Thursday, December 31, 2009

have a little faith

Well, I just finished the book, Have a little faith, by Mitch Albom. One of the book clubs is sponsoring a discussion time about the book on Monday, February 1st. Plenty of time for you to get the book, read it, and show up. I will be there to add my two cents.

I am not sure how to tell you what the book is about. It is about a man and his rabbi and his pastor. It is about a man and his faith. It is about the journey of human life. It is very good.

One quote that I liked,
"I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When Sorrow walked with me."

I think the book is available in our bookstore at church, if not, I think you can get it about anywhere.

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

more snow

Ugh. It is pretty, but it is a pain. Everyone is tired of shovelling their driveway. Be careful if you go out driving. Stay off the road if you have rear wheel drive. If you do venture out, do everything at half speed. Almost every wreck, no, every wreck in the snow always boils down to someone was going too fast. Front wheel drive cars and 4x4's get around better in the snow, but they do not stop any faster. Slow down.

Take a hat, gloves, blanket, and water bottles with you. Be prepared. You never know what will happen. Maybe you will be safe, but you may have to stop and get out to help someone else.

If you need an 18 year old boy to shovel your drive, call Scott at 719-6963.

Enjoy the snow as you can. It is beautiful. Don't waste the day being mad at the snow. It is one of God's gifts of winter. Nothing lasts forever. Make a snow ball. Throw it at someone.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I have been thinking about it lately. And that is a good thing. Love is the most important thing that we do. It is the most valuable commodity that we share. At the end of the day, it is the thing that everyone wants. You may have a great car, a big house, a fat wallet, good health, even a long life, but if you are coming up short on love, it all rings a little bit hollow.

Anthony Demello has some very cool things to say about love. One of them is, "the lover creates the love." There are so many things to think about that statement, I am not sure where to begin. My grey matter begins to arc when I ponder those words....the lover creates the love.

As the fat cat jumps into my lap, I am at this moment reminded of a good illustration of this point. When we got the fat one [her real name is Princess Kiki] she hid from me. She hid from everyone. I can remember thinking, why do we feed a cat that will not sit on your lap. Well, I just kept working on that cat, getting in my cat scratchins as she would allow. Over time, she decided that I was ok. Now, this cat waits for me in the morning. I open the bedroom door and there she is. We walk together to the top of the stairs where we both sit down, and I give her the first cat loving of the day. The lover creates the love.

I really believe that we have the chance in this life to become friends with everyone. It's just a matter of how you treat them. The lover creates the love. Eventually they will come to it. Proverbs 16 says, "a wise man makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." The lover creates the love.

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

thoughts from the sermon

There were a few troubling thoughts in the sermon yesterday. Troubling to me.

"Do the gifts that I give to others have any real meaning or am I just fulfilling some sort of an obligation?"

"How many sweaters should one person own?"

"Consumption. Am I an over-consumer? Do I hurt people by how much I consume? Does my level of consumption keep me from giving gifts? Am I even brave enough to ask such questions and truly examine my life?"

"Perfume and jewelry and sweaters are not gifts, they are apologies for gifts. the only true gift is a part of one's self."

I guess it is a good thing when the preacher is still thinking about the sermon on Monday morning.

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Open for business

Yes. We are open for business. All four services. The coffee is on and the parking lot and the sidewalks are cleared.

I woke up this morning to 2 more inches of snow and a long list of church closings. Keep in mind, there are many that are staying open.

Come as you are. Wear your snow shoes. Messed up hair. No one cares. We are open for business. The presence of God is already there.

Hope to see you.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

real life

Well, I woke up about twenty minutes ago. I was having an awesome dream. I was in Royals stadium, in the outfield seats. A home run had been hit and I caught the ball. The next batter hit another home run and the ball bounced around and came over by me. I was just diving down, leaning down to get the ball, my hand was on the ball.............and I woke up.

What a happy moment. Two home run balls, back to back. But no, you wake up, and there is a foot of snow in your driveway and it is 12degrees. That is real life. I isn't always like what happens in your dreams.

I got out of bed. Even though I was not in Royals stadium, I got out of bed.

