Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank you.

Last night I had dinner at a friend's house. It took almost 2 months to get it scheduled, but it finally happened. What a blast. What a gift. I spent some time with some awesome people. Healthy people are so good to be with. Healthy people heal each other. I hope that you have some healthy folks to hang with from time to time.
Thank you for the dinner, thank you for the time, thank you for welcoming me.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

remember me

A picture taken this summer at our family reunion in St. Louis.
Take a picture and remember me. When I am gone, remember me. Remember how we laughed, how we cried, how we lived. I was a man. A good man. I loved you. I tried to be a good father. Heck, I was a good father. Take a picture. Do not forget. Let the days live on when I am gone.

Thanks for being you. Thanks for the memories, thanks for the love.
We don't always say thanks. We don't always celebrate. I don't want to miss the chance. You, family are great and I have appreciated every minute. What a ride.

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

the pepper story

Several of you have asked for the pepper story that was shared in the sermon yesterday.

"I am the vine, you are the branches, except ye abide in me, ye cannot bear fruit." Jn 15

We have a small garden in the back yard. When things go my way, there are 4 tomato plants planted in the garden. I have learned that is the number that I can take care of. When the boss gets her way, there are many more plants, plants that I end up having to try to take care of, but cannot keep up with.

Well, guess who won this year. Same old story. 8 tomato plants 4 pepper plants and some other stuff.

One day about a month ago I noticed a nice green pepper hanging on the vine. How exciting! We have never been able to grow peppers before and this one is full grown!

Now our back yard is infested with squirrels. I do not like squirrels. Snakes and squirrels I can dispatch with no guilt what so ever. I am going to pick this pepper before the squirrels pick it and take a bite and leave it out to rot.

I pop the pepper off of the pepper plant. I take it inside and show it to the boss. Look honey, we grew a pepper on our pepper plant! Isn't it exciting?

Silence. No response from the boss.

Finally, she says. Jeff, the pepper you picked is supposed to be a red pepper. You have picked it while it was green. Disassociated from the vine, it will now never have the chance to be a yellow pepper. Silly husband boy. [I cleaned that up]

Moral of the story. Many Christians are like the pepper that was disconnected from the vine. We never got the chance to become what God wanted for us because we were satisfied with being a green pepper.

The good news about this story is that unlike the pepper, you and I can be reconnected to the vine. God is waiting and willing for us to set aside a bit of the world and get back into the garden.

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

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I like to dance. My family says that I am not very good at it. But what do they know. They are wrong about that. Fo Sho.

Someone said that life's passages give us a chance to learn a new dance. Stop and think about that. I like that. Have you ever danced with someone that you did not know? Feels funny. You feel distressed. You can't wait for it to end.

The problem with dancing with life's changes, is that you don't get to quit. You can't change partners. There is no one else on your dance card. You have to get used to this unfamiliar partner.

I guess you can fight the whole idea, and I have. Or you can relax, try and see it for what it is, and learn some new steps.

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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Orleans

Many of you know that we have had a mission work in New Orleans since Katrina. Actually since March 2006. Woods Chapel owns a 16' recreational trailer there and a dodge van. Volunteers go for 30 days to help with relief efforts.

Our volunteers have been on site pretty steady for over three years. We have missed some months, and not everyone stays for 30 days, but you guys have had a very important presence there, reaching out in the name of the Lord.

Typically, volunteers would help the Methodist Relief Workers by organizing teams, delivering tools and supplies to the various job sites for the teams that came from all over the country.

I was in New Orleans for two days last week. They are consolidating the relief stations into one headquarters. The city has made a lot of progress since Katrina. When I first flew into New Orleans in January of 06, the airport was a ghost town. Literally. It was spooky. Now the airport is busy and the city looks much better.

I drove up to 2221 Fillmore St. where the new relief site will be. That area still has many many homes that need repair. That part of town still looks much the same as it did after Katrina. The relief site is housed in a church. They hope that when the relief work is over that they can turn the church back into a church and reopen it.
One of the really nice things at the new place is that they have set up a bedroom for our long term volunteers. The Woods Chapel sky view suite. It is a small, simple, but private room where you can stay if you go down to serve.

It has been 4 years since Katrina, but there is still more work to do. If you would like to go down and volunteer for 30 days or a week, let me know.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's not about you

It's not about you or me.

I am reading a book by Anne Lamott called "Grace Eventually." Regarding you, me and world population, she took note of a bumper sticker that said:

"remember only 1/6,000,000,000 of it is about you."

