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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

October 2019   Issue 1

 

CONTENTMENT: The founder & CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, again topped out Forbes’ list of richest Americans with a net worth of $114 billion.  The annual list, which was first published in 1987, came out on October 2, 2019 and included the perennial top billionaires: #2 Bill Gates with $106 billion, #3 Warren Buffett at $80 billion, and #4 Mark Zuckerberg hovering around $70 billion.  Only 400 are included on the list so 221 billionaires didn’t even make the cuts.  Ironically, Bezos began the year with upwards of $160 billion but shed $46 billion this past summer when the divorce from his wife Mackenzie was finalized.  Amazingly, if you took his $160 billion net worth before he divorced his wife, he could have loaded up his Amazon cart with $4.4 million worth of stuff every single day for 100 years, and still have cash to burn.  But it wasn’t enough to bring contentment so he gave his wife $46 billion so he could pursue contentment with another woman.  Most of us think we’d be content with more money, but history proves otherwise. USA Today, 10/4/19, p.2B
 
FEAR: Do you ever wonder what rich people fear?  In the Netflix documentary “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates,” the world’s second richest man was asked to identify his worst fear.  He answered, “I don’t want my brain to stop working.”  Even with his $106 billion, he can’t prevent that inevitable reality.  If he lived to be 100, he could pay doctors and researchers $6.5 million per day for those 37 years but he’ll still have to face his greatest fear.  We all have fears, even the wealthiest among us.  The only way to adequately address them is with the Lord (Isaiah 41:10). Beaumont Enterprise, 9/13/19, p.B4
 
RELATIONSHIPS: A decade has passed since Hal Niedzviecki gave us an alarmingly prophetic truth about relationships.  During the summer of 2008, Hal decided to throw a Facebook party because, “I had fewer friends to hang out with than I’d ever had before.”  He was on the cusp of having 700 online “friends” so the potential for connecting with people face-to-face at an event seemed optimum.  Most of his Facebook pals weren’t from his hometown of Toronto, but he figured a few might slip into town since it’s usually easier to travel in the summer.  The invite went out and 15 hit the “attending” button, 60 checked “maybe attending,” and a few hundred replied “not attending.”  All total, Hal guessed that he might have 20 people at his party, which carried the enthusiasm of potential new friends with whom he could hang out.  He put on new pants and his favorite shirt when the big day arrived and went down to the designated “watering hole” and waited.  Eventually, a lady named Paula showed up, out of curiosity more than anything.  Small talk and awkward silence eventually reminded her it was time to go.  Hal kept glancing at the door in anticipation of those who might have been running late, but the clock kept shouting the obvious, nobody was coming.  Hal vacillated from self-pity – ‘you’re a big loser,’ to wishful commentary on life – ‘people want to hang out with you, they just don’t have time.’  As midnight approached, Hal bought one more drink and made a toast to spending less time online.  He then wrote, “Seven hundred friends, and I was drinking alone.”  Social media provides wonderful avenues for communicating, but it primarily offers the illusion of relationships.  Meaningful friendships require real time, not just screen time, and there’s no better place to find those connections than in a local NT church. NYTimes.com, 10/24/8
 
TOLERANCE: The Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys on October 6, 2019, but the outcome of that game was secondary to what took place in the stands.  Ellen DeGeneres sat next to former President Bush and Twitter lit up with vitriol.  The comedian received harsh criticism for being seen with someone who holds to different political perspectives.  And the fallout didn’t come from Bush fans, it came from those who thought DeGeneres was on their side.  In response to the hostile rebukes, she explained on her show, “When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only people that think the same way that you do.  I mean be kind to everyone.  Doesn’t matter.”  Elton John weighed in with his defense and noted, “Unfortunately, what our democracy has become now is that it’s not OK to have different opinions than yours and this is not healthy.”  Political science expert Dr. Amy Black states, “We’ve lost the ability to dialogue.  What we want is our own monologue.  And so we all shout louder.”  Tolerance is not mandatory affirmation; it’s respect for those with differing convictions. USA Today, 10/9/19, p.1D; Outreach, May/June 2019
 
TRANSPARENCY: It’s hard to know who originated this thought, but it should cause us all to reflect on our own authenticity: Halloween is the favorite holiday among Christians because we love to wear masks and pretend we’re someone other than ourselves.  We may not wear a cape, but we’d like for people to believe we’re invincible.  We can’t really time-travel but we’re hopeful people will think we’re not affected by the busy pace of life.  We don’t actually carry a wand, but we act like we do because we have an insatiable need to please others.  Although costume parties are fun and have their place, make sure everyone knows who’s really behind that mask. Editor’s Perspective
 
WORSHIP: A very large, multi-campus church in Florida was recently featured on the cover of Church Production magazine.  ChurchProduction.com has spent two decades effectively helping churches become better informed about all types of audio/visual equipment.  In an interview about worship, one leader noted that life change comes only through Christ.  He then addressed the technical environment and stated, “Our goal is to connect people to God, and we can’t do that without good tech and good production.”  Any of us can say things in an interview that need clarifying or correcting, so we’d do well not to be critical, but reflective.  Such thinking is prevalent today and not just about production.  Some think we can’t connect with God using certain kinds of music, or, we need a level of money to make a difference, or, we’ll never have impact in this location.  Scripture prompts us to remember that true connection with God is shaped by a heart that desires Him more than anything else (Jeremiah 29:13). Church Production, September 2019, p.49
 

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 
EDUCATION: Renowned historian Will Durant (1885-1981) said towards the end of his life, “Sixty years ago I knew everything; now I know nothing; education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.” Beaumont Enterprise, 5/27/18, p.2A
 
LUCK: The hapless Ziggy was lying in a hospital bed when his nurse came in and exclaimed, “You are soooo lucky!  You won the lottery on the same day you got hit by lightning so now you can pay all of your medical bills.” Houston Chronicle, 6/4/16, p.D6
 
MARRIAGE: John Cole overheard this interview at a Social Security office in Michigan.  The government rep asked, “Married or single?”  The applicant replied, “Single.”  Rep: “Previous marriages?”  Applicant: “Two.”  Rep: “Did either of them end in death?”  Applicant: “No.  Both times I got out alive.” Reader’s Digest, August 2011, p.97

 

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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