Tuesday, March 31, 2009

closing ranks

When the armies of ancient times went off to battle, the soldiers stood side by side. Their shields protected themselves from the offense of the enemy, and their shields protected one another. The cumulative work of the shields also created an impenetrable barrier that kept everyone behind that wall of safety.

Who was kept safe by the first line's wall of shields? The second, third, and fourth line. The army's cooks, supply people and it's general or King. The wall of shields also protected the wounded. Those who had been injured on the front lines were able to crawl toward the back or be dragged out of harm's way by support staff. The front line simply "closed ranks" to cover the loss of a wounded man.

Christians must work together. When one is wounded by the battle of life, we cannot throw them away. We simply must close ranks, keep working on our mission, and give the wounded person time to heal. We do not throw away those who have had a moral failure. We do not excommunicate those who are broken. We protect them. If there is ever a time for grace to shine, it is when a brother or sister has fallen. They are not the enemy. The enemy still lies before us.

In our love, we must care for those who have been injured by life or by their own bad decisions. It is not our job to discuss their wounds, for there is still a battle going on. We must focus on our mission, part of which is loving one another.

So, the next time you see one of God's soldiers crawling off in pain, just love them. Bless them, help them. Support them. Wounded Christians need our care. They need God's grace. We can never judge them or throw them away. Grace closes ranks around the wounded.

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

Monday, March 30, 2009


Several asked for more information about the book that Lion's Den Man was referring to in his blog post the other day. The book is "The Shack" by William Young.

I awoke this morning at 3:45 with the doxology stuck in my head. The church that I visited yesterday did not even sing it.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.

Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Why was the doxology on my mind today? I am not sure, but given everything that could be on a person's mind, and given the things that sometimes consume my thoughts, thinking about the doxology is not a bad thing.

Sunday is Palm Sunday. A day when Jesus received praise. It was a good thing. It was a good day for him.

Praise God. What does that mean? Do we do this? How? I would like to think that every Christian would be able to answer this question in some meaningful way. I praise God when I..... [you fill in the rest.]

Maybe a good way to get started on the whole praise thing is to just let the doxology get stuck in your head.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Sing it a few times today. 3 times. 10 times. Think about the words.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Thanks again

Thanks again, Lions Den Man for posting the last three days. Your words as always are appreciated by me and many. Please note that at least one person would like you to post the name of the book on friendship.

Friendship. What a great topic. There are friends that you know you can always count on, but you don't talk to them that much. I worry sometimes that I am not doing enough to keep these relationships up. But, we shouldn't have to worry about friendships, should we?

There are friendships that are growing. I hope that all of you have new, budding friendship in your life. We should always be cultivating friendships. Always. A stranger is just a friend that you haven't yet got to know.

Friendship with God. It's the best. Talk about someone that always understands. Someone that is always there for you. I am so thankful to be a Christian. So thankful to have a friendship with God. So grateful for Jesus' words, "I no longer call you servants, but friends."

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

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Are your friendships built on expectancy or expectation?

I had bookmarked this page of a book I read recently so that I could come back to it one day.

The writer says that a friendship has an expectancy…when we see each other we expect certain things to happen like conversation, laughter etc. He explains, “Expectancy has no concrete definition; it is alive and dynamic and everything that emerges from our being together is a unique gift shared by no one else.” But when it changes to expectation……..”Suddenly, law has entered into the relationship. You are now expected to perform in a way that meets the expectation of another. The living friendship deteriorates into a dead thing with rules and requirements. It is no longer about you and me, but about what friends are supposed to do, or responsibilities of a good friend.” he continues…..“Responsibilities and expectations are the basis of guilt and shame and judgment, and they provide the essential framework that promotes performance as the basis for identity and value."

It is hard to live up to someone’s expectations. These are words of wisdom for friendships/relationships to live by.

