Thursday, March 31, 2011

Giving something up for lent

A Lenten Reflection from

1.htm On givning something up for lent-

Give up complaining——focus on gratitude.
Give up pessimism——become an optimist.
Give up harsh judgments——think kindly thoughts.
Give up worry——trust Divine Providence.
Give up discouragement——be full of hope.
Give up bitterness——turn to forgiveness.
Give up hatred——return good for evil.
Give up negativism——be positive.
Give up anger——be more patient.
Give up pettiness——become mature.
Give up gloom——enjoy the beauty that is all around you.
Give up jealousy——pray for trust.
Give up gossiping——control your tongue.
Give up sin——turn to virtue.
Give up giving up——hang in there!

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

conoco clarification

Yes readers, that was a typo. I only put $12 in her car not $112. :)


I was getting gas on Sunday. I had just put the hose in the tank and a woman came around the pump from the other side. "Sir, I am sorry to bother you, but I am on empty and I need gas to get home. Can you give me $3?" We visited a bit. I put $112 in her car. Although it was an odd thing, and I have some thoughts about the incident, I hope if my wife ever needs help at the gas station, some old guy will buy her some gas. It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I have been reading some history lately. Funny thing I have noticed. When I read contemporary writers, those who are writing about today's issues or today's church, I want to talk. I want to tell. I want to explain what my thoughts are about what they are saying. I want to interface with the ideas of today. I want to be a part of the conversation, or more likely, the argument.

When I read history, something else happens. I stop talking. When I read history, I enter a world that I cannot control or effect. It is over. In history, I meet real people who struggled and dealt with everything that I am dealing with now. They have the same issues and the same problems.

When I read history, the problems and challenges of today sort of get swallowed up in the big picture of life. Things happen. Good and bad. Some are on one side, some are on the other. You can get all worked up about it, or you can relax and simply enjoy life. We don't do enough of enjoying life. How about I talk less and celebrate more? How about I get worked up a lot less and simply learn to savor life. We only come by this way once, and it goes by pretty fast. Let's live, laugh and love.

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

Monday, March 28, 2011

religious wars

I have been reading some history lately. We have been killing each other for centuries. Not just Christians against Muslims or Christians against barbarians, or Christians against Native Americans, we have even witnessed Christians against Christians. Catholics killing Orthodox. Orthodox killing Catholic. Catholic killing Protestants. Protestants Killing Catholics. German Lutherans killing English Methodists. English Methodists killing German Lutherans. Some Baptists don't like Catholics, some Catholics don't like Baptists. Some Methodists don't like each other. This preacher does not like that preacher. Who cares? Maybe someday we will realize that the message of Jesus is a message of love. On that day, all wars shall cease. It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

why is the church here?

As I listen to all of the banter lately in the church world, I have decided to weigh in.

First of all, I do believe in heaven and in hell. I believe that they are beyond our description, except that in heaven God is loved and worshiped, and in hell God is hated and selfishness abounds.

But here is the question. Why is the church here? Is the church here to judge others? Is the church here to tell people that they are going to hell? That God hates them? Do we really believe that? That sounds a lot like Fred Phelps to me.

I believe that the church is here to tell people about Jesus and his love. To tell the old old story. To explain to every person that we are all precious in God's sight.

As long as we remember that, and do that, it will never occur to us to tell someone that they are going to hell, because we will all be doing what we are supposed to be doing- showering the world with God's love,

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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

right and wrong

Right and Wrong. I am thinking of this a little differently. Have you ever been right about something but handled it in a way that you were wrong? Being right is not the only consideration. Sometimes we can be so demeaning, hurtful, or arrogant about something that the issue totally changes.

I have run into people on both sides of some social issue that are so insistent that they are right. In their rightness they have crushed others. And so then they have become wrong.

There is something in the good book about "if I have all knowledge, but have not love." We should take it to heart. How we speak to one another is as important if not more important than your opinion on some issue. Love covers all. if love isn't there, then we may be technically right, but we are also a clanging cymbal.

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

Friday, March 25, 2011


Have you heard of Kiva?

