Monday, February 20, 2017

stretcher bearers

I was talking to a friend the other day.  He told me that in life, there are friends, and then there are stretcher bearers.

Friends are friends.  We know what that is about.  Stretcher bearers are those who pick you up and carry you in life when you have been wounded.

Everyone has times on this journey when we feel knocked down.  Thank God for those special friends who refuse to give up on us. Thank God for those who will walk through your hell with you and never leave.  Thank God for those who pick you up when you are down and help you back onto your feel again.

I hope that you are a stretcher bearer to another, and I hope that you have some one that will come to help you in time of need.  They are invaluable in this life.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

on seeing the good

My friend Tracy sent me this picture.  I love it!!

The good is there.  It is all around us.  It simply waits for us to wake up and see it for what it is.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

my phone is ringing

My phone is ringing.  Who is it?

Will it be a child with an issue?
Will it be an anonymous call about a pay day loan that I did not take out?
Will it be you, my long time friend?

Nothing makes a heart more glad then to look down at your cell phone and see that it is a long time friend calling in.  You know when you see someone's name on your phone and it makes you feel happy, that this is a great person.

Let me say a word about the phrase "long time friend."  The first person to use this phrase with me was my long time friend, Paul Dodds.  But over the years, I have stolen it and taken it on as my own.  Oh the joy of long time friends!  Oh the joy of new friends that you know are going to become long time friends.

If you call me, I know my face will light up when I see that it is you.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

great folks

I have been so blessed to meet so many great folks along this journey of life.

Some months ago I was invited to a concert at a care center.  Johnny and Barby Johnson were singing for the residents.  The music was wonderful and the residents loved it.  I was so touched by the joy that Johnny and Barby shared and the kind way in which they interacted with the people.  Oh, if all the world were so kind.

It never hurts us to be nice.  In fact, when we show kindness to others, it always fills our life with joy.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

it was a very long line

I was thinking about one of my favorite stories.  I never got around to telling it at Cape Coral.  I heard this story years ago and I have loved it ever since.  Here it is-

Some years ago there was a long line of people waiting in line outside of a business.  Each person was carrying something with them.  An old watch, a headless doll, a broken heart.

There was not much discussion in the line.  You could tell what was happening just by looking.  People from all over town and from all walks of life flocked to join the line.  You couldn't really even tell what was at the front of the line, there was just a sense that these heartaches might come to an end.

The person who shared this story with me told me that when they finally got to the front of the line, it entered a small storefront.  Above the storefront was the simple sign, Nothing Broken Beyond Repair.

If my Father opened a store in this world, that is what the sign would say.  Nothing Broken Beyond Repair.  Hey wait.  Our Father has opened that store.  You are not broken beyond repair.  Cast your cares upon him because he cares for you.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3


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

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The tree was cut off

I was walking in Zona Rosa with a friend and I saw this "tree" in a sidewalk planter. It had obviously "died" and had been given up on.  We give up on people way too soon.  We give up on ourselves way too soon.

Given up on, yet, it was not ready to die. Oh how exciting! What a wonderful picture of life! You may be down, you may feel broken, you may feel like it is over, but just wait. Keep your roots down in the water, trust in our Father, for broken lives can grow again.

The writer of Job was comparing a tree to humans. He was explaining that trees regenerate but humans just die. So I am taking this completely out of context, but lets just focus on the example that a tree can set. Let us, in our moments of discouragement, refuse to die.

“At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant. Job 14:7-9


So if you are discouraged and at the end of your rope, take heart. Your existence can still sprout new life.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Illusions

Friends are people that get you, and you get them.  It is hard to explain the connections that we have with each other that seem to run deeper than we can understand.

I have loved this book for years.  I read it in 1987 and it practically saved my life.  I mentioned the book to a friend... surprise, surprise, it was one of their favorites too.

Right off the top of their head, they shared a quote with me from the book that I had forgotten.

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't. "

I am probably not the only person who needed to hear that.

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

Martin Luther and Mac Davis


A friend shared this quote from Martin Luther.

Martin Luther - "God writes the gospel not in the bible alone, but also on the trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars."

