Sunday, November 30, 2008

30 days, day 30

Today is the last day of November. Today I am thankful for sleep. Last night I hit the pillow at 10:30 and I didn't hear a thing until 5:50am. Hallelujah!

Sleep is refreshing. Sleep somehow, sometimes allows me to "sleep off" a wound. I wake the next day and don't feel the pain quite so much. Sleep also sometimes allows a person to solve a problem overnight. It is amazing that you are asleep, but your brain keeps on working.

Sleep. Just another one of God's little miracles.

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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

30 days, day 29

Today I am thankful for love. There are many things that can be said about love. I am thankful that I love cars. I am thankful for the love that I have for you. I am thankful for the love shared with my wife. I am thankful for the love of God.

The amazing thing about love is that it becomes more than a feeling over time. It becomes this thing that resonates inside of our hearts that points us in the direction of good. Because I love you, I want the best for you. I don't want you to hurt. I want you to be filled with joy. I want you to walk with God.

Because of the love that I have in my heart, I would never hate you. I would never go to your country and shoot you in your hotels. I would never want to do anything that would bring pain or grief into the lives of others.

I find it so difficult to understand the actions of people that do bad things, killing and terrorizing innocent people. It is hard to understand until I see that there is something that we have that they do not. Love. This amazing thing that God places in our hearts. God is in fact, love. When he lives in our hearts, love lives in our hearts. We still have a lot of work to do to teach others about love. There is still a great need in the world.

Go love someone today.

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

Friday, November 28, 2008

30 days, day 28

I am thankful today, for random acts of kindness. bell ringing for the salvation army. Feeding the hungry. Helping the poor. Hugging the hurting. Visiting the lonely. I hope that you find something to do today that is just good for goodness sake. Go bless someone!

I am never so alive as when I am doing something to help someone else.

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

30 days, day 27

Today is Thanksgiving day! What a wonderful day. Thanksgiving may be the cleanest of our holidays, as it is not obscured by much commercialism. Thanksgiving is just about gratitude.

Today I am thankful for gratitude. For being thankful. For the joy and perspective that comes to a life when a person comes to understand that we are dependent upon and blessed by Almighty God.

How much joy I feel when I am thankful! How excited I am about life! Every moment that I am grateful, I am less concerned with my problems and I am overtaken with joy. We have so much to be thankful for. Do you see it? Let us give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good!

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

30 days, day 26

Today I am thankful for the marvel of modern medicine. I am thankful that God has given to doctors the knowledge to help the body heal.

100 years ago, you would get sick and die, and no one really even knew what the cause was. 50 years ago, there may have been a diagnosis, but little treatment as we know it today.

Today we have regular checkups, x-ray, mri, mammograms, and tons of other tests that help to catch diseases in their early stages. Many of our friends and loved ones are alive today because of regular check ups and testing.

Treatments are also greatly improved. New drugs are out on the market, new pain relievers, asthma drugs have helped my wife, nexium was a big help to me personally.

We take so much of this for granted, but not every country around the world has such benefits.

Today I thank God for doctors, nurses, dentists, and what has been learned over the years. The wisdom of God, improving care to his children and alleviating suffering.

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

30 days, day 25

Today I am thankful for our church staff. Actually, I am thankful for them every single day. Over the years, you have assembled a wonderful group of people that work very hard to help us fulfill our mission of connecting people to Jesus Christ. Find one of them this week and say "thanks!"

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

30 days, day 24

We are giving thanks for something, every day for 30 days. Today I am thankful for hope. During a period of time when all of the news is bad, we have hope. We have hope because we have a Savior in Jesus Christ, and the church is the hope of the world.

While everyone else may be sitting around right now wondering how bad things are going to get, it is time for the church to understand it's role in all of this. We are the brokers of hope. We have something to offer the community. There are things that we can do, and we need to think a little harder about doing them. Here are some things that are on my mind.

1. We already have a career placement ministry. If you have a friend that is out of work, have them contact the church about this program. We can also set up a bulletin board where those who have work or know of work, can interface with those who need work.

