Friday, December 31, 2010

resolution time

What if everyone made this their one and only resolution?

Matthew 22
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

How would this change our lives…our world? How would our views and opinions about matters be affected? How would we treat our family, our friends, strangers, our leaders, and people on the other side of the world, and on and on….

It seems like a good idea doesn’t it? Especially when you think about who said it. Seems like a massive undertaking though. So where do we start? How about one person at a time. There will be those who don’t/can’t get it. More than likely their souls are damaged and they need to be healed first. Perhaps they need a double dose of what you can offer…..

We can be a part of this process of healing people and the world. Each day we can extend love, grace, mercy, and compassion just like Christ showed us….

John 10:10
I came so that everyone would have life, and have it in its fullest.

Lion’s Den Man

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a message

I enjoy books and movies. Some seem to have so much to offer that I don’t catch all of what was said the first time around. Currently I am reading a book for the third time… notes…and new thoughts. The other day I watched a movie that I had seen a few times before. This time I caught a message that I had missed before. Maybe I was suppose to catch it this time around.

From “A River Runs Through It”, a piece of a sermon given by the father who was a Presbyterian Minister.

“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.” Rev. Maclean

Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

whats going on

Well, here is what is really going on with me. I have a problem at home. With a child. It is eating our lunch. I am finding it impossible to write this blog. I am carrying a cloud with me every where that I go. We will get to the other side of this eventually, but right now it is occupying my thoughts almost constantly.

Consequently, I do not feel that I have much to say in this blog. I wake in the morning and I have only one thing on my mind. It is just a dark night of the soul right now. I have thought about dropping the blog, but I don't really want to. So, let me ask you.... please help me take my mind off of this stuff. Give me some topics that you want me to write about, and I will.

Just post a comment here and give me some topics to write about, and I will have some material for the next few weeks. I really appreciate your help.

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

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I need to let you know that I am going to take down my facebook page in the next few days. I don't ever check it and I find the messaging system to be problematic. If you want to send me an email and you have been using facebook, please email me at

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

Monday, December 27, 2010


Well. I am finally well. I was sick for almost two weeks. It is wonderful to feel like a human being again. One of the things that is actually good about being sick is that it makes you appreciate being well.

We are so funny. We take feeling well for granted. We shouldn't. It is a blessing to be healthy, and being sick every now and then is a good reminder that the ability to breath is indeed something to be thankful for.

Thank you God, for daily breath.

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dec 26

It is officially December 26th. Christmas is over. Long lines to return things at the stores. Low attendance at church, high attendance in the return lines.

A problem with a kid. Worries about the future. I feel like I am in a scene from the movie Parenthood. Life. It's all back. Where is Jesus? He is still here. Waiting for me, waiting for you.

And isn't this the perfect illustration of why we need to choose him? Life and it's stuff just does not go away. So........

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

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! It is 8:10am. It is a happy day. We survived yesterday with all the services, and I am looking forward to a down day today. Tomorrow we have church, regular times, I will be there and I hope to see you.

At my house today, three are awake and two are still in bed. Mine are old enough that they like to sleep in. In the old days, the presents would all be opened by 8am, now, there does not seem to be any rush.

I have received several nice emails about this sermon series and some of the changes that folks have made in their Christmas. One of the ones that comes to mind this morning, is the person who said that for Christmas, they were going to sit their family down and tell each one how much they love them and how special they are.

Today, that sounds like a good idea to me. there is less to open, so we are going to cook breakfast together, play a game and have a gift exchange. I am also going to tell them how much I love them, in a detailed and specific way.

Merry Christmas. I wish you a great day. It is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is a work day for most preachers. While church friends may make fun of me the rest of the year for only working one day a week, when they see what happens on Christmas Eve, they take a short break from teasing me. Services today are at 10am, 4pm, 530, 7, 830 and 11pm.

What a joy it has been over the years as our church has grown, to offer more services and welcome more friends to come and share Christmas Eve with us. Christmas Eve is the one day with the most visitors of the entire year. Many people come out looking for a church and they will usually start off the new year with a new commitment to be active.

Today, no matter what service you go to, smile, shake a hand, be friendly and enjoy yourself. This is the night when we sing some wonderful songs and remember the story that changed the world. Merry Christmas Eve.

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

Thursday, December 23, 2010

thoughts on being sick

Well, I hope I can stop coughing before Christmas eve. This cold has been hanging on for a long time. You sleep for a few hours and then wake up and cough for an hour. This is a fairly nasty strain of junk that is going around right now. I hope that you don't get it.

