Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/30/16
“Man is what he reads.”  (Joseph Brodsky)  Recently I’ve been reading more and spending less time watching TV newscasts.  It’s been refreshing.  The other day I went to my bookshelves and pulled out some books that have shaped my thinking…My Confirmation Bible (underlined), The Works of Carl Sandburg, Mackay’s A Preface to Christian Theology, and A Basic History of the U.S.  Are there reading materials that have directed your thinking…more than TV?   ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  A throwback thought out of nowhere this morning . . . for some reason in a biology class back in Bible College, someone had just presented a report on eating the meat of a rattlesnake. A rather robust young lady raised her hand and shared, "We are what we eat, aren't we!?" To which the professor responded, "Not always I would think? Did you eat breakfast this morning with eggs and BACON served!?" The subject quickly changed to other directions.====JACK:  That's funny.  Proverbs 16:24..."Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."

FROM TL IN MICHIGAN:  No, thanks for the reminder.====JACK:  Sometimes we get so caught up in TV and business reading that there's little time left for mind-expanding stuff.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I sure hope so.  there is a lot of TV today that could rot your brain if you OD on it...  we are now watching PBS almost exclusively...====JACK:  We are lucky in Detroit to have access to Canadian TV and radio.  It's refreshing.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The world is a book, as well; If you travel, you read many "pages"!  There are SO many excellent books!! I love Philip Yancy's thinking, and Clarence Jordan (Cotton Patch Gospels), Thomas Moore, Max Lucado, Anne LaMott, the list could be nine yards long, couldn't it!  I enoy all types of reading, light and more profound, and certainly what one reads influences a great deal. LOVE WINS by Bell was one that made me think, among so many others.   What a blessing to have good eyes, and a mind that can grasp the profound and entertaining content of good books!!!====JACK:  I try to have a mix between the sacred and secular.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/29/16
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.”  (Harper Lee)   I had a dream the other night where I had a virtual reality headset which allowed me to see the world in the same way that the person next to me was seeing it.  Weird!  But think about it…  Wouldn’t a lot of problems and misunderstandings be solved if we could see the other person’s point of view?  Fewer arguments, lawsuits, divorces, wars.  Am I dreaming?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:   I think that is critical if you want to really deal with people.   I can never agree with your extreme position on positive thinking since I think we need to understand original sin as present in everyone in order to see what is happening in the world and how to react to it ( e.g.   Trump's election); yet, I respect your position and like to hear it because it represents a good balance against getting too caught up in the original sin thing.====JACK:  I had a regular visit with my doctor yesterday, and he agrees with the concept that positive thinking generally brings positive results.====JOHN:  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a very positive person; however, I think it is necessary always to be aware of the world's wiles.   I think Luther was there, also.   He certainly was not afraid to act but knew that evil was always lurking.    If you go on as though it is not there or no real object, I think you are in for some big pitfalls.====JACK:  You need to have a headset like the one I dreamed about; then you might correctly understand where I'm coming from.

FROM DR JUDY:   LOVE THAT DREAM! You are wise even in sleep.====JACK:  Our dream world deserves more scientific exploration.  Why do we dream as we dream?

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  You might be dreaming but it sounds like a heavenly dream -  it wouldn't solve everything, but with a little compromise and tolerance the world would sure be a better place.   ====JACK:  I "see" where you're coming from.  Trump would have to be willing to wear the headset, too.====RS: Absolutely.  As they said in Avatar - "I see you".

FROM GEEP:  As usual,  you seem to hit a home run just about the time we need help.  Your "Winning Words" of today helped me answer a letter that is adding to the turmoil of a family situation.  I have used your Winning Words of the day to respond to an e-mail we received.  With Thanx for your timeliness and trusting is your understanding.====JACK:  God has ways of working things out.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:   What a wonderful idea!  It would seem being able to vision what someone else saw would be so beneficial in more ways than one.  If we "saw" what was in the head of a sad, mentally ill, or misunderstood person, we would be able to find some way to help them and anyone with the same problem.  By the way, that is a weird dream!!!====JACK:  There are several instances in the Bible where God spoke to someone in a weird dream.  Can it be that it still happens?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  You really have to practice empathy, to see things from another's point of doesn't come naturally!  In Life's Little Instruction Book, he suggests going for 24 hours without criticizing anything, and  trying to see it from a different point of view. Not as easy as it sounds, usually.. but what a difference it can make!====JACK:  You can start with just one person...and really try to see things from that person's point of view (without using a special headset).  It's not always easy.



Monday, November 28, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/28/16
“Gratitude improves your attitude, dude!”  (James Taylor)  Success is a magazine that gives tips on how to improve your life.  For example, your attitude, positive or negative, affects work, relationships, everyone around you.  Some see the world as “bad”, because that’s what they’re focusing on.  J.T. sees it as “an incredible stroke of luck to have been born on this unfathomable, beneficent planet.”  How you see the world can affect how the world sees you.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I think I have said it before but you can curse the rose bush for having thorns or you can bless the thorn bush for having roses.  its the SAME bush.  and attitude is one thing we CAN control in our lives.====JACK:  I suppose that everything has its purpose in this world...even the thorns.  I've read that the rose bush thorns discourage animals from eating the plant.  What is your purpose on earth?  Mine?====PAUL:  how about to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and your neighbor as yourself.====JACK:  Do that, and you shall gain eternal life, according to the words of Jesus.

FROM LS IN MICHIGAN:  It feels like the right moment to say thank you, once again.  Every morning I awake to look for your Winning Words on my cell phone.  Today the words were, as they always are, in alignment to direct my thoughts as I was dealing with a challenge in the moment.  Powerful!   Thank you!  God Bless you and provide for you the wisdom as you create Winning Words.====JACK:  I sometimes wonder, as I write, whether or not the words will be meaningful to those who receive them.  Thanks for the feedback.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/25/16
“Failure is success if we learn from it.”  (Malcolm Forbes)  In 1966 Time magazine predicted that “remote shopping has no future, because women want to get out of the house.”  What a difference 50 years has made.  This week I ordered several things online, and how about you?  I heard of a school that has “Failure Week”…when they teach resilience, risk taking, how failure can be good.  Having failed doesn’t necessarily mean that you and I are failures.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  this could also be Black Friday Lives Matter...====JACK:  One of these days slogans will be turned into reality.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Some of my best successes were my failures.====JACK:  Sometimes we "rush to judgment" concerning success or failure.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As J.K. Rowling observed in Family Circle Mag., "It's impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all!"  She knew whereof she  spoke, having had rejections aplenty until her Harry Potter Series ...I'm not a big online shopper, but my kids and "grands" are, and it IS convenient! Here's to learning  from life's "setbacks"! :-)====JACK:  As my walking slows with age, I've learned to appreciate the old slogan..."Let your fingers do the walking."

FROM CG IN MICHIGAN:  I like this one!====JACK:  I always like it when a negative can be turned into a positive.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/23/16
Thanksgiving Prayer:  “Give us this day our daily bread, O Father in heaven, and grant that we who are filled with good things from your open hand, may never close our hearts to the hungry, the homeless, and the poor.  Amen"  (From Abbey of New Clairvaux, Vina, CA)
This is a prayer that you might use at your Thanksgiving table tomorrow.  In fact it’s a prayer that’s appropriate for any time we want to acknowledge God and remember the poor.    ;-)  Jack

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  You're right this is a perfect prayer for all our Optimist meetings.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!====JACK:  The best prayers translate words into actions.

FROM KB:  Happy Thanksgiving, dear friend. I am grateful for your daily words of wisdom. ====JACK:  I'm thankful for the many friends I have who receive the words...and you are one.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love the name of her Abbey...obviously named after Bernard of Clairvaux's home Abbey.    What a powerful character was he!    Not so nice to poor old Abelard, however.====JACK:  I like this Abelard quote:  "The key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth."  I tend to be like the disciple, Thomas,  Sometimes I think that he gets a bad rap.  I have a friend who is a Thomas Christian.====JOHN:  Richard Charlesworth has written a book that suggests that Thomas was the Beloved makes a lot of sense....too bad we in the West have ignored him

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  I also like the Psalm: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. (how easily we do forget).   and then, yes,  HOW best to share these benefits with those less fortunate that us?====JACK:  I give this mantra to my grandchildren as they move into adulthood..."Remember the poor!"

