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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

October 2017 ~ Issue 1

DISCOURAGEMENT: Crayola meticulously evaluated the name for their replacement of the retired Dandelion.  On September 14, 2017 they unveiled "Bluetiful" as the fan favorite over nearly 90,000 entries that included these top four contenders: Dreams Come Blue, Blue Moon Bliss, Star Spangled Blue, and Reach for the Stars.  Bluetiful will debut during the last quarter of 2017.  Blue is the favorite color of many people, but it's also the term we use to describe times of emotional sadness.  When we're down it's hard to imagine any good coming from our heaviness, yet it's the weeping prophet who reminds us of God's promise to "refresh the weary and satisfy the faint" (Jeremiah 31:25).  When sad times engulf you, invite God to make something Bluetiful. USA Today, 9/15/17, p.2B

HOPE: Hebrews 6:19 calls our hope in Christ an anchor.  We often think of an anchor as something that keeps us from drifting into bad places, but anchors are also used to pull boats toward a desired destination.  Kedging is a nautical term for an anchor that's used to guide a ship in a positive direction.  The anchor is thrown toward a preferred location and then the crew pulls the ship to where the anchor is set.  The writer of Hebrews says our anchor is set in heaven with Jesus so we can kedge toward Him.  Our journey of faith is far more than setting anchors that will keep us from drifting.  We are called to fix our eyes on Christ and actively move toward Him. If, Mark Batterson, 2015, p.86

LONELINESS: In August of 2017, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad presented research on the epidemic of loneliness at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.  The Brigham Young University psychology professor said, "an increasing portion of the U.S. population now experiences isolation regularly.”  With approximately 42 million Americans over the age of 45 dealing with chronic loneliness, Holt-Lunstad noted, "Americans are becoming less socially connected and experiencing more loneliness."  She then stated, “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators." The Biblical mandate to love your neighbor as yourself is more prescriptive than we generally think. Beaumont Enterprise,10/4/17, p.2B

PURPOSE: Purpose should drive our behaviors, but several years ago CVS realized they weren't doing that.  In 2014, CEO Larry Merlo made the shocking announcement that they would no longer sell tobacco.  He said, "The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose - helping people on their path to better health."  That single decision to focus on their purpose rather than their profits meant the loss of $2 billion per year in sales for the nationwide pharmacy chain of 7,600 stores.  Such realignment around an organization's true purpose should challenge Christians and churches to reconsider what it is that God has called us to do. Ben Lacey;; USA Today, 9/3/14

REDEMPTION: When Rick Warren graciously visited Beaumont after Hurricane Harvey, he reminded Christian leaders that God doesn't specialize in bringing good out of good - anyone can do that.  God's specialty is that of bringing good out of bad and evil.  That truth has resounded in our devastated area, and it became clear again this week during the aftermath of Stephen Paddock's murderous rampage at the Las Vegas Route 91 Harvest country musical festival on October 1, 2017.  At 4:29 in the morning, Taylor Benge looked into the CNN cameras and explained, "I know I can't speak for everyone, but for me, I was agnostic going into that concert and I'm a firm believer in God now."  Evil erupted and took the lives of nearly 60 people, injured hundreds, and traumatized millions, yet God's redemptive nature quickly surfaced to remind us that He does what nobody else can (Luke 18:27)., 10/2/17

SERVICE: Mike Huckabee has been the governor of Arkansas, made two runs at the White House, and is well-known as a broadcaster.  When he shows up on Sundays at Destiny Worship Center evangelical church near his home in northwest Florida, Huckabee is simply the 'golf cart guy.'  He may have spoken at a convention the night before, or interviewed a world leader earlier in the week, but on Sunday morning he's driving through the church parking lot shuttling people to the door.  Everyone has to serve in some capacity at his church so he's embraced the role of making certain people get a warm welcome while he gives them a ride to worship.  Regardless of who we are or what we do, serving others will always be essential. Houston Chronicle, 10/1/17, p.F8

SPIRITUAL WARFARE: Victor Pratt saw a rattlesnake in his Coolidge, Arizona yard while hosting his child's birthday party on September 7, 2017.  He decided he'd show his guests how to catch and cook a rattlesnake, so he grabbed the rattler behind the head and started posing for pictures with the impressed crowd.  He then lost his grip and the snake bit his chest and face.  Pratt was rushed to the local hospital and then transferred to a medical facility in Phoenix some 60 miles away.  A regimen of antivenom and heavy sedation during his week in the hospital saved his life and left him with a new perspective on snakes.  The 48-year-old Pratt said, "Ain't gonna play with snakes no more!"  The physical reality of venomous snakes should speak to us about the spiritual dimension.  Playing with that which can kill us is never wise. USA Today, 9/20/17, p.6B


PERFORMANCE REVIEW: Ted asked his boss to give him the unvarnished truth about his job performance.  For the next 15 minutes Ted's boss talked about his poor work ethic, propensity to miss details, lack of cooperation with his colleagues, and his overall negative impact on the office.  When the boss finally finished, Ted asked, "Could we do that again with just a touch of varnish?" Houston Chronicle, 4/27/17, p.D22

PARENTING: Sue Struthers took the day off from work so she could spend time with her youngest son on his last day before leaving to basic training.  Emotions were peaked because life was about to permanently change for both of them.  As they drove together, the typically macho young man began to speak in a very halting, sad voice.  He said, "I'm going to miss you."  With tears in her eyes, Sue turned to her son ready to express how much she was going to miss him too.  She then realized he was addressing a can of Pepsi he'd just opened. Reader's Digest, July 2004, p.60

TRUST: Groucho Marx, the late American comedian (1890-1977), said, "There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him.  If he says 'yes,' you know he is crooked." It appears to still be a litmus test all these years later. Beaumont Enterprise, 10/2/17, p.2A

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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