Friday, May 29, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/29/15
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our mind growled like our stomach does when it’s hungry?”  (Zig Ziglar)  A new version of the Bible translates Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are you when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God…for you shall be fed.”  Just as today’s eating places are re-thinking their menus, so, the Church needs to rethink how “God” is presented to its customers.  BTW, where is your mind eating these days?  And, what looks good on the menu?    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  Jack,  one of your best ever WWs!  yes,  how do we again make the world hungry for the Word?  a real challenge for the church today.====JACK:  Maybe seminaries should teach marketing, as well as theology.

FROM MP IN MICHIGAN:  Very appropriate for today......====JACK:  In whatever business is ours, we must keep the "customer" in mind.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme, I 'm reminded of the saying: If God does not seem as close to you as before, guess who moved.====JACK:  There's a poem that you may want to read.  It's called The Hound of Heaven, by Francis Thompson.  Its premise is that God  pursues us, even though we might move away from him, just like a hound pursues its prey.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I'm reading Lincoln's Greatest Case".    About Arsenal Bridge in Rock Island...great book...just finished a book on John Marshall.====JACK:  Thanks for adding a new item to my reading menu.  I remember travelling many times over that bridge (or its replacement.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Winning Words" of course!!====JACK:  Since WWs is small and usually arrives first on your computer's "plate," it could be considered to be an appetizer.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/28/15
“The shortest verse in the Bible is ‘Jesus wept!’  The only thing wrong with it is the past tense.”  (Randy K. Milholland)  You may know that Jesus wept when he heard that his friend Lazarus had died.  Jesus was human.  There’s a song that asks how Jesus would act if he walked on earth today.  He’d still cry with those who are mourning the death of a loved one…because he cares.  Milholland seems to see other reasons for tears.  What reasons do you see?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  It seems the older I get, tears come so easily as I honor my adult children. Noticed this at their weddings, especially more recently at our son's.====JACK:  Lemony Snicket wrote: "The sea is a library of all the tears in history."  You must have added a book at the wedding.
====REV:  Probably a splash or two because I dammed it up a bit . . . but it was about to break and over-flow!!

FROM KS IN MICHIGAN:  Good Morning Jack- I tend to think that he would weep because of his love of us and the sorry state of people in the world….with their choices, beliefs, actions along with their pain and suffering as a result of whatever.====JACK:  We cry for a variety of reasons... joy, sadness, laughter, frustration, nostalgia.  Crying is a sign of feelings.  I suppose it's the same for God.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There's not enough space here to list all the reasons that might drive us to tears these days.====JACK:  Yes, but don't forget to list reasons for tears of joy.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  There are myriad reasons for tears in our chaotic, suffering world, especially in Africa, and the Middle East, but we can't just focus on that: there are also so many philanthropic wealthy families today, and heartwarming, caring people who do good in our world, and friends and family to give special joys every single day.  It is a joy to know that a loving God cares about all of our ups and downs; I'm counting on Him to undergird me as  I tackle the  overwhelming job of cleaning out my big lake home,  and making the move to a small brick bungalow, near my eldest son, closer to church, etc .Hopefully, tears on my behalf won't be necessary!  Thankful for health and strength each new day... ====JACK:  As you write about your overwhelming job...I look over at the wall to the left of my computer and see things that have memories for me...a painting of the Quinlan Ferry...a ticket for a ride on the Bobs...a sign from the lobby of the 5th Ave Building...a Defense Savings Bond that I bought 12/6/1941...Sallman's head of Christ that was a wedding gift...and more!  And, that's just one wall.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  That is the Bible verse Clem memorized for Confirmation!  He did it because it was the shortest verse in the Bible!  Ha!====JACK:  He probably never forgot it, either.  A woman once told me that while she was lying on a gurney waiting for cancer surgery, she repeated many of the Bible verses and parts of Luther's Catechism that she had been "forced" to learn during Catechism instruction.  They just came to her "out of the blue," and she was so thankful.====GM:  This is most certainly true!

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  Where to begin?====JACK:  I guess I'll begin with how the story of "the rich man and Lazarus" is repeated day after day after day..

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/27/15
“The first wealth is health.”  (Ralph Waldo Emerson)  Are you one of those who does things to maintain good health?  Exercise?  Eat right?  Wear a Fit Bit?  Emerson knew the consequences of bad health.  He was 8, when his father died.  2 brothers died at any early age, as did his first wife.  Life experiences can affect our belief in God.  The prophet Job, in his illness, became even more dependent on God.  Perhaps you know of people like that.  I do.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM TARMART REV:  ... more dependent on God!! That's me...not the best steward in this category! 0:-/====JACK:  Do you think God cares about our physical fitness?  Do think that it has anything to do with our being caretakers of "his temple?"====REV:  ...Paul said something to the effect that "physical training is of some value (useful for a little), but godliness (spiritual training) is useful and of value in everything and in every way, for it holds promise for the present life and also for the life which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8 Amplified Bible). How's that for a copout, Jack? ====JACK: Perfect proof-texting!

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I agree 100% with his philosophy & thought you might want to know that I've been working with churches & synagogues to organize health fairs for their respective communities because many people are not aware of their vital signs.====JACK:  I went to a community Health Fair once and found it to be worthwhile.  There are people who, for one reason or another, avoid doctor visits/check ups.  They could benefit by attending a Health Fair.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Absolutely! And I am wealthy.====JACK:  One of my favorite old-time baseball players was Luke Appling of the Chicago White Sox.  Since he always seemed to be complaining about his heath, they gave him the nickname, "Old Aches and Pains."  He was also good at hitting foul balls.  He once hit 24 in a row off of Red Ruffing, before he was walked.  Can you imagine someone doing that today?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  i think we'd all agree with Mr. Emerson, but interesting to me that he espoused that  so many  years ago!  We probably pay more attention to eating more  healthily, etc. as we age but it  seems that the younger  generations are much more  into healthy heating and fitness than we were! At least in my family. J.L.Kraft when he spoke at our Baptist Conference at Green Lake, WI (Beautiful Conference Grounds!!) once said, "We spend  the  first part of our lives ruining our health to  gain our wealth, and the last half of our lives spending our wealth to regain our health!"  I was a  young mother  at the time, and it made an impression on me. He  had a strong Faith, and shared it often!====JACK:  I think that the media has a lot to do with influencing our eating and fitness routine.  The Nitely News seems to have more "health" oriented ads than actual news.  The pre-TV generation had things to do and no time for a gym.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/26/15
“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”  (Mark Twain)  Have you even taken a test to determine the best vocation for you?  Are you in that vocation?  I wanted to be a fireman, but God had other plans.  MLK Jr advised some students, “If your occupation is to be a street sweeper, be the best street sweeper you can be.”    “Be the best of whatever you are” is the title of a poem by Douglas Malloch.    ;-)  Jack

FROM COPPER COUNTRY BOB:  Amen, Jack.   I intended to be a labor negotiator with the migrant Mexicans on Dad’s farm.   I took Spanish my freshman yr. only to receive C and D  grades.    God has humor as then I needed to take Hebrew and Greek!====JACK:  Who can say that God doesn't have a sense of humor?  Maybe the thunder we sometimes hear is God's roaring laughter.

FROM TARMART REV: I like that thought-- motivating to say the least!! 
If you can't be a pine on the top of the hill
Be a scrub in the valley--but be
The best little scrub by the side of the rill;
Be a bush if you can't be a tree.

If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass,
And some highway some happier make;
If you can't be a muskie then just be a bass--
But the liveliest bass in the lake!

We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser to do,
And the task we must do is the near.

