Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/28/17
“Ever Wonder Why?”  (Book by Douglas Smith)  Curious people would like Smith’s book.  It answers lots of question, like:  “Why are black cats considered unlucky?...Why do jumping beans jump?...Why is zero in tennis called, love?”  Sometimes I wish that God would write a book like that.  For example, “Why do bad things happen to good people?...Why do you allow evil?...Why do people eat paczki today?”  We all have God-questions.  What’s yours?    ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  Black cats in England are lucky and today, Shrove Tuesday, we will eat pancakes.====JACK:  Don't they have a "pancake race" in England where ladies try to see who's the fastest runner while flipping a pancake in a frying pan.  Have you ever done that?

FROM TARMART REV:  What's taking Him sooooo looooong to come back for the faithful still faithfully waiting  . . . 0;-)====JACK:  The early disciples asked the same question.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Why do we try so hard to be good and fail nearly every time?  Why did you make no-see-ems?====JACK:  If we could be good on our own, there'd be no need for the grace of God when it comes to salvation.  No-like-um-that!====JUDY: I'm so deeply grateful to God for his Grace and Mercy!!'  It's what gets us through!

FROM THE PEW IN FRONT OF ME:  I like the one from one of your sermons.  Is there really only one path to see God?====JACK:  I think that the verse, "No one comes to the Father but through me," needs some interpretation.  God does not intend for us to leave our brain with the car in the parking lot when we go to church.  Of course I believe that Jesus is God, coming to us in human form to help us understand the unknowable.  And God reveals himself in other ways, too.  Today I had lunch with my friend, the Imam (Shaykh Mohamed Almasmari) from the Muslim Unity Center.  If anyone exudes the spirit of Jesus, he is that person.  ...a long answer to a short question...and it could be longer.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Why couldn't you give us a few more details about "heaven" and the place you prepared for us when we "cross over"? Inquiring minds would love to know!!!  I know, "that's where Faith comes in..."  The book sounds interesting!====JACK:  Gates of pearl and streets of gold don't impress me.  No more crying and answered questions do..====OAKS:  I'm certainly not expecting those either, and expect to be greeted with unconditional love, because that's what God is!

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Why is getting old more difficult than growing up?====JACK: The younger people only read about the limitations of aging.   The older people experience them.

FROM LBP IN PLYMOUTH:  Isn't the last one like all other "Fat Tuesday " feasts? To use up the larder before the big fast?====JACK:  To use up the lard (meat and all meat-related products before Lent begins)...  Traditionally, Catholics have eaten only fish during Lent and on Fridays as a reminder to concentrate on the crucifixion of Jesus on Good Friday.  As you may recall, the Greek word for fish, ΙΧΘΥΣ, is an acrostic which, translated into English, is, Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.  So, force yourself to eat fish instead of meat (and lard-ed paczki), and you will think of Jesus.====LBP:   I had fish for lunch. Kind of coincidentally. Just grabbed leftovers :)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/27/17
“For age is an opportunity no less than youth itself though in another dress.”  (Longfellow)  “Put yourself in the other person’s moccasins” needs to be updated to, “put yourself in the other person’s skin.”  Last week I met Tanya and heard her experience with profiling…by a cop and a judge.  I admit that I, too, had “profiled” her before our conversation.  The “dress” that age, sex, race give us is just a disguise.  Today, try to see the real person you’re talking to.    ;-)  Jack

FROM COPPER COUNTRY BOB:  Excellent!  I’m supplying for Lent in a congregational vacancy.  Expounding the texts for Wed I’m asking,  “What kind of preaching (preacher) do you want?”    For myself I want preaching that  a) Strengthens  my faith and  b) Deepens my commitment.  But in order for that to occur a third ingredient is necessary; namely  c) Confronting my sin and lack of obedience. We just heard at Transfiguration  “This is my Son.  LISTEN! to Him.”    They did listen that he was on the way to Jerusalem. But they failed to comprehend.    We are like that.  God continually needs us to listen to His winning words as the Spirit develops us into being disciples.   That’s what putting ones self into the other’s skin does to us.  Thanks!!!!!!!====JACK:  God spoke to me last week through Tanya.  Trans-figure-ation!

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Jack...your comment that the "dress we put on"  age, sex, race et....is a quote worth remembering in itself.====JACK:  What you and I see in the mirror...That's not us!  We are spiritual beings.  God has made us in his image.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  I like your use of the word "disguise".  Well put!====JACK:  We make too many judgments based on disguises.  That's probably the reason we find ourselves regretting choices we've made.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  How true! "Son, How can I help you see? Can I give you my shoulders to stand on? Now you see further than me. Now you see for both of us. Won't you tell me what you see?" (poem: For Adam my son, (and in many ways my teacher). by H. Jackson Brown Jr.  We can all keep learning, from all ages, and keep "doing" every day!====JACK:  It's surprising...how much I 'm learning from my children and grandchildren in these latter days.  Now, I'm standing on their shoulders.