2. We have bankers and mortgage people in our church who would be glad to visit with someone who is up against it in their home loan. Maybe there is some advice that a professional could give that the homeowner has not thought of yet.

3. We have financial advisers in our church. People that work with money for a living. I know of several who would meet with anyone in need to try and help them understand what has happened and what their best course of action might be. I have already heard from some of these folks and they would do this with no intent to sell anything, and totally free of charge.

4. Clothing the needy. We are already pretty good at this, but if we need more racks for clothes in the missions building, then lets get them. If we need to open a clothes closet 5 days a week, then I think we can do that. I think that there are lots of clothes in our closets that could better serve the backs of those who can no longer go to the mall. [Remember, I am just talking at this point, please do not bring any clothes to the missions building except those which the missions dept is asking for.]

5. Feeding the hungry. If our food pantry needs to expand, then it can. If we have to move our exercise classes again, I hate to inconvenience them, but maybe we should buy Everett's and move the exercise classes over there. At any rate, if we need to collect and distribute more food, I think that we can figure out how to do that. Also, I have been thinking about a "three feed one" program. If you have a neighbor that can no longer feed their family, then I think the church can take them on. Three families will take the responsibility to personally feed them. The Smith's the Jones's and the Bartman's will agree to work out an arrangement to bring groceries every week until things get better for the family in need.

6. We have FPU. Financial Peace University. This 13 week program has helped over 200 families in our church and community come to a better understanding of debt, savings, and spending. It has taught Christian principles of money management. It has blessed many families, and helped many marriages. Call for more information.

7. Activities. There was a day that the church was the center of the community and the center of activities. If local families can no longer afford to be in basketball and baseball leagues, the church is ready to step in to help. We already have many wonderful activities for children and youth, but if we need more, we can bring more, and the church is more than ready to return to a role of being the center of community activity.

8. Pastoral Care. We have an awesome team and we have excellent Stephen Ministers. If you have a friend who needs someone to talk to about spiritual issues, we are ready.

Hope. We are a place of hope. We are a part of the solution. The government may be able to help with some of this, but we are here, and we know of the immediate needs around us. When called upon by circumstances, we will be prepared to act. If you know of someone who is afraid, invite them to your church, invite them to become a part of the solution.

Jesus is still the answer, and he does some amazing things through those who follow him. I am thankful that even in dark times, no, especially in dark times, we have hope.

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

Sunday, November 23, 2008

30 days, day 23

Today I am thankful for the deer that sometimes greet me on the way into church. They are beautiful. They watch me and I watch them. They are suspicious of me, and I don't want them eating the church's tulips.

On the subject of animals, there are some amazing ones. Cats and dogs. Pigeons that are making their home on our roof. Hawks near the church that float in the air looking for field mice. Sparrows and robins and bluebirds. Whales, sharks, zebras, giraffes. Wildebeests, tigers, wild boars. Horses, cows, and sheep.

All of the animal kingdom speaks of God's greatness in creation. I am thankful for the deer that greeted me on the way into church today. I am thankful for it all.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

30 days, day 22

Today I am thankful for breath. Daily breath. When we stop having daily breath, we are done on this earth. Breathing is an involuntary bodily function. It happens without you thinking about it. Look at yourself, you have been awake this morning for a couple of hours. Have you once, this morning, thought about breathing? It just happens automatically.

Now, when you are really sick, like if you have bronchitis or pneumonia, we tend to think more about breathing and we wish that we doing better at it. If you have COPD or some other lung disease, you certainly think about breathing more. People that are on oxygen all the time I promise you, they are thinking about breathing.

We should not take breathing for granted. It is a gift from God. It is another one of His little miracles.

Take a deep breath or two. Right now. Think about those breaths and how they nourish your body. Then give thanks to God for His daily sustenance.

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

30 days, day 21

Today I am thankful for something simple. Food. I am not going to feel guilty about being thankful for that. Ok, it is a simple thought in some ways. I am spoiled. I get to eat three meals a day. Thanksgiving is coming, and I will most likely enjoy the usual feast of turkey, dressing, potatoes, on and on. My wife is a good cook. All the kids are happy when Mom cooks because she is good at it.

