Tuesday, May 31, 2011

can I buy that?

You have heard the stories.  Someone shows up on your front door and asks to buy your home, sight unseen for double the value.  This actually happened to someone that I know.  A helicopter landed in the street in front of their house and someone offered them over a million dollars for their home.  They sold their house and moved.

So I have this secret thought that one day someone is going to just randomly offer to buy something at twice the value.  Come on, its a good story.

So last week I was wearing a Royals jersey.  So many jerseys are  time sensitive.  They have colors that are out of date or a player's name that is no longer with the team.  This jersey is just generic.  Dark royal blue, no number, no name.  It's cool.  I like it.

So I am leaving a restaurant and this person comes up to me and wants to buy it.  "How much for your jersey?  I will buy it right now."  I shook my head.  They insisted.  They would make me a good offer.  I shook my head and walked away.

I don't know why, it only cost $35, but I don't think I would sell it for $200.  I guess that there are just some things that you can't put a price on.  There are some things that money just can't buy.

The one time in my life when someone wants to randomly buy something that I own and I turn them down.  For some reason, I feel good about that.  Money isn't everything.

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

Aaron Brown

Yesterday in church I mentioned our friend, Aaron Brown who is the pastor of St. Paul's UMC in Joplin.  Several have asked if his family was hurt in the tornado.  Aaron and his family are fine and their home was not hit by the tornado.  I am sure that he has worked non-stop since the storm hit.  I know he has been awake late into the night helping people.  The load on a pastor can be heavy at times, but the load on the pastors in Joplin right now has to be incredible.  But Aaron is up to the task.  He is one of the finest men that I know.

If you watched the Joplin Tornado Memorial service yesterday, there were three talks.  They were given by President Obama, Governor Nixon and Aaron Brown.  Not a surprise to me at all.  His words were touching and perfect.  Not a surprise.  If you have not heard his message, it is well worth the time.  You can view it at:: http://www.koamtv.com/category/164379/video?clipId=5899140&flvUri=&partnerclipid=&topVideoCatNo=212327&c=&autoStart=true&activePane=info&LaunchPageAdTag=homepage&clipFormat=flv

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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

survivors guilt

Today as we prepare for worship services, I can't help but think of our friends in Joplin who have lost so much.  Today, my friend Aaron Brown will be holding church in a gym nearby because St. Paul's UMC has been destroyed.

I feel so bad for them.  But I know that in times of great need, grace rushes in.  I know that today as they pray and share their stories, God will fill that gym in a very special way.

Please pray for our friends in Joplin and be willing to help as you are led by the Holy Spirit.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

for the first time

Are you bored?  Life piling up?  Everything seems mundane?

Stop and think of the first time that you did a thing.  It was probably exciting to learn something new.  You had patience with a problem because your store of energy was not exhausted.  Maybe you touched a new moment and it was beautiful.  But now, that is all gone, all lost, all mundane.

So decide in your mind that you will return to the first time.  Remember the excitement.  Remember the joy.  Remember the newness.  Do everything as if it were the first time.  Suddenly, the thing seems better, the mundane now has life.  Life is beautiful if we can just see it.

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

to sum it up

In the weeks to come there will be much to say about Joplin.  I have also not finished with my posts from the Jamaica dental trip, but I cant find the documents that I wrote in Jamaica now, so that will have to wait. 

So, in the light of what has been going on in our world, I had a thought.  Have you ever tried to sum up the Christian faith?  or boil down the Christian faith?  Here is my attempt for today.

The successful pursuit of the Christian faith does not lie in the saying of a special prayer; the acknowledgement of 4 spiritual laws or the mental assent to the leadership of Jesus. 

Instead, the successful pursuit of the Christian faith is wrapped up in taking up ones cross; living outside ones self and investing in others to the glory of God.

When one lives like this, all prayers are said, all laws are followed and Jesus really has become Lord.

When we see our friends hurt in Joplin, it should be clear to us that the Christian faith is all about living outside of one's self.  Taking up the cross.  Discomforting ourselves so that those in need might be helped.
When we choose to live like that it really is a beautiful day in god's world.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

compassion fatigue

Compassion fatigue is what sets in when good people get tired of helping others.  It is like we have big hearts and we want to help, but after a while, a person has to return to their own life.  It is like sometimes we only want to do enough to make us feel better, and give up way before the issues are resolved.  We feel compassion fatigue when the demands of our normal life are begging us to return.  We have a yard to mow, a hobby to catch up on, and interests to pursue.

