Tuesday, September 30, 2008

an open letter to our politicians

Dear Elected Officials of both parties,

I read a few books this summer on leadership. Preachers and politicians are supposed to be leaders, so I am sure that you have heard most of this before.

Leaders do not inflict pain on others, they bear pain. Leaders do not hurt people, they heal them. Leaders take responsibility for problems and work together to solve them. They do not play the blame game.

I am personally tired of the blame game. Who is to blame? Why does it matter? The ego looks to save face. The ego looks to rise to the top by casting blame and stepping on the necks of others in a futile attempt to get ahead. The ego does not respect others and cares nothing for their reputations. It is time that we see the people on the other side of the isle as God sees them, "good people, that God loves, with whom we happen to disagree."

A leader is a servant and the heart of a servant only looks to do what is best for those whom it serves. The heart of a servant is grounded in the commitment to do the good. Servants sacrifice themselves for the good of the cause.

There is nothing to be gained by blaming one another. We, the electorate, are smart enough to see through the blame game. We are tired of it. Fix the problems. That is why we elected you. Stand up and do the right things, and if you aren't sure what to do, then say so. We will give you time to learn. But do not waste any more of your time and energy blaming others.

It is time to act, and for this reason, we have elected you.

I am in the habit of closing these posts with the words, "it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good." It is a beautiful day. I hope you can see it.

If I can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to call. We are praying for you.

Jeff Brinkman, Lee's Summit, MO

Monday, September 29, 2008

three friends

Years ago you introduced us. We played golf at Smiley's in Lenexa. That was years ago.

You brought him out to softball a few years ago. You prayed for him, you hoped that he would get connected.

Now something has happened to him. Your prayers were answered. God reached him. He is here, he is alive in ways he has never been alive before. You were instrumental in helping him find his way.

Now you are gone and we miss you.

We take our time together for granted. We think that friends will always be there. We miss you. We pray for you. You know that we are here for you.

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Fear is an interesting thing. About the time that we think we have eradicated it from our lives, it shows up again. An unwelcome relative. A bad penny.

In some cultures, when people are afraid, they pray harder to their idols. They sacrifice more people on their altars. They fear that the Gods are angry.

This doesn't work in America. Our idols are cars, boats, houses, the American dream. You can't pray to that stuff.

Here is the good news for us. When Americans are afraid, they give up on their idols. They return to church. We will have some first time visitors today who have come to church because they are afraid.

This is our chance. Our chance to show them the love of God. To hold out hope. To be His voice. Jesus said, "fear not little flock, I am with you."

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

Saturday, September 27, 2008

empty shell

Dear Empty Shell,

You have been on my mind and in my prayers. When I pray for you, I bring you into the presence of God. I ask our loving Father to wrap you in His arms. I ask that God will comfort you and console you as only He can.

You are not an empty shell. You just feel like one. Look in the mirror and ask yourself, "who is your daddy?" You have a Father in heaven. You are a child of the King. When all else fails you can trust in Him. You can rely on God. Sometimes we never really learn what it means to depend on God until we are taken down to nothing.

I hope that all of your circumstances change per your desires. But I pray for an outpouring of grace. For an infilling of love. For a blood bond to grown between you and God.

When we remember who we are in Christ, we can face the day, no matter what it brings.

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


All of the kids are home for the weekend. Well, Scott still lives here so he is always here, unless he is working or at school, or running around with friends. It feels good to have all of the kids home.

Tomorrow is Alli's 21st birthday. Wow. Can you imagine that? We were talking the other day about her turning 21. In a sorrowful tone she said to me, "Dad, I don't want to get old." Funny. And she was serious! Lots of festivities during the day today and a big dinner tonight.

It has been an interesting adjustment, no it has been a painful adjustment to get used to them being gone. Not just that, but learning to allow them to make their own decisions while keeping my big mouth shut. My parents used to work pretty hard to manipulate the adult children to behave in certain ways or to be present for holidays. We have made the commitment to not do that. After they are all grown up and out of the house, Cathy and I may just go out of town for big holidays.

Anyway, it is a big day at our house and everyone is excited for little Alli, all grown up now.

