Monday, February 29, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/29/16
“Just keep livin’.  No matter what comes your way, you gotta keep livin’.”  (Daniel Norris)  Daniel, a Detroit Tigers pitcher and a thyroid cancer survivor, spoke these words to 11-yr-old Hunter Bowman who has cancer similar to Daniel’s.  They were together as part of Chevy’s “Day It Forward” program which encourages people to do something nice for someone on Leap Year’s extra day.  Why not use today, the 29th, to do a nice thing for someone?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I'll add my good wishes for you to have an extra blessed day in honor of my grandmother's birthday today . . . She was born on February 29, 1896 . . .  Let's see, she would have been officially 80 today . . . If my memory is correct, she passed on during her 22nd birthday celebration year!?====JACK:  George Burns, Mamie Eisenhower and Jimmy Doolittle were born in 1896.====REV:  Like my grandmother-- I've not seen them around lately!? You and I will take up the mantle and, "just keep livin for the moment!! Blessings again on our extra day on the calendar, my friend!!====JACK:  Someone asked me recently if I'd ever met someone who had fought in the Civil War.====REV:  I stand corrected on her literal birthday-- would be 30 today (120 years old). Wouldn't want to insult her making her older than she is/was. 0;-/

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Maya Angelou, who certainly had her share of troubles and sorrow, once said, "Life loves to be taken by the lapel, and told, "I'm with you kid let's go!"  Yes, "Ya gotta keep livin'." And we all know people who inspire us by doing just that in spite of terrible circumstances.  Today is a special day to do some good for somebody! Thanks for these words from D. Norris to get us going!====JACK:  It's easy to just do the "ordinary" daily good deeds.  What is that out of the ordinary deed that would make the extra day special?====OAKS:  I wouldn't say it is "easy" anymore to even to the ordinary good deeds. Everything is more of an effort! Mine today is to make a call on 92 yr. old in a nursing home with a fresh bouquet.  Which requires driving into town, going to the store, etc. etc :-)

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sounds like a great idea!====JACK:  I hope that Daniel is rewarded with an injury-free year of good pitching.

FROM DMF:  Do something nice….like come visit you?====JACK:  That would be EXTRA nice.

FROM JK IN CALIFORNIA:  Really nice, I'm gonna====JACK:  I tried to make an "unexpected" call to someone, but "no answer."  I'll have to try again.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/26/16
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”  (Churchill)  How’d you like to be President?  Anyone who wants to be a leader is going to get some “push back” from those who don’t want to be led, or who think that there’s a better way.  Whether it’s president of the USA, your company, the PTA, or the home owners assn, you have to set a course of action, listen…and move forward, regardless of the barking.    ;-)  Jack

FROM CCS:  Great quote!====JACK:  Winnie knew how to talk back.====C:  Sounds like he knew when, too.====JACK:  There were times when I, as a child, was told, "Hold your tongue!"  It was a good "life lesson."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  How about Trump calling Rubio a choke artist and Cruz a liar....pretty nasty stone throwing....====JACK:  I think a lot of people are gravitating toward him to hear what nastiness will come out of his mouth next.  I don't think that it will "sell" in the voting booth. ====JOHN:  I was just talking to a successful businessman who likes Bernie and Trump!   Wild combination.====JACK:   Many people fail to realize that the three branches of our government have to work together to get things done.  Nobody seems to be talking about how they are going to be able to get people to work together.

FROM TARMART REV:  Didn't see "pastor" listed . . . you know, the one who has a lot of bosses?====JACK:  From my experience...Far more friends than bosses.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Beware the dog that wags it tail.  At least the one that barks is willing to  commit.====JACK:  A lady once said, "The more I see of men the better I like dogs."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/25/16
“Not all those who wander are lost.”  (J R R Tolkien)  When I was being taught to preach, the prof said, “Connect it up with life.”  That’s what Jesus did with his parables.  In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, parents could relate to the “wandering” child.  Jesus said, “Don’t give up hope.  Keep the door ajar.”  The lust to wander, seems to be part of growing up.  The Parable of the Prodigal Son has also been called, the Parable of the Welcoming Parent.  Mmmm!    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Good thought this morning as I now awaken and make my way out of bed and to my computer for an early morning devotional post on Face Book...====JACK:  When you wander around in the early morning darkness looking for your computer, you might sing..."I wonder as I wander."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  You and I both ended up far from least in terms of miles. ====JACK:  Home is where the heart is.  There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

FROM GRCB:  This hits home.  My sister-in-law is working through reuniting with her daughter who has been estranged from the family and everyone from her life growing up, for 18 years.  My brother-in-law (her father) died two years ago. The doors and arms of family and friends are open.  I pray that they will resolve what they can and move beyond what they may not be able to completely resolve.====JACK:  The Good Shepherd continues to seek the lost sheep....when many of would say, "It's no use."  Miracles are called, miracles, for a reason.

FROM JLF:  "Life is Good" has printed that phrase on a shirt.====JACK:  The Life Is Good t-shirt company spreads the spirit of optimism by printing positive slogans on t-shirts.  They will even print a slogan  that you suggest.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We may "wander and roam" but there's no place like home.  Our home....ultimately will be with God.====JACK:  I know what you're saying, but we need to be reminded that God is with us NOW in this life and forever in the life to come.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  One theologian also called it "The Parable of the Waiting Father". As Billy Graham has admonished, "This should be the motto of every follower of Jesus Christ: Never stop praying, no matter how dark and hopeless it may seem."  Prayer is a powerful force, but all prayers are not answered in the way we hoped...that's where faith  comes in! Faith that indeed all who wander are NOT lost!====JACK:  As the man said to Jesus: "I believe; help my unbelief."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  A friend of mine's mother always said, "You're never lost if you have a tank full of gas." I'll add to that, "Always keep the tank topped off."====JACK:  A mother will often keep a child's bed ready...even when the child has moved on to other places.

FROM KANSAN DON:  I often called the Parable the "Lost Sons."====JACK:Yes, there's more than one lesson in that parable.

FROM EMT SINGS IN TC:  I also think it has a lot to say about the son (maybe us) who stayed home!  Mmm!====JACK: There's something to be said about being obedient and respecting a parent, but read on the the end of the parable.  That 2nd son had his problems, too.====EMT:  I think he resented all the attention that the wayward brother was getting and felt he had been taken for granted all his faithful years.====JACK:  That's why we each need the forgiveness of sins.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  also the Parable of the Waiting Father who waits for the unrighteous son to come home and for the self-righteous son to come in from the barn and join the party to welcome home his younger brother.  (thoughts from Helmut Thielike,  German theologian). ====JACK:  A couple of waiting parents are on my daily Prayer List.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/24/16
“Sometimes memories sneak out from my eyes and roll down my cheeks.”  (Andrew Guzaldo)  Maybe it’s a quivering lip, or a shaky voice…a song, a picture, a situation.  Most of us have had the experience of not being able to hold back the tears.  Can you remember the last time you cried?  We tend to keep our guard up, to protect our inner feelings.  I’ve read that crying can be helpful, an emotional release.  So, it’s OK to let a memory sneak down your cheek.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TTPAT:  Well, a struggle, rather than a memory, slipped down my cheek at services on Sunday....====JACK:  Have you heard of a song..."Laughing on the outside; crying on the inside?" ====PAT:====PC: Yes, I have. Of recent, that's the caption for my life....but all is good. God's got this

FROM TD:  Thanks for the lovely words.====JACK:  Somehow the fingers seem to know which keys to touch.

FROM CEO:  I agree with you...crying can be a good thing, a positive release.====JACK:  I suppose you see teary people almost every day...or am I wrong?

FROM TARMART REV:  ...just yesterday helping conduct the memorial service of another one of our senior saints I've walked alongside of these past twenty-five years, as one of his pastors and the one leading our senior adults.====JACK:  Do we ever get used to the fact that death is a part of every life?====REV:  Eventually.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That's an eloquent description of human response when one feels the heartstrings being stroked.  Many will hold back a tear because they fear it belittles them, denying their feeling of pride or passion.  Throughout my life, in various moments of achievement, my father showed his pride in me with congratulations and tears.  I have to admit I have shared similar moments of pride with my own son.====JACK:  The Bible has many references to tears being shed, often by males...sometimes tears of joy, such as you have experienced.