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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

still more on glasses

Well, I keep thinking about this.

Let me remember that many people are not even aware that they are wearing glasses [have a particular life paradigm]. Or worse yet are those who think that they have the Jesus paradigm and do not see how they are controlling and limiting God.

Some practice selective behavior. They are only a Chief's fan on Sunday. They only act married at home. The rest of the week they flirt with whomever they want. Some take off their main set of glasses and put on the Christian glasses from time to time.

My normal glasses on. Normal off, Christian on. Christian off, normal back on. As if being a Christian was simply a state of mind that you could jump into from time to time, they have compartmentalized their faith at the very time when their faith wanted to speak to their paradigm.

If the core piece of the Christian paradigm is loving God and others, then I don't just go to the Chief's game. I go to the Chief's game and find a moment to thank God for the excitement of athletic events. I go to the Chief's game and treat others with respect and love.

If the core piece of the Christian paradigm is loving God and others, I don't simply have my morning prayer and or devotional and then go to work. As if the Christian glasses come off when I say "Amen." Instead, I drive to work with love and compassion. I pray for those who cut me off in traffic. Each person at the office or on the job are God's children whom He loves deeply. They are in my sphere of influence and I have a chance to touch them with God's love. The Christian glasses don't go "on and off" the Christian paradigm speaks to our glasses. Reforms them. Shapes them. Cleans them.

We see the most clearly when we allow the Holy Spirit to clean our glasses.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

glasses, pt. deux

Our invisible life paradigms. They are each governed by rules.

If one of my life paradigms is "I want all the money" then we tend to do whatever it takes to get money. We may even hurt others and excuse it because our overriding life rule is "I want all the money."

If one of my life paradigms is that "my church has the correct doctrine" then some of the accompanying rules might be:
  • everyone else is going to hell
  • other churches are bad
  • I am better than you
We all have paradigms and their accompanying rules.

Here are some possible paradigms for you and me:
I am a Democrat.
I am a Republican.
My kid is never wrong.
I am going to spend my money however I want.
I love Ford cars.
Love your neighbor.
Flowers are a blessing.
I hate cats.
I like the president.
I don't like the president.
I can drive as fast as I want to.

All examples of possible life paradigms.

Did you notice the little one in the middle? Love your neighbor? As Christians, this not only should be one of our paradigms, it should be the main one. One of the core principles. Love God, love your neighbor.

this paradigm of love should enter everything else. It should color all of the rest of our paradigms:
I am a democrat, but I love everyone.
I am a republican but I love everyone.
I hate cats, but by God's grace I am working to be tolerant of them. I love cat owners.
I will drive in a manner that shows that I love people.

I am constantly amazed at Christians who have life paradigms that leave out love. Embracing doctrine that crushes others, some have forgotten the most important thing. Love. LOVE! L-O-V-E. If we cannot love our brother whom we have seen, how can we say that we love God whom we have not seen.

All of our discussions should be salted with Love. We can disagree with someone without being hateful. Love should always come through the most clear.

What are your life paradigms? Where does love fit in? Put on the love glasses today. Don't be a clanging cymbal. Make the love glasses a permanent part of your vision. God is love. Nothing else matters.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

my glasses

Through my glasses I see the world. If I am not aware of the color of my glasses, I think that all of the world has a tinge of pink or green or whatever color my glasses are. Actually, that is not true. What happens is that we get so used to looking at the world through our glasses that we don't even realize that our glasses are tinted. Some people don't even think that they are wearing glasses.

My glasses are male. They are white. They are 52 years old. My glasses are a father. They are an adult orphan. My glasses react to the things in life that hurt me. My glasses are trying to follow Jesus in spite of the glasses.

How would I see the world if I took my glasses off? Would I be so dogmatic? More trusting of others? More understanding? If I understood that others were wearing glasses too, would I be more forgiving of them? Would my absolutes be a little more flexible? Would I realize that I don't have all the truth?

To the degree that we evaluate God only through our glasses, we are limiting the timeless God. Are we trusting our glasses instead of trusting in God? What mystery opens up to me when I seek to know him in ways that exist beyond my own paradigms?

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

sad people

I run into a lot of sad people. When I talk to them, I find out that they feel bad about themselves. Their life, their thoughts, they're just not good enough. As I talk further with them, much of their poor self-esteem can be traced back to their experience of church growing up.

It is time that the church stop contributing to this. I don't mean our church, Woods Chapel, but the church that so many of us grew up in that told everyone how bad they were. It just doesn't seem like Jesus' way to me.

