Thursday, January 31, 2008

Three kinds of churches

A very bright man and a long time member of Woods Chapel UMC likes to say: "There are three kinds of churches. Growing, stagnant, and declining. Each have their own set of problems. Which problems would you like to have?"

WCC has been blessed to be growing for a number of years. Little by little, we are running out of sanctuary space. If we do nothing, in 2-3 years our congregational growth will flatline and we will become a very different place. The joy of growing problems will be replaced with the problems of stagnation. People will start asking questions like, "what is wrong? has God removed his hand of blessing?" And my favorite, "maybe we need a new preacher." The joy that we currently feel will also be replaced by a sense of loss as we realize that we have created the stagnation because we did not plan for the future.

There are three possibilities that come to my mind to solve this problem. The first is expensive: build a new sanctuary. The second would be to start a sattellite church or seed a new church start. The third option is the one that I can not think of. It is some good idea that my paradigm is yet unable to see or sieze upon. Maybe your brain can find the third option.

More on this topic tomorrow. Please be praying with me about this.

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

my opinion

Dear Friend,

I was asked to give my opinion in a meeting the other day. I knew that we did not see the world the same way, but I was asked to give my opinion and I did it as carefully as I could. I am sorry that we don't always agree, but I am glad that you are my friend. I want you to know that my delivery of my opinion was in no way intended to disturb or hurt you. I value your opinion as much as I do my own, because I value you. Next time, you will be asked and you will talk and I will listen.

The most meaningful relationships that I have ever had are with those who may see the world a bit differently, but we are still committed, we still love. You can learn from people who hold different views than you do.

Anyway, you are great and I appreciate you. Lets think and let think. Lets join hands in the service of the Lord. God bless you. Its a beautiful day in God's world, let's be sure to see the good, even though we don't always agree.

Your dear friend,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Whatever you do

Clay gave an excellent sermon on Sunday night. He talked about our commitment to our marriages, our children, and our work. Regarding our commitment to work, he leaned on the following passage from Colossians 3.

"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."

Do you complain about your work? Do you complain about your boss? Are you underpaid? Are you not getting what you deserve? Maybe it is time to consider your work as "working for the Lord." When we give our best efforts, even to those tasks that we do not enjoy, something changes in us. When we see our bosses as the messenger of God, something in us changes.

I want so much to please God. I want so much to serve him. He has asked that we serve him by serving one another. He has asked that we treat our masters as we would treat him. In a world where the economy could change and we could be looking for a job, an attitude of gratitude is a good thing.

When was the last time you said thank you to your boss for anything? Did you know that you can dispense grace to those you work for, just as well as to those you work with? To see our human encounters as encounters with God, will certainly change our feelings about what we are doing.

Today I go to work for God. Today, his bidding is my joy. Today my tasks of employment are tasks that I gladly pursue with excellence. I am working for him.

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

Monday, January 28, 2008

A note from New Orleans

Ivan and Raegene King are just finishing 30 days in New Orleans with the Matthew 28 Project. The following is an excerpt of a letter from them.....

We be winding down this week and heading to Texas, this has been a real life adventure. I have cleaned the toilets, cleaned showers and mopped the floors for the last time. It wasn't a job that I anticipated but it was a necessary one. It just seemed right to have things a little cleaner when they come in for the first time. Ivan has really kept up with organizing the tools and we've tried to retrieve a lot of them.
We have met some very grateful people, we feel good about what we have been able to do here. Today I am taking chicken noodle soup to people that sit on the steps in the back and also to Mr. Brock. You will hear more about him later. Ivan was able to fix Debras's stool and leaking pipe and put in a bath room cabinet and trim a window for her. Her next wish is a water heater which Len is pursuing now. Oh! I took her some chicken soup too!
Just one more thing, the cat that you started feeding is getting fat. She is known as Jeff's cat, I call her J. C. for short. She eats a lot because she is going to have babies. Ivan says he isn't to found of cats' but he has fixed a place out in the back behind the house with a plastic dish pan and we put to old bath towels in it and placed it in a trash can for expected babies. We will get more food before we leave. I guess this is going be Woods Chapels mascot!!!!! A duty for all you come down here.
Thanks especially to our friends at WCC for making this mission trip happen for us, you are our encouragement.
All for now, Love, Ivan and Raegene

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

Sunday, January 27, 2008


It's the best policy, but how good are we at being honest? I think sometimes it is real easy for we adults to dance around the truth with our family and with our children. Certainly we are not very good at being honest with ourselves. When we are less than truthful, we enable the cycles of dysfunction. When we tell the truth, we begin the process of becoming whole. Think of the changes that we might make in our lives if we only asked ourselves the hard questions. Change is hard, so we often avoid self inventory at all costs.

