Friday, February 29, 2008


I am glad that you read this blog, but what are you expecting when you open it up?

I can't be inspirational everyday, and I am not trying necessarily to be inspirational. Sometimes though, life is inspirational. I can't be funny every day, but sometimes, life is funny. Some days, there is nothing in there. Do you ever have days like that? You get up, you go about your business and you do the best you can, but there is nothing of note in there.

I guess the one thing that I am trying to do in this blog is to be myself. Sometimes funny, sometimes, inspirational, sometimes up, down, happy, sad, just be myself. Actually, I think that this is a very important thing. I think God is looking for people who will just be themselves. Honest. Real life.

I hope that most days you get something from the blog. I don't want to disappoint anyone, but I have no promise of any particular experience for you. Just the daily grind of one man who is a parent of teenagers, pastor of a church, husband of a travelling wife, ornery, silly, a less than perfect dude.

I am enjoying the ride of life. I hope that you are too.

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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

cats, dogs, and pythons

I want to thank all of the cat lovers for their comments to yesterday's blog. After another sleepless night, I am at my wits end. I saw a news story yesterday that might help me. A family in Austrailia had a pet dog and a python came to visit. Now they have a python.

I wonder how much pythons cost? I wonder if I could rent this one? You know the really bad thing is that someone from church would teach the snake how to open the bedroom door and we would have a snake on our bed. A snake on the bed is probably worse than a cat. I guess I will keep the cat after all.

Lesson: Give thanks when a cat wakes you up and licks your head. Things could always be worse. At least it isn't a snake.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Kittens are cute. Everyone likes kittens. But the problem with kittens is this: if you feed them, they turn into cats. A lot of people do not like cats. I am starting to understand why.

My daughters will tell you that our two cats are part of the family. I will tell you differently. They are freeloaders. They sleep and eat and sleep and eat. They do nothing to contribute to the welfare of the home. They don't even have the "sitting on your lap" thing down right. One of them, Princess KiKi, never sits on your lap unless it is cold. She is the cat that if you didn't find her eating at the bowl, you wouldn't know that you had her. She hides all the time. Like the big dog in the Chevy Chase movie, Funny Farm. What is the point of that? Her brother, Tylor, is just the opposite. He is a neurotic dependent thing that is incomplete by himself. He must sit on someone's lap all the time. If you ever make the mistake of scratching his head, you will become one of his best friends. He will follow you around the house, crying and moaning until you pay him his needed attention.

And why do cats have names anyway? It's not like they come when you call. It's not like they use their names to identify each other. And do you blame them? What self respecting cat would want to introduce themselves by saying, "hello, my name is Princess KiKi?"

So, you may be wondering why I am up in arms about cats today. Well, they have learned a new trick. In the past, KiKi has pounded on the bedroom door to get in. If you ignore her long enough, she will go away and return to hiding. I have often wondered why she wants in anyway, she won't let anyone pet her.

So during cold weather, we have this nightly dance. She pounds on the door, drumming it with her feet. We ignore her, we yell at her, we throw shoes at the door. Most couples don't wear shoes to bed. I wonder what they throw at the cats in the middle of the night?

Two o'clock, three o'clock, all hours of the night, and this cat is pounding on the door to get in. I just get back to sleep from the last episode and I guess she hears me snoring, [that is me snoring, isn't it?] and she is back at the door, trying to wake me up.

Well, she has learned a new trick. The door knob to the bedroom is a lever type knob. You don't have to grip and turn it, all you have to do is pull it down and the door will open. Who ever decided to teach my cat how to do this is in a lot of trouble with me.

The last two nights, about the time the pounding wakes you up, you hear the door open and the approaching yowls of a cat, a cat so big, she can hardly jump up onto the bed. If we had not fed her, maybe she would still be a kitten, but now, this is a cat. C-a-t Cat. A big one. A keeper. Bass Pro shop has offered us money to put her on display.

So here she comes across the floor, up onto the bed. Her brother follows her in. In short order, I have Tylor laying on my chest, his purring reverberating on my neck. KiKi, the door opening, magic cat, well she has decided that she wants to lick the top of my head. So you have this purring noise in your throat and this cat-scratch-tongue noise on the top of your head. I wondered why I was losing my hair. Now I know. I wonder if there would be fewer bald guys if there were no cats to lick the top of their head.