I know that some people don't get to eat three meals a day. When I visited Russia, I met people who woke up in the morning and were not sure what they were going to eat that day. I am glad that our country helps feed the poor around the world, and I am glad that our church helps to feed the needy in our community. By being thankful for food, I do not mean to disrespect the needy, those who don't have such food, but maybe the fact that I know that not everyone has food, I know it is a blessing and I am thankful for it.

I am thankful for Tuna Sandwiches, vegetable soup, pecan pie, burger king burgers, pizza, pork roast, raisin bran, eggs and sausage, fruit, asparagus, green beans, the Panda Cafe, tacos, fajitas, peanuts, hotdogs, bratwurst, cobb salad, spaghetti, meatballs, ham n cheese, on and on. Waffles, pancakes, shepherds pie, strawberry short cake, ice cream, steak, mushrooms, rice and beans, bean soup, chili, ...............

See how much we have to be thankful for. We are blessed. Thank you God! I am aware. I know that we have so much. May we never forget how blessed we are.

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

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 days, day 20

How is your list? Are you having trouble coming up with something different every day to be thankful for? Or is it pretty easy for you?

Today, I am thankful for those who see the world differently than I do. For example, I hear that some of the Christian book stores may be taking the book "the Shack" off of the shelves. I am sorry to hear that, I don't agree with that, and I think they are looking at the wrong things. However, they are entitled to their opinion.

All around you are people who disagree with you and with me. Different ideas on politics, religion and on raising children. Different ideas on the past, the future, and on reality in general.

Sometimes we may feel annoyed by those who are different than we are. But can you imagine a world where everyone agreed with you all the time? What would that be like?

I think there is something good, something whole, something right about getting along in the same world with those who are different from you. We never learn if everyone agrees with us. It takes all kinds to make a world, and Jesus loves them all, including you and me.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

30 days, day 19

Today I am thankful for faith in God. Where would we be without it? Ever since Sunday night's gospel choir concert, I have had these words stuck in my head:

Lord I’m Trusting
Chorus 1:(Lord it’s in You), oh Lord I’m trusting.
(Lord it’s in You), oh Lord I’m trusting.
(Lord it’s in You), Lord I’m trusting,
I’m trusting in You, Lord to see me through.

Chorus 2:(The road may be rough), oh Lord I’m trusting.
(The road may be rough), oh Lord I’m trusting.
(And the going may be tough), Lord I’m trusting,
I’m trusting in You, Lord to see me through.

Verse 1:Tis so sweet to trust in You, Jesus,
(I’m trusting in You, Lord, I’m trusting in You).
Oh just to take You at Your word,
(I’m trusting in You, Lord, I’m trusting in You).

Chorus 1
Verse 2:How I prove Him over and over,
(I’m trusting in You, Lord, I’m trusting in You).
Oh for grace to trust Him a little more,
(I’m trusting in You, Lord, I’m trusting in You).

Chorus 2
Bridge 1:
Tenors:I’m trusting in You Lord,I’m trusting in You.
I’m trusting in You Lord,I’m trusting in You.
Altos/Sopranos:Lord, I’m trusting.

Bridge 2:(I will) trust in the Lord,I will trust in the Lord.
I will trust in the Lord until I die.
(I will) trust in the Lord,I will trust in the Lord.
I’m trusting in You, Lord to see me through.

Vamp:I’m trusting in You, Lord.
Ending:I’m trusting in You, Lord to see me through.

Dear friends, I am telling you that the words of that song are still reverberating in my heart. What happened in our sanctuary when the choir was singing that song was not much short of a miracle. I don't know that I have witnessed such genuine electricity in worship in my life, and I have been around for a long time. Even now as I remember this moment in my mind, at 5:30 in the morning, my eyes are filling up.

