Friday, July 25, 2014

listening

My friend Pastor Lois asked the question: "if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear the noise, does it make any sound?"

She says, it depends on how you define sound.  If sound is defined as waves vibrating an ear drum, then no.  No sound is made because no ear drums are vibrated.

Now, you can say many things about that idea, but here is the next place that she went- God is always speaking, but no one hears the sound of his voice because our hearts are cold and our ears are closed.  What a sad thought!  The voice of our God is constantly calling out to us, but our spiritual ear drums never vibrate!

Oh, my friend.  What is going on around us that we are not aware of?  If spirituality is waking up, what is happening around you in the world that we need to wake up to?  What is God doing?  What is God saying?

Jesus says repeatedly, "whoever who has ears, let them hear."

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

Thursday, July 24, 2014

a beautiful day?

My heart is filled with concern over the shooting down of the plane over Ukraine.  My heart is filled with concern over the general behavior and attitude of Russian leaders.  It reminds me of the cold war when I was a child.  My neighbors had a bomb shelter installed in their front yard.  We were always afraid of the Russians.  It is no fun to live with fear.

My heart is also filled with concern over what is taking place in Israel/Gaza.  It is a very complicated issue, but it is concerning none the less.  It is no fun to live with fear.

So here is my question.  Can it be a beautiful day when really bad things are happening in the world?  During WW2 did anyone write about what a beautiful day it was in God's world?  Did anyone say "be sure to see the good?"

While I don't want to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand, while I don't want to ignore world events, we still have to see the good.  There must always be a reason to see the good.

If we can't strive to see the good when we are plagued by war, illness and poverty, what is the point?  Anyone can see the good when the sun is shining and the sky is blue.  I think that healthy people live life, L-I-V-E life even when things are bad.

There many be a lot of bad news but it is still a beautiful day in God's world,  be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

who is in?

Who is in?  Who gets to go to heaven?  I have heard people say that the Jews are out.  Yet Jesus refers to several of the Patriarchs as being in heaven.  Mt. 8:11.

I have heard people say that this group is out because they don't believe the Bible correctly.  That group is out because they did not get baptized correctly.

I have come to believe that God is probably much more gracious than we humans are.  That how ever many people I think are getting in, there will probably be more.  We will all likely be surprised by the presence in heaven of a certain person, and surely there will be those who are surprised to see us there as well.

I have become quite comfortable with telling people that I am not in charge of who gets in.  Neither are they and neither are you.  God decides who is going to get in and who is not.  Let's let God be God and lets just enjoy the journey of being human along the road of this life.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Do you believe?

Are you a Christian?  How does one know?  We have been told our entire life to choose Jesus, to say the sinners prayer.  For many it has become a transaction - a punch my ticket for heaven and I am in.

Thomas Keating suggests that "The fruits are the first indication of our transformation in Christ."  This means that the sign that you are a Christian is not that you said a prayer or came to the front or put a bumper sticker on your car, but the signs/fruit of the Christian are:

Love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  May we all be praying for more of these characteristics to come to life in our daily transactions with others.

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

Monday, July 21, 2014

a cat that writes

Dash the Cat
My oldest daughter has a new cat named Dash.

My daughter was composing an email to a store that would not honor their sale price.  She left her computer on, and the email unsent open on her desk top, then she went out to dinner.  When she got home there was music playing from her computer and she noticed that the unfinished email was no longer there.

She looked around and discovered the email in the sent file........here is her unfinished, and cat edited email........


