Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/31/15
“Don’t look back.  We’re not going that way.”  (Book by Marcia Wallace)  Until I read the book reviews, I didn’t realize that Marcia was Mrs Krabapple, Bart Simpson’s teacher and Carol, the receptionist on the Bob Newhart Show.  The book title is a saying her father would use.  She writes for people who feel that life hasn’t gone well for them (like herself) and how she has come to “count her lucky chickens.”  As fear-laden 2015 ends, let’s look ahead with hope.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Walking with you, Jack--lead on my friend, together while apart!! Happy New Year!!====JACK:  Together, we will follow the Leader.  "Lead on, O King Eternal!"

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  Let's look ahead not only with hope, but also with OPTIMISM! ====JACK:  ...with a glass neither half full nor half empty, but with a glass completely empty and optimistically waiting to be filled with many good experiences in the new year.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Those Winning Words make good sense.  Those things in the past should be settled, so we can deal with the issues still to come.  There may be things that didn't go well previously, but it's better to consider the things that were successes.  Now I'm looking ahead... specifically to your next year of Winning Words.  Here's wishing you a wonderful new year. ====JACK:  I'm a member of the Optimist Club.  Each weekly meeting is closed by those in attendance repeating the Optimist Creed, part of which reads..."forgetting the things of the past and pressing on to the greater achievements of the future."

FROM TRIHARDER:  I was just in the Grand Canyon. You look back to see how much progress you've made -- how far you are from the top on your descent; how far up from the bottom on your climb out. It's inspirational and provides motivation. Looking back can provide direction. Also help you remember where you came from.  I am my father's (and mother's) son. I am proud to look back to my roots. None of that deprives me of hope. On the contrary, it gives me hope.  It's funny how, for many old sayings, there is another to contradict it.====JACK:  There's usually a  quote to back up any message that you want to give...positive or negative.  "Remember that nobody will ever get ahead of you as long as he is kicking you in the seat of the pants."  Walter Winchell)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There are a lot of reasons for looking back....memories both good and bad.  The key is to look at the memories and how they touched you.  Usually, with all memories there comes a time we can look and find a something good out of everything in life.====JACK:  I haven't read Marcia's book, but I think that's the message she wants to give.

FROM JT:  Faith, hope and love.  God has given us such wonderful gifts.  Thank you for sharing Him with us.  P.S.  Bought a new car yesterday – 2016 Malibu.====JACK:  God is great!  God is good!

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  I agree that we should look ahead with hope, but never forget the lessons of the past. Happy New Year!====JACK:  The calendar is simply a way of keeping track of time.  Birthdays are like that, too.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Good thought!  But kind of fun to go back over this past year's calendar and see how full of experiences it is, and how many people you mingled with in the course of the year!!  Amazing! Looking forward to a nice seafood dinner out with friends, and to FIRST NIGHT, a venue held at our Theatre Center, with lots of family entertainment choices, and no alcohol on the premises. Always a great evening!  Thankful to be here to usher in another brand new year!! And looking forward...we ARE going that way!!====JACK:  We often take our blessings for granted.  I think of the people who "need" to look forward with hope as the new year begins.  (Not that we don't all need hope...)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sounds like a good book.  The Bob Newhart show was one of my absolute favorite tv shows. I especially loved his phone calls.  My dad had an record album we used to listen to quite often.  I also remember "Carol".  She was the perfect fit to Bob's character. ====JACK:  Sometimes it's hard to realize that the characters in a TV show are not "real."  True life begins when they leave the set and go home.  It wasn't always "funny" for Marcia.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/30/15
“Time is more valuable than money.  You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”  (Jim Rohn)  I read last week that ½ of 1% of Americans have as much money as the lower 90%.  So…?  They all have 24 hours a day, and no amount of money can buy more.  Steve Jobs said, “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me.”  Loretta Lynn wrote in Coal Miner’s Daughter, “We were poor, but we had love.”  What do you value?    ;-)  Jack

FROM MP:  I value your friendship.====JACK:  "You just call out my name  And you know wherever I am  I'll come running, oh yeah baby, to see you again  Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you've got to do is call  And I'll be there, ye, ye, ye  You've got a friend."

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Love this quote. I think it may describe you.  " The whole secret of life is to be interested in one thing profoundly and in a thousand things well. "  (Horace Walpole) ====JACK:  I'll take that as a compliment.  Pastoral training teaches us to care about our congregation as a whole and to care about each individual in particular.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...'time and eternity' as often heard... spending one with the other in mind! ====JACK:  "This world is not my home, I'm just-a passin' through."

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  :-)====JACK:  Do you know this Gershwin song?
"I got plenty o'nothin' and nothin's plenty for me
I got no car, got no mule, I got no misery
Folks with plenty of plenty, they got a lock on the door
Afraid somebody's gonna rob 'em while they're out a'makin' more
What for?
I got no lock on the door, that's no way to be
They can steal the rug from the floor, that's OK with me
'cause the things that I prize, like the stars in the skies, are all free
Say, I got plenty o'nothin' and nothin's plenty for me
I got my gal, got my song, got heaven the whole day long
Got my gal   Got my love  Got my song"

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Steve Jobs quote about being the richest man in the cemetery is one I've never heard.  It's brilliant!  Being the richest man in the world doesn't interest me...except, if I was, I could divvy it up and pass it around.  That, I suppose, is an expression of love.====JACK:  We can all have our dreams.  You sound like Tevye.  "If I were a rich man - I wouldn't have to work hard - I see my wife looking like a rich man's wife - The most important men in town would come to fawn on me! - I'd have the time that I lack To sit and pray."  ...but you're rich in other ways, so celebrate that!

FROM THE REPORTER:  Woke up with a whole day ahead of me worrying about the bills instead of being grateful for the day. It always reminds me of the old man in The Milagro Beanfield War, if you've seen it, when he wakes up and says something to the effect of 'I'm alive. Thank God for giving me another day.'  So, thanks for this. Sometimes your timing is impeccable!====JACK:  The bills will still be bills, but sometimes we need to step back and prioritize life.  "Dear God, I am thankful for (make your own list)...."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Christ, "from whom all blessings flow."====JACK:  In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said that the first step on the way to heaven is to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, strength and mind!"

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Jack. I read somewhere that money matters to happiness up to something like 50,000 a year and then it doesn't. I guess that means as long as you have enough to pay the bills then your happiness is  no longer dependent on money.  However the problem is not that, it's that the current system doesn't promote the ability to get out of poverty. Or allow for a robust middle class. It is an unfair system. In that I agree with Bernie Sanders.====JACK:  Many of the jobs that made for a middle-class have gone away...probably never to return.  Something new has to be invented.  Cutting up the pie in different size slices sounds like a good idea, until the pie slicer is named and he/she starts cutting.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  John sent to a host of folks!====JACK:  You are like the sower in the parable that Jesus told.

FROM DS, A FRIEND OF FM:  Time is really all of value that we really have.  The rest is a side show.  Best we enjoy our days as best we can with out infringing upon others in any negative way. ====JACK:  After reading your response, my brain directed me to the words of Hippocrates:  "Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm."

FROM TRIHARDER:  Well, hopefully AS valuable --  we sell our time/skills (or lack of them) for money.====JACK:  Time is money!  So are skills.  I think it was Mark Twain who said, "I never trust a man who uses his mouth to make money."  Lawyers are in that category.  So are preachers.  And so was Mark Twain.====TH:  It's all about supply and demand of various skills. Very few NFL players, Lots of money. Many brain surgeons in comparison, not as much money. It shows you the values of our society.

