Monday, April 30, 2012

The golf ball fairy

People that can play golf, hit a ball and it goes where they want it to go. You can almost always look and see their ball lying in the fairway or on the green.
People like me hit a golf ball and they disappear. You think it sliced off and went over by that tree, but alas, the ball is nowhere to be found. On Friday I played golf with my son and I will bet that I lost 10 balls. Every time, we carefully watched where it went, but when we got there, the ball was gone.
Maybe squirrels carry them off for a snack. Maybe other golfers picked them up because I drove the ball onto their fairway. Maybe there is a golf ball fairy that makes them disappear. Anyway it is quite a racket for the golf ball manufacturers.
I play golf two times per year. Actually I just hack at golf. It will be a while before I play again, I am out of balls.
It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Love never fails

Love never fails. It keeps coming back. It keeps trying. It may be detoured, but it never goes away. Love keeps looking for a way to get through. It cannot release the object of its affection.
As crazy as love can be in our lives, it is a very powerful and a very persistent force. And I am thinking, if human love is like this, then how much more persistent is the love of our Father.
He stays with us whether we are in church, in the pig pen or in the garden of affliction. Love never fails. What a comforting thought.
It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I heard a story the other day about someone who was told that they had a terminal disease.  They were mad. 

I was once told that I had a terminal disease.  Fortunately, the doctors were wrong.  At the time, I was not mad, I was sad.  My children were still in school and I was very worried for them, and frankly, the emotions of such a moment are quite difficult to describe.

I guess I don't want to begrudge the feelings that anyone has when they get such news, but I want to ask a question- is there a time somewhere in the process when the message of Christ sinks in?  Is there somewhere along the way that we can find the peace of Christ?

I hope so.  It seems so odd to talk our entire lives about the hope of eternity, and then to be frantically fearful of it when it comes.  Here is the interesting part of this story- each of us will one day, get our moment.  We will all get our chance to portray how our faith has shaped us for our final moment.  We will all get the chance to go in fear, or "go in peace."

Until then, we have today, and let us rejoice in it.

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

a wonderful story

I love to hear stories about how parents are helping their children find the way of Christ.  A friend shared this story..........

"My Daughter had the day off school today because a schoolmate passed away.  He had a degenerative disease, so everyone knew his life would be short, but not quite this short.  They closed school so that all could attend the funeral.  My daughter quite simply isn’t ready, especially for an open casket of a peer, and we opted to do our own tribute.  She wrote a note to her friend that we tied to a helium balloon, and then went to her school where she released it to heaven.  I asked  her if she wanted to go to the chapel at church to light a candle, which she thought was a good idea.  When we got to church, she said she had changed her mind and wanted to walk around the pond and ring the bell in the Garden of Hope.  She rang it twelve times for the twelve years her friend spent on earth.  We prayed and it was lovely and peaceful.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful tribute.  Please let the landscape people know of this very specific and meaningful way that their work made a difference for me and my girl."

For this and 100 other reasons, I love our church.

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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Men's bowling

We just finished up about 20 weeks of men's bowling on Monday nights.  The church golf league is starting, so we are going to take a break from bowling.

It has been fun.  About 30 guys from church getting together to laugh and enjoy each other.  I bowled a 201 last night!  I will look forward to this starting back up in the fall, even though our team came in last!

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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


I ran across this poem:

I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it.
                           May Sarton

These words spoke to me because I love solitude, but it is also sometimes painful.  It is a place to retreat from the pressure and business of life, but it is also a place where I wade through my deepest thoughts.  Solitude is an interesting mix of joy and pain, hurt and hope.

I will say this though- quiet introspection is of great value to this human journey.  Whether it brings pain or not, sometimes, we need to sort through life, consider who we are, and let our Father point us in the right direction.

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

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I don't know how to spell it.  Loneliness.  It never looks right when I do spell it. But, I know what it is, and so do you.  Most of you.

It is so odd.  I don't like crowds, but I crave a few people.  2 or 3, not ten.

I am surrounded by people, but so often feel lonely.  How can that be?  It sounds a bit crazy.  But many of you know what  I mean.

So hang on to your friends and savor your time with them.  Understand as well, that loneliness is a reminder that we are never fulfilled until we are filled by a relationship with our Father.

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

the things that we feel

Feelings.  Nothing more than feelings.  Trying to forget my, feelings of love.  I think Barry Manilow sang that.  But the things that we feel are very interesting.  Sadness, joy, anger, happiness, being perturbed, feeling proud.  And sometimes the feelings are so strong.

I sit there and watch myself feel different things and sometimes it is helpful to laugh at myself.  It is all beyond explanation.  How amazing God has made us.  Being alive is such a cool thing and such a wonderful journey.

