Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/31/14
"The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”  (Oswald Chambers)  It’s New Year’s Eve.  Do you still have things on your “to do list?”  I’ve read that successful people prioritize their lists.  Stephen Covey has some advice on this subject.  “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.”  I suggest a “to do” before the ball drops.  Figure out the main thing that needs doing in your life and getter done in 2015!    ;-)  Jack

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  Once in a while I use a cab company called GetterDone—it seemed like a strange name.====JACK:  Here are some more interesting cab names...Hira Cab, Love Cab, Speedy Cab, My Coach, Go Johnny Go.


FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I went to a luncheon recently where the speaker talked about "to do" stuff.  She said that in today's world there are always more things to do than time to do them - thus the need to prioritize.  Trouble is, a lot of us want to do the easy or fun things instead of the thing that is most important (and sometimes unpleasant or really challenging).  Guess that's why it's good to pray for strength and guidance.

FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  I am waiting to get on a flt home out of Phoenix. It will be so very nice to spend my last evening of this very interesting year with my " main things".

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  It's so hard "Keeping First Things First." I really like Stephen Covey and what the Covey Institute does to help schools create a positive and humanistic culture. So, in keeping with priorities on my To Do List.... I'm so thankful you are in my life, Jack. Thanks for being such an inspiring and though provoking friend.

FROM TARMART REV:   I feel safe now taking off the Y2K scare from my priority list!!

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  From my experience with "getting things done", I've found that creating a list of priorities and selecting the three or four most imminent to deal with, averts the arrival of other associated problems, and shortens my list.  Meanwhile, other items down the list often seem to solve themselves (at least they go away) and I don't need to concern myself anymore, which shortens my list even more.    


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/30/14
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”  (Dr. Seuss)  A child painted this Seuss quote on the plywood that was covering a storefront in Ferguson.  One of the city residents said, “Children make this place appear a little less scary.”  I wonder if that might be one of the reasons God chose to reveal himself in the form of a child?    ;-)  Jack

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  god is revealed to me in the form of a child every day.  i learn so much from their freshness here on earth:)====JACK:  What a great job and be able to work with children every day!

FROM INDY GENIE:  Children will teach us (if we're paying attention :)====JACK:  The words of
Jesus..."Unless you become as little children etc."


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How very humbling is our God.  He's great and mighty and Holy and to think He came down as a very fragile baby!  Wow.  He's also fearsome so to come as a baby allowed us to love Him without fear.====JACK:  From birth until his death (and ascension), we are called upon to see him in each stage as God among us as a human being.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, as recently as five or so years ago, when I would walk around the community here with my Godson in his stroller, and little later him walking too, it was the best way to strike up conversations with the neighbors. People seem to feel a common bond with a person when children are present. Maybe Jesus born as a baby was the common bond for the inn keeper, shepherds and wise men, though we hardly ever imagine them as fathers and family people or at least speak of them as such. Appreciated your WW today--I hope and pray that life becomes more peaceful again in Ferguson and they can get this traumatic time behind them and the media lets up a bit. ====JACK:  As a baby, Jesus doesn't seem so intimidating as when he explains how we are to treat each other as neighbors.  Do I have to do all that he said?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/29/14
“Even with the best maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys.”  (Gail Pool)  It’s great to have Siri in the car telling us the best roads to take and where to find certain eating places.  Would you like to have Siri give advice on life situations?  A bolt of lightning helped Martin Luther decide to become a monk.  How have you arrived at decisions?  BTW, Siri is short for Sigrid, the name of the daughter of the navigational system inventor.    ;-)  Jack

  FROM TARMART REV:  Interesting discovery with my recent trip to Bismarck ND with the railroad chaplaincy . . . my GPS directed me to the designated address of the deceased's home by taking me off Interstate 94 at the posted exit number onto an asphalted county road, then a gravel road and finally a minimal maintained rutted road before coming to a "T intersection" where I found a much better maintained road and a little one room schoolhouse . . . no residence. Fortunately the teacher new the location of the house, ask the assistant to take her place and I followed her to the house as she wanted to pay her respects as well . . . I would have never found my way as we drove off that road and took several turns before gunning it up a large hill where the house was hidden from the road.  Needless to say, I had a much easier road to take back to the interstate when I left. ====JACK:  Isn't it great when we meet up with a real, live "Siri?"  Your response reminds me of Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken."  As time passes, you will be able to look upon some of the experiences of railroad chaplaincy and see them as true ministry.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Certainly some decisions have been based upon my own cognitive schematics; however, much of what enters my mind has "thrown" me into questioning where that particular thought originated. I get ideas that cannot possibly come from my own originatin!====JACK:  Yes, there are still mysteries out there.  As RLS wrote:  “The world is so full of a number of things, I ’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I didn’t know about the Sigrid name/connection.  Thanks for sharing.
Have you heard the NPR story about Siri and children with disabilities?====JACK:  NPR has lots of good stuff.  That's why we make a yearly contribution to help keep it on the air.  Have you ever listened to StoryCorps?  If not, you should go to their website and pull up an episode.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  A friend of mine's mother always used to say, "You're never lost if you have gas in your tank."====JACK:  That saying has Winning Words in it somewhere.  I might use it one of these days.

FRON INDY GENIE:  Wow...didn't know about the origin of the name Siri. And yes it would be nice to have her answer life's navigational questions although she's not always right...we still need to rely on our "gut" instincts and watch/listen for the signs that are sent our way:)====JACK:  A little boy was surprised when his stomach began to growl.  "Mamma!  I think that God is trying to talk to me."  Gut-instincts could be God...trying to talk to us.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes, siri is a great invention. But somehow we  were able to get around the country and around the world before.  But it does make life easier.====JACK:  I find that I no longer refer to the dictionary and maps, like I used to.  I've given my set of World Books to an immigrant family.  I'm also using Google to look up Bible quotes and information about them.  I think that easier has caused me to become lazier.  Siri and her siblings have drawbacks.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  I didn't know Siri's name was really Sigrid.  I have never spoken to her but when I got my i phone in August grandson Nathan (15)  spoke to her on my phone.   "Siri, will you marry me?"   Siri, do you love me?"'  It's pretty funny to hear her reply "I really can't answer that."====JACK:  That's the modern version of what kids would do in the olden days....Call up a grocery store and ask, "Do you have Prince Albert in the can?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Our journey is much better planned by our Creator than by anything we plan out....thankfully.  We know where we end up and we couldn't get up there without His path for us.====JACK:  At times I'm conflicted.  I'd like to believe that God "knows" our path.  But the conflict arises when I believe that God has given us free-will to choose our own path.  Maybe that's when we need to pray, "Thy will be done."

 FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Good old mapquest.  I don't have GPS, but my kids and grandkids  do. Good old Mapquest saves the day when I have to drive to an unknown place. But the WW saying certainly holds the truth. Who could have envisioned one's "life journey" , except God almighty! ====JACK:  I wonder if AAA has noticed a dropoff in the number of requests for maps and TripTiks?  I wonder if there has been a noticeable dropoff in the number of people who research Biblical topics by using Google instead of by opening up the Book? 

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  So far, there haven't been cataclysmic occurrences, in my life, diverting me to different "roads". Rather, like my many attempts at the pottery wheel, a revised version of the intent was the outcome. When I had to "detour" my direction during my sophomore year at the U of I, (out of money), I explored several roads and ultimately went down the country road to teach in the last remaining one room school in the county. I remained on that path(education) . learning, enjoying as well as meeting my future husband. (He wasn't hitchhiking). God, I'm sure, providing the GPS.
Half hearing and seeing 60 Minutes, did the Pope really say something to the effect that if the big bang theory turns out to be a fact, God was the creator?  If so, I LIKE that!====JACK:  1 Kings 19:12 tells of God speaking in a gentle whisper....a story worth reading.

FROM GS IN MINNESOTA:  I think a bolt of lightening might just help me today.====JACK:  There are events in life that come "right out of the blue." just like lightening.  Could they be a God sent?


Friday, December 26, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/26/14
“Ye who will bless the poor  Shall yourself find blessing.”  (Good King Wenceslas)  John Mason Neale wrote the story-carol about a sympathetic king who went out in bitter winter weather to give food and fuel to the poor.  The song says that it was on the day after Christmas.  So, Dec 26, has become the traditional day for giving gifts to the needy.  Today’s WWs are the final line of the carol, explaining how giving can be a “win-win” experience.    ;-)  Jack

   FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I think the adage is true, that it is better to give than to receive; for it seems that even in the act of generosity, what one receives from the giving far outweighs the service! ====JACK:  It's interesting that Paul (in the Book of Acts) gives credit to Jesus for these words, even though there's no record that he said them.  Of course, it's obvious that the Bible does not contain "all" of the words of Jesus.  (John 20:25)

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)====JACK:  At what age do you suppose that lesson is learned...if ever?

