Saturday, October 31, 2009


Self improvement- the idea that I can work on a better, less dysfunctional me.

Some people read novels. I read theology, history, and books that challenge my life paradigm. One author asked the question recently, what are you doing to engage your self with the concept of self-improvement?

if the answer is "nothing" Then our message to the world and to our selves, and to our God is, "I have arrived. I am a finished product."

I hope that sounds bad to you. It should. All of us have room to grow and change.

Is there something that you can do this month to help you to become a better you? Hearing the voice of God begins with an understanding that my way of seeing things is not the only thing.

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

Friday, October 30, 2009


Well, we are finally home. Cathy and I went on a 7 day vaca to a warm place with palm trees, the island of Aruba in the south Caribbean. We were able to do this because a church member gave us a week in their condo and because my wife has lots of frequent flyer miles. I usually don't like to tell people that we are going on vacation, because a few have been known to skip church. We need to keep working on the idea that being at church is important no matter who is preaching.

Anyway, we are home and I will be there to preach on Sunday.

I continue to struggle with the blessings that we have in this country. I go on vacation to a place where people make minimum wage to take care of me. Where their entire economy survives because people like us are able to go visit their warm tropical paradise. I see their cars, their homes, their schools, their future, their dreams. I enjoy their beach. Then I come home.

They have so little. We have so much. How is it right?

Ok, so what then Jeff? If you give everything that you have to help a few of them, will anything really change? Well, it will for the ones that I help.

The claims of Christ weigh on my heart when I come home to such a nice home. If I sell it all and give it all to the poor will that be the answer in some way? And 100 years from now, will anything be different?

I guess I just want to do more to help really needy people, and I should just do that. That will be my resolution. I am going to find more ways to help really needy people. I think Jesus did some of that.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mysterious God.

I am sorry for the times I have made God smaller by analyzing and characterizing. I try to make God a succinct statement. An explanation. But God cannot fit in my mind, or He is not the God who created me. Instead, I am playing God, creating Him.

God is a mystery. I cannot wrap my brain around God. But I can worship God. I can enjoy God. I can search creation for clues about God.

When I think and dream about the mystery of God, a 5-point plan of salvation does not come to mind. Perhaps the pathway to God is no more clearly summarized than God Himself. Maybe the best I can do is stutter on and on about this magnificent God. I am brought to my knees in awe.

Maybe my desire to describe God easily and concisely is a control thing. I can control God when He fits easily into my brain. I can control other people by proving that I know God! and telling them how to get to Him. But I have been wrong about God before. And I am wrong about God now. Saying that I have all the answer about God is the same as saying I am God. Only God has all the answers.

The rest of us can simply marvel. If we are burning with passion for a God who exceeds our wildest imaginations, will that passion be contagious? Maybe we will reach more people who simply see us burning for God and want to burn, too, than in all our efforts to sell God.

I am speaking for myself. I want it to be known that all my words do not come close to touching all that God is. Perhaps a moment of silence with God says more than a thousand volumes of text about God. Maybe today I will see that God is holding me; I am not holding Him. Maybe I will get Him out of my head, and get my head into God. Maybe I will explore God. Hopefully I will get lost in God today.

With love,

a young shepherd.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Josh's post on Monday reminded me of a quote that I read somewhere. If I already shared it with you, forgive me, but this repeat would just be a sign that this is on my mind. Here is the quote:

"I was going to ask God about why he allowed children to go hungry around the world, and innocent people to die of preventable diseases, but I decided not to ask, because I was afraid that he might ask me the same question."

Now I don't deal in quilt. But with all that we are doing to care about others at our church, I still wonder sometimes about the ideas represented in this quote. To what degree am I spending my life for others? Do I really deserve all of the luxury that living in America provides? To whom much is given, much will be required. Ouch.

I am not going to give or receive guilt over this, but I wonder if God is trying to tell me something.

Open brain, insert troubling thought.