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  Always thoughtful and affirmative; thanks for the winning words today. ====JACK:  Fake news?  Fake people are the ones who scare me.  That might not be affirmative, but it's worth thinking about.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  Jack,  three films that are very good to see are Hidden Figures,  Fences, and Moonlight.  all about the black experience in America.  plh    Manchester by the Sea is also good but very heavy with pain and without much sense of hope.  faith, of course, was completely non-existent in the film.====JACK:  I think that the last movie I saw was, Inspector Gadget.  I get my kicks from watching and talking to the people around me...and people like you who respond to Winning Words.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/24/17
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”  (Charles Dickens)  Dickens', A Tale of Two Cities, describes a situation much like the present in which there are two views of the same world, living side by side.  I have friends who believe we’re now living in the best of times and others who wake up daily to see things getting worse.  The divide between rich and poor widens.  Dickens’ hope is in the death of inequality and a resurrection to a better age, built on the ashes of the old.  There is a God!  Hold on to that hope.  The best is yet to come.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  My only answer is: What does the Bible say about it?====JACK:  I don't know what particular Bible passage you're referring to.  But, a "promised land" is offered to those who trust in the Lord, a land that is beyond imagination.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Thanks, Jack, for your message of hope.====JACK:  Among the saddest of phrases..."There is no hope."  It fits in a variety of situations, doesn't it?

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:  As you may have heard, a whale somehow found its way into the river Thames during Victorian times. People at the time did not figure out how to rescue it, and eventually the animal had to be put down and turned into sausage. The incident was chronicled by Dickens, who began with "...it was the beast of Thames, it was the wurst of Thames."====JACK:  Now...that is a good one...and appropriate.  Thanks.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  When our son was in his early teens, he wanted to read all the Classics.  The first one he read was The Tale of Two Cities.  He read every classic but he enjoyed this one the most.  Even though things seem bad to some things will get better if only in Heaven.  Our names are on His List!====JACK:  Somehow, it just doesn't sound right..."God's making a list, he's checking it twice..."

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  from the poem  Rabbi ben Ezra (by Robert Browning)   "Come and grow old with me;  the best is yet to be!"

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  As long as we continue to hope that the government will reduce the divide, the gap will continue to get wider. Thank God that those who have something, have the opportunity to be charitable.  "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand, that we should walk in them" Ephesians 2:9-10====JACK:  Today I read that the new Education Secretary is thinking of doing away with the school lunch program for underprivileged children.  I hope that it was a misprint, or that there's more to the story.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/23/17
“Choices, Chances, Changes.  You must make a Choice to take a Chance, or your life will never Change.”  (Quote Observations)  Look at the choices you’ve made during your lifetime; think of the chances you’ve taken; and the changes that have happened because of them.  Free will, the opportunity to set life’s direction, is a great gift from God.  But that doesn’t stop me from finding comfort as I sing, “Precious Lord, take my hand…lead me home.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Sometimes there are no choices and we have to live with other people choices.  We change what we can and live the best we can with the changes.====JACK:  Have you ever heard of Hobson's Choice?  Hobson ran a stable.  If you wanted a horse, you took the one next to the door, or none at all.  There was no choice, unless it was, "Take it, or leave it."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  "O Lord, help me! Your sea is so wide, and my boat is so small..."  As Bill said on our 45th anniversary, "If I'd fully known all that would be involved when I asked you to marry me, if would have frightened me considerably!"  But he then reassured my family and me that he had made the right decision, and he'd do it all over again...HA! Not much choice for him at that point!  The life-changing choice that We made was to  go into Christian Ministry, changing profession, entering Seminary at age 30, with wife and two children, etc.  It was a great life, as it turned out, but a very hard choice at the time! Bill later met a H.S, friend on the golf course in his home town, who greeted him, "Bill Oaks! I heard you've become a man of the cloth !! Couldn't be more surprised! How does it feel to go from a Cadillac to a Ford?  Bill didn't even hesitate,saying, Well, Ray, it kind of feels like going from death to life." :-)  Reply:"Oh,  well...I'm happy for you!"   Love these wise WW!====JACK:  Life is change.  Those who can adapt to change and make the best of unexpected situations are deemed...successful.  Congratulations to a successful one!

FROM JE IN THE WLSD:  Jack – this is so salient. It all goes back to “Let it go.” Or “Let go and Let God.” Why do we always feel like we have to be in control of everything. We can be risk-takers at any age – not just when we’re young. We can reinvent ourselves, with God’s guidance at any time. Let go and Let God.====JACK:  It ain't to have a sign on your desk that reads...THE BUCK STOPS HERE.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/22/17
“Smile, things are going to work out.  You may not see it now, but you’re being directed to a much greater happiness.”  (ThisInspiresUs)  Stuart McLean (Canada’s Garrison Keillor) died last week.  He used this quote when he announced the diagnosis of his illness.  Things don’t always work out as we want them to, but things do have a way of working out.  Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled or afraid…I am with you.”  That’s the greater happiness.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.====JACK:  It sounds good, but it takes faith to believe that it is so.====GEORGE:  The verse was posted over the entrance to my shop.
It works.====JACK:  Did anyone ever ask you why it was there?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I don't think Trump is like Hitler...I think he is like Caligula....his own party turned on him.....think the same could happen here....Claudius was next...and eventually the Flavians====JACK:  There are similarities with Adolph when it comes to expressing an opinion about the press.  Did they have a press in Caligula's day?====JOHN:  Not written. But oral.   It was too difficult to print on a wide scale basis.   They did, however, have written communications that went to the wealthy elite.    It was why rhetoric was the queen of educational life.    I studied rhetoric in grad school.   It was interesting....involved more than just speaking well...kind of like Homiletics. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Thank you for the message!  It was perfect for us today!  God is good all the time!!!====JACK:  Everybody needs an umbrella, because into each life some rain must fall.  "Be not dismayed whate'er befall, God will take care of you."====JUDY:  It was a total downpour but He has us under His umbrella.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  ====ST PAUL:  this sounds a lot like Joel Osteen but i will take it with a grain of salt because i do believe it to be true, for the most part.   what i don't like about Osteen is that this theme seems to be the only one he knows to preach on.  every Sunday sounds like the last Sunday.  its just that the names, dates, and illustrations change somewhat.====JACK:  Take it easy on poor Joel.  He's doing the best he can...like most of us when we stand in our pulpits.  He just usually has more listeners than we do.

 FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  God has a plan for all of us, and we are all still here for a reason.  One day at a time. ====JACK:  Have you figured out your reason?  I'm still trying to unravel mine.

Jack’s Winning Words 2/21/17
“Question: Why does a milking stool have 3 legs?  Answer: Because the cow has the udder.”  (Dumb Jokes)  The 3-legged stool is often used as a teaching analogy.  The milking stool describes how our government works.  The seat of the stool is the government.  One leg is the legislative branch (Congress).  A 2nd leg is the executive branch (Presidency).  And the 3rd is the judicial branch (Courts).  Balance is important in the USA…and in life, too!    ;-)  Jack

FROM FINANCIAL PLANNER:   I thought you might enjoy this. I thought of you because today you used the metaphor of the three legged stool representing the three branches of government. Retirement Planning also uses the three legged stool to represent retirement income: social security, savings and income.====JACK:  Yes, the old stool can be used in more places than in a barn.   

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Dumb joke—great analogy!  Thanks====JACK: Aren't those the kind of jokes that went over big at GA? 

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  I have used the analogy for mind, body, and spirit.   also for the Trinity. ====JACK:  I think that the YMCA uses the slogan, Body-Mind-Spirit.====PAUL:  also reminds me of 4H,   hands, heart, head, and health(?)  i wasn't in it but Margaret was big time. ====JACK:  I guess there are 4-legged milking stools, too.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  You're correct...dumb joke but still funny.  I've never heard that analogy before but it's interesting.  I imagine a lot of people have quite a different analogy for the government!====JACK:  Our government needs a strong Judiciary leg in order to keep standing.

FROM TARMART REV:  Somehow the news media, both liberal and conservative, have crafted in a fourth, I do believe?!====JACK:  We need the news media to tell us/show us what the stool looks like and if it's in danger of falling over because of a weak leg.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  Yes, the gov't is milking us dry...====JACK:  Do you have some examples?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2.20/17
“When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad.  That’s my religion.”  (A. Lincoln)  Although Lincoln was not a conventional Christian, he was a deeply moral person and knew the Bible well.  If someone were to ask me about my religion, I’d probably say, “…to love God with all my heart and mind and to love my neighbor as I love myself.”  Theologian Karl Barth quoted “Jesus loves me, this I know,” to explain his religion.  How would you describe yours?    ;-)  Jack

FROM LG IN COMMERCE:  "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."  Deuteronomy 6:4-9  Amen!====JACK:  Sometimes we see more of a separation in our religion(s) than there really is.

FROM TARMART REV:  The greatest commandment--loving God and neighbor, with all my heart and soul . . . and only by His grace!!====JACK:  I wonder if you do more religious things outside of the church building than in it?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Love. Love, Love..unconditional love, such as the Father God has for all of us. He told us to Live Love, which is not as easy as it glibly rolls off the tongue!! But he does give us the strength and the power to try to do that!  Abraham Lincoln did it as best he could in such devastating times as the Civil War!  It is amazing (and awe-ful)to see how those war years aged him. :-( ====JACK:  The love you are writing about is called, grace...love that is given, but not deserved, like God gives to us.  After the Civil War some northerners wanted to punish the South, but Lincoln believed in reconstruction, a kind of grace.  The Marshall Plan, after WW 2, was kind of grace, too.  I think that it was Lincoln who said, "The way to get rid of your enemy is to make him your friend."

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  Actually, Abe Lincoln's religion speaks to me today. On Sunday our Gospel was on love your enemies, walk two miles with them, give them your coat as Jesus taught and so forth and Pastor Jackie sent out her "sermon teaser" to us during the week so we were thinking about the scripture and then she preached on the "Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" or something like that and, as I struggled with the Gospel all during the week, finally came to the conclusion that I will never be perfect but that already all my life long--so far anyway--have been living "seeing through the cross". When I don't love someone am not getting along with, I feel bad and am at the cross. When someone asks me for help and I reject them, I feel bad and am at the cross. When I don't give up my resources to someone who needs them to survive, I also feel bad and am at the cross. Sometimes, I am able to do all these things, only usually with sincere heartfelt prayers for strength to be able to think of the other person's needs instead of just my own, but--for the times when I don't do the good and am so bad and am at the cross, I trust God is working out His best solution for both me and the other and that it will result in more faithfulness and justice in this world
and healing and forgiveness for both of us. Pastor Jackie found that "perfect" in the Greek means "teleos" and that it is more a word that "points in a direction to a desired goal" than a final destination--if I remember her sermon rightly. So anyway, I'm right there with Abe Lincoln and his WW today. Thanks for sharing them.====JACK:  It's good for a pastor to know that the people in the pews are listening.  I think that your response to me...and the other responses...should be shared with your pastor.  The pulpit can sometimes be a lonely place.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/17/17
“Time is free, but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.”  (Harvey MacKay)  My all-time favorite song about time is Jim Croce’s autobiographical “Time in a Bottle.”  Day after day, we take time for granted.  “There’ll always be tomorrow.”  In reality, today is the only day we have.  There’s a famous Walter Payton quote: “Tomorrow is promised to no one.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  The present! It is indeed!!====JACK:  I've often used this poem by Robert Smith at funerals...
“The clock of life is wound but once,  And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop  At late or early hour.
The present only is our own,  So live, love, toil with a will,
Place no faith in "Tomorrow,"  For the Clock may then be still.”

