Thursday, September 30, 2010


Do you ever catch yourself feeling uptight? Kind of a dumb word but when i feel this way it always seems so unnecessary. It's like everything is fine, everything is good, but for some reason I am uptight. Almost like I am feeling guilty for having a good day. Is that silly or what?

We are invited in scripture to give thanks and rejoice. So it should be ok for me to just relax and enjoy the day. Should be ok for you to enjoy it as well.

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Demolition is needed this Saturday at the Hillcrest house in Sugar Creek. Can you help from 8-12 or for one hour between 8 and noon? Demolition includes removing sheetrock, pulling nails, pulling lathe and taking a wall down to bare studs.

The Hillcrest house in Sugar Creek is still in flux. Still needs some work. If you can help on Saturday, you will be helping to provide a place for a homeless person to transition back into the real world.

Let me know if you can help on Saturday. The address is 701 Sterling.

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

where do you go?

Where do you go? When there's no place left to turn to? Who do I talk to, when no one wants to listen? who do I lean on, when there's no foundation stable? I go to the Rock, I know he is able, I go to the Rock.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010


What are your favorite family times? For me it is not vacations. Vacations are too much work. It is being in church together, sitting around at home laughing, playing catch in the front yard and sitting down for a meal.

Last night I got to do most of that. Most of us were in church together, most of us shared a meal. A few of us played catch in the circle and there was laughter in the living room.

There is a richness to all of that which is beyond a price tag. I hope that you are experiencing such things in your life. These are the moments that provide joy beyond the pain and a peace that passes understanding.

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010


If you have a kid in range, hug them.

I know everyone's home wasn't this way. Mine wasn't when I was growing up. Maybe yours wasn't and isn't now, but i think a home should be this way.

Home. It is the place where you are always welcome. It is the place where you are loved without conditions and without manipulation. When you are home, whatever we have, we freely share with you. We pray for you. We encourage you.

At home, no one is keeping track of hurts. Everyday is a new day. At home there is a bond that will never go away. there is a welcome and a glad to see you that you get no where else in the world.

Home is a good place. Maybe that's why the word sounds so good. The word home even smells good. I smell Christmas cookies and roast beef. I smell cut grass and a dog that needs a haircut. We can offer you a home but we cannot force you to take it. But it is here for you, waiting patiently with hopes and prayers.

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

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Fall is here. Or will be here soon. Fall is my favorite season. It is the joyful cooling off after the heat of summer. The air is crisp, the grass grows back in, and you can sit outside again.

My Dad used to say that he hated fall because everything died. I understand that, but after the heat of summer, it sure is nice to have everything cool off.

I talked to someone last week who moved back here from California because they wanted to have the four seasons. Many in the midwest think that they would like the California weather, but then after a while you just miss what we are used to. There is a blessing to the cadence of the seasons and I am glad that summer's back has been broken.

So this is some of the best weather of the year coming up. Let's be sure to enjoy it. Slow down. Take it in. Give thanks.

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

Friday, September 24, 2010


So in my rambling post yesterday I was quoting a song. One of you, in a comment, added on to the words of the song. One of the words in the song that I did not get to, but you did, was surrender.

I immediately thought of this book that I give to people who are grieving. Usually a divorce or a death in the family. The book is titled, "Holding onto hope." It is an excellent book that someone gave me after my father died in 2002. We have given away hundreds in the last ten years. It is available in the church bookstore.

Here are the chapter headings in the book:

The book describes a persons journey through grief to the heart of God. I am going to read it again. If you want a copy, let me know. It is really good.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Things were going along pretty well. Then suddenly this. Woah. Charmed life. It's as good as it gets. Then suddenly. Bang. Here it is. What? Where did that come from? Are you kidding? I would have never seen it in a million years. Shock and awe.

Grief. Anger. Bargaining with God. Say it sounds like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's steps.

Grief is an interesting animal to live with. I know it takes time for it to heal. The wound keeps getting scratched open.

Well, there is some good news. Trials make you closer to God. The raw edge of the pain just takes you to a place where your communication is so much better. Nothing else matters. All of the things that were distracting you last week, well, they all have taken a back seat now.

It's time for healing. Time to move on. Time to fix what has been broken so long.
Time to love. Time to see the good. Time to pray. Time to hold to God's unchanging hand. And as we are able to do that, it is still a beautiful day in God's world.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

love and hate

Well, there are two forces in the world, love and hate. Pick what you want to throw yourself at. Love or Hate. Hate is the short term winner. Love is the long term winner.

