Sunday, October 23, 2016


When I was a teenager I used to have a cassette tape of Bill Gaither music.  I thought of one of those songs the other day.  Here are the lyrics:

Something beautiful, something good.  All my confusion, He understood.  All I had to offer him was brokenness and strife, but he made something beautiful of my life.

God can make something beautiful of your life.

Maybe you feel like you are on the wrong path.  Maybe you are lost in a maze.  Maybe you made the mess and maybe it just happened to you.  While I don’t believe that God fixes everything [I don’t believe that it is God’s purpose to fix things for us.] I do believe that when we allow God to come alongside of us, life gets better.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My friend

My friend is hurting.  They are tired.  They are pressed.  They are nearing burn out.  I wish I could help my friend, but I am powerless to change their situation.  All I can do it tell them that I’m sorry.  I understand.  I feel for you.  I love you.

My friend hurts.  I hurt for my friend.

I guess that there is something good, something beautiful about loving others and caring for them.  Who hurts in your life?  Do you hurt for them?  May we always be those who bear one another's burdens.

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

bad taste

Siphoning gas

Talk about something that will leave a bad taste in your mouth.  When we lost power during the hurricane, I fired up the generator to run the refrigerator.  30 hours later when the power came back on, the generator had 5 gallons of gas in it. 

You can’t leave gas in engines that don’t run very often or the fuel will break down and the varnish will plug up the jets.  So you have to put in stabilizer and run the engine out of gas.

This begins with the process of siphoning out all of the gas that I can.  So I purchase a tube for this purpose.  The tube is clear so I can at least see the gas coming, but some of it gets in my mouth.  I have a bottle of water handy to wash my mouth out.  I gargle it, I spit it, I pour the water into my mouth and spew it out.  Now the gassy water is on my face too.  Oh boy I hope no one lights a match.

I did get the gas out of the generator, but oh that experience leaves a taste in your mouth that does not quickly go away.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Rejoice with me!!

So my daughter and her long time boy friend, Bobby are on a two week vacation in Italy.
I am jealous, just saying.

And after waiting and wondering, hoping and praying, he popped the question.... in Italy!!
And, she said, YES!!

Alli, my oldest daughter, is engaged!
So, exciting!!
Rejoice with me!!

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

warm fuzzies

We love people that make us feel good.

I have noticed something about how we interact with others. We tend to love people who make us feel good and lean away from those who don’t. We can take or leave those who give us no vibes, but oh, find someone that makes us feel valued, and we love them.

This tells me that we have great power to bless others. When we see people as special and treat them as such, we can help their hearts be full. Life is too short to give off bad vibes. Become a person that is deeply appreciated by others. Do your best to make them feel valued. You will be glad that you did.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Leaders empower others.  They help others get it and they turn them loose in the organization.
Leaders do not inflict pain, they absorb it.
Leaders don’t just solve problems, they prevent them.
Leaders are not afraid to make tough decisions.

We are all leaders.  You and I are either leading people into success or into the abyss.
Leaders are not about gaining power or attention for themselves.  They sacrifice their time, their money and their life for their cause.

Where are you going?  Where am I going? What are we about?

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

judging part 2

In response to my post on judging from Wednesday, October 12...................
Someone wrote in that I should never serve on a jury.  Ahh.  Good point.
It is hard to cover every angle of every topic.........

Let me clarify.  If I served on a jury I could listen to the evidence and decide with the other jurors if a person committed the crime or not.  They can be found guilty and sentenced to jail, and I still don’t have to judge them.  I can vote that they are guilty without looking at them as a loser, or a bad person.

That is what I mean. 

Sure.  Make decisions.  That person is a wreckless driver, but don’t punch them.  That person roots for the wrong team.  Maybe so, but there is no reason to hate them.

We can make decisions about what people do without hating them or judging them as somehone substandard.

This is a gift of God.  To be able to live without demanding that those who are not like me are the “bad”ones.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2016


It is better to shy away from honor than to need it, or seek it or worse yet demand it.