FROM TARMART REV:  It truly is a "win-win" experience!!====JACK:  I suppose you see it during your Christmas Give-a-away Project, when people give you money to distribute and when the needy people receive the gifts.  Both the givers and the givees  are winners...and you are, too.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  To whom much is given, much is required...not "expected", REQUIRED!  How fortunate we are to be the givers, such a blessing. But we must also be gracious receivers,  even when the giver gives out of his/her poverty. That is sometimes hard!  Wonderful Christmas Family Celebration at the Oaks' house, including birthday cake for 'Baby; Jesus".  Our 4 yr. old blew out the candle! :-) And sang Happy Birthday.lustily!!   (Who doesn't like a birthday where YOU get the presents??!)   But she also cleaned out her older toys in very good condition, and contributed them to the Toy drive.....====JACK:  I wonder if they ever celebrated birthdays in Biblical times?  I wonder if Jesus ever had a birthday party? 

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  I heard a fellow this week on WTMJ – he shared about being helped with food and clothes right before Christmas a few years ago – for which he was very thankful, but he admitted that at that time, there was also some misgivings too about being the receiver.  He added, that it is not so easy to receive – things have changed dramatically in the last few years and now he is not on the receiving end, but the giving side, and he added it is so much easier to be the giver than the recipient.   So let us be givers, whatever, we can give, and experience the joy of giving.====JACK:  I've found that in my pastoral role, it's comfortable being the giver....but I feel ill at ease, being on the receiving end.  But...not always.

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Coincidentally, today I received a solicitation from Lutheran Social Services of Michigan with a headline from Proverbs 21:13--"If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered."  I have received multiple solicitations during the past month, from various religious organizations, universities, agencies for children, needs for the homeless and hungry, etc.  I can help all with a few dollars, or help some with more substantial donations--my usual habit.  I wonder which method truly helps the most.====JACK:  There are so many needs, but the reality is that one individual can't meet them all.  In our house, we pick and choose by making a list, checking it twice...and allocating charity dollars.  LSSM is on the list, because we think that it does a good job with the funding that it gets.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/24/14
“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”  (Steampunk quote)  A carol asks, “Do you see what I see?” What do you “see” when you look at a manger scene?...a family, a baby, a tradition?  When you look at the creche, what do you see?  Your faith determines the answer.  “Can a baby be God?”  It’s possible!  The omnipotent God can reveal himself in many ways.  Where, when , how…does God make himself known to you?      ;-)  Jack 

FROM TARMART REV:  We see in Him "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;  for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:15-20 RSV).====JACK:  Thanks for the theological explanation. 

FROM MP IN MICHIGAN:  He reveals himself through the hearts and words of men like you.====JACK:  ...and you, too!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Every day in all ways..====JACK:  That's one thing I like about Universalism.

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN RICE LAKE:  Seeing people of all dominations coming together to prepare, serve, and clean up (later) for a community Christmas Day dinner for those who are alone; seeing volunteers ringing Salvation Army bells, seeing neighbors help each other after storms have hit their community, those who work in our free clinic in town, those who bring food for our homeless shelter or the food pantry, those caring for patients in hospitals, nursing homes or assisted living facilities…with smiles on their faces.  God is with us in many ways…we just have to look and believe.  Merry Christmas!====JACK:  "Seeing" is believing.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Beautiful framed poster in my daughter's room of a French landscape. There's a cloud in the sky. I told her that the cloud looked like a Donald Duck silhouette.  She exclaimed "you're right!" Now she can't look at the poster without seeing Donald.====JACK:  If G-d can reveal himself in all things, does that mean that he can reveal himself in Donald Duck?

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  My husband and I are celebrating Christmas with our daughter and her husband in Houston. Delighted with the real tree they have put up, the ornaments they have already gathered through the years, the stockings hung on a makeshift table/mantle - with initials of Kris' mom, Kris, Brenda and J and me on them. I see God in their love for all of us, their family, and their love and appreciation for the traditions and holy times they have experienced and desire to keep. In some mysterious ways, the little Baby Jesus is very much present within us, the family of God. Come Baby Jesus once again and be born anew in our hearts.====JACK:  God is love! can mean that God shows himself in the love that we express to one another.

FROM JK IN CALIFORNIA:  He actually reveals things to me all the time** even physically sometimes*** Merry Christmas ====JACK:  God is often the God of the unexpected.  We must always be ready.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  seeing is believing but believing is also seeing...====JACK:  That sounds like a good sermon title.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  Love this one Jack!! I hope we both see love and dark chocolate!====JACK:  Even tho I like dark chocolate, I love the milk chocolate (with almonds).


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/23/14
“A peaceful heart finds joy in all of life’s simple pleasures.”  (Franklin Cider Mill sign)  People sometimes ask, “Where do you find your Winning Words?”  Today’s was sent by Liesa who saw it at a local cider mill.  Another friend gave me a book, “2548 Wittiest Sayings.”  The Bible’s Book of Proverbs has some great ones, too.  I find joy in discovering “winning” sayings.  Others read books like, “The Joy…of Cooking…of Meditating…of Not Working”, etc.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM TARMART REV:  Always a highlight to read each morning, Jack!!====JACK:  ...or, The Joy of Reading Winning Words.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  That's why I enjoy your WW--they're as likely to come from someone like Lady Gaga, as well as Socrates or Martin Luther King, or sometimes Jesus himself. It seems like you are lifting up the fact that everyone can have something to contribute that can benefit the rest of us.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.====JACK:  Tomorrow, on Christmas Eve, it will be a quote from Steampunk.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Galatians 5:22 is one of my favs.====JACK:  We have that verse as a major part of our church's art glass windows..."The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  we must be related:)====JACK:  As the song goes..."We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord..."====MARY:  and we pray that our unity will one day be restored...====JACK:  " the sky, Lord, by and by."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I like the quote  "If  Christmas isn't found in your heart, you won't find it under a tree."...A peaceful heart in the rush and frenzy of all our Christmas activities and responsibilities is much to be desired!!  An apt reminder today! Come, Lord Jesus!====JACK:  I like the dialog from A Charlie Brown Christmas...
Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt:  Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  .or...........The joy of going to the (NFL) playoffs (for both the Lions and the Packers).====JACK:  Games that COUNT don't bring joy...only stress.  Just one team will win the Super Bowl, and it won't be the Lions.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/22/14
“When I see someone who’s grumpy, or looks like he or she is having an awful day, why not brighten their day with a positive song?”  (Ellis Kalomiris)  There’s a saying, “Dance like no one’s looking.”  Ellis K doesn’t mind being out of the ordinary.  He wears goggles and sings songs as he walks the halls of Augustana College.  “When I see someone who looks grumpy or like he/she is having an awful day, why not brighten their day with a positive song?”    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Ellis is a very interesting person. It gives me a very warm feeling that today's Words depict a member of my family...WOW!====JACK:  We need more people in this world who seek to brighten the day for others.  Hurrah for Ellis...goggles and all!

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm in the midst of dispersing $3000 in small increments of $50-$100-$200 in a "Merry Christmas!!" unnamed envelope . . . the amount keeps growing each year . . . don't always get to hear how the impact goes when they open their envelope . . . late afternoon at Walmart a mother with three young girls walks by my perch at Subway with Mom looking down and discouraged . . . I started to jump up and share the $100 envelope, but didn't . . . it kept bothering me so I walked up the way they were heading only to find they had disappeared, probably into the ladies restroom I thought . . . I hung around the area, while finding a single mom I knew to bless while standing there . . . when I had finished sharing with her, I looked up and here was the mother and girls standing the line at Walmart's service counter . . . I simply walked up, reached out and handed her the envelope and said "Merry Christmas!!" and walked away (no song this time) . . . I did notice a somewhat curious facial reaction. A little later she came back my way when leaving, stopped by and said how much she appreciated the gift and that it came at the right time as she has been running into some bad luck lately . . . I thanked her, and on out the door she went. One of the stock car racers I've met out where I serve as a chaplain dung the summer months, stopped by a little later on and mentioned he was standing in line when I walked up and gave her the envelope . . . he said he noticed when she opened the card and found the money inside, she wept and preceded to share randomly with him how things were not going well with her and how much she appreciated this strange experience . . . her car was just damaged in an accident, unexpected bills had occurred and she was returning something she had just purchased that was broken . . . he was impressed with the whole scene, and I was disappointed I had not given her a $200 envelope. “When I see someone who’s grumpy, or looks like he or she is having an awful day, why not brighten their day with a positive song or welcoming gift of sorts?” 0;-)====JACK:  Sometimes Santa Claus (or Jesus) is disguised as some guy sitting at Walmart eating popcorn.  What a great way to share the spirit of Christmas!