There are so many negative unhappy people in the world. The church has to be a place where people are blessed and graced. Where they are healed instead of hurt. Where their thinking begins to sound like the beatitudes instead of some guilt laden tirade that they picked up in church at the age of 15.

What are you doing to spread God's love? God created and said, "it is good." It is good. It is good. It is all good. That is the truth. God loves us. It doesn't get any better than that.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

heaven and hell

Pink Floyd said it. "So, so you think you can tell, heaven from hell, blue skies from rain........"

Heaven and Hell. Heaven on earth. Hell on earth. Are you providing Heaven on earth to those around you, or hell on earth.

If heaven is order, stability and love, hell is chaos, confusion and pain. Which are you providing to those around you. Stop and think about what you are doing. If God is working his perfect work in us, we ought to be getting better at providing order instead of chaos, love instead of selfishness.

Today is our chance. Provide a little heaven on earth. Resist the urge to add to the chaos. Help make it a beautiful day.

Because it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. And add to it as you are able.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

a story to share

Last night my wife and I went out to dinner with some friends. We saw the sun set as we sat in the restaurant...we told some stories...had some laughs....ate to much....came home tired and exhausted from the week. Locked up the house, I brushed my teeth and headed to bed. comfortable. I rose this morning and my routine started once again.......stretch, yawn, bathroom, coffee...let the dog out....simple things I take for granted.

Last week I was invited to come hear a man tell a story about his life 60 years ago. He was ten years old in 1939...a Jew, living in Warsaw Poland when the Germans invaded. Not long after and in fear of their lives, his family sought out a Christian family for protection. A hole was dug out underneath a barn. Not even 6' in depth or width and roughly 24' long, he and 10 others spent 20 months of their lives living in this hole made of dirt and straw. Lice...bed change of baths...a bowl of soup and piece of bread per day...a frantic dash to the out-house was the only daylight they would see each and every day.

I've known this man for 29 years.....I've heard his story from others...but never from him until last week.....he is a survivor. He made great use of his life after those days past. He is one of those people that seize the day each and every day. He smiles...he is not bitter....his is thankful and gives thanks to God for his life by making the best of it no matter what.......

Lion's Den Man

Friday, September 18, 2009

a good exercise

You know every so often Jeff will put something of real value in his sermon..........ok every week....But what do you do with what he has shared? Hopefully you take the message in...digest it....and at some point in time you share it or begin to live it......

This summer Jeff gave the illustration of the iceberg. Maybe you remember was about relationships. What is above water (the seen) and below water (the unseen). How well you know people or are wiling to let them know you? I jotted down some of the points during the sermon and last week I shared them with some of my closer friends. What a great experience......

The list of questions went something like this:

What are your three favorite things?
When was the last time you were really happy?
What is it that brings you joy in life?
What is your greatest hurt?
If you had to offer an honest prayer to God what would it be?

Good stuff to share... We all need people in our life that we can discuss questions like this with.....people we can trust with what is inside of us...... It is a relationship that often takes time to build. We need to earn the right to go beneath the water.

If you don't have a relationship like this in your life I hope you seek it out one day. It can be can bring positive change.....we weren't meant to go it alone.

Lion's Den Man

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I woke up early today to write this post. I had plans to write it yesterday, but the day got away from me and really....yesterday is just a blur to me now. So this morning as I sat down to write, not really knowing what I was going to say, I started thinking Would it be a good day? Productive? Would I take notice of gifts like the sunrise and sunset? What interactions will I have with people today? At work? Home? Neighbors? The people I share my drive with on 291/470/435? The cashier at Price Chopper? The stranger in the parking lot? How will I respond to people and the world around me? What will people think of me after our encounter? And will I have taken the time to breathe in what God has placed around me today?

I read this recently. Think about it as you go into today and tomorrow.

"If people only had your life (as the only example to look at) and they were asked the question,-Has Jesus risen from the dead? - How would they answer? - Has he?"

Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

being there

The other day a friend called me on his way out of town. You know how you can just tell when things aren’t going just right with someone.... Anyway there were a few things he needed to let me know and a few things that he asked if I could do for him. He apologized for asking and then thanked me several times during our talk for my willingness to help out. Now the things he was asking for were no big deal for me to handle, but I could tell that for him it was a tremendous relief to dump this load.

