Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Prayers for Jeff

Wednesday 12:35 pm

I have just been informed that Pastor Jeff Brinkman is having problems with his gall bladder. It may need to be removed. He is resting comfortably and would greatly appreciate your prayers at this time.

God bless.

Lion’s Den Man

Make Peace with Living

Jeff, I hope you feel better soon and I hope this post fills the gap.

I finished a book recently and these words, “Make Peace with Living” really hit home. The statement was preceded by these words, “If we know, in the end, that we can ultimately have peace with dying, then we can do the really hard thing……….”

Well I have made peace with dying, but sometimes I need a kick to help me remember how to live in peace. To make peace with living I need to remember life’s priorities (God, family, friends). By the way, work and play are important, but not enough to be listed with my top three.

“Make Peace with Living” to me means:
Talk to God each day. Love and cherish your life, your family and your friends, everyday. Think highly of yourself, God does. Practice forgiveness and humility at every opportunity. Lift up everyone you possibly can each and every day, if not with words then with a smile, it will feed your spirit. Last, I believe we were put here for a reason, don’t over think it, just live it and don’t watch it go by or look to far ahead……just follow His lead.

A final quote from the book
“As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here. Death ends a life not a relationship.”

So I pray we all work towards making good memories for everyone else and find peace along the way.

Lion’s Den Man


I am sick today.
Lion's Den Man if you get a chance, will you post something?

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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Many Mansions

Last night I had a very fun dream. I was looking for a new house. Not that we need one, nor are we looking. But in my dream I was looking in the nicest of neighborhoods, at the largest of homes. Indoor swimming pools, 8 bedrooms. Incredible views and 4+ garages. It was a lot of fun.

I talked to the realtor about how I could not afford such homes. Was there a special mortgage or special plan to help us get into this home? I got a phone call. One of the owners wants to give us his home. The only stipulation is that we give our home to some needy person, and that we give the mansion to someone who needs it when we are done with it.

I woke up before we moved in, but the idea of that wonderful house waiting for me was very awesome.

I guess you see where this is going.

Jesus said, "in my father's house are many mansions. I go there to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also."

I don't talk about the second coming or heaven much, because I really want us to focus on how we treat each other in the here and now. I don't want us to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.

But, what a dream! What a joy! What a gift awaits us! Thank you God for this most unspeakable gift!

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

Monday, April 28, 2008

silly joys

Church, lunch and a nap.
Say goodbye to the college girls.
Go to Steinmart.
Family Bookstore.
Evening service.
Church softball.

Well, you just have to try to understand a 50 year old man. I am so happy. And it is for something that is so frivolous in the grand scheme of things.

Church softball has started back up. I missed the first week because I was sick. Last night was my first night of 2008. Our team was short players, so my son Scott was going to join us.

When we moved here in 1994, I was 36 and Scott was 3. Last night, I was 50 and little Scotty was 17. I told him before the game, don't worry about how well you do, just have fun. If you hit the ball every time, or if you strike out, just enjoy yourself.

Well, let's talk about the old man for a minute. Batted 4 times. 3 hits and a walk. A single and two doubles. The old man hit the ball over the left fielder's head. That is only the third left fielder to gain that distinction since 1994. I know all three of them by name. A good night for the old man.

Now back to the son. I have never ever hit a ball over the fence for a home run, never ever in my life. Last night was a good night for the son.

He caught every ball that came to him in the outfield. Four of them. He came to the plate for his first at bat. First pitch, he hit the ball over the fence for a homer. Later in the game he would hit another ball out of the park.

I know this is only church softball, but feeling proud of your son is an awesome thing. I was so excited for him. Every one kept talking about how little Brinkman is so much better than his father. That is awesome.

Small things. Silly things. But things that make us feel good.

I am so thank full to God for the ability to play ball. At my age, it is a miracle. I am so thankful for the joy of being a father. He was 3 when we moved here. He used to play on the slide when we went to the softball park. Now, he is a home run king!

