Saturday, May 31, 2008

standards and values

Standards. We all have them. Well, I guess most of us have them. I keep hearing about people that will do anything, or will allow anything at any given time. I guess someone like that would have standards and values based on their selfish whim of the moment.

My Dad said it, and you have heard it, "the right thing to do, is the right thing to do, even if you are the only one doing it, and the wrong thing to do is the wrong thing to do, even if everyone is doing it."

You have a right to set standards for yourself, for your family, and for your life. I think good people respect others who exhibit values. In healthy homes, kids don't get to do whatever they want. In healthy homes, everyone sacrifices for the good of the unit.

You may experience some persecution and rejection. You may be accused of being old fashioned, but those who make their values clear and hold to them are going to be happier in the long run.

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sermon ideas

Well, I am getting some new sermon ideas from some of the preachers in the news. Just kidding. I guess Sunday, I could make fun of some political candidate, demean Catholics or talk about how bad our country is.

I think I will just stick with what I had in mind. I was going to talk about Jesus. I was going to talk about how his sacrificial death opened the door for us to have a right relationship with God. Yes, I am going to talk about Jesus this Sunday. I hope that is ok with everyone. We probably won't make the news, but maybe someone will hear the message and choose to become a follower of Jesus Christ. Silly me, I just think that is what a sermon is for.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Today I am having breakfast with my boss. One of my bosses, that is. If you are a Methodist preacher, you have lots of bosses. There is the Bishop. There is the District Superintendent. There is the church personnel committee chair. There is the church personnel committee members. And for that matter, in some ways, every member of the church is your boss.

I have lots of bosses, but I have good bosses. They are all awesome. They are some of the finest people that I know.

Occasionally I hear or read a story about someone who has a bad boss. I am sorry for them. The chance to be a boss is the chance to care about someone. It is the chance to comfort them in their distress and encourage them in their opportunities. A boss must help a person do their job well, and protect the person as much as possible from unfair practices. To be a boss is a great responsibility.

You may say, I am not a boss. Well, if you have a child or a pet, much of what I said above applies to you as well. Almost all of us have relationships where we have some degree of power. Always remember, God gives us this power to do good, to care about others, to love them, never to be the "big shot."

Whatever power you have, use it for doing good in every way that you can.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Friendships must be cultivated. If you have a friend and you don't stay in touch, eventually, things change. Yes, there are people that you may see once per year and you feel like you just pick right up where you left off, but that is the exception, not the rule. In most cases, friendships must be cultivated.

if you know someone that you would like to be friends with, call them up. Go to dinner, go to the Royal's game. Sit with them at church. So skiing or something. Maybe the feeling that you have for that person is God's way of telling you that you are brothers or sisters.

I know a woman who was interested in dating a man. Being a bit shy, she felt unsure about what to do. She told me that she had a feeling about him. I told her to go talk to him. Today, they are married. Friendships need to be cultivated.

If you are lonely, step out of your comfort zone. Reach out. Be a friend. If a man would have friends, he must show himself to be friendly. Prov 18:24 KJV

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

bearing pain

Well, as much as a person tries to stay positive, there are going to be days or weeks when you find yourself bearing pain. It may be physical, emotional or spiritual pain. It is all pain none the less.

Things change, people change, I change, circumstances change. Pain results. Someone asked me to preach a sermon some time about how to live with chronic pain. Although I have been in pain for a month now, since this surgery, this pain will leave eventually. Relational pain also tends to come and go. We find ways to resolve the hurt and loss. I guess I don't really know anything about chronic, ongoing, forever pain, but any pain that we have feels pretty bad at the time.

During times of hurt and pain, I remember two of my favorite scriptures of hope.

Psalm 27: 13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 30:2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. 3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave [b]; you spared me from going down into the pit. 4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

If you are hurting today, I pray that these scriptures bring you hope. We are Christians, we have a place to go. When I think about the goodness of God, I am swallowed up in his amazingness. My problems and my pain diminish. In his presence I think of him, not of me, and I am healed.