I am thankful for faith and trust in God. Especially in these days, it is more important than ever.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.
P.S. come join the gospel choir, it will be very good for your soul.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

30 days, day 18

Today, I am thankful for problems. That is probably a good thing, because there are a few lurking around. A vandalized church bus, marriages in trouble [not mine, I don't think], financial woes, worried folks.

I am thankful for problems. Problems make me appreciate life. They make me feel happy when I don't have any problems. Like you know, the best thing about being sick is that you stop taking being well for granted.

Problems give me a challenge to overcome. They keep me from being bored.

Problems remind me that I am not God. Life is not always a rose garden, but it still is good. That is the whole point, seeing the good means the most when problems rear their ugly heads.

Facing problems gives me a feeling of life accomplishment that I would not otherwise have if I had no problems to overcome.

Are you facing some problems? Thank God, we are going to grow and learn. We are not going to be bored! We are going to achieve a sense of accomplishment. It is a good day!

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

Monday, November 17, 2008

30 days, day 17

I am still thankful. Being thankful makes me excited about life.
When I think of something that I am thankful for, it makes me forget the worries of today.

Today I am thankful for music. Let me start with the Gospel Choir. Awesome job last night, you rocked the house!

I also love the Jazz Band, the children's choirs, adult choir, the quartet, the orchestra, bell choir, both bands, and everyone else that leads music at church. You all are awesome.

Going on from this, I am thankful for other music that I love. Fernando Ortega. Jeremy Camp. Kenny Chesney. Tim McGraw. The Moody Blues.

Christmas is coming. It is a great season of music. O Holy Night. Silent Night. It Came upon a Midnight Clear. Joy to the World. It makes me happy just to think about it!

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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

30 days, day 16

Today, I am thankful for forgiveness.

Take a moment and think of some of what you have done wrong. Actions, attitudes, being unwilling to grow. When I think of such things, I am so thankful for forgiveness. I am thankful that God, my family, and each of you, forgive me.

As I accept the gift of forgiveness, I am mindful of two things. First, I must continue to work on being the best Jeff that I can. Being a Christian means giving all that I know of myself to all that I know of God. That has to be an ongoing thing for me.

Secondly, since I have been forgiven, I need to forgive others. In fact, I have no right, no right, no right, no right to judge others. They deserve the same grace that I offer to myself. I don't have to agree with them, but I will not condemn or judge them. That is God's job.

I am thankful for forgiveness. It is a powerful force to help you live a healthy life.

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

30 days, day 15

Today I am thankful for humiliation. I was going to say suffering, but my suffering is so small compared to others, that I do not feel that I have the right to use the word. So, I will use the word, humiliation. I am thankful for humiliation. Yesterday, I experienced a bit of it.

The day began with an appointment that I missed. I put down the wrong time. Self humiliation. Brought on by the self. I called to apologize and reset the appointment. I felt ridiculous.

Later, I was at a store and was embarrassed by the clerk. I was surprised by their uncharacteristic response to the situation and I felt a bit humiliated.

Before dinner I was at another vendor and had a problem with a rebate card. They could not get the card to work. I felt like my credit card had been denied. It was not their fault, nor mine really, but I felt foolish, humiliated and frustrated. I will have to call the company and get it figured out.

Now you may be asking, why am I thankful for experiences like this that provide a sense of humiliation to me. Well I am thankful for them for several reasons.

First of all, when things do not go well for me, it reminds me that I don't always get things my way. Such moments provide opportunities for me to exercise Christian character, and Lord knows, I need to keep working on this. Humiliating experiences also remind me to think of what Jesus suffered. While I bring some of this stuff on myself, he was innocent in humiliation and suffering. Humiliation also makes me work harder to see the good. I think that anyone can show good character when things are going well. Difficult experiences tend to show what is really inside of us.

Much good happened yesterday and today is a new day. May I enter it with joy and trust in Almighty God.

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

Friday, November 14, 2008

30 days, day 14

I am thankful for my children.

This probably should have been second on the list right after my wife, but their placement on the list in no way reduces their importance in my life.