Lion’s Den Man

Friday, March 27, 2009


I was in a meeting yesterday morning at church with three men I admire and for whom I have great respect. Each possess those great character qualities ….honesty, integrity and humility. We discussed what was on the agenda and accomplished what was needed for now, but that was only a small part of what I gained from being part of this meeting. I really didn’t want to talk as much as I wanted to listen, but in a group like this that isn’t possible. You see they truly wanted to hear what I had on my mind, too. They are good listeners and encouragers. People like that are just great to be around. It puts you in a different frame of mind. They care, they want to help, they don’t have an agenda to force upon you, they want you…everyone…to be part of the process…..to have ownership….I left that meeting only to enter into two other work related meetings…………..night and day difference. I’m not sure where I am headed with this except to say we have an opportunity everyday to impact people around us. I hope each day I remember days like this as I go out into the world………what a difference we all could make…….. don’t you think?

Lion’s Den Man

Thursday, March 26, 2009

a plug

There are so many good people and good things at WCC. It would be nearly impossible to try and mention or recognize each person or group or activity etc. in this blog. More than likely someone or something would be missed and someone might possibly be hurt if an effort was made to do so. My guess is, that is why you don’t see much of that kind of thing written about in this blog. But, hopefully, Jeff won’t mind what I am taking the liberty to do here…….

A men’s ministry was kicked off a little over a year ago at WCC. There are different areas where men can participate (The Gathering, Fireside, Men’s Prayer Team, Bible Study, Sports and other activities). See the church bulletin or call the church office for contact information. Tuesday mornings is “The Gathering”. It is where I am able to get connected. I have met many good people by spending my time there over the past year. The atmosphere is positive, uplifting and encouraging. Short talks are given each week by some outstanding people like Pat Starke, Bob Fillmore, Dave Coffman, Mike Andes, Len Bennett and Clay Withers. The talks are relevant, insightful, inspiring and thought provoking. It is a time of fellowship. It is an opportunity to meet new faces and grow in new directions.

For the women who are reading this….please pass the word to the men you know….encourage them to check it out at least once…….

That is my plug.

Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

to wake up

To wake up to this life means to see God at work in the world. It means that I will no longer be controlled by circumstances. I will turn the auto-pilot off. To wake up is to see past what we normally see, and see the presence of God.

Most people don't want to wake up, they just want their problems solved. Most don't want to take responsibility in life, they just want an easy life. If we are really going to wake up, we have to get past all of this and focus on Almighty God.

When I see God at work, when I am aware that He is with me, all is well. All is well. All is well. A person may have troubled kids, problems at work, marriage falling apart, having an identity crisis, too much debt. You may even find yourself sick unto death. But if you can come to understand that God is with you, all is well. We can live in peace in spite of difficult circumstances, and we can die like a saint because we have the "peace that passes understanding."

Wake up and see that God is with you today. Smell the roses. Hear the birds sing.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I lost it

Well, it is a very frustrating thing. I lose my wallet, my keys, my checkbook. I am constantly looking for something that I just set down. In the past month I have been experimenting with several eye drops [under doctor's supervision] to treat what I expect is some form of dry eye syndrome. The drops come in a little tiny container, half the size of a chap stick. I have been very careful about where I put this little eye drop container, but it doesn't seem to matter. I lost it yesterday and have not been able to find it.

I have retraced my steps. I have checked the car, the office and the home. They are no where to be found. They were not cheap either.

I guess they are somewhere. I suppose they will turn up. If they don't, well, then I will just have to move on. Anthony Demello says that if you are constantly losing things, you are too busy. You are not living in the moment. You are rushing from one thing to the next and not paying attention to the present moment. Awareness. Being present. Where ever you are, be all there.

Looking so hard for the drops and my worry about them reminds me of the stories that Jesus told about the lost coin, the lost sheep and the lost son. God is seeking to save that which is lost. I sure hope that he helps me find my eye drops soon.

