Monday, January 31, 2011


Sunday afternoon I took my dog for a walk or vice versa. Lately, it seems, we have been running into other people and their dogs more than usual. You would think the opposite would happen with this cold weather, but I think cabin fever is starting to take its toll on dogs as well as people. Anyway, about 45 minutes into our walk my dog met Eli. Eli is the same breed of dog as mine, but a few years younger. He brought two people with him that were a few years older than I. Well Eli and my dog became instant friends...with dogs it is either all or nothing. We were in the woods so they ran about wild for a few minutes until they were ready to respond to our calls. In the meantime I got to know a little about Eli's owners. That is one of the many perks about having a creates an opportunity to meet people that I would otherwise just walk by in the grocery store or at church etc.

I started to think about this "common ground" as I drove home from the park. I can't bring my dog to the grocery store but I can say hello and start up a conversation with the person who is standing next to me searching for a can of chili beans. My dog can't come to church, but I can start up a conversation after service with the person I shook hands with at the beginning of the service.....

Common ground. It is everywhere. I need to work on this one more.

Lion's Den Man

Sunday, January 30, 2011


A little while back I wrote about how I believe we need to be deliberate in our friendships. Birthdays bring those types of opportunities. I received some funny cards, a few good phone calls and text messages, a really cool e-mail and I got to spend some quality time with my wife, kids and siblings. All of which I appreciate and am thankful for....

One person made an unannounced visit at my home. It was a 2 minute exchange at best. It was deliberate. That one will stick with me for a while. Everyday holds this opportunity. Don’t wait for the right time or an occasion. Take advantage of a thought…a gut instinct…reach out and be deliberate.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Lion's Den Man

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Lions Den Man!

What a blessing it is to have you as a friend. You are one of the most kind people that I know. You are smart and funny and I think it is cool in an odd kind of way that you like Stephen Wright. But so do I.

You are a great Christian friend and brother and you are a blessing to your family and all that know you.

Happy 39th.

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

Friday, January 28, 2011


Is it a sin to be glad that January is almost over? Not that I want to wish any day away, but I am tired of the snow. One more month of winter, then it will be March 1st. I always like March 1st. It marks the end of winter to me. Even if it snows in March, two days later it will be 60 degrees and the snow will melt.

So, hang in there for one more month, and be happy that today it is supposed to be 50!

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

Thursday, January 27, 2011

whose life

Whose life is it anyway? Is it mine, or is it God's. If it is mine, then I don't like interruptions. I don't like to wait. I don't like to be annoyed. If it is my life, I may take a time out on occasion to do some nice thing for God. Then when it is over, I will return to my life. If it is my life, everything that I do for God is a bit of an intrusion, something else that I have to fit into my busy schedule. I do some things for God, but I can't wait until they are done so I can get back to my life.

If it is God's life, then things are a little different. I wake up in the morning and I am thankful that he gave me the breath of life. I count my blessings, because I know that they really are not mine. If it is God's life, then I am reaching out to others, all the time. Everyone, everywhere. Others are not an interruption, they are my opportunity to share God's love. Me handing a homeless person a dollar is not a story that sticks out in my day anymore, it is simply one act of many that occurred on a given day- that incident just fits right into everything else that was going on. If it is God's life, no kindness that I do is an interruption. The interruptions come when I allow my selfishness back in.

Whose life is it? Whose life are you living? Today? Right now? Those people around you- are they an interruption to your life, or an opportunity for you to be Jesus?

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

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I can't give

I have talked to several folks lately who are missing church. I have not seen them there, and they have been missing being there. When we get to talking about why they have been out of church, there are a number of reasons given, but eventually we get down to the real reason: they are unable to make financial commitments at this time, or put anything in the offering, so they feel like they cannot attend.

Dear friends- everyone is welcome. It's not about who gives what or how much a person gives. The fellowship is important and this is never denied to you or anyone because you cannot give. Come. You are welcome. You are loved. These are difficult times and it is important that we put our arms around each other. Be filled with joy! You are loved. All is well. Just come and be a part. You matter to us.

This is what grace is all about. It cannot be purchased. It is free. Someone else paid the debt.

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

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

pleasantly surprised

What do people get when you open your mouth? Are they hurt? Wounded? Demeaned? Or are they blessed.

I have noticed of late that some folks are so used to being kicked that when you are nice to them, they are pleasantly surprised. Like a dog that has been beaten for so long, they aren't sure at first what to expect from you, but they sure do like the back scratching.