I understand compassion fatigue.  Sometimes I resemble it.  But I have a question. Or two.

What if we have no life to return to.  What if our life is no longer about "my life" vs the rest of the world.  What if my life began to be centered around the entire world.  What if the people in Joplin were all my cousins?  What if the people in Mozambique were my brothers and sisters.  What if I got to a point in my life where "my" resources diminished in importance and became expendable for the sake of my cousins, brothers and sisters.  What if I was more invested in people than things.  What if my greatest investment was in people.

What if my hobby became helping others.  No, what if my full time job was being the good Samaritan.  What if my life was centered around God's purpose rather than my own?  This is starting to sound like missional living. 

Is it possible that I would love others so much that my helping of them never became a burden.  I was hungry and you fed me.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We witness a tragedy like the Joplin tornado and we ask why.  Why God, why?  Why did my mom get cancer.  Why did my wife leave me.  Why does my child hate me. Why do I have this condition.  Why did I lose my house.  Why did I lose my job.  Why is my life such a struggle.  Why.  Why.  You get the picture.

We have all been there.  It is the human condition.  There are also many proposed responses.  Some get mad at God.  Some hate him for ever.  Some say that God makes such things happen.  Some say that you deserved it, that somehow you did not have enough faith.  Some blame a big opposite of God devil.

So why.  Why did the tornado hit?  Why are our friends suffering?

Here is my best shot at this as your pastor.  Towards the end of the book of Job, Chapters 38-42 God reminds Job that people will never understand what happens in this world.  Psalm 103 sums it up like this:

13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him

We are not in charge.  This world will always bring us challenge.  But God is not against us.  God is with us.  God is for us.  God stands with us.  These terrible things, as terrible as they are, can cause us to trust him.  We have nothing else in this life.  No promise of health, wealth or comfort.  The only promise that we have is that our God is with us.  His love in fills us. 

May his love and grace comfort those who are suffering so.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Joplin 2

On Sunday, our friends at St. Paul's church had worship services.  Today, this is their worship center.  St. Paul is a church much like Woods Chapel.  They are very missions minded and their average attendance is around 1000.

Pastor Aaron Brown tells me that not only are many of the the homes of members destroyed, but the places where they work are also demolished.

Woods Chapel is collecting items for the relief effort.  Bottled water, batteries, cleaning supplies and more. Please check our web site for more info at www.woodchaplechurch.org

Teams will be going very soon to work in the clean up effort.  if you are interested in going, please contact stephanie mutert at stephaniem@woodschapelchurch.org

Count your blessings and keep our friends in Joplin in your prayers.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Good morning.  We have watched the news in horror today of the destruction in Joplin.  Because this is a city that is close to us, many of us have personal connections there.  One of my best pastor friends is Aaron Brown.  He is the pastor at St. Paul's UMC.  Last night he texted me to say that he and his family were ok, but that the church was badly damaged.  Also, Sandy Nenadahl is the District Superintendent in Joplin.  She went into ministry from our church.  She and her husband Tom are fine, but there is much work for Methodists to do in Joplin.

Please keep the people of Joplin in your prayers.  I am sure that we will be acting to help as soon as we get instructions on how to best do that.  We will have more info on what we can do this Sunday in worship services.

Jamaica Thursday

Jamaican Thursday

Today I went to the Internet café again to communicate with home. So far, by the time that I get an email out, I am off the net and gone before I can hear from my family in real time. Since I was not really scheduled for any labor today, I spent a couple of hours learning the story and listening to one of the young men that is working with our group. It was very very valuable time. Later I did some painting and worked to repair some windows at the dorm.

There is a challenge taking place between some of the members of our team and the Jamaican cooks regarding how much money has been spent and how it has been accounted for. I have not been involved in this at all, but my hope is that we will not make an issue of this. We are still eating very reasonably, and in my brain, the relationship is more important than whether or not all the receipts add up.

Speaking of the kitchen, let’s talk about the food. The food has been simple, but good. The cooks are hired by the Methodist church to cook for us while mission teams are here. In fact, one of the cool things about having a team here is that the presence of the team provides direct income to at least nine people. Two cooks, two cleaners, two that run the clinic sign ups and three security men. Our presence provides these folks with income. That is cool. There is another 5 or so local people who make money by selling the teams snacks, drinks and crafts.