Yesterday I was a referee for Upwards basketball, 1-2nd grades. Several times the ball went out of bounds. I was on the other side of the court and could not tell who the ball went off of. So I just scooted over to the kids and asked them....."did the ball go out off of your foot?" Almost religiously, the kids would tell me exactly what happened. It was awesome. I told them thank you for telling the truth.

We have good kids at WCC. Excellent kids. Their parents and Sunday school teachers have been doing a great job. I know that kids can be kids, but I saw the best of their heart yesterday.

Who ever would enter the kingdom of heaven must become as a little child.

Honesty. With others and with ourselves. With God. It is the best policy.

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

Saturday, January 26, 2008

buy their dinner

At town center there is a Walmart with a McDonald's in it. For reasons that will not be explained in this blog, I am wandering around there, killing time on Friday night. I buy a $5 baseball hat and slide over to the McDonald's to eat.

The man at the register is a fine young man, Hispanic, and very friendly. My order comes up and we conclude our business. I sit down to enjoy two all beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun. I notice that a woman and two small children come up to the counter. The nice man engages them in conversation. At first, I think, "well, he is a nice man." Then I realize that this must be his family.

The children and the man laugh and goo-goo at each other. I have this funny feeling: "buy their dinner."

It is time for me to go. I can't bring myself to offer to buy dinner for the woman and the kids. I have this feeling that I would be intruding. I don't want to embarrass the nice man.

I say thank you and move on.

I am looking at something over by the check out lines and I hear it again: "buy their dinner." I insist. This is ridiculous. It will embarrass him. I don't want to embarrass him. I start to move on. i hear it again. It is not going to go away. I surrender.

Ok, dumb old guy here, wandering back up to the counter. The nice man looks at me, his eyes say, "what can I do for you." I say to him, "let me buy your kids dinner." "Oh no, that is not necessary." "I know," I say, "but i just want to do it."

Ok. agreed. I give him some money, he says "thank you." I turn to walk away, one of his daughters says, "thank you." As I walk away, tears fill up my eyes. I was filled with such joy.

It was a very uncomfortable thing, but I couldn't not do it. It all worked out ok and I was glad to have paid the small sum for their dinner.

I offer this story simply to remind all of us, that there is much good to do and if we are listening, we may just be directed to do good in the name of the Lord.

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

Friday, January 25, 2008

the lamb

The Lamb on his shoulders

I often gaze in awe at the picture of Jesus with the lamb upon His shoulder;

It's usually of a tender lamb, not one that had grown older.

I dearly love this depiction of Him, how love sought what had gone astray...

How he searched rocks and hills 'til He found the wayward lamb that day.

So, the scripture tells us, He left the ninety and nine;

To seek one lost lamb, this loving shepherd so Divine.

This brings to me a question of why he carried His sheep.

As I understand it now, He breaks the leg so for safety keep.

I suppose it broke His heart to 'cause the lamb such pain...

So He carried the broken one to bring it home again.

Somehow now I understand how His love would make it so...

To keep in safer pastures, better His love to know.

Lest we wander off again and be lost forevermore;

So the painful memory lives the scar aching and sore.

Some times the way we live we are scared from sinful ways,

but if He needs to break the leg, we will mend in pastures in sweeter days.

Oh how He loves us to seek us where we go...

Away from dangerous crags and cliffs, oh what love he does show.

Sweet gentle Shepherd, If I must be thus broken,

then do what's best for me, to honor your word so spoken.

You are the sheep of my pasture and you know and hear My voice.

To follow as I lead or not, as always 'tis your choice.

If I become rebellious, Dear Lord and follow not your lead;

Then break my wilful spirit, so in no other pastures will I feed.

If broken I can serve you better, then do what you need to do;

What it takes to keep me faithful, I leave myself to you.

