Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Ha ha.  I forgot it was leap year.  I wrote a post for March 1 and thought that was today.  That is why nothing came out on the blog this morning.  I forgot that we had a February 29th this year. 

The older I get, the harder it is for me to remember things.  People's names, how to make some repair.  The capital of various states.

I apologize to those who have birthdays today.  Happy Birthday.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, that should not be taken for granted, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

thinking about the same things all the time

Do you find yourself thinking about the same things all of the time?  I guess I do.  My brain seems to be stuck on gratitude, joy, perseverance, restoration, forgiveness and the like.  Now that I get them down on paper they look like pretty good things to think about.  I want to work hard to have good relationships and restore the ones that need help, and I do need help.

What do you like to think about?  Do you have trouble controlling your thoughts?  Every moment that we think about something negative, we cannot be thinking about something positive.  We can only think about one thing at a time.  Let's work on, let's practice thinking on the good things.  Worrying less.  Trusting more.  One moment at a time.

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

make it personal

Yesterday a friend shared a verse from the bible that he carries in his heart. One day while in study he decided to put a twist on this verse and make it more personal. The changes were simple but very effective. Using (my for your), (I for you) and so on as noted in italic it becomes very personal. Reading it this way may just may change the way you see today and your relationship with your did for me.

Colossians 3

2Set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For I died, and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is my life, appears, then I also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to my earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 I used to walk in these ways, in the life I once lived. 8 But now I must also rid myself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from my lips. 9 Do not lie to others, since I have taken off my old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in me.

12 Therefore, as one of God’s chosen holy and dearly loved, I clothe myself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with others and forgive others if I have a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave me.

Lion's Den Man

Sunday, February 26, 2012

enjoy the show part 2

David Letterman had the musician Warren Zevon on his show soon after Zevon found out he had cancer. Letterman asked him, "From your perspective, do you know something about life that maybe I don't know? Warren Zevon answered, "I know how much you're supposed to enjoy every sandwich."

It is the simple things the things in our daily lives that we tend to take for granted.

Do you let life go by each day without taking possession of it and doing with it the things that are of most importance? Each day is a gift. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. We hear those words we know and understand them but what do we do with that knowledge.  Do we plan for tomorrow and leave today off the planner? I throw these things out only because I am guilty of often looking past today and not enjoying people, time, and the simple things in my life.

So, the goal in the moment, be apart of what is going on here and now, enjoy what is in front of me. Put "now" first and the plans second. Life will fall into place if I don't get in the way.

Lion's Den Man

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Just Enjoy the Show

You may not be a fan of baseball. You may not be a fan of Brad Pitt. But, I think it is hard to not be a fan of a good message. Moneyball is a movie that has been nominated for best picture. My son and I watched this movie together as a rental. We paused it so many times to discuss what was going on that it took nearly an hour longer to watch the entire film. It was a great way to kill an afternoon. It was the first time we really connected on a topic. It made the day really slow and really enjoyable. I think I will remember that day for a long time.

There are a lot of good quotes in the movie. I like the one that Brad Pitt makes, " I made one decision in my life based on money. And I swore I would never do it again."....solid thinking...great message. But, without a doubt, the final scene is a great message and a great reminder for all to hear.

I hope this link works. You may have to cut and paste it.

Remember "Slow it Down.....Enjoy the Show"

Lion's Den Man

Friday, February 24, 2012


Sometimes when you don't know what else to do, you have to do what you can, and go on.  You have to play your hand and then do what you have to do.

I would like to fix everything.  I would like to understand it all. But, sometimes, you do what you can do and just wait and see what happens.

We can't control everything.  Sometimes in life you just have to live and let live and see what comes.

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

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Last night at the Ash Wednesday service we did something different. Instead of having four pastors doing the ashes, we had three.  So one pastor always had time to pray at the communion rail.  I had about three turns to pray.

