Monday, November 30, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/30/15
“The phrase, ‘Do not be afraid!’ is written in the Bible 365 times.  That’s a reminder from God to live every day being fearless.”  (Facebook)  Something told me to check out the 365.  Others did the same, and no one could verify the number.  So…Don’t believe all you see on Facebook.  But, I do like what one “checker” said.  “Once is enough for me.”  In those times when fear grabs hold of you, remember God’s word, “Do not be afraid; I am with you.”    ;)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  fakebook!====JACK:  There's some good stuff on Facebook, too.  Discernment is the operative word.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  "Don't believe all you read on FB."  Should be one of your WWs.     They are words of great wisdom.====JACK:  Biblical literalism has the same danger.====JOHN:  The Bible is not the problem.   It is the way it is read though it were a textbook and with the answers already in the mind of the reader.   FB is the problem.   It absolutely encourages lying.====JACK:  I try to be careful with "absolutes."  I try to find some good in everything, even Facebook====JOHN:  You are right.  FB can be a good thing but it does seem to give license to a lot of haters

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Wow. Clever.====JACK:  I like the words of Jesus to his disciples: "Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."====HY YO:  Not familiar. Thanks for sharing.  It's interesting - I majored in the bible when I was at seminary for my BA. But I know so little of the New Testament.====JACK:  The study of the "Old" Testament and Oriental Philosophy has helped me to have a better understanding of the world today and its complexities.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Fear Not!" has always been an encouragement for me to follow, however many times it is written in God's Word (our Bibles)!? Assuming your Thanksgiving went well, Jack, onward now to Christmas!!====JACK:  Speaking of fear..."You better watch out....He's making a list and checking it twice."

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I was afraid you were going to say that!====JACK:  Speaking of being afraid...Which do you want to hear first...the good news, or the bad?====JON:  I'd assume the best answer is there is neither good or bad, just news. If the news is beyond our control the order received should be of little concern.====JACK:  Except....when the doctor comes into the room and says, "I have some bad news."  Or, if he says, "I have some good news."  The difference (beyond our control) does make a difference.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Coincidental that there are 365 days in a year?  Just need to remember not to be afraid on Feb. 29 every four years!====JACK:  God doesn't use a calendar.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  At Bible study last night, we were discussing the state of this world is so messed up morally.  We have teens and young adults in the mix.  I asked them how they thought about this world they were going to inherit and one girl 16, Molly,stated "We're screwed!"  Everyone laughed until one of the adults said, "God is in control and He tells us, 'Do not fear!'"====JACK:  Things change, and things stay the same....When I was a "Molly," I remember people saying that the world was messed up morally, and I remember that people were concerned about the world that their children would inherit.  Then, as now, the one in control is God.  Fear not.====JUDY:  We reminded the kids of how we had air raid drills and how we had to drop down, get under our desks and cover our heads !  There have always been bad times but we had many more morals back then... Until recently, we could rely on people to do the right thing.  Now however, we can't rely on those morals anymore. But our God is bigger than we can imagine.  He knows what we need and when we need it so we need not fear.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Interesting "fact" I'll use it for my S.S. thought for the day, at the head of my lesson sheet! As your checker said, if the count if "off", "once is enough"!  Most of the folks in my class are facing "The Pearly Gates", so living "fearless" has to be a focus!  I love a quote (sounds like Ann Lamott, or someone like her) I used recently: "Only when you come to the end, and leap out into the darkness, will you discover you have wings to fly!"  The Leap of faith" so to speak... ====JACK:  We have all had our fears in this life, from childhood to the present.  "What if?" usually precedes them.  Brother Lawrence wrote that we should "Practice the Presence of God."

Friday, November 27, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/27/15
“You’re going to a Black Friday Sale?  Didn’t you say you were thankful for everything you had yesterday?”  (Gene Wilder)  One of my favorite movie comedians, is G.W.—Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak, Stir Crazy.  He was funny, even as a child (in Wisconsin).  His mother became very ill when he was age 8.  In her suffering, she’d say to him, “Make me laugh.”  But, life hasn’t always been funny for him.  Gilda’s Club shows his serious side.    ;-)  Jack

 FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  What a wonderful actor! Funny...serious...musical...he has it all!  I'm thankful for so much, Jack!====JACK:  So many comedians are laughing on the outside but seem to be crying on the inside.

FROM TARMART REV:  One of the most brighter spots in our particular walk of faith, Jack, that in the midst of any degradation, disappointment and death itself--we have hope for a better day, a better reward and the best God has to offer us! We are truly blessed to have this hope sent our way!! Happy Thanksgiving!!====JACK:  One of the responsibilities as well as one of the responsibilities of our calling is to provide a message of hope in the midst of hopelessness.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Excellent words.  I'm going shoppin', too - my wife has a bad cold and I'm going to buy some cold & cough medicine.====JACK:  I don't think you'll find cough & cold medicine as a Black Friday item.  I remember being sick once at Thanksgiving-time, and the thought of eating food made me even sicker.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Gene Wilder went to high school at Washington hs in Milwaukee with my sister in law Jane.  I've liked his movies, too.====JACK:  Did your sister know him as "Gene" in those days, or only after he became famous?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  NO Black sales for me.   Done!!!  Gene in Stir Crazy is one of my top 10 movies!!!  We usually don't need anything but ours wants are enormous!====JACK:  I like Steve Martin (as Navin) in the movie, the Jerk, when he goes around the house saying, "I don't need anything...except this ashtray...except this remote control...except this magazine...except this dog."  The dog barks at him and he says, "I don't need this dog."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   No Black Friday sales for me, but I am thankful for yesterday, and the extended family gathering , good food , games and visits!  Like most of us Gene Wilder experienced the very good, and the very bad, and handled it as best he could, as we do.  There is no doubt that a sense of humor carries you through a great deal..I sometimes call on people in the hospital, who can joke about their situation, even if it seems fairly grim. Our good friend, a retired executive minister, who fell in the shower and broke his hip, said to the paramedics, "I'll bet this is the first time you've met a pastor with only a skimpy towel around his waist! Glad you've come, even it I'm not clothed, but I am in my right mind!"  (He later died from complications from that fall.)  Faith is a big factor in coping!====JACK:  Here's a story that I once read and have never forgotten.  "A family experienced a tragic death, and the burial was on Saturday.  The next day they were in their usual place in church.  A little boy whispered to his mother, 'They really do believe, don't they?'"

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  And Gilda was a big fav of mine! YouTube her Commencement speech.====JACK:  Out of the bad often comes the good....Gilda's Club, which has been a help to so many.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/25/15
“Count on your health instead of your wealth.  Count on God instead of yourself.”  (Jerry Kill)  I admired J.K. as a football coach but I admire him most as a human being who has dealt with adversity in his life in a realistic and positive way.  I chose his words as a “Thanksgiving” reminder that all that we have is a gift from God.  A Thanksgiving Prayer:  “For food, when many walk in hunger, for faith when many walk in fear, for friends in a world where many walk alone...we give you thanks, AMEN.”     ;-)  Jack

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  happy thanksgiving!  JACK: The table size will be smaller, because of some travel plans, but I anticipate the same delicious items...starting with stuffed celery.

FROM TARMART REV:  Happy Thanksgiving, Jack! Much easier it is at time in the lives of the McCullough's to count on their health than their wealth and their God than themselves!====JACK:  Will you be at Target and Walmart on Black Friday?  If so, you might need a larger bag of popcorn for all of those who stop by at your table.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Love this!  I sometimes become my arthritis and let it become who I am instead of me controlling it!  Sometimes I have to pull myself up by my imaginary boot straps and just deal with it!  I like to quote Veggie Tails to my grandkids.... "God is bigger than the boggy man, He's bigger than Godzilla and monsters on tv!  God is bigger than the boggy man and Hes say watchin' over you and me".====JACK:  My father-in-law often said, "We are who we are."  Your faith tells you that you are more than your limitations.  "I am a child of God, and nothing is better than that."

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  happy Thanksgiving, Jack, and thanks for all the good WW over the years.====JACK:  Today, I'm going near to your old stomping grounds (Figa).  While there, I'll say a prayer  of thanks to God for you and your family and our friendship.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I like the prayer. Thanks.====JACK:  Maybe one of your kids can say it as you gather at the Thanksgiving table.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Amen to that.====JACK:  "Count on God" is worth a loud AMEN.

FROM LB:  From our family to your family may you have a healthy, happy and blessed Thanksgiving.====JACK:  There are so many things for which to give G-d thanks, aren 't there?

FROM CH ON CAPE COD:  Thanks!  Happy Thanksgiving!====JACK:  Last night, on Public TV, we saw a program about the Pilgrims and the harsh winter they spent after landing at Plymouth.  I suppose you that live close to that area can identify with the harsh winter weather.

