Thursday, March 31, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/31/16
“The devil saw me with my head down and got excited…Then I said, Amen.”  (Facebook)  C.S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters, a story in which a senior devil (Screwtape) instructs a junior devil (Wormwood) on how to how to lead a person away from his faith.  Tempt him to concentrate on self, materialism, doubt of God.  Martin Luther once said that the best way to deal with the devil is to laugh at him.  “Screwtape” was required reading in seminary.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TL:  Thanks for the reminder of what lurks Jack.====JACK:  The Bible says that the devil goes around like a roaring lion...but sometimes he's sly, like a fox.

FROM TARMART REV:  I've told myself often, no matter what 'ol slew-foot throws my way, give God the credit for it-- maybe he will then give up, knowing I'm trusting God more so and being brought closer to Him then to him by his attacks.====JACK:  Did you know that the devil was referred to as slew-foot because he didn't have toes on his feet?  He had hooves?====REV:  I continue to learn from my good Lutheran friends and pastors...I just remember those camp meeting evangelist referring to him as such in those firey sermons of earlier years!

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Brilliant!====JACK:  Have you ever seen Pot Shots, the sayings and cartoons by Ashley Brilliant?...for example, "I've been trying reach your mind.  Can you tell me where it's currently located?"

FROM KANSAN DON:  First book I read cover to cover in one day.====JACK:  My first one was Dick and Jane's, "See Spot Run."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I just reread that last year..l such a clever and profound book!!  Human nature doesn't change much through the generations! Nor does the Devil's work... really no laughing matter, tho Martin Luther probably successfully did just that. Luther commented he also "farted at the devil". HA!!====JACK:  Luther supposedly three an inkwell at the Devil.  There's still a blot on the wall of Luther's room at the Wartburg Castle.  The aromas have dissipated.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Seems to me, based on today's WW the devil is doing a good job on our country and our leaders today as we see our society become more self absorbed and moving away from faith. Truly a sad scenario for our grandchildren.====JACK:  We get the leaders we pick.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/30/16
“Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work.”  (Mark Twain)  It might not be politically correct, but “in my day” the story was told of an Indian who sent many smoke signals to his girlfriend.  She said, “Him talk a lot, but him not so hot.  Heap big smoke, but no fire.”  There are people like that today.  What we are looking for are the people who follow their words with actions, who keep their promises.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I'm looking for someone who realizes that the government created by the Constitution is supposed to be a full player in the game and act as an antidote to the poisons of Capitalism.====JACK:  Maybe you can borrow Diogenes's lamp.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We're having a huge thunderstorm, as I write this. I laughed  about "Heap big smoke"...because we sang that at camp when the director got up to make announcements, etc. Often the director was Bill.  :-)    Heap bit smoke, but...NO FIRE!" Good memories!====JACK:  Camp days were lots of fun, often because of the fun songs that were learned in the dining hall and around the camp fire.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Do I smell  political overtones here? If so, what else is new? ====JACK:  It depends on what you're sniffing for.  There are different kinds of stinks.  Do you remember "Stinky" Trevarrow?  He didn't seem to mind having the nickname, Stink.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There's a lot of smoke in the run for presidency.  The person who vows to follow the Constitution will get my vote.====JACK:  Since the Constitution is open to interpretation, there are other obvious criteria to consider.  "The devil is in the details."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Guess that lets out most politicians.====JACK:  History indicates that it has always been that way...and I don't see that it will change.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/29/16
“We don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but everything is going to be OK.”  (Toby Mac)  I have a Prayer List of over 20 names, besides the ones I keep in my head.  Each name has a story, a concern.  I wish that I had a magic wand…but, in reality, I have something better--God’s promise: “Call on me in the day of trouble…I will be with you.”  I’ve found it to be a comfort to say my concerns and then to pray, “ Thy will be done on earth!”  Let go & Let God!    ;-)  Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How wonderful is that statement!!!====JACK:  I try to use Winning Words each day.  Evidently they were "winners" for you, today.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I had a friend who lived to worry, loved to worry. He would moan incessantly during the day; also a bit of a hypochondriac. Another friend, a bit of a sage, would console him, "Don't worry, Albert, nothing will be alright."====JACK:  I don't hear the expression, worry wart, used much anymore.====TH:  Weren't warts attributed to worrying at times?====JACK:  I think you're right.  One of our daughters had a wart once.  A man we knew took her hand and solemnly said, "Wart, wart, go away."  Within a couple of days it was gone.

FROM TARMART REV:  Enough said, and said well!!====JACK:  Some have called John 3:16, the Gospel in a nutshell....'nuff said.

FROM PRJAN:  Thank you for that reminder, Jack!  I, too, have a long prayer list, only some of which is written down.  I don't pray for myself very often except to ask that I be more kind and less "right" - a constant struggle.  Thank you for your Winning Words.  There are days when I know God means them especially for me.  :-)  (And, isn't that a conceited thought!)====JACK:  Why don't you sing this old spiritual...
Not my brother, nor my sister, but it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer.
Not the preacher, nor the deacon, but it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer;
Not my father, nor my mother, but it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer;
Not the stranger, nor my neighbor, but it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer;
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer;
It’s me, it’s me, O Lord, Standin’ in the need of prayer.
(I've got room for another name on my list)

FROM JOANL:  JOHN, I READ YOUR MESSAGES  AND ENJOY THEM.====JACK:  I try to make relevant and enjoyable for a cross section of people.  I guess I've hit the mark with at least one.

FROM J&D T:  Thanks for the times you e-mailed us as being remembered in prayer: 6/10/2010, 2/12/2013 ad 2/20/2015.  Re: Orthodox Easter  Right next door to our Luther Manor Retirement Center, the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church was built, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright - a beautiful structure. The congregation and pastor form time to time invite us residents to an "Open House"  Good neighbors..====JACK:  It would be a better world if people concentrated more on the things that bring us together than on the things that separate us.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/28/16
“No matter how old you are, there’s always something good to look forward to.”  (Lynn Johnston)  Birthdays are a big thing with our family.  We look forward to cards, phone calls and that special cake.  Mine is angel food with strawberries and whipped cream.  What is it that you look forward to?  How about a time when all people work toward a common goal…a time when the lion and lamb lie down together in peace?  It is possible…in God’s mind!      ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I said that often, Jack, when our church had the privilege of worshiping in Temple Kol Ami those many years in West Bloomfield, "the lion and lamb lied down together in peace!" An experience that will forever be embedded in my heart and on mind.====JACK:  As you have retold that story, what has been the response...positive and negative?====REV:  Many are amazed at the uniqueness of the experience . . . but none to the depth of that privilege as you and I have. These past 25+ years has found hardly any Jewish individuals, families or synagogues to help them relate to such an experience.====JACK:  If there are any Jewish people in your community, it might be interesting to seek them out and tell them of your experience...and hear their reaction.  ====REV:  Truthfully, I do not know of any or if we have any at all...years ago, one family owned a steel company but sold and have now passed on. I'll keep my eyes open and let you know, as I would most likely most and naturally bring up our experience.

FROM ME IN ISRAEL:  Just arrived in Israel.  I am looking forward to the next 16 days in particular.====JACK:  Do you have an agenda.  My grandson has visited many places (30 countries) in the world.  The most interesting and memorable?  Jerusalem!  I was both surprised and intrigued by his answer.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Sometimes, like today, I have too much free time. And then I'll get swamped with too much to do. It's more frequent the older I get.====JACK:  I'd be interested to know if the change of venue for your Bible Study group makes a difference...perhaps reaching out to employees or customers.

FROM J & D:  Looking forward to more celebrations: Annuciation of our Lord today and then Holy Tuesday tomorrow. That's great to extend Easter to more red letter days.  We remember using the old Augustana hymnal. The pericope for Easter Tuesday - I Epistle: Acts 10:34-43. The Lutheran Study Bible commentary on Acts 10:39 is well-written: "Adam and Eve's reach for Eden's tree was cured by Christ's willing grasp of the cross."  Happy Easter Season!====JACK:  If you really want to extend Easter you can celebrate it again with our Orthodox friends on May 1.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  It is possible if we learn how to tame the lion or teach him/her to become a vegetarian.====JACK:  All cats, including lions, are obligate carnivores.  Whether it's a 5 lb tabby or a 400 lb lion, they all depend on meat for survival.  Aside from the fact that cats lack the necessary enzyme to break down plant-based matter, a vegetarian diet will not provide enough of some vitamins, and none at all of several nutrients, necessary for them to grow big and strong.