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

Sunday, April 27, 2008

seeing the gifts in others

Last night I dreamed that I was on an airplane. In the row in front of me, a young man was listening to music and singing. Out loud. It would have usually been annoying, but he had such a beautiful voice, no one minded. In fact, there was a feeling around him as if we were all witnessing something special.

I tried to celebrate with him, his beautiful voice. He could not see it. We all tried to help him understand that he had a very special gift. He listened, but he was not real sure about all of these old folks asking him to use his gift.

....I think lots of people have gifts and talents that they do not see, or just can't bring themselves to use. Paul told Timothy, to "stir up the gift of God, that lies within you..."

When we see people as gifted, we can't see them as enemies or irritants. They are God's children, and they are all gifted for service to Jesus Christ in this world. Who have you encouraged lately? Who around you might need a boost? When you see a gift in someone, be sure to mention it. Tell them that they are blessed and that they should use that gift for the purpose of Christ.

Maybe you need to hear this yourself. You. You are gifted. Stir up the gift that lies within you. You were created to love and live and serve. See the gift and be the gift.

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

Saturday, April 26, 2008

a good day

Friday is my day off. They are usually very good days. Here is what I did yesterday.

What a joyous day was yesterday. It began with a wake up call from God. "Hello, Jeff. Rise and shine. You get to live today. You get to live for me today."

Shave, shower.

Take a phone call from my boss. Boss calls, you answer. Every time.

Go to church for a visit in the coffee bar with a friend. Then a little bit of office work.

Home. Wife is back from her travels. Take her to lunch. She is a good girl and I love having her in my life.

Take a nap. [see, this is a good day.]

Mow the grass. Wander the yard and look at the trees and flowers. The plum and the cherry are getting ready to bloom. The pears are done. The tulips are all up and the hosta is coming in. The bare spots are filling in, and Jonnie's iris are coming up. Praise God! what a glorious time it is to wander the yard in the spring!

Go to Lowes. A new shovel, and some plumbing parts. Go home. Fix the plumbing. Get to use tools. It is a good day.

The girls are home for the weekend. Alli is naming all of the germs that she learned about in biology. Scott is going to the conference track meet next week. All three kids are working tonight. All three kids are working!

Reading time. Reflecting time. Sermon time. I feel the presence of a loving God. It is a good day.

That was yesterday. Today is looking pretty good too. I got the wake up call from God again. Ahh, another chance to live!

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

Friday, April 25, 2008

General Conference

This week and next week, United Methodist leaders from all over the world are gathering in Dallas-Ft. Worth for General Conference. GC is the highest body of the UMC. They decide issues related to doctrine and structure. GC happens every four years. Each GC produces a new or revised Book of Discipline.

Every four years at GC there is local and sometimes national news coverage. Usually only the folks on the fringe get interviews. The interviews can make it sound like we are all going off the deep end, but reasonable minds always prevail.

Cody Collier and 7 other friends from Missouri are in Dallas now. Keep them in your prayers. Always pray for your church, staff, and leaders. Lord knows, we need it. Bless you.

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I was given a packet of seeds yesterday. Zinnias. "Go plant these seeds, make the world a more beautiful place."

Jesus told the story of the talents in Mt. 25. Each of us is given talents, money, gifts. They are seeds that we are to plant to make the world a more beautiful place. There is an old saying, "Your life is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God."

The physical packet of seeds is just a reminder of the fact that we all already have a packet of seeds. Talents, money, gifts. Opportunities from God, given so that we might invest them into the world, into the lives of others. What kind of seeds are you planting in the lives of those around you? What are we leaving for those who will come after us? If you are alive today, you have an opportunity to make the world a more beautiful place.

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Bright people learn to recognize and respect authority. Life works better when you do. Everyone has a boss. Even programs at church have key stake holders.

When we were in seminary, one of the key pieces of advice that we were given was this, "do not argue with the United Methodist Women."

I promise you that I ran the daffodil idea through our landscape leader, Jonnie W. We will buy bulbs thru them. But I have only heard from six of you. I am not giving up on this idea. Who will help, purchase or plant bulbs this fall? [Rocky soil, please send me a note or let me know who you are so I can contact you later.]

