Saturday, January 31, 2009

sermon notes

Today I have added a new link on this blog site. It is called "Jeff's sermon archives" The actual web address is:
You will see it off to the right. This is a web site that most of you will not be interested in, but some of you might.

It is a collection of my sermon notes. It is not updated weekly, but only from time to time. So if you are looking for something from a recent sermon, send me an email and I will get it out to you. The collection is also incomplete. Sometimes notes don't get saved by me in the correct places. Some of the sermons are old. I am sometimes shocked when I see things that I did or said from years back. They are what they are and if you are bored at night, you might go exploring. There is a search engine on the page and they are categorized by topic and year.

I do not preach from a manuscript. Consequently what you have here are the actual notes that I used on Sunday morning to talk from. I never really thought about sharing them publically, so there are misspellings and brief thoughts. There are references to stories that was just enough info to trigger my brain.

I don't know if there is anything here that interests you, but if there is, have at it. Ecclesiates says, "there is nothing new under the sun." If you are a pastor and find any of this helpful, take it. It isn't mine. Use it to win people to Jesus.

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

Friday, January 30, 2009


From the category of: "when you think things are bad, take heart, it could always be worse."

Are you tired of winter? Tired of snow? Do you remember what you were doing 7 years ago? On this day in 2002 we were stuck in the middle of a very bad ice storm. I was in Russia on a mission trip at the time with Gary Glenn and Terry McCarty. I stayed one night in the apartment of a Russian family. They had a small black and white TV. The news was in Russian, but I saw a report on the TV in Russia about the ice storm in Kansas City.

I was proud of my wife for taking care of the kids and everything that she did during the storm.

I was also proud of you. You opened your church as a Red Cross emergency shelter and took in people that had no power. With no notice you braved treacherous roads to bring food to the church to feed these people. You did all of it without me even being there. You guys are awesome.

So, if you are tired of winter, take heart. At least we are not having an ice storm.

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

Thursday, January 29, 2009

what are we doing in missions

This list is kept up, just so someone has an idea of what is going on in our missions department. I find the list to be flabbergasting, and almost unbelievable. I wanted to share it with you. We are most fully the church when we are giving ourselves away, a cup of cold water in His name. This is what your church is doing in mission in the name of Jesus Christ:

Missions Summary 2008

Local Ministries
Jackson County Division of Family Services
§ Back-to-School Drive –192 Children received an outfit, a pair of shoes, a backpack and school supplies.
§ Easter Baskets –200 Children receive Easter Baskets full of goodies and Christian items.
§ Christmas – This year 210 children were sponsored, and each child received three gifts.
§ Every Sunday nights members of our congregation pickup the left over bread from the Panera on 40 HWY, then distributes it to area families in need.

Grace Place –has moved to the Missions building, and continues to feed families from DFS. In addition to the DFS families, we also receive requests from the community and school counselors as far as the Ray-Pec district. We even fill the requests for food from our own church members. All food is received through donations, as well as the annual Grace Place food drive at VBS every summer. Each family requesting food receives 24 different types of food and household items, with quantities depending on the size of the family.

Children’s Clothing Closet – Located within Grace Place the “Closet” offers gently used clothing for children ages newborn – 12th grade, as well as winter coats. Donations are given to families through agencies like the Community Services League, Division of Family Services, Raytown schools, Lee’s Summit Parents as First teachers, churches in lower income areas, our own church members and their friends. Each child is given a minimum of two outfits, which consist of 2 pieces, at no cost.
§ 960 outfits were donated to Blue Springs Community Services League alone.

Woods Chapel UMC Adoption Resource Foundation – “Making a difference in the life of a child”. The Adoption Resource Foundation was founded out of the love of children and a hope to help families adopt children waiting for a loving home. ARF exists as a resource to help families who have adopted, are in the process of adopting or are considering adoption. It provides information, support, financial assistance, and creates awareness for the millions of children waiting for a home.

§ Friends of Adoption Support Group meets once a month and hosts a variety of speakers on various subjects pertaining to adoption. It is open to the community.
§ The adoption group grossed over $35,000 at the WCC’s annual Adoption Resource Foundation’s golf tournament. Over $7,000 of that money was donated to the Mission trip scholarship fund, with the rest assisting families in their adoption financial needs. In the last year, ARF has used $7,600 to help families adopt children from Guatemala, China, Ethiopia, Ukraine, Russia and the Children Division.
§ Since the founding of ARF, a scholarship fund for adopted children has been established. For the last 3 years a student is selected as the recipient for $500 to help with education beyond high school.

Jackson County Free Health Clinic - Volunteers (medical and administrative) offer their services the first Tuesday of each month.

Red Cross Shelter - WCC is a designated Shelter for the Red Cross

Hillcrest Ministries – provides a 90 day program designed to move families from homelessness to self-sufficiency by providing: 90 days rent and utility free housing; professional services (haircuts, dental, legal, GED, medical); and counseling (budgeting, job searching, nutrition, community living, and parenting).
§ WCC sponsors one apartment (financial contribution of $3,000 a year as well as furnishing the apartment and cleaning and restocking every quarter).
§ Families from WCC also go every year around Halloween to carve pumpkins with families and kids. This year they said there were so many little kids, that they did most of the carving, but the kids loved getting their hands in the goo and having someone to do this tradition with at Hillcrest.
§ WCC provides “urgent needs” each week – whatever food or toiletry item they are running low on.
§ Hillcrest Gala – 50 people from our church attend the annual Gala. 30 baskets valued at over $6,000 were donated by our church for the silent auction.
§ WCC’s ‘Friends of Hillcrest’ are now sponsoring a 2nd apartment at the new Lee’s Summit location.