FROM THE PILOT:  I could have been a captain years ago Jack. There is a reason I'm not, and it has everything to do with today's ww! I've enjoyed our year Jack. I thank you!  I'm blessed!====JACK:  We can celebrate the times when we've made the right choices.  The bad ones?  Let's leave them in the past, like we'll be leaving 2015.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/29/15
“We all have two lives.  The second one starts when we realize we only have one.”  (Tom Hiddleston)  Let’s pretend…that you have to leave the house every day, all day; where would you go; what would you do?  (No, not to Starbucks!)  I recall a time when I thought I knew what I wanted…a safe well-worn trail.  A wise professor encouraged a “new” road.  Looking back…It made all the difference.  What new road would you take, if you weren’t afraid?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  ...been there and done that, leaving WB feeling reality had set in and now was the time to pursue and invest in any noticeable ministerial assets from the previous twenty years of fulfilling my dreams for pastoral ministry. This has proven the best and most rewarding results to the present . . . a brand new year is awaiting though?!====JACK:  From day to day and year to year, we move on to the next adventure.  Hopefully, we can leave behind a work, well done.  There's a saying..."One life, 'twill soon be past.  Only what's done for Christ will last."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Those are perceptive words.  I think I may have first realized their truth when I read Schumacher's "Small is Beautiful".  That's when I learned that love of life is more important than love of materialism.  At this point in life, the road I would like to take would not be "new"'s one that goes back to my rural roots, to live and work on my own small farm.  But would I survive?  (Does it matter?)====JACK:  Speaking of size (Small Is Beautiful), I read this week that 99% of earth's living space is in the sea...and only 10% has been explored by humans.  Over 90% of the earth's creatures reside in the sea.  ...and speaking of "small farms," they are becoming fewer and fewer as mega-farms with driver-less farm machinery being run by GPS are taking over the land.  I remember the Victory Gardens of WW 2 when people would use their home property to grow food, instead of growing grass.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  When I was in high school, I had the mandatory talk with my counselor about further education.  When he asked what I wanted to go into, I said "Forestry".  He said there were no females as yet in that field.  When I think back, I could have started a movement to have females included into the forestry department.====JACK:  I remember when women were first ordained in the Lutheran Church in America in 1970.  Now, even the Presiding Bishop is female.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I like the quote:  the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you figure out WHY you were born...====JACK:  They seem similar, but not the same.  Do we ever figure out (really) the why?====ST PAUL:  no, we don't  when Kushner finished his book Why Bad Things Happen to Good People,  he quickly changed the title to When Bad Things...   because he said he was no closer to an answer even after writing the book.   he says its the wrong question to ask.  the right question to ask is this:  how can I survive this tragic event and somehow return my life to some degree of normalcy??   wise words from the Rabbi...====JACK:  I had an example of the "Why/When" yesterday and prayed long distance with a mother whose adult child suddenly died...this added to other family burdens.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/28/15
“Everything that happens in life, good or bad, he uses as a teaching experience.”  (Marina Fang, writing about Pres. Jimmy Carter)  Recently Carter, who still teaches Sunday School, told his class about the sudden death of his grandson a few hours before.  He used the announcement to tell of the comfort that can come from God in such times.  Life isn’t always easy, but having a religious faith can help in the tough times.  I suppose we each could tell “our” story.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:     (v) I LOVE TO TELL THE STORY, Of unseen things of above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love, I love to tell the story, Because I know ‘tis true, It satisfies my longings, As nothing else can do.
   (v) I love to tell the story; More wonderful it seems Than all the golden fancies Of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story, It did so much for me; And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee
   (v) I love to tell the story; “Tis pleasant to repeat What seems each time I tell it, More wonderfully sweet, I love to tell the story; For some have never heard the message of salvation From God’s own holy word.
   (v) I love to tell the story; For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest, and when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, ‘Twill be the old, old story, that I have loved so long.
   (Chorus) I love to tell the story, Twill be my theme in glory, To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
====JACK:  The catchphrase, "That's my story, and I'm sticking to it," originated in the 1920s when a crook gave the police his alibi.  Your's is no alibi...It's a witness.

FROM MOLINER JT: I have told "my" story many times !!====JACK:  ...and it's an amazing one.  The cat with 9 lives has nothing on you.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Faith in God is the answer to life.  It is hard to believe that some people say that they don't have faith.  Anyway, we are having 80 degree weather down here and enjoying the beach.====JACK:  Finally....we're getting some winter weather today.  The song, White Christmas," could have been changed to "Warm Christmas" this year.  It felt like we were in Florida (northern).

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The Carters are remarkable people; they sure do what they can to make the world a better place. You learn valuable lessons, and sometimes costly, by negative experiences.  What we have experienced, makes us more empathetic to others, I think. No one can minister to a widow like another widow, and the same for ones who have lost a child, etc Yes, we learn, and pass it on!  I just had a rather costly mishap with my car, because I was fiddling with the radio to find a good Christmas Music program,, and cracked into a street divider.  Fixed in one day, but I won't take my eyes off the road when I'm driving again! for a good while, at least!! And cautioned all the family as well!====JACK:  I remember the story of a family who experienced the death of a child.  The burial was on Saturday, and the family was in their usual place at worship the next day.  A little boy poked his mother and whispered, "They really do believe, don't they?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Hopefully, we all have learned that lesson.====JACK:  I remember you telling me about your Sunday Schoolteacher and how much she taught you.  I seem to recall that it was Mrs Wiggert.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/25/15
These words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow were written on Christmas Day, 1863, shortly after he’d been notified that his son had been severely wounded in a Civil War battle.  It is one of my favorite Christmas songs…especially the last verse.    ;-)  Jack

I heard the bells on Christmas day  Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,  The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way  The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime  Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head  “There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song  Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:  “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail  With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/24/15
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  (Phillips Brooks)  O Little Town of Bethlehem was written during the Civil War.  Talk about a time of fear.  Rev Brooks saw the hope for overcoming fear in the Incarnation (that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown).  God knows, and God cares about his creation.  He is not dead, nor does he sleep.  Frosty and Rudolph are cute, but what most of us need is a carol that gives us hope.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PM:  I continue to eagerly open these emails every day and find myself forwarding them to those that come to mind. I'm grateful for the time you spend writing these each morning. Thank you! Merry Christmas!====JACK:  Others forward Winning Words, too.  I sometimes wonder what it is that has caused the forward and how a particular message has been meaningful.  Oftentimes people will greet a pastor after the service and say, "Nice sermon, pastor?"  I'd like to answer, "Why?"

  FROM KITTY:  Your words brighten my mornings and provide such food for thought. I miss our visits.====JACK: People sometimes ask why I get up at 4:30 each morning.  A reply like yours gives the answer.  Going way back...we did have some worthwhile conversations.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  It is getting scary as I am agreeing with you more these days and did you notice that the top of my Christmas letter was made from the same card that you sent us....WOW Kindred spirits????====JACK:  Yes, we do have things in common.  One of the things a good salesman does is to try and find a "common thread" with the customer.  You are good at that.

FROM TARMART REV:  Amen====JACK:  I like AMEN, as sung and led by Jester Hairston.  I'm sure you know it; if not, YouTube probably has it.

FROM THE JUDGE:  You bring such joy to so many every single day through your " winning words" and kind thoughts!====JACK:  I try to write words that will be meaningful to a wide variety of people.  Some days, life can be a challenge, and we need encouragement.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:   I had no idea about this history; thank you for sharing.====JACK:  Rev Brooks was in the Holy Land at Christmas and tried to put this experience into words for the children of his Sunday School back home.  His writing became the carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

FROM FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR TG: Thank you for your encouraging and inspiring words throughout the year.====JACK:  With your interest in flying, you should like the carol, "Angels from the realms of glory wing their flight o'er all the earth."

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  another Civil War carol is,     I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.  check out those lyrics.  VERY timely indeed. you could use one of those verses for tomorrow's WW.  just a suggestion.====JACK:  "I Heard the Bells" is perhaps my favorite Christmas song.  While the words relate to a bygone, era, they remain relevant.  Since tomorrow is a "sabbath" for me, use of  the hymn as Wining Words will have to wait until another day, perhaps the Eastern Orthodox Christmas.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Hope as an alternative to fear.  These days that seems to be an effective weapon for some people and groups.  Sad that it dominates our political candidates rhetoric and causes backlashes like the one Mr. Trump has unleashed.  As FDR said, all we have to fear is fear itself.  God will take care of everything.====JACK:  There's a song, "My God and I," which says that we are partners with God.  It's OK to hope that God will take care of everything...but sometimes he expects us to have a part in the solution of a problem.

ROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Today we hold tight to the promise God has provided through his tiny baby...Jesus.====JACK:  "O Word of God, Incarnate!"

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/23/15
“Adversity?  We’ve always got that.  We always look at that as an opportunity to show the steel in our spine.”  (Jim Harbaugh)  The question isn’t whether you’ll meet adversity; it’s about how you’ll meet it when it comes.  Some people told me of their pastor who was born with no arms.  He eats with his feet and has even painted his house.  Adversity has changed my life and challenged me not to give in.  What’s it done for people you might know…or you?    ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  taught me to keep on keepin' on!====JACK:  Everybody has a story...which tends to make us who we are.  You have yours; I have mine.  

FROM HONEST JOHN:  You have to do some losing in order to learn how to win====JACK:  It can be a hard lesson to learn....sometimes losing can be winning.  In retrospect, some of what I wanted and didn't get, turned out to be the best gift.  Thank you God!====JOHN:  (My debate coach) Prof Holcomb met my partner and I after the Phi Beta Kappa award ceremonies and said, "Congratulations.   That means you are smart.   So are the people you are debating.   Better work harder than them if you want to beat them."    Wins aren't guaranteed.   You have to work for them...and even then you might lose.....====JACK:  Even losers can be winners when they do their best.  One of the things that bothers me about Trump is he when puts people down by calling them "losers."

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  For me it means that my faith grows stronger and I  know that the Lord will be walking with me in all situations.====JACK: The often-quoted poem, "Footprints in the Sand," is said to have its origin in an 1871 hymn, Footprints of Jesus, composed by Mary Slade.  The premise is that the believer and Jesus can (and do) inhabit the same space at the same time.  So, as you wrote, the Lord can (and will) be walking with you in all situations....A comforting thought.

FROM TARMART REV:  Greater accomplishments . . . I personally feel it has been my insufficiencies (often only regarded by me as such) that has driven me to excel in those challenging fields better than I would have if left without the challenge. With the fear of sounding too self-serving-- I've always looked upon myself as a half-empty cup, but a willing vessel of service to any degree He would place me in His kingdom of ministry====JACK:  It's OK to sound self-serving once in awhile, as long as you don't make a habit of it.  You really are a good pastor!!!!!

