Thursday, August 31, 2017

ack’s Winning Words 8/31/17
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your front door.”  (J.R.R. Tolkien)  I checked on some “dangerous business” you can be insured for before you walk out the door today.  Like being hit by a coconut, being struck by lightning, losing your hair, or being attacked by zombies… really, I’m not kidding.  But, kidding aside, we do not know what the day may bring.  I like the Jewish tradition of touching a mezuzah before leaving the house.  “God go with me.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Here, I am the optimist.   I go forth with hope.====JACK:  One line from "The Optimist Creed" reads..."To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best."  

FROM DMF IN AV:  I remember there was a mezuzah at our house in Michigan when we moved in. ====JACK:  You probably wondered what "that" was.

FROM TARMART REV:  I have one and for many years posted on my office door frame as a reminder of our time in WB.====JACK:  I'll bet there aren't many AG pastors who started a church, using a synagogue as a worship place====REV:  ... only a handful, if any others at all.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  If we knew what was before us on this planet we would never leave our house.  However, God goes before us and with us so we rest assured.  We are not of this world but the everlasting eternity with our God.  We are just passing through!====JACK:  Did you ever sing.. "This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore
Oh lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

FROM SUNSHINE:  Many, many years ago Joanna and I hiked the Austrian Alps.  Everyone we encountered greeted us saying, "Gross Gott"====JACK:  What a great greeting.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/30/17
“If you would judge, understand.”  (Seneca)  A friend, who is a judge, asked to be on my daily Prayer List.  To make decisions that dramatically affect the lives of people is an awesome responsibility.  I can see why a judge might ask for God’s help in decision-making.  In reality, we make people decisions every day… about people at work…or people in the news…or the person honking…or a “class” of people.  Seneca’s advice…”Understand!” (or try to).    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i just forwarded your W Ws  to a friend of mine who sits on the MN Supreme Court.  a good man and a good Lutheran.====JACK:  Judges are human beings, and I'm sure that most of them (Lutheran or not) appreciate words of support for the job that is theirs to do.

FROM TRIHARDER:  "What an easy job."  How hard are the decisions when someone's freedom, life hang in the balance; Someone's life's work?  How much sleep is lost?  Especially if one does the job right.====JACK:  Did you ever aspire to being on the other side of the "bench?"

FROM NLAZING OAKS:  We're advised in the Bible, NOT to judge, but of course judges have no choice, and how very difficult their jobs must be ! Just read DARING TO DRIVE by Manal Al-Sharif, and what a memoir that is! Nothing but judgment for women in Saudi Arabia from parents, co-workers, educators, Muslim leaders, and police. My, to be female there! :-(  !!  These are  truly wise words from Seneca!  Understanding is the key====JACK:  You've highlighted one of the reasons not always to read the Bible literally, but rather to consider the context.  Daily life depends on making all kinds of judgments.  Some judgments have more serious implications that others.  Think of the ramifications of a society if there were no judges.  Even the Bible has, "Judges."  The fact of the matter is that true judging needs understanding.

FROM JE:  Please keep me on your prayer list. Yes – I do understand it is an awesome task to remember all who need God’s blessings and guidance.  Thank you dear friend====JACK:  I just checked.  You're still there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/29/17
“Master told me one day…Keep your head to the sky.”  (Maurice White)  This song was included in a recent concert by the group, Earth, Wind and Fire (have you heard of them?).  It’s a song of inspiration, about not giving up during the dark times.  It was first performed in the ‘70s, but it has relevance today.  In fact, it has relevance whenever things don’t seem to be going “right.”  God promised to Job (and to us)…”You will be safe, because there is hope.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM DMF IN MN:  I like the Earth, Wind and Fire quote.====JACK:  Thanks to YouTube, I can enjoy the words and the music.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Words that are apt as Hurricane Harvey "sits" over Texas, with rain expected to equal 3.5 times the volume of water in the daily output of the Mississippi River. ====JACK:  I wonder if the people in Noah's day were looking into the sky and wondering. Why?  Noah also saw in the sky, a rainbow, a symbol of hope.  ...and, I also wonder what the "rainbow" will be at the end of Harvey's rain?

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think we need t keep our heads up to the sky ....and our feet firmly planted on the earth.====JACK:  Some philosophers, theologians and pastors spend so much time with the esoteric that they lose touch with reality.  At the Transfiguration Jesus reminded the disciples that their "call" was to go from the mountaintop to where the people were.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  They were a group from my time.  I saw them at the Windsor Ballroom at one of my Proms.  Loved the song.====JACK:  I didn't know that they were that old.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Yes, I know that group, my younger two kids had some of  their music. We could certainly use inspiration in these troubled times! The golf course today was pretty soggy, cart path only (!),  but nothing like my Lutheran pastor niece is going through in La Grange, TX, and I shot my lowest score to date, so bring on the rain. HA! My  niece's husband works at the Golf Course ,there, but of course it is closed as the rain continues to fall, and fall, and fall!  It sure seems like America has had more nature catastrophes than I ever remember in bygone days!! We'll continue  to keep our heads to the sky....====JACK:  Do you remember this song?
Into each life some rain must fall  But too much is falling in mine
Into each heart some tears must fall  But some day the sun will shine
Some folks can lose the blues in their hearts  But when I think of you another shower starts
Into each life some rain must fall  But too much is falling in mine

Monday, August 28, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/28/17
“Many people need someone on the totem pole below them.”  (Dr J’s mom)  A “totem” is a family, or a group, and a totem pole is a way of telling something about that group, using images.  Typically, the most important person or thing is at the top.  That’s the way most of society is structured today.  But, some poles have the most important person on the bottom, supporting all of the others.  Biblically, the humble are the strong.  “Blessed are the meek, etc.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR J:  ;-) love the extra wisdom supporting this quote... my mom is smiling... and so am I ;-) ====JACK:  The temptation is to compare totem poles. but that usually brings about judgment.  I'll do it silently in my mind.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I think I spent a lot of time on the bottom....don't think I can do it anymore. ====JACK:  In your totem pole, would the strong be on the top or the bottom? =====JOHN:  Bottom.   They have the lion's share of responsibility.    I no longer am able to do that. ====JACK:  Remember what Paul says to the Philippians..."I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength."  You can still be supportive of people, maybe just in a different way.

FROM CP IN WI:  I learn so much from your Winning Words.  God bless you and have a good Monday,====JACK:  We both learn.  Mine comes from the research.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  Now that's a unique saying!  But oh how true!  G faces issues like that all the time.  He's doing contract work for his old company and says he runs into the "totem pole issue" now more than ever before.  I wonder what made it stronger!?!====JACK:  "My ways are not your ways," says the Lord.  WWJD is a good question to ask when there are dilemmas.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Pete Seeger's comment comes to mind : "All of us, we're links in a chain. And if we do our job right, there will be many, many, links to come."  As an elderly "bottom of the totem pole" matriarch to my ever growing family, I pray the support and nurture I've given kids, and great g,kids will forge totem "links' for many years to come!  Interesting thought in  WW today! thanks!====JACK:  Sometimes on the bottom; sometimes on the top...depending on the situation.
FROM JACK TO RS IN TEXAS (HOUSTON):  How are you doing?  Are you in a position to answer?====RS:  Yes - we're fine - thanks.  All the problems are 150-400 miles SE of us.  Many parts of Houston are under water.  Our daughter and her family live in a NW suburb of Houston, but they are just high enough that they have not been affected, other than they can't go far because most of the roads around them are flooded.   We are thankful they are OK and starting to look at things we can do to help those in Houston that have lost a lot.  Unfortunately, those that have the least seem to be the ones that often are the hardest hit.  Prayers are welcome for all those affected.  Thanks for asking.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/25/17
“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide.”  (James Russell Lowell) These words, written just before the Civil War, took on new meaning 50 years later when a group of politicians decided to cross party lines to end government corruption.  Enough was enough; they wanted good government.  They were called the “Goo Goo guys.”  It seems that every generation has its moments to decide…and “there standeth God keeping watch,” writes the poet.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  Jack, wasn't this poem also set to music and appeared in one of our Lutheran hymnals??  but i can't find it anywhere.  what was its title, if i am correct in stating that is was set to music?====JACK:  It appeared in the Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal, used, prior to the green book which was used prior to the current cranberry Lutheran Book of Worship.  We often sang..."Once to Every Man and Nation."====PAUL:  found it!  Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal,  page 547.  i KNEW we had sung it before.  its not in the LBW or the new ELW.   and so it goes...   thanks for the info.