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail--
Be the best of whatever you are!
====JACK:  I had intended to post the poem.  Thanks for doing it for me.  It's one of my favorites.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  My vocational plans started with choosing to enter the ministry, but God had other plans.  (No...I didn't become a fireman.)  The profession I chose was rewarding in many ways, in fact there were moments that seemed divine.====JACK:  Thankfully, God has not called everyone to be a pastor.  There'd be empty pews and crowded pulpits.  A bishop once described a certain congregation to a pastor who was considering a call there.  "In this congregation, there too many chiefs and not enough Indians."====RI:  As I approached completion of my elementary school education, the family discussion commenced about what vocation I should consider.  Due to my grandmother's strong favor for church life, and my father having been a Lutheran school teacher, a commitment to church service was encouraged.  Also, a classmate had made up his mind to enter the ministry, and there was the possibility of me going with him to a Lutheran high school as prep for attending the seminary later.  However, there was a cost burden on my parents for all of that, and I ended up attending public high school.  My father's decision about that same time, to build a new house for us, and his confidence that we could do a lot of the construction ourselves, got me involved in building.  That project turned out to be exciting, learning to master the skills of the various trades, and to manage everything to completion.  The experience converted me to the vocation I chose.

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  that is a great MLK quote.  I have used it in my Labor Day weekend sermon.====JACK:  In no way was he demeaning the job of sweeping streets.  Our way of life depends on people being willing to do a variety of jobs.  I've lost track of the number of people who've said that they would not want to be a minister, let alone be a street sweeper.  ...Be the best of whatever you are!====ST. PAUL:  recall Luther's quote:  the maid with the mop,  the farmer with the plow, and the smith with his forge have just as high and holy a calling as any monk, bishop, or pope.  (I am paraphrasing a little here but not much)  recall his Priesthood of All Believers.   rather revolutionary for the middle ages I would think...====JACK:  And don't forget Brother Lawrence , scrubbing the pots and pans in the monastery kitchen!====S.P.:  or worse yet,  Luther scouring the monastery latrine and sleeping on a cold stone floor as a way of debasing himself and showing God how sorry and sincere he was in his faith life.   uffda!


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  What an interesting quote!  When I was young, I wanted to be a Forest Ranger.   When I went to my high school counselor  he told me I couldn't because there were no females in the Forestery Department.  He suggested I become a nurse, secretary, or teacher.  I was broken hearted.  Times have certainly changed.  I went to college, babysat ($.50 an hour) for extra money, worked at Manufacter's Bank in various jobs, and ended up working as a church secretary.  It all worked out for the best!====JACK:  OK.  It's 2015.  Magically, you're back as a high schooler.  Would you want to be a Forest Ranger?  It sounds like an interesting occupation.

FROM MOLINER J.T.:  My Dads motto from 1940's.====JACK:  The Feed Store was always know for selling "the best."


Friday, May 22, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/22/15
“I hope that everyone that is reading this is having a really good day.  And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that.”  (Glillian Anderson)  When WWs is sent out each morning I don’t know how it’s going to affect the readers.  Each person is in a different situation with differing needs.  I often offer a prayer that the words might “be right” for someone…might give a word of encouragement.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There are a couple concerns that I have to face today, and right now as I'm starting my day they seem challenging, but I believe as I get into them the concern will diminish and I'll find things better than expected.  That's often the way it goes...I proceed from pessimism to optimism.  Prayer has a calming effect, and I appreciate yours as back-up to my own.====JACK:  The water in the pool looks really cold before we jump in...and it really is cold at first, but, then, we begin to adjust, and it isn't as bad as we first thought.


FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  You are someone special, Jack.====JACK:  Each of us is special.  As the saying goes..."God don't make junk!"

FROM CB IN MICHIGAN:  I want you to know that I love your WW and often share it with people when I think it will help them, too.  Thank you for caring so much to give this gift to so many people. ====JACK:  I like the Shaker song, Simple Gifts, which Aaron Copeland used in his Appalachian Spring.  In fact, I think I'll YouTube it now, and say an extra prayer for you.

FROM KS IN MICHIGAN:  Good Morning Jack- I do think these words are good to hear each morning….like you said, today is a new day!  Have a good one yourself!====JACK:  We always like feedback regarding what we do. what we do.  Thanks for your kind words.  I hope that you get some positive feedback in your business (and personal) contacts today.  God bless you!

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  >for someone…might give a word of encouragement.  Frequently. ====JACK:  I sometimes wonder, when I click on SEND, if it will make a difference.  Thanks ====LBP:  I have a friend who's going through some rough times right now, and so often I will forward your WW to her. So your reach is farther than you know.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  I look forward to your WW every day, Some I forward to family & friends, some I delete, some make me smile, others make me think, BUT I always enjoy them and appreciate your efforts in making each day a little brighter. Please keep up the good work. In this crazy world it is wonderful to pause and receive a little light each day.====JACK:  I never would have thought that, when I retired, my "preaching" would go in another direction.  God often moves in a mysterious way.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  WW's have become an important part of my day and look forward to each one.  You're right - some are more timely than others - but they are all good because it always causes me to reflect and think about it.  Don't know if I ever said thanks for sending, but thanks.  You're a good man, Charlie Brown.====JACK:  First, WWs has to please me.  Then, I have to decide whether or not they might please others.  Thanks for the feedback.  BTW, what's a blockhead?  Lucy says, "You're such a blockhead, Charlie Brown!"

FROM CG IN MICHIGAN:  you do great – keep up the good work and I hope your day is enjoyable as well.====JACK:  In your work, as in mine, we try to be of help to the customers and keep them happy.  We might not always succeed, but we try.====CG:  touché’

FROM MW IN ILLINOIS:  Thank you for the WW  today, have to share this with you, during routine exam, I had to have a biopsy and the result was negative. AND,  yesterday, B, K  & I closed on our new home, so we will be moving in the next week. So life is very good for us. Thank you Lord. ====JACK: A successful house closing is great, but a good biopsy report is beyond great.  You're right.  Thank you, Lord!...for all that you do.

I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For so it swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of a song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak, I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.  (HWL)
Thank you for your arrows. So many, many have found their "oak".
====JACK:  That's one of my favorite poems.  I sometimes thought about that poem after, preaching, teaching or counselling.  "I gave it my best shot, Lord; now, you help it hit home ."

FROM SALON DES REFUSES 1990:  believe me! your words are always right for someone.  I’ve  saved so many of them for quotes as well as your commentary.  I should respond more often, but i sure would miss them if they did not soar into my inbox every morning.—the best ministry you could have.  Thanks for “winning words”!====JACK:  Here's how WWs works...1st, I come across quotes that I like and write them on a scrap of paper, adding the scrap to a pile; 2nd, I go through the pile and choose 5 for the week, deciding which one is best for each day; 3rd, I write a commentary for each word, which takes about 3 hours, depending on inspiration; 4th, it takes about 10 minutes to send out 22 files of names (over 500) on the computer, between 5 and 5:30 am.  I enjoy doing this and am energized by it.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I really enjoy you WW each day.  Thanks.====JACK:  If it satisfies you, it satisfies me.

FROM LK IN OHIO:  "Everything will be all right in the end; and, if they're not all right, then it's not yet the end.". . . from THE EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL FOR THE AGING AND BEAUTIFUL. ====JACK:  I read the book and liked it; I remember the line that you've quoted.  I haven't seen the movie or the follow up movie.

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  A bright spot every day and often that guiding light for the day's path... ====JACK:  "This little light....I'm gonna let it shine!"

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/21/15
“Our children change us…whether they live or not.”  (Lois McMaster Bujold)  I wonder what influence my sister or I had on our parents.  I know that they influenced us.  I also know that my children have influenced me.  “Dad, you’re not wearing that, are you?”  People come into our life, and we are different because of them.  Recall their names!  I wonder, who influenced Gandhi, Mother Teresa, M.L. King Jr?  We’re all influenc-ees or influenc-ers.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Great thoughts; remember Anna & the King & I? Getting to Know You? ====JACK:  Do we really know our parents?  Do our parents really know us?  Does anyone really know us?  Someone changed the children's song to..."Jesus knows me, this I love."