FROM SHALOM JAN: Or, as Luther put it, "How soon not now becomes never."  I have that on a magnet piece on the front of my file cabinet.  Blessings on your day, Jack!====JACK:  That's a great Luther quote.  How come I haven't seen it (or can't remember seeing it) before?  I'm adding it to the others next to my computer screen.

FROM PASTOR PAUL:  Great message as usual…we just watched a video last night at our Stephen Ministry meeting by Andy Stanley about making “time deposits” in our lives that will bear fruit later on (exercise, time with family, spiritual disciplines, etc)…so this was a “timely” message!! Blessings and prayers to you, my friend!====JACK:  I'm reminded of this poem by Alida Woods, a North Carolina school teacher...
Time is our currency, so they say.  It spends in hours and hours of sand
and slips as water with the day.
Shadows in the twilight make away  receding on this black and silent land.
Time is tender, so they say.
Soft yellow slides across the bay.  The marshes in sun’s new light are fanned.
Light slips away like water into day.
By noon the light is in full play,  racing, slipping out of hand.
Time is our currency, they say.
Full circle at the end of day  light falters, chimeric, panned
and slips like water with the day.
How can we spend what cannot stay?  All gold, intangible, in our hand.
Time is like money, so they say.  It slips, it slips, it slips away.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Enjoy each day.  How do you keep up with all of the popular music? ====JACK:  "Eclectic" is my middle name when it comes to music.  After growing older, I've kept up with popular music through my children and, now, my grandchildren.  I've even come to appreciate Eminem's rap and Lady Gaga, too.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:   How about the song, "Time waits for no one, goes on endlessly, just like a river pouring out to the Sea...That used to be a popular song, back in the day!  Bill loved "Time in a  Bottle" and Jim Croce; our sweet Adeline group sang a beautiful arrangement of it.    After Bill survived his heart arrest on the YMCA handball court, and was miraculously revived, his theme was "Today is the Only Day you have..." and he preached it !====JACK:  Did you ever sing this song?
This is the day, this is the day.  That the Lord has made, that the Lord has made.
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,  And be glad in it, and be glad in it.
This is the day that the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day, this is the day  That the Lord has made.
====OAKS:  Yes, indeed, many, many times I've opened my AB Women's rallies, choir doings , kid's camp, etc. using that great, peppy song.  A good thing to remember every day. :-)

FROM CHESTER THE GOOD:  Why is there never enough time to do it right when there is always time to do it over?====JACK:  That sounds like "boss" talk.

FROM PR AL IN ILLINOIS:  Sometimes  when one of my kids ask what I want, I tell them only God can give me:  Time and health.====JACK:  The next best thing is for children to remember their parents, to spend time with them and to help them when they are ill.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/16/17
“All slang is metaphor, and all metaphor is poetry.”  (G.K.Chesterton)  A metaphor is a word or phrase that stands for something else.  For example, “Today’s Winning Words are really on fleek.”  If you’re up on street slang, you know what “on fleek” means.  If not, you may be inclined to Google it.  In France, a slang term of endearment is, “Ma puce,” my flea.  Try that on someone today.  Or, try using, “on fleek,” in a sentence and see who gets it.    ;-)  Jack

FROM MY LAWYER:  Right on!  You are a provocateur....in a good way!!!====JACK:  Is that anything like a raconteur?

FROM TARMART REV:  My eye first caught the Urban Dictionary definition which was not that appealing; however I do like this Dictionary.com definition: "flawlessly styled, groomed, etc.; looking great!"====JACK:  Use "on fleek" in a sentence when you talk to teenagers today, and they will think that you're on fleek.

FROM MSU BIG FAN:  How do you know these things, Smarty Pants and how old are you anyway?! 😂====JACK:  "Stuff" interests me.  I'll never be any younger than I am today.  BTW, the word, smarty, was used in the book, Tom Sawyer.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  My goodness, where have I been that I'd never heard "fleek" or "on fleek" ?!  It's new to me; I  take it that it means, on point, awesome, well groomed or attractive...I'm sure if I'd use it around my friends or family, I'd get "the look"!! :-)  I like G.K. Chesterton, usually...bet he never heard of the metaphor fleek, tho!====JACK:  Here's a suggestion.  Throw "on fleek" into a sentence with your Bible study group and see if anyone says, "What does "on fleek" mean?  I'll bet that no one catches it.  For example, "Jesus was really on fleek when he said that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Don't you agree?"

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  You’re so hip!  Always love the winning words.====JACK:  Curiosity has grabbed me.  Hip?  It comes from the African word, hepicat, meaning "one who has his eyes open."

FROM ME IN NEWPORT BEACH:  You learn something new every day from Jack’s Winning Words.  You must be a voracious reader- like my wife.  Quite honestly, I have always been a poor reader.====JACK:  As I read, I tend to become side-tracked by words and phrases that interest me.
My sermons have often been crafted in that way.  I read the text and look for a word, a phrase or a topic that jumps out at me..."That might interest my hearers (readers)."  Our preaching professor in seminary always said, "Take the text and connect it up with life."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/15/17
“If we don’t change directions soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.”  (Prof Irwin Corey)  You would not want Professor Corey to give you directions to anywhere, because you’d end up nowhere.  This zany comedian once ran for President.  Some liked him; others were perplexed.  In his saner moments he panhandled for cash and used the money to buy medical supplies for sick children.  He died recently at age 102 and can still be seen on YouTube.  HaHa    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  He was one of my favorites====JACK:  I start laughing, even before he speaks.