Back to authority. It has been an interesting challenge to teach teenage children how to respect authority. Bosses at their jobs, teachers, police, etc. Hard to learn, but a very important skill to learn for success in this life. If we can't honor those whom God has put in authority over us, what does that say?

1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-7

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

daffodil field

After yesterday's blog, one of you fine people sent me this picture. You may have seen this before, but it definitely answers the question, what would happen if every member planted ten daffodil bulbs this year? Eventually, the hill on the north side of our pond would look like this field.

I don't think that such a dream is out of reach. The landscape team is going to be planting more daffodil bulbs this fall, but I think a person could plant bulbs anytime that they so wished.

Things of great beauty rarely come easy, but they will come. God does make everything beautiful in its time. [Eccl. 3]

Is there anyone who would take up a challenge to cover our hill with daffodils? I will personally plant 100, at least. I think this is doable. Imagine our hill next spring, filled with beautiful yellow flowers all declaring the glory of God.

Who will help? I would like about 30 responses to this message, committing to purchase or plant bulbs. Wouldn't you love to show this hillside to your friends and family next spring and tell them that you were on the team that made this happen. Let's do it. Join the team. Let me hear from you.

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

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today's efforts

Today's efforts are tomorrow's shame or tomorrow's glory. All of us have moments of pain and shame in our past. Let's forget about bringing shame and concentrate on bringing glory. That is the beauty of a new day, we can focus on the good.

This picture is of the hill on the north side of our pond. One year ago, it was a barren place, overgrown with scrub trees, thistles, and crown vetch. Today, there is a walking trail, three gardens, and 1,000 daffodil bulbs. This beauty was added to God's world by the landscape team during two or three work days. A relatively short amount of work time to bring such beauty. Yesterday's efforts have delivered some true beauty to today. In like manner, today's efforts can yield a harvest of good.

What would happen if every member of our church planted just ten daffodil bulbs this year? People would drive from all over to see that hillside during the blooming season. It would become a real "field of dreams."

We have a chance today to make a difference in the world. To make the landscape a little brighter, a little more joyful. We have a chance to bring glory to God. Plant something beautiful today, in the ground or in someone's heart. It may not come up for a while, but when it does, everyone will celebrate.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

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

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I was glad

"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1

I just got back from church. I have been on vacation this past week. Anytime that I am off on a Sunday, I try to visit some other churches so that I can worship, and get smarter.

I hear that the children's program was awesome. I look forward to watching the tape.

This morning I drove to Lone Jack and heard my friend Dave Owlsey give a very good sermon. The people were friendly. I saw some old friends.

Then I drove up Buckner-Tarsney road and went to hear Hubert Neth at the Oakland church. Always very good.

Highlights of the morning. People that looked me in the eye and said, "I am glad you are here." Welcoming people and reaching out to them is so important.

I was glad to be in the house of the Lord.

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

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Idols. There are a million of them.

Cars, tools, motorcycles, shopping, how I used to look, kids, sports, kid's sports, church, doctrine, position, fame, computers, the internet, cars, flowers, homes, vacations, money, spouse, security, being right, friends, drink, smoke, drugs, job, degrees, furniture, denomination, protocol, dogs, cats, and on we go. These are nice things, some of them, but bad Gods.

Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.

It is hard to see the good when we are loving the wrong things. It is hard to see what we are supposed to see when there are other things clouding our vision.

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

Friday, April 18, 2008

new life

You may have to click on this picture to really see it.

I have often wondered about oak trees and other plants that hold onto their dead leaves all winter. I used to wonder if they were alive. They just look so dead all winter.

This is a picture of some little rose bushes that live along our sidewalk. I was so worried about them because they looked so dead.

Now however, they are roaring back to life. And it is interesting to see the old dead leaves being interrupted, pushed out, and overtaken by the new life. Winter and spring, death and life, side by side.

I think we humans are a bit like this. A little bit right, and a little bit wrong. A little bit the flesh and a little bit the spirit. Broken, imperfect, struggling, trying to figure out which we are and what we can become.