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Father “help me to see”

In the post yesterday Young Shepherd wrote about the need to see and experience the people in our lives. I went to a funeral last week. I attended the funeral not so much because of my relationship with the deceased but more so to provide support to someone who knew him better than I. This man was a good man…a very good man. The people who attended his funeral spoke very highly of him. Over and over I heard the same message. What a kind person, a generous person, a loving person he was. It was said that each and every day he would greet everyone in his office with a hello….a good morning….a smile. And each and every day he ended the day in a similar manner. He never took people for granted. He was giving of his time especially with the less fortunate. He was a good husband and father. He brown bagged his lunch twice a week and met his priest…his mentor…his friend for lunch to discuss life and pray for who and what he felt he needed to pray for. He lived his life by example. He invested his time in people.

So, I blew it. I had numerous chances but, I never took the time to know him well. I am sure my life would have been richer if I did. I was “consumed with self” and so I missed an opportunity. I hope I never forget this….ever.

I need to slow down, take the time, let the goals take a back seat to the journey…..don’t miss the opportunities…..get to know people… a part of their lives and let them be a part of mine.

Lion’s Den Man

Monday, October 26, 2009

What If?

What if I asked more questions and gave fewer opinions?

What if I understood that God’s love is more about my character than my comfort?

What if I killed depression and emptiness by giving myself away, not analyzing myself all day?

What if I lost sleep over Darfur, the “strangers” I pass by each day, and the way I have turned the gospel into something easy to stomach?

What if I really believed Jesus will provide for me like the lilies and the sparrows?

What if I stopped waiting to do something “great” for God and did the small things I refuse every day?

What if I saw interruptions as opportunities to love?

What if I stop asking “what if” and see what is going on around me right now?

A trusted friend tells me I am a “global thinker, big idea” type of person. She says, politely, that maybe my strength is not logistics and day-to-day stuff. Deep down, I take it as a compliment. But I’m also afraid of what it means.

Jeff says “people are more important than ideas”. I think about the people I am missing while I’m “busy” daydreaming about a better future, a world full of love, a Kingdom that has finally come. If you’re feeling like me, maybe we can pray this prayer together today.

Help me to see the people that you will place all around me today. These are my neighbors, and you said that it all comes down to loving You and them.
But I call them “interruptions”; I call them “strangers”. Most of the time, I just don’t see them. I am consumed with self. Help myself die today, so that You might live through me and give life to others through me.

And when I fail today, Father, give me a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Break my heart in the kind of way that makes a loving Father give up His Perfect Son for a selfish fool like me. Through this pain, help me minister to the pain of others in a way that shows how You ache for them.

I may complain about the pain and emptiness that I feel, but I know You are shaping me into something so very different from what I am today – something that will attract others to you. On my own, I neither care about my neighbors nor have anything to offer them if I did care. But you can change my heart, and I ask that you start right now.


With love,

a young shepherd.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Good Hurt

Yesterday was a bad day...Ugly. I saw myself in a way that I don't care to see.... Ok, I am human and I make mistakes and there are reasons for why I did and why I said and why I acted in such a way, but you can throw all of those reasons in a bucket and label it “Excuses”. When it comes down to it, there is never a good excuse for poor actions towards others....when you know better… matter how justified….. an excuse never holds water.

Then it's over and hopefully, next, you hit a wall……. and remorse sets in. Yes I hit that wall and I am thankful for that really bad gut wrenching feel small...sick to your stomach...guilty…..and you know you need to make things right again....the sooner the better.

Imagine if you will what it would take not to feel that way when you did something that was "out of character". Not to have the need to make forgiveness. How consumed would we have to be in ourselves? I read somewhere that “how you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the creator”. Hmmm…..

If we don't feel that pain what has happened to our souls? I pray I never feel "ok" about doing wrong, thinking wrong, justifying wrong……

Thank you God for the hurt I feel at times.......


Lion's Den Man

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I am not a proponent of waste. I hate to see food wasted. It upsets me when Brinkman offspring leave half consumed bottles of water or cans of coke around. Hey, for heavens sake, finish one before you open the next.