FROM EEC IN MICH:  Hmm.====JACK:  People are interesting.  I'm glad that we each have our personalities.

FROM DR JUDY:  Jack, that is so sweet that you quoted our nephew. THANK YOU!====JACK:  I'd like to meet him sometime.  I'd like to know more about Steampunk, too.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  "Some of us are grumpy all of the time and all of us are grumpy some of the time, but all of us are not grumpy all of the time." Abe Zukerman====JACK:  "You'd better watch out.  You'd better not (be grumpy....)"

FROM CPA BOB:  My singing might not brighten anyone’s day, so I try for a big “hello”. ====JACK:  Your great big smile adds genuineness to the Hello!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/19/14
“God is watching us from a distance.”  (Bette Midler song)  I remember the first time I heard the “God is watching” song.  Two little girls had been invited to sing at a nursing home “prayer service.”  I was amazed at how well they sang, at the simple and beautiful tune…and the words,  “God is watching us…”  God was watching those little singers, the residents, the care-givers, and …me.  What a comforting realization to know that God is watching over us.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM JE IN WL:  Amen!! Simple but beautiful message!====JACK:  The interesting thing is... We can make the idea of God simple or complex, and it's the same God.  A noted theologian was asked to explain what God meant to him.  People were surprised when he simply said, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  Someone else has put it this way, "Jesus knows me, this I love."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  It can be comforting and overwhelming.   "Am I a God at hand and not a God afar off".  Was not meant to comfort but to remind us that there is to be a reckoning.====JACK: Isn't it interesting... Given the situation, God can be near at hand, or he can be far, far, far off.  I like the story of the little boy who asked his mother, "Is God everywhere?"  She replied, "Yes."  He then asked, "Is God in this sugar bowl?"  When she replied, "Yes," he quickly put the lid on the bowl and yelled, "Now, I've got him."

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  and the angels watching over me... two songs for today!====JACK:  There's another song..."He's got his eye on you, he's got his eye on you.  My Lord, sittin' in the kingdom, he's got his eye on you."  Now substitute "Mary," for you.

"Why should I feel discouraged?
Why should the shadows come?
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for heaven and home?
"When Jesus is my portion
A constant friend is He
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches over me!
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He watches me!"
====JACK:  That's one of my favorites, too.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  i have used this song as a sermon illustration for Christmas Eve.  God is not only watching from a distance,  but he also came very close to us in the form of his Son.  the whole point of Christmas and the incarnation.   i like the song too but it really tells only half the story. ====JACK:  God who sees his creation with a wide-angle lens, also has a zoom lens which he can (and does) use.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It is Grace indeed when one experiences "vocatus"...the distance from which God is watching is unnoticeable.====JACK:  A rhetorical question...When does God seem closest to you?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I was thinking of Christmases in Moline which were celebrated Swedish style.  Do you still celebrate with lutefisk etc.?  The other day there was a wonderful travelogue on Minnesota and all of the customs there, including a lutefisk plant. We are all still here for a reason.  And God knows what that is.====JACK:  No lutefisk for me.  But when I attended a recent Santa Lucia Breakfast, the music, the candles and the food brought back memories of Christmas in the growing-up years.

FROM AJ IN MICHIGAN:  Love this particular Word of Wisdom.====JACK:  Wisdom doesn't always come with many words.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Maybe He is watching from a distance because He is "farsighted." ====JACK:  Sometimes he's like Mr. Magoo, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/18/14
“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”  (Wayne Dyer)  Dyer speaks so easily into the TV camera.  It’s like he’s talking to you.  Last week, I spoke with someone about why people become church drop-outs.  He said, “In my case, the priest didn’t seem to speak to me.  He was using religious words, but the words just didn’t relate to my situation.”  When I was in seminary, a wise professor said:  “In your preaching…connect it up to life.”    ;-)  Jack

 FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  and you always have!====JACK:  I still try to do it with Winning Words.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Connectivity with the Nativity!!" -- Might make a food Christmas theme for a Sunday sermon this season?====JACK:  Resistance to putting up a manger scene on Michigan's capitol lawn melted when a group of atheists asked for permission to put up a snakivity scene.  The decision was made to allow the nativity scene and to disallow the snakivity scene.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  It seems that Jesus spoke of Life to those who were in the midst of all sorts of not-so-healthy life situations and circumstances. The words He spoke were Spirit, and the Spirit is Life. Without the Spirit the words we speak are just words that might sound good, "easy", or common phrases learned in a seminary. I suppose that can happen in the experience of preaching, just as in television seminars, and even in our common conversations. I believe that the Spirit is "a priori" to all matters; immersing in that makes the difference.====JACK:  "VOCATUS ATQUE NON VOCATUS!"  (Carl Jung) 

FROM GS IN MINNESOTA:  Good idea.....====JACK:  In all of our communication with one another, we should try our best to be understood.

FROM CZB IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:  I had a big debate with my good friend in Dallas, a born again Christian.  She was a wonderful person, really walked the talk.  But sometimes her "talk" was incomprehensible.  I told her if they (her church) wanted to market Christianity better they wouldn't continually use a secret language.  hehe====JACK:  Sometimes, when Christians talk with each other, they use the same language, but the words appear to have different meanings.  Personally, I try to avoid debates.....Actions speak louder than words.  BTW, I often use you (anonymously) as one who walks the talk (giving a sandwich to a homeless person each day on your walk to work...or something like that).

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  in preaching  you need to tell them,  then show them, and then move them.   the "showing" is the critical part.  you need as many good examples and illustrations as possible to "illustrate" your message.  that kind of preaching usually connects with people.  after all, Jesus was the greatest of story tellers.  blessings on your day, Jack!====JACK:  It's best if the illustrations are more than entertaining stories.  They ought to show that certain actions are do-able and certain beliefs are acceptable.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Some people seem to be more comfortable sticking with the "known" rather than take a chance on the "unknown".  I've heard of people who eat at McDonald's every day.  There's a world out there that many of us never explore.====JACK:  Where would you eat, if you were eat at the same place every day?  ...not counting your own house.  Where would you worship, if it were not in a Lutheran Church? ====RI:  There's a China Buffet that we use frequently when going out to eat.  The food line has a lot of variety, so one can choose different items all the time.  The buffet including beverage and dessert costs $9.95, which isn't much more than the cost of McDonald's Big Mac, fries, and soft drink.  I believe the Chinese food is healthier.  Star of India also has a good Indian food buffet for $8.95.====JACK:  "Chinese" is good, so why don't I eat more of it?  Life is short, so I might go with German brats and kraut.====RI:  When I've traveled in Germany I often relied on a quick brats and kraut to hold me over when I was changing trains.  When I had more time, like for the evening meal I sometimes ordered pork knuckle...have you ever seen that?...a monster to consume.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/17/14
“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”  (Leo Tolstoy)  Look around you right now.  Yes, stop and look!  Maybe it’s a person or a room or a cubicle or the out-of-doors.  Stop and look and appreciate.  Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “This world is so full of a number of things.  I’m sure we should all be happy as kings.”  We live our lives from day to day, so often taking for granted the people and things that God has given.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I would be happy if some of us would "look" when going through a round a-bout!  I think this might be one case where closing your eyes and praying you will get through may not be enough!====JACK:  I love round-a-bouts.  They allow traffic to move much more easily.  The bane is those who go too fast or too slow. 

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN RICE LAKE:  In last week’s Advent service, our lay pastor asks us to ‘stop, be still and listen’; to find a quiet place to be and ponder the coming birth of Jesus and know that God is with us.  For many of us that week we needed to hear those words as we served four funeral luncheons and had our W-ELCA Advent/Christmas luncheon.  We also thought of the families who had lost loved ones in the approaching Christmas time.  Added to these activities were other holiday parties, concerts, school programs, birthday parties and loved ones in hospitals involving the lives of the many men and women helping us serve those meals.  Yes, we do need to stop, look and appreciate what is before our eyes.  Be ever thankful for our families, friends and God’s ever presence in our lives.====JACK:  Sometimes, when we stop and look, we see more than we wanted to see.

FROM LP IN PLYMOUTH:  I recently "read" (listened to) a fictional interpretation of the biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. Quite enjoyable. I then listened to Treasure Island. :)====JACK:  You might look at getting Stevenson's, "A Child's Garden of Verses" for your children (and you).