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

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Today we will do what we do every year. We will drive to Mt. Washington Cemetery in Independence. We will drive to the Rosehill Gardens section to visit my family. My parents and grandparents, my great and great great grandparents are buried there in the Toll plot. After we hang around a bit and pay our respects, we will leave through the north entrance, go to Dairy Queen and get an ice cream cone. It has become the regular Brinkman thing. Go to the cemetery, then get an ice cream cone.

I thought I would take a moment in the blog today to catch my parents up on what has been going on since last year.

Dear Dad and Mom,

Here we are again. Thank you for taking me to the cemetery on Memorial Day. It has continued as a tradition for my family as well. Let me catch you up since last year. Scott has grown two inches in the last year and will be a senior in high school. He wants to go to college and study engineering. Jenny just finished her first year at CMSU. Alli was recently accepted into nursing school. They are all doing real well and you would be very proud of them. Cathy will finish her college degree later this year. She wanted to get that done before the kids finish. I wish you were here to celebrate that graduation. it will be a big day.

As for me, well, I had my gall bladder out a few weeks ago. I am doing alot better. I have become quite the gardener. I love how God speaks thru the things that grow. The church is good, and the people are great. All is well.

We all miss you but we take comfort in knowing that God has prepared a place for those that love him. We look forward to seeing you again. I think that you will be glad to know that the pain of losing you has been replaced with a joyful appreciation for all the ways that you both enriched my life. I thank you for all of the good, all of the love, and all of the wisdom that you worked so hard to pass down.

Your loving son, Jeff

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

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Yesterday, I went to the funeral visitation for a 21 year old young man. We are not used to attending funerals for young people.

On display in the foyer were the posessions of a young man. His guitar, his tools, his favorite football jersey. Pictures of him growing up. Pictures of him with his cars. Pictures of him with girlfriends.

In the sanctuary, grieving parents. Grieving young people.

It is so hard to see a young face in a casket. Friends, we are not supposed to bury our children. They have so much of life ahead of them, and life is so good.

Today, tell everyone that you see. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that life is good. Tell them that you are proud of them. Look in the mirror and tell yourself. You need to remember too. We can never forget.

There is more good than bad. There is more joy than pain. There are reasons to live. Let's live, you and I. Lets stand up on our rooftops and tell the world that God is good and his mercy endures forever.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2008

shirt and tie.

Today is Saturday, and I am wearing a shirt and tie. Saturdays usually entail mowing clothes and sermon honing, but today is different. Today there is a funeral.

Many of you remember Steve M, the pastor at Woods Chapel before me. Steve's wife is Margo. A few days ago, Margo's 21 year old son, Steve's stepson, took his own life.

When you are used to comforting those who grieve, it is an odd feeling to have people coming to comfort you. Many pastors will visit Steve and Margo today to love on them and to remind them of God's love.

Life is short, but God is good. You can trust him. All the time. When things happen that we don't like, when things happen that we don't understand, we put our trust in God. Please pray for Steve and Margo.

It is raining today, but there is still plenty of good in God's world if we can just see it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

prayer for today

Dearest Lord,

It occurs to me that I have no right to today. No right to my plans, no right to my appointments. If I am allowed to do anything on my list for today, it will be a blessing from you. Today is not mine, it is yours, so, I give it to you. Help me to speak kindly today. Help me to do things that are good for my family today. I reject busyness. I reject hurry. I reject anger and vengeance. Help me to reflect your amazing grace today.

I pray for daily bread and I thank you for daily breath. I thank you for my friends. I have won the friend lottery. I love you, I appreciate you and I thank you for today.

In Jesus name, Amen.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When pastors move

When I entered the ministry, you could count on moving every four years. Since then, things have changed. The Bishops have adopted a philosophy that goes like this: if you are happy and the church is happy, then they do their best to leave you where you are at.

