Thursday, May 31, 2012

living with it

Our society has told us that we are not supposed to have problems.  Society tells us to be young and beautiful and go shopping and have everything that we want and be happy.  Well, I was never beautiful and I am no longer young.  Add to that, we all have our pains.  The hurts from a broken marriage, the death of a loved one, the general fear of life.  We drag such things around like a ball and chain.

We pray for God to take them away.  We ask that he solve our problems.  We have been taught that our life should be easy.  We get mad when it isn’t.  We can even turn on the TV and hear electronic pastors tell us that God wants us healthy, wealthy and wise.

Pardon me, but all of this is a perversion of the gospel.  The gospel is about faith in Christ, not about how comfortable our life is or isn’t.  If you have felt like a bad Christian because you can’t get past some  of the painful things in your life, let me remind you that even the apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh.  He prayed for it to go away, but God said “no, my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Friend it is ok to be broken.  It is ok to be wounded and scared by life.  It is ok to have fears and struggles.  Let’s stop seeing them as the enemy of the Christian life.  They are more like a pair of pants that we have to get up and put on every day.  They aren’t going away any time soon.  Let’s make friends with them and get on with our life.

Instead of fighting it, try saying this, "Good morning Mr. Pain, oh, I see it’s you again.  Well come on, come on with me into my day and you can watch as I pray and live and love and celebrate in spite of you."

When I am constantly thinking about my pains and imperfections, the day can get pretty gloomy.  When we focus our life on our Father, the difficulties fall to the back where they belong.

It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, let’s keep things in perspective so that we can see the good.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tired of it all

I recently received an email from a blog reader who expressed that they are just sick and tired of all of the daily Christian “stuff”.  You know, the email thought for the day, the scripture for the day, the daily devotional, the story that was sent by a well meaning friend to all 500 people on his email chain. 

The writer had become annoyed by the little daily snippets that are supposed to solve all your problems.  They weren’t solving his.

 Many times I have felt this way too, and I wonder if many of you have as well.  I have some issue or some feeling or some concern and it is troubling me.  I keep getting suggestions from people.  An email, a devotional, a book to read, but none of the medicine is working.  So I feel guilty, as if I were not a good Christian, because all of this stuff does not cure me.

 Well, I would just like to say that you don’t have to read everything that comes your way to be a good Christian.  Heck, some good Christians don’t even know how to read!  What if we just relaxed and stopped trying to fix everything.  Somethings in life are just not that easy to fix. 

Sometimes it is perfectly fine to bear your cross and lean into your Savior.  The goal of the Christian life is not to become problem free, but to live with our Savior.

And when we get that part figured out, it is a beautiful day in God’s world, for we have begun to see the good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Somewhere someone is hurting.  Maybe their spouse has cancer.  Maybe they have started to experience panic attacks.   Maybe they have lost their job.  Maybe they are estranged from a child.

We scan the prayer list and say a prayer for them and then we go on our merry way, while they continue in loneliness and fear.  Is saying a prayer for them enough?  What would Jesus do?  What can I do?

How about we find time to have dinner together, or a cup of coffee?  How about I sit across the table from them and look into their eyes.  I can’t fix everything but I want you to know that I love you.  How about I buy them some groceries?  How about I find some way to make my prayers come to life?  Instead of praying that God would bless them, maybe I could pray for God to show me how I could be a blessing to them. 

How about you?  Prayer alone is good.  Prayer that motivates us to action is better.

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

memorial day

Later today we will drive to Mt Washington cemetery in Independence and visit the graves of my family.  When I was a child my parents took me there every year on memorial day.  Then after mom died, we went with Dad.  Then it was just Cathy and me and the kids.  We would always visit the graves in the rosehill garden section of Mt Washington and then take the kids over to the Hurst chapel and let them run up and down the stairs.  Dairy Queen was our final stop and then we would head home.

Today it will just be Cathy and I.  We will skip the stair climbing, but not DQ.  I suspect that in years to come, when one of their parents is gone, our children will return to this family tradition.

Today is a day to remember and honor our loved ones.  It is worth taking the time to do so.  Be very thankful for those that you have in your lives.  Nothing lasts forever.  Be thankful for the gift of their lives.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I dreamed that I was in a softball game.  Ron R was playing second base.  Some young gal was playing third, so it must have been co-ed.  I was up third in the inning.  The first two batters hit to Ron who dispatched them with ease.  Now it is my turn, and here is where dreams get funny.