Eat the left overs! There are starving people in India. My mom used to say that over and over. Mom and Dad were children of the depression. They never wasted anything.

waste not, want not.

I also think that we bring glory to God when we make good use of the resources that He has given to us. Teach your children well, because they are going to inherit the ability and the responsibility for the care of the resources of the planet.

Not sure why I am writing about this today, it was on my mind, so here it is. Again, I believe that we bring glory to God when we honor him by making good use of the resources that he puts in our control.

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

Friday, October 23, 2009

the cycle of retribution

I witness this every week in some form or another. Some weeks I witness it daily. The cycle of retribution.

One person hurts another. Intentionally or unintentionally. The hurt person sulks, then finds a way to retaliate. Sometimes the retaliation takes the form of outward aggression. Sometimes the retaliation is delivered through a smug self-righteousness. Sometimes the wound simmers just waiting for the opportunity to come to a head and burst open again.

It never ends until we decide to end it. A hurts B. B hurts A. A hurts B. B goes home and hurts his family. B's family is wounded now and begins to hurt others. on it goes. Until, someone decides to bury the hatchet, to put the weapons down.

Jesus said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing. He did not pick up the weapons of retaliation.

Look into your heart. Are you holding a grudge? Look into your hands. Are you holding weapons of retaliation?

Lay them down. Let it end. Here. Now. Today. In this moment. God can fill the gaping wound.

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

Thursday, October 22, 2009

we talk a big talk

We humans are all talk and no action. I order the big breakfast. Eggs. Sausage. Potatoes. Biscuit. Gravy. Pancakes. I can never eat it all. We have lots of big ideas that we have trouble carrying out.

Take for example all of you tree hugging, dog lovers who have tried to come to the rescue of my ill tempered, bad mannered, ungrateful mutt, Lou. Many of you scolded me for being mad at him, but now that he is for sale, no one is stepping up to take care of him.

Your offers tell me that you really don't care about dogs. What you really want is for me to feel guilty and just keep putting up with his dysfunctional problems. The bids on Lou so far are: a pet rock, 2 gerbils, a 3 legged cat, [don't need any more cats regardless of how many legs they have.] Sharon wants the dog for free and she wants me to throw in Jonnie's fern in the foyer. Ok, here is the deal. if I can get rid of the fern in the foyer, you can have the dog and the cats too. let me know when the fern is gone and we will go from there.

Gosh, it is nice to have some fun with this blog. Sometimes it all seems so serious or worse and you know life just should have its moments of random, indescribable fun. Joy. Hilarity.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

dog is now for sale.

The free dog of yesterday is now for sale to the highest bidder. You have no one to blame but yourselves.

After offering a free dog to a good home yesterday, I received 5 phone calls requesting further information about the dog and one threatening call from someone who wanted me to think that they were from the Lee's Summit Animal Control Department. Not that funny really.
Remember, your Preacher will always have the last word on your life.
Ok, so here is the deal. I am putting the dog up for sale. Post your comment, and the amount you are willing to pay. Whoever wins, I will give you the dog, and the money goes to the church. [you will be sorry if you win.]

Just to be fair with you, when he gets mad, he looks like this:

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Free Dog

Do you ever wonder why I am a little blue on rainy days? Maybe you catch me on a day like today and you can tell that I am not quite myself. You ask what is wrong. Well here it is.

It is not a Carpenter's thing. Rainy days and Mondays do not get me down. Rainy days get Lou the Dog all excited. He sleeps in his kennel and he is usually fine. But if it rains, even one drop on the roof, he can hear it and he whimpers and barks and wakes me up. All night long. 3am, doen't this dog have a watch? Can't he see the clock in the kitchen? For crying out loud it is time to sleep, not time to bark!!!! Now I know that he is afraid and he just wants encouragement, but I want to sleep. And as far as I am concerned, my sleep is more important than his peace of mind.

If Daddy ain't sleeping, no one is happy. Lou the dog is in the doghouse, again today. That whimperin, cryin, little baby faced, barks at everybody, beats up cats, kills baby squirrels, Lou the Dog, you cryin in the rain dog, you are on my last nerve.

