Saturday, February 28, 2009

We are not going to cancel church

Isn't the snow pretty? there is a bunch of it too. However, the sermon is ready, the lot will be cleared and Woods Chapel Church will be open for business tomorrow as scheduled. I look forward to seeing all of you who can make it. There always seems to be a special blessing when folks make the extra effort to make it to the Lord's house. At any rate, we are, and will be open for business.

look, I'm a philosopher

The old eventually die. The young stand by and cry. The rest of us are stuck in the middle, and wonder why.

Why do we grow old? Where did my youth go? What happened to my knees? How do knees go bad anyway? Why do we yearn for 20 years ago, when it didn't feel like Camelot to us back then?

How are children born? Why do they grow up. We want them to, but then again, sometimes we wish they were 10 years old again.

With all of these questions, there must be something good. Yes, at the end of my questions, I rest. I find love. When I find love, I find God. I ask my questions, I get them out of my system, and I remember the good. In every year, in every age, there has been good. Good times, good memories, good growth. Friends, family, caring, love.

There is a stream that runs through our lives. It is pure and clear and clean. It washes over the rocky times and makes its way toward the sea. The goodness of our lives will all find its way to the ocean of God's love.

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

Friday, February 27, 2009


I was reading a bit of Richard Foster yesterday..........

"In the beginning, we are indeed the subject and the center of our prayers. But in God's time and in God's way a revolution takes place in our heart. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, there is a shift in our center of gravity. We pass from thinking of God as part of our life to the realization that we are part of His life. Wondrously and mysteriously God moves from the periphery of our prayer experience to the center. A conversion of the heart takes place, a transformation of the spirit."

In my own words: All of our prayers are selfish in the beginning. We are by nature, self consumed. We see God as being a part of our lives. Get that... God is a part of our lives....... we think that we are the important part, and lucky God gets to be a part of our life.

Little by little this changes. Imperceptibly we begin to be less self-consumed in prayer and more God centered. We shift a bit at a time from thinking that God is a part of our lives, to understanding that we are a part of His. Ah. The light comes on.

When I understand that I am a part of God's life, my prayers change. I am more centered in Him and focused on him. A spiritual transformation takes place.

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

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Seizing your divine moment

Seizing Your Divine Moment, a book by Erwin McManus.

"it is so much easier to choose to be invisible. O, there are other words for invisible- average, mediocre, normal, compliant, predictable, safe- and the list could go on and on...... The most important decisions of our lives will require us to forsake invisibility and risk becoming visible. Whenever you choose to seize a divine moment, you move from invisibility to visibility." p 132-133.

What is God calling you to do or be? I guess we really do not have the luxury of playing it safe or hiding behind our insecurities. The invitation of the Holy Spirit has shy, worried people peeking out of their caves to see what is going on. They hope that someone else will pick up the cause and fulfill God's purpose, but God's purpose is in them. In me, in you, in us. Rise up. Step out. Become visible. We can no longer stay hidden, for the call to fulfill God's purpose is irresistible.

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

Today is the first day of Lent. 40 days before Easter, set aside to consider the sufferings of Christ. I guess the early church felt that Good Friday alone was not enough time to think of Jesus' suffering, so we have the season of Lent.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The palms from last year's Palm Sunday are burned. The ashes are placed on the foreheads of the faithful in the shape of a cross. Palms to ashes. Joy to mourning. Lent is here.

Today is a most significant day to me. I think it all centers around the question that is asked when the ashes are put on.

Are you willing to repent of your sin and follow the way of the cross?
Then the sign of the cross upon your forehead marks you as a disciple of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The significance of this question to me is not based so much on the fact that I will ask it of many worshippers tonight, but that someone will ask it of me.

If you are not doing anything tonight, drop by the church between 6 and 730 for the soup supper and a time of prayer and Holy Communion.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

parking lot

In case you missed the meeting or had not heard, the new parking lot was approved at the All Church Conference last Thursday night. The new lot will provide about 100 new spaces and when opened, will put an end to off site parking at the Cancer Center until we need to park there again. :-) A contract with the construction company needs to be signed and then the plans will go to the city for approval. Contributions for the parking lot are requested.

