Tuesday, July 31, 2007

the homeless man

The homeless man. It was Sunday. We had a couple of hours to kill before going to the airport. We went to the park next to the USS Midway. The park is pretty cool. There is a statue of the famous "victory in Europe kiss," and the park is right on the waterfront.

The park is packed. You have to wait for a parking space. There are are several obviously homeless folks wandering around.

Scott stays in the car to read. The ladies sit on the marina edge to watch the fish and the crabs. I am tired and I am looking for a place to nap. I find a tree to lean up against. A homeless man starts talking to me and tells me his story. He is retired military. He lost all of his money in Vegas. He sleeps in the park now. All he owns is a sleeping bag and the clothes on his back.

The conversation ends. I fall asleep.

When my daughters noticed that I was asleep, they thought it was another great photo opportunity. Leaping into action, Alli wandered over and snuck right up close to me and was just about to take a picture.

That's when my protector stepped in. The homeless man said, "hey, what are you doing? It's not nice to take his picture."

The noise of the commotion woke me up. Alli said to the man, "that's my Dad."

I don't know that the homeless man was embarrassed. Alli was. The homeless man went on to explain that many people have very little contact with the homeless and take pictures of people who are down on their luck.

Well that is the story. What does it mean?

I was proud of the homeless man for protecting the dignity of someone that he thought was homeless.

I was not surprised that my daughter wanted to take a silly picture of me. It would not have been the first.

I guess the thing I will think of the most when I remember this story is that there are lots of people out there who are invisible to society. For one reason or another, they are alone and lost on the road of life. They need our help and they need our compassion. They may be homeless, but they are still people.

An outsider might have seen a man with his family and a homeless man. I think when God looks, He just sees people.

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

Monday, July 30, 2007


Last week we were on vacation. Spent the week in San Diego. Thank you for the time to be away with my family. Thank you very much to those who put us up in their home!

We had never been to San Diego before, so let me tell you what we did. We visited Torrey Pines State Park, saw the USS Midway [aircraft carrier], Shopped in fresh fish markets, body surfed, the kids rented surf boards. We enjoyed the beautiful views and the cadence of the waves. I was protected from rowdies by a homeless man. We ate in Old Town, no we ate everywhere. We went to Tijuana. We saw Coronado Island. Oh yes, and we went shopping. with 3 ladies on the trip, it was going to happen.

I didn't give you a play by play last week of what we were doing, because I have a few friends at WCC who will skip church if they know that I am not going to be there. I know that you are not one of them, but I couldn't run the risk of putting it out there and then having folks skip church. Thank you for attending yesterday and supporting the kids.

Well, now I am back, lots of things to catch up on.

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

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hard Work

Whatever good things I think about my father, whatever bad things I think about him, he taught me how to work.

Over the years I have learned that knowing how to work, applying yourself to work, giving your best to your work is very important. Dad used to say, "make yourself indispensable to the corporation." He also used to say, "never burn your bridges, and whenever possible, never leave a job until you have secured your next opportunity."

I have worked hard to teach this principle to my children. They have not always liked me for doing so. I just know that life has its tough moments and the ability to work hard and create positive relationship at work will keep you afloat while you work on figuring out the rest of life. I have tried to help them understand that if you work hard, everyone will want you to work for them.

Not everyone understands this. Some people feel that they are doing their employer a favor to work for them. They feel that the employer always owes them more. Some people don't share in the company's mission and end up working for a paycheck. Some people always feel that somehow they are being taken advantage of by their employer. The results of such thinking is predictable.

I have had great jobs and I have had lousy jobs. I took each job of my own free will and I gave my very best to it. I have found in my life that applying one's self to the job at hand, brings a real sense of fulfillment.

Not every employment opportunity is a positive one. If you are in such a situation, you may want to move on. But while you are working in that difficult situation, remember that the Bible suggests that we keep in mind the attitude that we work not for man, but for the Lord. If the culture is not positive, do what you can to create and sustain a positive culture.