Can you, can I deliver a pleasant surprise today to someone, simply by the words that come from our mouth? They are waiting for a good word, and we are just the ones to bring them.

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

Monday, January 24, 2011


Well, we have opened the discussion on missions in 2011. Discussions can be fun. Am I asking that we should do more? No not really. The discussion sounds annoying when we think that the direction is simply about doing more. How can we do more? We are already doing so much.

Rather than doing more, I would like to frame the discussion this way. I am asking for a paradigm change. It sounds like this - Missions isn't something that we do. It should be something that we are.

We don't live our lives and then take a break to be in mission. If you are a Christian, all of your life is a mission. It's not that we are being good when we act in mission. All of our life is to be a mission.

if we start thinking like that all of the time, what will the results be?

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

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Oh no. Snow again. On Saturday night. Doesn't God know that some people will miss church because of a little snow? I am sure that He does.

I have noticed a few things about snow.
1. it tends to make my cars break down.
2. it tends to make my children incapable of lifting a shovel.

Advice for winter weather.
1. keep warm clothes in the car, just in case.
2. keep lots of gas in your tank. not just because you don't want to run out, but if there is lots of room in your tank for air, the air will change temperature and the water in the air will condense and get in your fuel line and freeze.
3. Shovel the drive right away. Don't drive on it first.
4. when you get the slightest thawing, shovel off the stuff that has become loose.
5. drive much slower in the snow and keep lots of following distance.

Do you all have cabin fever? I do. I can't wait until spring.

We start the sermon series on the beatitudes today. I look forward to seeing you in God's house. Don't let the snow keep you away.

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

true love

True love goes out to everyone. It is not reserved for those who like us, or for those who we like. True love, like God's love, goes out to everyone. There is no discrimination based on behavior or worthiness.

When we are really being filled with love, we can turn the other cheek, we can go the second mile, and we can love our enemies.

the light of a lamp goes out to all. The scent of the rose goes out to all. The shade of a tree is available to all. So it is, when our hearts are filled with true love, we see the good even in the most challenging of folks.

Love goes out to all. Love wins.

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

the good the bad and the ugly

We all have them. Good sides, bad sides and just plain ugly sides. Most folks, including me, try to keep our best foot forward. Keep the good side out. But occasionally, we are "off" and someone will see our bad side or worse, our ugly side.

Say for example that you run into someone you know and you both show your ugly sides to each other. It's gonna happen, and you feel bad later. Then you see them a week later and everybody is back on, back in their better frame of mind.

Do you scold them for being ugly last week or do you just let it go? Do you poo poo them for being ugly or just respond to the good that you see in them now?

Grace loves. Grace forgives. Grace forgets. Grace responds to their good side and releases the bad feelings that came from their bad side. Heck, they may be doing the same for you in this new moment, seeing the good in you, and choosing to release how you made them feel when you were ugly.

So we all have those sides. Lets show the good today, let try to always be the good, but if someone slips, don't write them off for ever because they were ugly. They still have a good side, and it will come back.

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

glad I read this

Like most of you I woke up this morning to snow covered walks, drives and streets. I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to catch some news on-line. Good thing too! I almost made a bad decision before reading this:

The good news is that 15 minutes of snow shoveling counts as moderate physical activity, according to the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health (1996). We all should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity of some kind on most days of the week. A 170-pound person shoveling for 30 minutes will burn about 250 calories.

The bad news is that researchers have reported an increase in the number of fatal heart attacks among snow shovelers after heavy snowfalls. This rise may be due to the sudden demand that shoveling places on an individual’s heart. Snow shoveling may cause a quick increase in heart rate and blood pressure. One study determined that after only two minutes of shoveling, the heart rates of sedentary men rose to levels higher than those normally recommended during aerobic exercise. Shoveling may be vigorous activity even for healthy college-aged students. A study performed by researchers at North Dakota State University determined that, based on heart rate, shoveling was a moderately intense activity for college-aged subjects most of the time but was vigorous activity during about one-third of their shoveling time of 14 minutes. The weather can make shoveling more difficult. Cold air makes working and breathing hard, which adds some extra strain on the body. Shovelers also are at risk for hypothermia, a decrease in body temperature, if they are not dressed correctly for the weather conditions.

I may just have to wait this one out and look for a good snow ball fight instead for exercise today.