I believe that this is a gift of God. Getting out of bed and putting your game face on, even when, especially when real life is not as good as your dreams. It isn't always easy, but we have to learn to throw back the covers and put our feet on the floor one at a time. Any hope that we have of achieving something this day, begins with one single step in the right direction. Trusting in God's goodness is a big help too.

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

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Wow. Well there are many things that we will remember and celebrate regarding Christmas 2009. Where do I begin?

Let's start with, I got up at 6:30am. My wife was already up and about. This is the first time in 23 years that I was not the first one awake on Christmas day.

Snow. A lot of snow. So much snow that for the first time in 25 years, we are not going to Cathy's parents for Christmas day.

Snow. I have to get down the shovel. By the way, if you want your driveway shoveled, I have an 18 year old son that is looking for work. 373-1525.

Services last night. Well, we had them. All six of them. Yes attendance was off, but not really that much. Cumulatively on the day, we still had just over 2,000 people in worship. The music was beautiful, the atmosphere was electric. Everyone that made the extra effort to attend will surely remember the Christmas eve of 2009. Regarding the message, one of my kids came up to me afterwards and said with tears, "Dad, I so needed to hear that." Well it doesn't get any better than that.

Today. Watch the news. Listen to Christmas music. Wait for the kids to wake up. [isn't that a switch. When they are little, they are in your room at 5am trying to get you up on Christmas day. Now at age 18, 20 and 22, they may sleep til 11:oo.] What else today. Shovel the sidewalk. Eat the food. Eat some more. Take a nap. Watch the movie, the Christmas story. Give thanks to God for the many many blessings.

I want to take a moment to wish each of you the Merriest of Christmases. The kind of Christmas that will last beyond today and stretch into tomorrow and the rest of the year. You and Jesus, with something really good going on. God's love, pouring into your heart, and a year filled with love pouring into you and out thru you to others.

Merry Christmas!

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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I went to church

Last night I got to go to Church. It is not very often that I just get to go and sit in church. Last night I went to the first ever meeting of the Beacon UMC at the SAC [Sports Activity Complex] in Independence. The owner of the SAC is allowing the new church to meet there for free. What a blessing. The space was decorated so nicely. There was a parking lot attendant, a door man, greeters and ushers. The band was great. There was a giant screen for the powerpoint. Pastor Dave and Donna H did a great job with the message. Holy Communion was served. Over 100 people were in attendance.

I was so happy to be there. So happy for the new church start. So pleased that your new church is off to a good start. So glad to just be able to go to church and worship.

You all are invited to attend Christmas Eve services today at Woods Chapel. Regardless of the weather, our schedule will be as follows: 10am, 4pm, 530pm, 7pm, 830pm and 11pm. Remember, there is always a special feeling when we make the effort to attend church when the weather is bad. God bless you my friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

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

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve

A time of love, a time of peace, and for preachers, a time of high pressure. I remember at a previous appointment, it was my first Christmas Eve there. They had never had a Christmas Eve service. They told me, [they were joking, sort of] "if you want to stay here another year, we are going to have a Christmas Eve service at our church."

Christmas Eve is the time that the most visitors visit the church. More so than on Easter, Christmas Eve is the time when people are looking for a church. I remember when I used to deliver all of the mugs, we were still in the old building, I think we had 25 families visit. That was as many as we had at that time in the previous 6 months.

So, if you are a preacher, you know what I am talking about. Lots of expectations. Everybody has their extended family with them, and there is always someone who says, "hey preacher, I am bringing my mother to Christmas Eve service, and it better be good." So if you are a preacher, you need to find some quiet time today and tomorrow before the service. Listen for the voice of the angel. Listen to the Silent Night. In spite of the hurry and scurry, it is still there.

Speaking of pressure, my brother Dave O is leading his first Christmas service at the new church, the Beacon UMC. That service is tonight at 6pm at the SAC in Independence, 17800 Holke Rd. Please come out tonight to support our new church start.

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I used to go to church

There are tons of people out there with this story.........

I used to go to church. But I quit. The word quit may be a bit strong. I gradually leaned away. I got tired of all of it. There was something at the place that just was not clicking. Too many power struggles. Too much humanity, not enough God. Judgement and rejection at the house of grace. Pretense. Oh, I hated the pretense. It became more painful to go, then to stay home.