I have to tell you it feels funny to even think that some will choose love and others will choose hate, but I know that some do choose hate.

My daughter likes to say, "don't drink the haterade." Sometimes that is all that we have to go by to know that we are choosing the good. Choosing love over hate. It can be that simple.

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

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

20 years

I talked to a friend yesterday who is 20 years ahead of me. He tells me that the problems that I face today look very different in 20 years.

I love that thought. Somehow, what may be eating my lunch today, may be eating our lunch today is all made whole some years down the road. The things that we can't imagine being healed, get healed in time.

That reminds me of a scripture from Ecclesiastes 3 "God makes all things beautiful in his time."

I am going to take some consolation and rest in that thought.

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

new member class

Last night I attended the new connections class. Every other month this class is held for the purpose of helping new folks prepare for church membership. About 40 people attended. The class was awesome. In the course of a couple of hours I got a complete overview of your church. It was so exciting to see all of the things that are going on.

It was also wonderful to see the new people and their enthusiasm for the church. And they want to join a church that is in a building campaign!

As challenging as life can be from time to time, it is nice to gather with God's people. I am so encouraged when I go to church and hang out with you guys. There is a healing ointment when people of God get together. I hope you feel it too.

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

pithy and perfect

Thank you to the young shepherd who posted last week while I was on vacation with my wife. I am always inspired by the shepherd and I know that you are as well.

Vacation. I caught three sharks and enjoyed my favorite part of the country. More on that later.

Pithy and Perfect. Sometimes I have posted blogs that were pithy and perfect. Just do this and everything will be ok. Here it is, like this, it's good. You're ok.

When I post like this I always feel what I am writing and I usually get a few comments from folks who do not feel pithy and perfect.

Today, I am one of those. Many of you know that I have a concern that is on my mind and is eating my lunch about every other day. So last night, I go to bed at 10:30 and wake up at 3:15. Sometimes you just have things on your mind.

The nice thing about not feeling perfect or pithy is that these are the times when we can really trust God. You get up and keep going. You pray harder. You lean on the Father's shoulder.

And that is the beginning of a beautiful day. Be sure to see the good. I am working on it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the branch.

Note: I invite you to read through some of the comments from young adults posted on Thursday. Please feel free to continue the conversation if you're interested!

A couple of years ago, The Ten10 Branch was born. For those of us who go down there, it’s just “the branch.” When the branch was created, it was created as an overflow gathering in the gym because of the large crowd attending the 10:10 service upstairs. At that time, something significant happened in that our church found Megan (Blosser) Hobbs – or maybe she found us. I think this is significant because Megan is a young person with a voice and a gift for leading people into worship.

So the branch became a place where this young person could work on her craft, so to speak. It is a place where she can learn to use her voice and exercise her gifts in the midst of close family.

What if the branch becomes a place where everyone has an opportunity to come together to use their voices and share their gifts as a community? I envision a place where we are able to plan and dream about worship through different teams of people with various talents. I picture a space where people of all ages can learn to use our voices together.

That’s why I am excited to tell you that, 10/10/10 at 10:10 in the gym, the branch is doing a new thing. The most noticeable change, at first, will be that Jeff’s sermon will no longer be broadcast on the big screen. Shawn Franssens and I, Josh Shepherd, will take turns speaking. It brings me a lot of joy to know that I will be able to work with Shawn to learn to use the voice that God has given me to speak love and “compare notes” with others on this Spiritual journey with Christ.

As we progress, there will be other changes. You may find that the worship space is more contemplative or meditative. We want to bring you into a softer space that hopefully eliminates distractions. There are certainly plenty of distractions outside, and we want you to be able to breathe deeply inside.

Shawn and I are looking forward to collaborating with Megan about creative ways to worship God. Because of our close relationship, it will be possible for us to work together to develop cohesive themes throughout worship. We are also praying and passionately hoping that God will send many, many more people who have a desire – not just to “attend worship” – but to work together in community to create captivating worship as an offering to God together. If you are interested in exploring this with me, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Another noticeable change is our desire to share Communion at the table with each other each week. We believe that Jesus has given us the Word and the Table so that he can communicate something of himself to us every time we gather. The Table is packed with layers upon layers of meaning, and we look forward to exploring these layers together over time.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, as Shawn and I will be communicating about the expected changes as we near October 10. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to e-mail me at, or leave me a comment here!

with love,


Friday, September 17, 2010


I was born on November 26, 1984. On that day, I emerged from the comfort of darkness into the blinding light. I am told it was not a pleasant experience. Apparently, birth is painful. There is blood. There is screaming. You would think you were witnessing Death rather than Life.