The good news is that this is a temporary illness. I plan to get better. Another benefit of a cold is that it tends to slow you down so that you live life at a pace that is more normal. Being sick also makes you appreciate feeling well.

So, there is always a little bit of good in whatever the circumstances. Cold, nasty, winter day, awake at 240am, and I am still struggling with this cold. But...........

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

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I mentioned on Sunday that we had not decorated our tree. I received a wonderful note yesterday from a friend who has put up her tree for 50 years. Savoring the memory of every ornament collected over the years, her tree is a symbol of a life well lived. I loved the note and I am so happy for her.

Our tree is still half bare. Every five minutes it blows the breaker. There is no train around it and there are no presents under it. In some ways, it feels like a Charlie Brown Christmas at the Brinkman house.

But, there will be better days for our tree. Better times. Better memories, savoring a life that we are so pleased to have been given by God. So whether you have decorations up or not, whether you are buying lots of gifts or not, Christmas comes. Again this year, Christmas comes. God's message to the world and to us that he still loves us.

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Africa 14

So, yesterday I mentioned that Americans do not get it. I want to be clear, I put myself smack in the middle of those who do not get it. I see in myself as much Americanism as I see in anyone. How I wish for a heart that only saw the world as God sees the world.

I am not ahead of anyone. I am behind most of you. But together, as we ask the questions, and are honest with ourselves, we can move into a relationship with the rest of the world that is more aware and more just.

Thank you for going on this journey with me. Is there anybody out there that wants to go to Africa in 2011? Guatemala? Jamaica?

Seeing is believing.

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Africa 13

Africa 13. This hurts. Last night I was asked by a friend from church about my trip to Africa. She said, "so, tell me about your trip." A thought occurred to me that I had not been able to articulate before. It is a painful thought. This person is very cool, so I thought I could be honest with her.

She was fine with what popped out of my mouth. I wonder how everyone else will take this. What popped out of my mouth last night when asked about Africa was this, "Americans are arrogant. We just don't get it."

There, I said it. Having been to India some years prior, this friend was fine with what I said. I hope that you are.

We don't get it. We who live in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, we don't get it. We complain about things that most of the rest of the world laughs about. I wonder what God will really say to us when we stand before him.

I am thinking about the rest of my life and how I want to live. You can see, a trip like this will mess up your brain. I think of the John Lennon song, "and so it is Christmas, and what have you done?"

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

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Africa 12

I don't know that I have anything more to say about my trip to Africa at this time. I wish I were going back, but I am not sure of what exactly the purpose would be. Maybe there doesn't need to be one other than fellowship and sharing.

My heart is with the many new Friends that I made and I think of them and pray for them daily. My trip has disturbed the quiet nonchalance of my suburban American life. I suppose that that is good, although it is not a very comforting place for my brain to be.

If you have questions about Africa, I will try to answer them. Just let me know. I will also be hosting a report some night after the first of the year with the others that went on the trip. This will be for anyone in the congregation that wants to hear more.

As I think about the Advent Conspiracy, water for those who have not, the hole in the gospel book and my Africa trip, I wonder if there is some connection.

Today is church, and I will look forward to seeing all of you, my lovely friends in worship. God is good.

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas is coming

Strange Christmas this year for me. Fewer boxes, less wrapping, less scurrying around. All intentional.

The result so far, less worry, less tension, more time to think about what it really means. It isn't just that spending less allows me to give to the poor or to the water project at church, pulling back has allowed my brain the time and space to think about the story. Somehow in choosing to use our resources differently, our brains and souls have been touched.

I find myself thinking daily, not of the shopping list, but of the baby in the manger. No one has really been motivated to do much decorating this year at our house. Very few of the decorations have left the bins. For the first time ever, there are no Christmas lights on the house. Now I don't recommend this for everyone, but in some interesting ways, our home is lit up in ways that it has never been lit up before.

As we have endeavored to push out the commercial, we have made room for the eternal. I am thinking more about Jesus, and that can only be good.

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

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Christian Theology of evil

I may have posted this before, but it comes up so often I feel the need to get it out there again..........

A Christian Theology of Evil
An Outline

The basics.
Many Christians speak of God and speak of the devil but do not know who they are. They act as if we live in a dualistic world where two equal powers struggle for control. No question, there is struggle in the world, and there is sin and evil in the world, but God and Satan are not opposites.