So the cooking. The cooks use local spices and food. Mangoes, Papaya, bananas, and bread fruit [yes, breadfruit is a fruit of somekind] are present at every mean in one form or another. I have a great story about bread fruit from the saga of the mutiny on the Bounty. [Ask Janet Barnes if she has heard it.] The food is mildly spicy. A distinct flavor that is nice and very Jamaican, but not too hot for us to eat. For breakfast we have had pancakes every day except one, in which we had fish and eggs. Lunch has been some interesting dishes like burritos and fried tacos. One day we had tuna and chicken salad sandwiches. For dinner we have had spaghetti [no meat, just sauce and noodles], fried chicken, fried fish, accompanied by mac and cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and some kind of cupcake.

The cooks and the security men always eat with us. Which is fine of course. I would say with a pretty confident tone that they eat much better than normal when there is a team in to work at the clinic.  Several locals have stopped by from time to time to ask if they can eat. 

If you have food on your table, that is something to be thankful for.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2011

this is the day

This is the day which the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  The world did not end.  We are still here.  [unless maybe I wrote this last week and scheduled it to post this morning!]  Just kidding!  We are still here!   Another day to care.  Another day to love.  Let's do it.

This is the great joy in life.  To live and to love.  Let's do it.  Let's do it!!!

Thank you God for this day!

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

will the world end today

Well, it has been all over the news.  Will the world end today?  Will the rapture [we will talk about this late coming, biblically unsupported concept another time] anyway, will it happen today?  So is the prediction of Harold Camping, a minister in California.  6pm tonight, pst which gives us until 8pm.

Ironically there are companies jumping up to cash in on this foolishness.  One company will provide eternal security for your dog.  You leave in the rapture, they come take care of your dog.  All their employees are atheists.  $135 is the contract fee.  They have sold over 20,000 contracts.

Now friends, I don't mean to make fun of this stuff, but I have lived through many of these.  My first real disappointment was in the 1970's when Hal Lindsey's predictions did not come true.

Here is my bottom line.  Jesus wants us to live in the here and now.  That is scriptural and that is spiritual.  Feet on the ground spiritual.  To be all lost in end time worry is a waste of time and a huge distraction.  It is off mission for the Christian.

I have a book in my office called, "it's the end times again."  The book chronicles all of the predictions over the years that have not come true.  We will have to add this to the list.

What are you going to be doing at 8pm?  I hope something fun, celebrating God's world.  We will be open for business as usual tomorrow, so I will see you in church.

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

Friday, May 20, 2011

Jamaican Wednesday

Wednesday morning
Bugs. I awoke today to the joy of little bugs. They look like tiny ants, but when you go to squish them, they take off running. They know you are a predator and they start to flit around like water skeeters that know the bass are in the neighborhood.

I also awoke to an interesting phenomenon. One of the emails that I read yesterday was from a member who asked me to call them about a problem. Well I cannot call, but I told them by email that I would be praying for them and that I would call as soon as I got back to the states. Anyway, the interesting phenomenon, and I am sure it has happened to you, is that when I woke up this morning, they were on my mind. I was praying for them in my sleep. Wow. The human body is such a miracle. Our brains work at night and the spirit is at work when my conscious mind is at rest. Amazing.

Today I helped in tooth extraction, cavity filling, and painted a few doors. I also spent a good part of the day visiting with the pastor of the Falmouth Methodist Church. Her name is Verona Irons. She has been a minister for six years. She has four churches on her circuit, with the Falmouth church being the largest. She has a joy on her face as she talks about her congregation and her call to ministry. Some things are the same in every culture. Good pastors love their people. She is very proud of the ministry of their church to the community through the clinic that we are working at this week. Many teams come during the year and people come from all over to receive medical and dental care. In addition to the work of the teams in sharing God’s love, there are always several people there from the church that help to care for and connect with the people that come to the clinic.

One of the things that stood out the most in our visit was the problem that they are having in Jamaica with suicide. The rates among young people and police officers are very high. Almost every week there is a funeral in one of the churches for someone who has taken their life. She attributes this to the bleak economic conditions for the young people and the stress placed on the police. With the economy of the states in decline, many of the hotels here have been laying people off. Some have even closed. People that come here on cruise ships don’t spend very much money either. So there is much economic hardship and much despair. As in all cultures, there is a need to teach people that life is good. That no matter what the circumstances, there is always hope. Life is good, life is worth living.