Kiva is a ministry that connects people through lending teams to alleviate poverty by providing loans to entrepreneurs to help better their lives. It works in 5 different continents to provide loans to people without access to banks. 100% of the money goes directly to funding loans. Kiva is funded through donations, grants, corporate sponsors and foundations. I give $25 you give $25 and pretty soon the Kiva team from Woods Chapel has several hundred dollars to loan, but we are only in for a small amount each. Current repayment rate is 98.60%

Kiva partners with micro-institutions (Field Partners) who know the local area and do all of the legwork to find entrepreneurs to loan money. Field Partners review the loan requests and select who they will recommend to receive a loan. Once the Lending Team reviews the list and decides who will receive the funding, Kiva distributes funds to Field Partners who distributes the funds to the entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs pay the Field Partners principle + interest. Money goes back to Kiva to credit the lender. Lender has the choice of what to do with the money once it is paid back. They can either withdraw the money or recycle the money into another loan.

We can easily set up a “Lending Team”, people within the congregation willing to contribute to a Kiva fund. A list of pre-screened entrepreneurs is provided on their website and the WCC Lending Team would decide who they were going to lend the money. Once the person to receive the loan has been chosen the Lending Team will make a withdrawal using PayPal - and sent to Kiva – then the Field Partners – and finally to the entrepreneur. The Lending Team would meet monthly (or as often as the team decides) to track the progress of their loan(s). When the loan is repaid the Lending Team can recycle the money to a new entrepreneur.

One of the churches set up a world map and put red dots on each of the locations that their team had sent money. Their goal was 100 loans but now have over 200 loans.

Through this method the goal is to help the people help themselves to get out of poverty. Not to just give them the money, but to give them the start that they need to help themselves.

I would love to be a part of a micro-lending team at WCC. Is anyone else interested?

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

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm not being fed

"I am sorry but I am not being fed. I am just not getting what I want to get from church anymore. I think I am going to do some church shopping and see if I like what some other places have to offer."

Pastors are flabbergasted when they hear this. We live in such a consumer society that some folks treat church like a restaurant. I'll go here for a while, but if I feel like something different, well I will just go there and try the lunch special.

I wonder what the early Christian leaders would have said if one of their members would have said, "hey, I'm not being fed?" First of all, there was no other place to go, no other church. No other cafeteria to try out. The church in your town was all you had. They were your family. They were the expression of Christ in your community. They weren't perfect, but they were following as best they could.

I think an early church pastor would have responded to "I'm not being fed" with, "you know, it is not about you. Keep your eyes on Jesus and spend your days loving people. That is what the church is about and that is what we are supposed to do. There is nothing else."

The moral of the story is this- when we are focused on God, and living the life that He asks us to live, we are filled. When we decide to become consumers instead of contributors to God's life in this world, then, well, then the preacher better have some really good stuff for us on Sunday.

Thank you to every one of you that knows that we are a family. We have some warts, but this is a great place to follow Jesus.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the trees

The trees are starting to leaf out at my house. This is one of God's annual reminders that He is in control. I may make my plans, I may have my ideas, but God is still God and life goes on whether it suits me or not.

I may want to change the direction of our country. I may not like the sermon series. I may want my faith to fit in a box that is just so. I want my kids to do such and such.

And the seasons come and go. The sun rises and sets. Winter ends and spring arrives. God is still doing his thing, with or without my permission. This is why the wise bow the knee to the Creator. They see in Him and in his world, a power that cannot be contained or controlled. I stand in awe of the God who set it all in place and keeps it all going.

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

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

song lyrics from Sunday

Someone asked for the words from the song that Wendy sang on Sunday. Here you go.

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
As long as we'd have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

blue and green

If I teach you from birth that blue is green and green is blue, then you will most likely believe it for a long time. If I can get others around you to confirm it, then you will never have the chance to doubt it. If I do this for generations, pretty soon, the truth is forgotten. Green is perceived to be blue by an entire culture. People will fight and go to war to support their ideas that just a few generations ago were not true.

This is why reading history is important. This is why reading church history is important as well. I don't think that Jesus needed his followers to add things to the gospel. And the gospel is pretty simple. How much would we shed if we released ourselves from all of the additions and just went back to the simple message, and allowed it to be enough?