FROM CZB:  Did you read the mayor of New Orleans speech about bringing down confederate statues? Wow, that makes you think. I need to find out what my dad, the civil war history buff, thinks of taking them down.  Interesting times of social consciousness.  It's good, even if it is difficult. ====JACK:  Statues don't bother me as much as does tacit racism which is brought into the open by demagoguery.  I went to the Dream Cruise in Michigan recently.  It was noticeable that there were only American flags flying.  In previous years there had been a presence of some Confederate flags.

FROM TARMART REV:  "Go, Goo Goo guys, once again!! Even so, come quickly!!JACK:  Do you know the song, "Barney Google, With The Goo, Goo, Googley Eyes?"====REV:  I don't . . . too sheltered of a life!====JACK:  You're too young.  The song came out in 1923.  One verse went...
"Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes.    Barney Google tried to enter paradise.  When Saint Peter saw his face, he said, "Go to the other place".  Barney Google, with the goo-goo-goo-ga-ly eyes."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Sounds like what we are facing today.====JACK:  If so, who will be the Goo Goo Guys/Gals?====RS:  That is the question, isn't it.  Bernie Sanders comes to mind.  Not our current POTUS.====JACK:  I'm afraid that Sanders doesn't have the reputation of being a uniter.  I heard Franken's name mentioned today, but I think it might have to be someone from the GOP side, someone with "guts."

FROM JP:  I remember that hymn from one of the old hymnals.  It was always one of my favorites, for whatever reason.  I don't think it's been in any of the new books.  Too bad!====JACK:  When new hymnals are published it must be difficult to choose which new ones to include and which old ones to omit.  I agree that "Once to Every Man and Nation" is one that should not have been omitted.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  God is watching!  Is he shaking his head in amusement, amazement or anger?!?  I wonder.====JACK:  I'm careful about trying to guess what God is thinking..  "Who has known the mind of the Lord, as to try and instruct him?"  (1 Corinthians 2:16)

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This was Bill's absolute favorite hymn...our congregation sang it at least once a year, probably more, on election years! :-) It is still in our current hymnbook, new just 4 years ago (The Worship Hymnal, Lifeway Christian Resources).  I wish a group of  politicians would again have the guts to cross party lines, and get SOMETHING accomplished!! As Susan Decuir stated, "Sometimes our only means of transportation is a Leap of Faith!"  Quoting the hymn: "Tho the cause of Evil prosper, Yet the Truth alone, is strong;  Tho her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong; Still that Scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown Standeth God within the shadows , keeping watch above His own!" Amen and Amen!====JACK:  I knew that I'd hear from you on this one, because I remembered how you said that it was Bill's favorite.  Talk about an "old favorite" taking on "new legs."  This is the perfect example.  I only wish that more legislators would put themselves in a position to be influenced by hymns, such as this one.====OAKS:  There are Christians in our House and Senate (Nat'l). I wonder If they are ever influenced by pertinent hymns!  I'm with you dear Jack, in wishing it was so!!====JACK:  I reread my response about legislators and hymns.  I should have first read the words of Jesus....: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

FROM CP IN WI:  I want to tell you I love your "Winning Words".  It's the first thing I look at and read in the morning.====JACK:  You (and others like you) are the reason I try to get WWs out by 5 am, each day.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  We are certainly living thru interesting times!====JACK:  That seems to be an understatement.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/24/17
“We require from buildings, as from men, two kinds of goodness: first the doing of their practical duty well: then, that they be graceful and pleasing in doing it.”  (John Ruskin) I read recently that buildings are like people.  Both have personalities.  They are born; they die.  The windows are the eyes; the door, the mouth; the framework, the skeleton; the walls, the skin; each has a use; you get the idea.  I think Ruskin said it well.  Be useful!  Be graceful!    ;-(  Jack

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Maybe now, buildings will be allowed to donate to political campaigns!  Corporations can!====JACK:  Buildings with personalities opens up a lot of new thinking...schools, hospitals, prisons, tiny houses, get the idea.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  In my 40 years working with architects I learned that if the structure being designed is graceful and beautiful, the designer (architect) needed to be graceful, humble and creative. ====JACK:  How about the pastor?

FROM BB:  Lovely, thank you.  Be graceful====JACK:  Be graceful?  Have you ever seen me try to dance?

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/23/17
“I’m jus’ pain covered with skin.”  (John Steinbeck)  I remember reading Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath, for the first time.  Today’s quote is from that book and describes the plight of poor people during the Great Depression.  Talk about descriptive writing!  Come to think of it, Jesus could be referred to as God, covered with skin.  The life of Jesus, his teachings, are God, the invisible, becoming visible.  Does he even become visible in Steinbeck’s book?    ;-)  Jack

FROM PM:  I haven't read this book since I was a kid. What a description! I think I'll have to check it out from the library.  I'm still greatly enjoying these words of wisdom and pass them along to those they remind me of. Thank you for continuing to take the time to send them each morning. ====JACK:  Some of the pictures of the poor, taken during those days, helped reinforce the Steinbeck book.  It was a rough life, truly pain covered with skin.

FROM HY YO SILVER:  I've always struggled to comprehend how Christianity is a monotheistic faith with the existence of the Holy Trinity. This makes sense. Thanks for sharing.  Have a good day, my friend.====JACK:  One of the good things about living in West Bloomfield...It allows me to interact with friends who are Jewish...and to learn from each other.

FROM ANNE IN WATERFORD:  Thank you for winning words.  I have re-read Grapes of Wrath. What a time and story!====JACK:  One problem with today's world is that so many people have not gone back to re-read the events of history.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/22/17
“Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart, and you’ll never walk alone.”  (Oscar Hammerstein II)  Which version of YNWA do you like the best?  The Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Elvis?  How about when Jerry Lewis sang it at the end of his Muscular Dystrophy telethon?  People with various “needs” are encouraged when someone says:  “Don’t give up hope.  You’ll never walk alone, because God is always with you, and I’m with you, too.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  Thinking of you, especially this morning . . . ====JACK:  Have you ever sung "You'll Never Walk Alone" as a solo? ====REV:  Only in the shower and while alone, of course!! 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Why choose?====JACK:  The Bible commands..."Choose this day!!!"

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I've sung this song many times when giving a program, it is inspirational, and very melodic.  I often have a running conversation with God, as I toodle about my business, alone; Often to say thanks for a small blessing, and sometimes a large one! :-) Think it makes my day go smoother...getting much needed rain here, which canceled the golf league, so have the gift of extra time today! Yes, we never walk alone, and we can help some who need "someone with skin on" in their time of need. (That expression is an inside family bit of levity: When daughter  Sarah was 3, she called me in the night 3X during a bad thunder storm, when I assured her that Jesus was watching over her, she wasn't alone, the rain would help flowers grow,etc. etc. and the last time, she said, "I know that, but I kinda need someone with skin on!" :-) Needless to say, I stayed with her! ====JACK:  Great story!  I've got a Winning Words quote that's percolating... “I’m jus’ pain covered with skin.”  (John Steinbeck).  I may use it sometime this week. 

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We loved to watch some of his Labor Day program when we weren't traveling.  And his old movies were hilarious to us.  He will be missed!  This version because it mentions hope!====JACK:  Hold - On - Pain - Ends.