Free Dog. Call 373-1525.

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

Monday, October 19, 2009

man in black.

Ok. The choir was all dressed in black at the concert last night. Great concert. Craig Curry was awesome. So were our folks. Both choirs, adult and children. The choir being dressed in black, reminded me of the Johnny Cash song, "man in black."

Now, Johnny Cash is dead, and the movie about his life, "Walk the line" seems to show the worst of him. Drug use and all. What they leave out, is that he recorded a number of gospel songs, and in a way that many Christians don't want to believe, he was a very spiritual man.

The choir dressed in black last night. It made me think of that Johnny Cash song, "man in black." Here are the lyrics.

Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
Why you never see bright colors on my back,
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you'd think He's talking straight to you and me.

Well, we're doin' mighty fine, I do suppose,
In our streak of lightnin' cars and fancy clothes,
But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back,
Up front there ought 'a be a Man In Black.

I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
I wear the black in mournin' for the lives that could have been,
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.

And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
Believen' that the Lord was on their side,
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
Believen' that we all were on their side.

Well, there's things that never will be right I know,
And things need changin' everywhere you go,
But 'til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
You'll never see me wear a suit of white.

Ah, I'd love to wear a rainbow every day,
And tell the world that everything's OK,
But I'll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
'Till things are brighter, I'm the Man In Black.

I am thinking a crazy thought. I am maybe going to send the sheet music to Joy and the next time we are all dressed up in black, I am just going to drop that Johnny Cash song on the congregation. What do you think? I like the lyrics.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

why we do what we do

Ask the average person, "why do we do what we do?" You will get many answers. Church folks have 100, no 99 answers to the question in relation to the church - why do we do what we do?

Some say,
"it is good for my family"
"I meet the best people there"
"my children need to learn the Bible"
"worshipping God makes me feel good"
"church charges me up for another week"
"I love to learn in Sunday School"

All of these answers are fine, but they are all means to an end. Meeting great people, singing worship songs, even learning the Bible is fine, but they all should point us to something else. What is the something else? It is why we are here, it is why we do what we do.

It is the making disciples thing. Changing lives. Reaching out. Outside of ourselves. Giving ourselves away. Taking up our cross. Following. Living beyond ourselves. Finding a life that matters. Spending who we are and what we are for the sake of Christ.

It is all about God getting inside of us so that he can turn us out toward his children.

Enjoy church, where ever you go. But don't forget, all of it is designed to turn us away from self and out towards others.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

hard to be satisfied

The Rolling Stones couldn't get any satisfaction. We humans are pretty hard to make happy as well. We complain in the summer that it is too hot. In the winter, we hate snow and ice. Somehow it is always something different than what we have that will make us happy.

Anthony Demello talks about how sad it is for the fisherman who lives on the beach and takes his boat out to fish every day. He has done it for so long, he is no longer touched by the beauty of the beach.

Sound familiar? Remember how excited you were when you got that car, that house, that neighbor? Time erodes our interest and our fickle passions can never get enough.

Boy I wish the stock market was higher, boy I wonder what happened to fall. Where did my youth go. And on we go.

What if we just stopped, and look to see what we really have. If you woke up today, you are blessed. That soul that lives inside your temporal body has another day to live in God's world. When we break it down to the basic joy of just being alive, there is much to celebrate, even if it is a weak economy and a long winter.

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

Friday, October 16, 2009

don't quit today

I talk to people who are talking about divorce. "Don't throw in the towel today. Don't quit this week. You can always do it next week."

Don't quit the ministry today. You can do it tomorrow. Don't quit this week. You can do it next week if you really must.

Don't give up on life today, if you have to, you can do it tomorrow.

Now, the point is not that I want them to quit tomorrow or next week. I don't want them to quit at all. But if you can get someone to agree to walk thru the fire today, then they have made it one more day.

And it is a beautiful day. The chance to live is a gift that not every one received. Don't quit. Not today, not this week. Stay in the game. God is present.

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

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, the season of thankfulness is upon us.
What are you thankful for?