Do you ever have some strange, random or strong feeling and wonder, what the heck is that about?

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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

life is good

I saw someone the other day wearing a "Life is good" shirt.  You know the ones that they sell with the little Jake figure.

Anyway, this person was mad and complaining about something that was not going their way.  I thought, "well, life is good?"

And I stopped.  Of course life is good.  And what this person was expressing the other day is something that all of us know and fight with.  We know life is good, but sometimes we are grouchy.  I guess that grouchy just comes with being human sometimes.

Still, life is good.  Very good.  I could look past his issue and see that life is good, one day I will get better at looking past my own issues to see that life is good.

Life is good.

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

Saturday, April 21, 2012

car wanted

I love cars, but they can be a pain.  Tires, brakes, and oh yeah, there is this thingamabob module that needs to be replaced.  Alignments that don't end the drifting, strange smells, and that service engine light that just won't go out.

Add children to the mix and it gets comical.  Running out of gas, a backseat full, I mean full of junk.  Unreported noises, windshield wipers that scratch the windshield, dents, scratches and wrecks.  And you know what happens if you don't change the oil?  One of these days the motor is going to go.

With all of that said, if you know of someone that is selling a good kid car, please let me know.

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

Friday, April 20, 2012

blog trouble

Good Morning.  Or maybe it is good afternoon.  There is a glitch in the blog the last few days.  It is kind of hard to explain, but the posting problem is a blog problem, not a problem with Jeff.  I mean Jeff is ok, the blog system is malfunctioning.

There are various features of the blog that stop working for days at a time and then mysteriously start working again.  The one that is not working well now is the auto post.  If I am writing this blog at noon on Thursday, which I am, I can tell it to post tomorrow morning at 5:30am.  This has worked well for days when I am not up early, but it is acting up this week.  I hope they get it fixed soon.

Sometimes life has it's malfunctions.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

feeling better

One of life's greatest joys is "feeling better."  Feeling better is something that we only know if we have been feeling poorly.  Maybe its a chest cold, maybe its a broken arm, in my case it has been poison ivy. 

Anyway, when you finally start to get to the other side of the illness, oh my goodness what a joy it is to feel better again.  And I do!!

If you feel well today, don't take it for granted.  Thank God and celebrate. 

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

when something takes over your life

You are going along pretty well and then it happens.  Some bad news.  Some painful thing.  And it takes over your entire life.  All of a sudden it dominates your thinking, interrupting your day and keeping you awake at night.

We suffer and we cry out to God for relief.  Recently I have felt this way about the case of poison ivy that I have contracted.  It is so itchy and irritating that I think about it all the time.  Then I remember that it is only poison ivy.  Why should I let such a thing ruin my day, my week, my life?

Then I get to thinking about some of the other things that get stuck in my mind.  Worrying about the church.  Worrying about my children.  Worrying about our country.  And I realize they are all the same.  I should not let any of this stuff get in the way of the chance that I have today to live for our Father.

Nothing is so big that is should push my thoughts away from Him.  Even in our darkest moments, he is still our hope and our light.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I have come to love flowers.  Although I walked by them for years without noticing them, today, I stop and enjoy them.

There is something about flowers, big ones, little ones, they make us happy.  They smell good.  They remind us of God's beauty and greatness.

Enjoy this iris from our yard.

In life, are you stopping to smell the roses?

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

I don't belong

I have heard it 1,000 times.  I don't belong at church.  I don't fit in.  I am not good enough.  I am a sinner.

Jeff, you don't understand- I have been divorced.  I killed people in Vietnam.  I cheat others in business.  I am struggling with drug abuse.  I am cheating on my husband.  I visit hookers when I am out of town.  I once killed a person.  I think of myself almost exclusively.  I have spent my family into great debt.  I feel like a little child hiding from the world.  I have impure thoughts.  I have let down so many people.  I have disappointed God.  I, I, I, I........ and on it goes.

So, let me ask you a question...... was an audience with our Father something that you think you should earn?  Or is it a free gift? 

You know it.  It is a free gift.  Jesus loved the prostitutes, the sinners, the broken.  The only people that he squared off with were the ones that thought they had it all together.

So is this our logic?  Let's wait until we have it all together, and then come to Jesus?  We will never have it together, and by the way, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.

At this very moment, God's grace is reaching out to you.  You are welcome.  You are forgiven.  You are graced.  You are accepted. 

Don't hold yourself back from God or his family.  He is not holding himself back from you.

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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

sermon notes

The evolution of sermon notes in my life time.

I started writing sermon notes out on legal pads.  I would stand a preach with the pages of the legal pad as my notes.  Later when we got a computer, the notes were printed on paper with holes on the edges by a dot matrix printer.  Then we moved to an ink jet printer.  Today the sermon notes are printed by a laser printer.