Qualities of God:
All Knowing, All Present, All Powerful, Eternal

Qualities of Satan [the devil] and demons
Not all knowing, not all present, not all powerful, created.

What does this mean?
This means that God is in control. Remember Satan is a created being, an angel that fell from heaven. He is not from the beginning, God is. He is not everywhere in the world….God is. Satan is probably not at your house, he is probably working on Ussama Ben Laden. He cannot be in both places at the same time.

Prov 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Jn 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Col 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Only God deserves the attributes of a god. Satan is not equal to God and he is not the opposite of God. God made him and has allowed him to do his work for a short time. He does not deserve the attention that God does. He is operating in this world for a short time and will receive judgment in the end..

Gen 3:14-15 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Isa 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
2 Pet 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

The limited created evil beings in the world are fighting a losing battle against the almighty power of God that works in the world through the Holy Spirit and those who call upon the name of the Lord.

Being led by the Holy Spirit and being possessed or oppressed by demons.
How does one become a Christian?
You choose to ask Jesus to come in.

How does one become possessed or oppressed by evil?
You choose to ask it to come in.

What does this mean?
It means that evil cannot come in and control you without you having opened the door. He/they cannot just sneak up on you and suddenly inhabit your life. You let in Jesus if you want to and you let in demons if you want to. Let me be clear, there is not room in the soul of a Christian for the Holy Spirit and demons. If you have accepted Jesus, you are infilled with the Holy Spirit. You cannot then be filled with the demonic. One or the other, never both.

Psa 91:9-11 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
Mat 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

So is the devil real?
Yes the devil is real, but he is not the opposite of God. See above description. People can be possessed by him or by his demons. These are horribly frightening people. If you have ever met someone who was in such a state it would make a tremendous impression on you. Many people will live their entire lives and never see or meet someone who is possessed. Believe me, you don’t want to meet such people.

Mark 5:1-20
1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil[b] spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” 8For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” 9Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. 11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. 14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon possessed man–and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[c]how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Are there other sources of evil? Yes! Other sources of evil include: other people, yourself, and the world.
• People can choose to do evil things. They are responsible for their choices and usually they are not possessed when they choose evil. The human spirit is capable of evil choices without the benefit of or help of the demonic.
• Flip Wilson used to say “the devil made me do it.” He was wrong. He chose to do evil himself. All of us make bad choices and choose to do evil things. That is what sin is. It doesn’t mean that you are demon possessed. It means that you are human.
• The world has evil in it. Tornadoes, Hurricanes, earthquakes, disease. These things are common to human existence and are not the work of demons or the vengeful acts of God. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. The flu is the flu and a cold is a cold. It is not the oppression of the devil.

Does our language and our prayer life glorify God or Satan?
This is the real question.

CS Lewis once said that “the best thing that the Devil can do is to convince the world that he doesn’t exist.” Probably the second best thing for the Devil to do would be to get us to overemphasize his role or involvement in our lives, bringing him glory instead of God.

As believers we are called to lift up the name of Jesus and bring people to him. Most Christians will never see a demon possessed person in their life and would not necessary be prepared to deal with it if they did.

When our prayers refer to Jesus, he is lifted up. When our prayers refer to the devil and evil, they are exalted and fear is injected into the believers thought process.

If you are trusting in Jesus, you don’t have to be afraid of such evil. You are walking with the King. Many Christians unintentionally glorify Satan by including him in all of their prayers and daily chatter and banter. You can do that if you wish. Talking about evil fills people with worry. Talking about Jesus fills people with joy. I want to choose to lift up the name of Jesus. What about you?

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

africa 11

Shipwrecks. One of the places that we stayed was a block from the beach. The beach was littered with boats, ships that were washed up on shore. I have never seen anything like it.
The boats were similar to the shrimp boats on Forest Gump.
I asked someone why the boats were there. Well, the motor quit on the boat. the owner did not have the money to fix the motor or maybe they could not find the parts. Finally the anchor gave way and the boat washed ashore. that was 5 years ago.
This is like nothing we have ever seen in the states. A boat washed ashore would be on the news and would be hauled off immediately. but, this is Africa and they sit on the beach for years. And I stand next to the boat and I wonder about the people who sailed her and what it feels like when you are adrift at sea and there is no Coast Guard to call.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

africa 10

Wedding rehearsal. One night we saw a bunch of people at the church next door. We asked what was going on - a wedding rehearsal. Since there are so many funerals in Mozambique, a wedding is a very very very happy time. None of the worry, pressure, pomp and circumstance of an American wedding, this rehearsal gave us a glimpse into the joy of the Mozambique wedding.

