Sunday, January 31, 2010

1 Cor 13:5

1 Corinthians 13:5. First Corinthians chapter 13, verse 5 "love keeps no record of wrongs." Love keeps no record of wrongs. Love keeps no record. Love keeps. Love.

God. God is love. God keeps no record of wrongs.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

These soothing words speak to my soul.

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010

communicating with Jeff

From time to time, people are looking for ways to communicate with me. The best and easiest is for you to send me an email at with an email, we can dialogue, set appointments, and I can know who you are.

Posting comments to the blog is kind of difficult, because I can't always answer in the next day's post, and I cannot tell who you are when you post a comment.

I take appointments, and I meet people every week for a cup of coffee or just a visit. I like to say that spending time with people is the best use of my time. So if you want to visit, send me an email or call the office and ask for Terri R and she will set something up for us. With as much as is going on during Sunday mornings, if you ask me about getting together on Sunday morning, I will probably ask you to send me an email to set it up. I just forget so many things these days.

Phone calls. I am available M-Th in the church office 795-8848. Friday is my day off. Off? That is a day when I catch up with things that I didn't get done M-Th. If I am lucky, it is not all spent on church stuff, but I get some time to mow the grass, work in the yard and work on cars. Anyway, you can call me in the office and if I am available I can visit with you on the phone.

Cell phone. Sad to say, that over the years I have had to limit the availability of my cell phone. I have had too many cases of folks that call me several times a day, every single day of the week. I am sorry about this.

My home phone is 373-1525. Please use it sparingly. With my wife and kids all having cell phones these days, we have almost gotten out of the habit of using it.

To the person who wants to get me the book "84 Cross Road," bring it on. I love to read. Although it is kind of funny I will bet there are 30 or more books in my office that are waiting for me to read.

To the friend who is looking for a time to visit, send me a note and lets work it out. I look forward to it.

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

yesterday's comments

I enjoyed so much reading yesterday's comments. Each of your ideas about spirituality are so thoughtful. I must lift up one in particular:

The meaning of spirituality is not easily defined, but I can tell you what it looks like (a story from today's Kansas City Star.) Last week, homeless men at the Kansas City Rescue Mission raised more than $132. to give to Haiti relief. A homeless man who is 30 years old, and trying to turn his life around, gave $5.00. This is spirituality.

The writer is profoundly correct. This is spiritual. This is extravagant generosity. This is the setting aside of one's personal comfort or preference for the sake of the mission. Self-sacrificing. The taking up of one's cross. It would make me feel good today to find or participate in one act of kindness that even remotely resembled this story. Let's see what I can turn over.

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Yesterday I was in a 3 hour meeting with a bunch of preachers. Great folks. One of the things that we talked about was spirituality. If you had five minutes to define that word, and you had to do it in one sentence, what would you say?

Think about it for a while and then come back to the blog............


what did you come up with? What is spirituality? Over the years, I would have defined it in different ways, but at 52, I seem to be stuck on selfishness. It is so sneaky. At 52 I would define spirituality as the journey of learning to give yourself away in the name of Jesus Christ.

What new thing are you learning? What books are you reading? What are you doing that challenges your life paradigm? Do you see selfishness within yourself? Do you fight it? How?

Spirituality- the journey of learning to give yourself away in the name of Jesus Christ.

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

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the impossible

Well, every now and then we see something impossible. The Olathe high school coach is blindfolded, spun around and told to try and shoot a basket from half court. No one thought that he would make it. He didn't even know what direction the basket was. Impossible. Seemingly so. Yet, he made the bucket. Amazing.

Every now and then I run into something that seems impossible. Insurmountable. Impassable. Yet, life is amazing and unpredictable, and our God is uncontainable. He can make the impossible things become possible.

What challenge are you facing? We may not be able to see it, but with God, nothing is impossible.

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


How many days a year do you call in sick? I have not done it in 16 years. Until today. I am never sick. Blame the flu shot, blame good genes, I am never sick.

I always get sick on vacations. It is like my body lets down when it knows I can give it a break.

I have never been sick on Sunday. Can you imagine that? You have to talk all morning, but you are sick?

Anyway, being sick makes a person enjoy being well.