Honor cannot be taken from others- they must give it to you freely or it isn't honor.

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

thinking of suicide?

My favorite fireman shared a thought with me the other day, "suicide does not put an end to the pain, it just transfers the pain to those around you."

Life is good.  Life is beautiful.
The pain will get better.  Don't pass it on to others.
God can help you deal with it.

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

Friday, October 14, 2016


My friend Carol asked me to write something about friendship.

Oh my, where does one begin?
A friend thinks of you often.  A friend offers grace.  A friend listens.  A friend offers advice, sometimes painful advice, but a friend offers advice.  A friend loves.  A friend laughs at your jokes even when they don't get them.  A friend holds you up.  A friend sticks closer than a brother.  A friend gives you space when you need it.  A friend doesn't always need to make it about them.  A friend joins you in a life mission.  A friend can just sit with you in silence.

I hope that you have a friend.  I hope that you have many friends.  No amount of money can replace the value of a friend.  If you are short on friends, look for some folks to invest in and invite them to lunch.  Start the process of making a new friend.

Life is better with friends.

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

Thursday, October 13, 2016

it is good

In the beginning God created, and when he was done, he said "it was good."  God created men and women and said, it was good.

Somehow over the centuries we have forgotten this.  How sad is that.  The church has tried to control people for years by telling them that they are bad.  But on the contrary, when we remind people of their original state of creation, it frees them to live.

You are good.  You are created in the image of God.  Bad choices, sin and all, you are loved by God.  God made you and he loves you and you are good.  He wants to spend your life with you.  You are loved.  It is the first message of the Bible.

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

if I judge you

If I judge you, I am as bad as you are. If you judge me, you are as bad as I am. Scripture is clear- we are not to judge others.  We can and should hold our values, but we do not judge or shame others.

"But, but, but, but.......... they are so bad" we think.

And the scripture is clear. We are not to judge others.

John 8:7 - you that are without sin, cast the first stone............

Mt 7:1-5  "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"

Romans 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

Romans 14  Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him.

James 4 11-12 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?

I don't understand everything that everyone else does.  I don't agree with what everyone else does.  I don't condone everything that everyone else does.  But our job is to love others and let God take it from there.  Life is too short for our hearts to be filled with hatred for anyone.

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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

two word prayer

I know that we are not supposed to pray with vain repetitions, but this did not feel vain.  The other night at Celebrate Recovery [a Monday night worship service at our church for those who are looking to recover from a hang up, a habit or anything..... we all should go right?]  anyway, I was there and I found myself praying this two word prayer over and over.  From the bottom of my heart, like I just wanted to make sure that God was hearing me.  My soul was begging for him to hear me.

What if you found a two word prayer.  What would it be?  And what if you repeated it over and over until  you felt like God heard you.....

Help me.  Help me.  Help me.
Heal him.  Heal him.  Heal him.
Forgive me.  Forgive me.  Forgive me......
I'm sorry.  I'm sorry.  I'm sorry..........
I'm lost.  I'm lost.  I'm lost...........
Find me.  Find me.  Find me.......

Maybe one of those would be yours.  Maybe none, but maybe you have your own.
Take a few moments now and ask yourself what is really going on deep in your heart.  Boil it down to two words and pray them, over and over until you feel that God has heard you.

It seemed to work for me.

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

Monday, October 10, 2016


We give other people too much power.  When you give people power over you, they can hurt you.  Some people will steal your joy if you let them.

So don't let them.  Does your mom have power over you?  If you are 9 years old, yes.  But not if you are 39, unless you give it to her.  Does your boss have power over you?  Only if you need the job.  Imagine a world where we can submit to authorities, without allowing their rejection of us to cut so deeply.

I am ok.  You are ok.  When we are set aside by those who seem more powerful than we are, we can still choose to see the good.  We can accept that we did not get the promotion, did not get the trophy, did not win Star Search, and did not get the nice compliment.  We can accept that we drew the short straw and still love life.