FROM JB IN WXM:  LOVE turning on my I-pad daily and receiving your 'Winning Words'. Gives me something to ponder throughout the day.====JACK:  Be sure to access the Blog occasionally to see how some people are responding to the thought for the day.  The number of responses yesterday was at an all-time high.  Merry Christmas to you and your family.  I'm glad that we have been able to reconnect.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I encountered a little adversity yesterday, when I hit a pavement divider, while fiddling with my radio to get some Christmas music, on the way to a party. disabled my car for the next few days, which is a terrible time to be without a car!!  What to do but laugh at your stupidity, and take it in stride ...and pocketbook! :-(  But still love the Christmas Season!====JACK:  "You better watch out; you better not pout..."  Well, at least, you weren't texting while driving.

FROM ART:  Another great one, Jack.  Thanks.====JACK:  It's Jim Harbaugh's birthday today.  Did you remember to send him a card?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Don't we all have issues and troubles?  Hopefully, we learn, we grow and we deal with them with grace and the help of God.====JACK:  Some burdens seem totally unfair.  The book, "Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?" expresses a question that many people have.

OM CHAPLAIN PT:  Thanks for your messages of encouragement and hope in an increasingly sinister world.====JACK:  The Bible says that the devil comes after us like a roaring lion.  Now, that's sinister.  We all need encouragement.
Jack’s Winning Words  12/22/15
“Not to speak is to speak.  Not to act is to act.”  (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)  M.E. wonders why more Muslim leaders aren’t speaking out against the radicals in their faith.  This leads me to wonder why more of us aren’t speaking out against the bigotry, racism and classism that is being expressed so openly these days.  We could say and do more, that’s for sure.  Bonhoeffer risked/gave his life by speaking and acting as a Christian in Nazi Germany.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I have been speaking out to my friends on FB....and have lost some friends as a result....the feelings in this country are pretty intense====JACK:  Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  I tried to couch the message in such a way that readers could connect the dots.
====JOHN:  The most frightening person out there is not Donald Trump....the real threat is Ted Cruz who is a ruthless seeker of power and a clever manipulator of both people and the truth.....he is potentially our Hitler.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  his camp was liberated by the Allies one or two days after he was hanged.  I think this is accurate.  wonder what impact he would have had had he lived?  or was it greater by his martyrdom?   we will never know...====JACK:  The movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," speaks to that "What if..." supposition.  There have been a lot of "What ifs..." in your life and mine.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Good words.====JACK:  I like the old saying..."When you point a finger at someone (or issue), their are three fingers pointing back at you."

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  I read a book about him – “Saints and Villains”  - it was excellent although I  think it was a fictional account of his life.====JACK:  Yes, it was fiction, but, in reality, "truth is stranger than fiction."  How many people would be willing to give up their life for a cause?  There are some, but most of us tend to be cowards.

FROM LH:  What a wise and brave man Bonhoeffer was.  My dad had a lot of respect for him and taught his girls about Bonhoeffer's courage during WWII and how the world had lost a great man to execution so shortly before the war’s end.  It is coincidental that there is mention in your "W.W.” today of Muslim leaders not speaking out against the radicals.  Only a few days ago I queried my Muslim neighbor about this.  He told me that there is a media coverage problem, at least in Detroit.  For example, several weeks ago his imam and several others in S.E. Michigan hosted a large gathering, which many state senators and representatives, metro area county leaders (like L. Brooks Patterson), and other dignitaries attended.  The imams spoke out strongly against the radicals.  Despite all the dignitaries having been present there was absolutely no press coverage.  He was extremely frustrated.  As he said, good news doesn’t sell newspapers.  I did suggest to him, that in the future the Muslim leaders ask they attending dignitaries to contact the media ahead of time and to request coverage.  Perhaps the media would not ignore the politicians.====JACK:  No coincidence!  What is NEWS?  Trump talking about Muslims, or Muslims talking about Muslims?

FROM DR JUDY:  This is is a twist I hadn't heard before. WELL DONE!!!!====JACK:  I like "twists."  Maybe that's why I like the writings of O. Henry.

FROM TARMART REV:  Trying to be Christ-like, loving God whole-heartedly and my neighbors as myself . . . so many of the Jews during His day were mistreated, cast into slavery, martyred and even had their babies killed by the government . . . I can only remember Jesus calling Herod a fox and jumping all over the "religiously pious" of his day--a couple of His disciples (weren't they known as Sons of Thunder) wanted to bring down fire on those who were mistreating them and He is found constraining them. He spent most of His time out with those enslaved, sick, outcast from society and in need of a loving God who loves all mankind and in turn trained and sent out His disciples to do likewise . . . hopefully I am found doing the same. Not finding too many ears to hear, but many more receiving my love and respect for them as a person created by God in His image.====JACK:  You don't hear many of today's politicians talking about, "love."  Why do suppose that is?====REV:  I understand one's feeling that I am a doomsday prophet . . . but I honestly believe for the present time, God has turned the United States over to its desire to keep Him on the sidelines and their desire to be all-inclusive to everyone's own agenda.  One gentleman from our church owns three Dairy Queen' stores in our area and has placed Merry CHRISTmas on his display sign out front. He told me he receives probably twenty positive reactions to a negative thrown in . . . one lady called and asked how he could afford to be so offensive to those driving by . . . his response was, "In America now days, no one can afford not to be offended about something or someone!" We live with constant complaints nowadays, whether politically, religiously, ethically, etc.--someone is offended and expresses it, demonstrates against it, and even acts out with displeasure in unlawful ways at times.====JACK:  As the song goes..."What the world needs now is love."  That lyric was written by Bacharach and David in 1965.  Times change, but the need remains.  Thanks for bringing love into the lives of some people.  Thanks for allowing  me to rant and rave-- I feel a relief of sorts and will now go out into out community giving away anonymous gifts of Christmas money to hopefully some families who can really appreciate it this Christmas-- received a total of $3700.00 and have broken the envelopes down with $50 and $100 increments. I'm really a teddy bear, Jack!

FROM LG:  Bonhoeffer is a hero... One of my favorite role models of courage in the face of fear... ====JACK:  Our heroes are generally those do and say the things we would do and say...if we had their courage.  We tend to be like the lion in the Wizard of Oz.

FROM TRIHARDER:  No decision is a decision.====JACK:  If one believes in a "final judgment," there is a decision.  I believe in a "final decision" that is not what we would expect...harsh or lenient.  The wrong will fail; the right will prevail.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  We were talking about this kind of thing last night in Bible study. Specifically, we were talking about Noah and what was his thinking as God was telling him to build an ark and that all the people around him, except for his family, were going to be destroyed. A couple of years ago, in Bible study, we read a book about "Love Wins All" --I believe was the title--NY Times bestseller in the reviews--something to the effect that all were going to be eventually in heaven or something. I believe we are living in a very pluralistic culture and have a real fear of "demonizing" others or thinking in terms of "black and white", deep down believing it's more rational to think in terms of "gray" I think maybe, if we were Noah, we would have had an extremely hard time believing--and further acting upon--the mindset that so many people should--in God's plan--be destroyed. We're hamstrung by our spirituality of loving and not being judgmental, that we're also having trouble discerning the motivations and intentions of others to harm and destroy. But that seems to be the way that everything that is really brutal and traumatic starts--with the banality of not being able to see evil until the evil gets so big it's impossible to miss seeing it. And then a big flood happens. God's hands in the mix.====JACK:  Given enough time, Love wins!  I believe that book was written by Rob Bell.  Another book of his that I recommend is, "What We Talk About When We Talk About God."  Good and evil are in the eye of the beholder.  God knows!  Maybe that's why sometimes he's pictured as a gigantic eye.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  where have you been for nearly eight years? that is ALL that has been talked about!  where did the confederate flag go, overnight? if anyone disagrees w/obama they are racist. the police are racist. christians are homophobes. gender equality... blah, blah, blah... while our country is in the worst shape ever.  more importantly, why don't muslim countries help their own? ====JACK:  "Us" in the WW comment is meant to be you...and me.====LIZ:  i speak out every day against injustice via my fb page/blog. injustice such as black lives matter thinking they can shut down the mall of america w/their racial hatred. injustice such as thai slaves held captive to peel shrimp sold in US supermarkets. injustice such as jobs going overseas bc other countries have slave labor /which we can't compete.  sooo ... pls don't lecture me.====JACK:  I didn't mean it to be a lecture.  If indeed it was a lecture, it would be a lecture to myself, because I find that I am not speaking out enough about the injustices that are going on around the ones you described, and more.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Amen!   You raise a wonderful, thought provoking question.====JACK:  It seems to have been a "provoking" WWs today with far more blog responses than usual.  Use the word, Muslim, and you will usually get attention.  One of the kindest persons I know is an Islamic
Imam.  Yes, there are bad Muslims, but there are some Christians who are an embarrassment, too.