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

Monday, January 25, 2010

walking into the unknown

Sometimes we are called to face things that we have never experienced before. Such times generally cause us to be fearful. Even nervous, angry or hysterical. We don't like change and we don't like pain. We want things to stay the same. After all, we are entitled. Aren't we?

So here comes something that I have never experienced before. For some reason, I am not afraid. I am oddly over come by a sense of God's presence. Trust. Maybe it isn't that odd. God is so good, it's just all going to be ok.

Whatever tomorrow brings, we face it with hope, for God is with us. You can trust him.

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

practical jokes

Well, somebody is always trying to get me. To sneak up on me, to mess with my brain. I don't know why and I don't think it is very nice.

Here I am this morning, kindly making my way to church to get ready for today's services. I park the car, walk to the office and turn on the computer. Sitting on my desk, right in plain sight is my name tag.

Why is my name tag there? I never leave it out. It has a place where it lives. "A place for everything and everything in it's place," thats what I say. The name tag is out because someone has loaded it up with silly stickers. A big heart, a big pair of juicy lips and bird stickers.

Well, the heart is illegal since it is the sign of those certified on the defibrillator, which I am not. The juicy lips are right out. Not going to happen. I start to peel off the bird, then I realize, that sticker is a talking point. Can you hear the birds sing? Ok, I will leave that one on the front. The lips and the heart will be on the backside in case anyone wants to see them.

I don't ever pull pranks on others, I don't know why people do this stuff to me.

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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

the dog house

The dog house is that place where husbands go when they are in trouble. It is worse than the couch. The couch usually just lasts for a night, while the dog house may go on and on indefinitely. Yesterday, I got out of the dog house. I had been in the dog house since Christmas, so it was about time.

I don't know about other guys, but I can get into the dog house for all sorts of things. If we run out of dog food, I am in the dog house. If the grass is not mowed, I am in the dog house. I may even be in the dog house for something that I do not know, although I am supposed to know.

This time, I have been in the dog house because the Christmas lights are supposed to come off of the house on Dec 26th. Every year, Dec 26th. No exceptions. Christmas is over, lets get the stuff off of the house immediately, she says. Everyday that I go without getting the lights off of the house, I am in the dog house.

Now, I hate to stick up for myself, but it has been cold. Really cold. We have had a foot of snow on the ground. And, I have been busy, I have a job you know. Mostly I wish someone could explain to this woman that Christmas lights are supposed to stay up until January 6th. Have you heard of the 12 days of Christmas? They go from Dec 25th to January 6th. 12 days, beginning with Christmas and ending with Epiphany, January 6th.

So she wants the lights down on the first day of Christmas, and I am in the dog house every day until they come down. Well, yesterday afternoon, January 22nd, I got the lights down. Now I am out of the dog house, until she finds another reason.

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

Friday, January 22, 2010

the love file

The love file. I was thinking about it yesterday for some reason. I can't remember if it is a Dave Ramsey idea, but the love file is a good idea. The love file holds everything that your loved ones need to know if you should happen to die.

Life insurance. Who is the agent. What is the phone number. How much is is the coverage.
Car insurance. same info.
Savings accounts. Location. Account numbers.
Online accounts. Logins and Passwords.
Mortgage. Who is it with? How much is the payment. When is it due.
What are the general bills. When are they paid. How do you usually handle them. A copy of every monthly statement.
Is there a 401K or retirement. Location. passwords.
A copy of your will.
Any instructions for your funeral.

In general, every piece of information in one manilla file that would help your spouse or children know everything and anything about how your life is managed. One of these days, they are going to need it. It is kind of a funny feeling to put it all together, but it provides you with some peace of mind, and your family will one day be glad that you did it.

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Well, I survived yesterday, and I honestly appreciate the scolding that a few of you gave me. Yes, life is good, even when you start the day with a long list.

But, what is the use of this blog if I can't complain every now and then? It is hard to write some days, when I can't write about what is on my mind because there is a bit of a struggle in it somewhere, and I am afraid that the blog readers will wish better of my brain.

Man that was a long sentence. The point of it is this: is it ok, for me to be transparent in this blog, and if I do, can you readers live with it?

