Friday, January 20, 2017

Rejoice!!

My family tends to be a little bit private, so when my sister called me the day before thanksgiving with news, I was not surprised.  She told me that she was 1/2 way through her treatment for esophageal cancer.  I was surprised that she was sick, but not that she held that information close to her chest. That is the Brinkman way.  Private, quite, introverted at times.

So, many of you have known that Julie has been sick and I thank you for your prayers for her.  She finished her radiation and chemo around Christmas.  Yesterday  she had a PET scan and another scan and the results came back.

It's a beautiful day in God's world!!!!!

She is cancer free!!  I am crying tears of joy.  Give thanks to God with me!!!

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

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Kids

Alli, Jenny, Scott 
Of all the things in life that bring me joy, by far the biggest one of  them all, is my children.  In the movie Hook, Robin Williams regains his power as Peter Pan when he discovers his happy thought which was, "I am a dad."

I am a dad.  I AM A DAD!!!! I am smiling as I write this.  I am so fortunate to have these smart, funny, caring people in my life.  If you get the chance to meet them, you will be blessed.

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

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

St. Mary's Hospital

I have posted about this before, but some things in life bear repeating. In fact, we learn by repetition, and this is something worth learning.

I was at St. Mary's hospital some years ago. I was waiting for the elevator. My mind was filled with worry and concern about some random thing that was going on in my life. Then my eyes fell to a framed letter that was hanging on the wall nearby. Evidently one of the hospital administrators had written to Mother Teresa - and surprise - she wrote back!

Dated March 10, 1986

Dear Mr. Coen,
Thank you very much for your letter and good wishes. Thank God for God. For using our nothingness to show his love. He calls me, he calls you – each of us to be his sign of love to each other. This is a great privilege that he shares with us.

I shall pray that you may learn to love him much and share this love with those around you, your loved ones, first, then your neighbors and every person that you meet.
God bless you

Mother M. Teresa


Reading that letter changed my day and gave me something to think about. I have never forgotten the moment or the concept that to love others is a great privilege to which God calls us. Today the letter has been moved to a different area of the hospital. If you go in the east door at St Mary's, take an immediate right and go up the elevator to the second floor. Nearby, hanging on a wall is the letter, still delivering it's timeless message.

It is a great privilege, the great privilege that we have, you and I, to go about, here and there, sharing God's love.  That is what Christ followers are supposed to do and it is indeed an honor and a privilege to do so.

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Birds

I took this picture off of Lakewood Drive last fall.  I was driving by the church that lost it's steeple a few years ago and I notice a very large flock of birds in the trees.  I pulled into the parking lot to just watch them for a while.

They seemed to be blackbirds or some type of dark bird.  The trees were sagging under the load of so many of them.  Then one would take flight, and the entire sky would be filled with the dance of the birds swooping as one, up and down, around and back..... back into the trees again.

I watched them for 15 minutes.  It was incredible.  Creation gives a wonderful testimony of the amazingness of God, and it is available for all of us to witness.  If we but stop and look.

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

Monday, January 16, 2017

old photo

So I found this old picture some years ago.  It is me in 1974 getting ready to go to a 1950's theme dance.   Sunglasses, hair slicked back, t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve, and penny loafers.  Cool!!  I am posing in front of my 1963 Ford Galaxie 500.  Ohh I have some great stories about that car.

I got my first ticket in that car, on I-5 near Barstow, California.  I was going 105 in a 55.  When the officer asked me why I was going 105, I told him that evidently 105 was all the faster that the car would go.

Anyway, this picture takes my 59 year old body back to a time when I was young.  And at this moment I am thinking of the lyrics of the song We are Young by the group Fun.

We are young.  we are young. 
So we set the world on fire.
We can grow brighter than the sun.
We are young, we are young.

Oh how much fun it was to be young, and how delightful to remember it all from time to time.  I wish I still had that car..... I bought it for $100 and sold it for $150. Who knows what it would be worth today.  But the memories are priceless.

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

Sunday, January 15, 2017

funny

I take pictures and keep them in my phone to blog about later.  This past week I went through every picture in my phone and found some photos that I do not believe I have shared with you.  Forgive me if I am wrong.

One day, some years ago, Tyler the cat was watching TV.  I found this situation hysterical.  And from time to time we need to smile.  Every time I see this picture it just cracks me up.