FROM MY LAWYER:  From your lips to God's ears!!!====JACK:  God knows your needs and mine, even before our lips speak them.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I fixed strawberries with my mother's shortcake biscuits for Easter dessert yesterday! A family favorite.  My, wouldn't world peace be such a blessing ?!  It IS possible, but does not seem probable anytime soon !  :-(  But  as Ellen Glasgow said; "No life is so hard that you can't make it better by the way you take it". There is always something positive, some small blessing to savor for the day!  Even the "blessing" of getting older, which many do not live to experience!  :-) The celebration of Easter leaves a special glow for today!====JACK:  Do you remember Al Capp's Joe Btfsplic who always walked around with a dark cloud over his head?  Some people are like that. ====OAKS:  I would never be able to spell, much less pronounce Joe's last name?! Does it have any meaning? But I do remember Eyore, friend of Winnie-the-Pooh who had similar outlooks....I wonder why some people are so negative and pessimistic...human nature or environment?! Oh well!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Everyday I set a goal for myself....sometimes they are fun and sometimes they are just something like getting out of bed.  With arthritis, sometimes that's a big goal.  But I always have something to look forward too and that's so important.  I look forward to being with family and we are always planning some trip which brings me joy.====JACK:  God, in his wisdom and love, gave us Easter, the ultimate "hope for a brighter future day."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Jack’s Winning words 3/25/16
“O Lord God, guide us now.  May we walk safely through the wilderness of this world toward the life you alone can give.”  (ELCA Prayer)  As my mother was dying, one of the attendants went over and opened a window.  “Her spirit is now about to be released to return to the God who created her.”  That’s what Easter is all about.  Death is not the end, but a returning to the Creator.  It’s been said that “Good-bye” is a contraction of “God go with you.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM THE YOOPER PASTOR:  The word of the morning arrived just in time.   The hockey ref who fell and busted his head will be removed from life support this a.m.   Kevin has been one of those supporting the family  while he has been in the hospital.  So I sent Kev your email.  Heaps of thanks and blessed Good Friday and Easter.  L’Anse needed a substitute last night.  Attached is the outline of my message.   I included your word of a couple of days ago from Bishop Tutu as God continues to yearn for close relationships with this crazy world.  I keep praying not only for the terrorists but also for us Americans to realize we are not innocent.  For decades we have been nick-named “ugly Americans” because we have made deals of injustice for our own benefits. ====JACK:  I'm continually amazed at how God is able to use us (Kevin, you, me) to accomplish his work.  It's another take on "Not my will, but thine be done."  It's the omnipresence and omnipotence of God.

FROM TARMART REV:  Appreciate celebrating Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday with a delightful friend together while apart!!====JACK:  Easter Sunday makes Friday Good.====REV:  Someone once said they didn't like Good Friday . . . When asked how they felt that Jesus came and gave His life for him, ransoming him from sin on that Friday? He answered: Good!"====JACK:  B.C. made that into a cartoon today.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  Happy Easter, Jack!====JACK:  Just curious...What does Easter mean to you?  Is there a Jewish equivalent?  I'm always ready to learn.====HY YO:  Happy to chat about it.
The Last Supper, of course, was a Passover Seder.  There are many symbolic connections between the two holidays.  In terms of the resurrection, it is not a part of Jewish theology. Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Good Friday and Easter do not have any equivalent. Mainly, I would say, because they are tied to the messianic resurrection which is not something we acknowledge.====JACK:  Life after death is not necessarily connected with a religious belief.  I think that most people on their death bed wonder, "What next?"   As playright Milton Mizner was dying a priest leaned over and said, “I’m sure you want to talk to me.”  Mizner replied, “Why should I talk to you? I’ve just been talking to your boss.”

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That's a beautiful image...the symbolism of the open window and the release of the spirit to meet our God in the paradise prepared for us.  This Good Friday takes us back to a day of sadness, but then comes a day of gladness.  A happy Easter celebration to all brothers and sisters in Christ.====JACK:  What would artists, poets and pastors do without symbolism?

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  What lovely thoughts for this Good Friday. Happy Easter!====JACK:  Easter is always a beautiful day, no matter what the weather.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Have just returned from 3hours at the cross.  We began with coffee and a short service at the local cafe then walked taking it in turn ( 3 at a time ) to carry the heavy cross and stopping every half mile or so for readings and prayer.  In all walking 4miles to Bradenham church where we spent the final hour in worship.  It was a good day, witnessing to all who drove by, what Good Friday is all about for Christians.  One young man stopped his car and joined us in the walk and then at the church.  We were thrilled that he chose  to do that.  He was just passing through  the village?  Now on to Easter Day and all the blessings it brings including lots of eggs, I  hope! ====JACK:  You seem to do such interesting things in England that are connected with worship.  Those who do not experience the variety of this world are missing out.  I liked the story of the man who stopped his car and joined the parade.====JACK:  No! Coloring eggs is not the tradition  here neither the Easter bunny.  However we do have egg hunts hiding foil covered chocolate eggs in the garden.  Roast lamb is eaten for dinner,  hot crossed buns on Good Friday.====JACK:  I can see why having lamb at dinner is a more appropriate symbol than the American ham.  I love hot cross buns anytime.

FROM AJ:  It seems all your words lately are special to me.  I'm on hold for the bone marrow transplant right now and in lots of pain. Thanks for the emotional and spiritual support.====JACK:  The Lord knows how to type on the computer.  Some days may seem lonely, but remember that you are not alone.

FROM DAVID FRANZ IN OREGON:  Blessing to you, Jack!  Whenever I get a message from our parish, I pray for God’s blessing on and for the individual who is seeking prayer. Thanks, Jack, for a whole lot of inspiration from day to day.====JACK:  I'm moved when I hear names being uttered throughout the church when the pastor pauses and invites us to pray for persons and concerns that important in our lives

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Love the symbolism in that gesture; a soul returning to the creator. I will share with my adult S.S. class on Easter! (We are all 60-93 yrs!)  Just had a call from son John, that Mark's wife, who is in very good physical shape, fell and has a broken ankle. Just going in to surgery. As the old saying goes, 'when it rains, it pours". This is a complication we could have done without! Prayers appreciated! God still holds us close.====JACK:  Mark is one of those on my daily Prayer List.  Sometimes life doesn't seem fair, but sees from a different perspective than we do.

ROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  In this sad and hurting world, Jesus died on the cross....for us all.  It could be a very sad and somber day.  However, Christians know Resurrection Sunday is coming.  We dwell in a life full of the promise of life eternal with our Savior.  Happy Easter!====JACK:  Not knowing what the future holds can be disconcerting.  Perhaps you've read..."I don't know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future."

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Perhaps it is my upper UP heritage (French, Indian), that has caused me to keep this Native American Prayer for so many years. Today's WW caused me to pull it out from the heap on my desk.
I give you this one thought to keep  I am with you still---I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow  I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,  I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,  I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.  I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone--  I am with you still---in each new dawn.
====JACK:  The omnipresence of God is, indeed, comforting...even more so, at times, than believing in God's omnipotence and omniscience.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  yes,  its   "God be with Ye"  all run together.  like Spittin' Image is really Spirit and Image all run together.  so is breakfast a breaking of the fast.  so many of those words in our daily vocab that have religion overtones.  hope your Good Friday (God's Friday?) is going well.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I love this!  Just sent to both of the kids requesting they’d open the window for me if they get a chance.====JACK:  Just make sure they don't think that they should go to their computer and open Microsoft's Windows

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/24/16
“Don’t tell me where your priorities are.  Show me where you spend your money, and I’ll tell you what they are.”  (James Frick)  Some deacons came to me and asked me to speak to a member who was tithing.  He was not paying his bills, but his pledge was up-to-date.  If you were the pastor…?  The reason for prioritizing is to bring order out of potential disorder.  We each have limited funds and limited time.  Within those limits, we spend…wisely.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  What a dilemma that would be!  His management skills needed to be honed, it appears,but his heart was in the right place!  Today's WW ring true, which the Bible also said, in that "where your treasure is, there will be your heart, also...".It's always a hard choice as to where you put any extra you can spare, with so many, many, worthy ministries in need, as well as family concerns! But for Christians, the tithe comes first. Many folks support other ministries, but don't support a church financially.  As Hillary Clinton's latest book avers, we often face "Hard Choices"!====JACK:  The dilemma comes before the tithe.

