Thursday, June 30, 2011

a beautiful day

So here is yesterday. 

Someone broke out the back window of my pickup truck.  [I am reminded that I mentioned in a sermon a few weeks ago that it is every one's truck]

the brakes are out in my wife's car

the AC is out at the house.

I must be getting mellow, because it is all going to be ok. 

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


If you own a car, you know that transmission trouble is nothing that you want.  So, for every car owner, it is just a matter of time.  It must have been our time.

We bought my wife's car 2 years ago with 75,000 miles.  Six months ago as it reached 95,000 and the jumping and lurching started.  We took it to the transmission shop.  I just picked one randomly from the yellow pages.  I dropped the car off, they took a look and called me.  "Mr. Brinkman, your car is not showing any codes on the computer.  When we drive it, what we experience does not justify the cost of us tearing into your transmission." 

That was good news and bad news.  Good news that someone was honest enough not to just take our money, but bad news in that it was still acting funny.  Over the next few months I got to know the transmission man very well.  I kept taking it back and he kept telling me the same thing.  "Mr Brinkman, as much as it will cost for us to work on this, we need to wait until I am sure that there is something to fix."

Finally it got so bad that my wife said that she would no longer drive the car.  I took it back.  Again, he told me that it didn't test bad.  We went on a test drive together, and oddly enough, it ran pretty good on the roads near the shop. 

I told him that we better do stage one anyway.  Stage one replaces all of the solenoids, switches, and electrical parts in the transmission.  Cost is $1800.  When the repair work began, Bill the transmission man called me.  He said that the parts that they replaced looked very worn and that it should be running much better.  Also, he found some better prices.  Only $1100.

Ok, so I am telling you this not because it drove us crazy for a few months, but because I have a new friend in the transmission business.  I meet very few people who are so concerned about doing the right thing that they will not take your money without good cause.  Bill at Cottmann transmission on 23rd and Noland Road is a very good man.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


the 4th is around the corner and that always brings back memories. our family spent each 4th of July with four other families every year of my youth. it was awesome. all of the fathers were best of friends...brothers in many ways. no matter how old they grew they always acted like kids when they came together. I learned a lot of good stuff from them...mainly, how friendships work and how to not take life so seriously all of the time.

a lot of history and good stories can come from holidays, hopefully that is the case for you too...I consider myself very lucky in that category and I hope my kids, one day, will look back at the way we spent our time together on the 4th... lots of family and family time, lots of laughs and good times, and I hope, lots of good stories and memories to share over time...

Lion's Den Man

Monday, June 27, 2011

a break

sometimes we just need to sit back and take a break. sometimes things are just going because the wheels are in motion. then, suddenly, you think, hey what just happen, where have I been, what have I been doing...

routines can be addicting and they can make us flat, they can take us out of the game of living. a change of pace, a new direction, 8:00 service versus 10:10, a different class, new faces, new conversations, a different environment. sometimes it just takes a little something or other... a breather to help us see the world outside of our own and hopefully put us back on higher ground.

so take a break, a detour, cross the hall to say hello to that person you don't speak to very often. on occasion, maybe say yes to the uncomfortable invitation and say no to the routine and see what happens.

Lion's Den Man

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No cats in heaven

Ok, it keeps coming up.  People ask me things.  Last week I was asked if cats go to heaven.  I could not lie to this person, I had to tell the truth.  There are no cats in heaven.  In fact, all cats go to hell.

There is a movie "all dogs go to heaven."  There is no such movie for cats.  There are nice Internet songs about dog and God, but there is no such song for cats.  My friend Aaron Brown says, "If you bring home a stray dog, you have a friend for life.  If you bring home a stray cat, it will still hate you."

Cats are rude and lazy.  They eat everything in sight.  They don't come when you call.  The latest incident proves that Cats are bound for hell.  The rotten fatty in this picture was trying to stop me from working on my sermon.  Kept crawling onto the keyboard and stopping my work.  If the sermon is bad today, you can blame it on this fleabag.

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Two years ago, a college friend told me that no one should live with regrets.  He said that you just have to believe that you have been forgiven for whatever you did or did not do.  Sometimes that is hard.