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

Saturday, January 14, 2017

false ideas

Our brains are full of false ideas.  Many people are too prideful to challenge their own thinking.  But great minds are constantly evaluating, taking a moral inventory, and trading unhealthy ideas for healthy.

Here are some typical ideas that we stubbornly hold in our hearts and minds, but they are wrong and need to leave:

  • you cannot be forgiven
  • you have committed the unpardonable sin
  • God is mad at you
  • it is all the other person's fault
  • my happiness depends  on others
  • my happiness depends on circumstances
  • I have all the truth
  • I know who is going to heaven and hell
  • I am right, they are wrong
  • I am not getting a fair shake in life

What is in your mind that may need to finally move on?

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

Demello Stories

My favorite book is Walking on Water by Anthony deMello. In the last 10 years, I have purchased and given away over 100 copies of this book. Over the next few weeks I may be sharing some of my favorite deMello stories. First let me tell you a bit about him.

DeMello was a Catholic Priest, born in India among the poor, the Buddhists, the Muslims and all- born in a very eclectic society. While Christianity in the West is very rational and very cerebral, in many other parts of the world, the faith has a much more reflective side. Meditation and contemplation are a lost art for many American Christians. Reading a bit of deMello will help one regain the mystical/experiential side of our faith.

He also has some wonderful stories about life. Here is one of them.

“a young woman was experiencing divine revelations. Each week, more and more people came to pray with her and seek her guidance. The bishop became worried at the reports of these “unauthorized” revelations. So, he called the young woman in to require proof that her visions were authentic. “The next time, you see the Lord in a vision, “ said the bishop, ask Him to tell you my sins which are known to Him alone. That’s the only proof I will accept.”

A month later the woman returned. “Did you put the question to the Lord?” asked the bishop “What did He say?”

The woman replied, the Lord said, “Tell the bishop I have forgotten his sins.”



Think about that story for a while.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Ps 103:12

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

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Glasses and the Bible

What kind of glasses you wear will say oodles about what you find in the Bible.

If you read the Bible believing that God is mad at you, then you can find that.
If you read the Bible believing that God is love, then you can find that.
Americans tend to read the Bible and look for God's promises to keep blessing us.  [as if American needs more blessings]
People that live in third world countries read the Bible and focus on how the humble are lifted.

This is why discussion around various verses is so helpful.  This is why commentaries can be helpful.  There are other understandings of what you are reading.  Are you reading it in ways that only please you or are you allowing the other, possibly more challenging messages to reach you?

A good example of how we misinterpret scripture is what we do with Phil 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." We pull this verse out of context and insist that God can make us victorious and we can do anything or get anything in this life. Unfortunately, this is not at all what Paul was meaning. Let's look at the context of that verse......

Phillipians 4:12-13 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

What Paul is saying is that he has been in some really hard spots and some great spots, but he can manage them all because Christ gives him strength.  It is not a verse about getting more, it is a verse about being content no matter how much you have.

How are you reading the Bible? What glasses are you wearing? Take care that your glasses don't focus on your own comfort when they should be sending you out into God's world.

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Glasses

Lions Den man posted on Jan 2 about his glasses.  I would like to say more about this important topic today.

We put on our glasses every day.  It is the way that we see the world, the lenses though wich we perceive everything.  If your glasses tell you that you will be mistreated today, you will probably find that.  If your glasses tell you that life is good, you are more apt to find that.  If you believe in a big Devil, then you will find him all day [good luck with that.]  If you believe that this is our Father's world, then you will see him in all things.

The sad part to me about our glasses, our perspectives, is when we don't recognize what our's is.  Some don't even understand that they wear glasses that color how they see the world.  I think even those who are aware, can miss important truths, because we are stuck on our own limited perspective.

Be willing from time to time to take your glasses off and see the world thru the view of another.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good, and sometimes in order to see the good, we need to see the world as others see it, or even as God sees it.

Take off your glasses.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Misnomer

A misnomer is an inaccurate name, label or designation.  We use them all the time.   One of my favorites, and I love to use it, is the phrase "missional church."  To use this type of talk all the time  would have us saying things like:


  • the in shape athlete
  • the educated teacher
  • the wise philosopher
  • the preaching pastor
  • the hairy dog
  • the hot jalapeno


You get the idea.  If a dog isn't hairy, is it a dog?  If a teacher is not educated, how can they teach?  Yes, I know that there are hairless dogs, but you get the idea.