FROM TARMART REV:...sometimes there are perks in "not" being the senior pastor...wondering if the deacons were current on theirs?!====JACK:  The bottom line problem...the member was right in wanting to tithe.  His problem was that he overspent the rest of his income.  I believe that God wants us to pay our bills...or not to buy more than we can pay for.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Oh, so true.====JACK:  The tithe is not necessarily the measure of one's faithfulness.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There are different ways to tithe.  Time is worth more than money.  The man might asked to mow the lawn, paint etc.  the deacons could have helped him learn how to budget or give him the name of a person or company that could.  Spoken like a church secretary (13 years)! ====JACK:  He was faithful to God, but not to his creditors.  His family suffered, because he didn't have the cash to buy them what they needed.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That church member you talked to about his pledge was spending properly with his tithing, he just needed to reduce spending on other things so he could balance his accounts every month.  It was a difficult decision for me to change from giving an "offering" to giving a "tithe".  To manage, I simply adjusted our other spending.  One bit of good news came in the mail last week from our was the discharge papers regarding our home mortgage.  We're happy to see those payments end.  Looks like I'll have to increase our tithe.====JACK:  That member had a very limited income, and even without the tithe, there was hardly enough to put food on table and buy the necessities for life.  I don't think that the deacons were being uncaring.  Because of the tithe, they saw it as a pastoral matter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/23/16
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  (Desmond Tutu) Belgians may remember 3/22 as Americans remember 9/11.  They were dark days, sad days… that will live in infamy.  But let’s be assured that, in the end, light does overcomes darkness.  “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,” wrote Longfellow in 1864.  He also wrote: “God is not dead, nor does he sleep.”  So don’t give up hope; continue to stand for the good.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Happy Easter Weekend, Jack!! Walking in the Light.====JACK:  We can more fully appreciate Easter when we've done life's Good Friday walk.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I love those lyrics; thanks for sharing and reminding me today.  I was at the doula volunteer job again yesterday and now thinking about what it means to have a new little life.  These are challenging times.  I think the situation we’re in with terrorists is parallel to the “war on drugs” which failed miserably in the US and across the globe.   If  ‘bad guys” with vested interests – whether it’s the lure of an incredible amount of money associated with the drug trade or a suicide bomber’s belief they are going straight to  heaven when they detonate a bomb, there is no way to stop these people.  The US and other countries spent billions on the drug war trying to eradicate the flow drugs.  We were unable - both before and after the “increased security” of 9-11.  If anything, we now have worse/designer drugs yet the cartels are still in operation here and abroad.  As long as there are lunatics/brainwashed followers that think there is some great gain by performing violent acts, it’s virtually impossible to stop the mayhem as their perceived benefit greatly outweighs the risk of being caught.    I’m sad to think our just  and loving God grieves watching humanity do this.    Then there’s the argument that we are complicit  either due to foreign policy or by our squandering of the earth’s resources in the tens of thousands that die daily of starvation.  Guess I am in a grey spot this gray day!  Tutu’s words, which you quoted, brought a bright spot.  Thanks====JACK:  Longfellow's words were written during the gray days of the Civil Way which were much grayer even compared with today.  On top of that, his wife had just died in an accidental fire, and he had just been notified that his son had been severely wounded in the war.  And it was Christmastime.  Picture that!  He wrote:  "There is no peace on earth."  In your response, you express the same feeling.  But I like how he responds to the negativity..."God is not dead, nor does he sleep...The wrong shall fail, the right prevail."  If Longfellow can look at life that way, so can I...and you.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We cling to the hope and know of God's love.====JACK:  "My hope is built on nothing less."

FROM MIPAT:  Si vis pacem, para bellum........====JACK:  I didn't know that you were a Latin scholar.  Let's see, pacem is peace and bellum is war.  You've been reading War and Peace? ====MP:  There is argument on how the phrase is made or interpreted, but many say it translates to "if you want peace, then prepare for war" or sometimes just "pray for peace, but prepare for war".  In my earlier life I was a voracious reader, but I'm not sure I have ever read War & Peace.  I hope you and you family have a happy and peaceful Easter.  (Don't worry about war)

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  And isn't it encouraging that it stays light an hour longer now! ====JACK:  It's strange...I've noticed that it stays dark an hour longer in the morning.

FROM DP IN MPLS:  Those words today are so encouraging...thank you ! ! !====JACK:  "Home, home on the range...where never is heard a discouraging word."  I like that song.  We used to sing it when we went on hayride.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "FOR NOW WE SEE IN A MIRROR DIMLY, BUT THEN WE SHALL SEE FACE TO FACE. NOW I KNOW ONLY IN PART;THEN I WILL KNOW FULLY, EVEN AS I AM FULLY KNOWN. 1COR.13:12  GOD AND THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US ARE AWARE OF THE BIG PICTURE. WE HAVE TO HOPE CONFIDENTLY THAT BRIGHT DAYS WILL RETURN TO OUR WORLD. WE REALLY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT HOPE!!====JACK:  There are many bright spots in the world.  It's just that what we are shown is the dark side.  A TV V-Pres spoke to our Optimist Club recently and said "good news doesn't "sell."  They show what the viewer wants.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i saw in the local media that moline/qcs is the home of the second largest belgian population in the country.  you are swedish? i am mostly german.====JACK:  I remember that there were many Belgians in Moline.  They tended to congregate in an area called Belgian Village.  I'm half German and half Swedish.  There were many Swedes in Moline, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/22/16
“An open mind and a closed mouth work better than the opposites.”  (Purple Clover)  At a rally where many “I HATE…” signs were displayed, someone was holding up one that read, “God Hates Signs.”   An open mouth and what comes out of it is a sign, too.  Sunday School  children are taught, “Be careful little mouth what you say.”  Many of the biblical Proverbs echo this warning.  For example (12:22), “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  On that theme is Ikeism #81: "Even a fish wouldn't get into trouble if he kept his mouth shut!"====JACK:  Tell that to some of the candidates!

FROM TARMART REV:  I hate signs as well . . . especially those found unwelcome coming out of my mouth . . . catch my share of those, wishing I would have kept my mouth shut. 0;-/====JACK:  That's why God has provided for the forgiveness of sins.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Appropriate for this political campaign.====JACK:  Abe said that you can fool some of the people some of the time.  It holds true today.

FROM IRONMAN:  I like that!====JACK:  There's an old Southern saying, "Well, shut my mouth and call me, Shirley."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Learning to close the mouth and open the ears is probably the hardest lesson for any of us to learn.  It's still an issue for me although as I get older it seems easier.  Pray for this world!====JACK:  Do you know this hymn?
Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Refrain 1:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!
Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.
Refrain 2:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!
Open my mind, that I may read
More of Thy love in word and deed;
What shall I fear while yet Thou dost lead?
Only for light from Thee I plead.
Refrain 3:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my mind, illumine me,
Spirit divine!
Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.
Refrain 4:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my heart, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  When I was a child children were taught to be seen and not heard and I guarantee you when we went visiting I was an angel. See what happens when we grow up. ====JACK:  When Jesus was a child (age 12) he was seen and heard by the elders in the Temple.  It says that they marveled at him.  What were you like at age 12?  Marvelous?====RJP:  Hard to believe I was actually quite shy. At 13 I had a girl put some strong moves on me and I got so scared I left her house and ran all the way home. It wasn't until college did I gain my confidence.  How about you??????====JACK:  It may be difficult to think about....but was Jesus a typical 13-yr-old?  In creating Jesus, God wanted to assure us that he understands what it is to be human.  At 12, I was rambunctious (how long since you've heard that word?), but Sunday School was a part of my life and so was a caring family.  Nobody ever put moves on me.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  For Sure!  Hard to come across people "whose minds are made up...don't confuse them with facts!" And there are many around...I read a quote from H.L.Menken (love his sarcastic wit) "The curse of the arts is the fact that they are constantly invaded by persons with absolutely nothing to say." Sometimes you meet these people in other venues as well. Good quote to remember today!!  A caution for us all. Thanks .====JACK:  A friend of mine succeeded a pastor and found a book of sermons that he left in the pulpit.  He had been reading his sermons on Sundays from that book.====OAKS:  HA!  Bet he missed it when he went to preach in his new church? :-)  I always marveled at how much time pastor's put into their weekly messages. Especially after I "preached" a time or two, as AB Women's Pres. of GRR! I had a whole new appreciation for you guys who preached week after week!! Kudos! At one time we had 5 pastors (from our state headquarters Staff in Spfld)  and 2 retired pastors who were members of our church.  They seemed to appreciate Bill's preaching when they were able to attend services. Must have been a challenge to preach to fellow pastors!  Your parishioners are very complimentary as to your ministry, as seen on the blog. which must be a good feeling!====JACK:  When I was in the "preaching business" I would include in the church bulletin each Sunday a Sentence Sermon, a brief positive quote, often related to the theme of the day.  I wanted the people to be able to take home some "brief message" in case they didn't get it from the sermon.  The Sentence Sermon became the seed for Jack's Winning Words.  So, I'm still preaching, in a sense, today.  The sermons are just shorter.

FROM KANSAN DON:  Good words!  God gave us two ears and only one mouth.====JACK:  Some people are hard of hearing, but make up for it by talking more.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/21/16
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  (Psalm 56:3)  Some people scream or gasp when they’re frightened.  Some cross themselves.  Others reach out to hug someone.  A child will grab the hand of a parent.  Joan Baez sang, “Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.”  By that, she meant what the psalmist meant…“When I’m scared, I put my trust in the Lord.”  During life’s scary times, God’s hand is reaching out for yours.  Take it!    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "LET THE LORD HAVE HIS WAY, In your life every day, There’s no peace, There’s no joy Until the Lord has His way.  Place your life in His hands, Rest secure in His plan, Let the Lord, let the Lord have His way" (An old chorus of days gone by but resurrected once again in times such as this and others of discomfort, finding consolation and trust.)====JACK:  For me, it's both a comfort and a challenge to pray, "Thy will be done."====REV:  ...I'm sure those early disciples experienced the same with Jesus at the helm of their lives...====JACK:  We are sometimes like them during life's storms..."Master, why are you sleeping?"

FROM INDY GENIE:   I haven't thought about that song in a long time! Take a look at yourself and you can see each other differently."...Or is it ...take a look at yourself and you can LOOK at others differently? (Either way, it's thought provoking.====JACK:  Yes, not only does God comfort us, but by taking our hand he also leads us in the right direction.