My deepest apologies to any of you who wanted children but could not have them, or to any of you who have lost children, or have children from which you are estranged. I pray that God's grace is big enough to bridge the deep gaps that develop in our lives.

My children are awesome. I have had the privilege of watching them grow from birth to the ripe old ages of 17, 19 and 21. So much of what we have tried to teach them, they are now beginning to "get." They are not always perfect, but neither am I. I believe they know that their parents love each other. I know that they know what a happy, fun home looks like. We haven't ever sugar coated anything, so they know what the real world is mostly like. They know how, and are learning how to work.

I believe that who ever they marry and where ever they work, the people that they choose to spend their lives with will feel that they won the lottery.

Alli, Jenny and Scott, thank you. I have won the Dad lottery. You guys are awesome.

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

30 days, day 13

I hope you are making a list.
We have so much to be thankful for.

Today, I am thankful for my United Methodist brothers and sisters in ministry. Maybe 700 Methodist ministers in our state. I may know 100 of them. I am close to about 30. I cannot name all of the 30, but I love all of you and I am proud of all of you, and I am blessed to serve with you.

Cody, Sue, Bob, Kendall, Kate, Steve, Aaron, Jim, Jim, Bob, Dave, Sally, Cathy, Jeremy, Brent, Jeff, Jim, Clay, Sherry, Gina, Michele Sue, Kyle, Jim, Dave, Sam, on and on I should go.

You are all wonderful, and I am so thankful for you and it is such a blessing to watch you give yourselves away in the name of Jesus Christ.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

30 days, day 12

Today I am thankful for our country. For the ability to vote. You don't get that everywhere. I am also thankful for the attitude displayed by people in our church after the election. We had people on both sides of the election, and win or lose, they are treating each other with respect. At least that is what I am seeing. I am proud of you. I am thankful for your attitudes. Christians should always remember that we trust in God whether we are happy with the president and congress or not. Christians are also asked to pray for the leaders of their nation.

Today, and always, I am thankful for our country.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

30 days, day 11

I am so enjoying this. Everyday, there is something to be thankful for.

I am thankful today for Clay and others who covered for me on Sunday, and I hear that Clay gave an excellent message. I am not surprised. This allowed me a Saturday night with no worries and a very relaxed Sunday. It allowed me to attend church as a worshipper, which is an awesome thing.

When you are the pastor, you hardly ever just get to "go to church." Sunday I just drove to another United Methodist church, walked in, sat down, and listened to an awesome message.

I am thankful for those who do what it takes to allow me to, and help me to renew my soul.

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

Monday, November 10, 2008

30 days, day 10

Remember, this month we are all making a list of 30 things that we are thankful for. So far you should have 10 things on your list.

Today I am thankful for my parents. They don't always get the best of press in sermons, I know that, and there are reasons for that. My parents had a difficult marriage and they got stuck in a branch of the Christian faith that was pretty dogmatic and guilt ridden.

But, all of that aside, my parents loved me. They sacrificed much to give my sisters and I the kind of life that neither of them had as children. My mother grew up very poor, the youngest of six children. If a rabbit came into their yard, it was dinner. They used to dig dandy-lion greens for their vegetable at dinner. Dad came from a working family. His grandparents had been wealthy, but had lost their money. His parents worked hard to make ends meet. His dad was a contractor and worked at a lumber yard. From a young age, Dad was taught to work hard.

Out of the depression and through WW2, my parents were a part of Tom Brokaw's "greatest generation." They worked hard and provided things for us that they never had. They lived lives of self-sacrifice. They deserve to be honored. I am thankful for them. If your parents are still alive, you may want to call them today and tell them "thanks."

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

Sunday, November 9, 2008

30 days, day 9

Today I am thankful for four seasons. For the cadence of life. Summer makes you appreciate winter. Winter makes you appreciate summer. Spring and fall, well, they could last a bit longer in my book. How do people in Alaska make it? Winter all the time. It must be terrible. And what about the people in Florida? Summer all the time. It must be so boring and the bugs get so big. The people in Florida would all be much happier if they moved to the mid-west.