I used to go to church. They got away from the spirit. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions. They put God in a box. If you didn't agree just right with the prevailing thought of the day, you were scorned. For having a different opinion. At the place where I expected to find love, I found too many other things.

Well, this year, I am thinking about going back. I think about it every year during the Christmas season. I think about sneaking in and finding a place to sit anonymously. I wonder if it will be different than what I remember. I wonder if the people that I meet will be nice to me. I wonder if the pastor's message will be filled with love and grace or something else.

This year, I think we will try that one church on the hill. You know, the one with the green roof. I have a few friends that go there and I hear that it is a good place. I have been disappointed so many times in the past, I sure hope that we will be welcomed, and that we will find God there.

This is the story of so many. If this is your story, come on in and give the church with the green roof a try. See if God's love is still at work in the world.

If this is not your story, please be aware that there will be hundreds of folks at church on Christmas eve that this is their story. Greet them. Welcome them. Seek out the stranger. Let the warm glow of Christ's love pour out of your face. Be a part of the ministry of reconciliation.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

jazz band concert

I really enjoyed the concert last night. If you missed it, you probably won't miss it next year. This was an awesome night of celebration.

One of the things that I enjoyed was a statement by one of the emcee's for the evening who said something like this, "you have been to many Christmas programs at other churches, this won't be anything like those." Everyone laughed. I think I know what he meant. Some programs are very traditional and very "spiritual." There are a few others that are full of guilt. The jazz band program was all about joy and celebration.

Let me tell you,
is very spiritual.

Everything does not always have to be heavy to be good. I think Jesus would love a program of joy and celebration. I sure did.

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

a great gift

Yesterday I visited the home of a couple in our church. They were having an open house for their wedding anniversary, only they did not know it. It was a surprise to them and for them. Someone loved them so much that they threw a surprise anniversary party for them.

Here is the was their children, who are in college that threw the party! Imagine that, your kids who are in college love the parents so much that they send invites to their friends and create a surprise celebration.


I hope my kids don't read this. I would never want them to throw a party for the parents simply because someone else's kids did.

I imagine those parents going to bed last night, commiserating on the day. Giving thanks for the amazing gift of love that they received. That is a good thought.

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

dogs are not man's best friend

At least not this dog. He is out playing in the yard yesterday. He will not come inside. I call to him from the deck to come in. It is getting dark. It is getting cold. He doesn't care. He wants to run around, bark at his friends and eat who knows what. He has a new little jacket that he is wearing and he thinks that the other dogs think he is cool when he wears it.

I am honest with him. He needs to come in because his mom is coming home. Now I am telling you, he knows who his mom is, and he is always very excited to see her. She has been gone all week and I think saying the word "mom" will get him in. He does not budge.

[the picture to the left was taken later after i got the bum in the house, it is Lou the dog wearing his new jacket, waiting for him mom to come in thru the door. he has not seen her for 4 days and he can hear her in the garage.]
Now, back to the story........He won't come in for his mom, So, I take out the big guns. His brother, Mr. Scotty is coming home from college. They are fast friends. I call to Lou the dog and tell him that Scotty is coming home. That should do it, and he does make a feinting movement toward the stairs but then decides better of it and actually sits down in the grass.

I have used my best weapons. Mom is home and Mr. Scotty is home. The dumb dog will not come in. So, I utter the secret word: "treat." He immediately breaks off the games with the neighbor dogs, leaving them without even saying goodbye. He spits out whatever is in his mouth and breaks on a dead run for the stairs. Bowling over me and any cats that are in the way, he stands whimpering by the treat cabinet. That cabinet has many other things in it, the humans call it the pantry, but for Lou the dog, it is the treat cabinet.

I get the special treat out, he does his little dance. I give him the treat. He wolfs it down in about 4 seconds. But, at least now he is inside where he needs to be when his mom and mr. Scotty come home. But what is the deal? This is man's best friend? No, for this dog at's all about the treat. He is a bum. He is nobody's best friend, it is all about his stomach. But he does provide some interesting entertainment from time to time.

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

Friday, December 18, 2009


Joy. I awake today with joy.

The joy of seeing an old friend. The joy of having someone that you can say anything to. My wife is coming home today. The joy of having those in your life who forgive your sins. The joy of children that are starting to get it. The joy of a less commercial Christmas. The joy of pastor friends. The joy of the persnickety, elusive, reclusive cat that for some reason today wants to sit on my lap.