It is 100 yards to first base.  The coach tells me to swing away, but I decide to bunt.  They will never get to my ball.  I lay it down about five feet in front of the plate and start to run.  I get started down the line to first base and I start to realize that it is much farther to then I had estimated.  The fielders are running in to get the ball- I am laughing because surely I will get to first well before they run all the way in to get the ball.  Then in a moment of surprise, the ball comes flying from behind me out toward the fielders.  I had forgotten about the catcher.  The catcher simply popped out, scooped up my bunt and threw toward the fielders. 

Well, thankfully, it was a bad throw.  I still thought I could make it.  But again, It is a long way to first base in this dream.  I am about twenty-five yards from first when one of the young infielders finally gets the ball and it is a foot race to the bag which she wins.  I am out.

I woke up feeling surprised.  How did this happen?

And now after a little reflection, some morals to the story. 
1.  it can be a mistake to underestimate the competition.
2.  sometimes the goal is much further than you think.
3. sometimes your [my] assessment of a situation is just wrong.
4.  listening to the coach is a good plan.

So it is Sunday morning.  What a perfect time to remind one another that we need each other.  And we need the guidance of our heavenly Father.  Life is more challenging than we think and there is a help, a benefit, a solace that one receives from attending church.  Whether you are struggling with your game or find it going well, we can all be benefited by being in our Father's house.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012


How much is enough?

How much money is enough?  How nice of a car do I really need?  Do I need a car at all?  How nice of a vacation?  How nice of clothes? Etc.

We Americans sure spend a lot of time chasing the almighty dollar, and worrying about it when we think that we don’t have enough.  Is the problem that we don’t have enough, or is the problem that we want too much?  I remember in one of my visits to  Russia, I met a young man who asked me how many cars I owned.  After I answered that, he asked me if we owned a helicopter.  Ha ha!  By watching TV, he had learned that many Americans own helicopters.

What are we learning from our society?  From our TV shows?  To want more and more or to be content?  Clearly the message of Jesus is about learning to be content. 

How might my life change for the better if I started to want less.  Less meals out.  Less new clothes.  Less shopping in general.  Less buying, less worry, less striving, more peace.

Peace.  The words of Jesus.  Peace be unto you.

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

study vs love

Study is important, but so is love.  If we spend too much time studying, life has a way of reminding us that love is important too.  In fact, at the end of the day, given a choice of love or study, we would all pick love.  After all, God is love.

The other morning I was reading, studying the faith, and this cat hopped up and sat right in the middle of my bookup to remind me that love is more important than study.

Who are you loving today?

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knowing God

What do we really know about God anyway?  Isn't it true that everything that we say that we know about our Father is filtered through the lens of human experience?  We read the scriptures and they speak to us through our hearts and minds.  We experience God in the world and come to understand him via our thoughts and feelings.

Consequently, when we talk about how much we know in general, or how much we know about God, we probably don't know as much as we think.  Again, a good reason that we should be a little less dogmatic and a little more open to God moving us from one thought to another about himself.

The apostle Paul wrote that now we see "through a glass dimly, but the day is coming when we will see face to face."  Moral of the story is, we are not as smart as we think.  We need to trust in God, not our ideas about him.  We need to trust in the God who we begin to come to know in this live, but is not bound or defined by our experience of him.  After all, the human experience of the divine is always going to fall a little short of capturing the complete and true nature of our Father until the day when we see him face to face.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

clean bill of health

Yesterday I had a heart scan.  I got a perfect score.  My doctor tells me to stop worrying about my heart.  He is sure that I am in the clear for 10 years on heart issues.  Later in the day I had a complete physical.  Again, a good report.  I have nothing more to say, except that life is good.  I am sorry for worrying my family and friends.  All is well.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I routinely run into people who are so dead set right about some particular belief, some particular facet of the faith.  I hate to say it, but I usually find the experience a bit annoying. 

Now don’t get me wrong, belief is important.  But as a good Methodist, I prefer to follow John Wesley’s advice to “focus on the essentials and on all other matters I think and let think.”

The older I get, I just continue to realize that there is so much that I do not know.  There is so much that we cannot know.  Life is wonderfully mysterious.  God is wonderfully mysterious.  I love to refer to God as “our Father” but that phrase in no way completely captures him.  Nor does the pronoun “him.”  God is so far beyond our thoughts, it is an amazing and ironic twist that we can even know him.  Maybe that is why knowing him is such a special blessing.

We should probably learn to be content with that.  To know God and walk with him, and just understand that in this life there are many things that we cannot know.  And think of our mission in life- is it to get people to believe a whole list of this and that’s?  Or is it to help them find a relationship, a walk, a life with our Father.