FROM TRIHARDER:  Internally debating ethics in a legal situation, I verbally conflated two similar ethical concepts into, "I have to be able to sleep with myself."====JACK:  Ethics and common sense make strange bedfellows.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  He sounds like a great guy.  I will look him up.====JACK:  Let me know how he compares to.......

FROM SHALOAM JAN:  Holy cow!  I thought he had died a long time ago.  I hadn't heard of him for many years.  Thanks for reminding me of him.  I enjoyed his zany sketches.  Thanks for the memory!====JACK:  I was impressed that he would panhandle to get money for sick kids.  I'll bet a lot of people didn't know that about him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/14/17
“All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  (Charles Schulz)  Do you do anything special on Valentine’s Day…a card, flowers, a special dinner?  Cartoonist Schulz suggests a gift of chocolate.  A Univ of Cal (San Diego) study says that eating chocolate is good for you.  It strengthens the brain and helps with math.  It extends your life.  A French woman, age 122, says she eats chocolate every week---so Hershey kisses for the 14th.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BS IN ENGLAND:  HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO YOU!  Do have some chocolate, I love it.====JACK:  What's the favorite brand of chocolate where you live?

FROM VW MARY:  The perfect winning words to send on to friends who sent me a big chocolate bar for Valentine's Day...Happy V Day====JACK:  In my teen days, when I had money in my pocket, I'd occasionally go out and buy one of those large Hershey chocolate bars.  Mmmm

FROM TARMART REV:  Those chocolate covered cherries certainly extended my stomach yesterday afternoon!====JACK:  Did you know that those chocolate cherry cordials  sometimes have a liquor filling?

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Charles Schulz was a very smart man!  Happy Valentine's Day!=====JACK:  If Charlie Brown was as smart as Schulz he would have given the little red-headed girl a bag of chocolate kisses.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  My son John and wife are taking her mom (90) and me (87) our for dinner, joining some of their other friends and their moms tonight!  Such a nice Valentine tradition! Son Fred sent "goodies" from WI, to his cheese-lovin' Mama! Sarah graced me with a lovely silk scarf. But true, a little chocolate now and  then surely doesn't hurt: My brain must be in pretty good shape! HA!====JACK:  There's a place in Wisconsin that sells chocolate covered cheese and chocolate covered bacon.  You should have Fred look it up...for next year.

FROM CPA BOB:  We usually only exchange cards for Valentines Day, but Margie overwhelmed me with chocolate today.  It's one of my weaknesses, but with all of these benefits, I won't feel guilty.
Happy Valentines Day!====JACK:  Did you ever have Sanders Chocolate Fudge Bumpy Cake?  You can still order it for $14.99.

FROM JE IN THE WLSD:  Happy Valentine’s Day Jack. Chocolate every week ???? what about a dark Dove candy every day? Too much??!!!  I’m sending a chocolate-filled hug to you.====JACK:  Dove is the best!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/13/17
“Without wearing any mask that we’re conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.”  (Oliver Wendell Holmes)  I saw a list of unlikely friendships which included Helen Keller and Mark Twain, Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald.  Think about your own friends.  What do you suppose brings people together?  I’ve read, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still likes you.”  Come to think about it, God is like that!    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  I'm like that, even knowing you with all your foibles, I still like you....... Must be because of Mary.====JACK:  Following up on unlikely connections, I think of the unlikely connection between  you, Holy Spirit Church and the Crash Landing Restaurant.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  "For better or for worse...."====JACK:  Hopefully, for the better.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/10/17
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe.”  (Rudyard Kipling)  The writer of Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything.,,to laugh, to cry, to live, to die.  …and, isn’t it possible that there’s a time to conform and a time not to conform?  America came into being because of a rebellion.  But rebellion without conformity to law is chaos.  The little boy was a non-conformist.  “The Emperor has no clothes!”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  This morning I just finished reading the most gripping historical fiction of all time, The Auschwitz Escape, by Joel Rosenberg. This is written by a Christian Jew. I didn't realize it was true until the end. I recommend you get it at the library.====JACK:  A Christian Jew?  That's a non-conformist.  I once had a church member who married a Jewish man.  She decided to raise their son in the Jewish tradition, because she saw Judaism as a valuable religious/social asset whose numbers were dwindling.  That's a non-conformist, too.

FROM TARMART REV:  There is a present "struggle" for sure . . . Reading lately, Romans 13:1-8, and finding it interesting when noting Paul was imprisoned for sharing his faith while Nero was in charge . . . Nero's behavior as a demented Emperor (at least this is what I found) was still looked upon by Paul as to be subjected and submitted to as God selected authority. ". . . whoever resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves" (Amplified Bible). Happy to be of another Kingdom that "passeth not away"!!====JACK:  The dilemma....how to be in the world, but not of the world.  But, that's life.  Martin Luther fought daily against "Satan," once even throwing an inkwell at him. ====REV:  I remember reading about that . . . He worked so hard for righteousness sake until he fell back on God's undeniable grace!! I'm certainly counting on it as well!!