Back to yesterday. Adding insult to injury, I was in the middle of a meeting with a young ministerial student and we got an emergency phone call. It was my daughter. She is on the side of 291 with a flat tire. So, put on the Dad hat. Cancel appointments and go help daughter with flat tire.

I spent the next two hours with that daughter. She is awesome and we had a great time. Oh yes, and we got her tire fixed.

I am sure that the other appointments will be caught up. No problem. It was a good day. A wonderful day. And here we go again today, if God gives us the breath of life.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


It is 6:25am. Ahh. I am awake. God has given me the gift of this day. Or at least this morning. A long list for today.

A funeral for a friend. Kathy Rogers, 48 years old. Hmm. God, how can this be?
My wife is in Nebraska.
My daughter has lost her car keys so we have to get the extra set to her in Warrensburg.
AgDay is on the TV. Ha ha.
Someone asked about the parking blog. Here is what I would clarify- when we sit in the parking lanes waiting for spaces to open, we block others who come in behind us from parking and going into the building. Drive a little further out, pass a few open spaces. Park your car and go into church. Please don't hang out waiting for something close to open, it just slows everything down.
What else?
I have a TV that has to go to the shop.
My wife broke her 4th suitcase in the last 12 months, so I have to go get her another one.
I am meeting with a young minister today.
I am singing with the quartet tonight.
I am giving my testimony to the confirmation class.
All of this, if God gives me the breath of life all day.

Oh, yes, and I woke up with that song in my heart..."hold to his hand, God's unchanging your hope on things eternal....hold to God's unchanging hand."

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a letter from a missionary in Haiti

These folks [Steve and Faith] are friends of Betty P's family. I found their story to be very interesting, please keep them and all those in Haiti in your prayers.

Dear Mary,

I'm so glad to hear from you. I am sending you a copy of a letter
that we are sending to several people. As you will see in the letter we
have left Port au Prince and do not plan to return any time soon so I
don't think that we will be much help to the news folk. However, I have
a very good friend who has lived in Port au Prince (they have the guest
house we were staying in) many years. They are right in the middle of it
and could be available I think. Greg Benson is
his email address. Mary, I have thought of you many times over the years
and am glad you contacted us. I will continue to pass along to you what
we see out in the country side. I hope all is well with you.

This email will go out to many people who have varying levels of
knowledge of who we are and what we do so I will start with a short
history. Faith and I moved to Haiti with our four small children almost
fourteen years ago. Since then we have raised our children and operated
a small mission hospital in a remote part of northwest Haiti. One of our
responsibilities is to go to Port au Prince every 6-8 weeks to purchase
supplies both for the hospital and our family. It is not a trip that we
look forward to as it takes 10-12 hours of driving over very poor roads
to get there; then three days of driving around in the city trying to
find everything we need, followed by another long trip home. We have
always stayed at the CSI (Christian Service International) guest house
in upper Port au Prince. The folks who operate it are like family, and
the guest house has truly been our home away from home for over 13
years. Faith and I had driven in on Sun. Jan. 10 for one of those trips.
Faith was originally scheduled to attend meetings the first two days at
the Gheskio Bureau. Our little hospital partners with them in the effort
to provide treatment for AIDS in our remote corner of Haiti and these
meetings were to discuss changes in the program. They had decided to
postpone the meetings but we needed to go purchase supplies anyway so we
went to Port. We spent Monday Jan. 11 purchasing medical supplies, doing
some banking and working on renewing our resident visa's (which required
us to turn in our visas and passports). The next day we planned to spend
the entire day downtown in the old original part of Port au Prince.
Traffic is so bad getting to and from downtown that we always try to do
everything we need to do there in one trip. Most trips this requires
almost an entire day down there. I say "down there" both figuratively
and literally since the guesthouse is up the mountains several miles and
Down town is along the bay. The figurative part has to do with how
crowded and depressing it can be just being "down there" In a city with
over a million people and very little sewage facilities everything tends
to run "down there". We had a very productive day down town and
accomplished all we had hoped to,(which is unusual). Our last stop
downtown was the Gheskio bureau. Even though our meetings had been
canceled we still needed to go there and turn in some accounting
reports. The Gheskio bureau sits in a particularly polluted part of the
city in an area that once was in the bay but has been filled and built
on. The building has been added onto several time and is like a maze
inside. I stayed in the truck out front parked right next to the
building, (there is almost no parking space), while Faith went to turn
the reports in. I have spent a fair amount of time in recent years
sitting in front of this building and have many times noticed how the
ground jiggles up and down when heavy trucks go by on the street about
fifty feet away. I have also sat there and wondered what would happed if
an earthquake were to come ripping through that area. I have also
wondered what would happen to the tens of thousands of homes built one
on top of the other going up the sides of the mountains and crowded into
narrow ravines.