FROM KANSAN DON:  Good message for Trump.  Americans!  Put your trust in me.  I will build walls, handle Putin, Moslems, etc.====JACK:  Trump is reaching out a segment of fearful people who are "comforted" by his message.  Not all fearful people turn to the Prince of Peace.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  What's this fixation on fear these days?====JACK:  I fear that you are right.  I must have watched too many of the political debates.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Yes, that is what we do; These are certainly scary political times, for Christians...As writer Rebecca West said in an associated press interview, "If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be, "It seemed a good idea at the time"... Where in the world are we headed ? God only knows!   So we trust. The Chicago Chorale's rendition of Rachmaninoff's All night vigil, "Vespers" fed my soul over the weekend! Music is indeed the universal language!====JACK:   Music soothes the soul.  Perhaps that why some people whistle as they pass a cemetery.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Veggie Tales has a song called God is Bigger than the Boogieman".  I sing that a lot to the kids when they are afraid.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/18/16
“Nobody goes there anymore.  It’s too crowded.”  (Yogi Berra)  Barna, a reliable religious research group reports that it’s about 50/50 on the importance of church going among US adults.  It’d be interesting if YELP reviewed churches as they do businesses.  The WSJ reports that there is a Mystery Worshipper who evaluates church worship experience and sends a report, designed to help churches improve.  What kind of review (+ or -) might you give?    ;-)  Jack

FROM OPTILOU:   Temple Israel is very crowded at Friday evening services.  The summer outdoor services sometimes have 2,000 people!====JACK:  Amazing!  "If you build it, they will come," can mean, "If build the right kind of service, they will come."  What causes you to attend...when you could be doing something else?====OL:   Services last about one hour.  There is a very positive "feeling", thus I feel as I have been "spiritually revived."  The clergy interacts very well with the congregation.  The temple also does a lot of community outreach and diversity projects.  A very welcoming atmosphere for members and guests!====JACK:  YELP would probably give it 5 stars.

FROM TRIHARDER:  I always use that line. And of course, I attribute it to Yogi.====JACK:  If you don't mind, I'd be interested to hear how it relates to your "religious" experience.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  White heads predominate at our congregation..We have lots of room left in our pews...a far cry from 20-25yrs ago, but with our new (woman) pastor, we are making a few gains in younger people and kids.  I think a lot of middle aged Christians do community service, but aren't so faithful about attending church, even tho it might have been a habit when they were growing up.   We need to be relevant to the times,  and some have lost that, apparently !  "Church" may look very different from the old days and ways in the near future!====JACK:  Maybe a trained laity will be leaders in the church of the future...and maybe "the church" will escape from formal buildings.  If cars will soon be driverless, but still operate, who knows what God has in store for his Church?  A "driverless" church which still gets you to where you are going?  God is an innovator.  He hasn't forgotten about the Nones.

FROM TARMART REV:  Mine would be classified as "archaic" today, as I was brought up the first 50 or so years thinking we always dressed as if we were going to something very special, honored the sanctuary as sacred, gave God our best effort as we understood that to be and were challenged as to living a holy and acceptable life before our Creator church, at least in my circles of choice offered influences is-- come as you are, enjoy your favorite brew as you experience leaders who dress in their weekly workaday apparel (even that has changed from my earlier expectation of the Senior Pastors I've worked for up to the last 10-15 years) leading in an array of worshipful choruses and sharing insightful thoughts as to overcoming the challenges of the present life hurdles. Kind of a "pick and choose" what one would want to take away from the worshipful experience and the gospel presentation.  Like I said, "archaic", but I'm still welcomed with as a an older pastor with his "once upon a time views" of church.====JACK:  You are an innovator.  When it comes to the church of the future, perhaps you have the right idea when you sit in the marketplace and engage people, instead of waiting for the hungry to come and sit in your marketplace.====REV:  Appreciate your kindness, John-- I like the "being innovative" idea, something I continue on with outreach and feeling fulfilled in ministry instead of sitting under a tree complaining!====JACK:  Were you trained in seminary to sit at Target, or to mingle with the race car drivers, or to be pastor to those who have no pastors? God had a plan when he made it possible to have "your" kind of ministry.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Less talk more singing====JACK:  Singing is just talking set to music.  But I think I know the point that you're trying to make.  I've heard that much of George Gershwin's music is based on tunes that he heard in the synagogue when he was growing up.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  a friend of a friend of mine was in Rome last year.  after walking out of St. Peter's Basilica, he turned to his friend and asked, "is this really what Jesus had in mind?"   good question... back to the house churches of the New Testament perhaps?    a lot less spent on overhead:):) ====JACK:  Perhaps stranger than that.  As the hymn verse puts it:
 "New occasions teach new duties, Ancient values test our youth;
They must upward still and onward, Who would keep abreast of truth."

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  If 50/50 is an accurate report of goers and non-goers, it would be interesting to find out what percentage of those goers are actually deeply affected by their church experience, that is, guided in their lives by the spiritual nourishment they receive there.  Personally I've been disappointed in the large church congregations where I've  worshiped .  My previous church, and the church I attend now, have much smaller membership, but the people in the congregation seem invigorated by the services, and there is more participation in church activities and social interaction with one another.====JACK:  Your comments relate to the "church of today."  Studies show that church membership is on the decline and that the number of church-goers is also declining...although many of the non-goers continue to list themselves as "spiritual."  What I'm suggesting is that the church of the future might not look like the church of  today, and that that isn't necessarily bad.  A hymn verse says, "God is not dead, nor does he sleep," so I'm not overly concerned.  But I do realize that God works through people, so his people must be alive and awake and willing to go in new directions.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:     Oh how I wish our churches were too full and we would have put out seats in the streets.  We attend St. John's Lutheran in Fraser and Ross Bible Church.  One is old traditional and one is pure Bible learning and singing.  One is what I would call "Lutheran liturgical church and one is what I call "people church" where we learn about each book in the Bible, it's background, it's meaning and what it means to us today.   We love them both but I have to admit the high litergy is so strange to me now.   I love the way the other service begins with music, then prayers and Bible study and then sermon.  It's simply worship without the formality but still manages to teach.  I would never had thought I would prefer the simple service so much.     Even though the services are so dofferent, I still find myself enjoying both services for different reasons.  One would receive a 4 and one a 5.  I think you will understand.====JACK:  Whether it be a restaurant or a church, people tend to vote with their feet.  The point that I want to make today is that a downward dip in attendance and membership does not necessarily indicate an end to the Church.  It may mean that God has a new design for his Church.  "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor the mind imagined what God has planned for the future," and that includes the Church.====JUDY:  I'm not sure I agree.  When people say they are spiritual... What exactly does that mean?  Aliens, UFOs, worshipping idols, tv, etc etc.  Andy's church is very old school.  I don't see that as a viable way of worship for the next generation.  Kimberly's church is a Baptist cut away church.  They believe like Missouri Synod without the "we are the only ones going to Heaven and the old fashioned music.  They believe in God and His word.  I find it so much easier to go to the more "modern" way of worship.  I do agree there has to be a no change in the way some churches worship.  I don't think it will raise the attendance but it will keep the youth going who are their; their children perhaps also.====JACK:  One of the "faces" of God is a spiritual one.  God comes to us in different ways, and "in spirit" is one.  God can come to an individual outside of the church.  There are many who may have rejected the organized church for one reason or another, but who have not rejected God.  Perhaps a different church from the one we know and feel comfortable in will be the church of the future.

FROM JT IN WB:  I’d give it a +.  As in most things, I think if you take an active part in your place of worship you are most likely find it a better experience.====JACK:  Like with most anything, you get out of it what you put into it.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/17/16
“May the hand of God protect us.  May the word of God direct us.”  (St. Patrick)  When my cousin was ordained as a Catholic priest I remember seeing people come up to him and ask for a blessing.  That seemed strange to me, as a non-Catholic.  Times change.  A few years ago someone asked me for a blessing, and I offered a prayer for God’s favor and protection for that person.  It didn’t seem strange at all.  I’m pleased to offer a blessing to you today.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  “May the hand of God protect me.  May the word of God direct me!?" ====JACK:  As the song goes... "The Lord bless you and keep you;  The Lord make His face to shine upon you  To shine upon you and be gracious  And be gracious unto you."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Thank you for the blessing!  I will pass it to Kimberly.  We will be leaving shortly for the hospital.  Are you wearing orange today?====JACK:  Orange or green?  I'm thankful for the brokered peace in Ireland...where Christians can live together, without regard to color.  May God bless you both during your hospital visit.====JUDY:  She's out and doing well. The tests were all good.  God is good.  Thanks for the prayers!  Blessings!====JACK:  Fannie Crosby wrote, "Can I doubt his tender mercy, who through life has been my guide?"

FROM CEO JM:  Thank you Mr. Freed. I enjoy the “take aways” that I receive from your winning words.  Happy St. Patrick’s Day…..enjoy your day.====JACK:  To hear from you adds to the blessing of this day.  Are there any special things planned at "the Center" today?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  And, I feel blessed.   Thank you.====JACK:  The hymn calls it "a foretaste of glory divine."

FROM VW MARY:  Thank you for that.  It makes my day.====JACK:  As I read today's responses, I have cause to see that my Winning Words are MORE than words.

FROM CB OUT WEST:  Thanks, Jack!  You are a blessing to many who are inspired by your Winning Words!====JACK:  There are some days and years when we need an extra helping of blessing, right?