FROM FLYIN' CHUCK:  If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..... Rush (the band). Not Limbaugh!!====JACK:  One of the great gifts of God is Free-Will....which means that we are responsible for the choices we make.  I YouTubed Rush to hear "your" music.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  A life taken too soon, when you consider the impact he could have had on the post war world; We  definitely need the Bonhoeffer's of the world who will lead in speaking out, and lay life on the line in so doing. His  influence on the world remains extensive, even post-death. Thank goodness he did write things down!  I was told by a fellow (Muslim) teacher that most American Muslims have relatives in the "old" country, and they fear retaliation  on them, if they openly criticize the fanatic Muslims,  and become a known name to Isis or  earlier fanatical sects.  They are known to be ruthless in tracking enemies down. As the person in your blog pointed out, too, Muslims speaking out against Muslims, doesn't garner news time, although our Springfield Muslims just had a big gathering, inviting non-Muslims to join them, and get to know your Muslim neighbors, and it seemed to be a success...with hundreds participating. The newspaper here gave it full page cover.====JACK:  The possible retaliation against Muslim relatives could be a justification for not speaking out openly.  If the shoe were on the other foot (our foot), I think that we might be careful with what we were to say.  Every problem does not  necessarily have black or white answers.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Your daily thought is very helpful.====JACK:  When the preacher preaches, he/she tries to make the words helpful.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  That does not surprise me.  Hard questions are seldom completely answered.  I am not a big reader and should read more about such hard questions.  Thank you for what you have provided.  I am certainly not as politically correct as I should be.  Personally, I think our world has become so politically correct, many, if not most, are afraid to confront others with unpleasant truths.  However, I remain troubled by the silence of the Muslim masses, particularly the Islamic clergy as a whole, and of our political and religious leaders as well for the same reason, as well as the other excellent reasons you mentioned earlier today.  My fundamental problem with religion in general is that in practice, it historically becomes exclusive, rather than inclusive as the “golden rule” would have it.  That same intolerance and exclusiveness is at least one of the driving forces behind the radical Islamic extremists.  With that heavy comment on the deafening silence, I turn to the season and again wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Thank you for continuing to be a very important moral compass in my life.====JACK:  There's not enough face to face contact and discussion these days.  Too often the discussion is between people hiding behind computer-generated words.  The next time I see him, I'm going to ask my Imam friend that question you have raised.  Stay tuned!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/21/15
“You can never do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”  (Emerson)  Do you remember Captain Hindsight, from TV’s South Park?  He always came up with the solution after the problem situation had occurred.  He was a genius.  How many times have we said, “I coulda, woulda, shoulda?”  There’s a letter to be written, a call to  be made, a job to be done, a thank-you to be said…before it’s too late     ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "Today is the day . . . "====JACK:  Robert Schuller would often begin his telecasts by quoting Psalm 118:24, "This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it."  It's an awesome responsibility to realize that, each day, we are using the Lord's day.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Really Jack, quoting South Park, I Love that, made me smile this morning, thank you====JACK:  Sometimes listening to South Park is like listening to a sermon (with a few beeps).

FROM A SPARTAN IN WISCONSIN:  Thank you for this reminder! I am way overdue to tell you how much I enjoy your Winning Words every morning. And I am still thrilled to have re-connected with you in this "modern" fashion all the way from Wisconsin!====JACK:  Even more amazing to me is the way the connection happened...a chance meeting of two of my friends who did not know of each other's connection with me.  A hymn begins, "God moves in a mysterious way his wonders to perform."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'm not familiar with South park, but Debbie Macomber, the author, hit upon a truth when  she said, "If you love, you get love back, and  that's just a simple basic truth. If you are loved, it's because you love. It's like a mirror. We get back what we give out". There are probably always exceptions, but that seems to be true in the majority of situations . kindness is always appreciated!====JACK:  My grandchildren like SP's humor.  I check in on it occasionally.  You ought to YouTube it so you can tune in to another generation's humor.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Never saw South Park.  But I definitely believe this statement.  It's always better to do it today when it comes to apologies, thank you's, and I live you's!====JACK:  South Park would not be your cup of tea.  But, you can find good in some unlikely places.

FROM DB IN MICHIGAN:  You're so right!====JACK:  "Too late!" can be some really sad words.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jack’s Winning words 12/18/15
“Man loves company, even if it is only that of a small burning candle.”  (Georg  Lichtenberg)  We tend to associate candles with festive occasions…birthdays, special dinners, church services.  But the illumination of a single flickering candle has a way of touching the soul, of creating a religious experience.  The ancient monks would create candles made out of beeswax as a tie with nature and for the aroma.  What special candles do you remember in your life?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The Paschal Candle is a powerful reminder.====JACK:  I think that we could do a better job explaining the meaning of the Paschal Candle.  I wonder what percentage of church members know the meaning of the word, Paschal?  Probably in the single digits.

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  I especially remember the candle-lined aisle from our December wedding at St. Paul's; we also still have the candle from the girls' baptisms. But the one I remember most is one during Silent Night at HSLC, and the boy in the children's choir (sitting in front of us) burning his sister's hair with it.......====JACK:  As much as I like the Christmas Eve candlelight service, I am ready to let it go in favor of small LED flashlights.  Since working with the Fire Dept, I am more and more aware of the danger of burning candles, especially when held by people in mass gatherings.  The thought of a little girl's hair going up in flames is one too many accidents for me.  The wedding unity candle is another accident waiting to happen.  Who says old people can't change?

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words for today, Jack.  have a restful weekend.====JACK:  I'll have to hunt up a candle for that restful weekend.

FROM TARMART REV:  There is One that Lights up the World that has fascinated me for well over 60 years now . . . especially here at the Christmas Advent season!!====JACK:  This "POP" song seems to fit.  "So many nights  I'd sit by my window,  Waiting for someone  To sing me his song.
So many dreams  I've kept deep inside me.  Alone in the dark  But now you've come along.
(Chorus):  And you  Light up my life.  You give me hope  To carry on."

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ;  never thought of a candle as company, but, strangely, it is true. i light one every night when i get home from work... soothing!====JACK:  If you were to give your candle a name, what would it be?====LIZ:  i have a candle collection. i alternate.  have you tried the candles w/wood wicks? they crackle like a fireplace. only one w/a name is my st jude candle. i buy my supply at the mexican walgreens. feliz navidad.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Advent Candles were always very significant to me, especially when I was young!  There was something so intriguing about the candles.  I felt Mary and Joseph were getting closer to the manger with every candle lit.   Today it's those candles and the ones I light every time my family has meals together.  The young ones expect a candle if they are eating breakfast, a snack or a big meal.  Then each one gets to blow out the candle.  That's very special to my heart. ====JACK:  I guess that in biblical days most of the light came from candles, or oil lamps.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  LOL - I remember the birthday cake candles that keep re-lighting for a children's message on Pentecost that my pastor, Ed Brown, used over 30 years ago.  I have since used that same way to tell children that, though many tried to "blow out" the Church, it never worked because the Holy Spirit has kept the faith alive.  And, of course, we always celebrated by eating the cake.  Shalom!====JACK:  Birthday cake candles are always fun...along with the wish.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I hope you are not offended by my taking away from your very meaningful message, but as you know I do the radio show  & seminars titled: BRIGHT SIDE OF AGING & try to add humor to people's lives.  On that theme I have an "Ikeism" which I adopted  which says: "You know you're getting older when the candles on your birthday cake cost more than the cake."====JACK:  No offence...quite the contrary.  Some older people do have a humor-ous bone, besides the one in their arm.  One old person to another: "There's no way I could fit that many candles on my cake, so I just set the cake on fire."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/17/15
“You know that Nativity play we all put on at Christmastime?  Yeah, that’s about a Middle Eastern couple desperately seeking refuge.”  (LexiAlex)  The life of Jesus is God’s decision to become human, so that we could see that God knows what it is to be human.  Jesus (God) said, “Inasmuch as you’ve done it to the least of these (the sick, the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, the homeless), you’ve done it unto me.”  Those are the words of Christmas, too.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Psh wow. So true!  Well done.====JACK:  Care for those in need is a "humanitarian" responsibility!

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Actually, I think, the Moses story bears a closer relationship to the present situation.....fleeing oppression, desert wandering, coming in droves, of a different breed.....something to be learned there.====JACK:  Agreed, but at this time of the year, I think that people need to be reminded that the Bethlehem story has relevance in today's world.

FROM JB IN OLV:  Perfect!====JACK:  So many opportunities to "do it unto me," as Jesus said.

FROM TARMART REV:  . . . they eventually killed that couples' Son, if I remember correctly . . . they came fulfilling God's Master Plan, as I believe our current refugees acquiring shelter are doing the same, the vast majority being no problem at all at the present . . . interestingly for me anyway, is to note that out of all the world's religions, the Christian and Muslim faiths are front and center at the present time. If the majority of both were not so passive about their Written Documents of faith, but became radical to read, implement and carry out its direction and model for implementation, as the fewer are doing now in both camps-- What a Armageddon it could possibly be!? Stayed tuned!! ====JACK:  Yes, it would be radical if those call themselves "Christian" would love as Jesus calls them to love.  It would make BOLD print!====REV:  I would like to think of the true Christians being like those Germans that secretly housed those Jews the politically correct religious Christians of Germany wouldn't have anything to do with...I have those Muslim here in Willmar who would be very welcomed in my home...hard to fight the institutional churches and governments, as your good friend Martin found out and as many others theologians did as well.  My notice throughout the Scriptures is that the God-fearing Jews and later the Christians seemed to be operating and walking out there faith through supressive situations, with the exception of America the first 200+ years...we might be seeing the last of that era coming to an end as the trend is currently moving away from being deemed a Christian nation and I most likely will not experience this as others will down the road. The best is yet to come for you and Me in the not-too-distant future. Been a nice ride though here in America over my lifetime.  Christians don't seem to fare as well in the Muslim countries in the Middle East...but would hopefully think there would be some Muslims that would do the same there, if called upon to do so.====JACK:  What is a Christian nation?
FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  touche'  That surely is appropriate at this time.  Always good to read your Winning Words.  Thank you.====JACK:  "Most of the time" our focus is on seeing the Christmas story as a long ago event and trying to recreate it.  I like it when today's news makes it an "AHA!" event.