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  So true. I was at the gym on the treadmill yesterday and my sister called from Wisconsin to say all her cancer was successfully removed by last years operation. A few more tests but it looks like all clear.  I think people wondered why a guy on a treadmill was leaking tears. ====JACK:  If you saw someone in the gym shedding tears, or in a parking lot, would you be so bold as to go up to them and say....?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  That's a touching picture, which defines moments I think we've all had! "Why do we close our eyes when we pray, cry, kiss or dream? Because the most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt by the heart." (Denzel Washington, actor)  Our dear memories hold times  close to the heart!!====JACK:  It's been said that "eyes are windows to the soul."

FROM KANSAN DON:  Tears are/can be holy water.====JACK:  "Count your many blessings, name them one by one."  Could tears be one of those blessings?

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  I think crying can be very therapeutic for most people.  a real tension reliever!====JACK:  How to react to a crying person can sometimes be a puzzle.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  The first time our Sr. Choir practiced “Abide With Me” after Clem died, I just lost it.  My shoulders shook.  I still have trouble with the 4th verse of that song! ====JACK:  Abide With Me is one of my favorites.  It takes on special meaning when we realize that it was written by Henry Francis Lyte as he lay dying of tuberculosis.  A real hymn from the heart.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  God made tears for a reason.  He knew on this earth there would be a need for them.  However, He did give us smiles and we use a lot more smiles than tears.====JACK:  Tears and smiles sometimes go together.  Do you remember Mary Richards laughing and crying at the same time at the funeral of Chuckles the Clown?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Smiling!  I cry in church often.  Think it’s easier for females (socially) to leak even happy tears than for males.  I get teary whenever I see someone in their “zone”, ie. When the pianist, organist or other musicians during the service (or elsewhere) rock out, it makes me ecstatic.  My father who had an out-of-body-died in the ER experience said he didn’t see the pearly gates, just light but he knew he was close because he heard the music!  He said the sounds were incredible, perfect harmony, perfect joy.  The end!====JACK:  There are certain hymns that cause me to choke up, for no apparent reason.  Why is that?====BB:  Are they hymns you perhaps remember from childhood….or from before precise memory?  A connection with the writer?
I found myself choked up frequently around 9/11 as the advent hymns of hope and reconciliation seemed such a stark contrast.  As the war began (and continued) that sentiment became worse as every time there was a reference to the salvation and hope and grace we have in Christ I felt utterly bereft of hope that there would be any earthly reconciliation at all.  Obama was the President of Hope and Change.  Unfortunately, the way our political situation is now, things once again seem rather hopeless.  Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then, we will meet our redeemer in a different way. ====JACK:  As September Song goes, "It's a long, long way from February to November."  Many things can happen between now and then.  So, don't give up hope.  It ain't over til it's over.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  that was often the case the year I worked as a chaplain (my internship year) at Fairview Riverside Hospital in Mpls. in the early 1970s. the whole year was a great learning experience for me.  i also got 3 quarters of CPE at the same time.  and, yes, people can cry for lots of reasons====JACK:  A rhetorical question....  When was the last time you saw someone cry?  It makes a difference when we are in the situation, but not of the situation.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/23/16
“You gotta keep your eye on the ball.”  (Foghorn Leghorn)  No matter what the game (ping pong, golf, tennis, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, etc), if you’re going to be successful, you have to keep your eye on the ball.  Lent is a season which reminds Christians of what’s important in the Godly life.  Most religions have seasons like that.  So many things can distract us from the “Godly!”  It’s good that we have reminders to “keep our eye on the ball.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  "Keep Your Eye on the Prize." Your words are repeated so often in so many ways!  Yes...even in Table Tennis!====JACK:  A trophy that I "prize" was is one that I received as a high schooler when I placed 2nd in a YMCA tournament.

FROM OLD SPORT OWEN:    When I played baseball as a youngster, my father told me repeatedly: "Keep your eye on the ball." I didn't understand what he meant until I was an adult. It would be nice if we learned all our lessons earlier in life.====JACK:  Your response brought memories back to me of when my son and I were playing baseball together.  We also had the chance to play catch on the Field of Dreams.  He is now 57 and still playing hardball with a team that regularly appears in Florida's Roy Hobbs World Series.  I also remember playing catch with my dad.  In his younger days he was on a team that played against some barnstorming major leaguers, including 3-Finger Brown.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  When I was teaching tennis, I taught that as the first lesson.    The equivalent lesson in debate is "Listen to what is said before you open your own mouth."====JACK:  Somewhere along the line, I learned this lesson about preaching..."Make the main thing the main thing."

FROM TARMART REV:  Yes, sir! -- "The ball and the road!" a good reminder today!!====JACK: When the Willmar racing season begins and you're asked to give the invocation, you might use 1 Corinthians 9: 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  "Keep your eye on the road ahead of you.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  He was my absolutely favorite cartoon character.  I loved the funny way he thought things through.   He had the right idea...the ball was the direct object.  As Christians, our object should be living a Godly life.  When we fail however, we know God loves us.  We are blessed.  It's a lesson we are learning well as we go through the demolition of our house and the rebuilding of the damage.====JACK:  Some of today's candidates seem to remind me of that pompous Foghorn Leghorn.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Yes, and in our humanity, it may bounce us down into sadness, or bounce us high with hope and hilarity; Through it all we "connect" with God, that powerful, loving source  that  is greater than any trouble that could ever befall us; But ya gotta keep your eye on the Ball! :-) ====JACK:  Sometimes God reminds through the events of life...what are the really important things.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  There is one sport where you don't keep your eye on the ball.  Horseshoes!====JACK:  Rolle Bolle is another.

FROM DMF:  Thanks for the video backup for today's WWs.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/22/16
“Anyone can find the dirt in someone.  Be the one who finds the gold."  (Proverbs 11:27)  You might guess that Proverbs is a favorite Bible book of mine…so many “golden” nuggets!  I’m tired of political candidates digging up dirt on their rivals.  What would happen if, in a debate, a speaker would point out the good things about the opponent?  Wow!  “Do you know what I like about Donald? or Hillary?”  (long pause)  Try looking for the good in people today.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Tell me what you really like about Ted Cruz.====JACK:  He was a champion debater at Princeton and at Harvard Law School.====JOHN:  Be careful of someone like that!

FROM TARMART REV:  Would be nice to see that in print and hear from our news media, heading the charge of finding and sharing the quality diamonds instead of the dirt from all of the candidates!! ====JACK:  From Pew Research--165 public opinion surveys (over the last 20 years) consistently show that bad news "sells" and good news "doesn't!"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Speaking positively about your political opponent would indeed be revolutionary!!  And what a relief for listeners! HA! But the easiest thing in the world seems to be to criticize...Unfortunate characteristic of human nature, that we who are Christians try to muzzle. To paraphrase dear old  Robie Burns, "There's so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly behooves any of us to criticize the rest of us!": Here's for trying to find the "gold" today, and every day. Thanks for the proverbial inspiration...====JACK:  I know of a pastor's wife who was not treated very well by a parishioner.  She "solved" the problem by baking a batch of cookies and presenting them as a gift to the person.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  So what do you like about Donald? I got nothin'====JACK:  He refuses to take money from PACs, and his onetime pastor, Norman Vincent Peale, described him as kindly and courteous with a profound streak of honest humility.====DONNA:  The first comment is true and the second one is actually hard to believe. He seems so rude and demeaning to most people and so incredibly egotistical. Spent the weekend in New York City and passed Norman Vincent Peale's church while taking a walk. Interesting. Wonder what year he said that about Donald. ====JACK:  NVP died on Christmas Eve, 1993, in his 90s, so I guess that his Trump comment goes back at least 30 years.  BTW, at 2011 Gallup Poll lists Donald as #6 in a list of the 10 most admired living men and women in the country.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Sure would be preferable to what is going on now!!====JACK:  At times I feel that we are being used by the process (the media, the parties and the candidates) keep the interest up.====MARLYS:  I agree.  I used to watch a lot of news, but now I can’t stand to hear it.  Too bad.  There must be more going on in the world than primaries and caucuses!  Uff Da!====JACK:  Uff Dah! is right, but I still watch the news.