22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:22-24

I found the following quote in a recent Guideposts magazine: "Working hard overcomes a whole lot of other obstacles. You can have unbelievable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities fall out of the sky. But in the end, hard work is the true endearing characteristic of successful people." Marsha Johnson Evans

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

Thursday, July 26, 2007

our best advertising

Woods Chapel has never really spent money on advertising. We haven't had to. We have a secret weapon.


Our members invite people all the time. They are constantly talking to others about their church and bringing their friends. Brian C told me a story about bringing a family to visit, and the next week they were back with friends that they had invited.

A week ago, I wrote about some friends that were going to Gulf Shores, Alabama for vacation. Yesterday, I received an email from someone that they met there. I guess they spent a week in Gulf Shores hearing about what a great place Woods Chapel is.

An object in motion, tends to stay in motion. An organization going a certain direction, tends to continue that direction. Positive culture and momentum are carried by every member of the organism. When we are excited about our church, we will naturally tell others and they will be excited as well.

Keep up the good work. Many people are looking for a place to connect. Many are just waiting for that positive, guilt free invitation. Maybe you will run into someone today who is needing a church home......

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Nudge

I have a message on my phone. I missed a call. I call voice mail to see who it is. It is a friend from church. They are calling me because they had a "nudge" to do so. They just wanted to be sure that I was ok.

Pronunciation: n&j
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): nudged; nudg·ing
Etymology: origin unknown
1 : to touch or push gently; especially : to seek the attention of by a push of the elbow
2 : to prod lightly : urge into action

I would define a nudge this way:
3 : A gentle feeling, thought or sensation that seems to be asking you to do something.

Do you ever have nudges? I get them sometimes, and I always act on them. I always act on them because one time I didn't.

I was 29. For some reason, or no reason, a young man from my youth group popped into my head. Although I had not been his youth director for 6 years and had not spoken to him since then, I had a nudge to call him. I didn't do it. I was too busy. You know, I was busy doing important things.

The next day came. Same nudge. Call Allen. Again, I didn't do it.
This went on for four days.

On the night of the fourth day, the phone rang late. It was Kenny. Another young man from my old youth group. He was calling to tell me that Allen had taken his life.


What do you do with that. I felt terrible. Part of me wanted to feel responsible. At any rate, I knew right then and there that I was never going to ignore a nudge again. I haven't either, and it usually turns out ok.

It sounds a little funny, but this is what I do. Say someone comes to mind for no reason. I seem to sense that there is a reason about it, a nudge. I call them up.

"Hi So and so, this is Jeff. How are you today."

Sometimes they are glad that I called. It seems timely. We talk, and I was glad to have "obeyed" the nudge.

Other times, my call seems unnecessary to them, so I just turn it into a friendly call.

"Hi So and so, this is Jeff. How are you today."
"Fine," they say.
"Well, I was just calling to tell you that I think you are great."
"Well, gee, thanks" they say.

Thats ok. In fact I believe it is better to take a moment to make a call and follow a nudge then to ignore it and wish later that I hadn't.

Sometimes if I think I have something to say to them, I will just tell them that I was thinking about them or praying for them and this thought came to my mind.

It usually works out pretty well. And when my call is unnecessary, I am still glad that I made it. In a world where we are so busy and so disconnected, a random phone call to someone is a good thing.

So dear friend, thanks for calling yesterday. I am ok. I think. I agree with, and celebrate your obedience to the nudge.

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

the beach

What is it about the beach. Quiet, cool, captivating. The sand on your feet, the wind in your face. The sound of the waves. There is a rhythm at the beach. Year after year, whenever I get to go, it is always the same. Soothing, comforting, peaceful.

Maybe being at the beach takes me back to my younger days. Although born and raised in Kansas City, I spent my Jr and Sr high school days in San Jose, California. It was a short 20 mile jaunt on highway 17 over the foothills to the Santa Cruz beach and boardwalk. It was a great place to grow up.