God has blessed you in 10,000 ways. What are you thankful for today?
Don't wait until November, the fourth Thursday. What are you thankful for?

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

the hole in the gospel

Last week I read, digested rather, a book called, "The Hole in the Gospel." It is put out by the Willow Creek Association. They mailed out a free copy to the pastor of every church that is a member of their association. If you received one and have not read it, pick it up and get after it.

One of the points the author makes is that there are 15,000 people that die in Africa every day of preventable diseases. 15,000 every day. He says that this would not be tolerated in America. Imagine in 30 days, the entire city limits of Kansas City is dead of a preventable disease. We would never allow this. Yet, Africa is a long way away, and we tend to sit here and thank God for our blessings. Maybe there is a hole in our gospel?

A sobering thought. Something to think about. Something to act on.

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I read something last week that I liked: "more people are won by Christian kindness, then by lofty words and clever speech."

When we push too hard, and talk too much, we drive away the people that we are trying to win.

When we start with kindness, with love of God and neighbor, we set the stage. People are drawn to caring practices. Caring and kindness are launching pads for the measured words that come later at the right time.

Who does God give you to care about today?

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

Monday, October 12, 2009

This Sunday

This coming Sunday I am going to be talking about why I love Woods Chapel UMC. If you would be willing to share some reasons as to why you love Woods Chapel I would be grateful. If I quote you I will not use any names. Please post your thoughts as a comment to this blog or send me an email and I will include it as I am able.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2009


And a little bit more on the subject........

Dave Kinnaman writes in his book, UnChristian, that there are six reasons why today's generation is rejecting the church. This is my summary of his points.

1. hypocrisy. Not that Christians have to be perfect, just don't talk about saving the environment and then drive an SUV. Don't talk about how it's a sin to dance, and then be caught dancing. Preach a faith that you actually aspire to live, otherwise we are irrelevant or worse.

2. conversion. Kinnaman says that people see the church as too focused on conversion. Getting someone to say the special prayer. Ticket punching evangelism. Another notch on our gun. Not enough focus on relationships and the ability of God to reach people in his own way and time.

3. anti- homosexual. this is not to say that you should hold one position or another, what he is talking about is the hatred that some Christians exhibit toward gays and others. How can we be God's people if we do not love our brothers and sisters with whom we may not agree.

4. Sheltered. Christians are boring. Stuck in the 50's. No fun. No celebration of life. It is almost as if I convert, I will be expected to get a haircut, remove my tattoos, and quit dancing.

5. too political. you shouldn't want to leave your church because you don't agree with the preacher. everyone should feel welcome.

6. Judgemental. Here are the good ones, and here are the bad ones.

Kinnaman concludes with an admonition that Christians should work harder to be connected to people, in relationships with them, serving the world and living life with a compassionate heart.

I would say this: we are not going to be here forever. This is our chance to be the church, our chance to emulate the love of God. Let's keep doing it.

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

Saturday, October 10, 2009

attempt to clarify

Read yesterday's post to understand where this is going.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday, and remember, this is a quote from an associated press article: "the study offers yet another wake-up call for religious institutions. First, catering to older believers is a recipe for failure; younger Americans are tuning out. Second, Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God."

Someone commented, what does this statement mean, "catering to older believers is a recipe for failure."

Sam Fisher, Pastor at Odessa UMC offers these thoughts, "Older believers. I think it means being less than inclusive, not welcoming those that are different than we are. Older believers has nothing to do with age. Older believers hold to the "belief" that one particular way of doing things in the right way. Older believer is an attitude rather than chronological age. I am 62, but don't want to consider myself an "older believer." Intolerance is not a property of "age". This is how I interpret what Jeff was saying."

This is what Jeff is saying about the line, "catering to older believers is a recipe for failure." First of all, I did not write the line. Read my blog carefully, this is a quote from an Associated Press article. With that in mind, what do I think the author meant by those words?

In many churches, the older members represent a resistance to change. They hold to traditional services and refuse to relinquish power in committees. The worst extreme of this behavior is when people say that they would rather have the church die than to change the church.