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

proud of your kid

Last night, Alli was driving back to Warrensburg to go back to college. Right in front of her, there was a big pile up. Multiple cars. She had to go into the median to avoid it.

Many people were hurt, and were stuck in their cars. She went from car to car checking on the injured and talking to them until the ambulances arrived.

I am sure that she was nervous, but I am also sure that the people in the cars were comforted by her caring demeanor and calming words.

At least for sure, her father is very proud of her. I was anyway, but wow, what a good kid. 21 year old woman, I mean.

I am sure that this is how our heavenly father feels about you many times. Every time that you go out of your way to help someone else. Everytime you look into the eyes of someone who is hurting. Everytime you deliver grace. He is extra proud. Someone will need your touch today, let's make him proud.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2009

stop and look

We should do this every day, but especially in the spring, we must stop and look. Stop and look at the daffodils blooming. 6,000 of them on the north bank of the pond at church. Get out and walk among them. Take 5 minutes to do this. It will be better than the sermon. Stop and count the tulips that are getting ready to take their turn. Check out the pear trees. They are preparing for their annual declaration of the glory of God.

Do not walk by this stuff. Go look at the iris' and see how they are doing. Clip off the dead mum parts from last year and check out the new growth.

Do not pass by these miracles. Stop. Check it out. See the wonder, see the beauty, see the good.

How does God do this stuff? 2 cells join to start a human being. They divide and divide. One cell says, "hey, I want to be finger nails." Another cell says, "hey, I want to be a kidney." Another wants to be an eye. Another a backbone. How does God do this? Sure we know about DNA, but we still don't know why any of it does what it is supposed to do.

God has placed eternity in the hearts of men and women so that they might revere and honor him. Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

Don't pass by the miracles of today.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

on mission

Are you "on mission?" Do you know what your church's mission statement is? The mission statement of the general UMC is "Making Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World." If you attend a UMC, your mission statement should be very much like that.

At Woods Chapel UMC our mission statement is "connecting people to Jesus Christ."

Having a good mission statement helps keep people focused on the church's purpose. When we remember our mission statement, church fights are diminished and people pull together toward the common cause of our mission.

It has generally been my experience, that when there is a fracture or a squaring off, someone, maybe both parties are "off mission." If you find yourself in a disagreement with someone in your church, Sunday School class, etc, there is probably a need to refocus on the mission of the church.

When we all remember that we are here to make disciples or connect people to Jesus, we get off of our high horses, we lay our weapons down, and find ways to work it out. The mission of Jesus is compelling, it reaches into the hearts of people and causes them to set aside their own comfort or personal preference for the sake of the mission.

I hope that everyone is doing that [setting aside our own comfort or personal preference for the sake of the mission.] If I am not doing that, then remind me. Let's keep our churches on track, on mission.

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

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sounding Off

A pastor just quit the United Methodist Church, and took "his" flock with him. Not me. I am not going to quit. But a pastor in Wichita quit March 1st. He conveniently took most of the 700 members of the Grace Point United Methodist church with him. The pastor claims to have no malice toward the United Methodist Church or it's leaders. You know, if you want to quit, fine, that is your choice. Go start your own church, but don't quit and take that which does not belong to you.

Well, let me take a break to say that I am going to say some things that I normally would not say. Tell me how you really feel Jeff.

The United Methodist people of Kansas started this church in 2003. They put up hundreds of thousands of dollars and untold effort to help get this new church off the ground. Now, without even talking with the Bishop, the pastor resigns and everyone goes with him. The plan for this departure was obviously discussed months in advance so that everyone was prepared for the announcement. All the staff and leaders went with him.

Now, I am all for churches of other denominations. But if that is what you want to have, just go start one. Get a school, invite your friends, receive your offerings. Don't use the good will and funding of the mainline church to get on your feet and then throw them away. Maybe that is what bothers me the most about this story. The throwing away.