There are a few things in life that strike me like the beach. Sitting by a fire, standing by a fountain or a waterfall, canoeing down a river.

I thank God for those moments and those places that bring us peace. We need peace. Life is so busy, so hectic, we get so stressed so quickly.

I hope that you have a secret place where you can go to get refreshed. If you don't, you may want to check out the celebration garden at the church. Trees, flowers, benches and a fountain. It's beautiful and it is peaceful. You can go there anytime the building is open. When the carillon bells are playing on the hour, it is heavenly.

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

Monday, July 23, 2007


I told you that I had good news. Yesterday at 12:15 our church took a massive step into the future.

For years members have begged me to hire a full time associate pastor. I have resisted. Pastors are expensive and you don't always know what you are getting.

Our staff has worked hard over the years and much has been accomplished. However, it has become clear to me that our staff is doing all that they can. If we are going to keep growing into the future, we need to add someone that can help us get there.

Yesterday at 12:15 in a special church council meeting we voted unanimously to approve funding to bring Clay W on board. Clay W will have to suffice for now because I am not sure that I am comfortable putting last names on the blog [usually.]

Clay is a tremendous man who is well known in our area. He has served another local church for 20 years. He is full of positive energy and will bring many gifts to the Woods Chapel Church.

Clay will be helping with Pastoral care, multimedia, preaching, teaching and more. His first day with us will be Monday, August 13th. His first Sunday with us will be August 19th.

This is very, very exciting.

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

Sunday, July 22, 2007

my son came home

Do you miss your kids when they are gone? I do. My son came home last night from the Sr. High missions trip. He had a blast. Thank you to Brian, Mike, Georgia, Stephanie and everyone who worked hard to make this a go.

Trips like this are great for kids. It gets them used to being gone. You know that is our job. We are supposed to raise them so that they can leave us. Does that sound crazy? Some people can't do it. They can't let go. But, we are supposed to. Raise them so that they can stand on their own feet and not be dependent upon us.

Too many people watch their kids grow up and leave, and then no longer know what their lives are about.

Anyway, I have a random question. If we think of God in human terms for a moment, did the Father miss the Son when he left heaven for earth? 33 years of separation.

He had to stay focused on the purpose, the result, the salvation of the world.

I thank God that He was willing to send Jesus to Earth. It has made all the difference for me. If you are looking for something real in your life, I invite you to choose him. Jesus waits for all to call on his name.

Remember, today at 12:15, I have good news!

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

Saturday, July 21, 2007

what are you leaving behind?

There is an interesting story in the news today about a fellow who was pulling a trailer of baled hay. The brakes on the trailer overheated, starting a fire in the hay. The man then drove around looking for a water source to put out the fire. Unfortunately, he left a trail of burning hay along the way, which started several fires behind him.


At the end of this day, what will you leave behind? I don't believe that we were put here to be selfish, or to wound people. One of the reasons we are here is to bring good to others. John Wesley said, "do all the good you can, to all the people you can, in all the ways that you can."

We are called to be dispensers of grace. So, the next time you are angry or upset, don't start a fire and drag it around behind you all day. You will only leave a real mess in your wake.

Catch yourself. Pray. When we pray, we get ahold of our emotions and thoughts and we give them to God. He can change us in those quiet moments. He can help us to become grace bearers.

What will you have left behind at the end of the day?

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

Friday, July 20, 2007

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Today a friend of ours is leaving on a trip. It's not technically a vacation, it's a trip. Do you know the difference between a vacation and a trip?

If you take the kids, its a trip.

Anyway, I wish them well. I hope they have a great time. This is someone that everyone knows and everyone loves.

But I am thinking. Shouldn't we always wish others well? Whether we like them or not, whether we connect with them or not, shouldn't we wish other people well?

If you have someone in your life that you wish would get run over by a truck, well that attitude owns a little piece of you. When you can wish others well, you release yourself from bad feelings that you may have about them.