Fortunately at WCC folks of all ages are supportive of the church. Our seniors are very supportive of the church. What the AP writer wrote about older believers really is not true at WCC at all. Everyone is open and willing to work hard to help win people of all ages.

So, the comment by the writer does not apply to our church. Our church is not dying. One of the reasons that it is thriving and not dying is because people of all ages are committed to the mission.

I hope that helps.

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

Friday, October 9, 2009

this stuff is everywhere

From the AP, Oct 8th, 2009

Christianity is plummeting in America, while the number of non-believers is skyrocketing. A shocking new study of Americans’ religious beliefs shows the beginnings of a major realignment in Americans’ relationship with God. The American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) reveals that Protestants now represent half of all Americans, down almost 20 percent in the last twenty years. In the coming months, America will become a minority Protestant nation for the first time since the pilgrims.

The number of people who claim no religious affiliation, meanwhile, has doubled since 1990 to fifteen percent, its highest point in history. Non-believers now represent the third-highest group of Americans, after Catholics and Baptists.

Other headlines:
1) The number of Christians has declined 12% since 1990, and is now 76%, the lowest percentage in American history.

2) The growth of non-believers has come largely from men. Twenty percent of men express no religious affiliation; 12% of women.
3) Young people are fleeing faith. Nearly a quarter of Americans in their 20’s profess no organized religion.
4) But these non-believers are not particularly atheist. That number hasn’t budged and stands at less than 1 percent. (Agnostics are similarly less than 1 percent.) Instead, these individuals have a belief in God but no interest in organized religion, or they believe in a personal God but not in a formal faith tradition.

The implications for American society are profound. Americans’ relationship with God, which drove many of the country’s great transformations from the pilgrims to the founding fathers, the Civil War to the civil rights movement, is still intact. Eighty-two percent of Americans believe in God or a higher power.

But at the same time, the study offers yet another wake-up call for religious institutions. First, catering to older believers is a recipe for failure; younger Americans are tuning out. Second, Americans are interested in God, but they don’t think existing institutions are helping them draw closer to God. Finally, Americans’ interest in religion has not always been stable. It dipped following the Revolution and again following Civil War. In both cases it rebounded because religious institutions adapted and found new ways of relating to everyday Americans.

Today, the rise of disaffection is so powerful that different denominations needs to band together to find a shared language of God that can move beyond the fading divisions of the past and begin moving toward a partnership of different-but-equal traditions.Or risk becoming Europe, where religion is fast becoming an afterthought.

What does this mean for Woods Chapel UMC and the UMC in general? Today's youth are rejecting what they see in the church: self righteousness, judgement and a my way or the highway attitude. They are tired of Christians talking about love but not practicing it. Churches that refuse to change their approach and become more grace based are going to continue to struggle. Today's generation is not interested in our traditions or our moral judgements. They read about a Jesus that loved and welcomed everyone, and that is what they want.

We must be and remain a church that is filled with love and joy. We must be and remain a place that is relevant and authentic. That is process oriented, not autocratic. We must be a place where grace abounds. A grace place.

So if you are out there reading this, and you have a tattoo or a piercing, come join us this Sunday. We want you. If you have had struggle and pain and you want to find a place where you can find God but he isn't stuffed down your throat, we have a place for you. If you want to find the God that is real, and walk this journey with normal people, we have a place for you.

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

Thursday, October 8, 2009


In my lifetime, I have had some pretty interesting, significant dreams in some very poignant places. I had a dream in the Jerusalem Hilton that changed the course of my life when I was a young man.

I don't know that this is that significant, and I don't know if I should share it with you, but here it is.

It was my first night at the Pastor's camp in California. In my dream, I have all of the photo albums of my life. Now we have photo albums at home, but the albums in my dream had everything. Everything that happened to me in my entire life, even the things that you don't remember.

I went through every album and pulled certain pages. Then I started to go and call a friend to tell them about the pictures and the memories. I stopped. I looked at the pile of pages that I wanted to show them. It was a big pile, and many of the pages carried difficult memories.