FROM DR J:  LOVE LOVE LOVE this one!====JACK:  There's a Christmas carol, "Love Came Down at Christmas."  It was written by Christina Rossetti.  Her works are favorites of mine.
Love came down at Christmas,  Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,  Star and angels gave the sign.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  What's always impressive to me about the Christmas story is the guidance by angels and dreams and a star and so forth throughout. I wonder what would happen in our contemporary time if we could truly believe that people are being guided like back then. If we are able to believe that God has His reasons and He is guiding people we do not know yet but to "get on the train of history, it is necessary to take a risk. Love sure but risking on the future even when love doesn't feel so concrete now for the strangers who are coming to our land" just like back in the day. ====JACK:  There are some who believe that the Spirit of God actually guided the hands of the Gospel writers.  Without denying that (because I actually don't know), I believe that the Spirit of God is able to connect with our spirit, so that the mind of God can be an influence upon us.  I like the hymn, "Guide me, O, Thou Great Jehovah...."

FROM A CHALDEAN FRIEND:  Amen.====JACK:  Were you once considered to be a refugee?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  What do you think about the “zombie nativity” in Ohio?  I’ve not read interviews with the family who has it on the lawn but it’s created quite a stir.  Some people really like zombies.  It might not be as disrespectful as folks think – are there always two sides?  Your sister gave me my favorite nativity which depicts small school children doing the Christmas story.  I think it’s lovely and meaningful.  In Mexico they go crazy with the nativity scene…life size, in sand on the beach and in every nook and cranny of the hotels inside and out.  Again, I think the various depictions of different races or social statuses show more that the story is for us all….====JACK:  I remember when a "black" congregation moved into a church that a "white" congregation had left.  In front of the church was a picture of Jesus.  One of the first things they did was repaint Jesus' face to resemble that of an African-American.  Anything wrong with that?  I might have a problem with painting Jesus as a zombie, but....====BB:  I had all of the beautiful Jesus pictures in our home as a child; a lot of good Shepard back in the day.  Now I think if he came in lowly form he might’ve been homely rather than fair…it does not matter.  What’s inside is what counts!  I like that the African American’s made the church feel like home.====JACK:  "Reality" is the theme of today's world, so Jesus is now pictured to look like a Middle-Eastern man, bearded and swarthy.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Our Bible Study for the past weeks has been studying Islam.  I've learned a lot.  It is the program developed by LSS.  We have a large Somalian Community in St Cloud. And there are times I would prefer they become "more like us".  Some of their customs are difficult to appreciate.  I am glad to be involved in the Bible Study.====JACK:  I like Bible studies that connect the words of the Bible with what's going on in the world around us.  In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in today's world the good neighbor could be a Somali.  Picture that!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  AHA! THE RELAVENCE OF THE CHRISTMAS STORY TODAY. AND WHO WILL HAVE ROOM IN THE INN ??!!  IT IS CERTAINLY A PRESSING (ALMOST INSURMOUNTABLE) PROBLEM WORLDWIDE! BUT AS YOU SAID EARLIER, THOSE WHO CARE WILL FIND A WAY, AND THOSE WHO DON'T WILL FIND AN EXCUSE. AS CHRISTIANS, WE SHOULD CARE!====JACK:  It's interesting that some of the politicians who are trying to curry favor with evangelicals are speaking in terms that run counter to what "evangelical" is supposed to stand for.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  it's about taxes, actually.====JACK: it says...or a census on which taxes were based.  The fact remains that Joseph and Mary were turned away and had to find a "make-do" shelter.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The spirit of Christmas is alive and well around here, thank goodness.====JACK:  In what way?

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/16/15
“Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms.”  (Alyssa Knight – Age 12)  Storm chasing is a job that I wouldn’t want to have.  When someone goes asking for trouble, that’s usually what they’ll find.  It’s that way with the choices we make in this life.  I like the old song, “I’m always chasing rainbows.”  Rainbows are supposed to bring good luck, but more important than that, in the Bible the rainbow is a sign that storms do end, and that God rewards faithfulness.    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Besides...getting that Pot of Gold ain't bad!====JACK:  "Pot of Gold" means different things to different people.  What does it mean to you?

FROM LS:  Is your cup half empty or half full.   I Like to Think     HALF FULL   (Not easy sometimes)====JACK:  A positive attitude usually needs some affirmation.

FROM DC IN KANSAS:  Is my thinking not normal?  But the rainbow for me is a symbol of forgiveness.  God said, "Try it over again.  They deserved punishment, but I'll not slap them down, drown them out because they sinned.  Hope.  start over.  God wants you to live."====JACK:  I was looking at the rainbow from the deck of the ark.  The ark itself and the end of the storm were a kind of "reward" for Noah's faithfulness.

FROM BLAZING OAKS: Not long ago Oprah said, "Be a rainbow today, in somebody's cloud" (or close to that). We can brighten others' stormy days with our bit of "rainbow"...I love the song "I'm always chasing rainbows" but the singer is always looking for a happy ending, which eludes her /him ! "Somewhere over the Rainbow" is more positive. And the Muppets, "Sing a Rainbow" is a clever children's song my kids enjoyed!====JACK: I remember hearing that "Somewhere over the rainbow" was sung at a funeral. I used the chasing rainbows" because of the connection with chasing storms.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: Our 6 year old granddaughter Alyssa lives rainbows. Her room is decorated with rainbows and crosses. God has left us with a wonderful promise in the rainbow.====JACK: The study of physics, which explains how rainbows are caused, can open more of the wonders of God's creation.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/15/15
“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do.”  (Pharrell Williams)  A children’s song says, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”  The Pharrell video of his HAPPY song shows young and old people (even a church choir) doing all kinds of movements to express their happiness.  I “feel happy” each time I see the video.  The world needs more happy people.  Pharrell’s song does it for some.   ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  catchy tune... now i'm singing it in my head!====JACK:  It sort of grows on you.  I find myself going back...and back to the video.

FROM DR J:  I feel Happy!====JACK:  Think of the feeling words that rhyme with happy.  I feel...sappy, crappy, scrappy, snappy.  Happy's the best feeling.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...always want to be found having a song in my seems to move along more so in rhythm than without it...====JACK:  "Oh, we ain't got a barrel of money  Maybe we're ragged and funny  But we'll travel along  Singing a song, side by side."====REV:  Love it!! Reminds me of the old Hit Parade telecast on Saturday evenings as a child.

FROM DB IN MICHIGAN:  If you love the song Happy, then please go to You Tube, and look up "triplets dancing to Happy". Its three babies in their crib looking out, the music plays softly, and they jump a little, one tries to speak or sing (baby talk), its so sweet. I watch that when I need to smile and laugh!  Enjoy!====JACK:  I've gotta check it out....tomorrow.  YouTube is great!

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Edie Gorme has a great version of this.
You need hands to hold someone you care for
You need hands to show that you're sincere
When you feel nobody wants to know you
You need hands to brush away the tears
When you hold a brand new baby
You need tender hands to guide them on their way
You need hands to thank the Lord for living
And for giving us this day
You need hands to show the world you're happy
And you need hands when you have to stop the bus
But the hands we love so dear are the hands we love to hear
Are the hands that you give to us
Everybody, are the hands that you give
Everybody, that's nice, thank you,
Thank you ladies and gentlemen, thank you
====JACK:  It was a top Hit in 1958 for Edie.  What were you doing with your hands then?====CHESTER:  Shaking hands with prospects as part of my new job as an Account Executive at an ad agency.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  With the chaotic state of our world, we need to focus on "happier" things to lift us up! A thought in the little book "Filled with Joy" points out that if we wait on major holidays, or birthdays, or accomplishments, to celebrate, we miss opportunities to rejoice everyday. Each day holds promise, possibilities, and surprises, so like the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland" we should have "a very merry unbirthday" 364 days a year!! Let's do it!====JACK:  One of the letters that St. Paul wrote while he was in prison began:  "Rejoice in the Lord always!  Again, I say, Rejoice!"  At times, we find ourselves in various kinds of prisons.  Our faith allows us to Rejoice!  Amazing!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  "Clap your hands and sing to the Lord, Halleu Halleu Hallelujah
 Hallelujah Hallelujah Halleujah Amen
That's one of the first songs my little ones learned.  They usually only get the clapping at first, but they pick up the song very quickly.  It's simple but a wonderful beginning of faith in song.
====JACK:  I'm ever thankful for being taught in Sunday School the songs that I can remember and sing today.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/14/15
“There are times when my greatest accomplishment is keeping my mouth shut.”  (M.R.’s Facebook)   I came across a list of Southern sayings.  “Well, shut my mouth,” is on the list, along with “Dills my pickle” and “Eyeballs are floating.”  Colorful language often gets the point across better the proper English.  I think it was Swedish, but when my uncle would say, “Tyst med du”, I knew that I should shut up.  Do you remember any expressions from your childhood?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:   Det ar sa smutzy!====JACK:  Maybe it was said when you came in from your garden..."You are so dirty!"====JOHN:  My mother would hug me when I came in all dirty.    I now consider that an ultimate act of love.====JACK:  "Though your sins be as (dirty as dirt) they shall be as white as snow."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Mom used to say, half in jest, "Knocka nocka inta beta!" That is how it sounded. I think it was Swedish. It meant for me to shut up.====JACK:  However it sounded, you knew what it meant, didn't you?