Tomorrow, I am locking the door. I hope that helps. I need to get some sleep. Whoever is working with this cat, please do not teach her how to unlock the door. Have pity on an old man and let him get some sleep.

And a bit of fatherly advice for those moments when you are tempted. Do not go into Petco. Do not go to the wayside waifs web site. If someone is out in front of the grocery store with a cardboard box, just walk on by. Sure, their sign says "free kittens." There is a reason that they are free. Just walk on by, you will sleep better at night, and you won't be prematurely losing your hair.

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

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


A father I know recently sent this message to a child that I know, but it could as easily been written from our heavenly father to one of his children.

energy or aptitude displayed in the starting of an action : at one's own discretion : independently of outside influence or control

If someone sits around and wonders why no one will help them, no one will. If someone stands up and says, I am going to get after this, I am going to take the initiative, well, people are impressed with this approach to life.

Not just when you are home for the weekend, but your whole life, people will want to help you, if you stand up and show some effort. Those who sit back and complain, well, no one wants to run with that.

In your classes, show your teachers that you want to do well, and they will help you. It is a self fulfilling prophecy of life. In the workplace, show that you care, and good employers will reward you.

Stand up and take the world on, and your Father will help you.
I love you and I am proud of you.

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

Monday, February 25, 2008


One of the greatest gifts that we have is freewill. The freedom to choose our attitudes. My mom used to say, your mom used to say, "no one makes you mad, you choose to be mad."

It is very easy for us to look at circumstances and be upset. The sky may be blue, but if all we ever see when we look up is the clouds, then it is always going to be raining on our parade.

Last week, someone asked me if I was ok. I was glum. Down, but not out. I told them I was fine. Yes I was glum, but I am going to get better. I am coming back. The choice of a positive attitude can't fix everything, but it sure helps.

As a young man, I experienced many highs and lows as I was buffeted by life's circumstances. Now that I am older, my life history tells me that these clouds are only temporary. This too shall pass.

Don't let the pain of this moment, capture your entire disposition. Tomorrow is coming and you will be better then. Especially if you choose to be better.

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Yesterday, someone told me one of their secrets. When people tell you their secrets, they are saying that they trust you. Not just that you won't tell, but that they trust you to still love them, even though you know something about them that not very many people know.

This is a great blessing. To be someone that is trusted. To have someone that you can tell your secrets to. I am thankful for those dear friends who understand and accept me. All of me. Not just the good things, but the broken things. To have people that you don't have to pretend with, it is a gift. To have people that would rather know the real you, than the pretend you, this is a gift.

This is also the gift that God offers us. We can trust him. We can share our innermost thoughts and secrets with him. Why not? He can see it all anyway. He is a trusted friend. He loves us even though we are not perfect. Wow. That is good news!

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

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Use me Lord

The Gospel Choir is working on a new song, "Use me."

Here are the words:

If you can use anything Lord, you can use me.
If you can use anything Lord, you can use me.
Take my hands Lord and my feet,
Touch my heart Lord, speak through me,
If you can use anything Lord, You can use me.

You can watch the song live, performed by the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir at:

Let the Lord use you today.

The Gospel Choir will be singing on Sunday, March 2nd.
Don't miss is.

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

Thursday, February 21, 2008

ok, yes, I drove a vega

After driving a'63 Ford Galaxie 500 [4 door, sky blue, 350 v-8] a Vega seemed like a step up for me. As I look back on it, well, that Vega did need alot of dressing up. I had it painted...........gloss black. I bought mag wheels and raised white letter tires from the Firestone store on Johnson Drive. I had air shocks installed so that the back end was raised up. I put in a radio with a cassette player. Woooo. This was a hot car. Sort of. Underneath, it was still a 4 cylinder motor with an alluninum block.

Sometimes you can dress something up, but it still doesn't change the essence of what it is. I see advertisements for all of these make over shows. Someone who dresses frumpy gets a new haircut and new clothes. But, aren't they the same person inside?

On a hot August night in 1976, just outside of West Wendover, Nevada, as I was entering the 100 mile drive across the Utah Salt flats, I blew the motor in that Vega. You see, I had it all dressed up on the outside, but underneath, it was still a ticking timebomb. A mechanics dream. I was towed 100 miles to Salt Lake City to the mechanics shop. I sat in a little motel for a week, waiting for the car to be fixed. Why? There were 6 other Vegas in line ahead of me.