Now here is another reason why I like the four seasons. They challenge me to see the good. I do not want to live through winter, just hoping for spring. And I don't want to bear the summer, just hoping for the fall. To do so is to waste the days of summer and winter. I want to learn to enjoy the heat of summer. I want to learn to savor the cold of winter. It is all good, it is all wonderful, if we just take the time to give thanks for whatever season it is. These are truths that are only known to those who live in the four seasons of the mid-west.

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

Saturday, November 8, 2008

30 days, day 8

Today, I am thankful for things that grow. For trees and flowers and shrubs and accent plants. I love plants. Hackberry, Cleveland Pear, Weeping Cherry, Red Maple, American Elm, Crabapple, Japanese Maple. We also have a Red Oak. I love them all. I love to watch them grow. Trees are an amazing witness to the glory and wonder of God.

Flowers. Tulips, Mums, lillys, Hosta, Daffodils. Ground cover. Ivy, Sedem, Ajuga. I love it all.

These little friends speak to me of the goodness and glory of God. God speaks to us through His creation in ways that are hard to explain.

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

Friday, November 7, 2008

30 days, day 7

Today, I am thankful for home. I have been out of town for four days, and that tends to help one appreciate home. I hope that your home is as good for you as mine is for me.

Home is the place where I belong. It is where I am a part of something very special. Cathy and I have worked pretty diligently to raise three children. Watching them grow over the years has been awesome. Now, they are all grown up. They have full blown senses of humor and emerging senses of responsibility.

Home. My recliner. My books. A place to retreat from life, and a place to celebrate life with others. Home is more than a house. There is an old saying, "with what you earn, you make a living, with what you give, you make a life." At home, there is life. Lots of giving, lots of caring, lots of love.

I am thankful for home. I hope you are too.

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

Thursday, November 6, 2008

30 days, day 6

Today I am thankful for................ responsibility. Really? Responsibility? Yes. That very thing that we dread as teenagers, that very thing that our parents worked so hard to teach us. Responsibility.

Human nature causes us to dread our responsibilities sometimes. But think about it, life cannot always be one giant vacation or one giant birthday party.

Having things that I am responsible for, gives me a sense of purpose in life. Behaving responsibly causes me to feel good about my life. Seeing positive results from carrying responsibility well is one of the great gifts ofGod in this life.

As in all things of life, nothing of value comes for free. By hard work, determination and responsible behavior, our world is moved forward in a positive direction.

Though sometimes I want a break from them, and I am sure that you do too, I am thankful for the good that comes into our lives from having things to be responsible for, and executing those responsibilities in a healthy way.

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

30 days, day 5

Wednesday, November 5th.

Today I am thankful for the gift of sight. Sight is a gift that is taken for granted by so many. The ability to open your eyes and see the trees in the fall, a bird in flight, the smile of a friend. Oh, what a great gift it is to see. To be able to read, to watch a movie, to see your children walk in the door. To see the stars at night, the clouds in the day, and a thousand other things.

Four years ago about this time, I had cataract surgery on both eyes. I didn't realize how clouded my sight had become. Sight is like that. It is so subjective. How do we know that when I see green, I see green the same way that you do? How do I know that when I look at myself I am seeing myself clearly?

Ahh the other side of sight. Insight. To look at myself and various life situations and see them for what they truly are. To be able to look inside and take an honest, fearless moral inventory of who I am. The possibility of a better future for us begins when we look at ourselves and are honest enough to see ourselves as we are.

What do you see today? What do you see in yourself? Is there some area in my life that I have seen that I need to allow the Holy Spirit to work on?

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

30 Days, day 4

Tuesday, November 4th.

I am thankful for time. Stop and think about it. We are so busy, so rushed through our day, we rarely stop to give thanks for the gift of time. It is a commodity that is very precious. We don't know how much we will have of it, but in this life, we have the opportunity to make every moment count.

Some people waste their time. Some people use their time to do evil. We generally know better.

What are you doing with your time today? tonight? Pick something good. Celebrate. Tell someone that you love them.