FROM RR ON THE EASTSIDE:  I will ask for, and accept a blessing from you, any time you are willing to give me one.  I truly enjoy your Winning Words and look forward to them every day. ====JACK:  It was a special blessing when you introduced me to the Polish Yacht Club, and I have passed that blessing on to others.

FROM DM IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you for the blessing!!   I need all that are sent my way. ====JACK:  The Urban Dictionary defines "blessing" as a good and perfect gift from God.  Who wouldn't want that?

FROM KB:  Thank you again and again====JACK:  One "again" is enough, but I'll take all of "the good" that's offered.

FROM JB AT LSTC:  And God bless you, Jack====JACK:  Isn't it fun (and amazing) to count our many blessings?  Thanks for being one.

FROM JR AT EW:  You'd have made a great priest, sorry we didn't get you.  Happy St. Patrick's day,====JACK:  One of these days the Catholic Church will start allowing priests to be married. ====JR: Forgot to thank you for the blessing; we could all use more of them these days!

FROM MY LAWYER:  I will treasure that!!!  Thanks.====JACK:  Where your heart is, there is your treasure also.  I gravitate toward people who "have a heart!"

FROM DM IN LIVMI:  I am so pleased to receive your blessing.====JACK:  The computer is a great invention, but it'll never take the place of face to face contact (for a blessing), but you make do with what you have.  Thanks for your response.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Thanks for your blessing.  I was just called from the hospital that a mom I support is in labor.  What a great/blessed day to deliver a new baby!====JACK:  I learned this song in Sunday School..."Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,  Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,  Make me a blessing to someone today."  God has made you a blessing to a mom and child today.  Good for you!

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  your whole life has been a blessing to so many others, Jack!   don't ever doubt that...====JACK:  Sunday School was a blessing when I was growing up.  I learned so many songs, like this one:  "Jesus bids us shine with a clear, pure light, like a little candle burning in the night.  In this world of darkness, so let us shine, you in your small corner, and I in mine."  I try to shine in my small corner.  You and many others shine in your corners, too.

FROM DB IN WB:  Irish Blessing..... May the good Saints protect you And Bless you today And may troubles ignore you Each Step of the way====JACK:  There are many great Irish blessings, some serious, and some that are funny.  I opted for the serious today.

FROM DP IN MPLS:  Thank you, I would appreciate a blessing for my son, his wife and daughter are flying to Chennai, India today to visit their other daughter and husband who are teaching in an American School there. Thank you!====JACK:  I will do that, and, in return, will you do the same for my grandson who is flying to Kenya today as part of a medical mission team?  In our lifetime, it has become a smaller world.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/16/16
“So, do not fear, for I am with you.  I will strengthen you and help you.”  (God – Isaiah 41:10)  I recently saw a list of the ten top human fears.  Mine was #9.  I’ve been reading and hearing a lot these days about a fear of what the future holds for our country.  BTW, Fear of the Unknown was listed #9.  We’re all scared of the “What ifs…”  Isaiah wrote about that in biblical days, encouraging the people to remember:  “God is with you and will help you.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  I'm proclaiming this post as my inspiration for the day...texting you from my room in the lodge across from St Cloud Hospital this morning...Checking in at 6a to prepare for an angiogram at 8a...If needed, a stent will be placed up close to my heart...Found myself of late being short of breath...Had this same procedure done 4 years ago with my first stent placed n that area...Not fearing, resting in the Hands of God this morning...Thanks for your timely message of inspiration in this early morning before registration.====JACK:  Our Father who art in heaven... Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven... For thine is the power... Amen

FROM LK IN OHIO:  Better to look to GOD than to political leaders.====JACK:  Political leaders are are not always dependable...but God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  You can count on him!FROM LK IN OHIO:  There was a time when politicians at least would sincerely invoke God's blessing and guidance.====JACK:  "I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day."  Or, as the Bible puts it, "By their works you shall know them."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Fear of playing Coolidge in football was high on my list in Jr High.   They were huge and powerful.     The fear proved legitimate as we got clobbered.====JACK:  Did you wear helmets back in those days?

FROM JT IN WB:  Good morning, Jack.  I think #9 is mine, also.  I try to live in this day and will work on tomorrow when it comes.  Trusting that God has a plan for me helps.====JACK:  When we moved to Michigan, we opened an account with the Detroit Bank and Trust.  A bank with trust in its name seemed like a good one for us.  Trust is a name that exudes confidence.

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  I keep reminding myself that there IS a plan...despite what would otherwise be my own. The bible starts with the beginning of Time, and ends with the end of Time. Somewhere in-between we serve and bear fruit. All things will be and cease to be at their appointed hour. In the big picture, few will find the finals between the Michigan State Spartans and the Arizona Wildcats of major significance. When we forget, we'll wring our hands if Trump or Hillary are President, or our favorite team can't make a free throw. Truly, there is that which is significant, and there is that which more often grabs my attention.====JACK:  Last week I received to e-mails, one showing some exotic flowers, and the other, pictures of unique birds.  If God can design things like that, it's not too difficult to believe that he has a plan for you and me.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  That is the concluding prayer of Shabbat services.===JACK:  The Bible is a gold mine...a place to discover many golden words and thoughts.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS: Curious to see the top ten…====JACK:  Of course, there are many lists, just as there are many fears.  This is one made up by Caty Medrano.  #i Fear of failure, followed by death, rejection, ridicule, loneliness, misery, disappointment, pain #9 the unknown, and losing your freedom.  A list of things that scare us might be different.

FROM DB IN MICHIGAN:  Thank you, Jack. So far, I like this one the best -- with the bible passage. We all need encouragement, especially words that are indisputable!====JACK:  Go to the blog and read the first of today's responses.  For TARMART REV, it was the best, too.

FROM AA PILOT:  So thankful he is there for me.====JACK:   There was a book/movie, "God is my co-pilot."  Someone wrote:  "If God is your co-pilot, you two should change seats."

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  FEAR False expectations appearing real. Quoted by many many folks. ====JACK:   Some people have the fear of not living up to expectations.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I think there will always be some anxiety about "unknowns", one being the transition through death. Also as we age, the fear of becoming incapacitated and helpless, even tho we know God has promised to be with us every step of the way!  I think for "peace of mind", Charles Dickens was on to something when he said, "Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty, not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some".  When I think of the lives of the millions of refugees in other parts of the world today, my fears seem trivial indeed! ====JACK:  A friend of mine was involved with NASA program of putting men on the moon and retrieving them.  There were so many unknowns in the project, but what bothered them most were the UNK UNKs.====OAKS:  DR. SEUSS DID A LOT OF "PREACHING" IN HIS STORIES; IN A HUMOROUS WAY! WE LOVED READING HIS BOOKS, AND LIKE A LOT OF OTHER PREACHERS, I'M SURE, BILL USED "THE SNEETCHES" AND "YERTLE THE TURTLE",'THE PALE GREEN PANTS (WITH NOBODY INSIDE THEM)" ETC. IN HIS MESSAGES ON OCCASION.  MY  KIDS AND G.KIDS ALL RECYCLE, AND MADE SURE I JOINED THE REST IN DOING THAT!  "WHOEVER PLANTS A TREE, WINKS AT IMMORTALITY":From a poem by Felix Dennis. Enuff said.====JACK:  Seuss was a Lutheran.  He sold his first cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post for $25.  I wonder what it would bring today?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Are dog bites still number one? FDR: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.====JACK:  There's a difference between the things that scare you (like dog bites) and things that which you fear (like being in dangerous situations).  FDR was trying to reassure people during the difficult days of WW 2.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  I have always liked this prayer:  Dear Lord,  help me to remember that NOTHING is going to happen to me today that You and I can't handle together.  Amen!====JACK:  Why do we so often forget that we are not alone in this world?

FROM ORANGE COUNTY:  Thanks for this, really great****====JACK:  "God is great, God is good."

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/15/16
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing’s going to get better.  It’s not.”  (Dr Seuss)  Today’s environmental movement has been traced to Rachel Carson and her book, “Silent Spring,” which documents the negative effects of certain pesticides on birds.  Seuss’s “Lorax” says, “I’m going to speak for the trees.”  I know of someone who speaks for “caged animals.”  This world is a better place because of those who care and speak up.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  We have been asked to be good stewards . . . I would think that would include the “fish of the sea, birds of the air, the cattle and over all the earth”, including the trees!! ====JACK:  From "Paint Your Wagon' there's this song.  I talk to the trees  But they don't listen to me  I talk to the stars  But they never hear me  The breeze hasn't time  To stop and hear what I say
I talk to them all in vain

FROM DR J:  Love Seuss and The Lorax… Our favorite line “we hear things are just as bad in Lake Erie!”====JACK:  Talk about the water in Flint...I've read that you're not supposed to drink the water in Lake Erie.  Is that true?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Rachel Carson was far ahead of everyone back in 1962, when she spoke out about the danger of pesticide applications to our natural environment.  It's apparent again today, as the ominous depletion of bee population has been traced to a new pesticide.  European governments have now banned the use of that pesticide, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dallied with it, claiming nothing has been proven, rather than prudently putting a hold on it for safety, until something can be proven.  It's time for all of us to care enough that we speak out about such mismanagement of our natural environment.====JACK:  I'm beginning to hear the early morning chirping of birds.  Thank you, Rachel!  Thanks for the info on the bee problem.  Our food chain depends on the bees.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:    How true.  Watching TV last night, I saw the mayor of Flint say no one was helping but the people of Flint.  I personally know many many people and companies outside of Flint who have donated tons of bottled water directly to Flint. I wonder if she knows!?!
   I love Dr. Seuss.  He had the pulse of humanity in his heart.     We read "Silent Spring".   If you look at photos of Detroit then and now, it's amazing.  Detroit was filthy and smoggy.  We have come a long way.  Now if we could get the foreign countries on board, we would have a very clean world.  There's always more to do.====JACK:  I wonder when privies were banned in Detroit?  Do you know?