Ok, let's say I have no regrets, just a few wishes.  One of my wishes, was that I would have spent more time with my Dad before he died.  We had lunch every six weeks.  If I would have known we were going to lose him, I would have had lunch with him every week.

So I have this kid that has a big girl job.  A nurse at a local hospital.  She works nights.  She gets off at 7am.  She has an idea.  "Dad- how about we meet once a week for breakfast."  I jump on this.  I never got to coach any of their teams, so this is a good way for me to spend some time.  This week was our third weekly breakfast.

I can't tell you how happy it makes me to be doing this every week.  It makes me feel that in some way, one of my regrets has been healed, or one of my wishes has come true.  Just one question- who is the old guy in the picture with my daughter?

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

deck fire

Ok, if you missed it, I was on the Jamaica dental mission trip the first week of May.  We don't have an international calling plan so my phone was off for the week.  When I arrived in Atlanta at the end of the week I had 11 voice mails.  Message #5 said, "Dad, the deck caught on fire, but we put it out.  Everything is ok."
So you call the young adult that left the message and they don't answer the phone.  Are you serious?   You finally arrive home and one of the 6x6 posts and part of the railing is burned up.  Finally the young person arrives home.  You ask how this happened.  They don't know.  They just looked out the window and it was on fire.  "Gee Dad isn't it a good thing that we were here to see it and put it out?"

You scratch your head.  A few years ago you might have been mad, but these days you are beat down by the almost adult children, so you just shake your head.

Since the first week of May, we have torn off old parts and started the process of repair.  I am glad that it was only a little section of the deck. 

That is the deck story.

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

Thursday, June 23, 2011

when your wife travels

People ask me what it is like to have a wife that travels.  Well, there are many things to get used to.  The hardest thing is when you want to, or need to talk with them and you cannot.  Such a night was last night.  I wanted to talk with her, but she was on a late flight from Detroit to Lexington, KY.  If I had the chance I would have told her:

Hey Babe,  it's 11pm.  The kids are all still out.  Odd.  23, 22 and 20 and I still called them kids.  I am in the garage working on the deck railings to replace the ones that burned in the fire.  On the ipod, we just had Fernando Ortega and then the police- "I'll send an SOS to you."  Do you hear my SOS?  I miss you. 

The weather is perfect.  73 degrees and a nice breeze.  The trash is out for tomorrow and the flowers are all watered.  The dog is in for the night and the cats are just warming up for another night of fighting. 

Your friends are good, the church is good.  All is well.  I miss you.  Come home soon.

[that is what you think when you wife travels every week.]

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

what makes a good day

Some days I am gloomy because circumstances have me down.  That bothers me.  I don't want to be controlled by circumstances.  I don't want to let gloomy circumstances set the tone for my day.

Some days I am happy because circumstances are good.  This bothers me as well.  I don't want to be defined by circumstances.  I don't want to be happy just because things are going well.

My favorite days are the ones when circumstances could get you down, but they don't.  I love the days when you know you could have every reason to be a whiner, but you refuse.  It makes me smile just thinnking about it.

It's a good day because God loves us.  That never changes.  Be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Good morning -

It is important that I make corrections from time to time. Sunday in the sermon, I said that only 40% of Americans professed faith in God. Someone thought that this did not sound quite right, so they checked some sources and sent me a note.

I returned to my source to verify what I was talking about. I am reading the book “on the verge” by Alan Rausch and Lance Ford.

 There is a chapter where they talk about the red zone and the blue zone in America. They postulate that the red zone is the 40% of Americans that have some interest in attending church. And the churches, by and large, spend their time and effort to win folks within the 40%. It is called the red zone because it is like a bunch of sharks [churches] feeding for the same people over and over.

The blue zone represents those who may or may not believe or have an affinity to God, but are completely unchurched and are not likely to be won by the current efforts of our churches.

The point of the chapter is that churches need to get out in the mission field and figure out how to reach the 60% that we are currently not reaching in the blue zone.

Some internet research reveals that 76% of Americans profess to be Christians, but only 40% attend church [even a little bit.]

So my numbers were off, but I think the point still stands. We need to get out after the 60% that have little interest in being a part of the living body of Christ.

I am always glad to stand corrected.

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

Monday, June 20, 2011

other preachers

Someone asked me why Pastor Shawn gets to preach so often.  Here is the answer. 

