Wednesday, October 1, 2014

stories of Woods Chapel

I hear stories about Woods Chapel all the time.  Then I forget them.  I would love to start collecting them in writing so that we can remember our story.

I hear stories about softball teams, barbeque cook offs, the first Grace Place, old Camino stories, selling the old building, dreaming to add a gym to our building, installing the playground, planting the pine trees on the south property line, a child who collected presents for Spofford in lieu of birthday presents.  Someone was touched by a song.  Someone's life was changed on a mission trip.

What are your favorite Woods Chapel stories?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Go Royals!

Well this is a bonus post for today.  I usually only post once, but I have to add this one.

Go Royals!  I love baseball and I love going to the games.  Win or lose, it is fun to go and watch them play. 

But tonight is going to be very special.  We have not been in the playoffs since I was 28 years old.  If we have to wait that long for the next time, I will be 85 the next time they are in.

I thank my friend for inviting me to the game tonight.  It is very exciting!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

things that I like reading about

World War 2.  Christian Saints.  Monks.  St. Francis.  The siege of Stalingrad.  Ancient battles.  The Arab-Israeli conflict.  How the mind works.  Books of short stories.  Tolstoy.  G.K. Chesterton.  Rob Bell.  Auto repair manuals.  Collections of sermon illustrations.  Early explorers.  The Mayan civilization.  Christian self-help.  Go-Dog-Go.

What do you like to read?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

questions

This coming Sunday night we are having an evening service at 5pm in the worship center.  It is the last of a series of three.  The first week we talked about the mission, vision and values of Woods Chapel.  Last night we talked about Revelation, the second coming, and baptism.  Next Sunday night I am planning a question and answer time.

What would you like to know about the church?  What would you like to know about the Bible?  What are you interested in that you might like me to comment on?  Please email me with your questions or just post them on the blog.

The session will be livestreamed so you can watch it online, or I will post the responses to your questions on the blog if you indicate that is your preference.

Thanks for your help.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

choosing

Life is full of choices.  Sometimes we make choices that hurt the people that we love.  Over time, distance can grow between people that were once deeply in love.

Years ago, when I was in my 20's I asked my mom about her relationship to Dad.  She did not have much good to say.  I asked her if she could try to make it better.  She said that she had tried and tried for many years and that she was just not going to try anymore.

How sad!

Friends, we don't have to settle for pain and distance.  We can keep working on relationships.  Every Sunday in church we can go to our Father and ask for help.  In fact, we can ask him for help, anytime, anywhere, any day.

Please don't ever give up on an important relationship.  They can usually get better if we stay after it.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

the devil

I have to bring this up from time to time.  Some people talk like the devil [little d devil] is the opposite of God.

What ever we think about the devil, he is not the opposite of God.  He is a created being.  He has a beginning.  He is not eternal.  He was an archangel just like Michael and Gabriel. 

What do we think about Gabriel?  Do we think Gabriel knows everything?  Do we think he is everywhere all at the same time?  No we don't.  We think he is an angel.  So is the devil, he is a fallen angel.  He can't be at everyone's house, tempting all of us at the same time.  We are usually tempted by our own lusts and we need to take responsibility for that and stop blaming a big D Devil.  Some people just like to have someone else to blame.

We have to decide whether we live in a world dominated by an evil spirit or whether we live in a world that still belongs to God.  Let's stop talking about angels, good or evil, and focus on God.  As for me, this is my Father's world!!  The fight with the devil was won on the cross.  We have the right and the opportunity now to live our lives focused on God and his love.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, September 26, 2014

change

Ahh, the angst of change.  Someone moved my cheese.  I am uncomfortable.  I don't like it.  I want to go back to Egypt.

We all feel this way from time to time.  Our world is changing so fast.  Dial phones that only came in black, push button phones, phones with long cords, cordless phones, big expensive cell phones, smaller phones, iphones, androids, texting, the internet, the cloud....... what is next?

Gosh, this world goes by in such a blaze of change.  War in Europe, in Israel, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Panama, in Grenada, in Bosnia, in Israel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Ukraine.  It is enough to make a person's head spin.

My family is changing, my church is changing, my job is changing.  Everything that I knew and loved about yesterday is piled in a heap somewhere.  What can we do?

old cell phones
Well, we can't stop things from changing.  Nothing stays the same anymore.  Organizations that don't adapt to changing times cease to exist.  Family members that don't adjust to kids growing up and moving out just make themselves miserable. 