FROM MV:  Was that song from Carousel? I loved the song and the musical.====JACK:  Yep!  Written by Rodgers and Hammerstein.  The number of great songs that they wrote in unbelievable!

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  I love that song!====JACK:  It certainly fits with identifying with the MD kids.

FROM SA IN KENT:  You are an extraordinary man, Uncle Jack. My children know you. They aren't so certain about other cousins, or aunts and uncles on my mothers' side, and extended family and friends in the local area. But when I mention 'Uncle Jack', they perk up and listen; they know you as a friend, the best kind of friend. They all have been thinking of you these past weeks and lifting you up in prayer in their own way. And the best thing is that, I can say, 'What would uncle Jack say?' when they are thinking about doing something, and it works! Haha! They pause and consider that voice; that laugh. I think I'll get some ice cream today. ;)====JACK:  I've got so many "Anderson stories!"  I could write a book.  I do follow your family on Facebook, although I'm not a post-er boy.

FROM DC IN KS:  We’re with you, Jack!====JACK:  Do you remember this song...
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,  Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,  Led in paths of light.

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  I would pick Fred Waring!  How old am I!!!====JACK:  He died about 40 years ago.  Mary and I saw him and The Pennsylvanians in Wausau, Wisconsin, many years ago.  I was surprised to see how small the choral group was.====MARLYS:  I liked everything he did.  I love his arrangements to sing too.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  My high school choir version has always been my fave.====JACK:  It's always good when you can connect something up with life.  In Homiletics I was taught: "Take the Biblical text and connect it up with life." 

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  "It’s better to walk alone than with a crowd going in the wrong direction."  (A chalkboard quote in a gas station)

FROM PEPPERMINT MARY:  i like the movie version when a very young shirley jones sings it.  every christmas mark gives me a calendar and inside are surprise tickets to a show or concert taped to a particular date.  we saw carousel on stage two years ago.  it was fantastic!  i have known this song since i was a little girl.  the "lillstrom family singers" sang it in four part harmony.  our high school choir sang it at the funeral of a classmate.  i sing it when i need a little hope in my heart.  life is a musical.====JACK:  Rogers and Hammerstein were a fantastic many great songs, but when I think of the Lillstroms, I remember being introduced to, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown," in your Lake St living room.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/21/17
“Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.”  (Unknown)  A Vietnam tradition says that a solar eclipse is caused by a giant frog eating the sun.  I like the belief : “Flowers planted during an eclipse will bloom brighter.”   Here’s a thought:  Why not do something to bring sunshine into a person’s life?  It could be making a phone call, or sending a text, just to say, “Hi!”  Or, doing an unexpected good deed.  Make the world brighter, today!      ;-)  Jack

FROM LBP:  With all the hype I have trouble avoiding  feeling guilt about not doing something super cool.. ... thanks for brightening my day by giving me a new perspective====JACK:  In Sunday School we used to sing (at the top of our lungs)...
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar,
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor "you" may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
(You can YouTube it!)

FROM MY LAWYER:  Hi Jack!  Have a great day.====JACK:  It's starting out bright and sunny!  Thanks for your wish!

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  I hope you realize you do that every day with Winning Words.
Thank you for that.====JACK:  I am simply the amanuensis for the Holy Spirit.====RS:  ....and a good one at that.====JACK:  Did you have to look it up?====RS:  Yes, but my guess was pretty close.  That's one of the things I really like about you - you broaden my vocabulary.  As if the English language needed more broadening!

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Wrote notes to shut-ins this A.M. Experiencing the solar eclipse is exciting and amazing!! My daughter took the  train to Carbondale where it is clear and sunny, to experience the TOTAL eclipse from there. Here it will be 95%...Brighten The Corner Where You Are, is a great song, and is just what we all can do ! You certainly do your share to spread sunshine on any day of the week! Thank You!====JACK:  And, of course, This Little Light of Mine!  Hold it high so all can see!

FROM SHARIN' SHARON (to Brenda and Kris):  A bunch of us get these "Winning Words" each morning from a retired ELCA pastor.  With your neat interest in frogs, wondered if you might find the Vietnam tradition mentioned in this morning's WW intriguing.  Best wishes and love to both of you, hope your day is pleasant.====JACK:  Thanks, Sharon, for not hiding your light "under a bushel."

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  ❤️ (emoji - Red Heart)====JACK:  Thanx

FROM HONEST JOHN:  Hi!====JACK:  I see that you're following FDR's advice for a successful speech:  "Be sincere; be brief; be seated."

FROM KC:  Mom passed away peacefully last night at 4 AM. The family had a nice visit with her yesterday after church. The nursing home called me at 3:40 last night and We got there as soon as I could but she was not conscious.====JACK:  What a beautiful person.  She made the world a brighter place for many people for many years.  Thanks be to God!

FROM MT IN PENNSYLVANIA:  Wonderful words for an extraordinary day!====JACK:  I sat on the porch waiting for night to fall.  It just stumbled a bit and got a little gray outside.

FROM GK:  again, wonderful words of wisdom.  Didn't plant any flowers today but I DO with you a wonderful rest of the day and look forward to tomorrow's message.====JACK:  I wonder if it really is true...that flowers planted during an eclipse bloom brighter.  You'll have to wait until 2099 to try again.

FROM DC IN KS:  We tried, but some raindrops prevailed.  So we didn’t lose.====JACK:  Some religious groups are saying that the eclipse is a foretelling of some disaster.  Be on the lookout! ====DC:  Maybe we are exempt missing seeing the Eclipse?  Welcome to Kansas.====JACK:  Perhaps the Brownback austerity program included doing away with eclipses, too.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/18/17
“How you matter is defined by the things that matter to you.”  (John Green)  You can tell a lot about someone by the things they post (or “like”) on Facebook.  There are pet people, selfies, politicos.  John Green, today’s quoter, is a vlogger (a video blogger).  You may define me by my Winning Words, but don’t be too sure.  We’re more complex than the superficial.  The “getting to know you” experience can be “verrrry interesting” (as Arte Johnson would say).    ;-)  Jack

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yep -  I like the lyrics of the song "Getting to know you."  Perhaps if we all took the time to get to know people we would be more tolerant.====JACK:  I find that face to face time, while talking about things in general, is a good "getting to know you" tool.====RS:  Yes - as a society we have seemed to move to tweets, emails, facebook posts, etc.  The thing is, it's hard to get true emotion, facial and body language and emphasis on speech in any of those,  Also not conducive to asking someone to clarify what they meant, or why they feel that way.  Hard to feel the emphasis of a laugh or a cry in a tweet or email.

FROM LBP:  . Beyond programs and activities, what I treasure in a congregation is the community. ====JACK:  You can tell a lot about new church members by asking them what want in a church.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/17/17
“Aim to live so that you don’t look back and think, ‘How happy I was then, if only I’d realized it.’”  (Gretchen Rubin)   A study shows that 18-year olds are the happiest.  An older George Burns sang, “I wish I was 18 again.”  Is that your wish?  When was the happiest time in your life…and what made it so enjoyable?  An app, Happify, shows how to build happiness into your life.  A positive attitude works, and so does exercise and good nutrition.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DMF:  I think it would be fun to be 18 again, as long as I could keep the knowledge I currently have!====JACK:  That would take all the fun out opening a Christmas package when you already know what's inside.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  The happiest time of my life was when I was three years old.   What a wonderful to do things and not a responsibility in the world....a much loved time ====JACK:  That's the way it is in the Old Folks' Home, too.  Do what you want to do, and no responsibilities, either!====JOHN:  But, in the Old Folk's Home, there is no loving mother to comfort you when you need that.====JACK:  Do you remember singing, The Old Fol;ks At Home? ...especially the verse: All 'round the little farm I wandered, When I was young 
There many happy days I squandered, Many the songs I sung  When I was playing with my brothers, Happy was I  Oh, take me to my kind old mother, There let me live and die

FROM TARMART REV:  When was the happiest time in your life…and what made it so enjoyable?  Yesterday, because I was here to enjoy it!!====JACK:  One of my favorite Beatles' songs is, Yesterday.  I like it, even though it describes a longing to change a yesterday.  There are times when I've wanted to do that.  However, you yesterday seems to have been a keeper.