Now, here is the really exciting thing to me. About 40 people showed up for the conference on a Thursday night. There were many questions, but when it was time to vote, the vote was unanimous. You are an awesome church family. You are so together and so committed to your purpose. I thank you for your determination and your willingness to inconvenience yourselves for the sake of the gospel. That reminds me of the definition of spiritual maturity: "the being willing to set aside one's comfort or personal preference for the sake of the mission."

Anyway, thank you for being you.

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

Monday, February 23, 2009


Grace = God's unmerited favor.
Grace = to love
Grace = God's actions before conversion.
Grace = God's action in justifying us.
Grace = God's action in making us sweeter.
Grace = the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the life of the believer.
Grace = to forgive another.
Grace = amazing.

Receive some. Give some away.

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

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I built a garage

Last night, I built a garage. All night long I built a garage in my dreams. Four separate times I entered the same dream of building a garage. It was a big garage. 30 x 40. It held cars and tools and furniture. Many people helped. It was like an Amish barn raising. It was fun. It was exciting, and it was not what I was expecting to be doing.

I have no idea what all of that means, but I do have a feeling that it means something.

Dreams are like that. They invite us to go places that we do not understand. God's dreams are like that. He invites us to think about things that are beyond our comprehension. We have glimpses of where he wants us to go, but there is so much information missing. We must keep an open mind, keep listening, and take one step at a time.

What are your dreams? What are God's dreams for you? Wouldn't it be nice to pursue them while we can?

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

Saturday, February 21, 2009

email and Hillcrest

I have a new email at home. It is we changed providers for cost and service reasons and so far it has turned out to be a good decision. Sorry to those of you who did not know about this. Email at church remains

Also, you may need to know that if you have swbell or one other email suffix which I cannot remember, you are currently not receiving email from the church. The church sends a bulk email every week to several thousand recipients. Every now and then, this causes one of the providers to treat us like spammers. We are not spammers!! If you have not received an email from church for a while, or if you sent something to a staff member and did not get a response, you may want to make a call. These are difficult problems to solve, but your fine WCC i.t. people are working on it.

Now for some good news:

Hillcrest transitional housing. A metro area ministry that provides short term housing for people that want to get back on their feet. If you have a job of any kind and will agree to the program, you have a place to live for free for six weeks. During that time they teach you how to budget, how to take care of yourself, and how to make better decisions. They help you pay your debts and get you ready to move into an apartment.

Hillcrest is a pretty "pure" operation. It is hard to find anything to complain about or be suspicious of. It is operated and supported by super people. I ran into one of their saints last night. They expect the people that they help to take the program seriously. They have a good track record. The testimonies of Hillcrest graduates will touch you. They are making a difference in the community, one person at a time.

In a world that is changing, that is providing more fear than security, thank God for places like Hillcrest.

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

Friday, February 20, 2009

smile power

It takes less muscles to smile than to frown. So I have heard it said. Yet, everywhere I go, I see people who will not look you in the eye. They walk right past with a scowl on their face. Maybe they don't like me, but how can that be? They don't even know me. I know it is not about me, they are just unhappy. How can that be? Is their life so bad?

There is great power in a smile. You can set the tone of a meeting. You can turn the course of a person's day. Your little smile can bring such joy. Share it. Smile power. Give it away.

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

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Several have asked about this....I hope to touch on it on Sunday, but in case you can't wait, or won't be there:

Cremation………….in ancient times, pagan cultures burned their dead. Picture the Viking ship, set on fire, pushed out to sea with the deceased ascending to Valhalla. Or the native American funeral pyre.

Since Christianity teaches a resurrection, and since the early Christians needed to be different than the pagans, many early Christians shunned cremation. They believed that God simply needed our bodies for the resurrection. Hence the rise of grave yards and the collection of bodies in catacombs. This theory was conveniently ignored when there were too many people to bury, like after a big battle or during the times of plague.

Early Christians wanted to help God out by making sure that he could find the bodies of their loved ones. Good thing, what would God do without our help in such matters?