The car salesman that pressured you, the handyman that overcharged you, the cousin who is always rude. And countless others. Lets wish them well. Lets pray for them. Let's get them on the list of people that we pray good things for.

Our day will be less cluttered with bad feelings, leaving more room for the good, the joy and the glory.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2007

the grocery store

I went to the grocery store last night. I ran into a friend. You know, there are 100 people that you want to get together with and you just can't find the time. But, you go to the grocery store and guess what, you run into all of your friends and catch up on life. So from now on, no more parties, just go to the grocery store.

Running into this person reminded me of something. I like him, and I like people in general. That is probably a good thing, being in my profession.

Sometimes people can hurt you, but for the most part, I believe in the ability of Christian people to be good and to choose good.

Are you able to see the good in people? Can you look past their sin and see their hearts? Most strangers are just friends that you haven't had the chance to get to know yet.

There are lots of great people around. Speak to them in the lunch room. Go sit on their deck with them. Take them to Tim's pizza. If all else fails, be sure to visit with them at the grocery store.

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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Oh, what a beautiful mornin',
Oh, what a beautiful day.
I got a beautiful feelin'
Ev'rything's goin' my way.
All the sounds of the earth are like music,
All the sounds of the earth are like music,
The breeze is so busy it don't miss a tree,
And a ol' weepin' willer is laughin' at me!
Oh, what a beautiful mornin',
Oh, what a beautiful day,
I got a beautiful feelin'
Ev'rything's goin' my way.
Oh, what a beautiful day.

I wake today with a song on my heart!!!
I hate to tell you when I am down, but I do.
Today, I am flying high. On cloud nine!
Make that cloud ten.
No, cloud eleven!
I will tell you why on Sunday at 12:15

I only wish I was this excited for no reason at all.
Just high on life.
I will save that for another day.
Today, there is a reason, and it is good. Very good.

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Famous People

Over the years I have come to know a few people who are famous. Really they are just a little bit famous, but famous none the less. I am having lunch with such a person today.

It is a funny feeling to know someone that everyone fawns over. Several of these folks I have had the opportunity to get to know and they are just like everybody else. One of my friends I have known a long time, since we were both young men. I have watched what has happened in his life, and I am happy for him.

I don't like the way some folks dote over people like this. I don't think that they like it either. I think most of them just want to be treated like a person. What has happened to them in their life has actually brought them a lot of difficulty as well as attention.

I don't covet their schedule, the pressure that is put on them, their problems, or their money.

Imagine if you won the lottery. Suddenly no one likes you because you are you. It is all about your money and how you can help them. Everyone has their hand out.

So, while I am happy for them, I am totally content just being me. In fact, I like blending into a crowd. I enjoy being one of the guys.

The apostle Paul said,
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

So, whether you have a lot or whether you have a little, it is good. You are good. You don't have to be someone else, you can be you. You are good. Life is good. We find our joy and our strength and our purpose in knowing Jesus Christ.

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

Monday, July 16, 2007

I hate saying goodbye

I am not very good at saying goodbye. It hurts too much.

Last night, Jennifer B gave her farewell message. We had a reception afterwards. The reception was nice. Thank you very much, everyone who helped with it.

This must be a character flaw with me.....I don't want to talk about them leaving. I don't want to say goodbye. The only way that I can find any resolution to this is to believe that they will be coming back soon. Other families have moved away and then come back. They will too.

I am not mad, I am not unappreciative of what she has done, I just don't know how to find the words to talk about it. I think it must be a defense mechanism.

My mom left me, my Dad left me. Sometimes you just have to hunker down and get thru the hard times.

I am really going to miss them.

Speaking of people that I miss, Chris how are you? I hope you are well. If I am thinking of you, so is God. You are loved.

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

Sunday, July 15, 2007

weakness and strength

Why should I let on if I am having a bad day? What good would it serve to put in writing, in a blog, that I was struggling?

There are several good answers to this.