Christmas Projects (Other than those listed above)
§ Spofford Children’s Home
§ 20 residents sponsored from Truman Medical Center.
§ We Care sponsors a toy drive for Lee’s Summit Social Services.
§ Children’s Mercy Hospital

Prom Boutique
§ 70 High school students from DFS are invited to come to our prom boutique and select their evening’s attire free of charge, with plans next year to open it up for more girls than just from DFS.
§ All dresses and men’s wear are obtained through donations.
§ The quilters group was available for alterations the day of the event
§ Area salons donated spa certificates for the girls to have their hair done on the day of their proms

Dental for Kids
§ WCC collects tooth brushes and toothpaste for Dental for Kids which is a non profit organization in Jackson County who provides dental care free of charge to low income children in the area.
§ WCC helps with Dental for Kids annual Fundraiser the Princess Party. Dress from our prom boutique are used for decorations, Women from various bible study groups also volunteer their time to be story tellers at the party.

Project 20/20
The congregation donates reading glasses and sunglasses which are then sent to project 20/20 and are then refurbished and taken by volunteer optometrists to developing countries.

Operation Christmas Child
This was the first year that WCC participated in Operation Christmas Child, and over 140 boxes were collected. The boxes are sent to children all over the world by the Good Samaritan organization.

Metro Ministries

Grace United Church - This church is located in downtown KC & serves a low-income, multi-cultural segment of society.
§ Thanksgiving Food Drive – 210 bags of groceries were donated for needy families this year.
§ Members of our church invited people from Grace United to attend our Gospel Choir Concert, and the came to listen and praise God along side us!
§ WCC has helped in renovation repairs on this church including painting, stucco work, and drywall work, as well as renovating the bathroom in the parsonage.
§ Youth teams also go down to Grace United to cook and serve breakfast several times a year to the homeless and families that need a meal in that area.

Spofford – A home for children in transition
§ The music department has Spofford as their mission focus. All the choirs and bands and children’s choirs collect needed items from month to month.
§ Handmade quilts are donated to Spofford by the Woods Chapel Church Quilting group.

Camino Verdad Y Vida UMC (The Way, The Truth and The Life UMC)
This church has become our “partner” church and we have grown together through the year.
§ Back to School Drive –89 children received backpacks with school supplies as well as shoes & clothing.
§ Thanksgiving Food drive – 170 bags of food were collected and distributed among CVV families this year, with an additional $550 of chickens and extra food.
§ Christmas Adopt-A-Child – 102 children were sponsored at Christmas that including also included gifts of new warm clothing.
§ Donations of appliances, furniture, food (from Grace Place), clothing (from our clothing closet), supplies, computers through out the year as needed by the church.
§ Harvester’s fee is paid by WCC so that the people of CVV may receive food from the food pantry

Ronald McDonald House Family Room - The RMD House Family Room is a home-like setting within Children’s Mercy Hospital where families of critically ill children can “get away” while still being close to their children.
§ WCC provides & serves dinners each month to the families.

Westport UMC - “Neighbor-to-Neighbor Program” This ministry helps the homeless and needy in the Westport Area.
§ Sack lunches are collected EVERY week and delivered to Westport on Monday mornings. Sacks are filled by Bible study groups, and families wishing to serve together.
§ Hot Meals served every month for the homeless that are prepared and served by WCC folks.
§ Annual Hundred for the Homeless Donation Drive during the winter to collect coats, blankets, socks, hats, gloves, Chap Stick and peppermint sticks.

Crop Walk
§ Members of WCC and their families continue to participate in this yearly walk which raises money for international relief as well as local food ministries.

Mission Trips

Camp Wilderness Family Mission Trip – WCC families join together each year for this weekend mission trip to Lawson, Missouri. Their work helps to build, restore and maintain this United Methodist camp and retreat center. There are projects for every age and this trip brings families together by serving close to home.

Greensburg, Kansas – Since the F-5 tornado in May of 2007, WCC has sent 6 teams to Greensburg, 5 of those trips in 2008, in an effort to aid in the rebuilding of the community. This trip usually last between 8-9 days, but since this trip is close to home it offers the opportunity to stay a few days or to stay the whole duration of trip. There is no restriction on knowledge and there is work for all levels of skill. WCC teams are well known in Greensburg for their commitment and passion to serve those that need help.

Guatemala, South America – WCC has established a presence in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. During the summer of 2008 we sent a team of 19 people to Guatemala for 10 days. Their task was to put up walls in a local school. They also continue to build relationships that have been established from other mission teams that have visited before. Teams consider it a wonderful opportunity to put their faith into action by allowing Christ to use their hands and feet. They are consistently moved by the friendliness of the Guatemalan people and have learned many things from the Mayan culture.

Falmouth, Jamaica – New in 2008, a medical mission team took their skills to Falmouth, Jamaica. Teams travel twice a year, in January and June, and work in the clinic that was established by the United Methodist Church 20 years ago. Those who do not have medical knowledge are used in the clinic in other ways, such as aiding in running the clinic, counting pills, organizing and other chores.

Liberia, Africa – We are in the Process of laying the groundwork for a WCC team to travel to Liberia the summer of 2009. WCC hopes to find a niche, and a place to build relationships with children in Liberia who are in rehabilitation from being boy soldiers and child prostitutes. God willing, this will be a place WCC can begin to contribute by connecting people to Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28 – WCC is still committed to the work of the United Methodist Church in New Orleans. The goal is to send 1 or more persons to New Orleans for 1 week or up to 30 days. Matthew 28 volunteers coordinate work projects for mission teams that come from all over the United States to help rebuild New Orleans. Among their many tasks they are asked to welcome the arriving teams, provide orientation, deliver tools to job sites and organize the facility where they sleep.

New Orleans, Louisiana – WCC’s last team to New Orleans traveled in June to work on the rebuilding efforts that are still occurring in the city. To these 20 people, showing the love of Christ to the homeowners motivated them as they sweat through their work days replacing sheetrock, finishing dry wall, removing debris and painting walls.

In addition to the regular summer team, a 17 member team from the music ministry traveled last April to inspire their homeowners with music as well as hard work. The music ministry team also invited their homeowners to a dinner at People’s Station in an effort to serve them outside of their homes.