Fact of the matter is, that given enough time, even bones return to the elements. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Somehow God is going to be able to raise us to new life, whether we were buried in the ground, cremated or what about the poor folks who were burned to death in the World Trade Center. What about people that are devoured by sharks. Do they not get to go to heaven because God can't find their bodies?

The point is, to be against cremation is to say, “oh, God really needs a physical body, or he can’t raise us.” Kind of silly. Limits God to the abilities of a human. Brings him down to a level that humans can understand and control. Makes the almighty manageable.

I would remind us that the soul is the part that lives on. The old body is shed at death, and to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

Don't worry about your loved ones that were cremated. If God can make us from a 2 cell beginning, then he will certainly be able to reconstitute us if he needs to when the time is right.

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

buried in my brain

Buried in our brains are amazing things that we don't even remember.

The other day I was thinking about the upcoming sermon series for lent which is entitled, "about a loving God." I was thinking, what do you say about a loving God. Well, one of the answers that I want to talk about is, "what does it mean to love yourself." Then my brain went like this: love self, love others, love God. A nice quaint sermon outline. And I was whisked away to a part of my brain that I have not accessed for years.

I was in seminary. I was 25 years old. I was supposed to preach and was pretty excited about my sermon outline, love self, love others, love God. My pastor laughed at my outline and said, son, everyone has given that sermon. He did not mean any harm. He was a good man. Tall and slender, David was nearing retirement. He walked with a limp because he had been wounded during WW2 in the battle of the bulge. He was a war hero who came home and went into the ministry.

David hooked me up with one of his friends named Cal McCarter. Cal was the pastor at the Honor Heights UMC in Muskogee. One Sunday I was supposed to fill in for Cal as he was out of the pulpit. I don't remember what the sermon was about, some youthful, guilt laden collection of enthusiasm I am sure. What I do remember about driving to Muskogee and back that day is that it was turtle time of the year. For some reason, along this one stretch of highway, hundreds of turtles were crossing the road. Well, as you can imagine, not all of them crossed. It was dodge the turtle, turtle hockey, and turtle soup.

Oh yes, back to another part of my brain. What will the sermons be about this lent? About a loving God. What would you like to hear about a loving God?

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


We tend to be blind to our own faults and shortcomings. We can see the splinter in the other person's eye, but somehow miss the board in our own eye. We have lived with the board for so long that we don't even notice that it is there. We mount the white horse and pull our swords going out to slay evil and do justice in the name of the Lord, all the while we have a board hanging out of our eye.

One person suffers because they worry all the time about what they have done wrong. Even when no one else is offended, they worry themselves sick because they don't want to hurt someone else.

Another person plows through life like a bull in the china shop. They trample and crush anyone that gets in their way and seem to be deaf to the calls of pain from those whose body parts are left behind.

Do you have a board in your eye? We all do. Can you see yours? Are you at least aware enough of your own board that you wade carefully into the situations that life brings?

Each day we are gifted with the opportunity to care about others. Let's take care not to hurt the very ones that God has given us to love.

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

Monday, February 16, 2009

in the night

The strangest things happen in the night. You are coming to see me this week. I did not think about you at all yesterday. But this morning, you are in my dream. My dream wakes me up. I can't go back to sleep. I am overwhelmed with a feeling that I need to help you. A lot of people as for help. Some I can help, some I cannot. Sometimes the best thing for someone is to help them learn to solve their own problems. Anyway, helping you is all that I have thought about since I awoke. My mind is flooded with ideas about how I can help you, these ideas were not in my brain yesterday, but they are streaming in this morning from somewhere.

I am not sure I have felt anything like this for a long time. It is almost like I don't get a real choice in this matter, God has already said, I must help you. I guess that is a good thing, but it doesn't really matter what I think because I am going to help you every way that I can.

How does God talk to us? I don't know how to explain it. I don't want to sound like I always hear his voice, I don't. But I would sure suggest that you all pray before you go to bed, because strange things can happen in the night.