FROM MEL IN WL: Thank you for the reminder!! I'm breathing now:)====JACK:  Steve H. says that one of the problem with having ALS has to do with breathing.  To be able to inhale is good, because it provides oxygen for the body.  When you have trouble exhaling, it's a major problem.  You have to get rid of the used air in order to receive the fresh air.  It is fatal, if you don't.  It's important to be able to inhale, too.  We take breathing for granted, until it becomes difficult for us.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  IT'S HARD TO STOP FOR A MOMENT AND CEASE OUR WORK, WHEN WE HAVE CARDS TO GET OUT, COOKIES TO BAKE FOR THIS AND THAT, SHOPPING TO  DO, PARTIES  AND CHILDREN'S PROGRAMS TO GET TO, ETC. ETC. WE'RE DANCING AS FAST AS WE CAN, AND BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL!!  GOOD REMINDER TO DRAW A  DEEP BREATH, AND KNOW THAT IN GOOD TIME WE WILL GET IT ALL DONE, AND SURVIVE!  THANK YOU, LORD, FOR STRENGTH AND ABILITY TO "LOOK AROUND US"!!====JACK:  When you're getting out those cards...STOP...Look at one of addresses and say a brief prayer for those people.  When you're baking cookies...STOP...Think back and remember for a fleeting moment, the experience of baking cookies with your mother.  When you're shopping...STOP...Steal a glance at the person waiting on you...Make it a point to say a personal comment to them.  You get the point.

  FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  What a wonderful response you gave to BLAZING OAKS!
"How I love go up in a swing;;; Up in the world so high...."I read and reread RLS's A Child's a child and to my children. And I felt the "swing" poem when I climbed the birch trees and saw the "world" from a swaying branch. There are a lot of admonitions to "Stop and smell the roses.". And though our range of vision of the world decreases as we age, we do have memories to revisit and enjoy. Thank you for the thought for today!====JACK:  I always liked The Land of Counterpane, even though I didn't know what a counterpane was until I looked it up when I reread the poem as an adult.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Ah yes, this is a perfect time of the year to stop and look around at everything God has given us.  We have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a beautiful house filled with sparkling lights, wonderful friends and family and blessings upon blessings!  God is good..... all the time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/16/14
“The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle.”  (Robert Altinger)  Tonight my Jewish friends are celebrating Hanukkah.  What they are celebrating is the belief that G-d can perform miracles.  With G-d, the impossible becomes possible.  Christians celebrate the same thing with Christmas.  Miracles say:  “G-d is present.”  The point is not to question the “how”, but to sense the “why”, of the miraculous.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM GP IN MICHIGAN:   As usual, I am missing something in everyday life   -  Why G-d?====JACK:  Some of my friends belong to a Jewish tradition where they consider God to be so holy that it would be idolatrous even to write out the name, so they write G-d, to keep true to the tradition.  From time to time I also use G-d in order to show respect for my friends.

FROM CL IN SANTA BARBARA:  Jack, Merry Christmas! Why are you using G-d?====JACK:  In this current day when the name of the Lord is often used so casually..."O my God"..."God this and God that," I respect those of my Jewish friends who consider the Lord's name to be so holy that they won't even spell it out, using G-d instead.  On this day when Hanukkah begins, I have chosen to use "G-d" to honor those who continue to keep from using the Lord's name in vain.  We can learn from others to enhance our own beliefs.  To have a holiday to celebrate one of God's miracles, to me, is a worthy tradition.

FROM RB IN MICHIGAN:  The "why", we all define as G-d's Love for all mankind!  May today be filled with His love for you, Amen  Even my mother agrees (as follows)  Yes, Amen -- Isn't it a blessing that we know that G-d Loves Us in spite of us.  It is not for me to ask 'why' , but to just 'believe' that He does!  Thank you -- I'm feeling His love right now!  Amen====JACK:  We're never too old to learn (or be reaffirmed) from our moms.  As the carol goes: "Love came down at Christmas."

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  happy Hanukkah to you, Jack.====JACK:  The Jews sometimes have the same problem with their holiday as we have with Christmas....forgetting the reason for the season.

 FROM JB IN OLV:  That candle light sometimes is so faint, that it is engulfed by the workings of madmen that kill little children while they study in other parts of the world-Pakistan.   Where are you Lord in all this madness?====JACK:  Yes, the line in Heaven where people stand to ask God questions is going to be a long one.  God took a risk when he gave people free will.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  What  wonderfully beautiful statement!  God is the light of this world and all the terrible things we hear about and read about can't put out His light. HAPPY HANUKKAH TO YOUR FRIENDS!====JACK:  I'll have to ask my friends if they've ever sung, "This little light of mine."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Ah Yes, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine"....It is amazing what one candle will light up, when the electricity; goes out!  I assume you are using the G_D because devout Jews will  not spell or say the word God, (Yahweh).  My students used to love the lively music of Hanukkah!  We honor God in our Holy Holiday traditions, either Christian or Jewish! It's nice that you  commemorate that!====JACK:  I like the story behind the Hanukkah tradition.  We can learn from each other.

FROM DMF IN MINNESOTA:  You prompted me to google “G-d”.====JACK:  Sometimes an action is designed to cause a reaction.  I think it's interesting to explore ways that people interpret God.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/15/14
“Pope Leaves Pearly Gate Open for Dogs!”  (News Headline)  Some of us would like to have “do-overs” in our life.  A confirmation student came to class with tears in her eyes.  Her dog had died that day, and she asked me if dogs go to heaven.  I made the mistake of trying to answer her theologically.  Recently Pope Francis said to a little boy whose dog had died, “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”  That was a caring answer, not a doctrinal one.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TRIHARDER:  Suddenly, Heaven is a little more like home. I hope angels don't have allergies.====JACK:  Do suppose there will be fleas in heaven?  They are God's creatures, too. ====
TH:  I haven't heard the pope speak to that. I suppose that there will be no need for food, no need for parasites to be parasitic, no predators, no steaks or lamb chops or lobster or any other animals that will have to give their lives to feed others.====JACK:  Earthly questions beg for answers that can be understood in earthly terms.  "From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee."  Isaiah 64:4====TH:  I just posed your "flea" question to Frank.  He laughed and laughed.
FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  wouldn't be heaven w/o animals...====JACK:  The lamb will lie down with the lion.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY: Who knows...maybe even doctrine has been misunderstood too!====JACK:  The Vatican theologians attempted to say that the Pope was not making a doctrinal statement.  Most of us recognized that he was just trying to comfort a little boy.  ====RAY: I guess my point is related to "doctrine"....maybe man is and has been inaccurate all these years. Certainly, his comment was meant to be comforting. I am suggesting that just maybe he was accurate too! ====JACK:  Doctrine is man's attempt to explain the inexplicable.

FROM DR J:  When I was roughly six years old our new Orthodox Priest was coming to our home to visit and "bless the home and those living in it." Yet when he arrived, I kindly asked him if he would bless our dog. He said he could not do that. I was so upset, thinking that would mean my dog couldn't join us in heaven someday. I crawled under the table with my dog and said if the dog wasn't blessed, then I didn't want to be blessed either. My mom supported my decision and just let me be. Needless to say, I was happy to hear the pope's caring words! ====JACK:  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that your mom crawled under the table with you.  You were wise beyond your years...and remain so.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I heard a debate on that one time.   It was between a Jesuit priest and an anthropologist.   The Jesuit got him into Aquinas's philosophy and killed him.    My sympathies are with Pope Francis.====JACK:  Would it disappoint you if there were no debates in Heaven?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sometimes all the answer has to be done in love.  God loves us and He loves the creatures He made.  The Pope gave a wonderful answer.====JACK:  I guess there has to be room for theological search and discussion on this earth in our search for an understanding of God.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I like that answer.  And I believe it!====JACK: I imagine the little boy, whose dog had died, liked it, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  That is the type of an answer I would want to be giving inquiring broken hearts over the death of their pet as well. They were spoken of as "good" in the first creation, why not think the same in the new heaven and earth?====JACK:  What might the Pope say to one who is brokenhearted over the death of a loved one who has lived a sinful life?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  After all, Dog spelled backwards is God!====JACK:  There is room in heaven for dyslexics, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Well we know He sees each sparrow who falls.  Must love them all.====JACK:  As the song goes..."The hills are alive with the sound of 'living things...smaller and larger than sparrows.'"

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i have always believed that all creatures go to heaven unconditionally.  they are here to make the world more real, primal, and innocent.  we follow them.  we learn from them.====JACK:  I've often said that if God had wanted to reveal himself to horses, he would have come to earth as a horse and talked to them in horse language.  Who knows?  Perhaps he did.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yeah - I read Francis' comment.  I guess in the end we'll find out.  Sure not for us (or at least me) to say -  who knows what God wants.  I just trust that whatever it is, it is right.
====JACK:  There's an old Gospel song..."We'll understand it better by and by."