I will return to our trip but this seems like a good time to discuss the
fact that anyone with any understanding of the history of Port au Prince
(a terrible earthquake two hundred years age and faults running
underneath the city), along with a basic understanding of what poorly
constructed concrete block houses stacked one on top of the other would
do some day could see that it was only a matter of time until this
tragedy happened. I have said to Faith many times over the years, "I
hope we are not here in the city when the Quake comes". However, mankind
has a habit of building up scenarios for tragedy and then acting shocked
when it happens. It is in man's nature to flock to the cities in poor
countries and and build shelter wherever he can. Haitians are not unique
in this.

We left the Gheskio bureau and that part of town about 2 1/2 hours
before the quake. We have been told that that entire area was destroyed
including the Gheskio bureau. We went on our way to transact other
business unaware that we were parting with people for the last time.
After a few other stops we were ready to head to Caribbean Market to
purchase some groceries and exchange some money. For 13 years we have
shopped for groceries almost exclusively at this place. They also allow
us to write an American check and exchange it for Haitian money. I was
very much wanting to get there and exchange some money since we had very
little in hand. As we were headed there Faith asked about one other item
that we had been looking to purchase and if we should stop at another
place and look for it. I reluctantly agreed and we did find the item
which took more time. After we left there we continued on our way to
Caribbean Market but traffic was bad and it got later and at the last
minute we decided to wait until the next morning to go there. Instead we
went back to the guest house and unloaded the supplies that were in the
truck. Faith went upstairs to our room and I sat on the porch visiting
with a friend. When the earthquake started it was a tremble and we
immediately stepped out into the yard. Within a few seconds the tremble
had turned into a strong shake and I turned to look at the building. At
that moment something much like a wave went through the ground and I saw
the entire building sway back and forth about two feet. It is a two
story building made of concrete block and poured concrete pillars,
floors and roofs. As it swayed I realized that it might actually
collapse and I remembered Faith was upstairs so I decided to go get her.
As I started towards the porch a second wave came though the ground and
all the windows on the porch shattered and much of the first floor walls
started to break apart and collapse. I remember very clearly thinking,
"If it doesn't stop shaking the house will collapse before I can get to
her and the kids will lose both of us. I have to wait". Thankfully about
then it started to taper off and within ten seconds I was able to enter
the house and work my way through the rubble to the second floor where I
found Faith standing in our room which didn't have a single crack in any
of it's walls. This in spite of the fact that the two interior walls
underneath that room were rubble. I went from terrified that Faith might
be hurt or killedt to very angry that she was looking for her shoes and
grabbed her by the arm and pulled her out. She said the shock of the
quake coupled with the fact that in our room nothing was braking apart
made her unaware of the fact that the house was about ready to fall in.

The Caribbean market that I was so hot to get to completely collapsed,
four floors of concrete one on top of the other. Had we not changed our
minds we would undoubtedly been inside of it. We have a friend who had
just walked out of it and was in the parking lot when it collapsed. How
many times in our lives do we walk by death and even brush shoulders
with it but are not aware that it has happened?

We spent the first night on the street and then in our truck listening
to the never ending wails of people crying for the dead, but also the
singing of hymns and prayers of thanks that they were alive. I don't
know how many dead there are but 100,000 seems like a conservative
estimate to me and I wouldn't be surprised if it was double that. A very
large densely populated area of almost exclusively concrete structures
lay in ruin. Many of these houses have twenty or more people living in
them. Few have less than ten. The next day we decided towards evening
that we should try to go home on Thursday if possible since we had a
truck load of medical supplies for the hospital and funds for the
hospital. Haiti has a history of people blocking the roads in time of
trouble and we decided our first obligation was to the hospital and the
people of Bombardopolis. God granted us a safe trip home yesterday. We
are helping the Mayor of Bombardopolis coordinate efforts to bring the
many children of Bombarde that attend school in Port home if possible.
We have pledged some funds to help with this.