The joy of having a church home. The joy of watching people being generous. The joy of someone gathering around because you are simply nice to them. The joy of FPU. A cup of coffee. Disciple Bible Study. The joy of so many people that have called me this season and want to help families in need.

There is so much good. I awake today with joy on my mind, and I thank God for that.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I hear you don't have a church

I hear that you are a reader of this blog, but that you don't have a church that you attend. Let me take a moment today to invite you to Woods Chapel.

I know that you, like 80% of the rest of America, have been hurt or guilted by some church in the past. At Woods Chapel, we do not deal in guilt. Jesus did not attempt to win people by guilt or fear. It is a bad motivator. It is human attempts to manipulate people. The message of Jesus is so strong, so powerful, that it wins people simply because it is such good news. No guilt or fear is needed.

You are loved. You are forgiven. You are free. You are not required to do anything. God already did it all. What you do at church is all based on your loving response to this God who fills you and leads you, from the inside out.

You don't have to have the right clothes. People at Woods Chapel dress in all ways. No one will even notice what kind of car you drive, what kind of clothes you wear, or what your tattoo says.

Whatever worries or hurts from the past have kept you from attending church, I pray that you give this place a try. There is a joy that comes from being a part of a great group of amazing people. The music is awesome. The mission work continues to astound me. We have excellent programs for children and youth. The thing that you may have been missing in your life, you will find in the hearts of the people and in the presence of Christ.

Please come give us a try. Be sure to introduce yourself to me when you visit, because I want to personally welcome you.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Missions: helping others in need. Living outside of one's self. Being other centered for the sake of Christ.

Missions is not something that the missions people do. It is not something that the missions department does. Missions is what all Christians do.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the generous life

Anytime I tell a story in church about a generous act that some person did, there is always someone else who says, "well, I could never do that." No, I cannot give that much money. No, I was not here when a certain sacrifice was made in the past. No, I was not able to adopt a child for Christmas. Such things people will say. All reasonable comments, and all true.

Well, let us take generosity out of the hands of the extravagant and put it into the hands of simple sincerity. No one cares about the size of a gift. No one judges another by how impressive a particular act may be. The widow's mite.

Generosity is an act of the heart. If it is not of the heart, then it is not a generous act. Every person can act generously. To give your time. To bake cookies for another. To share a meal with a friend. To shovel the snow off someone else's porch. To put the magic blue water in their car for their windshield. To loan someone a pair of gloves. To smile at them and hug them. Smiles and hugs are free and they are abundantly available in a generous heart.

Do not worry about big or small, quiet or noisy. Just act out your living in a generous fashion. As God has acted on our behalf in Christ, we can act to touch others. Begin with something small. That is where it all starts. A willing heart, making room for the comfort of another.

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

Monday, December 14, 2009


A great big thank you to everyone who sang in the cantata or played in the orchestra. Cathy and I enjoyed it so very much. I know this is a great deal of work to do each year. I liked what Kris said at the end, "this is the music department's gift to each one in the audience."

Thank you for the gift. Thank you for the beautiful sounds and wonderful message. And somebody thought that the attendance would be light. Ha! Great attendance, great night. What a blessing.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

a blessing

Over the past 52 years, I have seen almost every Christmas special at least once. Most of them, it has been years since I have watched them.

This year, since the sermon series is touching one of the great Christmas specials each week, I have been watching them all.

It has been such a blessing to watch the Grinch, charlie brown, and the Christmas Carol [1951 version with Alistair Sim].

These stories speak to the hearts of people. That is why they are famous. Be sure to take some time this year to sit down and watch them all. It's a wonderful life. The Christmas story. Joyeaux Noel. You will be blessed by the work of God through these movies and TV specials.

Make the time to do it. Don't miss the blessing.

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Well, I don't know what to think or do about this, but there is something funny going on with this blog. Yesterday when I posted, "the end of winter" everything looked fine. Today as I look at the post from yesterday, the word "degrees" is highlighted in green and it looks like a link. Don't click on it. I don't know what it is. When I hover my cursor over it, it appears to be a link to something with the university of Phoenix.