I prayed for every person in our church that has ever been mad at me or at any thing that we did.  I prayed for my children.  I prayed for my marriage.  I prayed for our staff.  It was awesome. 

I hope you got a chance to pray last night. 

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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm sorry

Yesterday I did something wrong.  I hurt someone's feelings.  I just wasn't thinking.  A "no" came out of my mouth that left someone feeling left out.  It was wrong.

Here is the good news.  I realized this by their reaction and I apologized.  I apologized again later in a more personal way.  I sent an email to those in the meeting, apologizing again.

We are all going to do things from time to time that are wrong.  Sometimes we may feel like we don't want to say we are sorry, but we just have to do it.  We just have to swallow our pride and say we are sorry.  Healing begins there.  The only thing that helps us turn a corner after being wrong, is to apologize.  If you need to do it, you know it.  Go for it.  You will be glad that you did.

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

out of my control

There are some things in life that we can't do anything about.  No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we worry, we are powerless.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.  Amen

God also grant us the ability to not worry when we cannot control the outcome.  I know that when I do worry, I get consumed by the bad news.  Then I am not good for anyone.  Anyone can see the good when things are going well.  God grant us the ability to see the good, even when we get bad news, and there is not a thing we can do about it.

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

Monday, February 20, 2012

just another day

Who sang it?  di di di di di di, it's just another day. Di di di di di di, it's just another sad......

I have had many days that seemed like just another day.  But today, February 20th, for someone is not just another day.  Today they will get bad news.  Today they will face the music.  Today the judge will pronounce a sentence. 

For some, today is just another day.  For someone else, today is a day that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  May we always be mindful of those who are having the remarkably painful moments.  Maybe somehow we can help them to see......

That it is still a beautiful day in God's world.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Whitney Houston

Yesterday I listened to the gospel choir of Whitney Houston's home church practicing for her funeral.  They were singing a song that our gospel choir sings, "Grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful........."

So we have this woman who rose to stardom from a little church in New Jersey.  I can imagine the great excitement and pride that the church folks felt when she made it big time.  How painful it must be for them today to have to say goodbye.  The troubled marriage, the admitted drug use, the very short life.

I wonder sometimes what stardom does to people.  The pressure that it puts upon them.  Be careful what you wish for.

Anyway, we are left with what we are always left with, the chance to say thank you to our Father for her life.  For her kind nature and for the beautiful songs that made us feel alive.  Someone said that all music is God's music.  I don't know about that, but Whitney's voice made everyone feel happy and alive.  That is a gift from God.

We are also left with the opportunity to be grateful.  Grateful, grateful, grateful.  For her life, and for ours.  Today is God's gift to you.  What you do with it is your gift back to him.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

making promises

I am asked by people on occasion to pray for them so that they will get a promotion or a new job.  They have some thing in their sights that is going to make them more money.

Sometimes they say that if they get this thing, they will give more to God's work.  I wonder if the same promise was made when they were seeking their current job?

I find it a bit odd that so many want to bargain with God for a more favorable station in life, so that they can give to God's work.  Can't we give to God's work now?  Of course we can.

I can tell you sadly, that most of the stories that I hear about people promising to do more for God, are quickly forgotten when the promotion or windfall finally comes through.

May we all learn the value of being good stewards whether we have been given one talent, two talents or five.  No one lives for ever and you can't take your stuff with you.  The best investments ever made in this life are investments in the work of our Father and his people.

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

not for sale

I recently spoke with a member who shared a story about someone telling them that they could, "buy you out in a heartbeat." 

People are funny about money.  For some, money makes power which leads to arrogance.  The member had a pretty good come back, I thought.  He said to the person, "you probably could buy me, except that I am not for sale."

I like that thought and I hope that you feel this way about your life.  I am not for sale.  I am not available to the highest bidder.  I am not here to fall for a little bit of gold.  I have something to do here on this earth and it is not defined by making a little bit of money.