FROM MY LAWYER:  Nice memory.  I remember him well; and the song, too.====JACK:  To be able to go back and recall is to be able to go back and relive (sort of).

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Loved the song you included today! Yes High School and College years are special, fun and carefree for the most part., but every age has its perks; The years when I still had my husband were the happiest, and raising four great kids, a satisfaction!  Life goes by on the fast track, as you look back, doesn't it?!====JACK:  I remember being on church youth group hayride.  Patty June had invited two of her friends as guests...two goofy girls who looked alike, acted alike and were the life of the party.

FROM SS:  This year has been my happiest...can't wait to see what next year might bring! Thank you for reminding me what blessings have been in my life so far!====JACK:  You don't need the Happify app when you are already aware of life's blessings.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/16/17
“Some look at things the way they are and ask, why?  I dream of things that are not and ask, why not?”  (Robert Kennedy)  I’ve read plenty of outrage over Charlottesville .  Now, I’m awaiting a plan for remediation.  History records the success of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after WW 2.  MLK Jr’s plan for peaceful marches to call attention to an unjust society worked!  Who can devise a plan to bring harmony to our cacophonous society?  There must be a dreamer out there asking, “Why not…?”    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  lets hope that person arrives soon.   America has gone thru tough times before.  what is different this time is that the one who should be setting a national mood for remediation is really throwing gasoline on the fire.    another good example for remediation was Nelson Mandela who called for unity and reconciliation after spending 26 years in jail. with little or no bitterness.   pray for the nation, Jack.====JACK:  Soon means one thing to us and another to God.  The Israelites complained, while wandering in the wilderness, that God was taking too long to lead them to the Promised Land.  I find comfort in the hymn:  "God is working his purpose out, as year succeeds to year,====PAUL:  good point.   his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.  Isaiah 55: 8 & 9....

FROM TARMART REV:  Well stated . . . dreaming for a solution myself, while staying away from all the backbiting news' app frustrating me to no end!!====JACK:  Even though we might want to "stay away" from the fray, events have a way of sucking us in

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  All I can say is "I hope he/she comes soon"!====JACK:  You sound like one of the Israelites who were wandering in the wilderness.  Just remember...God is working his purpose out.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Perhaps our President could put together a commission to study the matter and have alt-right and antifa members on the committee.  Then the question would be, who would chair the committee?  Would need to be someone with excellent leadership and negotiating skills.  I might suggest Colin Powell.====JACK:  General Powell seems like a good suggestion, but usually leaders come who would have believed that Joseph (with the dreamcoat) would become the leader of the Israelites?====RS:  That's true.  Just need to find someone that can get people to the table.  Would probably have to be someone who they respect.  Maybe two - one from "each side" to show that you can disagree but understand, tolerate and coexist.====JACK:  Rather than seek out those from each side, I would first look for people of "reason, " people who are able to put themselves above the fray.

FROM EDUCATOR PAUL:  Something totally unexpected is happening. Americans are doing some real soul searching this morning. It's beyond politics. Each American is deciding for him/herself on which direction to go. I'm beginning to see people galvanizing around the value that Neo Nazies, White Supremacists, KKK, etc. Do not represent American values. We are at a moral crisis in America and the whole world is watching. I believe that as this process continues Americans will be a light among ourselves and continue to be a light for the world. Very Hopeful!====JACK:  I wish that I could share  your hopefulness.  I think that there will be more stirring of the pot before we're ready to sit down together and enjoy the meal.  But, maybe you're right!O
FROM HONEST JOHN:  The USA is just like the Middle East...there are deep seated hates that will not allow themselves to be healed....I think a realignment of parties is likely.    The moderates are as fed up with the left as they are with the right.====JACK:  I doubt that there will be "heaven on earth."  I'm more inclined to think that there will be a "judgment."  As for a realignment of political parties...names may change, but it usually boils down to liberals and conservatives (whatever that means).====PAUL:  S. Sarason, a prolific voice in the Culture of Change once said.." Significant change cannot take place without a crisis."  I believe we are in a moral crisis in the United States.  I believe we will be a better Country on the other end!====JACK:  I guess crisis is nothing new to our country, but it seems new to the generation which is facing it.  As Gloria Gaynor sings: "I (We) Will Survive."

FROM LP:  : )====JACK:  Mona Lisa has an enigmatic smile, but yours is explicit.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  Thank you for the reminder that "all things are possible for the one who believes", Jack!  Now, I and many others need to repeat, "I believe; help my unbelief!" and roll up our sleeves at least mentally and verbally to get to work on the possibilities.====JACK:  Just like in the Wizard of Oz...belief makes dreams come true.  The Scarecrow gets a brain, the Lion gets courage, the Tin Man gets a heart and Dorothy and Toto get to go back home.

FROM BB:   Agreed.  Did you happen to read David Brooks’ recent NYT column on “modesty”?  That’s a word one rarely hears these days….====JACK:  I've got to look it up.  I remember the comment when 2-piece bathing suits came out..."Nothing's left to the imagination anymore."  That was then, and now is now.  Is there such a things as modesty anymore?

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This seems to be a really dark era in our history, with an unstable, vitriolic leader, and so many discontented, and hateful groups of people roiling any peaceful waters. Hope is in short supply! The son of Robert Kennedy is one of the candidates for Governor in our beleaguered Illinois...I wonder if he has some of his father's wisdom and abilities?!====JACK:  Your Robert has the genes.  That should count for something.  Lincoln came from Illinois, too.

FROM DR JUDY:  Beautifully stated Jack!! I'm waiting too.====JACK:  Do you remember the song, "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee?"  Do you remember your history enough to know how difficult it was for Lee to choose sides at the start of the war?  He could have been a Union general.  Life hinges on the decisions we make.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:   It is too bad that we don’t have a president cut of the fabric of Robert ====JACK:  Is it possible that Robert Kennedy III, from Illinois, is that person?

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/15/17
“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”  (Theodore Roosevelt)  One day, when son David was learning to talk, he pointed to his neck and said, “Something wrongs.”  His mother figured out that he had a sore throat.  Since the death of my wife, I’m often asked, “How are you doing?”  Echoing the words of David, I say, “Something wrongs!”  I’m doing OK. But things are different.  Have you ever had that feeling?   ;-)  Jack

FROM PH:  Every day I awaken alone....grateful for the presence of my beloved 17 year old kitti ====JACK:  I like the Sondheim song...Bein' Alive!  It's got a real beat to it.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  It all does get a little easier as time goes by and the children and grandchildren keep u busy====JACK:  "One day at a time..." as the song goes.  Children and g-children can be a blessing, to be sure.

FROM TB IN ILLINOIS:  Yes, I loss my grandmother a few years ago. When I travel back to Tennessee things did not seem the same. Resulting in less frequent trips back. I always remembered her telling me, " be kind to everyone". She would say this in so many different ways.====JACK:  Memory is not like reality, but it's a good thing to have when reality is no longer there.

FROM LG:  Yes, Jack, I have... For about a year after my dad, and then my brother, died, I felt different--sort of disconnected from life on some level. It's tough to describe in words, but I think I have an inkling of how you might feel. My high school best friend just lost her husband to cancer in June. I know my grief experiences don't compare to those of one who's lost a life partner, though. That's a whole different level...   Perhaps the disconnection I felt in grief is a function of the larger desire to connect to the Father, and frustration with my inadequate attempts to do so from within the confines of my earthly abode. I don't know...  Love, hugs and prayers to/for you, Jack====JACK:  I know that many people have walked the same road.  It is comforting to know (as it says in the poem, Footprints), we are not walking alone.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:   some call this "the new normal". i guess it is...====JACK:  Did you mother ever say, "Just because all your friends are jumping off a bridge, would you jump, too?"