Today I can type them at home, email them to church and tell one of several printers to print the notes.  I can scan them and make them into a pdf.  They are entered into a sermon note blog so that the notes can be discovered and searched electronically. 

It is all pretty amazing.  Mind boggling actually.

Yet, over in the file drawer, there is still a hard copy of every sermon ever preached.  New School has still not completely replaced old school.  My what changes we have seen in my lifetime.

I hope to see you in worship today.  I will be in the sanctuary at 8, 905 and 1115, and in the worship center at 10:10.  Shawn has the sermon in the sanctuary at 10:10.

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

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Someone saw me play the guitar on Maundy Thursday.  They asked about it.  Yes, I play the guitar.  Not very well, but I play a bit.

I taught myself some basic chords when I was in seminary.  I have led music at camps and retreats.  I used to play and sing in church.  Then our church got so big, with so much talent, that I don't play the guitar or sing in church hardly ever.  And everyone is thankful for that.

But, the guitar lives in my closet and occasionally it comes out and I enjoy a few tunes.

And now you know the rest of the story.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

New Sermon Series

It is a common thing to be online, to be plugged in and to be connected. In fact, every day I am online; I check Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day. Daily I am alerted of a new blog post by people who inspire me. Not only am I using social media in my day to day personal life, I am on these various social media sites as part of my job as Director of Communications here at Woods Chapel. I have so many ways and mediums in which to have relationships with people, yet daily, weekly…I neglect and take for granted the most important relationships. The real, tangible relationships. The relationships that happen when I step away from my computer and put down my cell phone.
This Sunday, April 15th, we are beginning a sermon series on doing life together. What a hard word to comprehend: together. Together isn’t easy, or maybe even our first choice….but it’s who we were created to be. Together with friends, together with family, together with God. How can we improve? What can we learn from one another, and from God? I’m excited to find out.

Join us this Sunday as we kick off the Relationships Series, taking place at 8, 9:05, 10:10 ( in the Sanctuary and Worship Center) and 11:15 a.m.

Skippy [a new contributor]

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Maybe.  Maybe you don't need a miracle.  Maybe you don't need an exorcism or some massive spiritual change. 

Maybe all you need is a friend.  Something very human, very normal, but very needed.  A friend.  Someone who will care for you.  All of you, even the broken parts.  Someone who will understand your lonliness and pain.  Someone who will look you in the eye.  Someone who will walk this life with you, through the fears, through the worries, through the anger, through the things that we don't understand.  Someone to discover joy with, someone to celebrate life with.

Maybe all you need is a friend.  Take a look around, someone is there, someone is willing.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

hate at any level

Hatred.  It is just bad stuff.  And it is agreeably non-christian.  We make excuses for it.  We say things like - It's just a little thing - and God doesn't care about that stuff.

Well, I think hatred is wrong.  Whether we are hating an annoying cousin, a company, or another person's sports team.  Hatred at any level does not help us live like Christ followers.

May we all be honest with each other about taking inventory of our heart.  May we all be willing to eradicate hatred.  When we are hating, we cannot love.  The way of Christ is love and that is non-negotiable.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Thank you to everyone who worked to make Easter at Woods Chapel a wonderful day.  We had a record attendance.  That doesn't matter, except that every number is a human being that just might get connected to Jesus Christ and his church.

The choir, orchestra and bells were wonderful.  I hear that things went great in the new worship center.  Thank you all for making room for others.  Little by little we are fulfilling our mission of connecting people to Jesus  Christ.

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

Everything is alright

We had a problem the other day.  It felt like a big deal.  A few people freaked out at my house.  Do you ever get upset over something that turns out to be nothing?

Everyone was worried until the wounded party uttered the magic words: "everything is alright."  They chose not to take offense, and so everything is ok.  No harm was meant and no offense taken.

Think of the people out there in your world that may so deeply need your forgiveness or affirmation.  Can you free them simply by saying, everything is alright?

It's a beautiful day in God's world, and everything is alright.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Easter means that God is greater.  Easter means that the battle is won.  No more fear, no more worry.   Easter means that Christ followers can live with confidence and hope.  Evil is vanquished.  Our life can focus on the hope that we have in Christ.

This Easter day I wish you the joy and hope that comes from our Father by way of the resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ.  What more do we need to find the peace for confident living.

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

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Services

First let me ask you a couple of questions.  Thanks for taking a moment to comment.
1.  How long have you been a Christian?
2.  How has being a Christian changed your life?

Tomorrow is Easter Sunday.  This is the rundown of worship services at Woods Chapel.

Sunrise service at the 3 crosses 6:45.   Shawn is preaching

8am traditional in the sanctuary.  Jeff is preaching.