FROM F.I. TG:  Have a nice Thanksgiving Jack and your family.  We all have a lot to be thankful for.  All the best.====JACK:  We have to guard against letting the "headlines" divert us from remembering the many blessins we have...and so often take for granted.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:   Thanks  and happy thanksgiving...and a blessed Advent. ====JACK:  Don't get ahead of yourself.  The next holiday is today...Black Friday.

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:   HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you all from across the pond! ====JACK:  Brexit and Trump!  It's been an unusual year on both sides of the pond.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  There'll be a new empty chair at our Thanksgiving family gathering this year, but we will still count our blessings, which are many!  As we partake of such abundance, we do remember those who are hungry and without homes. How could we not?!  As Jesus reminded us, "The poor you will always have with you". Even in America this is true...(tho from what I've seen in India, Congo, Haiti, etc. they are not the majority in our country!) That is something to remember, too.====JACK:  There's a song from "Les Miz...Empty chairs."  I was going to use it , but couldn't get it to work.  But, I was thinking of some tables, like yours this year.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/22/16
“Everything is beautiful once the eye likes the view.”  (Finnish Proverb)  A similar Latin Proverb says that “an ass is generally attractive to another ass.”  Perhaps you know of couples where you wonder, “What does she see in him?”  God has made us in such a way that we are individuals; we are the same, but not the same.  The French have a saying, viva la difference-- appreciate the diversity.  Maybe that helps explain the results of the recent election.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Alan Taylor says in American Colonies that Diversity and Liberty are at the heart of the American colonial experience right from the very beginning.====JACK:  We hear a lot about diversity (and that is good), but not so much about liberty.  BTW, do you rem,ember that there used to be a magazine called, Liberty?

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Nice try jack. This time the explanation is more complicated. The results more dire.====JACK:  If you knew my clients as I do, you would understand.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Unfortunately, we seem to have evolved to a point in this country to where many DON'T appreciate the diversity.  Instead they categorize people into groups (Muslim, African American, Latino, LBGTQ, et al) that they consider inferior or unacceptable.  The result is a division in this country that seems to be getting wider and deeper.  It would be great if we could get to the point where we "judged" people (as MLK said) by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, or other things that make them "different" from us.  It also seems to have had the effect for some of extreme nationalism, which as history has shown us, can be a very dangerous position that ultimately leads to armed conflict.====JACK:  Change begins with one.  There's an old Sunday School song that has this chorus...
So you bring the one next to you,  And I’ll bring the one next to me;
In all kinds of weather, we’ll all work together,  And see what can be done.
If you’ll bring the one next to you,  And I bring the one next to me,
In no time at all we’ll have them all,  So win them, win them, one by one.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  We are so blessed in this country to have beauty surround is devastating to think of all the beautiful and ancient treasures that have been destroyed in fighting wars, in many other countries!  As WW points out today, "Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder."  That's probably a good thing!  With thankful hearts we can cherish many kinds of beauty! (This week it might be the Thanksgiving feast!)====JACK:  We need more people who will join Mr. Rogers in singing..."It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood!"  I like that song.

FROM TARMART REV:  ...a lot of explanations floating around nowadays...I've just deleted all my news apps (including Fox) from my phone, out of frustration of knowing the truth from biased reporting. 0;-/====JACK:  It's been over a month since I've watched the news on TV.  I still read the daily papers and look at some daily snippets from the NY Times.  Sometimes I believe that TV news manipulates us like puppets.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We are so very different yet so alike!  It still so strange to be around my siblings.  We all grew up in the same house, same parents same everything but we are so very different.  The "Chappel Girls" all have the classic Danish look with the high cheeks and the Danish nose but boy are we different is so many ways.  My brother is an exact replica if my maternal grandfather.  We celebrate all of our blessings!====JACK:  What did you see in Gary, or he in you?

FROM OD:  Appropriately for this time of year, I remember one of your messages in its entirely. It's the simple prayer, "Thank you." I have carried that with me ever since you sent it, and I repeat it most days. So I will say to you at Thanksgiving time: Thank you.====JACK:  My sister gave out an extra piece of candy to trick or treaters who said "Thank you."  One who didn't say, "Thank you," held out his bag for an extra piece.  Did he get it?  What would you have done?

Monday, November 21, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/21/16
“Charity sees the need, not the cause.”  (German Proverb)  I was walking with my grandson after a Tigers’ baseball game when he placed some money in a cup held by a man standing there as the crowd passed by.  There was no conversation, other than a “Thank you!”  The gulf between the haves and have-nots grows wider.  There are no easy answers for the problem.  But, compassion for the poor, whatever the reason for poorness, is a value worth teaching.    ;-)  Jack  

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  Now abideth faith that "the problem" will be resolved, and hope that relief will come soon for the "have nots", also charity to provide assistance until we can all share the bounty.  For the moment the most resourceful of these is charity.====JACK:  Charity is a word that is often misunderstood.  Perhaps these synonyms get at the real (Christian-type), compassion, tender ness, kindness, sympathy (understanding).  Charity is more than just giving alms to the poor.====RI:  Thanks for the clarification.  I suppose I should have ended with "charitable giving"

FROM FROM JLF ALBION KD:  I like this one. I think people do tend to judge whether it's a worthy reason.====JACK:  I recently saw a right-wing quote referring to people who use food stamps as "moochers."  Jesus said that in heaven, the situation is going to be reversed, and those "haves" will learn what it is to mooch.

FROM TARMART REV:  ..true for any age!!====JACK:  It comes down to "seeing" Jesus disguised as a poor person.  I'm reminded of this poem by Christina Rosetti...
"What can I give Him,  Poor as I am?  If I were a shepherd  I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man  I would do my part.  Yet what can I give Him?  Give my heart."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  There are certainly opportunities every day, and yes, there seems to be much more need than in years past. Our monthly meal for the homeless used to feed 50-60, rarely any children; now it is always over 100, with families and small children. in the group.  Several churches went together to have a nice meal every Tuesday evening. Our church does the last Tuesday.  Many and varied are the stories as to cause!  Your Friday quote from Professor Randy Pausch  was a reminder of a remarkable man! I play the DVD of his last lecture at least once a year, and have used it with several church groups!  What a loss he is to the world!====JACK:  Jesus recognized the fact that there will never be an end to the need for charity..."The poor will always be among you."  You can'y meet all of the needs, but you can meet some of the needs.

FROM JE IN MICHIGAN:  Happy Thanksgiving Jack. The gap does continue to widen; although the percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch recipients in our District declined from 25 percent to 20 percent this school year. It’s still more than it should be – there shouldn’t be any children who cannot afford a school lunch. Compassion for the poor is something I really worry about with the president-elect and the team he is selecting. May God give us compassion and understanding for those less fortunate. May he also give us grace  and gratitude for all of our blessings.====JACK:  If there is a lack of compassion on the part of elected officials, it remains the duty of the Church to lead the way in being compassionate.  I'm not going to let others deter me from what Jesus calls me to be.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I wrote a long message in answer to your readers about some of their answers but I decided sometimes it's better to smile and keep my mouth shut.  I just wanted to say we are conservative and also care deeply and serve faithfully the poor and lonely with more than just words:====JACK:  A wise choice.  Compassion is a virtue.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/18/16
“Call home at least once a week.  It’s a proven fact that we call home less the older we get.”  (Randy Pausch)  The idea behind these words is that, with the passage of time, home becomes more and more of a memory.  Is it a city, a house, a family?  Randy was told that he had less than a year to live.  He began to look at life with new eyes.  He didn’t take things, like home and time,  “for granted” anymore.  Is there a letter to written, a call to be made?       ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  My niece now lives in the house in which I grew up....but it isn't home to me anymore.   I still love East Moline even though it is not a very spectacular place.   Love Augustana, too.    Great memories there.====JACK:  I wish the house I grew up in was still standing.  Now I have to stand in front of a parking lot in downtown Moline and try to remember.  3 things say "Augustana to me...the dome, the Swedish bell tower and the seminary chapel spire.