I know that many countries are gearing up for a big relief effort. This
is so important because we fear that if security and supplies are not
quickly brought in many tens of thousands could die from disease,
hunger, thirst and violence.

Here in Bombarde there is no physical damage. However, Haiti is a
country in which every family has relatives in Port au Prince. I would
not be surprised if a quarter of the population lives in the capitol.
This means that it is a tragedy for the entire country and the effects
both psychological and material will be felt by the entire country.

There are so many other things that I could tell but I think that I will
stop for now and try to get this sent out if we can get a signal. Please
pray for this poor, sad little country which has had so much tragedy in
recent years and now has one greater than all the others combined.

Steve and Faith

Friends, we too often take our blessings of food and safety for granted.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Yesterday Josh preached. He did an awesome job! Greg told me that he had a great crowd in his "Unchristian" class. Yesterday I got invited to play softball. Hmm.

Yesterday, I witnessed a bit of a parking nightmare. After visiting another church, I arrived at our church between the 1010 and 1115 services. I came in the front entrance and went into the south parking lot. What I saw there was kind of painful. There were about five cars just hanging out, waiting for a parking spot to open. A few were driving around in a circle waiting for someone to leave. It was like the only place to park was there on the south side in front of the main entrance.

People. Hear my plea. Come in the back entrance by the youth and mission building. If you don't know where it is, find it. Come in the back entrance. Leave that south lot for visitors and the elderly. If you come in the back entrance, you can find a place to park with no problem. That means that you won't be driving around blocking others who do want to park.

Please consider those who need to park close, and the general flow of traffic when you come to park. Jesus told his followers not to take the best seat at the table. I am asking that you come into the lot, drive past some open spaces and take a spot that is open further away so that we don't tie up traffic driving around waiting for the perfect spot.

Thanks for listening. I love you all and you are wonderful.

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the blues

The blues are back. Not for me. They bounced around and landed on an unsuspecting friend. Someone who actually helped me last year when I had found them.

We were talking the other night and he mentioned how every one would think it was silly, looking at his life, everyone would think that he should be happy as a bee.

That is probably true.

But here is what struck me as we were talking. Do you know how many people love you? In this moment when you are feeling down, when you are struggling a bit, do you know how many people put you on their stellar human being list?

The blues make their rounds to everyone, even this beloved person. Blue he may be, but loved is he as well. And love is the answer. It always pulls us out. We always find our "A" game again because God's love, and the love of others just heals us.

How many people out there love you? More than you think.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

my lucky day

Well. Yesterday was my lucky day. I got one speech and two phone calls from people who wanted to tell me that they loved me. For no reason. I was on their heart and in their minds, so they called me to make sure I was ok and tell me that they loved me.

Well. Wow. That is a very very good feeling.

Who is on your mind today? Who has God given you? Call them. Tell them that you are thinking of them and praying for them.

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

more on Haiti

Several have asked if our church will be doing something to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. The answer, of course, is yes.

We will be receiving a special offering this Sunday at all services. In the near future, as opportunities open up, I am also sure that you will be hearing about mission trips and other ways that we can help.

The United Methodist Church is very active in providing relief for such global calamities. You can read more about what the general church is doing at

Keep the people of Haiti in your prayers. About the only joy I ever see in such tragedy is that the churches step up and respond in such positive ways. Moments of pain provide us with a chance to be the hands and feet of Christ.

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Wow. The pictures coming in from the earthquake in Haiti are devastating. Let us join together and pray for those impacted by the quake. Also, let us be thinking of ways that we can reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to these people.

On a side note, in spite of what at least one Christian leader is saying, earthquakes are a natural disaster. They are not visited upon certain people whom God deems evil. The Christians in Haiti were not spared this catastrophe. They died in equal numbers to those who practice voodoo. Earthquakes are a natural disaster. Like a tornado. Jesus said, "the rain falls on the just and the unjust."

