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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

August 2019   Issue 1


ACTIONS: One of the biggest “what ifs” concerning the Cold War space race seems to verify the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction.  The United States and Russia each had one central rocket engineer that was critical to the mission.  America had Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi, who developed the Saturn series that would propel the spacecraft.  The Russians had Sergei Korolev, who had his country in the lead as they competed to be “first to the moon.”  Korolev was so valuable that he was never publicly identified for fear that the U.S. would assassinate him.  That fear proved to be misplaced because Korolev died in 1966 not from an assassin, but a botched surgery for hemorrhoids.  So much for socialized medicine.  Without their “chief designer” for a moon shot, the Russians lost the lead, which ultimately led to the big celebration 50 years ago with roughly one-fifth of the world’s population watching Neil Armstrong step onto the moon.  If that fatal surgery hadn’t occurred, Russia might have won the race.  Not all actions are as monumental as this one, but even on the smallest scale our actions do matter. The Week, 7/26/19, p.11
CHOICES: In his latest book, Tom Ziglar channeled his father’s wisdom when writing about the importance of choices.  He wrote, “Your choices today become your reality tomorrow.”  Our present choices, good or bad, pave the pathway to our future. Choose To Win, Tom Ziglar, 2019, p.31 - visit for more Ziglar Corporation resources
CULTURE: According to U.S. Pentagon data from 2017, 71% of Americans between 17 and 24 are ineligible to join the military because of obesity, lack of a high school diploma, or a criminal record.  Such stats suggest cultural deficiency. USA Today, 7/8/19, p.1A
EVANGELISM: Casting Crowns' 2018 album Only Jesus contains their popular song Nobody, which utilizes a phrase from The Williams Brothers’ 1991 hit, I’m Just A Nobody.  In that original song from nearly 30 years ago you hear this poetic lyric that delineates our role in evangelism: “I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.”  Essentially, evangelism is about as simple as that.
LEADERSHIP: Our two kids regularly heard me send them off to high school with these words, “Remember, great days don’t just happen, they’re made.  So make it a great day!”  The wisdom of Peter Drucker (1909-2005) reminds us that if we’re not making great days in our lives or organizations, we’re more than likely going to encounter the exact opposite.  This management guru said, “The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction, malperformance.”  Effective leadership recognizes this dynamic and wisely works against natural devolution. The Daily Drucker, Peter Drucker, 2004, p.350
VISION: As a college quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, Tim Tebow won the Heisman and two national championships.  He was a first round NFL draft pick, and now plays professional baseball with the New York Mets Triple-A affiliate, Syracuse Mets.  In addition, he’s an ESPN sports commentator, best-selling author, and Executive producer of the movie, Run The Race.  Tebow has certainly accomplished a lot since his birth in 1987, and much of that can be understood by his strategic balance of dreaming & doing.  In a recent interview he explained, “It’s good to be a dreamer, but not when the dreaming stops you from being a doer in the moment.”  We need both. USA Today, 6/24/19, p.2D
WORSHIP: In his 1965 novel, The Source, James Michener (1907-1997) plied his gift of merging facts & fiction to tell the history of Israel’s land.  Using the backdrop of a fictional archaeological dig, he created characters that give life to the history and relics known to exist during various times.  Early in this massive tome (909 pages) Michener tells of a man named Urbaal who worships Astarte (Ashtoreth), a pagan goddess of fertility.  As Urbaal and his community try to appease the gods and gain their favor, they sacrifice children, and Urbaal’s 3-year-old son is among those thrown into the fiery altar.  Urbaal then becomes the chosen man to spend a week with a temple prostitute, and he is bizarrely excited even though he just heard the cries of his dying son.  His wife, Timna, is horrified by what the pagan worship has done to her family.  She walks home alone in desperate sorrow over losing her son and then seeing her husband gleefully enter the temple with another woman.  Michener then writes this telling commentary: “with different gods her husband Urbaal would have been a different man.”  Who we worship defines us, and with Christ, we are indeed different–we are made brand new in Him. The Source, James Michener, 1965, p.120


CONFLICT: Charlie Brown explained to Lucy that he didn’t think she was good enough to continue playing on their baseball team.  She replied, “If you kick me off the team, Charlie Brown, I’ll never speak to you again!  BUT I’LL SURE YELL AT YOU A LOT!!”  Some people prefer yelling rather than talking. Houston Chronicle, 7/31/19, p.D9
CRITICISM: Mara Wilson confessed, “I used to love correcting people’s grammar until I realized what I loved more was having friends.” Reader’s Digest, May 2016, p.113
HEALTHCARE: Just before the Versed took effect, Frank heard his surgeon say, “Don’t worry, Dave, this is a simple operation.”  Frank opened his eyes and exclaimed, “But Doc, my name’s not Dave!”  The surgeon replied, “I know.  It’s mine.” AARP, July 2019, p.54
PARENTING: Parenting took a huge hit on July 28, 2019.  That’s the day Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million at the first Fortnite World Cup championship in New York’s Arthur Ashe Stadium.  The 16-year-old from Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania took home more than Tiger Woods did after winning the 2019 Masters Tournament.  Forty million players competed for the chance to be in the finals and take home a portion of the $30 million in cash prizes.  For years parents have been threatening their children with that dreaded question: “Do you want to be 30 years old and still living at home playing video games?”  Now the answer will most certainly be, “I sure hope so!” Beaumont Enterprise, 7/30/19, p.2A
RELATIONSHIPS: After yet another relational conflict, Ed said, “Too bad relationships don’t come with an ‘Unsubscribe’ option.” Beaumont Enterprise, 7/14/19, p.SC3
WORRY: In a podcast, Andy Stanley referenced a worrier friend who humorously claims to have PRE-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast, 6/6/19


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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