FROM QUILTING CAROL IN RICE LAKE:  This most certainly true.  Miss calls from my kids…but then I’m not good about calling either knowing they are all leading very busy lives.====JACK:  I like spur-of-the-moment calls...just to say "Hi" and see how you're doing?

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Are you talking about Randy Engstrom?====JACK:  Randy Pausch, whose quote I used.  He's also the subject of the book, The Last Lecture.  It's worth reading. or Google can give you a synopsis.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There are always letters and phone calls.  But home is here now.  And emails keep us siblings in touch daily.====JACK:  We probably keep in touch more now than it the past.  Back then, letters were a big, e-mail goes out with the click of a mouse.  Back then, long distance was changed by the minute (Don't talk so long, it's long distance!), most phone plans have no restrictions on the usual calls out of the area.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/17/16
“It is no disgrace to be poor, but it can be inconvenient.”  (Danish Proverb)  Sensitivity Training sessions have been offered to pastors to help them better understand situations that people face.  For example a pastor-trainee is dropped off on Skid Row with nothing but the clothes he’s wearing and told to live there for a couple of weeks.  Picture yourself!  The haves will often make judgments of the poor.  Some have no idea!  Put them on Skid Row.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Growing up, we weren't poor. We just didn't have any money. ====JACK:  Nor did we.  It was inconvenient at times, but we made do.  Of course parents didn't always share with children how difficult it was.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Or drop him off in East Moline of the 40s and see if he can live thru that....that was one tough place.....fights all the time.====JACK:  I recall a strong Mexican community centered around Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Having just helped a person evicted from her little box house of 16 years find new affordable housing, and money for moving, fees, etc. this hits home.  Our church is in a very changed neighborhood from when it was built 100 years ago, and we continue to minister as best we can, to the needs of present day.  One of the prominent African American musicians, Jay Z, who grew up desperately poor, and is now wealthy, said in People Magazine "The burden of poverty isn't just that you don't have the things you need. It's the feeling of embarrassment every day of your life, and you'd do anything to lift that burden."  I'm sure we have no idea...!  We CAN try to empathize and help in our little corner of the world.====JACK:  We can sympathize, but we can only empathize if we've walked the same walk that their walking.  3 cheers for what you and your church are doing!

ROM RI IN BOSTON:  It can also be frightening, to think of surviving with nothing.  Begging or stealing can provide some, but can you imagine relying on that endlessly?  We are living in an era of overwhelming wealth for a privileged few, and destitution for so many others.  I think a day is coming when all of us will be confronted by hard times, and the wealthy will find what it's like to survive with nothing.====JACK:  I get fed up with those politicians who call "food stamp" people, moochers, while they vote "perks" for themselves.  Some day the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is going to turn into reality.  Could that be a preview of heaven and hell?

FFROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words, Jack.  thanks...====JACK:  Would you volunteer for the Skid Row training?====SP:  I have often said that someone should stand on the corner on Wall St. every morning and read aloud the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.   it wasn't what the Rich Man did.  its what he didn't do!  he just did NOT see poor old Laz...====JACK:  ...or, maybe stand in front of some of our churches.====SP:  not for two weeks but maybe for a day or two.  do you recall the fellow who had his white skin blackened back in the 1960s and then he went down south for a number of months to experience real racism.  he wrote a book called Black Like Me.   when I was in college our religion  class was told to dress up in ragged old clothes, uncombed hair, etc.  and then go to a church on Sunday morning  in the Fargo/Moorhead area and see how well you were treated.   a number in the class were ushered into the back row of the churches they chose to attend or just ignored altogether.  a memorable learning experience.====JACK:  I remember hearing about a pastor who dressed up as a vagrant, came hesitantly to the front of the church during the opening hymn.  After a pause, he revealed who he was and preached about Jesus coming to us in various disguises.====SP:  I have a little book somewhere around here that lists over 100 titles or descriptions given for Jesus in the Bible.  he surely had a lot of different personas.  a tribute to how many ways he can make himself known to the world...====JACK:  How do you describe the indescribable?  God did it by using Jesus.

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  If the Danes who said that had visited any big American city, they would have added “…and dangerous!”)  A related saying occurred to me one day in the mid-1970s, while being conducted through the basement of a college-dormitory-sized Tudor style house in Bloomfield Hills (the home of one of my stained glass clients). As we walked past aisle after aisle of floor to ceiling shelves packed with manufacturer-sized shipping cartons full of paper towels, bathroom tissue, cleaning products, dry goods and so on, I realized that if you had money and storage room to spare, you could be your own ‘wholesaler buyer,’ and save a bundle. Seeing this as an economic benefit only wealthy people could enjoy, I thought: “It costs more to be poor than to be rich!”====JACK:  Most of the tax loopholes have been created by the rich in order to maintain their "richness."  The Bible has stories about the final judgment when roles will be reversed.  St Paul warned the Galatians (and us)..."Do not be deceived.  God cannot be mocked."  Your story of cases and cases of toilet paper reminds me of the rich man who built bigger barns.====MT:  Yes. And dollars are trivial in comparison to the riches of the spirit!====JACK:  ...treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupt and thieves steal...treasures in heaven where that doesn't happen.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I think the hardest thing for me would be not being able to keep clean...that and pure terror.====JACK:  I'd head for the Mission.  Godliness beats cleanliness...and there's food.====JUDY:  That's a great answer!====JACK:  I think that some of the missions make the vagrants listen to a sermon before they are fed.  Personally, I don't think that Jesus would do that.

FROM JB IN OLV:  …and the poors make judgments on the haves====JACK:  Even religions make judgments about otheer religions.  Didn't Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount..."Judge not!"

FROM MY CHALDEAN FRIEND:  Amen my friend, I wish I can convince many members of my Chaldean Community to do that.  They have become more selfish and forgot how poor they used as I be in the old. Country.====JACK:  The Chaldeans have such a proud heritage.  "The love of money is the root of all evil," says the Bible.

FROM TARMART REV:  Maybe the next time I'm back that way, you and I could spend a night or two down in Greektown on the streets...maybe hit the casino for evening meal if we panhandle well. ====JACK:  There are some places in Detroit where you would not want to or night.  It's that way in most major cities.====REV:  I'm not really made for inner city ministry...too much of a teddy bear and always wanting to give money to someone.====JACK:  There are various kinds of ministries, but the same Lord.  You are using the talents that God gave you in a way that is special for you...and you're doing a good job of it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/16/16
“It’s okay to get angry with God.  He can take it.”  (Regina Brett)  We don’t often say it, but there are times when “the will of God” is beyond understanding.  Why?  Regina B, a Cleveland reporter, writes that it’s OK to question God.  We don’t always get what we want.  Look around you.  The world’s not perfect.  It’s almost like God is away visiting another universe.  But God does know and care.  Sometimes a child has a hard time understanding a parent.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think too often we mistake our will for God's and then when it goes astray, we blame God.     God doesn't will everything we do or think any more than a parent foes for a child.====JACK:  I like what Paul had to say to those in the church at Rome.  "O, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and untraceable His ways!  Who has known the mind of the Lord?"  I'm satisfied with, "Thy will be done (no strings attached).

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  a friend of mine likes to say that "God has broad shoulders"... ====JACK:  ...and regarding his followers, he has to be broad-minded, too.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  To those who get angry with God I would ask, "How's that working for you?"  I find composure by getting angry at myself and my selfish expectations.====JACK:  I don't think it's wise to bite the hand that feeds you...but some do it anyway.

FROM TARMART REV:  Some never get to know God until they are seemingly angry with Him, asking why?! Amazing what "life-changing results" they often find. More often than not when sincerely confronted, He displays unforgettable and reassuring results.====JACK:  Your response reminds me of this saying by Mark Twain....“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Everything happens for a reason, but we don't see that immediately.  By the way, the weather is beautiful down here, and the  snowbirds are arriving in droves.  We went to Hollywood Studios yesterday, and Star Wars has definitely overtaken the planet,====JACK:  This thought comes to mind when I think of God and his reasoning..."Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do or die."  Curiosity led me to Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade.  I saw the quote in another context.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "WHAT MORE CAN WE ASK THAN TO NEVER KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT" (Poet Paul Violi/Boston Globe).  No matter what comes our way, we have to have an unshakable belief that God is always with us, in it. It brings a peace to our lives, which has its share of "bumps and bruises", as well as the best of times...====JACK:  "Fly off the handle" is an expression you don't hear much anymore.  It can mean, "getting angry before one has complete information on the subject."  It's OK to fly off the handle with God.  He can take it.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Getting mad at God makes no sense.  He gets us through the messy lives we live....even when we aren't in control of some of them.====JACK:  The children of Israel were angry with God because they felt that he had abandoned them in the desert.  Sometimes people get mad at God, because they think that he hasn't answered their prayers.  God loves them, just the same.