At the end of the movie Fargo, Florence McDermot [the sheriff] has the last bad guy in her car and she is counting the number of people that he has killed.  She says, "And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."

As long as we are focused on what we have or don't have, we will never find peace.  We need to remember that life is about more than money and stuff and how much a person has.  The best riches in the world are held by those who have a loving heart and a selfless outlook on life.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

self esteem

Most people I know struggle with self-esteem.  Often those that act like don't, are putting on a show to cover up their lack of self-esteem.  Sometimes I meet healthy people who have their feet on the ground and know who they are, and don't have the self-esteem struggles.

But, for me and all of you out there that sometimes struggle with self-worth, I read something interesting the other day.  The next time someone is nipping at your heels or some thought, insult or comment takes you down, remember who you really are and think of this:

"The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the disrespect of others.  You don't diminish the majesty of Niagara Falls by spitting in it."  Anthony DeMello

Remember who you are in Christ and how much you are loved by God.  The insult just got much smaller.

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

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There are two educations.  The first one teaches you how to make a living.  The second one teaches you how to live.

It is a great success to help someone learn to make a living.  Whether via college, trade school, or the school of hard knocks, when someone finds a way to make an honest living, it is good.  It makes a parent proud.

I hope that I have been as good at teaching my children how to live as we have been at helping them get a degree and find a job.  There are some pretty important differences.  The first education helps a person earn money.  The second helps them find joy and satisfaction.  The first helps you keep a good credit rating.  The second makes you a person of character.

What would we teach in the class of how to live?  How about these topics-

Faith, Work, Love, Apologizing, Grace, Forgiveness, Bearing pain, Letting your parents go, Seeing the good, Living below your means, Saving for the future, Delaying  gratification, Planning, Service, Setting an example, Being real, Knowledge, Wisdom, Leadership, Accountability, Humility, Vision.

I better get to work.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

in the ditch

You know that my wife travels every week.  She also refuses to drive in snow.  So yesterday, I am joining her on a short trip.  We finally get a snow.  2 inches, no big deal, except my wife will not drive in the snow.  So I am driving her up to KCI.  Now let me give you a little life advice about driving in the snow-

Respect the weather.  Drive slower, increase your following distance.  Take your time.  Don't be in a hurry.  - ignore this advice to your peril.

So we are driving to KCI.  The farther we go, the worse it gets.  There are no plows out to be seen anywhere.  We did not see a single plow along the way to KCI. 

As we crossed I-35 past Worlds of Fun and entered the northern section of 435, we began to see cars off the road.  I always laugh.  It will be them, but not me.  I am too careful.  We see a car exactly like my wife's car in the ditch.  I laugh and tell her it is an omen. 

We are cruising along at about 40 mph when we come behind this Volvo that is putting along.  Dangerously slow.  I pull out into the fast lane to pass the Volvo.  The fast lane is snow packed.  I just get past the Volvo and our car catches an edge.  The back end begins to skid out to the left.  I turn into the skid.  For a moment I think that I am going to pull it back together, but no.  My wife's car begins to spin out of control in the middle of 435, right up where Derek Thomas was injured.

The guy in the Volvo has to be laughing by now.  We end up on the right shoulder, half way down in the ditch. My dear wife is freaking out.  [This picture is not us, but we were stuck almost exactly like this.]

I get out of the car and tell her to get in the driver's seat.  She rolls down the window so she can hear me.  I have her straighten up the wheels and I clear out the snow from behind them.  Then I go to the front and I start to rock the car.  She accelerates.  Back and forth we go.  It takes about five minutes, but we get the car up the side of the ditch and now on the shoulder of the road, facing the wrong direction.  Success.  Sort of.

I hop back in to drive.  We wait until no one is coming, then I drive backwards across 435, turn down, stop, and turn around.  Whew!!!

We get to the airport on time. I don't know if I feel dumb for driving unsafely, or smart for getting us out of the ditch.  That's all I have to say.