In the World, in the nation, in the church, and in the  family, good leaders help people be comfortable in the midst of change.  Everything is ok.  Everything is ok.  We don't have to go back to Egypt.  God is with us.  He is unchangeable.  Let's take a deep breath and put our trust in him.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

economic collapse

Speaking of worry, I have heard voices my entire life that are warning of economic collapse.  Occasionally over the years, that voice has been mine.  I just don't understand how we can continue on as a nation, spending more than we take in.  It seems like something will have to give.

Well, I am 57 years old and I will bet that I have thought of this weekly for 37 years.  And to date, no economic collapse.  Changes?  Yes of course.  But no collapse.  And so I wonder what I might have been able to accomplish with all of the time that I have wasted worrying.

And what if there is a collapse?  There have been many around the world through history.   People continue to live, to eat, to have families, and even go to church.  My Dad tells me the story of when he asked his father the question, "Dad, what will we do if bread goes to 5 cents a loaf?"  The answer from my grandfather to my father to the question of what will we do if bread is 5 cents per loaf was "son, we will find a way to buy bread."

In short, we will figure it out.  It will all be ok.  We survived the depression.  We survived WW2.  Nations have survived invasion by the Romans, the Greeks, and a host of others.  Putin will come and go.  So will Tiger Woods, Justin Bieber and all the rest of us.  The trick is not to lose sight of what is important along the way.

Life is good.  We are surrounded with many great people.  Let's worry less and live more.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I was worried

I was worried about something the other day.  I knew that I shouldn't worry about it, but I just couldn't help myself. 

I watched the thing that I was worried about.  I looked at it from different angles.  I considered it.  I wasted time on it.

A couple of days later, it was gone.  The issue had resolved itself.  I was worried for nothing.  How many things in this life that we are worried sick about will take care of themselves in time?

Life is too short to be worrying all the time.  Life is too good to be worrying all the time.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

we need each other

I have a dear friend who I meet with every month.  We talk about life and ministry, he is a mentor to me.  It is an honor to know him and be his friend.  He writes a column for the Lees Summit Journal.  You may have read some of them.  He has a very unique way of writing.  His name is Hubert Neth and he is one of the greatest men that I know.

He gave me to share this recent column that he wrote.

the supermarket
stays open
all night
there are
nurses in
emergency
rooms
hear
the garbage
trucks early
morning stops
somebody is
working
raising
the food
repairing
the motor
cleaning
the restroom
submitting
the lesson plan
spreading
the asphalt
meeting
the deadline
programming
the computer
making
the decision
closing
the sale
baking
the potato
changing
the diaper
we know
what it means
to work
have no
work
not be able
to work
or stop
working
do you realize
what a bag
of groceries
costs
did you ever
worry about
monthly payments
experience
long illness
after insurance
expires
buy gas
to commute
outfit children
for school
try to satisfy
customers
gamble on
the weather
spend hours at
a tiny screen
realize
you may never
have enough
to retire
feel so weary
you cant stay
awake
we are
laborers
and nobody
makes it
through
a single day
of life
without
the efforts
of others
                   h.


It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

careful

If the Apostle Paul had known that we were going to turn every single word that he wrote into scripture, he would have chosen his words a little more carefully.  He would have taken the time to clarify which words were just for Corinth, and which words were for everybody.  He would have offered his opinion on what might be cultural and what might be universal.  He might forsee a day when slavery would be no more and when women were treated with respect.



Another interesting thing about Paul's letters is that he expected Jesus to return soon.  He never thought that 2,000 years from now people would still be reading his writings.



Those thoughts give me a little bit of peace when I read some of the difficult things that he writes.  May you all have a little peace with the difficult sayings in the Bible.



It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

what a treat

I have a dear friend who told me this story and I think about it often.

He was at the bedside of his grandfather who was dying.  He was holding his grandfather's hand and his grandfather looked into his eyes and said, "life- what a treat."

Life has its ups and downs, its joys and concerns.  And yet, through it all, runs a river of joy.  Life is amazing.  It is good.  It is surely a treat.  I thank God everyday for the gift of life and for the joy of knowing each of you.

It's a beautiful day in  God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

dealing with pain

There is an old saying - "you can be in pain and suffer or you can be in pain and not suffer."  The saying simply reminds us that life is going to have pain.  Period.  It will have pain.   Our response to the pain is up to us.  You can let the pain eat your lunch or you can work to put it into perspective.  And sometimes it takes lots of hard work to make friends with painful situations.