1.  In most United Methodist Churches, it is the norm for the associate pastor to speak once per month.  We have several associates but Shawn is an ordained Elder.

2.  That means that Shawn could have his own church, and for that matter, has had his own church, preaching every Sunday.  The conference would love to snatch him up and send him somewhere else.  He is in hot demand.

3.  To keep someone of Shawn's calibre, it is important that he get such opportunities.  If we want great associates, we have to give them opportunities.

4.   Another reason why Shawn preaches is because we have to wean our church off of the idea that Jeff is our only preacher.  Jeff will not be here forever and all those who attend Woods Chapel need to begin to get used to having other preachers preach.

5.  Which takes me to my final point.  Shawn is an excellent preacher and an excellent man.  If you have not had the chance to meet him, call him up and go to lunch.  He is bright, thoughtful, funny and real. 

I trust that those thought are helpful.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

father's day

Ahh, it is that great and noble holiday- Father's Day.  Father's day really would not exist except for mother's day.  But since mothers get a day, someone thought it was only fair that fathers get a day.  So on mother's day everyone does what the mom wants.  On fathers day it is the same.  Everyone does what the mom wants.

I used to get gifts for fathers day, then my wife and I insisted that we would no longer buy things for each other and say it was from the kids.  The kids are old enough.  If they want to get mothers day or fathers day gifts, they have jobs and they can drive.  Consequently, I am not expecting any cards or gifts today.

Actually, I don't need any cards or gifts.  Just to be a father is a gift enough.  To help birth these little guys, carry them through life, teach them how to live.  It is an awesome thing.  To help them learn, and then just sit back and watch.  It is great.  To celebrate with them.  To comfort them.  It is all wonderful.  Probably my greatest joy in life is being a father.  I love my kids so much.  Just having them around is all the gift I need.

By the way, I think that is how God feels about each of us.  Such a love and an admiration.  Such a joy and a hopefulness.  It is great to be an earthly father.  It is great to have a heavenly Father.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011


What did you do yesterday?  Work?  Go to the lake?  A long weekend?

One family in our church waited for the doctor.  Waited for the doctor to come out and tell them about the mass.  A 19 year old young man.  His parents waited and prayed.

Gosh, would that put a stop in your daily plans?  You bet.  When your kids are on the line, everything stops.  And everyone that knows you slows down and keeps watch with you.

Waiting for the doctor.  Waiting for the results.  Ok. Here they are.  Benign.

Benign.  BENIGN!!!!!  Not cancer.  He gets to live.  Awesome.  Awesome.  Awesome.

Sometimes we need to stop and give thanks for our blessings.

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

Friday, June 17, 2011

the new normal

When the dust finally settles in Joplin, our friends there will be facing a new normal.  Landmarks gone.  Old growth trees gone.  The population of the city will decrease.  It's ability to fund city services through taxes will decrease.  Friends are gone.  The composition of the community will change.  But, the community will go on.  New landmarks, new trees, new people.  New life.  Different, but still good.

I wonder if our country as a whole is entering a new normal.  Things are different.  Things are constricted.  Gas is up.  Job availability is down.  Many have changed jobs or taken a pay cut.  Raises have not been given at the church for three years.  My wife's company has raised her travel requirements from three days to five days per week.  Many retired folks have returned to the work force.

And so, there is this feeling that I find in people.  Not quite a sadness, not quite a malaise, just a kind of stunned wishing for the good old days.  Little d depression.  A wondering about the future. 

For some, it was easier to love God when He seemed to be making life good.  When God made life good, we had more time for him, more effort for him, and more money for him.  Now, it is easy for him to just fall into the black hole of worry with everything else.

But, I would like to offer a different picture.  Yes things constrict, but life is still good.  I may push carts at Walmart after I retire, but life is still good.  God is still good.  All the time.  In fact, God thrives in difficult times.  He is an expert at standing with those who are hurting.  He longs for the time when we love him for who he is and not just for what he brings us.  If you are discouraged about life, don't be discouraged about God.  He loves you and stands beside you.  In the dark valley, he is with you.  All is well.  The world may seem like a different place, but we have the same Creator and his eye is still on the sparrow.

