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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

March 2019    Issue 1


CHANGE: The Crown-Goodman Family Foundation recently donated a collection of manuscripts from Albert Einstein to Israel's Hebrew University.  Most of the 110 pages have never been publicly displayed before so the papers reveal new insights into the world-renowned physicist.  There are yellowed pages of handwritten equations that will fascinate scientists, but most people will be drawn to the four personal letters he exchanged with his lifelong friend Michele Besso.  Besso was a Swiss-Italian engineer of Jewish descent, so the letters they wrote in German each included something scientific and something personal.  Besso professed to be a Christian, but also learned Hebrew.  Even though Einstein was Jewish, he never learned the language.  He stated in a letter that he "must feel ashamed at the fact that I know nothing of it (Hebrew).  But I prefer to feel ashamed rather than learn it."  His light-hearted, somewhat sarcastic statement causes us to smile while also arousing our own self-awareness that we all have things for which we'd rather endure shame than change., 3/6/19

DIRECTION: On February 23, 2019, Jim & Candy Duke were walking along the beach in Corpus Christi and found a bottle washed up on the shore.  They noticed a message inside so they carefully removed the cork and discovered a postcard instructing the finder to mail it immediately for a 50 cent reward.  It was one of 1,796 bottles dropped across the western half of the Gulf of Mexico over the course of several days in 1962 & 1963.  These bottles were part of a “drift study” by the U.S. Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, now known as the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Satellites and GPS have long-since made such studies obsolete.  Four months before President Kennedy told a Houston crowd in 1962, “We choose to go to the Moon,” this bottle was put adrift and had been drifting ever since - nearly six decades.  Without direction we run the same risk of just drifting through life until we become totally obsolete. Houston Chronicle, 2/25/19, p.A4

EVANGELISM: Best-selling author Erwin McManus recently told about an atheist who came to Christ at Mosaic, the church he pastors in California.  This guy entered a worship service as an atheist, and ended up getting baptized that same day.  McManus later asked him, “Didn’t you come in as an atheist?”  He affirmed the divine irony so McManus inquired, “So, what happened?  What happened between the time you walked into the building and the time you walked into the water?  It’s only been like an hour.”  The guy laughed and confessed, “I clearly wasn’t a very good atheist.”  Christians often refrain from evangelism out of fear they’ll encounter an atheist for whom they won’t have adequate answers.  In reality, there are a lot of people who aren’t very good atheists and just need someone to help them experience Christ. Outreach, March/April 2019, p.123

GRATITUDE: Rather than being grateful for his opportunity in life, Raphael Samuel is suing his parents for bringing him into the world without his consent.  The 27-year-old man from Mumbai claims his parents were selfish and “had me for their joy and their pleasure.”  He explained, “I want everyone in India and the world to realize one thing, that they are born without their consent.  I want them to understand that they do not owe their parents anything.”  He also stated, "If we are born without our consent, we should be maintained for our life.  We should be paid by our parents to live.”  His chances in court are slim, especially since both of his parents are attorneys. The Week, 2/15/19, p.6

LONELINESS: A recent report noted that "Kodokushi" is escalating in Japan.  The word means "lonely death" and it refers to the phenomenon of elderly people dying alone and not being discovered for some time.  Sadly, as this article noted, this is common in Japan.  Americans don't have a similar word, but many are slowly dying of loneliness in the midst of crowds as they wonder if anybody even notices them. Time, 2/18/19, p.53

PRAYER: Back in 2009, John Piper used his Twitter feed to offer a strong exhortation about social media and prayer that’s more relevant today than it was nearly ten years ago.  He tweeted, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” JohnPiper@JohnPiper, 10/20/2009

PURPOSE: What happened to Zion Williamson on February 20, 2019 went viral on the Internet.  The star basketball player for Duke University fell down on his team’s first possession when his left shoe literally blew apart.  Fans at the gym, the television audience, and now literally millions of people around the world have been stunned by one of the most bizarre mishaps in sports.  By one shoe not fulfilling its purpose, Nike’s value fell by over $1 billion, Duke lost its #1 ranking heading into March Madness, and the NBA’s #1 draft prospect suffered an injury that made him miss the last five games of the regular season.  We seldom think about the purpose of a shoe until consequences like this are seen.  But what about the purpose of you?  Our purpose can seem inconsequential until we don’t fulfill it, but just like Williamson’s shoe, unfulfilled purpose can have far-reaching negative impact. Houston Chronicle, 2/21/19, p.C5; USA Today, 2/22/19, p.1C


COMMUNICATION:While catching up at their 50th reunion, Roberta joked to her best friend in high school about her husband’s poor listening skills: “My husband and I still talk, he just stopped listening about 10 years ago.” Beaumont Enterprise, 10/30/16, p.SC3

FUNERALS: After a graveside service, one guy turned to an old friend and quietly asked, “Do you think people will say nice things when I die?”  His old buddy replied, “Definitely! There aren’t any fact-checkers at funerals.” Houston Chronicle, 2/3/15, p.E4

GOLF: Baseball legend Hank Aaron recently turned 85 (born February 5, 1934).  When commenting on golf he said, “It took me 17 years to get 3,000 hits in baseball, and I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.” Reader’s Digest, November 2012, p.143

LIFE LESSONS: Kimberly Owen’s husband got pulled over for not wearing his seatbelt, two days in a row by the same policeman.  The second time around the officer asked, “So, have you learned anything?”  Owen replied, “Yes, I have.  I’ve learned I need to take a different way home from work.” Reader’s Digest, July 2014, p.53

POETIC JUSTICE: In February of 2018, a rash of mail thieves hit an area in Marina, California.  Neighbors reported a number of packages being stolen from their front porches.  Rosalinda Vizina was among the victims, but she felt a sense of vindication about her loss.  She’s an entomologist who had ordered 500 live cockroaches for a study she was conducting.  She said, “I hope they went everywhere.” Examiner, 3/18/18, p.27B

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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