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

Monday, February 13, 2012

everything is alright

Everything is alright.  When my father died, I thought the world had come to an end. It didn't.  When I lost my friend, I thought the world had come to and end.  It didn't.  When my child was in trouble I was at my wits end, as if the world had come to an end.  It didn't.

Sometimes, we have to let ourselves grieve.  But then sometimes, we have to get a hold of ourselves.  Trusting God is about trusting God in spite of the circumstances.  Trusting God does not mean that we trust God so that we can get the circumstances to change more to our liking.  Trusting God means that we lean on him and let him be our strength.

When we focus on him and not our problems, we are reminded of a very big truth.  Everything is alright.  This is our Father's world.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

There is no place like home.

It's nice to go, and it's nice to come home.  Home is where people love you.  Home is where you are accepted.  Home is where familiar, comfortable things are.   Home is where the cats and dogs can't wait for you to sit down so that you can scratch their backs.

Home is where you know that everything is ok.  Home is where you live life.  Home is ......... home.  There is no place like home.

I hope your home is like this.  And I hope you feel this way about your church home.  A church is a place to belong.  A place to be comfortable, and challenged.  A place to live and a place to launch from.  A church home is such a blessing.  I thank our Father for my home and my church  home.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2012

where in the world is Jeff?

Usually when Jeff goes on a trip, he doesn't tell anyone.  Some skip church if they think Jeff is gone, and a few have made comments that make Jeff feel that he doesn't deserve to go on that particular trip.

Well, this trip is different.  I am going to tel.  I have not been skiing since 2003.  I have thought about going for years, but finally this past week I made it. 

[This is a guy trip]  I loaded up my 2005 Honda Civic and took off with a friend.  We drove straight thru to Georgetown, Colorado in 9hrs and 15 minutes.  We stopped only to get gas.  We made sandwiches in the car along the way.  We stayed at the cheapest motel we could find, the Super 8.  We ate cereal for breakfast and pizza the rest of the time.  We skied two days, Thursday and Friday and are driving home today.

It was a wonderful, joyful, relaxing time.  I forgot how much fun snow skiing is.  And Oh, the beauty of the trees.

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

Friday, February 10, 2012

what you see in the daylight

Two nights ago night we arrived in the pitch black.  This is what we saw. 

when we woke up yesterday morning, this is what we saw.

So I am wondering about what we see and don't see in this life.  I fear that too many of us run around in the dark, thinking that we see perfectly well.  Is it possible that our Father can open our eyes to see things and people in new ways.  How would he look at some of the things that we look at?

A few years ago, Amy Grant shared a line, "I want my Father's eyes."

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

Thursday, February 9, 2012

driving into a town in the night

So you drove all day and into the night.  You arrive at your hotel/motel and go to bed.  It is dark and it is late.  In the morning you wake up and walk outside and see the area that you drove in to in the night.  You see the trees, the buildings, the mountains for the first time.  You drove in, in the dark and you did not know how beautiful it was until you saw it in the light of day.

And so, we are born in this world and we don't see most of what is there.  We start our life and we live for years without seeing what is really there.  Then one day we wake up and our Father opens our eyes.  Then we see his handiwork- the trees, the stars, the hills.  Creation speaks to us and it is awesome.

Why do we wait so long to see what is all around us?  Why do we not open our eyes and behold the glory of God?  To see as God intended is truly a great gift.

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


We had some visitors on Sunday.  We  have visitors every week, but I got to meet these visitors.  I don't get to meet everyone who visits, but I did get to talk with these folks. 

After church I saw them leave.  They made a b-line for the door.  Whoosh!  You never know what they are thinking, but I wonder if they maybe didn't like the service.

Every Sunday before church I pray for the folks that come to worship.  I pray for them that they will be reached and blessed.  You never know what happens, but you pray none the less.

I don't know what I expect of visitors.  That maybe they should be sure to shake my hand, Then do a dance and hang out in the coffee bar and make new friends.  Maybe I want them to sign up to join the church on their first Sunday and come to choir practice on Wednesday night.  I am crazy.