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

taking a stand

I have been thinking about something recently. For years I have commented on, and witnessed some things in the general church [across almost all denominations] that I have been opposed to. I guess I have felt that I could speak against such things from time to time, but that ultimately we would always have to live in their shadow. I felt a sense that there was nothing that I could do about such things. I figured that I had to learn to co-exist peacefully with those things which I found so distasteful.

Today, after some thought and prayer, I have now come to a different conclusion. There are some things that are taught by some in the general church that I can no longer tolerate. I have decided to speak up and to speak out and to call it what it is- false teaching. It is time for the church to shrug off the doctrines and practices of man and return to the ways of the spirit.

With these thoughts in mind, I hereby now and forever reject and stand to oppose the following:

1. The use of guilt by pastors or Christians to scare people to faith or manipulate believers.

2. The treatment of the Holy Scriptures in a way that has caused too many believers to worship the scriptures instead of the Loving God that they point to.

3. The practice of taking up one Scripture while ignoring others, which has led to many doctrines which are not balanced.

4. The judging and condemning of others. It must stop. This practice shares nothing with the heart of God.

5. The approach to the gospel and a relationship with God that implies that the Christian faith is in any way shape or form a means to financial gain.

6. The attitude of some that forces God into a box from which he can be controlled or reduced to a human level. We have too easily forgotten that all people fall to their knees and worship before the mystery of God.

7. The focus on the end of time to the point that we have forgotten our responsibility to live and love today, now, here on this earth as the hands and feet of our Lord.

Instead of the above, I offer the following:

1. The compelling love of God that is offered freely to all people.

2. The inspired Word of God that points us beyond the pages of the written word to the living God that saves us.

3. An invitation to those that would teach to review the totality of Scripture, the tone of Scripture and the sweeping evidence of the entirety of Scripture when considering their teachings.

4. Instead of judgement, Open hearts and open minds, exactly what Jesus gave to everyone that he met. A joyful welcome and acceptance.

5. We need to repent from any approach to the Christian faith that tries to make it about me. Christians are subservient to God, not in control of God. The joy of the Christian life comes in serving and loving him, from seeking his will rather than trying to make him do my will. I invite Christ- followers to be those who seek after the life and ways of Christ. Herein is the joy of Christian living.

6. I invite all people to come into relationship with the God of creation who is above all and in all and through all things. God is beyond us. His ways are higher, his thoughts are higher. We simply need to find a place to kneel and worship before him.

7. There are several competing pictures of the end of time in Scripture. One view or passage cannot be lifted up over another. Jesus said that we do not know the hour or the day. We are invited as Christians to live a life filled with love that is focused on today. As long as we are doing this, we will certainly be ready for Christ's return.

Just a few things that have been on my mind. If you want to have a cup of coffee to talk about any of these things, I welcome the discussion.

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

Saturday, March 19, 2011

a quote

Sometimes things I read just stick with me.

"Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight." Bruce Cockburn

With this in mind I now ask myself the question "What is it that I need to fight for?" Sometimes we we know the fight. Other times we are blind to what needs attention. It is time well spent to sit back, take inventory and remember what is worth having...keeping...pursuing.

Phillipians 4:13
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Lion's Den Man

Friday, March 18, 2011

a walk

Yesterday I did something I have wanted to do for 20 years. Not far from where my wife and I live is her family's farm. Years ago her grandfather stumbled upon some rock outcroppings that had symbols etched into them. He took photos and sent them to a person who was an expert in the field of ancient writings. A site visit confirmed that the writings were Norse (Viking). I had heard the stories and seen the pictures, but I had never made the trek to see "it" for myself. So yesterday my wife and son and I took a hike. My wife had been there numerous times as a child but finding her way again was a challenge. A cell phone call to her father (who still resides on the property) enabled us to find our way through the woods, over a couple creeks, up and down some hills, down an abandoned railway bed, left, right, right, left, and we were there......

I don't know for sure when these rocks were first visited, maybe as early as 900 AD, but to think of the journey these Viking men made is amazing to me. Yes they were explorers, but it had to have come with a sacrifice. They probably left behind friends and loved ones for this greater good. They probably had friends and people they cared for with them on the journey, too. They were seeking knowledge and although they were probably well suited for the job my guess is they were tested along the way. How the journey ended and where it ended is unknown, but I am sure it was awesome.