This is not about who the good and the bad people are. This is another reminder that life is a mystery and we don't have all the answers. It is a chance for us to act out our faith and care about those who are hurting, and in some small way allow this tragic event to be marked by the grace and love of God.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

lost opportunities

An opportunity was lost to share one's faith. Another day goes by and I did not talk to anyone about Jesus Christ.

Well, here is another perspective......what opportunities do we lose if we push too hard? When you work on someone in a way that they feel like your "project," they are going to recoil from you. They will see you coming from a mile away and go the other direction. Opportunities lost.

So we Christians just need to be really careful about how and when we open our big mouths. Jesus did not give altar calls and it is not our job to close the sale for God. We are instead to be carriers of his love and grace. We are to be ready always to give answer of the hope that lies within you.

You will know when the time is right. Don't lose your opportunity to reach them by scaring them away.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Our Town

Yes, the video that ran with the song, "In the City" was awesome. WM put that together. I hope there will be more.

Yes, the boss say about "My Home Town."

Yesterday I finished the book, "Our Town." Actually it is a play by Thornton Wilder. It is a quick read, it took about an hour. As I have been getting older, I have had a growing desire to read "the classics." A friend recommended Our Town to me, and I finally got around to reading it.

I am not going to blow the plot for you, but I will make one point that the author makes: We cannot just go through the motions. Life is short. I see you. I see you. You matter to me. Tell someone today. Look them in the eye and tell them that they matter to you.

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

Monday, January 11, 2010


Sometimes I wonder about the number of worries that we human beings carry. Life can be very complicated, or it can sure seem complicated.

What will happen with the economy?
How can we help people in need?
How are my children doing, really?
What will happen with health care?
Am I really living sacrificially?
What if the wheels come off?

I am sure that I could add to this list, as could you. There are a number of things that wear heavily on our minds. When I find my brain filled with such thoughts, I just try to remember the simple things.

God loves me.
God loves you.
I survived being a teenager.
So will they.
I will help everyone that I can.

Sort of a "life is short, don't sweat the small stuff." God is good, and we can trust in him regardless of our circumstances. There is plenty of good to see in the simple truths that are always true.

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

the healing power of Sunday

Sometimes there are those days. Days when you wake to frozen pipes, dog barf and cars that won't start. Maybe you laid awake for an hour wondering where a kid was that missed their curfew. [O no, not me!]

These are days when we just want to sleep a little longer. These are days when the dog might get kicked. These are days when we don't "feel" like going to church.

In my life, I have found that if I allow myself to fall further into such feelings, then they just take hold. If on the other hand, I get up and get busy, the positive side of my brain comes back to life.

I don't have the luxury of sleeping in when Saturday night is a poo. I still have to get up and go. But I will tell you, every time without fail that I have struggled on Sunday morning, by 8am, I am healed. And that is because of you.

I see your faces. I feel your hearts. They joy of your presence makes a difference for me. I am healed.

This will probably work for any of you that are having a slow start. Go ahead, get up, get a move on, and get to church. See if the joy of God's family doesn't put the smaller issues of life in perspective.

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Connie Thomas

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Rev. Connie Marie Thomas, a minister who used her zeal to help repair buildings and souls that Hurricane Katrina had battered, died Nov. 24 of pneumonia at Touro Infirmary. She was 51. "She had what I would call a pastor's heart," said the Rev. Ramonalynn Bethley, district superintendent for the New Orleans area in the United Methodist Church's Louisiana Conference. "To me, it is a faith that is lived out in actions toward others -- in listening to others, in caring for others and in serving their needs," she said. "Christ can come in a warm meal or a cold glass of water. "Pastor Thomas, a native New Orleanian who had led two churches in the city when the storm struck in August 2005, helped establish Luke's House, a free clinic at Mount Zion United Methodist Church. She was no stranger to storm-related losses. Katrina's winds peeled off the roof of her Uptown home. In another church-related duty, Pastor Thomas was in charge of about 30,000 volunteers who converged on New Orleans after the storm. That job, which she held for two years, included finding housing for these people, feeding them and deploying them.