FROM KANSAN DON:  Blessings on you and from you!====JACK:  Blessing is an interesting word when you look at its etymology and its use in the Bible.

FROM PR JM:  "Long pause" indeed!  I laughed out loud at that one!  Thanks.====JACK:  Nobody commented on Hillary, but (not knowing the details) I admire her for working at saving her marriage when it would have been easy to not bother.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/19/16
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”  (Ronald Reagan)  This quote was sent to me, along with a picture of a horse crossing a river with a dog on his back.  I read of a former homeless man who’s now helping the homeless.  Do you know of similar examples?  Of course we can’t help everyone, but single opportunities to help are all around us.  Let’s be on the lookout for them (and act on them) today.  The Great Communicator lives on.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  That's the essence of Christianity.====JACK:  Jesus used the Parable of the Good Samaritan to emphasize the importance of "helping."  Recently, when the Pope mentioned "wall-building" as being non-Christian, many saw it as a political intrusion.  It might better have been said without mentioning Donald Trump.  "But who am I to judge?"  The gist is... Seek out the best way to help people, and then do it.  That's the essence of Christianity!

FROM TARMART REV:  ., , , a very unfortunate experience but an example as called for this morning . . . it occurred this past Wednesday evening beginning around 8pm . . . I had just exited the local hospital and mental health ward after visiting and praying with a young 16 year old student suffering from abuse and depression because of an unwanted childhood experience with her biological father . . . as I entered my car, I received a chaplaincy call from the law enforcement dispatch center indicating a double fatality north of our small city . . . upon arriving I discovered and elderly couple had just left the Lenten Service at the Presbyterian church located just east of  the scene and moved on out into the four lane highway, attempting to cross over the oncoming two lanes and turn south . . . a young lady heading north could not avoid hitting their car, struck them resulting only in damaging their vehicles . . . however as the elderly lady after exiting her car, walking over and finding the young lady from the other vehicle walking towards her and both expressing they were alright with a hug and the elderly gentleman now getting out of the passenger side to do the same, another north bound car came upon the scene driving the 55 mph speed limit, not seeing what had just happened hit the elderly couple's car once again, killing them both. After an hour or so of chaplaincy work, attempting to comfort the gentleman of the second car and the young lady from the first accident, hugging a few First Responders having to deal with mangled bodies and wrecked automobiles, the next several hours was spent making my way to the home of the elderly couple's son and daughter-in-law living 30 miles away and notifying them of the parent's death . . . they happened to be members of the local church I serve. Truly a long night of tragic proportion, but an opportunity to bring comfort to many and assurance to a grieving couple that God and their church was present in a definite time of trouble.   0:-/====JACK:  "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me," said Jesus.  If it had been Jesus, would you have done more?  …or, maybe it was Jesus.

FROM CHAPPAUL:  Hi Jack – reminds me of the story of the woman walking along a beach covered with starfish. She was picking them up and throwing them back in the water one at a time. Another person said, “Why bother – there’s so many, you really aren’t making a difference.” To which the woman, as she picked up another starfish and threw it back in the water, said – “It made a difference to that one!”====JACK:  The owner of a theater chain spoke to our Optimist Club recently.  I asked him about the starfish pin that he was wearing in his lapel, and he told me of the story that you referred to.  Evidently he's part of an organization that uses that symbol...No matter what, you can make a difference.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Our church is situated in a neighborhood with MANY needy people. There is no end of personal opportunities to help! I do what I can, and am thankful to be able to be "the giver" in some meaningful way. I work with a formerly homeless man, who now has an apartment, has qualified for a disability monthly stipend (brain injury) and is enthustiasticaly attending services, S.S. and Bible study each week. A changed life! Also two ladies without transportation, whom I pick up for church, Bible study and choir and various needs such as Doctor's appointments. Not always convenient, but always, appreciated, and they are the first to volunteer to set up and decorate for special meetings, and clean up afterward, since they cannot contribute financially. They are a blessing.  Yes everyone can help someone...good thought today!  It is the 14th anniversary of my dear soul-mate's crossing the rainbow bridge to eternity, today. Thankful for all the good years we were given, but life is never the same. "Gather Ye rosebuds while ye may..." as the old poem goes!====JACK:  Reagan's words should not be used as an excuse for not helping as many people as you can.  But, it starts with one.  I'll doctor this old Sunday School song...
If to Christ our only King  Men redeemed we strive to bring,
Just one way this may be done—  We must help them one by one.
So you help the one next to you,  And I’ll help the one next to me;
In all kinds of weather, we’ll all work together,  And see what can be done.
If you’ll help the one next to you,  And I help the one next to me,
In no time at all we’ll help them all,  So help them, help them, one by one.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There is always some way to help if just by giving someone a smile. ====JACK:  ..or by letting them have "cuts."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  This ranks right up there with JFK's, "Ask not what your country can do for you..."====JACK:  ...or with FDR's: "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

FROM PRJM:  My best friend's  cousin was a drug user, big time.  When he got clean he spent his life and soul saving others from their addictions.  His funeral was packed and person after person got up to speak about how he had saved their lives.  We can each do what we are given gifts to do if we stop looking at the gifts others have and are using and just "do it" with our own God-givens. ====JACK:  We each have different talents and different opportunities to use them.  I once tried to use a "suburban" sermon in a Detroit church.  It didn't take long before I threw away the notes and began to walk the aisle talking with the people.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Like a lot.====JACK:  I like it because of the emphasis on helping.  Too many talk the walk, but don't walk the talk.====LIZ:  it doesn't take all that much to make a difference. tiny things such as letting an older lady cut in front of you at the grocery check-out. or taking a flustered mom's cart to the bin in the parking lot... did those recently.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/18/16
“Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody.  We need some kind of tomorrow.”  (Toni Morrison)  Most of us are at that point in life where there’s more sand in the bottom of life’s hour glass than there is in the top.  The sand that is left represents the tomorrows that we have.  The truth is that every choice we make today…what we eat, what we read, the friends we pick, etc…affects our future.  The tomorrow we will have depends on our today.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM TARMART REV:  Reminds of Pat Boone's "Love Letters In The Sand"-- "On a day like today We passed the time away Writing love letters in the sand."====JACK:  ...or..."Though our sins be as scarlet, or like crimson, or be written in sand, they shall be washed away."

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  I really like the Toni Morrison quote. The hour glass analogy is a bit unsettling. It's just me. It does remind me of a Robert Schuller exhortation, a quote from the Bible. " This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." This day, one grain, and God holding me by my right hand......The WW and reading from Jesus Calling help me to reflect on biblical passages in a broader scope.====JACK:  If you want something unsettling (but true), envision the hourglass painted black.  Schuller would usually begin his sermons by enthusiastically saying, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."  ...a great way to begin a sermon and an even greater way to begin each day.  The quote is from the Bible, Psalm 118:24.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/17/16
“Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually, because beautiful things happen in life when you distance yourself from all the negative things.”  (Unknown)  A hip hop-er, Blaze Olamiday, has this follow up…”Failure doesn’t exist until you give up.”  To keep moving on in the face of adversity, isn’t always easy, but Blaze has the scars to show that it can be done.  Who has scars that inspire you?  Things have a way of working out.    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Keep smiling, hoping, laughing, praying and never say never. Sounds simple, and it is if you pursue it with realistic vigor.====JACK:  Well, you've got the smile, the laugh and the vigor.  God knows about the hope and the never, but I tend to think that it's there.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  "alright" is not all right.====JACK:  Take it up with Blaze.  I writes what I sees.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Also distance when possible from negative people! James Baldwin, author, says "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it's faced."  We have to have hope to carry on until eventually the beautiful things can happen. Good WW to live by, today! Thanks for your constant bits of inspiration and humor!====JACK:  What usually spurs me to take some sort of action are the words..."Not to decide is to decide."  Regarding the reference to "scars"  in today's Words, I'm reminded of a Schuller admonition: "Turn your scars into stars," and something similar: "Turn your hurts into halos."