FROM DP IN MINNESOTA:  That is a powerful prayer!====JACK:  I thought that each petition related to "need" circumstances in  the world today...the poor, hungry and homeless, who are often swept aside; the fearful, because of terror places in the world , but also because of personal situations; the lonely, with memories of what "used to be."  Besides of prayers of thanks, we might also include  prayers of concern.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Happy Thanksgiving to you, Mary and your family!  Think I’ll use your prayer for our Thanksgiving dinner.  A great reminder of how lucky we are to live in this country, to be free, have wonderful friends and a loving family, plus so much more!====JACK:  Each of the holidays has its own "theme."  I especially like "Thanks-giving."  But Christmas, Easter, Mothers/Fathers Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day and Birthdays, aren't bad, either, when we remember them for what they signify.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.====JACK:  Your new grandchild is something to be thankful this year.  G-d is good.


FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Fabulous prayer!  Thank you!====JACK:  Do you recall singing the words of this hymn:  James Montgomery was the composer.
1 Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,  unuttered or expressed, 
the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast. 
2 Prayer is the simplest form of speech that infant lips can try; 
prayer the sublimest strains that reach the Majesty on high. 
3 Prayer is the contrite sinners' voice, returning from their way,
while angels in their songs rejoice and cry, "Behold, they pray!"
4 Prayer is the Christians' vital breath, the Christians' native air; 
their watchword at the gates of death; they enter heaven with prayer. 
5 O Christ, by whom we come to God, the Life, the Truth, the Way, 
the path of prayer You also trod; Lord, teach us how to pray!
====BB:  Yes…my mind began singing at the first line.  You warm my heart.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Love that prayer.====JACK:  I spent some time trying to get the right one.====JOHN:  The time was well spent

FROM CPA BOB:  Have a Happy Thanksgiving, with the noise of an active family, more food than you can eat, and good health for the many Thanksgivings to come.====JACK:  Don't forget the parade and the football game.  They are Thanksgiving, too.

FROM WOLVERINE COP:  Another wonderful Thanksgiving prayer. We will pray this today. Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.====JACK:  I think that we will be using the same prayer, so we'll have that in common.  Will you be at THE GAME on Saturday?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/24/15
“If you treat people right, they will treat you right…ninety percent of the time.”  (FDR)  FDR had a way with words…”We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”  I like his quote for today, especially the last part.  It would be nice if every good word were returned with a good word.  But, that’s not the world. I like the Bible verse: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Keep on keeping on, Jack, letting your light shine!!====JACK:  This little light of mine...I'm gonna let it shine!   ...and, don't you try to blow it out.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  The chapter in my book, "Life is Reciprocity," speaks to this. ====JACK:  Yes, I remember reading that chapter.  I think that we've all practiced reciprocity at one time or another.  Would you call what the lobbyists do...reciprocity?

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Hello Jack, and Happy Thanksgiving!  Overcoming evil with good is at the root of the technology we (at TGI-- The Gabriel Institute) are bringing into the world. Right now, virtually all of our business is business-to-business, so we don’t talk about it in those terms, but TGI’s founders did envision a ‘spiritual gifts’ version of Teamability®.  Now a group of devout Christians of various denominations are raising funding to partner with us and make that version available. (It requires a costly overhaul of our online systems.) In the meantime, one of these people is a recently ordained pastor, who taught a course in seminary on teaming as a spiritual gift. The response was overwhelmingly positive!  I will keep you posted on the progress.  p.s. It is surprising and delightful that my personal mission, which once was to enrich worship communities through artwork in glass, has now (after a long and circuitous detour) returned to one of fostering faith and inspiration.====JACK:  Gabriel is typically the angel sent by God to deliver messages to people.  Does this describe how your company's name was derived?====MT:  That was the main part of it. The other aspect had to do with restoring positive feelings about the name Gabriel, used by an unethical company (the Gabriel Group) that our Founder had worked for — until she discovered what they were up to.====JACK:  The  angel Gabriel is the patron saint of...Telecommunication Workers, Radio Broadcasters, Messengers, Postal Workers, Clerics, Diplomats, Stamp Collectors.

FROM AA'S PEGASUS:  Hello Jack. Wanted to say hi and wish you and Mary a very Happy Thanksgiving.i will get back home at 7 am that day. I'm taking the al-nighter back from Phoenix as I finish work late on Wednesday night. So glad I will get to be home!! I am Thankful to call you a friend.====JACK:  Welcome back to Michigan.  Our state's license plate used to have this slogan...Winter-Water Wonderland.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  YES,  GOOD THOUGHT, AND IF THEY DON'T RECIPROCATE IN KIND, THE JUDGMENT IS ON THEM....AS MOTHER USED TO SAY, "IT DOESN'T COST A THING TO BE KIND!"====JACK:  Here's an idea....  Why don't you make a collection of your mother's sayings, print them out, and give them as a gift to your children, grandchildren and greats.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  May your stuffing be tasty, May your turkey be plump, May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump.  May your yams be delicious and your pies take the prize. ====JACK:  Don't forget the dressing and baked corn.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/23/15
“Sometimes a hug is all you need to make you feel better.”  (Pinterest)  After the Paris shootings, a blindfolded Muslim man asked people to show him trust with a hug.  Dozens did so.  I’m not usually a “hugger,” but sometimes I can’t help myself…It’s the right thing to do, when words are not enough.  Studies indicate that a hug can be good for your health.  Studies aside, a hug in difficult times, or as a friendly greeting, just makes us feel good.  Hugs!   ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  some years ago an old pastor friend of mine also gave me this advice,  "except for your wife,  do ALL your hugging in public".  (so as to avoid any hint of impropriety).   also,  there are different kinds of hugs...some less suggestive than others.   shoulder to shoulder might be the less intrusive and still meaningful...====JACK:  I've read that Billy Graham was never allowed to be alone with a woman (other than his wife).====SP:  I think that is true.  especially during courtship.  still true to this day at Bob Jones U.  couples must stay one foot a part at all times.   Billy never kissed Ruth until they were married as far as I know.  he mentioned this once in a sermon.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  not a hugger either.====JACK:  I was at an event yesterday when a man came up and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  I know that he was from a culture where that is a way of greeting...and I accepted it that way.====LIZ:  yeah, he meant well, & you were gracious. 

FROM TARMART REV:   I’m most usually a “hugger,” but sometimes I have to restrain's the right thing to do!!  Not often--but there are those times. As Kenny Rogers the country-western singer sang-- "You've got to know when to hold them and know when to throw them" a heavenly handshake!!====JACK:  I wonder if Jesus was a hugger?  We read that he was a toucher...for healing.====REV:  I would like to use His communicative skill with His eyes . . . I think He was able to speak in volumes of ways in the way He looked upon others--compassionate, commanding, controlling, forgiving, welcomingly and "you know better" kinds of ways without speaking one word first.

FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  It WAS wonderful to share a hug last night at the Philip A. Hart 55th Annual Dinner with you.  Your invocation and blessing of the food was received by me as heartfelt and passionate.  I enjoyed listening to your invocation and seeing you.  I continue to anticipate waking and reading your winning words email every day.  It is uncanny how your timely chosen words apply to me and  my experiences.   I appreciate your work.  The insight and support I glean from each email leads me into the day with a smile and thoughts about what you share.  Wishing you continued good health.  Sending another HUG.====JACK:  It's always a good day when I meet up with people I usually only "see" by way of the computer and Winning Words.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Got a big hug yesterday at church from an old friend.  A little girl named M... has adopted me as her g'father. What a thrill and blessing. I guess at my age I look pretty harmless.====JACK:  Grandchildren's (adopted or real) hugs are the best.

My dad wasn't a hugger--he was a handshaker, German ancestors. My sister and I were in his nursing home room when he died--standing a couple of feet away from his bed, softly talking. One of my regrets, which I've tried to make peace with, is that I wasn't touching his hand or his arm or something. And I think that is because, being a handshaker, went with his whole personality which was rather reserved and private. I would have liked to accompany him in his transition by transcending the reservation and privacy but seems old habits of being are strong even in the face of death and finality and no more chances to change. Hugs back to you.====JACK:  I think that past generations, on the whole, were less expressive in showing love than is customary today.  Love has a way of making itself known, regardless of various kinds of touching.  You were there!

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Give Mary one for me, Jack.  Happy Thanksgiving!====JACK:  She'll wonder what's going on, if I don't explain it to her first.


FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Consider this a long distance hug!====JACK:  What long arms you have....

FROM INDY GENIE:  Love and receiving:) Sending you one right now. ====JACK:  Ohh!  Got it.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  How true.====JACK:  It takes two to make it work...the hugger and the huggee.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Hugs are so very uplifting!  They comfort you and let you know someone a big hug from Jesus!====JACK:  I guess our "visions" of Jesus is affected by the pictures that artists have made.  I've never seen one of him hugging.  I'll have to google that.....
Oooooh, there are lots!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'm a Hugger from a way back, much more so than a handshake...I imagine most people would be surprised if I DIDN'T hug them! It IS a good feeling, tho sometimes a homeless individual's hug is not a "sweet-smeller"! :-) No matter...blessings====JACK:  You usually end your e-mails with "hugs," but today you used "blessings" when I expected "hugs."