I am going to take a break from Jamaica for a couple of days to deal with the end of the world.  More on the mission trip next week.
It is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

mission trip Tuesday

Jamaican Tuesday

It is important if you come on this trip that you are resilient and flexible. The Jamaican people are very laid back and you need to be ready to roll with the changes and always take it easy. It is a cultural thing that we Americans are not very good at.
Today, none of the jobs planned for us panned out. So we took stock of our situation and decided to do some painting in the dorm. Brushes, paint, and thinner. Sticks to stir the paint, you must find on the ground. We spent the rest of the day painting interior doors and jams.
Before dinner we walked four blocks to the internet café where I spent 30 minutes on the web. I was able to access my computer at work and catch up on some email. When I was done I asked how much I owed them. The answer was $100. I stopped dead in my tracks. How much? One hundred dollars. One hundred dollars Jamaican. Oh, ahh, yes. Thank you. That is $1.25 US dollars.
Dinner was great. Chicken and rice. After dinner we had a wonderful talk amonst the team about life, families and the church. One of the great benefits to taking such a trip is that you get to know the other people on the team very well.
It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Caution- this was a dental trip and the following is not for the feint of heart.

On my first day in Jamaica I assisted with a patient. The patient was 35 years old, but looked 18. The person I was assisting explained the patients situation. We would be working on the bottom only. On the bottom row of teeth, we had 1 completely rotten tooth- it will be difficult to get a grip on to pull it out. Two next to it are almost as bad with decay down to the gum line. On the other side there are two more with visible cavities. Up front the two small teeth up front have tartar that has calcified between them and pushed the teeth apart. The calcification has grown so much that it looks like a bridge between the teeth. When this is removed, the teeth will be so weak that they will have to come out.

I witness the removal of the first tooth. I spray on the water and use the little hose to draw out the water. The two up front come out next and it is pretty gruesome. There are several pieces of the calcified tartar that have to be picked out of the surrounding tissue. After that, some of the surrounding tissue is so infected that it has to come out. So we scrape and remove. Finally when the wounds- the holes where the teeth were look clean, they each get a stitch.

I was very proud of this young woman who endured all of this. The clinic is only supposed to pull one tooth per person so that more patients can be seen, but our team is not comfortable leaving these really bad teeth in.

I am sorry if this left you squeamish. That would make two of us. There are a couple of morals to this story. First, the mission here is very important, providing very needed care to some of God’s people. Second, we should be thankful that we live in a part of the country that for the most part does not see such rampant dental issues. Thirdly, if you haven’t been for a while, go see the dentist. I now know what happens when you don’t. it isn’t pretty.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jamaican nights

Jamaican nights

There really is nothing for the team to do at night, so after dinner, a few talk or hang out for a while, but in short order everyone showers and goes to bed. It is hot and humid here and the dorms are not air conditioned. Windows are open and each room has a box fan. It takes a while for me to go to sleep. [I have attached a picture of the dorm to this post.] There are many people out in the streets and sometimes you can hear them talking and laughing. There is also that occaisional smell of Bob Marley’s favorite past time.

The worst thing about the night were the barking dogs.
In Jamaica there are lots of dogs. No cats, but lots of dogs. They are of no particular breed, and it appears that they have to fend for themselves. No dog tags, few owners are present with the dogs who appear to be wild roaming hobos. They wander the streets and appear to have a slight fear of humans. They are not spayed or neutered, so there is no rest for dogs, no retirement. Even the oldest and ugliest looking of dogs are having pups. The dog population appears to be even more desperate than the people here. And so back to the night. They bark. Dogs bark. All night.

I-pods are your friend. The music of home mixes with the music of the fan and you sleep. Off and on, until you wake and our Father gives us another day.

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

dental trip to Jamaica, day 1

The mission trip begins.
So you have this idea that you are going to travel to a far away place and help someone in need.

And the mission trip begins on the airplane. The challenge to your faith. The moments when you wonder why you were doing this, begin before you ever land in your destination. People in the worng seats refuse to move. Crying babies. Raw nerves. You get to the airport and you have to lug giant suitcases full of supplies for the mission, miles, to catch a shuttle bus to the hotel where you have to spend the night because they cant get you to your destination until tomorrow.