FROM ANNE OF WATERFORD:  I have read negative statements about Carson's book.====JACK:  Even Jesus got negative comments.  "He eats with prostitutes and tax collectors."


Monday, March 14, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/14/16
“The fact that there’s a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven says a lot about expected traffic numbers.”  (Shower Thoughts)  The Pope made news when he said that Christians don’t build walls.  How then does the Christian respond to a humanitarian crisis?  There’s no easy solution.  Jesus said that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.  But he also said that there’s a way…to love God and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  When I was in College I was Vice Chairman of the National Newman Club Illinois chapter..My priest at college and I had many great discussions and I challenged him often, but one thing he told me always stuck. The problems we face in life are the rungs to the ladder to heaven.  Its not supposed to be easy but is supposed to be worth it.  He was very influential in my college years as you were and still are to me in adulthood.  Keep up the good work, but on occasion be nice to me just as a change of pace.====JACK:  Do you remember the Old Testament story of Jacob's ladder and how it reached to heaven...and the song that's based on it, "We are climbing Jacob's ladder?"

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Are we on the road to Hell in this election.   Imagine putting the power of the US Armed forces into the hands of a demagogue!    I talked to an ELCA preacher yesterday who told me he voted for Trump.    Surprised the "Hell" out of me.====JACK:  How about suggesting to that preacher that he wear a WWJD wristband when he goes into the voting booth?

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Good thoughts, Jack.====JACK:  I thought it interesting that today's quote came from a site called, Shower Thoughts.  Thoughts come to us in different places, don't they?  ====GEORGE:  Most of my concentrated thinking happens when I spend 2 hours cutting my lawn - no one bothers me then. 

FROM TARMART REV:  I use a phrase similar to this one often-- "God calls us many times to take the stairways and forego the elevator!"====JACK:  Detroit fire fighters have an contest to raise money for the American Lung Assn.  They see who can climb the fastest, in full gear, to the top of the 71-story Ren Cen building.  Each one raises at least $100 to compete.  That could be a great fund raiser for the church, with pastors competing.  What's the tallest building your city?====REV:  I get out of breath just thinking of that, however this one of the drills our firefighters have to endure to pass specs...I'm not sure which building is chosen though.====JACK:  Does the chaplain have to do the same drill?

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  by not building walls.====JACK:  Here's one of my favorite poems..... MENDING WALL by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
"Stay where you are until our backs are turned!"
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, "Good fences make good neighbours."
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
"Why do they make good neighbours? Isn't it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down." I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbours."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  The Pope says Christians don’t build walls, but there happens to be a very tall wall all the way around the Vatican.  I don’t think pagans built it.====JACK:  Pope Francis was not Pope when the Vatican wall was built, but that's not the point.  He was talking about the figurative walls that we construct to keep others out...for whatever reason.  In Mending Wall, Robert Frost writes that we should build a bigger wall to take in those who were being walled out.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I hope I get my other knee fixed in time!====JACK:  From what I read, heaven is handicap accessible.

FROM KANSAN DON:  Does this apply to the "bully pulpit"?====JACK:  I don't like a bully in the pulpit or on the debate stage.====DON:  I decided to Googel his name today.  I guessed he had been a governor, and learned that he signed the Education Bill that prohibited teaching of evolution -- leading to the Scopes Trial.  He died in office at age 51 in 1927.  By the way, what can "trump" that bully pulpit?

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  we should have a hiway to heaven and a small trap door to hell! ====JACK:  Picture you standing on a trap door as you face God on the day of judgment.  In spite of your sermons on Grace, would your knees be knocking?

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I really liked this one; never even thought about the highwy to hell compared with the stairway. Nice juxtaposition.====JACK:  In Michigan, we have a community (in the U.P.) called, Paradise, and one near here, called Hell.  In fact, Hell (which has a chapel) was recently offered for sale for $999,999.====BB:  Hell, the chapel….or the entire town for $1M?
Wow, who knew?  I like the quote, Paradise is both underneath our feet as well as above our heads ~ Thoreau.  This seems more apt, the older I become.  Seeing things differently as I’m on the back nine!====JACK:  I like the Thoreau quote.    The sale includes the Scream Ice Cream Parlor, the Helloween Souvenier Shop and the Wedding Chapel.  One winter day a couple stopped in to get married, because she had said that it would be a cold day in hell when she'd marry him.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Oh My! Scary thought; I keep thinking unconditional love will triumph in our judgement.   When our eyes are opened to all the things we could have done; the person we could have become in life, compared to what we did do, and became with our limited understanding, we will judge ourselves, and regret our "sins of omission". Meanwhile, in my old age, "I'm dancing as fast as I can!"====JACK:  What kind of dancing do you suppose there will be in heaven?  Do you remember the movie scene where the Blues Brothers and James Brown danced in the church, even doing flips down the aisle?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/11/16
“I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot; together we can go great things.”  (Mother Teresa)  If you’re wondering how to “Make America Great Again,” you might consider M T’s advice.  Among all of the political promises, like, “When I’m elected, I’ll…”, I’m longing to hear someone say, “I’ll work at trying to be build consensus in our country.”  Recently, I saw this acrostic:  (T)ogether (E)veryone (A)chieves (M)ore.    ;-)  Jack

FROM PPM:  I couldn't agree more! This concept isn't even on the politicians' radar. Perhaps you could add all of the politicians' emails to your list so they can read your wonderful words of wisdom. ====JACK:  Here's a verse that I used to keep in my wallet.  Now, I keep it in a computer file.  "Though man a thinking being is defined, Few use the grand prerogative of mind. How few think justly of the thinking few! How many never think, who think they do!"  (Jane Taylor)

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  I like this one.====JACK:  As the saying goes..."It's right up your alley."  We used to have alleys when I was growing up.====JON:  All my childhood homes had alleys.====JACK: Can you top this?  When I was a child, milk was delivered milk was delivered to us by Mr. Boggess and his horse and wagon.

ROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Too bad you did not vote for Rubio as he has worked with others more than anyone since taking office. He even co-sponsored a bill with Bernie Sanders.  West Bloomfield's football team in 1983 had a motto.  " Together We Will."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Nobody can promise to build consensus in the USA because it can't be done.   We have never had it unless you read history through rose colored glasses.    We are a violent, recalcitrant, obdurate, feisty people.    We only come together briefly when we are fighting for our lives but even during the Civil War the North was overridden by divisiveness.    The Patriots and Loyalists tarred and feathered each other during the Revolution.====JACK:  I thought that Jesus said, "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."  Does that mean that "perfect" is not possible?
====JOHN:  "Moral Man and Immoral Society".   Niebuhr's greatest work.    Even if a single human being could be perfect in the sense in which it is used, society could never come close.    We, unfortunately, will and do fail just like the others.====JACK:  So, why are we asked to be perfect, if that's an unattainable goal.  Maybe Jesus was misquoted.  Maybe he said, "Try to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect."  

FROM TARMART REV:  Not bad advice for a pastor either-- "working hard to build a consensus of the spiritual needs of his local church"?!====JACK:  Have you ever heard the expression, "It's like herding cats?"

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  ...and there is no "I"  in TEAM.====JACK:  ...unless E is (Eye).

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  every year at school we teach the children about working together as a group to make big things happen.  we do it in little ways.  first...working together at pick up time..."many hands makes less work".  we have a share feast when each bring in a piece of fruit.  after each child cuts up the fruit and adds it to the bowl they are always amazed at how much salad there much more than enough to feed the class.  it is a tradition to make a quilt each year.  each child creates a 12x12 inch flannel quilt square.  after the quilt is sewn together and displayed as a backdrop at our winter pageant, the children are amazed at how big it is..."big as a cozy comfterble"...(which is what we make out of it and donate it to someone without a cozy comforter).  little things turn into big things everyday!  btw...the team poster hangs on our parent board and teacher board for many years now.  working together in common cause...bringing each one's gift to the group... honoring by finding freshness in the diversity is the best way to work!====JACK:  Another helping project...Give each one a long spoon.  When they hold onto the end, they cannot eat, because the spoon is too long.  They then learn that they can eat when someone else holds the spoon and feeds them.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/10/16
“I just can’t concentrate.  I try to think about Shakespeare, leap year and the Beatles.”  (Patty Loveless)  In a song, PL sings about being overly concerned about an issue (a guy) and what she does to break that concentration.  She tries to think about other things, like leap year, Elvis, freight trains, hair do’s, tattoos and saxophones.  What do you do when you see that your focus needs to shift?  The Statler Bros sang, “A little talk with Jesus makes it right.”     ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  My best trick right now is to set a timer. I do whatever needs my concentration for a set time (10-50mins) then I can allow myself to be diverted. But I might set a timer on the diversion. Example: "10 minute tidy" gives me 10 mins to pick up a spaces or a "50:10" work day gives me 50 mins on task and 10 mins off cycles throughout the day. Somehow this allows me to focus while allowing me time to deal with the distraction.====JACK:  It's a good strategy for those who have a lot to do in a limited amount of time.  "Plan your work and work your plan," is a saying used by many successful business people.  Don't forget to include some fun-time, too.  ====LBP:  I am able to work at home about once a week. I always used to get distracted by home chores. Then I implemented the 50:10 timer and now I love home days. Not only do I get a productive day (mostly) free of meetings but I wind up getting a surprising amount of little house chores done in those 10 minute breaks. Then I've got time for more fun when the kids get home. ====JACK:  Where there's a will...there's a way.