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  You are always in our prayers!  I've always loved Teddy Roosevelt.  He was a hero to me after I read about him in 5th grade.====JACK:  TR was a heroic President to many people.  It seems fitting to have him as part of the Mt. Rushmore Memorial.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Yes,  Teddy had that right, for sure. He also said, "Comparison is the thief of Joy," Which is equally true. We have to be confident in what we have to offer as a person. (Like your Popeye reference in an earlier WW!)  ;We who have lost our beloved mates find that life does go on, but it is never the same; We have a "new normal" to adjust to. Family and friends sure do help! God bless!====JACK:  After having worn a pair of shoes for a long time, it's not easy to break in a new pair.  But the old pair had some "breaking in" days, with the beginning in of a marriage.

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Yes, and the thoughts and prayers of family and friends helped.  Hope it's that way with you.====JACK:  Letters, cards, e-mails, calls, the funeral home visits and the church worship service were/are a real help.

FROM HUNGRY HOWIE:  When my mother died the worst thing was not being able to call her on the phone or go over and play cards with her or watch sports, (she loved the Tigers and the Pistons).
The Jewish form of grieving is to acknowledge that "something wrongs", by recognizing that a year, four full seasons, are needed to fully grieve and you can't expect to start to find peace until that occurs.  Mary will never leave you, you will never stop missing her. Spend the year remembering her, so you can find a place to carry her forever.====JACK:  She seems to reappear at unexpected times in unexpected places in unexpected ways...and I'm OK with that.

FROM KF:  I know the "different" feeling.  Waking up the next day after someone very close has passed on, your world feels different; and you know it will never feel the way it was. It even looks different, like looking at it through different yes. It's as if "seeing" the loss. : (====JACK:  Yes, there are certain times and certain places where images appear.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  i have often wondered where that phrase came from.   and yes, something is wrong.  tomorrow i will do the funeral for my friend who died last week of Alzheimers.  just a few years older than me.  we live in the hope and the promise of the gospel.  take care, old friend.

FROM QUILTING CAROL:  Good Morning…I, too, have been wondering how you are doing.  As Susanne first said after Dan died…’trying to manage’.  She is still feeling that way some days but moving forward.  I wondered if Mary ever allowed you to help cook or showed you how to make things?  I’ll give you a tip I read many years ago.  The story went that a lady had lost one of her best friends and she wanted to help her friend’s family by cooking or baking for them.  She went to the house, asked to see her cookbooks or recipe cards.  When she found spatters on the pages or cards, that is what she prepared.  She knew her friend had prepared those things for her family.  Hope Mary left some dribbles behind to help you too.  Did Mary also show you how to do laundry?  No mixing whites and darks is my only suggestion, but I bet you already knew that.   I’m sure you miss Mary and your daily conversations and just being ‘together’.  Thinking of you…and caring====JACK:  "We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear...And often for each other flows, the sympathizing tear."

FROM MICHIZONA RAY:  While reading today's WW, I was struck by your reference to Mary's death. We didn't know anything about this, and feel saddened with the news.  I resonate with your description of "something seems wrong" when certain people are no longer with us in this world. In my own experience these many years later, I still expect to see the cat come into the room, or we'll visit Mary's dad in Newberry, or my brother will call, and more...  Because they live so strong in my memory, I have to remind myself often that they are no longer with us here.  There is an old song sang by Dionne Warwick: "Extravagant Gestures". It is a song about how one accompanies another to a departure point so (s)he can go on a wonderful trip...while we are left here.  I'm glad for those who are in the presence of God, unencumbered by our physical restrictions; but I am also aware that I still suffer the loss.  I pray for your whole family, all your friends, everyone with whom you engage, and for continuous blessings of God's Grace.  Stay well in God's comfort.====JACK:  There should be a sign:  "Life is FRAGILE!  Handle with care."

FROM GUSTIE MARLYS:  Did Mary die?  You did not tell me.  I am so sorry!    I know how it feels that "something wrongs”!====JACK:  Death announcement is not like a birth announcement.  Some news we want to shout out.  Other news tends to be pushed aside, thinking that it might go away.

FROM DM:  I look forward to reading your Winning Words.  Thank  you.====JACK:  ...and I look forward to sending them out to you...and others like you.

FROM SHARIN' SHARON:  When my mom died, dad spent a year and a half going to the doctor and to a foot reflexologist. I just remember calling all the time (he lived in Iowa) "dad, what did the doctor say?" But the doctor could never find out anything. I think dad benefited more from the foot reflexologist. But after a year and a half, dad didn't have to go to the doctor all the time. Maybe the doctor was helping dad too. "Something wrongs". We care about you, pastor====JACK:  As the song puts it: things are interconnected.
The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

FROM GOPHER LYNN:  You are right…things are not the same   Thanks for the fine message today====JACK:  Unbelievable that two sisters who shared so much when growing, should also share the death/heaven experience at almost the same time.

FROM DR J IN OHIO:  This is it one of my favorite quotes. A particularly good one for teachers.
Another favorite is "unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing will get better, it will not!" Dr. Seuss====JACK:  Have you heard of the CARE organization?  Did you know that it was founded after WW 2 to help fight global poverty?  And, did you know that CARE is an acronym for Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe?

FROM JAN:  When my brother passed away 21 years ago, a friend sent me this poem.
Quiet World
The world feels different . . .
            and I wish it would stop a minute
            so people would notice.
The sun still rises and sets,
            as it always has.
People still go about their busy lives,
            making their dent in the world.
The children still play in the park,
            with sounds of laughter everywhere.
But it’s quieter today,
            and no one else is noticing.
There is just one less person
            making his noise today,
And that person meant the world
            to me.
Aydin Akcasu – November 12, 1991
It's just a poem, but it made me feel a little better to know that others understood that "something wrongs" feeling.   You're in my prayers.====JACK:  The fact that you wrote, "21 years ago," means that you haven't forgotten, and that the memory stays with you.  Some just don't forget.  Thanks for "Quiet World."  It's more than "just a poem."====JAN:   As I'm sure you know, losing someone important defines time. "Oh, that was before Al died." Or "That was just after Mary passed away." It doesn't just define time, it defines who we are.

FROM LS:  I cannot say I have felt the exact feeling that you are experiencing.  It feels, through my interpretation of your words,  that you loved deeply with great passion for a beautiful woman.
Perhaps, Now, from this realm we live in she has moved on.  It was her time to move on.  You are here to learn and continue to gain wisdom until it is your time to move on.  When my mom was sick ... I felt something was wrong - I was ok - although things were different.  When she passed I felt all was right.  I was at peace.  No longer was something wrong,  it was all alright.  My purpose in sharing is when I read your words that something feels wrong to you - you are ok - although things are different.  May God bless you by walking beside you as you find comfort.   I hope you are uplifted  by my words to a possibility of understanding.====JACK:  Thanks for your caring.

FROM TARMART REV:  I have not personally for a time . . . but have many close elderly friends of late that I share in their sorrow feeling the same, “Something wrong!====JACK:  I'm sure that in your work as a chaplain you've found yourself in many "something wrongs" situations.  The miracle is that God so often gives us the right words to say.

FROM CR:  I've thought about you and the loss of your wife Mary every time I've opened Jack's Winning Words.  When my sister-in-law lost her husband, a friend gave her a book that was helpful to her.  It was small daily passages and it offered her just enough.  She said she wasn't ready to read books on grief, but she was grieving deeply and this little book helped.  Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman  She gave it to me when I was going through my separation which was not death, but a loss of a loved one, and it was helpful to me then, as well  Thoughts and prayers are with you.====JACK:  Thanks for your caring and for the book suggestion.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/14/17
“All I do is accept people as they are.”  (Joan Rivers)  Who was the star of the comic strip, The Thimble Theater?  You’re right if you said it was Poopdeck Pappy’s son, Popeye!  Popeye had a sense of self-worth:  I like that in a person.  “I yam who I yam!”  Joan R probably liked him, too.  He had no pretentions.  He was a person of values, seeking to protect the good and to defeat the evil.  A tee-shirt reads: WYSIWYG!  “What You See Is What You Get.”    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  This is quickly becoming a country where we either stand up and be counted or find ourselves in a Nazi sewer.====JACK:  Each day presents a stand up for what's right, or to be silent.  Some situations are more "high profile," bu the daily challenge is still there.====JOHN:  I agree.  And the need to stand up and be counted happens in a variety of venues.   In each case, it is not an easy thing to do.    I have been really nervous about it at many times.    I am not by nature a tough guy.   I have to dig down a bit before I can do what I know from the outset is right.   We have to live in Grace, knowing that we will will fail all too often.