My entire life I have heard people say things like, "stop and smell the roses." In fact, there was a 1974 song with that title by Mac Davis. Here are the lyrics.

Hey Mister
Where you going in such a hurry
Don't you think it's time you realized
There's a whole lot more to life than work and worry
The sweetest things in life are free
And there right before your eyes

You got to Stop and Smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't Stop and Smell the roses along the way

Before you went to work this morning in the city
Did you spent some time with your family
Did you kiss your wife and tell her that she's pretty
Did you take your children to your breast and love them tenderly

You got to Stop and Smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't Stop and Smell the roses along the way

Did you ever take a walk through the forest
Stop and dream a while among the trees
Well you can look up through the leaves right straight to heaven
You can almost hear the voice of God
In each any every breeze

You got to Stop and Smell the roses
You've got to count your many blessings everyday
You're gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you don't Stop and Smell the roses along the way


Here is a link to the song....
Stop and Smell the Roses on Youtube

Luther talked about it in the 1500's. Mac Davis in 1974. Here we are in 2017 still trying to remind each other to see the good. It is indeed a very important part of life.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

for my KC friends

  Someone sent this to me.  I thought it was very funny.

It also has an interesting message.  You think that you wanted to get away from certain things, but you will still miss them. 

 If you are tired of winter, come down and hang around with us for a while.  The door is always open.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

karma

Karma is that Buddhist term that means that your actions today will have an impact on what happens to you in the future. In our culture we say, what goes around, comes around.  And we humans tend to selfishly hope that those that we perceive have done us wrong will get what is coming to them.

There are so many ways to talk about this.

One of my favorites is, the lover creates the love. When you treat people well, they will usually love you back.  When you treat people poorly, then they might be nasty back to you.  Hopefully we don't return evil for evil, but it is human to do so.

It sounds almost unChristian to say this, but the bible teaches karma as well. Your present behavior will have much to say about your future state.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.  Gal 6:7

Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. Job 4:8

For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Gal 6:8-9

Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; and if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them Prov 26:27

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. Romans 12:19-20


So, If someone has done you wrong, they will one day receive their reward, so don't worry about them anymore. God will make it right.

In fact, I believe in hell on earth. I believe that those who are constantly doing things that hurt others, live a pretty miserable existence.  the sorrow that they are trying to deliver to others, they ultimately end up delivering to themselves.

Lets be good to each other. Life is too short to be ugly.  It feels better to treat each other well.

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



Friday, February 10, 2017

Italy Trip this fall

Ok, so it is set.  Based on your feedback, I am going to lead a trip this fall to Italy, November 7-16.  I have never been, so I am looking forward to seeing the religious and historical sites.

The itinerary includes:  Milan, Venice, Pisa, Florence, Tuscany, Assisi, Rome and Vatican City. As I read thru the brochure, there are so many things that sound exciting.  Even if no one joins, me, I am going to take this trip.  I can't wait!

Here is a link to the brochure for the trip.
Italy Trip Brochure

I also have hard copies of the brochure, if you would prefer to have one mailed to you just email me your address.  If you are interested in going, or for more information, contact me at jsbrink57@gmail.com

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


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Softball Pt 2

Armadillos circa 2004
So I was thinking about softball.  We started in 1994 with one team, the team name was  "Woods Chapel."

How creative.

Tom Boehm got us some Chevy Truck shirts from his work so somehow the name evolved.
Woods Chapel
Woods Chapel Chevy Trucks
Woods Chapel Chucks
Wood Chucks.


After that, every time we added a team, the names had to be some sort of rodent or road kill.  Here are all the team names that I can remember.  For a time, we had our own league. There were 10 or 12 teams. It was so much fun.

Woodchucks
Armadillos
Possums
Porcupines
Wolverines [Michigan colors]
Warthogs
Coyotes
Dingos
Anteaters
Snappers
Buzzards

I will always cherish those days and the friends that I made playing ball.  Listening to Queen in the parking lot after the games and telling stories and jokes.  Those guys are among the best men I have ever known.

