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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

June 2024


FAMILY: In 2014, Richard & Linda Eyre released The Turning: Why The State of the Family Matters and What The World Can Do About It.  These New York Times #1 bestselling authors utilized research to build a case of cause & effect to show how so many social and economic challenges facing the world today are a result of turning away from family.  The Eyres stated, “In sociology and anthropology, we conclude that society doesn’t form families; families form society.”  Until we reprioritize the family as defined and described in the Bible, societal carnage will just continue to escalate. Today’s Christian, January 2021, p.10
FRIENDS: “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your life” is more than a proverbial axiom.  Dr. David McClelland of Harvard spent thirty years researching human behavior and refers to our five closest friends as our “reference group.”  His conclusion is startling: Ninety-five percent of our success or failure is determined by our reference group.  Few things have a greater impact than those with whom we surround ourselves so choose friends wisely. Mature Living, June 2020, p.28
HAPPINESS: Brian Wilson co-founded the Beach Boys and has sung plenty of happy songs that are fun to hear & sing.  But happiness has been elusive for Wilson.  In a documentary about his life, the man who entertained millions of people with his music for over six decades, said, “I found out happiness is hard work.  It’s hard work to be happy.”  Wilson went on to explain, “It’s taking responsibility for your attitude.” Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, 3/6/24
HOLINESS: On May 16, 2024, a statue of Billy Graham was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol.  Two verses that defined his life will be seen by all who visit: John 3:16 & John 14:6.  Dr. Graham emphatically called Christians to holiness by declaring, “Living the Christian life means striving for holiness.”  He would then say, “We aren’t only called to become Christians; we are called to be Christians.”  Holiness involves becoming AND being., 5/16/24
LIGHT: While my wife & I visited with a police officer at a wedding reception, we talked about her challenging assignment in a rough part of town.  Rather than bemoan her job, she simply stated an undeniable truth: “There would be a lot less crime if people would turn on their lights.”  Light is an exceptionally strong deterrent in the physical world and the spiritual realm.  Well-lighted Christians are desperately needed in our darkened world. Editor’s Personal Experience
PARENTING: A whole industry traces its roots to a well-known couple in Waco, Texas.  Just say “Fixer Upper” and you can picture Chip & Joanna Gaines.  They’ve had crazy vocational success yet they are very intentional about succeeding at home.  When talking about their family, Chip said, “Parenting our children all identically would be more efficient, but it just doesn’t work, because they each have a unique personality and purpose.”  This fundamental insight can be one of the toughest for a parent to embrace, but it’s essential for success. People, 3/22/21, p.51
POTENTIAL: Rener Gracie is a martial arts champion and motivational leader who believes we are all like a Swiss Army Knife.  The iconic red pocket-knives are loaded with gadgets to facilitate countless applications.  But as Gracie notes, most of us are only using one or two primary tools.  To his point, there’s a lot of untapped potential. Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, 10/18/23
SELF: Anaximander was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived in the sixth century BC.  He made the first map of the known world and placed Miletus at the center of the world…because that’s where he lived.  Whether we’re a philosopher, piano technician, or a retired engineer, we all struggle to create maps that don’t place us at the center., 1/24/23
SUCCESS: Basketball legend Jerry West died on June 12, 2024 at the age of 86.  The NBA logo bears his silhouette so he was not only nicknamed Mr. Clutch, but also The Logo.  In 14 seasons he was named to the All-Star team.  He was an Olympic gold medalist and averaged 40.6 points in the 1965 playoffs…long before the three-point shot.  He’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame twice and will receive a third installation posthumously for his work as an executive.  West had his nose broken nine times as he played with grit & determination gleaned from his humble beginnings in West Virginia and an abusive father (the young West slept with a shotgun under his bed in case he needed it to defend himself).  Only once did he win an NBA championship, in 1972, and he lost 8 times.  He remains the only player to ever win a Finals MVP while playing for the losing team.  In the Laker’s 1969 loss to the Boston Celtics, West averaged 37.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 7.4 assists.  We often think success is defined only by winning, but it’s a successful endeavor when we come up short after giving our best effort. Wall Street Journal, 6/13/24, p.A14
SUFFERING: Robert Heinlein stated, “Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy,” and the Los Angeles Times concurred when it reported the death of Harold Wilke (1914-2003).  Wilke was a well-known minister who overcame the enormous obstacle of being born without arms.  Around the age of three, he was struggling to put on a shirt while his mother watched.  He explained, as he often did in his advocacy for those with disabilities, that he was grunting and sweating but she didn’t lend a hand.  One of her friends was at the house and finally exclaimed in exasperation, “Ida, why don’t you help that child?”  Wilke would then conclude this story by saying, “My mother responded through gritted teeth, ‘I am helping him.’”  Suffering is often the very thing that strengthens us the most., 3/1/3;
WORSHIP: While doing some research online, I came across a church website that had “Workship” listed on their Sunday morning schedule.  It was an older site and simply appeared to be a typo, but that added “k” inadvertently communicated an important truth about meaningful worship…it takes intentional effort. Editor’s Personal Experience


FATHERHOOD: A comedian explained how he ordered a book from IKEA and the box arrived with thousands of Scrabble tiles.  Fatherhood can feel that way. Reader’s Digest, May 2020, p.97
FATHERHOOD: A dad had the following text exchange with his daughter.  “Dad where are you?”  “Pulling in our driveway…why?”  “You brought me with you to Walmart.”  “Uh-oh…headed back to Walmart now.”  Reader’s Digest, September 2020, p.17
FOCUS: After Nick Saban retired as Alabama’s head football coach in January 2024, stories about him began to proliferate.  One related to his focus.  In the mid 1980s he was an assistant coach at Michigan State and regularly went to Youngstown, Ohio recruiting players.  One day he met Bob Stoops’ uncle at a local tavern to discuss football.  While they talked & ate, a guy walked in with a gun and robbed the place.  When the police arrived and started questioning customers, the bartender told law enforcement, “Forget those two, they didn’t look up the entire time.”  Saban and Stoops had to admit they were surprised to learn about the robbery., 1/12/24
GIFTS: The Columbia University School of Journalism listed some classic bloopers and among them was this advertisement that left out the word “prearranged.”  “One of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give your family may be your funeral.” Reader’s Digest, May 2020, p.24
SELF: There’s a word for that person who believes the entire universe consists of just one person…them: “Youniverse.” Reader’s Digest, December 2019, p.74

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