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In Other Words..., A Resource of Facts and Humor for Christian Leaders

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In Other Words...

A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders

November 2022

 

AMERICA: Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President, said, “The American dream is not that every man must be level with every other man.  The American dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.” Mature Living, September 2015, p.22
 
CHURCH: 
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the average U.S. food retailer stocked over 33,000 different items, which was nearly four times the choices offered in 1975.  Automakers offered more than 605,000 vehicle configurations and that doesn’t even count different color choices.  One commentator noted, “We’ve become addicted to endless varieties.”  But that changed as supply-chain issues disrupted normal commerce…and Americans adapted.  In fact, consumers found greater contentment in fewer choices.  Annie Gasparro of The Wall Street Journal wrote, “The lesson that many companies are drawing from not being able to please everyone in the pandemic is that maybe they didn’t need to try so hard in the first place.”  Churches should take note and focus on biblical purposes rather than culturally-driven preferences. The Week, 7/10/20, p.38
 
CONTENTMENT: 
Sanchita Pandey is an author & singer from India who has wisely written, “Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have!”  Her use of an exclamation point at the end of that statement is better understood by the sentence she wrote next: “Your success in life is also defined by how contented you are.”  Contentment and gratitude are interconnected perspectives that work best in tandem. Voyage To Happiness, Sanchita Pandey, 2016, p.61
 
EVANGELISM: 
Charles Swindoll learned an essential lesson about evangelism early in his ministry.  He was working his way through school at a machine shop in the 1950s where he tried to convert a fellow employee.  This man came from a background of biblical error and Swindoll was confident he could straighten him out.  With great zeal and confidence, he unloaded his arsenal of Scripture, theological knowledge, and challenging questions on a daily basis.  He hammered away relentlessly until the guy finally grabbed his arm one day and vehemently said, “Listen to me.  You’ve convinced me by the facts that I’m wrong, but I will never change because I can’t stand you!”  Evangelism involves speaking the truth…and doing it in a loving manner. Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary: James - 1 & 2 Peter, Charles Swindoll, 2014, p.79
 
FAMILY: 
Elisabeth Elliot (1926-2015) inspired generations through her writings and the example of her life.  Of her upbringing she wrote: “I grew up in a very strong Christian home in Philadelphia where both parents were what I call seven-day-a-week kind of Christians.”  She explained how a statement engraved on a brass plate above the doorbell defined their family: “Christ is the head of this home, the unseen guest at every meal, the silent listener to every conversation.”  Families like that can literally change the world. Suffering Is Never For Nothing, Elisabeth Elliot, 2019, p.3
 
GRATITUDE: 
A ticket agent inadvertently oversold seats for a Women of Faith conference in Sacramento, California a number of years ago and the fallout was telling.  Organizers exchanged chairs on the main floor with smaller plastic ones and called all of the ladies ahead of time to explain the problem and apologize profusely.  Frustrated attendees weren’t pleased when they arrived and found the seats uncomfortable.  Realizing the problem needed to be addressed from the platform, the next speaker was asked to apologize on behalf of the organizers and she agreed.  Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic known for her enormous Christian influence, rolled out in her wheelchair.  She said, “I understand some of you are not sitting in the chairs you expected to be sitting in tonight.  Well, neither am I.  And I’ve been in mine for more than 30 years.”  She paused and then softly added, “I have at least 1,000 friends who would give anything to be sitting in the chair you are in if only for tonight.”  Every complaint was obliterated by the profound conviction that we all have more than enough to celebrate. Mature Living, May 2020, p.23
 
GRATITUDE: 
Stephanie Linnartz is the president of Marriott International, the world’s largest hospitality company.  In a Fast Company interview she was asked, “What’s always in your bag?”  She replied, “Monogrammed stationery from American Stationery to write thank-you notes.”  She oversees work for more than 8,100 properties in 139 countries & territories but has time to express thanks because she understands the importance of gratitude . Fast Company, November 2021, p.36
 
GRATITUDE: 
In 2004, Oprah Winfrey surprised her entire studio audience with a brand-new car.  Through a sponsorship with Pontiac, 276 G-6 sedans were given out, each valued at nearly $30,000.  It drew some of the highest ratings in television history and the audience was ecstatic…until it was discovered the free car would cost them.  Pontiac covered the state sales tax, but the expensive gift created a chunk of income tax for the recipients.  Some who had been filled with gratitude were suddenly angry that they might have to pay $5,000 to $6,000 for a $30,000 gift.  We can understand the frustration of an unexpected expense, but the whole situation reminds us of that innate struggle to be truly grateful for life’s windfalls. HomeLife, May 2020, p.31
 
GRATITUDE: 
While imprisoned by the Third Reich, Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) wrote: “In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.  It’s very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe to others.”  We live and die indebted to others who deserve our gratitude. Letters and Papers From Prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1997, p.109
 
REPENTANCE: 
Centuries ago, a Puritan wrote this phrase in his prayer journal: “I need to repent of my repentance.”  Until sorrow over sin exceeds our interest in it, we have not truly repented. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Arthur Bennett, 1975, p.76
 
THANKSGIVING: 
Thanksgiving opens the holiday season, which is fraught with potential for relational conflict.  To prepare for such times, Karen Ehman wisely and humorously reminds us, “May second helpings be your only Thanksgiving regret.” Mature Living, November 2018, p.15
 
VOTING: 
During the COVID pandemic, the U.S. federal government sent $1.4 billion in stimulus checks to dead people.  Someone will be in charge of decisions such as that and Americans have a unique opportunity to determine who those leaders will be, so don’t squander the privilege to vote.  Failure to do so can be very costly…and not just financially. The Week, 7/10/20, p.37

EVERYDAY HUMOR

 
ANGER MANAGEMENT: 
Frank explained, “I’m old school.  Instead of ranting on social media, I just scream at people face-to-face.” Reader’s Digest, June 2019, p.50
 
FAITH: 
After years of pastoring a sleepy congregation, Ed sighed, “I’ve stopped looking for leaps of faith - I’d just like a little hop every now & then.” Humor For Preaching, Ed Rowell, 1996, p.70
 
TRAVEL: 
For the holidays, Janet phoned her dad to see if he needed directions to their new home.  He said, “Nope, I’ve got your address, the GPS, and my GPS override.”  She asked, “What’s a GPS override?”  Her dad replied, “Your mother.” Reader’s Digest, February 2010, p.196
 
VOTING: 
New Mexico state law does not allow “idiots” to vote but doesn’t define what that means.  No doubt plenty of people think they could define it. Reader’s Digest, July 2016, p.115 

 

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