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






Wednesday, February 8, 2017

softball

My friend Dan sent me this picture.  I told him that it was terrible, but it is really very funny.  You see, Dan played third base and was one of the best players on the team.  I was the second baseman, the right fielder and finally the catcher.  I was the catcher for most of my years, and we played for 10 years anyway.

I want to  defend myself.  I was the catcher for the following reasons:
1.  I played catcher in little league growing up
2.  I liked playing catcher
3.  I was good at it [that is debatable.]
4.  finally, I must admit that Dan is right, I was in fact the worst player on our team.

But it was still fun to play.  When I would come up to bat, all of the outfielders would move in.  The fans in the stands would leave to buy a hot dog.  I could hear the other players kids making fun of my kids.... "Oh look, your Dad is up, this is an out for sure."  My oldest daughter Alli would reply, "I don't know for sure that he is my Dad."

Oh what fun we had.

Dan is coming to visit  me in March.  Pack your glove Dan and maybe we will have a catch in the front yard.

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


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birds again

I took this picture while walking on the boardwalk at Vero Beach one morning with my friends Bob and Diane.

I have always thought of seagulls as loners or trouble makers.  But here is an entire flock of them, a gaggle, a herd, I don't know what you call a group of seagulls but they are all together on the beach, thinking about the same things.

There were 100's of them all lined up as if at attention.  I can only surmise that something was going to be washing in on subsequent waves and they were waiting for breakfast.

Creation is amazing.  Look for something amazing today.  I promise you that it is there to view, if we just look.

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

Monday, February 6, 2017

Birds

I am fascinated by birds.  And trees.  And so many other aspects of God's creation.  Someone once said that "creation was God's first bible."  If we pay attention to creation we can see so many beautiful things.

Here are some Ibis birds sitting on the back fence at the Cape Coral house.  My friend Chris took the picture some weeks ago.

I love how the birds are all on the same team.  They are all in agreement on what they are doing.  I don't know how they come to such consensus but here they are, all sitting on the fence waiting for lunch to appear in the canal.

What beautiful things are happening in the world around you?

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

Sunday, February 5, 2017

a great call

cats hate to ride in cars....
So, you never know when you leave a place what the response will be.  I know that I let many people down in Cape Coral.  I so appreciate the kindness shown by so many and the new friends that I have made there.

One day last week I was driving a car load of junk over to Vero Beach.  This load included the cats in the car.  Let the yowl fest begin!!!

So back to the story...  my phone rang and it was one of my Cape Coral friends.  The call went kind of like this-
"Jeff this is so and so.....  I wanted to call and say that I am not ready for this to be over between us."

He was saying that he wanted to remain friends!  That he wanted to stay in touch!  It made me feel like a million dollars.  He has some work later this summer at his vacation place and I may get to fly up and help.

Here is to friendship!  Here is to kindness!

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Joel

My friend Joel passed from this life on Tuesday of this week.  He was 45 years old.

Joel was such a great man.  Good people.  A big K-state wildcat fan.  A member of our church.  We played softball together for years.  He was one of the gang, one of the guys.

He was one of the few people in this life who chose to call me Jeffrey.  I have no idea why he did that.

He loved his extended family, his wife and children.  He was a hard worker.  He had a delightful, ornery sense of humor.  When he got cranked up and started laughing, everyone else laughed too.  His laugh would go from a he he he to a chortle to a cackle.  He brought joy into every moment.

He fought a long hard battle against cancer.  He never waiver from his trust in God.  Now he is at peace.

Before I left for Florida I went by the office to see him and say goodbye.  I will miss him.  It doesn't seem right that we lose such a good man so young.  But we must put our trust in our God.


Friday, February 3, 2017

no more

I was talking to a friend the other day and we made a deal.

No more sorry.  No more sorrys.  From now on, only thank you.
To be more specific, I agreed to stop apologizing, and they did too.  Sorry has been said enough times.  Now it is time to see the good.

Thank you.  Thank you.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2017

enjoyed the most

Someone asked me what I enjoyed the most of being at Cape Coral First UMC.

The answer is simple:  shaking your hand, talking before worship or anytime I saw you, offering and receiving a hug, your smile, your eyes, our hearts connecting, looking at you and seeing the wonderful person that God created.