Now is it possible that somehow the word "degree" has been obsconded by the University of Phoenix so that when it appears, it makes a link to their program? I guess that is possible, but I just don't know.

Please just read the posts and don't click on any links in the text that seem strange. I did not put the link there and I will try to figure out how to get rid of them.

[update- I think I have figured it out. The group that hosts this blog used to offer an ad program that you could select to be a part of. I never did. I did not want the readers of this blog to be solicited with anything. Now it appears that the ad program is being forced onto those who write blogs. I will keep trying to get it removed, but in the meantime, don't click on any links in the body of the text.]

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

Friday, December 11, 2009

the end of winter

When I was young I liked winter. The colder the better. It might be 30 degrees and I would not even wear a jacket. I loved to throw snowballs and sled down the hills. I prayed for snow days.

Now, the world is different. When it is 70 degrees I want a jacket. I never leave the house in the winter without jacket, hat, gloves and all. I have a Russian winter hat that this so ridiculous looking, but I don't care because it is so warm.

These days, this is the best thing that I can say about winter. It is all going to be over March 1st. Just hang on for a few months and March will be here, then all the snow will be gone and the weather will turn a corner.

In the mean time, I try to enjoy the beauty of the snow and thank God for being alive even when it is so very cold.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2009


To the one who is thinking about this...... I beg you to stop and think. Think about the fact that things can and will get better. Think about all the good that you will miss. Think about the empty hole that you will leave behind. The sorrow that others will feel is immeasurable. We humans are all in this dance together and when someone intentionally quits, the collective soul of the community is hurt. We can help you. Reach out to a friend. Reach out to anyone. Reach out to me.

See. See. SEE. See the good. See the beauty of the snow. Watch the children playing. See the bird on the tree branch. Listen to it's song. Sit with a pet, scratch it's back. Go for a walk. Think of everything that you will see, think of everything that you will do. Think of everything that you can be.

You are wanted. We want you to live. I want you to live. Think, See, Listen.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

bell ringing

This Saturday, Dec 12th our church has 4 spots open for anyone that wants to ring the bell for the Salvation Army. Our shifts are at Walmart in Lees Summit, 2 hour shifts from 12-2; 2-4; and 4-6.

If you would like to help, please send me an email at

As you know this is one of my favorite things to do. It is such a joy to see the happy faces of people who are helping the needy. It is so cool to see parents teach their children to be generous. It is also a very very easy way to help the least of these.

Let me know if you want to help on Saturday.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

quiet time

One of the things that I love about Christmas is the opportunity that it affords to sit by the tree. No TV. No music this time. Just the wind on the windows, the tick tock of the clock. No worries, no thoughts particularly.

Morning, evening, day or night, it works all the same. Just a sense of thankfulness. For today. For daily breath. For Christmases past. For the lights on the tree. Light is pretty cool to look at. The simple twinkle of a star in the sky, a light on the tree, a lighthouse on a rocky shore.

I am hopeful that you have a chance to sit by a Christmas tree and wonder. We are never too old to wonder. Wonder in amazement of the goodness of God, the glory of God, and the mysteries of God's world.

I am thinking too much now. I am going to go back to the quiet of the tree. Days go better with a little time of quiet.

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

Monday, December 7, 2009

your church

Your church really shone bright yesterday. What nice crowds attended all of the services. The branch has a good crowd and the pancake breakfast thrown by the new church was well attended.

In the evening 600+ came out for the children's pageant. It was awesome. So many angels and shepherds. Interestingly, 3/4 of the children in the pageant were not even born when this building was built.

I am so pleased to see this wonderful event each year as it takes our children through the story of Jesus' birth. It could not have been better.

After the pageant, the night in Bethlehem was packed. Every tent had oodles of children who were participating in candle making, rug weaving, and more. One of the greatest things that a church can do for it's children is to instill in them a sense that their church is a good place.

Thank you one and all for everything that you did to make yesterday awesome and everyday at WCC a blessing.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

sunday morning

The Sunday Morning gig. Since I only work 1/2 day a week, I thought I might tell you what I do on Sunday morning.

Wake at 545. Pray. Shower. Dress. Make a pot of coffee. Collect pile of stuff to take to church. Drive to church, listen to "Religion on the Line" on 710am radio on the way. Park out by the dumpsters. Walk thru the deer and the cold to the east door.