Be safe today.
Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

to serve and be served

I spent some time the other day with a good friend. Our paths cross often, but finding uninterrupted time to catch up is rare. It was a good exchange, better than I could have hoped. Why? Because we invited each other in....dropped our guard...didn't use the common response of "good" to the question "how are things". I think we each saw an opportunity to serve and be served and I am not sure doing which of the two helped either of us more. I am glad that we took the time to slow things down for a little while. Sometimes we just need to be deliberate in our friendships.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

horse whisperer

The horse whisperer grabs the face of the wild horse. He looks the horse in the eye. He speaks to the horse. And, somehow, the horse gets it. The horse remembers who he is and what he is about. The horse reaches back beyond his current thinking to the purpose of his creation.

The horse quiets. The horse relaxes. The horse becomes a part of the solution. The horse acts in concert with God's plan for the horse. All because the horse whisperer got a hold of him.

Lord, I wish I was better at whispering. Who do you need to whisper to? Better yet, what would God say to me if he really got my attention? If wise folks in the church got ahold of me and were able to whisper God's wisdom into me, what would they say?

The Holy Spirit still speaks in a still small voice.

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

Monday, January 17, 2011

the strange joy of painting

When I was younger I did not like to paint. Inside, outside, anywhere, I did not like to paint. But something has happened to me over the years. For some odd reason, I now enjoy painting.

To go into a room where some past painter has tagged the ceiling on accident and smeared a little paint on the baseboard or crown molding. To go in and touch up the ceiling and cut in the trim color, then to come back and cut the wall color to the trim, and roll it all out. It is good.

There is something about cleaning it all up, making it look right, sharp, crisp. Caulk the gaps. Cut a straight line. No roller marks.

Painting is mindless work. Maybe that is what I like about it. Nobody wants anything and you just get lost in your work. also, when you are done, you have made something beautiful. That is a pretty satisfying feeling.

If you have been feeling a little blue lately, go paint a room. It works for me.

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

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Hawk stories

I have been collecting some hawk stories. Over by the Conoco station by church, there is a high wire that attracts a gaggle of pigeons. I know it is a gaggle of geese, what do you call a pile of pigeons?

Anyway, there is always a bunch of them on the high wire. If you look around, there is also a lone hawk that stays pretty close to the area. Someone told me that they have seen the hawk take a pigeon in flight, but never off the line. It is like the pigeons just sit there on the line, knowing that the hawk won't bother them when they are in their group. But, take off on your own, and you are fair game. Pigeon flying alone = hawk lunch.

Moral of the story: there are many enemies, predators out there in life. We do better when we stick together.

See you in God's house today.

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

Saturday, January 15, 2011

pep talk

Pep talks are supposed to cheer you up. This one did.

I am sitting across the table from this person. She asks if I am mad [I was staring off into space] I told her I am not mad, I am just grousing about my problems. She asked me what I had to be grousing about.

Now that in itself is a good question, given the fact that everyone in my family is healthy.

I ran thru my list of items that I grouse about. When I finished, a very impressive pep talk was delivered on the topics of life, love and such. "Get up when you get knocked down." And the like. It went on for ten minutes.

I was so impressed by this pep talk and everything that was said was so, right. The best part of it, is that it came from my 22 year old daughter!!! I am still smiling just thinking about it.

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

Friday, January 14, 2011

your mom is sick

Hi. I know your mom is sick. I am sorry. I love you and I am holding you in my prayers. I know that we have not spoken much of late, but I care for you and I want you to know that.

I lost my mom in 1995 when I was 37 years old. It always hurts to lose them. You are in my prayers my friend.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Easter and how it is calculated

Someone asked, why Easter is when it is, and why it moves around. I had to look this up. It is pretty complicated.

Easter is determined on the basis of lunisolar cycles. The lunar year consists of 30-day and 29-day lunar months, generally alternating, with an embolismic month added periodically to bring the lunar cycle into line with the solar cycle. In each solar year (January 1 to December 31), the lunar month beginning with an ecclesiastical new moon falling in the 29-day period from March 8 to April 5 inclusive is designated as the paschal lunar month for that year. Easter is the 3rd Sunday in the paschal lunar month, or, in other words, the Sunday after the paschal lunar month's 14th day. The 14th of the paschal lunar month is designated by convention as the Paschal full moon, although the 14th of the lunar month may differ from the date of the astronomical full moon by up to two days.[48] Since the ecclesiastical new moon falls on a date from March 8 to April 5 inclusive, the paschal full moon (the 14th of that lunar month) must fall on a date from March 21 to April 18 inclusive.