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

Friday, September 26, 2008

a dream

I dream every night. All night. in color. Usually I remember them for about 2 minutes. For some reason, I still remember vividly a dream that I had on Wednesday night.

We lived in a ranch house that was painted chocolate brown. The whole family was there. Bad news had come to our city. A volcano had popped up about 50 miles away. Seismologists expected it to blow. They warned that when it blew, it would destroy the entire continent. It would be as devastating as the event that took out the dinosaurs. There is a real sense of gloom and doom in the community.

We are sitting around the house and we hear a big explosion. Everyone knows that this is it. We gather in the center of the living room floor, kneel down, and hold hands. We are all calling on the name of Jesus. Getting ready to go into the next life. One of the kids whimpers. I say, "everything is ok, it's ok." We go back to calling on the name of Jesus.

You can hear the shock wave coming from the blast. It hits the house and breaks out all the windows. The house sways back and forth. Then surprisingly, it all moves on and it is over. We did not die. We wake up to a really messed up house, and a really messed up community, but we wake up.

I woke up. Dream over.

In college I minored in psychology. I remember talking about dreams in one class. The teacher or the text said that a person will know if a dream means something. Well, I have a feeling about this dream, from the moment that I wake up. I know what it means.

Tough times come in life and people get scared, but we have someone to call on. Christians can have peace in the midst of a storm. The world may change around us. Calamity may strike, but our feet are set on a rock.

No matter what happens today, it is still a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

humble church

Last Sunday the sermon was on humility. Someone commented later that they thought I was "rough" on them. I am sorry if it was too rough. I don't think that guilt is a good motivator, so I am sorry if it felt that way to any of you.

I had a thought during the 1115 service. Woods Chapel should be the most humble church. Do you remember when........

We still owed money for snow removal from the previous winter... in August?
Woods Chapel Road was closed and you had to drive the long way around the lake to get to church?
We had people fighting over which program was the most important?
Our missions was about two canned food drives per year?
We had a fund raiser with basketball games to raise money for a $150 basketball goal?
Our nursery was tiny?
We played volleyball in the yard on Wednesday night?
We had a Sunday school class meeting in the kitchen?
We had to announce on Sunday that the mortgage was due Thursday and we were short?
The preacher did not use a microphone?
Our children's choir had 7 kids in it?
Do you remember these things..............?

I do. And these memories remind me that we have been really blessed. We are a very fortunate congregation.

We have come so far by God's grace. We should be the most thankful, humble people.
Remember when, and give thanks.

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


It's time. Earlier this year we talked about planting daffodils on the north side of the pond. We hope over the next few years to have the entire hillside covered. Local news at least. People coming by the church in the spring, just to see the vast sea of yellow. I believe that some people will see this and want to learn about the hearts of the people that did this. I believe it will invite people into our church family. A marvelous statement to the glory of God.

Last year we planted 1800 bulbs. See picture above. On two weekends in October this year, we plan to plant 5,000. Several of you indicated the last time we talked about this, that you would
like to help. I will be contacting those of you that I don't hear from. If you are still in to help, either by planting or helping to pay for them, let me hear from you.

I really feel that this is going to be another piece of the awesome story of Woods Chapel UMC.

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Connecting Fair

Thank you to all of you who helped with the connecting fair. It was beautiful and was such a nice way to introduce people to our ministries. I know that there were not as many people there as in years past. Please don't be discouraged about that.

Maybe the low attendance at the connecting fair was due to the new foyer being opened. In the past, you had to get out of the foyer and you had to go downstairs to get coffee. Maybe if we have a connecting fair next year, it should be upstairs.

Maybe the low attendance was because the sermon was not solely and specifically about getting connected. I am sorry about that. Next year if we have a connecting fair, it will be.

Maybe the low attendance was because we have already connected 700 of the 1100 people that attend here on Sunday.

Anyway, leading a ministry and leading the church, neither are an exact science. There are many different kinds of people and we have to be patient sometimes. I love you all and I fully believe that if we keep the boat pointed in the right direction, we are going to make progress towards the desired outcomes. With God's help it has been working out pretty well so far.