FROM TAMPA SHIRL:  To each his own====JACK:  I thought that it would be easy to find the source abd context of "to each his own."  Not so!  I came up with Cicero as the source.  Interestingly, we have a restaurant in our area called, "It's a Matter of Taste."

FROM GOPHER LYNN:  This one made me smile====JACK:  "I am who I am,"  were words often quoted by your grandfather.

FROM BOB OUT WEST:  I have been intending to write and thank you for your ‘day after day’
presentations on Winning Words that encourage, enlighten, and bless me each day.  You must put an enormous  amount of time getting these ‘Words’ collected and together.  They are certainly not ‘off the cuff’ bits quickly assembled.  I don’t want another day to go by without acknowledging my gratitude for this use of your pulpit.====JACK:  As a matter of fact, I do search and search for what I think might be the right quote.  Composing the commentary is also challenging...sort of like preparing a sermon.  I purposing limit the length, knowing that today's reader will be more inclined to look at something concise...and something that catches the attention in the first few words.  Thanks for responding.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/11/17
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”  (Tiny Buddha)  In the movie, The Jerk, Steve Martin’s adoptive family didn’t have much, but they sang, danced and laughed a lot, because they enjoyed being a family.  Having lived during the Great Depression, I know what “doing without” means.  I don’t look back with regret, because we had that which mattered.  What is it that matters in your life?    ;-)  Jack

FROM HONEST JOHN:  To be without any hope is the road to suicide====JACK:  A young man, a former confirmation student, walked out of my office after a lengthy conversation.  I just knew that I would never see him again.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  YOU matter to me and whole lot of other folks!  have a good weekend, Jack.  btw,  next week i will be co-officiating with David Lose (pronounced with a long oh sound).   i worked with David at Luther Sem some years ago when he was teaching there and i was a part-time campus pastor.  he is a really fine pastor and preacher.    our mutual friend who died had Alzheimers.  his name is Paul Schmit and he had spent his entire career working for the YMCA,  the Mpls Symphony, and St. Olaf College,  mostly doing fund raising.  a real "servant" of the church and the community at large.====JACK:  Your comments remind me of Revelations 14:13...Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them. 

FROM TARMART REV:  "Little encouragements along the way, like Jack's Winning Words!" ====JACK:  I saw that someone had a tattoo..." I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me."  If you're interested, you might want to visit Tattoos by Camilla in Willmar.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/10/17
“Life appears to me too short to be spent nursing animosities.”  (Charlotte Bronte)  In Alice in Wonderland, White Rabbit says: “So little time.  So much to do.”  I’m on the same page with him.  So was Jim Croce.  “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do.” Even though you might not want to do it, Bronte suggests that getting rid of animosity is one thing that needs doing before life’s end.  Are there any hatchets that need burying?    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  good words for today or any day...   peace====JACK:  Instead of the hatchet idiom, I could have used:  kiss and make-up.

FROM TR:  Saving this for a future comment to two sisters-in-law at each other with the one's husband in the middle====JACK:  Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.  Watch your step!

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  EXCELLENT!!====JACK:  Of course, it depends on the context.

FROM JT IN MINNESOTA:  How true.  I recently said "yes" too many times.  I'd love to remain involved in all those activities ie the Somalian Community, the lunch for children in the park, and the ones I already do i.e. the Support Group for Caregivers and Care receivers of Dementia.  the community dementia committees, church quilting. and the Peoples' Church in Bemidji which involves the Native American community.  I had to say I can't to the Somalian and the lunch program.  It was rewarding but all of these activities were cutting into my bridge clubs.  I still stay very busy with the volunteering I do and the card playing with friends.  But too much is too much.
Thanks for the Daily Words.  I love 'em.====JACK:    ====JACK:  Since you're into "cards", you've probably seen this before...· The Ace reminds us that there is only one God.·
The Two represents the two parts of the Bible, Old and New Testaments
The Three represents the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.
The Four represents the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The Five is for the five virgins. There were ten but only five of them were glorified (Mt 25:1-13).
The Six is for the six days it took God to create the Heavens and Earth (Genesis 1).
The Seven is for the day God rested after making His Creation (Genesis 2:3).
The Eight is for the family of Noah and his wife, their three sons and their wives -- the eight people      God spared from the flood that destroyed the Earth (Genesis 7:7).
The Nine is for the lepers that Jesus cleansed of leprosy He cleansed ten, but nine never thanked Him (Luke 17:11-19).
The Ten represents the Ten Commandments that God handed down to Moses on tablets made of stone (Exodus 20:1-21).
The Jack is a reminder of Satan, one of God's first angels, but he got kicked out of heaven for his sly and wicked ways and is now the joker of eternal hell (Ezekiel 28:11-19).
The Queen represents Mary, mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38).
The King stands for Jesus, for he is the King of all kings (Revelation 19:16).
When I count the dots on all the cards, I come up with a total of 365, one for every day of the year.
There are a total of 52 cards in a deck; each is a week - 52 weeks in a year.
The four suits represent the four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter.
Each suit has thirteen cards -- there are exactly thirteen weeks in a quarter.
hen you want to thank God, I just pull out a deck of cards and am reminded of all that we have to be thankful for.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  There seems to be no time to even breathe some days but we keep on one step at a time.  Gary and I have never worked so hard on this farm.  We fall into bed at night!  Even though Ethan, who will be 3 on the 24th doesn't consider this a farm because there are no cows, it requires enough work from us.  We haven't even started inside yet.    As for hatchets, I do have one I need to resolve sooner than later.  It's a good thought!====JACK:  Sometimes it's hard to bury those hatchets.  They have a way of popping out of the ground again.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  True indeed! And the days and weeks fly by!! Suddenly you're in your Senior-SENIOR years, and life is unraveling at a record rate!!  WHOOPS!Do it now while you're still erect and breathing, right?! :-)  So many things to do, and so little time; or So many books, So little time!  Our family is throwing a "Last Hurrah Before School Starts" pool party this weekend for all the kids one year to Brian has a lovely big heated pool next door to Dad John who will man the grill. We all contribute specialties. Fortunately we  all get along need to bury hatchets or kiss and make up, thanks be to God!====JACK:  I've seen aprons with the words, "Kiss the cook!"  Have you ever worn one?

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL: i once counseled a woman whose husband had cheated on her many times over the years.  she stayed with him for the sake of the kids and for her own financial stability.  i would suggest to C. Bronte that "animosities" of this magnitude are not easily, if ever, forgiven much less resolved.  life is pretty messy for some innocent people.   grace and forgiveness are God-like qualities that we humans try to replicate but not always too easily.  i better stop now as i feel a sermon coming on:):):)====JACK:  I've referred before to these words by C.S. Lewis:  “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

FROM HONEST JOHN:  That is a key...learning to deal with can't just pretend that they aren't there....I remember in high school, a guy in football stepped on my face.   So I punched him in the mouth on the next face masks then.    My animosity was dealt with!   Didn't have to carry a grudge!====JACK:  Sometimes revenge is so sweet that it makes us forget all about those words of Jesus to "love your enemies."  Maybe "tough love" means a stomp in the face once in a while.