FROM DEEBEE:  These words are the most comforting that I have heard in a long time. I and several of my family members really needed this! Thank you!====JACK:  Everyone has their own set of scars which are reminders that healing does take place...given time.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i have a small scar on my left elbow.  does that count for anything?? ====JACK:  I hadn't thought about it...But when Thomas met Jesus after Easter, I wonder if the scarring had begun?  This is not meant to be a flippant "wondering."  The scars of Jesus counted for something.====ST PAUL:  what is also worth noting is that when Jesus met both Thomas and Peter there was not a word of retribution.  and there would have been none for Judas either, I don't believe.  the great sin of Judas as not his betrayal but his belief that he could not be forgiven.====JACK:  Judas has company, even among church members.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Failure doesn’t exist until you give up.” -- Not always easy to convey to those presently hurting and dealing with a seemingly insurmountable void . . . but the truth of those overcoming scars of many who have worked through the difficulty do in deed show that it can be done. A good word for us, Jack!!====JACK:  That reminds me of the prayer..."O Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now."

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/16/16
“A bad attitude is like a flat tire—you don’t go anywhere until you change it.”  (Unknown)  It’s been a long time since I’ve changed a flat.  I don’t even know if my car has a spare.  But, I do know that a flat tire needs to be changed.  And I do know that there are times when my mind has to be changed if I’m going to function in this world.  Sometimes we need to remind others (and ourselves) that things have to change if we’re going to move ahead.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  AAA has been experienced to have lightened the load and responsibility of road ware for our automobiles and well worth the small yearly investment.  Often our treasured spiritual truths are entered into and experienced in the same way-- the spiritual flat tires or cars not wanting to start any longer and finding the best solution to our dilemma...God's "AAA" Word on the matter has proved well worth the investment over the attitude needing changed, notwithstanding.====JACK:  I remember reading something like this..."Let God be your steering wheel, not your spare tire."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I really believe that we either have evolution. Or revolution.    The obstinate Republicans are pushing us toward the latter.====JACK:  I found it interesting to read that Scalia and Ginsburg were good friends "off the bench."  They could live with their differences.  It used to be that way with much of Congress.  Now, the country's riding along on a flat tire, and nobody wants to step out and do something about it.  Bump, bump. bump, bumpity, bump.

FROM PRJM:  Amen to that, brother!  My latest motto for self and congregations is "Old ways can't open new doors".====JACK:  Sometimes pastors can be as obstinate as congregations...and you know what happens when the unstoppable force meet an immovable object.

FROM ANON:  Good timing on that quote!====JACK:  Sometimes the Spirit of God moves in mysterious ways.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  As ever, wise words.  I am so distressed over all of the political friction over Scalia’s replacement.  I went to see the premiere of the opera, Ginsberg v. Scalia, last summer.  It was wonderful and based on the fact that while the two justices view legal and constitutional issues very differently, they’ve always had a warm personal relationship and respect for one another.  Those qualities are so lacking just now and they were a beacon of hope.====JACK:  I haven't given up on "the workings of the Spirit."  I like the words of Job: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."  There'a an old Gospel song, "Trust and obey, for there's no other way."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As old Socrates said, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."  There is a difference! I like this saying today; we've had to change a lot of judgmental attitudes over a long lifetime! C'est le vie!====JACK:  Some would blame falling church membership numbers on changes that the Church has made.  I'd hate to think what they might be without the changes.  BTW, numbers aren't necessarily a sign of strength. ====OAKS:  The church has not changed fast enough in recent decades..years ago they were in the forefront of  Women's Suffrage, and Civil Rights, etc. Now most denominations are pretty "safe" in what they try to do, and we've lost your young middle-aged people and most college age youth.  Part of it of course, is both parents working, needing weekends to unwind and "catch up", and the preponderance of so  many organized sports from Kindergarten on up, etc but many do not find the church relevant to their lives. I don 't know how they get through traumas and stress without faith! I couldn't.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  For me, attitudes permeate the atmosphere plus or minus. It appears that Scalia and Ginsburg agreed to disagree about issues without being vindicate. I've just finished a first novel by Blackman, a Swede. Most of the characters are Swedish. And, though I realize that fiction is not on everybody's bedside table, this book, for me, is a warm evolution of a "connection", with today's WW. The book is A Man Called Ove.====JACK:  I think of the marriage of Mary Matalin and James about opposites attracting.


Monday, February 15, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/15/16
“It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.”  (A. Lincoln)  Did you know that Lincoln was first elected President with only 39.8% of the popular vote?  Some really nasty things were said about him.  With the passing of time, the “accidental” President has become the most popular.  You can’t fool the people all of the time.      ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I remember flying to Cleveland, Ohio from Springfield, Missouri to candidate as a pastor of a small city and church in the outlying area . . . the vote came back one vote over the 2/3 needed for election . . . I figured I had 1/3, and most likely that represented the Church Board feelings as well, already not at all that happy with the candidate they had before them that Sunday . . . met with them for breakfast the following Monday morning . . . turned the offer down and can't remember any shed tears or attempts to talk me out of it . . . hind sight-- it was best I did. ====JACK:  The calling of a pastor is serious business.  The most important part of the process is to ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  In spite of the that, sometimes the call committee (and the candidate) can be fooled.  Nevertheless, I'm taking my chances with the Holy Spirit who has a way of working things out.====REV:  Looking back, confident I did just that.

FROM YOOPER BOB:  Amen!   Thanks for the reminder.====JACK:  The desire to be popular is one reason people try to fool others.  "The debates," for example.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I've seen this saying attributed to P.T. Barnum, the Circus promoter;  At any rate, it holds true, and this year being an election year, is more appropriate than ever! As Soren Kierkegaard  once observed, "Life has its own hidden forces which you can only  discover by living". Some of us have lived a long time...!====JACK:  After each of the political debates, there's a computer site, "Reality Check."  Whenever I've checked it, all of the candidates seem to have stretched the truth, or ignored it altogether.  "Lord, what fools these mortals be."  (Shakespeare) ====OAKS:  I  HADN'T HEARD OF THAT SITE, BUT IT WOULD BE A GOOD ONE TO ACCESS. HOW DO YOU FIND IT?  IT WOULD SURE BE NICE TO BE ABLE TO CAST A VOTE WITHOUT HOLDING YOUR NOSE!!!

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:   I wonder if Abe would even get elected these days because he was not the exactly photogenic.  perhaps I am wrong.  but he was a great man.====JACK:  He was once accused of being two-faced.  He responded, "If I were two-faced, do you think I'd be wearing this one?"

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  You stole my stuff!====JACK:  It's time for you to ride a new pony.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Jack, even though Lincoln was  from Illinois, there was a very strong southern..anti-Lincoln  contingency around the Decatur area, and it has been said that the adjacent Long Creek Twnsp  hung their treasurer for being a Lincoln supporter.====JACK:  His was a very divisive presidency.  It was until after his assassination that his star began to shine.  The Civil War may be over, but the states rights battle continues.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/12/16
“Do not call for black power or green power.  Call for brain power.”  (Barbara Jordan)  Did you know that the potato chip, the corner mailbox, the blood bank and the traffic signal were all invented by African-Americans?  ...and that George Washington Carver “invented” 300 uses for the peanut?  It’s too bad that we must use Black History Month to note the accomplishments of people, based on their color.  Did you know that brains aren’t differentiated by color?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  I spent part of my early morning trying to explain affirmative action to a financially successful Iraqi American who came here as a young teenager. He doesn't / didn't want to understand.====JACK:  Try explaining it to some who are native-born.  We want to keep what we have, or we want to have what others want to keep.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Did you ever go to the Ford Museum during Black History month?    Very interesting.   We took a couple of Mary Lou's students from Pontiac.    It was well done.====JACK:  I wonder if Henry Ford would have had this in mind when he established his museum?  BTW, the museum features African-American inspired recipes during Black History Month.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Brains are differentiated by how people put them to use.====JACK:  Arthur Fletcher coined the saying, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