1. It is realistic. Real people hurt sometimes and to pretend that you don't is fake.

2. If I am honest with you about my weaknesses, maybe you will believe me when I talk with you about my strengths.

3. We can glorify God when we are weak. If we didn't have times of struggle we would never feel like we needed him.

2 Cor 12: 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

If you get a chance, read all of 2 Cor 12 about Paul's thorn in the flesh.

I've got to go now. I only work one day a week and today is the day. I am up. I am on. I love going to church. You people always encourage me.

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

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Lead me to the Rock

Your mistakes have piled up. You look at your life and it feels like you have goofed up. I have even learned how to turn good things into troubled things. Time for a do-over.

What do you think at times like these? Where do you go? What can break the yoke of oppression and restore a person's joy?

I remember the words of the Psalmist.

Psalm 61:1-4
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.

Anyone can see the good when the sun is shining and the skies are clear. We don't ignore or hide our mistakes, but we just don't want to center ourselves on them forever. When we stop focusing on our mistakes and focus instead on God's goodness and grace, then we can still see the good.

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

Friday, July 13, 2007

hurt feelings

Well, I did it again. I hurt someone's feelings. I don't mean to make it sound like it happens a lot, but I hurt my sister's feelings. You know I didn't mean to. I would not intentionally hurt anyone's feelings for love nor money.

I said something that I shouldn't have. In an email. I thought it was funny at the time. It didn't turn out to be so funny.

Now I feel bad. I should. In fact, I am glad that I feel bad. There is a great little passage of scripture:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret
2 Cor 7:10

There is an innate sense of right and wrong within each of us that clicks on when we do something wrong. It is a good thing. As soon as I figured out that I hurt her feelings, I felt terrible. I emailed back and apologized. I called and talked to her. I called again. I kept calling.

Our family has had it's moments and the last thing I wanted to do was goof this relationship up. I apologized again and again. I felt stupid. For a good reason. I was stupid.

Well, she forgives me. It is ok. All is well. I am absolved. Thank God.

Now I am going to think a little harder before I shoot off my mouth again. God gave me life so that I can do good and share his love, not be a toad.

I want to thank all of you for every time that you have forgiven my mistakes.

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

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Red Robin

I had lunch with a pastor friend the other day. Pastor friends are hard to come by. In a profession where you would think that the best of Christianity is on display, you often witness some very human attitudes. Jealousy and arrogance are often fueled by ambition and ego. I get so tired of hearing about how some one's denomination is better than yours, some one's church is better than yours, some one's approach to ministry is better than yours. I just don't deal well with pretentiousness. Why can't we all just get along? Why can't we all work for the common good? Aren't we all on the same team?

So I am having lunch at Red Robin with Ken L. Great man. Big heart. Ken was instrumental in getting us involved with CVV, Camino Verdad Verdida, our Hispanic sister church. Ken has a great history of being involved in missions.

So we are talking to the server, [one of the Brinkman girls] and we are talking to each other about church stuff. Mission trips, solving problems and future plans. A young couple next to us is taking their check. They pop into our conversation.

"Are you guys pastors?"
And the discussion is on. Here is what happened.

Ken and I both told them a little bit about our churches and celebrated the other's church as well as our own. The young couple was impressed that two pastors were getting along. They had some history with pastoral ego. We had a nice positive discussion, they wrote down worship times for both, and they were on their way.

I don't know what was cooler, having a random discussion with strangers about church, or partnering with another pastor to invite them to either or church.

In retrospect, two men put the interests of God's kingdom before their own.
The young couple went away with a more positive view of pastors.
The bonds of friendship were increased.
The server got a big fat tip.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


Pets are great. Dogs, birds, fish, turtles, lizards. Then there are cats. I think that most people that have cats at least occasionally wonder why. Listen to them talk.....the cats were always the idea of someone else in the house.

We have two. Great. One is Jenny's the other is Alli's. Jenny's is a tomcat named Tyler. He is a nice cat who will sit on your lap and plays with cat toys. Alli's cat is a whiny, nerdy, strangely shaped cat that she named Princess KiKi. The cats have come to be known as Tyler and "the fat cat."

