Thursday, August 21, 2014

love

After yesterday's post, someone asked if I thought my parents were ever in love.  I know that I can speak to this and that my sisters would agree, because we have talked about it many times.

If love means staying with someone through thick and thin, then they did.  If love means providing for a family's physical needs, then they did.  If love means taking care of your spouse when they are dying, then my Dad sure did.  We know that later in life they enjoyed taking trips together:  Hawaii, New England, canoeing, and such.

But, they never ever had a date night.  They always went to bed at different times of the night.  They never closed the door to their bedroom.  They never smooched in front of us.  They were both born in the middle of the depression.  They grew up in very difficult circumstances.  Their upbringing was hard, and their tenor in life reflected that.

With that said, from some people in this life you learn how to do a thing.  From other people you learn what not to do.  You can learn something from everyone.  Sometimes we are a reflection of what we were taught and sometimes we are a reaction to what we were taught. 

Back to love.  Pat S said in a sermon last year, that being thankful does not count if you don't say thank you.  I would add to that, loving someone does not really count unless you tell them.  How would they even know if you loved them?

So, today, if you love someone, tell them.  And tell them like you mean it.  You just might make their day.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mom

cover of picture folder
My sister gave me a couple of boxes of old pictures.  They had things that my Mom had saved.  Scrapbooks, high school letters, mementos of vacations gone by, and many pictures that I had never seen before.



Inscription
Evidently my Mom was in love before she met Dad.  We never knew this. She never spoke of it.  There were several pictures of her with someone named Art.  I am attaching photos today of them together at a place called the Black Forest restaurant in St. Louis.  It used to be a very cool place to eat.  Swanky.  They had this picture taken as a memento- It came in a very nice cover, much like what you would get if you had your picture taken at the prom.


I find it interesting that in the back ground of this picture at this "very nice" restaurant you can see that the chairs are old and beat up and they do not match.  You would never see something like this at the Hereford House today.  I think the expectations were a little lower back then.



I am still trying to get my mind around the number of pictures of Mom and Art.  What happened?  What if it would have gone differently?


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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

pain

I read this somewhere......

"Leaders don't inflict pain, they bear it."  I would add to that:  healthy people don't inflict pain, they bear it whenever possible.

Bearing pain puts an end to the cycle of retribution.  When we decide not to hurt back, we take the high road and begin the process of forgiveness.  On the cross Jesus said this:  "Father forgive them...."  He said this after he was put on the cross...... Father forgive them...

Today instead of hurting back, absorb the pain.  Take it in.  I know it may not be fair, but it may be just what is needed to heal the breach.

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Robin Williams part 2

My initial reaction to Robin's suicide was deep sadness and a disbelief that someone who made movies about waking up to life, could take his own.




Well, now we find out that in addition to struggling with depression his entire life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.  One of the symptoms of Parkinson's can be severe depression.  So pile that onto a lifelong struggle with depression.




Someone made a very astute comment the other day that I have also been thinking about.
  Here it is.........


I don't think that because he killed himself it means he didn't see the good in life. One can be grateful and thankful and still be depressed. They are not mutually exclusive. Depression is a a very serious illness that can be devastating to live with.


I agree with the writer and it is again an illustration of how my perspective isn't always right.  We have to keep an open mind.  We are not as smart as we think we are.  At least if our minds are open we can keep learning and growing.


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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

we think we know

We think we know.  We make up our minds about something.  Then we find out we didn't know the whole story.  Sometimes just one little bit of information can change how we view a thing.


My dad used to say, "the older I get, the less I know."  What he meant was that the older he got, he realized that there was so much that he did not know.  Things are sometimes complicated and not nearly as black and white as we had thought.


Maybe that is why Jesus said, "judge not."  By the way, you are all invited to visit Jesus at his house today.


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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

from a friend


In response to Robin Williams’ suicide, a friend shared these thoughts-

And the most important things to remember are:

1)      You do not walk alone…  God is always with you and if you’re a member of this church – you have friends, too

2)      Tomorrow will be another day and things can get better.  There is always hope.

I think that people who commit suicide feel there is no hope – how sad.  With God – all things are possible – and if you give it enough time – God will work things out.

I have to wonder how many people have committed suicide – but would have chosen not to – if they had just waited a day.  The sun would shine.  The birds would fly.  God’s good would be revealed and they might have changed their minds.

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

 

Friday, August 15, 2014

12 step group

Twelve step groups help people who are addicted to a particular thing.  The support group helps them to break out of destructive behavior and return to a real life.

Bill Easum in his book Leadership on the Other Side, suggests that churches need a 12 step group so that they can learn how to change with the times.