FROM JERRY:  YES!====JACK:  "Getting to YES" is a best-selling book showing readers how to be successful negotiators.  A little talk with Jesus goes a long way toward getting to YES in our life.

FROM TARMART REV:  "A little talk with Jesus" gets my vote this early morning!====JACK:  I think people who are new to the Church can be intimidated by some of the long prayers.  Just a LITTLE talk with Jesus is OK, too.

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I meditate for 10 minutes & longer if time permits.  "Ikeism #217 Meditation is the best medication  for a less stressful life."====JACK:  Ohmmmm!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I pray for strength.  We need all the strength we can get these days...and patience.  God is good all the time.====JACK:  "Thy will be Thee and me."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Take a nap!====JACK:  Naps are for old folks.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Well, for quite a while now, I've been saying a prayer, "I trust you, Jesus." Then I lift my concern because I DO trust Him. I have to remind myself every once in a while that God has a plan for me and Jesus is holding my right hand every inch of the way. Reading Jesus Calling every day surely helps in many ways to reinforce and add to the stimulation of WW. ====JACK:  How long can someone say that prayer?  I would remind them of what Job said to his friends when they told him to give up trusting.  "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."  The Book of Job is worth a reread.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/9/16
“If it doesn’t suck, then don’t do it.”  (Jesse Itzler & David Groggins)  Jesse was in a rut and decided to move in for 31 days with David, a Navy SEAL, and train as a SEAL would train with lots of push-ups, running in a snow storm, swimming in an icy lake, for example.  It did the trick.  Jesse and David advise doing something that sucks each day.   When you find yourself in a rut, here are some ideas.  Clean up “that” mess; make “that” call; get down on your knees.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  "running in a snow storm, swimming in an icy lake"...Minnesota normalcies with their novelty 5k runs and "Polar Plunges"...Hopefully, a pastoral normalcy for me more often than not, "cleaning up that mess, making that call and being found on my knees or sitting in the pew praying (hard to get down on my knees anymore physically).====JACK:  Although "sucks" isn't in my vocabulary, there are things that I'd rather not do, like a Polar Plunge.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  2 stories:  In a stress management class I took 2 years ago, there was a cd of meditations. One was a prayer (I forget the origin). Essentially, each day seek to make someone else happy, solve one nagging problem, and find one way to get closer to the divine. I'll see if I can find the cd and get the actual words. I made a picture reminder for by my computer. I liked the idea of just solving one nagging problem though. There can be so many things calling for attention (i.e., nagging) but if I get one off the list then that is progress. One each day? That is some forward movement.....A more crass version of this is the mantra "scrub the shit" that arose from a personal scenario where I was avoiding scrubbing something waiting by the laundry tub because it had poop on it (Potty training toddler). I will not admit how long that lived there. I dreaded it. It gave me stress because it was there and because it had been there. Finally I just cleaned it. It was not a hard job. It was done quickly. I had given myself so much grief over something that sucked but honestly not that bad. So, because the alliteration is fun and the crassness helps the sucky-ness of the situation, when I find myself ignoring something annoying but easily remedied I remind myself to just "scrub the shit" ====JACK:  You made me LOL.  "Just scrub the shit" is a great winning words, if I'd ever dare to use it.  People tend to have certain expectations of pastors.

FROM SETH:  Great post Jack!====JACK:  So often, we put off the unpleasant task.  It only becomes worse as the unpleasantness continues to grow.

FROM QUILTING CAROL: You have to get past the chores of the day to have time for fun…and feel good.  Think that’s why I go to the pool at 5:45 AM three mornings a week….it wouldn’t get done if I left it for later.====JACK:  Now, that's what I call, gumption.  How long has it been since you've heard or used that word?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  This reminds me of a saying my mom would say about our "messes"..."This looks like the wreck of the Hesperius!"====JACK:  The Wreck of the Hesperus is a poem by Longfellow.  It's worth reading, or, at least, a synopsis.  Groucho Marx sang a song about Lydia the Tattooed Lady.  On her back is the Wreck of the Hesperus.  YouTube has the song.


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/8/16
“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  (Cool Hand Luke)  Luke’s quote has been called one of the great movie lines of all time.  If you’ve seen the film, you know how it fits.  I’ve read that communication skills are ranked #1 among “must have” skills for job candidates and for those seeking promotions.  Failure to communicate probably ranks #1 among reasons for interpersonal problems in the home.  Let’s work at turning failure into success.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MK:  Click on Google today & watch the International Woman's Day video. Inspiring! Have a wonderful day😊====JACK:  I went to the site and came up with this quote: "May all women be free to dream, express, create. and live their deepest heart's desires."  (Amethyst Wyldfyre)  Just for fun, I Googled International Men's Day.  Surprisingly, there is one, Nov 16, started by some men who were jealous that "women" had a day, and they didn't.

FROM TARMART REV:  Misunderstandings and miscommunication are the two truly relationship destroyers of all times. 0;-/====JACK:  In some serious conversations, some will repeat what was said, to make sure that they had heard correctly.  Ears and the mind are known to "trick" us.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That's a good movie, and I think it indicates communicating isn't always verbal.  Often a person expresses oneself by stubborn action, even if it leads to their demise.  We're seeing more and more of such tragic results these days.  But I understand your point about proper "communication skills" to carry on in a job.  Sometimes communication  can be excessive.  There were occasions during my professional career when I attempted to explain something, and was interrupted as the other person communicated, "Get to the point!"====JACK:  It happens with some srmons, too....Get to the point!  I've found that communication starts before the words are spoken.  The word is, "mien."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Anyone who has seen the movie, won't forget that line! After nourishment, shelter and companionship, communication must be what we need most in the world! Reminds me of Robert McCloskey's humorous take on this: "I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure your realize that what you heard, is not what I meant".  So it goes sometimes!!====JACK:  Your response reminds me of the Dean Martin song...only changing the lyrics to apply to misunderstandings.  "Your lips tell me Yes!  Yes!, but there's no, no right in your eyes."  Please tell me, again, what you said.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  That movie really made an impact on me!  I swore never to go to prison and so far so good.  We quoted that line all of the time and once in awhile we still do!====JACK:  I have a nephew who has taught building skills to prisoners so that when they are released they have a chance to enter the job market. ====JUDY:  He is a hero!  In the real sense of the word.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/7/16
“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.”  (Ellen Glasgow) Cyndi Haynes has written a book, “2,002 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up.”  It’s a collection of pick-me-ups for when your spirit needs a lift.  A change of pace can work wonders, like…Believe the compliments that you receive…Make some s’mores…Make a list of people you care about, with your name at the top…Realize that endings are just doorways to new beginnings.    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Love this WW. I will have to look for that book.  Keep up the good work. ====JACK:  The book is written Cyndi Haynes and is published by Barnes and Noble.  # 1,139  "When it's late at night and you can't sleep, get up and walk around instead of lying in bed and dwelling on your troubles."

FROM TARMART REV:  Thanks for the uplift this Monday morning, Jack . . . let's you and I go out lift another this second day of a brand new week!!====JACK:  Thanks for the reminder that words simply remain words until they are put into action.

FROM NE AT AG:  I simply look forward to your daily messages!  thanx again.====JACK:  I say a prayer each day for the over 500 people who receive Winning Words...maybe not by name, but as a group...which includes you.  Have a good day!

FROM DM IN LIV:  Thank you so much for adding me to your list!  I have been reading Winning Words over Pat’s shoulder for many years now and I am so happy to be receiving them.  They truly do inspire and motivate and help to keep us centered.  I count you among my blessings!====JACK:  A response like yours can be added to the 2.002 ways to add cheer to the day.

FROM JB AT LSTC:  This reminds me of Studs Terkel’s radio program sign-off. He’d say, “Take it easy, but take it!” Hope you’re having a good day.====JACK:  Thanks for the reference to Studs.  He's one of my favorite writers.  I liked the book, Working.  It's worth reading and re-reading.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  So true, and the book sounds like a winner! As Mark Twain has said, "There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule"...(made me laugh to think about it!)  and Colin Powell said it in a different way, "Spare me the grim litany of the realist. Give me the unrealistic aspirations of the optimist any day."  Choose to be upbeat and optimistic, if at all possible! ====JACK:  Yesterday's sermon had to do with the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  The 2nd son could have used a spirit of optimism and rejoiced that his brother had found his way back home.  We need for the bright things in life each day.  Right now I'm listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  That is a day-brightener, for sure

FROM OPTIMISTIC ART:  I enjoy your winning words, Jack.====JACK:  It's my way of "preaching" without standing in a pulpit.