I am so thankful that our church appears to be happy with me. I sure am happy and fulfilled at Woods Chapel. Just in case you wondered, I am not moving. That is not what this post is about.

Every year, some of my friends move, and some of them leave the ministry. From my ordination class of 12, I only know of two others that are still in the ministry. Some moves are happy. They are good for the pastor and good for the churches. Other moves are sad to me. They follow a prolonged period of suffering on the part of the pastor and or the church. I heard about a couple of these yesterday. It is sad when people that you care about are hurting.

Please pray for pastors and churches that are experiencing appointment changes this year.

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

the feeling that you want to preach

There is a funny feeling that a preacher gets when he or she has not preached for a long time. I think that other preachers get the feeling. I assume that they do. It is like something inside of you just yearns to talk to people about faith in Jesus Christ.

One time Jeremiah was mad at God. The work of a prophet was not going so well for him. He tried to stop speaking for the Lord, but he could not. The word of the Lord was like a fire in his bones.

Jer 20:7 O LORD, you deceived [b] me, and I was deceived [c] ;
you overpowered me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out

proclaiming violence and destruction.
So the word of the LORD has brought me
insult and reproach all day long.
9 But if I say, "I will not mention him

or speak any more in his name,"
his word is in my heart like a fire,
a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;
indeed, I cannot.

Here is one of my little secrets.............I left the ministry once as a young man. The church was driving me crazy and my life was a mess. I shouldn't blame the church, I had a very unrealistic life view....nothing made sense to me at the time. I thought I would not miss preaching, but the fire in my bones was almost more than I could stand. I didn't care how long it took or how much minimum salary was, I wanted another opportunity to be a minister.

I am very grateful for second chances. If ever I get discouraged, I remember what it was like to be out, and want so much to be back in.

It's only been three weeks, but I have that feeling. A fire in my bones, a deep desire to talk to God's people. I am excited for Sunday.

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When I am gone

Come let us reason together. When I am gone, please do not skip church. Worship attendance is important, no matter who is preaching. I am sorry that I have been out of the pulpit, but I have been sick. I plan to preach this Sunday, May 25th. I hope that you will be there. If you are at the lake for Memorial day, find a church to attend at the lake.

When we join the church, we promise to be loyal to our church and to support it by our prayers, presence, gifts and service. The presence part is what I am talking about today. When we say we will be present at church, we are saying that we will be in worship unless we are sick or out of town. We want to avoid the attitude that says, "oh, should I go to church, or should I not?"

Your church family is very important. We are a fellowship. We are the body of Christ. Everyone matters and your presence is very important.

Come to worship. Sing. Pray. Meet people. Make new friends. Share God's love. Get something from the sermon, regardless who is preaching.

You have done well the last three weeks. Attendance has held up well, but I heard a story the other day about someone who skipped church because Jeff was not doing the sermon. Hmm......... This is not the kind of people that I want us to be. Let's teach our children that worship is important. Let's be a person whose presence makes a joyful difference to others. We can only do that if we are there. We have four services this Sunday: 8:00, 9:05, 10:10 and 11:15.

We have an awesome church, because the people that attend WCC are awesome. Our church is an important place because you make it so. I am planning to preach on Sunday, but that really should not matter. Let's encourage one another to make important that which is important.

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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Graduation Season

It is that time of year. Changes. Milestones. Goodbye to high school, hello to whatever is next. It is such an interesting feeling to view our graduates each year in church. They get a chance to say their name and what they will be doing after graduation.

Many of these young people, I met when they were five and six years old. We have had the great privilege of watching them grow up. More than that, we have played a role in raising them.

The church. Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, worship service, club 56, youth group, missions trip, and casual times that we see these young people. We have the chance to touch the lives of young people. Make no mistake, when given the chance, it is working. We are sending some awesome kids out into the world.

If you have children, do not underestimate the important role that the church and it's programs play in raising our children. Remember, all of us have an awesome opportunity to reach out to young people, to hug them, to mentor them, to be the church. Take full advantage of any opportunity that you have to care about young people. We are the church, and we are making a difference, one life at a time.