Unlock east door and turn on lights. Open my office and fire up the computer. print the sermon. Go make a pot of coffee. Turn on the WCTV TV's. Adjust volume. Open office and turn on copier. Check mail.

Go back to office. type blog. Answer any emails that must be answered on Sunday morning. Review sermon. Line by line. Does it make sense. God is this is? [it tends to be a bit late for that question, but you always have to ask it.]

Go get a cup of coffee. Meet with media person. Discuss slides and scriptures to post during sermon. Go thru check list to leave office and go to sanctuary. Things that I must not forget: Bible, pen, sermon notes, props if any, water bottle if needed, baptismal certificates if any, new member cards if any, prayers, keys, Rolaids, halls, and a name tag.

Go to sanctuary at 740. Sound check. Pray for all who will sit in the pews that day. go over bulletin to make sure I have all the announcements ready.

Shake hands before 8am. Lead service. Preach. Service over, shake hands, bathroom, water fountain. Back to sanctuary for 905. Shake hands before service. Lead service. preach. Service over, shake hands, bathroom, water fountain. Back to sanctuary for 1010. Shake hands before service. Lead Service. Preach. Service over, shake hands, bathroom, water fountain. Back to sanctuary for 1115. Shake hands before service. Lead service. Preach. Service over, shake hands. Often a baptism at 1215.

Back to office. put stuff away. Drive home. On the way home, thank God for the awesome opportunity of being able to share his love with others. Lunch and a nap. 6 1/2 days off, then we do it all over again next Sunday.

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

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Patiently waiting for the fulfillment of our dreams. That is where I find myself sometimes. I remember in 97 when we were just talking about a new building on the highway. One of the things that we dreamed about was a walking trail around the pond. A place where people could go for a walk amid the trees and find a place to sit and welcome the presence of God.

I was so excited a few years ago when the walking trail was cut in and mulched. Gardens sprung up along the trail. This year a fountain was installed in the pond and the mulch on the trail was replaced with asphalt.

There are plans in place for the completion of the trail, along the north end of the property to the back corner by the Cancer Center, south along the east fence, finally making a right turn and ending back at the parking lot.

Future pieces of the trail will include [if we are patient] benches and stations of the cross and a prayer labyrinth.

One of the pieces that was always present on the drawings of the walking trail was a shelter house. Over the years the name shelter house has been taken over by the name "pavilion." Well, patience pays off, for today, the pavilion is being erected. Awesome! Cool! It may take a few Saturdays, but it is going to be great.

Take some time, even in the cool winter months, to enjoy the trail, the gardens and the fruit of the years of labor.

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

Friday, December 4, 2009

several times a week

Several times a week I talk to people who are down, worried, concerned, depressed. God is going to get them, they think. They have not been good enough. They have been trying but they just know that it is not enough.

If you have ever felt this way, let me ask you a question. Is this how you want your children to feel? No. You know it's not. Absolutely not. You want your children to do the opposite. You want them to get up in the morning and be filled with joy. You want them to know that they are loved, even when they do dumb things. You want your children to celebrate the goodness of life.

Is our heavenly Father so different?

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

Thursday, December 3, 2009

reflections on my life

The following stuff is what woke me up the other morning.............

When I am gone, tell them these things.

Tell them that the house was decorated with blue and green outdoor lights at Christmas, with one red bulb near the top. Just because life is like that.

Tell them that I was the pied piper of animals. When I went to the basement they would all follow me and pile on in hopes of a good nap. I could scratch a cat and send it to heaven. I will be a cat masseuse in my next life.

Speaking of cats, tell them we had a cat named "the fat one."

Tell them that I loved Anthony Demello stories. In fact tell them one, tell them the one about the ghosts and the medals or the one about the sheeply lion.

Tell them that I loved people. I wanted to love them as God loves them and help them see the joy of being alive.

Tell them I loved softball. Have one of the Armadillos tell about the time I was bracing for a collision at the plate and the runner jumped completely over me and landed with both feet on home plate.

Tell them that I once beat Robin Fisher in bowling.

Tell them that I loved afternoon games at Royals stadium with friends.