Jesus told a story about the cup that was clean on the outside, but dirty on the inside. A made over exterior with a broken interior. If the sermon on the mount was today, maybe he would have spoken about that Chevy Vega. I hope that I wouldn't feel that he was talking about me.

What is on your inside? How is it with your soul? When the soul is beautiful, no one cares how you look on the outside. Bodies change and decay. Hair falls out. The soul is forever. What are you spending your time on?

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


A friend of mine has a very big decision to make. Big decisions are complicated. What are my thoughts, my family's thoughts, the future, friends, etc. He is in a spot. Or is it an opportunity?

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has advice. My friend has to make the decision.

Sometimes I think that there may not always be "one right choice." Sometimes, I think God watches and celebrates as we think and pray and exercise our gift of free will.

This I know. The soul is clouded by the noise of life. The soul misses opportunities to be engaged in life, because our brains are so full of worries. What about the money? What about my friends? What about my family? What are they trying to do to me? How can this happen? What will the future hold?

When we stop asking all of these questions, the soul rises to the top. It finally has a chance to sense the possibilities. Jesus said, "Come unto me all you that are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest." The best decisions are made when the soul is at rest. When we get past the noise of life and discover that peace that passes understanding.

Let your soul rise to the top my dear friend. And let there be no mistake, you are a great soul. You have been bought with a price, saved for a purpose, called and gifted to leave a mark on this world. What ever you do, it will be from the essence of your being. And when we decide from the soul, everything always works out.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New web site

Well............. This is one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. We have launched a web site that contains things about me and what I want people to know.

This kills me, because I truly am an introvert. But, there are some things that I really think must be said, and I do not have time to say them on Sunday morning.

Ideas that I have about baptism, evil, altar calls and membership. Only a few people are interested in such topics, so I cannot spend a Sunday on them. The web site will allow me the chance to discuss some things that I don't have time to deal with on Sunday morning.

If you have ideas or questions that you would like for me to write about, please let me know. Leave a comment with a question and I will post some thoughts about it on the web.

The link to the new web site here is "one pastor's thoughts." The www is

It is a work in progress. I hope that there is something there that will help you.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008



From the heart of God, given to you without reservation.
From the heart of God, given to all, without prejudice

From the heart of a Christian, love goes out to all.

The tree does not choose who will get it's shade.
The lamp does not offer it's light only to a few.
The scent of the rose goes out to all.

So the love of God is given to you without reservation.
We are but asked to do the same.

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

Monday, February 18, 2008


Sometimes, words that are spoken in church are better read then said. Having said that, I wanted to put the following into print regarding forgiveness.

When you become a player in an arena of pain, and you step into the fray and truly forgive, you have chosen the high road, you have chosen the way of love, you have chosen to bring a healing balm to the wounded, you have chosen to bring greatness to the stage of life.

I am not speaking of a greatness as most people consider greatness. I do not refer to an accomplishment of national or political stature. I do not refer to a greatness that comes from wealth or fame. No, I am talking about the greatness that occurs when true spirituality is thrust into an argument. When grace is delivered to a foe. When entering the field of battle, where we have raged with fury in the past, now we enter with a different attitude, a different countenance, a different purpose. We step forward and face our former foe and we say to them,

"I am sorry. I am sorry, I am sorry. I forgive you, please forgive me. Let the grace of Jesus Christ rule in our hearts and lives. Let the grace of Jesus Christ be larger, longer and heavier, than any chains I have carried around in the past. I forgive you. Please forgive me."

Winston Churchill said, "Some people are born great; some people achieve greatness; and some people have greatness thrust upon them." Jesus invites us to choose greatness by injecting true spirituality into the most difficult moments of daily living.

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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

broken arm

So, you want your son to go on the church ski trip. He will be 17 next month and he is a good boy. Let him go. Let him grow up. Everything will be fine.

You help him pack, you make a list of what he is missing. You pack a cooler of food for him. You take him to the bus. "Bye Scottie!" Off they go.

They drive all night. He loves the all night bus ride. Hmm. They arrive in Colorado. Saturday they ski. Saturday afternoon, you are sitting at home and the phone rings. It's a nurse from the hospital in Colorado.

"Is this Mrs. Brinkman?"
"This is nurse Simpson from the hosptial in Glenwood Springs. We have your son Scott here. He has a broken arm."