FROM TARMART REV:  Didn't grow up in Kansas in the '50's realizing any difference in my history classes . . . George Washington Carver was held in high respect for his work with the peanut . . . and Jackie Robinson was held with the same high respect for his professionalism in professional baseball . . . even got to see Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige pitch in Kansas City as a grade school kid. I can't remember any Italian, Irish or other specially named "History Month"-- it was all lumped together as I recall it back in Kansas. Maybe too I wasn't paying that much attention and it may have been presented that way?.?.====JACK:  As I look back I see how far we've come.  WOW!  As I look at the present, I see how far we have yet to go.  UGH!====REV:  Perhaps its time for a new revivalist reminding us of the Word of God like Martin!! (Luther and/or King!!)====JACK:  ...or William J Seymour.====REV:  Yes sir-- a real prayer warrior and preacher in his day...helped bring the beginning of the AG's to Hot Springs, Arkansas and formation...I know how the General Council of the Assemblies of God and a good many of our smaller churches across the states would respond to such an invitation of a revival in a manner as experienced in those earlier days (very positive). Curious though how our "mega churches" would open themselves up in similar fashion. I am thinking many of them would be found as being "lukewarm" in this regard. The term and texts for Biblically described "holiness" isn't heard from our pulpits as in the 40's, 50's and 60's. The Charismatic Renewal opened us up, for better or worse, to many of those preached and proclaimed "weights" we were told not to hold onto. Not too much "conviction" floating around in mamy AG services in comparison to earlier days (habitation and having children before marriage, addictions, having the Bible systematically taught but found more so as a reference to preaching themes nowadays).  Sounding like an old man complaining and dreaming dreams of yesterday-- I know.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I remember reading a Reader's Digest article about two girls who grew up together until one moved away when they were about 7. They kept writing each other and finally when they were in their 30's they met again.  They were very surprised to find out one was white and one was black!     Just think how this world would be if we saw with our heart not our head! ====JACK:  Helen Keller never seemed to have a problem with racism.====JUDY:  Actually, she did have a problem with Ann Sullivan for awhile.====JACK:  ...but it was not visual.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Oh, what a good quote today!  I watched a documentary on PBS last night on Mississippi, noting the changes in their Black History from Civil Rights days until today. Very well presented. Most of the black speakers said APATHY of the black community (given up) is a stumbling block to progress, but we HAVE come a long way. even tho there remains much to do! The Feb. Guidepost mag. featured the history making first black prima ballerina, Misty Copeland.  She tells what she went through to achieve her goal, and it is inspiring, and quite amazing. Barbara Jordan was extraordinary, and died too young!====JACK:  Paraphrasing M L King Jr, "We're not there yet, but we've seen the Promised Land."

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  you are a libertarian!====JACK:  you are wrong!====LIZ:  ok. then you are a republican.====JACK: ruk?

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  thanks, Jack.  i am forwarding this to a friend of mine who is quite racist.  he may find it enlightening.  stay warm and well. its going to be in the 80s here next week.   rather unseasonable even in AZ.  blessings on your day.    a friend of mine in northern MN told me a few weeks ago, during a polar vortex, that he was so cold he was turning 50 Shades of Blue! ====JACK:   Your reference to enlightening reminds me of the 18th Century Age of Enlightenment which emphasized liberty, progress, reason, tolerance and the ending of Church and state abuses.  It might be good to revisit some parts of that Age.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Why is it always assumed that African-Americans are black? Why differentiate at all? All that does is perpetuate the problem. The Press needs to getaway from trying to sell " newspapers."====JACK:  Someone has written that we need to eliminate all hyphens when describing Americans.  The trouble is that there are still those who see people of color and of different ethnic and religious backgrounds as less than true Americans.  The use of the hyphen has a way of underscoring the fact that other cultures have much to add to add to our country.  There was a time when Swedish immigrants were referred to as Swedish-Americans.  In fact, a major hospital in Rockford, IL, is still called Swedish American.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/11/16
“When you cannot sleep at night, have you ever thought maybe it’s God saying, ‘We need to talk, and now you have the time?’”  (Pinterest)  When teaching children how to pray, I would sometimes put an empty chair in front of them and have them imagine that Jesus is sitting in that chair.  “Now, talk to him as you would to a friend.”  (You might even try that yourself!)  A Gospel song goes… “You’ll find a little talk with Jesus makes it right!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR JUDY:  I LOVE this Jack!!! What a great idea.  I was talking to a client last night about times when he suddenly turns sad or melancholy for no apparent reason. We talked about the possibility that maybe it's his inner self wanting to get his attention for reflection.====JACK:  There are some similarities in our work.  Dealing with the inner self is one of them.

FROM CEEESS:  I guess he wants to talk every night!====JACK:  You never get a busy signal from God.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Like====JACK:  Jesus is God personalizing himself.

FROM SUE AT HCC:  A great reminder, thanks.====JACK:  Some people use a string tied on a finger; others, like you, use Winning Words.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...some of those "little talks" have lasted all night long!!====JACK:  That's almost like praying without ceasing.

FROM STEVE KENT:  Tricks of the trade. We have a leadership retreat this weekend at church. Perfect timing.====JACK:  A teacher's job is to teach.  Tricks of the trade, or whatever  works.  I will be interested to hear if you use "the chair."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Yes, I've considered it a time for prayer, and I've used it.  It's amazing that at such a time when I should be sleepy, I find my thoughts are remarkably clear.====JACK:  I keep two Prayer is on paper...the other is in my for the morning and one for the night.

FROM JR IN CALIFORNIA:  Good morning, dear one.  What a wonderful idea.  I'll add that to my before sleep "talk".====JACK:  I find that I do more talking than listening in my prayer-life.  It's amazing how God-thoughts can come to mind if we just stop and let it happen.  BTW, is there a chapel at the hospital where you volunteer?  A nurse friend of mine goes into her hospital's chapel for prayer each day before her shift.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Whenever Chris can't sleep she prays herself to sleep. I just ask for forgiveness and say call Pastor Freed.====JACK:  I don't remember ever seeing you fall asleep during one of my sermons.  In fact, visually, you were one of the most attentive listeners in the congregation, responding appropriately to each thought.  You see lots of things as you look out over the people.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Speaking of prayers—one time when Craig was 3—we were at Freemont Congregational Church and Clifford was preaching.  He was praying at the end of the sermon and had his hands on either side of the pulpit like he often did.  Craig hollered out “Grandpa, fold your hands”.  The congregation loved it!  Ha!  We were embarrassed!====JACK:  I laughed out loud, because I was a vicar for Clifford and I remember that prayer stance.  And I laughed, because I like it when children will speak what they think, in spite of their parents.  My grandson, when he was about Craig's age, was out with his parents.  Some strangers, near to them, were smiling at the family.  My grandson blurted out, "What are you looking at?"  My daughter was mortified.  Later, she learned that he had picked up that phrase from a Bible video that he had watched.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  What a great way to teach children to talk/pray to God!  Often I talk to him and often I fall to sleep while still listing the people I want to pray for.  I'm comforted by the fact He already knows who I pray for so I don't worry if I miss someone.====JACK:  Corrie ten Boom once said about prayer...."Don't bother to give God instructions; just report for duty."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "Have a little talk with Jesus, Makes it right!"  was my son Fred's favorite song that our men's quintette did, and now when he returns for a visit on a Sunday *(rare) the four who are left still sing it for him. Love that song, myself!  On the rare occasions when I awake in the night, I do pray for those in need and for my loved ones....I also pray at stop lights, and waiting on freight trains, etc And on Sunday mornings on the way to church for our pastor, choir director and organist, etc.  Talking to Jesus  like he's in the chair would be a good visual technique for anyone! Good idea!====JACK:  Why not have your Bible Study group experiment with "the empty chair" and see if it changes the way a prayer is offered?  Or, at your next family gathering, why not have the one who offers the prayer face an empty chair?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/10/16
 “You must make the world better by making yourself better.”  (Father Basil)  Basil is one of two Detroit guys who started a monastery in a remote spot in Michigan’s U.P.  It’s become a place for prayer and contemplation for them and for others who’ve joined them.  To exist they pick berries and make them into jam, which they sell.  We may not be cut out for the monastic life, but the truth is that this world can be better as each of decides to be better.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I've always dreamed of "Paul's Popcorn Palace" . . . but looks as though now I will just sit at Target, eat their popcorn and work at making the world a better place by greeting those God sends by my way.====JACK:  You seem better fitted for Target than for a monastery, especially a Trappist one.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Where can we buy the jam?====JACK:  Google.....The Jampot.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We have gone to the bakery...when we went in the first time we were the only people in the store.  I thought the monks couldn't talk so I was pointing at the items I wanted.  They must have thought I was nuts. When I went to pay the monk said, "thank you".  We still laugh about it!  If you have never been there, it's a beautiful part of Michigan and the baked goods and jellies are fantastic!   They definitely leave this world a better place.====JACK:  Since you've been to all 50 states, you must have met some interesting people, seen some unique spots and had some memorable experiences.  We've been to Eagle Harbor...before the Monastery.====JUDY:  We did meet many many great people, including this trip.  Our next door neighbors came down for the week and we are having a blast.  Gary favorite trip's were to Hawaii.  My were the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho, following the Oregon Trail and Arcadia park in Maine.  But, I love this big beautiful country from sea to shining seas!  And all the wonderful people we met. Including the astronaut at Kennedy Space Center ....John Ross.