See, birth is not a simple transaction. You can’t just sign a card and walk out with new Life all bundled up and warm in your arms. Birth is messy. Bringing new life into the world is no simple, sterile matter.

So when Jesus tells Nicodemus that we must be born again (John 3 – Read it again for the first time!), he is not talking about a label we can stick to our car bumper. He’s not talking about a simple transaction, where we can fill out a card or say the right words and walk out with New Life. Where my first birth was the chaotic transformation from the womb to the world, Jesus calls us into another birth. At my first birth, I came out looking a lot like my mother. But the second birth is about making me look more like the Father. This is the work of his Spirit, delivering me from my comfortable darkness into the light.

As far as I can tell, the second birth is every bit as messy as the first one. Rather than saying that I am a “born again Christian,” maybe I would say that I am being born again, as we speak. And it is often very painful. Sometimes it feels much more like Death than New Life.

On my birthday, as my mom tells the story, they bring me to her. And I am beautiful, of course. I am clean. Her heart is swelling with otherly-love. And she is celebrating how we will never be apart. This life has come from her, and it is good.

I think this is a tiny glimpse into the New Life that is available through Christ. The Spirit draws us out of ourselves and into Him. We become beautiful. We become clean. Our hearts swell with otherly-love.

There is a celebration. A feast. Because the one who was lost has been found. The one who was Dead has been Born Again.

With love,

a young shepherd.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

young adults.

Note to Readers: What follows is a bit of a departure from what I usually share in Jeff’s blog. Namely, it is much lengthier. If it is too lengthy for you to read, please feel free to scan and/or come back to this post when you have more time or curiosity about the subject. Also, I am hoping to spark some interesting conversation so please pay attention to the comments as they are approved by Jeff.

with love,

Intro to the Conversation

As you may know, I work as the Young Adult Director at Woods Chapel Church. My mission is to work to connect young adults to Christ. I am consumed by thoughts of how to do this in the way that best reflects the love of Jesus Christ. In this post, I am attempting to spell out some of the underlying reasons why I think connecting with my generation is a crucial issue facing the church. Whether you want to read my thoughts or not, I am inviting you to weigh in with your thoughts about young adults in the church. Feel free to skip down to the discussion points at the bottom and join the dialogue.

Either way, I invite you into an ongoing conversation with me, whether it’s on this blog or in person. Please feel free to contact me any time at or hit me up on Facebook.

Church Crisis

I am not a statistical person. I prefer a good story any day. Sometimes statistics tell a story, though. As I shared yesterday, I consider it my current mission in life to understand – and ultimately respond to – the story of how my generation (18-29 and called “Millenials” for people that like labels) relates to the church in my culture. Here are some statistics that tell a story.

According to USA Today, 18% of Millenials in the U.S. attend church weekly. In fact, the church in the U.S. has been in steady decline since the 1960s. The average age among Methodists is 57, and we are steadily getting older. Out of 16,000 UMC clergy, only 850 are under the age of 35.

Someone recently balked at my usage of the word “crisis” to describe the situation in our church. The more I think about the statistical story, the more I stand by this word. We have an age crisis. Because we have an age crisis, we also have a leadership crisis. Not only will there be fewer leaders in the future as experienced clergy retire or die; there are also fewer leaders who are able to speak to the Millenial generation now. I call this a crisis.

The future doesn’t seem much brighter. Many American missiologists (people who are smarter than me and study the church’s efforts to reach out in mission) look to the church in Europe to predict the steady decline of the church in the U.S. Currently in the United Kingdom, only 2-3% of Millenials attend church. Europe, the home of the original towering “mega-churches”, has now become the home of towering mega-church museums. The church in the U.S. is dying. The church in Europe is dead.

That’s the story.

Spiritual Hunger

To hear this story, one might conclude that the Millenial generation is simply no longer seeking God – that we have lost our spirituality. However, the statistics are telling another story. 72% of U.S. Millenials call themselves “more spiritual than religious.” Thus, they have not turned away from spirituality. They have turned away from the church as a relevant teacher of spiritual matters.