FROM TARMART REV:  "Your father will speak  to this when he gets home!?" 0;-/====JACK:  So, your dad was the enforcer at your house!====REV:  "...when he was home (a traveling salesman)...====JACK:  In a sense, his son turned out to be a traveling salesman, too.

FROM BD IN MICHIGAN:  expression:  "zip-it"  (shut your mouth).  It would be fun to see the replies that other people send back. I'm sure that certain sayings were popular during specific decades. Fun memory lane reunion.====JACK:  I like "zip it!"  You can read the responses (including your own) by accessing the blog.  Click this link to see my blog

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  KEEP YOUR TRAP SHUT!====JACK:  My parents didn't like it when I said to my sister..."SHUT UP!"  We're nicer to each other, now.====CHESTER:  "Silence is golden. Let's get rich." (Fanning) 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  If you can't say something nice don't talk at all...You aren't totally useless you can always serve as a bad example (which would always make us laugh)...Put the bat away, the horse is dead (quit beating a horse)...Get up you guys, it's daylight in the swamp...Go play in the traffic...And of course, there are tons more but I can't remember any of them right now! ====JACK:  In today's world your parents might be reported to Child Protective Services, especially for "Go play in the traffic."  Of course in those days and where you lived, the traffic might be a horse. 

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  The classic " Children should be seen and not heard."====JACK:  I can't imagine that those words would have worked with you.

FROM DS IN SAN DIEGO:  It makes me laugh, Jack, when I think of the times I wish I had kept my mouth shut. Sometimes the brain doesn't work fast enough for my mouth.====JACK:  I seem to remember that a character in Li'l Abner would say, "Wwll shut my mawf."  

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "Remember it doesn't cost anything to be kind"; "If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember what you said..."' Keep your words sweet, you may have to eat them"; "Ve grow too soon alt, und too late shmart"..."Enough! Button it up!" "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", and so much more...:-)  Just read a comment 'Some people should use a glue stick on their lips, instead of chap stick"...!====JACK:  "Button it up!"  I like it.  Who needed more of a reprimand, you or your twin?  FYI....Jack’s Winning Words  10/20/15   “Some people should use a glue stick instead of Chapstick.”  (Pinterest)

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It has been too long  ago, Jack. I just remember having lots of fun.====JACK:  Do you remember how the Beach Boys sang....Fun, Fun, Fun?  "And we'll have fun fun fun now that daddy took the T-Bird away."

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that topic my favorite "Ikeism" is:  "Silence can sometimes be misunderstood,but it can never be misquoted."====JACK:  You and your Ikeisms....You're like Jimmy Durante when he said about his corny jokes..."I gotta million of 'em."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/10/15
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”  (Arnold Glasow)  One of the poignant stories out the recent San Bernardino shootings concerned a man who died while protecting a co-worker with his body.  There’s a Bible verse: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”  Someone I know still talks about a mutual friend who saved her life.  We never forget those who help us when we need it.    ;-)  Jack

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/9/15
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”  (Charles Darwin)  It seems as though we are in a survival mode these days…terrorism…climate change…sharp political contrasts.  Scientist Darwin predicts that we are going to have to adapt to what’s going on around us, if civilization is to survive.  There’s a saying that “Crisis provides danger and/or opportunity.”  What future do you see?   ;-)  Jack

FROM A WOLVERINE IN OHIO:  Good morning, Jack! Thank you again for maintaining this great tradition of WINNING WORDS!====JACK:  WWs gives me a chance to reflect what's on my mind.

FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  The end times ?????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????????     Christ returning !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ====JACK:  Apocalypse Now...or Later...Inevitable!

FROM TARMART REV:  Heavenly!!====JACK:  "This world is not my home; I'm justa passin' through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue."  Do you know that song? ====REV:  Heard it a few times, sung in southern gospel four-part harmony!!====JACK:  You must have been a fan of Hee Haw?====REV:  Watched it a few times, yes sir, I did!!====JACK:  Somehow, I'm not surprised.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  The Chinese symbol for crisis is made of two symbols:  danger + opportunity.====JACK:  Is that "quote" in your book?

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  One of the finalists for the CNN Hero of the Year, Dr. Jim Withers in Pittsburgh, said he does what he does (going into the streets to treat the homeless) as much for him as it is for the patients.  He said (and I'm paraphrasing)..."We have lost our identity as people when we can't see the needs of others and do something about it."   I doubt Donald Trump would agree, but I think Jesus would.  Adaptation, in my mind, includes putting the needs of the many above that of the few, or the one , i.e. we need to help those in need.   There have always been militants, extremists and those that take advantage of the poor.  Ultimately, love needs to conquer hate (and greed). ====JACK:  This world can use more heroes like Dr. Withers.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH;  I just listened to an interesting TED radio hour on adaptation. It's a must. We will, somehow, adapt ... Eventually ... ====JACK:  "If not now, when?" is a quote from the famous Jewish leader, Hillel, who lived in the century before Jesus.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  You have to be strong to adapt which is so much different than evolving.====JACK:  Darwin seems to be saying that in order to have the time to evolve, you have to adapt.

FROM PZ AT WBSD:  Certainly a timely message, and very insightful. Glad you sent, and I hope your listserve reflects on it.====JACK:  Robert Frost wrote that by taking the road less traveled, it  can "make all the difference."  Why are we so reluctant to try new ways?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Adapt to change or change the change.====JACK:  "Be the change you wish to see in the world."----Gandhi

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/8/15
“If it is important to you, you will find a way.  If it is not, you will find an excuse.”  (Kermit the Frog)  Kermit wrote a book, A Frog’s Eye View of Life’s Greatest Lessons.  “It’s a book about ridiculous optimism,” says a reviewer. It explores…Falling in love…Why bad things happen to everyone.  Jim Henson, Kermit’s creator, was a talented individual who was able to put good ideas into the mouths of puppets.  Which Henson puppet is your favorite?    ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I was always a Kermit fan. But I loved all the Henson creations.... Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, etc. I remember Jim Henson's death as a significant life event in my childhood.  Today's WW quote is a restatement of one that irks me. Maybe because I know it's true but have trouble ranking the barrage of "important" things and inevitably something isn't done. (Is this me making excuses?) maybe it's that I feel the saying is accusatory by stating "you didn't make time so obviously it/I am not important." But, next time I hear it or see it, I'll try to think of Kermit saying so. It's hard to be irked by Kermit.====JACK:  Only God is omnipotent.  The rest of us have to learn to prioritize.====LBP:  Sometimes I feel it is a steep learning curve...

FROM TARMART REV:  ... never much of a fan of any of them...Kermit made the headlines more often as Miss Piggy, they both made me smile on occasion.====JACK:  Could it be that you relate most closely to the Cookie Monster?

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  kermit for sure. " it's not easy being green", but he is always true to himself and so optimistic.  love that frog!====JACK:  He seems like the wise one...perhaps the alter-ego of his creator.

FROM SMOKEY STOVER:  I have a fondness for Cookie Monster. Prefer oatmeal over chocolate chip, but most favorite is frosted sugar Christmas cookies. Mother in laws recipe handed down from her great aunt.====JACK:  To encourage children to eat healthful foods, the Cookie Monster now says that he likes fruits and eggplant.  I don't think that the name, Eggplant Monster, will catch on.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  The Swedish  Chef. Only Muppet character without a name. Can't understand a word he says but every time he talks, it's funny. Sometimes silliness is the best cure. Second is Animal, the drummer. Probably the most expressive face on the show.00000 ====JACK:  I like the two old coots, Waldorf and Statler.  The Swedish Chef would be next.  Danny Kaye, in one episode, gave him the name, Tim.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  So true, and well-said! The muppets had such good lessons for toddlers and preschool, that teenagers and adults could also learn from! Have never forgotten Kermit the Frog singing , "It's not Easy Being Green". what a creative team on that show! Jim Henson died far too young...!====JACK:  In 2011, Christianity Today published an article, The Gospel According to Jim Henson.  You can read it online.====OAKS:  Thanks...I made a note to do that when time allows, (Working on final script of Christmas program I'm giving for the Garden 'club Thursday...THE BASKET BRIGADE CHRISTMAS, which I will present wearing a Civil war dress and bonnet, hoops and all!