I thank God for the hope of the Christian. Right in the midst of our humanness, God can bring new life. He makes all things beautiful in His time.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2008

If the church has hurt you

For those whom the church has hurt. I don't necessarily mean that Woods Chapel Church has hurt you. I hope it hasn't but maybe it has. I don't necessarily mean that the Methodist Church has hurt you. I hope that it hasn't but maybe it has. I mean the big "C" Church has hurt you. Somewhere else, in another time and place, the church hurt you. I run into people all the time who have been hurt by the big C Church.

A pastor or staff person said something. Or worse, they did something. The institution crushed you. The doctrine brought you pain. The delivery of truth fell like a hammer. Grace was absent.

If you have been hurt by the church, join a million others. We wonder why some people stay away from church. The truth is, people grow tired of institutions and people that hurt them.

So what will we do? We will try to be a church that is different. We will not simply talk about love, we will model it. And forgiveness, don't forget that. We will be very careful about how we speak to one another. We will put the interest of Jesus Christ before our own. We will think about helping others instead of taking for ourselves.

Love will come before doctrine. Love will come before all else. If God is love, that is the cornerstone of our doctrine. It is the more excellent way. If God is love, then love must be present in His church. If love is not present, we just play religious games.

Dear Woods Chapel friends, you are a people of love. But lets us remember, for the sake of those who have been wounded, that we must model the love of God. It is all we have, but if we hold it up, the love of God is enough.

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tug of war

To compete is good. To win is fine. The older I get, the less I can savor victories of strength or skill, but I do remember what they felt like. Everyone has some area that they compete in. Even if you don't play a sport, we all strive to do our best in many areas.

Occaisionally, when it all works out, and we do well, someone should celebrate with us.

Here is my daughter, Allision. She was 6 when we moved here. She used to sing in church and grew up in our Sunday School and youth program. Every one of you had a hand in helping to raise her.

Now she is a big kid. A sophomore at CMSU, a member of the A-O-Pi sorority. This past week, they had campus wide tug of war championships. She was first in line, the anchor for her A-O-Pi team. They took first place! She is so excited.

Life has it's moments of tugging back and forth. It is important that all of us work together as a team so that we can do our best and help each other out. You and I, we are on the same team. Let's keep pulling the same direction.

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

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

how about a catch?

Yesterday I was on vacation. I took Lou the dog in for his rabies shot. He met a lot of big dogs there in the waiting room. He was really wanting to show them who was boss.

I bought some plants at Lowes. A dwarf aspen fir, some purple grass and an azalea. The azalea has very pretty red flowers. The grass I don't get. Pompas grass. It looks like stuff that I pulled out of the flower bed last week.

I made my son dinner. Four whole fried chickens and a coke. No really, he ate eight eggs, four pieces of toast and some sausage. He keeps getting bigger. Nothing lasts in the pantry around here very long any more.

After dinner, I asked him if he wanted to play catch. We dug out the old gloves and threw the ball in the street. It has finally happened. He is taller, stronger, and faster than I am. He can throw it, hit it, and catch it better than I can. Heck, I struggled a bit just to see the ball.

There are some things in life that are therapeutic for reasons that no one can explain. Sitting by the fire, listening to running water, watching the waves at the beach, a sunrise, a bird in flight. Playing catch is one of those things. A boy and an old man are mesmerized by the sheer joy of catching and throwing. For a few moments, the old man is a young man and the boy is a child.

I thank God for the great privilege of being a father.

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

Monday, April 14, 2008

Orion is almost gone

The season of Orion is almost over. [that is him in the picture on the right.] He is falling out of the night sky to the west-southwest. I explained Orion in a post on November 8th.

Another season is past, another cycle of life. It can feel a bit depressing to watch the time fly by, but it is also a great celebration to know that I have lived.

Saturday I was mowing the grass in the back yard. It occurred to me that the week prior I was in the back yard with a neighbor and church member Jim C. I thought, "a week has gone by. It is Saturday again. Jim and I are both still alive. That is good."

This past year I have loved and lived and cried and laughed. I have seen so much good. I have earned my gray hair and wrinkles. I have seen 365 sunrises and 365 sunsets. I have savored the rain and wished away the cold. It has been good. I have watched my children grow and developed bursitis in my elbow.