FROM BB IN ILLINOIS:  You raise a great point. I spent an entire year in constitutional law, 25 years ago discussing SCT interpretation and Scalia's notion of interpreting the document in light of our 18th century founding fathers. I'm sure these arguments are recognizable to you as a biblical scholar.  Can we really get into the minds, hearts, and lifestyle of the Israelites 6000 years ago for the early Christians 2000 years ago. Our lack of understanding of the language in which the document is written presents only a fraction of the problem. As a child I was taught that the Bible was static, thanks to Missouri Synod. As an adult I believe the force of the Holy Spirit as well as the scholarly body of literature helps us to interpret and apply scripture in a meaningful way. To me, the constitution is no different.====JACK:  A difference:  We have a Supreme Court to be the final interpreter of the Constitution...but even those "final" decisions may have future modification.  But, with the Bible, there is no such final authority, and there is no original document.  A well-trained pastor is probably the best authority.  Authority is the wrong word...source is better.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  Maybe we will get some wisdom, but everyone is convinced that they are correct.  In a strong country we need to have all views presented in the schools (which I always tried to do) and in the media.  But it is a very interesting time in which we lived.  Just think of all of the changes we have seen.  I used to marvel at the years that my parents lived through- the invention of the airplane, the radio, the car, tv etc. Plus they had two world wars and the great depression.  We have had such prosperity for a long time, but it all took a lot of work and it certainly wasn't easy. ====JACK:  "Respect" seems to be a word that needs re-interpretation these days.  I note that even the words of the Pope are being "disrespected" by some Catholics these days.  What ever happened to...the Vicar of Christ?

FROM JE AT THE WLSD:  GREAT insights today. Thank you for your winning words. They often win my heart, like today’s. We are looking for perspective as we witness “The little boy was a non-conformist.  AND The Emperor has no clothes!” May we all have a peaceful weekend.  Thank you, take care and I wish you lots of DARK chocolate next Tuesday!!!====JACK:  Conformity is often the magic word among school kids.  I remember wearing a bow tie once to be different.  Not only that, but it lighted up when I pushed a button in my pocket.

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  are you talking about Trump here????====JACK:  You have "magic eyes!"

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/9/17
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”  (Confucius)  If I were to get a tattoo it might read, “Ancora Imparo,” the words of Michelangelo, translated, “I am still learning.”  I don’t know what my IQ is (and I don’t care).  All I care about is learning something today that I didn’t know yesterday.  Did you know…In Jamaica they don’t say, “Good-bye.” They say, “Walk Good.”  Walk Good today and try to learn something new.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TEACHER SF:  ...and in Israel, they say L'hit r'ote (sp?) ...see you again soon.
Love the new learning that time allows!!====JACK:  One of my friends in Florida takes advantage of Life Long Learning, offered by some universities, that allows people over 50 to enroll in various traditional and contemporary studies.  She thinks it's great.  Perhaps it's something that would interest you.

FROM CS IN MICHIGAN:  Walk good today....====JACK:  I've been meaning to ask:  "Are you walking good these days, or are you still limping?"====CS:  I am walking good....😀 very grateful for all I have. Blessings come in all shapes and sizes!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Something I learned yesterday reading in "Weird World": 400 Million years ago (Can you even grasp 400 MILLION years?!) on Earth, days were only 22 hours, and years had over 400 days...kind of puts your short life span in perspective, doesn't it? All Theology really has 2 simple principles:That we matter, and that everyone else matters." according to G.K. Chesterton. A good thing to learn and remember! :-)====JACK:  I have trouble comprehending my own life span...so long, yet, so short.  How can that be?

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  And in New Zealand they don't say good for you, they say, good On you.
And the term Rift Raff come from the days of riverboats when poor people could not afford the boat fare. They would travel on a raft steered by a rift, thus lower class folk called Rift Raft or later translated to riff raff. Wonders of trivia.  Just noted that Professor Irwin Corey died, the comedian known as the worlds foremost authority.  I used to love to see him pontificate about nonsense so that it sounded profound.  Have a good day.====JACK:  More trivia...Naples is one of the wealthiest communities in the United States with the 2nd highest per capita of millionaires.  Real estate is among the most expensive in the country.  It's no wonder pastors can't retire there.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I never learned my IQ nor do I care.  I am smart enough to know brains don't matter in certain things but compassion, caring and love mean more than brains.  We should all have Goals to learn something new everyday.====JACK:   That sounds intelligent to me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/8/17
“Before you speak, T-H-I-N-K!”  (Mentors Channel)  Here’s an acrostic worth saving.
T – Is it True?
H – Is it Helpful?
I – Is it Inspiring?
N – Is it Necessary?
K – Is it Kind?                                                                                                         ;-)  Jack

FROM JM AT THE CARE CENTER:  I hope you don't mind that I share some of your "Winning Words" at my daily, management stand up meetings. For example, today's message has perfect timing with part of the messages I am delivering at staff meetings today about customer service and team work. I really enjoy reading your daily reflections- I think they are great!====JACK:  I hear from other leaders who says that Winning Words are used at staff meetings.  Yes, I publish some with that in mind.  In fact, I'm planning for one next week.

FROM TEACHER SF:  I had this as a poster in my classrooms!! Always good to hear from you! ====JACK:  When we'd go to teacher conferences for our children, I'd always look to see what the teacher had posted in the classroom...and write some of them down.  Those postings often said a lot about the teacher.

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  Good way to live each day.  thanks for keeping me in line. ====JACK:  Keeping you in line?  I'm a pastor, not a lion tamer.====MARY:  have you seen the movie, "lion"?  it is fantastic and i choose to relate to the name, "sheroo".  i like that you think of me as a lion!====JACK:  Yep!  Son David loaned me his DVD.