Falmouth Jamaica. The Methodist church sits on a lot near down town. Behind it is a dorm for those who come here to help in their clinic. Their main outreach to the community is thru the mehtodist clinic which is two blocks away. The clinic was build by Methodists from Missouri twenty years ago. It is only open when teams come from churches like ours.

We used to send one team. Now we send four. I wish we could keep the clinic open longer. Today I met several of the fine Methodist people, and I assisted with three tooth extractions. I did it all. I saw it all, and let me tell you, there is a huge need for dental care in Falmouth. 

For more info on the town - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falmouth,_Jamaica

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

home from the mission trip

Last night I got home from the Jamaican dental mission trip at 730pm.  Finished the sermon and went to bed.  Thank you to my long time friend, Lions Den man, for posting while I was gone.  This week I will be posting an account of the trip log, day by day.  It will give you a very different view of Jamaica than what we see on the television ads.

Today as you prepare to come to worship, I want to tell you about something I read.  It reminded me that God is everywhere.  At every church, in every field, everywhere.  When we don't recognize him, it is usually because we are focused on our own problems, our own issues, our own stuff. 

God is at Woods Chapel today.  Come to worship and focus on Him.  Hear God's words of love and encouragement.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in his wonderful face.  And the things of earth, well they grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2011


yesterday a friend shared some thoughts. thoughts he wouldn't have shared a year or so ago. a year or so ago trust was not in the mix. that is easy to understand. it takes time to feel someone will use what they know about you to help you and not destroy you. some of us spend a lot of time making sure people see us as they want to see us and not how we truly are. trust is a sign of growth. trust requires an inner strength and belief in something bigger than ourselves.

Brennan Manning wrote, "Perhaps the supreme achievement of the Holy Spirit in the life of the ragamuffins (the broken) is the miraculous movement from self-rejection to self-acceptance."

Jeff returns home today and will be in service on Sunday.

Lion's Den Man

Friday, May 13, 2011


My days are pretty full right now. I am not real open to interruptions to my daily plan or to invitations to do something else even if that thing may be a very good thing and one I should consider....neither of which is good.

I have a friend in the same boat who I compare, in a jokingly way, my to do list with. Both our plates are full...we say we need bigger plates, a better schedule or game plan, and we find ourselves sleeping less to make more hours available to get things done.

Crazy how life gets at times. Sometimes it is just the way it is and sometimes the craziness is self inflicted. Before you know it the day is over the week has gone it is summer not spring and so on.

Brian Swanson did a great sermon on this years ago. I call it his "Executive Day Planner" sermon. In it he speaks about all the good he has planned for the day and his plan to make sure it happens, but his determination and focus on his plan makes him blind to what God places before him throughout the day. Needless to say it has stuck with me ever since. If you missed it maybe we can get him to give it again.

Point is... I shouldn't schedule or make time to "smell the roses". I should just slow down and leave time to do so. Prayer helps me do that. It slows me down, puts my life on hold for a little while and then gets it back on track. This takes me back to yesterdays post....It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good...and while you're at it maybe slow down and take the time to thank Him for it as well.

BTW...Jeff will be back at WCC Sunday

Now the funny thing about this post is I woke up early today to write it so I could move on my "plan" for the day only to discover Blogger was under repairs today....hence the late post. Yesterday's post was deleted during the repair time so I posted it again. As Forest says, "It happens".

Lion's Den Man

Thursday, May 12, 2011

closing statement

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

lets think about that statement. is there a day in God's world that isn't beautiful?
is there good in each day? what happens when we focus on the bad and don't take time to see the good? where does that take you/me? what if our focus is always on the concerns and never on the joys? how does that type of persistent thinking work in God's beautiful day? how does it work on you? where does it focus our attention?

Originally Posted: 12 May 2011 04:18 AM PDT

Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

back to Sunday

I just went back to read the post Jeff made on Sunday about how worry interferes in our lives. The same message was presented in a different fashion yesterday at the Men's Gathering. I started thinking about how my worry is about the less important things versus the things that are important (family, friends, relationships, etc.) and how worry has that ability to separate me from those important things. Worry changes my outlook on life and eventually separates me from the important things. Before I know it, the stress worry has brought me is now spilling over and onto the important things and I can see how it affects their lives...not good...not healthy...they don't need that...nor do I. No wonder Christ spoke of it the way he did. There is no benefit...no good that can come from it. So, as Jeff suggests, I will work towards letting all the stuff fall away. Let it go. Let love rise to the top. And, make sure the important things stay important.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


that's how it happens. blink and it is no longer 1993 but 2011. blink and she is no longer a baby in your arms but a full grown woman ready to move on from high school to the next adventure. Many have been down this road before me and many will follow. Most everyone before me has said close to the same thing in one fashion or another....it happens fast...they grow up quick...don't miss it....enjoy it while you can....