Back to the missional church.
There is no such thing as a missional church.  The church is missional, or it is not the church.  A friend has a missions statement that is something like "we are the serving church."  I love it, but isn't this the essence of church?  Take mission out of the church, take serving out of the church and we are a country club.

The church may be the only organization on the planet that exists not for it's members, but for the benefit of others.

Missional church?   Oh yes.  The church is missional or it is not the church.  Christians are missional or they are..............  well let's just say that we can easily make Christianity about us.  Jesus was on a mission.  His followers should be too.

Who can you touch for Jesus today?  Someone needs your kindness.

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

Monday, January 9, 2017

Love pt. 4

Coming to a sermon near you, probably during Lent.

Love pt. 4

Throughout the Bible we are taught three things:
1.  loving God is the first commandment
2.  loving your neighbor is the second.
3.  these trump all other commandments.

This is not a passing reference, but a theme that runs through the Old Testament, into the Gospels and the writings of Paul.

Deut. 6:4-5
Lev. 19:18
Mt. 22:35-40
Mk. 12:28-31
Lk. 10:25-28
Ro. 13:8-10

If you love God and love others, the entire law is fulfilled.  There is nothing more to be said.  Live a life of love, and you do fulfill the other commandments.  We humans set up all kinds of proofs that we are good Christians:

  • say your prayers.
  • go to church.
  • give 10%
  • be in mission
  • share your faith

Friends, we can do all of that, without love.  I have seen it and so have you.  Heck, we probably have done it out of obligation.  While those are all good things, they are not the sign, not the mark of the Christian.  Love is the mark, love is the sign.

Love God, Love others.  Everything else hangs on that.

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





Sunday, January 8, 2017

Love pt. 3

Coming soon to a sermon near you......

Love part 3.

When we choose not to love, our heart is filled with something else-- Darkness, envy, hatred, rejection, sin, and general yuck.  To live a life without love is to live a life of hatred and death.  It is to live a life of hell on earth.

If your life is filled with darkness and difficulty, try filling it up with something else.  Light always dispels darkness.  Love always conquers fear.  Do you want more of God in your life?  Then love. Love yourself and love others.

God is love.  Plain and simple.  Let God heal you from the dark parts of your life.  Love will overcome.  Stay the course.  No matter what.  No matter what others say or do, choose to love.

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

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Love pt. 2

Coming to a sermon somewhere soon.....

Love or don't. There is no in between. It is a choice that we make every day. To love is to do what God does, it is to be what God is. If we do not love, we do not know God.

7 Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 
 1 Jn 4:8

If we do not love, we do not know God. So I suggest that we get over ourselves and just choose to love.

Love, and nothing else, is the mark of the Christian.

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

Friday, January 6, 2017

Love pt. 1

Coming soon to a sermon.....

Love part one.

34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” John 13:34-35

Spoken at the last supper, these are among Jesus' last words. You must love. This is how people will know that you are my disciples.

It is the litmus test for Christianity, and there is no other. Give 10%, great. Never miss church, great. Wear crosses and Christian t-shirts, great. But the only thing that counts is this- do we love.

Love is the mark of the Christian.

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

Thursday, January 5, 2017

a choice

I was talking with a new friend the other day. They said something that intrigued me. She said this, "each of us must decide every day, on every issue, whether life is a battle or a banquet."

The word banquet is found 32 times in scripture, the word feast, 94. There are lots of banquets in the Kingdom.

Humans like to turn things into a battle. Jesus talked over and over again about banquets. Banquets where everyone is invited, where the broken are healed, where the outcasts are welcomed in, where all sit together at the Master's table.

How about you? Do you project that life is a battle, or a banquet?

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Eddie the Eagle


I saw the ads way back for the movie, Eddie the Eagle.  I thought it looked dorky.  I finally watched the movie and it is a bit dorky, but there is a good message in it, which is summed up in this quote,

"Doing your best is the only option, even if it results in failure."

No one wants to fail, but if you are going to fail, you might as well fail while giving it your very best.

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

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

we don't have to demonize others

I read this post by Richard Rohr a week ago and I thought the ideas were worth sharing. Here is some of what he wrote:

Changing the Game
Monday, December 26, 2016

Today I encourage you to read the account of the death of Stephen (Acts 7:58-60).....Jesus and Stephen state their truth, forgive their enemies, fully let go, and are released into a transformed state that we call “resurrection.”