The bride and her parents sat on one side on the front row. the groom and his parents on the other side front row. Extended family lined up on each side and served as competing choirs. Each in turn would stand and sing. Singing loud, swaying, joyfully, singing loudly. One family choir then the other. Then back to the first.

Somewhere in all of this, the bride, then the groom, then all the parents in turn, get up and dance their way to the platform, where they sign a document. All the while one choir or the other is singing, "sign, sign, sign it, siiiggn, sign." The excitement was absolutely amazing. We sat their and cried. If you have seen the video that was a u-tube sensation a year ago of the bridal party coming into the wedding, that is the level of excitement.

I intend to tell future wedding rehearsals about my experience there in hopes that they will relax and enjoy the joy of the moment.

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

fire alarm

It was two nights ago. 11:55pm and the fire alarms are going off all over the house. This is the first house we have ever owned where the alarms are wired into the electrical of the house. There are about six of these things going crazy on the main floor and upstairs.

First I check every nook and cranny of the house. No fire. That is good. Then I call the alarm company. They tell me that this is not a part of their system. Then I go downstairs, find the panel and unplug the power. Nothing. Then I unplug the battery backup. Nothing. Nothing will stop this alarm. And it is LOUD.

I call the fire department non emergency line. A few minutes later the big truck rolls up outside our house. That is always a little embarrassing. I tell them the story. They tell me that there should be one smoke alarm that is flashing red. We look. Sure enough, we find it in a bed room. Evidently in this system, when one goes off, they all go off.

This one went off because it had collected enough dust that the chip inside thought there was a fire. The fireman took it down, blew on it, and put it back up. Every thing stopped. I thanked them, and apologized to them for getting them out late at night.

The moral of the story is that you really should change your batteries every year, even in an electrical system, there is a back up battery. And when you change your battery, be sure to blow thru the fins and vents on the alarm. You will get more sleep and so will the firemen. And, the dog, the poor dog will be happier too.

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

Monday, December 13, 2010


Last night I saw the tenth installment of the children's Christmas pageant. As always, it was awesome. I think there were over 240 children that participated. I saw so much joy in their faces and so much happiness as they participated in the program and the night of Bethlehem activities afterwards.

As a challenging year comes to a close, I was so proud of our children and those who put on the pageant. It was a reminder that we have a great group of folks, we are a great group of folks, and that our mission is so very important.

Thank you.

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

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Africa 10

I keep writing these posts on Africa and I keep saying, "we have so much to be thankful for." I have a question for myself and for anyone else wants a piece of it- is it possible that just being thankful isn't enough? Maybe I out to try and do something about the enormous disparity between what I have and what they have.

And you know, it is not that I have a 6 year old Honda civic that has 100k miles on it [but is a really good car] and they have a car that is a 1979 AMC Pacer that barely runs. We often think of haves and have nots like, well, they have the stuff, but it is just not as nice of stuff.

This is completely different. I met people who do not have food and do not have clean water. They live with the constant veil of malaria hanging over their heads. How can I have so much, and they are so hungry that they will gladly welcome a half a sandwich from someone at a sidewalk cafe.

Imagine that is you or me. Walking by Chipolte on 40 highway, smelling the food. Hungry, but walking on. You have no money. Someone at one of the tables calls out to you and offers you the remaining part of their lunch. Inside you are ecstatic, but you don't want to show how happy you really are. You thank them and take the food. You go around the corner and eat every little bit of it.

We have so much to be thankful for.

What am I going to do about this?

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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Africa 9

Lunch. We drove eight hours north to visit the Methodist mission at Chicuque. Half way there, is the town of Zxi-Zxi. We stopped there for lunch. The front door and the windows are open, so you deal with the regular collection of mosquitoes and flies while eating. You will notice that even at lunch time, there is plenty of room to park. There just aren't very many cars. The restaurant is owned by a Portuguese man and we were able to order omelets there. finding food that looked like home was always a welcome relief.
On this particular trip, everyone ordered egg sandwiches. The sandwiches were too big for us to eat, and they were mostly bread with an egg in between.
The guys behind us in the picture are selling things on the street. they sell books and DVDs hand lotion, etc. Anything that someone might buy, they walk from person to person and try to make a sale. Tim bought an atlas of Mozambique from one of them. Although they were sitting next to our sidewalk table, they did not bother us.
We began to look at the food on our plates and wondered if the young men would be interested in an egg sandwich. Well, the answer was clear. YES. and thank you very very much. We all handed over entire sandwiches and halves of sandwiches and they were so very thankful.
Normal people, trying to work to make a living. Nice people. Hungry people.
We have so much to be thankful for.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Africa 8

Pets. Almost non-existent. How many billions do we spend on pets in the US? We have a dog and two cats at our home. The dog food is $35 a bag. After that, there are haircuts, trips to the vet, and doggie treats.