Hello Customer Advocacy:

 

Thank you for your e-mail.  I have been researching king size beds for quite some time now and was very pleased when I found the King Size Derby Bed listed for a reasonable price.  After researching similar beds and the composition of wood, I purchased the bed and my account was debited.  It i89@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@0o9o2oiiiiAZZZA2198 dash                      s unfortunate that you listed the price of this bed incorrectly.  I am sure I am not the only dissatisfied customer.  I understand you would like to remedy this issue in the future.  In lieu of not receiving this product which was on your website with an incorrect listed price, I wanted to know if I would be able to receive any discount for the bed or any sort of coupon for your site.  I understand mistakes happen, however, I have been researching king size beds for quite some time now and checked the price of the Derby Bed several times before I purchased the bed and the money was debited from my account.  As a former customer of Joss and Main, I think a discount or coupon for a bed



Alli Brinkman


She was suprised that the cat was able to turn the music on, add to the email, sign his name, and send it.  this is the part that Dash the cat added:

89@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@0o9o2oiiiiAZZZA2198 dash                     

That is one smart cat.  Funny.  Very funny.

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

los pinos

A friend from church was thinking about her life and our village in Nicaragua.  She had been reading the Los Pinos blog that Bill Carpenter writes.  She sent me this email.

Here is a link to the Los Pinos blog:
http://wccnicblog.blogspot.com


Here is her Email-
Hi Jeff,

I wanted to share some thoughts with you.

I have been reading the Los Pinõs blog and thinking about how the people there live.  Last night I was lying on my bedroom floor thinking the bed was kind of hard.  (I'm getting old.). And then I thought about the fact that I had a wood floor with carpet padding and carpet. The people in Los Pinõs have mud floors, as I understand. Then I thought about how I have a/c and heating and no bugs and no rain to deal with inside.  Not true in Los Pinõs.  Then, and this is the one that really gets me, I looked under my bed. I saw my dog all stretched out on her fluffy dog pillow, and it occurred to me that my dog is living so much more comfortably than those people.  My DOG is living better than them!!!!  Wow!  It makes me feel guilty for thinking I ever wanted more.  What a blessing and upgrade the new housing is going to be for the village.  I was thrilled to read they will be getting water in their new houses!  This is a great mission!  So glad to be a part of it.
 


She continued later........what of plumbing and cooking and laundry!  And my bedroom is larger than the homes that they live in.  We are so blessed.

Yes dear friends, we are blessed.  And I don't want you to feel guilty, but I do want each of you to understand that we are stewards, not owners.  God has given us these blessings so that we can do his work.  Thank you for all the ways that you have generously engaged in the work of the Lord.

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

quote

A friend sent me this picture of TV's Fred Rogers with this quote:





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

Friday, July 18, 2014

the giving group

On November 5, 2011 - I posted this.........

Last week I wrote one day about how difficult it can be to ask folks to give. Part of the reason for that is that sometimes the responses that I get from folks can be pretty painful.

So, I have this dream that we create a club. A club of folks that don't mind if Jeff sends them an email from time to time and asks if they want to help with some project financially. A group of folks that see the joy in giving. They may not help with every request, but they at least are not offended by Jeff asking, and are glad to be a part of the team that makes special things happen.

Is there any body out there that would like to be a part of such a team? We do need financial help with projects from time to time, and I would love to have some folks that would welcome the opportunity to show leadership in this way.

I would send an email about this no more than once per month. Everyone is welcome, regardless of the size or ability of a gift. Let me know if you want to be on the team.


Here we are almost three years later.  The offer is still open. I said in November of 2011 that I would not send a request more than once a month.  I think I have sent two requests in almost three years.  I would hope that everyone would like to know about or be involved in the opportunity to help with special projects.  If you would like to join the giving group, please email me at jeffb@woodschapelchurch.org

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

new paint

Amy Bartlett, missions director
Oh the blessing of a new coat of paint!  Our new Missions Center building at 4201 NE Lakewood Way is getting a new coat of paint.  Very exciting!!  I am so appreciative of the volunteers who give their time to keep their church looking beautiful.

I find it personally rewarding to rake, mulch, paint, plant or do anything that makes a place look better.  If you like doing such things, let me know as there are always projects at church that help the place look better.


Ivan [yellow shirt in other picture]
Frank, Kent and Ralph are painting!


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


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

speculation

Beware of speculative theology. 


Speculative theology is a teaching based on one or two scripture passages.  Often you will find many divergent views around such topics, simply because people are making it up as they go along.  A hapax is a word that is included only once in a document or set of writings. 