Both Jesus and Stephen are victims of the “sacred violence” that has been foundational to culture from the very beginning of human consciousness, starting with Cain and Abel. ..... all groups and ideologies are formed by an unconscious scapegoat mechanism..... we have to find a way out of this default pattern. Jesus replaces the de facto operating story line of “redemptive violence” with a new story line of redemptive suffering. There is the Gospel in one sentence! Unfortunately, only a minority of Christians got the point after Jesus and Stephen...... The church was supposed to be a “called out people’’ (ekklesia) who no longer believed the lie, which John the Baptist calls “the sin of the world” (John 1:29), using the singular word for sin. Ignorant hating, excluding, and killing is the universal sin of the world to this day.

Bailie calls the revolution of tenderness, which was released into common consciousness at the death of Jesus, “the virus of the Gospel.” In every age, denomination, and culture, only a few understood the message. By grace and conversion, they realized that they could no longer project their inner violence outward, either creating victims or playing the victim themselves for their own empowerment. They see the only way to be victim in a generative and healing way is as Jesus did, by forgiving and releasing his crucifiers and himself.

The Gospel demands a great deal of us. It calls us to a perennially unpopular and unselfish path.... When you can no longer play the game of judging, labeling, and punishing others, you will quickly become the outsider at most every cocktail party you attend. But Jesus has taught us how to hold the pain of the world until it transforms and resurrects us. This dangerous virus is what Jesus calls “the hidden leaven” inside the Gospel (Matthew 13:33, Luke 13:20), the resurrecting power that will keep the world from its ordinary path toward self-destruction.


My commentary...... It is easy for us to demonize those who are "against" us.  They voted for the other candidate, they rooted for the other team, they did not like our hat {Go Dog Go} for whatever reason, we wish to set them aside and shun them.  Jesus teaches us something different.  There are no enemies.  We are to love all.  There are no demons in the room.  People with differences yes, but there are no demons in the room.  When we stop needing to see people as "against us" we can begin to see them as God sees them, and when we can do that, all the world changes.

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

Monday, January 2, 2017

justified


The other day I made a comment about a situation while wearing glasses that fit me well. My son, who often wears a different pair of glasses, called me out on what I said. He was justified in doing so. I appreciate when that happens to be honest. I used to defend myself and foolishly argue until I felt my position was understood (I win)....Bad idea…. I don’t go down that road anymore. Truth is truth. I cannot grow until I let Truth be my guide.

Peace,

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, January 1, 2017

a new day


So by the time this post is made available it will be January 2nd in New Zealand. That is where my niece is living. I wonder what, if anything, she changed or made different on her first day of 2017. I doubt she did anything different to be honest. Not that she has it all figured out. I am sure she wants some things to change but my guess is, knowing her, it didn’t take a day/change over to a new year to make that happen. She is one of those people that sees every day as an opportunity.

Each day is a gift, each day is special and each day we can say yes to change.

Happy New Year.

Peace,

Lion’s Den Man

Saturday, December 31, 2016

never too late


My wife and I got together with some old friends last night on the eve of New Year’s Eve. We use to do this every year for many years and then life, kids, moving further apart in distance made this very good thing fade away. But, fate has it way and last night after a 17 hiatus the old group, one and all, got together again. Kids had grown and so had we but it was like we had only missed a year. The old stories were remembered and the new ones were shared and everyone was glad the night had come together again.

Friendships.  Don’t lose what you have, but if you have, then go and get it back. You will only regret the time apart.

Peace,

Lion’s Den Man

Friday, December 30, 2016

love


I love my mom. She is 87. She has a large family that loves her dearly. She lives is a nursing home and is in the advanced stages of memory loss.  Sad.

She fell the other day. Broke her hip.  Sad. The surgery went well. The surgeon said she has strong bones. My sister said it was because she fed herself and us a lot of cheese. Levity…got to love it.

I am very glad for the parents God gave me and for the family that I have and the love that abounds. Some are not as fortunate and for that I am again, sad. If that is you more than likely you are here because you have faith and hope and love.

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

Peace,

Lion’s Den Man

Thursday, December 29, 2016

no hurry


How old do you have to be to start seeing that things are moving too fast?