Churches need a 12-step group for those addicted to old forms.  '"Hi, my name is Bill.  I attend this church because I know it is the one place in my life where nothing is ever going to change." pg. 38

How funny, yet how true.  if there is anything that we know about God, he is always asking us to change, to leave our old ways and find the path of life that is the most effective.  Are you comfortable with change?

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

if you would only agree with me

Two ways to think:

The first is the thinking of someone who has a closed paradigm. 
If you would only agree with me, things would be going so much better!  Why do people disagree with me?  Don't they know that I am right?

The second way of thinking is from someone who has an open paradigm.
Is there something about the way that I am coming across that is not the best approach for this situation?  What is it about what I am doing that is messing this thing up?  What can I learn from others in this process?

The outcomes of both ways of thinking are predictable.  Which kind of person do you want to be?  One who learns or one who knows it all?

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams

How could Robin Williams take his own life?????  I loved most of his movies.  He was Patch Adams.  He was the doctor in the movie Awakenings.  He seemed to surely understand the importance of seeing the good in life.

It makes me sad.  It makes me wonder, why, how?  We know he struggled with depression.  I don't understand, but I do insist that we do not have to follow his lead.

Life is good.  Life is great - No matter what is going on in a person's life.  You want to talk about problems?  I have mine, and I could bring you to tears talking about them.  But no.  NO.  We must live.  L-I-V-E live.  Your life, it is a wondrous gift from our Father.  Never forget that.

IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN GOD'S WORLD, BE SURE TO SEE THE GOOD.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

refine or define

This quote, sent by a friend, reminded me of the challenge of seeing the good.  Is life a problem, or is my attitude about life the problem? 

One of my favorite authors says something that I both love and hate...... "if you have a problem with someone, then you have a problem."  The point of that saying is that so often we blame others and see the source of our discomfort as coming from others, when in fact we have much more control over our actions and responses than we might think.  I love it because it challenges me, I hate it because it is so very difficult and it forces me to take responsibility for myself.  As my mother would have said, no one makes you mad, you choose to be mad.

Refine or define.  What are you allowing the things that come to you in this life to do to you?

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

squeamish

Squeamish.  There are some things that make me feel that way.  Spiders.  Snakes.  Poison Ivy.  I had to cut down some poison ivy over the weekend.  I hated every minute of it.  I have taken 28 showers since I did it.  Pray that I won't break out.

The feeling of being squeamish is so human.  It stops us in our tracks and reminds us that we are not large and in charge, we are broken and human.

What makes you squeamish?

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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

church

What is it about being in church?  For some reason, I just feel close to God when I am there.  Is it because so many prayers go up from there?  Is it because there are so many good people there?  Is it because there are so many sinners looking for hope there?

I don't know why- but I feel more forgiven when I am in church.  I feel closer to God.  When there is a national catastrophe, just like everyone else, I want to go to church.  Say what you will, church is an amazing place.

Most of the greatest people that I have known in my life, I met at church.

I hope to see you at ours this morning.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

time share

Have you ever stayed at a time share for a free trip and had to listen to their sales pitch?  You are a captive audience and it is very high pressure.

Recently I heard a pastor talking about how they got their children to make decisions for Jesus.  It sounded a bit the same as the time share pitch.  Stuck in a room with no opportunity to leave, with no idea what is coming, the children are goaded, guilted, and manipulated to choose Jesus.  Then later the adults have a big party celebrating their success for the gospel.

The problem is this:  The best decisions are never made under duress.  I want everyone to choose Jesus, but never under pressure or threat.  Jesus never pressured anyone.  God's love and grace is quite effective enough at winning people.  It sells itself.  When the glory of God's amazing love is held out, people will choose him of their own accord.

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

Friday, August 8, 2014

choice

It's a choice.  I choose my response.  I choose my attitude.  My mom used to say, "no one makes you mad, you choose to be mad."  My favorite author used to say, "if you have a problem with someone, then you have a problem."

We all have our issues and our stories.  Something is bothering you this week.  Me too.  How will we respond?  It's our choice.

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pastors

My friend Joy posted this on facebook. 
I appreciate your prayers very much.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

redwoods

Many of you know that it has been a real blessing to me to visit the redwood forests in California.  Well, actually, we cut most of the redwood forests in the 1800's.  What we have today are mostly preserves or redwood parks.  Pockets of them, here and there, that a few foresighted people were able to save.

Anyway, I try to go every year to a camp in the redwoods.  I take a pile of books and try to digest the books and renew my spirit.  The redwood forest is really an amazing place.  Being in it is much like sitting by a fountain, a fire, or the beach.  The place speaks to a person's spirit.  I have recommended the journey to so many, and I have asked my family to scatter my ashes there.

