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In Other Words..., A Resource of Facts and Humor for Christian Leaders

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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

April 2024


ADVERSITY: In 2022, Duke’s women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson gave a 3-minute speech that went viral and launched a powerful catch-phrase: Handle Hard Better.  Lawson delivered the non-scripted speech to motivate her team to face hard challenges both in basketball and in life.  The video team that films practices captured what she said and now people from all walks of life are using that inspiration to face adversity. Lawson told her team, “We all wait in life for things to get easier…It will never get easier…What happens is you become someone that handles hard stuff better…If you go around waiting for stuff to get easier in life, it’s never going to happen…Because if you have a meaningful pursuit in life, it will never be easy…So make yourself a person that handles hard well.”  Lawson knows from experience the truth she declares.  She was an All-American at Tennessee who lost in the 2003 national championship game.  She’s an Olympic gold medalist, a WNBA champion, an ESPN analyst, the first female assistant coach in the history of the Boston Celtics, and became the head coach at Duke in 2020.  She’s said, “I don’t even know where ‘Handle Hard Better’ came from.”  But it’s a perspective we all need., 3/15/24
CHURCH: During the spring of 1944, with D-Day rapidly approaching, General George Patton delivered a strong exhortation to the Third Army.  It was a mandate for success just a couple of months before they would storm the beaches of Normandy.  The iconic soldier said, “I don’t want to get any message saying, ‘I am holding my position.’  We are not holding a thing… We are advancing constantly and we are not interested in holding on to anything…  Our basic plan of operation is to advance and to keep on advancing regardless of whether we have to go over, under, or through the enemy.”  Jesus declared His army, the Church, would perpetually & victoriously advance (Matthew 16:18).Charge: History’s Greatest Military Speeches, Steve Israel, 2007, p.203
COMMITMENT: The coldest game in the history of Arrowhead Stadium took place on January 13, 2024.  The Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Miami Dolphins in the wild-card playoff game with a temperature of minus 4-degrees and a wind-chill of minus 27.  Patrick Mahomes’ helmet famously broke as the frozen plastic cracked on a hard tackle.  Such commitment from players is expected but the month of March revealed something new.  Research Medical Center reported that some of the people attending that game are now having fingers and toes amputated due to frostbite.  The hospital noted that more surgeries were expected as the “injuries evolve.”  The commitment of football fans to risk amputations in support of their team should challenge every Christian to evaluate our level of commitment to Christ and His Kingdom. Houston Chronicle, 3/9/24, p.B6
CONSCIENCE: In our Judges-like world where so many do what is right in their own eyes, John Calvin warns about the dangers of believing your conscience is a reliable guide.  He wrote, “A bad conscience is the mother of all heresies.” 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus, Hughes & Chapell, 2012, p.55
FORGIVENESS: While pastors were in their pulpits at 11 o’clock on Sunday, September 8, 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor on national television.  From the Oval Office desk, Ford explained, “I was certain in my own mind that it is the right thing to do.”  Just one month after becoming the 38th President by default, Ford’s pardon eliminated any hope of being elected for another term.  Even as approval ratings plummeted, Ford still had support for his decision and one of his advocates was Senator Barry Goldwater from Arizona.  Goldwater released a statement within hours of the pardon to say he believed Richard Nixon “had been punished enough.”  Much has been written about the only U.S. president to resign, but Senator Goldwater’s sentiments concerning this historic pardon deserve careful thought.  Forgiveness isn’t earned by enduring enough subjective punishment because we can’t ever earn our own forgiveness no matter how much pain we endure.  Forgiveness must be granted by the offended.  God offers us a pardon for our sins not because we’ve endured enough, but because Jesus endured the punishment that we all deserve. The Gatekeepers, Chris Whipple, 2017, p.52;, 9/9/1974; Ben Lacey
PRIORITIES: While dying of pancreatic cancer, Randy Pausch (1960-2008) wrote a book that’s sold more than 5 million copies.  It’s a memoir filled with advice for his young children who would never know their dad beyond childhood.  While talking about priorities, he explained how we must ask ourselves if we’re spending time on the right things.  He referenced an article in his files from a newspaper in Roanoke, Virginia.  A pregnant woman lodged a complaint against a construction company citing concerns that the noisy jackhammers were injuring her unborn child.  She’s holding a cigarette in a photo next to the article.  Pausch wrote, “If she cared about her unborn child, the time she spent railing against jackhammers would have been better spent putting out that cigarette.”  It’s easy to focus on the wrong things. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, 2008, p.108
REGRET: During one of his iHeartPodcast episodes in February 2024, Paul McCartney discussed the lyrics of his famed 1965 ballad “Yesterday.”  It’s been sung and covered countless times with the assumption these lyrics are about a failed romance (“I said something wrong, Now I long for yesterday”) but it’s about his mom.  She died in 1956 from an embolism at the age of 47 when McCartney was 14.  She had a strong Irish accent and he’d previously mocked her about making “ask” sound like “arsk,” which embarrassed her.  The former Beatle said, “I remember later thinking ‘I wish I’d never said that.’”  He explained how “he wishes he had an eraser that he could rub that Yesterday moment away.”  We all wish we had that kind of eraser., 2/64/24
RIGHTEOUSNESS: The pursuit of righteousness can seem confusing until someone explains it as clearly as John Stott did.  He wrote, “We are simply to run from evil as we run from danger, and to run after goodness as we run after success.  That is, we have to give our mind, time and energy to both flight and pursuit.” Guard The Truth, John Stott, 1996, p.155
SANCTIFICATION: Jesus is the benchmark God uses to sanctify us.  A.W. Tozer described how this singular standard for sanctification produces beautiful unity among believers.  He asked, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other?  They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.” The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer, 2016, p.77


ADVICE: While teaching her to drive, Karen Stephensen’s dad seriously said, “Always weave a little, and all the other cars will stay away from you.” Reader’s Digest, November 2019, p.123
FAMILY: Randy Pausch spent very intentional time with his young children knowing that he would soon die from pancreatic cancer.  Each night at bedtime he’d ask about the best part of their day and the worst.  His 3-year-old son Logan had a habit of giving the same answer to both questions, “Playing with Dylan” (his 6-year-old brother).  Logan is right…spending time with family can be the best and worst parts of our day. The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, 2008, p.193
SLOTH: In citing examples of those who excel, Jacob Reimer noted the common theme of early risers and how they exercise “mind over mattress.” Rich Habits, Jacob Reimer, 2014, p.5
TAXES: A wannabe accountant explained to his friend, “If you’re willing to risk a little prison time…I can save you a lot of money.” Reader’s Digest, April 2017, p.60


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