If the term “spirituality” is too generic for you, then consider this. Dan Kimball recently wrote a book called They Like Jesus but Not the Church. It’s about – you guessed it – the overwhelming amount of young people in our culture who resonate with Jesus, but don’t resonate with the church. Together, these two groups are telling us a story of a church who has not only lost its way spiritually, but who has lost its way in following Christ.

I’m listening to this story.

What’s Our Story?

If a group of people who are spiritual seekers and who like Jesus Christ can’t find a home in the church, then I take that as an indictment against the church. We have failed to communicate the true Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ. In reading through the New Testament recently, a theme I have come across time and time again is the theme of “Life in the Spirit.” What could be more spiritual than living together in the Spirit of God? This is a Story we can share.

Instead, in my lifetime, the American church – not everyone, but in large part -- has seemed more interested in telling the story of cold rationale or political power or “creationism versus science” (as if such a polemic must necessarily exist) or modern-day Pharisaism that has created an “us, the good ones and them, the bad ones” split. Meanwhile, we have – again in large part – ignored the sufferings of people around the world, while secular organizations and people outside the church have responded much more quickly. I do not blame my generation for seeing this and concluding that Jesus may be doing more outside the church than through the church.

Re-think or Repent?

For years, the church in America has noted the decline and has attempted to respond. At times, though, our response is more about re-marketing than repentance (which means to turn back; to change your ways for the better.) Appropriately noting the bad PR of the church, we have attempted to correct the PR instead of simply correcting our behavior. The church’s PR problem cannot be corrected cosmetically. I do not believe it can be corrected through top-down programmatic change.

I propose a different solution, one of bottom-up change. Forget the PR problem, I say. I won’t try to take the splinter out of my brothers and sisters in the church, when there is a log in mine. I won’t try to tell you what to do about this crisis. But as for me, I intend to take the criticisms to heart so that they break my heart. I am convinced that my repentance and resultant love for others will do more to draw others into the church – that is, the people, the Body of Christ, not the building – than any cleverly designed marketing campaign.

Embodying the Story

Along the way, I am continually finding others who have let this story break their heart. And we are joining together, because it’s all we really know to do. In our relationships with each other and with others, we are able to share a new story.
Won’t you join us?

Woods Chapel Young Adults

There are local churches all over the U.S. and throughout Europe who are wrestling with this crisis. I am proud to be a part of one of those local churches. After awareness comes action, and action is beautiful. It is beautiful because we are able to come together to face these challenges as a community. I have a feeling this is exactly what Christ envisioned for his church.

I know from everyday experience that Woods Chapel is striving to tell a different story from the one I described above. I have nothing but fervent hope as I see us coming together. We can have hope because we know that death is not the final story for God. The Good News of Jesus is that just when we think Death has spoken the final word, God speaks up with Resurrection. And because I’ve read to the end of the Book, I know that the church never dies, no matter how bleak things may appear. That is why I have hope, and why I love to share the reason for this hope.

At Woods Chapel, I am just one voice among many voices of people who have witnessed the increasing alienation of my generation from the church. Everyday, I find myself in conversations with people who are thinking and dreaming about where we go from here.

Invitation to Dialogue

I invite you to share your thoughts by commenting here. It’s okay if your perspective doesn’t coincide with mine. If you want to go off on a tangent, that’s fine, too. If not, here are a few questions related to my thoughts above.

1. I cited a few statistics about the ongoing decline of the church in the Western world. What are your thoughts on this? Would you consider this a crisis? What should be done? What can YOU do?

2. What are your thoughts on young leadership in the church? What can we do to find and empower young leaders?

3. Do you have stories to share about your experiences as a young person in church? How about stories about experiences relating to young people in and out of church?

4. In what ways might Woods Chapel come together to connect young adults to Christ?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Lately, I have been reading through Paul’s letters to Timothy. People smarter than me say that Paul’s second letter to Timothy was probably the last letter he ever wrote. This means that Paul, writing from prison and soon to be martyred, chose to spend his last ounces of leadership, experience, and love on mentoring this young man.

Timothy is just a young man trying to lead a church. Leading a body of people – a church – is difficult enough. I can imagine how much more difficult it would be to lead so many older people. A commentator in one of my Bibles notes how “Timothy’s young age made him an easy target for those who preferred a seasoned leader.” I’m sure it’s no different today. And I’m sure that Timothy yanked this letter from the messenger’s hands and scoured it for every word, every bit of guidance he could receive from his wise, experienced mentor.