Well, the fat cat is annoying. When she decides that it is time to wake up, she will come to your door and paw on it. Once, twice, and then hundreds of paws in succession pounding on the door. It could be 4am, 5am, 6am, it doesn't matter. In her mind, she has been alone long enough and she will not quit until you get up and go make a pot of coffee. She wakes me up on a regular basis. She doesn't care if you have to go to work or not. It's all about her.

Eventually, no matter how tired I am, she eventually wins. I get up and get cleaned up and make a pot of coffee and scratch her on her head.

There is something to be said for persistence. For the characteristic that causes a person to keep coming back. To never give up. Any number of things will come against you in your daily walk. Any number of events, attitudes, or people will challenge your ability to stick with something important. Successful people persevere. They don't get upset when something difficult happens and they don't quit. Successful people expect challenges. They even welcome them. They greet them. They say "hello, I am about to show you what I am made of."

They stay with the program. They persevere.

There may be no better feeling that to have faced a challenge and overcome. To have a problem and not get upset. To see the clouds and be ready for the rain. To have a tough day, but keep a good attitude. Persistence is a good thing.

Does anybody want a cat? Free to a good home.

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Mr. Taylor

Mr. Taylor sang at the 11:15 service on Sunday. He sang, boy did he sing.

I trust in God, I know He cares for me,
On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;
Tho' billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My heavn'ly Father watches over me.

I want to tell how good this was.......
The crowd at 11:15, normally stayed and stoic, clapped along as he sang!
At the end of his song, there was a standing ovation.
As Mr. Taylor made his way down the stairs with his cane, he was met by a teary eyed preacher who thanked him very much.

His song evoked an offering of praise to God from an old preacher. A candid thank you and words of praise for God's ability to reach in and bless me.

It was a great moment. I am glad that I was there. There is no other place I would rather be on Sunday morning than at Woods Chapel. I go to all the services. I can't skip a one of them. When I am on vacation, I think I miss something. Sometimes I sneak in for the 8:00 service and hide in the balcony.

If you have been missing church, you have been missing a blessing. The human connections. The blessing of music. The touch of God.

I trust in God, I know He cares for me,
On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea;
Tho' billows roll, He keeps my soul,
My heavn'ly Father watches over me.

Psalm 91:2"I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."

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

Monday, July 9, 2007


That is what the alarm clock read. 4:00am. What do you do with that? I don't have to get up this early, yet I am wide awake.

I take inventory.

I am not worried about anything. I am not unhappy about anything. I am not sick. Everything is fine. In fact, if anything, I am excited about today. Not that anything of note is happening, I am just glad to be alive.

I recognize a sense of peace as I lay in bed. I cannot return to sleep. Coffee sounds good. There is a bag of Hostess chocolate donuts somewhere. I am rolling out.

While getting dressed, the quiet shuffling in the room awakens my sweet wife.

"What are you doing?" she asks.
"I am walking across the room."
"Why?" she asks.
"I am getting up."
"Is everything ok?"
"Yes, everything is ok, go back to sleep."
End of conversation.

So here I am. Coffee, donut, and wondering.....is there something for me to listen to? Did my brain or my soul know that it was time to rise? Is there some message on the line?

It occurs to me that I have some people to pray for. People that are struggling. People that I have not seen for a while. People who are pursuing happiness in ways that are going to bring them pain eventually. I hurt for them. I pray for God to bless them.

I am enjoying a moment in His presence. This is worth getting up early for. No noise, no questions, no problems. Just an opportunity to visit with Lord in the cool of the morning.

In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

It's a beautiful day in God's world, and it has started early. Be sure to see the good.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

a first for me

This article is in no way and endorsement for the dangerous sport of motorcycle riding. No one is allowed to read this and then ask their spouse for permission to buy a bike. Cycle riding can be hazardous to your health.