905 contemporary in the sanctuary.  Jeff is preaching
905 contemporary in the worship center.  Shawn is preaching.

1010 contemporary n the sanctuary.  Jeff is preaching.
1010 contemporary in the worship center.  Shawn is preaching.
1010 simulcast in the lecture hall.

11:15 traditional in the sanctuary, Jeff is preaching

11:15 baptismal service in the worship center, Shawn is preaching.

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

Friday, April 6, 2012


Today we remember the sacrifice of Jesus.  We remember his suffering and death.  Although I don't believe that Christians should make use of guilt, I do think that sometimes we have to ask ourselves the hard questions.

Sacrifice.  What do we really know about it?  How often do I live sacrificially?  You?  In a culture that is rampant with the desire to find the easy way, Jesus sets the example of sacrificial living.

The neatest people that I know live sacrificial lives.  The times when I feel the best about myself is when I have set aside selfish ways and acted in a manner that was a blessing to others.

Thank you Jesus for giving your life for our sins.  Thank you for making a way for us to live in eternity in heaven.  But thank you also for teaching us that the greatest joy in this earthly life is when we learn to live for a purpose that is greater than our own.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Holy Week Services

Today is Maundy Thursday.  We will be having worship tonight at 7pm in the sanctuary.  It is a night when Christians remember the last supper of Jesus and his disciples.  It is a night that Jesus reminded them of the supremacy of love and he washed their feet. 

Tomorrow is Good Friday.  Our worship service at 7pm will remember the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross.

I encourage you to set aside time for both of these worship opportunities.  You will be glad that you did.

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

crossing the street

Crossing the street.  We all do it.  If you think about it, crossing the street implies that we walk across, not diagonally, but across.  Bisecting the street with our foot traffic.  Cross the street.

Well I have noticed, particularly at the grocery store, Lowes and places like that, that sometimes people don't cross the street, they walk diagonally toward their car.  Since they are three parking bays over, they are going to take the direct route and walk diagonally while you wait for them to clear the drive lane. 

When I am driving, I find this to be very annoying, waiting for someone to make their long, slow diagonal walk, when they could have just crossed the driveway and then turned off to their car.  I find the practice to be really annoying.

Then the other day, I caught myself doing it.  Taking the line of least resistance.  Making the moment about my comfort.  I immediately turned and made a straight walk the rest of the way across the driveway.  Now it is becoming a habit.  I am not just taking the direct route to my car, I am crossing the driveway directly so that the drivers that are waiting for me can be on their way.

It's a small thing, but I am working on life being about something more than me.

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I promise to remember.....

I just remembered this story from my youth.

I was in the second grade and Mrs. Faber was my teacher and she got tired of me talking in class.  I guess I was in an extroverted mood that day.  Her choice of discipline for me was that I had to write this sentence out 100 times.

I promise to remember that my conversational proclivities are not beneficial or helpful, but are in fact hurtful and detrimental to others.

That was one long night at my house, but I learned how to spell some new words.

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

Monday, April 2, 2012


I am an introvert by nature.  People laugh when I say that, but it is true.  I test out in all of the behavioral tests as an introvert.  I am an introvert in and extrovert’s world, in a career, a calling where contact with a lot of people is a must.  

Top ten signs that I am an introvert.

1.    I tend to be annoyed by loud, gregarious people.
2.    By nature I shy away from conflict
3.    I prefer a group of 3-4 to a larger group.
4.    I am renewed by time alone.  Peace and quiet is a blessing to me.
5.    I am generally not interested in special attention or accolades.
6.    My favorite part of the spiritual life is prayer
7.    My hobbies are all things that I can do alone
8.    Crowds make me nervous
9.    I don’t care for long meetings
10.   I prefer to be alone in an elevator

I don’t know why anyone would care about any of that, but it is a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Do I love you because of something that I get from you?  If so, is that really love?  If I am obtaining some sort of joy from you, isn’t this really about me?  Is there a place in our relationship where I can learn to be devoted to you regardless of what is coming my way?

If I fall out of love with you because I no longer get or have the special feeling, was it ever love in the first place?  Or was I just using you to help me deal with my problems? [man those are tough questions....]

To learn what love is, we have to let go of our false ideas about love.  Love is not a feeling.  It is not you solving my problems.  It is not you making me happy.  Love is the devotion of one person to another, or to an ideal, with no concern of what I get in return.  Love in its purest sense simply thinks the good, wills the good, and participates in delivering the good to the object of that love.

This is the love of Jesus, the love of Paul, it’s the patient, kind, not keeping a record of wrongs kind.  When I catch myself wanting something from the object of my love, is it possible that I am still broken, still hoping for someone else to fix me?  Oh God, give me more days where I can just love for the sake of loving.

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