Velikoretskoye, Russia – The Russian ministry has been consistently traveling for 6 years, but when Kurlovo orphanage closed at the end of last year, it became evident that we needed to continue to move this ministry forward. Our vision team recently returned from Russia having accomplished their task of choosing a new orphanage for WCC to sponsor. Velikoretskoye is an orphanage in the Kirov region with 46 kids from age 7 to 18. Early next year, each of these kids will be sponsored by a family at WCC who will commit to writing letters and $34 a month that contributes to their sponsor child’s quality of environment, education and health care. Most of all, however, the sponsorship of each orphan sends a discipler to the orphanage once a week to take translated letters, do Bible lessons and take birthday or Christmas gifts from their sponsor. This ministry looks forward to traveling regularly again with VBS teams to build relationships with the orphans in Velikoretskoye.

Student Ministry Mission Trips:

Senior High Mission Trip – Twenty-two incoming freshman through exiting seniors joined together with 7 adults to work in New Orleans homes for their June 2008 mission trip. This 29 member team worked on mucking homes, painting, installing dry wall and ripping out ceilings through the Louisiana UMC Disaster Recovery effort out of Peoples Station.

Junior High Mission Trip – Incoming 6th graders through exiting 8th graders worked together on cleaning up St. Joseph, Missouri after the ice storm that ravaged through the city during the winter of 2008. The 33 member team also worked alongside the United Methodist church’s ministry to homeless, young mothers and the older community in different areas of the city.

Global Ministries
Prayer – international mission teams are supported by the WCC congregation through prayer partners. Prayer partners compile notes and small reminders to send in a tangible way to support the missionaries, and ultimately remind them that WCC is behind them while they are serving. As well as pray for them throughout their time serving Christ wherever they are in the world.

Nothing But Nets – Upward basketball participants will be given the opportunity to donate money which will be used to buy insecticide-treated bed nets.

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

Children & Student Ministry Missions

§ Packed sack lunches to feed the homeless every month.
§ Decorated 200 stockings for the dental kits delivered to children adopted this Christmas by our congregation.
§ Collected grocery bags full of aluminum pull tabs for Ronald McDonald House
§ Collected money which was donated to Project 20/20 during VBS
§ Donated food to Grace Place during vacation bible school
§ Collected $810.76 for Heifer International.
§ Collected macaroni and cheese at Trunk or Treat for Grace Place
§ The 4th & 5th grade girls are writing letters to the folks at the nursing home, and doing projects with them.

Student Ministry

§ Youth teams go down to Grace UMC to cook and serve breakfast several times a year to the homeless and families in need of a free meal in that area.
§ Senior High sponsors a little girl in India name Vimala through Compassion International for $32 a month that is collected at youth group on Sunday nights. This sponsorship provides a possibility for students to connect with a foreign child and gives her better opportunities for education, health and personal development as well as learning about Jesus in a church-based program in her neighborhood.
Student Ministry Mission Trips:

Senior High Mission Trip – Twenty-two incoming freshman through exiting seniors joined together with 7 adults to work in New Orleans homes for their June 2008 mission trip. This 29 member team worked on mucking homes, painting, installing dry wall and ripping out ceilings through the Louisiana UMC Disaster Recovery effort out of Peoples Station.

Junior High Mission Trip – Incoming 6th graders through exiting 8th graders worked together on cleaning up St. Joseph, Missouri after the ice storm that ravaged through the city during the winter of 2008. The 33 member team also worked alongside the United Methodist church’s ministry to homeless, young mothers and the older community in different areas of the city.

Club 56
§ Evan Almighty series – in January and February, Club 56 devoted this time to a series on ‘Changing the World, Every Chance We Get’ that focused on doing good to others, without expecting anything in return. After the series, they served the younger kids of the church by volunteering at the Winter Social as characters, game leaders and beauticians.
§ Adoption Resource Fund – donated a movie themed basket at the end of the Chronicles of Narnia series for the Adoption Resource Fund golf tournament.
§ Guatemala team – for the second year in a row students were prayer partners for the 16 member team and sent notes for their prayer partner while they were in the mission field.
§ Lock-In – At this annual outreach event for 5th & 6th graders, the students collected the aluminum cans and donated the resulting money to the American Red Cross, and collected the pop tabs to donate to the Ronald McDonald House.
§ 100 For the Homeless – collected 576 hats, gloves, pairs of socks, Chap Stick, & candy canes for this ministry to Westport UMC during the Christmas mission series. At the Christmas party, they put one of each item into a bag so it is easy to hand out to people at Westport.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

old friends

I spoke with an old friend yesterday. Somehow, we are family. There are people that you meet and get to know. You may not see them for a while, you may not talk with them on a regular basis, but anytime you get to visit, it is a homecoming.

It is the most unusual feeling. What does it mean when we are connected to people even though we don't spend alot of time with them? It is truly a gift of God. The miles, the time, the changes just have no effect on such relationships. We are bound together in ways that are hard to explain. I think it is a soul thing.

I feel that way about so many of you at church. I am particularly fond of each of you.

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Sorry for the late post. I am in Columbia yesterday and today meeting with the Bishop and the big bosses.

At first I was late to post because my computer could not find the hotel Internet. Then I was late to post because I got into this awesome, timely discussion with a couple of other pastors. Anyway, here I am.....

Prayer. Do your prayers come from your brain or from your soul? Are we thinking too much when we pray? Are we lost in our lives when we pray, or lost in God? I am thinking about a place of prayer, I am looking for it, I am finding it sometimes, where I am just lost in God's presence.

I am not worried about anything when I find this place. All needs are cared for, all wounds are healed. All concerns evaporate.

Forget the postures of prayer. Forget the ritual times and places of prayer. Just find a quiet time. Let your soul go out to God. Mother Mary said, my soul magnifies the Lord. Let's find that place together, you and I.

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

lists from the sermon

Someone asked for the list from the sermon..........
Here are some of them.........