Lest the connection be missed, I want to make a few things clear. I am 25 years old. I grew up in the church, and I walked away as soon as I had the choice. A few years later, I decided to return – or was drawn into returning – back to church. Now, I love the Church. I would die for the Church. But since I probably won’t have to do that in my time, I will give the life I am given to the Church.

Is this too intense for a Wednesday morning? My friends have confided that I am too intense sometimes, and I have though about this for about a year. This is what I have decided.

Now is the time for intensity. Do you see what I see? Can you simultaneously hold a picture in your mind of all the people the church has hurt standing beside all the damaged people Christ is transforming through the church? In my life, I have seen church at its worst. And I have seen church at our best. I believe it is my mission to do everything in my power to lead us into the best that Christ has called us to be. And I believe this mission calls for intense love.

But this is scary. I’m too young. I’m too inexperienced. I’m too uneducated. I’m too broken. So I fall on my knees and I pray. I pray that Christ will break me even more, because it isn’t my success that will restore the Church. It is our brokenness. And so if you are my friend and you are close to my age, I’m sorry. I pray for you to be broken, too. I want you to have a broken heart, because I believe that is the beginning of having a heart like Christ. In Gethsemane, he sweated blood for us. Jesus surely smiled many times in his life. But at the climax of his life, he wasn’t smiling. He was broken and he was intense. So this is what I pray for you, my young friends.

And if you are one of my older friends, I pray that you see what Paul has done at the climax of his life. He invested his last remaining days on earth to a young church leader named Timothy. Paul was now counting on Timothy the way that Christ had counted on Paul. Likewise, I want you to count on me. Not because of anything I have done, but because it seems to be Christ’s joy to pass on what he has received from the Father. So that you can pass it on to me. And I will pass it on to others.

Like Paul, our days are numbered. I beg you not to spend the rest of your life pursuing temporary comfort or money or things but the one thing that we know lasts forever. I beg you to let your heart be broken over the things that break God’s heart. You may suffer, but you will have no regrets.

with nothing but love,

a young shepherd.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I was in Guatemala in July. While working one afternoon, the rain came down. Out of nowhere, God tore open the sky, and the Guatemalans ran for cover. Apparently, they don’t work in the rain. And “when in Guatemala…”

About eight of us gathered in a tiny covered hut near the job site. I learned a few new Spanish words before deciding I wanted to get drenched. I could dry off later on the long walk back to the San Lucas Mission. Without a word to anyone, I walked out of the hut carefully over the slippery rocks that we all had piled together over the last few days. My friends and the Guatemalans shared a few laughs at my expense. Laughter is the same in any language.

I listened as the rain poured down on my poncho percussively, and I was drawn into deep prayer. This was not the prayer of petition. This was the prayer of simple receiving from a God who freely gives. I opened my hands and felt the rain fall down.

The rain falls on us all. The rain causes everything to grow. The rain interrupts what we are doing, so we stop and pay attention. The rain calms and soothes us. The rain washes away the dirt and grime that is caked on our hands. It cleanses. It purifies. It nurtures. And it is the same everywhere. The same rain that drenched me amongst the poorest of the poor in Guatemala is drenching thousands of Chiefs fans as I write this late Monday night.

We are not so different. The rain falls on all of us.

In the rain in Guatemala in July, I considered how the rain is like God’s love. Try as I might, I cannot do anything to make it rain. And try as I might, I cannot do anything to make God love me. Yet God pours this rain and God pours this love out on us freely. All we need to do is sit quietly underneath it.

There is more. Once the rain soaks into the ground, it is pulled back into the sky in a cycle of giving and receiving that never ends. We, too, are called to give back the love we have received. Why would we hold onto something that falls on us so freely? The love that falls on me regardless of merit is to be given to others regardless of merit.

Because God’s love falls on us all. God’s love causes everything to grow. God’s love interrupts what we are doing, so we stop and pay attention. God’s love calms and soothes us. God’s love washes away the dirt and grime that is caked on our hands. It cleanses. It purifies. It nurtures. And it is the same everywhere. The same Love that drenched me amongst the poorest of the poor in Guatemala is drenching thousands of Chiefs fans as I write this tonight.