Accordingly, Gregorian Easter can fall on 35 possible dates - between March 22 and April 25 inclusive.[49] It last fell on March 22 in 1818, and will not do so again until 2285. It fell on March 23 in 2008, but will not do so again until 2160. Easter last fell on the latest possible date, April 25, in 1943 and will next fall on that date in 2038. However, it will fall on April 24, just one day before this latest possible date, in 2011. The cycle of Easter dates repeats after exactly 5,700,000 years, with April 19 being the most common date, happening 220,400 times or 3.9%.

Now if that isn't clear as mud. It sounds like for some reason, early church fathers decided that the celebration of Easter should fall within some cadence of the lunar cycle. I am not sure why, but that would explain all of the random moving around of the date. And I think we should remember that ultimately the point of Easter is that Jesus is risen. :-)

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

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow stories

i drove up to church yesterday about 6:15 in the morning. the wind was blowing snow across the parking lot. there was a truck knocking down the drifts of snow and a man shoveling the sidewalks. i parked as close as i could to the building and made the dash to the door. it is amazes me how fast the cold wind can make your body temperature drop in only 15 seconds......

so i head up the stairs to the lecture hall for some coffee, food and fellowship. small crowd today but it is a lively one. we all faced the same battle coming in...we all survived. what next? well stories of course. I now know what fisherman do in the winter........tell snow stories. In less than 5 minutes it seemed like at least a dozen stories were bigger than the next...each one getting its fair share of attention with side comments and encouragement from the audience.

i don't know if this post has a point, but for some reason i felt i needed to share it. maybe.....maybe the point is we all have common ground and standing together sharing things like "snow stories" brings our worlds a little closer together.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


one of my memories growing up was seeing my dad start his Saturday's either in the garage or his wood shop. He always had the radio on and there was a program he listened to called the " Saturday Morning Comedy Hour". That was my introduction to comedy. Along with his collection of music albums my dad had a great collection of comedy albums. I have bought cd's of my (his)favorites and listened to them on occasion, but not often enough. They bring back great memories. My dad loved to laugh and I am lucky he shared that passion with me.

I believe no matter what the times are like for you laughter is good medicine. Seek it out and share it with someone.

Laughter is the shortest distance between two people. ~Victor Borge

Lion's Den Man

Monday, January 10, 2011

12 days of Christmas

Someones asked about the wisemen and the 12 days of Christmas, so here we go-

Many of our Christian holidays [holy days] appear on the calendar in random fashion. For example, no one knows for sure that Jesus was actually born on December 25th. Fact is, many Christian holidays were placed on the calendar to compete with other pagan holidays. Church leaders in doing so were giving good Christian alternatives to help their followers avoid bad pagan celebrations.

For example, some churches have "watch night services" on new years eve. This is simply an attempt to keep the good church folks in church instead of being out on the town on new years eve.

The liturgical calendar or church seasons runs like this:
[anyone please correct me where I am wrong, I am sure that I am missing something here]


So, randomly are set some of the dates on the church calendar. December 25th is Christmas. January 6th is Epiphany. Epiphany marks the day that the wise men arrived from the east. The 12 days is from Dec 25 thru Jan 6th. In other cultures and times past, there was less celebrating, less parties in December and more of the merrymaking was celebrated during the 12 days, December 25 - January 6th.

For this reasons, churches usually leave up the Christmas decor until after Jan 6.

Inquiring minds wanted to know- now you know, the rest of the story.

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

peace and quiet

One of the blessings of the morning is that there is peace and quiet. The TV is off. I am the only one in the house awake. In such moments, if you stop and listen, you will hear the ticking of the clock, the hum of a neighbor warming up a car, the windchimes outside on the deck and a cat lapping up water.

If you also listen in these quiet moments, you can hear the voice of God. Comforting, embracing, and restoring you. What if you started getting up 10 minutes earlier than you need to, just so that you can sit in the quiet and spend a few moments alone with our Father. Sometimes all a person needs to do to find the calm in the midst of the storm, is to find the calm.

Turn off the TV. Sit down and listen. What do you hear?

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

Saturday, January 8, 2011

knowing things

Yesterday I mentioned that there are some things about the faith that we just cannot know. Fact is, I think that there are lots of things that we cannot know. More so even, I think much of what we think we know, we are mistaken about.

Methodists are usually pretty good at staying focused on the essentials of faith and leaving the other matters of opinion in the court of opinion. That is one of the reasons that I like the Methodists. Most effort is spent on the core issues, the good stuff, the stuff that really matters.

What are some of the things that I think we can know-
  • God loves us unconditionally.
  • Jesus died for our sins.
  • The Holy Spirit can convict us, comfort us, and lead us in this life.
  • I trust that I have an eternal future with my Father.
  • Loving others is the core activity of the Christian life.
What else do I need to know?

