Monday, February 28, 2011

the book

The book that I mentioned in yesterday's post is titled "Walking on Water" by Anthony Demello. Several have asked about it. It is available in the church bookstore.

Demello was a Catholic priest who died in 1986 at the age of 56. He was a wonderful story teller and approached the Christian faith in a way that healed alot of people.

When I first read this book, I realized that there were several things that he was talking about that i wanted to learn. I wanted his writing to change my life paradigm. For example, Demello is the one that I quote, "If I want something from you, it's not love." And "the lover creates the love."

I would love to dialogue with any of you who may pick this book up. It has helped people in their marriage as well as in daily life.

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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

she is not suffering

Ahh. What good news.

I was explaining to one of my daughters how my sisters and I all grew up feeling like we were never good enough. To this day, we all three have voices in the back of our heads that tell us that we stink as a person and we just don't measure up.

I was telling her that I have been reading a book that was helping me with this problem. I offered the book to her. She took the book, but commented that she does not have such voices in her head!

Awesome! A child that was raised and knows that they are loved! A child that knows their value! A 20 something year old child that will not be tortured for life, thinking that they can't do anything right!

We did something right! That is my joy for today. At least one child whose heart and mind is filled with love and hope instead of fear and worry.

Now, if you are in need of this book, just let me know. it has helped countless others.

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Love is kind. Kindness is one of the attributes of God. If we hope to be Christ-like, then we want to work on kindness.

It is such a simple thing. How are my words? Do I have a kind touch? Do I look kindly upon others? When I have to do something that I don't want to do, or talk about something that is painful, do I do this in a kind way? If I must express my displeasure with something [and am I sure that I need to do this?] is it done in a kind way.

Love is kind. It feels good to be kind.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

my family

Yesterday I found out something interesting. I have been reading through the memoirs of my grandmother's sister. I knew that they lived in a mansion on Armour Road in Kansas City- near 35th and main. Yesterday I read something interesting about their life.

In 1910, my great grandfather was worth 2.5 million dollars. How much is that today? The family had six cars and eight servants. They spent the summers at a resort in Maine. They lived in a hotel the entire summer and spend the days out on their yacht. My great-grandfather actually spent all of the money. All of it.

Now, I do not begrudge the fact that none of this came down to us. I am fine with my life. However, it is a lesson to all of us, that whatever you have, manage it well. Be a good steward. Go to FPU. At the end of the day, each of us will give account for what we have done with the blessings God has given us.

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

maybe we like to be unhappy

Sometimes I think we like pain. We like to be unhappy. Why else would continue with some of our behaviors? It's almost like we would prefer to complain about something than to really make the effort to work on it.

Think of how your day might go better if we simply stopped thinking about everything that was wrong or bad. Don't think about a bad boss, a weak 401k, or a car that is rusting. Don't think about that person that you are worried over. Can your worry fix things? Put them in God's hands and think about something good.

You are alive! You can see! You have a computer! You can read! Spring is almost here! Ahh, the world already looks better. The daffodils are coming up! You can breathe! You are loved by many!

When we start thinking about the good stuff, our outlook naturally changes. So, let's just think less about the stuff that we can't fix and can't do anything about anyway. Let's think about the good instead and train ourselves to get into that habit.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

closing the mouth

My Dad used to say it: "Son, you don't know when to close your mouth. Sometimes the best thing to do is just to shut up." [sorry for using the shut up words, I don't like them, but that's what was said.] Anyway, I did not understand why he would say this until years later.

Back then, I wanted to tell what I knew. I wanted to say something important. I thought i was right, and maybe I was, but me speaking at that time, just didn't help anything. Sometimes when we open our mouths, even when we are right, we only make things worse. Sometimes the right thing to do is to just sit it out and let someone figure it out.

I took three years of french in high school. One of the few phrases that I remember from my teacher, Miss Robinson, is "ferme la bouche" [close the mouth.] Sometimes, it is good advice, and I probably need to remember it more often. How about you?

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

dodgeball - the aftermath

Well, it was quite an afternoon at the church gym yesterday. I was so very pleasantly surprised at how many people were there and how many teams. There were very nice teams of young ladies, teams of old people like me, and some really scary teams of big teenage boys.

After watching the first few games, I begged the promoters to move our team to the Jr division. Now if you are feeling bad about old guys playing the Jr High kids, don't. They beat us like a drum.

Today, I am:
1. proud of our kids
2. proud of Brian and how he managed it all.
3. embarrassed for the next time I see the youngsters that beat us.
4. sore as can be.