Thank you all again for your work.

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

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Bucket List

Last night my dear wife and I sat down to enjoy a movie together. We selected a comedy, "The Bucket List."

It's not a comedy.

I was expecting to laugh, and there were a couple of times, but mostly, I cried. I cried for broken relationships, meaningless lives, and mortality. Jack Nicholson so reminded me of my father. Crusty on the outside, warm on the inside, he could never quite figure out how to let the real him out.

For someone who thinks about eternity a lot, it surprised me that the mortality theme bothered me. Maybe I was just expecting a comedy and was not ready to sit down to those themes. It brought back some painful memories that I guess I was not expecting to think about.

We like to think we are going to live forever, but somewhere along the way, we have to learn to live with our humanity. And so I am thankful for a loving God who sent a Savior.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Easter treats and football cleats

Just yesterday you were all dressed up for church in your Easter outfits. You liked Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. You could both sit on my lap at the same time. We laughed and sang funny songs. You were beautiful. You had a Fisher Price kitchen where you cooked all sorts of plastic delights that I was forced to consume. You took naps every day and went to bed at 9pm. I prayed for you and dreamed about your future.

I want you to know that I remember every moment of your childhood. I remember telling stories and feeding you toast. I remember the first time I took you to Taco Bell. What a mess! I remember when you were baptized. I remember pushing you in the swings. I remember the purple car. I remember watching dances that you made up. Wow, where has the time gone?

Last week I went to your football game. You are in college now, playing intramural football. All dressed up, receivers on offense, safeties on defense. You were mean and scary on the field. Look at you, all big and smart and capable. What a miracle you are, what a blessing. I can see you turning out, even better than we had imagined. You are beautiful.

It all goes by fast my friends.

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

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Leaders and change

I read something very interesting last week in the book Grace-Full Leadership. "Leaders don't inflict pain, they bear it." I really like that statement. It reminds me that power should never be abused. The truth is that God gives us power so that we can do good in his name.

As I think about the quote though, I can think of one time that a leader can and should, rightly inflict pain. A good leader knows how to carefully inflict upon a people "the pain of change." We hate change. It is so traumatic and disruptive. However, nothing stays the same forever, and sometimes [almost always] finding the preferred future involves change.

So, may I never inflict pain upon you unless it is the pain of positive change. May we always see and welcome the pain of change as a precursor to our preferred future.

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

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just my opinion

Yesterday I received two invitations to sign onto groups representing a political candidate. "Clergy for so and so." The invitations indicated that any clergy person signing onto these groups would be doing so as an individual and not on behalf of their church. One email suggested that it was time for clergy to really get out and "lead."

Well. I am going to rant for a moment…..really!

Clergy speaking as individuals and not on behalf of their church? The minute you take up the title of Reverend, Pastor or Clergy, you are speaking on behalf of your church. Think about it, your church gives you these titles! Take the clergy designation away and speak as a person, and maybe that is ok. But I fear that the folks will not want to do this because what gives some weight to their statements is that they are clergy!

We were not called into the ministry to endorse political candidates. We were called into ministry to make disciples for Jesus Christ. When I come out and tell you that I am voting for candidate A or B, I am off mission. If you do not agree with me, you will feel pushed out, and the body becomes fractured. No one wants to speak against his or her pastor…. don't give them a reason to. Go to the voting booth and vote your conscience, but do not use your pulpit or your title, both given to you by the people of your church, to support one candidate or another. Are there not people from both persuasions in your church? Do you think that those who disagree with you are less Christian than you are? That is how they will feel if you start signing onto political campaigns. So much for radical hospitality. I am worried when I see someone start to think that somehow their political views are more Christian than others who disagree with them. The Christian faith is a-political. It rises above politics. Both Democrats and Republicans will one day bow the knee to Jesus Christ, both parties will sit down in heaven, and in that eternal home, the partisan politics will finally stop.