If I must be broken Lord, to better hear your call,

'tis better to enter heaven broken, then not to enter at all.

I hear your sweet voice, my Lord; Even broken I must be...

Because, I know it was your love that brought me safe to Thee.
Copyright 2003 Sandy Griffin
Its a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Right time, right place

While I have been at this conference, I have met lots of people. Most of them I have met because we ended up sitting by each other, randomly. Accidentally. Maybe.

I met the man in charge of starting new churches for the Board of Discipleship. I met the new editor for Circuit Rider magazine. I met a young man who needed some encouragement. I met an old friend from Russia.

Seems like everywhere I went at this conference, it has been good. Good topics, good presentations, good information, new friends. It is like I have been in the right place at the right time.

Although I look forward to coming home, I am going to miss some of these new friends. Isn't that funny, in a few short days to go from being all alone to being sad to say goodbye.

I learned a lot about other churches while I was here. Some of the churches sounded very nice, but there is no place like home. WCC is awesome and I look forward to getting home and seeing you.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

meeting people

Well, I met lots of people yesterday. There are about 1200 folks here, all from "large" United Methodist Churches. The conference defines large as more than 350 in attendance.

I met people from Texas, Georgia, North Dakota, just about everywhere. There is one other person here from Missouri. Oh, yes for those of you who do not know, I am in Florida at a conference for large church staff. I will be home on Thursday.

Just like everywhere else, when you meet someone, the conversation usually, often quickly gets around to what you do for a living. "Are you a pastor, or are you on staff?" "Are you the Senior Pastor?" I like to tell them that I am not old enough to be the senior pastor.

You know, a persons vocation doesn't always tell you who they are. If I tell you that I am a taxi driver, does that tell you who I am? I am a school teacher, I am an accountant, I am retired, I work in retail. Does any of that tell you who I am? Maybe we don't want to know who people really are.

What if instead of asking, "what do you do for a living," we said something like this: "it's nice to meet you, tell me three things that you think are important about life."

How should a pastor answer that?
three things......
"Father, Son and Holy Ghost."

How about these three things: faith, family and friends.

What are three things that you think are important about life? And pick three that I have not used. Good work for our hearts, souls and minds. Just to make it harder for you to pick three things that I have not used, I also celebrate: life itself, love and pets.

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Lost at sea

Help! I am lost at sea. I am awash in a sea of preachers.

Yes, Bill and Ann Cook are here with me, but they are not here right now. There are 1,000 preachers here and I don't know a one. It's a funny feeling to be alone in a crowd, to feel like you don't belong. Almost everyone here is with a group. Several came from their church. They are laughing, having fun, telling stories. I, I, I am standing against the wall, watching it all.

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda, here I am at..........

I just paid $2.29 for a cup of coffee. The same coffee we drink in our new foyer. Same cup, same sleeve. $2.29! Makes you miss home.

Home. Home is that place that we take for granted. That place where we feel safe. That place where dogs and cats seek you out to sit on your lap. That place where you are welcomed and accepted. When we are away from home we miss it.

I have a house home, and I have a church home. Woods Chapel. I am always so glad to see all of you on Sunday morning. It is so encouraging to me to spend time with you. Thank you for being my family.

Wait a minute, it's stopped raining, guys are swimming, guys are sailing...........
The breakfast line just opened, I better go. Maybe I will make a new friend today.

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

Monday, January 21, 2008


Several asked for a recap of yesterday's sermon, so here it is:

Methodist distinctives/emphasis
1. Wesley was a practical theologian. He only wanted you to learn what would help you in your daily living.
2. Methodists stick to the simple truth of the gospel message. Nothing is added. The story of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is enough.
3. Methodists honor and respect the Bible as the word of God. Take it up and read it, you will be blessed.
4. Methodists strive to be grace based. We want to focus, not on the sin of the person, but on the power of God to help the person.
5. The mark of a Methodist is love. If we don't have love, well, we are just pretending.

Today I am flying to Orlando for a training seminar. I am signed up to attend several classes on topics that I hope will help me be a better pastor. I am also scheduled to lead a workshop with Bill Cook on the Matthew 28 project. We hope that other churches can get interested in sending their members on 30 day mission trips.