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

Sunday, May 18, 2008


If you are a Christian, everyday should be thanksgiving.

I want to give thanks today. I just can't help it.

I thank God for all of the graduation parties that we went to yesterday. I thank God for the myriad of friends that I enjoyed seeing. I sat on the deck and celebrated God's creation. Trees, flowers, blue sky, and birds in flight. For the first time since April 29th, I ate an entire plate of food for dinner. For these things and so much more, I give thanks.

What are you thankful for today? Pause and take inventory. Surely there is something going on for which you can thank our bountiful, wonderful Heavenly Father.

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

Saturday, May 17, 2008

little flowers

Let me thank Mommy McTriplet for her posted comment on May 15th, "feeling better," which I now most joyfully borrow or plagiarize.

She said, "one time I drove by a church whose marquee read "Set-backs pave the way for come-backs..............[she went on] .......To appreciate the good - we can't always have the good. The bad makes us appreciate what we have when things are going well."

Her words reminded me of a song that was popular in the 80's when I was in seminary.
From The Archers "Keep Singing that Love Song" album

Little Flowers never worry, when the wind begins to blow,
And they never, never cry, when the rain begins to fall.
though, it's wet and oh so cold, Soon the sun will shine again,
Then they'll smile unto the world, For their beauty to behold.

So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour,
Let old trouble just keep knocking at my door,
If we'll learn the right from wrong, It will help to make us strong.
Lord, please help us learn the secret,
Even little flowers know,
If it never, never rains, then we'll never, never grow.

When the clouds begin to gather, And the storm begins to blow,
Little Flowers don't complain, though they're tossing to and fro.
Oh, I guess they've learned the secret, They don't fret because they know,
If it never, never rained, Then they'd never, never grow.

So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour,
Let old trouble just keep knocking at my door,
If we'll learn the right from wrong, It will help to make us strong.
Lord, please help us learn the secret,
Even little flowers know,
If it never, never rains, then we'll never, never grow.

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

Friday, May 16, 2008


I have been feeling a little guilty this week. As I have been feeling better, I have been able to do more things. I have returned to work in the mornings, I am able to get out in the yard and water my [God's] flowers, and I have attended a couple of social engagements.

Last night I was invited to a get together of friends. On the way over to this person's home, I felt guilty. My brain thought things like this:

"I don't deserve to feel better. I don't deserve to have fun with friends. What about the other sick people that I know? They don't get to have fun."

If you think that this is odd thinking, so do I. I fully intend to recover my brain and my comfort in returning to normal life. However, the feelings of guilt do drive me to an important thought:

"Do I deserve to be healthy? Do I deserve to have friends? Wow, Jeff, you take so much for granted."

One day soon I will go to a friend's house and think nothing of it. One day soon I will lift over 20lbs and think nothing of it. This is a problem. It is a problem because we take so much for granted. We don't pause to thank God for our blessings. For our friends, for our health.

Are you going somewhere tonight or this weekend? Hanging out with friends? Thank God. Acknowledge him. Do you feel well this morning? Thank God. Acknowledge him. Don't take anything for granted, but instead let us strive to be appreciative and grateful.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Feeling Better

Gosh it's just all about me right now. Sorry about that. Well, I am starting to feel much better. The drain has been out for ten days, the staples for five. I am stronger and in less pain every day. I had a hankering to wrestle with my son last night, but I decided to pass.

We should never take our health for granted. Things can change so quickly. Even reasonably good health is a gift from God. The human body is a miracle.

When you are down on the bottom, there is only one way to go.........up! It's all good. It's all better. Thank you for your prayers, cards and the food.

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Sometimes I think that the comments are the best part of this blog. Be sure to read yesterday's comment from a friend. Only broken people can minister to broken people.