The United Methodist Church has been thrown away. Wesleyan theology has been set aside for whatever views the now independent pastor wants to teach. Accountability is no longer in existence. The Bishop of Kansas has been disrespected as an Episcopal leader. Those whom God has placed in authority have been set aside.

Tell me how you really feel Jeff.

Leadership does not create schism. Leadership draws people together. Leadership does not act in secret, it communicates openly. Leaders do not walk away from challenge, they face it, deal with it, and overcome. Leaders do not create fracture, they heal.

I have always taught my children that they are brothers and sisters. They must stand together in this life. You don't throw away your brother or sister, ever, for anything. You are their wing man. They are your wing man. As Tom Cruise learns in the movie "Top Gun" you just don't leave your wing man. For the good of the whole, you just don't do it.

I want our church, Woods Chapel United Methodist Church to excel for the kingdom of God. I want it to reach new heights and fulfill it's potential. Some of that means that we are going to be involved in things that are not "Methodist." For example: we support an orphanage in Russia through a non-Methodist organization. Why? There is no Methodist counter part. Some of our classes use non-Methodist curriculum. Why? It is so good that Cokesbury sells it. We have an Adoption Resource group that has no Methodist roots outside of our church. Why? Because to my knowledge, there is no Methodist organization that is doing what we are doing. The prom dress ministry is a unique ministry to our church. It is Methodist because "we" are doing it. We are members of the Willow Creek Association. Why? Because it is an awesome thing.

Having said that, we are, and will continue to be Methodist. We are involved in Methodist missions in New Orleans, Greensburg, Newton, Jamaia, Liberia, Mozambique and other places. We pay our apportionments. We are building relationships with District and Conference leaders. Our culture is fraught with grace. We are activly reaching out to other churches to help them. Grant money from our last capital funds drive gave over $100,000 to other United Methodist Churches. We have a partner church in CVV and a sister church in Mozambique.

If you are a pastor or a church leader and you are reading this, the United Methodist Church is not perfect, but that does not give us the right to leave our wingman and take the congregation with us. You don't allow your parents to raise you and then decide to shoot them one day. Things get better when we work together. Marriages are healed and relationships are repaired when we care enough to keep working on things.

Every Methodist pastor, especially those in Kansas should go hug their Bishop. Tell them we are family. We may have lost one member, but the rest of us are still here and we believe in our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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

Thursday, March 19, 2009

no post today

Well, yesterday, the post was late. Late enough that a friend wrote me to ask if I was ok. That was very nice indeed. I am ok. I was ok, and I still am. Thanks for asking about my crazy brain.

Here is what happened.......
I had my laptop to church to have our I.T. guru fix something related to the internet utility. He did fix it. Yesterday morning, when I got up and ready to write, my computer found the signal, but I did not have the secret code that allowed me to get on line. I had left it at church. Do you ever have half of what you need somewhere else? Or am I the only one?

I was not going to be at the church yesterday until later because I had to run a couple of errands. So I called our dear friend, Lions Den Man, and asked him to post. He did. All of this just took a bit longer than normal.

Now, let me thank my friend LD Man for an awesome post. Inspiration. Great topic. Wish I would have thought of that myself. I wish I had more of it. I wish I wasn't so hard on myself when inspiration seems so far away. Writing every day can be very difficult. Sometimes you don't feel like you have anything at all to say, and other days you wonder if any of this is relevant to anyone out there. You probably have days like that too.

Well, yesterday was awesome! If you have not seen the daffodils at church, go take a peek! They are standing tall and declaring the glory of God.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


When is the last time you felt inspired?
What was it that inspired you?
Did you share this with anyone?
Do you seek inspiration or does it just fall in your lap….or both?

Do you ever sit back and look at your life and the busyness of it and realize you have put yourself into a box…..same routine….same people….same conversation….same music…same news source….nothing of real challenge to your thought process.