FROM SON DAVID:  See the correction at the end of this article.  Different pope said it. JACK:  If Pope Francis didn't say it, I'm sure he would say it, given the opportunity.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/12/14
“You’ll find it worth while if you roll out of bed with a smile.”  (Summer Camp Song)  An article in Forbes magazine lists ten things that successful people do when they wake up.  At YMCA summer camp, I learned one more…Wake up with a grin.  There’s a new day a-tumblin’ in.  It helps to get up on the right side of the “cot.”  It’s good for us and for the people around us.  Among the ten, Forbes suggests tossing out one thing you don’t need.  Good idea!    ;-)  Jack 

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I like the idea about tossing out one thing you don't need.  If we did one a day we might be down to where we need to be in 5 years or so!====JACK:  I tried "pitching out" for a couple of days.  Then, it became too hard.  I was like Steve Martin, in the movie, The Jerk." 

FROM TRIHARDER:  When I was dating Suzy, the dentist, I took her two boys camping in Canada.  They started singing camp songs that made me turn red.  I told them that their mother would blame me for teaching them those songs.====JACK:  The raciest song we sang was...  (Tune: Battle Hymn of the Republic)
I wear my pink pajamas, in the summer when it's hot.
I wear my flannel nighties In the winter when it's not.
And sometimes in the springtime and sometimes in the fall,
I jump right in between the sheets with nothing on at all.

FROM CZB IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Totally agree!  My roommate from b-school used to wake up every morning and say "today is going to be a stellar day."  What fun it was to live with such a positive woman.  Also recently went to a friends memorial service, she passed away from pancreatic cancer.  Every morning she would wake up with a song blasting about starting the day with a dance.  Her kids thought she was nutty in the beginning, but began to truly appreciate the meaning of that song.  Now they all use it.====JACK:  I like another line from that song...."Wake with the sun and the rooster.  Cockadoodle-do like the rooster u-ster."  We need more fun songs like that.  Are there any that you remember?====CZB:   "Goooooood morning, good morning!, we've danced the whole night through.  Good morning, good morning to you!"  How about "Happy" by Pharell?  Great song for any time of the day!====JACK:  Some of Snow White's dwarfs exemplify how certain folks get up in the morning...Sneezy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy and Happy. 

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Smile a while, let a song be your style. Use Fitch Shampoo. ====JACK:  Fred Fitch was an Iowa barber who developed a special shampoo.  He had a slogan:  "Don't itch it, Fitch it!"

FROM JB IN OLV:  Not until I have at least two cups of coffee.....morning is not my friend!  But I am working on it.====JACK:  Solution: Plug the coffee maker in next to your bed.

FROM TARMART REV:  Especially when the cot is up against the wall . . . with or without a song and smile, it could turn out to be a real punch in the face . . . I'm reminded of one of those trips to Michigan when sleeping at my wife's sister's house, I got up to go in the middle of the night to go the restroom. The bed was up close to he wall and when I got out of bed, I stood up, took two steps forward and then turned right into the downed blinds on the window, thinking it was the door. Couldn't do anything but laugh!!  0;-/

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I'm not going to let my wife see this.   She might decide to toss me out! ====JACK:  Why don't you try singing the "Roll Out of Bed" song to her to see her response...
Roll out of bed in the morning
With a great big smile and a good, good morning
Wake up with a grin
There's a new day a-tumbling in
Wake with the sun and the rooster
Cock-a-doodle-do like the rooster, useta
You'll find it worth while
If you roll out of bed with a smile
Do your singing in the chalet
As you start this happy day
While you're singing in the chalet
Think of all the fun you'll get the Butlin way
Coffee and rolls with your honey
Turns a gloomy day to a day that's sunny
You'll find it worth while
If you roll out of bed with a smile

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/11/14
“Everybody has their taste in noises as well as in other matters.”  (Jane Austen)  Today we’re listening to a Josh Groban CD of Christmas music.  Yesterday my sister told me of an Iranian 5-yr-old who’s excited to be learning holiday music for the first time.  Seasonal noises: pa rum pum pum pum, the Red Kettle bell, the car engine that starts on a cold winter morning, the voice of a loved one on the phone.  Do you have a personal taste in noises?    ;-)  Jack

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  we are off to Seattle this morning for the weekend.  how about the roar of jet engines?====JACK:  ...or, the strange sounds you hear when the plane is descending.  Creak, groan, bang etc.

FROM EEC IN MICHIGAN:  That's an interesting one! A good one to ponder!====JACK:  In silence...or, is silence a sound?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Am reading a book entitled "Jane Austen's England".     Very interesting. ====JACK:  Her relatives referred to her as good quiet Aunt Jane.  Evidently she preferred the quiet sounds of the early 19th century...a crackling fire, a cat's meow, the tick tock of a clock.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  At the risk of "nit-pick picking"Jane Austen should have used the  word sounds not noise.No one likes noise,what you described are various forms of sound.
Noise is irritating ,non-structured & if loud enough can cause hearing loss. My wife & I love various forms of music & we've decided to categorize music  into 3 categories by way of the acronym *BIG..Boring    Irritating   Good          Just suggestin..====JACK:  You might be on to something.  It seems as thought the word, noise, comes from the same root as, nausea.

FROM PC IN MICHIGAN:  The purr of a cat……..====JACK:  I wonder how a cat makes that sound?  I should look it up.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Southern Gospel, four part harmony!"====JACK:  Especially the low bass and the high tenor.====REV:  I sing all the parts while showering each morning!!====JACK:  Is this one of your songs?  "I'm dancing in the mirror and singing in the shower
 Ladade ladada ladada (hey)   Singing in the shower   Ladade ladada ladada 
 You got me singing in the shower   Ladade ladada ladada   Singing in the shower
 Ladade ladada ladada"

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  For me it's tintinnabulation.  At this time of year I like a cold, crisp, starry night and the sound of kettle bells, sleigh bells, the village church bell, and the university carillon bells.  On a night walk with snow on the ground, those noises are pleasantly hushed.  By contrast, there are many out there in business who prefer the sound of ca-ching!====JACK:  Some of those sounds that you hear might be tinnitus.  Older people sometimes have that problem.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We love laughter. ...especially the sound of our grandchildren or for that matter any laughter!===JACK:  Guffaws accompanied by snorts are sometimes a bit much.  Of course grandchildren don't usually laugh in that way.

FROM KANSAN DON:  I think I heard of "The Sounds of Silence."  Is that related to "Silent Night"?====JACK:  Sound of Silence is a Simon and Garfunkel song, not related to the carol.  A couple of lines that cause me to ponder..."People talking without speaking    People hearing without listening."  Could that relate to the pulpit and the pew?

FROM STARRY KNIGHT:  My personal taste would be beer and bratS.====JACK:  Are you from Wisconsin?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Listen to the John Denver/Muppets Christmas CD. It is absolutely my favorite noise of all time Christmas Album.====JACK:  Even better than the Burt Bacharach Christmas Album??????

FROM LA VIE EN ROSE:  I love the Josh Groban Christmas CD, it's a great way to get in the holiday spirit. Good choice!====JACK:  Is there any season that has more songs than Christmas?

FROM MAR MAR:   One of my favorite sounds is the laughter of  babies and children.====JACK:  You've got that right!

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  One of my favorite songs at Christmas is Still, Still, Still by the Cambridge chorale.====JACK:  I first heard that song when it was performed by the Augustana Choir.  It's a German carol...and it's one of my favorites, too.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Real jingle bells...Also, Silent Night - the song. (I know it's not a noise) Can't hear it enough.====JACK:  I like the sound of the bells when they are on the horses when they pull sleighs.====DONNA:  Yes. And my brother plays Santa Claus and has some amazing bells he wears around his neck.====JACK:  Bells on Santa!  Even better.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I love the sound of the word "tintinabulation" and the sounds it evokes as in Poe's poem "Bells." Bells, bells, bells...the tintinnabulation of the bells.' I don't like the sound/noise of a revved up motorcycle motor. It's intrusive "noise".====JACK:  Your "tintin..." word reminds me of one that I like...onomatopoeia.  As far as an irritating noise is concerned, I choose the severe weather attention-getter that interrupts TV programs.  However, it does its job.  When you hear it, you know what it means.

 FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  silence is golden.====JACK:  Zip the lip!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/10/14
“beLIeVE with Steve is a slogan for raising funds to combat ALS.”  (Steve’s ALS slogan)  Steve Heronemus, a friend of mine, has written a book, using shells as metaphors to tell what it’s like to live with ALS for over a decade.  The book is both spiritual and humorous.  Amazon has it: “Shells: Sustained by Grace Within the Tempest.”  Steve’s computer recognizes his eye movement and writes as he looks at the keys.  There are inspiring people in this world.    ;-)  Jack

FROM OPTILOU:  Good Morning, Jack!  I am inspired by Steve's courage.  My son, Stephen, is a neurologist at the University of Michigan Hospital and is working with Dr. Eva Feldman to seek new treatments and hopefully a cure for ALS.  They have performed a few "experimental" treatments already with some degree of success.  (We have several members of our Optimist Club who have been affected by this terrible disease.)====JACK:  There used to be a comic strip titled, "Born 30 Years Too Soon."  Thirty years from now, a new generation will look back and probably see ALS as history, just as we see smallpox and polio in the rearview mirror.