Today, after church I rushed home, skipped lunch and changed clothes. Whats the big hurry? This was my first chance to ride with the new Woods Chapel Church motorcycle club.

They were all waiting on me when I arrived back at the church and the five of us roared off. This was a first for me, riding with a big group. We picked up two more at Winstead's on 7 Highway.

Over hill and dale we rode. We crossed the rainbow. Finally, we stopped in Buckner at the Sonic. I had a nice visit with some folks from church that I did not know very well. It is always great to make new friends.

When it was time to leave, they rode on toward Lexington, I made my way home. I still needed to catch a nap before evening service.

Looking back on the ride, I really enjoyed spending the time with the people. There are so many people at church that I don't have a chance to get to know.

Now add to that all the joys of being outside on a bike. The wind in your face, the sun on your arms and the bugs in your teeth.

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

Saturday, July 7, 2007

a holy place

Well, I had another wedding today. There is one about every week at the church. I'll bet we do 40 or more per year. It's great for the bride and groom, but it can be a drain on your family life to be gone every Friday and Saturday night during wedding season. This year, I have tried to limit my wedding participation to 12. One per month. Already looks like I will end the year somewhere between 15 and 20. I am very thankful for every staff person and retired pastor that has been able to help with these. Side bar comments about weddings now over.

I had a wedding today. It was great.! The bride and groom love each other, and Joy Mc sang "At Last...." It was wonderful. Occasionally weddings can be difficult or sad if it is a "have to" wedding or if the couple doesn't love each other. Today, like most, was great. I have the great privilege of standing next to two people as they pledge their love and faith each to the other. It is like being in the center of deep love. It is a very special thing to be a part of. It is very touching. Sometimes I cry, even when the bride and groom don't.

I take this moment to say a word to those of you who are married. Remember back to how your love began. Rekindle those special moments. Celebrate the good. Almost all marriages start out well, its the maintenance along the way that isn't always kept up.

Remember. Appreciate. Give thanks. Say I love you.

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

Friday, July 6, 2007

birthday cards

Birthday cards. I got some real doozies. Dorothy sent one that played the siren of a fire truck coming to put out the fire from the candles on the cake. Bill P.'s was priceless as his wife would not sign it. I will keep it for a while, and for a $10 contribution to the landscape fund at church, you can read his card.

Eric and Barb win the award for the most thought provoking card. Here is the message:

"I am living abundantly.
My abundance is not defined
by the money I make,
the car that I drive
or the house I live in.

It is defined by the gratitude
I have in my heart
and the ability to make a difference
in the lives of others."
Jennifer Lewis-Hall

Wow, those are great words! Let's save gratitude for another day and talk about the ability we have to make a difference in the lives of others.

People are starving for attention, for love, for a hug. All around you they are wasting away on the inside from lack of attention. Some of them may be in your own home.

Don't walk past them, don't miss them. See them and reach out. Every person you see at work, at the grocery store, in the neighborhood, they are all potential recipients of your love. You can be a dispenser of God's grace. In fact, that is a very important part of your life purpose.

Do you want to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of others? It is done through the little things. The small moments. So take the time to speak, to wave, to be engaged with them. Every stranger is a friend that I have yet to meet. Every moment is an opportunity to share God's love.

Our hearts are filled with abundant joy when we begin the practice of giving ourselves away.

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

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I made it!

Today is the day. Happy Birthday to me! 50. Yes that is right, 50 years old, can you believe it?

I have thought about this day for about 6 months. Worry, fear, disappointment, resignation. What are you going to do about it anyway? My son was dogging me a month ago about how old 50 was. I told him, "son, I have a number of friends who never got to see the age of 50. I hope you get to be 50 someday." That was enough perspective for him.

Today, I wake with joy. I am glad to be here, even if I am 50 now. The nifty fifties group from our church threw me a great surprise party on Tuesday. My sneaky wife was an accomplice.