Lion's Den Man

Thursday, March 17, 2011

helping Japan

I have listened to several TV and radio spokespersons over the last few days. Several of them are saying that we should not send money to Japan. They are saying this because so much of the money that was sent to Haiti is evidently unaccounted for.

Well, no one wants to give to something that appears to be misappropriated. No one wants to give to something when there are questions about the disbursement or accountability of funds.

So, I want to tell you about your church. When you give to your church, or to any fund that is managed by the Woods Chapel United Methodist Church, you can rest assured that everything is happening as you have been told. We have wonderful staff, and wonderful staff in the administrative department. If there is anytime that you have questions, our books, your books are open books. Full disclosure. They are your books, afterall.

If we are raising money for a youth mission trip, the youth will get all of it. If we are asking for funds for, will get all of it. If we raise money for Japan, it will all get there. If you ever want to know anything about the gifts that you give to your church, your questions will be answered completely.

If you want to give to Japan or any other need in the world, your church is the place to do it.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

help wanted

We have had several requests at church for some mechanism to allow people to advertise that they need a single bed or they have a piano for sale. Maybe they need help to build a handicap ramp. Maybe they want to offer their services to help someone else work on their car. Roommate wanted. Garage for rent. Free computer to a good home. Free cat. Ha ha. I have a couple you can have.

Sort of a Woods Chapel Church want ads. We need to find someone who would be willing to receive the emails with the info and compile them weekly into a want ads sheet that interested members could pick up. If you would be interested in helping with something like this, please send me an email at

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

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


My daughter has been bothering me about building a washers set. If you are not familiar with washers, it is a game played much like horseshoes. You build these 16"x16" boxes and throw big washers into them.

Last night when I got home I was threatened. Make the boxes or else. So, we went to Lowes and bought the materials. $20 exactly. I had to pay. [go figure] Whose washer set is this? Who wants them so bad?

We got home and started work. I was not even allowed time to eat until they were finished. Saw, saw saw. put in the screws. Cut the carpet. Bolt in the pipe. There its done. I am going in the house.

No. Dad, you cannot go in. We have to play. So, in the almost dark of last night, a 53 year old man squared off with a 23 year old for a game of washers. There was much pre game banter, and a good amount of cynical dogging. Old man jokes, young pup jokes.

The game began, the game waned, the game ended. Sorry to say, I lost to the energy of youth 11-9. don't tell her that I let her win or she will wake me up from a nap and make me play again.

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

Monday, March 14, 2011


Japan is working to fight off two or more meltdowns at their nuclear facilities. I have always been a supporter of safe nuclear energy, but this has to make a person wonder. What does it mean? What will happen if the meltdowns cannot be stopped? How many square miles will be uninhabitable? What is the long term effect on the atmosphere? the fish?

And I wonder about just how many people this world can really support. And to what level of lifestyle can this world support? How many more tragedies can we afford to fix before entire people groups are left to live in tents for the rest of their lives?

We have increased our numbers so much, and our lifestyles are so comfortable, we forget that just 100 years ago, most humans still made their living off of the land.

And God is in the heavens. And he looks down at the plans of men and women. And He is greater than it all. We humans fall away in the presence of God. We have no answers, we have nothing figured out, except that we all need to put our trust in God and realize that everything waits upon him for breath, for life, for sustenance. And we need one another - lets not forget that.

God we look to you this day, and so because we can see you, it is a beautiful day in your world.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lent = choosing Christ

Lent is a time to think about the sufferings of Christ. It is a time to consider what Jesus did for you, and ask yourself if you want to follow in his way. Lent asks us to step beyond superficial Christianity. It asks us to move beyond the shallowness that can so easily accompany our lives and invites us to wade into the mystery of God at work in the world.

What will we give up for Lent? the question is often asked. Actually the thing that we should give up for lent is our will. Our arrogance. Our pride. Not simply diet coke.

Christians can follow Jesus on the journey to the cross and learn to trust the Father more fully as we leave ourselves behind. Obviously, lent is not for the feint of heart.