FROM DM IN LIV:  Thank you!  I absolutely love this and am committing it to memory.  I truly appreciate you sharing this with us.====JACK:  When I see the word, THINK, I see it as the slogan that IBM would put on the desks of its workers, and I also "think" of Aretha Franklin singing that song in the Blues Brothers movie.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Similar to a Rotary slogan Bill's dad used to quote: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? Good message as usual; I'll print it out for my S.S. lesson this week!====JACK: Rotary, for some is like a second church.  They used to have a rule that you couldn't miss a meeting, and if you did, you had to make it up.  I don't know of any churches that have that rule.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  i learned a new word. thanks!====JACK:  I take it that the word is, acrostic.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  I love these words!!!  I think I will make a special scrapbook page and hang it in the kitchen!  Thanks!====JACK:  Scrapbooks aren't what they used to be.  As a boy I would go through magazines and cut out pictures that I liked (usually animals, clowns and sports figures) and paste them in a tall book with blank pages.  Nothing fancy schmancy.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Boy does that have relevance in our world.  My oh My.====JACK:  I saw this today..."Many problems in life are caused because, we act without thinking, or because we think with out acting."

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/7/17
“God is alive and crabby!”  (The Brand New Testament)  I have several “modern” versions of the Bible: Good News—Living Bible—The Message—Possibility Thinkers Bible—Reader’s Digest Version.  Perhaps you have others.  They’re designed to put old words into the current vernacular.  I still like “the Lord is my shepherd” better than “God is my spare tire.”  But I do appreciate attempts to help us understand God’s will for his people in this world.    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  But unfortunately some things just do not translate very well. I still like to old versions.====JACK:  I'm for any version that makes the message clearer.  The King James Version was an attempt to do that for 17th century England.  Old people usually like old versions, but not all old people are like that.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  Those quotes are way modern.  I am old fashioned....I too prefer "the Lord is my shepherd".  I read the scripture in church last Sunday....Isaiah 58:1-9.  That felt good.  I liked the message.  Very relevant in this century as it was apparently in theirs.====JACK:  Those verses from Isaiah have some relevance in our world and need some "modern" interpretation to accent the old.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  we humans speak different languages, so whatever works, i say.  i have wondered whether god is bipolar. eight days? yikes!  the biblical floods & other calamities may indicate a temper...so, crabby? it certainly seems possible.====JACK:  IMO,God became human in the form of Jesus to let us know that he understands what it is to be human....and so that we can catch a glimpse, through Jesus, that it is possible for humans to be somewhat godly.  I'm sure that he understands what it is to be bi-polar...and crabby, too.====LIZ:  we totally agree on this one!

FROM JB AT LSTC:  I don’t know about God as my spare tire. I’d hate to think of God hanging out in my trunk. But alive and grabby gave me a chuckle this morning. Thanks!====JACK:  Even the image, spare tire, is dated.  The newer cars don't have them, but they do have GPS.  "The Lord is my GPS."====JB:  That I could pray!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I'm with you on that! Spare tire just doesn't quite do it for me, but maybe a teenager would identify...I like The Message and the Cotton Patch Gospels, too, and Leslie Brandt's paraphrase of the Psalms and Gospels.  Who was it said, 'It's not what I don't understand in the Bible that bothers me; It's what I understand all too well!"  Can't bring his name up right now!====JACK:  If you don't understand the source of a quote, just say, "Abe Lincoln" or "Mark Twain."  In this case, it's Mark Twain.  For one who professed to be a skeptic, he was really knowledgeable about the Bible.  A lot of Bible believers could stand to improve their knowledge of "the Good Book."

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  He has a lot to be crabby about in this world.  The truth is very hard to find and it's what we are supposed to tell all the time.  But He still loves us.====JACK:  God loves us....even on those days when we are crabby....because he understands.

FROM CZB IN NEW HAMPSHIRE:  I don’t like the spare tire analogy either!  Much more a GPS. ====JACK:  I don't need a GPS, because I'm not travelling as far as I used to.  I don't need a spare tire, either, because I belong to AAA.  Ah!  "The Lord is my cell phone memory bank."

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  I maybe told you that Eugene Peterson (the Message) and his wife are fairly good friends of ours.  when our daughter Annika and family worked at Flathead Lake Bible Camp in Montana (Kalispell),  the Peterson's lake home bordered on camp property.  Jedd and Annika got to be good friends and  they often baby sat in the evenings when Jedd and Annika were either doing camp work or went out for some R and R.  Eugene wrote for 4 hours five days a week from 8 to noon and did so religiously, pardon the pun.  wonderful people.  he has to be really up in the years now.  you can google him and find out more about his life.  our other daughter Becca fell in love with The Message while in high school.  she and a friend read it to each other almost every morning while driving to school and even spent some time in the parking lot to continue to read.  good memories of both kids...====JACK:  When I attended at Pastoral Leadership Conference at the Crystal Cathedral Robert Schuller personally signed a copy of his "Possibility Thinkers Bible" in which all of the positive quotes in the Bible are highlighted in blue.  He and I both started new congregations at about the same time...his using an outdoor movie theater and mine using a school gymnasium.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  Some times I believe this, and I don't blame God for being crabby. ====JACK:  Do you remember the character, Crabby Appleton, in the Tom Terrific cartoons?  BTW, why do you suppose they're called "crab" apples?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/6/17
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”  (Fred Rogers)  Recently I received a surprise gift, “The World According to Mister Rogers.”  Today’s quote is from that book.  I’ve underlined others.  Fred’s words give insight into the joys of life and the importance of staying connected with others.  Don’t give up on the neighborhood (the world).  This is my Father’s world, O let me n’er forget!    ;-)  Jack