Some of the difficulty that we experience in this life is self-inflicted.  We must be open to hearing our mistakes and learning from them.  Often the pain that others direct towards you and me is really a measurement of their own pain.  We have to be careful to value their pain without taking it on personally.

Life is too short to be dominated by pain.  Life is also too good to be dominated by pain.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, September 19, 2014

more beyond


I have always loved this story.
 
In Valladolid, Spain stands a monument to the great explorer Christopher Columbus. Its most interesting feature is the statue of a lion destroying one of three Latin words – three words that had been part of Spain’s motto for centuries.

On his first voyage, Christopher Columbus sailed through unknown waters to an unknown destination. Before his voyage, Spain’s standards carried three words in Latin. The same words were written on the left edge of the maps of that day. Even the Straits of Gibraltar carried the same three words, chiselled into stone.

What were the words?
“NE PLUS ULTRA – No More Beyond.”

While the world was convinced there was nothing more beyond, Columbus was not. His ships returned and the discovery of a land of wealth and opportunity “beyond” marked the dawn of a new age.

The world was forever changed. So much so, the king of Spain changed the motto of the land to read as it does today. One word on the famed monument is torn away by the lion making it: ” PLUS ULTRA – More Beyond! ”

With new worlds just over the horizon, the belief that there was nothing more was replaced by the confident claim that there was, indeed more beyond.
 
And there is more beyond.  More beyond this life, we have eternity in heaven.  More beyond my way of thinking, there is the perspective of others, yet to be discovered and considered by us.  More beyond.
 
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Soul Connections

What do you do with the funny feelings that we have about people sometimes?  I mean good feelings.  Feelings that you love them, that you know them, feelings that there is a soul connection.  What do we do with those feelings?  How do we understand them?

I have them for Lions Den Man.  I have them for my friend Dan from California.  I have those feelings for many of you.  It’s like we met before and there is more to the story than the conscious mind can explain.

I have a friend who says that when you meet someone and there is a connection like this, it is a sure sign that you knew each other in Heaven before you were born.  Maybe we were neighbors or cousins or something.  But there is a real connection.

I hope that you have many people like this in your life.  The soul pulls our brain into understanding that there is more.  More beyond.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Old Friends


Old Friends


Dan and I were best friends in 1975.  We were 18 years old.  I moved to Kansas City with my family.  Dan met Sharon and fell in love.  I drove back in 1977 for a visit.  He came through town in 1982 and I met him at the airport.

 
The years came and went.  Marriage, children, jobs, life.  I found Dan last year on Linked-in.  Dan lives in Livermore, California on the East side of the bay.  Last week we were on vacation in Santa Rosa.  Dan drove up to spend the day with us.

 
I was a bit nervous.  What would we find?  Would it still be the same?


He walked in our hotel lobby at 8:30am.  I smiled.  We hugged.  The rest of the day was spent catching up and remembering when.


The entire experience was completely delightful.  What a fine man Dan has become.  I am not surprised; he was quite a fine teenager. 

 
When it was time to part, I told him thank you.  I meant it.  It was such a blessing to see him and catch up.  His stories of our youth [some I remembered, some I did not] were heartwarming.  It was a gift to be with him.  I hope that we can meet again.


If you have an old friend that you have not contacted in a while, based on my experience, it is well worth the effort.


It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Against

There are many things in life that we should be against.  I am against child abuse.  I am against ISIS.  I am against hatred.  I am against selfishness [though I do practice it more often than I wish.]

But there are so many other things in life that we are against that we should not be against.  We waste our time judging others and hurting them, simply because we don't agree with what they are doing or what they look like.

Life is short.  We should spend our time on the positive.  There is no time to be wasted on being against little things that are not ours to control anyway.  Every moment that we spend thinking about how bad a thing is, is a moment that we have lost to glorify our Father.

Don't waste your life being against.  See the good and celebrate it.

It's  a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I'm a mechanic

You know that I love cars.  I love to work on cars.  We have a 2005 Honda Civic.  It has had a rattle for quite a while.  It developed slowly but has become worse over the last year.  I had suspected that it was the catalytic converter.  You could lay on the ground next to the car and almost see it rattling.