We are not so different. God’s love falls on all of us.

with love,

a young shepherd.

Monday, September 13, 2010

for you today

I wish for you today, I pray for you today, a smile on your face. Joy in your heart. California weather in Kansas City. Healing for the hurt. Resolve to carry on. A friend to enjoy lunch with. Peace in your heart.

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

Sunday, September 12, 2010

just keep going

By the way, who ever commented that I would do nothing on Saturday was pretty close to right. I was pooped out.

As for today, Just Keep going. Sometimes you need inspiration and it doesn't come. You need a word from God but the heavens are brass. You feel like you need to learn something but it doesn't happen. I would be at the end of my rope but I just can't find it.

Everyone gets like this sometimes. Just keep going. Just get out of bed and put your feet on the floor and keep going. This is not the end, it is not over. It is just a spell. Get up and get going. Find someone to care about for Jesus.

Nothing more to say. If you are in the pits, just keep going. Things will get better. Emotions are fickle, God is good.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

productive days

I love productive days. Yesterday I went to a birthday party. I got the oil changed in my wife's car. I got the oil changed in my car. I worked on the sermon. Did I mention that Friday is my day off? I went to the store and bought light bulbs. I rotated the tires on my wife's car at home in our garage. I fixed a flat tire on my car [I have the technology]. I went to a friend's home for dinner. I bought dog and cat food. I cleaned a retired computer in preparation to give it to a friend. I finished a tile job at the house by laying the 1/4 round and painting it out. Oh, yes and I took a nap.

Is that a good day or what?

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

Friday, September 10, 2010

close call

Last night I took my daughter to Paddys for dinner. Sorry, I know they have a new name, but it will always be Paddys in my brain. She had a salad, I had the ribs and a great talk with my daughter.

We are driving home. Woods Chapel Road to 291 north. Lakewood Blvd exit. I exit off 291 and cruise up to the light which is green and has been green for a bit. I start to slow down to make the turn. Out of the corner of my eye I see a red truck flying towards us. I hit the brakes. That little Honda has pretty good brakes. The Honda stops halfway into the oncoming lane, the truck swerves a bit. It is hard to swerve when you are going 50 miles an hour.

A couple of kids in a big red pick up truck not paying attention. A chance almost encounter. I have been in enough wrecks to know what happens when trucks broadside little cars. They missed us by less than a foot. It was one of those moments that take your breath away.

And then you are thankful. Thank you God. We are all so fragile. Life is so precious. We take so much for granted and you just never know when it will all be over. Thank you God.

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

Thursday, September 9, 2010


The heavens declare the glory of God. Psalm 19. Creation is telling us a story. Every day, to every person the voice of creation is speaking. Calling out to us about the glory and wonder of God. I am touched by the stars of the sky, by trees, and by birds.

When the heavens are brass and nothing is speaking to us, creation still calls to us about the goodness of God. What part of creation speaks to you?

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

burning the Koran

There is a church in Florida that is going to hold a special event on 9-11. You have probably heard about it on the news. They are going to have a "burn the Koran day." I have no idea what they are thinking, but it does not sound like a good idea to me.

Maybe they think they can hurt Muslims by doing this. That may be true, but why would you want to hurt others?

Something that I find interesting is that this church, the Dove World Outreach Center, has a whopping 50 members! Not that you would want that kind of publicity, but boy they got themselves center stage. Image if we did something so good that it made national news. That would be my preference.

Anyway, Jesus does not need you or me to go and demean Buddhists or Muslims. The Bible does not become more true if we burn the writings of Hindus or Wicans. I recall something in the Good Book about loving others and not returning an eye for an eye. That is what should attract people to Christian churches, the amazing love and grace of God.

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

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Gold. Gold. Gold! There's gold in them thar hills! Humans apparently have a fascination with gold. For the last two years, all we have heard is "buy gold, buy gold, buy gold now!" Well, last night, in between dreams, I heard part of an infomercial that said, "sell your gold now."

Well doesn't that just confuse things. Buy it, sell it. Buy it sell it. Buyitsellit. Hurry. Worry. Sell your gold now. Or should we buy it?

I am reminded of something that Jesus said. "Do not store up your treasure on earth where moth and rust will corrupt it, where thieves can break in and steal, instead, store up your treasure in heaven when moth and rust will not destroy and thieves will not steal it. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

labor day

So what do you do on labor day? The office is closed, but I go up to church to clean up a few things. And what do I find there?