I will be home on Thursday, and will be back in church on Sunday. Keep me in your prayers, and I will pray for you.

On a side note, yesterday I attended a gathering of about 40 church folks. I looked around the room, and I was struck by how awesome this group of people are. All of you. My Woods Chapel friends and members, you are awesome. Thanks for being people with great hearts.

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

Sunday, January 20, 2008

the joy of a smile of a child

There may be no greater joy than to look into the face of a child and see a smile. Yesterday at Upwards basketball, I got to see several happy children. There are always some long shots that are thrown up that miraculously go in the hoop. The roar of the crowd brings a smile to the face of a child.

To help a child is a noble thing. To hurt a child is an inexcusable thing. Jesus had the whole millstone story. Life is short and we should help children see the joy. Soon they will be grown up and dealing with the problems of the world. Let's get them started on the right foot.

If you have children or grandchildren or neighbor children or nieces or nephews, help them find some joy. Buy them Christmas presents. Spend some time talking to them. Pay them to shovel your driveway, but make them come in an drink a hot chocolate when they are done. Let them know that you think they are valuable.

Do you remember a neighbor or a friend who cared about you when you were a child? I do. Don't pass up a chance to reach out to a child. Life isn't easy, and the encouragement that you can give them may make all the difference in the world.

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

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Last night I was thinking about someone who was reading this blog. I prayed for them. I thought about how they feel lonely. Many people do. Surrounded by family and friends that love us, sometimes we still feel lonely.

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" Psalm 13:2

Life has its moments when we are down, when we are "off." When I was a young man, such times really bothered me. Now, being a not so young man, I understand that there are going to be times like this. Almost everyone experiences times of sorrow. Often for little or no reason. It is like the time of the valley is here and you just have to go thru it. It's not the end and it is not forever. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. God always turns the world for us if we just trust in him.

Even in times of trouble, "I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation." Psalm 13:5

If you are lonely today, look for the good, it is still there. It may be cloudy, but the sun is still there.

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

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dear Dad and Mom,

Dear Dad and Mom,

I was thinking about the kids yesterday, and oh, I wish you could see them. I wish that you could look down from heaven and see how they have grown up. I hope that you can.

Those little girls that used to sit on your lap have grown up so beautiful, and that little boy with the crew cut is now 6'1" 180 lbs.

I wish that you could see what has happened at our church. Mom, Cathy misses hanging around with you. Why did you have to go away so soon? I guess God has his reasons.

Dad, I miss the heck out of you. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you. There are so many things that I want to tell you, so many things that I want to ask you.

It snowed here yesterday and Scott was out of school. He is a junior now. The girls are both at Warrensburg. Alli is on the nursing track and Jenny is in the Med-tech program. I was in Kirkwood last month and stopped by to visit Aunt Jewel. She is doing great and looks just the same.

I am 50. How did that happen. Where does the time go?

We have two cats. Tylor and Princess Kiki. Alli named the princess one, its kind of silly. We have a little dog that barks a lot. A Schnauzer named Lou. He is a good little boy. You would enjoy visiting our home and I know that you would be proud.

Well, that's all for today, I have to go. I remember you fondly and miss you a ton. It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Your loving son,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

10:10 service

Do you attend the 10:10 service? You might have noticed that we are becoming a bit crowded at that hour. The last two weeks we have had over 500 people in that service. If we are going to continue to grow, we must make room for others. Would you consider attending the 9:05 or 11:15 service so that we still have room for new people? Would you be willing to sit it the choir loft at the 10:10 service? I don't mean the balcony, I mean the choir loft area. If we set the chapel up as an overflow area with the service on video, would you be willing to sit in the chapel at 10:10?

Gosh, these are painful requests. Winning people to Jesus Christ and the church certainly invites us to leave our comfort zone.

So, if you attend 10:10, please begin praying about what you can do to make room for others.

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

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


A friend of my son took his own life last week. Scott carried this pain until he finally told his mom about it last night. Please don't say anything to Scott, he doesn't want to talk about it. He doesn't want to talk to his dad about it. Please just pray for him and his friends.

This unfortunate incident gives me cause to say something to you.

Do not take your own life.

Of all the things that I have seen in this life that hurt people, suicide is #1. When someone takes their own life, they leave so much hurt behind. I don't think anyone would do this if they could see the consequences of their actions.