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I cannot imagine how boring life would be without children. There have been so many people who have influenced my life.  Life is a blessing.====JACK:  Some people I know had some behavioral problems with their adopted children.  "...and we asked for this?"  Today, those children (and grandchildren) are a real blessing in their life.  God is good.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Have you ever listened to "The Moth Chronicles"?  There is a very cute story involving Mother Teresa!====JACK:  Thanks for introducing me to a site that I hadn't heard of before.

 FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We look at the world differently when we see it through the eyes of our children and grandchildren.====JACK:  Don't forget the eyes of parents and grandparents.  I just had one grandmother, but she influenced me.  I remember seeing her, in her 90s, sitting in a rocking chair, reading her Bible with a magnifying glass.  I was fortunate to be able to conduct her funeral, just after I was ordained.  Doing the service with me was another grandson (my cousin) who was a Catholic priest.

FROM TARMART REV:  Especially those we have pastored over our many years, Jack . . . we were loved, liked or tolerated by them-- they influenced our lives to one degree or another . . . I try to chalk it up as God influencing our lives through them.====JACK:    I have especially appreciated the opportunity to teach many confirmation students, 7th, 8th and 9th grade.  As they learned from me, so I also learned from them.====REV:  That is really the wisdom of my daily post...if no other person read the devotional, the discipline of me preparing each one causes me to research, meditate and formulate what I have constructed...the process  educates me in Scriptural substances...I used to joke with my Methodist pastor friend when he studied for his one weekly sermon while I prepared for two sermons and two Bible studies each week (the tradition of that time in A G churches) it kept me more so in the Word...his comeback was he got it right the first time and didn't need to go through four exercises for him to get it straight.

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  good words to reflect on today.  thanks.    a friend likes to say, you can go thru life as a grape or a marble.  marbles do not impact each other.  but grapes do. ====JACK:  There are pastoral colleagues who impact us, and you are one.  Thank you.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i just graduated a group of preschoolers off to kindergarten.  children have changed me for the own and those gifted to me each year.  they keep me honest and humbled.====JACK:  You're simply following in the footsteps of your mother.  Were there footsteps that she followed?


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/20/15 
“Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”  (From Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)  It’s been almost 30 years since Ferris took his day off by skipping school to check out his city.  Do you remember the movie or any of the lines?  One of the lines is today’s WWs.  In this fast-paced world we need to be careful not to miss some of the important things before we say, “Why didn’t I?”  Maybe it’s time to take a day off.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  My daughter was a "dreamer".    Teachers didn't always like that.   Maybe she caught some things while she was dreaming....graduated summa cum lauded from U of Mich.... ====JACK:  I'll bet she never skipped school just to goof around in Ann Arbor.  The SCL honor is one to be proud of.

FROM TARMART REV:  Nowadays with my less administrative and more relational lifestyle around the church, I'm not sure if I'm enjoying a day off or working . . . enjoyable and relaxing, to say the least, but  very full as well.====JACK:  When you enjoy what you do, work is not work.

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  hey, I am retired!====JACK: Ordination is for a lifetime (usually).

FROM DC IN KANSAS:  Why didn't I ask my Dad . . . . ?  Mother . . . . ?====JACK:  I wonder if the disciples ever regretted not asking for more teaching while Jesus was with them?  We often rue lost opportunities, but I think it's more productive to remember and give thanks for that which we have received...from parents and others.  When I was in a regretful mood, I was told by my mother, "That's water over the dam."====DC:  Good comment.  Thanks!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Every day is a day off for me.====JACK:  I don't think you let the grass grow under your feet.  It's just that you can now choose where and when you want to walk.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My kids love this movie.  They quote from it too and this is one of their favorite quotes.  I agree with moves way too fast.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My kids love this movie.  They quote from it too and this is one of their favorite quotes.  I agree with moves way too fast.====JACK:  One of the indicators of a good movie is when you can quote lines from it.  Some kids, when they grow older, can quote lines of advice that were received from their parents years earlier.

FROM ED AT PSU:  Ben Stein: Bueller?........ Bueller?........ Bueller?====JACK:  You're right!  A funny segment from the movie.  Did you ever do a Bueller in high school?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/19/15
“I’ve learned that no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.”  (Andy Rooney)  I miss Andy and his “5 minutes” at the end of the 60 Minutes TV program.  I’ve read that he didn’t have many close friends.  He said you just need one…to act goofy with.  I’ve got a few like that, and maybe you have, too.  I wonder if the Queen of England has a friend to act goofy with?  What does it mean to have a friend?    ;-)  Jack

 FROM CK IN MICHIGAN:  James Taylor knows!====JACK:  "You've Got a Friend!"  A great song!  In my mind I can hear J.T. singing it now.  I think I'll go to YouTube.====CK:  It is great. I also love sweet baby james! Enjoy pal!====JACK:  Another good one!

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Maslow wrote that one of the characteristics of "self-actualization", which I simply call fulfillment, includes a perspective that is "free of the good opinion of others". In other words, a person who is not concerned when being himself or herself -- like the child who runs through the sprinkler naked without any concern for who might be watching. A friend is one whose relationship naturally exists on that same side of the coin.====JACK:  I'm  not goofy enough to run through the sprinkler for anyone.

FROM TARMART REV:  If I remember correctly, the Queen's goofy friend would be called a "court jester"? What does it mean to have a friend? -- Comfortable!!====JACK:  The Queen would really be acting goofy if she invited the jester to change places with her, and she acted as the jester. ====REV:  That would definitely something to see!?!?

FROM CS IN WISCONSIN:  A friend can be a relative(s) or a non family member who you feel comfortable with enough to show your good side and your not so good side and they still love/like you.  I pretty much tell people that with me - what you see is what you get.  I try to never put on airs or try to be better than anyone else because I want people to be comfortable around me, have fun, smile, be serious or cry if we have to, but in the end we have enjoyed our time together and look forward to the next time we will be together again.  Thanks, Jack, for being a long time friend! ====JACK:  Tell me again, what was it that attracted you to your husband?====CS:  That he knew how to be goofy.====JACK:  I thought so.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Seems to me, in the simplest sense, "having a friend" means having someone I can rely on for help from time to time.  Then there are "very dear friends", and I cherish the nature of the relationship with them, to share all sorts of information.  Such friends are special because they are the people with whom I can open my mind about serious matters, or act goofy, and trust in their discretion about the knowledge of it.  I have such an admirable friend, who emails me every morning Monday through Friday.====JACK:  Friends are those whose relationship is not defined by distance. 

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I've kept Rooney's books that were in Bill's library. He was unique, and able to get his points across with humor and sarcasm....I can imagine he'd have been a challenge to live with!  My twin Jan was my 'goofy" friend, and we shared a lot of laughs!  I still have my BFF, another retired teacher.====JACK:  Who was the goofier, you or Jan?  Is it true that twins tend to think alike, beside look alike?====OAKS:  JAN WAS A LITTLE MORE UNINHIBITED, BUT SHE REALLY COULD ALMOST ALWAYS SEE THE  HUMOR IN ANY SITUATION; HELPED ME TO '"LIGHTEN UP"...I CARED MORE WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT THINK!====JACK:  Was that because you were a Baptist pastor's wife and she a Lutheran pastor's wife?

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  I pride myself on being that goofy friend. Humor is the best medicine.====JACK:  You've got a job waiting for you at Disneyworld, if the real estate business goes south.  You've got the talent and that look.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  The queen of England once "photo bombed" a visitor's photo.  She must have a funny bone herself.====JACK:  Did you know that the Queen's Guard has a woman member who tests the toilet before the Queen uses it?

FROM M LAWYER:  Loved your "friend" subject Winning Words this morning.  How's this for a comeback?
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school.  His name was Kyle.  It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, 'Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.' I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged
my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about ten feet from him... He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes  My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, 'Those guys are jerks.'
They really should get lives.  ' He looked at me and said, 'Hey thanks!' There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends. He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and my friends thought the same of him.  Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again.
I stopped him and said, 'Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! ' He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years,Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown and I was going to Duke.  I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses.    He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous!  Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, 'Hey, big guy, you'll be great!' He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.... ' Thanks,' he said. As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began     ... 'Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach...but mostly your friends.... I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.' I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. 'Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.' I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each others lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others. 'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.'
====JACK:  It certainly makes the point.