I love mechanics, but I hate to pay them.  So I did some research on the internet.  The internet is amazing isn't it?  You can rent a car, email a friend, read about far away places, and look up Honda Civic problems.

By the way, do you know where we bought this Honda?  At the Civic Center of course!

Back to the story.

So I am reading on the internet that the catalytic converter has a heat shield around it.  That after some time, the bolts that hold it on rust through.  There is a pretty simple fix- you jack up the car and put some big hose clamp straps around the heat shield to hold it tightly in place.

So I went to Oreilly's and bought a bunch of clamps.  I jacked up the car, way way up, and I went to work.

Success!! No more rattle.  No mechanic bill.  And I did it myself!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

loving others

The scriptures ask us to love.  To love our enemies.  Part of that is wishing them well.  Hoping that good things come to them.  Seeing the best in them and praying for them.  It is never right to hope that bad things happen to people who have hurt you.

Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
    when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
    and turn his wrath away from them.  Prov 24:17-28


Even if someone has hurt you, God still loves them.  God still considers that person his child.  Look past what they did to you and love them- that is exactly what God is doing- to them, and to you.  He looks past the wrong that we have done and loves us.

love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,  that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.    Mt. 5:44-45

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Toe

What do you do when you stub your toe?  Call a tow truck!

My toe had a couple of unfortunate encounters recently with a bed frame.  I was working on a window repair and for some reason my foot kept finding the bed frame.  Ouch!!!

To do it one time is bad.  But to stub your toe repeatedly in the same place, well that is just plain foolish. 

I had a thought about this.  It is not the bed frame's fault.  That bed frame has sat there for years.  It has not moved.  It did not jump out at me or slide over when it saw me coming. 

As in most situations, I was in a hurry.  I was not being careful.  Human nature is to blame the bed frame or something besides myself, but lets face it, when we stub our toe, we do it to ourselves.  We must take responsibility.  Self inflicted pain is a very humbling thing.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chiefs games

I guess that one of the biggest parties in Kansas City is the tail gate before every Chief's game.  I like to tell people that on game day, they can still come to the 8am or 905 service and still make the game on time.

They tell me that that they can't miss the tail gate party and that the party starts at 8am.

Let's all laugh at ourselves for a moment.  The rest of the year I can't get them to come out at 8am, but the Arrowhead parking lot can!  A good party is like that!

I know that you can watch online, but I think it makes a statement to yourself and your family when you make a collective effort to go to church before a chiefs game, or kids soccer game.

You can pray for the Chiefs.  Besides, that just might be the day that you hear something that really touches you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

bad drivers

I took this picture at the Oreillys on 40 highway near the old Blue Ridge Mall.

I would like to tell you that my wife did this, or that one of my kids did this, but no one is owning up to it.

Obviously someone did this.  My concern isn't that someone hit the pole.   I have backed into poles before.  We all have.  My question is this- how hard do you have to hit a pole to do this to it?

I would love to have seen the car.  I hope that the driver's worst injury was his or her ego.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

honor

Russell Crow in Gladiator
Honor is an interesting word.  We can honor people or dishonor them.  To dishonor someone is to not appreciate the value that they bring to a situation.  To dishonor someone is to set aside the contribution that they have made in the past.

Enough on dishonor.  It is painful.

Let's talk about honor.  To honor someone is to love them.  To recognize them.  To call them a friend in front of others.  To introduce them to someone else as one of your favorite people. 

You cannot take honor to yourself.  Do you remember in the movie Gladiator when Russell Crow tells the Emperor that the time for honoring himself would soon some to an end?  Honor cannot be taken, it must be given.  Honor must come from someone else, so it is a gift for us to honor another person.

When was the last time you told someone what a good job they were doing?  You are a great employee.  You are a great boss.  You are a great kid.  You are a great neighbor.  You are a great wife.

You are a great ______.  I am so pleased to have you in my life.

To honor someone is to bless them.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Mine

It's mine!  That is what children say.  Those are my toys.  Give them back! 

Do you remember the seagulls in the movie Finding Nemo?  Over and over they said, "mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine...."

Someone asked me the other day about my ministry and my church.  [Now, I love this church and I love being here] but I told them, it is not my church, it is your church.  If you are a member here, it is your church.  I am an employee.  Now, I like being an employee, but it is your church.  Pastors come and go.

And my ministry?  It is not mine.  I am pleased to be engaged in the ministry of Christ.  It is his ministry not mine.