I wonder how he broke his arm? "hot dogging," the nurse says.
I am offended.
I can't believe than my son would be hot dogging it on the ski slope.

Oh well, he is fine. It is nothing really serious. Arms heal. Heck, he has broken three arms. He is an expert at this.

But there is this little fatherly worry. I wish I could be there. I hope he is ok. I know he is ok, I just want to see him.

Do you ever think that God worries about us? Maybe so. Do you think that God wants to find us, and hold us, and help everything be ok? I think so.

We are out hot dogging it on the slopes of life and we get broken up. God loves you and wants to heal your wounds. Let him. Sometimes our wounds slow us down so that we can stop and really see what is important in life.

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

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Waiting for your love to come home. I miss her. She has been gone all week. She has had plane trouble and she missed valentines day. I actually had a present for her this year for valentines day.

She misses her house, her pets, her kids. I miss her. So I wait. I try to keep busy. I keep my mind on what I should be focusing on. I wait.

It occurs to me that God is often waiting for me. Waiting for me to come home from where ever I have gone. Hoping that I miss him as much as he misses me.

You know, the love that we have in this life, is a type, an example of God's love for us. When we experience love, whether it is a spouse, a friend, or a neighbor, those good relationships are an example of what God wants to have with us. I hope you are taking advantage of the opportunity to have a relationship with a loving God.

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Doing the dishes

I have noticed something. There is something special about people that come over to your house and do the dishes. They are thinking outside of themselves. They refuse to leave a mess for others. They are willing to serve.

One life rule that I really like is this: stop at every lemonade stand and make a purchase. Let's add another life rule: when you go to someone else's house for dinner, do the dishes.

Heck, why not just sneak into your friends home and do the dishes. Maybe when they find out you did it, they will invite you over for dinner.

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

Thursday, February 14, 2008

my poor wife

The poor woman. She is married to me. It is a cross to bear. Now add to that, she was supposed to fly home last night, but Minneapolis was snowed in. So she could not come home. After spending an enjoyable evening at the airport, she flew to Salt Lake City instead, arriving there about 11pm. Friday she is supposed to be in Las Vegas for work, so she is just going to catch a flight today to Vegas. She didn't get to come home for valentines day, and I actually have a card and a present for her this year. Flying around the country in the winter has it's challenges.

Now onto another topic.
I could tell when you came in the door that it had been a tough day. I hugged you. I noticed that others noticed that you were in distress too.

We talked about lunch and decided on breakfast or a cup of coffee. I want you to know something. I have a feeling that things can get better for you. I am not talking about some generic hopeful idea, I am suggesting to you that in the world of God's grace there is something real waiting for you.

Take heart, things are going to be looking up.

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

a song in the night

A song in the night can save us from ourselves.

One of the praise bands at church sang a new song a few weeks ago. It is a "Point of Grace" song, called, "All the World." Jennifer please ask Kris to get it on the table again soon.

This song is playing in the foyer on WCTV. Yesterday it got stuck in my head. That is a good thing. All night long it was coming out of my heart. Here are the words.

All the world is a story
All the world is a stage
All the world is a canvas
All the world is a page
All the world is a horizon
All the world is a field of dreams
All the world is an open doorway
All the world is a place for me

(Chorus) To be your voice
To be your touch
To give an answer
To show your love
To hold out hope
To offer peace
To shine your light for everyone to see
In all the world

All the world is a someone
All the world is a dance
All the world is a moment
All the world is a chance

(Chorus) To be your voice
To be your touch
To give an answer
To show your love
To hold out hope
To offer peace
To shine your light for everyone to see
In all the world

You are amazing mercy
You are undying grace
I want them all to see how wonderful you are Upon my face

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

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

self inflicted wounds

Do you have any? I do, from time to time. Things that get broken, and I have no one to blame but myself.

I wasn't paying attention, I dropped the ball. I mis-spoke, I did't see it coming. I only saw the world the way I see the world. I had a bad moment.

However you define the moments that bring brokenness, I hate it when they are self-inflicted. I hate to disappoint others and I hate to disappoint myself. Sometimes it makes it hard to sleep at night.

I guess I am glad that my worries keep me awake because sometimes it is in the early morning hours that I do my best thinking and my best praying. If you have a self inflicted wound, do not lose heart. Today is another day. It is another chance that God gives us to do it right, to make amends, to rise above the failures of yesterday. I thank God for second chances.