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Right on!  Give yourself one from me.====JACK:  I think I'll have to have an out-of-body experience to give myself a hug.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/20/15
“You are always on the lookout for fates worse than death, and it turns out that there are a slew of them.”  (Gregory Boyle)  Fr Boyle is a priest who ministers in L.A.’s gang territory.  He sees death practically every day and has written about his experience in a book, “Tattoos on the Heart.”  For the young people he works with, it’s one-day-at-a-time.  A gun, a shot, and it’s over.  In L.A., in Paris, in Beirut, or wherever we live, “Tomorrow is promised to no one.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV: is found very temporal and in constant change indeed!! ====JACK:  As the hymn writer put it..."Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou, who changest not, abide with me."====REV:  One of those hymns sung more in your circle than mine-- Abide with Me! Amen to that!!====JACK:  Not jazzy enuf for the AGs, I guess.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  ironic all the talk about gun control... gang control?====JACK:  You should read the book.  People, like G, help keep the lid on.  He's working in the Watts area.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Our today's are enough to worry about.  As our tomorrow's become scarier it's even more important to do what we can do to make this world better today.====JACK:  Have you heard of the song, "One day at a time, sweet Jesus"?

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Some things never change.  My friend who was a nurse in Watts in the 60's carried her gun to work at the hospital.  Her father had taught her to shoot when she was ten in Ohio.  That was the first time I ever thought of having to protect myself from such evil.  The world needs a lot of work to be perfect.====JACK:  Recently, a pastor (who was licensed to carry a gun) shot a parishioner who was attacking him during a service.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/19/15
“We must trust in the slow work of God.”  (Teilhard de Chardin)  The Psalmist (Ps 13) calls out, “How long, Lord, will you utterly forget me?”  Do you ever feel that God has responded to your prayers by putting you on hold?  In teaching confirmands about prayer, I’ve said that God always answers prayer…Sometimes it’s, Yes; sometimes, No; sometimes, Let’s wait and see.  It’s how a loving parent treats the requests of a child.  “Faith” means, “I trust.”    ;-)  Jack  

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  I remember that confirmation lesson====JACK:  I hope that you're able to pass it on someday.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think of prayer as a communicative process..kind of like texting.     I think God listens to us and responds.    In the process we begin to see our way.====JACK:  I'm trying to visualize Jesus, texting. fact, try to picture Jesus living in this world.  In biblical days he put the day's "news" into parables.  Imagine his reaction to ISIS, the "debates," and the economic divide.  Maybe that's what "God with is" is all about.

FROM THE 3RD ONE:  Thank you!

FROM TARMART REV:  "TRUST AND OBEY, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey." You have a way of bringing those old hymns tucked away in my heart back up to the surface once again, Jack!! Thanks!! I'll probably be singing that quietly in my mind all through the day once again!!====JACK:  "When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,  What a glory He sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still,  And with all who will trust and obey."  This hymn was inspired by the words of a young man who stood to speak at a D.L. Moody Crusade.  "I don't know much about this Christianity, but I'm going to trust, and I'm going to obey."  Someone gave these words to John Sammis, and he composed the hymn.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words for today, Jack.  thanks... and we are about to enter the waiting season of Advent...====JACK:  The early disciples expected the 2nd Advent to happen in their lifetime.  God's definition of "time" takes some trust.  "O come, O come...."====ST PAUL:  I always tried to help the confirmands understand that God is not limited in any way by time or space, as we are.  hard for them to wrap their minds around such an "other worldly" concept.====JACK:  When they grasp that, have them grapple with God who is uncreated and has no form.  "Jesus" can help with that, but, then they will have to try and understand that Jesus and God are the same, but not the same.  Having said that, I think that teaching confirmation classes was one of the favorite things I did as a pastor.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Amen! I’ve struggled this past week.  Thinking that a sparrow cannot fall from the nest without being noticed by the Almighty …and realizing (for the first time?) that it does not say that the sparrow does not fall nor that the sparrow will be caught by God but only that it’s plight is under the watchful eye….====JACK:  Here is a favorite song of mine.  It tells of care for each of his loved ones.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,  I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,  And I know He watches me.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  God does always answers prayers ....just not in the ways we want.  Even though we want things He knows what we need.  It's a hard lesson sometimes but He knows what He's doing!====JACK:  That's why Jesus taught the disciples (and us) to pray, "THY will be done on earth, as it is in heaven."

FROM CL IN CALIFORNIA:  Sounds like you've read one of my favorite pieces:
Patient Trust
          By Pierre Teilhard De Chardin
Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
      to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
      unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of progress
      that it is made by passing through
      some states of instability ---
      and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
      Your ideas mature gradually --- let them grow,
      let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
      as though you could be today what time
      (that is to say, grace and circumstances
      acting on your own good will)
      will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
      gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
      that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
      in suspense and incomplete.
====JACK:  It NOW has become a favorite, and I'm saving it.  I came across it while reading, "Tattoos on the Heart", by Fr Gregory Boyle who works among gang members in L.A.  The change he would like comes slowly.  In fact, most of us have, at times, experienced God's slowness.  But, that's our problem, not his.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  That helps to be more faithful.====JACK:  Even the faithful will sometimes say, "I believe; help my unbelief."====HG:  True for me. And I've had soooo many God-answers, BUT - I STILL NEED HELP there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/18/15
“How many things have to happen to you before something occurs to you?”  (Robert Frost)  William Meredith said that poets make poems only out of insights that they encounter, and that, astonishing things don’t happen to them every day.  He then referred to the words in today’s RF quote.  Think of some unusual things that have happened to you.  How far back do you have to go?  Upon reflection…it might have been a week ago for me.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I just awakened with your morning post lighting my phone...I just had the thought, one of these days I will not!====JACK:  "....and if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  In our circumstances, adjustments and readjustments are frequently required, and I always feel the effect of the Triumvirate leading in the decisions to rethink and readjust. Such comfort comes from knowing that there is/are an ever present support.====JACK:  Sometimes we have to stop and marvel....God was just present in that situation!  Omnipresent is more than just a word, when it comes to describing God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/17/15
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping.’” (Fred Rogers)  As I searched among the many quotes related to the Paris attack, Mr. Rogers words, resonated with me.  Fear, retaliation, sympathy, sadness could have been chosen.  Thank you first- responders, you who do what needs doing in emergencies, to help make the bad better.    ;-/  Jack  

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Wonderful WW. Sound perspective to have on things. Thanks. ====JACK:  It's too bad that all the good that done in the world everyday doesn't make the headlines.  But it is being done, and that's what's important, after all.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  you are a spiritual first responder!====JACK:  Being at the computer by 5 am each day, makes me an early responder, but not necessarily the first.

FROM TARMART REV:  Yes!! Definitely!! I'm sure there are many pastors and chaplains hard at work as well consoling and comforting folk along the way!====JACK:  I wonder if the Paris Police and Fire Departments have chaplains? Thinking they proof of such, but have a strong notion they do.====JACK:  I haven't been able to find an answer. 

FROM MF:  As usual, your winning words are very timely today.  I'm not sure if I told you that my oldest son is an urban Firefighter, has seen more than anyone should see in a city so devastated by poverty.  Sunday night he responded to a drug deal gone bad with multiple victims suffering gunshots.  There was a delay in their response until police had secured the scene. His crew transported an innocent 8 y/o boy who had been shot twice, caught in crossfire.  The boy did not survive.  We do our best to help counsel him after these events, today's we'd help a lot.====JACK:  "Paris-type" events happen each day...and whether the casualties are hundreds, or one, tragedy is tragedy.  Our gratitude goes out to the responders.  Some of them have a slogan..."We run in when others are running out."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Jack, I certainly enjoy your daily missives - gives a good start to my day.====JACK:  There's a hymn that I learned in Sunday School.  It helped lead me into the ministry.   "God calling yet! shall I not hear?  Earth's pleasures shall I still hold dear?  Shall life's swift passing years all fly,  And still my soul in slumbers lie?"  I see Winning Words as a response to God's continuing call to ministry.

FROM JB AT LSTC:  Amen====JACK:    I appreciate your support from the Amen Corner.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We need 1,000's of Mr. Rogers for the children to watch now-a-days! ====JACK:  I hear what you're saying.  But, before Fred Rogers, there was no Fred Rogers.  But God has a way of creating people to do his will at certain times and in certain places.  I liked Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans, too.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Wonderful heartwarming quote.  Thank you for sharing.====JACK:  There's lots of good stuff out there.  The trick is to find it among the chaff.  I'm glad you liked the one for today.  It's a favorite of mine, too.