It looks like the 50's will be good for me. In the last few years I have become so much more grateful, so much more thankful, so much more appreciative of life and all of its goodness. Having a near death experience may have helped with that, but I have talked to several folks who tell me that you just appreciate things more as you grow older.

Eye problems, joint problems, fat problems, balding head, I welcome you all, at least now I have a good excuse.

Whatever age you find yourself to be today, be sure to thank God for the gift of life. My mom died at 62. I am glad to be 50. I am glad for today. I am glad for each of you.

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Memories of the 4th

Today has always been a special day for me. It's the forth of July. It's the day before my birthday. It has always been a highly anticipated day, and a day filled with anticipation. Consequently, it is filled with many memories.

- I remember dad taking me out to the boonies, to the middle of nowhere to buy fireworks. 95th and Nall. When I was a kid, there was nothing there.

- I could not wait to shoot off my black cats. Dad insisted that I wait until at 8am. All year long I cannot get out of bed, but on the night before the 4th, I can't sleep. Finally 8 o'clock arrives and I am hard at it. Setting up army men and blowing them up. Blowing up cans and bottles and anything I can find. Throwing my firecrackers at the cat, the dog and my sisters. Ahh, the 4th of July was a good holiday for a young boy.

-I remember learning to throw a firecracker, and the painful feeling you get in your fingers when you let go of them just a little bit late.

-We always went to the pool on the 4th. My sisters swam and swam, I swam and sat in the shade. When I was younger, I had a terrible sun allergy. If I was out in it for very long at all, I got really red, and really itchy. Still to this day, I am cursed with red blotchy skin. At night, after swimming and watermelon, we would lay in the grass and watch the fireworks in the sky. Being good parents, my mom and dad would always tell me that the fireworks were for my birthday.

-I remember the year that we hooked up with 3 or 4 other families. Late at night out in the street, the parents were drinking. Someone had some m-80's. A neighbor who was not well liked had left his trash cans out after trash pick up. An m-80 is loud, but an m-80 is really loud when when it is inside the neighbors metal trash can. Dad bought the neighbor 2 new trash cans.

-After I had kids, the 4th of July was about making sure that they got to blow stuff up too. The girls outgrew that pretty quickly and moved on, but Scott is a demolition expert who is following in the footsteps of his Dad. Usually he is slow to get out of bed, but this morning, I already hear some activity from his bedroom.

It's a good day for reflection. I am thankful for a free country. I am thankful for the ability we have in America to travel, to worship and to pursue happiness. I am thankful for every person who has served in the military to preserve and protect our freedoms. Americans should be a very grateful people. I hope you are, I am.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Do you ever worry? Probably so. Most of us do at one time or another. Sometimes things just come out of nowhere and overnight we have a big concern. I have one now. Can't tell you about it, but it is like a lot of the things that we worry about. It will take care of itself in time.

I am amused at the number of things that we worry about that we shouldn't. Sometimes people come to see me about something they are upset about. Two weeks later, I will ask them how they are doing and they won't know what I am talking about. I have to remind them. Then they say, "Oh, that, yes well, I am over that now, and on to some other challenge." It sure seemed like a big deal to them when they were in my office. We worry too much.

There is great advice in the scriptures regarding worry.

6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

The point is this: we can focus on trouble, or we can focus on God. It is an amazing thing. When I focus on the problem, it seems bigger. When I focus on God, He gets bigger. If you have something on your mind that is eating your lunch, maybe it is time to spend some time in the presence of God.

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

Monday, July 2, 2007


I am sick of it. Here they are again. Now car bombs in the U.K. What is it with these people?

Remember that Jesus told his disciples:
"a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me." John 16:2-3

There is nothing Godly about killing, torturing or beheading innocent people. Period. People that do such things do not get it and they do not know God. They clearly have been listening to the wrong people. Spiritual leaders that teach people to kill. I am aghast.

I take comfort that I am a part of a church that believes in a God that is good. A God that loves and forgives and is filled with mercy. Don't be discouraged by the behavior of lost, misguided people.

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