A friend of ours is out in the forest now, and from the pictures and the notes, they are finding the soul of God, as I always do when I get to go.

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

God's creatures

We were driving home last night about 8pm.  We were 2 blocks from home.  My wife said, look at the deer.  I pulled off, turned around and got a good angle to take a picture. 

What a beautiful sight!  We should always stop and take a few moments to take in God's amazing miracles.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

getting used to a thing

There is a sin that I have noticed lately.  It is what happens when we get used to a thing.  We are so used to having professional baseball in Kansas City, we don't appreciate it.  We are so used to living with air conditioning that we take it for granted.  We are so used to our spouse, so accustomed to them being there that we no longer see the miracle in them.

We have a great job.  We used to love it, but then we started to take it for granted.  We are not so excited about the new car as when we first brought it home.  The new toy has been put down for something else.

My parents had nothing growing up, so they were pretty appreciative of everything their entire lives.  When we get used to a thing and stop seeing it's value, I think that is sad.  It is a very un-spiritual state that we have fallen into.

There is only one remedy.  We must wake up!  We must see what is right in front of our faces.  We must force the scales to fall from our eyes and see what God has done around us.  Don't allow yourself to get used to a thing.  Live every day with wonder.

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

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I was glad

Ps 122 says, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord.

This is exactly how a person should feel about the chance to go to church.  Not every person around the world can worship freely.  Christians are persecuted in many countries.

Today, I get to go and hang out with a bunch of wonderful people.  I get to sing the songs of joy and hopefully hear a good message.  I get to love and be loved.  I get to be challenged to be more than I am.

I hope that you are glad about going to your church.

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

memory lane

with my sister Julie - 1962?
A month ago my sister gave me two boxes that she had kept in her basement unopened, since Dad died.  They sat in my car until yesterday.  I opened them finally and found a treasure trove of pictures.

Mom as a child.  Mom in high school.  Mom with the boy she almost married but didn't.  [Wow was that a surprise!]
 Us kids as little ones.  Vacations that we remembered, but had no pictures of.  Pictures of my children that we had never seen.  Pictures of vacations that mom and dad went on by themselves after we were gone.

Happy, sad, melancholy.  They lived.  They had their dreams.  They went on to their eternal rest.  It seems so unfair.  But let me say this:  In many of the pictures, they were happy.  They were young and happy.  They were old and happy.  There is something to say for that.

Don't be in a big hurry friends.... it all goes by so quickly.  Seize the moment.  Live the day.  See the good.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Leadership Nuggets


          Everyone is a leader.  You are leading people somewhere.  Where are you taking them?

          A leader has an intrinsic sense of right and wrong, an intrinsic sense of the appropriate course to take.

          A leader listens to others.

          A leader considers all possible information and acts accordingly.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes patiently.

          A leader sees the big picture, he or she knows when something seems big, but is really barely a blip on the radar screen.

          A leader shapes the culture.

          A leader surrounds himself or herself with those who will bring honor to the cause.

          A leader does not compromise on honor, integrity or character.

          A leader relates to the common man.  A leader is not better than others, but he/she leads from the respect that is given from the rank and file.

          A leader celebrates the success of others.  Good leaders want everyone to win.

          A leader knows that the only thing that we compete against is our own potential.

          Leaders know what to say and how to say it.  They are not hateful or vindictive, they are gracious and kind.  Their speech is positive and it attracts others to them.

          All leaders come and go.  They prepare for their departure 

          A leader learns to deal with the pressure of leading.  This is no small feat.

          A leader identifies not only good ideas, but embraces the systems that undergird them. 

          A leader sees the big picture and does not simply live for today, but prepares for the future.

          A leader grows to be comfortable wearing the mantle of destiny.

          A leader leaves the world a better place than he or she found it.

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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

needless worry

The other day I was worried about something that never came to pass.  That is how it usually goes with worry.  We worry over nothing.  We worry over what might be.  What a waste of time!

If the thing comes to pass that we have been worried about, we stop worrying then, and go into crisis management mode.  Again, worry is just a drain on today's energy.

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

why we baptize children

Sometimes people ask why we baptize children.  One reason that people ask this is because they have  been indoctrinated by pastors and churches that teach that baptizing children is a terrible thing.

There is a lot of information to consider when deciding on what to believe about this, and who shouts the loudest and who uses the most guilt should not affect your decisions.

Consider this:

1.  There is the weight of scripture.  The early church baptized children.  The Philippian jailer was baptized and his household.

2.  There is the witness of history.  Adult only baptism did not show up until the reformation.  For 1500 years the church baptized people of all ages.