So we continued small talk and he mentions what this trip has in store for him. Important stuff…..out of his comfort zone stuff….pressure... pressure... pressure. I now felt and understood the tension I was sensing from him…..a little anxiety….nerves…..and I knew that I was there not just to help lighten his load but more so to……carry his burden. Our conversation ended with him asking me if I would keep him in my prayers…..I have and will continue doing so until I hear back from him.

The cool yet selfish thing about all of this is that I feel of use and value and all because someone had a need for support…..for an ally….a friend and confidant. The lesson I need to remind myself is that I shouldn’t wait for these things to fall on my lap…..I…..we…..should seek those opportunities…..not tomorrow, but today and then again and again.......

Galatians 6:2
2Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

on seeing the good

Yesterday, we experienced a boat sinking squall. Fortunately, we were only sitting by the pool. The employees came by and warned us that a storm was coming. We didn't care, we wanted to see it.

It started to rain. It rained harder. The wind started to blow. We didn't have the experience to see it, but the employees could see the squall line coming. They started stacking chairs. We went next door to a covered restaurant.

When the storm cell hit, the rain and wind blew everything. The rain cleared the decks and blew everything out of the covered patios. You could see the rain coming in at a 45degree angle. We were kind of intrigued with the power of the wind and the water. It lasted about 30 minutes.

Besides the storm, it was cloudy and misty all day.

Now, at home, this might have bothered me. But here, it didn't phase me. I still found time to sit in the pool and hot tub, and ride a few waves on the beach. No sun? No problem. I still got to see the beautiful pool area, the beach and the palm trees. I also got to hear the beach. I so enjoyed listening to the beach.

So here is my point. At home, little things seem to more easily steal my joy. But here, I am so glad to see the beauty of it all, a little rain didn't phase me. I'll bet if I lived here long enough, I would be annoyed by squalls and complain about a day like yesterday. We get so accustomed to our surroundings that we become unaware of the goodness and the glory.

Like the fisherman who has gone out from the same dock every morning for 20 years. He has totally lost the joy and wonder of the beach, the waves, the ocean.

Kansas City is a good place. Where ever you live. It is a good place. There is no place like home. We should not let the squalls that happen at home steal our joy and appreciation for the good. There is still so much more good than bad. We just have to see it.

The board in the eye story. We are looking at the wrong things because our vision is impeded. As soon as we take the board out, we can see that life is good, even in the mid-west. Especially in the mid-west. Life is good and God is great. Don't let the rain today dampen your spirits. There is so much good. See it. Hear it.

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

Monday, September 14, 2009

the joy of vacation

It seems odd for me to write this today. Other times that I was on vacation, I did not mention it, either because I felt guilty about being in some place cool or because I didn't want people to skip church.

Well, this week, M-Sat we are on the beach. After church yesterday, I hopped on a plane with my bride and we headed out. You know, she is a real big shot with this travel stuff, so Delta had upgraded her to first class. Little old Jeff sitting in coach, big shot Cathy in first class. Well right before take off, they called me up. They had a spot for me, and since no "rated" passenger was asking to be upgraded, they wanted me to sit with my famous wife.

1st class. Cool. Never have done that before. Lots of room. Lots of pampering. A great surprise that I did not deserve.

Well come to think of it, that is what grace is like. A joyful surprise that I did not earn or deserve. Someone else earned it for me and offered it for free. Grace is amazing.

We have so much to be thankful for.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart sang it. I think that Van Morrison did too.

Have I told you lately, that I love you?

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you theres no one else above you
Fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles thats what you do

For the morning sun in all its glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort too
You fill my life with laughter
And somehow you make it better
Ease my troubles thats what you do

Theres a love thats divine
And its yours and its mine like the sun
And at the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray
To the one, to the one

And have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you theres no one else above you
You fill my heart with gladness
Take away my sadness
Ease my troubles thats what you do

Today is tell someone you love them day. I declare it, so it is so. If you read this before you go to church today, then tell someone that you love them. If you are reading this a week after I posted it, then today is tell someone you love them day for you.

We don't do this enough. Don't let a day go by without telling someone, everyone, anyone that you love them.

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

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last night

Last night I got to cry. That may not sound like a big accomplishment, but sometimes it is very important. You know, you build up lots of stress, you face something painful. You feel like you want to cry, but you can't for some reason. It is just stuck in your gut and won't come out.

Well, Cathy came home from her trip. She spent the week in Billings, Montana. She should have been crying to have to spend a week in Billings, right? We had a great talk, I was able to get some stuff out that I had collected during the week. I cried. It was great!

I thank God for the people that you can sit with that allow you to be yourself.