One of Bob Tuttle's sayings is this: "never trust a shepherd who isn't someone else's sheep." The point is clear. Every one needs to be dependent, submitted, listening.

Sometimes people ask me who I am listening to. Well, I have a coach, a counselor, a District Superintendent, a covenant group, a few close pastor friends, and a large group of members that are very good to listen to. I try to stay up on recommended reading, but I am given so many books by so many people, it is nearly impossible to read them all.

Who are you listening to? Do the voices that you hear invite you to depend on God? Are you thinking about the practice of acknowledging him? People that are good for you will invite you to get off of yourself and see the world as an opportunity for Christian service.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

things happen

This is probably a generalization that cannot be applied to every situation, but the hear the challenge to live beyond circumstances and take responsibility for our actions and choices.

Things happen. On that we agree. On a technical note, do good things and bad things happen? Or do things happen? What if things happen and we decide whether to label them as good or bad?

If that is true, then there is challenge in good things and evidently some good in bad things. The power is no longer in the circumstance, but we have the power and the responsibility for choosing to label something as good or bad.

How many people do you know that had a "bad" experience, but later decided it was a good thing? When Joseph was sold into slavery, he later told his brothers, "you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good."

Christians are constantly challenged to stop worrying and to trust in God. When we take our focus off of circumstances and take responsibility for seeing the good, we take a step towards trusting in God.

What if there are no good or bad things, just opportunities for us to trust in God?

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

the simple things

Ahh, the simple things of life. Once taken for granted, oh now how they are missed and dearly wanted.

The ability to sleep through the night.
Opportunities to exercise.
To soak in the bath tub.
To button one's trousers.
To not flinch when someone pretends they are going to punch you in the stomach.
The ability to get up out of a recliner.
To be able to bend over and pull weeds.
To eat what ever you want.
To eat as much as you want.
For the days when teenagers did not make fun of you.
The ability to hug your wife.

Simple little things that we take for granted. We should take nothing for granted. Life is filled with many amazing miracles. We should give thanks for every single one of them, no matter how small. What good is happening in your life today that you simply received and consumed without giving thanks?

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

Sunday, May 11, 2008

to think of others

To think of others, or to think of myself. Yesterday, I passed a threshold. For the first day since I fell ill, there were moments when I was not thinking of myself. I have been thinking of myself because of the constant pain and soreness. I don't mean that I only thought of myself during that time, but I mean that "I" was on my mind constantly. Sorry, but I could not help but think of myself. My situation brought a difficulty that was always in the forefront.

Yesterday, I had a few moments, [and there will be more of them today and tomorrow] where I forgot about my pain. Things are getting better.

When we are healthy, when things are well, we don't have to think of ourselves. When we are sick or broken, our own issues keep cropping up. I don't like constantly thinking of myself. I am looking forward to more healthy days when I can get back to not worrying about me.

Our self is our natural paradigm. Our own way of looking at the world is all that we know. Self-preservation comes naturally to humans, but the Christian faith calls us to live outside of, and beyond ourselves.

Every chance that we have to help another, to think about another, we should. Every opportunity to do good in the name of Jesus Christ, we should. There will always be opportunities for the self to be on top, but let us train ourselves to live beyond ourselves, that we might be of use in the service of Christ.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men. Gal. 6:10

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

Saturday, May 10, 2008

seeing the good

Seeing the good is all about noticing the good things during a time of difficulty. It is also about noticing the beautiful and wonderful gifts of God during normal or mundane times. It is about getting off of auto pilot. I is about waking up to the good and the glory that God has placed in his world. Today I contrast a bit of recent bad with the accompanying good.

bad vs good

I was in tremendous pain but it caused me to seek a doctor.
My wife was out of town but friends and strangers took care of me.
I was in pain but they finally gave me drugs.
I was in strange places, but I got to meet new friends.
I was worried, but I received a clear diagnosis.
I needed surgery, but we found a surgeon.
They couldn't do the surgery laproscopically, but they were able to complete the task successfully.
I could not eat, but they fed me through I.V.s
A woman is digging in my arm for a vein, but I have a chance to be patient and caring.
The nurses change shifts, but each new group is wonderful.
It is painful when your systems won't work, but they are getting better each day.
I am wounded, but each day is better.
I am in the hospital, but I am getting better.
I will have a big scar, but I will be better than before.
I am discouraged, but my faith in God brings me hope.
I am restricted from many things, but it is all so that I will heal.
I am posting late today because last night I slept like a baby.