Wesley's three rules:
  • Do no harm
  • Do good
  • Stay in love with God

Kathleen Moore's thoughts on how to know if we love someone:

One. To want to be near it, physically.
Number two. To want to know everything about it –
its story, its moods, what it looks like by moonlight.
Number three. To rejoice in the fact of it.
Number four. To fear its loss, and grieve for its injuries.
Five. To protect it – fiercely, mindlessly, futilely, and
maybe tragically, but to be helpless to do otherwise.
Six. To be transformed in its presence – lifted, lighter on
your feet, transparent, open to everything beautiful and new.
Number seven. To want to be joined with it, taken in by it, lost in it.
Number eight. To want the best for it.--. Desperately.

Jeff's list of spiritual disciplines or practices to stay in love with God:
1. Spend time w God in prayer
Getting to know him
It is a growing thing

2. Spend time in submission
Communion rail
make a fearless inventory
practice these words: I give my life to you

3. Spend time in the Scriptures
Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, any of the New Testament letters.

4. Devotional reading -Max lucado, Rob Bell, Bill Hybels, Dave Ramsey

5. Spend time with his people- acts of kindness
Those who love god and Those who need a cup of cold water

Wesley claimed that, in visiting the marginalized, we invite them to transform us, to transform our hearts, to transform our understanding, to transform us into instruments of the divine mercy and justice.

1 John 4:20 For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

When you love god, you will love god’s people. When you stop loving gods people, it is a sure sign that your heart has grown cold. Acts of kindness are the tangible signs of gods love. When we do this, the world gets it. They see that we are real.

6. We stay in love with God by spending Time in silence in nature.

Celebrating creation- 20For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

God speaks to the souls of his people through creation.

Ok, that is all the lists that I could find in the sermon yesterday.

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

Sunday, January 25, 2009

words of an old song

This theme, that God is always with us, is on my mind again, so someone may need to hear it, or maybe it will make the sermon today......

I woke up this morning with these words on my mind, of this old song........

Time after time I was searching for peace in some void
I was trying to blame all my ills on this world I was in
Surface relationships used me till I was done in
But all the while someone was begging to free me from sin

He was there all the time
He was there all the time
Waiting patiently in line
He was there all the time

Never again will I search for a fake rainbows end
Now that I’ve found the answer my life is just starting to rhyme
Sharing each new day with Him is a breath of fresh life
Oh what I've missed
He's been waiting right here all the time

He was there all the time
He was there all the time
Waiting patiently in line
He was there all the time

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

Saturday, January 24, 2009


We all have one. Our way of looking at life. The funny thing is, we don't see it as a perspective on life, we actually think that we see reality. Everyone else is goofy, I alone have a clear view. That is what we think.

A person will never get over themselves and start the journey of wholeness until they see that they have a perspective, a life view, a certain color of glasses, a paradigm. To begin the journey demands that we see the specks and logs in our own eyes. Interestingly, when we see our weaknesses, we tend to be a little more gracious with those around us.

Step back, take a look. What has happened in your life to cause you to think the way that you do? What has happened to shape you? Should some of it be reversed? Should we back off a bit? Get off of our high horse?

God is not amused by our need to be "right." He is not in smug celebration of our human ideas about how the world works. If it is not infused with grace, it probably didn't come from God. On the other hand, when our ideas and approach are infused with love and grace, well, God is love, so we may be on the right track.

How do you see the world?

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

Friday, January 23, 2009

Last night's meeting

It was good to see the new faces on building committee, and the old ones too. Not that faces are old, just folks that have been on the team for a while. You know what I mean.

Here is how the discussion went:

1. Plans are finalized for a new parking lot. Final costs should be provided to us in a week or two. We will need to raise $225,000. I have been approached by folks who have pledged $46,000 so far. We will have an all church conference to approve the project just as soon as we can connect all of the dots.

2. A small remodel job will be discussed with trustees that would replace one of the double windows on the east side of the new foyer [by Jonnie's fern] with a double set of doors. A side walk will be run heading east to the parking lot. Estimated cost is $10,000. The purpose of this is to remedy the fact that almost all of our parking is on the east side now, and we have only one entry door and it is a single door on the east side.

3. Plans were presented to expand the current sanctuary. The group was split over whether it would be better to expand the current sanctuary or build a new one on the east side as was previously planned. This is a very complicated issue:

Reasons to expand the current sanctuary:
-we would only have one sanctuary
-people like our current sanctuary
-it may be cheaper than building new

Reasons to build a new sanctuary
-a remodel of the old one may not be possible due to structural reasons
-a remodel of the old sanctuary may not give us enough seats
-a new sanctuary may be cheaper
-some were concerned that a remodel would "cobble up" the feel of the old sanctuary.
-the only way to return to a three service format is to build new with expandability.
-city fire codes may make current sanctuary remodel impossible.

The architect is reviewing the situation and will return with some ideas.

4. A report was provided on the construction at the Christian church on 7 highway in Blue Springs. We thought they were building a sanctuary, they are not. It is all education space. An interesting side note is that almost the entire job, including steel beam placement has been done by volunteers.

5. Everett's Restaurant. A report was made indicating that several of our leaders have toured the building. Word on the street is that it is held by the FDIC and will sell for about $500,000. I hate to miss it at that price, but it is not in very good condition and would take lots of money to get back into shape. Although having the frontage on 291 and the 70 parking spaces would be nice, we have other priorities which include expanded parking on our site and more sanctuary space.

These are good problems to have. Big challenges related to our continued ability to connect people to Jesus Christ. Please keep your church in your prayers. Exciting times.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2009

where ever

Wherever. Where ever. Anywhere. No matter where you are. God is there. You may not be aware that He is there, but He is. Your feelings of being alone do not change or define reality, and the reality is that God is with you. There is no place that you can go where God is not.