FROM GRANDMA JB:  Thank you, you always have messages that I can use.====JACK:  I often wonder how it is that ideas pop into my head.  I've come to the conclusion that the Spirit of God has something to do with it.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/4/16
“Our knowledge is a little island in a great sea of unknowledge.”  (Isaac Bashevis Singer)  Antarctica has been called, “the most unexplored place on earth.”  We could also nominate the oceans or human behavior…you name it.  When the early flat-earth mapmakers came to the edge of a map, they’d write: “Here be God.”  In this life, when we don’t understand things, let’s be content to label it, “Here be God.”  I have yet to know all.  That’s what faith is about.    ;-)  Jack

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  Thumbs up on this one.====JACK:  When I was in college a "thumbs up" sign indicated that a hitchhiker wanted a ride.  I used it a few times.  Now, I can't remember the last time I saw a hitchhiker.====CS:  I don’t think people hitchhike anymore….too dangerous for both the hiker and the driver!====JACK:  I was part of a fraternity hazing.  4 of us were dressed as convicts (outfits with stripes) and left by the side of the road out in the country at 2 am.  We didn't know where we were.  After a long time a car came down the road and we held out our thumbs asking for a ride.  The car stopped, and we all got in.  We sped along, and I looked at the speedometer which was pushing 100 mph.  I then realized that the driver was drunk.  Miraculously, we made it back to town safely.  Yes, hitchhiking was dangerous in those days, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My brother Rob was a surveyor for government. He told us many times the only place in the world that hadn't been walked and surveyed was the Upper Pennisula.  It had been surveyed by sattelite, but never walked as the forests and swamps were so thick, surveyors couldn't physically get through.  I'm not sure if that is still true but it wasn't done when Rob was surveying.    Did you know every little island in a river, stream or lake is owned by the government but you could purchase them?  Robs wife Pam also worked for the government buying and selling property.   There was a grassy island on the Au Sable River in Grayling in front my dad's house.  Pam told us how we could purchase that little island.  In Cadillac, along Lake Cadillac people live in the one side of the lake and a road separates them from a strip of land.  Most of the homes had docks out in front of their house on this strip of land.  An attorney found out the land did not belong to the home owners.  He purchased that long thin strip of land and proceeded to get rent from all of the home owners who had placed docks on that strip.   There are little islands of land and knowledge which will never be used up.====JACK:  It would be hard to survey Antarctica, because the ice cover is at least two miles thick and has been there for over a million years.

FROM THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR:  Belief even though we don't see.====JACK:  I had a friend who had plenty of faith in the religious sense, but he would never travel in an airplane.  I don't have that fear, but I sometimes wonder, "What if....?"

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/3/16
“The most important work you and I will ever do will be within the walls of our own homes.”  (Harold Lee)  I Googled “home” and up came a map with an arrow pointing to the house where our family lives.  I had expected a definition of “home.”  Not until further tries did “the family” pop up…and then, “the focus of your attention” and, “your place of origin.”  At my father’s funeral, the hymn, Heaven Is My Home, was sung.  Google has the words.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM PZ:  Thank you for this one, Jack. I scripted and read the eulogy at my dad's funeral, and this encompasses all that I wrote.====JACK:  I like the line..."Home is where the heart is."

FROM TARMART REV:  ... it certainly begins there and sets the course for the road first taken... ====JACK:  I've read that the phrase/question, nature or nurture, should be retired.  The belief today is that both set us in the direction that life will take.  I think that God has an influence, too.====REV:  ...very thankful He does, thus the emphasis on the road "first taken"...He stands ready for the helpful directional change often made with His grace and forgiveness close at hand.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I would define "home" as that place where one lives...either by one's self or with others.    What then is "homelessness."?    Is it that state of being that includes no place but only space?    Place is meaningful space.====JACK:  Thanks for today's interesting thought generator... Homelessness is more than not having a place to live.  If we attach a minus sign to the characteristics of "home," we come up with "homeless."  Sad, sad!

FROM DR JUDY:  That's very cool. Love the unexpected.====JACK:  Just when we begin to think we "know it all," life has a way of humbling us.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  So much to think about in today!'s words!!! Thanks!====JACK:  This line from "Heaven Is My Home" is appropriate at this time of the year..."And time’s wintry blast 
Soon shall be over past; I shall reach home at last, Heaven is my home."  Winter can describe more than the weather.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  AMEN to that!  All other accolades are meaningless, if we feel we've failed our families!   Home is the first and most important place to show unconditional love!  As Garrison Keillor says, "Nothing you do for children is ever wasted." They need models more than critics! Love this quote today!====JACK:  My sister and I were sharing some "home" memories on the phone this morning.  Lots of laughs as we talked about our childhood.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Your faith, your marriage and your children are "raised" in your home.  That's why it's your most important job.====JACK:  I remember back when I was a child...we were invited to bring friends with us to Sunday School, especially those who had no connection with a church.  

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  I love that hymn!====JACK:  I like the way it begins..."I'm but a stranger here..."  

I’m but a stranger here,
Heaven is my home;
Earth is a desert drear,
Heaven is my home;
Danger and sorrow stand
Round me on every hand;
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

What though the tempest rage,
Heaven is my home;
Short is my pilgrimage,
Heaven is my home;
And time’s wintry blast
Soon shall be over past;
I shall reach home at last,
Heaven is my home.

Therefore I murmur not,
Heaven is my home;
Whatever my earthly lot,
Heaven is my home;
And I shall surely stand
There at my Lord’s right hand.
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  The earth and all its magnificence is my temporary dwelling in the universe. I pray that heaven is in store for me. What do you think Scott Kelly called his destination when he left the space craft?====JACK:  Was he "home" when he landed in Russia, or was it when he arrived in Houston?

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 3/2/16
“Don’t judge me unless you have looked through my eyes.”  (Lucy Heartfilia)  What if I looked at the world through your eyes?  I might have to adjust my judgment of certain situations.  Life is such that we have one set of eyes, and so it becomes necessary to talk with each another to get the total picture.  Bipartisanship means working as partners to get a truer vision.  This is for all of us (home, education, business, politics) who seek to “see” a better world.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR JUDY:  Hi Jack. Do you have any resources for where you read or heard about the amygdala being trained to recognize the false fears?====JACK:  I have no clinical sources.  My information come from a general scrolling and from pastoral contact with people who have suffered from agoraphobia and panic attacks.====JUDY:  OKAY. That’s basically what I have. Part of my work is teaching the amygdala to respond differently, but still working on those Sensitives (mostly autistics) who go from 0-60 without even noticing the escalation.====JACK:   I just wanted generally to call attention to the fact that the brain can be helped to respond in different ways.  As NPR used to say about Dr. Science, "He's not a real doctor.  He has a Master's Degree in Science."  I'm not a real doctor, either, but I, too, have a Master's Theology.

FROM TARMART REV:  I have to look out at the world through another set of eyes for a clearer picture everyday, often moving my head up and down a bit to focus in!!====JACK:  I might help to put on your rose-colored glasses, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  The world would look strange from some people's eyes but mine would look strange from their eyes too.====JACK:  ...but we'd understand each other better.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Back to the article on eyes in Nat'l Geographic, Dr.Nilsson says that complex eyes in humans and most animals have not evolved much since 540 MILLION years ago. (Cabrian period) And so many different kinds of eyes in so many different creatures!! So why not see the world through someone else's eyes, if possible; That's why we have discussion groups, and read widely...if two people see things exactly the same, maybe one isn't needed! :-) Just a thought... ====JACK:  The eyes are simply transmitters to the brain.  So, if and when the medical world moves to brain transplants, would we then be able to see as others see?  Hmmmm.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Joel Grey, as the MC in Cabaret, sings, "If you could see her through my eye." It is worth viewing.====JACK:  I remember that song (very touching), that movie and Joel.  I also remember the song, Money, Money, Money.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  How I see the world is through my experiences as well as deliberately redirecting my imagination toward the experiences of others through reading, meeting people of different backgrounds developing friendship with those whose vision of my world varies depending on their experiences. It takes work and conscious effort , which we're not always ready to require of ourselves. I wonder how Marco Polo and the other frontiersmen did it? it? You may already know this.====JACK:  A Marco Polo story that I've used as a sermon illustration....When Polo came back to Venice from his travels in Cathay, he attempted to describe the incredible wonders he had seen there. People didn’t believe him and for the rest of his life (and even on his death bed) they tried to get him to confess that he had lied and exaggerated about the wonders he had described. His last answer was: “I never told the half of it!”....It reminds me of that verse at the end of the Gospel of John (21:25).  "Now, there are many other things that Jesus did.  If they were all written down, one by one, I suppose that the whole world could not hold the books that would be written."....Which reminds me of this hymn lyric:
"Could we with ink the ocean fill,   And were the skies of parchment made; Were every stalk on earth a quill,   And every man a scribe by trade; To write the love of God above   Would drain the ocean dry; Nor could the scroll contain the whole,   Though stretched from sky to sky."