Evey time we see something bad, there is also something good happening right around us. To train ourselves to see the good is one of the most holy, godly things that a person can do. When we get off of our own problems and look to see the awesome things of life, then we are doing God's work. What bad things are happening in your life? Where is the good? Can you see it? Have you looked? It is there.

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

Friday, May 9, 2008


I have nothing profound to say. I feel totally timid, broken, and dependent. I am not the man that I used to be. I cannot eat, sleep, play, walk or think like I used to. This experience of sudden illness has broken me down to a very strange state. I am used to helping people, not depending on them. I am used to going. Go, go, go. Go dog go. Now, I am resting. Mostly. When I try to do something, I last a couple of hours, then I have the need to take a nap.

I wonder if I will ever return to the strength of yesterday? I wonder if I will figure out how to eat like I used to? I wonder if I will ever get back into the groove.

I know the answer. The answer is yes, of course. I will be back. I am already on the comeback trail. Every day is a little bit better. Today I get my stitches out. Sunday I will be at church. Please don't squeeze me when you see me.

If you have had an experience that has broken you in heart, body, mind or soul, do not be discouraged. There's got to be a morning after. Every cloud has a silver lining. Trust in the Lord. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. [Psalm 30:5] Things are going to get better. You are not alone. Sometimes God can use such experiences to get our attention, to help us listen, to set us on a new course. Like all the cards that I have received have said, "think of all the sermon material you will get from this."

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

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hello dear friends

Where can I begin? My last post was April 30th. All I could do that morning was to write that I was sick, and to ask my friend to post for me.

Lion's Den Man, you are an awesome man. Thank you for helping me. You are so good, so true, so right. I am blessed to have you as my friend. Do you know that you are my brother?

I have so many things to say. I do not know where to begin, and it is going to take me a long time to say them all. First, let me say that sleeping is not going very well right now. It may have something to do with the 29 staples in my tummy. If you are interested in the entire gall bladder story, you can read it at

Today, at this early hour, I just want to praise God. Will you join me?

Lord, I praise you for life. For daily breath. For the healing gifts of Doctors and the healing power of the body. For friends that drop everything to bring me comfort. For every person that loves me. For my wife. For spiritual connections that we do not understand. For an excellent staff. For hope. For good food and the ability to eat it. For my children. For those who cry when you hurt. For flowers and donuts. For the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. For the comfort of a God who is always present. Who gives us so many blessings.

For all these things, and 10,000 more, we praise you, O Lord our God.

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good Medicine

Well, unless something changes this will be my last post. Jeff is in that “feeling better everyday” groove right now……..Awesome!

In last Sunday’s sermon Clay gave us the “Jeff update”. Jeff was in pain, he went to the hospital, he experienced more pain, and they provided him with pain relief drugs. Good medicine, good doctors, good stuff. We all should be thankful for what is made available to us here, where we live.

For me, this has been good medicine for my soul. I am sorry it had to come at Jeff’s expense, but I am glad I could fill in. I am thankful for what was made available to me. I wasn’t in pain, but spiritually I was flat. I was happy to come out of a valley a few months back, but, until now, I had yet to reengage.

So this has been good for me, I have begun my climb again. More smiles, more hello’s, less talking, more listening…….slowing things down and trying to see the good in everything. I started a list of the things I have been neglecting and included a few new goals to start picking away at…….Maybe you have experienced this sort of thing before or maybe you are in the thick of it right now. All I can say is find a way to shake it up. Get off “Auto-pilot” as Jeff said a few weeks back. Stretch yourself, find a place that is out of your comfort zone and reengage.