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

Monday, February 11, 2008

feeling crummy

Last night I wrote this blog as I was feeling crummy. Not sick, but spiritually crummy. I think everyone has moments like this.

Why is this feeling here? Have I been bad? Was the sermon bad? Humility is not a very exciting topic. It's not a very funny topic. In fact, it is real serious. Am I just tired from preaching 4 sermons? Emotionally spent? Is it a stage? Am I having a personal problem that is weighing on me? Any or all of the above. Does it matter why? These moments just come sometimes.

When these times came when I was young, I thought that something was wrong. I prayed harder, I cried out to God. I expected him to fix the crummy feeling. I don't do that so much anymore. I know that these moments come and go. I have to learn to trust him no matter how I feel. It is not God's job to fix me every time I feel discouraged. We can't always go by our feelings.

You know, just getting this out, and on paper is making me feel better. It's like anyone can trust God when the sun is shining. It makes me feel good to trust him and not have to go crazy everytime I feel distant from him.

It is a beautiful day in God's world, whether I feel it or not. Let's keep working at seeing the good.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chris Cahill

Chris was a teacher's aide at the freshman center. All three of my kids got to know him and enjoyed him during their 9th grade year. He had an engaging way about him. Outgoing, friendly, he was someone who was always glad to see you. He was someone that we seemed to run into from time to time.

Last Sunday night, Chris was killed in a one car accident on 470 near Woods Chapel Road. He was 43.

He will be missed.

Every life is valuable. Every person should be cared about. I have at least one friend that reads this blog who struggles with their value. They worry, they are depressed from time to time. They wonder about their life.

I don't always get to tell you, but I will today. I love you. You matter to me. You matter to lots of people. You are awesome. Life would be much less without you.

Tell someone today how much you care for them. You just never know what may happen on the drive home.

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

Saturday, February 9, 2008

do unto others

Earlier this week, Dakota DeRemus was beaten to death [allegedly] by a classmate. This story breaks my heart. What doesn't bother me about this?

Boys are going to fight, but this obviously went way way way too far. Word is that the killer had been bullying Dakota for two years. Hate is a powerful thing. Why would one young man feel the need to pick at another? Some people feel better when they are tearing down someone else. It happens in the adult world too.

Story is that there were 3-4 other boys, friends of the killer who stood around and watched the fight. 4 vs. 1. Real nice. I am sure the fear that Dakota felt before the fight was terrible. One of the onlookers videotaped the beating on his cell phone. Nice. I am sure his father is proud today.

When the beating is over, the boys just walk away, leaving Dakota alone on the ground to die.

Parenting is so important. One of the most important things that we can teach our children is to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." When we become disconnected from our children and stop paying attention to what they are doing, the results can be tragic. I hope that the parents of the boys left alive will have some long talks with their sons about "doing unto others."

That's my opinion. Preaching. Meddling.

As I consider how I see people treat each other, I have not witnessed a fight like this, but I have watched as adults, neighbors and church members were mean to each other. For little or no reason. For reasons that will not matter in one year. Mean to each other because change made them uncomfortable or they felt out of the loop in some way. Do unto others. Do unto others. Do unto others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This is still the day that the Lord has made. Do unto others.

Friday, February 8, 2008

the field narrows

And then there were four. McCain, Clinton, Huckabee and Obama. One of those four is going to become the most powerful person in the world.

I used to get real excited over who the president was and whether or not I liked their politics. Now I am less concerned about this. Yes, I care and yes I will vote, but let's keep this whole thing in perspective.

Our Savior does not change every four years. Our Lord is a constant presence, day after day, year after year. My life finds meaning in him, not in who is the mayor, governor or president.

He is the one who guides me, he is the one who comforts me. He is the one who challenges me to be faithful.

Today and everyday, join the team.

Vote for Jesus.

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

Thursday, February 7, 2008

the seal of the Holy Spirit

The ashes may wash off, but what God does in your heart is imprinted forever. It is with you every day that you are alive. It is the seal of the Holy Spirit. When you say "yes" to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within your heart.

You may resist him at times. You may run away for a while. You will still make many mistakes, but the seal or mark of the Holy Spirit remains imprinted on your soul.

You can run, but you can't hide. He is with you every day, pursuing you, wooing you, courting you. You can sense his leading in your heart. Stop resisting. Give up. Let his love fill you and lead you.