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

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Trust in God

Trust in God. What does that mean? I wonder if we are the best at trusting God when we don't need to? Consider two pictures:

Everything is good. I am happy, fat and sassy. Everyone loves me. I can trust God with my life.

Everything is goofed up. My friends are losing their jobs. The stock market is down, my kids are nervous, no one knows what the future will hold. We should trust God in these times, but it is so difficult.

Well, this is silly. If there is ever a time to trust God, it is when things are goofy. It's like we say we are trusting in God, but really, we are just trusting in circumstances.

Have you ever jumped into a mosh pit? I never have, but you had better be sure that the people there are going to catch you. Have you ever played the trust game where you stand in the middle of a circle, close your eyes and lean over, trusting that the others in the circle will keep you upright? In both circumstances you are totally dependent upon others.

Maybe one benefit of difficult times is that we can really learn to trust in God. Maybe we can stop worrying about everything and trust him. Trust. Rest. Relax. God is good.

Man, we should be having really good prayers right now. Are yours better? Is tribulation having its work in you? Trust God.

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

Saturday, February 14, 2009

churches can hurt

I keep running into people who have been hurt by churches. Things that a pastor or a leader said to them. Lack of a welcome. A large dose of guilt. By far, the greatest infraction that I see repeated over and over again in the stories of pain, are instances of judgement. People were hurt because they were excluded or judged by someone at their church.

I hope that you can see how much it hurts others when we measure, judge or condemn them. I hope that we can see that the only people that Jesus crushed were the religious hypocrites who judged others. Jesus spread love.

God's love is big and broad and wide. I heard someone say the other day that God does not draw lines of separation, He draws circles that take people in.

The church will never win people by judging them. If you see someone that you don't like, or you don't like what they are doing, love them. Reach out. Give them a dose of grace. That is the only medicine that will touch them. Judgement provides lasting pain. Grace is the gift that keeps on giving. Go heal someone.

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

Friday, February 13, 2009


Why does everything have to get so complicated. Love. Why do people disagree about issues of faith. Love. Things that we are supposed to agree on, we don't. Love. God is simple and clean and pure, and we just have a way of messing things up sometimes. Love. Maybe we have just forgotten the really important part. Love. It is a simple word that always seems to clear things up. Love. Whenever it is around, things seem to get back on track. Love. When things are going well, it is usually there, mixed inbetween everything, doing it's work. Love. God is Love. He is not belief, or knowledge or good works. Love.

Maybe if we mixed in a little more love, things would just go a little better.

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

Thursday, February 12, 2009

blessed to be a blessing

I talked to a delightful person the other day about how God has blessed their life. Sure the economy is off and people are afraid, but many people still have many blessings. If you have your health and people that love you, you are blessed.

Sometimes it is easy to be blessing consumers. We enjoy the good that comes our way and forget that it comes to us for a reason. We are blessed to be a blessing. What we have is not simply for our pleasure, although blessings do bring us pleasure. What we have is given to us so that we can give to others. Financially sure, but I am talking about so much more. A smile, a hug, words of encouragement. If you have joy, and if you are a Christian, you should have some joy, it is to be given away.

Look for the discouraged person. Look for the one whose soul is downcast. Seek them out. Hug them. Lift up their eyes. Help them to see the joy of living again. Amazingly when you share God's love with another person, you are surprisingly refilled. We are blessed to be a blessing.

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

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Blah. Do you ever feel "blah?" Not good, not bad, well, just blah. I hate to admit it because I know that someone will read this and tell me to see the good. And they should.

But the fact of the matter is, we all get the blahs sometimes. No problem. They come and they go. You just can't be exciting, fun or inspiring all of the time. No one can.

So pick up, go on, get busy, live your life. The blahs will go away.

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

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Yesterday I visited the Community Services League in Blue Springs. CSL is an organization that provides services to the needy in the community. Hence the name. They have a nice building near downtown Blue Springs that was secured for them by a super man who attends our church.

The operation is open for business 3-4 days per week. They help families and individuals based on income. Lately they have seen more new clients that have college degrees. They provide food, sometimes utility help, and more. They are very good at networking with other agencies.