Everyone gets depressed from time to time. Nothing is worth such a drastic decision. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

You need to know that you are important. You are loved. It would break my heart to have to preach your funeral if you died from natural causes. A suicide introduces incalculable pain to a family and to a congregation.

Jesus died for you. That is all the dying that needs to happen. Receive his love. You are loved. O friend, see the good. I beg you to see how much you are loved and needed. Come by the office, let me hug you. Someone can help. Someone will help. Life is a gift. We need you in it.

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

3 things

Coming soon to a sermon near you.

I would like to ask you to think about three things.

1. Love God with a passionate heart. Love him in a way that your daily life is effected. Let your life paradigms be changed. Love God above all else.

2. Love God so much that it is manifest in how you treat those who are closest to you. Who are those closest to you? Spouse? Parents, children, co-workers? Neighbors, cousins, nephew, niece? Does it matter if you say you love God, but those closest to you do not bear witness to that love? If we love God, it should not be a secret to those around us. Those closest to us are advocates for our character, good or bad. If you don't love those closest to you, do you love God? Love God so much that it is manifest in how you treat those closest to you.

3. Love God so much that it spills out to all of God's children. Not just those closest to you. Not just the pretty, wonderful, easy to love people. Love God so much that you find a heart of compassion for the unlovely. The annoying, the homeless, the beggar, the sick, the frightened, the manipulative, the hateful. Love your enemies. Love God so much that you become color blind. Every person bleeds red, and it is the blood of Christ that saves people of every color. If you only love those who love you, what reward do you expect? Those who truly love God will learn to love all of his creatures.

Recap: Love God. Love those closest to you. Love them all. Let it just spill out from you to every person. Wow. That sounds like a personal revival to me.

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

Monday, January 14, 2008

our best days

Yesterday I had a thought that I have never had before.

As I have watched our church grow and change over the years, I have been thankful. I have offered praise to God for what we have seen. I am not really sure how all of this happened, except to say that we have a lot to be thankful for.

I have wondered about our future. I have been concerned that I don't always know how to steer a boat this big. It makes me very nervous to be at the helm sometimes. I don't want to goof up something that has gone so well over the years.

Yesterday, I had a thought that I have never had before.

Churches will have a good run, and then level off. Members often look back and remember the glory days.

Yesterday, I had a thought that I have never had before. Here it is, finally.

What if our best days as a church are not the last ten? What if our best days lie just around the corner? What if what God has done in our congregation is only the preview of his future for us?

That is a scary thought, but I like it. It makes me want to trust God, because there is no way I could figure any of it out. Trusting God is a good thing. Pray with me that God would do his work at Woods Chapel. Pray with me that our human fears will not get in the way of his work. Pray that we will never become satisfied or proud.

O Lord, what is your future for Woods Chapel? What will we become? How do we get there? Lord, we trust you. We put ourselves fully at your disposal. We want nothing more than to be in your service. We love you and thank you for all that you have done in the past and we praise you for all the good that you are. Please lead us. Speak Lord, we are listening. Amen

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

Sunday, January 13, 2008


I am excited for church today. I have a feeling that the grace of God is going to be poured out. I feel that someone will come to church today in one state of mind, and leave with the mind of Christ.

This is not based on who the preacher will be. Our preacher is but a fortunate servant of God. He is lucky and blessed to see God's hand at work.

Today is a day of salvation. Today if your soul is far from God, come to his temple and prepare to call on his name. God Almighty stands nearby to receive you, to forgive you, and to comfort you.

Rejoice! Today is your day. Call upon him. He is already at work in your soul.

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

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Upward Basketball

There are many programs at the Woods Chapel Church. They are all great. This is Upwards Basketball season. Today is the second week of games. I am a referee for the 1-2nd grade teams. There are 30 teams in the 1-2nd grade division.

Upwards is an awesome program. There are devotions at practices and at the games. Every child gets pretty equal playing time. In the younger grades, score is not kept. The game is about playing.

Don't you wish there were more things in life like this? A Christian atmosphere, everyone gets to play, no one keeps score. Cool.