And what about the idea that Clergy coming out for a particular candidate is somehow leadership? Yes, this is leading people....leading them into schism and contentiousness. This is leading people away from their mission of making disciples for Jesus. Clergy are given the mantle of ordination and the titles that they hold so that they can invite people to follow God, not a politician. We should not become embroiled in the painful rhetoric and banter that takes place during election season. The church should always remain a place where everyone is welcome and celebrated, where people from all walks of life can come together and join in the cause of Jesus Christ. We cannot afford to lose our focus. True pastoral leadership is leading people toward an active faith in Jesus. Let us not get sidetracked during election season, there is still so much good that needs to be done. People want to be a part of a church that is positive, constructive and inclusive. They are hungry for a place where they can come to get away from the tension of life and rest in Jesus Christ. They are looking for peace and purpose as found in Jesus. Let us offer such a place to them.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Something is wrong

"Something is wrong with me!" I hear it over and over again. Good people who trust Jesus, who have asked for forgiveness for their sins. Somehow they are still consumed by the thought that something is wrong with them.

Well, there is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing wrong with you. If we confess our sins, we are forgiven and free. Every moment that you spend thinking that there is something wrong with you, you are wasting time and energy that could be spent devoted to living a joyful life.

Practice thinking about the good. Says prayers of thanksgiving. Count your blessings. Get your mind's focus off of make believe and onto reality. You have many blessings from our loving heavenly Father.

"Arise, come to your God, sing him your songs of rejoicing."

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good, because it is there if we will only look.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I woke up this morning with a song in my heart. I love this kind of stuff. It is a good song, a song of hope. It is a song that one of our bands does. Here are the words:

One Thing we ask of you
One thing that we desire
That as we worship You
Lord, come and change our lives
Arise, Arise, Arise, Arise

Arise, take Your place
Be enthroned on our praise
Arise, King of kings
Holy God, as we sing
Arise, Arise, Arise, Arise

Here is the cool part of this story. As I wake up to this song, I am thinking about how God's presence can rise up in our lives. About how he can take the forefront and fill us. About how when he comes in, our worries are dispelled because are hearts are so full. I feel it happening to me this morning. Oh, that is a good feeling!

May he arise in your heart today and fill you.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

buy bread

The year was 1973. I was 16 years old. I had a 1963 Ford Galaxie, four door with a big V-8 motor. I never paid much attention to the news. There was something called an oil embargo going on. Prices started going up. Gas went from 40 cents to $1 a gallon in a matter of weeks. My Dad lost his job. You could only buy gas every other day and we had to wait in lines to buy the gas. I carried a spare gallon in my trunk in case I ran out. I remember asking my Dad about all of this. I was a bit frightened. He told me about being raised in the depression and some of the difficulties that they faced. He said that there was an old saying or story. When someone says, “bread is $1 a loaf! What will we do?” You answer them. What do you do when bread gets to be $1 a loaf? “Buy bread,” Dad said.

His message was simple. Everything is going to be ok. Sometimes people face hard times. They come and they go. You just keep going. You don’t focus on what is wrong; you buy bread and feed your family. During hard times we tend to remember what is really important. During hard times we are a little more apt to help each other.

The Dow went down 500 points yesterday. What is the world coming to? What if bread goes to $1 a loaf? I mean what if bread goes to $3 a loaf? God is still with us. Life is still good. If bread goes to $3 a loaf, let's buy a loaf and have lunch. Let's hug one another and celebrate the many joys of living.

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

Monday, September 15, 2008

life's been good to me so far.....

It's a Joe Walsh song, but I do not want to trade lives with Joe Walsh. He might want to trade with me.

I was taking stock yesterday. Sunday is the day that I get my brain ready for my wife to leave town for the week. I just make sure that we have time to enjoy each other and say the things that need to be said.

We were talking yesterday. We have raised three great kids. We have won the friend lottery.

I have loved and been loved. If it is all over tomorrow, I've had a great life. Everything from here on out is the 19th hole, a double header, dessert.

Think about it. The good has so much outweighed the bad. I've been to Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, Cocoa Beach, and San Francisco. I have snow skied, snorkeled and played softball. We have so much to be thankful for. I hope you can see it in your life too.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2008

a great moment

I don't get very many days like yesterday. I had two weddings at night, but the day was pretty slow. The sermon was ready, it was too wet to work in the yard, so I just camped out and did very little. That is actually a good thing.