You don't diminish Niagara Falls by spitting into it.
You are Niagara Falls.

Don't give people power over you.  Lean into God.  He loves you very much.

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

Sunday, October 9, 2016

at my table

At my table there is no judgment.  I welcome you.

I may not agree with everything that you have done, but you will never be turned away.  You may have killed someone.  You may have 101 terrible problems.  You may be in trouble with the law.  I may not understand your actions, but my table is open to you.  Come.  Sit.  Have a cup of coffee.

Do you remember the story of the great banquet in Luke 14?  The friends were too busy to attend.  One got married, one bought a cow.  The master sent the servant to the highways and the byways and invited the poor, the lame, and the outcast.  It is a great story of how the kingdom works.

Everyone has done something that they think they should be thrown away for.  Yet we all need a place where we are welcomed and accepted with no judgment.  No matter what you ever do, I will welcome you.

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

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sing out

One of my favorite movies of all time is Harold and Maude.  The musical score is all Cat Stevens songs.  One of my favorite songs has always been If you want to sing out, sing out.  I have left my family notes about my funeral, and I would like the service to open with that song.  It is a movie about living with joy.  A bit dark, a bit of odd humor, but a movie about living with joy.  The song is a song about living with joy.  Since I first saw the movie in the theaters in 1971, I have always loved the song.

Here are the words.

Well if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you find a new way
Well you can do it today
Well you can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see, ah ah ah, it's easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say, "Yes"
And if you want to say no, say, "No"
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are

You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you find a new way
Well you can do it today
Well you can make it all true
And you can make it undo
You see, ah ah ah, it's easy, ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are

Here is a link to the song.
youtube If you want to sing out

Dear friends-  live.  L I V E live.  Sing.  Sing out.

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

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hurricane Matthew - Final

Well,  the wind finally died down enough so that I could climb up on the roof and see it's condition up close.  And, good news............. the roof is in perfect shape.  It is amazing, considering the winds that we experienced.   There was however, about half of an oak tree on the roof.  10,000 lbs of branches, acorns, sticks and leaves - all on the roof.

Several have asked about power.  We have been without power since 2 am this morning.  Considering our damage situation, it is a small price to pay.

We are very grateful for every thought and every prayer sent this way.  And for the record, I don't know that I want to do another night like last night.  Next time we will evacuate.  Unless my wife and daughters tell me different.

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

Hurricane Matthew 2

It is daylight here.  Really windy and lots of rain still.  I made my first foray outside to check out the storm damage.

Thank God!  It appears at first look that the roof is completely intact.  There are lots and lots of tree limbs down but structurally we appear to be fine.  I have heard that pool screen enclosures do not fare well in hurricanes.  Ours appears to have made it thru fine.  When things die down  I will get up on the roof and make a more thorough inspection.

I don't see anything major at my neighbors homes either.  Let us offer thanks and remember that there are many that were much less fortunate that we have been.

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

Hurricane Matthew

So it is 5:10 am.  We have been up most of the night.  The eye of Matthew passed 30 miles east of Vero Beach.  The worst is passed now but it is still way too windy to go outside.

I left Cape Coral on Wednesday at 10am to go to Vero Beach.  My wife and daughters had made the decision that they were going to hold up in the Vero Beach house and ride the storm out.  That is one wife, two daughters, one boyfriend, one girlfriend, three cats, a dog and me.  Lots of excitement!

We bought a generator, lots of water and stocked up on supplies.  We put up the hurricane shutters and hunkered down.  By 9pm last night it was getting bad.  The worst of the storm hit at 2am.  The wind noise is beyond description unless you have been through it.  We listened to various items hit the roof and the house.  Now the storm is moving off to the north.  Winds are still high and it is still raining.  In a few hours I will go outside and see what damage there is and post an update.

I can see out the front door that there is debris everywhere.  I plan to be in church to preach on Sunday.  Keep us in your prayers.