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

Friday, September 11, 2009

last night at Woods Chapel

Hundreds of people at a funeral visitation. Grieving people comforting one another. Volunteers from the hospitality team and the cancer connection team taking care of everything. Staff coming by, off hours to help.

Everything was very nice because you made it so. Thank you for going out of your way to comfort those who mourn. Please remember the family and friends of 41 year old Scott Seymour in your prayers.

You are the kind of people that can make a difficult day into a good one. Thank you for seeing the good and reaching out in the name of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Psalm 118

24 This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O LORD, save us;
O LORD, grant us success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you. [a]
27 The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up [b] to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

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

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

if you can't say anything nice

If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. At some point, we need to heed our mother's advice. When you can't find any positive words, then just don't say anything.

That is actually a very positive, constructive road to take.

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

what is important

We all get worried about things from time to time. Worried about things real and things imagined. Worry exists, and whether it should bother us or not, it does. You can wish it away, you can tell yourself not to do it. You can even remember that Jesus said not to do it, but we still do worry from time to time. I am sure that Jesus talked about it because it was a common problem even back then.

I guess the thing that helps me the most when I find myself stuck in worry, is to remember what is really important in life. I am worried about something? Well, I still have my health. No one in my family is sick. Life is good. And if you are sick? I have a friend in Jesus. Ultimately I know where I am going. There is a hope for the Christian, eternal life with God in heaven.

See, just thinking about such things in a few lines this morning, helps my outlook. Lets remember what is really important.

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

Monday, September 7, 2009

you can only do so much

You can only do so much. I think it is human nature to question yourself. Was I a good parent? Was that a good sermon? Am I a good friend?

At some point, you have to trust your character. I was a good parent. I did everything that I could do. It was a good sermon, not the best maybe, but I did everything that I could do. I am a good friend. I will always be there for you.

There is some comfort in knowing that you have done what you can do. The world may not always align itself with your desires, but there is only so much that you can do.

When you come to that realization, then you can rest. I did what I could do. I did what I should do. There is a limit to what people can expect, and I did my best. Everything is ok. All is well. I acted responsibly in the arena of my life. Let me rest in that. It is enough.

Tomorrow is another day.

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

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I cannot find God

I cannot find God, even though He is right here with me. This is a common problem that we humans have. He is here, and I know it, but I can't see Him. I can't feel Him. I am not aware of Him.

The problem is me. God doesn't change. When I am stuck on some human problem, my heart and mind get stuck there and I just can't see the eternal. Self gets in the way. Again. Rotten old self sure does spoil a lot of life's moments of spiritual glory.

When I can get my self out of the way, then love appears. God appears. When the ugly of me gets off of the radar screen, then the goodness of God is there. Try it. Pray for your selfishness to go away. Just for a moment, pray that you would be able to stop thinking about and worrying about your stuff.

I don't know about you, but when I pray that prayer, I start to laugh at myself, how easily I am drawn into focusing on my own stuff. When I pray that prayer, selfishness does start to take a backseat for a moment at least, and I can see God peeking around the corner.

He is always with us. We can see him a lot better when we don't have the board of self stuck in our eye.

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

Saturday, September 5, 2009

the simple things

Ahh yes, the simple things. The core things of importance in life that we so soon forget. We get caught up in what is wrong with something, when really the thing is 98% good. We lose our way and dwell on the painful part, as if our lives were never to have any pain.

The simple things are good. They are good. Just simply good. Family, friends, food, faith. When I stop thinking about what may bother me about my family, I am thankful for them. When I stop feeling sorry for myself, I am thankful for my friends. When I stop thinking that God is supposed to solve all of my problems, I am grateful that He is with me.

Where would we be without the simple things. They are good. Would I rather not have them? No, I will take them as they are and give thanks for the good that they are. I will try to get away from thinking about the small things and celebrate the simple things a little more.

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

Friday, September 4, 2009


This is your new fountain in your pond at night. For 11 years we have seen pictures of our church with a fountain in the pond. Not pictures, actually, but architectural renderings. Yesterday, the fountain became a reality. It is a small addition, but the sound of the fountain and the beauty of the spray should add to the sense of serenity already apparent on your church grounds.

Sometimes it takes a while for dreams to come true. Many people have asked over the years, "where is the fountain for the pond?" Sometimes there are things that you hope for, you don't see them but you just never give up. You keep pursuing your dreams. When there doesn't seem to be any possibility of it in reality, your dream still lives in your heart. Don't give up. Keep pursuing your dreams. One day soon, you will see it come to pass.