This could be said of 100's of you and I will miss everyone of you.  But...... love never goes away.  I am left with, and I hope that you are left with fond memories and a warm heart.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

from a friend

I have a friend that emails me several times a week, although we no longer live in the same town, I am glad that we have remained friends.

Recently they shared this with me -

"I make myself rich by making my wants few."
                             Henry David Thoreau

We - we - we make life complicated by wanting more. Life is good, very good, and we can certainly see that much clearer when we want less.

I can not tell you the number of people that I have visited with over the years who just had to have that bigger house, that newer car, that something.... and then later were sick that they had made that decision. They let their wants get in the way of their better judgment.  I have done that as well.

So today, I am thankful for the reminder to want less of that which is fleeting, and want more of that which is wonderful.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to want less so that you can see the good.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ken Fox

I love great thinkers.  I was in Nicaragua with some great folks a few weeks ago, one of them was Ken Fox.  Ken is quite an amazing person with a giant heart.

One of the things that he shared on the trip was a quote from TD Jakes "people came to church looking for Jesus and what they got instead was you."

The words stopped me in my tracks.  I am not pointing them at anyone else, you can take them in and consider them if you like, I am simply reflecting personally on the quote.  People come looking for grace, compassion, and joy - they come looking for Jesus.  When they get there, instead of Jesus, they get me.  I am not always gracious, not always compassionate, and not always joyful.

So I am reminded again about the constant goal in the life of a Christian, to pursue the likeness of Christ.  This is not a guilt laden pursuit, it is a pursuit of grace, compassion and joy.  It is a journey to see others as God does and to get myself out of the way so that the good can rise to the top.

Let's keep working on it.

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Joy!!


You, my friends and readers are a great source of inspiration to me. I have met so many of you that have been a blessing to me along this journey of life.

My friends Brian and Jane were out shopping with their granddaughter. Brian sent me this note and picture.

I had a thought this morning that involves the picture below. Last Saturday I was blessed to spend a warm, sunny day shopping with the three women I love most in this world. That would be Jane, Megan and, of course, little Emma. Emma and I ended up spending most of our time cavorting as evidenced by the picture. Jane joined us in this particular "cavort". Megan took the picture. To rediscover joy some times you have to look at the world thru the eyes of a child. Emma lives in the moment and usually chooses to have fun. It is a lesson I both need to remember and to share. Today I am sharing it with you. Have a blessed day and, to quote a good friend, see the good. Love you.

Love you too, all of you.

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

Sunday, January 29, 2017

quote

A dear dear friend sent me these lyrics from Townes Van Zandt:

To live is to fly
Low and high
So shake the dust off of your wings
And the tears out of your eyes.


Believe me, it is good advice.
Every now and then, all of us have to get up, dry the tears and reengage with life.

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

trip

Several have asked what I am going to do with my time.  One of the things that I would like to do is lead some trips.

I am exploring a trip to Wesley's England in May 15-23.  Here is a link to the brochure.  Let me know if you have any interest.

2017 Wesley Heritage Tour

Speaking of trips, here is a picture from a trip I led to Greece and Turkey some years ago to retrace the Journeys of Paul.  About 40 friends from church went on the trip.  I am not much for selfies, but pictured here are some of my favorite people:  Frank and Donna Eaton and Fred and Sandy Burry.  We were just getting ready to take off from JFK.  I am glad that Sandy was on the isle, that probably kept Fred from pestering me on the flight.

I am thinking that this fall I would like to lead another trip.  Maybe to the Holy Land or to some of the religious and historical sites in Italy.  Do you have any interest in going?  And if so, which destination would you prefer?

If you want further information on the Wesley trip or a fall trip, my email address for this purpose is jsbrink57@gmail.com

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

Friday, January 27, 2017

Otis

Otis was my first college roommate.  I loved that guy.  He was from Garden City, Kansas and his real name was Steve Davis but everyone called him Otis.  Why?  No one knows.  We lived in SC2N [Scott Hall, Second floor, north wing] at Evangel College in Springfield.  We didn't attend class that much, but we played every intramural sport together.  He was an athlete's athlete, a real thoroughbred.  He was ornery and funny.  Why do I love ornery funny people?