When we were in seminary they told us that when you go to someone's home, make sure that the dogs and the kids like you. If the dogs and kids don't like you, it is not going to be a good visit. If the dogs and kids like you, then eveyone will think you are ok. Good advice.

There was a great moment during one of the weddings. The wedding is at the person's home. [they go to our church, but wanted a wedding at home.] Chairs are set up in the living room. There is a bit of a center isle. It is time to start. The music plays. The attendant comes in. The flowergirl comes in. She is 2 1/2 years old and is carrying a little basket of flowers. She walks right up the center isle, walks right up to me and sticks out her arms for me to pick her up.

I did. :) Talk about making an old guy feel good.

When the bride turned the corner and came down the center isle, here was the preacher, holding the flowergirl in his arms. I am smiling now just thinking about how good that made me feel.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, reach out and hug somebody.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You guys are awesome!

I am laughing so hard, in a good way! I had a brief pity party yesterday, and you came to the rescue with lots of positive comments. Thank you.

The person that was dogging me about not reading the blog if there were not comments really meant no harm. Maybe they feel funny today, seeing all of the interest that they generated. They shouldn't feel funny, they are awesome too.

Well, everybody needs a little encouragement from time to time, and y'all gave it to me yesterday. Thank you.

You know, I think I am the most fortunate pastor in the world, because I get to run with people like you. Thank you for being who you are. You encourage me and lift me up when I am down. Just thinking of all of you makes me feel the joy!

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

Friday, September 12, 2008

it's all about the comments

Well. I guess I learned something Wednesday night. It is all about the comments. If no one comments on a blog post, then there is no reason to read the post I guess. If people comment, then it is readable. Give me a break. Haven't you ever had a day where no one cared what you said? Don't you have days when there is nothing inspirational to say?

Well, there are a lot of days when you just have to keep your face pointed in the right direction. Sometimes, no one cares what you think and you are not going to inspire anyone, but you just have to keep trying. You just keep going. It was in the sermon last week. "Wisdom is proved right by her children." Keep doing the right things. You can't always inspire everyone, but that is no reason to give up.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9-11

Everyone remembers where they were. I remember. I will always remember. This morning as the images were shown on the news, I cried big sobbing tears, just as I did seven years ago today. I am so sad for the people in the towers and their families. I am so sad for the people on the planes. I am so sad for our country.

I am going to take a moment now to remember those who lost their lives that day. Join me in a moment of silent prayer..........
Remembering the tragedy of seven years ago, remembering the sadness, gives me pause to thank God for our country. We all take so much for granted, but we have been blessed. From the mountains to the prairies, we have been blessed. Every day we should give thanks for freedom. For the right to vote. For a press that is so free that it gets obnoxious during election season. We should give thanks for our schools, our churches, and the uncountable gifts that God has bestowed upon this great land of ours.
It's a day to solemnly remember.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the little child within us

Jesus said that we must all become like little children. I am ready for it. Sometimes the problems of life swoop in and the sadness that we experience I find to be difficult……….
grief……….loss of a friend, friends getting divorced, children acting up. How did the little boy that was me, grow up and find all of these painful things?

At times like these I take comfort in trusting God, and in the friends that I have made. Spending time with good men [or your gal friends if you are a woman] can help you through such difficult times. I really believe that good people can draw strength from each other.

It's like there are adult problems that we never quite resolve, but as we lean on one another, there is a comfort that comes. We are not alone. If you are hurting, lean on a friend today.

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

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the pastor unplugged

If you are at loose ends tonight, Tuesday, Sept 9th, we are beginning an 8 week class together called "the pastor unplugged." This class will focus on thoughts and experiences from my renewal leave this summer. Some brutal honesty will be present. Your questions as always, are welcome. 7-830 in the lecture hall tonight.

God is in control

This is an age old theological question. Is God really in control? For hundreds of years, the debate plays out this way. God cannot be both good and in control. If he is in control, then he is not very nice because he lets hurricanes kill people, etc.