FROM DP IN TURKEY:  I am in Turkey with my best friends....daughter, grand daughters, two sons with spouses,. We will celebrate a wedding together.  This is an amazing and beautiful country !====JACK:  Where's it written that best friends can't be family? 

FROM JACK TO BS IN ENGLAND:  On second thought.  Was today's WWs disrespectful?====BS:  Not at all!  I'm  sure that she does have a friend but I  know that she goofs around with her family. Angela was one of her royal protection  officers when she was in the police force and had some funny stories to tell about the antics that they would get up to.  She laughs a lot and her faith is what makes her the great leader she has been all these years.====JACK:  I wonder if the Queen ever watched Monty Python?

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  NNTR....All of the above demonstrate the full value of friendship.... especially in difficult times of the lives of others as well as us. Your question is a poignant one. It reminds me of the September Song (Don't know if that's the right name or punctuation,) But "the days dwindle down to a precious few"....and, at this age, "friends dwindle down to a precious few". What's helpful to me are memories and the "Constant" ..."What a Friend We Have.." ....and "He walks with me and....".====JACK:  Another song, "In the Garden," describes Mary's experience with Jesus after the resurrection..."and he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me that I am his own."  God, in creating Jesus, decided to show himself as a human being, so that we could better understand his will for us and his love for us.

FROM THE MAYOR:  Friends are people you can laugh with, cry with, pray with and just "be" with.====JACK:  Do you remember the saying..."To have a friend, you must be a friend?"  You are the epitome of that.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/18/15
“God bestowed on me a healthy dose of unawareness.”  (Pope Francis)  Unawareness often has a negative connotation…in a fog, empty-headed, naive.  But Francis puts a positive spin on it.  Usually we’re very aware of how people look, talk, dress, act and tend to associate with those who are like us.  A “healthy dose” of unawareness means to seek out and do what is right and needful, regardless of what some others think.  Some like him for that; others don’t.    ;-)  Jack   

FROM TARMART REV:  Good thought to invest in in this brand new week!!====JACK:  A new week, a time to look at the things that need to be looked at, and to overlook the things that need to be overlooked.

FROM CH ON CAPE COD:  This is really helpful!  Gives me something good to think about.  Thanks!====JACK:  We all need mind stimulators from time to time.  I read today that the Catholic Seminary in Detroit is having actors meet with students to teach them how to better connect with the congregation in their preaching.  One assignment was to "go to your mother and tell her how much she means to you and how much she has influenced you."  A seminarian came back and said that it made his mother cry.  "Now, you're getting it!"  I was taught in seminary that the preacher, in  preaching,  should connect the text up with life.  It's worked for me.

FROM PASTY PAT:  Put me in the like column --- I'm likin' him a lot!====JACK:  If Christians would just act like Christians...think how it would influence the world.  Francis seems to be trying to do it.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Thanks for sharing.  I like that he’s shaking things up with a (forthcoming?) paper/encyclical on climate change.  Like that he sees the interconnectedness of issues and is able to focus on and remember the poor and less fortunate.====JACK:  When there's an election...of a pope or a president...there will some who like the outcome and some who don't.  In this instance, I like the outcome.  But, for those who don't, there's always another election.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i think that in these days of immediate information and "social media" we find ourselves too aware.  much of the info is "hear say" and "this and that".  i prefer not to participate.  i enjoy my "unawareness".  it gives me the ability to see things through my own eyes and heart first before forming a stance on an issue.  then, when things start "flying at me", i can thoughtfully process my response.  old fashioned...perhaps, but just the way it is for me. ====JACK:  Upon be unaware can be taken in two ways.  ie:  During my growing up years I was "unaware" of how bad racism was.  In my grown-up years I became "aware" of how bad it really was.  That's why face to face conversation is better than the written word...most of the time. 

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  THE PRESENT POPE IS COURAGEOUS, AND BOUND TO BE CONTROVERSIAL, BUT MOST COMMENTS I HEAR ABOUT HIM ARE VERY, VERY, POSITIVE.  I HOPE HE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, IN SPITE OF VATICAN RED-TAPE, AND IT MAKES US RE-EXAMINE HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE WE ARE MAKING IN THIS TIRED, NEEDY OLD WORLD!====JACK:  Francis is aware of the fact that his papacy will be a relatively short one (because of his age), so he seems intent of doing what he thinks is right, regardless of the fallout.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The  Pope's tweet today says almost the same thing.  We should all try to make a better world every day.====JACK:  So, the Pope tweets?   I hope he doesn't text while he drives.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/15/15
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.”  (Nietzsche)  Yogi Berra wrote a book, “I Never Said All Of The Things I Said.”  People often attributed sayings to him, because “it sounded like Yogi.”  Today’s words don’t even sound like Nietzsche, and still a source cites him as the author.  The truth is in the quote itself.  Too much effort in this world is spent on separating people than on trying to bring them together.    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TARMART REV:  Even a Lutheran and a Pentecostal can be best of friends . . . as long as we leave those Rattlesnakes covered in their baskets during worship!!====JACK:  Have you ever been  at a snake handling service? 

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  The real irony is in first making the distinction, and secondly, developing some sort of "pride" in the distinction, and finally, arguing for an "equality" which caused the differentiation through the very distinction generated. We create and point out differences that by virtue of them generate divisions, then complain about the divisions we generated. The best distinction regarding people is that we are all different. Differences generate inequalities; and as such, we are all equal by virtue of our inequalities. External identifiers of oneself are of little value for they are of the dirt AND WILL DIE. So why do we place so much value on it? Are these inconsequential identifications who I truly am? I am not my body, or a "race" that other men have determined, nor a gendered class, nor a person of a man-made boundary designed geographically (nation), etc. Who we are is so much more significant than that which will die...and one cannot serve two this case the nonsense from man or the breath (Spirit) of Life from God (who I am). I am a child of God, and so are you. We comprise the Body of Christ, the Church...and we say so every Sunday (and hopefully multiple time per day). Who says, "I am ____" (man, woman, black, white, rich, poor, U.S., Mexican, etc.) and can also claim the wisdom of the Spirit. It is better to be silent and live by the Grace of God alone.====JACK:  Philosophically (and theologically) that's true, but try to explain that to "the man on the street" who has suffered racial, economic, religious, academic (et al) separations.  "Show me what your words mean!"====RAY:  How can I explain injustice by or upon another except as it is by ignorance of the Truth? Would the "man on the street" be any less defiled if it was told to him that it is man's ignorance that (s)he lives by a limited insight or a blindness brought about through the deception of evil? It is the Word that gives Life...and that is where the meaning of my words emirate. Those who use their words to deceive promote these distinctions which serve to perpetuate divisions. In my mind, all of this is the fruit of man's first sin -- eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now we know that we are naked, now we know that we are different from one another, now we know we will die, now we know that there are colors, and now we know that we are alone -- so we seek out others "like ourselves" to relieve some of the angst that accompanies all this "knowledge". Man behaves out of ignorance, despite his self-agradizing "achievement". If a person doesn't KNOW this, how could they explain it? Or, how would knowing such things fill one's stomach? So, we are to live in a manner that is synchronous with this knowing - or we simply fall into the same category for those whom Jesus prayed, "forgive them Father, for they know not what they do". I don't think explanations serve any purpose unless they enlighten the blind...then when one can "see", one will serve the "man on the street" instead of merely explaining something to him.====JACK:  What I was trying to say....There are some folk who (because of limited education) are not able to process the points that you make.  How do you capture their attention and help them to understand and relate to what you are saying/writing?  In my work, I believe that people would "rather see a sermon that hear one any day."====RAY:  I think as individuals we need to do both. just as Faith without works is dead, so are words without sincerity of action. It is my interpretation from reading Nietzsche, that his famous statement, "God is dead", comes from his witness of the incongruity of the "words" and the (lack of) action by those who make the claim that God exists for them. God is indeed alive in both word and deed. For the man on the street to understand, (s)he must see the sermon AND hear the words. (By the way, I wasn't disagreeing with you; I was emphasizing a point that "explanations" are for the academics, newscasters, politics, and others who are of little production. I think the Church is being re-tooled or re-energized or re-formed, to coin a phrase, so that the man on street will hear the Good News while clothed and on a full stomach!) thank you for listening!