3.  There is the practice of culture.  Children were baptized because their parents decided for them.  In the ancient world, individual decision was not valued in the way that it is today.  Fathers decided for their families.  It was a patriarchal society.  Parents decided what children would wear, what school they would attend, and what religion they would be.  Children were baptized.

4.  There is no evidence in the New Testament of children waiting until a later age to be baptized.  With the New Testament being written decades after Jesus' death and resurrection, there was plenty of time to see young people grow older and then be baptized when they could decide for themselves, but  there is absolutely no evidence of this in the Scriptures.

5.  Baptism is about God's action in the life of the believer.  The reformation tried to make baptism about your decision.  If you are old enough to decide, we want you to make a decision, but the big story of baptism is God choosing you, and God chooses everyone, not just adults.  Jesus said, make disciples of all nations and baptize them.  It is never qualified for adults only- God's grace and promise goes out to all people of all races, genders and ages.

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

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

rebaptism

Why we don't "rebaptize" people.  Or why Methodists do not baptize people who have already been baptized before.

First let me say that I do not speak officially for the entire Methodist church.  I don't think that will surprise any of you.  I am just me, but I think these views are pretty "Methodist."

When someone is baptized we believe that they are baptized into Christ, not into a local church or a denomination.  We accept all Christian baptisms.  It's not about us, it's about what God has done in your baptism.

If you were baptized, you don't need to be baptized again.  Once is enough.  Baptism is a sign of God's promise.  In adults, and in general, it is a sign of repentance.  God's promise does not go away if you backslide.  The concept of repentance does not change based on your behavior.

If we are baptized based on our faithfulness and desire to follow Jesus, then we better get baptized a lot.  If a person thinks that those who sin should be baptized again, all of us better get baptized every day - maybe even every hour.  I know a 25 year old that was baptized 5 times before he finally decided that there had to be more to the concept.  If instead, we believe that God is active in baptism, it does not need to be redone, even if we sin.  God doesn't change after all, and his commitment to us does not waver, even when we do.

Someone will say, "I don't remember my baptism."  Well friend, God does, and so do the people who stood with you at the time.  Baptism is a sacred act.  It's value is not based on whether or not we remember it or if we really understood when we were 8 months old, 8 years old or eighteen years old.  We learn much about commitment to Christ along the journey of this life.  We don't get rebaptized every time that we understand more.

To be rebaptized is to make baptism about us.  It is to say that God's promise did not count.  Baptism was God's idea and it only needs to be done once.  If you have been baptized, trust in Christ and remember the power of God at work in your baptism.  God never fails us and your baptism was a sign of that.

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Hope

I was thinking the other day, about hope.  I think that people want hope.  Hope is looking past the difficult things and seeing a better day.  Hope brings joy.  It seems to me that people that give up on hope can grow cynical and bitter.

Some people hope in circumstances.  They say, "I hope things get better."  What happens if things don't get better?  We need something more than circumstances to hope for.  That is why believers put their hope in God.

When we hope in God, we always have hope, because he is always with us.  We may find our selves in a valley of shadows, but we always have hope because the Good Shepherd is with us.

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

layers

The other day I was going to touch up some paint on the house.  There was a little spot where the paint was peeling.  I got my paint and brush and went to knock out a five minute job.  When I got there though, I noticed that the board was squishy.  When I pulled that off, the wood behind it was squishy.  What began as a simple touch up job turned into an all day wood repair, caulk and paint day.

I got to thinking about people.  About how they reveal themselves to you in layers.  You might see a small hurt in someone.  If you sit down to listen, they may tell you much much more about what is going on inside of them.  We humans tend to reveal ourselves in layers- a little bit at a time.

Oh to have someone to trust!  Someone that you can tell your hurts to.  I encourage you to be that person to everyone that you can.  It can be hard to listen to the hurts of another, but oh how we all need people to talk with.

"Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you"   Ps 55:22

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

thought

John Maxwell wrote, "if we are growing, we will always be out of our comfort zone." 

Bill C, a friend of mine likes to say, "there are three kinds of churches: growing, stagnant and declining.  Each has their unique set of problems.  Which set of problems would you like to have?"

We have three values at our church:  Joy, authenticity and excellence.  Everyone loves joy.  Authenticity is usually a welcomed trait.  Excellence is what is so very difficult. 

Excellence demands that you call things to account.   That you push on toward a better tomorrow.  Excellence stays up with the times.  Excellence challenges the status quo.  Excellence pushes for the mission.  Those things are never easy, but healthy organizations must keep thinking about and focusing on excellence.

It is true of our lives as well.  If we would live excellently, we must keep trying to improve ourselves.

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

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.