FROM RF WHO RECENTLY INTERNED IN PARIS:  Luckily, the attacks didn't involve anyone I worked with. I was concerned at first because the attack at the bataclan was one block away from the store that my boss's husband owned, and right around where they lived. I was quick to get in touch with her. It has been such a difficult week reading about the attacks in Paris and Beirut. I appreciated your perspective in your email this morning.====JACK:  Wherever it might be, we are always living on the edge, whether we realize it, or not.  I've often quoted this poem...
 "The clock of life is wound but once  And no one has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop,  At late or early hour.  
Now is the only time you own;  Live, love, work, and with a will;
Place no faith in tomorrow, for  The clock may then be still."

FROM DR JUDY:  Lovely!!! If we shift our focus to look for the helpers, I hope that our world will also shift!====JACK:  I like the words of the old song.... "If we'd all say a prayer that the world would be free,  The wonderful dawn of a new day we'll see!  And, if everyone lit just one little candle,  What a bright world this would be!"  Sometimes we need to look in a mirror to see the helper.

Salman Rushdie may have a point, when he says, "There's no such thing as perfect security, only varying levels of insecurity."  It's just about impossible to  defend against an armed or suicidal opponent who is willing to die to be able to kill others. Amazing the havoc eight passionate gunmen can wreak on even a strong city, such as Paris.  Yet survivors gather around the wounded and families, and do what they can to help...Today's WW are certainly appropriate! Look for the blessings, such as the soccer-bomber's  fiasco. they could have taken so many live, had they been "on time"....====JACK:  We need to be reminded that even Jesus did not escape the death experience at the hands of "terrorists.  But through his death and resurrection, we have been shown the way to life beyond this life.  "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

FROM MOLINER JT:  My prayer every night, Oh Lord, my life is in your hands !!====JACK:  It's sort of an adult way of praying, "Now, I lay me down to sleep...."  FROM CH ON CAPE COD:  Thank you.  Many Republican governors are succumbing to knee-jerk fear reactions.  (Regarding Syrian immigrants)  Makes one think of Jesus and Samaritans.  This morning, on NPR, the governor of Washington state spoke powerfully about leadership, remaining true to our values, screening robustly, but not doing what FDR did to Japanese Americans…   Look for helpers… Look for courageous voices…  Peace be with you!====JACK:  "Upon further review," as they say in the NFL, the Constitution does not allow states to overrule what is the prerogative of the Federal Govt... immigration laws.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/16/15
“I’ve done everything I can do for your Church, but it’s your Church, and I’m going to bed.”  (Prayer of Pope John XXIII)  I’m reminded of a woman who was able to sleep through the WW2 London Blitz.  How did she do it?  “I pray: ‘O Lord, whether I live or die is in your hands …now, let me go to sleep.’”  When there seems to be no solution for our “problem,” maybe the Pope and the woman had the right idea…”Now, I lay me down to sleep…”    ;-)  Jack
Click this link to see my blog

FROM TARMART REV:  ...good word of a Monday morning and the beginning of a new week!! His Church!!====JACK:  Sometimes we try to play "God" and think we can (or should be able to) solve all the problems of the world.====REV:  Always remember, even in our frailties, He has chosen our weaknesses to demonstrate His power and revelation to all mankind. Thankful, as I know you are, of being on His team.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  That was amazing.  Mark Hanson was our presenter in our Kairos (adult ed) program yesterday and he used that very same quote!  And I love it.====JACK:  Mark Hanson must have felt the same way when he was guiding the ELCA during difficult times.  I kind of smile (a wry one) when people complain about Church decisions after prayers were offered for God to guide the voters in doing his will.====GM:  He said he did not lose sleep over the church—he did raising his 6 children!  Ha!  He is a very smart and nice man.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  "Into your hands oh Lord and Thy will be done, Amen"====JACK:  It's just like in the Lord's Prayer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Jack’s Winning words 11/13/15
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and to pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”  (John Muir)  Diplomats from 70 countries are in Paris discussing environmental issues.  “Life on the planet is at stake,” said one of them.  Concern for the environment is not new.  John Muir saw a need to care for nature over a century ago.  “Beauty or bread” is an ongoing question.  Do you have the answer?    ;-)  Jack

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  It's significant that one thing of beauty about this earth is that it is the medium for growing our bread.  If we nourish the earth, it will reward us with food.  If we misuse and contaminate the earth, we will destroy its fertility and prevent food production.  John Muir and Rachel Carson were way ahead of us concerning what we must do for mankind's survival. ====JACK:  Someone has to sound the clarion.  Thankfully, Rachel did it with her book, Silent Spring...and John Muir did it with his life.  It's too bad that some are trying to muffle sound by saying that economics is more important that "global warming."

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I guess we've had "The world is coming to an end." periodically. ====JACK:  It's unfortunate when "saving the planet" becomes a political issue.  What's really important is...Are we making the best use of the gifts of God, which include our own life?  The Boy Scouts were not the first to come up with the slogan, "Be Prepared!"====GEORGE:  EXCELLENT!!

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I believe I am correct in saying that without him,  we would likely not have some of our national parks today.====JACK:  I understand that there's a movement, because of budget constraints, to sell off some of the National Parks, or to privatize them.  Crazytimes!====PAUL:  you know what is really stupid?   our government has contracted with all kinds of vendors who basically run our parks and most of the revenue they acquire, they keep!   very little goes back to running and maintaining our parks.  that is one reason they are always operating in the red.====JACK:  I guess I can understand vendor leases, but I would draw the line at selling or leasing irreplaceable land treasures.====ST PAUL:  fair enough...   I just recall a news piece on Yosemite Park where it appears the vendors were doing very well and we, the people, who own the Park, were not...

FROM TARMART REV:  Everyone doing their part would be a good start . . . same is true of our spiritual obligation to self and one another . . . seemingly gets bogged down with both in there definitions of what is truth and what's fabricated by man as to their importance and our obligation . . . sometimes find myself scratching my head, standing before and contemplating both?! 0;-/ ====JACK:  To agree on what is true and what is false is a "dream."  Compromise is not really a "dirty" word; it's just a way of getting things done.====REV:  So true . . . completed compromise then becomes congratulatory for those would agree your compromise and condemnatory from those who believe you co-opted out, compromising the truth of the matter.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Wish I did.  Most of the worlds pollution comes from places we don't have any way of controlling.  We are making some progress with the endangered animals because of some very devoted Rangers.  This world is full of many stunningly beautiful places and animals along with all different people.  We are truly blessed!====JACK:  Of course, we can't control what goes on in all parts of the world, but we can control our corner of the world.  A better neighborhood starts at our front door.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  The closest I can get to solving the  "Beauty or bread" question is the ritual of making  a blessing over "challah",which Jewish people eat Friday nights to celebrate the arrival of our Sabbath.  As you know challah is braided egg bread & is not only attractive & tasty but the blessing thanks God for the earth he created to make it possible.  Just thinkin..====JACK:  I suppose that the biblical manna, being G-d-made and not man-made, has nothing comparable in today's world.  Probably matzoh is closer to it than challah.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Not an answer…because a balanced portion of each with a long range view is a challenge in our pluralistic society.====JACK:  I came across this quote the other day..."The color of truth is gray."  It fits politically, economically and my opinion.  I'm cautious when someone around me lives in their black and white world.====ME:  Even though I think you are probably a democrat, as is my wife, and I am a Republican, I suspect we see most things the same way.  The black and white extremes of both parties are making the gray hard to find.  For my first 50 years I considered myself an Independent until Marilyn registered me as a Republican because she said I might as well vote in the Primaries because I always voted Republican anyway.====JACK:  Ha!  I'd like to meet Marilyn.  It sounds as though she's a straight thinker  I've read that we're living in a time when Independents are hard to find.  Someone wrote that they are 5% of the electorate.  Henry Clay (The Great Compromiser) would have a tough time Congress today.
FROM JB IN OLV:  The question is how much bread do we need?  There is a movement in some European countries where the question is equilibrium….only using exactly what is needed.  A novel thought for us in the USA where the growth industry is rental units to store all our belongings that can't fit into our houses.====JACK:  It's sort of like the Israelites with the manna in the wilderness ...When they took more than was needed, God was not pleased.  If we used only what we needed, churches wouldn't be able to have Rummage Sales.

ROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Jack, a recent book by a famous news announcer has documented what would happen if , either by natural causes or deliberately, the power grid was to be permanently disrupted.   He gave the world population  that only 10% will survive  more than 10 yrs. the rest of us will not.  A grim prediction....but he claims no one nowhere has done anything  about the possibility that the power grid may be destroyed..  according to calculations, one well placed high in the atmosphere atomic explosion could wipe out power grids throughout the whole earth. Or  a sun explosion... How's that for a thanksgiving thought?====JACK:  How's this for a Thanksgiving thought?  A hymn by William F. Lloyd.
Our times are in Thy hand;  Father, we wish them there;
Our life, our souls, our all we leave  Entirely to Thy care.