That is what the newspaper said. This is what I want to say:

Connie Thomas was one of the first people that I met when I went to New Orleans in January of 2006. She visited Woods Chapel Church that next month. She preached to us and told us the story of need in new Orleans. Her words opened the hearts of many to go to New Orleans and work in the mission field there.

She welcomed our groups and was so kind and jovial. Her laughter and smile were contagious.

I had lunch or dinner with her every time I went to New Orleans. We talked about ministry and life. She invited me to say a few words to her congregation one year when I was there on a Sunday. She was one of God's foot soldiers. She was my friend.

Pneumonia. Age 51. Hard to figure. I will miss her. This is still our Father's world.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow, still

Well, I can barely see the house anymore. I hope that spring comes soon so that we can find my daughters car.

Speaking of cars, I remember when I was in college in Springfield in 1977-78 and 78-79, we had some really bad winters. I remember so much snow and cold weather. None of the college student's cars would start for a month. We tried everything. We jumped them. We put in new batteries. We even pushed my '73 Vega and i popped the clutch. It was so cold that the viscosity of the oil reduced it to sludge. The pistons would not move in their cylinders.

Those winters, I rode my bicycle to work. It was an old beater with knobby tires. I rode it ten blocks in a foot of snow to cover my shifts at the self service gas station where I worked.

I can remember watching the clock at the bank on Glenstone St. It had the time and temperature. I was so excited when one day the temperature got above freezing, because I knew that the snow was going away. Finally.

This snow will go away too. Thank God.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good, if you can see out your door that is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

uh huh. snow pt. 4

I have shovelled the driveway more this winter than in all previous winters at this house combined. My kids do not remember in their lifetime ever seeing this much snow, and this cold of temperatures for so long.

I am going to rename our town Minneapolis or Duluth or Greenbay. Heck, where is our ski resort? With this much snow we should live in Denver.

Let's do a remake of the movie Fargo. We won't even have to go to North Dakota.

I lived in Tulsa for 3 years. It snowed once. It snowed 3 inches overnight and was 70 degrees the next day. Obviously that snow did not last very long. I lived in California for 7 years. It snowed once while I lived there. You could see the snow up in the foothills. Everyone got in their cars and drove up highway 17 toward Santa Cruz. When we got to the summit where the snow was, everyone got out and had a snowball fight. There were tons of people up there enjoying the novelty of snow.

I was accosted at work yesterday. Employees of your church threw snowballs at me and tried to bury my truck. Not nice.

At least we should be able to go skiing. It has been too long since I have been skiing.

Well, certainly all of this snow will help us to appreciate spring. I think that we should have a big party this year when spring arrives. What do you say to that?

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

snow, part 3

It seemed to snow a lot more when I was a kid. Seemed like every year it would snow a ton and we would go sledding on streets packed with snow. We used real sleds too, with metal runners, none of this plastic stuff that the kids use today. We would tie our sleds together. My sister would ride on my back. We would jump our sleds off over retaining walls and then lie to my Dad about how they got broken. We made snow men that were taller than we were. We made forts and had snow ball fights. We would skate down the driveway in our black rubber galoshes. Once I did it backwards, slipped and fell and broke my nose. There was always a ton of snow, but it was never that cold.

Then I grew up, and other than the winters of 77-78 and 78-79, it didn't snow much. Until this year. First blizzard in 20 years. Stuck in the single digits for two weeks. Ugg.

I used to tell my kids about how much snow we got when I was little. Now I can show them. It is pretty, but it is cold. I think I am going to throw a party when spring gets here.

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

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

snow, again

I loved Sharon's comment from yesterday.....infact sometimes the best things about this blog are the comments.

Sharon said,
So, in the final analysis, you'd have to admit that snow is a good thing because it causes you to want to pray and visit with God. And since snow is cold, which you don't like, you'll have to practice your patience. Turn up the thermostat, wear your warm clothes, enjoy the beauty of the snow and your time with God and wit [patiently] for spring like the rest of us. I'm not sure praying for spring is a good thing. Isn't that like wishing your life away? Wanting to get to the "good part" and not having to deal with the "bad stuff"? Don't get me wrong, I like spring too and I get a little anxious waiting for it, but life is way too short to be wishing for the days between now and then to be gone.