We like to talk about freewill. If we have freewill, God cannot be in control of everything. If he controls my decisions, then my decisions mean nothing. If we believe in free will, we need to be careful about the words we choose when we talk about God being in control.

One of the best books on this subject is by Harold Kushner, "When bad things happen to good people."

In his book, he suggests that God does not control everything, but he allows things to happen. Some things happen randomly and this leaves room for our choices and meaningful responses.

If God must control everything, then I am no longer responsible. If God allows things, my choices matter. Random difficulty in the world is not controlled by God. The rain falls on the just and the unjust.

I had a diseased gall bladder that had to come out. I had a flat tire. That is all. God didn't make that happen. Things happen. Some of the things that happen, we don't like. Saying that God somehow made those things happen may make us feel better for the moment, but that kind of thinking turns us into marionettes.

Meaning in life is not found by blaming God for bad things, or praying that God will take bad things away. I am not saying that we should not try to better ourselves, we should. But sometimes we can't control our environment. The kingdom of God is not meat nor drink. Meaning in life is found when we face the hand that we are dealt, with grace and joy. When we offer our lives to God in spite of circumstances. He is glorified in us as we choose to embrace him, no matter what may be happening around us.

That is why every day is a beautiful day. Circumstances are not always that great, but for those who choose to see the good, it is a beautiful day in God's world.

Monday, September 8, 2008


How can I explain this. From before I knew you, I felt a connection to you. It is a spiritual thing. It draws us over time to a friendship that is bigger than either you or I. We should revel in the mystery and give thanks to God. We should understand that there is a purpose here that we must fulfill together.........

Who are these people in your life? Find them and celebrate them.

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

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Please be careful. This is a very emotional, politically charged time. Just watch the news. There are good Christian people in our church that do not agree with you. Christians will be voting on both sides in November. Our church must remain a place where everyone feels welcome. Do not assume that since you feel strongly about your views that everyone else in the room does as well. People are more important than ideas. Remember, besides Democrats and Republicans, there will also be Libertarians, Whigs, and Federalists in heaven, not to mention a whole slew of folks from other countries.

It's Sunday, let's go to church. Today for one hour, we will be McCain free, Obama free, Biden free and Palin free. It's all about Jesus. See you here later this morning. Let's remember that we are here to lift up the name of Jesus.

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

Saturday, September 6, 2008

another day

Today. It is what it is. Not much on. That is good. It is Saturday. You need a day every now and then when there isn't much on. Scott's at work the girls are at college. Maybe I will change the oil in the car. Maybe I will help a friend with their car problem. Surely I will finish a sermon.

di di di di di di it's just another day [Beatles]
Another day for you and me in paradise. [Phil Collins]
This is the day that the Lord has made. [Psalmist]

Certainly it is good. When there are no painful circumstances, we can easily see the good in a day. What we must remember is that the day is always good, whether circumstances are or not. We just have to choose whether we will focus on the sky or the clouds.

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

Friday, September 5, 2008

the other night

The other night I had a bad attitude. It wasn't very bad, and it wasn't for very long, but it was not the attitude that I want on display in my life. No matter how short the duration, bad attitudes hurt others and set a poor example. "it's all about me" is on display again.

I feel bad about this. Good. It is good to feel bad about something when you were wrong. If you don't you might just keep doing whatever you want until you end up in prison. Feeling remorse is God's way of turning us in the direction that we need to go. I am not talking about neurotic guilt, I am talking about feeling sorry for a bad attitude.

Thank you Lord for the times when you help me see that I was wrong. Give me the grace to grow and change. Amen.

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

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Humor is still a gift from God

Please do not make fun of my dog. I brushed his hair and put a collar on him for that picture in yesterday's blog.

Humor is a gift from God. I have said it before. If there is an area that you are feeling stress in, inject some humor. Now you should deal with real serious things seriously, but if it isn't that serious, then don't take yourself so seriously. My favorite line at home has become, "I am not feeling the love here!" Not that my wife is much trouble at all, but that line is far better than hollering and tension. Don't tell her what I said in this blog, my left eye is just beginning to open.

People like to laugh, it is good to laugh. We should be able to laugh in church sometimes. Life is too short to be a grouse. Do you know any jokes? tell them. If you don't know any jokes, learn one. Tell a joke today, see if things don't improve.