Love your church and take ownership my friend! It is yours!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Labor Day

Labor Day came and went.  It was supposed to be a day free of labor.  Ha ha.

We are trying to get the house ready to sell.  I made the mistake of going to Lowes and buying a new storm door.  The old one was peeling and the handle was broken.  The new door was advertised as "installs in half the time."

It took me six hours.  I didn't get much resting in on Labor Day. 

By the way, the Brinkmans are looking to downsize.  We are not leaving town.  Does anyone have any moving boxes that they don't want?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

a happy heart

Sunset in the Ozarks
My daughter went to the lake a few weekends ago.  She was on some friend's boat, floating around, catching up with her buds and enjoying life.  The things that you are supposed to do when you go to the lake.

 She sent me this picture with the caption, "Dad- In case you need some of God's work for your sermon on Sunday, here you go.  Thinking of you."

How absolutely thrilled I was, on several fronts. 
1.  My daughter recognized God's work in the beauty of creation. 
2.  My daughter knows that I struggle w sermon material.
3.  My daughter was thinking of me- when she was out with her friends.

It doesn't get any better than that!

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

4 things

I am sure I have posted this before, and I know I have mentioned it in sermons, but it is on my mind again, so someone may need to hear it.

Ira Byock wrote a book about dying well.  In the book he mentioned the four things that a person should think about and say to others when they themselves are dying.

1. I'm sorry - please forgive me
2. I forgive you - it's ok
3.  I love you.
4. Thank you.

Later, he realized that this is how we should treat each other all the time.  These are the things that we should say to each other all the time. This isn't just how we should die, it is how we should live.  So he wrote a book for the living, called The Four things.  Subtitle: a book about living.


I'm sorry.  I forgive you.  I love you.  Thank you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, September 5, 2014

more on things

pennies on the dollar
B.J. Thomas sang, Using things and loving people, that's the way, it ought to be.  More on things today. 

I volunteer at the Hillcrest Thrift Store.  One of the things that I find interesting is that some of the stuff that we all just used to crave, now goes for pennies on the dollar.  $30 tie? 50 cents.  $900 tube TV?  $2.  $1400 table and chairs?  $40.   What does that say about our values?

Our attachment with things can get us in trouble with people.  Things will come and go.  That wonderful new car is going to be an old piece of junk pretty soon.  The most valuable things in a person's life are not the stuff that you own, but the people that you know.

Love them.  Hug them.  Look them in the eye and say thank you.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

things - stuff

When I was young, I wanted things.  Well, I still want things, but not in the same way.  When I was young, I wanted a house- a great house.  I wanted TVs and surround sound.  I wanted furniture, cool furniture.  I wanted shoes and tools and motorcycles and cool cars.

All those things are nice, but I just d
on't feel it like I used to.  I actually feel a joyful victory when I keep driving my 10 year old car or when I find a discarded something at a thrift store and make use of it in my life.

Life is more than the things that we possess.  You can't take it with you.  Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul?  People are more important than things.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

all around you

I have a friend who is very interested in helping people.  This is great!  The interesting thing to me about the new direction of their life is that they have just recently noticed the needs of others.  They came upon this awakening, because they themselves went through a time when they needed help.

We are such interesting creatures.  We usually don't see a need, until we have experienced it. We can watch people go through something, and not "get it" simply because we have never walked in their shoes.  But once we have experienced a thing, we become much more compassionate towards those who deal with it.

Compassion is always good.  The guy in this picture has no family.  In this life, we have the chance to be family to those who have no family.  May we humans learn compassion for all, even those who deal with things that we don't understand.  I would rather help one time too many, and be taken advantage of,  than one time not enough, and leave one of God's children in want.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

grace vs guilt

I used to be a big believer in guilt.  After all, I was raised on it.  Somewhere along the line, I heard the message of grace, and I bought it.  Part of the reason that I flocked to grace, is that I saw how much I was hurting people with guilt.

I know pastors whose messages are all about guilt.  Who is good, who is bad, who is in, and who is out.  I always want to ask, "where is the love?"  [now you are going to have that Roberta Flack song stuck in your head!]  I have watched good people join those churches and I wonder why.  I think some people like rules and I think some people like an authority figure to tell them if they are ok.  People are just not used to grace.

Maybe someday, when people see the damage that guilt does, they will choose love instead.  Jesus never browbeat anyone into following him.  Love is so much more constructive, so much more effective, and so much more healthy. 

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.