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Amen!====JACK:  If you were on Facebook, you might simply have said, "Like!"====RI:  I was on Facebook for a brief period but I began getting deluged with so much trivia that I bailed.  As I read, I come across a lot of requests to "Like us on Facebook." =====JACK:  I choose not to use Facebook for posting Winning Words, because I like the more personal responses, using e-mail.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Reminds me of my all time favorite coke commercial, "I'd like to teach the world to sing...". Might be my all time favorite. Period.====JACK:  ...and Barbra Streisand's "People" song.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/14/15
“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”  (John Muir)  A friend of mine is a relative of JM, the famous naturalist.  Of course this quote is about hiking…or is it?  The old-fashioned dirt road symbolizes a slower pace of life.  Where have those roads appeared in your life experience?  Personally, I’m a round-a-bout fan, and I love the freeways.  But, I also see value in going at a slower pace and seeing what’s missed by taking the fast lane..    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Grew up with a lot of dirt and gravel roads in Kansas . . . always seemed to get to my destination though . . . sometimes it was a little rough and dusty . . . but got there just the same. ====JACK:  While once visiting in Kansas, I rode with a pastor on one of those gravel roads.  It seemed as though he was trying to imitate a NASCAR racer.  I'm surprised that you Kansan country drivers live to see another day.====REV:  True story...left Highway 71 on the Missouri side of the state line heading north to Kansas City and decided to cut across country to the west and stop by and say hello to my grandparents at their farm outside Beagle, Kansas . . . In short order, from a major 4-lane highway, to a state highway, to an asphalt road, to a broken asphalt road, to a gravel road and finally after coming around a  curve in the road, I ended up in a cornfield...I just sat there for a moment and laughed out loud...that's what one gets driving without a map on country roads in Kansas.====JACK:  I laughed, and I wasn't even there.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON: When I wrote my song, “My Old Reynoldsburg” I found the unique perspective from walking through the old neighborhood, perhaps it’s not just the road but also the mode of transportation.  It’s hard to see a lot of great things from a car.  And even harder to stop and chat with folks.  I think the dirt road analogy is a good one... ====JACK:  John Muir might never have become a naturalist if he'd gone every place in a car.  Our choices each day affect our tomorrows, just as "Old Reynoldsburg" had an affect on you.

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL: good thoughts for today, Jack.   thanks...    I used to hike every June with the men of the church up on the North Shore of Lake Superior.  the Superior National Forest Trail that run from Duluth all the way to t he Canadian border, over 200 miles.   just a gorgeous (and challenging) hike!====JACK:  "Used to" become the defining words for most of us as we become older than dirt.   

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  You would hate round-a-bouts if you lived here.  There is one every half mile, I prefer a traffic light, you can pause to look around!  Country lanes are idyllic and at this time of year lined with bluebells, flowering hedgerows and birds singing------perfect.====JACK:  I'd really have a problem, going into those round-a-bouts, driving on the "wrong" side of the road.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  On the "dirt road" things generally are closer to view and you see a lot more.  The dearth of traffic enables you to stop along the way and concentrate on what's there too.  Everyone says "getting there is half the fun" so why get there so fast?  Slow down and enjoy the experience.====JACK:  I think that you and John Muir would make good hiking buddies.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My youngest sister is turning 60 this year.  It was her and her husband's  dream to cross the Grand Canyon from down one side, cross the bottom, and to hike up the other side.  They leave June 4.  Her Dream certainly isn't my dream.  But we are all very happy she is living one of hers.  My husband and I  have traveled to every state in the United States and love to take the road less travelled: in fact, we are now tracking the counties we go through!====JACK:  If they had an elevator, I'd think about doing that Grand Canyon thing, too.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I figured I was taking the path less traveled (not yet paved). But taking it slow, getting into nature, and paving your own way are all good notions.====JACK:  I have a hard time imagining you going anywhere without first having an idea of where you were heading.  But, maybe you were just feeding your wild side.====LBP:  I like a good meandering stroll. Sometimes you find cool things when you wander.====JACK:  Dirt path words that I like are amble and saunter.

FROM SB IN MICHIGAN:  Your “Winning Words” today reminded me of my early days at John Muir Elementary School in Parma, Ohio.====JACK:  My elementary school was named after Washington Irving.  I liked his writing.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  I agree with you and spend a lot of time cracking my buggy whip. The Amish may have something here.====JACK:  Aren't the Amana Colonies populated by the Amish?  I always liked to go there for their fabulous meals.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It's pretty on the golf course almost any time of year...but yes, we all need times of slower pace to rejuvenate and refresh!  There are some dirt/gravel roads around our lake!  "Heaven seems a little bit closer, in a house beside the water!"====JACK:  You've probably visited the lovely woods, the water, and the sand on your golf course.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  The slow roads are definitely the best and the most beautiful for driving in Florida.  BTW  have just finished James McCullough's new book The Wright Brothers.  I was surprised to read that both the bike shop and the home of the brothers had been moved to the museum in Dearborn.  Have you seen it?  I don't remember it from our three years in Michigan.====JACK:  Yes, I've seen the bike shop and have been inside.  Henry Ford was friend of the Wright Bros and paid to have their shop moved to that part of the museum, called Greenfield Village.  He also has one of Edison's labs on the grounds.  You can Google--Greenfield Village--and see some other interesting historical stuff.

FROM MW IN ILLINOIS:  My memories of dirt roads are when Dick & I began camping and visiting many state parks with 3 sons. It was always so   peaceful & quiet, with just the birds singing. My favorite trip was to the Grand Canyon, absolutely awesome.====JACK:   Personally, I look for the Hampton Inn, closest to the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/13/15
“Most people really don’t want the truth.  They just want constant reassurance that what they believe is the truth.”  (Collective Evolution)  Plato (428 BCE), famous philosopher and teacher, was also a funny guy.  He’s the one who said, “I’m trying to think.  Don’t confuse me with the facts.”  He was joking, of course.  In life, we are continually asked to test the sources for our beliefs.  Don’t be afraid to examine the “facts” during your search for truth.    ;-)  Jack

  FROM AP IN WB:  Ah, here's a good one that fits many scenarios!!====JACK:  I wonder how it applied in Plato's case?  It applies in business, politics, the home and even in church.

FROM SMILING TERI:  Outstanding quote.====JACK:  That's not teaching, is it?

FROM TRIHARDER: "You can't handle the truth."  It's true. For whatever reason, because of ingrained ideology or desire to believe a line of thought, people grope to their preconceptions and misconceptions despite the truth.====JACK:  The arguments regarding "truth" will continue until sometime G-d, in his wisdom, will reveal the answer to "What is truth?", and all will agree on it.  Does that mean...never?====TH:  There are some universal "truths" that have nothing to do with religion or political thought that are, nonetheless, believed to be "lies from the pit of hell."  : 
Science -- that the earth is millions and millions of years old; that light travels at 186,000 miles/second, evolution, that there are no innate differences (intellectual) in the races ... ====JACK: Was "The earth is flat" a universal truth?

ROM BLAZING OAKS:  As in Beauty, Truth is in the eye of the beholder, eh?  Some fly in the face of researched facts, to hold on to "TRUTHS" they believe in. It is pretty well known by now that Homosexuality is a condition one is born with, and yet many cling to the belief that it is a choice, and one can change if they really want to....True, most people do not really want the truth...Good WW today.====JACK:  I was concerned, but not overly concerned, when people chose to leave the church because of theological issues.  As your friend, A. Lincoln put it, "You can please some of the people etc."  No one church has the whole truth.   