An example of this in the Bible is "millennium."  The word itself is not in the Bible although a thousand year reign of Christ is mentioned in Revelation 20.  Books and books have been written on the topic when it is barely mentioned in scripture.


Now I certainly believe in the second coming, but people have spent years discussing the millennium and the second coming and for what?  They have wasted their lives speculating on future things instead of focusing on living life in the here and now.  That is the worst thing about speculation......... we waste our lives wondering and thinking about things that we can not know when we could have been living our lives centered around the main themes of the Bible like loving God and loving others.


I guess the second coming is more interesting to some people than living a life of love.  I find that sad.


But we don't have to live that way.  Set aside your second coming books.  Set aside your worries about the future and live life today.  We won't get another chance at it.  Today is our only chance to live the life of love today.


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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

be careful what you eat

Just because someone tells you that something is good for you does not mean that they are right.  People will tell you all kinds of things.  Preachers tell people all kinds of things.  Not all of it is true.


1 John 4 says that we should test the spirits.  Is what you are being taught historically true?  Is what you are being taught rooted in the good news of the gospel or in fear?


I find it so interesting that if you tell someone something long enough, they will start to believe it.  You can tell them green is blue.  They will fight you for a while.  Their children won't and their grandchildren will believe that green has always been blue.


There are things that some churches teach that have been taught for 100 years so everyone swallows the stuff as if it has always been true, when the church goes back another 1900 years prior to the particular teaching!


Test the spirits.  Keep your paradigm open so that you can walk away from fabrication and walk towards the grace of God.


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

Monday, July 14, 2014

birthday card

A thought on seeing the good. 

I received a birthday card from a friend that said:  "Let's not worry about the mile markers of life, but while we're here, lets enjoy the wonderful scenery."  Happy Birthday.

I love it.

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The phone

Beware, ye that seek to do good deeds, sometimes they get very complicated.

It was Good Friday and I was leaving our subdivision to run some errands.  Friday is my day off, so it is ok for me to run errands.  Although no pastor is ever off on Good Friday.  Anyway, I am running errands.  About two blocks from my house I see a cell phone lying in the road.  I stop to pick it up.  Possible mistake.

I find a number to call in it and leave a message that the phone can be picked up at the church office.  I am just going to drop it off there.  When I get to the church, I see that the office is closed because it is Good Friday.  There is not a car in the lot, so I can't tell the phone owner to pick it up at church.

Then the owner calls me from another phone.  He doesn't own a car.  Can I please drive the phone out to him?

Oh brother.  Here we go.  So now I am driving the truck [10 miles to the gallon] on a very busy day to return a phone that I could have just left in the street.  I have to meet the guy at 87th and Blue Ridge.  Do you know how to get to 87th and Blue Ridge from Lee's Summit?  There is no easy way.

Well, I get to the meeting place and hang around for a while.  No taker.  I ask several people if they are looking for a phone.  Nope!  I am getting frustrated.  Finally he shows up, I give him the phone and take off.

Back to my day, what ever was so important about my schedule, I don't know.  When it was all said and done, I was glad that I helped the fellow.  He looked like he needed someone to help him.

I have come to believe that it is better to help one time too many, than to not help someone who may really need your assistance.

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Ministerial Candidate

Last week I was visited by a member who has felt the call to ministry.  We talked about next steps and how we can help her along with the process.

Although it is difficult and painful to have our friends go away and serve other churches, it is very exciting when they do.  One of the most exciting things to me about being a pastor is to watch others go into the ministry.  It is like extending the reach of our church exponentially!

Please encourage those who may have the gifts for ministry, and if you are considering it yourself, please give me a call.  You will probably make my day!!

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

calendar

For my birthday I received a very delightful calendar from a friend who knows about a pastor's life.  Can you read the days on the top?

Believe me, it does seem as if Sunday comes at least 3x per week.

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Duty and Devotion

After Sunday's sermon on the topic of devotion, I had a talk with someone about the difference between devotion and duty. 