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Definitely  Miss Piggy!====JACK: Miss Piggy quote:  "Moi has always possessed a charm that is lethal to men."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Kermit has some very wise words!  My favorite characters are the two old men and the scientist!====JACK:  Do you mean, Sid the Science Kid?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Cannot STAND Miss Piggy! I think they modeled Hot Lips on Mash after her.====JACK:  I thought that you were a fan of "Hot Lips!"

FROM KF IN MICHIGAN:  Kermit, of course!  Did you know the original Kermit was made from Jim Henson's mother's bathrobe ?  My favorite Christmas movie is "A Muppet's Christmas Carol"! ====JACK:  After a Sunday School Christmas Program, I called on an elderly lady who had been there.  She said, "My grandson was one of the wise men.  I was surprised to see that he was wearing my bathrobe."

Monday, December 07, 2015

Jack’s Winning words 12/7/15
“Everyone joins a band in this life.  Only some of them play music.”  (Mitch Albom – The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto)  I really like Mitch’s new book.  It says that we all belong to many groups (bands) in this lifetime.  Start with the family…What others that have influenced you?  Our Winning Words Band is one that’s important to me.  But, there are so many more.  Jake and Elwood saw “the band” as a mission from God.  Bands can be like that.    :-)  Jack  

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Your WW are an important band to me too. The Blues Brothers movie was wonderful, in my opinion. One year we watched it in our Monday night movie Bible study at Emmanuel and it generated great discussion and sharing.====JACK:  Showing "The Blues Brothers" at a Bible study?  I like it, because it does have a :biblical" message.  We indeed are on a Mission from God.  What is it?  And, how can we accomplish it?

FROM TARMART REV:  Reminded of the Salvation Army Band--====JACK:  I always look for them in the annual New Year's Day Rose Parade.  They're a good message.

FROM YOOPER BOB:  Thanks!    My top four bands are:   family,  evangelism,  community development and historic and cultural preservation.====JACK:  Do they have bands in the African places where you work?  If so, what kinds?====BOB:  Alleluia, Yes.    They range from hollow tree branches, to animal skins stretched across a barrel, to metal drums, to numerous guitars,  to native instruments of which I do not know the name.  Band music normally includes swaying of your body,  shuffling of your feet  and in weddings or other parties  real dancing.  If it is simply band music, not vocal, hand clapping usually accompanies the beat.   It is a fun and lively culture to be in. ====JACK:  Then, I guess you can add the Africans to your list of bands.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  Good morning.  Mitch Albom is a special writer.  I was going to pick up the book at Costco the other day but didn't.  I will now.====JACK:  For me, it was one of the books that I could hardly put down.

FROM SB IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you for your “Winning Words.” I’m a Mitch Albom fan, too, and look forward to reading his latest book.====JACK:  Maybe Santa Claus will bring you a copy.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We are in numerous bands.  Some we are drum majors, some we play instruments and some we are conductors.====JACK:  Who's the drum major in your house?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Certainly the band of family, the band of good health care we all are blessed to have access to, band of friends, band of work to do, and recreation  to enjoy, and yes, good books, enrich our lives immeasurably!! I've read all of Mitch Albom's, and look forward to this one! Your WW are a treaseured daily band!!====JACK:  In Sunday School, when I was a child, there was a separate time when we would come together (maybe on a Saturday) to learn about missionaries.  The group was called the Junior Mission Band.  Try doing that today!

FROM ANNE IN WATERFORD:  Certainly, the senior groups.  They gave me so much. ====JACK:  Did the Mature Minglers ever have an actual musical band?  I remember that they loved to dance, especially Betty P.

Friday, December 04, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/4/15
“It is a common experience that a problem, difficult at night, is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”  (John Steinbeck)  I’ve read that the brain does not sleep when we sleep.  “It keeps on ticking,” making decisions, filing memories, connecting ideas, storing information…and processing unresolved thoughts.  Taking the time to “sleep on it” works.  At least it does for me.  “Ah, sweet mystery of life!”  The brain is but one.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Does  Donald Trump's brain work at night?    If so, is it still deceitful? ====JACK:  In a remake of the Wizard of Oz, they're looking for someone to play the Scarecrow.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  This is true this morning and most mornings for me...====JACK:  A couple of nights ago my brain woke me up at 2 am with an idea for Winning Words.  It kept on pestering me until I had to get up and enter into the computer.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Plus it keeps our heart and other body parts functioning…no wonder some mornings we feel tired when we wake up.====JACK:  It's this body of ours works.

FROM THE FOOD PANTRY GUY:  This happens to me all the time when I'm working out pantry procedures and figuring what I should be doing next.====JACK:  Before there were computers, there was the brain.  God knew what he was doing when he thought up that organ.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Have you ever experienced this amount of civil anxiety? My measuring stick???...Trump proposes some horrific actions and his poll numbers go up. This isn't a joke anymore! This latest shooting is scaring more people than any of the previous ones.  When people get frightened to this degree, horrible things can happen.  Just some thoughts.====JACK:  What goes around comes around.  I'm sure that there was civil anxiety prior-during-after the Civil War.  In a sense, the divide still exists in a muted way.  But I know the point that you are making.  I've lived long enough to have seen anxieties come and go.  What calms me is a belief in a G-d who creates, who cares and who ultimately judges.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:    How ironic!  I had a rough night because my mind wouldn't shut off.
  When our sleep is peaceful, our day is so much better but just to awake up is a blessing!====JACK:  Do you remember the song...."When I'm worried and I can't sleep  I count my blessings instead of sheep  And I fall asleep counting my blessings."?

FROM TARMART REV:  ...sometimes in the middle of the night it awakens my senses in a dream, puts a smile on my face and is kept there as a secret for eternity, because for the life of me I cannot remember it the next day!!====JACK:  Sometimes babies smile when they're passing gas.  Maybe you're sleeping like a baby.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  also, the brain is cleansing itself of certain toxins when we sleep.  a big Time Mag. article last year postulates that lack of sleep may be one cause of dementia in later life because the brain has not been able to get rid of enough of these toxins over time.  but yes, sleep helps lots of issues and even problems.====JACK:  When it comes to getting rid of toxins, some brains have to work harder than others.  That's a reason to try to keep a clean mind.

FROM PD CHAP:  How true…made me think of the movie Inside Out…which if you haven’t seen it, is worth the time.====JACK:  Wouldn't it be interesting if we could manipulate the emotions in the mind, or would that we another instance of "playing God"?  I read of the movie, but didn't see it.

FROM THE CHALDEAN:  My kids hated when my reply to their "unique" requests is:  Let me sleep on it.====JACK:  I think that God sometimes answers our prayers in that way..."Let me sleep on it."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz====JACK:  I've heard that there is such a thing as "brain dead."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I am glad that we all have brains.  By the way, did you stay awake for the end of the Lions and Packers game last night?  Probably a lot of people had trouble sleeping last night.====JACK:  My brain told me to go to bed and miss the 2nd half of that game.  I've learned to trust my least, as far as favorite football teams are concerned.

FROM WATERFORD ANNE:  I often wake up with answers.  Sometimes to issues I had not pondered.====JACK:  God has various ways to communicate with us.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Jack’s Winning words 12/3/15
“Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by evil.   Take the offensive.  Overcome evil with good.”  (The Bible)  I’ve been struck by the fact that so many mass shootings have happened at places where people were trying to help people…the disabled, planned parenthood, churches, schools.  The response to terror, whatever that terror might be, is to overcome it with good   The Twin Towers were replaced with a building, even taller.  If “helping places” are targeted, let’s  take the offensive and be determined to make a stronger effort to be “do-gooders.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TL IN MICHIGAN:  Jack, thank you for your message to my heart and mind...encouragement that we need.  You are a true Shepherd  Thank you for being there with the dawn of each NEW day. ====JACK:  First, I write for myself, thinking that what's on my mind might also be on the mind of others.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Let's start putting good up front in the news====JACK:  I recently listened to a talk by the head of one of our local TV stations.  She addressed  the same issue that you raised.  In the "business" world you lead with what the public wants.  They get what they want...sad to say.

FROM BM:  Amen! We must overcome evil with good. Thank you for these appropriate & timely words.====JACK:  The do-gooders have their work cut out for them.  Paul encourages the Galatians (and us)..."Don't become weary in well-doing."

FROM CHESTER THE GOD:  Thanks. I needed that.====JACK:  Sometimes Winning Words can be more refreshing than Mennen's Skin Bracer.  Did you know that Mennen was the middle name of a Michigan Governor...G. Mennen (Soapy) Williams?

FROM TARMART REV:  That would certainly be a welcomed trend nationally in regards to our news media --giving more coverage on those organization's working hard to improve instead of complain. America does have a lot good going for it that never gets reported on all fronts. ====JACK:  We've been taught to not "toot our horn."  Therefore, it's left to someone else to find the good that's being done (like in Willmar) and tell about it.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  It's hard even to think of a reply to this one.  Perhaps the only reply for me is, "You are so right!"====JACK:  Here's a quote that I've intended to use sometime...except I think that only a few oldsters would understand it.  "Today's headlines are tomorrow's pantry shelf liners."