In the movie Shawshank Redemption the character Brooks, who had been in prison most of his life, gets paroled. One of his first observations was, “I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile once when I was a kid, but now they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”

My dad use to say things similar to that and now I catch myself with similar thoughts and comments. I drive to work and watch cars blow past me left and right and my speed is above the limit. I didn’t use to see that in the past. Maybe I use to drive faster or maybe I am just slowing down.  My brother retired a couple of years ago. He is in a slow and easy mode now. To know him before you might think something is wrong with him, an illness perhaps. But in reality he is just taking it all in. He is investing himself and his time in others. Not a bad way to spend retirement. Not a bad way to spend each day!

Peace,

Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

washing your hands

I was washing my hands the other day.  I remembered how my wife taught me after she went to work at Children's Mercy Hospital, that if you don't wash your thumbs too, you aren't washing your hands.

Anyway I was washing my hands the other day because I had picked up some stuff from the parking lot and my hands were gritty.  How delightful it was to turn on the faucet and squirt the soap out and clean my hands.

Then it occurred to me:  many people around the world, maybe even most people, do not have the privilege of washing their hands as we do.  The lack of water, the lack of clean water and the absence of soap would all keep one from washing their hands as we do.

I paused to thank God for the simple gift of washing my hands.  We take way too much for granted.  I thank God for the gift of water and soap.

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


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

worry and trust

Worry and trust are mutually exclusive.

If I ask an adult who has lived in a town a long time to go to the grocery store for an item, I don't worry about it because I trust that they can manage it.

If I ask a brand new 16 year old driver to make his first solo trip in a car to go to the grocery store to get me something, I am going to worry because I don't really trust that they can get it done right.

So when we worry about things in our life, what are we saying about God?  God you are inept.  God you don't have what it takes.  God you aren't big enough.

Worry and trust are mutually exclusive.

God is big enough to manage the thing.  He cares about it all as much or more than you do.  Don't worry, trust Him.  See him as able.  See him as big enough.

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

Monday, December 26, 2016

today

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

When we spend time reliving our past, we are dragging out old emotions and situations that cannot be changed.  We are wasting our time wishing they were different when they are what they are.  Counseling can help us deal with our past, but simply replaying the old tapes over and over again robs us of the joy of living in this moment.

When we rehearse our future, we are planning for something that we cannot control.  Now some planning is good, but when it is worried rehearsing of how something is going to go wrong, then it is not healthy and we are again robbing ourselves of living in the moment.

Reliving the past failures and rehearsing future ones rob us of the gift of this day.

Today is a gift.  That is why they call it the present.

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

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Unto us a child is born.  Unto us a Son is given.
Merry Christmas my friends!

May your day be filled with joy!
May your week be filled with joy!
May your life be filled with joy!

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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve. It's a busy day at the church, but it is a great day to be in church.

I know that every day is the same. I know that every day is a gift from God. But there is something unexplainably magical about Christmas Eve.

Egg Nog. Family and Friends. Sitting by the tree. Wonderful Music. Giving thanks for the last year. Giving thanks for life itself. Appreciating God. Candle lighting at church. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

Today we have services at 3pm, 5pm, and 7pm. You are invited and welcome to attend. If you live far from here we invite you to watch our services live on the web or attend the local church of your choice.

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

Friday, December 23, 2016

favorite Christmas songs

There are of course many great Christmas songs, but here are some of my favorite:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Once in Royal David's City
In the Bleak Mid-winter

How many of those four are you familiar with? Probably all of you know Hark the Herald Angels sing, but do you know the others? Learning new and obscure songs is kind of cool. If you don't know the others here are some youtube links:

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Once in David's Royal City
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMGMV-fujUY

In the Bleak Midwinter [this just brought me to tears]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hs9-Sxf9j4

Do you know any obscure Christmas songs that I should learn?

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

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's still true

So my wife and I went over on a Saturday morning to see Christmas in the park at Riverside Park.  There were lots of trees and decorations, refreshments and singers.  I stood and listened to this trio sing a number of songs, one of which was What the World Needs Now.

I thought how odd that they were singing a song that was popular long before they were born.  I thought about how true it still is today.  What the world needs now, is love sweet love.  It was recorded in 1968 by Jackie Deshannon.

Here is the link to the song.
What the world needs now by Jackie Deshannon

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another mountain
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross
Enough to last 'till the end of time

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some but for everyone

Lord, we don't need another meadow
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine
Oh, listen, lord, if you want to know

What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
No, not just for some, oh, but just for ever, every, everyone

What the world needs now is love, sweet love.


It is still true.

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