All great words of wisdom spoken from the heart of those who have been there. I wish I could say my mind was always open to wisdom. So much can be learned when we take the time to listen, observe and learn from others who have traveled the road before us. In many ways I have been preparing for this time for a long time. So now that the time has come I have very few regrets and many good memories. I wish I could say that about other wise things people have shared with me.

So what do you do with that...you tell others...you share...you encourage them to do this and not that and you hope they listen because many things in life happen in a blink...marriages...kids....friendships.... jobs...life..

If we aren't actively engaged in the present there will be many regrets in the future...someone told me that too.

Lion's Den Man

Monday, May 9, 2011

practice what you preach

I think our actions can tell a story about who we are...what we believe...what is important to us...and what we feel should be of importance and priority. You know the expression and it is true...talk is cheap,actions speak louder than words. Here are a few excerpts from blog posts Jeff has written. You have heard many of them in his sermons and in conversations you may have had with him, as well.

Methodists historically are mission minded. "No one is saved by good works, but no one will be saved without them" - John Wesley. The Christian life is to be lived, not talked about. We are here to give ourselves away in the name of Jesus.

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

It is important for all of us to be connected to something in missions. If we aren't connected in missions in some way, it is just too easy to start thinking that the world is really revolving around me. To be in mission is to see the needs of others. It helps us keep our lives in perspective. It allows us to become the hands and feet of Christ. If you have a free morning or evening sometime, pick one of our missions and go see what they are doing. You will be glad that you did.

This post isn't just about Jeff or WCC it is about all of us who believe...

Jeff is off this week to Jamaica with other missionaries. Please keep them in your prayers.

Lion's Den Man

Sunday, May 8, 2011

when it all falls away

Our minds are so full of worry.  So upset about so many things.  Concerned about money, things and people.  Worried about situations, circumstances and tomorrow.  Even though Jesus told us not to worry, we spend way too much time doing it.

Have you noticed this?  I have noticed something lately.  Worry gets in the way of love.  When I am worried, I am focused on the object of worry.  I am concerned with myself.  Love is covered up with the junk of life.

When I stop worrying about things, love rises to the top.  When I let go of the things that are on my mind, or just decide to relax, love appears.  Like it has always been there, just waiting for me to let go of the other things.  I can feel it now as I write this, how love rises to fill our hearts and minds when we stop worrying.

Let all the stuff fall away.  We can't add an hour to our life by worrying anyway.  Let it go.  Let love rise to the top.  It is right there, waiting for the chance.

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

Saturday, May 7, 2011

pretty exciting

Rejoice with me!  Today, my second child, Jennifer, graduates from CMSU - Central Missouri State University [Warrensburg] with a degree in Bio-medical research.  She hopes to work in a lab or in clinical research.

I can not explain how excited we are!  In my entire life, there may be no greater joy than to help a child grow up and get a college degree.  I am one proud papa!

She joins her sister Allison, who graduated in December with a BS in Nursing.  Alli is a nurse at St Luke's East. 

Now if little sister can just land a job.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Culture.  We all have one.  Cars, habits, homes, schools, sports, clothes, holidays.  What are the things that we call important?  Should a Christian engage fully in our culture, or should a christian hold back and keep themselves separate from culture?

Jesus clearly did both.  He attended weddings and was a welcome sight there.  He hung with sinners.  But he also resisted the corruption of the political and religious leaders.  He stayed on mission.

If we would win the people in our community, we have to live in and enter into this culture.  But are there ways that this culture damages our children and our lives?  What are they?  How do you choose to interface with those things that draw you away from Christ and take you off mission?

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

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Last week I was at a seminar for the pastors of the 100 largest Methodist Churches in the country.  We barely qualify to be on the list.  It is a very good group to hang out with, because I learn a lot from the other pastors in the group.