FROM KANSAN DON:  A good word following Nov. 8.====JACK: wanted God to rig the election, did you?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/15/16
“Hallelujah!  What’s it to ya?”  (Leonard Cohen)  The word, Hallelujah, means, ”Praise the Lord.”  It’s usually shouted enthusiastically in church services.  Contrast that with the slow, mesmerizing way Leonard uses it in his hit song.  Kate McKinnon sang a version of it on SNL and ended it by saying, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”  If you’ve had setbacks in life, or successes… in either case, the song says, “Hallelujah!  God is with ya.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  “Hallelujah! Amen!"====JACK:  Do you encourage responses like that when you're preaching?  For example, "Everybody say...Amen"  or, "Praise the Lord, right?" ====REV:  Not as much anymore as I am not in the pulpit as often....not ever noted as "evangelistic" in my style of preaching.

ROM CS IN ROYAL OAK:  Yes!  I'm listening a lot to Leonard Cohen these days.  I've. Collected his albums for a long time--love his voice and his poetry.====JACK:  Do you listen to music while you paint?  I sometimes like to turn on Mozart while I'm writing.====CS:  I do listen to all kinds of music--classical, alternative and even hip hop--and a lot of NPR😊  I actually think I have my own inner beat.  So sometimes I need silence in order  to get a momentum  going🙃

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  Hallelujah!  A great message and performance by Kate McKinnon… did you see her in ghost busters? It was a gut buster!====JACK:  "I'm not giving up" was a powerful message of encouragement for when 'the going  gets tough."

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  that whole SNL show was a stitch from what I gather. (have only seen snippets but I did see that opening segment.) it was the most watched SNL ever if I got that right from the media.====JACK:  Evidently "the group" that watches SNL is different from "the group" that watches Fox News.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  My grandson Josh sang the Christmas words to Cohen's Hallelujah song in church on Christmas Eve.  They are beautiful words!====JACK:  Since Leonard was Jewish, someone probably appropriated the song and wrote some Christian lyrics.  What words did Josh sing?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Got a good laugh from the Limburger cheese story in yesterdays blog! Hallelujah! :-) I used to sing a song in one of my programs: Sing Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Gets you through the darkest day; when cares pursue ya, Hallelujah! It will drive the blues away; Satan lies awaitin' and creatin' skies of gray; So Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Sing to shoo those blues away! Very upbeat tune, and a spirit-lifter!====JACK:  I'm particularly taken by the slow and moody music of Cohen's song...quite a contrast with "Hallelu, hallelu, hallelu-jah...praise ye the Lord."

Monday, November 14, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/14/16
“If you get caught up in the things you have no control over it will affect adversely the things you do have control over.”  (Duffy Daugherty)  I saw two lists side by side…Things we can’t control and, Things we can control.  The article’s author suggested that when you start to fixate on something beyond your control, go to the other list.  Coach Duffy knew that he’d have a better football team if they did that.  Life works better that way, too.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HY YO SILVER:  So true====JACK:  Some people can't seem to get beyond the first list.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Thumbs up====JACK:  That's better than thumbs down.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  Thanks... I needed that reminder!!====JACK:  I, too, need  the reminder:  Just deal with it...and move on to the second list.

FROM TARMART REV:  Enough, for sure, on that list I can control to keep me busy without struggling over those areas I cannot control . . . can only pray for Godly guidance for me and for that uncontrollable need of assistance. Thanks, coach!!====JACK:  There once was a movement to have coaches (mentors) for new pastors.  It seems to have petered out.  I still think that it's a good idea. ====REV:  Good thought...I've seen some pastors advertise themselves as such...we had one living in Willmar but has sense passed away some years ago...knowing him, he wouldn't have been my choice of a good pastoral coach...maybe it was that "prophet in his home country" scenario...this person never pastored but had the answers for others who were. I remember him teaching on spiritual gifts with him saying he lacked in the gift of mercy as if he was accountable for carrying any.  Most of my chosen coaches I admire I find on the radio... Erwin Lutzer of the Moody Church in Chicago is one of many, but most recently.  A mentor has to be recommended by someone who knows "the situation" and is able to make a fit.  Maybe the idea petered out, because of a lack of "someones."  I'd be leery of  an ad.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  However, don't just quit by using "I have no control over that" as an excuse.    Perhaps, if you had worked at it, you might have exercised some control.====JACK:  Yes, we coulda and shoulda, but we didn'ta.  Let's learn from the past and just move on.====JOHN:  That doesn't address the point I raised====JACK:  From my point of view, it does.  "if you had worked at it" suggests that you coulda or shoulda done more.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Thanks, Jack!!!====JACK:  I have a hunch that this will need to be reposted from time to time.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  As Mario Andretti (race car driver) observed: "If everything seems under your control, you're not going fast enough!"...HA!  We don't want to "lose control", but we have to realize what things are beyond our power to change...sometimes it's hard to make that distinction!  Good words to remember today!  These football coaches seem to come up with hard-earned truths! ====JACK:  It's one thing to want to be in control.  It's something else when control is taken away from you for one reason or another.  When my mother was 95 she gave up driving.  It was her own decision.  When you and Bill were in the car, who did the driving?  Nowadays I see more and more of the younger women doing the driving.====OAKS:  Until his inoperable brain tumor situation, Bill was always in the driver's seat.  I did a ton of driving "on my own' but never when Bill and I were in the car together!  I tended to have a lead foot, and he was not comfortable with that! 

FROM PR JM:  I don't imagine a whole lot of people quote Duffy D.  I appreciate that you did and I agree with the sentiment not to obsess over things out of your control.  That's also a good time to turn those uncontrollables over to God.  Thanks, Jack, for your winning words!====JACK:  A favorite story of mine is about some children who wanted to pray a trick on grandpa.  While he was sleeping they put some Limburger cheese on his mustache.  When  he woke up, he took a few sniffs and said, "This room stinks."  He walked from room to room and said, "This whole house stinks."  He then went outside, took some more sniffs and yelled, "The entire world stinks."  ...and all the time the stink was under his nose.  What we can control is that which is usually under our nose.====JM:  LOL!  I love the story and you're right about the (few) things we can control being at least close to our nose:  We can control what we think and say and do about the things we have some control over.  A good thought while some of us are not happy with the electoral system of our nation when the popular vote and the electoral vote disagree with each other.  WE can control how we think about people who voted for "the other candidate" and how we will treat those with whom we disagree.====JACK:  Electoral or popular, the vote always results in a winner and a loser...good or bad, depending on who you are backing.

FROM #1 MSU FAN:  How nice that you featured a SPARTAN in your message!====JACK:  Some people don't realize that there were some powerhouse State teams (Duffy's Tuffys) in the 50s & 60s.

FROM STARRY KNIGHT:  Thank you====JACK:  Duffy's advice works in the music business, too.

FROM SA IN WASHINGTON:  Reading WW I hear your voice. It's reassuring and keeps me grounded. I wonder what Jesus' voice sounded like. Baritone? Tenor?====JACK:  The song, In the Garden, says, "He speaks, and the sound of his voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing."

 FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  So, so true!====JACK:  I need to remind myself of this several times a day...especially lately.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/11/16
“No person was ever honored for what he received.  Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”  (Calvin Coolidge)  There are about 22 million veterans (10% female) of the armed forces in our country.  I’m counting in my mind the number of vets that I know.  Wow!  Lots! For them and all veterans, I’m flying the flag today…and making this statement:  I’m proud to be an American…to know I’m free…and I won’t forget those who gave that right to me.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I was proud to be an American when I was a little boy.   I no longer am....and that is not just beacause of the last Presidential election.   But I am a citizen here and will do whatever I can to make things better.====JACK:  In a sense, our country is like the people who are the citizens.  I choose to focus in on the good things, past and present.  If someone wants to seek out the bad in you and me, they will be able to find it.  On this Veterans Day, I want to recognize the many who have risked their lives to protect the freedom I enjoy.====JOHN:  You have to be really blind not to see the bad in this country.    We need to see it and work to eradicate it.   I see some good, too.   I appreciate it.    But, we can never be satisfied with being "fairly good."     That usually leads to a downhill run.   Learned that at home and from Holcomb.====JACK:  Of course I see the bad, but I simply choose to focus on the it our country or individuals such as you and me.  "There is so much good in the worst of us,  And so much bad in the best of us,  That it hardly behooves any of us  To talk about the rest of us."

FROM MARYESS:  Thanks for the reminder about the flag….====JACK:  A poem that I like...
Hats Off! by Henry Holcomb Bennett
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The colors before us fly....
But more than the flag is passing by....
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land's swift increase;
Equal justice, right, and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor,-all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.
Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
Hats off!

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Thanks, Jack -  It was an honor to serve.====JACK:  I remember how proud your parents were when you achieved the rank of Warrant Officer (I think) and were assigned to fly a helicopter.  Do you think that you could still fly one today?====RS:  I've often wondered if I could get it off the ground, fly it around a bit and get it down without killing myself or anyone else.  I actually know someone in the Dallas area that has one and flies - we've talked about going up together.  We'll see.  Hard to believe it's been 45 years since my service in the Army ended.

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  Nice.  Our flags are out as well and we share your sentiments. ====JACK:  The flag is flying in a cool fall breeze.  I could use some of your weather.  Your father served in the military, didn't he?====ME:  81 AND SUNNY HERE.  Father was in Army Air Corps.  I was in Army Jag Corps during Viet Nam era.====JACK:  Where was the legal work done, DC?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  A big thank you to all of the vets!====JACK: Do you still fly your flag day and night, every day?

FROM F.I. TOM:  Thanks Jack for the honorable thoughts on this Veteran's Day.====JACK:   I know that your dad was in the military as a B-25 pilot.  I still think that you should take a ride in the B-25 that's at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run.  Where did you learn to fly?  In the service?
====TOM:  I learned to fly out at Salem Airport near South Lyon.  The airport is now closed.  Also took training at Oakland/Pontiac Airport.  I wanted to fly in the Air Force but they were only taking 20/20 vision uncorrected at the time.  I did serve at DaNang Air Base in a Forward Air Control Squadron.  You grew up in a hurry in the military!

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  I fly the flag every day and thank God for those who are serving and have served.  Watched the moment at Arlington this morning and Taps brought tears to my eyes as usual. (Today is my anniversary of separation for the Marine Corps).====JACK:  Are you still able to fit into that uniform?  As a child I vaguely remember seeing a Civil War veteran in a parade.  He must have been about the same age as you are now.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Bill never forgot his classmates, and navy buddies who didn't make it back home alive.   He was always very grateful to have survived and to marry and have children, grandchildren and professional life. Denied for 1,000's who fought in WW2, and wars since! Thank You Veterans!!====JACK:  Those of us who lived through the Great Depression and WW 2 have memories that cause us to think and act as we ways some others can't understand.

Jack’s Winning Words 11/11/16
“No person was ever honored for what he received.  Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”  (Calvin Coolidge)  There are about 22 million veterans (10% female) of the armed forces in our country.  I’m counting in my mind the number of vets that I know.  Wow!  Lots! For them and all veterans, I’m flying the flag today…and making this statement:  I’m proud to be an American…to know I’m free…and I won’t forget those who gave that right to me.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I was proud to be an American when I was a little boy.   I no longer am....and that is not just beacause of the last Presidential election.   But I am a citizen here and will do whatever I can to make things better.====JACK:  In a sense, our country is like the people who are the citizens.  I choose to focus in on the good things, past and present.  If someone wants to seek out the bad in you and me, they will be able to find it.  On this Veterans Day, I want to recognize the many who have risked their lives to protect the freedom I enjoy.

FROM MARYESS:  Thanks for the reminder about the flag….====JACK:  A poem that I like...
Hats Off! by Henry Holcomb Bennett
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums,
A flash of color beneath the sky:
Hats off!
The colors before us fly....
But more than the flag is passing by....
Days of plenty and years of peace;
March of a strong land's swift increase;
Equal justice, right, and law,
Stately honor and reverend awe;
Sign of a nation, great and strong
To ward her people from foreign wrong:
Pride and glory and honor,-all
Live in the colors to stand or fall.
Hats off!
Along the street there comes
A blare of bugles, a ruffle of drums;
And loyal hearts are beating high:
Hats off!

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Thanks, Jack -  It was an honor to serve.====JACK:  I remember how proud your parents were when you achieved the rank of Warrant Officer (I think) and were assigned to fly a helicopter.  Do you think that you could still fly one today?

FROM THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR:  Thanks Jack for the honorable thoughts on this Veteran's Day.====JACK:  I know that your dad was in the military as a B-25 pilot.  I still think that you should take a ride in the B-25 that's at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run.  Where did you learn to fly?  In the service?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/10/16
“Cast all your anxiety on the Lord, for he cares about you.”  (1 Peter 5:17)  A woman once told me of a time when it was extremely hard for her to pray the Lord’s Prayer, especially the petition, “Thy will be done.”  She was standing beside her son’s casket.  The words stuck in her throat.  Finally, after a long pause, she said them, and relief came to her.  Whether the concern be a death…or an election, ”Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TL IN MICHIGAN:  Thanks, Jack.  My household is divided (on the election results) and this I know to be true.====JACK:  Is the division of what are family values?====TL:  No those are rock solid.  Thank you for the vision.====JACK:  What I meant by that...What are the "family values" that the winning party stands for, and how important are they among other issues.  Was this an election about values?====TL:  Respect, unconditional love, honesty, independence, security, support.  The winning party stands for Independence and security. Very important.
FROM RB IN MICHIGAN:  Now we can refocus our attention on:  "Seek the Kingdom of God first again"  That's what will make America great as a unified body in Christ.  It's hard to watch the people here in NY over the last three days.====JACK:  I can just imagine the kind of protest there would be if the election had gone the other way.  In fact, the "winners" had actually said what it would be if they turned out to be "losers."

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Many times when you take things to the Lord, you can't just leave them there....witness Jeremiah.====JACK:  Not all are activists.  Each has needs and talents.  God knows and understands.  My knowledge is often flawed, but I seek to understand.====JOHN:  Think of A D Mattson.   He said "Rise up O Men of God".  Was so much better than "Sit down, O Men of God." ====JACK:  Many of our generation of Augustana pastors have received their social ministry ideas in A.d.'s classroom.  Some express their concerns in one way, and some in another.  One of my favorite poems is by Christopher Morley...The Power-House.  "Out for my evening stroll  I discovered on 84th Street  A power-house quietly humming to itself,  And though I lived near-by  I had never known it was there.  Some people are like that."

FROM CR ON THE WESTSIDE:  Great counsel Jack.  Lots of very sad, worried, scared people right now.====JACK:

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  an old college roommate of mine lost a 42 year old daughter to brain cancer yesterday.  Sarah was an ELCA pastor and a real sparkler.  so  very sad.  I will forward  your WWs to the family today. thanks.====JACK:  There are issues far more important than an election, but our God is concerned for whatever grieves his children.

fFROM BLAZING OAKS:  Right! Be so busy enjoying your life, that you have no time for hate, regret, or fear. (recovery because as author Rachel Wojo says, "Prayer trumps panic. Every. Time."  Lots of praying going on amid our anxious "losers"! Timely quote in WW for today!