So here is an idea. Leave extra time and drive a different way to work, or to the next game, or church……. Seek out a good book, try a different service time at church (at least once), go to the Nelson, watch the Discovery channel, go see a play, catch a sunset or sunrise or check out the stars on a clear night ……bring someone with you to share it with, invite someone you wish you could spend time with more to lunch or to breakfast…..maybe that is a friend, or your child, a parent or your spouse….. or just someone you’d like to get to know better.

I can’t imagine a life without inspiration, yet I let my life take over and deprive me of it to often.

So my goal today will be to seek inspiration.
Share that inspiration.
Then get up tomorrow and do it again.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

Well, today is St. Patrick's Day, when I am always reminded of that famous Irishman who invented outdoor tables and chairs. You remember his name don't you?

Paddy O'Furniture

St. Patrick. First he was just Patrick, a priest who won Ireland to Christ. So what do we do? We dress in green, tell jokes and limericks and drink green beer. Makes you kind of wonder if it is all worth it.

Well, it was to the Irish. They found Christ. Even amidst all the celebratin today, many will remember the life of St. Patrick and give thanks. Aren't you thankful for the person who led you to Christ?

That would be a great rule for St. Paddy's day. Have fun, but give thanks to God for the person who led you to Christ.

In the mean time, do not be weary in well doing. Just keep doing the right thing even if no one seems to be paying attention. Some will forget what your life was about, but being faithful always pays off in the end. And besides, you can sleep better at night.

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Greeks and Persians

I am reading a book that was given to me by someone who goes to our church. The book is about the battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held off over one million Persians. [for a while] The book is about real life problems and the amount of suffering that people would endure just for the sake of honor.

My life, all in all, has been very easy. During my life time, our country has never been overrun by another. My home has never been burned by invaders. My loved ones were not killed by soldiers.

I know there are others in the world that have not been as fortunate as we have. I count every day a blessing when my biggest worry is trying to contact all of the people from church that want to visit about something.

You find out what you are made out of during tough times. That doesn't make those bad days, just more difficult. Sometimes, the most special days, the most holy days, are the ones in which things did not come quite as easy.

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

Sunday, March 15, 2009

pastoral appointments

Oops. I did not mean to mis-communicate yesterday about a "new church pastor." I did not mean that we are getting a new pastor to replace Jeff. What I meant is that I had a meeting yesterday with the pastor who is being assigned to work with us to start the new church that we have been talking about.

Of course, the Bishop can assign any pastor as he or she wishes. There are no guarantees. However, it is my anticipation that all four of our appointed pastors, Jeff, Clay, Gina and Sherri will all be reappointed here for another year. The setting of appointments takes place each year at Annual Conference around the first of June.

We anticipate that the new church pastor will officially be appointed to this purpose at Annual Conference. In a few weeks, this person will be introduced to the Staff Parish [personnel] Committee. After that, there will be an official announcement in worship services. [I think that is how that will work, but I am at the disposal and direction of the DS on how this should be done.] At any rate, as soon as we are allowed to share the name, I will let you know the name of the person who is coming to work with us to start a new church.

It is all very exciting.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2009


What is up for you today?

Here is my day.

- a visit with our new church pastor. [more on that later]

- finish a sermon

- officiate at a wedding

- watch the flowers bloom.

I thank God for the gift of this day. For the beauty, for the joy. For friends, for our church. Is there something that you have to be thankful for? Be sure to express that thanks. Go ahead and do it right now.

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

Friday, March 13, 2009

Yesterday I awoke

Yesterday I awoke with a thought. Now I guess I always wake with a thought, but a lot of times there really isn't much to it.

Where is the snooze?
Ug, It's morning.
Huh? What?
Oh, I have to get up.
Where is the bathroom.

That is a sampling of what I usually think in the morning. Not that anyone cares.

Yesterday, oddly enough, I woke with a thought on my mind that I don't believe I have ever had before. This was the thought: "today, hug everyone that you see."