The moment we become aware of this, our outlook changes. Where are you? Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Raytown, Blue Springs, Jackson Hole, San Jose, St. Louis, San Diego, Mexico, France, in despair, in self-pity, in depression, in a state of wonder, Springfield, Washington D.C., Vermont, Russia, Jamaica, Lee's Summit. You get the point. There is no place where you can go where God is not. You may not feel Him but he is there.

As I become aware of this truth, Truth, I realize that my situation is different. My lot has improved, my circumstances have changed, just by my awareness of His presence. If God is with me, then I have hope. If God is with me, He cares.

Everywhere is His home. My place of employment is His abode. He sits as king over the world. That knowledge makes it better, much better. We are not alone. I am not alone.

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

your best day

Your best day is today. This is your opportunity.

Yesterday is gone. Kaput. Over. History. Sure you are older, sure you can't run as fast as you used to or hit the ball as far as you used to. But today is your day, your chance, and it is the only one that you may have. Tomorrow is not promised to us.

Pick up the bat and step into the box. Get your licks in the game for Jesus.

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

10:10 service

I think many of you know this.

For a number of reasons, 10:10 has been our most popular service. It is the service that attracts the most visitors. It is the service that has been responsible for most of our growth. Consequently it has become full and stayed full over the years. We have dealt with this in a number of ways. First we split the contemporary from 9:45 into 9:05 and 10:10. Then we finished and opened the balcony. They we begged people to go to 9:05 and 11:15. We set chairs up in the front.

I want to thank all of you who have helped make room for others by moving to other services. Sunday the attendance was 8:00=101; 9:05 =377; 10:10=478; 11:15=339. You can see that you have done a great job of spreading out into the adjoining worship hours. Thank you.

In a few weeks, 4-6 weeks, we are not exactly sure due to some logistical issues that we are working on, we will be opening up a casual alternative in the gym at 10:10. Clay will lead the welcome, preliminaries and prayers. Music will be live, and very similar to what is in the sanctuary. The sermon will be electronically fed into the gym from the sanctuary. The equipment to do this is being installed this week, and it is some pretty cool stuff. When this service opens in the gym at 10:10, it will be almost identical to what is in the sanctuary except that we expect it to have a more casual feel. Coffee, pop, and donuts are welcome. Room to stand in the back and stretch if you like. Move your chair back for more leg room if you need to.

We are also beginning work on plans to expand our sanctuary. I saw a very cool plan the other day that was very exciting and less expensive than a new sanctuary. If all goes well, we may be looking to move forward later this year. That means that 10:10 in the gym would have an end date, and would not be forever.

Having said that, we are hopeful that in the ongoing effort to make room in our sanctuary at 10:10, many of you will consider trying the service in the gym. In fact, we need your help to name the service. Do you have any ideas? Someone suggested the "casual corner." Other suggestions included, "the branch," "the catacombs," and the "extension." None of the staff involved in the name search were really happy with any of the suggestions. Do you have an idea for a name for "10:10 in the gym?"

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

Monday, January 19, 2009

meeting tonight at 7

Dream Team meeting [Church Council] meets once per quarter. The purpose of the meeting is to help launch ministry. Here is the format:

  • 5 mins on vision from the pastor
  • short presentation of financials
  • the group splits up into three groups
nurturing or growing
[people with new ideas for ministries bring them to the three small groups and the groups try to help them assess their readiness for launch. Three questions are asked. 1. does it fit our mission. 2. who will do the ministry? 3. how will it be paid for? If the ministry can answer all three questions, it comes back to the large group for consensus.]
  • Large group meeting on consensus.
  • Closing prayer

Specific items on the agenda for tonight's meeting include the adoption of budget for 2009 and ministry ideas related to parking and sanctuary seating issues. Plus any other ideas that folks may bring that God has laid on their hearts.

Everyone is welcome to attend. 7pm in the Library.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2009


They are not all like me. They are all not like you. Red, yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight.

Even the variety found among Christians is staggering. Pentecostals shout hallelujah. Amish resist "progress." Greek and Russian orthodox offer liturgy. Salvation Army [which is a church] helps the poor. Bible churches, missionary churches, evangelistic churches, reformed churches. Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterian, Church of Christ, who gets to say which one is right?

Only Jesus gets to separate the sheep from the goats. We don't get to do it. There is only one Holy Spirit and it isn't you and it isn't me.

If we spent as much time caring, loving, forgiving and reaching out in the name of Jesus as some folks do tearing others down, the world would be a much better place.

I can do nothing about what others do. But thank God, I can do something about what I do. Life is short and God is good. I think people are tired of constantly hearing about who the good ones and the bad ones are. Let's work together to bring the kingdom, and let God decide who gets to get in.

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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

holy ground

The other day I ate lunch at the holy ground restaurant. Actually it was less the place and more the company. I hope that you have people in your life that just bless you. People that osmose the Holy Spirit when you are around them. I had such a lunch this week. I was full and not with food.

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

Friday, January 16, 2009

car wreck

The modest side of me hesitates to tell this story, but I am just so dog gone proud of him, I have to tell you.

Yesterday is the first day of track practice. After months of little or no exercise, Scott and his buddies are running wind sprints. Even their 17 year old bodies are exhausted. Scott and a friend get in their cars to come over to our house. It is about 4:45 pm. They are driving west on 40 highway. Over near the bus barn, Scott's friend hits a patch of gravel. One wheel drops off of the pavement. He over corrects. His car begins to slide sideways. Spinning across both lanes of traffic, the car hit a fence, a tree and a pole.

Scott slams on the brakes to avoid his friend's car. He pulls to a stop and runs to his friend. The front end of the car is totally crushed and a fire has started in the engine compartment. Scott yanks the door open. His friend is unconscious. He unlocks the seat belt and pulls him out. The friend is not wearing a shirt because they were so hot from running track. Now in the 10 degree weather, he comes to. Scott helps him away from the car and puts his jacket on his friend.

Other drivers stop and cover the very cold boy up with blankets. Scott goes back to the car and gets his friend's personal things out of the vehicle. Police are coming, fire equipment is coming, the car is burning, 40 highway is shut down.