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Enjoyed your positive thoughts this morning.  I thought the announcement of the Zuckerberg donation to charity yesterday nicely offset the bad news.  Ugh.====JACK:  There are good stories out there.  A pastor friend of mine receives (each year) a large sum of money from an anonymous donor.  The simple instruction is this:  "Divide the sum into smaller amounts and give the gifts to people you think can use the money."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  There doesn't seem to be an effective defense against these "deranged" people who are willing to die to achieve their vendettas. What is puzzling is why there are seemingly so many of them who feel life as they see it is not worth living, and angrily vow to take others out with them...Life everywhere has become more violent and guns are readily available. All we can do is pray, and work for good in our little corner of the world! We can't fathom the mentality of a woman who would leave her own daughter with a relative, and go out to shoot innocent victims!!  We are  told  our God can....====JACK:  I've read that some people are turning away from religion and a God who would allow atrocities to happen.  Yes, these are sad times.  I find some solace in this chorus of an old country hymn...  "Farther along we’ll know more about it,  Farther along we’ll understand why;  Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,  We’ll understand it all by and by." ========OAKS:  YES, MY OWN GRANDKIDS WRESTLE WITH THAT.  I SAY MAYBE THOSE WHO ARE TAKEN SO YOUNG AND VIOLENTLY ARE IN A PLACE PREPARED FOR THEM THAT WE WOULD GLADLY GO TO, IF WE "KNEW FOR SURE" IT EXISTED. UNFORTUNATELY THERE ARE NO DETAILS  OR   DIAGRAMS WITH THE ABSOLUTE PROOF THEY WANT...IT AMOUNTS TO HAVING FAITH, AND THAT'S BECOME HARDER WITH  THE SAD STATE OF OUR WORLD!====JACK:  Time teaches us that we don't have all of the answers.  The experiences of life teach us faith and trust.  Bonhoeffer wrote about "Cheap Grace."  Many people are looking for bargains.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  a more agressive strategy is needed...====JACK:  It ain't gonna happen as long as we look for political solutions instead of those that express humanity.==== LIZ:  you are kidding, right? would kindness have prevented ww2? if a burglar came broke into your home, would you offer him/her milk & a cookie?  human nature is ugly sometimes. naivete is dangerous. ====JACK:  Take it up with Jesus.  He's the one who talked about loving your enemy and praying for him and turning the other cheek.  I hear what you're saying.  Someone said, "When I get to heaven, there are going to be a lot of questions that I have for Jesus."====LIZ:  i don't take the bible literally.====JACK:  Then, figuratively, what do you think Jesus meant?  This has been a puzzle to many.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  "The Shadow knows!"====JACK:  I'm not so sure that even the Shadow knows what evil lurks in the heart of men (and women).  But we have an omniscient God, and there will be a judgment...and, thankfully, GRACE.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The evil doers have to be confronted also.  Our generation knows that or else we would be speaking German or Japanese today.====JACK:  What do you suppose Jesus meant when he said to "turn the other cheek?"  That has baffled many people, including theologians.

FROM PT:  Excellent counsel, counselor!!!! Appreciate your encouraging words each day, Jack! You’re a blessing!!====JACK:  I got up in the middle of the night to write this substitute for what I had intended to send out.  "God works in mysterious ways!"

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/2/15
“Hard work spotlights the character of people: Some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don’t turn up at all.”  (Sam Ewing – baseball player)  A song by Meg Mac is “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” meaning—Face life head on, including the difficulties.  Things are going to be OK.  Sam Ewing began his MLB career by facing Nolan Ryan and striking out 4 times; but he didn’t give up.  In difficult times, “roll up your sleeves.”  Don’t give up!    ;-)  Jack

 FROM CG:  How perfect for today when I need volunteers for the gift wrapping party - thanks ====JACK:  Focus on the ones who do show up and be thankful for them.

FROM NORMAN IN INDIANA:  Good one Jack, there are just too few of us of us.  Too many pessimists out there, tuff deadly with them.  I guess that's why I was in the optimist club.  Is J L playing Santa this year?====JACK:  A Jewish Santa shows that the Optimists don't discriminate.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Love this quote.  We all have to grab a bat and swing away...everyday.  God is the grand stand!====JACK:  I thought that God was the umpire.

FROM EB:  I do appreciate you daily pithy sermonettes.  What a beautiful ministry to all of us.  It is getting harder to be on survival goals, right?====JACK:  I have to say that writing/sending Winning Words energizes me.  If the preacher isn't energized, the sermon will usually show it.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...have thought about giving up a couples of times in the past regarding ministry...glad now I didn't!!====JACK:  The "call"  of God is hard to ignore.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a great quote!  Pretty much covers the spectrum! It does seem that the faithful few carry the burden of volunteering  to help.  The church is no exception to that, but Scouts, Schools, Little Leagues, and Nursing Homes, etc. all cry for more leadership and volunteer help! God Bless those who "roll up their sleeves"!!====JACK:  One of my favorite parables of Jesus is the one about using your talent, instead of burying it.

FROM CB IN MICHIGAN:  .  I know you live your life in gratitude and optimism.  I'm grateful for you and for Jack's Winning Words.====JACK:  No one is "up" all the time.  That's one reason why I try to send out an encouraging word each day.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I like the phrase,  there are the workers,  the shirkers, and the jerkers (those that jerk the rug out from under the workers).  sort of the same idea.====JACK:  They can be found on both sides of the pulpit, at times.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 12/1/15
“Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Cain’s answer to God)  The Bible has a way of fitting into today’s world.  When it comes to the poor, the homeless, the refugees, the immigrants, the uninsured, those in prison…“Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Do we have a responsibility?  The words of Jesus indicate that God’s people are the ones who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick and care for those in prison.  Sometimes, it’s hard to be God-ly.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   Church people do a lot of "keeping", in my church even those living on Social Security give to help others out, and to the homeless. I don't know what some of those who depend on the church would do, if it wasn't there! Especially in Illinois, where we still have not passed a budget, and most non profits are hurting!  How fortunate we are to be able to give!  And yes, sometimes it is hard to be God-ly!====JACK:  One of my favorite Bible-persons is the widow who gave all that she had.  I have a replica of that small coin called, a mite.  It is really small, but large in my mind.====OAKS:  I BROUGHT SOME "MITE" (THEY ARE TINY!) COINS HOME FROM ISRAEL, AND SHARED WITH MY WOMEN'S CIRCLE ONCE. HAVE USED THEM IN DEVOTIONS MORE THAN ONCE!

FROM TARMART REV:  Somewhere I heard it said: "‘You shall love your neighbor (fellow man) and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous [those who are morally upright] and the unrighteous [the unrepentant, those who oppose Him]" (Matthew 5:43-48 Amplified Bible).
Over the years working with others in benevolent ways, I've learned many desiring help monetarily or in an actual deed have their own ideas what that would be or look like, often choosing the temporary over the long term solutions. Then I'm reminded of the words of the Apostle Paul, when describing his visit with the church elders in Jerusalem, as they were asking of him about his ministry. He said of them: "They asked only [one thing], that we remember the poor, the very thing I was also eager to do" (Galatians 2:10 Amplified Bible).====JACK:  I'm looking forward to hearing about the distribution of money that "someone" gives to you annually to dole out to needy people.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The words of Matt 25 need to be put on every church door in the nation ====JACK:  The trick get people to read them and to act on them.

FROM F.T. MINISTRIES:  I enjoy your winning words everyday, one of the first things I read in the morning.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Interesting that God's Minute consistently gets to me 8 - 12 minutes after your message arrives.  Do you have anything to do with that missive?====JACK: In a minute I'm going to check out that site.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:    That sentence has always fascinated me.  Are we?  In most cases, 99%, I would say yes.  But there are those cases where nothing we can do will help.  God gave everyone free will...that means to people who will never accept it nor want our help. We can and should always pray for those who need it and i don't know anyone who doesn't. Then...are we their keeper?====JACK:  I don't recall that Jesus said in his teachings...."Do this! except in certain cases."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  All very true, but what about families taking care of their own first and helping them when they are in need.  It is so sad to see so many homeless in our country.  We have seen that in other countries around the world, but how did happen here to such a great extent?====JACK: Life's reality is that we can't do everything for everybody, so we have to prioritize, like medical people do in disaster situations.  They set up a triage facility.

FROM STARRY KNIGHT:  I especially like this one during the Holiday Season*** Really nice!! ====JACK:  I try not to pass the Salvation Army red kettle without putting something in.  Someone near David's city put in a check for $500,000.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Yes we should help those in need with (some)exceptions.====JACK:  I don't seem to recall that Jesus said, "Love your neighbor....except."  But, I understand the point you are trying to make.  "Unconditional Love" for us seems impossible...but not for God.  That's why we are dependent upon his Grace.  

FROM ANNE IN WATERFORD:  I love the phrase and the hymn.====JACK:  What religion would it be, if it were easy?

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  Every year at school we collect needed items for the area homeless shelter. We delivered them this morning with the children. We are each other's keepers. So important to teach this to little ones, especially this time of year.====JACK:  What a responsible job you have... to help shape the minds of the children entrhusted to your care.

FROM SA IN WASHINGTON:  Thanks. Unknowingly, I was desperate to hear that message again.  ====JACK:  Have you met Jesus in prison?  He might be disguised as a convict.