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

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Donald Miller

I was reading a little Donald Miller yesterday.  Blue like jazz, and Searching for God knows what, are two of his many books.  I have to admit that I had a little trouble following him sometimes, but he was talking about Christianity and the Bible.  He was making the point that western Christianity has turned everything into formulas and bullet points.

He said, imagine the Christian faith before there were formula books and bullet points.  Imagine reading the Bible without being predisposed to looking for or finding formulas and bullet points.  When we lose our bent to control everything thru bullet points and formulas, Christianity again becomes a relationship and the Bible returns to being the rich story of God that is was intended.  The mystery and the wonder returns.  And I am smiling about that thought.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

good news on the home front

Daughter #2, Jennifer graduated from college on May 7th.  She has been applying for jobs and going on interviews.  Yesterday, she was offered and accepted a position with a clinical research firm in Lenexa.

How totally exciting.  I can't decide who is more excited and more proud, Jenny or her parents.  After the long haul of college, this is such a rewarding moment.

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Yesterday was another great episode of the annual church golf tournament.  Thank you so much to all of you who participated and to those of you who worked so hard to make it all happen.

I was reminded yesterday that I have a few friends that I don't talk to as much as I would like to, but they are daily readers of this blog.  To them I say today: "hello my friend - it is a blessing to know you."

spam- about 5 comments came through yesterday on the blog- they were all spam.  It used to be that I had to look at every one of them and decide which were spam, but now the blog has an automatic spam filter.  It automatically quarantines any comment that appears to be "not right" in some way.  Some comments seem benign enough, but there is a link embedded with them that will do who knows what when you click on it.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all had a spam filter so when people say things that come out wrong, the words just go away.  Not posted to memory, not thought about again.  Words collected, and then gone from sight.  Every time I say something dumb I wish later for the words back.  Please keep your spam filters on when I am around and don't hold against me the things that did not come out right.  I will keep working on what I let come out of my mouth.

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

stuff, bad and good

So, it is not always easy trying to deal with everything that happens at church.  Last week our big bus was driving on 50 highway with 30 kids on board when the motor caught on fire.  The driver pulled over, the children were saved.  The bus is probably totalled. 

Over the last few weeks we have had several plants stolen from the church.  can you imagine?  someone digs up plants at church and moves them to their garden.  How do you enjoy such plants?  Oh, so pretty, and where did I get that plant?  I stole it......from a church.

Someone was sleeping in one of our paper recycling dumpsters this past week.  We are not sure of the connection, but the shuttle bus was also vandalized.

Gosh, lots of interesting, painful things this past week at church.

Ok, there were also some good things this past week.

The bridge on the walking trail is finished to the point of being officially opened.  Go walk the east trail and you can now cross the marsh with no problem.

We baptized four people Sunday night who wanted to profess their faith and follow Jesus in baptism.

I met a man last night who wants to go on a medical mission trip.  Our message is getting thru to our congregation.  We all need to find our opportunities to live outside of ourselves.

Hard things, but plenty of good things too.  Really good things. 

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

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Standing with those in need

Over the past three weeks we have had teams in Joplin to help with tornado relief.  We have had teams go during the week and teams go over the weekend.  We have picked up trash, helped people pack, loaded trailers, and just about anything else that anyone needed.

Today is the third Sunday in a row that someone from Woods Chapel has been in worship at St. Paul's.  We are no longer strangers to them, but they are getting to know our people and the spirit of our people.  One of the greatest gifts that you can give to someone in need is to simply stand with them for the long haul.  To be with them in worship is a signal that their church and their people are in our thoughts and prayers.

To love another is such a gift.  Thank you all for being willing to share your time with those in Joplin.  If you want to go on an upcoming trip, please sign up at the missions table.  If you are reading this and you are from another united Methodist Church and would like to go on a trip, please call the church office.  We would love to have you join us.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

what is the same

Someone asked a wonderful question in a comment yesterday.  "Are there things that are the same from culture to culture."  Great question.  It's a great question because we tend to think that everyone thinks and lives like we do.

Here are some of my experiences.  They are only mine, and do not represent reality, just my experience in other lands. I am sorry for the honesty, but it is a good question and deserves an answer.

Things that are the same.  Christians that I have met in Russia and Mozambique seem to really love God and have the joy of Jesus in their heart.  They love their children and consider life a gift.