When we get all worried about believing right, we get annoying.  When we rest in him and trust in his grace, then we find the life that truly is life.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012

a spell

I had a spell the other day.  I am not sure what else to call it.  We were leaving for vacation that day and I was feeling some digestive distress in the morning, which is not uncommon for me.  Usually, a nexium and some Rolaids and I am good.

When we got to the airport, I am feeling worse.  Something does not feel right.  My belly feels upset, kind of like how you feel when you eat something bad.  My wife wonders if we should get on the plane.  I tell her I am fine.

We board the plane.  One hour from Salt Lake City, at about 30,000 feet, I am feeling worse.  I can feel the discomfort climbing up from my stomach into my chest.  My hands get cold and start to sweat.  I am afraid.

I tell my wife that I need help.  I start to cry.  She calls the flight attendant.  They give me some aspirin and I take some Rolaids.  They put oxygen on me.  In five minutes, I feel better.

Now I am embarrassed.  I am the guy that everyone on the plane knows that I had to have oxygen.  By the time the plane lands, I feel great.  The spell has passed.  Delta makes me wait for paramedics who check me out.  My pulse is fine, my blood pressure is fine, my EKG is great. They release me.

This week I am going in to visit with my doctor and see if he can fix me.

Here is the interesting thing for me- I was afraid.  I was afraid of the pain.  I felt panic.  Now I know that I am not going to live forever, but I have not been thinking about how painful and frightening it can be when your body is not working correctly.  I got a good does of that the other day.

So what is the moral of this story.  We are not invincible.  Life is good.  Enjoy it, celebrate it, thank Our Father for it every day, because you just never know.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Prayer for Sunday

A prayer for Sunday

Dear Lord,

Today is Sunday.  It’s your day.  But you already knew that.  Today a good number of folks are going to make their way to Woods Chapel to participate in worship.  I pray today what I always pray for them.

Father, touch them.  Reach into their heart, their soul, their life and touch them.  Let them feel the warmth of your embrace.  May a prayer prayed, a song sung, or a word spoken be the kernel of inspiration that reaches them and blesses them this day and really begins to make a difference in their lives.

Draw them ever closer to you, that we together might be your people.

In Jesus name, Amen.

It is the Lords day, and it’s a beautiful one.  Be sure to see the good.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Well I just want to say that these past few days posting have been very good for me. Kind of like what a good sweat after a long over due workout feels like.......bad stuff out good stuff in....cleansing.

Humor is great therapy too. Here are a few for a friend.

Black holes are where God divided by zero.
A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me; I'm afraid of widths.
I spilled spot remover on my dog, now he’s gone.
OK, so what’s the speed of dark?
In Vegas, I got into a long argument with the man at the roulette wheel over what I considered to be an odd number.
You can't have everything. Where would you put it?

Lion's Den Man

Friday, May 18, 2012

shutting out the world

Yesterday a comment was posted, here is part of what was said, "Frustrating and difficult to shut the world out sometimes and let God in. Sure feels comforting when it works!" 

How very true. Funny too how it seems that things are going along just great..everything seems to be falling into place....Life is good...You feel right about how you are spending your time and the next thing you know you are in a place that you don't want to be in...Life (the world) has taken over...What's good is when you realize that has happened and you are able to make the shift back to center. What's not as good is when it takes someone or something to wake you up....hopefully it was a gentle nudge and not a jolt. I know I find myself on that roller coaster and I have yet to figure out how to keep myself from letting the world take over. Even with daily prayer and feeding myself with books of inspiring wisdom and thought I can find myself distracted and not seeing the good...hearing the birds sing... as often as I should. I think the answer, at least for me, is to try and put my focus on someone else. Who can I lend a hand...or maybe better, an ear too. When we give away our time...ourselves to others tends to open up space in our hearts and lives and shuts the door on the world outside. Now, I just need to remember that because, "Sure feels comforting when it works!" 

Lion's Den Man

Thursday, May 17, 2012


My daughter sent me this e-mail the other day because she thought it might be worth sharing in this blog. My comment follows at the end. BTW I did research this story and it is true.


Something To Think About. . .

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..

45 minutes:
The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:
*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?

So when I read this I thought wow how true. Then a day later I thought, well its really not fair when you think about it. People do have appointments and schedules and tickets to travel and if they would have known about this in advance I bet they would have scheduled some extra time to enjoy this man's gift. Then it hit me. I don't have a moment? Is my life this busy... this important.... this scheduled... this that and the other much that I have to schedule time to see life, creation, beauty, people, opportunities....Is the stuff I am doing that important...