FROM TL IN MICHIGAN:   Quite a man.  His interview was replayed on The NPR Diane Rehn show as one of her all-time favorite guests.  Perhaps you heard it.====JACK:

 FROM PEPPERMINY MARY:  I love Mr Rogers. I read from that book often.  Thanks for the song of the day!====JACK:  I like cardigan sweaters, too.  Mr Rogers' mother knitted his sweaters.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  ". . . that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet."  Amen to that!====JACK:  We need to sing some of the hymns of faith when life gets depressing for us.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/3/17
“The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.”  (Ray Kroc)  My ministry and Kroc’s involvement with McDonald’s began at about the same time.  What I like more than the Big Mac and fries is how McDonald’s has become involved with the Ronald McDonald House project where housing is provided for parents whose children are undergoing hospital treatment…322 houses in 63 countries.  It’s sort of like the Good Samaritan.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV: Lot's of good going on behind those Golden Arches!!"====JACK:  Have you ever made a chaplain call at a Ronald McDonald House?  I'm sure that you've made non-chaplain calls at the Arches.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/2/16
“What’s happening with the word, commitment?”  (Chuck Kyle)  NCAA Football Commitment Day was yesterday, but perhaps the word, commitment, should be flipped to, signing.  Coach Kyle asks, “What are we teaching our young people, when it’s become an accepted practice for coaches and players to “go back on your word?”  And it’s not just in sports.  Marriage,  business, you name it.  Should your word be “good as gold?”    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  In my real estate business we must use attorneys as peoples word means nothing.====JACK:  This world would be a terrible place if you couldn't take anyone at their word.  You even have to trust your attorneys...and your real estate agent..

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The word still means what it used to mean....and we honor our commitments now about as faithfully as we always have.    Reinhold Niebuhr was right on when he emphasized original sin as the key to understanding political life....====JACK:  Adolph Hitler is famous for "The Big Lie," a propaganda technique where a lie is so colossal that no one would be  someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."  Does that remind you of anyone?

FROM DMF IN AVMN:  I think the media needs to create stories so they make kids changing their mind seem like they are going back on their word. The coaches are very clear (usually) that it is only a verbal offer to show their interest and it is not binding either way until Signing Day, and when athletes register on the NCAA website (which they have to do prior to meeting officially with coaches) it is made clear to the athlete   So that is my way of saying that I don’t think people are “going back on their word” as much as changing their mind, which from my view is OK for a lot of reasons….especially for the student athletes.

FROM TL OF SCI:  Beautiful message.====JACK:  I like the phrase..."You have my word on it."


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 2/1/17
“She could take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile.”  (Mary Tyler Moore)  Mary Richards turned many people on with her smile.  I always looked forward to her TV program.  I especially remember when she attended the funeral of Chuckles the Clown…   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WT4tTz0igeg   Just like with many in the comedy business, there was sadness in Mary’s life.  Perkiness probably helped her deal with it.  We each have a way, don’t we?    ;-)  Jack

FROM RJP IN NAPLES:  Chuckles the clown......A little song a little dance a little seltzer down the pants.====JACK:  No wonder Mary couldn't help chuckling.  I can't remember "laughing out loud" and a funeral, but I can remember "crying out loud."  BTW, why do people sometimes say..."For crying out loud?"====RJP:  Simple, whether with laughter or sorrow we humans sometimes cry aloud with joy or weep aloud with pain.  Is there another answer?????? Or am I right as usual??????? ====JACK:  Chuckle, chuckle!

FROM TARMART REV:  Great morning watching the Mary Tyler Moore episode . . . couldn't help but laugh-- watched it twice!! 0;-)====JACK:  I'd like to go back and re-live those seven years of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.

FROM JLF:  I like the quote from MTM for today!  I remember when you and mom would watch that show.====JACK:  Do you have any funny people like that in your office today?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Enjoyed the youtube segment,  and the world-wide acclamation. She certainly deserved it. A truly funny lady, and talented actress!  When sadness does strike in our lives, it is good to have some levity. Charlie Chaplin used to say "You have to take the sad times, and play with them, to make them funny.."  I guess that is one way...====JACK:  One of my all-time favorites ..Hey, Jude!  Take a sad song and make it better.

Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah

Hey Jude, don't let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with
And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah yeah

Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you'll begin to make it
Better better better better better better, oh

Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude

FROM ST PAUL IN MESA:  that segment was priceless.  also,  I recall her in the movie Ordinary People.  she played that role to the max!  she also lost a son in real life as I recall,  much like in the movie OP.====JACK:  Yes, it's true about her son...and she had a battle with diabetes, too...but she could turn the world on with her smile.  "Smile, though your heart is breaking" is how another song goes.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  loved mtm! gisela skated to joan jett's version...====JACK:  I'd never heard that version (until YouTube).  What a beat!  I can just imagine an energetic skate to it.  I'm not sure that diehard MTM fans would like it, but thanks for introducing me to it.

FROM DAIRYLAND DONNA:  Loved her. Just watched Chuckles episode again. Thanks! Did you see the special last  Friday night?  Was great!====JACK:  Nope!  Missed that special.  Missed the Brokaw special, too.  I'm losing it!

FROM JB IN MICHIGAN:  I’m going to “borrow” this one Jack!====JACK:  The interest rate on borrowing is low today...In fact, borrowing is free, in this case.


FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We're coming up to a very rough, perhaps the toughest time in our lives.  I'm not perky but I am a believer in the grace of God who will be with us every step.====JACK:  Are you talking generally, or personally?  Either way, "Yea, though I walk through "the valley," thou art with me."