Time. Time to do good. Time to love. Time to give thanks. It is awesome when used for good.

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

Monday, November 3, 2008

30 Days, Day 3 or (Day 1)

"Write what your are thankful for………..write about what is on your heart/mind today." That was the advice that Jeff gave me this morning when he asked if I could fill in for a day…….he will be back tomorrow. So I started thinking and, like many, I have so much to be thankful for that my list could go on and on and on…….family, friends, WCC, my health, my job, Grace…..

We should follow Jeff’s lead and make a list of the things we are thankful for. Each day we should acknowledge those things in prayer and in person if possible. Looking to the good tends to smother out the bad and puts things in perspective. Sharing those thoughts is healthy, too, and can tell you a lot about a person. So tonight, when I get home, I plan to have everyone in my family start their own list and each day we will pray and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives.

Day 1: I am thankful for this blog. It not only helps me see more of what Jeff is all about, but it is thought provoking and challenges me to see the world through a different set of eyes. It is a blessing in my walk and I pray I never take it for granted.

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, November 2, 2008

30 Days, Day 2

November. 30 days to give thanks. Oh my, it is time to be thankful again. This is going to be easy, and so much fun! let's see, what should I be thankful for today?

Well, yesterday was All Saints Day. A church holiday that celebrates all of our Christian friends and loved ones that have lived and died and made a difference in our lives.

I am thankful for all of them. For my Father and Mother, for my grandparents. For John Wesley, Anthony Demello, Bishop W.T. Handy, Roy McDonald, Bill Powell, Cynthia Mack and thousands more.

From some, we learned the right things to do. From others, we learned the tragic results of bad decisions. But from each, we have the opportunity to learn and grow. We would not be here without those folks who brought us into the world and nurtured us along the way.

"O Lord, here my prayer of thanks today for each one of your Saints that I have been touched by in my life. May they rest today in the peaceful arms of a loving God. Amen."

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

Saturday, November 1, 2008

30 days

November. The season of giving thanks. Thirty days has September, April, June and November. Barring any unforeseen interruptions, I am going to write every day in November about one thing that I am thankful for. I am already having trouble, because I am so thankful for so many things that I am going to have trouble picking one thing. But, here is my one thing for today.

I am thankful for my wife, Cathy.

I have selected her for day one, because today is our 22nd wedding anniversary, and if she read this, and I did not pick her, I would probably be in trouble.

We were married on a Sunday afternoon at South Broadland Presbyterian Church in Kansas City by Rev Greg Coulter. We attended church and Sunday School there and had many good friends, mostly in the Sunday School class. We played softball on the church team together.

Our wedding was attended by a small group of folks. The ushers wore plastic fish ties. Our reception was help at the home of Bruce and Pat Minter. Later that night, my sister, Julie, organized a chivalry, and a large collection of people knocked on the door banging pots and pans. They also brought a pizza, so it turned out ok.

We were not able to go on our honeymoon for several weeks because my employer, Franklin Savings, was going through a computer change over. No one could miss work for the two weeks while we were training on the new system.

When the honeymoon came, it was not what a young woman dreams of. No airplane, no beach, no shopping, no pampering. It just wasn't possible back then.

We drove up to Mound City, MO, just north of St. Joe and stayed for three days in a cabin at Big Lake State Park. We hiked at the park, hiked at Squaw Creek wildlife refuge. One night, we went out to dinner at the catfish restaurant in Rulo, Nebraska. We ate catfish and danced all night. The leaves were turning and it was wonderful. It is one of my great, life memories.

Over the years, like all marriages, we have had our moments. But I want to tell you, this is a good woman. She would give her left arm for you. She is as kind and loving a person as I have known in this life. She can be hard to get to know, she is a bit reserved, but she is worth knowing. We have raised three children together. We have cried together, and we have laughed together. We laugh a lot.

I am reminded of the quote from the beginning of the movie "the Notebook" where James Garner says of his wife, "I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."

I could go on and on. But today, November 1st, I am thankful for my wife.

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