Our times are in Thy hand,  Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright;  As best they seem to Thee.

Our times are in Thy hand;  Why should we doubt or fear?
Our Father’s hand will never cause  His child a needless tear.

Our times are in Thy hand,  O Lord, our Advocate!
Nor is that hand outstretched in vain,  For us to supplicate.

Our times are in Thy hand;  We’ll always trust in Thee.
Till we have left this weary land,  And all Thy glory see.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/12/15
“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket.”  (Sent by MBO)  When John Lennon was 5-yrs-old the teacher asked what he wanted to be when he grew up.  When he answered, “Happy!” he was told he didn’t understand the assignment.  Have you become what you wanted to be, now that you’ve grown up?  What has determined your happiness?  Things?  Family?  Health?  Approval by others?  Do you have a definition for happiness?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I see "happiness". As a feeling that comes and anger or sadness. Peace is a state of mind or being.   I do feel at peace.====JACK:  How did you feel when candidate Rubio said that we need more welders and less philosophers?  Was your "happiness key" in his pocket?====JOHN:  No.    Rubio is another lightweight who sounds good but has no balls. ====JACK:  No comment on "less philosophers?"

FROM DLM:  . I love this one!  Have a great day!====JACK:  When my friend, MBO, sent this quote, it resonated with me, and I thought that others would like it, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  You sure put a smile on my face, Jack!!====JACK:  Much obliged!  Ask someone today what the word, oblige, means.====REV:  My lady friend on Google this morning said it "makes (someone) legally or morally bound to an action or course of action."  May we both continue to oblige ourselves serving Him!! Blessed to be able to walk along together doing so. ====JACK:  I'd challenge you to ask someone, other than the Google lady.====REV:  A young lady when asked defined oblige as honoring somebody.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  I'd rather have joy than happiness if I had to choose.====JACK:  One of the synonyms for joy is happiness; another is the feeling  Iowa alums have when their football team is undefeated (so far).

FROM EMT SINGS IN TRAVERSE CITY:  I had meant to get a note written to you but time got away from me!  It was going to be a kind of thank you note.  On November 10th Rick and I observed our 25th wedding anniversary!  You cannot know how many times over the years that your name has come up in our conversations with people with regards to how we met, our wedding, meeting you for the first time, your influence,especially for Rick.  Fast forward 25 years and we are active in church, the homeless community and how easily Rick makes many personal decisions by asking "What would Jesus do?" to anyone.  We would have had our vows renewed if it would have been more logistically possible.  We would not want anyone else to do it but you.   Please know how dear to our hearts you are !!  God Bless!====JACK:  Thanks for putting the "key to happiness" in my pocket today.  I've always felt that God has a way of leading us into circumstances and relationships.  What we do with them is our decision.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Happiness is knowing God loves me, faults and flaws included.  Hold on to your hats today!====JACK:  I'm sure that in Sunday School you sang, "If you're happy and you know it...."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Although Tolstoy has said, "Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete Joy"...I feel my life has held a preponderance of happiness in my chosen vocation as a teacher (In my day, a girl's choice of work was pretty much a nurse, teacher, or secretarial; it was really avant garde to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc!), in my chosen spouse, family,  ministry, and leisure activities. So blessed, in spite of some serious losses as "life goes on"!!====JACK:  For better or worse, we are the product of the times in which we lived, the home in which we were raised and the people we have met along the way.  I feel sorry for those who say, "I shoulda...."

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  One of the keys is liking yourself.  Although that is one of those chicken and egg conundrums.====JACK:  Of course we don't want to like our self so much that we become like Narcissus.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Just enjoy each day and to do the very best that you can do to make this a better world.====JACK:  I've read that Belgians have a thing about cleanliness.  In the "old country" some of them can be seen sweeping, and even washing, the street in front of their house...making the world a better place, at least where they live.  But, that's where it starts.

FROM INDY GENIE:  Wow... Good one for me today:) btw..I love John Lennon's answer! As teachers it's very smart of us to stay open to learning from children...their minds are often so much more open than ours:)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

 Jack’s Winning Words 11/11/15
“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’”  (Eve Merriam)  In 1879, Civil War General W.T. Sherman gave a speech a few miles from where I live in which he said, “Many look upon war as all glory, but it is all hell.”  If there is glory, it is for those who were willing to put their lives at risk for what they saw as a just cause.  Veterans’ Day is not meant to honor war, but to honor those who had hoped to put an end to war.    ;-)  Jack

FROM NORM IN INDIANA:  That's very good Jack.====JACK:  A Civil War general should know what he's talking about when he talks about the hell of war.

FROM TL BACK IN MI: Beautiful message today, Jack.  Thank you.====JACK:  Eve loves the city and once wrote "The Inner City Mother Goose.  "Rockabye baby in the treetops" became "Hushabye baby on the top floor."  She's able to "see" things with different "eyes."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Ms. Merriam may have to keep dreaming on...war doesn't seem to be disappearing anytime soon.  Currently I read about college students who ask, "What was World War II about?"  Wars don't seem to be a quest for glory, rather a quest for power.  Somewhat akin to Eve Merriam's thinking, Charlotte Keyes wrote a curious article back in the hippie era, titled "What if someone gave a war and no one came."  Veterans Day deserves more serious recognition than we see in this country.  Men go off to war and do their duty, and those who live through it return home to a lot of indifference.  The men in government who make war wallow in comfort, while the men who suffered can't get the care and support they deserve.====JACK:  The frustration of a seemingly neverending war is seen in the lyrics of this Peter, Paul and Mary song.
Where have all the flowers gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the flowers gone?  Young girls have picked them everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the young girls gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the young girls gone?  Gone for husbands everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the husbands gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the husbands gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the husbands gone?  Gone for soldiers everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the soldiers gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the soldiers gone?  Gone to graveyards, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the graveyards gone?  Gone to flowers, everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?

Where have all the flowers gone?  Long time passing
Where have all the flowers gone?  Long time ago

Where have all the flowers gone?  Young girls have picked them everyone
Oh, when will they ever learn?  Oh, when will they ever learn?
====RI:  Thanks for the lyrics.  I've heard that music many times but never gave much attention to what was actually expressed in the song.  Seeing it printed out gives much more emphasis to the sad aspects of war.

FROM CG:  I re-posted, thank you.====JACK:  "Re-posting"  is a way of spreading the message that some have sacrificed, trying to make this a more peaceful world.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  this is one of my favorite simon and garfunkel songs.
"last night i had the strangest dream i ever dreamed before...i dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.
i dreamed i saw a mighty room...the room was filled with men...and the papers they were signing said they'd never fight again.
and when the papers all were signed and a million copies made...they all joined hands and bowed their heads and grateful prayers were prayed.
and the people in the streets below were dancing round and round...and guns and swords and uniforms were scattered on the ground.
last night i had the strangest dream i ever dreamed before...i dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war."
we must continue to dream and act with peaceful intention.
====MARY:  this is one of my favorite simon and garfunkel songs.
"last night i had the strangest dream i ever dreamed before...i dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.
i dreamed i saw a mighty room...the room was filled with men...and the papers they were signing said they'd never fight again.
and when the papers all were signed and a million copies made...they all joined hands and bowed their heads and grateful prayers were prayed.
and the people in the streets below were dancing round and round...and guns and swords and uniforms were scattered on the ground.
last night i had the strangest dream i ever dreamed before...i dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war."
we must continue to dream and act with peaceful intention.
====JACK:  I once preached a sermon, "Wake Up to Reality!" based on Romans 11:13.  "Now is the time to awaken from your sleep.  Now is the time to put away the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."  I like the music (and thoughts) of S & G. ====MARY:  good words from romans.  i have my song of the day!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  thank you. We need to keep in mind that war is a last resort after all diplomacy and humane peaceful means to reconciliation have failed. It must be that war is not honorable but the people who fight to restore justice and peace are. It's good to take some time to remember them with respect and thankfulness.====JACK:  Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem, Recessional, which has become famous (in part) for this line..."God spare us, lest we forget."

FROM TARMART REV:  Good and timely word, Sir!! I salute you for your post this morning!!  ====JACK: I've read that the "salute" originated with the medieval knights who raised their hand to lift their visor and show their face...I respect you!

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS AND DP IN MINNESOTA:  Amen and Amen====JACK:  I'm looking for a third, and then we can have the liturgical threefold Amen.  A Sunday School Supt in one of my congegations would close the children's worship by asking everyone to join in singing "the Triple Amen."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a noble dream! Love Eve Merriam, and your WW for Veteran's day, and love the songs recited in your and Peppermint MARY'S blog. My husband was in the navy during WW2,  when  people thought there'd never be another armed conflict because nuclear weapons had been discovered and would put an end to civilization....War is indeed HELL!! ====JACK:  The irony is that some people have made "best" friends because of military contacts.  A "best" friend lost his eye, as an 18-yr-old German, during a battle in Italy.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Salute.====JACK:  I've at weddings where someone will raise a glass toward the bride and groom and say, "Salute!"  meaning, I give respect and best wishes to you."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Wouldn't that be ideal.  Today we honor those who worked to keep us free!  Did you know we had a large battleground in Michigan?  It was the Raisin River Battlefield.  It was made a National Park just recently.====JACK:  One of the lesser known wars involving the USA was the War of 1812.  I did not know of the nearby battlefield from that war...and the many American lives that were lost there.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Today is a double whammy for me. It is also the anniversary of my separation from the Marine Corps. Semper Fi!====JACK:  I thought that there could be no separation..."Once a Marine, always a Marine."  You are probably referring to your separation from active duty.