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  I'm working on it.  I know God cares for the sparrow and the flowers.  The world is a perfect and lovely place.  So here we are. I counting on him listening to calmer voices.  However he has not done that in his history.  I have hope and I am willing  to see what happens.  I just hope his views on people who are not blue eyed and blond will be tolerant.  Thanks for your prayers.====JACK:  God has an unlimited supply of patience and far as I know...and we can be thankful for that.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  One of our choir anthem was "Cast Your Cares upon the Lord, cast your cares on Him, cast all your anxieties all your pain and He will care for you."  I may have missed some refrains but I have never forgot the song!====JACK:  That verse is both in the OT and the NT.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/9/16
“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today.  It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”  (Charles Schulz)  If Sparky were living, this quote might be the basis for a Peanuts strip after the BIG election.  Schulz was able to take a complex idea and make it understandable through his Peanuts characters.  Reagan was a reader; Whoopi, too; and 300 million others.  In my opinion, Linus would be the one to speak today’s Winning Words.  Or, who else?   ;-)  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Speechless====JACK:  Yesterday I predicted that there would be some very unhappy people today.  Someone wrote recently, "Be careful what you wish for.  You might get it."====PAUL:  And... it looks like the majority of the voters are the ones most unhappy!  She is probably going to win the popular vote!====JACK:  The founding fathers chose to have the election of a President made by the states, rather than by a total vote of the people.  "States rights" continues to be an issue.  The Civil War was a war between the states and only, secondarily, about the rights of the slaves.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  Just  got a note from old school mate Steve Gustafson in AU congratulating me on the election.====JACK:  Nobody's going to tell you that wishes don't come true.  The next one might be harder...that the Hawkeyes beat the Wolverines in football next Saturday.

FROM SK IN GERMANY:  Back in Germany I still stay in contact with you in my thoughts through your Winning Words! Today it's at long last time to thank you for sharing your wisdom and your visions!  And today lots of thoughts are with all our American friends... Sure - the world will not come to an end today - but our family - and the whole German press - is in shock about this unbelievable election results!====JACK:  I have lived long enough to see examples of the bad turning out to be good.  During WW2, Germany was America's mortal enemy, but now they are perhaps our closest ally.  People such as you and your family make me proud of my (1/2) German heritage.  We have a tendency to look at life, using a microscope.  Now is the time to bring out the telescope and look at the big picture.  God has a much bigger telescope than we do.  BLEIB RUHIG!

FROM OPTIMIST AW:  Great!! Thanks, Jack.====JACK:  I don't know about, "great," but I do believe that it was something that needed to be said.

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  A new dawn in America so let us all pray for his success.====JACK:  Success is in the eye of the beholder.  What is success to you?

 FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  Thanks Jack, cause that is what it feels like the world coming to an end.====JACK:  Some things are worse than losing an election.  I know of someone who's been told that he has mouth cancer.

FROM DP IN WISCONSIN:  Mother passed away gracefully Tuesday evening.  Thank you for your prayers and friendship.====JACK:  What a fine, fine lady and friend!  Yesterday was important,  because it was the first day of her life in heaven.

FROM JEFF OF RAYMOND JAMES:  Great words on a day like today Jack!   I am trying to keep many clients from jumping off of the proverbial cliff.   Have a good day.====JACK:  Elections are important, but when all is said and done...follow the money!  There was a reason why Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven."  We always have to ask ourselves, "What's really important in this world?"  Both you and I are often in the business of calming people.

FROM DR JUDY:  Clever!!====JACK:  Clever?  Maybe...but the job of a pastor, my job, is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.====JUDY:  And you did so subtly yet directly!! As one can without presenting an entire sermon. Well done!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Well, I REALLY didn't think I would be one of the very, very, unhappy people today, but though still reeling with the upset, I have to come to terms with "the will of the ______________ people"! I can't imagine what the future holds for America, under a Trump Presidency, but holding on to a verse in Isaiah 43:3-4: "I am the Lord your are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you."  His love is with us, even in disaster..!====JACK:  I've often quoted this poem, "What God Has Promised," by Annie Johnson Flint...
God hath not promised skies always blue,  Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,  Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,  Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain rocky and steep,  Never a river turbid and deep
But God hath promised strength for the day,  Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,  Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Maybe Annie - "The sun will come out tomorrow........".   Someone once told me life is like driving a car.  The rear view mirror is small compared to the size of the windshield.  That's because we should spent a lot more time looking forward than back.  Appropriate for today.  How we reach out to others and show the world we are the UNITED States of America by being compassionate and understanding of all people - here and throughout the world.  Where we go from here is up to us.====JACK:  Maybe, before an election, each candidate should be asked to write a concession speech.  Such words would tell much about an individual.

FROM JB AT LSTC:  The question is, is President-elect Trump a reader. I fear not.  I have to trust that God will use even Donald Trump to bring about some good, some way, somewhere. But on this morning, after to listening to what he has said over the last 18 months, that is beyond my imagination. ====JACK:  At a speech in Michigan Trump said that the Bible is his favorite book...and gave a thumbs up.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  My verse for this day: Jesus Wept!====JACK:  Based on his teachings of love and respect...I don't think that he would have gotten enough votes.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  And I am VERY Happy!====JACK:  What are your expectations?  ====MARLYS:  I am really wanting him to CLEAN UP THE SWAMP in Washington DC.  They are all so beholden to this person and that company they get nothing done!  He financed his own campaign so he is beholden to NO ONE!  I also hope he gets rid of so many regulations that are strangling small businesses—gets rid of the PC crap—rebuild our image with other countries (they have been laughing at us—they know that we are all bark and no bite)—and I could go on—that is just off the top of my head.====JACK:  I asked, and you answered.  We shall see.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  One day at a time. It is a great day to look forward to a peaceful transfer of power in our great country.  Having just finished reading Alexander Hamilton, politics these days are much more calmer.====JACK:  No duels!

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Great I love it and Charles Schulz came from Minnesota.  Tomorrow is a new day.====JACK:  I seem to recall that statues of some of the Peanuts characters are on the streets of St. Paul, Schulz's hometown.  BTW, read Proverbs 27:1.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/8/16
“Unfortunately sometimes one can’t do what one thinks is right without making someone else unhappy.”  (W.Somerset Maugham)  I can’t recall a voting day like today.  There’re going to be some very, very, unhappy people whatever the outcome.  TV commentators will explain it. Twitter will be opinionated.  “Que, sera, sera” is a way to look at it.  How about saying, “It’s the  will of God?”  Or, is it simply the will of the electorate?  What do you think?”      ;-)  Jack

FROM IKE AT THE MIC:  I think that we should only screen potential candidates on their talents, mission,honesty, mental health,term limits & not their sex lives.====JACK:  This election, more than any other, seems to be driven by the internet and social media.  Even the debates are more of a TV presentation than an informed discussion of substantial issues.

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE: God is in control regardless the outcome. It gives me confidence no matter who wins. But.....====JACK:  You have a big but...however, bigger than that is your faith and reliance on God.  Good!

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Scared.  I hope too that our country will survive it's integrity if Trump gets elected.  He scares me.====JACK:  The biggest selling Halloween masks this year were Trump and Hillary.  Which was the scariest depended which candidate you liked the least.  Instead of voting for the best candidate this year, it seems to be a choice of the least scariest.

FROM SBP IN FLORIDA:  Well, God gave us free will. So , if that's the case, we can use that privilege to choose the direction we prefer. So, for good or ill, we make the choice.====JACK:  I'm using my free will to vote on party principle rather than on TV's presentation of the candidates.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  how about this?  if Hillary wins, its the will of God.  If not, it has to be somebody else's will😀====JACK:  I think that in the Lord's Prayer we pray, "The will (not my will) be done....on earth."  In an election, we're simply expressing our opinion.