So, I pray for these folks, that they come back again and find a friendly handshake and find their way into the arms of our loving family.

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

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

getting up

Good people get up when they get knocked down.  Leaders get up every time they get knocked down.  Leaders help others get up when they are down.  Good people keep going.  They don't quit.  They get up and stay after it because they know there is no other alternative.

Every day our Father gives us is worth living.

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

Monday, February 6, 2012

It's all about me, chapter 41

I read most of my news on the internet.  I found this article from the Associated Press a bit humorous.

HOPE MILLS, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina deputies say they used a stun gun on a woman who blocked a McDonalds drive-thru for 20 minutes after employees refused to serve her because she broke in line.
Authorities say 37-year-old Evangeline Lucca bypassed the order screen and the line at the restaurant in Hope Mills, about 60 miles south of Raleigh, and pulled directly up to the pick-up window Friday afternoon.
Cumberland County deputies say employees refused to take her order and told her to go to the back of the line. She refused to move, and police were called.
Authorities say Lucca was shocked after she blocked the line for 20 minutes. Her 3-year-old daughter was taken into protective custody.
Lucca was charged with second-degree trespass. A phone listing for her couldn't be found.

May the Christ within us continue to cause us to put others first  and graciously wait for our turn.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!  I was glad when they said to me, let us go up to the house of the Lord.

In our Father, we find hope.  We find joy.  We rest.

We have a great video to share with you in worship today.  I hope you are able to join us.

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

Saturday, February 4, 2012

when you get bad news

When you get bad news it can break your heart. It can make it seem like the sun will not rise. It can- it does feel like the only thing that mattered in life- I just got a "D" in.

It can make a glad day sad. And I am fighting the pain. Gosh I had no idea that parenting was such a two edged sword.

God I need you to show up. I need to see the good. My tears are hitting the pillow. God show your strengh. I know you are good and I know there is a better angle on this for me.

It's still a beautiful day in God's world. Let's agree to see the good.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Occasionally I run into people who say that they can believe in God and not go to church.  They are right.  But there are many things that people miss when they choose to believe, but not attend church.  One of them is the amazing phenomena of belonging.

At Woods Chapel you and I belong to a very amazing group of people.  We are engaged in mission together in a way that no one could ever do by themselves.  Sit in the coffee bar on any Sunday and you will meet great folks.  Walk the walking trail, sit it the pavilion, or enjoy one of the gardens and feel the power of years of dreams, hard work, and honor to God.  Bow your head and pray in the sanctuary and your prayers join the prayers of many other souls.  Shake a hand during greeting time and make a new friend.  Wander into any local restaurant and see your friends out and about.  Stand at the end of service and join your heart and hands to others as we remember that it is all about God's grace.

Yes,  Scarlett, you can believe and not go to church, but why would anyone do it?  I love our church.  It is a place when we can all belong.  It's a place where we can all be connected.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012


A convert rode his camel to the church and went inside to pray.  [this story takes place in the middle east]After praying for a time, he ran into the priest and told him that he had so much faith in his prayers to God that he left his camel outside and did not tie him up.

The priest said, you fool.  Go outside and tie up your camel.  You should never ask God to do the things that we can do our selves.

Have you created some difficulty in your life?  Tie up your camel.  It probably isn't fair for us to dump problems on God that we can resolve ourselves with a little hard work.

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

lost and found

A few days ago I told you that I was looking for an old friend, Dan Denevue.  I have looked for him off and on for 30 years.  Thanks to the help of a reader, and the web site "Linked in"  Dan and Jeff have been reunited and are communicating by email.

I have to tell you that this is so exciting to me.  This is now my oldest friend.  The serotonin in my brain is just awash with joy.  It is almost like having parents again.  I feel like part of my home has been restored.

In May we are going to meet up in California.  Very very exciting.

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