FROM A McC: Veteran Day Memories....  Mac read three books about Lincoln last November.  When Mac, died on April 11, I decided to read his Lincoln books.  I am on the third of five such books he owned.  Lincoln and Mac were great men; good,loyal ,brave, patriotic and smart.  1950
I can remember Mac saying this could be the last war when he was called back to Korea in his junior year at Manhattan College, a Christian Brothers School.  When he returned to school 2 years later, the Christian Brother who was in charge of tuition told Mac his tuition would remain $12 per credit.  Mac told him he was on the G.I. bill.  The Brother said "That does not matter.  You were at war."
Thank you for your winning words.====JACK:  I have that Lincoln set in paperback.  Lincoln and Douglas had some pretty good debates...nothing like what we have to endure in our day and age.  When I was in college and seminary, many of many classmates were on the GI Bill.

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you for this Veterans Day message. I forwarded it to my brother who was a marine in the Vietnam war and to al's brother who was also in the Vietnam war. ====JACK:  When I was in grade school, every November 11, at 11 am, every student would stand by their desk, for a few minutes to give thanks for the end of World War 1 (called, the war to end all wars), which took place at 11 am on November 11, 1918.

FROM INDY GENIE:  Agreed. My mother, who lost her first husband in World War II, in later years wore a pendant that read "War is not healthy for children and other living things."====JACK:  I didn't know (or have forgotten) that you mother had been a war widow.  I see now how her "life experiences" shaped her into the person she was.  What a great role model for her children and for the people who were privileged to know her.....

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  A great word, John!====JACK:  Both Eve and the General had the same idea, only expressed in different ways.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/10/15
“Nothing is more noble, nothing more venerable, than faithfulness.”  (Cicero)  Today is the birthday (1775) of the US Marine Corps whose motto is “Semper Fidelis..Always Faithful.”  It signifies that you can always count on the Marines.  When John Philip Sousa was leader of the USMC Band, he composed the Semper Fidelis March.  He said that it was his best.  After a YouTube listening, I agree.  I also agree that nothing is more noble than faithfulness.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  dad served in marine corps. semper fi.====JACK:  I don't know that there's any branch in the military that has more pride in their organization than the Marine Corps.  I remember going to buy a car, and the salesman had a sign of his desk that read, "I'm a United States Marine."

FRO, DR ERIC:  My friend who was in the Marines said that he always goes out for surf and turf for the birthday of the Marine Corps with a few of his Marine buddies. Guess it's Marine tradition.  What time do you wake up every morning? I would like to start waking up at 5 am everyday to exercise and mentally prep for the day but I just can't seem to get up before 6 am!  Probably would help me to get to sleep by 10 pm - what's your "secret?"====JACK:  Faithful to each other seems to be a Marine characteristic, too.  Since you asked, I usually go to bed before 10:30 and get up at 4:30 (without an alarm clock).  I've always been an early riser.  After some exercises, I go to the computer and send out Winning Words to over 500 people in various parts of the world.  I usually have that done by 5:15.  My "secret" is...I am challenged to get WWs on the screen of my reader's computer when they turn it on in the morning.

FROM TARMART REV:  You bring out so often those old songs and hymns that jump up into my mind:

   (v) “GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS,” O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassion they fail not; As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
   (v) Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon and stars in their courses above; Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.     (v) Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide; Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow, Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!     (Chorus) “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”  Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided “Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto me.”====JACK:  It's on of my favorites, too.  Here's the story behind this hymn.   Thomas Chisholm wrote “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” as a testament to God’s faithfulness through his very ordinary life.  Born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, Chisholm became a Christian when he was twenty-seven and entered the ministry when he was thirty-six, though poor health forced him to retire after just one year. During the rest of his life, Chisholm spent many years living in New Jersey and working as a life insurance agent.  Still, even with a desk job, he wrote nearly 1,200 poems throughout his life.  Chisholm explained toward the end of his life, “My income has not been large at any time due to impaired health in the earlier years which has followed me on until now.  Although I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that He has given me many wonderful displays of His providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”

FROM HONEST JOHN:  How do You define "noble"?====JACK:  When was the last time you used the word, noble, in conversation.  I can't remember if I ever did.  But, I have used the words ethical, decent and reputable.  In the hymn, My Country 'Tis of Thee, we sing, "land of the noble free."  Wouldn't it be interesting, during one of the political "debates," if a panelist were to ask the candidates what is meant by that line?====JOHN:  The term "noble". Seems to play a big role in the Middle Ages.   I think it refers to a certain type of attitude and/or behavior.====JACK:  The Nobles in the Middle ages were considered to be the "educated class" between the peasants and royalty.  They were the well respected interpreters.

FROM EEC IN FHM:  What station used to (maybe they still do?) have the Sousa wake up march in the morning? The kids used to look forward to that!====JACK:  A Sousa march is played every weekday morning around 7:15 on WRCJ, 90.9.  Today, I thought that they would play "Semper Fidelis."  It didn't happen.  Instead they played on written by Sousa when he was in his early 20s, before he became famous.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Now you know why "Once a Marine, always a Marine." ====JACK:  Can "Once a Marine, always a Marine," still fit into his uniform?  Some things change with time.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "You can measure your worth by your dedication to  your path, not by your successes or failures." E.Gilbert, Wash. Post.  Whether its to relationships, profession, or ideals and goals, faithfulness is an admirable virtue! AMEN to today's WW!====JACK:  Isn't it interesting that the general epitome of faithfulness is a dog?  That is, except when we're in church.  Then, it's God.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/9/15
“NOW is the time.  The universe likes SPEED.  Don’t delay, second-guess or doubt.  When the opportunity is there…ACT!”  (Joe Vitale)  At age 21, shortly after I got my first car (a Model A Ford) I got my first speeding ticket…It cost me ten bucks.  Best selling author Joe Vitale says that speed is important.  When you want to accomplish something in life, don’t delay; opportunities come and vanish quickly.  His advice: ”Don’t just dawdle along!      ;-)  Jack

FROM DR PH:  Love it.  On the alter ego side my best advice to some people is:  WHEN IN DOUBT DON’T.  This advice has saved a number of marriages and lives.====JACK:  As I was writing today's WW, I was thinking that I should write something the danger of making snap decisions.  I guess it just depends on the message that you want to get across.

FRFOM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  You might enjoy seeing your first car ad.  Find your first car or the one you drove while in high school or college; hopefully that particular car brochure is available.
This has to be one of the coolest web sites whether you have gasoline in your veins or not. This particular website features the original factory brochures for nearly every American car you have ever owned or made. Just pick the manufacturer, the year and the model.
              Click Here:  Brochures
====JACK:  I found the brochure...only it pictured a convertible with a rumble seat.  Mine was a black two-door which I got from a friend for $100.====ST PAUL:  sounds like a good deal although back then, $100 was not a small amount of money.  how the times do change...====JACK:  As I remember….I didn’t have to take out a loan…cash and drive.  In fact, the first thing I had to do was to teach myself how to drive the thing.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Sort of like Ready, Fire, Aim!  I've made many mistakes in life, but has turned out better than Ready, Aim, Aim, Aim, etc.  Have a nice day today, Jack.====JACK:  I coulda; i shoulda.  RATS!

FROM TARMART REV:  If I recall my childhood memories appropriately, it was the "tortoise" that out ran the "hare"!!====JACK:  You can find an adage for any message...Haste makes waste, or Strike while the iron is hot!  Today, it's...Take advantage of opportunities before it's too late, and you are left to forget missed chances.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  At age 16 I got my first driver's license, and shortly thereafter I got my first speeding ticket.  The fine and court costs came to $31.50 which was a pretty big "hit" to my thin wallet.  So you got off easy at 10 bucks.  It was quite a few years later that I got my second speeding ticket, so it seems I did "just dawdle along."====JACK:  I remember, at the time of the ticket, I wanted a new pair of shoes that cost $10.  My speeding cost me a new pair of shoes.  Lesson learned -- until the next ticket.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Interesting. NOW backwards is WON!====JACK:  RETAL backwards is LATER.