FROM TARMART REV:  Looks like the "the will of half the folks, anyway one would look at it?!
There was a time Israel had God as their all-encompassing Leader, until they noticed other countries having their own king and desired one for themselves. Their was a time we as nation openly stood for "One Nation Under God" until we noticed others desiring and demanding a pluralistic nation with many gods. Here is one example today of such a harvest of thought! I find the God our Bibles turning a nation, a family and an individual over to their own demise at times until they are made aware of such an error.   Joshua's words comes to me often: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).====JACK:  Many of the founding fathers were Unitarians, so God to them was not necessarily the concept of a Christian God.  Since many of the new immigrants were fleeing religious persecution, the founders wished to emphasize that the new nation would not be a nation of a particular religion which might persecute people based of their religious beliefs.  BTW, the Joshua story is one of my favorites.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  In my opinion, the more I look at the electoral vote method of electing a President, the less I like it.  A candidate could win the popular vote by a landslide, but if they lost the biggest 11 states by just a few votes, would win the election.  That does not seem to reflect the will of the majority.  I also would change the time frame that someone can serve on the Supreme Court.  Lifetime is, again in my opinion, not good. Perhaps 6-8 years - tops.  The same with Congress - maximum two terms.  That way they might work full time instead of spending half their time running for re-election.  One thing for sure, we have to find a way to come together as a country (and a world) if we are going to survive.====JACK:  Yes, it seem reasonable that the President should be elected by popular vote, but if I remember my Civics class correctly...Our country was founded as the union of 13 states...the United States.  Each state was to have a vote as to who should be President of this country.  The will of the people was expressed by allotting to each state votes based on their population, the electoral college.  So, in a way, it was a compromise.  State Rights, as a subject, has been argued about since the beginning.i.e. Civil War (War between the States).  If the election were simply a popular vote, the candidates would simply spend the energy in the biggest population centers, and the areas of small population would be ignored and those people would feel left out.  Yes, there is a possibility that the choice of a president by the electoral college would be different than the popular choice.  I think that the founding fathers knew that and opted for the states plan.  We've survived 240 years, so something must be working.====REV:  Let me add, I am very grateful for those Unitarian founding fathers who chose to use the Judeo/Christian Bible as the source of many if not most of our governing laws and notional celebrations. Even having them posted on the walls of many of our government office building and schools. We were truly blessed by them as a nation.

FROM DAZ IN COLORADO:  We will survive. The world will not end. We are very adaptable. ====JACK:  Look at the Church and it's factions....====DAZ:  Along that line, Kathy and I found a Great Course in our library called the History of Christianity in the Reformation.  They are lectures on DVD. 36 half hour lectures  WE thought it fit with the 500 Reformation Anniversary too. Only heard 3 so far but a good start. Its by Prof Brad S Gregory from Stanford.====JACK:  Sounds like a good way to "appreciate" the Reformation.   

FROM MY LAWYER:  God wouldn't have done this to us!!!====JACK:  That's what the friends of Job said in the Bible....and Job responded, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him."

FROM PR JM:  Oh, my word!  Don't even suggest that the will of the electorate, jaded though we all may be, is "the will of God"!!  Even the choice of candidates at their several conventions is not the will of God, but only of the people represented there.====JACK:  Who has known the mind of the Lord?  He's found a use for you and me.  What might he have in mind for America?====JM:  The Lord has also given us free will, which we do not always use with prudence.  And, that means, to me, that the Lord also watches and waits to see how we'll use our free will and does not pre-determine the outcome.  After all, according to Genesis, we're already on Plan X (for Christ).====JACK:  Doesn't "free" mean that we can use it however we choose to use it?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  I believe some things are the result of the will of people, but only because God allows the people's will to be done.  Scripture tells us of people who disregarded God's instructions, choosing to go their own way, and the results were disastrous.  Sometimes God apparently decides to let us learn things the hard way.  That old phrase still pertains..."Be careful what you want because you may get it."====JACK:  That last sentence is a good one.  I'm reminded of what was said to me when, as a child, I seemed to have all of the answers...."You think you're so smart!"  I didn't have all of the answers, nor do the politicians or the voters.  Trust the process!  ====RI:  That comment, "You think you're so smart!",  got a lot of use at our house...something my older sister was telling me regularly.===JACK:  "Smart Alec" is another term you don't hear much anymore.  I was called that once or twice.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  The President-elect will surely have her/his hands full, trying to pull this nation back together;  I think we're in for a very bumpy ride for months (maybe years) ahead, as the gov't. bodies are so lacking in a will to compromise on ANYTHING!  The main focus seems to be making the President miserable and blocking any progress anywhere that requires cooperation! Yes, we are going to have very, very unhappy people. So sad!  I like the quote today, as it is so often true! ====JACK:  Maybe this is "purgatory" for our country.

FROM ANNE IN WATERFORD:  The electorate has spoken.  God bless America.  There is a reason. ====JACK:  Do you think God cares one way or the other about elections...even the election of a Pope?

Monday, November 07, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/7/16
“I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”  (Martin Luther)  At many stadiums there’s a net behind the goalposts to catch kicked footballs.  It reads, “You’re in good hands.”  It’s more than an ad for Allstate Insurance; it’s a reminder of what happens when we turn our concerns and our loved ones over to God.  Each time you see that net, say confidently, “I’m in good hands!”    ;-)  Jack

Friday, November 04, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/4/16
“That’s football!  That’s why I hate football.”  (Archie Manning)  The shape of a football makes it bounce in crazy and unexpected ways,,,hence the expression, “That’s the way the ball bounces.”  You can love the game, or hate it.  Life is something like that, often depending on the bounces.  In the game and in life, much depends on how you react to the bounce.  I wonder if God purposely designed life to be like a football?  What do you think?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  ...somewhat like the game of golf...the ball flies higher and farther at times before it comes back down to earth; pulled left and right and out of bounds on occasion; found in a trap or two ever-so-often; and, at the end of every round on a normal course has been picked up and out of a total of 18 holes!!====JACK:  ...or like in "your" sport of bowling.  A good or bad game can depend on the bounce of the pins.  Why do bowlers twist and turn after rolling the ball..thinking that their movements are going to affect the bounce of the pins?====REV:  Now your asking for our top secrets in the game-- it's all for show, Jack!!

FROM CR IN MICHIGAN:  It sure keeps it interesting!====JACK:  Life is far more interesting than a football game.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:   Total stitches in each? 108 stitches...something to ponder.====JACK:  108 stitches in a baseball, too....and the Chicago Cubs just won their first World Series in 108 years.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  It teaches us to never take things for granted...they could go the other way. ====JACK:  I once played golf with someone who had never played the game before.  After the first hole I secretly substituted an off-center ball for his.  He couldn't figure out why his shots wouldn't go straight.  When he putted, the ball would bounce in crazy ways on the green...once actually bouncing into the hole.  He let out a scream of triumph, while the rest of us were rolling on the ground.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  did you see the Kevin Turner (not sure about his name) died yesterday at 46 years old from brain trauma caused by his  years in the NFL?====JACK:  Baseball players now wear helmets, but, before they were mandated, I was at a game in St. Paul in 1953  and saw Don Zimmer get hit in the head with a pitched ball.  I'll never forget the sound of that.  He woke up two weeks later.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Life hands us the bounces.  He's our coach and his goal is to Guelph us through "The goalpost of life"!====JACK:  I don't know what "guelph" is, but God sometimes turns bad  bounces into touchdowns.====JUDY:  Punt.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  We all just have to try to make this a better world.  Everything happens for a reason.  As we grow older don't you think that it is important to keep learning and keeping busy with good things?  My 5 children and their families and their 18 grandchildren keep me busy and what is up to date.  My classes at OLLI at USF are eyeopening too.  My classes this semester are Tampa Black History and Science:What a Wonderful World.  Life is busy and interesting and a blessing. ====JACK:  I like the commercial tagline..."A mind is a terrible thing  to waste."  It started out 3 decades ago as way of encouraging "negro" students to attend college.  Now, it applies to education in the opportunities that you take advantage of.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I didn't know that's where the expression "that's the way the ball bounces" came from, but 'tis appropriate!   Having a husband and 3 sons who loved playing and watching football, I became a addict, too!  (right now, however, I'm on cloud nine over the CUBBIES victory!! My mom was a life-long Cub fan...)      Bill often likened living the Christian faith to playing in ball games...We have to stay alert to "catch the ball" and carry it to the Goal...and it usually involves team effort! We need each other! Interesting WW  today!!====JACK:  I like the quote, because it comes from Archie, a great football player and the father of Peyton and Eli.  I think that he's implying that football can be a frustrating game, at times.  "We shoulda won that game, but the ball took a crazy bounce."