One of the things that spoke to me while I was there was the rows and rows of bags of food lined up to go out the door. We tend to think that the needy live elsewhere, but CSL helps over 200 families a month that live in Blue Springs.

If you have been watching the news and feeling worried, there is something that you can do to make a difference. Clearly, there is a greater need for places like the CSL and our church's own Grace Place these days. If you have wanted to get more involved in missions, this would be a great time. It would provide a great stimulus to your life and to the lives of the needy.

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

Monday, February 9, 2009

On being a pastor

Yesterday I got a note from a pastor asking the question, "what do you do with someone who does not like you?" I gave a pretty simple answer: "love them, love them, love them.

I believe that. I think that it is true for all people, regardless of their employment field. We are asked to love others. Even those, especially those who do not love us. It is the way of Christ.

That does not mean that it is easy. Most people have cracks in their self-esteem. You add a couple of unkind words and it is very easy to feel discouraged. As a pastor, you are out doing the best you can to the best of your ability to lift up Jesus. Along the way, you collect some zingers. In a situation where you are making yourself vulnerable my bearing the depths of your soul, someone is looking for a piece of your hide.

It is not easy. But pastor friends, this does not absolve us from being kind. From forgiving others. We need to be very kind. We need to be very careful to respond as graciously as possible.

In time, all wounds heal. If Jesus bore a cross, pastors need to be ready to deal with a bit of rejection from time to time. Trust in the Lord, keep your chin up, and have a cup of coffee with someone who loves you. They are out there.

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

Sunday, February 8, 2009

why people don't like cats

I am sure that there are many reasons why people do not like cats. Here is my latest reason:

Last night Lou the dog was out doing his thing. At around 9pm the dog wants in. I open the door to let him in and Tylor the cat runs outside.

Now you have to understand that Tylor and his sister "Princess Kiki" are "inside" cats. They do not have front claws and they have never been outside. Until now. Tylor doesn't just step out, he bolts. He runs to the corner of the yard where the mums and tomatoes grow. I am trying to follow him, but it is pitch black and my eyes have not adjusted yet. Back and forth he runs along the fence line with me in hot pursuit. About the time I have him cornered, he takes off in the other direction. Oh. Did I mention that I just got out of the shower and I am only wearing a bath towel?

The cat is making angry noises. So am I. I am also praying that the neighbors do not look outside. However this ends, it is not going to be good for that darned cat.

Now, I have him. He curls up in that, "ok, I give up" posture. I reach down to grab him, but remember, it is dark. I do not see the upside down tomato cages until one of the cage legs pokes me in the face.

This cat is going to die. Slowly. Now my feet are dirty, my pride is hurt and I am bleeding from just below my left eye.

I give up. Fine, you stupid cat. Stay out all night. I don't care. Maybe one of the local hawks will have you for dinner. I go to the screen door and walk in. He takes this opportunity to come to the door and yowl. I let him in. He immediately runs under the chair. He knows that if I catch him in the next ten minutes, he is a dead cat.

He better not try to sleep on my lap for a very long time.

That is why people don't like cats.

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

Saturday, February 7, 2009


I had a great meeting this week with a man who has been attending our church for a couple of years. He described himself as a bit of a cynic early on. He said that when he started attending our church, he was looking for a reason to quit. Other places that he had been worshipping, he had questions about organization and finances that no one would answer. [that is never a good sign]

In the connecting class at WCC, he asked some financial questions. The leader said that next week she would get him a budget. The next Sunday, that budget was in his hands. Today, this man is sold on Woods Chapel, a member, and getting more involved.

Honesty is the best policy. Full disclosure is the only reasonable approach for a church to take. It you want people to love and support your organization, it must be managed in a trustworthy fashion. It must stand the light of day. People should be allowed to know what is happening behind the scenes and what they find must build trust.

Here is a link to some of our policies on full disclosure:

If you ever have any questions, about anything, just ask.

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

Friday, February 6, 2009

name of the book

Someone asked in a comment, the name of the book that Lions Den Man was referring to in Wednesday's post. The book is:

The Velvet Elvis
Rob Bell


He walked across the restaurant and stopped at our table.