FROM EMKAY:   Here's the artist. The song is from this album. "You've got the love" is the song. Believe me, the song speaks to me some days:)  'Dog days are over' & 'Shake it out' are another two.  And while I'm at it, Jason Marz, 93 Million Miles is fabulous. Saw him play it on tv, what a talent.  Hope you enjoy! Have a wonderful day!!====JACK:  Thanks for introducing me to Florence & the Machine.  Being on the UK's Top 40 list for 65 weeks is quite an accomplishment.  "Shake It Out" on YouTube makes me want to hear more.  Music certainly makes the world better.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  With a name like that (Basil), I’m surprised he doesn’t also sell herbs.  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.  lol!)  Lovely thing to know about. And to your comments about the world 'getting better as each of us decides to be better'…that concept is (to me) the core message of ‘Groundhog Day’, which movie inspired me an many ways. It speaks to the fact that every day, we make choices about how we will view our world, and what we will do about that. The brilliance of the presentation is that the writers stripped away all the distractions: weather, traffic, coincidence, chance meetings, appointments, and so on — laying bare the protagonist and how he chooses to deal with his one and only day (after day, after day, after day…)  Groundhog Day may not be my most favorite movie of all time (though it’s certainly ’top 10’), but it is definitely the movie that most influenced how I try to live.  p.s. The mission of The Gabriel Institute, and the fundamental value of Teamability, is in helping people to better understand each other, and to live more satisfying and beneficial lives. That’s what drew me in.====JACK:  Groundhog Day is one of my favorites, too.  It's one of those "what if" movies that stirs the imagination.  Also...thinking about how to improve the lives of others...stirs the imagination, as well.

FROM INSTRUCTOR TOM:  By the way, the Priests in the UP make excellent jam especially the "Thimble Berry"!!  Happy Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent!! Too snowy to fly today. ====JACK:  Did you order some of their jam, or did you visit the store?

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  i also liked the Berrigan brothers (2 rcc priests) back in the 1960s who once said,  "if you want to really follow Jesus,  you better look good on wood!"====JACK:  They were activists when being an activist meant taking real risks.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/9/16
"A little dab’ll do ya!”  (Brylcreem ad)  Dabbin’ is a hip hop dance popular with teens.  You lean your face into the crook of your elbow and make a sound, like a sneeze.  Dab is also a word denoting something that’s small, but important…like a seed, like a kind word or deed.  There’s a book for teens, “Little Things Matter,” which points out the importance of what seem to be little things… a dab of extra study time, choice of friends, the use of spare time.    ;-)  Jack

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  I grew up in a large family in a small home in the 1960’s.  With 3 older brothers, it seemed there was no end to the teasing and shenanigans!  Mornings before school where always a dog eat dog experience based on survival of the fittest!  You had to move pretty quickly to get a spot in the bathroom, breakfast and a decent bagged school lunch, all this before literally running out the door and down the street to catch the bus.  Taunting was just part of the morning routine.  The brothers were basically too cool for the likes of me and I spent an entire childhood trying to live up to their level and acceptance.  Of course, all these years later, I now know that I was always accepted – just deserving of the place I held in the sibling lineup! (2nd from dead last!)
One typical morning, I was woken with the usual yelling in my ear out of a dead sleep that it was, indeed, ‘TIME TO GET UP!”  I jumped out of bed and immediately raced for the bathroom so as not to fall too far behind in the morning routine festivities – I truly believe that to this day, this is the reason I move so quickly through everything I do – the fear of not reaching the finish or being left behind….Seeing NO ONE in the bathroom at either one of the double sinks (haleluhah!!) I grabbed the toothpaste, squeezed a mighty dab out onto the toothbrush and plunged it into my mouth vigorously scrubbing away and smug in my morning fortunes of beating everyone else to the punch!  Within milliseconds, my brain began to register – “warning, warning” as my mouth became entangled in the oiliest, grossest, goopiest “toothpaste” I have ever tasted in my life…..By now, 2 brothers had gathered in the bathroom as I picked up the tube of toothpaste and read the label.  BRYLCREEM it screamed!  BRYLCREEM!!  I had just filled my mouth with the greasiest men’s hair product known to man!   Now I knew why they advertised “a little dab will do ya”!!  I retched my way through the next miserable 5 minutes, with brothers 1,2 and 3, sisters and Mom all either laughing uproariously or looking on in shock.  It took several brushings with actual toothpaste to even BEGIN to remove the sticky stuff and I tasted it for at least 3 days afterwards.  Of course, the worse part was the relentless and now well-deserved ribbing I received (for years afterwards, actually!) from the “bros” and then the humiliation they subjected me too at the hands of everyone at our school.  “BRYLCREEM -  a little dab will do ya   BRYLCREEM  - you’ll look so debonair
BRYLCREEM – the gals will all pursue ya  They’ll love to get their fingers through your hair!”
Wow – this was so much fun!!====JACK:  WOW.  What fun to read about your "growing up experience.  Isn't it interesting how the mention of a word like "Brylcreem" can be like a key to open a memory bank.  It was really a good day when God thought up memory as a gift for his people.

FROM TARMART REV:  if added--"you'll look so debonair!!"====JACK:  You don't need Brycreem, to look debonair.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Hmmmm...Jack Freed...hip hop maven!====JACK:  I can't decide which video of Dabbin' I like best...the one by Migos or the one by Skippa Da Flippa.  I saw Jim Leyland do a version of it at Michigan's Signing of the Stars.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Let's hope a little dab of common sense and intelligence will prevail in N.H. today. George Orwell wrote:"Political Language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."  And Edward R. Murrow (we old folks remember him well) warned "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."  Think it has come to pass.?  A  little dab will do ya, for sure!!====JACK:  It might be interesting to se how many of your Bible Study group have ever hears of "Dabbin'", without giving them a clue ahead of time.  This could lead to a discussion about how the churches of their youth might have looked upon dancing as a sin, which could lead to a discussion about dancing as a part of worship in biblical days...and now.  Do you remember seeing church dancing in the movie, The Blues Brothers?  If not, you can YouTube it.  ====OAKS:  I'd never heard of 'dabbin", but then I'm not very hip! I'll see if any of our group has, but doubtful!  We had a dance team at Elliott when Bill and I pastored...H.S. girls who I think added a lot to our music, although our church pianist initially told me that her father would turn over in his grave, if he knew we were dancing in the sanctuary. She got over it...Our black congregation (now gone) also had liturgical dancers and I enjoyed them a lot! I didn't see the Blues Bros. movie, but my grandson and his buddy were big hits emulating them doing Kareoke for severall years ! He just turned 40 this week !

Monday, February 08, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/8/16
"Hear no evil.  Speak no evil.  See no evil.”  (Three wise monkeys)  Before I gave it to a grandchild, I had a small sculpture of these monkeys on my desk.  It’s said that the monkey-message had its origin in the Buddhist teaching on “How to live life.”  Sometimes a 4th monkey is added…“Do no evil.”  Today marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Monkey.  Warning!  It’s a jungle out there, so beware of any monkey business.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "Monkey see! Monkey do!"  Today, you can refer me by my Chinese name: "Hey You!" "Hey You! Be sure you pay at the counter before you leave the restaurant!?" ====JACK:  My mother used to work at Monkey Wards.====REV:  Mine too, Jack...late on Thursday evenings. We would eat out that might and I would go down the block and play basketball at the YMCA  until she got off work and would pick me up.====JACK:  We'd get a 10% discount on  clothing and shoes.  I bought my bike there...and even a replacement motor of my model A Ford.

FROM GOOD SAM LEE:  This is the first E-Mail I check in the morning to get my day started. ====JACK:  No monkeyshines, today!