FROM CZB IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:  I love this.  It’s true regarding religion, politics, etc. etc. etc.====JACK:  Think of how the world might be different if all would work together in seeking the truth....the end of talk radio/ more pulpit pounding...war no more...etc.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I like this Pastor, this is easy to see in many aspects of life (especially on Facebook).  Many embrace only those ideas that confirm their preexisting biases.====JACK:  It's amazing to me how some seemingly-smart can accept, as true, information that has not been tested, or to accept 1/2 truths as actual truth.  I guess that I'm not amazed.  I just shake my head. 

FROM TARMART REV:  Reminding folk at a funeral today that John the Baptist questioned Jesus about His Messiahship...Jesus didn't count His doubt has against Him but instead complimented him in his calling at the time and encouraged him along.====JACK:  Remember, as you preach today (or whenever) that your listeners are hungering for the truth.====REV:  The bottom line is found in Hebrews 11 . . . God healed and delivered some here on earth and some he didn't .   I believe we touched some hearts today, wondering why God didn't heal the young bride and mother of a 1 year old daughter. It was discovered she had cancer when going for a checkup on her pregnancy  and they could not begin treating it until the baby was born. By that time it a spread severely.  She carried her strong faith for God's healing . . . but realized it would be His will not hers for the final outcome. I saw her grown up into the beautiful person she was, married her and her husband a couple of years ago and officiated her funeral today. Over 300 in attendance and a television station was present from the Cities for a story on tonight's newscast. 

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  The problem is separating facts from hearsay.====JACK: ...and who's to determine what's fact and what's fantasy?

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  Actually Plato addresses this phenomenon in Book Seven of his "Republic" which includes the all agora of "The Cave". As he writes about Socrates as the deliverer of enlightenment to those blinded by their own impressions developed down In a cave, he notes how such a disturbance of the Truth leads to an equally disturbing reaction of "killing the messenger". Of course, it is all disguised in the allegory....but the same has been repeated over and over agin these past 2515 years!====JACK:  Believe it or not, I'm looking across the room at my 2 volume set of the Dialogs of Plato on the bookshelf.  When I have enough gumption I'll go over there and look up Book VII of the Republic.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/12/15
“Try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.”  (Maya Angelou)  The rainbow in the Bible’s Noah Story is a sign of the presence of God.  It is also seen as a sign of good luck, a sign of hope.  “Somewhere over the rainbow” is a favorite song of mine from the Wizard of Oz.  Dorothy says to her dog, Toto, that there’s a place where there is no more trouble…and it over the rainbow.  Could it be that when Dorothy sings, she’s singing about heaven?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Either Heaven or Sweden!====JACK:  In Sweden, "Over the Rainbow" is translated as, "Du Gamla, Du Fria."

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  Looking for rainbows at the end of a rain shower is one of the few things that I still do with childlike abandon. It's like finding a smile from God.====JACK:  Most people are in awe when they see a rainbow..."Oh, look at the beautiful rainbow!"  It would be unusual for someone to say, "Oh, look at the beautiful tornado!"====LBP:  Have you met my dad?====JACK:  Yes...and that is funny.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Just singing in the rain" now that we are back home . . . wonderful wedding . . . always good to be back home . . . long day's trip (9:30a from Ann Arbor until 12:30a pulling into Willmar . . . worth it to sleep in my own bed!!====JACK:  There's a Swedish proverb, when translated, says:  "To be away is good, but to be home is  best."

FROM JW ON THE LAKE:  Your words this morning made me think of one of my favorite versions of "Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Maybe you have heard his rendition? If not I thought I'd share it with you.  He performs and sings with a ukulele, not a common instrument today but he is an uncommon singer performer. He is also known as the voice of Hawaii.
====JACK:  It wasn't what I expected to see and hear when I saw the name, Israel.  But, I agree!  It's an uncommon arrangement.  I liked it.

 FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL:  very likely...====JACK:  Writers of the Scriptures can muse about what heaven is like.  So can song writers.


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sounds like Heaven to me!====JACK:  Just harp music?  Will banjos be allowed?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/11/15
“My hands are shaky and my knees are weak   I can't seem to stand on my own two feet
 Who do you thank when you have such luck? I'm in love  I'm all shook up”
  (Elvis Presley)
“All Shook Up” was the top song on May 11, when my wife and I were married.  It describes how some people feel on their wedding day.  What is it that shakes you up?  During those “shook up” times, remember that God is omnipresent.  He’s always with you.  So, stay calm!    ;-)  Jack

FROM KC IN ITALY:  Love this song.====JACK: I suppose some of the Italians have heard of Elvis.

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  Happy Anniversary!====JACK: You noticed!

FROM TARMART REV:  A good post this morning.====JACK: ...coming from one who "always seems" calm, cool and collected.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  If we only "knew"! ...but alas, it is by Faith. I Hope for that which I have Faith...and I know so very little.====JACK:  Some people have a kind of religion that makes them shake...the Shakers, or quake...the Quakers, or confused...the Confusionists.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  Were you shook up on your wedding day?  It's something I must know so I can sleep tonight..====JACK:  What shook me up was that my "friends" had hidden our car, so we were unable to go off on our wedding trip until someone finally led us to a place out of town where we found the car (1955 Chevy Bel-Air).  Now, go to sleep.

FROM CAPTAIN RUTHIE:  I love your WW every day. Thank you for them. It's such a great way to start my day.====JACK:  Sending out WWs starts my day out on a positive note.  Each day I try to think of some of the people who will be getting them.  Friends are a treasure!

FROM JK IN CALIFORNIA:  I love this and I didn't know you were married on the 11th!!!! That's my lucky number!!

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Nat "King" Cole's Mona Lisa was popular when we got married. Still gives me goose bumps.

FROM AW IN ILINOIS:  Hey Jack, I have all those symptoms and I am not in love....just old.====JACK:  Jesus knows me, this I love.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Trivia: Songwriter Otis Blackwell wrote this on a dare. One of the owners of Shalimar Music (Blackwell's publishing company) wandered into Blackwell's office as he was struggling to create a follow-up to "Don't Be Cruel." As Al Stanton approached Blackwell, Stanton was shaking a bottle of Pepsi. Stanton said to Blackwell, "I've got an idea. Why don't you write a song called 'All Shook Up'?" According to Blackwell, the song was finished in a couple of days.  Although Blackwell is the sole composer, Presley shared the songwriting credit, as demanded by Colonel Tom Parker. The same thing happened with "Don't Be Cruel."====JACK:  That is interesting, but not surprising to me.  A friend of mine had a father-in-law who was a song writer on Tin Pan Alley.  He told of how Irving Berlin would buy songs cheap and add his name as the composer.  Irving could have written book, sort of like Yogi's..."I didn't write all the songs they said I wrote."

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Some public speaking makes my knees shake!=====JACK:  Thinking about being a midwife makes me shake.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/8/15
“Just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she began to fly.”  (Dr. Happy)  Do you sometimes have a problem, wondering what happens after the death of a loved one, or even your own death?  The butterfly has become a sign for some that there is a beautiful after-life.  Who’d  believe that the egg, larvae, pupa could become the butterfly?  When we change our perception of miracles, we’ll begin to see them everywhere.  Oops!  There’s one!    ;-)  Jack 

FROM TARMART REV:  ...the butterfly and also the dragon fly (previously a slimy slug make very good illustrations...use them often. ====JACK:  I've never heard that a dragonfly came from a slug.  Maybe you'd better go back to Biology 101.  To me, dragonflies are among God's most fascinating inventions.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  There are so many miraculous transitions that astound us...the blossom becoming an apple, the hatchling from the egg, the acorn rooting into a tree, etc.  There is much that we may not comprehend but in the process it will leave us in awe and wonder.  Who is the Master of such mysteries?====JACK:  Someone recently sent me a list of the 32 most beautiful sounding English words.  SYZYGY was on the list, but not METAMORPHOSIS. 