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

Friday, January 7, 2011

wisemen etc

Inquiring minds want to know. Here is the scoop on the wisemen not being at the manger.

Let's begin with the understanding that just because we believe something is so, does not necessarily make it so. for example, there is a bunch of folks who think the world is going to end on May 21st of this year. Google it.

In Luke 2:16 the shepherds found Mary and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. In Mt 2 the star stood over where the young child was and wisemen came into the house where the young child was.

So here is the theory. The wisemen saw the star when the baby was born and followed it for two years, arriving when baby Jesus was 2 years old. That is why Herod kills all of the babies age 2 and younger. In theory, the shepherds see Jesus in the manger on the night he is born. The wisemen arrive later.

This does not mean that you have to tear the wisemen out of your manger sets. It's ok.

Someone asked, so now you know, the rest of the story.

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

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Giddy. Is that a word? It certainly isn't a word that I thought I would be using anytime soon. But, after eight days of living under a cloud, for some reason, last night, I became giddy. For no reason at all. Maybe I ate something and a burst of serotonin rushed into my brain. I would like to think differently though. I would like to believe that a person can only be down for so long. You can only do it for so long, then, you just come back. You light up again.

Last night I found the joy again. Giddy. for no reason. Awesome. I remember the scripture, one of my favorites from Psalm 30:5 "weeping lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning."

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

two questions

A few sermons back Jeff mentioned how someone was late for a lunch date and it gave him 10 minutes of peace and quiet....He went on to talk about finding the deeper things in life….appreciate the people and the things in your life.

Last night I was reading through some stuff and two questions struck a cord.
o How do you feel about the pace of your life?
o In what ways do you feel life is passing you by?

The pace of life. I am letting it rob me of my joy. The joy of experiencing life...sharing life. Listening to people's stories, watching how people interact. Being all there...Someone shouldn't have to tell me something they told once before....if I'm losing my memory then I should be writing it down…taking notes...but that isn't it. I shouldn’t be at one of my kid’s games and wonder what happened in the previous 5 minutes.....and on and on. I haven't been living in real time. Time to put the brakes on….hear the birds sing. The best times are found in real time.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

when we live God's way

Galatians 5:22-26 (The Message)

22-23But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

23-24Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

Lion’s Den Man

Monday, January 3, 2011


Yesterday before church, maybe out of desperation, i was reading in one of my favorite books, "Walking on Water" by Anthony Demello. By chance I came across the statement, "as long as we are focused on the thing that hurts, we will never see anything else."

Boom. Thank sunk in. I thought of all the people that I love. When I am lost in my problem, I cannot even see them. I only see the problem. That is not healthy living and it is not fair to everyone else in my world.

So I determined yesterday that I was going to see others. Everyone. I want to be present for everyone and not so lost in my stuff that my head is hanging down all the time. I think it helped. I need to keep working on it because I want to be there for everyone I love.

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

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Make Friends

I had lunch with a friend the other day and he gave me some very good advice. Sometimes you can take an aspirin and make the pain go away. Sometimes you take Darvocet. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just have to get used to it. No matter what you do, it is still going to be there. You have to accept it for what it is and make friends with the pain.

Ahh. Make friends with the pain. I have heard this before. You can't fight it or control it, so you welcome it, you embrace it and you make friends. You say, "Hello Mr Pain, its you again? Well come on and hang out. Is this all that you have? You are nothing that God and I cannot deal with."

Making friends with the pain also points me directly toward God. To live with such things a person have got to have the Almighty very close by. And He is.

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

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a new year

Thank you Lion's Den Man for posting the last couple of days. I am back, at least for today. One day at a time, didn't someone say that?

It's a new year, and I have a new prayer.

I go into the room and I turn on the lights and I begin: "O Lord, I have turned on the lights so that you can be sure to see me. CAN YOU SEE ME? I am talking loudly so that you can be sure to hear me. CAN YOU HEAR ME? Please come out from where ever you are and listen to my prayer. I need you. My loved one needs you. Please help them please bless them. From the bottom of my heart my tears are pouring out to you. I am sobbing in the lowest places. I am begging you to act on behalf of the one whose name I am calling. I trust you. I love you. I need you. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for loving my loved one even more than I do. I know that you see them. Please go to them and touch them. Heal them. Thank you. I will be back in a bit. Amen."

I don't know if God hears desperate prayers more than he hears casual prayers, but I hope so. I am offering what I have and trusting in Him.

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