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i was born in the year of the monkey.====JACK:  That helps explain some things.  You're compatible with the Rat and the Dragon, but not with the Tiger, Snake and Horse.====LIZ:  explains some things, huh? what things... lol.====JACK:  Positive, but I'll let it go at that.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Jack, I enjoy reading your insights. KEEP IT UP!!====JACK:  I try to hear the good, speak the good and see the good, even in the bad.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  You made me smile; thanks for teaching me about the fourth monkey; quite fitting this day before mardi gras, no?====JACK:  Mardi Gras,in our neck of the woods, is celebrated by eating a pączki (or two).====BB:  Don’t even know what those are and not sure I’m going to make pancakes tomorrow but I just might!  Giving up the butter would be a hard thing for me.  This year, I thought rather than give up coffee – one I’ve done before – I’d turn it into the “3rd sacrament” as we always called it at Lake View.  This year, I’m going to be mindful and prayerful every time I pour a cup.  Perhaps I could extend that to every time I pass a Starbucks!  That would up my prayer quotient a great deal.====JACK:  A pączki is a Polish pastry, sort of like an American bismark (only bigger).  It is very rich and is filled with different jams (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, apple) or with custard or Bavarian creme.  Mmmmmmm.  I'm buying two raspberry ones tomorrow.  For supper, we'll be having waffles.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  I had a little statue and did the same with mine as you did with yours.   thanks for reminder.====JACK:  I'm starting to give away other things, too.  I wonder what that's a sign of?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Add a fifth monkey... Accept no evil.====JACK:  Sign:  WE ACCEPT NO BULLYING IN THIS SCHOOL.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Yes it's real tough right now for Gary and I as we eat breakfast in the warm Florida sun and take a dip (not skinny) in our pool.  We try to see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil but it's hard in our society.  We definitely try to do no evil.====JACK:  Evel Knievel's real first name is Robert.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  When one of my boys would emulate a brother or friend, and get into trouble, I'd admonish, "Monkey see, monkey do, monkey get in trouble, too!" they still quote that...Dear Abby had a whole list of characteristics for those born in the year of the monkey:witty, intelligent, magnetic personalities, clever in financial matters and career, lively and versatile, gentle and kind! WOW! Not too shabby, eh? BUT they tend to have volatile tempers and be arrogant. Oh well!  Sounds like an "Interesting" year!! :-) As usual, you're on top of such things!====JACK:  Sometimes there's added a sulking monkey..." Have no fun."

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme,if according to Darwin's theory that as humans we originated from monkeys,how is it that monkeys still exist? mmm..====JACK:  Maybe the evolution has not been completed and is ongoing.  Have you seen Planet of the Apes?  And have you watched the political debates?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/5/16
“Saying sorry and being sorry are not the same sorry.”  (Unknown)  I recently went to Google to learn how to pronounce, aposiopesis.  (Do you know that word?)  While at the site, I  learned that the hardest English word to pronounce is, “sorry.”  Try it.  I think that a double meaning is intended.  Life is such that most of us have a problem admitting wronging someone and asking forgiveness.  While on the subject, “goodbye” is hard to pronounce, too.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Sorry to say, "Goodbye for this week", but happily awaiting to say, "Hello on Monday!!"====JACK:  What if you were like the god, Janus, with two faces, one looking forward and one looking backward?  You could say, "Hello" and "Goodbye" at the same time.  ====REV:  I suppose I have been called "two faced" at one time or another . . . fortunately never to my face directly, most probably behind my back where I wasn't able to face my accuser. Now that's the faced facts!!

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  You provided us with two winning words today:  sorry and aposiopesis.  I decided to look for your "a" word in my favorite dictionary, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 1979.   (I like to feel a book in my hands and the dictionary sometimes offers more information than some online searches.)  After reading the meaning, I can actually use the word because I often have this problem.  What's your guess on how many people look up this interesting word, assuming that some of your readers already know its meaning!
With regard to the word sorry:  Some people say it with the same heartless feeling that they say when playing the game Sorry!  A sincere "sorry" can clear up a lot of relationships--with spouses, children, pets, even strangers.====JACK:  I usually have reasons as to why and how I craft Winning Words each day.  You figured out two of them.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  we should go back to the old English for goodbye: God be with ye!    a benediction of sorts...====JACK:  I had a church member who would never say "Good-bye."  It was too final for her, so it was always, "So long" or "See ya" or something like that.====SP:  I always like to say farewell to the deceased at a funeral because it too was not so final sounding.  and I do believe we shall all meet again.====JACK:  Fare well! has special meaning, too.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  You probably made most of us look up a "new" word today, and I for one would be at a loss to use it, even if I knew it was an interrupted thought or "becoming silent",,,next time I see (or hear) a sentence started, and then quickly "interrupted" with "but that's beside the point" and not finished, I'll know what I am dealing with! :-)  I guess our "sorries" have to be validated by actions...I can't see how it is so hard to pronounce..?====JACK:  I think that the Google site was fooling around with the English language when the word, hard (difficult) can be taken in more than one way.  But, I do  know someone who pronounces sorry as soar-ee.  Should it be saar-ee?

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/4/16
“We all have two lives.  The second one begins when we realize that we only have one.”  (Tom Hiddleston)  I was reading that in S. Korea, some people rent a coffin, climb into it and shut the lid in order to get away from life’s stress for a while, to think about the past and to vow to live a better life.  The Bible suggests that you might go into a closet to pray.    Regardless of how it’s done, thinking about our life, past, present and future seems like a good idea.    ;-)  Jack    

FROM HONEST JOHN:  For me, prayer involves listening.    When you hear the sounds of silence, you are tuning in.....and growing....====JACK:  Since you've had the experience of silence, did that enhance your communication with God, or was it just another dimension?  Simon and Garfunkel had a song, "The Sound of Silence."====JOHN:  You need to feel the presence of God.   It improves ones humility...the sense of being human.    It is wonderful to be human as long as that humanness is lived within the presence of the Living God.====JACK:  I've always liked the Brother Lawrence story, where he felt the presence of God in the "noise" of the monastery kitchen.

FROM TARMART REV:  I find it constantly before me, past-present-future. Most generally with a smile!!====JACK:  I'll bet the city of Willmar would pay attention if you crawled into a coffin (or went into a closet) for a time of past-present-future meditation.====REV:  I didn't look back over my shoulder including the coffin in my previous comment . . . I have commented to a few that I'm putting an electric shock device in my coffin that will enable my eye to wink at them as they walk by.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  I don't know who Tom Hiddleston is but I like his insight.  I like yours too. ====JACK:  At first I shook my head at the S. Korean fad, but on second thought....

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  My nephew has been a professor at Seoul U. for several years now, and married a beautiful  S. Korean H.S. teacher. I wonder if they've ever known someone to crawl inside a rented coffin, etc. What a novel piece of info!  In the hustle and bustle of marriage, raising children, working full time, and social obligations, it is more difficult to take time just to reflect and think. The years go by in a blur! Retirement does  open up time for this type of reflection.   A comment of Robyn Davison (author of the book TRACKS, about her 1700 mile trek across the western desert of Australia with 4 camels and her dog!) made me smile:"The good Lord in His infinite wisdom gave us three things to make life bearable---Hope, Jokes, and Dogs."  I might underline hope, but do enjoy good jokes, and have had dogs, so I identify with her!  Imagine she had MUCH time to think on that trek!====JACK:  I think that we each have our times and places for meditation.  Mine is in front of the computer...and also in the church pew before the service begins.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Yes, but what we have is today which we have to live to enjoy and to help to make this better world.====JACK:  There here and now is the only reality that we have.  The past is past, and the future hasn't arrived.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Jack’s Winning words 2/3/16
“If you only do what you can do, you will never be more than you are now.”  (Shifu to Po in the movie, Panda 3)  The dialog continues…Po: “I like who I am.”  Shifu: “You don’t even know who you are.”  Are you the adventurous sort, one who likes to try new things, who likes to meet new people?  I remember once being assigned to a ministry project that was not of my choosing.  I didn’t get the switch I asked for.  I finally tried it, and it changed my life.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR EM:  I took my daughter on Sunday afternoon to see Kung Fu Panda 3 & we both loved the movie! Great message :)====JACK:  Father/daughter moments like that help teach us who we are...for now, and in the future.