I want to describe to you the beginning of an Upwards game: Music is playing. Music like Chiefs stadium kickoff music. An announcer calls for everyone's attention. The players are announced one at a time. They run thru the tunnel, thru a cloud of smoke produced by a fog machine. The players run thru a gauntlet of cheerleaders [age 5-10]. Parents applaud. Coaches welcome them to the bench. There is a prayer, and then the game begins.

This is a great experience for our children. It is such a neat, exciting moment. If you have not had a chance to see an Upwards game, come up to the church on any Saturday over the next six weeks. Games begin at 8am and run until 3pm. It will be worth your time to witness Upwards. It is a great thing.

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

Friday, January 11, 2008

I used to be smarter

I used to be smarter than I am now. I used to know the name of every person that attended our church. I used to know where you lived and where you worked. If you had children, I knew their names, and more than that, I knew them. I used to get to everyone's living room. I knew your dog's names. I used to be smarter than I am now.

In my old age, I am no longer able to know everyone. It has been a difficult adjustment for me. It has been painful to grow to the point where I can't know everyone like I used to. I have to keep reminding myself, and you need to remind yourselves, that all of this is because we wanted to win more people to Jesus Christ. We voted for this. This situation is the byproduct of something that we have worked hard to accomplish.

Over the years there have been many changes. People used to just wander in to see me. Now, you need an appointment. A few years ago I got a personal assistant, then that person became a gate keeper. The phone no longer rings into my office without going thru someone else's hand. There were just too many calls that were either sales calls or calls that really needed to be dealt with by another staff person. We have had to change my cell number. I had the same one for 8 years, and I was getting calls on it at all times of the day for reasons that would make you smile. I am not the point person for hospital calls anymore. We have someone on staff that is doing that. I can't do all the weddings or all the funerals. It's kind of sad, some of the changes, but we have brought them upon ourselves by winning more people to Jesus Christ and his church.

Please understand. All of these changes are not designed to keep us apart. They are not designed to make me feel uncomfortable, although I grieve some of the changes. All of these changes are designed to take care of my soul. To manage my time so that I have the time necessary to prepare a sermon, pray about the vision of the church, and do the other things that I need to do.

I am sorry for the moments when these changes are difficult for you. Be sure to know that they are often difficult for me as well. Life was simpler when our church was smaller. Looking back on it all, I am still glad that we have grown. I would rather deal with the changes that we face than to have stayed where we were and not won the last 5-600 people that attend our church.

I hope you feel the same way.

Its a beautiful day in God's world, even if the preacher has a gatekeeper now. Be sure to see the good.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It figures

Wouldn't cha know it. It figures. I sleep in accidentally yesterday, and today I am awake at 3am and I can't go back to sleep. God must be punishing me. Somehow, I am getting what I deserve.

Wait a minute, that is really bad thinking. Have you ever thought such things? God is getting you back for something? Friends, that is really bad thinking. Sandlot theology.

God is not in the business of getting even with us. If we got what we deserved, we would have been consumed by fire from heaven long ago.

It goes back to that whole notion of pain. We don't want it. We don't think there should be any of it in our lives. If I have discomfort, then God must be getting me back.

Well, stop saying that. It's not true. God is not getting me back and he is not getting you back.

Our lives are going to have discomfort and they are going to have pain. Life, love and joy continue to happen even in the presence of things that we don't like. God is present with us in our trials and worries, not to judge, but to comfort.

Its a beautiful day in God's world, and it is starting early today. Be sure to see the good.
Thank you Lions Den Man for saving me yesterday. You are awesome!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A Little Help from a Friend


It is Wednesday 1:55 pm. Just read the blog. Hope it hasn’t bothered you today. Forest Gump said it best “it happens”. We are here for you as we know you are for us and we understand and care about you…………….
Maybe the following list will get us through until tomorrow. I received it last week from someone. I thought it was worth sharing. By the way, I hope you got caught up on some rest, there was no "opps" about it........your body knew best today.

