person has one finger pointing at another, that person also has five fingers pointing back at them so wonder if the reason the "expert" bothers me with their lecturing is that I'm basically the same kind of know-it-all or something. Even if I don't know anything, one thing I realize is don't like being lectured at. Thought-provoking WW again this morning, appreciate them.====JACK:  Lectures usually take place in a university setting, but some schools are replacing them with other styles of communication.  Old-time preaching often used the "lecture-method."  This has been replaced by some who use the conversational style and even the power-point.  Parenting "experts" recommend other methods instead of "lecturing."  Having said that, there were times when I benefitted from a lecturing session.

FROM RF AT U OF M:  This is a very fitting quote for our first day of classes here at UMich! Thanks!====JACK:  You'll find some "smart" ones sitting with you at Ross.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Amen..,.but I always enjoy talking with the smartest person in the room.  Think people are afraid to sometimes be shown up for what they don’t know.  Mom always said you can’t know everything so, let someone else shine and enjoy their light, no?====JACK:  We tend to gravitate toward people who seem interested in what we say and do...and vice versa.  That's how friends are made.


FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Many, many years ago The cover of Time magazine featured a head/brain with a funnel inserted into the skull....depicting how most teaching (preaching?) was being delivered. WW lets me pursue knowledge, discover "connections", reflect and be stimulated to further thinking regarding the substance of the sermonettes. I take it from there. Thank you for not using a funnel.====JACK:  One of my seminary professors said it well.  "You can't find God at the end of a logical syllogism." 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  my choices are extremely limited! hahahahaha!!!