It was a great afternoon and who knows where it will lead. It was very enjoyable to get together with so many wonderful folks from our church.

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

Monday, February 21, 2011


Today I am playing in a dodge ball tournament at church. The point of the tournament is to raise money and awareness for world vision, a program that feeds the hungry around the world. However, there are many bi products of this tournament besides raising money to feed the poor.
1. i am very proud of Michael Barker, who organized it
2. the face of the youth has stepped into leadership at woods chapel
3. old guys get to dig the cleats out
4. there will be lots of funny outfits to see
5. there has been alot of trash talk
6. my son, who has played on several semi-pro dodge ball teams is playing
7. there is an electricity of fun surrounding the event.

if you have nothing to do today at 1pm, stop by the gym at church. I think there will be stories to come from this for years to come.

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

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I have two sisters. One lives in Kansas City, the other lives in San Jose, California. Amy from California is here for a visit. So, the three of us are together for a few days. It doesn't happen very often.

When we were kids we did not know each other. What I did know of my one sister was a giant fight of sibling rivalry most of our growing up years. Then suddenly you are out of the house and gone- and on with your life. Then your parents die and you start to realize that the only family of origin you have left are your brothers and sisters.

When we got to this point, we started working harder on the three of us. Today, we are friends and it is good. It is good to care for one another. Never take your family for granted.

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

Saturday, February 19, 2011

stress mgmt

Someone asked about dealing with stress. How does Jeff deal with stress? What are some tools that might help us?

First, lets just agree that we are all going to have stress. It is not a sin and a person should not feel guilty about it. Stress reminds us that we are alive. It reminds us that we have some opportunities before us. Stress reminds us that "it isn't about me."

When I feel stress I do many different things. I go for a walk. I find a quiet place and holler. I engage in behavior that I find soothing. Oddly enough, for me, something that I find soothing is painting. Not like painting a picture, more like painting a room or painting the house. But for you it could be something else- what is your hobby? Playing the guitar? Be sure when you feel stress to do so. Something else that I do to relieve stress is work in the yard.

I also pray. I pray for the situation. I find a quiet place to sit in God's presence. I also pray for myself, that I can find a better place in my brain. If you hear what I am saying, sometimes, many times, for me, the stress comes to an end when I realize that I have the wrong perspective about the situation. When I can learn to see others as God does, often, my stress with them goes away and my heart is returned to a state of love.

Ultimately, the great philosophers tell us that we need to release ourselves from the desire to control everything. That is why Jesus told his followers not to worry. When I finally get it thru my head that I cannot control the financial stress in my home or the actions of a child or the behavior of a person, I start to relax. You know, it just is what it is. I can't fix it, and me worrying about it isnt going to change anything. Sometimes you just have to make friends with the pain. You have a bad boss. You made a mistake. You aren't treated fairly. Neither was Jesus. Lets move on.

Having said that, sometimes I resolve stress by solving the problem. By working harder, by visiting with the person that is angry. By talking something thru. By reading something. Sometimes, given a few days, the stress wears off. Sleep takes it away.

When none of that works, I cry, yell and pray.

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

Friday, February 18, 2011


The sermon Sunday is on the beatitude, blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. I am so looking forward to this discussion.

Do you need mercy? Do we appreciate it? Do we offer it to others? What happens to our life when we are merciful? What happens when we are not? Who can you offer mercy to today?

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

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Yesterday, a healing took place. Two friends who had been involved in a painful situation, met and resolved their pain. Months of sorrow was replaced with joy. Nights of worry was overcome by the commitment to love.

I believe that this can happen over and over and over. If we are just brave enough to sit down with those who we have hurt or been hurt by. It was a long long lonely winter of heartache, but yesterday, everything was made right.

Two normal people, hoping for better, find a way to get past their pride and the result is love. Does it get any better than that?

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Yesterday I woke up. Lying in bed, before my feet even hit the floor, the first thought that came to my mind was: "thank you Lord Jesus for the gift of this day."

Now if that sounds like bragging, say it ain't so. Yesterday just makes up for the other 500 days that I woke up with other things on my mind. It makes up for the days when I woke up and didn't think a thought of God until later.

I hope there are more yesterdays. First thought = thank you Lord.

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

local hawk

Have you seen the local hawks. They seem to be everywhere. On top of the poles, hanging out in the trees, from 40 highway to the church, the hawks are out. They are certainly listening for the birds to sing or the mice to chatter, and then it is lunch time. For some reason, I am fascinated by these big strong birds. Don't wreck your car, but keep an eye out for the hawks. They are cool.