FROM JT IN MICHIGAN:  When did you get your second speeding ticket?????====JACK:  I think that most of us can remember our first and our last.  I can't recall the in-betweens.  I'd be surprised if you haven't received one.====JT:  The only one I got was for going thru a flashing red light without stopping.  It was about 3 weeks after our wedding. I just remembered I did get one for speeding, in Ontario.  No traffic, but I was moving.  With currency difference it cost me over $100 (more than 20 years ago.====JACK:  You probably forgot that there's a difference between mph and km/h. ====JACK:  Once, when I was stopped for speeding, the officer asked what work I did, and I told him that I was a pastor.  He let me off with these words.  “You ministers are supposed to scare the hell out of people with your preaching, not with your driving.  Be careful!”

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Just do it.====JACK:  Nike's SWOOSH conjures up speed.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It used to gall my husband that whenever I was stopped for speeding, (I was often a speedy driver) I'd get a warning ticket....he said, " don't ever complain about women's "rights"; no man gets by with that!!"  :-)   FROM BLAZING OAKS:  It used to gall my husband that whenever I was stopped for speeding, (I was often a speedy driver) I'd get a warning ticket....he said, " don't ever complain about women's "rights"; no man gets by with that!!"  :-) Opportunities present themselves, and you have to enjoy the ride...don't worry so much about the next step that you forget to enjoy the moment you're in right now!  Go for it!====JACK:  Recently, as police chaplain, I did an early morning ride.  The officer stopped a lady, speeding in a school zone with children present.  She was late for work.  She cried.  Too warning...She got the ticket.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/6/15
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”  (Seen on Facebook)  It’s called, atychiphobia, the fear of failure.  Many of us, at times, have this phobia and its signs…a stomach ache…what will people think? will show I’m not smart…procrastination.  But what if you didn’t fear failure?  What would you want to do?  We all have our “What ifs…”  For me, I’m strengthened by the promise of God (in Isaiah).  “Fear not, I am with you to the end of time.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  another good word for today.  thanks.====JACK:  The question remains....What would you do if you weren't afraid of failure?

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  I'm not afraid of failure, I'm afraid of the devil and my enemies and actually have some of those. If a person is fighting for inclusiveness rather than exclusivity, there are bound to be people who will fight for the status quo. And actually one always needs to be humble and aware that the fight might be wrong for this time in history or something. God's wisdom is greater than our limited human thinking and constantly am learning to live with that truth and still take a chance on speaking out myself knowing I'll survive getting beat up a bit. Thanks for your Friday morning WW.====JACK:  Martin Luther wrote about being chased by the devil, too.  He even mentioned it in his hymn, "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."  And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,  We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;  His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,  One little word shall fell him.

FROM TARMART REV:  Someone once reminded me that if Adam and Eve would have feared failure and NOT have partaken of the forbidden fruit, we would have not known the redemptive work of God . . . it encourages us in deed with that promise of God (in Isaiah), “Fear not, I am with you to the end of time.”====JACK:  Do you wake up each morning fearing failure...or expecting success?  ====REV:  Success definitely . . . All things through Christ who strengthens me . . . I have to remind myself of that at times when things don't go my "understanding" way.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Skydiving, walking on that glass walkway over the Grand Canyon, run for office...among a few.  But I too step out each day knowing God will catch me and keep me safe.  I am the one with the fears and He knows each one.====JACK: FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Skydiving, walking on that glass walkway over the Grand Canyon, run for office...among a few.  But I too step out each day knowing God will catch me and keep me safe.  I am the one with the fears and He knows each one.====JACK:  It should be comforting to know that when you go skydiving God will be there to catch you if something goes wrong.  Then you can sing the hymn, "Safe in the arms of Jesus."

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/5/15
“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”  (Graffiti)  Dr Jack Schaefer, who works for the FBI, gives advice on catching a liar.  Watch for throat clearing, hard swallowing, backward head movement…and more.  Interestingly, a shaking voice is not listed among them.  Recently, a Winning Words reader wrote, “At home I was taught to always tell the truth.”  Zechariah, in the Bible, lists what the Lord wants us to do.  The first: “Speak the truth to each other.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  and Ephesians 4:l5   "speak the truth in love"...====JACK:  "Love" can mean that you might have to "fudge" a bit, depending on the circumstances.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...sure makes life a little easier on our spirit, soul and body when not having to carrying a lie around all day.====JACK:  REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We always told our kids and grandkids to tell the truth.  The consequences were much more severe if they got caught in a lie.  They all learned quick enough that standing in the corner wasn't fun.  But telling the truth really is the best way.====JACK:  Basic values (and truth telling is one of them) are most often learned in the home.  Pity the one who has to learn the importance of telling the truth the hard way.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Bill's mother was a stickler for always telling the truth! She passed that on to her son, and he, to our kids... personal integrity. Anne Morrow Lindbergh in one of her books commented "The most exhausting thing you can be is inauthentic".  I think she was on to something there!====JACK:  I like that word, inauthentic.  Do you remember the Coca Cola ad?  A blonde woman lip-syncs, “I’d like to buy the world a home, and furnish it with love.” A second line is about growing apple trees and honeybees and snow-white turtledoves.  The camera then shows rows of young singers smiling—Spanish, Swedish, Nigerian, Nepalese, dressed in a dashiki, a kimono, a dirndl, a Nehru, a turtleneck. Together they lip-sync, “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Each holds a Coke bottle in their right hand, one branded in English script, the next in Arabic, another in Thai. “I’d like to buy the world a Coke,” they sing, “and keep it company.” The camera pulls up to an aerial view, revealing 200 singers aligned on a green hillside, a youth chorus of the world.  Imagine, in a world, focused on various kinds of people divisions, the whole world gathered upon a hill sharing a fizzy brown drink.  “It’s the real thing—Coke is,” they sing in unison, “what the world wants today.”

FROM SH:  Amen.====JACK:  I've never know you to have a shaky voice, especially when it comes to expressing views on things that you deeply care about.  That's a good quality.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/4/15
“I am absolutely passionate about teaching literature to my students.”  (Jennifer McQuillan)  A high school English teacher has found a way to get students interested in reading.  Together they’ve created a garden with plants, seeds and clippings brought from places related to authors, such as Dickenson, Stowe, Vonnegut, Emerson, Hawthorne, Poe.  There’s even an empty author chair in the garden.  One student said, “I used to read books; now I want to discuss them.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM BATTMAN:  Nice one Jack.  You know Ilyssa helped build that garden and was interviewed on NPR when they were doing it.  Both my girls love McQuillan.====JACK:  Most of us can look back and remember one teacher who has made a difference in our life...Ilyssa now has one.  Life is in the business of making memories.

FROM KC:  Chris had Jennifer McQuillan, what a life changing teacher!====JACK:  My life-changer (Philosophy) came in college.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I LIKE  this one!!====JACK:  Did you ever have a teacher such as her?====GEORGE:  Mrs. Littig at Coolidge comes to mind - Merchant of Venice, Tale of Two Cities.====JACK:  I remember being introduced to "the Merchant" at John Deere Jr High.

FROM TARMART REV:  . . . one good discipline I've missed out during my lifetime . . . always found shorter informative articles to be my taste . . . watching a movie produced from a book of interest has always been more appealing and appreciated . . . the focused time needed for reading as been my downfall, I'm sure . . . would spend that same amount of time sitting out in public with no problem, but by myself I wouldn't be concentrating as thinking about what I was missing at Walmart or Target. 0;-/====JACK:  Evidently you didn't have a "Jennifer" for a teacher.  I've found that reading the Bible in "everyday language" helps it come alive for me.  The song, "I walk today where Jesus walked,"  describes how Bible stories take on new meaning when a person actually experiences "place, sights, smells and sounds"====REV:  The Word of God would truly be an exception...picked that large book up many years ago as expressed recently in another post and haven't been able to stop reading ever since!!

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Jen is a star. She also does volunteer work.====JACK:  Look at the life of a good teacher in the way you look at an iceberg.  There's more to her/him than what is obvious.====PAUL:  True for everyone!

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  this would be one garden that needs more worms....  book worms....====JACK:  That would be a good question to ask JM.  When you planted your garden, did you include some worms?    "Inch worm, inch worm  Measuring the marigolds  You and your   arithmetic  You'll probably go far  Inch worm, inch worm  Measuring the marigolds  Seems to me, you'd stop and see  How beautiful they are."  I liked the book, "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" by Deborah Moggach.

FROM RF:  This is so nice to see. Mrs. McQuillan was a favorite teacher of mine in high school, and she and I still keep in touch. She was always looking for ways to engage her students, and motivate us to think outside the box. It's so important to have teachers like that in your life...====JACK:  To be able to think beyond the box is a natural aptitude for some people, but it takes a good teacher to show how that aptitude can be channeled.

FROM MV IN MICHIGAN:  I saw the nice article in the paper about Jennifer Sunday.====JACK:  I especially liked the picture of her dressed as Edgar Allan Poe, complete with the little mustache.