The ashes of ash Wednesday may wash off, but you are tatooed permanently with the seal of the Holy Spirit. Awaken to who you are in Christ.

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

psalm 133

Psalm 133
1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Last night, my wife was stuck in the airport in Chicago . Last night in a college town nearby, my daughters were spending the evening together. I feel badly for my wife, but I am real happy for my children. Parents want their children to get along, to spend time together, to enjoy each other.

God our father also wants his children to enjoy each other. To come together as brothers and sisters. To see the good. To be the good. To put ointment on the wounds of those who hurt. To love one another in a way that displays the grace of Jesus Christ. God is happy when his children are nice to each other.

Surely somewhere today, there is someone with whom you disagree. Someone that has disrupted your world, someone who has insulted you. See them as God's child. Look past the pain. How beautiful it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity. People are more important than ideas.

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

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Prayers, Presence, Gifts and Service, these are the commitments that people make when they join the church. Will you be loyal to the United Methodist Church and support it by your prayers, presence, gifts and service.

Remarkably, the most misunderstood of the four is the commitment to pray. Most everyone understands the promises to be present, to give and to find a place of service. Prayer however, is often relegated to a powerless corner of our lives.

Prayer means more than to lift up the church in your prayers. Prayer is more than, "I call your name in prayer."

When I am truly in prayer, I bring myself and the object of my prayers into the presence of God. If I am praying for you, I bathe you in the love of God, I surround my church with a gracious caring. I don't have to know all the details, I just bring you, my dear friend, into the presence of our loving God.

My attitude changes as I pray. I give up my preferences and I seek to surround my church with love. I forgive whatever may bother me about the person I am praying for and I sincerely ask God to bless them. This kind of prayer releases me from pain and worry and fills me with joy! My own problems grow strangely dim as I hold you up in prayer.

In short, prayer helps me become spiritually engaged. In true prayer, my opinion goes out the window and I am lost in the love of God. Prayer is not about control, it is about submission. Our commitment to prayer is a deeply serious and spiritual one.

Prayer heals the brokenness of our lives without changing the circumstances. In prayer, I find the face of God. In prayer, I hide his word in my heart. In prayer, I become the most caring and compassionate me. Prayer helps me to see the good, and to trust God when I don't see the good.

Prayer is good for me. Prayer is good for all of us. Busy? Stressed? Enter the presence of God. Not with a cursory prayer, but with a seeking the face of God prayer. Pray until your heart is healed, pray until you want nothing but the awareness of God almighty.

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

Monday, February 4, 2008

Run deer, run

It is 6:15am yesterday morning, and I am on the way to church. It's a five minute drive. In the winter time, the car doesn't even have time to heat up.

I always come in the back way, on Goodview Circle. Yesterday, I was travelling at a good rate of speed. I bumped up the transition from Goodview Cirlce into our new driveway. Our north driveway is kind of fun to drive on, curvy road and all.

All of a sudden, a flash, in front of my car. A deer. I hit the brakes. Screech! Lights come on at the Holiday Inn. Lucky deer. Quick deer. Good brakes.

As I thought about what just happened, I realized that the deer had been praying in "the giving garden." North of the missions/youth building, the giving garden has a pathway, a cross and some wonderful flowers when they are in season and not being eaten by deer.

Anyway, my entrance to our property, startled the deer from her {it was a doe} prayers. She ran out into the road. We almost had an unholy encounter.

I hope that when you pray, the result is not that you run out into traffic. Prayer should bring us peace, contentment, and solid direction. Stay longer in the garden, don't be so quick to run out into traffic.

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

Sunday, February 3, 2008

I tied a shoe

Well, if I am honest with you about the things that I struggle with, I should also tell you about the small moments of victory and joy.

Yesterday I refereed Upwards Basketball for grades 1-2. This is my Saturday gig during the Upwards season. It is wonderful for me because it is a chance for me to give. So many things at the church are things that I "should" do. This is something that I choose to do. This is something that I do because it is a chance for me to give back, to be in service of others.

So I am the referee. Somewhere in the middle of the game I notice that the girl that is getting ready to inbounds the ball has a shoe that is untied. I asked her to hold the ball and I kneel down and tie her shoe. I didn't think much of it, until I heard and saw the clicks and flashes of a couple of cameras.