Thank you all for the prayers, calls, texts and emails.  I am sorry that I cannot write back.  I will post again in a few hours.

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

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Giving Group

In Kansas City I recruited a group that I called "The Giving Group."  These were folks that were not offended if I from time to time sent them an email about something that I needed help raising money for.  Over the years, they provided scholarships for pastors to go on mission trips, helped with sound system issues, and donated for children's wing upgrades.

I find it odd that Christians should feel funny about being asked to give.  But I guess sometimes churches ask too much.  But there is a joy in living the generous life.  There is a joy in participating in those special needs.

Cape Coral First has some issues that at some point we will need to raise some funds to address.  If you are interested in being a part of a group that I can explain these things to via email, if you are not offended by an occasional opportunity to go the second mile, please let me know and I will add you to the Cape Coral giving club.  I would send an email about a need no more than 4x per year. Everyone is welcome, regardless of the size or ability of a gift. Let me know if you want to be on the team.

Thanks for your heart of generosity for the work of the Lord.

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

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The eye exam chart

Can you read this chart?  One of my Cape Coral friends noticed this at their place of work.  I love it!

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

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

one of my favorite quotes

In the movie The Replacements Keanu Reaves plays a quarterback that had choked in the Sugar Bowl.  Because of his failure, he lost the chance to play professional football and his confidence was broken.  In this movie, he gets a second chance.  When faced with a similar situation as the one he failed at in the Sugar Bowl, Reaves chickens out again.  In response to this, his coach, Gene Hackman gets in his face and makes the statement, "Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line."

The first time I heard these words, I stopped in my tracks.  I paused the movie.  I thought of the many times that I was fearful and wanted to pull back.  I thought of the times in softball when my team needed me to get a hit and I was nervous.  I thought of all the challenges in church and how easy it is sometimes to curl up into a ball and go and hide.

For years I have been saying to myself.  Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line.  Sometimes in the midst of pain and struggle, you have to get up and get after a thing.  You can always quit another time, but not today.  The world is changed by those who step up, get in the game and give life their very best.

The game may be on the line.  Winners want the ball, they want a chance.  Step up.  Get in the game.  You will be glad that you did.

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

Monday, October 3, 2016

My Dad

On October 3rd 1927, Paul Parmalee Brinkman Jr. was born. I didn't know him when he was young, but I learned later than he grew up poor. He used to take the streetcar out to Waldo, which at the time was the end of the universe. He graduated from SW High in Kansas City. He served in the Navy during WW2, developing pictures of the first atomic bomb. After the war, he attended Drury college, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering and a young wife named Mary.

Dad was a loner. His nickname growing up was "Pooh" like Winnie the Pooh. As a father, he was pretty distant. He worked long hours and I didn't see him much.

But, somehow, he delivered the goods to his son. He taught me how to work. He helped shape my faith. He taught me a myriad of old sayings and wise thoughts about life.

I got to know Dad a lot better after mom died in 1995. We had seven years together after that. From 1995 until he died in 2002, Dad was a member of the Woods Chapel UMC. He led the first 8:30 singing group, and he had a lot of ideas for his son about what makes a good sermon.

In February of 2002 I was on the church ski trip with the kids. They were 10, 12 and 14. At about 11pm on Saturday night, Cathy called to say that Dad was in the hospital. Heart attack or stroke, he was on life support at Research. Doug H and another young man drove me from Glenwood Springs to Denver. We arrived at the airport at 2am. When the kids woke up, Doug was there in the room to tell them what happened and to take care of them. I will never be able to repay him what he did for my kids that day. I sat in the terminal until 5:30 and left on the first flight to KC. Cathy picked me up at the airport. We went to the hospital and said goodbye to Dad.

Tons of friends from Woods Chapel attended his funeral. Dad is buried next to Mom in Mt. Washington Cemetery in Independence. I miss him.

But, I thank God for every day that I had with him, and all of the good that he brought to my life. Be sure to appreciate your loved ones everyday that God gives you with them.

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

how much do we really suffer?