I became disappointed. No one will want to see this. No one will care.

I said to myself, "why do you want to show this to your friend anyway?"
I answered myself, "someone has to know."
In my dream I heard God's voice saying, "I know. I know what happened to you."
I said, "and someone has to care."
Again in my dream I heard God's voice say, "I care, and that is enough, forever."

I woke up. I went to the computer and typed it out.

There it is. I think there is a message there for me. Maybe for you too.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The flight attendant's voice came over the loudspeaker: "this is going to be a completely full flight. Every seat will be taken. If you are avoiding eye contact with the people coming down the isle, go ahead, look up and welcome someone, because that seat next to you is going to be filled."

I prayed, Lord don't let it be someone who likes to talk on airplanes. I looked up. Here they came. Yes, they. Mother and child.

First thoughts. Oh my gosh, that baby is going to cry and drive me crazy! Hmmm. Grrrr.....

then, an awakening. I remembered the pastor's remarks from Sunday's sermon. See others as a soul. My countenance changed. I welcomed my new friends. Mom and 10 month old baby.

Mom is moving from Oak Grove to Denver as husband is in the Air Force. Baby Lillian is along for the ride and really doesn't have a choice in the matter.

I read. Mom feeds baby. Mom sings to baby. This is a good mom. Baby is happy. Baby smiles at Jeff. It is over. Jeff melts. Jeff smiles at baby. A discussion begins between baby and Jeff. I think it is in Chinese. No problem. I can do it. Jeff and baby speak to each other in Chinese.

Baby pulls on Jeff's bright blue San Jose State jacket. Pretty soon, baby Lillian is sitting on Jeff's lap. Jeff is singing to baby. Baby Lillian enjoys looking out the window.

The flight went by fast. I enjoyed Baby Lillian. Exiting the plane, I noticed that I had a couple of formerly slobbery Cheerios, now dried Cheerios, stuck on my pant leg. No problem. It was worth it.

Remember, every time you see someone as an inconvenience, they are still an eternal soul that God has made. A little love delivered to them, and you might just get to hold the baby.

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Well, Sunday night I did not sleep very well. I was too excited about where I was going this week. I woke up at 3:30 and sat around the house until 630 when I left for KCI. The airport is packed with people when I get there. Long long long lines everywhere. No one can figure it out. People that travel every week are asking what is going on.

Then someone realized that we were awash in a sea of blue. 60,000 NY Giant fans were flying home. Our airport was clogged with smiling Giant fans. The waiting area in the airport is really cold, there is a giant fan in every seat. [thats a joke if you missed it.] By the way, I did not see a single Chief's shirt at the airport. We all joked about who would be clogging the airport next week after their team cleans the Chief's clock. If you have to fly to Dallas for business next Monday, get to the airport early because there are going to be lots of Cowboy fans with smiling faces in the long lines at security.

So, where am I going this week. Every year I take a week to go to a pastor's camp in the California mountains to read. I have 2 suitcases. One is full of clothes and stuff like that. The other is full of books. I won't read all 30, but I hope to "digest" them. Get the main ideas. Glean the stories. Discover and extract the author's purposes. The resulting information is used to keep myself on track, inspire the staff and for sermon illustrations. These books largely come as suggested reading from the District Superintendent, the Bishop, Conference Officials and church members.

I will be back to preach on Sunday so do not skip church. Sell your Cowboys/Chiefs tickets and come to church. Jesus will not let you down.

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

Monday, October 5, 2009


On Saturday night I received a compliment which I hold very dear. Actually it is a compliment for all of you, not just me. Here is the story. A person that has been going to our church for a year or so and I are having a talk. I did not recognize them, so I was pleasantly surprised when they indicated that they attended WCC.

Here it is. The person says, "I don't like church. I have never liked church. But I love our church."

Savor that for a minute. Do you hear what they are saying? You have created a church where people that are tired of churchiness can find Jesus.

That is pretty cool. Pretty awesome. Keep being who you are: normal, authentic, and relevant. It is working.