FROM DAZ IN COLORADO:  I'll vote for that and so will Kathy.====JACK:  It's a miracle that our country survives with some people voting one way and others voting for the opposite.  Wasn't it your friend, Abe who said, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time"?====DAZ:  That was it and it's still true.

FROM KANSAN DC:  I prefer the butterfly to Easter lilies as the representative of the Resurrection. ====JACK:  I prefer both...and the empty cross, too.  But, I know what you mean. 

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Who’d believe that an egg and a sperm could become an infant , a child a man, an Einstein, or  a da Vinci, or an O’Keefe...or an  oak tree from an acorn, or a uniting of two elements to create water!!!!! There’s only one answer, and ,for me, it’s not just  evolution. Every part of existence is a God given /created miracle.====JACK:  Continuing on from the miracle of birth, there's the genetic makeup of the child and the operation of the brain and so much more...not to mention trying to figure out the concept of God.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD: This is one of your best ones EVER!====JACK:  Your response wants me to ask: Why?  That's the miracle of Winning Words.  The message can mean different things to the readers.  To me, it's the Spirit of God at work.====CHESTER:  I was in a blue funk and needed a reminder that life is good. .. God is good.====JACK:  Do you remember Ella Fitzgerald singing, "Am I blue?"  And, the, there's one I like..."Blue skies, all of them blue."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Have read so many memoirs about NDE's most of which are fascinating, but all have different perspectives...Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani  and Dr. Mary Neal's To Heaven and Back, are two that were especially memorable: But I also think that if our Mortal minds had the capacity to understand the Spiritual afterlife, Jesus would have offered more details, than "In my  Father's House  are many rooms; I go to prepare a place  for you, that where I am you, you may be also". As your professor once opined, "You can't unscrew the Inscrutable!"   But we do try! :-). ====JACK:  Sometimes I envy the people who have a simple faith.  "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."  But, that doesn't mean that you can't ask questions.  Even Jesus asked, "My God, my God, why?"====OAKS:  And the more you seek, the less you know for sure!!  Those with "simple faith" are often not profound thinkers or questioners, but their faith nevertheless is a great comfort for them! We have enough "evidence" to merit the adventure, but not enough to take away the mystery!!  I think it is healthy to have questions and seek further knowledge!!

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme there is a quote that I've used at some of my seminars:
Pessimists do not believe in miracles, Optimists believe everything is a miracle.====JACK:  Turn over any stone, and there are miracles living beneath it in the soil, in the water.  There's a song, "It's a strange, strange world we live in, Master Jack."

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/7/15
“I have a simple philosophy.  Fill what’s empty, empty what’s full, and scratch where it itches.”  (Alice Roosevelt Longworth)  Alice, Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, was born with his feistiness and desire to be a rule-breaker.  Both craved attention.  “My father wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral.”  Both had a desire to change the conventional for the better.  What are of some of your inherited characteristics?    ;-)  Jack

  FROM TARMART REV:  ...hopefully to brighten one's be the "bride at every wedding" looks inviting..."the corpse at every funeral"-- I'd have to keep my mouth shut!! 0;-/====JACK:  ...and don't be afraid to itch when and where it scratches, even in the pulpit.
Abraham Lincoln said,   “I don't like to hear cut and dried sermons. No—when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.”

FROM COPPER COUNTRY BOB:  In view of your quotes I pass on what a pastor told me yesterday.  There is a book about Teddy which is titled  TRAITOR TO CLASS which he highly recommends. According to him this book articulates the basis, philosophy and struggle Teddy had in turning the nation to justice.  I haven’t bought it yet.  But plan to.====JACK:  I found the PBS documentary of the Roosevelts to be enlightening and fascinating.  We are, how we were brought up...and some genes added to the mixture.  Isn't it true with you?  It is with me.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/6/15
“When you take risks you will find that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”  (Ellen DeGeneres)  Life can be like  living on a roller coaster, with its ups and downs.  The “downs,” the detours, the failures can sometimes lead to “the best thing that ever happened to me.”  Before Ellen became “famous,” she worked at Penney’s, was a house painter and bartender.  Enjoy your life’s ride.    ;-)  Jack 

ROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I Love Ellen Degeneres.====JACK:  "Stars" are real people.  She's led a complicated life, but is a survivor...a funny one.====JON:  She certainly has. She seems like a good soul, someone you'd like to have as a friend...

FROM TARMART REV:  You brought out the preacher in me once again this morning, Jack: "I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am" (Philippians 4:13 The Message Bible). ====JACK:  Speaking of being contented...Do you remember the slogan of Carnation evaporated milk?  Carnation milk comes from contented cows.  This seems to suggest that there are cows (like people) who are malcontents. 

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  Well said!====JACK:  Life isn't always a matter of successes.  When failure happens, I like this thought expressed in a song..."Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again."

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/5/15
“Goodbye always make my throat hurt; I need more hellos!”  (Charlie Brown)  This line appears when CB is saying goodbye to Snoopy, who’s going off to participate in a wrist- wrestling championship in Petaluma.  I once knew a person who would never say, “Goodbye.”  It was, “So long” or “See ya!”  Good-bye was too final.  But, in reality, goodbye is a simple form of “God go with you!”  That’s not so bad.   “God go with you, Snoopy”…or whoever.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST. PAUL IN ST. PAUL: actually, Jack,  "goodbye" is the old English for "God be with ye", all run together.  its one of those contracted phrase that just evolved and shortened over time.  in short, it was a kind of benediction.  but I like CB comment too.  Another one is "he is the spittin' image of his father".  originally it was "he is the spirit and image of his father".  it just got all run together over time...   your trivia lesson for today!====JACK:  Alexander Graham Bell suggested that the telephone greeting should be, "Ahoy!", but the users preferred "Hello."  The word "hello" originated as a yell to attract attention.  Ahoy to you! 

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:   There is popular joke in the jewish community that you might appreciate:  The biggest difference between jewish people & gentiles is that when leaving a party gentiles may times forget to say Goodbye when they leave; on the other hand jewish people keep saying Goodbye & never leave..====JACK:  Was "The Man Who Came To Dinner," Jewish?====IKE:  I doubt it,because as I recall they did not serve gefilte fish or chicken soup.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I always liked the Roy Rogers song - "Happy trails to you...........until we meet again."  Maybe in this life - maybe in Heaven.====JACK:  One of my friends who lives in Nova Scotia usually signs his Winning Words responses....Happy Trails.   Do you know the WW 1 song, "There's a Long, Long Trail A-Winding?"  When I a a teen-ager, we used to sing it during hayrides or at campfires.

FROM PRJM:  I have a friend, too, who never says "Goodbye".  It has something to do with her abuse as a child, I believe, but it's awkward for me to end a phone call with her even after five years of friendship.  I *do* say, "Goodbye" with all that meaning behind it of "God go with you" or "Go with God".  Shalom====JACK:  You're the only WWs person whose response ends with, Shalom.  I know the word, but do you have a reason for using it?====PRJM:  I began using "Shalom" as my "complimentary closing" (as they used to say in English class, now called Language Arts) when I was ordained.  It was just my way of saying something more, a deeper regard, than "Sincerely" or even the more common church-y "In Christ" to close out a message -- letter, card, note, and, later, email.  Lately I notice a few more of my correspondents using "Peace" again; back from the "Age of Aquarius"!====JACK:  Sometimes I close with Philippians 1:3.