The ambulance takes the friend to Centerpoint. Scott gives his statement to the police and calls his family. We meet him up at the hospital.

Our prayers were answered. The boy is not going to stay overnight. Just a concussion. No tickets were issued. It was just an accident.

Mom and Daddy Brinkman are so proud of Scott. I think we will have a little different feel when we look at him for a while. I know his friend will.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2009


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1:2-3

Challenge. It is not our favorite part of life. Or is it? I think we like a challenge as long as it is not too great, and as long as we don't have too many, too often. Sometimes we don't like our lives to be disrupted by too many challenges at once, or any challenge at all. We are creatures of comfort and we like to have it good, whenever we can. This is human nature.

However, some of the greatest moments of life revolve around challenge. Finally receiving a diploma. Facing an illness. Resolving a conflict. Achieving a goal. Climbing a mountain. Pursuing a dream. Standing up to impossible odds and overcoming. Entering the wilderness and coming out on the other side.

The world is filled with folks who quit college and regret it. Who shrank back from an opportunity and missed their potential. Who refused to try, to go the second mile, and now sit in the recliner of mediocrity wondering why greatness has passed them by.

We have challenges. Individually, and as a church. They make me nervous. Sometimes I want to stick my head in the sand. However, let us remember the words of James and count it all joy, because God is working his work within us. God has entrusted us with some great opportunities. It is an honor to pursue great dreams for Him.

At least our life together isn't boring. Thank God for exciting times.

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

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

parking lot

Ok, here we go. I heard more yesterday about the problems of last Sunday.

Sunday we had several families that could not find a place to park. No spaces were available in our lot. They left the property and did not go to church. Some of them called in, and they were really wishing that they could have been in church. We need to build a new parking lot, now.

I do not want us to borrow the money. Based on what we currently have available, we are going to be about $100,000 short. I have already heard from two families, one can give $5,000 and one can give $10,000.

Many of you have nothing extra to give and that is fine. God will provide. However, I am asking you, if you are able to help us financially with this parking lot to do so. We must get moving on it as soon as possible.

Short term overflow will be at the cancer center. Please park up there and ride the shuttle down if at all possible. That will begin this Sunday, January 18th.

I am sorry to use this blog to solicit financial donations, but this is important. We must have more parking if we are going to continue to fulfill our mission of connecting people to Jesus Christ.

I want to finish with a comment and a p.s. that was posted yesterday by one of you: "This isn't my church, this isn't your church, this isn't Jeff's church. This is Jesus Christ's church. We need to make room because Jesus hasn't finished His work at Woods Chapel. I'll park at Everetts and walk. I'll carpool with friends. I'll sit on the stage in the choir seats. I'll go to services in the gym. I love the contemporary services but I'll come at 8am. I'll cut something selfish out of the budget to pledge to another capital drive. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that each and every person that God brings to the Woods Chapel parking lot comes in, is comfortable and is connected to His Son." ps. Will You?

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

yesterday's sermon, part 2

DT commented on yesterday's post:

8:45 Sunday - I park in a spot by the recycling bins. There is already a car next to me and several cars out in the "back 40". 10:25 Sunday - Jim gives us a ride on the shuttle in a full parking lot to my car. We need a new parking lot. Sermons about taking up Christ's cross, about sacrifice, about fulfilling our potential are as important (if not more important) than the basic stuff. Some of us may not like to hear them, but we NEED to hear them. God is calling us to follow Him, we need to listen.

I found out on Monday that Sunday was a tough day. Out of bulletins, out of classroom space, 65 in attendance in the marriage class, 40 in the new connections class. Every single parking space full. Some people could not park so they went home, and they were not happy about it.

The cross, grace, how we treat each other, spiritual fruit, and such are all the cornerstones of faith. I am always glad to preach on them.

It is the application that is tough to talk about. Not simply the being nice to each other, but the kind of talk that requires sacrifice. Do we really want to sacrifice?

Let me tell you some of what I hear on occaision: "I have given enough money, I should have my own parking spot." "I have attended here a long time, this is my church, and I keep being asked to make room for others." "I have a place I like to sit and I get here early so that I can sit there." "Don't ask me to attend a different service."

Folks, I am not even sure what to say when I hear such comments. If Jesus died on the cross for us, shouldn't we be willing to change? To sacrifice? To take up a cross? Maybe that means parking further away. Maybe that means sitting on the very front row. Maybe that means giving 10% or more, and gladly.

Our willingness to make sacrifices is going to have a lot to say about the kind of people that we are, and the kind of people that we attract. But I want to be clear, if we do not continue to sacrifice to make more room for others, we will not be attracting any more folks.

We had over 500 people at the 1010 service on Sunday, that is a record for a non-special day. How will we continue to reach new folks if they have no place to park and they have to be escorted all the way down to the very front row to sit. How would you feel if you were new and that happened to you?

The PTA, The Water buffaloes, and most organizations exist for the benefit of their members. You join, you pay the dues, you get the benefits. The church is not like that. The church is the only organization on earth that exists for the benefit of those who are not it's members. If we are not sacrificing so that others can come to faith in Jesus Christ, maybe we should change our name.

Oh sorry about that, didn't mean to be so direct, but hey, let's remember who we are and whose we are.

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

Monday, January 12, 2009

yesterday's sermon

I enjoyed yesterday. Just the simple basic stuff of the Christian faith. It is a safe and comfortable thing anytime I can preach the basic stuff. It is good stuff and it's stuff that we all need to hear.

Contrast yesterday with when I have to talk with the congregation about needing a new parking lot, or the need to support a particular program. Sermons about sacrifice. Sermons about missions and taking up the cross. Making room for others, reaching people. Fulfilling our potential. All of those kinds of sermons make me nervous, because I know that there are people that don't like to hear them. I know I shouldn't worry about that, but I do, I just don't like making people unhappy.

