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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

September 2020   Issue 1

 

ANTICIPATION: Scientists at California’s Telescope Array keep a bottle of champagne in their refrigerator just in case they ever find signs of extraterrestrial life.  The Bible promises something far better when it reminds us of a crown for those who eagerly anticipate the Lord’s return (2 Timothy 4:8). Reader’s Digest, September 2017, p.24
 
DECISIONS: If you find yourself struggling with some relatively minor decisions these days, it’s because of a phenomenon known as “Decision Fatigue.”  A psychology professor at Florida State University, Roy Baumeister, coined the term in 2010.  He explains it as “a state of low willpower that results from having invested effort into making decisions.”  Experts affirm that the pandemic has exacerbated this reality in all of our lives.  We have limited capacity in our brain for choices, but we are being forced to make high-stakes decisions continuously throughout each day.  Should I enter that store, is it safe to send my child to school, did I wash my hands enough after being out, what should I do about social distancing at work, am I being too cautious or too lax, etc.?  Research shows that it’s not only the choices we’ve never had to make before, but the fact that many decisions are being made for us that we might not like.  Collectively, this accounts for much higher levels of residual stress so we must all be aware of it, and address it. USA Today, 8/31/20, p.1D
 
FORGIVENESS: An unsuspecting man from India found himself in divorce court because he’s too forgiving.  His wife filed for divorce citing his refusal to argue with her.  The woman complained to the judge, “Whenever I make a mistake, he always forgives me.  I am feeling suffocated in such an environment.”  Thankfully, forgiveness seldom has that kind of effect on most people. The Week, 9/4/20, p.6
 
HUMILITY: Tom Seaver was one of the most dominant right-hand pitchers to ever play professional baseball.  Only three other players have been elected to the Hall of Fame with a higher first-ballot percentage than his 98.8%.  In 1969, he helped alter the “Hapless Mets” into the “Miracle Mets” by upsetting the Baltimore Orioles 4 games to 1 in the World Series.  He was dubbed “Tom Terrific” and “The Franchise.”  After he died on August 31, 2020, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron talked about Seaver being the toughest pitcher he ever faced.  In 1967, Seaver made his first of twelve All-Star game appearances.  It was his rookie season so he humbly introduced himself to the veteran Hank Aaron, who was 10 years older.  Aaron replied, “Kid, I know who you are, and before your career is over, I guarantee you everyone in this stadium will too.”  Better to introduce yourself as if nobody remembers you instead of assuming no one could forget you. USA Today, 9/4/20, p.8C
 
LIFE: John Thompson’s death on August 30, 2020 fueled many memories about the legendary basketball coach.  Thompson was literally a towering courtside figure at 6’ 10” pacing with that iconic towel draped over his shoulder.  In his 27 seasons at Georgetown (1972-1999), he led the Hoyas to 20 NCAA tournaments, three Final Four appearances, and became the first Black head coach to win the NCAA national title in 1984.  After retirement in 1999, Thompson was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  But his greatest investment in those who played for him was his insistence on academic achievement.  Ninety-seven percent of the student athletes who played four seasons under Coach Thompson left the university with a degree, and that was by design.  Thompson kept a deflated basketball in his office to help players realize they needed to prepare for life after sports.  It’s a visual we should all picture about our own lives as well.  Like that ball, a day is coming when the air within us will be gone and the only question then will be, are we prepared for what comes next? Houston Chronicle, 9/1/20, p.C5
 
OPULENCE: Since we all have to wear a mask, why not get one that costs $1.5 million?  Israeli jeweler Isaac Levy was commissioned in the summer of 2020 to create the world’s most expensive mask for a Chinese businessman living in America.  The face covering is 18-karat gold with 3,600 white and black diamonds. Examiner, 8/20/20, p.21B
 
PERSPECTIVE: The pandemic has reminded us that a lot of people have pretty strong opinions about…most anything.  When you feel like your perspective is being quickly dismissed, just remember what the ocean teaches us.  From the shore it looks like the water before us is endless, but the horizon we see is fewer than 3 miles away.  We all see far less than we think we do, which is good to remember when we disagree. Parade, 8/9/20, p.3
 
TRANSFORMATION: Unique to Christianity is the fact that God transforms believers into selfless, loving people who are not only more and more like Christ, but who are less and less like the world (Romans 12:2).  That’s why Francis Chan has wisely noted, “Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers.”  The Gospel and its results seem foolish to the world, and should confound non-Christians, but it unleashes the very power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18). Crazy Love, Francis Chan, 2008, p.115

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 
DEBT: After months of financial stress, Betty gleefully told her husband, “I’ve decided to consolidate all of our debts into one bounced check.” Beaumont Enterprise, 9/6/20, p.SC3
 
IRRITABILITY: While dining out with his neighbors, the waitress came by the table and asked Mr. Wilson, “Is everything all right?”  Dennis the Menace replied, “Believe me, he’ll let you know when everything’s NOT all right.” Houston Chronicle, 9/6/20, p.U4
 
MARRIAGE: Josh said, “Before I got married, I didn’t even know there was a wrong way to put milk back in the refrigerator.” Reader’s Digest, September 2017, p.93
 
NOSTALGIA: Songshan airport in Taipei, Taiwan raffled off tickets for 90 people to pretend they were flying away for a vacation in July 2020.  Winners got a taste of what they remembered doing before the pandemic.  Each person was taken through immigration, got to board a plane, and then enjoy some snacks & drinks on a parked jet before disembarking to return home.  Airport official Wang Chih-ching explained, “People who want to fly abroad have long been suffering.” The Week, 7/24/20, p.12
 
RETAIL THERAPY: Some people find it therapeutic to shop, but sometimes retailers find solace in diplomatically rebuking rude customers.  A particularly irate man railed on the store supervisor about his employees’ numerous inefficiencies.  He concluded his tirade by insisting that the company must only hire complete idiots.  At that point the supervisor politely replied, “Sir, would you like an application?” Reader’s Digest, July 2017, p.55

 

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 www.iows.net to start a new subscription or send inquiries to:

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