FROM TARMART REV:  Very true, Jack . . . I've found that everyone I meet has a hidden treasure or two worth discovering . . . just takes some time for some to expose it.====JACK:  For some, the hidden treasure can turn out to be Fool's Gold.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  a good friend of ours just went into a care facility with ALS.  Pete is in his late 50s i would guess.  very sad.  also, i will send you some photos of a wedding i did last summer on Cross Lake up north. most opulent wedding i have ever done but very kind and humble people.  anyway,  the mother of the bride has had ALS for almost 8 years.  that has to be a record of some kind.  usually you get 2 to 4 years.====JACK:  I remember having discussions in seminary about whether the person is the soul (spirit) alone, or body and soul together.  That led to...Is the body necessary for Jesus to be?  Is the ALS individual a person trapped in a body?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Makes our problems seem pretty insignificant, doesn't it. I thank the Lord every day for this gift of good health.====JACK:  There's so much that can wrong with this body of ours.  The fact that we can be up and around means that a lot of things are going right.  PTL!

FROM EEC IN MICHIGAN:  Look up  I think you'll like his article. And you can "see" him too!====JACK:  He's an amazing individual.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/9/14
“Artificial Intelligence (AI) would spell the end of the human race.”  (Stephen Hawking)  Hawking, who relies on AI to help him communicate, may have a point here, but, as an atheist, he leaves God out of the equation.  If there is no God, he could be right.  If there is a God, then the end of the human race, the end of the world, is not in our hands.  Apocalyptic predictions pre-date even Biblical ones.  “No one knows the day or the hour” satisfies me.    ;-)  Jack

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  We've been in Iowa visiting my mother-in-law, in a nursing home under hospice care with cancer. I'm just satisfied that medical intelligence doesn't spell the end of her life--her life is in God's hands and the prayerful faith of human beings but never dictated by any of us, only God's wisdom. Tomorrow morning we get on the Amtrak back to Detroit. It's been a blessing to visit her and other family.====JACK:  For some of us, leaving God out of the picture would create a terrible void.  For those want to "erase" the concept of God, there's an old song...
There's an old fashioned church around the corner Where the people all gathered one day. The parson was preaching a sermon for a poor soul who had just passed away. 'twas the same wayward girl from the Bowery Who had da-da-da-da-da-da-dum. She is more to be pitied than censured she is more to be loved than despised. She is only a lassie who ventured On life's stormy path ill-advised. Do not scorn her with words fierce and bitter Do not laugh at her shame and downfall For a moment please stop and consider That a man was the cause of it all.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  A lot of people leave God out of life. I just heard that Hollywood has left Him out of Unbroken, one of my favorite books.====JACK:  Why must we try to improve on the "real" thing?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Always interesting, especially since AI has been a course of study for IT specialists for years.  Wonder what the context was when he made that statement/  Have you seen the film about Hawking’s life?  I have not but plan to get there.====JACK:  What is it that makes Hawking's life worth a movie...His Brain?  His ALS?  His life years?  Would your life (or mine) be worth seeing on the screen?  Who would play "you"?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Some of Hawking's statements, however, seem to leave the door open to the possibility of a "Master Mind" involving all the span of endless space which we now know exists.  Two books I just studied "God's Universe" (Owen Gingerich) and "The Language of God" (Francis Collins) refer to him, in their arguments for the logic of believing in God. Of course when push comes to shove, we have to believe...proof one way or the other is not possible; At least so far!!   I don't  quite understand why AI would be the end of the human race. (i guess I don't have Hawking's "smarts".)  I can certainly see how Nuclear Bombs could be!====JACK:  It's interesting that we humans speculate on the "end of the world" and "heave", when, in reality, "Eye hath not seen etc" know the rest of the quote.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  In my opinion, I find  the term "artificial intelligence", self-explanatory whether you're an atheist or not. The term artificial signifies that's it's not REAL intelligence.  It is impossible that the human race can ever end, it is the beginning or origin that " being " is disputed by atheists, agnostics & religion.====JACK:  I read recently that another "human race" cannot exist in the universe because of all the mutations that have gone into the evolvement of the current one.  I suppose the same thing can be said about an individual, except for the possibility of cloning.

FROM THE MAYOR:  I am totally with you on this one Pastor!  Amen!====JACK:  No artificial intelligence on your part. 

FROM TRIHARDER:  If you watch his bio-pic, "The Answer to Everything", it is not clear that he is a devout atheist.  It seems that he leaves room for G-d in the universe.====JACK:  I suppose Hawking is like most of us, in the sense that our beliefs (at least the nuances) are subject to change.  To say, "I am an atheist," needs further explanation today, compared with yesterday.====TH:  Yes, you're probably right. I laugh because many atheists believe in the power of Yoga. Or their becoming Buddhists.  I love fads. Like gluten-free. It provides me with a lot of silent entertainment.  "I am an atheist," needs further explanation today, compared with yesterday.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  There is no such thing as "artificial intelligence" to begin with...saving much time from attempting to manipulate our thoughts to fit a square peg into a round hole. ====JACK:  Philosophers continue to have differing opinions about whether or not the "real" is real."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  There seems to be room in Hawking's Universe(s) but not as the Creator.    To me, that is an intriguing thought.   The scriptures seem to know God more as a Redeemer than as a Creator.  Has Hawking hit on something here?====JACK:  Hawking is entitled to his opinion, just as you and I are entitled to ours.  What makes one of them right, and the other wrong, or is there neither right nor wrong?  I'd like to listen in on a debate between you and Stephen.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i love when "smart" people are atheists. boom! the world appeared out of nowhere!  & they snicker at those who believe in god...hawking should have died years ago from als, but mr smart guy doesn't believe in miracles, has all the answers.====JACK:  Does his ALS cause people to listen more favorably to Hawking's opinions?  If he were Stephen without the disease, would we be discussing what he believes?

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  Jack, have you read A Letter to a Christian Nation by avowed atheist Sam Harris?  while i don't agree with his atheism (obviously) he does make some good points in general about religion.  some of the lunacy of Islam, forced celibacy and no birth control in the Roman Catholic Church, etc.  its a fast read but rather provocative to say the least.====JACK:  I note that you refer to some of the lunacy of Islam and Catholicism...and have neglected to cite any lunacy connected with Lutheranism.

FROM DS IN SAN DIEGO: Jack....that is SO right-on.  Frankly, I am insulted when I hear people say Republicans voted against Obama because he was black.  I do know people that would have done so, but I know just as many that voted FOR him "because" he was black.  Each of those are racist in my opinion.  I grew up with a number of "negro" guys (as you know).....Anders, Pollard & Kelso boys come to mind....and they were some of my best friends.  I frankly never looked at them as any different than I was, even though I came to learn that my parents were somewhat prejudiced.  I am glad that prejudice did not sink in to me.  I hope you have a wonderful Advent season and that Christmas will be its usual blessed event.  Your old friend, (who misses those old days)====JACK:  There was a girl in my 6th Grade class, Bessie Mae Coleman, whose father was the pastor of an  AME (African American Episcopal) Church.  She was really smart.  It wasn't until later in life that I learned that there was another Bessie Mae Coleman who was the first American female pilot of African American descent.  She died at about the same time the Bessie Mae in my class was born.  I can imagine that her parents named her after that pioneer pilot. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/8/14
“To like an individual because he’s black is just as insulting as to dislike him because he isn’t white.”  (e.e. cummings)  Reverse black and white in the quote.  Does it make a difference?  Substitute LGBT and Straight for black and white.  Does it make a difference?  Many of the problems around us these days seem to have root in the fact that we do not see people as people.  You can’t legislate love.  Unless it comes from the heart, the problems will continue.    ;-)  Jack

FROM SUSAN IN TEXAS:  Beautifully stated!  I don't reply to you often enough, but you help me get my days off to a good start. I particularly liked this one. I wish that we could get more people to sit at the table to really discuss our issues. You hit the nail on the head.  Thank you as always, for your insight and generosity of spirit. Wishing you a peace filled day.====JACK:  Face to face discussions are much better than cyber-net rants back and forth.

 FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  the statement by e.e.cummins is worthy of multicultural discussions. I had to check him out on Google because I thought of him as an older poet...circa late 19th century and wondered how and why he'd come up with such a contemporary observation. But, he was alive until 1962 Thus...====JACK:  He was an individualist, too...insisting on eliminating captital letters in his name.  We all have our quirks...or, are you exempt?====SBP:  Well, I’m making a list and checkin it twice.....chuckling, as I discover it’s amazing length. One or two....Not caring about my mistakes and deliberate “ creative punctuation”.Well, almost always deliberate.  Another, I only use green ink...except for “legal” signatures. ....And, also , among them, a compulsion to read WW in the morning.....and sometimes needing to keep my possible responses off the keyboard.......And, I’ll spare you the evergrowing list of “quirks”.Et vous?=====JACK:  One change punctuation and spelling errors that I notice in responses (without telling the sender).  I just do it to satisfy myself, without coming off as a pedant.====SBP:  A quirk that produces RAKs.  Thank you.====JACK:  A friend from Moline started a FastFood chain called, RAX.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Whenever I am asked to fill out a form indicating race, I write in human race and have been doing this for over 50 years.====JACK:  I laughed at that one.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I once read a true story in a readers digest. It was about two little girls growing up together.  One girl moved far away from the other and they didn't meet up again for 20 or more years (I don't remember that part of the story).  Anyway, years later when they finally met one girl was white and one was black.  When growing up together they never knew they were different color.  We should all live color blind!====JACK:  As long as we have sight, we're bound to judge by what we see.  "Seeing is believing."  But, even eye-witnesses have been known to make mistakes. 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  If you grow up where certain prejudices are acceptable, I think you can not "unlearn" them...but you can gain control over them.     So, I only partially agree with the statement. ====JACK:  I agree....The prejudices of our growing up years were acceptable at that time.  In wonder what prejudices of today will be unacceptable in future times?

FROM TARMART REV:  Catholic/Protestant, Liturgical/Pentecostal, "I'm of Paul-I'm of Peter", "the present homosexual and adulterer/the restored fallen pastor and divorced/remarried deacon" . . . "the adulterous and murderer King David/the psalmist and repentant David, and "The wheat and the chaff" . . . Who will separate the righteous and the unrighteous? "Not I!" said the fat boy for Kansas!! ====JACK:  Sometimes we follow the trend.  I remember being somewhat wary of MLK Jr when he began his marches.  Later I came to embrace his thinking.  From time to time, we need to reconsider our thinking on certain issues and see if we need to make a change.  We're not infallible!

FROM PASTIE PAT:  A resounding "Amen" from Palestine!====JACK:  I forgot to include Jew and Palestinian.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Very sad and very true. And you're exactly right to say that love can't be legislated....but our past and current legislatures keep trying.====JACK:  The truly sad thing is that many legislators are trying to satisfy their constituent base.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  al sharpton, louis f, eric holder, barack obama, et al, are seeing that perhaps we are post race after all, given the outcry of all demographics over eric garner's death. ====JACK:  It's not just one-sided.  Both sides play the "race game," laying down the particular card that they think will help them win the game.  I'm not good at cards...maybe Old Maid.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Thank you for addressing this, we can’t say this enough. I appreciate you speaking up for all people as people.====JACK:  My goal is not to write something that will win an argument, but to get people to think.  It's a challenge.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I have a black grandson-in-law, (who has his Master's Degree, and is a paid intern with the St. Louis Rams) but "out on the streets" he is just another "black guy", and sometimes that reality is brought to his attention in a negative way. And bi-racial couples are still not warmly accepted, either, tho they have a great circle of college and high school friends, and very supportive family.  I also have two bi-racial granddaughters, one in high school, and one a 2nd grader, so wish all people could really get to  know those of different race and culture, which is the only way you  get to see people as people! When we served the Dixon church, (Back in Martin Luther King days) we partnered with the black church in town, with couples from both churches meeting in homes for dinner and games, and discussions, etc. and life-long friendships were formed. Those churches and people  are still close! We also hosted a black congregation in our Springfield  church for five years, working closely with the youth, and although they have moved on, warm friendships remain, and some youth have stayed with our congregation.  Good quote, and "variations" today!!====JACK:  Times are-a-changing!  Who could have imagined in our growing-up years, the acceptance of bi-racial relationships, the acceptance of living together before marriage, the acceptance of LGBT relationships, the acceptance of sperm-donated babies and on and on?

FROM TRIHARDER:  There used to be that sign-off commercial on the 3 channels where grampa and the little boy are fishing and the boy talks about his "Jewish friend, Joey".  Grampa gently chides him asking, "Do you refer to your other friends as your Christian friends?"  It may have been a Latter Day Saints commercial. ====JACK:  Isn't it interesting...with the changing of the times, we use terms other than race to describe people: religion, gender, sexual orientation, job etc.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  christian, jew, muslim, atheist?  the list goes on.  you are right.  we can't legislate love or acceptance.  we have to start the practice of open-heartedness.  we have to spread the word and teach by example.====JACK:  Sociologists know that what is learned in the home affects what is expressed in school and in social groups.  One of my favorite Winning Words... "Virtue is learned at mother's knee.  Vice is learned at other joints."

Friday, December 05, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/5/14
“Whatever happens in your day…Hope…Crap…Surprise…Crap…Hope.”  (Sent by BG)  This relates to a real person, living with the ups and downs of life.  The day has gone great.  God is good.  Then comes the next day with a lot of crap.  “God, where are you?”  The following day has a surprise.  There’s good news.  The crap wasn’t crap.  God was there all the time.  The next day brings more crap.  Haven’t you learned to hope?  God is always there, crap or not.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  A reality truth of life!! Learned that early on in my competitive bowling days . . . a winner in Oklahoma City that afternoon and an all-out failure in Wichita late that same night!====JACK:  I believe that God opens and closes doors.  I also believe that he might show up once in a while at a bowling tournament.====REV:  "Bowling for Jesus!" ... That was my motto!! ====JACK:  You probably see the headpin as Satan.

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN WISCONSIN:  This certainly speaks to the ups and downs in life.  It is great to be reminded that God IS ALWAYS at our side.  On those crappy days He’s carrying us until we can remember that He’s still there through thick and thin.  Last night as we drove home from Eau Claire we were reminded of the beauty of this earth as we watched the sun set and the moon rise!  AWESOME beauty!  Make it an amazing day!====JACK:  Along the same line, many people have expressed this truth by quoting the poem, Footsteps in the Sand (Mary Stevenson, 1936)
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
 that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”

The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  We grow up in a world of contrasts...sunshine & rain, summer & winter, health & sickness, success & failure, etc we should get accustomed to silky & thorny.  Regrettably, we aren't in control.  My day of optimism as I go to work becomes a crappy day when someone else in a rush to work crashes into my car.  And angry responses won't help.  We are delivered into this world, we adapt to life, and crap comes with the territory.  Hope is eternal and it costs nothing.  Expect the worst, and if things turn out well, savor the joy.====JACK:  A straight line on the heart monitor is a sign of death.  Life takes on meaning with the ups and downs.  Bodily exercise is good for us, too...up and down, up and down.  I'm not so sure about the phrase...No pain, no gain.  That reminds me of the man who was hitting himself on the head with a hammer.  Why?  Because it feels so good when I stop.

FROM CS VISITING IN CALIFORNIA:  So true!! Just read this to al as we sit at the breakfast table in sunny California.  We have spent week with our grandchildren while Chris and Tracie are in Guatemala.====JACK:  My granddaughter recently returned from Guatemala after doing some work among the poor.  In spite of bad living situations, most of the people were smiling and thankful for the help that they were receiving.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/4/14
“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”  (W. Clement Stone)  Stone knew how to get things done.  Sold newspapers as a boy…Read Nap Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich…He started an insurance business with his mother as the manager and him as the only salesperson.  Eventually it was worth billions.  I didn’t know that one of Stone’s  great successes was helping alcoholic, Og Mandino, change his life for the better.    ;-)  Jack

FROM OPTILOU:  One of my favorite "Bill" Stone quotes is:  "Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do."  (I don't know if he "coined" this or "borrowed" it!)====JACK:  Spike Lee wrote and produced a film, "Do the Right Thing," which tells the story of a neighborhood with simmering racial tensions.  That was in 1989.  The right thing still needs to be done.

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  who is or was Og Mandino?====JACK:  I seem to have forgotten how "young" you are.  (Og is worth a Google.)  Mandino was a famous motivational speaker and author and publisher of "Success" magazine.  Og is a nickname for Augustus.  For example, I went to Og-ustana College.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  I would like to be "the fly on the wall" in the locker room of some of our police departments and listen to the discussions!====JACK:  As a police department chaplain, I'm practicing my "fly on the wall" abilities.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  We had Og’s book at home and my dad read Clement Stone also; had no idea that Stone helped Mandino.====JACK:  There was an era when "how to be successful" books were extremely popular.  Barnes and Noble still sells them, but they're not on the best-seller tables. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Probably one of the hardest things for us all is the hectic life we live.  In retirement, it's even harder to decide what to do and what to leave beside the road.  Especially when it comes to funds, stocks, and retirement funds.  We are blessed to have people who know what they want to achieve and what they are willing to leave.====JACK:  What spurs me on to decide on things is the saying...Not to decide is to decide.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  IT'S NOT JUST THE YOUNG WHO DON'T RECOGNIZE THE NAME OF OG MANDINO; I THOUGHT THE SAME THING, WHO IS HE? NOW I KNOW!  GOOD POINT IN TODAY'S WW, THAT IS THE DILEMMA ALRIGHT,  AND WE HOPE WE ARE WISE IN THAT DECISION, BECAUSE YOU CAN'T DO IT ALL! :-)====JACK:  What to do and what to leave undone is often a hard choice.  A harder one for "downsizers" is...What to keep and, what to get rid of.