What will you give up for lent? This but not that? That but not this? Shouldn't everything be on the table for God?

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

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan quake

We have such nice lives. Electricity, gasoline, and all of the comforts that they bring. Then there is a massive earthquake. No electricity, cars washed away, your country is a mess. Add to that, a massive radiation leak. Hopefully the leak can be contained and with some hard work, all of that can be rebuilt, just like in New Orleans. But imagine more and more of these types of events. Pretty soon, our economies can no longer restore the damaged areas.

Over the next few years we will work very hard to help Japan recover, and we should. Please pray for those in the affected areas. Please pray for those who are hurting and suffering. Please contribute to relief funds when you have the opportunity. Let's not allow ourselves to feel differently about this because it is far away, and not in our country.

Tonight is daylight savings time. Move your clock one hour forward. See you tomorrow in worship.

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

Friday, March 11, 2011

who gets to heaven?

Romans 1:20 is a verse that answers many questions for me regarding who does, and who does not get into heaven. Actually it does not answer questions as much as it opens the door for God's grace to go to all people, and it makes it clear that God is doing things that we can neither control nor know about. Here it is:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

This verse is referring to what theologians call "general revelation." Through nature, God has revealed himself. He has done it so strongly, that people are accountable. All living people are accountable to God because he has confronted them through what has been made. The ocean, the beach, the bird in flight, the miracle of the human body, and the heavens declare the glory of God.

This tells me that I don't have to worry about the tribe in Africa that might go to hell because they have not heard of Jesus. Somehow, God will hold everyone accountable. He has shown himself to each of us, and each of us must respond to Him.

This doesn't answer any of the questions that come up after this, about exactly how God will do this. It doesn't give me a nice pat answer or a three step approach to who is saved. What it does do is put the question of who is saved back into the hands of God, and that is precisely where it belongs. He alone determines who enters the pearly gates.

Pray for those who do not know Jesus. Pray for those who say they do not believe in God. Enjoy and celebrate the beauty and glory of God through the things that he has made.

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

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Yesterday, an amazing thing happened to me. A friend from college that I have not seen for 30 years, stopped by the church. We visited for 15 minutes. It was awesome!

He is a pastor now in Lees Summit and we are going to have lunch and catch up. Wow - I go back to 1976-79 when we lived together across the hall in college. We ate together, went to class, played softball and baseball. We went to our floor's boxing matches and pulled pranks on each other. What great memories, and they are all coming back.

Next week we are going to get together! Rejoice with me! it is so totally exciting!

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. The palms from last year's palm Sunday are burned. Joy is over. Lent begins. Repentance is on the days docket. The ashes from last years palms are placed on our foreheads in the shape of a cross.

Come for the soup supper in the fellowship hall from 6-8pm. Then stop by the sanctuary to pray. Come forward when you are ready for the imposition of ashes. Then continue on to the front to receive holy communion.

This is a very special night. Many feel it is one of the most significant worship experiences of the year.

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

basketball tournament

This week is the big 12 tournament. Many great things have happened around our house during tournament time.

In 1991, Scott was born the Sunday night of the final game. We barely got to the hospital in time because my wife would not leave the TV until the game was over.

Over the years we have enjoyed watching the games and rooting for our teams. Our house has both MU Tiger fans and KU Jayhawk fans. And then they have me. Mr. Neutral. Mr. Lets all get along. It's a fun time.

Last night, as the excitement for the tournament begins to heat up, I am delivered a surprise challenge to the court. My oldest has decided that it is time for the old man to take back to the court. I am pooped, but I recognize the importance of the invitation and rise to the challenge.

We began with around the world. I was surprised at how good she was and how bad I have become. Shoulder surgery, knee surgery, cataract surgery and about 30 years has taken it's toll on my once NCAA stature abilities on the court. It had to be the world's longest game of around the world, but I finally pulled it out. With that momentum under my belt, it was on to a game of pig.

My short little granny shots made quick work of her. I finisher her off with the back to the basket over the head shot. PIG. Not having had enough, she wanted to stretch it out to piglet, which we did, with the same result.

Time spent with your children is so valuable, even if you need to take a nap when the game is over.

