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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

November 2019   Issue 1


ADVERSITY: Just before Memorial Day 2019, the Washington Nationals were struggling to stay out of their division cellar, and media commentators were speculating it was time to fire their embattled manager Dave Martinez.  They were 19-31 at the time, so for all practical purposes it seemed as if the season was already over.  Somehow, Martinez hung on to his job and the Nats made one of the most improbable comebacks in MLB history.  They clawed their way into the playoffs and then made their historic claim as World Series Champions in Game 7 on October 30, 2019 when they beat the Houston Astros 6-2.  World Series commentator John Smoltz accurately noted that this feat may never be duplicated as neither team in the Series won a game at home.  When Dave Martinez looked back over the season before they even began the World Series, he said, “Bumpy roads lead to beautiful places, and this is a beautiful place.”  The bumpy road of adversity does indeed carry the possibility of a beautiful destination. USA Today, 10/17/19, p.1C
This illustration is interactive and provides a sure way to have people remember your talk.  Draw two circles – about 3 inches apart horizontally – the size of a dime – on a white piece of paper.  Now fill in the circles with a few squiggly lines.  Hold the piece of paper about a foot or so in front of your eyes.  Close your left eye and stare intently at the circle on the left side of the page with your right eye.  Pull the paper toward your face slowly until you notice the circle on the right disappear.  Sounds impossible, until you do it.  Where the optic nerve connects to the back of your retina the eye cannot register an image.  This is known as the blind spot.  The brain simply compensates by filling in that area of sight with what is around it, but when singled out like this exercise does, we understand we really, literally, have a blind spot.  While preaching on the speck & plank in the Sermon on the Mount, I had each person draw two eyes rather than circles and then noted that when we are staring at what other people have in their eye we cannot see what we have in our own eye. Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert, 2006, p.91
Research of Americans has revealed some critical concerns to address.  In 2019, nearly two-thirds (65%) of church-goers agreed with the statement, “I can walk with God without other believers.”  In addition, 94% of Americans believe forgiveness is good, but only 48% noted they usually try to forgive.  When we forsake our assembling together (Hebrews 10:25), we will forsake other Biblical mandates as well. Daily Briefing, 9/17/19
Issues with the environment are buzzing, but ironically, nobody is talking about “the largest constituent of municipal solid waste landfills.”  You’d think that would be a key concern but it’s doubtful most leaders or candidates for leadership could name this dominant culprit.  Starbucks led the charge to ban plastic straws, which are just .0002% of the plastic weight waste, so who might attack this behemoth in landfills?  Whoever it is will have a tough job because it will require a much bigger cultural shift than changing straws.  Discarded food is what tops the chart in landfills, and fruits & vegetables are the main type of food waste.  Making a difference in the way we handle food could make a huge environmental difference.  And that reminds us that what is talked about most is not always the biggest problem, or the best solution. Parade, 10/6/19, p.6
Thomas Edison popped back into the spotlight with the late Edmund Morris’ biography Edison being released in October 2019 after the Pulitzer Prize winning author died a few months earlier in May (1940-2019).  “The Wizard of Menlo Park” received 1,093 American patents before he died at 84 in 1931.  In one year alone he earned 141 patents.  Henry Ford said of his friend Edison, “I do not know of a single one of his inventions, the development and manufacture of which could not have taken the whole life of any other man.”  Edison’s full life of industry was certainly enhanced by several dynamics.  First, his drive.  He never considered himself a genius, and in fact once told a reporter, “I’ve got no imagination.”  He simply forced himself to produce by promising, “a minor invention every ten days and a big thing every six months or so.”  Second, the motto he used at his laboratories, “There’s a way to do it better…find it!”  Third, focus.  Edison was nearly deaf since the age of 12, so he considered that a blessing because it helped him shut out distractions.  And fourth, his curiosity.  After just three months in school, Edison’s teacher sent him home because he was “addled” (unable to think clearly).  His mom taught him at home and encouraged him to learn by experimenting.  One day he went too far by setting their barn on fire to “see what it would do.”  The punishment clarified his thinking, but didn’t rob him of that insatiable curiosity.  Thomas Edison not only invented many useful tools, but he also provided a resourceful template for unlocking greater potential. Beaumont Enterprise, 10/27/19, p.C7; The Edison Museum, Beaumont, Texas
The students at a small Ugandan Bible school had endured the atrocities of Idi Amin’s cruel dictatorship.  Scars and lost limbs marked their bodies, but they were determined to be better pastors in their village churches.  On this particular day, the professor was teaching about Christ’s Second Coming from 1 Thessalonians 4.  After reading verse 16, a student raised his hand rather sheepishly and hesitantly asked, “What will the Lord shout?”  The professor thought for a few moments but then confessed he didn’t know.  He looked out over the room and saw the price of suffering these men had paid so he asked them, “What do you think He will shout?”  A student in the back suggested, “I think He will shout, ‘Enough!’”  In our world of pain and hardship, it is comforting to know that a day is coming when our Lord will declare “Enough!” and then He will make all things right. God’s Prayer Book, Ben Patterson, 2008, p.184
SUCCESS: Gary Keller (b.1957) is founder of Keller Williams, the largest real estate company in the world.  He’s an entrepreneur and best-selling author who has wisely noted, “Not everything matters equally, and success isn’t a game won by whoever does the most.  Yet that is exactly how most play it on a daily basis.”  He also states, “busyness rarely takes care of business.”  Challenging ourselves to practice these insights will probably lead to the kind of success we all desire. The One Thing, Gary Keller, 2012, p.33


COMMUNICATION: Technology offers many ways to communicate, but some creative users have taken it up a notch.  Instead of giving their Wi-Fi networks innocuous names like TP-Link, or Motorola, they’re sending strong messages to their neighbors by naming their network with phrases like “Quit Mooching Our Internet,” “Stop Slamming The Door,” “Turn the Music Down,” or “Park in Your Spot.” Reader’s Digest, May 2013, p.124
INTELLECT: Several highly educated people were debating how to define an intellectual.  The discussion included education, degrees, vocabulary, languages spoken, etc.  Finally, one suggested a true intellectual can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of The Lone Ranger. Saturday Evening Post, November/December 2014, p.35


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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