I totally forgot about that until I was in a meeting at 6:30pm. Good thing too. I went some places that I could have gotten in a lot of trouble. I went to a pastor's breakfast at Winsteads. What would happen if I tried to hug everyone there? I had lunch at the Panda Cafe. Can you see me hugging all of the shy people that were eating there? It is a good thing that I forgot. I may not have survived the day.

So I am at this meeting and we are talking about worship. I am supposed to make a speech. Suddenly, I remember the thought of the morning. Hug everyone that you see. I told them of the thought, and then I hugged every single one of them.

When we hug someone, we forget about ourselves for a moment, our sins and weakness. And we forget about the other person's issues. We just share a little love for a moment. We break the pain of living to share a moment of grace.

This is what we should be doing in worship. We have a little talk with God.

Dear God, I am here to forget about me. I forget about the imperfections of the musicians and the pastor and the ushers. God I forget about all of the things that I don't understand about you. I just take this moment to reach out in love and hug you God. Receive my love. Let me sense your love. Let our souls be joined for a moment. In spite of human shortcomings, let me be joined with you.

Ahh. I feel it. I get it. I celebrate it. God I hug you and I receive your hug in return.

Try it on Sunday. Try it now. Wherever you are. Reach out and hug God. Let him take you into his arms. It is good.

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

Thursday, March 12, 2009

my favorite things

Blue Jeans and tennis shoes. Tuna sandwiches. Diet Coke [sorry Jonnie], music and laughter. Flowers coming up. Spring. March madness basketball. Cathy is home. Friends. Friends you have not yet met like Steve in Columbia. Canoe Trips. Children. Rocks and ponds. Catching Fish. These are a few of my favorite things.

Forgiveness. Love. Your smiling face. Sunday worship. Hugs. Talking about faith. Acts. Romans. The Gospels. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. Genesis. Mission trips. Listening to stories of life change. These are a few of my favorite things. What about you?

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


How about a little good news. 6,000 daffodils are getting ready to pop open at the church. I hope that the cold weather will not harm them. They are going to be beautiful. Thank you to everyone who helped plant and pay for them.

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

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

days that mark time

We just go along living our lives. Until one of those days comes up. There are a number of days in each person's life that mark the passing of time. Here are some of mine.

New Year's day of course.

The Big 12 tournament and Scott's birthday. Scott was born on the Sunday of the championship game in 1991. Cathy is such a big basketball fan and I could not hardly get her to go to the hospital.

Opening day at the K
July 4th
School starting back
September 11

The return of Orion the constellation. I was in the astronomy club when I was 13. The only constellation I remember besides the dippers is Orion. Orion rises every fall in the North Easterly sky and sets every spring in the South East. He is about gone for this year, but you can still see him if you look low and to the South. I have watched him come and go for 39 years.


Today, is a day that reminds me that another year has come and passed by. Happy 18th Birthday Scott!

Friends, let's give thanks for every day, every week, every year.

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

Monday, March 9, 2009


Every now and then something happens that makes you stop and think about life. Yesterday, about 20 miles outside of St. Louis, the pastor of a church about our size was shot and killed during their early service. Right in the front of their sanctuary, right in front of the congregation.

I did not know him, but Clay did. His name was Fred Winters. He was married and had two children.

Pray with me. "O God, why do such things happen? Why do people feel the need to hurt so many? Please comfort the Winters family and the people of their church. Please help them make sense out of a senseless act. Well, maybe I should just pray, Lord, help them to trust in you. These things bother us and make us worry. So help us to trust in you too. I thank you that the Pastor lived his life for you, and is surely with you in heaven. That is our hope too. So guide us this day, walk with us, let us be aware of the special gift of this day. In the name of Jesus our Lord, Amen."

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It is good

In Genesis 1, God made everything and when he was finished, he said it was "good."

Good. Good. Good.