Things that are different.  About everything else.  In every country I have been in, the infrastructure was falling apart.  Crumbling sidewalks, elevators that have never been inspected, toilets that don't flush, and you don't want to fly the local airlines in Russia.  People are scrambling to make ends meet.  Everyone has a side job or a side gig or something that they are selling, or they are hopeful that you will adopt them and give them money and things to improve their lives. [when you consider all that we have, I do not blame these people]

Health care is a disaster in most countries I have visited.  Education is also a real challenge.  In some cultures, women are more like property.  In some cultures, girl babies are not wanted because they do not help support the family.

If you have ever gotten off a cruise ship to visit some exotic port, you remember that you were met by beautiful native people who were proudly selling their native crafts.  What you don't know is that they walk or take the bus to where they sell their wares.  They arrive home at a place that would be condemned in the states.  Many of them do not have electricity or running water.  They wake up in the morning and wonder if they will be able to feed their family.  So they are glad to see you get off the cruise ship and walk towards their little craft shop.

Their churches have little or no buildings without our help.  They can't afford a church bus.  They arrive to the place of worship on Sunday morning and for the most part, all they have as the church is each other, and a trust in God, and,  - - - that is enough.  Makes you wonder whose culture is healthier.

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

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home from Jamaica

Going home. And so we say goodbye to some new friends. And we say good bye to a culture that is lost in time, or stuck in time. Almost everything is 20 years old. I notice it the most at the church and in the faith of the people. It reminds me of America in the 1850’s out west. The pastors do not have any theologial education. Not that this makes them worse than we seminary trained folks. IN fact, this may make them far better for the service of God since for us, it can commonly be said that “much learning has made thee mad.”

At any rate, not only did they not attend seminary, they seem to own no books. They have no opportunity to read of people such as Bonhoeffer, Tolstoy or Rob Bell. Their faith is stuck in a time gone by. It is very simple and clear. There are no questions, just the rudimentary pieces of the faith. The problem with this I guess, is that their version of the simple story of faith contains a good deal of the heavy Christianity that places great loads on the backs of its hearers. Their culture also seems to be filled with a great deal of posturing to get things and an honoring of those who have them. I guess if we did not have things, then our culture might be just the same.

Anyway, today we will fly home, God willing. We will reflect on the friends made, the people helped and wonder about the long term good. I will finish tomorrows sermon which I hope will be helpful to the well read Methodists in Lee’s Summit. We return to our lives there with a reminder that we are in mission for Christ at home, just as we are on an overseas trip.

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

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Jamaica Friday

How do you take a break from Joplin to talk about the Jamaica dental mission trip?  I am not sure, but I have to get my Jamaica posts finished.  Today and tomorrow are the last two messages from the dental mission trip.  Read back two weeks ago to catch the posts leading in to these.

Friday in Jamaica

When cultures collide. In mission work and on vacation, I have had the privilege in this life to visit many other countries. Russia, Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, Mozambique and a few others. There is one thing that is universally true about each of these destinations. They have customs and practices that are different from ours in America. They are in fact, in some cases, different to the point of offensive to us. Which makes me wonder, how do we come across to them? And the answer to this is obvious.

While we see a slower paced day and a relaxed attention to time as annoying or wasteful, some cultures see this as the way to enjoy the gift of life and celebrate the day. While we will never walk into a store and consider offering a lower price, in some cultures, it is expected and even welcomed as part of the game. We would never skim some off the top to bolster our personal position, but in some cultures, it is routine and accepted. We also would not, [I hope] use our position to better ourselves in some manner that was detrimental to others. But that is our culture, at least in the church.

Americans are strong, determined and giving. This can also be seen as arrogant, offensive and paternalistic. So missions better be about more than the blondies coming in and rescuing the poor. Missions better include us getting past the issue of stuff and finding one another as human beings. When we find the time to share about our families and our faith, then we have crossed the globe and connected with one another. This is how lasting relationships are made.

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

time well spent (part two)

the men's group had an impromptu presentation yesterday (ty EK) and discussion about what affects us in life and how we react. stress was the focus topic...what brings it on and where it takes us. a comment was made that pointed out how these things create a distraction/diversion from what God has in mind for us... so true... There is a multitude of things that get in the way and take us off the path we are intended to travel. Tough job, tough finances, tough relationships, tough this tough that...Remember nothing was promised to be easy, but how I (we) react is so significant. Being there for each other, I feel, is vital to having a successful journey. When things are fuzzy people can help us see things with clarity. Time well spent.