I guess it was really a photogenic moment. Referee stooping to help a child. Nice picture, nice memory. I feel really good about that moment.

How many opportunities during the day are we offered to help someone else. I feel good when I help, I feel bad when I miss it. Here is to more shoe tying by all of us.

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

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Lots of thoughts

I am glad for every comment on yesterday's blog. Each comment represents an important and valuable thought.

This is a very complicated issue. The stakes are high. One of the reasons that we love our church is that there is a sense that we are in pursuit of our best efforts for the Lord and his work. Churches that are unable or unwilling to navigate such moments find themselves feeling as though they have "missed the mark." They look back and say, "It got too hard, so we gave up, we did the easy thing."

I do not enter this discussion with any preconcieved notion of the outcome, I just know that we need to have the discussion and come out on the other side with a plan that will continue to reach others for Jesus Christ.

Each of the ideas that are on the table have their challenges......

1. build a sanctuary....very expensive. need to find some very large gifts before we go down that road.

2. start a new church.....would 150 of our people really be willing to leave? Are you one that would be willing?

3. satellite outpost.....50% of them fail. Weekly set up and tear down. Again, would you be willing to go?

4. ask folks to go to Sunday night. Most folks are wired for church on Sunday morning. It is a good idea, but I dont think we will ever get 400 people to the service. People want to go to church in the morning for the most part.

5. add overflow in the chapel.....bandaid

6. folks move to other services....bandaid, buys us a couple of years at the most

7. start a service in the gym at 1010. Noisy. Set up issues. Sharing of space issues. Sound challenges, sitting on a folding chair.....could be done. Buys a few more years.

8. some idea that we have not thought of yet.......

Each of the above ideas has merit and brings challenge with it as well.

We are thinking, that is good. Now let me ask you to do something else. Pray with me. Pray that the doors will open, the wisdom will be received, and God's purpose for our church will be made known. Regarding how all of this will be resolved, my preferences are not nearly as important as our need to be in God's will.

Some day in the future we will have a big meeting to discuss where this is all going. It is my hope and joy that many members of WCC will attend, and the meeting will be dominated by a spirit of caring, daring and prayering. Prayer changes our hearts and helps us to find the heart of God. That is where we want to be.

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

Friday, February 1, 2008

barriers to growth

Some church leaders talk about invisible "barriers" when in comes to church growth. There is the barrier of 500 or 800 or 1000 people in worship attendance. The idea is that since so many churches get stuck at those levels and cannot move on, there must be some sort of barrier or ceiling that stops us.

I really don't buy into this theory. This is what I believe: Churches that are doing the right things will grow if there are people around to reach. Churches stop growing when there is a visible physical barrier that occurs.

Physical barriers might include: not enough parking, only one entrance to your property, not enough space for children in Sunday school, and not enough seats in worship. If you have been around Woods Chapel UMC for a while, you will notice that every time we have faced one of these barriers, we made a change to overcome it. Churches that are unwilling to make changes to overcome physical barriers get stuck.

Today, Woods Chapel is facing two barriers. The first is childrens Sunday school space at 10:10. We might as well send a flyer out to all the homes in the area that says, "We invite you to WCC. Great place, warm hearts, wonderful mission. Please come join us. Oh yes, but if you have children, please do not try to put them in Sunday School at 10:10."

We are looking at a bandaid repair of this problem as we work on finishing the second floor above the new foyer.

The second problem is worship space. Now, you might say, "well there is still room at 905 and 1115. We could pipe the service into the chapel for overflow." All of this is true, but remember, even if we fill the other two services, that only makes room for another 200 folks, and the chapel only seats 50-60. You may also want to keep in mind that it is hard to get the folks that love 10:10 to move to 11:15 or 9:05. How about you change to the 8:00 service? There is lots of room there.......: ). Ideas like these are only temporary solutions that simply prolong the inevitable need to face this problem.

We can apply bandaids to the problem, and we need some bandaids on the problem, but the long term truth is that we need a vision that will put more people in worship, or we will begin to die. As soon as we just sit back on our laurels, we become consumers. We become an inward focused body instead of an outward focused one. Inward focused churches are dying, even if they have a great location and nice stained glass windows.

So I hope that this helps you understand the challenge of vision for our church. We need to build a new sanctuary or go start a satellite or plant a church. When we stop making room for others, we truly become stuck and we will have forgotten our mission of connecting people to Jesus Christ.

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