Did not sleep well? Lots on your mind? Life is still good.
Rainy day? Rained on you during your walk from the car to the church? Still Good.
Worried about relationships in your life? It's still good.
Sad about some things? Someone is sick? Life is still good.

It is good, not because every circumstance is good, but because God is good, and he is with us. Life changes. He never does. He saw it all, from beginning to end and said, It is Good.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2009

do you get it?

Last night I went to get the oil changed in my wife's car. I opened the door and went to the desk. They said they are closed. I thought, hey I am standing in front of you, in your place of business, how can you be closed? But I didn't say what I thought, instead, I said, what time do you close? He said, 7pm. I looked at my watch. It was straight up 7pm. So I said, one minute ago you were open, but now you are closed? Yes, he said, we are closed.

I was nice, but I probably won't go back there. I got to thinking later that he had employees that maybe needed to go home. I am not sure they really get it. Going the second mile, especially in this economy would be a good thing I think.

Speaking of getting it, read Josh's post to yesterday's blog. Josh, your stock just keeps going up in my book. You get it. I am so proud of you.

"I get it" really boils down to, "it's not about me." When I can remember that, I can live with the oil change place closing at the time they stated, even though I made it into their lobby.

It's not about me.

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

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wounded Healers

Henry Nouwen wrote a book called "The Wounded Healer." The book holds out the premise that all of us are wounded and imperfect. Like Clay says, only trust people that walk with a limp. We are all a bit broken, and there is no point in hiding that. Authentic, relevant living calls for us to seek God through our brokenness.

I once had someone quit the church because they did not want a pastor that was willing or able to be their friend. They did not want someone who walked with them in life. They wanted someone who was better, heroic and suitable to be placed upon a pedestal.

I did not really fit their picture and I never will. Well I probably did when I was 19-25 years old, because back then, I was very judgemental and I thought I knew everything. Not that all 19-25 year olds are, I know some great ones. Josh and others. I was just a jerk back then.

So, a wounded healer is someone that God uses to help others, in spite of, even because of their own personal wounds and struggles.

I would not be worried that your pastor sometimes has worries. I would be worried if he or she did not have worries from time to time. It is a very unnerving thing to have to tell people about your soul seven days a week. To preach on Sunday and put yourself out there for evaluation by all..... your thoughts, your hopes, your relationship with God.

Don't feel bad for me. If you are a Christian, you are a minister too. You are to be reaching out, caring about others in the name of Jesus every day. In spite of your wounds and imperfections. You see, you and I are in the same business.

So we continue the journey together. Wounded healers both of us. Depending on God. It's not perfect, but it was not meant to be. We are humans. Our humanness points us toward our heavenly Father. Isn't that the whole point?

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

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I have a sin to confess. I have been worried about some things lately. Things that I see on the news and things about my job as the Pastor. Sometimes it is hard to do everything right in any job, but there is so much at stake when you are the Pastor. Now, I do believe that a Pastor should take their job seriously, and I do, but I have been worrying too much lately.

Worrying about what?

Can we get this done, can we get that done. Are the sermons good. Are the people happy. Did I make the right decision. How will we get to where we need to be as a church family. What is the next thing for us. I did not remember that persons name. The new church start. 31 employees. Bad things that people say sometimes. There is plenty to worry about.

Last night I had a chance meeting with one of the saints. She told me that she had been working on the concepts of worry and fear, and that she had been making some progress. God has been blessing her. She said it all comes down to trust. Life is complicated and challenging. If we try to carry our problems, we will worry ourselves sick. We must do our best and trust God.

A weight lifted. I feel so much better. The next time I am neurotically worried about something, just ask me if I am trusting God. Help me straighten up.

So what about you? Worrying or trusting?

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

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March 4th

Today is the day of the big parade. I hope you did not forget. All of the bands are going to line up downtown and march forth. March 4th.......

My mother told me that joke with the comment that it was the only joke that she learned from her mother.