Here for each other...great words to live by.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

time well spent

i was able to spend some time this past weekend getting to know someone a little better. i have always seen him as a person who is comfortable in his own skin, but i knew very little about him. a few days together changed that. it goes back to the iceberg illustration Jeff has referred to in the past. The part above water is easily seen by everyone, it takes time invested in a person to see what is below the surface. I have spent time in my life in activities, groups, working alongside, studying and enjoying the simple things in life etc. with people I never really got to know. I understand I can't get to know everyone, but I sure could have done a better job at times. It is what binds us together and in many ways helps us to move forward. We are here for each other. That is a simple statement that carries a lot of weight and one I learned a little more about this weekend.

Lion's Den Man

Monday, June 6, 2011

enjoy the people in your life

My wife gets on a plane every Monday and comes home on Friday.  I don't get to see her very much.  Add some big weekend event that I am involved in, like Annual Conference, and I may see her a lot less.  My kids are all transient now.  Moving in, moving out, moving on.  They don't need their parents like they used to. 

All of a sudden you wake up, and there isn't anyone else in the house.  It feels like the "Cats in the cradle" song, made famous by one of my favorite singers, Harry Chapin.  In the song, the Dad is never around when the kids are young, then when they grow up, they move on, and he is left alone.

So, enjoy the people in your life.  Hug them.  Smile at them.  Breathe a little joy into their day.  Nothing lasts for ever, so celebrate it while it is here.

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

Sunday, June 5, 2011

when we don't get it

Real people admit that they don't get it sometimes.  Let's be honest, even those who pretend to have it all together, sometimes they don't get it either, they just have to keep pretending.  Sometimes we don't get it.  We don't get life.

I don't understand my child.
I don't understand my spouse.
I am fearful for the future.
I don't understand my upbringing.
I wish my friend was here.
I am lonely.
I don't like growing older.
Why did a tornado hit Joplin.
I don't get it.

At the end of the day, there is only one message that we need to remember.  In good times and bad, God is with us.  That is why we bow the knee.  That is why we show up to worship.  That is why we keep seeking Him.  In our God we find hope and joy, even when, maybe especially in times when we don't have all the answers.

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

Saturday, June 4, 2011

the life saving station

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was a once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.

And it's a beautiful day in God's world.

Friday, June 3, 2011

charity or compassion

Charity or compassion.  Both are good.  But charity is simply offering a hand out.  When we act with charity, we take some of "our" stuff and give it to someone else.  We write the obligatory check or dutifully offer our time.  Then we go back to our life.  We are aware of the gift, but it is somewhat of an interruption to "our" lives.

When we act with compassion we get drawn into the moment.  We feel the pain of those whom we are helping.  Our things become God's things.  Our time becomes God's time.  When we act with compassion, all children are our children.  We begin to live the life of love and don't even know it.  Our total being becomes tied up in reaching or helping the person or cause.  We become blissfully self-unaware. 
I was hungry and you fed me. 
When were you hungry and we fed you? 

To live the life of compassion is to live the life of love.  It is to live the life of Christ.

When you give to the church, are you living out of charity or compassion?  When you think about Joplin or Mozambique, does your response come from charity or compassion?  May we not give or act out begrudgingly, but with joy, for God loves a cheerful giver. 

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

Thursday, June 2, 2011


From Evan Almighty. Scene where God is speaking with Evan’s wife.

“God: Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?”

God gives us opportunities each day. Today lets make the best of what comes our way.


Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

your thing

Do you ever wonder what your thing is? I think about that stuff..maybe too much sometimes. The problem is "thinking to much" and not taking action....watching but not joining in...having good intentions but no follow through. A friend of mine has been distant from church for a while. Last Saturday, he and a few of his buddies drove to Joplin with chainsaws packed in the trunk of their car. It was cool to see how much he was looking forward to helping out. He was ready to become engaged again. Laboring for others is his thing so he acted..he followed an instinct.

A friend once told me, "Anyone and everyone who is not engaged is at the same place, one step away".

Lion's Den Man