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

PS- there is a feature on the side of the blog now so that you can sign up to receive an email when there is a post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

good news

I do have good news. And I am sure that you do as well, if you just look hard enough. My son starts a new job today. I think I am finally done painting the basement. The snow is melting. All the cars got washed, and they look like cars again. Everyone at my house is relatively happy.

Good news. The gospel is good news. It should never feel like bad news or guilt or hate speech. The only people that Jesus spoke like that to, were the very people that were judging everyone else. When your brain and heart thinks of God, you should have a peaceful, welcoming, embracing thought, because God loves you. The gospel is always good news.

That beats clean cars, new jobs and snow melting.

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The more i know

The more that I know, the more I realize that I don't know as much as I thought I did. The more I read about how other's brains work, the more I realize that I am an infant in brain power. I read what others write and I am so touched and impressed. I watch the skills of others and I frequently find myself standing in awe.

The older I get, the quieter I want to be. I just feel like I want to watch what goes on, and talk a little less. I am not as smart as I thought I was.

I am ok with this. I am at peace with this. All of that just makes me want to call out to God and depend on him, rest in him. That I am pretty sure is a good thing.

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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

email and a dream

Last night I had a dream. In my dream I was talking to a young person. Age say, 28. Not sure who it was. Random, representative young person from our church. They were expressing to me, that I was reading alot, and learning alot, but not changing very much.

I thought about this in my dream and I could feel the pain in the night. Could that be possible, that we read and think and talk about being more faithful, but really not that much changes? God may it not be so.

If we believe in grace, may we be more and more filled with grace. If we believe in living missionally, may we do more than read about it, may we be moved to become more and more missional.

[new topic]
I have learned of a feature to this blog where you can be informed of postings. What happens is, if you sign up, you receive a notice by email that there is a posting. If you open the email, the post is right there on your computer. You don't even have to go onto the blog site. If I slow down my posting to this site, this might become a helpful feature, letting you know when there was something new. So if you want this feature, please email your email address to

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

things I learned yesterday

Things that I learned yesterday-

if you allow the tank of a 2000 Ford pick up to get completely empty, it will cost $64 to fill it back up.

if you leave a tube of carmex in your vehicle overnight in the winter, it will freeze as hard as a rock.

I still have a rolodex in my desk drawer.

you never know what is going on in someone else's house.

there are a few people in this world, that are far more generous than I had imagined.

there are people near CVV that I can help, simply by taking food to them. Seriously poor folks that need a can of ravioli. And I am wondering about everything about my life.

It's beautiful for me, but is it beautiful for everyone? And if it is not good news for everyone, is it really good news?

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

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the Hole in our Gospel

Several from our church have been reading the book, "The Hole in our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. The book is available in the bookstore at church.

It received it's best comment the other day when a member told me "I want to throw this book in the trash. I wish I never read it."

Here is what they really mean by those words..... "the book the Hole in our Gospel has so touched me that I am reevaluating my life. It is connecting me to Jesus and his mission in ways that I have never been connected before. "

If you want to get a little closer to the heart of God, I recommend this book. I have a couple loaners in my office too, if you would like to read it, but not buy it.

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

what not to say

Several have asked that this information from a sermon a few weeks ago, be shared in the blog.

What you should never say to others who are grieving. This is the uncut, unedited version and I am very sorry for much of it.

from The New York Times, December 7, 1999.
To a 60-year-old recent widow: Don't worry. You're young and attractive; you'll find someone else. To a woman whose husband died of lung cancer: You have to meet this man. His wife also died of lung cancer. To a man whose 26-year-old daughter died of AIDS: If she hadn't been that way, God wouldn't have struck her dead with AIDS, and It was just a purification thing. To a woman who suffered a miscarriage: It is probably for the best. To a woman whose 25-year-old son was killed by a drunken driver: At least you have four other children. To a man whose elderly mother died: Oh, well, 79. To a young man whose 19-year-old brother died of cancer: I know how you must feel losing a brother. And to the boy's mother: I know it's not the same, but I really empathize because I lost my dog. To a woman whose husband committed suicide: Are you going to get a dog now?
-Jane E. Brody, Mourning, a time when words often fail,
The New York Times, December 7, 1999.

Here are some other things that I have personally heard – not helpful
1. It must have been their time
2. Everything happens for a reason
3. God doesn't put more on us than we can take [actually based on a scripture, but still not helpful.]
4. It was gods will

May we all remember to guard our tongues. May we remember that the gift of our presence, the gift of a hug, the gift of food. Is the best gift in times of pain.

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

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This may be the strangest post ever............