Lion’s Den Man

Thoughts for 2008:
1.) Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
2.) Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock if you have to.
3.) Buy a Tivo (DVR), tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
4.) When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, "My purpose is to___________ today."
5.) Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, Empathy.
6.) Watch more movies, play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.
7.) Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
8.) Spend more time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of Six.
9.) Dream more while you are awake.
10.) Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less foods that are manufactured in plants.
11.) Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
12.) Try to make at least three people smile each day.
13.) Clear your clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
14.) Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
15.) Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
16.) Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
17.) Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
18.) Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
19.) Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
20.) Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
21.) You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
22.) Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
23.) Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
24.) Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
25.) No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26.) Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27.) Forgive everyone for everything.
28.) What other people think of you is none of your business.
29.) Time heals almost everything. Give time, time!
30.) However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31.) Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
32.) Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
33.) Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
34.) The best is yet to come.
35.) No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
36.) Do the right thing!
37.) Call your family often.
38.) Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: "I am thankful for __________." Today I accomplished _________.
39.) Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
40.) Enjoy the ride. Remember that this is not Disney World and you certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.


Good Morning.

I slept thru my alarm today. I missed a 745 am meeting.
I didnt get to work until 830. I have been swamped all morning.
I don't think I am going to have time to post anything today.
See you tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Upon the death of a loved one

On Friday, Jennifer Bigg's brother died suddenly. He was 47. This afternoon, about 10 of her buds are going to make the drive to St. Louis for the visitation.

These are holy moments. I remember when my Dad died and we were standing at the front of the chapel by his casket. One after the next, my friends came in the back door and made their way up the isle to the front. It still brings me to tears to remember those moments. There is no more important time than the time of grief to reach out and be present if you can. You need not say a word, your presence says it all, "I love you."

When Lazarus died, Jesus arrived at the home of Mary and Martha. When he saw everyone grieving the death of his friend, Jesus wept.

A compassionate heart is such a gift.

Pray for Jennifer today. Pray for all of those who lose a loved one. Anytime you can go, go find them and hug their neck. For the rest of their life they will remember you coming down the isle to see them.

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

Monday, January 7, 2008

The shelf

A shelf is a place where you store things. Things that you are not using right now, but that you might use later. The older I get, the more stuff we collect, we have lots of shelves to keep and store things for later use. Sometimes we keep things because we just can't bear to throw them away. We can't imagine that we will ever use that thing, but we just can't bring ourselves to throw it away.

Every Christian should have a shelf.

When you hear something in church that you don't agree with, don't throw it away. If you read something that you are not ready for, don't burn the book. Don't shoot the preacher and don't hang the author.

Sometimes, the most awesome of thoughts are things that we are not ready to accept. Other people may be excited about the ideas, but we are not. Don't throw that stuff away.

Every Christian should have a shelf in their heart, in their brain.

Put the things on the shelf that you didn't understand. Put the things on the shelf that you didn't like. Put the things on the shelf that you are thinking about. Every now and then, get those ideas down and check them out. Yesterday's seemingly useless thought may just change your life tomorrow.

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

Sunday, January 6, 2008


We love to avoid pain. We have this odd notion that life should be free of pain.

What would happen if we came to know and understand pain as a natural part of life? Even when things are going really really well, there is pain. Pain of worry, pain of guilt, pain of wanting more stuff.

What would happen if we just resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to have pain from time to time? Maybe pain would lose its power over us. Maybe we would no longer fear it.

"Oh, ouch! Pain is here. Hello old friend. You are a pain. How long will you be around? Well, you will not dominate me. I see you, I know who you are. You won't be here forever, and I will still see the good while you are here. Mr. Pain, you can't stop me from being filled with hope."

The enemy isn't the pain. The enemy is how we think. If pain is an enemy, then hold your friends close, and your enemies closer. This too shall pass. Pain does not tell us who we are. On the stage of life we are actors, not reactors. Choose to live above circumstances. Life is still good.

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

Saturday, January 5, 2008

I may be wrong

Do you like it when people disagree with you? It makes shy people nervous. People pleasers [and I think I am one] just want everyone to be happy all the time.

My mom used to enjoy quoting Shakespeare and saying to me, "there is more Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophies."

She was right. I am not always right. If you disagree with me, there is no reason for me to be defensive. Good people disagree, and they still go on together. You disagreeing with me, well it may just be an opportunity for me to get smarter.

Thanks for always being honest and real with me.

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

Friday, January 4, 2008

Who are you?

I visited with a friend yesterday for a while about the question: "Who are you?" How do you know who you are? Where do you begin?