In Mozambique, I saw one cat and four dogs the entire time. All four dogs were guard dogs at businesses. Like junk yard dogs. Dogs on the road, none. Dogs in the neighborhood, none. Dogs in the city running around, none. Dogs at someone's home, none.

The cat was a skinny little thing that was adopted by the Methodist mission in Chicuque. It had no food bowl or water bowl, it ate whatever it could find and occasionally the cook would throw it a little something. If you knelt down to pet it, it would allow about two strokes, then it would paw at you for food. As most Africans, it' s life was about finding food.

If you have a pet and enjoy your dog or cat, remember that this is a huge blessing that most people in the world do not enjoy. In fact, my dog may be off of dog treats for a while. I am going to send the money to my new friends in Mozambique.

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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Africa 7

Hospitality. The Methodists in Africa greeted us with unmatched joy and hospitality. They fed us better food than they eat. They put us up to sleep in their best quarters. They were always kind, always polite, always gracious.

25 members of the church met us at the airport and were singing "we welcome you, we welcome you," as we walked through the international zone and onto Mozambique soil. There was very little "me" about these people. We were not an interruption to their schedules, we were friends that they were glad to host.

Hospitality. Grace. Love. All good stuff.

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

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Please allow me to take a break from the Africa stories so that you can REJOICE WITH ME! I have three children. The oldest, Allison is graduating from college on Saturday with a BS in nursing from UCM [Warrensburg]. That is pretty exciting! To birth a child, teach them to tie their shoes. Walk them through the grade school then teenage years, high school then college. What a joy.

Here is the pay off. Yesterday, after several interviews, Alli was offered and has accepted a job at St. Luke's East Hospital as an RN. Is that exciting or what!

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

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Africa 6

Food. What did they eat? What did we eat? The common people of Mozambique eat rice, bananas, mangoes, coconuts and anything else that they can grow. If they are fortunate they get a chicken on occasion. The man that drove us around is well off by Mozambique standards. His family eats meat once per week. And of course there are wealthy folks [a few] that eat as we do in America.

So when the Americans come to visit and there is a fellowship dinner after church with chicken and beef, this is real news. In fact, if we could keep the church supplied with chickens, they could have the kind of dinners after church on Sunday that would draw a crowd. The women cook outside over open fires and on Saturday I took pictures of a cow being carved up on a table next to the tin roof fellowship hall. a fryer chicken costs $3.

When we sat down to breakfast at the guest house, the meal consisted of one egg each, bread, and occasionally something that looked like spam. Lunch and dinner were chicken, rice, soup, and maybe fish or beef. We were well taken care of, and I was surprised at the amount of food that they put on our table. I was surprised until I found out that the food on our table was also meant to feed the cooks and security guards.

After we were done eating, you would find the cooks and security guards eating breakfast- bread and jam. And after dinner, eating whatever was left. This tended to cause us to eat a little less so that there was more for them.

We should always be thankful when we sit down to a plate of food because we are so blessed and so many others do not have the basics.

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

Monday, December 6, 2010

Africa 5

People walking. In Mozambique, very few people have cars. At the dedication service, 600 people attended. I'll bet there weren't 10 cars at the church. The people walk everywhere they go, or they ride in a mini bus.

The mini-buses are privately owned and you see a lot of them in the city. It was not uncommon to count 19 people or more in a Toyota van. They pay a little bit to ride and the money goes to the owner of the van.People walking. In the city, along the highway, out in the middle of no where, people are walking. They are carrying everything. Bags, water jugs, something to sell, children. They are going somewhere and they are walking. It is a part of their life. It is common for them to walk miles simply to get water or buy a loaf of bread.

This is an example of how I wish my children could have gone on the trip with me and really seen how the people live. My kids have cars. People in Mozambique walk. Seeing how the rest of the world lives can often make us more grateful for the blessings that we have.

