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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

August 2017 ~ Issue 1

CONTENTMENT: Francis Schaeffer (1912-1984) was a Presbyterian pastor and author who wrote, "I am to love God enough to be contented... I am to love men enough not to envy."  Contentment requires both aspects. True Spirituality, Francis Schaeffer, 2001, p.8

DISPOSITION: W.C. Fields (1880-1946) said, "Start every day off with a smile and get it over with."  The American comedian's humor was partially true.  We should start every day with a smile, and then keep on doing it throughout the day.  Ample research shows that the simple act of smiling actually makes us feel happier.  So flash those 32s for yourself and others. Beaumont Enterprise, 9/19/16; Fast Company, December 2016, p.12

HONESTY: According to a new study published in the Nature Neuroscience journal, white lies aren't as harmless as we might think.  Brain scans of subjects' amygdala, which is the region that responds to unpleasant emotional experiences, showed that the brain becomes more and more desensitized with each falsehood.  The researchers noted that the more we lie, the less the brain responds.  The article suggested, "What begins as small acts of dishonesty can escalate into large transgressions." AARP, January/February 2017, p.31

MEDIOCRITY: J.J. Watt is the Houston Texans' franchise player in the NFL.  He's won the Defensive Player of the Year award three times, but has also suffered a season-ending back injury in 2016.  Of his experiences, Watt said, "I've experienced the highs and I've experienced the lows.  Both are better than living in the middle."  Even disappointment and failure can trump mediocrity. Houston Chronicle, 11/26/16, Texas Sports Nation p.11

OPINIONS: The iPhone turned 10 in 2017.  It was introduced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007 and began shipping six months later in June.  Three months after its debut, Steve Ballmer scoffed at Apple's new gadget.  Ballmer, who was Microsoft's CEO at the time, said in April of 2007, "there's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.  No chance."  A decade later, Apple has sold over 1 billion of the coveted phones.  We're all entitled to our opinions, but it's wise to remember they aren't necessarily definitive truth. Houston Chronicle, 1/10/17, p.B3; USA Today, 1/10/17, p.5B

RESPONSIBILITY: On July 9, 2017, Jamel Dunn drown in a retention pond while five teenagers watched, laughed, and videoed the mentally disabled man screaming for help.  The 31-year-old Dunn entered the pond in Cocoa, Florida on his own, but soon began to struggle in the water.  The five teenage boys, ages 14 to 16, sat on the bank and callously chose to be entertained by the tragedy, and even told Dunn he was going to die.  In outrage, people expect the young men to be prosecuted, but according to officials, they did not break any laws.  David Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice, said, "Generally, throughout the U.S., there is no duty to rescue.  It seems like common sense that those kids should have tried to help the guy instead of filming it."  In a 2012 Supreme Court legal argument, Justice Anthony Kennedy affirmed the same sad reality.  He wrote, "You don't have the duty to rescue someone if that person is in danger."  He went on to say there are "some severe moral criticisms of that rule, but that's generally the rule."  It stirs up anger within us, and it should, but are we as Christians willing to see ourselves in the tragedy?  We must confess that too often we've refused to rescue those who are dying in their sins. Beaumont Enterprise, 7/22/17, p.4A

SUCCESS: Legendary football coach Bill Chappell led the Dalton Catamounts for 33 years.  He is the third winningest coach in the history of Georgia High School football and is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.  During a preseason booster dinner years ago, one fan asked, "What kind of team are we going to have this year, Coach?"  He replied, "Ask me in 20 years."  Thinking the coach misunderstood, this fan repeated his question, and Chappell calmly gave the same answer.  In a somewhat exasperated voice, the man asked the same question again.  Coach Chappell responded, "Look, I know what you are asking, but what you're asking is the wrong question.  We'll have a fair football team, but we won't really know what kind of team this is until 20 years have passed.  You see, we are about building character in young men, and we won't know how that turns out for at least 20 years."  Chappell led his teams to an unprecedented 27 state playoffs in his 33 seasons at Dalton, but his eye was on something far greater than Friday night lights.  As sports writer Furman Bisher noted, "Coaches like Bill Chappell have kept more kids out of jails, off the streets, and shown them the right track more than any public official ever did."  True success requires scrutiny of the 20-Year Rule. Baptist Standard, 3/30/16



CONSEQUENCES: At the age of 7, Jessica was thinking deeply about sin after reading of the Fall in Genesis 3.  A few days later she got sick and started connecting the dots.  She bemoaned, "If Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit, I wouldn't be sick."  Before her mom could comment, Jessica quickly added, "But, if they didn't eat it, we'd be sitting here naked!" Today's Christian, January/February 2006, p.6

PARENTING: Debbie Williams was working the ticket counter at a busy airport where a screaming baby had every passenger's attention.  A man stepped to the counter, looked at the infant, and then rolled his eyes.  Trying to assure him, Debbie said, "Don't worry, chances are that baby won't be on your flight."  The man shook his head and replied, "Oh, I bet he will.  That's my son." Reader's Digest, September 2004, p.75

PLANNING: Nobody plans quite like astronauts, but even then it's possible to overlook something.  When Harrison Schmitt landed on the moon with Apollo 17, he became ill.  Although he'd spent years training for that moment, nothing could have prepared him for what he soon learned - he was allergic to moon dust. Mental Floss, December 2015, p.29

RELATIONSHIPS: We all know challenging people, and we're all a challenge to some-one else.  Here's how several famous men described those they didn't particularly like: "I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow  "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." Mark Twain  "I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here." Stephen Bishop  "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." Winston Churchill  "He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." Oscar Wilde  "He's a self-made made who worships his creator." John Bright  "He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." William Faulkner about Ernest Hemingway  As Oscar Wilde creatively described it, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." Saturday Evening Post, March/April 2007, p.28

IN OTHER WORDS... began in 1991 and is produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry, Senior Pastor of the Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.  Subscribers receive full access to our Web site of over 5,000 illustrations PLUS two email issues per month filled with fascinating facts, quotes, humor, and spiritual illustrations from headline news.  All content is copyrighted.  Visit to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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