FROM AW IN MICHIGAN:  I like this one a lot, Jack.  I never thought of it exactly like Mr. Stone's quote.====JACK:  I go around with a light bulb over my head, ready to be turned on by a new idea. 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/3/14
“God bless the whole world…No exceptions!”  (Bumper Sticker)  I found this in Regina Britt’s book, “God Never Blinks.”  (a good gift book for someone)  The first part of the quote isn’t so difficult, but how about that which follows?  No exceptions?  If you and I were to guard the gates of heaven, might we have a list of those who we’d turn away…for good reason?  There are times when God’s grace can be hard to understand…except when it applies to us.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  a good word for today, Jack.  thanks!   i am going back to bed now to get warm!====JACK:  "There, but for the grace of God, go you...not I."  Once up, I like to stay up. ==PAUL:  this is always a challenge for the preacher as you well to declare the Savior while not alienating those of different faith or no faith.  when do we reach for the lowest common denominator in order to hold your "audience" and when do you not.  that line has gotten increasing finer and finer over the years as America become more diverse,  pluralistic, and frankly more secular ====JACK:  I think that God understands the bumper sticker, while some others might have a problem with it.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  If we think of God as a spirit-being, and as Love, then it seems easier to think of the Spirit of Love as if we are immersed in it, swim in it, and exist in it. We aren't separated from God's love; we live in it! Maybe it would be better stated If it was said that we just aren't always aware of it. After all, God loved us when we were dead in sin. So much so that we can read about it in John 13. If sin is not an "exception" that diverts God's love, what could be? If we only knew what Love truly is....====JACK:  God doesn't have to work at being grace-full, because God is Love!.  Sometimes love, for us, is a pain.  Each day is a challenge for us to "love one another as God has loved us."

 FROM TARMART REV:  It would be my privilege just to stand at the gate . . . My standard comment at funerals I officiate . . . The three great surprises of Heaven . . . those you thought would surely be there and they are not . . . those you thought would have no chance, but are . . . but the biggest surprise is that you're standing there!====JACK:  I always suspected that you were a "closet" Lutheran.  Your "3 surprises" spoken at funerals is a quote from Martin Luther.

FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  AMEN!!!!!!!====JACK:  Seven exclamation points!  You really must agree. 

====FROM HONEST JOHN:  Absolute agreement on this.  Good thing you and I are not St. Peter.====JACK: St. Peter was no more (or less) of a saint than we are.  I like this verse from the children's song...
 They lived not only in ages past;
 there are hundreds of thousands still.
 The world is bright with the joyous saints
 who love to do Jesus' will.
 You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
 in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
 they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
 and I mean to be one too.

FROM PR JAN:  Excellent reflection -- thanks!====JACK:  What I try to do with Winning Words is to take a quote and "reflect" back what it says to me.  The blog allows others to do some reflecting, too.  I like that.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Love this quote!! Almost all those who have had NDE (Near Death Experience) report being aware of Unconditional love, and come away realizing they must "live love" in this life...Reading an extraordinary book just now "Dying to Be Me"  which reinforces that we are to be about the business of loving one and all. A pretty tall order for us, given the state of humanity in our world!!====JACK:  One of our church members told me of her near-death experience...she (in spirit) was floating over the operating table and heard the surgeon swearing, "We've lost her!"

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Judgment is God's... the very word suggests some may not make it past the velvet rope...====JACK:  I once saw a sign:  "If you got to Heaven and saw that everyone was admitted, how would you feel?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I don't have a list but the bible tells us who's getting in a different how to get in.====JACK:  So, if you're in charge of guarding the gates....

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 1/2/14
"No matter how big your house is, or your bank account is, our graves will always be the same size.”  (Quoted by Tara)  With all the talk of the 99% and the 1%, the “haves” and the “have-nots,” death is the great equalizer.  Kenny Wayne sings, “I ain’t never seen no hearse pullin’ a U-Haul.”  Warren Buffett must have heard that song, because he’s encouraging the “haves” to make significant gifts to make life better for the less fortunate.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TK IN MICHIGAN:  Was I the Tara you quoted? I know I re-posted this on Facebook a while back.====JACK:  In my book, there's only one Tara.  I read Facebook once in a while.

FROM TRIHARDER:  ... but, have "you" made a difference in the world?  Bill Gates' bank account is huge. AND, he's made a difference.  Then, again, it doesn't take a large account (or any account) to make a difference.====JACK:  I like the slogan of The Christophers..."It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."  Just one candle shining can make a difference in a dark place.  Who we are, by what we say and do, can help brighten up a dark situation.

FROM TARMART REV:  Compelling thought this morning . . . share what we have with those less fortunate and we all walk along blessed more than what we were before. During the Christmas season I always try to pick a few not considered as deserving of such and bless them anyway . . . as I feel God has done the same with me on many occasion.====JACK:  I seem to remember from last year... how you pick out someone to especially help during this Christmas season.  I will be interested to hear about your choice this year.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I LIKE OUR RETIRED TEACHER'S THEME: "ONE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW IT WILL NOT MATTER WHAT MY BANK ACCOUNT WAS, THE SORT OF HOUSE I LIVED IN, OR THE KIND OF CAR I DROVE....BUT THE WORLD MAY BE DIFFERENT BECAUSE I WAS IMPORTANT IN THE LIFE OF  A CHILD.====JACK:  That works for parents, too.  My 6th grade teacher was my favorite.  My favorite course at Augie was American Ideals (Ander), even though I majored in philosophy.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Agreed and hopefully, understood.  However, while the shadow will be gone, legacy is a different matter.====JACK:  The older we become, the more we seem to be aware of the importance of legacy.  Having said that...time has a way of fading even legacies.  I like the poem by Carl Sandburg...GRASS

PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. 
Shovel them under and let me work— 
            I am the grass; I cover all. 
And pile them high at Gettysburg 
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. 
Shovel them under and let me work. 
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: 
            What place is this? 
            Where are we now? 
            I am the grass. 
            Let me work.

FROM TRIHARDER:  You do that everyday.====JACK:  I TRIHARD to do that everyday.  Sometimes it works.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There is a new day planned for this Tuesday each year.  It's called Giving Tuesday and it follows Cyber Monday each year now.  It encourages everyone to give back in some way.  I think it's a wonderful idea and have spent time on my computer doing just that.  We can't take it with us and there is so much need.====JACK:   I like the word, stewardship, and how it related to Parable of the Stewards...sometimes called the Parable of the Talents.

FROM INDY GENIE:  My mom once told me (when I was whining about my house being too small)  that "it's not the size of the house but the size of the love in it that matters."  She clearly put me in my place :)====JACK:  You had school even when you weren't in school.  What a fine mom (teacher).


Monday, December 01, 2014

Jack’s Winning Words 12/1/14
“Someday never comes.”  (John Fogerty)  Fogerty’s parents were divorced when he was a child, and he remembers his dad saying, “Someday you’ll understand.”  And then he found himself repeating the same words to his 5-yr-old son.  There are kids who ask their dads, “When are we going fishing?”  And dad responds, “Someday!”  There are many things in this life that we put off until…Someday.  Maybe today is the day to do something about Someday.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  your winning words for today remind me of Cat Stevens song about the Cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon'  the little boy blue and the man in the moon, etc... ====JACK:  I heard a father being interviewed on NPR this morning about what his kids want for Christmas.  "They have everything...What they want most is for me to work less."

FROM TRIHARDER:  He was featured one morning on CBS Sunday Morning  several years ago.  I was impressed that he comes from a very impressive home.  He is NOT of southern origin. ====JACK:  Sometimes we need to be reminded that "famous" people are just us.  Many songwriters (and story tellers) get their inspiration from remembering.

FROM PR JAN:  I believe Martin Luther said it:  How soon "not now" becomes never.  Good words for this busy time -- we need to take time to be with the people we claim to be busy *for*.  They'd rather have "us" than whatever it is we're doing instead.====JACK:  At least Luther had time to get out with his kids and cut down a Christmas tree.  When we first moved to Michigan our family (like the Giswolds) would go out with a saw and and cut our own Christmas tree.  Now, subdivisions have been planted when those trees used to grow.