Well, let's begin with this: you are not the collection of negative ideas that roll around in the back of your head. The negative, painful tapes that play in your brain, they are not you. Let's get rid of them. How?

Well, lets see the good. We talk about it all the time. What is the good. Who are you? Ask yourself the question. You are not the collection of negative thoughts. The imaginary picture of guilt that we often live with.

Who are you? Ask God. Ask him what is the truth about you? What will you hear?

I love you. You are my child. You matter. You are valuable. You are filled with my love. You are filled with potential. This is who you are, daughter, son.

You are not your job, you are not your car, you are not your children. You are a child of God, a dearly loved creation, an eternal soul, a dispenser of grace.

Remember who you are.

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

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The plane sets down on the runway. My daughter rushes in to meet me in the concourse. When we come outside with my bags, my wife gets out of the car to hug me.

I am home.

Catching up. Hugging the other kids. Speaking to the pets. Good food. Comfortable surroundings. A hot shower. My own bed. I slept for a long time last night.

I am home.

Security. Projects. Routine. Work. Friends and family.

All of the above is disrupted when we go on a mission trip. It should be. We need to be disrupted from time to time. We need to remember the rest of the world. Most importantly, we need to learn to live our lives with an awareness that there are others out there besides me, besides us.

We are stewards of our possessions, not owners. We need to learn to be good at sharing, 365 days a year. Going on mission trips reminds us of that, and gives us the perspective that we need to live a life that is outside of ourselves.

How about this for a new years resolution: I resolve to go on at least one mission trip in 2008.

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

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


So you're going on a missions trip to New Orleans. What should you pack? Work clothes, books to read at night. No jacket, too warm there. Average temperature this time of year is 60-70 in the day and 45-50 at night. Just in case I will take a pair of shorts.

Cold. It got cold here the last couple of days. Not Kansas City cold, but cold enough that you wish that you had packed your jacket, gloves and stocking cap. 20 degrees last night.

So when Ivan and Raegene King got here on Dec 31st, I moved out of the trailer [heated trailer] so that they could move in, and I set up in the van. I could have slept in the station, there were a few beds, but oh the snoring and the mass of humanity that won't go to bed when you want to go to bed. So, I set up outside in the quiet van. Bought a sleeping bag, pillow in hand, cushion from the trailer. I am all set. Like camping.

Enter the 20 degrees. Before I went to bed, I ran the van for a while to let the van's heater warm up the vehicle. I have a full set of clothes on, including a hooded sweatshirt. The hood is up as I crawl into the sleeping bag. I Turned the van off and went to sleep.

3am. Woke up, cold. Really cold. Any part of your body that is touching the part of the sleeping bag that is touching the air, is cold. Curl up in a ball, pull the bag all the way over your head, breathe hot air into the bag. Warm up. Good luck.

As I lay there on the brink of shivering, I think about the folks under the bridge at New Orleans' tent city this morning. Some in tents, some only sleeping on mattresses with nothing over their heads but the I-10 overpass.

They will wake to a cold day today, and another cold night.

I on the other hand, am flying home today. Nice wife to pick me up at the airport, warm house to go home to. A hot bath. My own bed.

When you go on a missions trip, you come to understand and empathize with the world of the needy. Living in less than ideal conditions, and sometimes being cold.

The sad thing about coming home from missions trips is how easy it is to forget their plight and how quickly it happens. In a week or even a few days, we are sucked back into our comfy culture and our suburban lives.

Pray for me that I will not forget the poor, the displaced, and the cold.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Just enjoy the day. Have fun. Its a New Year.

Billy Crystal asked the question in When Harry Met Sally, "I mean, 'Should old acquaintance be forgot'? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?"

I'm not sure what all of that means, but I find it humorous. Funny. Billy Crystal. Sometimes, you just got to laugh. Enjoy life and stop worrying.

There have been a couple of times in the last year that I have started to get very philosophical. New Years tends to be one of those times. When you have to talk every Sunday, your heart is always looking for something to talk about, so your brain is always thinking.

It is fine to think, fine to philosophize, but sometimes a person should just live. Live, laugh, love. Today lets do that, a little football, good wishes to friends, and just a simple, pure enjoyment of life.

I guess that's a philosophy too.

Happy New Year my friends. In 2008, lets see the good. There is a lot of it out there.