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  God must like football. He created pigs.====JACK:  Did you know that footballs are made out of cowhide, not pigskin?  But, God did create cows, too.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/3/16
“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.”  (Meister Eckhart)  Before ballpoint pens, when I was in school, we used #2 pencils, with erasers .  My eraser always seemed to wear out before the pencil.  In Meister E’s mind, that was a good thing.  Only the perfect God is able to use a pencil with no eraser.  Don’t be discouraged by life’s mess-ups (sins).   God is a God of 2nd chances as this poem expresses it…  :         ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I do the NY Times Crossword n pen...makes you think before you put in any old answer....====JACK:  I, too, do crossword puzzles (not NY Times) with ink.  Instead of using an eraser, I just overwrite the correct letters.  It looks messy, but that's a parable of life. ====JOHN: Don't see many young people who do the crosswords anymore...wonder if they will become relics?====JACK:  My daughter Beth does them.  I used to see a bishop do the Tribune one during Augustana College Board meetings.

FROM MY LAWYER:  However, most good country club's golf courses have pencils without erasers.  That's so an entered score cannot be altered.  The person keeping score had better be accurate!!!  I remember about 40 years ago when the first South American golfer apparently won the Master's Tournament; but, then was disqualified for writing in a wrong score on a hole.  He erroniously entered a higher score for a hole than he actually played.  Nevertheless, he was disqualified.  I don't think that has happened since in a big tournament.  Wouldn't an eraser have been handy!!!====JACK:  The only time I really cared about what score I put down was when I got a hole in one.

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  That poem, "The New Leaf", expresses so tenderly the grace of God, bearing with us, and encouraging us to keep trying to be better.  It seems the well of forgiveness is infinite.====JACK:  Standing before God on Judgment Day...more than my lip would be quivering.
====RI:  Me too, Reverend.  So I would like you to be with me as my advocate.====JACK:  One of the nicknames for Jesus is, Advocate.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I ALWAYS use a pencil.  Now Clem on the other hand did crossword puzzles with a pen!!====JACK:  I usually wrote my sermon notes in pencil.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Great thoughts. Love it.  Why did I think  your winning words were going to be “Cubs Win”!?====JACK:  I live in the Eastern Time Zone, so I went to bed before, "Cubs Win...Cubs Win!"  I stopped watching in the 6th inning.

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Time was a thief  Turn over a new leaf.  Make this one better  Be a go getter.  God will give you a hand  And all will be grand.  Turn over a new leaf  And give Him your belief====JACK:  Good thoughts!  Did you compose this?

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Thank God that He’s gives us forgiveness and grace.====JACK:  Were you ever "allowed" to clean the erasers in school?  Cleaning today's whiteboard wipers is more complicated, so they're generally thrown away...another job lost to technology.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Having a pencil with an eraser on your golf cart can do wonders for your golf scores as well.  God is the best at giving mulligans.====JACK:  Without Mulligans there'd me no one in heaven.  One story says that it originated with David Mulligan, one-time manager of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.  He was playing golf with a group of friends and hit an errant drive.  He teed up another ball and called it a correction shot.  The friends decided to rename it a Mulligan.

FROM CS IN ROYAL OAK:  I gave my grandchildren and other younger children each an EARaser shaped like an ear--pretty funny.====JACK:  Their friends might be accused of bullying if they said, "You have a funny looking ear."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  What a beautiful poem and a Grace-filled God!!!====JACK:  It's a poem with picture words.


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/2/16
“Dress the monkey in a silk suit and it is still a monkey.”  (Argentine Proverb)  I recently received an invitation which said, “Evening wear only.”  The last time I wore a tux was at my wedding.  A monkey suit is clothing designed to make everyone look the same.  But under the tux (uniform) is still an individual.  Clothes don’t make the man (woman).  Jesus said, “Why do you worry about what you wear.”  Many things are more important than that.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  also,  lipstick on a pig does not change the pig all that much either.  have a good day, Jack, and pray for the nation.====JACK:  What does God do when he hears prayers with conflicting requests?  Oh, that's right...We should pray, "Thy will be done on earth..." ====SP:  Bingo!

FROM TARMART REV:  One might receive a lot of compliments, as I still do choosing to wear my white shirt, tie and vest on Sunday mornings instead blue jeans as many of the others on the platform are wearing. But we all are still individuals serving Christ and His Church from one degree to another.====JACK:  One of the advantages of being a Lutheran and wearing a robe for leading worship.....Some pastors wear shorts under the robe during the summer.

FROM TRIHARDER:  "Lipstick on a pig"?====JACK:  Here's another: "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change it's still going to stink."  Is there a similar Yiddish expression?

FROM RI IN BOSTON:  I received an invitation which said, "Evening wear only" so I went in my pajamas.====JACK:  Have you ever sung the song, "I wear my pink pajamas in the summer when it's hot...?"====RI:  No, I wear my sheer pajamas in the summer when it's hot.  I wear the pink p-j's in the winter when it's not.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Still, man DOES look on the outward appearance, so one does try to look as "presentable" as one can...   but  yes, it's true, clothes don't make us what we ARE...and even with good first impressions, one must follow through with  kindness, integrity, caring, faithfulness, etc. etc. etc.  I grew up with, "Well, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."  Lots of farmers on my dad's side of the family!====JACK:  I've sometimes wondered how Helen Keller made judgments of people.====OAKS:  Good thought.  She seemed very perceptive!

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Big smile.  “They” say a tux is the best investment a man can buy as you’ll wear it so often that it will “pay for itself”; not in your case?  Women spend so much on the bride gown and never ever wear it again where men typically rent and will then need to rent again and again.  The lilies of the field is one of my favorite verses.  Thanks for bringing it to mind today. ====JACK:  I suppose you remember the movie, "Lilies of the Field."  That's the kind of "religious" film that I like.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Jack’s Winning Words 11/1/16
“Television is where you watch people in your living room that you would not want near your house.”  (Groucho Marx)  Groucho died almost 40 years ago, but this quote seems like it was made for today.  He was called, “The master of innuendo patter.”  Given the political climate of today, most people will be glad when Nov 9 comes…but like Yogi said, “It ain’t over til it’s over.”  BTW, who’s a TV personality that you might want in your living room?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Hardly ever missed a televised Billy Graham Crusade during the years . . . would welcome that again in our day and age!!====JACK:  I rather have George Beverly Shea come over and sing a few songs.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Andy Rooney, but unfortunately he's already gone.  Probably reminding God what's how messed up our world is.====JACK:  I liked Andy best as a curmudgeon.  Wry guy!

FROM CPA BOB:  There are many more, but Savanna Guthrie & Matt Lauer come to mind first, since I watch part of the Today show often.  I think Anderson Cooper would be great for dinner and an extended evening.  For comic relief, I’d like to spend time with Jimmy Fallon, since I often end the day with his monologue.====JACK:  I recently read Anderson's book, The Rainbow comes and goes."  Aint it the truth?

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Kermit====JACK:  I thought that you might have chosen Dennis Weaver.

FROM INDY GENIE:  Rachel Maddow:)====JACK: Then, you probably would ask Donald Trump to make it a threesome.====GENIE:  Haha....sure! He's welcome in my living room (especially if Rachel is there too:) Wanna join us?====JACK:  She could hold her own.

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  Lester Holt====JACK:  We're fans of his, too.

FROM ARTISTIC C:  Charlie Rose. How about you?====JACK:  He's got the craggy look and a voice with a smile in it.  As for my choice....Barack and Michelle====C;  Yes, and I like Rachel Maddow as well!

FROM GOOD DEBT JON:  Amen.====JACK:  I thought you might have chosen one of TV's financial commentators.  Which one?====JON:   Maybe Dave Ramsey.====JACK:  I've that he presents finance from a Christian perspective,

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Tom Sellak, Chris loves his work.  Whoops. Tom Sellak is second......David Ferherty the golf analyst is #1====JACK:  Magnum P.I. was one of the best.  We have a Ferrari in our city.  I sometimes go in there and dream.  Among the used cars, I've seen one that looks like the one Magnum drove.  I wonder what the parishioners would think if I scooted around in one of those?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Red Skelton.  He was my favorite because he was so nice in person as on t.v.  At least that's what I've been told.====JACK:  He believed that his role in life was to make people laugh.