Tell them I was a tool guy. I had eight hammers and every variety of tool that God had ever invented.

Tell them that Bruce Letner taught me how to replace disc brake pads on cars and that I got pretty good at it, especially after I bought the special tools.

Tell them that I loved jokes. Bad jokes. Me and Gayle Kelley. Tell them about Paddy O'Furniture and Napoleon's thanksgiving.

Tell them that I loved to paint houses.

Tell them that I loved Kansas City. St. Louis. Chicago. Ft. Lauderdale. San Francisco.

Tell them that I loved the mountains, the beach, palm trees. Swimming pools with fountains. Hot tubs.

Tell them that I loved Rob Bell and Hubert Neth. Tell them that they made me a better man.

Tell them that I loved to help big tough men learn to show the warmth within their hearts.

Tell them that I love a pickup truck and all of the things that you can do with one.

I loved cars. It was a sickness. I would buy and old car and spend a year fixing it up and then would not know what to do with it. I love mustangs and motors and brakes and tires. Body work, oil changes, brake jobs and wiring.

Tell them that I loved music. The Messiah. Fernando Ortega. Old time rock and roll. Bob Seeger, ELO, REO Speedwagon, Pink Floyd, and one we go.

Tell them that I loved trees. Oak, maple, red bud, weeping cherry, japanese maple, ash, aspen pine and more. I love them all.

I love redwood trees. Yosemite. John Muir woods. Henry Cowell Redwoods state park. My soul comes out of my body when I walk among these giants. Scatter my ashes there, I want to be apart of helping these beautiful specimens of the greatness of God grow even taller.

Tell them that I loved to plant stuff. Sedem, tulips, ajuga, english ivy, indian grass, mums, tomato plants, and the list goes on. Tell them that when you plant things and watch things grow, you are participating in the work of God.

Tell them that I loved cable cars, morning fog, highway 1, the old time amusement museum, Scoma's, the golden gate bridge, Alcatraz, Pier 39 and watching the boats on the bay.

Tell them that I loved the wine country, and I didn't even drink the wine. Well I did one time, when I was 17, but that is another story. I love the rolling hills, the beautiful vineyards. The smell of the air in the morning, and being there with Cathy.

Tell them that it was a privilege to be a pastor. To love people and to try to help them come to believe that God loved them.

Tell them that my greatest joy was to see the lights come on in their souls.

Tell them that I learned. I grew. I changed. I wanted to be all that God had called me to be.

Tell them that I had a growing desire to help the poor. To go to the places where people had nothing, and give them food and water. Tell them that God increased the compassion in my heart for those who are the "least of these."

Tell them that I would rather give away that junk than have a garage sale. The joy of giving is worth more than the small amount of money we would make.

Tell them that I so valued my friends. In my early years, friends did not come easily, so I deeply valued each of my friends.

Tell them thank you.

Tell them that I loved your mother.

Tell them that no man was ever more proud of his children.

Tell them that I am not afraid to go to the next life. It is already here, now, all around us. Eternity is just into the next dimension. We will all go there sometime, and I have been privileged to see enough of it in this life, that it is just going to feel like going home, and I assure you, I will be there, waiting for you.

When I am gone, tell them these things.

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

compelled to write

I woke up at 4:30am and could not go back to sleep. Thoughts were rolling through my mind. I could not stop them. I had to write. I got up and wrote was was going through my mind.

When you are constantly looking for inspiration, this is a good thing. Sleepless nights with thoughts on your mind to write about are good things. May God give me many more of them.

I will post what woke me up tomorrow. It may not mean much to you, but it sure did fill my mind in the early hours. Today I just want to celebrate the joy of being alive and being awake with joyful thoughts.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Nothing can keep Christmas from coming. The Grinch tried to stop it, but it is unstoppable. My entire family was home over the weekend, now they are gone.

I am alone, but I am pressed. It is time. The tree must go up. So, I put up the tree by myself. Well, two cats helped. Anytime that you put out a ladder, the cats show up to climb it.

I put on my favorite Christmas music. King's College singers. I got the tree out and I set it up. Alone. But that is ok.

We are never really alone if we know what Christmas is about.

Don't let anything steal your Christmas joy. Don't let anything get in the way of the most wonderful time of the year.

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