Jeff? Jeff Brinkman is that you?

Yes it's me.

I am ____ _______. We were in boy scouts together.

He then began to relate to me several stories from 1969 that I barely remember. I was 12. He was 11. 40 years later, he looks across the room at a restaurant and recognized someone that he has not see once since then.

How can that happen? But it did. I have his name, phone number and occupation. We are going to get together and catch up. I have not seen this guy for 40 years. I would never have recognized him. I have an interesting feeling about this, that there is a reason for this meeting.

I also wonder if I have kept my youthful looks. I still look like I am 12. Ha!

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

Thursday, February 5, 2009


questions and answers. We all have questions and most of us want answers. It is the way of Western Christian thinking. We think that we should have all the answers. A good number of shallow theological systems have been created in an attempt to provide answers. Just think this, this and this, and then you are on the right track......... really?

Here is my question: if we could find all the answers, what would be the need for faith? Where would trust come into play? What happens to the I-Thou relationship if I know everything about you-Thou? What of the sense of mystery? What happens to worship if I know everything about you O God?

I guess that is more than one question. We need to come to grips with the fact that we don't know it all and we are not going to know it all. We see through a glass darkly. Faith means trusting God when we don't understand. A life of faith is based on the partial revelation of God. We just are not going to know it all in this earth. And there is a goodness to that. A happiness. A joy. A resting in a God who is greater than I am.

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

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

walking with a limp

This book I started reading the other day is loaded with great questions and thought provoking ideas.

Here are a few to ponder:

Where is there death in my life?
Where am I dying because of the decisions I’ve made?

He goes on to ask:

What is God up to here, now?
What in the world is God doing today?
How should we (I) respond?

I believe the writer’s hope is that the reader will evaluate their life and way of thinking. “Get off auto pilot”, “get out of the routine”, “step out of their comfort zone”, “think outside of the box” and look for a challenge.

He goes on to tell of the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel and how, in the end, Jacob is left tired, exhausted and leaves walking with a limp. His point, “Some people have no limp, because they haven’t wrestled. But the ones limping have had an experience with the living God.”

Grace is just the beginning of our walk. We should find comfort in knowing it is always there, but not so much that it keeps us from looking for a good wrestling match and walking with a limp at times.

Jeff will be back tomorrow.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Who is an american?

I cannot read most mass emails. I don't have time. Someone sent me this. I read it, and I liked the message. So, here you go.

To Kill an American.

You probably missed this in the rush of news, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So an Australian dentist wrote an editorial the following day to let everyone know what an American is. So they would know when they found one. (Good one, mate!!!!) '

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan. An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navajo, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan.The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness..

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country! As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan .

The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America . Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It's been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

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

Monday, February 2, 2009


Holiness. A scary word to some. Including myself. From my youth this word has reminded me that I am not good enough. I liked to dance and I listened to the wrong music.

I will have to find this quote, but I was reading last week and the author mentioned that holiness is simply learning to live a life void of self. "To give one's self away for the sake of Christ, to a world in need."

I love that idea, because I can see you all doing it, and I can see it happening in myself as well. It is a goal that we can pursue. It holds no guilt, just an invitation to live a caring Christian life in a manner that is relevant to the world around us.

Find some way to live outside of yourself today. Find some way to give your self away.

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

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thou Shall not steal.

I often meet people that attend other churches. People that I think are awesome. I want to steal them, but we should not.

When people visit Woods Chapel from other churches, I make an effort to leave them alone. Some of them go back from whence they came. Others stick around. If they stick around long enough, we have no option but to care about them.

I hate it that other churches sometimes lose folks to us. We have lost some folks to other churches as well. I talked to a Presbyterian last night that I would love to steal, but I cannot. It is wrong. Every church is good. We want every church to succeed.

If you attend Woods Chapel, I want to you keep attending here. We need you. But we are not the only church. I want you all to know that I love you regardless of where you go to church. If you like another church and another pastor better, that is great. I am glad that we are both in the kingdom.

Let's celebrate every Christian church. They are winning people to Jesus Christ.

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