First of all, I don't ever want to make anyone feel guilty on Sunday.  It is God's job, not the pastor's, to make people feel guilty.  In my opinion, there is enough guilt in the world, and it is a really bad motivator.  Jesus never guilted anyone into anything.  He motivated people out of love.

This is what I would say about the difference about duty and devotion.  Duty is based on an obligation.  Devotion is rooted in love.  We all have duties, but God calls us to devotion.

I hope that helps.

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Why cats hate birthdays

Saturday afternoon I opened a few cards and a couple of presents.  Just me and Cathy as the kids are all over the country right now.

Cats are interested in paper and bows, until this happens.  I catch them and I tie on the ribbons.  A couple of times around the head, the belly and the tail, then tie it off in a good strong knot.  Then they freak out, run off, hide, flip over and generally have an increased heart rate.

Oh the small joys in life.  This is me getting even for how this one whines every morning outside my door at 5am.

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Birthday!

Saturday was my birthday.  I got some ornery cards.  I always do.  I don't understand it.  I opened the card from my sister in California.  Out popped this picture.

I have never seen in before, but I remember the moment.  I was standing in front of my 63 Ford Galaxie 500.  Gosh I loved that car.  I was getting ready to go to a 50's dance.  Even in 1974 the 50's were glamorized.  I was 17 years old.  I have never seen a picture of my car before.

It was so exciting to get this picture!  I am still smiling about it.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

wrong again

I was wrong again.  Well, sort of.  My intentions were good, but I did not present the entire picture.  This is a common malady any time a person tries to say or write anything.

If you write about working hard in your marriage, then someone rightfully asks about situations of abuse.  If you tell people to save money for the future, someone rightfully asks about those who live below the poverty line.  It is hard to address every angle of a situation.

On Saturday I posted about the saying, "you can't want something for someone that they don't want themselves."  A writer correctly called me on this.  Explaining that in her job, she has to see the good in people and inspire them to more than they thought they might become. 

Wow.  I thought.  I better be doing that as well.  Helping people see their gifts.  Helping them see what they don't see in themselves.  Preachers better do that.

But there are those rare times when you have beaten your head against a wall so many times that you finally realize that there will be no movement on a thing until the person that you wish to help desires to move.  You can't lose the joy in your life trying to help people that refuse to be helped.

I wonder if I just did it again?  I hope not.  I really do see both sides of this.  Keep working, keep loving, keep inspiring, just remember that ultimately they are responsible for who they become.

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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

seeing the good

There is generally so much more good than bad.  Although we don't like it when things don't go our way, there is still lots of good. 

How can we train ourselves to see the good?

I wrecked the car - sad.
No one was hurt - the good.

Moles are living in our yard - sad
It's a great summer so far for grass - good

I have a cat that is annoying me - annoying.
I have a cat that likes to be scratched -  good.

My friend is sick -  sad
My friend is adjusting to the situation - good.

My friend may die - sad
I have to remember that we are not promised for ever.

I don't understand God - sometimes sad.
God is good.  Very good.

There is far more good than bad in this world.  Can we train ourselves to see it?

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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

sayings

Sayings.  Old Sayings.  I love them.  They are generally wise.  I heard a good one yesterday.  Here it is:  "you can't want more for someone than they want for themselves."

Well, I guess you could, but what is the point?

The saying means this- A person will only rise to the level of their own personal aspirations. 

If you have higher aspirations for them than they do, you are wasting your time.   They have to want a thing themselves before it will ever come into being.

That helps me relax a bit.

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

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4

I have many memories of the 4th of July as do most of you.  As a kid:  fireworks, swimming, and watermelon.  As an adult:  fireworks and being with friends.  It is a day to remember the blessings of being an American.

As a country, we have not always done the right thing.  But as a country, we have also done a lot of good.  I believe that the world is a better place because America is here. 

How wonderful it is to live in a land where you are able to disagree.  We are not the same as each other, and we are not forced to pretend that we are.  You may not agree with every politician or every decision, but I proudly declare today that we are very blessed to live here. 