God has plans for all of us, but we can’t sit back and wait for it to happen.

Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.
-Matthew 7:7

Welcome back Jeff!

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Setting an Example

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
-Albert Schweitzer

There is a family in our church that I know whose son is a very good baseball player. He is one of many in our church, I am sure, but this story is not about the athlete, it is about parents.

Jeff spoke about idols back on April 19th

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.

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” -Jeff B.

What he said is so true and I for one have failed numerous times in that department. This past Sunday while leaving church I ran into the family mentioned above. I knew they were playing in a baseball tournament and so I asked them what time their game was today (Sunday). The father said, “Right now in fact” ….…and continued, “Yeah they weren’t very happy when I told them we were going to church and if they won we’d be there at the 2 o’clock game.”

I suppose you could say they made a commitment to the team and should honor it, however, there is more to the story..............just rest assured that the family didn’t leave the team high and dry. They saw an oppurtunity to make a statement and plant some seeds. They showed their son, his team, coaches, parents and some people at church that day, like me, that life has other priorities that are much much bigger.

Their son is going to go far in life…..and maybe in baseball, too, because he is being taught about the important things in life, by parents, who have chosen to set the right example.

Lion’s Den Man

Monday, May 5, 2008

Idioms and Time

Sorry for the late post. I’ve been running like a chicken with my head cut off today, Nothing new, par for the course, actually. Today I have a lot going on and I am a little under the gun. I have a short time to pull this together, I guess you could say I am up against the clock and I’m not off the hook yet. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew here. Seriously though this blog has been a blessing in disguise for me, but no piece of cake.

Always keep these idioms in mind:
Practice What You Preach
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk
Idle Hands Are The Devil's Tools

Well. The jury is out on this one, sorry I guess it came down to sink or swim so I kind of went out on a limb. But there is a method to my madness and I do have something for us all to think about…………. TIME………………take time, find time, don’t let it slip away, appreciate the time you have…………..smell the roses, watch the sunset and hear the birds sing.

Word of mouth is that Jeff went home yesterday and hopefully he will be getting some much needed rest. Healing takes time. Let’s give him that, he has given much to us.

I’m done now. Better Late Than Never.

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Beg, Borrow, Steal

Why Beg, Borrow, Steal? Because, I am without much inspiration today. It is a good thing I am not a pastor...... the pews would be empty today. Which reminds me, although Jeff will not be able to be at church today I hope all of us will, regardless. All of us see how attendance drops when Jeff is not there. We can rationalize this I suppose, but we know that the church and the work it is doing goes way beyond Jeff. So we need to be there, for the church, so that God's work can be done. So that we don't miss that opportunity to connect someone who is searching or help someone who is hurting or share in the joy of someone who is filled with His love......

Beg, Borrow, Steal. That is how this started. I have copied some important information about who we are from the church website and pasted it below.

Remember, Jeff is the Pastor at WCC, but we, the congregation, are it's ministers.

Who Are We?
Who are the people of Woods Chapel Church?Our church is filled with joyful, authentic people who are seeking lives filled with purpose and meaning. We are committed to living as faithful Christian disciples and are actively committed to touching lives and sharing God's love.

What Is Our Vision?
Our vision is to reach our community and make a difference in the lives of others through the good new of Jesus Christ. We believe we can accomplish this through helping people discover God's purpose for their life through teamwork, creativity and excellence.

What Is Our Mission?
"Connecting People to Jesus Christ"

Lion's Den Man

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Healing One Another

Colossians 4:2-Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God.

Prayer is on my mind right now. It is probably on yours, too. It is a powerful "multitasking" tool that God has given us. God knows that when we turn our prayers away from our needs and to the needs of others it will heal us, too. It goes back to that love each other thing that Jeff is always speaking about. Seeing the good, forgiveness, caring for one another........isn't it interesting how all of those things intertwine and work for the greater good.

