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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

November 2018 ~ Issue 1

BIBLE: In an article about the psychology of cheating, the work of Dan Ariely was cited.  Ariely is a behavioral economist at Duke University and notes that students are less likely to cheat on a test if they are asked to recall the Ten Commandments before the exam.  Dr. Ariely found that this simple exercise even works among the nonreligious.  We were created to be guided toward good by God, and everything He's given us does just that.  How ironic that a brilliant professor finds value in the very thing our culture has insisted will do nothing but harm our students. Reader's Digest, May 2015, p.36

COMPASSION: Lauren Daigle is a Christian singer who's blowing up the charts with her latest album Look Up Child.  In October 2018 she was a guest on The Ellen Show and received a lot of criticism for being on a show where the host, Ellen DeGeneres, is openly gay.  The 27-year-old Louisiana native responded to Christians who disapproved of her decision with words worth pondering.  She said, "I think the second we start drawing lines around which people are able to be approached and which aren't, we've already missed the heart of God."  She readily admitted she doesn't have all the answers but stated, "I can't choose who I'm supposed to be kind to and who I'm not."  Daigle said her calling as a Christian is to "be who Christ was to everyone."  Categorizing is ever present in our culture and it's always the easiest path to travel, but navigating compassion with truth is the hard work every believer is called to pursue. ChristianHeadlines.com, 11/1/18

EVANGELISM: John Stott wrote a timeless truth about evangelism in 1962.  He stated, "Nothing shuts the mouth, seals the lips, and ties the tongue like the secret poverty of our own spiritual experience."  We cannot share what we do not possess.  Our silence either indicates we are not yet redeemed, or we have suppressed Christ's life-giving presence to such an extent that we have nothing fresh to give.  May we long to be like the disciples who enthusiastically confessed, 'we can't help but speak about the wonderful things we've seen and heard' (Acts 4:20). Releasing The Rivers Within, Dwight Edwards, 2003, p.34

HEAVEN: The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven was a New York Times Bestseller that sold over a million copies.  The book by Kevin & Alex Malarkey was billed and published as "A True Story" by Tyndale House in 2010.  The cover heralded "A remarkable account of miracles, angels, and life beyond this world."  The book recounted what happened following a near fatal car accident in 2004.  Alex, age six at the time, was in a coma for two months.  When he awoke, he claimed to have been in heaven and that experience became the substance of the book.  In 2015, at the age of 16, Alex retracted his story with an open letter stating, "I did not die.  I did not go to heaven.  I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention.  When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible.  People have profited from lies, and continue to.  They should read the Bible, which is enough."  In April of 2018, Alex filed a lawsuit against Tyndale to disassociate his name from the book, which went out of print after his confession of fabrication.  Alex, who was left paralyzed by the accident, claims he had nothing to do with the book and never gave his consent to have the story communicated.  Although he is listed as the co-author, Alex says his dad wrote the whole thing.  This tragic outcome doesn't put a question mark by the reality of heaven, but it should cause us to reflect on the truth Alex emphasized - reading the Bible is enough. ChristianityToday.com, 4/12/18

INTENTIONALITY: In 2017, LifeWay Research asked 1,010 American adults that attend church at least once a month, "What is the primary reason you do not bring guests with you to worship services more often?"  By far, the most common response (31%) was, "I do not know."  Ambivalence about negligence is alarming. LifeWayResearch.com

KINDNESS: Through research by Coca-Cola it was discovered that 83% of young Americans (age 17 to 24) were inspired to do a random act of kindness for someone else after having received one themselves.  Kindness is contagious! USA Today, 7/24/18, p.1D

PERSPECTIVE: Bob Goff has wisely written, "I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I'm more afraid of succeeding at things that don't matter."  Hopefully we all think the same. Love Does, Bob Goff, 2012, p.25

SELF: The All India Institute of Medical Sciences has tracked a unique statistic: how many people have died while taking a selfie.  Their research confirms at least 259 such deaths around the world in the last six years.  Drowning is the leading cause followed by transportation (taking a picture as a train/car approaches).  Other causes are falling from cliffs, waterfalls and buildings.  Fixation on self can be deadly. The Week, 10/19/18, p.16

TIME: By flipping the Pareto Principle, Siimon Reynolds points out, "around 80% of what you do hardly matters at all!"  Parkinson's Law reminds us that, "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."  By coupling these two insights we are put on notice to be very intentional about the use of our time or we will consume all available time accomplishing very little. Why People Fail, Siimon Reynolds, 2012, p.30&32

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 

EXERCISE: In preparation for all the trick-or-treaters, Margaret looked for an ideal spot to hide the candy from her husband.  After several potential places she concluded he'd never find the candy if she hid it in his gym bag. Beaumont Enterprise, 10/27/18, p.B6

MARRIAGE: In an actual interchange between two medical doctors who had been discussing a patient, the male doctor ended their discussion by saying, "I love you."  There was an awkward pause, and then he said, "I'm sorry, you were telling me what to do, so it made me think I was speaking with my wife." Reader's Digest, May 2015, p.68

PREACHING: During Pastor Appreciation Month (October 2018), children at our church were given a page to draw a picture and answer a couple of questions about "Pastor Raymond."  The drawings were priceless, as were the many comments.  One kid seemed to be dialed in with his picture and answers.  This child noted I'm "at least 123 years old," my favorite food is "cake," and then answered, My pastor always says: "a lot of stuff but I only pay attention sometimes." Editor's Personal Experience

RATIONALIZATION: C.S. was standing at the airport baggage carousel when another passenger grabbed his suitcase.  C.S. yelled, "Excuse me, that's my suitcase."  The man defensively shouted, "Well, somebody took mine!" Reader's Digest, May 2015, p.26

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 www.iows.net to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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