I had lunch with one of my favorite theologians, Brian Flower. He provides me with much food for thought. This hit the lunch table last week and I thought it was worth sharing.......

We are called to believe and to the suffer for his sake. [Phil 1:29] But how much suffering do we actually do? Not much.  Being in mission, living a missional life is an opportunity for us to discomfort ourselves for the sake of Christ. 

Something to think about.

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

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Sing Out

Too many people do not sing because they do not have the voice of Frank Sinatra or Peggy Lee. Too many people do not play baseball because they cannot hit like Babe Ruth or field like Frank White. Too many Christians hold back from what they could be because they are not big famous souls like Billy Graham or because the are not Mother Teresa.

Dear friends, we as the church will never be what God calls us to be until every single one of us jumps in with both feet. Head over heels, committed to the mission. No holds barred, no excuses, lets just go pursue our potential in Christ.

"Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. "
                         Henry van dyke

God can use you to make a difference in the world.  If you are watching from the sidelines, get up and get in the game.  That is where the true joy is found.

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

Friday, September 30, 2016


One of my friends ends her emails with this phrase:

"Be the reason that someone smiles today."

I love it.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be the reason that someone smiles today.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

unintentional hurts

I am coming to believe that life is full of unintentional hurts.  Sure there are intentional hurts:  someone robs you, someone is bullied, someone does not take responsibility for their actions.  But even in many of these situations, the people that are causing the hurting are acting out of their own brokenness or fear.

I think of the wounds inflicted by my parents.  I know that they would not intend to hurt their children, they were doing what they knew to do, they were doing what the culture at the time told them was ok, they were acting out of their own brokenness.

And I wonder if I have hurt my children- unintentionally.  I called one of my kids the other day and I told them that I loved them and that I never want them to think of me as I think of my parents [sometimes.]  There are many unintentional hurts that show up in this life.  Everyone delivers them.  If you don't think that you do, I would encourage you to think again.

The beginning of ending unintentional hurts is to think and pray about what we are doing and why.  Why am I driving like this?  Why am I talking like this?  Why do I feel the need to say this to someone?  When we stop and think about what we are doing and how it might affect others, we have a good chance to reduce unintentional hurts, and that can only be a good thing.

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my first born.  Happy Birthday to a beautiful person on the inside and out.  Happy Birthday to a kid who has grown up and gets it.  Happy birthday to one of my favorite people.  I will never forget your words to me that night at the Ocean Grill.

Allison, you are the best!  How proud your parents are of you.  Bless you.

Happy Birthday.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

tipping point

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called the Tipping Point.

One of the official descriptions of the book says this, "The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. "

Imagine the tipping point in your church.  It could be good or bad.  Bad = Imagine so many negative people that the good people get tired of the fight and leave.  Pretty soon, the momentum is all going south.

But on the other hand, imagine a different scenario where more and more people are jumping onto the bandwagon of loving God and loving others.  Imagine more and more people finding the joy of living their lives in mission and ministry.  Pretty soon there is a buzz created where people know that something good is going on.  They begin to talk about it themselves and work towards creating a world where we are discovering and living out the joy of the Christian faith.

Remember what happened in the movie Sister Act?  Once a tipping point was reached, the roof was repaired, the nuns were allowed out to actually care for the needy, and the pews began to fill up.

Every church has a tipping point.  How can each of us be used to bring about the Kingdom in our own setting?

Prayer:  "Oh God, help me to be a part of the solution.  A part of your vision.  A part of your dream.  Teach me to invest, to lean in, to give myself - my voice, my time, my all, with reckless abandon for your purpose."

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

Monday, September 26, 2016


We don't like chaos.  We like control.

But let me ask you a question.  What do you think happens when the Holy Spirit really takes over a place?  If your church is 100 people on Sunday, what would happen if 60% felt the call of God to live out in mission and ministry?  There would be so many things going on that there would not be time to report them all  to the board.  Members would no longer be able to know about everything in their church.  In fact, they would be engaged in ministry themselves, and would probably no longer be insisting that they know everything that is going on.