So, yesterday was fun, yesterday was good. And by the way, we do need to build a parking lot.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2009

to dream

To dream. To dream. To dream is to live beyond one's self. It is to enter the abode of God. To dream is to leave the comfort of today and reach into the realm of possibility. It is to ask tomorrow what might be. Dreamers leave comfortable homes and warm blankets and set out on long journeys. Along the way they learn about who they are, they find the joy of helping others and they start to become that which they would otherwise have never been.

To dream is to invite stress. It is to open the door and welcome anxiety. It is to take on the responsibility for the impossible.

To dream is to discover who we were created to be. It is to discern the mind of the Almighty. Some people talk about God. Those who follow God's dreams, discover the place where He lives.

Don't be afraid to dream God's dreams, be afraid not to.

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

Saturday, January 10, 2009

a chance encounter

We were getting ready to leave the restaurant. We saw them waiting in line for a table. Long line at a busy place. We asked them to join us. Delightful couple. We didn't mean to take over their evening together, but we ended up sitting with them for an hour.

That is how friends are made. Spending time with people. Listening, laughing, telling stories. Proverbs says "if a man would have friends, he must show himself to be friendly." Have you reached out to someone lately? A stranger is just a friend that you have not yet met.

Bonds of caring are invaluable forces that connect us to one another in ways that marvel the human heart and mind.

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

Friday, January 9, 2009


Do you ever feel a little bit crazy? Not schizophrenic, just a little bit crazy. Wrong thoughts, strange thoughts, bad reactions, not thinking, wacky stuff. I shouldn't admit to being a little bit crazy, but I think that everyone is from time to time. Or, maybe I am the only one. Well, surely there are others, aren't there? uh, uh, I am worried.

Jamie Lee Curtis did an interview for AARP magazine last year when she turned 50. Yes, I get the AARP magazine, and yes, I read it. That all by itself makes me a little bit crazy.

Anyway, Jamie Lee Curtis said in the interview that one of the things that she liked about turning 50 was, "I am not as crazy as I used to be." Somehow, I related to that thought. I am not quite as worried, not quite as insistent, not so reactive or over reactive. I am more steady and stable at 50. Usually.

It is actually nice to look at problems and not be so worried about them. Sometimes they make me crazy, but not so much as they used to.

Well, none of this is making any sense. I am starting to sound a bit...........

I wish you a day of peace and joy and relaxation in the face of challenge. No craziness for you or me today.

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

Thursday, January 8, 2009


The story as told, is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

There are many ways to get from Lee's Summit to the Plaza. None of them are good. A new driver, a night appointment and unfamiliar roads can combine for a less than desirable evening.

He was done with his business and started for home. The mapquest map was left at home, all that he had to go on was the memory of what his father had explained about getting in and out of the Plaza.

It was dark. He made a wrong turn. He drove in the direction that seemed right to him. Pretty soon he realized that he was lost. He had never seen a neighborhood like this. Never seen houses like this. Never heard of the street names. He had lost all sense of whether he was going north, south, east or west. We have all been there. Tears filled his eyes. Finally, he did what he should have done long ago. He called his father.

The calming voice of his father soothed him immediately. "Tell me the name of the streets," his father asked. Since the father had been on these roads many times before, he was able to talk the young man through the dark night. For ten minutes the father stayed on the phone with him, explaining what roads should be coming up, and when to turn. Finally the young man broke into familiar territory and the fear subsided. Fifteen minutes later, he was safe at home.

Unfamiliar territory and the dark of night can throw a person into a state of panic and fear. Thank God there is someone upon whom we can call that knows the way. There is someone who will stay with us. Someone to guide us home. We have someone to depend upon.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. It doesn't hurt to ask for directions either.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Last night I visited with a person who has a generous spirit. This is not something that is based on the amount of money that you have, it is based on what is going on in your heart. When we finally love God more than we love "stuff" we begin to find the joy of giving it away.

As a young person, I did not understand this. I thought I was finding joy in acquiring things like TV's cars and the like. As I have grow older, I am learning from other wonderful, generous people, that the real joy in life is found when we are giving and generous.

Having a bad day? Go donate your time to a worthy cause. Go mentor a young person or a neighbor that is in trouble. Make a contribution to the landscape fund at church or some other cause that you love. The joy of generosity will light you up. It is addictive and contagious.

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Let's put sports in perspective

Last night I was watching the Fiesta bowl. Texas vs Ohio State. Maybe you did not have a dog in this hunt, but lots of people in Texas and Ohio did. Much like MU was playing KU.

With five minutes left in the first half, one of the Ohio State players #29 was injured in a kick return. He went down, and did not move. After a ten minute delay, he finally left on a motorized stretcher. Many prayers were answered, and a nervous moment was ended.

I wondered during the delay. What if he is paralyzed for life? If they could make a bargain with God, would the Texas fans agree to lose the game if the player from Ohio State could be healed? Think about that. "Ok, we will lose the game if God will heal the player from the other team." Does the value of the life long health of a young man finally remind us that there are more important things than whether or not our team wins?

This is God's world, it does not belong to Texas, Ohio State, MU, KU, K State Nebraska Corn huskers, etc. We need to enjoy football for what it is. A game. The human beings that play the game are far more important than who wins or loses the game.

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

Monday, January 5, 2009


Valleys. We all have them. Those odd times of life that just seem so discouraging. In my younger days, I was debilitated by them. They frightened me and disrupted the equilibrium of my life. I would always pray and ask God to take the valley away.

Well, I am a bit older now and I face valleys a little differently. I have learned that they are coming. They just are. They are going to be here. Things could be going fine, no problems, all is well, and here comes that feeling of being in a valley. When I remember that they are just a part of living, they don't bother me as much as they used too.

Another thing that I have learned about valleys is that they do not stay around for ever. If I just hang on and trust God, and keep doing the right things, the blues of the valley will eventually leave.

Probably the greatest thing that I have learned about valleys is that we are not alone in the valley. I may feel deserted in the valley, but God is with us always. Yea thou I walk through the valley of the shadow, I will fear no evil for Thou art with me. God comforts us in the valleys.

