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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

January 2019    Issue 1


CHANGE: Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) survived the Holocaust and helped others survive as well by leading them to embrace a philosophy that gave them victory over such unspeakable atrocities.  His work as a neurologist, psychiatrist, and author enabled him to teach others this simple but profound truth: “When we are no longer able to change a situation – just think of an incurable disease such as inoperable cancer – we are challenged to change ourselves.” Man’s Search For Meaning, Viktor Frankl, 2006, p.112

CHRIST: Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a Dutch theologian who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.  He famously said, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: Mine!" Every Good Endeavor, Timothy Keller, 2012, p.243

CHURCH: In an article titled 13 Things Gyms Won't Tell You, the lead line states, "We count on you not to show up."  The experts went on to explain that about 50% of those who start an exercise regimen quit within six months so gyms are not designed to handle actual membership.  If everybody did workout, it would be total chaos.  By contrast, the Church counts on every member to show up regularly. Reader's Digest, May 2015, p.132

CONTENTMENT: The Christmas shopping tally far exceeded expectations as Americans spent more than $850 billion dollars between November 1st and December 24th.  To put that in perspective, a stack of 1 million $1 bills is 358 feet tall (the distance of a football field from the back of one end zone to the back of the other).  One billion $1 bills would rise to roughly 68 miles.  That means our culture spent enough dollar bills to wrap around the earth more than two times (not end to end but stacked on top of each other).  That level of retail therapy should offer enough contentment for centuries to come, but most of the pizzazz is already dissipated because as Janet Denison has wisely noted, “In our culture, enough is usually defined as a little bit more.” USA Today, 12/27/18, p.3B; Joy to Your World, Janet Denison, 2018, p.37

DISCIPLESHIP: The first-century Jews offered a blessing to disciples that proclaimed, “May you always be covered by the dust of your rabbi.”  It meant that the disciple would follow his rabbi so closely that dust from the rabbi’s feet would kick up and settle all over his followers.  This offers a vivid picture of what it looks like to doggedly follow Jesus.  We are in such close proximity to Him that we can’t help but be impacted by His presence.  And the real beauty of this blessing is that our rabbi, Jesus, actually wants us to be that close to Him. God Is Closer Than You Think, John Ortberg, 2005, p.50

EVALUATION: The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels are a picture of disciplined excellence.  This aerial acrobatic team of pilots mesmerizes audiences throughout the country with their precision flying formations and stunts.  Each air show is a visual reminder that the team has spent thousands of hours practicing for what the 11 million annual spectators see.  But even with all of that preparation, the Blue Angels end each performance the same way.  They head back to their temporary quarters to review and scrutinize every move they made in great detail.  This perpetual evaluation of what seemed like a flawless presentation keeps the pilots performing at their highest level and assures the safety necessary to excel.  High-achievement expert Yehuda Shinar notes that such continuous evaluation “helps winners to identify how they can increase the frequency of success and decrease the frequency of failure.” Why People Fail, Siimon Reynolds, 2012, p.78

GROWTH: In his classic book about the Bible, the late J. McKee Adams (1886-1945) made this humorous and insightful statement: “At no time, whether ancient or modern, has God placed a premium on ignorance.”  We have been creatively made in the image of God so we should honor Him by filling up the hard-drive of our minds with redemptive information. Our Bible, J. McKee Adams, 1937, p.127 (From my dad’s library)

PRIORITIES: In the 1400s, “priority” came into the English language.  It meant the very first thing, and was singular.  It wasn’t until the 1900s that people began to pluralize this word and speak of “priorities.”  Rather than having one priority or one first thing, it was illogically believed that we could have multiple things that were of greatest importance.  In truth, we create the illusion of having many things being our priority but in fact we’re declaring nothing is.  The NLT of Matthew 6:33 captures this idea well with, “make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”  Everything else is secondary – maybe very important, but secondary. Essentialism, Greg McKeown, 2014, p.16

RISKS: The 2013 Harvard Business Review notes that fear and uncertainty are the major obstacles to business model innovation.  Fear of failure so often prevents us from taking risks that might lead to exciting new outcomes, but the reality is we’re already failing rather miserably.  The American Management Association estimates that 70% of decisions made in the world of work ultimately turn out to be wrong.  And personal decisions are probably wrong at about the same percentage.  So if we’re already making that many mistakes, why not risk something that could potentially make a positive difference? Get Smart, Brian Tracy, 2016, p.119 & 123




DIET: Cartoon character Ziggy stood on the scales wincing and then confessed, “I think I ate too much… all last year!” Houston Chronicle, 1/7/19, p.D5

EXERCISE: Fred returned from the gym after being gone two hours so his wife asked how it went.  He replied, "The place was so crowded that I spent most of the time just standing around."  Chuckling he said, "It was great!" Houston Chronicle, 5/13/18, p.D6

HONESTY: In a national survey, Americans were asked to tell about the one New Year's resolution they kept.  Artis Ingenio from New Mexico replied, "To stay fat.  I'm very satisfied with the results!" Reader's Digest, January 2017, p.33

WEIGHT LOSS: While buying a candy bar from the office vending machine, Ed explained to his colleague that he’d promised his wife he wouldn’t eat any snacks in between meals.  The co-worker asked Ed how much he’d lost so far and Ed solemnly confessed, “The only thing I’ve lost is my integrity.” Beaumont Enterprise, 1/10/19, p.B6


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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