FROM FM IN WISCONSIN:  Maybe this should be sent to the WH====JACK:  Maybe, first, we need to make sure that our own house is free of hatchets.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/9/17
“If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.”  (Malcom Bane)  Sometimes, at the close of worship, our pastor says: “Go in peace.  Remember the poor!”  This week a group of volunteers is providing free medical and dental care in Detroit…no questions asked.  Thousands expected!  Similar church-sponsored missions take place around the world.  I admire those who don’t just stand there.  “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day,” wrote Edgar Guest.    ;-)  Jack

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  St. Paul also remind us the people are converted by the preaching of the Word.  but, yes,  faith without works is also a dead faith.====JACK:  Writing as a preacher, I think that example and caring conversation are probably ahead of preaching when it comes to "conversions."====PAUL:  i think its a both/and:):):)   God can use many venues to bring us to faith. ====JACK:  Take away preaching and both of us would have to look for new work.

FROM HAPPY TRAILS IN NOVA SCOTIA:   I have heard the following attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt: "Nobody can accomplish everything, but each of us can do something.". Just tried to google that but so far haven't succeeded.====JACK:  I think that you're right about Eleanor.  Google doesn't know everything.====HT:  operator error is certainly a possibility--I also needed to change gears and terminated the search earlier than I might have.  Just finished reading the new book "We'll Always Have Casablanca." Very interesting--I was one of the Harvard students in the mid-60s watching and cheering Casablanca during every exam period at the Brattle Theatre, a few steps from where Hannelore was living when we met. One of the themes explored from many directions in the book is inspiration.

FROM MIKE'S CUZ:  Thanks for all your daily words of wisdom.====JACK:  I like to pick quotes that interest me and that I think will interest others (like you).

FROM BB:  Your words are always so encouraging.  Thanks!====JACK:  ...and so I call them, Jack's Winning Words!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We do have a lot of caring loving people in this world!!  Even people who serve chaplains for police and firefighters!  That's a caring loving act!!!====JACK:  Been there.  Done  that.  Both fire and police.

FROM WATERFORD JAN:  I see a sermon every day that I read Jack's Winning Words!====JACK:  Some days are better than others...from my point of view.  You can't expect a winner every day.

FROM FACEBOOK LIZ:  I wish someone would provide decent jobs for them, as well.====JACK:  The Detroit Public Schools are beginning to offer an option...regular high school curriculum, or skill training for jobs that are available...building operator...etc.  Not everyone is going from high school to college.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/8/17
“I’ve learned the hard way that some poems don’t rhyme.”  (Gilda Radner)  The happy and sad masks, associated with the theater world, signify what actors and actresses are called on to do…to represent comedy and tragedy.  Gilda Radner did that to the extreme.  She was really funny…while, at the same time, battling the cancer that ultimately took her life.  Some situations in life just don’t make sense.  We ask, “Why?”  Some of the best poems don’t rhyme.    ;-)  Jack

FROM TARMART REV:  So true!!====JACK:  It's difficult to find a rhyming word for, chaos.  People living chaotic lives often find this to be true.

FROM SHALOM JAN:  You are so courageous and faith-full, Jack, to use the quotes you have in the wake of Mary's death.  Thank you for you proclamation!====JACK:  As my father-in-law would say:  "I am who I am."

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Gilda was SO talented! Taken from this earth too soon, in our view...Contemporary poetry rarely rhymes, but there is something about a cadence and feel, and sound, of the poems that do rhyme, that makes them quotable and memorable. Bill used to love the "homey" poet Edgar Guest. I taught a poetry unit in my Literature classes, and loved the poems of many, both past and present.  Yes we face many situations in life where the poem doesn't "rhyme". Good thought for today. thanks!====JACK:  One of my friends went to school with Gilda in Detroit.  She was funny back then, too.  Edgar Guest was also from Detroit and wrote a poem a day for the Detroit Free Press.  I'm simply a "Roses are red, violets are blue" kind of poet.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/7/17
“I feel related to this country, and yet I don’t know where I fit in.”  (Sam Shepard)  The feeling of not fitting in is painful.  I read of ways to handle that, but I like Edwin Markham’s advice best:  “He drew a circle that shut me out…But love and I had the wit to win.  We drew a circle that took him in.”   There’s a verse in the Bible:  “Don’t be overcome by evil.  Take the offensive.  Overcome evil with good.”  Today’s a day for drawing new circles.    ;-)  Jack

FROM HAWKEYE GEORGE:  I congratulate you on your daily WINNING WORDS. How many years have you been doing this?  I certainly enjoy reading them.====JACK:  Winning Words began in 1992 when I retired from the "active" ministry and began sending positive quotes occasionally to a small group of friends and family members.  It has evolved into a weekly 5-day mailing of quotes and commentary to over 500 people worldwide.  In reality, it began when I was a teen-ager.  Our pastor would often include witty sayings in the Sunday bulletins.  I would cut out some of them and save them in a cigar box.  The first one that I remember:  "Virtue is learned at mother's knee.  Vice is learned at other joints."  I consider my daily mailings to be a kind of cyber-ministry.  Sometimes I call it Congregation WithOut Walls.

FROM RVB:  Perfect words as we start a week of evening VBS at ODF tonight.  Yesterday's focused sermon was on "Are we volunteers or Missionaries?"  You are making great circles, my friend! ====JACK:  Speaking of circles...You're too young to remember a radio-host, Major Bowes, who used to say, "Round and round she goes, and where she stops, nobody knows."

FROM MT IN PNNSYLVANIA:  Great message there! Thank you.  This concept is very close to what our technology addresses. It identifies the different circles in which people DO fit (in terms of meaningful and satisfying team contribution), and provides guidance for optimizing those contributions.  News!  Through our work with Pastor Darryl King, we have aligned ten gifts of the Spirit with the ten modes (Roles) of teaming, and we plan to launch the TeamSpirit(R) version of Teamability this fall.  Very exciting, and will be very helpful in addressing many challenges that Christian congregations are facing.  Best regards,====JACK:  Although "Teamability" is directed mainly at the business world, "church" work is probably one of the great example of team work.  When I started out as a new church developer, the slogan for what I (and others like me) were doing, was this: "People are our only business."

FROM ANNE McC:  Where is that verse from?====JACK:  The quote is from Romans 12, where Paul speaks to the Christians (and to us) about forgiveness.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:   *The Hartford Catholic HIGH School* (Archdiocese of Hartford, CT) published this 2-minute video in response to a senator's remark about "*Where is God in all the tragedy in the world?*”   It is an excellent video made in the last few weeks by high school students who don’t say a word.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  LOVE that Markham saying, and hadn't thought of it for ages! As Corrie Ten Boom once wrote "And so I  discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on God's. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself!"   Being a Holocaust survivor, and losing her beloved sister Betsy during internment) she was finally able to encircle the SS guards with love and forgiveness, which she'd not thought possible when first released!====JACK:  C.S. Lewis had it right when he said:  “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.”

FROM OUTHJOUSE JUDY:  Evil can suck you in so easily.  It's a fight for the strong.  I love the quote about drawing the circle!====JACK:  Speaking of overcoming evil...Somethings we can't do by ourselves.  We need God's help.

FROM HONEST JOHN:  To me, Shepard makes more sense than does Markham.====JACK:  They were writing to different generations of people living in different situations.  If we were preaching as contemporaries of Edwin, the content would be different than it is now...or, at least the presentation.
====JOHN:  Sometimes we have to go on the offensive against evil...just like WWII.....there is no dealing with it...right now seems like one of those times.====JACK:  Sometimes it takes perspective to make sense of a the Great Depression, World War 2, the Civil Rights Movement, a re-examination of "What is religion?"  Having lived through those events, I think that I understand them better now.



