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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

make it right

When I was a kid, my Dad taught us that we should take care of other people's things better than we take care of our own.  Return what you borrow from someone else in better condition than you borrowed it.

If you break your neighbors rake, you buy them a brand new one.  If you use their vehicle, it comes back full of gas and clean.  If they give you tickets to t
he Royals game, you make sure to thank them.

If you hurt someone's feelings, you do everything that you can to make it right.  An apology does not fix everything, but it can go a long way to healing a relationship.  Arrogance never serves us well.  If you owe someone an apology, deliver it.  You will be glad that you did.

Any impact that we have on another person should leave them better off than they started.

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

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kindness

Ahh, the power of kindness.  In a world where so many people are rude and self-absorbed, kind people are a breath of fresh air.

After dealing with several negative issues over the past few weeks, I was so pleased to get several kind emails.

I am not a note writer.  If you get a note in the snail mail from me, it is rare indeed.  I have terrible handwriting, and writing notes is just not my strong suit.

But, oh, what a joy it is to get a kind word.  Whether in person, in the mail or email, a kind word is such a blessing.  You have great power to positively impact the life of another, simply by being kind.

It is not that hard, it does not take that much effort, but oh, the blessed effect of kindness.

The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.[c]

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov 16:23-24

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014

arguments

Some arguments cannot be won.  Some arguments are not worth having.  Sometimes the negative energy generated and the time consumed with an argument is not worth it.


As much as I would like to heal the world and everything in it, a person can only do so much.  People have to want to get better.  People have to want to play well with others.


We are obligated to do what we can do, but sometimes you come to a place where you just have to let it go and learn to live with it.  Not every problem can be resolved, and that is ok.  God is still with us and life is still good.


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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Awakenings pt 2

Following yesterday's post I have another thought from the movie "Awakenings."


In the movie, Leonard Lowe is a boy who became catatonic and lived this way for years.  When given an experimental drug, he came out of it.  He saw a life that he had been completely missing.  He saw the beauty of colors, of people and the sky.  He felt the wind on his face and the touch of a friend.


He was amazed.  In one of my favorite scenes he tells Robin Williams this:


You read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It's all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They've forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!  We've got to tell everybody. We've got to remind them. We've got to remind them how good it is. 


Have you forgotten how good it is?  We have to remind each other.  We have to tell each other.  We have to tell everyone that we can.


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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

why?

How we look at life is so important.  It is human nature to ask, "why me?"  We often ask this when things that we perceive as bad happen to us.


One of my favorite movies is "Awakenings" from 1990 with Robin Williams.  Part of the story line is about a boy who becomes sick.  In one scene his mother says this:


When my son was born healthy, I never asked why. Why was I so lucky? What did I do to deserve this perfect child, this perfect life? But when he got sick, you can bet I asked why! I demanded to know why! Why was this happening?


Instead of asking why something is wrong, maybe we should ask our selves things like this:  Why can I see?  Why does my spouse love me?  Why can I think straight?  Why do I have friends?  Why was I born in America?  Why do I have enough food?


How we look at life is so important.


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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

a reminder of what this blog is about - -

Occasionally I get comments or complaints that this blog is not serious enough.  Some think it is not funny enough.  Others want it to be more personal.  I am sorry but I can't promise any of that.  I am not an entertainer, and sometimes, I don't feel spiritual.  Do you always feel spiritual?  What I simply strive for every day is to write about something that is on my mind.  I hope that is enough, because I don't have anything else to offer.  I have never been able to make people happy that wanted Super-Pastor.  I am just Jeff.  That is why in the side bar of the blog web page I have this disclaimer in purple:

This blog is the occasional ramblings of Jeff Brinkman, a United Methodist Pastor.  When Jeff cannot post, some of his buds take over.  This blog may or may not inspire, may or may not be humorous, but will always be honest.  This blog is Jeff's attempt to remind himself and others that God is greater than anything, and if we just look hard enough, we can see the good in life, and if we slow down and listen, we can hear the birds sing.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

dysfunction

Dysfunction is when something does not work right.  It is broken.  Sometimes you have to use a broken pencil, wear holy shoes or drive a car that is on it's last legs.  But when there is dysfunction in relationships, everyone hurts.

It never gets any better until we do something about it.  Confrontation is difficult, but we never move toward health until we do the hard work to make a change for the better.  Some people settle for dysfunction, and the result is an unhealthy broken organism, relationship or work place.

Thriving organizations do not let dysfunction derail them from their mission- they deal with it and get back on track.  Everyone has problems.  Healthy people deal with their problems and get back into the game of life.  They may have to keep working on things, but that is exactly what they do- they keep working on things, striving towards healthy living.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

how the mind works

It is Sunday morning at 5:45.  I have parked the car at church in the pitch black, way out in the north 40.  We always ask staff and anyone that is going to be at church a long time to park out farther so visitors can park close.

Did I say it was pitch black?  It is 100 yards to the main building.  I have just started the walk across the parking lot when a car comes racing around the building, weaving between the islands.  Looks like teenagers.  Its a joy ride.

How the mind works....

They see me, look, and start to slow down.  My mind says, "uh oh, this is trouble."  They are after me.  They will catch me before I can get to the building.  They will beat me and gut me.  It will be one of those moments when I am trying to get my key to work in the door and they are coming closer and closer.  Maybe I can at least get into range of the parking lot cameras so that someone could know what has happened to me- and on Sunday morning! Poor preacher!

The car makes a u-turn and whips around at the youth building.  Yikes.  My worst fears are going to come true.  I pick up my step.  I watch the car, expecting it to race towards me at any minute. 

Then the church custodians get out of the car and walk up the sidewalk to clean the youth building.

All is well.  I am safe.  How the mind works.

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

connecting fair

Once a year we have a Connecting Fair at church.  This is a chance for you to visit booths that have information  about all the ministries available at Woods Chapel.  There will be worship and a sermon as usual, but if you are looking for a place to fit in, today is your day to find a ministry fit and meet some new friends.  Look for the tables set up in the foyer.

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