There is a quote from C.S. Lewis that reads: "We read to know we are not alone." I think the same could be said for prayer. We pray to know we are not alone and we gain the strength that God provides through our being a family of faith.

Jesus asks us to join with others to pray when he says in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three come together in my name, I am there with them."

For Jeff, there is pain I am sure, but the healing has begun. So, we will pray for him and others that we know are in need. And before long he will be on his feet again, back in front of all of us. Maybe, by then, we will have healed a little of ourselves in the process.

Lion's Den Man

Friday, May 2, 2008

Navin R. Johnson

Here is an excerpt from the movie “The Jerk” It is a conversation between Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) and his employer.

Navin R. Johnson: The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here!
Harry Hartounian: Boy, I wish I could get that excited about nothing.
Navin R. Johnson: Nothing? Are you kidding? Page 73 - Johnson, Navin R.! I'm somebody now! Millions of people look at this book everyday! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity - your name in print - that makes people. I'm in print! Things are going to start happening to me now.

In the next scene of the movie, with his identity now published, a lunatic, who found Navin’s name in the phone book, is now hunting down Navin with the intent to do harm……… is a comedy and he survives the attack.

Millions of people don’t read this blog, but many people do. Some people know who I am, but most don’t. Jeff knows I would prefer to remain anonymous. No one here is a lunatic, as far as I know, and I don’t think I will be hunted down. My point is that sometimes having people know who you are isn’t always necessary or the best thing.

I enjoy reading Jeff’s blog each day. It feeds me and on occasion I get the chance to feed someone else. Sometimes I feed Jeff, but mostly, he gets a jab or two from me. Being a daily blogger is tough to do, but if you haven’t posted a comment, yet, try it sometime. There is nothing wrong with grazing, but posting a thought may just be what someone else needs to hear at that moment in time. I chose the name “Lion’s Den Man” to remain anonymous. Maybe yours is or will simply be “anonymous”. If remaining anonymous helps you freely express your thoughts, like me, then great! If you don’t need that type of privacy, that’s great, too! Either way, I encourage you to try a post sometime when Jeff gets back in the groove. Lift someone up, help them, encourage them…………..It is what we are called to do.

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Lion’s Den Man

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Update on Jeff

All is good, but things did not go as all had hoped today. Instead of the minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to remove the gall bladder, Jeff had to go under the knife. I understand everything went well and he should be home in a few days. Unfortunately, his recovery time will be longer. Thanks to all of you for your prayers. We now need to focus on praying for a speedy and healthy recovery.

God Bless.

Lion’s Den Man

Pinch Runner

A pinch runner is a baseball player substituted for the specific purpose of replacing a player on base. In the typical case, the pinch runner is faster or otherwise more skilled at base-running than the player for whom the pinch runner has been substituted. (That is not me) But occasionally a pinch runner is inserted for more subtle reasons, such as a double switch. (Not me again), ejection, (Nope) or if the original player on base has become injured (Bingo, that is me).

Last year Jeff asked me for some help when he was facing a problem with a “blogger” who was posting things here. I did what any of you would do when asked by Jeff for help, “sure name it”. Anyway, he worked through the problem and as a result I was entered as a contributor………..hmmm. That didn’t feel right so I asked him to remove me. In typical Jeff fashion he said. “Nope, can’t do it, who knows I might need you to help me out one day. We will just have to be Blog Brothers”. So now you know the rest of the story………..I don’t feel qualified here. It isn’t my blog and it is not what everyone is looking for, but Jeff needs my help right now and I am happy to be here for him today. It is a great feeling to be needed and it is a great feeling to help those in need. Today you will find the oppurtunity to experience both if you look for it and are open to receive it.

Pray for Jeff today. He is doing well and is not in pain. He has a few test this morning and probably surgery later today if the test go as planned. Then he will be back at home in a day or two. I will continue to post in his absence.

Lion’s Den Man