Another year, marked by the coming and going of an old friend. I hope to see Orion again in the late fall. I hope you get to see him too. Let's plan on it.

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

Sunday, April 13, 2008

new trees

This week, new voices arrived on the church property to declare the glory of God. The daffodils are in bloom on the north side of the pond. Check them out.

There are also five new Cleveland pear trees and eight new flowering crab apple trees. See if you can find them. This is an exercise in seeing the good.

Seeing the good is like that, sometimes you have to work at it. Apply that thought to some challenging area of your life.

Another interesting thought here is that there are already so many trees on the property, you may have trouble finding them. Life too, has so many good things, that often we don't even notice when we receive a new blessing. Our net already has 153 fish in it. We catch a few more, and sometimes it is hard to notice. It shouldn't be that way. We should pay better attention to the good things and focus on them more.

Just taking the time to look for the trees will probably make you look at everything. I love that thought. Let me know if you find them.

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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

things to celebrate

I was in a meeting with some staff the other day. I asked them to go around the circle and tell me something that they had heard or seen at the church that was a blessing to them.

One said, we had 50 people on the missions trip to Wilderness Camp over the weekend. Another said that 40 people had helped make the move into the missions building. Someone talked about the prom dress ministry and how it touched so many young girls, and the ladies who put it on. Someone told a story about a friend who had invited a hurting person to worship. The opening of the church bookstore was lifted up. The last person celebrated that 40 ladies participated in the women's retreat and that it was really good.

Every one of these things are worth celebrating. Not too many years ago, any one of these reports would have been the center piece of celebration on Sunday morning. Now, they are all one good thing among many. Now, it is impossible to mention all of the good things that are being done.

Even though I know that I cannot be involved in every ministry or even know what everyone is doing, I wish I could. I wish I could watch and see all of the good that pours out so freely around the church.

I hope that you are involved in some things that are making a difference. I hope that you have found some things in the life of the church that bring you joy. Find a way to get involved. Read the newsletter, surf our web page. It is such a blessing to see all that is happening at your church. Take time to give thanks and to celebrate all of the ministry that is taking place at Woods Chapel Church.

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

Friday, April 11, 2008

wise words

Who do you hold dear and why? I find that there are folks that easily endear themselves to my heart because of the wise things that they say.

I am a pretty simple guy. I don't need to ride in nice cars. I don't need the latest of anything. Give me a good friend with a good mind and I am a happy camper. Spending time with caring, bright, thoughtful people is like winning the lottery. Fact is, given a choice of winning the lottery or having friends, I think that we would all choose having friends. You can't put a price on love.

I love the comment recently posted on April 7th by my long time friend. "The highest courage is to dare to be yourself in the face of adversity. Choose right over wrong, ethics over convenience, and truth over popularity... these are the choices that measure your life.Travel the path of integrity without looking back, for there is never a wrong time to do the right thing."

Oh, yes. There it is. That's what I'm talkin about. A direct hit.

I feel smarter just knowing people like this. A good word at the right time. There aren't many things better than that.

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

Thursday, April 10, 2008

opening day at the K

Tuesday I went to the Royals game at Kauffman stadium. The new scoreboard is awesome. Giant, huge, and in high definition. That reminds me of a joke. Why is it so cold in Candlestick Park? Or, why is it so cold in Pac-bell Stadium? Answer: It's cold there because there is a Giant fan in every seat.

Back to the Royals game. A good deal of what we do in life is less about what you are doing and more about who you are spending time with. I learned some things or was reminded of some things about the gentlemen I was with.

1. One of them has made this blog their computer's homepage.
2. Guys pick on you if they like you.
3. You are allowed to take peanuts into the park, which you can throw at each other if you so desire. Peanuts will also upset your stomach if you eat enough of them. Be sure to pack rolaids or nexium.
4. One of the guys has been inviting people to church. Needy, broken, hurting people, who may be ignored by others, this fellow is inviting them to WCC. Awesome.
5. With so much trouble in so many homes, all three of these guys love their wives.

Oh yes, and the Royals beat the Yankees.

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

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

where is my watch?

Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself.

Wake up. Shave and shower. Put on pants [one leg at a time]. Grab shirt, shoes, belt and watch. Sneak quietly out of the room so as to not wake up the wife. Watch goes into pocket on the way down the stairs.

Over the next hour, I look for my watch several times. It is in this pocket. No, that pocket. I know I put it in a pocket. Where is it? Maybe I left it upstairs.

Getting ready to leave for work, must have watch. A day without the watch has a "naked" feel to it. Kind of weird.

Watch must be upstairs. Why do I remember putting it in my pocket? Oh well, just go get it.

Dog, get off my lap. Before I go upstairs, I will wash the old dog feeling off of my hands. I go to the sink, I pull up my windshirt to wash my hands.

Oh. Look! There on my wrist. My watch!! I guess I won't have to go upstairs.

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

winners and losers

Well there was a big game last night. It could have gone either way. Today is the Royals' home opener. It could go either way as well.

I have decided that the reason that some people detest other teams or organization is because of "bad winners." I don't think anyone begrudges a win by humble people, but when someone is bragging, or ugly about a win, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. When a win for someone is an opportunity for them to demean others, it can be very hurtful.

We should always be good winners and good losers. Tomorrow is another day, and there will be another game.

If our church is bigger than others, if our team is a winner, then we should help others out and be kind about relating to them. If our church is smaller and our team is a loser, then we should celebrate with those who are doing better than we are.

Life is not about winning and losing. Life is about loving. Let's be sure to love at all times. If we do, we will always be winners, no matter how our team or organization is doing.

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

Monday, April 7, 2008

being too hard on yourself

A friend posted a comment that suggested that I was too hard on myself. That makes me feel good. Someone is trying to take care of me. Thank you. Thank you very much. Sometimes they are right, I am too hard on myself.

On the one hand, we can beat ourselves up worrying about everything that we do. The other end of that extreme is not to care about how we live.

If we don't care about how we come across, we can be very hurtful to others. I guess if I had a choice of being a little hard on myself or of not caring how I came across, I would prefer to be a little rough on myself.

Shoot at the moon, hit the sky. Shoot at the sky, hit the ground. The desire to succeed, the desire to do one's best. also brings with it the worry of how well we are doing. I don't mind being too hard on myself from time to time. I do want to be careful about pushing myself too hard.

There is a place in the hearts of men and women where two philosophies meet. "The unexamined life is not worth living" vs celebrating life. The fearless moral inventory vs seeing the good. So, I hope you see that we can accomplish great things when we have great expectations. We just should not drive ourselves crazy along the way.

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

Sunday, April 6, 2008

bad dreams

I usually sleep pretty well, but everyone has bad dreams. I had this one 2 nights ago.

It was Easter Sunday. Everything was going wrong. Everyone that was supposed to do something, including me, had forgotten what they were supposed to do. Finally I realized that it was time for the 8:00 service to start. Past time. It was 8:15. I rushed into the room and realized that I was dressed in Saturday clothes. Jeans, tennis shoes, sweatshirt and a hat. I took off the hat and straightened my hair the best that I could. I was disheveled.

It was time for the sermon to start. My sermon notes were in the most remedial of conditions. They were far from ready to preach. Betsy was working on the sound. We couldn't get my microphone to work, then suddenly, it was blasting loud.

I could not remember from my notes what the sermon was going to be about. I decided on the fly to preach from John 3:16. I couldn't find my bible. I borrowed someone else's. Their bible had books in it that I had never heard of before. I couldn't find John.

The congregation was restless. People were murmuring and looking around. Things were not going well.

Finally I woke up. What does all of that mean? I don't know. Probably the pizza that I ate last night. Maybe a little bit of "fear of failure" in there somewhere. At any rate, what ever happens at church today, it is probably going to be better than my dream.

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

Saturday, April 5, 2008

a better place

Yesterday I planted two trees. My wife thinks that we have enough trees, but do you ever have enough trees? A flowering crab apple with beautiful red leaves and a Cleveland pear. Awesome trees.