A few years ago I got to reconnect with another dear college friend, Pastor Roger Horne.  Roger was actually closer to Otis than I was, so when I got to wondering about Otis, I asked Roger if they had stayed in touch.  They had not.  But a few weeks later, Roger came across and sent me Otis' obituary.

I am sorry that I did not stay in touch with Otis.  I am sorry that I never got to meet his family.  He was a great man and a great friend, and I am left with great memories.  Sometimes in life, great memories have to be enough.

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




Thursday, January 26, 2017

Old Friends

Old Friends.

When I moved to Lees Summit in 1994 I was blessed with immediate friends.  From left to right:  Tom Boehm, Joe McMurtrey, and Stu Elliott.

Tom and his wife Lisa sang at church, and we sang together in the choir.  As odd as this sounds, we bonded at church work days.  Joe is a father of six.  We got to know each other because our three year old sons were the orneriest kids in the county.  Stu was my next door neighbor.

Let me tell you something- these are good guys.  Over the years, our lives changed due to kids growing up, but I am always glad whenever I get to see these guys.

Old friends are priceless.

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I was thinking

There is a funny.
I was thinking.  
So glad to be able to think.....

Anyway, I was writing an email to my sixth grade teacher a couple of days ago.  As I was typing I had a thought.  I realized, because of her and a few others, I can read and write.  Because of her and a few others, I can think.  Because of her and a few others I have been able to function in life pretty successfully.

Teachers are called teachers for a reason.  If you are one, THANK YOU!
If you are still in touch with your teachers, thank them.

Thank you Betty Jackson.

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What now?


What am I going to do now?

Some years ago I got to go visit Belize for a few days with my friend Tim Wiseman. On that trip we visited some mission sites, saw Mayan ruins and we took a ferry out to one of the off shore islands. The ferry ride took about 45 minutes and we met lots of young people sporting backpacks. You could tell they were just “hoofing it.” They were high on life, footloose and fancy free. I asked them what they were doing. Their stories all sounded like this…… I just finished college and I am taking a year off to travel. No worries. No plan. No destination. They are just going. Kind of like old fashioned hobos except they either saved money to do this or mom and dad were funding it.

What will I do now that I have joined the ranks of the unemployed? I may just do that. Take a trip. Get in the car and go. St. Augustine, Chattanooga, visit my sister in Kansas City, catch a Royals game, hug my friend who lost his wife, take a pontoon boat ride, do some handyman work, go to Ft. Collins and see my little sister, visit the redwoods, attend annual conference, who knows. I may lead a trip to the Holy Land, I may fill a pulpit for someone who is sick, I may do mission work.

I don’t know just yet, but I will keep you posted.
I think it will be good for my brain and soul.

If you want to reach me, my best email is jsbrink57@gmail.com

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

Monday, January 23, 2017

Yesterday's Announcement

Yesterday in church at Cape Coral First United Methodist Church, I made the following announcement.

Good morning.
I would like to personally make an announcement.

Over the past several months, I have had an increasingly difficult time finding the joy of life. And as a pastor, when you cannot find the joy, you cannot pass on the joy. Consequently, after much prayer and consideration, I have requested and have been granted by the Conference a leave of absence. I am sorry to disappoint you, but I need to find my smile, and you need someone that can effectively lead Cape Coral Church. My last day as your pastor is today. Again, I am very sorry, I promise to pray for you and I appreciate your love and prayers so very much.


Let me add to this, since I have already been asked: there is no moral failure, I'm not getting a divorce, and I am not sick [I don't have cancer or some such thing.]

I am desperately sorry for every person that I have disappointed. Please keep me in your prayers.

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

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, I was out of blog ideas.  It happens you know.  Preachers run out of things to say.  Bloggers don't know what to write about.

So when this happened one time a few years ago, I asked you the readers for suggestions.  Someone suggested that I share stories of my life growing up.  There were other helpful ideas.  Several of you said things like,  "Jeff, just keep reminding us to see the good."

So for today:
See the good.  See the good.  See the good.

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