If you are in a valley now, please take heart. They are just a part of life. It will not last forever, and God is with you in that valley. Stop by the church and spend some time in the chapel. Find a friend and share a hug.

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

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Daytime deer

Yesterday about noon I left the church. I had been catching up on some office stuff. Out the door and down the sidewalk, I headed for the car.

Whoa. I glanced up. There were 5 deer in the field just next to the church's fence. They were all looking at me. We had a stare down. I looked at them, they looked at me. Five good sized does. Finally they moved off to the north, behind the cancer center. I decided to follow.

I fired up the red car and drove down to Bolen Rd. Turning right, I could see them near the fence, across from where you turn to go into Blue Springs lake. I pulled over to the side of the road. I walked up the embankment to the fence. For five minutes, I watched them and they watched me. We were 50 yards apart. I don't know that I have been that close to a deer since I was a kid and we fed them in the petting zoo.

It seemed like an eternity. 51 year old man stares down five deer. Watching them somehow pulled me out of my worries and into God's world. They were beautiful, and so so free. Finally a truck with a dog in the bed came out of Blue Springs Lake. The dog barked of course, and the deer took off. Prancing gracefully to the east, they bounded over two fences with ease. Off into the forest they went.

I went back to the car and sat down. Just the 10 minute deer hunt had been enough to calm my soul. I see deer almost every morning behind the church, but I have never seen them in the middle of the day before. Just thinking of it now, makes me feel God's peace.

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

Saturday, January 3, 2009

loving you, loving me

A son announced to his parents that he has found the girl of his dreams.
The mother asked her son, "why does the girl love you?"
The son answered, "mom, she sees me as funny, caring, and handsome."
The mother continued, "so son, what do you love about her?"
The son answered, "well, uh, she sees me as funny, caring, and handsome."

Why do we love one another? Why do I love you? Is it because you love me? Is that all that there is between us, is that you make me feel good about myself? That is not a very good foundation for a relationship. It is like two dominoes holding each other up.

While we do need to lean on each other from time to time, the best relationships are based on admiration, caring, and common goals. I enter the relationship as a whole person, I do not need you to complete me. Only God completes me. I do not give you God's place in my life. I am whole in Him. Now being whole, I can enter into a relationship with you and really care about you because I am not trying to get anything from you. My joy is that you find joy, my satisfaction is found in your fulfillment.

Imagine what happens in our human relationships when we are no longer looking for fulfillment through those we "love" but instead, we begin our day as whole people in Christ, and reach out to others in His love.

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

Friday, January 2, 2009

my power

Ouch. Someone hurt my feelings. I did not think that they had, but after I mulled over what they had said to me, I became hurt and angry.

I sulked and whined and complained to myself. I commiserated with misery. How could they say those things.

Now, I am a true believer in taking criticism to heart. Constructive or otherwise, we can learn a lot from what people are telling us about ourselves. Healthy people listen to, and think about what others are saying. If their words are true, then we work on changing. If they are not true, what do we do?

Well, I became defensive. I didn't say anything to anyone, but I let it upset me. For about 8 hours. Eight hours wasted in self pity. Then I had a break through.

I remembered that I had read somewhere, "if you are angry, the problem is you." I got to thinking about this. We cannot give people enough power over us that they can color our moods. We have to see the good. Immediately my disposition changed. I stopped thinking about my hurt and began to think about why I was reacting this way.

Somehow, my insecurities had been allowed to take over. I started to fight back against the programming in my brain: why should I be angry? God loves me. Why should I be wounded? They didn't mean anything. What is the long term harm of this? Nothing. Do they really understand what I am trying to do? I don't think so.

I regained my composure and the placement of my brain and heart in the world. I took control of my feelings. I rested in God's love. We have the keys to the kingdom. Whatever we bind, will be bound and whatever we loose, will be loosed. We can choose to hold onto life's hurts, or we can let them go. Every chance that you get, let them go. Overcome evil with good. [when I say evil, I don't mean the people or what they said, I mean our need to react and overreact.] Over come that evil with good.

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

Thursday, January 1, 2009

family year end notes

I have noticed that a lot of folks write Christmas and year end notes about what their family did in the previous year. It just kind of helps people stay up to date with the family if they want to. Since many of you know a lot about me, but little about my family, I thought I would spend a few moments as the year ends and bring you up to date on who they are and what they are doing.

I will start with our oldest, Allison or Alli who is the one on the right in the picture. Alli is a junior at the University of Central MO in Warrensburg. She is in the nursing program. This year she turned 21, a great milestone for her young life. When she is in town she works as a server at the Lakewood Oaks Gold Club restaurant.
Jennifer is 19. She is in the blue next to Alli. Jenny is a Sophomore at UCM in Warrensburg. Both girls are in the AOPi sorority. Jenny is studying in the med tech program. A med tech is the person at the hospital that does all of the lab work. Both girls are taking lots of difficult science classes. When home from college, Jenny works at Spin Pizza on Chipman Rd over by Jason's Deli and Kohl's.
Scott is 17. He is a senior at Blue Springs South. He has senioritis. He can't wait to get out of high school and go to college. He has been accepted at, and is planning to enter the engineering program at Pittsburg State in the fall of 2009. Scott works at Best Buy on 39th street and is a jumper on the school track team. If you noticed the helicopter in the picture, yes it is government surveillance on Scott. They pretty much follow him everywhere.
The woman on the left in the picture is Cathy, my wife and the kids momma. She has worked all year for PRA Intl. Pharmaceutical Research Associates, Intl. She is a CRA 2 and travels every week and monitors medical testing at hospitals all over the country. Since she is gone every week for four days, when she is home she likes to hang around the house and pretend like she lives there.
All four people in the picture above are awesome. Except that they are ornery and have a bad sense of humor. Other than that, there is not that much to report. It has been a good year. No complaints and many blessings. We thank God for your friendship during the past year.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.