Once upon a time, a father and a son were planting a tree. The son asks, "Dad when is the best time to plant a tree?" The father answers, "fifty years ago..............but the second best time to plant a tree is today."

I planted 30 tulips. I separated and moved some sedum. I pulled some weeds, filled in some areas that needed dirt, and put down a little mulch. I fixed two sprinkler heads and moved some mums. The backyard is a better place today, because of what I did yesterday.

Every day, we have a chance to make the world a better place. To leave it a little better than we found it. It is hard to do that when we are only thinking about ourselves, but it is very easy to do if you just open your eyes and look for opportunities.

Pick up some litter. Help a neighbor unload something heavy. Mow someone else's grass. Send a note of thanks. Send a note of encouragement. Wave at someone when you are driving. Volunteer at church. Let someone borrow your stuff. Overtip the waitress. I mean server.

Take someone to lunch that is hurting. Spend some time with someone who thinks they don't matter. Play catch. Hug a neck. Smile.

Plant a tree.

Leave the world a better place. It really isn't that hard.

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

Friday, April 4, 2008

copper fittings

I was on the way home from work, it was about 4:45. I turned onto Anderson from Lakewood Blvd. There were several cars stopped in the middle of the road. Slowly, they made their way on, one at a time. As I came to the front of the line, I saw what the hold up was. A young workman had a box of copper fittings fall out of the back of his pickup truck. There were hundreds of copper and brass fittings, and the plastic clips with nails, that hold copper lines into the wall. They were strewn all over the road.

I passed thru carefully, and immediately thought about how long it would take the young man to pick them all up. As I drove on towards home, I felt worse and worse. I knew I had to go back and help.

I turned around at the corner of Velie Road and headed back. In a few moments, I was back at the site, now there were many cars backed up. I pulled up behind the young man's truck and began to help pick up the fittings.

Out into traffic, pick up a few. Let the next car go by. Make sure that the cars see you. Pick up some more fittings. Every nail must be picked up. A school bus has stopped. She is going to wait until we are finished. The presence of the bus causes every driver to be very careful. Thank you to that bus driver.

In a few minutes, all the fittings were picked up. I headed for the car. The young man spoke his first words, "thank you." I nodded. I got into the car, turned right and headed home through Northgate Crossing.

I am so glad that I decided to go back and help. I almost didn't. There have been other times when I could have helped someone, but drove on instead. This time I went back. I am glad that I did. It felt so good to help. I thanked God for the opportunity.

I don't want all of you wandering around in traffic, but maybe today you will find someone who needs your help. Don't drive by on the other side, stop and help. It will only take a few moments, and you will be glad that you did.

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

Thursday, April 3, 2008

best memory of 2007

Among my best memories of 2007 are two canoe trips that I took with Church guys. Laughing, paddling, fishing, cooking, sleeping on the river. It was awesome. Plans are in the works. Canoe trip 2008.

What did you do last year that was good for you? Do it again. Think, measure, evaluate, pick the best memory, and repeat it.

It is so healthy for guys and Christian guys to spend time together. This year, I promise not to catch all of the fish.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I continue to be amazed at how people talk to each other. Good Christian people who for some reason think that they can say whatever they want to their spouses, friends, and children.

Words can hurt. Hurt badly. Live words and email words can both hurt equally as well. Come on folks. If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

There is no excuse for intentionally hurting someone else. Think about what you are saying. You can encourage someone and help lift them up, or you can bite them with your words.

How are we ever going to learn to give ourselves away, if we can't learn to control our tongue? How can we speak to God in prayer, yet speak to others and create pain? First rule of life: do no harm.

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

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


We all have it. The opportunity to be more than what we are. The faith that something unseen is yet to emerge from us.

The attached picture is from my yard, last spring. I know that these tulips will rise again, very shortly, to declare the glory of God. Since I have seen them before, it doesn't take that much faith.

During dry times and wintry times, we wonder about our potential. But it is always there, hidden in the bulb, waiting for the warmth of spring.

What gifts are waiting to emerge in your life? What unseen things are yet to be put on display? Do not be afraid to let God use you. Do not be afraid to awaken to the sun. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Rise and bloom, child of God.

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