Yesterday around 4:00pm, I was clearing my driveway [again] and when I turned off the snowblower, it seemed so peaceful and serene outside. And then, like it was meant to happen, the bells at church started ringing. God was there--he likes snow.

Thank you Sharon. So well said.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, January 4, 2010

snow, more snow.....

Here are the top five snowiest winters ever recorded in Kansas City:
1) 67.0” in 1911-1912
2) 58.5” in 1959-1960
3) 55.0” in 1961-1962
4) 42.4” in 1925-1926
5) 38.6” in 1898-1899

Average winter snowfall (metro ranges):
Kansas City Intl. (1971-2000): 20.1"
Lee's Summit (1971-2000): 15.6”

Last year’s total snowfall (KCI):13.4”
Last year's total snowfall (Lee's Summit): 10.0"

Lowest seasonal snowfall total: 4.5; (1922-1923)
Highest seasonal snowfall total: 67.0” (1911-1912)

Warmest winter season: 39.0 degrees* 1931-1932
Coldest winter season: 21.5 degrees* 1978-1979
[I remember the winter of 78-79]

Last year’s winter season: 36.0 degrees*
Coldest temperature ever recorded: -23 degrees on Dec. 22 and 23, 1989

Ok, so. I am tired of winter. I am praying for Spring. This reminds me of my worst winter on record. In some strange way, snow makes me want to pray. It makes me want to visit with God about how he is running the world. I think about Florida. I think about how I liked snow when I was younger, but I am not so keen on it now. I think about how you just have to trust God and hang on when you don't like the circumstances.

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

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Well today, it is back to work for me. First day of work in 2010. Not that I didn't do any work on Friday and Saturday, but they are not officially work days. 2010. I have been thinking a good deal about what may come up in 2010.

First, let me say that we are not guaranteed any of 2010. Each and every day that God grants us this year, is a true blessing.

Having said that, I have some things to look forward to in 2010. Another one of my children is turning 21. They get so excited about that. My oldest will graduate from college in December. Awesome! Lord I am praying!

Mostly I think about this year and I just have a feeling that there may be some very special things happen at our church in 2010. What are your dreams for God? Has he been talking to you? Are you open to hear his voice? What might he do in you and me in 2010? Just the thought of it is inspiring to me.

"speak Lord, your servants are listening."

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

things that go bump in the night

I am wide awake. Every winter we have these loud cracking, booming noises in the middle of the night. All I can think of what they are is that it is the house settling or expanding and contracting as the extreme cold of outside encounters the dwelling that is heated to 68 degrees.

Does this happen at your house or am I crazy? Don't answer the crazy part.

Anyway, it is kind of fun to be wide awake at 4am, keeping watch over the random noises of the house. It is the quiet time in the morning when no one wants anything and you are left with your own thoughts and the contemplations of the soul.

I was writing to a friend earlier and I used the word "metaphysics." Woo. Look at me. Metaphysics. The science or study of that which goes beyond physics. Who are we? Why are we here.

The older I get, the simpler I find this very complex topic to be. What ever you believe about life, love, the soul, eternity, it all boils down to one thing. We are here to be conduits of God's love. To receive it, and to then dispense it. To collect and distribute. To gather and then disperse. I know when I am receiving it and then giving it away, I am happy. To the core, I am happy. When I am not doing this, life is goofed up.

I meet with people all the time that ask me about the purpose of their lives. I always answer the same. Receive the love of God, and then give it away. Everything else comes after that or is subservient to that.

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

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

The Missouri Tigers lost. Well, if given a choice at the beginning of the year between making a bowl game and losing, or not making a bowl game, which would you choose? Congrats to the Tigers.

I talked to someone last night who had a friend throw them away in 2009. Over something that was nothing. Now they are heartbroken over something that should have never have ended a friendship.

2010 is upon us. May the Missouri Tigers win. May your team win too. My wife likes the Jayhawks. May they win too. May the economy grow. May you find friendship and love. May we not bury any of our friends in 2010. May we engage in mission beyond ourselves that makes God happy.

Here we go, if God gives us the breath. 2010 awaits us.

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