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ahh the many uses

outdoor volleyball at Woods Chapel
Ahh the many uses of the Woods Chapel property. When I grew up, churches were only used on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. What a waste! One of the things that I love about our church is that there is always something going on in the building or on the grounds.

Work out classes. Daycare. Bible Study. Quilters group. Divorce recovery. Worship. Band practice. Boy Scouts, cubs, girl scouts. 12 step groups. Youth group. Missions groups. Food pantry distribution. Prayer group. Receptions. Dinners. Choir, bells and Gospel choir practice. Sunday School. Weddings. Walkers. Counseling. The prayer wall. The stations of the cross. The pavilion. Walking the labyrinth. Concerts. Walk a thons. Jazz band. ROTC. Disciple. The Story. Movie nights.
And on and on it goes.

I love it that the building and grounds are used for so many things! Anytime someone comes here, they have a chance to begin the process of being connected to Jesus Christ.

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

enough of Dad

My daughter and son that live here in town wanted to go try out the new Raytown Campus.  This is great!  We have actually sent someone out there to preach that my kids want to listen to! [Mike Scott]

The problem with this is that they were worried about hurting my feelings.  I am just glad that they want to go to church.  I told them, you guys have been listening to me since the day you were born- they have probably heard all of me that any one person needs to hear in this life.  I told them- there is no harm in going to the Raytown Campus.

Please keep Mike Scott, Wendy and the Raytown Campus in your prayers.

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


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

meal

The bishop told the young man who was interested in becoming a pastor: "You will be bruised, and you will be broken, and you will be crushed.  It won't be a lot of fun, but you will make good meal."

For corn to become useful for bread, it must be broken and crushed.  Sometimes we can never be used by God until we allow him to break us of our arrogance and selfishness.

You may be broken, but the result of brokenness is always good meal - something that is useful to feed others.

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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Father's Day

I had a wonderful Father's Day last week.  I have three wonderful kids.  My daughter Allison mailed her present to me.  I liked it when I opened it and saw the front.  A KC Royals shirt!  When I saw the back, it made me cry......

Do you think when I go to the game that the coach will want to put me in?

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


Sunday, June 29, 2014

as the deer



As the deer longs for streams of water, so my heart pants for you O Lord.  Psalm 42

This little fawn and his momma were drinking at the stream behind our home.  It was really sweet.  It reminded me of this song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gaT4q9eJ1U

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

tips

I recently stayed at a hotel overnight.  I have never seen this done before, but the ladies that clean the rooms left a nice note.  I have attached a picture.

I never met them or saw them.  This kindness on their part was, I am sure, a kindness in hopes of making a tip.  I am ok with that.

Although I never worked in an industry where people get tips, all three of my children have done so.  I have left tips my entire life, but when you know someone that is a server at a restaurant, you tend to leave more. 

One of my pet peeves is when people are mean to the servers.  It usually is not their fault that the food is late, and besides, they are good people who need someone to love them.

We leave 20% at a restaurant.  I left the cleaning ladies $5.  I should have left them more.  To hoard one's wealth causes the heart to shrivel.  To live a generous life brings daily joy.

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


Friday, June 27, 2014

comparing

I was surprised when I entered the ministry by how many Pastors love to talk about how good they are doing.  I have always found it annoying.  I don't think the point of ministry is to put others down.  In the ministry of Christ, we are all co-laborers.  It is not my ministry, it is the ministry of Christ.   The apostle Paul wrote-

We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:12

There will always be some churches larger and some churches smaller.  Some more, and some less healthy than yours.  Don't compare, just stay on mission.  We cannot make this life about us for we are all servants of Jesus Christ.

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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

wisdom

I got a card when I graduated from high school.  I still remember the message.  On the outside it said, "For your graduation present I was going to give you money."  On the inside it said, "but  then I remembered - wisdom is its own reward."

Wisdom is its own reward.  A very interesting statement indeed.  Something to ponder.  Wisdom is its own reward.

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