I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me......
There was a sign on the lawn at a drug re-hab center that said 'Keep off the Grass'......
Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat says to the other, 'You stay here, I'll go on a head.'.......

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

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ugly dog

Someone asked for a picture of the dog for sale. Here you go. Call me if you are interested.

Dog blog

Dog for sale. No, scratch that. Free Dog to a good home. No scratch that. Free dog.

Short, does not shed, doesn't eat much. Barks in the middle of the night. For no apparent reason. Is not hungry, is not thirsty, will not use the bathroom. He must miss his mother.

Free dog.

This dog needs to do something good or he is going to the glue factory. He needs to save someone from drowning or catch some rabbits or squirrels. Why am I feeding a dog that wakes me up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason?

Well, I guess I shouldn't complain. If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, I can still see the good.

What is annoying you? Can you still see the good? Anyone can see the good when the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

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

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

bonus- when you can't sleep

Bonus post. Two posts today.

It is 3:50am. I should be asleep. I can't sleep right now. I know this happens to everyone sometimes. Maybe you are worried about something. Maybe you are worried about someone else. Maybe you have been having funny feelings. Maybe there is a problem at home or at work. Anyway, your brain is "on" and you are not sleeping very well. What to do?

This happens sometimes. Relax. It is a good opportunity to pray. To be honest with God. To take that fearless moral inventory. When you are awake in the middle of the night, it is quiet. It is a perfect time to talk to the Lord. To recenter. Maybe the whole experience is something that God has knit into our makeup to allow us to find help from Him when we need it.

Anyway, don't fight it. Say your prayers. Have the talk with God that you need to have. Refocus your life. Get back on track. Remember who you are. When we find that peace that only God can give, and then we find the sleep that we wish we were experiencing.

Now I am going back to bed.

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


Congratulations. You have arrived at ambivalence. Complacency. That fully human feeling that you are not sure that you care anymore. Burned out.

Maybe you did it to yourself. Maybe you were too busy. Maybe you took your focus off of what is really important in life. Maybe it just happened to you. Things happen. Those crummy, complacent feelings sometimes just sneak up on us. Anyway, the feeling is here what do we do.?

1. Don't be alarmed. Everyone feels this way sometimes.

2. Welcome the feeling. Yes, welcome it. You are human, you are going to feel this way sometimes. Accept it as a short term exercising partner that will soon be leaving for the grocery store. This will help you to relax and not overreact to the feeling.

3. Think about true spirituality. True spirituality squares off with ambivalence and with the addictive need that we humans have to be entertained. Complacency invites us to find the next sugar rush, the next high. In our efforts to avoid the pain of complacency, we self-medicate. We rush out to shop for something new. Our brain thinks, let's do anything to fight off this feeling.

True spirituality grips the value of today. Of this car, this house, this relationship, this life. True spirituality reminds us that everything is ok. We will get to the other side of this. God has not left us. Inspiration will return. True spirituality knows that meaning isn't found by some new thing. Some new toy, new clothes, new doctrines, or new relationships. Meaning is found in celebrating what is. Here and now, this is good, if I can just see it.

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

Monday, September 1, 2008


Congruent. Similar, whole, complete, true.

Some lives are congruent, some are not. I think the most difficult thing that a person has to live with is the sense that they are not congruent. Not honest with themselves. Keeping secrets. Holding lies. Bearing the pain of bad behavior in the past. Lying about where you are going and what you are doing now.

You know, at the end of the day, you have to lay your head on the pillow and go to sleep. You have to live with yourself. It is much easier to do this when we are honest with ourselves.

I am not a very good liar. The result of that is that you tend to get to see me for what I am . My faults are on display for all to view. I just don't hide them very well.

Honesty is the best policy. If you need to come clean with someone, then do it. Get it over with. Begin to deal with real life and stop the pretend games. We are not fooling God. He knows all about who we are and what we are doing.

Create in me a clean heart O God. Psalm 51

We can hope for a beautiful day, but the day is only beautiful when we begin it with a clean heart.