ROM BLAZING OAKS:  I learn something new every day, and "Goodbye=Godbewithye" is  the new thing today! My 63 yr old son, John, is written up in the Sports Section of the Springfield paper today for winning the Masters III Division (over 60) of the United States Powerlifting Federation bench press competition last weekend in Las Vegas! His 308 lb. performance was an American record. When I talked to him after he won, he was rueing "missing by a hair" his 325 lift...We always want more! :-) I think he could say "hello" to success, instead of "goodbye" to the missed lift!! I agree with Charlie Brown...Goodbyes often makes my throat hurt!! At least for awhile...Proud Mama, ====JACK:  You must have raised another Jack LaLanne.  That "fitness king" lived to be 97.  Arnold Schwartzeneger called him "an animal."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  For us Christians, goodbyes are temporary.====JACK:  What language do you suppose will be used in heaven?  A seminary professor told us of his little daughter wh0 came home from Sunday School with this question, Daddy, isn't God a Swede?"  Evidently her class had been talking about what God was like.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Thanks always for your winning words.  I am in the middle of packing and oh my is it an overwhelming job.  I am saying "good by" to my home in the 10 acres of woods and getting ready to build a patio home.  This property is too much for me to take care of with two big steel sheds and the big house.  David would not have wanted to move but I am looking forward to a smaller piece.  I will miss the woods but it is time to say "good by".  Your words do have a way of being appropriate for me in each step of my journey.====JACK:  You seem to have had enough "good-byes" to last a lifetime.  On 2nd thought...Life is a matter of saying good-bye to the past and hello to the future.  Good-bye doesn't have to be forever.  There are always the memories.  Hold on to the good ones!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/4/15
“When you start to do things you truly love, it doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Friday.”  (David Dweck)  Fleetwood Mac sings, “Monday morning…Got to get some peace in my mind.”  If you are looking to get peace in your mind this week, today’s WWs suggests doing things that you want to do.  Control your week; don’t let it control you.  Sometimes it’s as simple as looking for positives in life, rather than only negatives.  What’s the 1st positive you see today?    ;-)  Jack 

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I hear the birds singing.  It's going to be a busy 10 days. But I think I've planned ahead enough (for some things) that I can drive the week instead of just going for a wild ride.====JACK:  My first positive..."Winning Words" was sent out without a glitch.  Usually there's a least one.  2nd positive...a beautiful bird chirp from a tall pine tree...A 3rd positive would have been to be able to see the bird that made the chirp.

FROM MS IN MICHIGAN:  It was daylight when I got up!====JACK:  It's dark when I get 4:30 am.  On weekends, I allow myself to sleep in...for an extra hour.

FROM TARMART REV:  WWs with Jack!!===My first WWs response is a positive...Your's was the 3rd today, but usually it's the 1st.

FROM PASTY PAT:  I've been granted another day!====JACK:  ...and another year.  Happy Birthday.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  the day!====JACK:  A pastor in Minneapolis used to begin his daily radio program by enthusiastically saying, "Up and away, for this is God's day!  Are you going God's way?"  To go God's way is a worthy goal for today and every day.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I am up and walking on 2 feet and breathing!====JACK:  Hallelujah!  Now...stick your right hip out and shake it all about.  You know the song.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Yes! True and so many people hate Mondays.====JACK:  In the wider scheme of things, Monday is just another day.  It is what you make it.====DONNA:  I think what happens is people (naturally) cram too much into a weekend, like we just did, so the reason Monday gets a bad rap is we are tired.====JACK:  Then, we choose our Mondays.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Just looking out our deck this morning, was wonderful.  I opened the door and heard hundreds of red winged blackbirds dining away!====JACK:  The caw, caw of the blackbird is music to other blackbirds.  I like the red-winged blackbirds.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  That is the great thing about retirement-you can plan your own day-barring emergencies. Every day is good.  The sun is shining and there is a slight breeze.  Monday is my day  to catch up on errands.  In my mother's day, she washed on Monday, ironed  on Tuesday, cleaned on Wednesday, and shopped on Friday.  I never had a schedule like that with our five children and their activities.====JACK:  One day you and your mother had in common...Sunday, churrrch (as the song goes).

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Good to be reminded of "positive" thinking, when it comes to "have-to-do" instead of "what I LOVE to do"! I have been in enough "developing countries" and poverty sections (Congo, India, China, and yes, America! etc) that I can thank God for running water and soap, when I have to do dishes, or scrub floors and bathrooms, and for all the conveniences we have to do necessary things!! Monday or Friday, middle class America is so blessed, even if we can't always be doing things we love!!  A positive today was having  a car with gas, to take elderly, nearly blind, Martha, to water aerobics, and hair app't, and to do grocery shopping!====JACK:  Yes, a dose of living without the "luxuries" we take for granted would make us "thank our lucky stars."  I remember hearing that expression when I was growing up.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 5/1/15
“You can’t start the next chapter in your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”  (Michael McMillan)  There are mixed opinions about Joel Osteen’s theology, but he does have a way of relating to the needs of many people.  When he says, “You’ve got to make a decision to move on,” he’s talking to people who can’t turn the page.  Osteen says, “God knows your situation.  He will help.”  It’s not the greatest song, but “My God and I” says that God is with us.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Knowing it's “My God and I” can cause one to "whistle while he works!! ====JACK:  Required reading in seminary was the book, Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  It tells how a monk experienced the presence of God daily, even when he was scrubbing pots and pans in the kitchen.

FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  Your words were received on point for me today - once again I thank you and smile as the universe brings me what I need - when I need it.====JACK:  In the past, we may have made a decision to move on, but sometimes, because of new circumstances, we need to be encouraged again to "move on."  Just so we keep movin'...that's what's important.

ROM CA IN MICHIGAN:  Your quotes are awesome and I appreciate receiving them.  I  met you several years ago, and I have been blessed since with these "words of Wisdom".====JACK:  The quotes come from a variety of commentary expresses how they come across to me.  Your response is how both quote and commentary are seen by you.  I like our meetings--both e-mail and face-to-face.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Learn something new each day.  And-keep moving.====JACK:  Are you still taking those special college classes?

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I have a couple of acquaintances like that.  They feel isolated because as time goes on, those around them get tired of listening to the same old story every time they meet.  Too bad!====JACK:  It's nice to listen sympathetically, but there comes a time....  What do you do?

FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA:  Wow!!  How this message really hits home.====JACK:  When a pastor preaches, he/she tries to craft a sermon with his congregation in mind.  Winning Words goes out to more than 500 each morning.  I try to keep that congregation mind as I write my words.  Of course, not everyone has the same needs, but I let the Holy Spirit take care of that. 

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i love joel's practicality & optimism. he & victoria are the only "evangelists" i have ever watched for more than five seconds.====JACK:  How much time do you give the preacher in church?  I remember seeing a wife poke her husband to wake him up.  I had a hard time to concentrate on what I was saying.  I can still picture it in my mind.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I love that song.  I rocked my babies including grandkids while singing or humming it.  The hard sometimes to turn those pages but there's always another book! ===JACK:  Sometimes, as we age, our fingers don't work as well as they used to, and the pages become harder to more ways than one.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Wow.  This is deeply meaningful.====JACK:  One of the memorable quotes from Gone With the Wind is, "After all, tomorrow is another day."  So was yesterday.  Today is really the only day we have to do what needs doing.

FROM JPB:   “My God and I” may not be the greatest, but on my list it very near the top. ====JACK:  The worth of a song depends on who's reviewing it and for what reason...much like deciding on the worth of a person.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I have taken this semester off for the first time in about 14 years. But I have had a good experience in getting the house, the pool deck, the driveway and the sidewalks pressure washed.  Then my house took about  six days to paint, and I was lucky to deal with such good and competent people.  Then  we went to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach for state and regional gymnastics meets.  Ft. Lauderdale was unbelievable to see.  Les and I were married at St. Anthony's, and it is still so beautiful.  We were there the Sunday before T. Patrick's Day, and an opera singer sang Danny Boy at the end of Mass and a bagpiper ushered the people out.  That was a first for me.  Now we have three graduations and 2 confirmations coming up.  I have been going to some travelogues; the  last one was on Israel- Jerusalem and the Dead Sea.  Also our neighborhood is mixed and many  of our friends here are moving back North to their families or to rehab centers.  Life is very interesting, to say the least.====JACK:  It sounds as though you are continuing to turn the pages forward.  Keep it up, and you're going to avoid moving back north.

FROM LG IN MICHIGAN:  Love this one!!====JACK:  Much obliged!  Now, there's an expression you don't hear anymore.  When's the last time you've used it?