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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

April 2021   Issue 2

 

ACTION: Dolly Parton has said, “We can’t just hope for a brighter day; we have to work for a brighter day.”  True to her words, she donated $1 million dollars for the development of Moderna’s COVID vaccine. AARP, April 2021, p.50; USA Today, 11/21/20
 
ATTITUDE:
The obituary page seldom gets much scrutiny unless it tells about someone we know, but a recent notice caught the attention of anyone reading the Houston Chronicle.  The picture of an attractive woman was accompanied with the story of a vivacious life cut short by a debilitating illness.   Leigh Edwards died at 64 after dealing with Alzheimer’s for more than a decade.  The description of her life stated that she was “a natural cheerleader with a core talent for finding joy and happiness in every nook and cranny of life.”  Few sentences could more beautifully describe a winsome personality.  Imagine the world we’d live in if everyone had that kind of attitude. Houston Chronicle, 3/31/21, p.B5
 
CHURCH:
Americans who consider themselves members of a church, synagogue or mosque has dropped below 50% for the first time since Gallup starting researching the topic in 1937.  Back then, church membership was 73%.  Today it’s 47%.  Based on current trends, Barna president David Kinnaman says, “1 in 5 churches could close within the next 18 months.” Beaumont Enterprise, 4/4/21, p.B1; Outreach, March/April 2021, p.31
 
EVANGELISM:
Paul Chitwood is the president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.  He often says, “When the Great Commission isn’t the primary topic of conversation, all other topics start to divide us.” SBC.NET, Spring 2021, p.96
 
FAMILY:
Evelyn Shaw had been afraid to hug her granddaughter for fear of spreading COVID.  After the resident of Bronx, New York completed her vaccine regimen, Shaw’s doctor wrote her a prescription to hug her granddaughter.  She later recounted, “There we were, standing in my apartment, just hugging and hugging and crying and crying, for the first time in a year.”  We definitely need more prescriptions like that. World, 4/10/21, p.17
 
LIFE:
While reading an article about Merriam-Webster’s choice to make “pandemic” the word of the year for 2020, an accompanying picture was quite revealing.  It showed the entry of “pandemic” on the dictionary’s printed page.  The word immediately following “pandemic” is “pandemonium.”  The order of words in a dictionary is not prophetic, but it should give pause for all who think “normal” is what’s next. USA Today, 12/1/20, p.4D
 
LUCK:
It’s been said that some guys have all the luck, but is that good luck or bad luck?  During the throes of the pandemic in August 2020, Josua Hutagalung had a variety of both.  The Indonesian coffin maker was working outside his very modest home in Sumatra when a meteorite crashed through the metal roof overhang of his house and sank six inches into the ground.  He’d never heard a noise like that so he tentatively investigated it, then dug up the rock and it was still warm.  He posted it on Facebook and the press picked up on the story.  When the stardust finally settled, an American expert in the field, Jared Collins, paid Hutagalung a nice sum for the space rock, which is now housed at Arizona State University.  Some would call it bad luck when a 4.5-pound meteorite tears up your roof.  Others would call it pretty good luck that he wasn’t killed by the space missile.  Just about everyone thinks he’s lucky for making a nice profit on it, but Josua had to hire security guards and temporarily go into hiding from people who wanted some of his money.  His pastor just thinks it’s a blessing because Hutagalung made a donation to the church’s building fund.  No matter how you see it or what you call it, life’s a mixture of both good and bad….whether you’re in Indonesia or New York City. Examiner, 12/10/20, p.21B
 
MATURITY:
In a conversation about aging, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin made a significant statement: “Aging brings with it a reduction in desire to try new things.”  Dr. Levitin points out that this tendency is actually to our own disadvantage mentally.  Our spiritual aging can lead to the same result, which again, is not advantageous.  Without intentionality to seek God in new and fresh ways, we will stagnate into those who cling to past memories instead of praying for anticipated revival. Parade, 4/11/21, p.10
 
OBEDIENCE:
Albert Reyes is the president and CEO of Buckner International, a non-profit devoted to “helping the least of these” (Mathew 25:40).  Dr. Reyes recounts an important lesson he learned from his father, a U.S. Marine.  He was taught that whenever his dad called for him, Reyes was to start running toward the sound of his voice as fast as possible and say, “Yes, sir,” every step of the way.  When he made his profession of faith in Christ at the age of 9, he applied the same lesson of obedience to God.  Reyes says, “When my heavenly father calls, I start moving toward his voice.  And my answer is ‘yes’ before I even know what he’s asking.” Buckner Today, Spring 2020, p.12
 
SALVATION:
Stefan Thomas is a German-born computer programmer who lives in San Francisco.  In 2011, he made an animated video called “What is Bitcoin?” and received 7,002 Bitcoin for his work (worth about $14,000 at the time).  Today, a Bitcoin is worth nearly $60,000, which means Thomas has roughly $400 million…but it’s worthless to him.  His treasure trove is secured with IronKey and he’s lost the password.  He’s made 8 futile attempts, and if he enters 2 more wrong passwords, the Bitcoin will be permanently locked away.  He has potential wealth, but it can only be accessed with one password.  Similarly, Jesus is our only password to salvation & abundant life (John 14:6). NYTimes.com, 1/12/21
 

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 
CHURCH/PREACHING: While reminiscing on the life of Prince Philip in anticipation of his funeral on April 17, 2021, Richard Chartres told of his friend’s preference for brevity.  The former Bishop of London said the prince was a man of faith, but liked things to be kept succinct.  Chartres stated, “He was at home with broad church, high church and low church, but what he really liked was short church.” cnbc.com, 4/17/21
 
FINANCES: After watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo and learning that we should discard anything that doesn’t spark joy, I decided to shred all of our bills. Editor’s Files
 
PROCRASTINATION: Just before things got really crazy in 2020, things got really crazy at a traffic stop in Slidell, Louisiana.  On February 27, 2020, a police officer pulled over a driver after spotting an expired license plate.  The compliant driver apologetically stated, “Sorry officer.  I’ve been busy lately and totally forgot to renew my vehicle registration.”  It had expired in September 1997…23 years earlier. World, 4/11/20, p.19

 

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