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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

January 2020   Issue 1


CONVICTION: Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) was a Christian minister in Romania who suffered brutal abuse at the hands of Communists.  He spent 14 years in prison, three of those in solitary confinement, simply because of his faith in Christ.  He was tortured physically and mentally, often enduring extreme hunger and cold, yet he never wavered in his faith.  He’d once been a militant atheist but the supernatural transformation he had through Jesus wouldn’t allow him to stop telling others about his Lord.  When writing of his experiences, and what the persecuted Church encounters, Wurmbrand wrote, “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is ready to die for.” Tortured For Christ, Richard Wurmbrand, 50th Anniversary Edition, 2017, p.83
In 2003, the world was introduced to James Kennedy as Cuba Gooding played the beloved mentally challenged “Radio.”  In the late 1960s, football coach Harold Jones began taking care of Kennedy after befriending the man known to walk around town pushing a shopping cart and listening to a transistor radio.  He became the team manager for the T.L. Hanna High School football team in Anderson, South Carolina and was a fixture on the sidelines where he jubilantly cheered for his team and urged them to win.  Assistant coach Terry Honeycutt cherished his childlike spirit and said, “He doesn’t know what a bad mood is.  He’s always got that smile on his face.”  James “Radio” Kennedy died on December 15, 2019 at the age of 73.  He never knew how to read or write, but he provided a dissertation on the value of a great disposition. USA Today, 12/16/19, p.3C
It was the legendary duo of Rodgers & Hammerstein who crafted those famous lyrics for Happy Talk in South Pacific: “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?” Men of Integrity, September/October 2009, p.11/22
If carving out 30-minutes a day for exercise seems challenging, be glad you’re not an astronaut.  To compensate for the effects of zero gravity on the space station, each astronaut is scheduled for 2 ½ hours of exercise per day, six days a week.  Why not try to do in 5 days what they do in 1? Reader’s Digest, May 2015, p.83
In his best-selling book about habits, James Clear gives this concise insight: “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”  You may not want to be financially strapped, but overspending demonstrates you’re actually voting for escalating debt.  That second helping of dessert probably doesn’t seem significant, but it’s really a vote for weight gain.  Your understanding of Scripture might feel inadequate, but each time you read God’s Word you’re voting for a richer relationship with God.  With that in mind, what will you vote for this year? Atomic Habits, James Clear, 2018, p.38
Prayers outnumber kisses on New Year’s Eve as 66% of Americans say a prayer while 47% kiss someone.  There’s something about new beginnings, uncertainty, and hope that fosters our awareness of God. Outreach, January/February 2012, p.97
Tiger Woods won the Masters in April 2019 (his first major win since 2008) and the Associated Press ranked it as the sports story of the year.  There were plenty of headlines to choose from: U.S. Women’s soccer team winning the World Cup, the blown call that kept the Saints out of the Super Bowl, an historic World Series where neither team won a home game, Simone Biles’ resurging dominance in gymnastics, plus many others.  But it was Woods turning back the clock that ranked highest in 2019.  As experts analyzed his win, they point to one strategic decision that led to his fifth green jacket.  On the final day at the par-3 12th hole, he watched two other players in his group go for the pin only to watch each ball role down into the water.  Woods opted to shoot for a safe spot on the green where the ball ended up 60 feet from the hole.  He then two-putted for par.  Commentators said there wasn’t anything exciting about it, except his wise decision.  By calculating the risk and playing it safe, he achieved his goal of winning.  Our culture thrives on grandiose goals and major risks (and they have their place) but sometimes the wisest decision is to play it safe. Houston Chronicle, 12/26/19, p.C7; Beaumont Enterprise, 11/27/19, p.C5
Physical discipline is a portion of Christian stewardship.  The way we treat our body is significant since we are to use them for God’s glory.  A recent study from Harvard, that was published in The New England Journal of Medicine, projects nearly half of the U.S population will be obese by 2030.  Forty percent of American adults are currently obese, and that will increase to 49% in just ten years unless changes are made.  In one brief decade, 29 states are projected to have majority populations that are obese.  Stewardship of our body is an investment in spiritual optimization. USA Today, 12/23/19, p.6A
VISION: In 1959, Harvey Mackay bought a struggling envelope company.  He turned it around, renamed it Mackay Envelope Corporation, and led it to become a dominant force in the industry.  By the time he sold his company in 2001, they were producing over 17 million envelopes per day.  Mackay has shared his insights & wisdom in his best-selling books, and branded himself with the first book’s title in 1988, Swim With The Sharks.  When talking about his company, Mackay has repeatedly explained their mission was simple: “To be in business forever.”  Mark DeMoss affirmingly wrote, “This company’s compass points to true north: stick to what you know and do it better than anyone else.”  Imagine what might happen in our lives, families, churches, communities, and careers if we did just that. The Little Red Book of Wisdom, Mark DeMoss, 2001, p.14


CLUTTER: New Year’s resolutions often include being more organized.  Nicole Anzia is a professional organizer who’s featured monthly in The Washington Post.  Although Ben Franklin said, “A place for everything, everything in its place,” Anzia reminds us that the floor is not one of those places.  She notes more and more people are moving to “floor storage,” which is not an “optimal system.”  “Floor storage” usually means we have too much, or we’re too disorganized... or maybe both. Beaumont Enterprise, 5/12/19, p.B13
DIETS: Actress Anna Kendrick: “Low-carb diets work not because they are healthier, but because without carbs I simply lose the will to eat.” Reader’s Digest, October 2016, p.83
EXERCISE: Patton Oswalt talked about his fitness goal: “I would like to stop looking like I’m wearing a bulletproof vest all the time.”  Lisa Goodwin noted, “My favorite thing to do at the gym is leave.”  Kevin Nealon shared, “I’m on a strict running program.  I started yesterday.  I’ve missed only one day so far.”  Lisa Landry added, “A gym is just a PE class that you pay to skip.” Reader’s Digest, November 2016, p.19; March 2017, p.93
MESSAGING: took a look at the content of women’s magazines and concluded half the messages are, “Accept yourself – you’re beautiful just the way you are.”  The other half are, “How to lose 20 lb. in four weeks.” Reader’s Digest, April 2017, p.33


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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