Volunteers. Wonderful volunteers. Someone is working in the giving garden. A couple of guys are working on a retaining wall. Someone else is running a tractor working on a couple of projects. It is not an organized work day- people are just up their loving their church.

I look around the grounds and remember. I remember when there was no grass, no flowers, and only a few scrub trees. Today I look and there is beautiful grass, plants, flowers, gardens and trees. Six separate garden areas. Over 50 trees that we have planted. Beautiful. And it all happens because people care about their church enough to work to make it beautiful. thank you!

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I heard a phrase a few weeks ago, that some people are "constitutionally incapable of change." I hope that is not me or you. I would like to think that when confronted with the claims of the gospel that you and I would gladly hear the word and receive it. That we are constantly in the process of growing into the image of Christ.

Heaven forbid that I am unwilling, or constitutionally incapable of changing. Let us always be those who are open and willing to be a part of God's plan for us, what ever that means.

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

Saturday, September 4, 2010

football season

Football season is getting ready to start. It is always an exciting time, just as it is when baseball season starts. That is because at the beginning of the season everyone is in first place. But if you live in Kansas City, you are used to being let down. Every year we hope that the Royals and Chiefs are going to get something going, and every year it seems that we end up in the cellar. Many are discouraged by this, some people get down right mad.

Maybe we are putting our hope in the wrong things. Maybe we are placing our joy in things that cannot satisfy. As we flit around chasing completion in cars, homes, clothes and victory, someone is out there, still waiting.

A car is only a car. A home is only a home. A first place team doesn't last very long. Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.

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

Friday, September 3, 2010


I got back last night from a 3 day pastors conference. The content was very good, and I always get smarter when I go to this event. And as my daughter likes to say, "Dad, you really need to get smarter."

So here is my airport experience. Tuesday I woke up at 3:30 am and hit the road. The highway was wide open. I drove right to the parking spot. They put me in row 6, space 7. It doesn't get much better than that. The bus was there before I got out of the car. At the terminal there was no one in line to print boarding passes. Three people in security. The plane was on time. It was half full. Everyone spread out. the direct flight arrived on time and I was second in line in the rental car line. I had paid for an economy car, but they put me in an SUV. Nice.

Then there was the way home. I got to the airport at 1230. the plane was to take off at 2:15. I was supposed to be home at 515 KC time. The plane is on time. No the plane is delayed 90 minutes. Then three hours. Then the flight is cancelled. There is another flight that leaves at 5pm. Everyone rushes to the nearest counter to make new arrangements. I listen to the hatefulness that so many passengers are delivering to the counter staff, who of course are personally responsible for the delay. Long and short of it is, they route me through Denver and i finally get home at 11pm.

To me, the activity of God is not in whether he made the flight be cancelled or not. I don't see his activity in whether my prayers [desires] were answered. Where i see God's activity is in how all of the passengers chose to respond to the circumstances. Some were ugly, some were graceful. I could almost pick the Christians out for you. They were trusting and patient.

Some times in life you get what you want. Sometimes in life you get what you get. I am glad to be home.

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

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Dissent. To differ in opinion. To challenge the status quo.

Weak organizations and weak people fear dissent. It makes you feel that there is something to hide. On the other hand, strong, healthy organizations welcome questions and disagreements because they know that we only learn when people ask questions. The truth is never afraid of questions.

Do you live in an open or a closed system? Do you allow other ideas to challenge your world view?

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Be sure to read the prayer of Thomas Merton that was shared by Erin in a comment on yesterday's post. I may not be doing this right, but I believe that my desire to please you, does please you. Awesome.

Mentors. A mentor is someone who helps you "get it." They help you leave your little Pollyanna world and face reality. They comfort, advice and challenge. They hold you accountable. Everyone needs one. A child is mentored by his parents. But what happens after he or she is out of the house? Well we are just supposed to know what to do. But we don't, do we?

A mentor does not have to be a forever thing. You can have someone mentor you on a project, through a problem, or over a cup of coffee one afternoon a month. It does not mean turning your life over to a maharishi. But, to not have a mentor is to indicate that I don't need any help. I have it together. I have the answers. Surely all of us can learn from someone. I had a seminary professor who said, "never trust a pastor who isn't someone else's sheep." That can be applied to all of us. Who is mentoring you? Who is calling you forth toward your potential? Who is helping you get it?

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