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

Monday, March 7, 2011

angry layers

Have you ever had someone that was mad at you and you weren't sure why? It seemed that their emotion toward you was over the top? Then you found out that they were in some sort of trauma at home. Ahh, it makes sense. When folks overreact to something, it is often a sign that they are struggling with personal problems and do not have peace in their heart.

I find myself doing this sometimes. I have a problem at home or at work, and so every little thing annoys me. I catch myself and i ask, why does this bother me so, then i realize that the other junk is flowing out of me and into another unrelated situation.

It really isn't fair for me to dump on others for no reason, especially when the real issue is something else. So i try to keep a cool head when I am upset. I try to compartmentalize the problem, and get about the day, treating others as they should be.

If someone around you today is angry and you can't figure it out, maybe it isn't about you at all. Just pray for them. And if the person with the attitude is you, then catch yourself and find the joy. Don't take it out on others.

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

Sunday, March 6, 2011

take off your shoes

We like to get excited about things. We think we are right. We want to tell others how it is. We walk into a moment and think we are in charge.

We forgot to notice God's messenger, standing over there who says to us, "take off your shoes, for you are standing on Holy Ground."

This is our father's world after all, and so much of it, that we think we are in charge of, is really a place for us to be submitted to him. How does a situation change when we realize that God is present here, in this moment, in this place? Do we slow down? Do we bow the head? Do we take off our shoes?

There is a lot more holy ground in this world than we think. Next time we think that we have it all figured out, let's remember that God speaks, and people hush and listen.

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

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Rest. What a good word. REST. We all need it. We have worries. We have sorrows, hurts, wounds, and concerns. We carry them around. We fuss over them. We throw them at each other.

All this, when right next to us is Jesus. Jesus loves us. He cares for us. He embraces us. He says, "come unto me all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." [Mt. 11:28]

If you are hurting, reach out to him. Call upon his name. There is no better friend.

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

Friday, March 4, 2011

March 4th

Today is March 4th. It is the day of the annual big parade. It is the day when all of the bands assemble downtown and march forth.

hmmmm. ok. March forth. March 4th.

It's a joke.

Actually, it is the oldest joke that I know. My grandmother, Louise Heising, passed it down to my mother, Mary Heising Brinkman. Consequently, I have been telling it, every March 4th for years.

There is something good about tradition. Funny or not so funny. Roots. Roots are good. My grandmother who died in 1991 at the age of 96, had a sense of humor.

Don't miss the parade today. Go downtown and watch the bands. They are gonna march forth.

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

Thursday, March 3, 2011

operation smile

Operation Smile is a mission program that helps children that have cleft palate. Bill and Pam Carpenter, members of our church, are wonderful people who have been working with this program in Ascension, Paraguay.

Operation Smile has volunteer doctors and uses borrowed operating rooms. This keeps the cost to change a child's world very reasonable, yet still out of reach for families that live in the third world.

What a gift to look in the mirror after surgery and for the first time, see a normal face. Something that most of us take for granted.

You can learn more about operation smile at:

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Have you ever been disappointed in yourself? If you answer no to that question, then I question if you are being honest with yourself. Everyone is disappointed with themselves at one time or another.

For example, maybe I said something that I want to take back. I dwelled on a thought that I should not have. I did something that I knew was wrong. I made excuses for something when I knew better. I didn't care when I should have.

I said I, in the last few sentences, but any of these situations could be, might be, you.

Here is the good news. When we are sad on the inside, God stands by our side. He rushes to the broken, to the contrite, to the hurting. When you are crying on the inside, you do not stand alone.

So, if you are out there today and your heart is breaking, and it is a self inflicted wound, let me say that Jesus died for those sins too. It is not the end. You are not done. The sun will come up tomorrow and you will get to see it. Those who love you will forgive your sins. As do I. And I thank you for forgiving mine.

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I read it the other day: Children are a mirror. They learn what they see.

What does that mean? What you pour into them, they will reproduce. A dose of love = a heart of love. A dose of dysfunction = well, most of us know what that is like.

An apple still does not fall from the tree.

It's not too late. What am I pouring into the people around me? What are you pouring in?

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