Friday, August 04, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/4/17
“All people want is someone to listen.”  (Hugh Elliott)  Do you ever get the feeling at work, in the home, or even at church…”Nobody listens to me!”?  That’s a frustrating feeling.  Reactions can be different.  Some raise their voices; some withdraw; some choose sides.  But the fact is, people want to be heard.  Let’s try to be more sensitive to that today.  BTW, I read this week that the word, listen, and the word, silent, have the same letters.  Think about that.    ;-)  Jack

FROM DR J:  Good one ! I'll focus on this today!! I'm in st Thomas USVI.====JACK:  It's nice hearing from you.  You're coming through loud and clear, even though you're 1,974 miles away.

FROM LABOR BOB:  I would add “people want to be heard and understood”.  It is the human condition.====JACK:  That reminds me of the story..."My wife and I had words, only I didn't get a chance to use any."

FROM RS IN TEXAS:  Not sure if you've seen this one on listening -
====JACK:  No, I haven't seen it.  Very interesting and, at times, very true.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  How often do we think of this as we watch our Government work!  There is no such thing as listening or listening for the truth...actual truth.  It would be a miracle if one person in this government even knows the truth! Perhaps if they listened and HEARD.....====JACK:  Sometimes people talk and want only to be heard by those who agree with them.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Interesting tidbit to know about silent and listen! Who sits and figures those things out?!  You really can learn a lot by listening; Hopefully we can all improve our skills on that!====JACK:  Have you ever sung this African song?
Have you ever sung this African song?
Listen, listen, God is calling,
through the Word inviting,
offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy.
Listen, listen, God is calling,
through the Word inviting,
offering forgiveness, comfort, and joy.
1 Jesus gave his mandate:
share the good news
that he came to save us
and set us free. [Refrain]
2 Let none be forgotten
throughout the world.
In the triune name of God
go and baptize. [Refrain]
3 Help us to be faithful,
standing steadfast,
walking in your precepts,
led by your Word. [Refrain]
neno lake Mungu
lakuita wewe,
neno la wokovu, tena jema.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/3/17
“To different minds the same world is a hell and a heaven.”  (J.B. Priestley)  Is the glass half-empty, or is it half-full?  In reality, it’s a glass with water in it.  It’s the same with the world.  It is  what it is.  Shakespeare said that nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.  “This is my Father’s world,” goes the song.   When God is in your life’s picture, it can be heaven.  Leaving God out creates a kind of hell.  So, the choice is up to you and me.  Which shall it be?    ;-)  Jack

FROM TRIHARDER:  I like to add the variable of "half full/empty of lemons? Or lemonade? " ====JACK:  That's a good thought.  Make sure it's sweetened lemonade.

FROM ST PAUL IN ST PAUL:  for the undecided, it could be purgatory:):)====JACK:  I thought that you didn't believe in that Catholic stuff!

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  This world is full of evil.  We get to a point in life where we are facing a wall of pain so terrible we think we can ever survive it!  Gary and I had days, weeks and even months where we thought we could not survive.  But!  God gave us strength to get through baby steps through the moments.  Life is full of sorrows and pain. But we have Heaven waiting for us and an eternity without pain from a loving welcoming place in Heaven!====JACK:  Do you know this song?
"My God and I will go for aye together,
We'll walk and talk just as good friends do;
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
This earth will pass, and with it common trifles,
But God and I will go unendingly.
====JUDY:  Yes.  We sang it in choir.  It was one of my and the choirs favorite song to sing! ====JACK:  Some purists have called it "too syrupy!"  I like syrup sometimes, but not every day.
====JUDY:  It a comfort song to me.  I sing it sometimes.  But it is definitely syrupy.  There are some songs that can make me cry and some that make me want to dance!    My family loved to dance.  We had huge parties with 40 or 50 people down our basement or my grandparent's basement.  Most of the people were kids.  We all loved to dance, especially the polka!  We'd fly around the basement!  What fun we had! "Roll out the barrel!!"====JUDY:  You probably have room at your new place to invite family and friends to "roll out the barrel" again.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  I hadn't thought of the song, "My God and I" for ages, until I read the blog today. A good one to keep in mind! The quote from Shakespeare is also so relevant when it comes to our living, and judging of Black, White, or Gray??! "Love One Another, as I have Loved you" might be a good place to start!====JACK:  To love as God has loved is easier said than done.  Have you heard the story..."In the Bible it says to love your neighbor, but have you ever met my neighbor?"

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/2/17
“There is a precept by which I have lived.  Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.”  (Hannah Arendt)  Even though Arendt died in 1975, it’s interesting to see how her words can fit different situations…personal, work-related and even political.  She was an author whose writings have greatly influenced thinking in America.  Aside from this, Hannah’s is a help as we sometimes try to make sense of the events that happen in our lives.    ;-)  Jack

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  Hannah Arendt was sagacious in her writings, and spot on at saying such things as this succinctly and well! Can't believe she has been gone for 42 yrs!!  Wise words, and easy to  commit to memory! You take what comes, and deal with it, but keep that expectation for the best! Thanks for this, Jack!====JACK:  As it sometimes happens, influential people aren't always well known by the general public.  Hannah seems to be one of those.  Her quote today is such a simple one, but it can be applied to so many situations, personal and public.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Jack’s Winning Words 8/1/17
“Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.”  (Dalai Lama)  Years ago, Kukla, Fran and Ollie were TV friends of mine.  I’ve always liked puppets, especially, Ollie.  I also understand that he wasn’t real, because someone was manipulating him.  When we allow others to manipulate us, we let them take away our reality.  God has given each of us freedom to be ourselves, not to be puppets.  It’s an awesome gift…and responsibility.  Use it well!    ;-)  Jack

FROM LS:  You like puppets?  Well I have a destination in Detroit for you.  PuppetArt Museum and Theater at  25 east grand river, Detroit.  Wonderful history and show and ask about the activity of making a puppet of your own after the show. The people that own and run it have a fascinating history of their own.  They are joyfully entertaining.  The experience is uplifting...... and Ollie ( the original puppet) may even be in this museum.====JACK:  Thanks for the heads up.  Detroit is a complex city, with so many interesting places to the Polish Yacht Club, located far from any body of water.

FROM BLAZING OAKS:  This reminds me of an adage I read: "Don't put the keys to your happiness in someone else's pocket." As Kerry Washington (actress) recently said. "You and you alone are the only person who can live the life that writes the story you were meant to tell." And we all have a story, and faith, to share! Good to remember these words, during this chaotic government situation,  As the Bible says, "And It Came To Pass..."  !!!===JACK:  I've always like the phrase: "And it came to pass," reminding up that we live in a transitory world.  Things come, and they go, the good and bad.  I like the old Gospel song, "This world is not my home, I'm just-a passin' through." 

FROM HONEST JOHN:  I love puppets.   My sister Jean and I had a great time with them when we were kids.   Then my daughter and I had a puppet show every morning during breakfast.====JACK:  Did you ever use puppets to go along with the stories you wrote for children?====JOHN:  Yes.   I wrote a series of puppet "plays" that we put on fir the children's stories at POG.   The kids seemed to love them.   They were based on puppets that Heather and I had....around biblical themes.   I had fun with them.   Mary Lou was the chief puppeteer...I told the stories.    She was great at it. 

FROM DM IN LIV:  So grateful to you for Winning Words, every single day.====JACK:  It gives me inner peace to write and send out Winning Words...but I also like to be in touch with a wide variety of friends...such as you.

FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY:  We had peer pressure and bullying.  Manipulating is an adult way to bully.  It's not just adults though because kids manipulate too now that I think about it.  Because I saw my nephew and niece "manipulate my sister in the store, I vowed I wouldn't let that happen to be when I had kids.  When we went to the store I had a rule:  if you ask you don't get but it you don't ask, you may get a special treat.  It really worked for us.  Sometimes they got something.   Sometimes they didn't.  Manipulation is a terrible thing.====JACK:  I don't see anything in the wedding vows about manipulating.  However, there is talk about loving one another as Christ loves us.

FROM AW IN ILLINOIS:  thanks, Jack. I needed this one.====JACK:  Just like with sermons... Some come at the right time for certain people.