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

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Africa 4

Sister church. The main purpose of our visit was to celebrate with our sister church, the dedication of their new sanctuary. Our sister church is in a Maputo suburb named Zimpeto. The church is named for the first bishop of the Mozambique church, Bishop Zunguzee. The church has about 600 on Sunday mornings. they have built, with your help, a very nice new sanctuary. The first picture shows the current Bishop of Mozambique praying over the corner stone on dedication Sunday.

The church is populated with wonderful people. Humble, kind and joyful. The have an amazing choir and tons of young people. There are lots of young people, because the life expectancy is lower than in America. I saw very few people older than I was on the trip.

The Sunday dedication service was four hours long. We sat on the platform and enjoyed being a part of their family that day. The highlights of the service to me was the singing of the choir and the way that they receive the offering. Very very joyful.

Please read the inscription on the corner stone and pray for your brothers and sisters at the Bishop Zunguzee church in Zimpeto. They are praying for you.

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

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Africa 3

The people. The people that i met in Africa were wonderful. Kind, humble, caring. I have visited some other cultures where the predominant message that you get from the people was "give us more stuff." This was not my experience in Mozambique.

The people at our sister church and the other Methodists that i met, were interested in friendship, caring, prayer, relationship, and mutuality. They gladly shared everything they had with you.

There was no sense of entitlement that I saw, anywhere in the country. Teens and youths seemed to work willingly and acted like constructive members of the community. When I asked about this, "why do the young people work so hard?" The answer I received was, "they know if they don't, they will die."

A culture that is survival based and subsistence oriented, seems to keep people focused on the really basic things of life. Staying alive and caring for others.

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

Friday, December 3, 2010

Africa 2

The Orphanage. An eight hour drive north of the capital city of Maputo, there is a left turn off of the National highway. National highway is the only paved road running north and south in the country. Actually, it is only paved for part of the way, but we will chase that another day.

Eight hours north of Maputo, you turn left onto a dirt road and drive about three miles to an area called Campini. The main things in this area are the Methodist church, seminary, agricultural project and orphanage.

The orphanage houses 54 children. Three adults care for them. Cooking is in an outdoor kitchen and the children live in squalor. Their condition is much improved thanks to nice buildings that were paid for and constructed by the Platte Woods UMC in North KC.

What Sally Struthers shows us on TV, I saw in person. Lonely children, orphaned by AIDS. There are no creature comforts here. The orphanage keeps them fed and the workers there do all that they can to love and care for the children, but it is a rustic place to say the least. In our country, either family services or the health department would close the place in a heartbeat, but it is all that these children have.

So, count your blessings and pray for the young Methodists in Campini, Mozambique.

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

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Africa 1

I am home from 10 days in Africa. Thank you for all who prayed for me and for Lion's Den Man and others who wrote on the blog. The visit to Mozambique has touched me in a profound way. I am not even sure how to sort through all of it at this time. I hope that some of what I saw and learned never leaves me. I am going to write about Africa for a while. I may take a break if something noteworthy comes about, but I have many things to share.

Most of the people that live in Mozambique, not some, but most, do not have electricity or running water. Consequently, for most, there is no food preservation, no water at the sink, no modern toilet, etc. No Air conditioning, no TV, no refrigerator. Food is a day to day concern. If you are rich, you may have candles and matches to light the way at night. The toilet is a hole in the ground not far from your front door.

When I consider how most of these people live and what they go through just to stay alive, I am horrified by my lifestyle. Sorry to say, but it is true, we Americans have it all too comfortable by the standards of most others in this world.

So I am working hard to keep my thoughts from being a downer. Let me say that I am thankful to God for every blessing that we have. I am also praying about what it means to be a member of the Kingdom of God in a circle of Methodist friends that just got a lot bigger. And, I am going to be saying it 1,000 times........ "most all of what we are concerned about, probably everything that we are concerned about, fuss about, worry about, get excited about, probably all of it, just really does not matter."

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

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Last night I caught the end of a movie "Scrooged". Not necessarily a Christmas classic but one that ends with a good message. Give. Give yourself. Give to others. It feels good. It is addictive.........

It's the kind of addiction that makes God smile. WCC has many good things to many to mention. Maybe start with or feeding the homeless at Westport or help out this season ringing the bell for the Salvation Army..... just to name a few. If this is already your thing then help get someone else addicted....they will thank you for it.

Lion's Den Man