FROM KF:  Mrs. McQ is a wonderful teacher! (My daughter) still keeps in touch with her. We bought her a large raven to enhance her teaching unit on Poe!  What a perfect combination - literature and gardening - my two favorite things (I think next in line are music and UM football). I love the poet's corner at Westminster Abbey. We just bought two new bookcases to continue to support our love of reading. And we are enjoying this gift of 3 beautiful days for gardening - Mark is taking this afternoon off to work with me. Life is good! But I do miss my furry little gardening companion! ====JACK:  I remember a college English Lit prof who opened a class session by asking, "How many of you know the end of this quote..."One man's meat...?"  Only a few hands were raised.  We went on to read and discuss E.B. White's book of that title.  I still have the book...AH, HERE IT IS!...He writes, "I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky.  We shall stand or fall by television--of that I am quite sure."  That was written in 1944."  In today's world we might substitute I-Phone (or some other gadget) for television.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  What a wonderful article on her in Sunday's Free Press. Her students are so lucky to have her.====JACK:  My mother-in-law was the teacher in a one-room rural Wisconsin school.  The students were fortunate to have her.  Not only did she keep the pot-belly stove going in the winter...and tend to various cuts and bruises, but she also introduced the children to the classics, literature, arts and music, along with the three r's.  Teaching is teaching!  Oh, and BTW, each Friday (good weather and bad) she'd walk 15 miles to her home in the city, only to repeat that walk for classes on Monday.

FROM CL IN MICHIGAN:  A big AMEN to that====JACK:  I guess that it's OK to say, AMEN, when you approve of church or in school.====CL:  I sure hope so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Jennifer would get a kick out of me writing "Life of Pie" yesterday instead of PI! Guess I  must have been hungry ! :-)  She sounds like the ideal dream of a teacher, with the time and effort to be  so creative and effective!  I salute her! Every teacher cherishes the notes and letters received from former students who let them know that they did indeed make a difference in their lives. It is a tremendous blessing! I found great satisfaction in my teaching of music and Literature, but never felt I had enough time, with other added responsibilities like raising 4 children, directing church choirs, and doing  our pastoral work, to really "nail" it like I wanted to.  Jennifer certainly must feel she does justice to her profession and her students!!!====JACK:  A principal and a school district which allow a teacher to teach certainly helps.  Both enthusiastically supported her "lesson plan."

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Students need to learn English. No matter what profession. if they cannot communicate, who will listen?  Al w.  I like  this quote.====JACK:  Trinity Seminary in Ohio now requires students to know Spanish before they graduate.  There's a woman in our congregation who's from Columbia who only speaks Spanish.  Some of us had an 8-week crash course in basic Spanish so that we could at least "pass the peace" in Spanish.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Jack’s Winning Words 11/3/15
“If there’s one nation in the sky, shouldn’t all passports be valid for it?”  (Yann Martel – Life of Pi)  I’m two years late, but I saw the movie, “Life of Pi” recently.  The boy, Pi, was born a Hindu, loves Jesus and practices Islam.  His co-star is Richard Parker…a tiger.  The claim is that “the movie will make you believe in God.”  It’s a film about God, but what kind of God?  Take Martel’s quote and compare it with the faith that is yours.  That’s how “Pi” ends.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Clever====JACK:  Before we talk about one nation in the sky, maybe we should be working toward oneness on this planet.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think we have no right to judge other faiths.   At the same time, I only endorse what I know.   Those who endorse in ignorance are shifters.====JACK:  The movie, to me, was not about judging various faiths.  It simply ended by asking the viewers to examine their own beliefs.  Any situation that brings me to think about God and my relationship to him is valuable.

FROM TARMART REV:  The "old King James Version" of the Bible got my attention over 60 years ago and I've been stuck on the Bible's account of finding our way to God ever since, appreciating the newer translations and paraphrases of the previous as well. It has always made since to me and I've never felt an urge to look elsewhere for some other reason?!====JACK:  I remember the time when the revised KJV was published...there was a burning of the new book during a church service.  One minister that I know, said, "If the St. James Version of the Bible was good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me."  Having said that.....many of the Bible verses that I memorized as a child were from the KJV.====REV:  Same for me.
 FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I didn't see the movie either but now I am intrigued.  I think it did not do too well at the box office.====JACK:  The Box Office isn't always the sign of a good movie, just as the size of an audience isn't always the sign of good preaching.  Maybe the Sermon the Mount is an exception.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Consider an island nation, Australia for example, a single continent in the sea...should all passports be valid to enter there?  Now about the WW today, if that "one nation in the sky" is a reference to heaven, and the "passports" refer to religions, no, all religions are not valid to enter heaven.====JACK:  Pi's author is probably referring to the Kingdom of God as that one nation in the sky.  The film's unanswered question is....Is everyone's passport valid?  Evidently, passports are issued by various faiths.  The quote begins with...."If..."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  According to Jesus, there's only one way in too.====JACK:  I think I know where you're coming from.  What puzzles me.....what about the others who've never heard of Jesus, or who have not heard of him as you and I have heard of him?  I guess I'm comfortable in leaving it up to an omniscient God.  There's still a need, in  my opinion, "to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love."====JUDY:  Perhaps they will be given a chance at the Pearly Gates.  The Bible is very clear about Jesus.  So I guess the work of us believers is to make sure everyone hears the Good News.

FROM BB IN ILINOIS:  Did you enjoy the film?  The book is much  better….I’ve read it 5 or 6 times…aloud to the kids taking out the goriest parts.  I love Pi because his faith (and food memories) sustain him.  That element reminded me of the  holocaust survivor book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel where he writes about his memories of his wife preparing tea in the kitchen, tiny minute details he lovingly recalls of the most simple of tasks which anchors him to a reason to carry on despite the circumstances…In any case, I think the “end” where he asks the interviewers “which is the better so try” i.e. do you prefer the version with faith and the presence of God or the butcher/cook in the boat where God is seemingly absent…how do you want to live your life?  On the deeper level that perhaps the kids didn’t get early on, I think Richard Parker represents the Id, ie. Living with our inner demons or like (who is that author) Owning your Shadow…making peace with the less than lovlier parts of oneself in order to be a whole/real person.====JACK:  Rodin's, The Thinker, is but one part of a larger sculpture which shows people writhing in Hell.  The Thinker is looking at that scene below him...and pondering (thinking).  Jesus used the parables to try and get people to think.  Some books and movies do the same thing.  We need more "thinkers" today!  Thanks for being one of them.

FROM JB AT LSTC:  I haven’t seen the movie, but it’s a terrific book. I highly recommend it. ====JACK:  Books are usually better than the movie adaptations.  I like the Bible better than the movies about the Bible.====JB:  Oh, yes, movies about the Bible are pretty awful.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yes - would be nice if here on this earth in this lifetime we could be accepting of all faiths.  Sure would get rid of a bunch of wars.====JACK:  "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me" as the song goes.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Here we go with the "illegal alien" thing again.====JACK:  I take it that you haven't seen the movie or read the book.  I'll put it this way...Do you think that heaven is for one particular group of religious people?====CHESTER:  God goes by many names. No, I haven't seen the movie or read the book.====JACK:  Many of the names ascribed to God are descriptive.  For example, Father, Lord, Creator.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The  Life of Pie was a hard HARD read for me...."What did it all mean ?"  I see some of your bloggers loved the book...I puzzled over it!====JACK:  Pi  (as in math) was more than a movie (book) for me.  The end was not the end.  It did not answer questions; it raised them.  We're not used to that.  We, who were raised in earlier times in the Church, were taught the importance of missionary work.  "No one comes to the Father but by me."  Later in life, we wonder - Is heaven exclusive, or is it inclusive?  Do you remember this hymn?

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
Like the wideness of the sea;
There’s a kindness in His justice,
Which is more than liberty.

There is grace enough for thousands
Of new worlds as great as this;
There is room for fresh creations
In that upper home of bliss.

For the love of God is broader
Than the measure of our mind;
And the heart of the Eternal
Is most wonderfully kind.

If our love were but more simple,
We should take Him at His word;
And our lives would be all sunshine
In the sweetness of our Lord.

It is God: His love looks mighty,
But is mightier than it seems;
’Tis our Father: and His fondness
Goes far out beyond our dreams.

But we make His love too narrow
By false limits of our own;
And we magnify His strictness
With a zeal He will not own.

Was there ever kinder shepherd
Half so gentle, half so sweet,
As the Savior who would have us
Come and gather at His feet?
====OAKS:  Yes, I know that hymn very well, but not all of these verses were (are) in our hymnbook. i.e. verses 2, 5 & 6. Which makes it quite another message!! I tend to go with heaven being inclusive beyond our ability to discern.  I think we will be greeted with unconditional love, but that we will "judge" ourselves when we see what we COULD have done, and what we MISSED seeing to do...But who knows? We can only have an educated "guess".  Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things prepared for those who love Him"...? ====JACK:  I just included the verses that I thought were relevant to the discussion.