Dancing. to dance. I have the dancing gene, I know I do. You can argue the point, and my family will argue the point, but I have the dancing gene. They say I dance like Elaine from Seinfeld or Bill Cosby, I say, fine, at least I dance.

To dance is to embrace the moment. Happy times, sad times, good song, bad song, happy song, sad song. Alone or together, we dance. We hear the music, we feel the times, and we dance. David danced before the Lord.

Life comes at us every day. We can fight it, or we can dance. Your choice. And my choice.

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

things that make life really good

Things that make life really good.

1. someone that loves you.
2. someone that you love.
3. Good jokes, told over and over. Random strange jokes told over and over.
4. Someone to talk about meaning and purpose with, that seems to "get you."
5. someone that forgives you.
6. someone that challenges you.
7. working hard to achieve something.
8. watching your kids grow up - usually
9. reading something that challenges you spiritually.

what would you add to the list?

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

Sunday, February 6, 2011

roller derby

I saw it on TV when I was a kid. We were enthralled with it. James Caan was in some movie about it years ago.

Last night, following a 40 year hiatus, I witnessed roller derby again. Municipal auditorium, Kansas City, MO. Three hours of fun, excitement and roller derby gals.

Did you know that a member of our church plays on one of the teams? Did you know that last year, she was the league rookie of the year? If you see Lisa Alvarez, congratulate her, but be sure to keep a safe distance from her right elbow.

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

one step

It's a step. One step. One small step. But it is a step in the right direction. If you don't like where you are at, look at where you want to go, and take the first step. Immediately, you have new momentum, and you are one step closer to your goal.

A step has been taken at our house. Don't know exactly where it is going, but a step in the right direction is always a step in the right direction.

Take one today. You will be glad that you did.

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

Friday, February 4, 2011

don't quit

There is a time to quit, but most of us quit to soon. We quit jobs and wish we had them back. We quit friends and never quite get over it. We quit programs, sometimes we are relieved, but sometimes we quit too soon and miss the chance to do good.

Some people quit the church and move on to another church, which they later quit to move on to another. Some people quit God, well they think they do, but you can never quit God.

True spirituality is working thru the parts of a thing that drive you crazy. It's remaining a fan when your team loses. It is standing by your man [or woman.] It is going the second mile, turning the other cheek, seeing the good when it isn't that easy.

And so there is a joy, a savoring when you can look back and say, I made it work. I made it go. I figured it out, and it was all good.

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

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Helping one another

Difficult times give us the opportunity to help one another. Whether it is the church opening up as a Red Cross shelter or you helping a neighbor get their car out of the snow bank, adversity invites us to come together.

One of the most meaningful things that we can do is to set aside our agenda of the moment and help someone else. Besides the clear benefit of helping them, it also provides us with some very positive results.

1. we get our minds off of ourselves, at least for a moment.
2. we feel good. if you allow yourself, it feels good to help another
3. you enjoy the sense that you are doing the right thing. For this we were created.
4. it can put a halt to depression.
5. it provides great stories and great memories.
6. when you invest in others, you make new friends.

I am not saying that we should help others so that we personally benefit, but there does appear to be some benefit. Let's see, where did I put my snow shovel?

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

storm dodger

I am the storm dodger. I don't mean to do it, but for two of the worst storms in Kansas City history, I end up out of town.

Was it 2001 that we had the big ice storm? I was in Russia. In fact, we saw the news of the ice storm on the Russian news. Watching a little black and white TV, listening to the words in Russian, you could hear the words, "Kansas City," and we recognized pictures of the Plaza.

Now it's 2011. For months we have had a three day trip planned to Tampa. I am packing up my projects and following my wife on one of her many trips. And I no sooner get on the plane, and a blizzard comes to town. Shuts down I-70. How about that? We will land on Thursday afternoon and I suppose that the streets will be cleared and most everything will be back to normal.

It's kind of funny that I am here, missing the storm. But at the same time, I am sorry that I am not there to help you.

I wish that everything in my life had such comfortable timing and pain free circumstances.

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

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Well, I have much to give thanks for today.

Sunday after church, I found out that my daughter, who is recently employed at St. Luke's East as a nurse, has passed her boards. Passing the boards is the last hurdle. If you pass them, you have made it.

I got up out of the booth at la fluente and danced like Elaine on Seinfeld or Bill Cosby on the Cosby show. I ran up and down the isle and hollered. The servers at La Fluente, tried to calm me down. I am sorry, but right now, I am inconsolable.

I don't know what is better, the fact that she is riding high for life, or the fact that in my old age, I now have someone to take care of me.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good. PS- storm of the century and I am in Tampa for three days! I am pitiful.