Tom Bandy wrote a book called Christian Chaos.  It is about what happens to a church when the Holy Spirit takes over.  So many things would be percolating up from the hearts of people that we could no longer draw an organizational chart of it.  We could no longer control it.

Control it.  Can we control the Holy Spirit anyway?  Imagine a church that was beyond human management.  The Holy Spirit just sending people out in every direction.  Oh what joy!  Oh what fulfillment.  Oh what Chaos.

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

three questions

For 17 years at Woods Chapel UMC, we ran what we called a "permission giving structure."  It radically changed the profile and the personality of our church.  The concept is based on the idea that everyone is called to ministry and that programs, missions and ministries should percolate up from the grass roots up.  In most systems, programs, missions and ministries are prescribed by the church board or the pastor and staff.

It is my belief that the church was founded without top down direction and without prescribed actions.  It is my belief that the Holy Spirit did then, and still can today, speak into the hearts of  regular people and cause them to live out their lives in mission and ministry.

These ideas are ingrained into my brain, into my being and they won't go away.  I hope that all Christians in all churches will ask God what they can do for him.  When we begin to do that, no surprise, God actually fills people's hearts with ideas.  When people come forward with ideas, my brain goes to the three questions that we ask in a permission giving setting.

1.  Does this idea fit our mission?  
Does it in some way show a love for God or a love for others.  Does it in some way connect people with the journey of life and love.  Almost every idea that was presented over the years did so.  We had a few ideas presented that were about the person's personal business venture, but for the most part, ideas presented fit our mission.

2.  Who is going to do it? 
If God is calling you, then you need to take responsibility for the thing.  It cannot be dumped on staff.  We can't present your idea and then press members to join you.  If you want to start a support group for left handed people, then build a team before your launch.  If you want to go on mission to Transylvania, then assemble folks of a like mind.  Who is going to do this?

3.  How will it be paid for?  
Especially in this economy, nothing gets dumped on the church budget.  If God is calling you then He can show you a way to fund the thing.  Most ministry ideas cost nothing, were self funded or were paid for by user fees.  Of course not everyone can afford an international mission trip and we try to shy away from fundraisers.  But if God is calling you to a thing, God can help you figure out the funding.

New idea?  God speaking to you?
Does it fit our mission?  Who will do it?  How will it be funded?
If you have the answer to these questions, then I say - go.  GO.  GO!!  Fly!! Live out your calling for the ministry of Jesus.

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

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Grace and Truth

From time to time I get questions about the relationship between grace and truth. This is something that I wrote a few years ago that I feel compelled to share again.

Any time I talk about grace and love, I run into someone who wants to talk about truth. To them, the idea is this: truth trumps grace. Grace is only good in their mind when someone abides in the truth. But I ask, whose truth? They will insist that their interpretation of the Bible is true. But what some people call truth becomes a hammer to hurt people. This is exactly what Jesus fought against. Real truth draws people toward our Father.

I am all in favor of truth, but I think we need to be very careful. Most people understand grace. You can feel it and it feels good. It is rooted in love. It is unchanging. Grace and love are universally identified by humans.

Truth is a little different. Some of what I thought was true when I was 18, I no longer believe to be true. Truth can also be a matter of opinion. Even on biblical passages, people have so many opinions on the truth. Truth was never meant to be a hammer. If Jesus is the truth, then somehow truth is connected to love because Jesus is the man of love.

I believe in truth, but I think the list is much smaller than we think. To me it boils down to something like this:
God loves you.
He sent Jesus.
Receive that.
Love back.
find the joy.
Share the joy.
live the joy.

Gosh that sounds a lot like grace. I am not going to spend much time arguing with people about grace and truth. At one time in the past I spent a lot of time arguing with people. I have lived the life where I thought I knew the truth and I would push it on others. All I did was hurt people. Today, I choose the life of grace. It feels much more like the life for which humans were created.

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