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

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The ongoing struggle to be a human being

Chapter One: Some days you feel like Snow White or Prince Charming. Everything is great. You are on top of the world. The rabbits have made a gauntlet for you to walk through, and the birds are loaded up on the tree branches singing your favorite Kool and the Gang song. Other days, well they are like kissing your sister. I don't know that I have ever really done that, but if you have a sister, you kind of understand the idea.

These are days when there is nothing wrong, but you feeeeeeelllll like there is something wrong. These are days when someone can pull you out of the dumps with a simple reminder. These are days when you can turn a corner without too much trouble. Heck, with a little luck, by the afternoon, you have mastered your worries and can hear the birds sing.

Then there are those days when it seems that you are constantly fighting against so many things. Brinkman wants me to hear the birds sing? "ha! Show me a bird and I will choke it! These are days when there seem to be so many problems that instead of joyful prayer, God gets the Psalms: "where are you O God?" "why did you leave me?" "please destroy my enemies." These are the days when you wonder why everyone else wins the pageant and you didn't even get invited to the show. Why are the Chiefs 2-14, and what happened to the first place Royals.

Momma told me there'd be days like this.

Go to the medicine chest. Not for pills. Go to the medicine chest and pull out some real help. Sit with a friend. Did you know that true friends will still love you even when you spend the entire evening telling them your problems? Your honesty actually endears you to them. What else is in the medicine cabinet? Go read the Psalms. Fall in with the Psalmist and hear his struggle to be a human being and find God. Mostly, in my medicine chest, there is a little fortune from a fortune cookie that says, "get up and keep going." I think my Dad gave it to me when I was a small boy. Pull out that fortune. Read it, and follow it. Get up and keep going. Things are going to get better. The sun did finally come out at Camp Granada, and when it did, they were able at last to hear the birds sing and realize that it is a beautiful day in God's world.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Two goldfish live in a bowl for years. Every time that the water is changed in their bowl, their owner puts them in the bathtub. You know the story, even though they have a lot more room in the tub, they still swim in the tight circles of their home bowl.

When we keep swimming in the same circles, we never learn that there is more out there. We can come to think that we know it all. We tend to forget our dreams, or worse, we begin to believe that we have achieved God's dreams for our lives.

For the past three days I have been at a large church pastors meeting. Our church was one of the smallest ones there, we just barely made the cut. I was a goldfish swimming in the open water. I heard many interesting ideas, and met many great Pastors who challenged me to dream big.

I know that you love our church. So do I. But, have we achieved everything that God has for us? If not, then what are His dreams for Woods Chapel? Remember, you are not stuck in the bowl, you are swimming in the open sea of God's dreams. What does he have for you? For us?

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

pastor's meeting

Yesterday I got up at 4:15am. I made a pot of coffee, showered and got dressed. I left for the airport. I flew to Atlanta and then on to Jacksonville. All of this for a Pastor's conference. This is a meeting for large church pastors. Since I am over 200 lbs, I get the invite.

The meeting sessions are very good. Lots of heartfelt information and discussion time. Lots of authentic people. That makes me happy. Inspirational. The meetings keep me awake all day long. At 10:30pm I am back at the room and ready for bed. I decide that I better take a walk on the beach before I go to bed. It would be a shame to be this close to the beach and not walk on it.

The sand is white. The beach is long. Really long. As near as I can tell, it stretches for miles in both directions. It is a long way to the water. It's a very deep beach. I get about half way to the water and I realize that it is very dark out here. I keep walking. The tide is going out. Way out. I keep walking.

At the edge of the water, I can barely see the ocean beyond the waves. It is all very mysterious. It is dark out here. I am feeling fear. I am the only one on the beach. For miles. I watch the waves. I wonder if a big one is coming that will pull me out to sea. No one would know.

I come to realize that I am not alone. God is here. I am in his sanctuary. The green carpet has given way to white sand. The piano is playing the sound of crashing waves. The stained glass has become dark, moonlit clouds.

I pray. God forgive my sins. You know what they are. Please forgive me. Please help me to be a better father and a better pastor. Please heal the wounds that you know are there.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for everything. Thank you for the beauty of the earth and the joy of life. Thank you for family and friends. Thank you for your church, and all who call her home. Amen.

I tarry a while and savor this time alone with God. After a while, I walked back up the beach and found my room. Yesterday is over, today is another day. I am looking forward to the meetings with the other pastors.

May God bless you today. May your sins be forgiven and your joy made full.

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