My mother's mother. My grandmother. Louise Heising was born around 1896 and died in 1989. She was German. She spoke German. Children were to be seen and not heard. She raised six of them. Four boys and two girls. My mom was the youngest. Grandma was a good cook, but since they were poor she did not have much to work with. They caught, cleaned, and ate rabbits. My mom used to talk about digging dandelion greens in the front yard for the vegetable to go with dinner. Grandma made maple syrup from scratch and baked a lamb cake every Easter. They attended church every Sunday at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, MO.

My Grandma tried to kill herself when I was a boy. My parents never told us very much about that. She was depressed I guess and got tired of it all. I don't think that she ever worked outside the home or drove a car. She liked to bowl. That is all I know about my grandma. That's not very much.

But, she left a joke. Today is March 4th. That makes me happy. I tell her joke every year. Friends, today is the day. Don't miss the parade.

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

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good Motivation

I would like to think that the call to Christian living is powerful enough, by itself, to call us to faithful, kind, caring living. However, simply asking people to behave in a certain way rarely produces the hoped for results. Most people must find a reason of their own to act in a certain way. Just the preacher or Momma or even God asking us to be nice is often not enough.

One way that people get motivated to change their behavior is when they get a picture of how bad behavior affects others. It is hard to see when you just look at others, but when bad behavior happens to you, you start to feel the pain of bad behavior. For example, maybe you have fallen into the habit of judging others and it doesn't occur to you how much it may hurt them until one day, someone says something judgemental about you. Wow! that hurts. In feeling the results personally of our bad behavior, we are often motivated to be nicer to others.

Another way to find motivation for Christian living is to see the results of good behavior. When we act in love and reach out in God's grace, people are touched. We are kind to a child. We are loving to our spouse. We are thankful for a friend. We forgive. We communicate. We understand. We dispense grace. Anytime we do any of these things, we are living the Christian life. You can see the happiness that others receive, and you are filled with it as well. Even as I write this, I have a smile on my face just thinking of how people can be touched by acts of kindness.

So, if you are looking for motivation to live the Christian life, if the pain of other's bad behavior does not motivate you to make different choices, then look to see the good that grows in the hearts of those who receive kindness and grace from you. We are His vessels, the carriers of his spirit, his joy, his love. When we let Him pour his love out through us, it is good. Good for the giver and good for the receiver.

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

Monday, March 2, 2009

when I write

When I write in this blog, I want to be honest, but I don't ever want to hurt anyone. Please believe me, I would never intentionally write something that was aimed at any one person.

I have learned that I have to be very careful when writing about "my feelings being hurt" for example. Almost every time that I do this, someone out there in the blogosphere wonders if I am writing about them, and I get several apologies.

I will never use this blog to complain about any of you. There really isn't much of anything to complain about with you anyway. I love you all and am glad to have you in our church family.

I write about vision, the future of the church, challenges at church, funny things at home. Personal issues [carefully] and just general things that are on my mind. If you read something and are not sure where I am going with it, it probably has more to do with where my brain is at then anything else, I certainly would not write here to make a personal point to any of you.

So, with that said, it is Monday. The first week of March. 3 days until the parade. A beautiful, snow covered day. Excellent job yesterday by those who ran the 10-ten branch service. Over 200 people attended. It was perfect. The sanctuary did not seem empty, but there was plenty of room for visitors. Perfect. Thank you for all that you are doing.

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

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 1st- yes we are having church today...

Today is March 1st. It is a good time. I welcome March, because even if it gets cold and snows [like it did yesterday] it doesn't stay cold for long. Soon spring will be here. It is March 1. The back of winter is broken. Soon all of our snow bird friends will be returning home to be with us again. Soon we will be able to work in the yard. Soon our daffodils will grace the world with their beauty. Spring is a time of hope. I think we are all ready for some of that.

By the way, please don't forget the parade on Wednesday, all of the local bands are going to line up downtown to March 4th.

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