Some interesting statistics were presented at the meeting.  Each year, the United Methodist Church loses about 50,000 in worship attendance each year.  In another 40 years, if we don't stop the trend, there will be no United Methodist's left.  Out of 32,000 United Methodist churches in America, only 4,500 of them are growing.

These numbers tell me that it is very important that our church continue to work hard to pursue our mission of connecting people to Jesus Christ.  I hope that you understand how important it is for every single person at our church to be engaged in caring for, and reaching out to others in the name of the Lord.

You are a great church, keep up the good work.

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

a guest posting

I have a dear friend, Hubert Neth.  He is a retired United Methodist Minister.  When I arrived in Princeton, MO as the new pastor in 1991, I found that he was still the favorite pastor there, 20 years after he had moved on.

He is bright and fresh and brilliant.  He has a way of talking about his faith that draws people in.  I have learned so much from his total transparency in his preaching.  We meet every month just so that I can get a little smarter.

Today, I share a poem that he wrote.  Enjoy.

where will

the executed
carpenters boy
linger after
to seal
his fate?

look for him
where folks
work hard
to earn
their bread
or find no job.
look for him
in little churches
down gravel roads
or in central cities
surrounded by
foreclosed homes.
look for him
in the stress
vacant stares
of suburban shoppers
hypnotized by hurry
oblivious to
beating hearts
in checkout lines
around them.

look for him
in old town bars
where barbeques
and slaw
from a fathers
offer communion
to the lonely.

look for him
in quiet laboratories
where the search
is constant
to discover
diseases cure,
where grief visits
a new grave
at foggy dawn
or a brain injured
soldier returns
from multiple
and cant find
medical care
amidst slogans
spouting support
the troops.

look for him
in blood stained
emergency rooms
following another
saturday shooting
in religious hypermarts
scattering consumer gods.
look for him
where new grass
laughs up through
concrete cracks,
in rebels fighting
to breathe free.

wherever people
sacrifice for
others they love
or dont even know
he is not impressed
by praise of crowds
acclaims of his
he will descend
to reach us
in some hell
and will not
leave until
the room
is empty


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

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

a direct line

The other day, east bound I-70 was closed.  My daughters had been in the Plaza area and heard the news on the radio.  They called me to see if it was true [like I would know].  I happened to be sitting in front of the computer.  I asked them to hold the line.  I went on the web to Channel 9's website and saw that yes, it was true, east bound I-70 was closed at Sterling.  They asked me how they should come home.  I asked them were they were.  On Van Brunt by the VA hospital.

I switched over to mapquest.  I scrolled in on that part of town.  I told them to turn right off of Van Brunt onto 31st and it will turn into 40 highway.  That is all I needed to say because they can find their way home from there.

Now, prayer is great, but don't you wish sometimes you could get that specific and clear of instructions?  Dear God, what is going on? 
Well son, its like this. 
Well God, how do I get there? 
Well son, take this turn, follow this road and it will take you back to framiliar territory. 
Ok, thanks.  You are the best.

I guess we have to take joy in the fact that part of our relationship with God involves discernment and trust.  Sometimes you know what is going on.  Sometimes you think you know what is going on, but don't.  The rest of the time, we pray, we think, and we exercise our free will trusting that God walks with us and celebrates our life with us.

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

Monday, May 2, 2011


I awake this day with mixed feelings at the news of the death of Usama Bin Laden.  Gosh we finally got this guy.  What a murderous fool.  Man I don't understand his hatred. I am glad that he is gone.  What will God do with someone like that?  It is a great day for America.

I also feel sad that people hate each other.  I feel bad for the conflict that has surrounded this man.  I wish his death would put an end to the violence, but we did not kill Bonnie and Clyde.  There are many more people that hate Americans.

So can I thank God that he is gone?  Sure I think we can.  But I am also praying for a better day.  A day when our children and our children's children can live in this world in peace.  When all will come to know the love of Jesus Christ.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Human nature wants the credit.  It wants to be lifted up.  It wants the attention.  We compete with others sometimes for attention, disliking them simply because they seem to be loved more than we.  Are we that broken?

I don't think Jesus wanted the attention.  He just kept doing what he was supposed to do, and he pointed people to God. 

I actually think that people are repelled when you demand their attention.  When you demand the credit.  When you make something all about you.  And conversely, it seems to me that people are drawn to those who are willing to lift up others and allow them to be in the limelight.  It seems like such a Jesus thing to do.

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