FROM TARMART REV:  "...always looking for the pony close by that pile of manure!"====JACK:  Don't be put off by the smell of certain situations.  The bratwurst tastes delicious with sauerkraut!  ====REV:  Good one, kind of taste, as well--Bratwursts.====JACK:  You probably don’t like your brats cooked in beer.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  It seems the direction our life takes is due to many influences.  The most satisfying of them are the ones we resisted, but ultimately accepted.  In my teen years I was asked to participate in a high school event, something too uncharacteristic of me to join in.  Yet after some persuasion I agreed to try it, and it clearly redirected my life.  I do believe we get "second chances", so if I had declined that teenage moment of choice, more than likely another opportunity would have come along at another time.  Somebody up there likes us!====JACK:  If we were to sit down and count...there have been many chances to take roads that would have made a difference.  But it's useless to play the woulda, shoulda, coulda game.  Just concentrate on the statement you made ... Somebody likes us.

FROM HCC CL:  I can relate to that it seems it happened often in my life trek.====JACK:  There are some ads that have a way of becoming a part of our language.  One of those was the Alka-Selzer tag line used in 1972..."Try it.  You'll like it."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I've always liked trying new things, most of the time, meeting new people, but am actually a very private person "inside", although I appear outgoing and gregarious! My friends find it hard to believe I was the "quiet twin"! ;-)   I think both teaching, and leading in ministry cause you to stretch beyond yourself, and do things that sometimes amaze you!  But you have to take the challenge ...!  And there  seem to be plenty of them throughout life. As Oscar Wilde once quipped, "I'm not young enough to know everything!" :-)  Here's to doing "more than we can do"...Who Sez??!====JACK:  I find it easy to meet people and to get a conversation going...but what I really like to do is just stand on the sidelines and observe.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  In our family, that's called "stretching your comfort zone".  It's fun but scary.  Grandson Joshua doesn't like to try new foods but he does stretch his comfort zone to try a "mini measure" of whatever is new.  He never thought he would like catfish but he tried and did!     P.S.  I have never tried catfish but don't tell Josh.====JACK:  Pants on fire!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 2/2/16
“How much better would life be if a liar’s pants really did catch fire.”  (Rebel Circus)  Have you seen the Jim Carrey movie, “Liar, Liar,” in which he can’t tell a lie?  It presents all kinds of problems, to the point that his sanity is questioned.  Can you picture “pants on fire” during the current political debates?  Wouldn’t that be a sight?  On the whole, it would be a better world with more truth-telling, or, at least, more sensitivity to knowing right from wrong.    ;-)  Jack

FROM IKE AT THE MIC: On that theme,I'm reminded of Winston Churchill's  quote:  "It's unfortunate that a lie can travel 1/2 around the world,before the truth even has chance to put it's pants on."====JACK:  Churchill had quite a sense of humor, and sometimes it could be acerbic.

FROM DB:  I was musing to myself yesterday that I am further convinced that career politicians were test-tube babies: no families, no compassion, no conscience.====JACK:  There are always exceptions to the rule.   I believe that a politician should say what he/she believes and let the electorate decide if they want that kind of representation.  However, it seems that most are willing to say (or not say) what it takes to get elected.

FROM TARMART REV:  Your posting brought the following Scripture to mind this morning, Jack . . . "For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.  10 Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.  12 Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. 13 But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. 14 If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. 15 But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.  16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in[a] you?" (1 Corinthians 3:9-16 New Living Translation).
====JACK:  Wouldn't if be interesting if "Hell" were a person running around for eternity with their pants on fire?====REV:  ...would be a "hell of a site" for sure!!

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  THAT is an excellent (and hilarious) question. And yes, I did see “Liar Liar” — which was not only much deeper than simple screwball/slapstick comedy; it was also (for me) the movie that revealed Jim Carrey’s potential to be a fine dramatic actor. (Later demonstrated in ‘The Truman Show’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’)====JACK:  There are various ways to get "a message" across.  Humor is one of those ways.  You have done it with your art glass.  Other do it with music.  "Groundhog Day" is a film with a message, too.


FROM MK:  Love it Jack, you made me laugh for sure!  It would be great!====JACK:  Isn't it great how the mind can create pictures for us?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  The debate could be renamed "The Towering Inferno." The simplest way is to tell the truth and you don't have to remember what you said.====JACK:  Promises not kept is another problem...and not only with politicians.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  Trump, and many others,  would have "torched" themselves long ago!!  Wasn't it Caligula, the Roman Emperor, who hung Christians on poles and set them on fire for night torches in one of his courtyards??   can't imagine how awful that smelled.   have you even smelled burning human flesh?  i hope this is one of those "facts" from history that may be a bit overstated... ====JACK:  It's said that accounts of Caligula's tortures may have been exaggerated by writers who didn't like him, but his using people as torches seems to be true. b Some things are worse than lying during a debate.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We loved that movie.  I liked to think I would have no problem telling the truth...but that's not the truth!  It would be wonderful if the politicians would have their pants start on fire if they lied...that really made me laugh!  However, I'm afraid my pants would be a flame too.
Would you believe we are by our pool and it's beautifully sunny and 83 degrees?  Well, it's true!
And my swim suit is not on fire.====JACK:  How about your  nose?  Is it as long as a telephone wire?

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  this is one of my all time favorite sayings!  when someone i know and love is stretching the truth i ask them if their bottom is getting warm.  i also love the jim carrey movie.  as goofy as it is, it reminds us of the difference between kindness and needed truth. ====JACK:  How do handle truth telling with your pre-schoolers?====MARY:  I simply ask for it. I let them know that it will make them feel better inside.  I tell them that we all make mistakes no matter how little or big we are. That anything can be figured out if we know what happened.

FROM AA'S CK:  The thought of that made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the smile today. ====JACK:  I wonder if kids today still use that saying?  You might want to ask yours.

FROM DMF:  Did you go see the movie?????====JACK:  Yes, I did.  OOPS, my pants are on fire.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words  2/1/16
“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there you must first see inside of you.”  (Wally “Famous” Amos)  I’ve read that there’s such a thing as an x-ray mirror.  What if your mirror was like that, enabling you to see your inner self?  Amos is “Famous” for more than his cookies.  He’s authored 9 books having a self-help theme and works with a literacy program helping thousands of adults learn to read.  In his mirror, he saw more than a cookie recipe.  ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  So, you totally deny Socratic thought and end up with no objective reality at all.   Is God God or is God simply who we see thru our mirror?====JACK:  The use of a "mirror" is one way by which I come to know myself.  Thanks for being one of those mirrors.  The one in the bathroom says that I need to comb my hair.  In your mirror, do you see Imago Dei?====JOHN:  In the mirror I often see an old man who wants to live today to the fullest.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  The next time we have breakfast, remind me to to tell you the famous story of Dr. Milton Wayne.  I probably told you already!====JACK:  Do you mean Covensky, the historian, who asks, "Who are the role models for today's children?"  Who are influencing this younger generation?====PAUL:  No...I know who you are talking about:
This one was a star professor at Wayne in the 60-80's on ancient history.

FROM TARMART REV:  Not a bad idea, picking up the crumbs of his cookie table?! A Chocolate Chip cookie day to you, Jack!!====JACK:  The Canaanite woman ate the crumbs that Jesus dropped.  I suppose, too, that there are people who pick up spilled popcorn when they're around you?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This seems to tie in with a comment I read by the poet Christian Witman: "Human imagination is not simply our means of reaching out to God, but God's means of manifesting Himself to us". We can't "see" what we can't imagine. Certainly we all see the world (and life) through the bias of what's inside of us, and we're all unique individuals! What diversity that brings to life, if we're open to it. Interesting quote to mull over for today, and good to know a bit about "Famous" Amos...I should try his cookies!====JACK:  I'm reminded of this story....A little boy had learned from his mother that "God is in us."  One day, when his stomach began to growl, he said to his mother, "I think that God is trying to talk to me, but I can't understand what he's saying."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:   I wonder if he would have made a deal on Shark Tank. ====JACK:  Until I Googled it, I always thought that Shark Tank was a show about people swimming with sharks.  My grandson recently did an internship with a venture capital firm.  From what he said, that business can be a sort of Shark Tank.