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

Sunday, October 4, 2009

your church.

I like your church. Some people call it my church, but we all know that Pastors come and go. The church really belongs to the members which is why I call it your church. I like your church, and I know almost everything about it. Many of you, most all of you like/love your church, but there are so many things that go on that you don't know about. Well, I know about almost everything, and I love the place. I wish I could tell you everything about the place.

Here is an example. Friday night a marching band from a St. Louis high school stayed the night at our church. They were going to play on Saturday at a competition at Blue Springs High. This was a big band. 3 busses. A straight truck. A shuttle bus pulling a trailer with a gator on it. This was a big time caravan.

Yesterday morning I stopped by the church for a bit and the band was practicing in our parking lot. It was like God was celebrating His house with His own brass band. The music was so good and the young people were so happy. I was so glad that we opened our doors for them to spend the night.

Thank you for loving your church.

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

Saturday, October 3, 2009

hard to believe

Friday is my day off. Yesterday I was mowing and the mower started acting up. This is a five year old mower that has never been to the shop for anything. Maybe it is time. I know a little bit about motors, and it appears to me that the engine is not getting enough gas.

I get the mower around to the front and start to make arrangements to take it to the shop. Jerry C tells me that he knows of a guy in Raytown that has a reputation for being honest and doing a good job. I get the number and call the fellow. The name of his company is discount mower repair.

The gentlemen, whose name I missed, answers the phone. I expect him to tell me where to bring the mower. I expect him to have it for a week. I expect it to cost $100 to repair. I expect that he will find other things that "need to be done" to the mower.

What he does on the phone is nothing like that. He asks me what kind of mower it is and what kind of engine it is. He asks me to describe what the mower has been doing. He suggests to me over the phone that it sounds like the mower is being starved of gas. He walks me through a check of the vent on the gas cap. The vent is plugged. I clean it out, and the mower is healed. I am astounded. I thank him. He says, "no problem." I tell him that I will never take my mowers for repair to anyone else. He says, "thanks, have a great day."

Well, here is a guy who could have made money off of me, but helping me was more important to him. I love that. You just don't find people who act like this very often. Most people put money in front of everything else. This guy put me in front of his own pocket book.

If you need mower repair, send me a note and I will get is number to you. There are still a few good, honest, caring folks left in the world.

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

Friday, October 2, 2009

a gift

Several months ago, a friend offered Cathy and I a stay at their condo. The week finally came and we had a blast. What a gift. Sun. Sand. Palm trees. The ocean waves. The salt air. Sitting by the pool. No worries. The no worries is a pretty big gift.

There was a surprise gift in all of this too. One day, sitting by the pool, I had a bit of a visitation, a season of inspiration. I don't know if you have noticed, or if you will, but I got healed just a bit that day by the pool.

Thank you for the gifts that you knew you were giving, and for those that were a surprise.

Friends, anytime you can bless someone else, do so. Life is short and you never know what marks you will leave on their soul.

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

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the walking trail

In 1996 we were talking about a new building. We were talking about a building that sat on beautiful grounds. We talked about trees, flowers, gardens, and a walking trail.

Well, we moved into the building in 1999. It took several years to reclaim the ground from the wilds of nature. I remember many work days where people worked very hard to clear brush and weed trees from fence rows.

Finally about three years ago, maybe four, the promised walking trail was installed. It was a beautiful mulch trail that led from the flagpole around the crosses, to the missions building and out to the north end of the property.

Immediately, gardens began to spring up along the trail. The garden of love. The garden of hope. The giving garden. Trees were planted along the trail. Lots of trees. The crosses were lighted for night viewing. A fountain went in the pond. A pavilion is under construction.

Yesterday a milestone was reached. Because of a couple of generous donations, yesterday the walking trail was paved. Yes, asphalted. Now there will be no more worry about mud or the constant maintenance of weeds popping thru. What began as a dream over 13 years ago has finally come to pass. It looks really cool.

Take a walk on the trail. Find a bench to sit on. Give thanks to God for all of his blessings.

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