I need to fix that...Today!

Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

you are the good news

Sometimes I think we tend to complicate things as believers. We search for meaning. We form opinions. We gain allies with our shared thoughts and understanding and sometimes we put others at a distance. Learning and growing are very good things as long as it doesn’t separate us from others because it separates us from the core of Christ’s teaching. When we search and form our opinions to share wouldn't it be wise.... wouldn't it be pleasing to God, to first see if those thoughts can pass through the filter of His teaching?

Christ gave us a command. “Love one another as I have loved you.” I get this. It makes sense. But do I do it? Can I do it? often? always? If I am not doing this then I have to ask myself how good of a job am I doing as a believer? When followed it is a great tool to connect people to Christ and that is by design….

“Love one another as I have loved you."

Which leads to this blessing ….

“’May you be a "yes" to the question, "Has Jesus risen from the dead?" And may you come to see, may you understand that you are the good news. You are the gospel.’’ Bell

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


This is a post about a friend, a fellow employee, someone with ALS. Dennis no longer works for us but he visits when his body lets him and when depression hasn't got the best of him. He uses a walker and sometimes needs to wear a neck brace to provide strength for his weaken neck muscles. It typically takes him 3 hours after he wakes up before his body responds well enough so that he can get around. It is becoming harder for him to breathe these days and three of his fingers don't work at all. Its sad because his hands were a great tool and gift. He is an amateur artist and photographer. He is a cabinet maker and built cabinets for officers when he served in the Navy. One of his loves was and still is gardening. The other day during one of his visits he shared with us how he was able to plant flowers in two clay pots just a few days before. He said he rested on his patio after doing so and watched birds playing in and around the bird house he had built years ago. He said that it was a really awesome day.

Even when he was healthy Dennis always seemed to move at a slower pace. He always enjoyed people and his hobbies and made time for both. It is sad to see what he is going through, but I am happy to see that even through all of this he still finds time to enjoy the simple things and what is around him.

Everyone's life is a story. Everyone's life carries a message.

Lion's Den Man

Monday, May 14, 2012

not perfect?

I continue to meet people who are not perfect.  And it bothers them.  They are not perfect, but something inside tells them that they should be.  They suffer in their hearts and lives because they are not perfect enough or they did something in the past that they can't get over.

Forgiving one's self is not easy, but it must be done.  How can we model the grace of God to others when we cannot forgive ourselves?  What does it say about our belief in God's love when we can't believe that he forgives us?

How much more clear does he have to make it?  You are loved you are forgiven.  Please know that.  Right now, hear these words deep in your soul.  You are loved.  You are forgiven.  YOU are loved.  YOU are forgiven.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2012

five doors

I stepped through five doors the other day.  Inside the first door, I found a young woman dying of cancer.  The family was gathered around her and she was saying her tearful goodbyes.  No words can describe the tender pain of this moment.

I entered a second door and someone just got engaged to be married.  The joy! the celebration!  They are on top of the world.  It is a day to remember.  One of the greatest days of their lives.

I looked into the third door and found a man in prayer.  He did not know that I was watching.  Sincerely, respectfully he made his petitions to our Father.  He laid out his life before our God.

Behind the forth door is someone working.  Multitasking.  Rushing from one item on the list to another.  Whistle while you work.  Click off another hour, another day, another week, another payday.  make yourself indispensable to the corporation.

I open the fifth door and I see myself.  I look at my life and I wonder what I think I am doing.  Let's add you behind door number five as well.  Do any of the above pictures fit you?  Are you happy?  Sad?  Reflective?  Unaware?

Today is our time to live, and it will be over very shortly.  Don't just go thru the motions.  Find the people that you love and tell them that you love them.  Put your arms around them and thank them for being who they are.  Release your worries and concerns, in the big picture they are usually not worth carrying.  Free yourself to live and to love.

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

Saturday, May 12, 2012

freedom of thought

I recently was engaged in a discussion with one of my children about a social/political issue.  She told me what she thought about the issues and asked my opinion.  I told her mine.  She was a bit surprised to be in a different camp than her Dad and I could tell that made her nervous.

I immediately told her that it is fine for her to disagree with me.  You don't have to agree with your parents on social, political or even religious matters.  I have to tell you, this is not how I was raised.  In my youth, you never disagreed with your parents.  They were right and you were wrong and if you didn't see it, you were shamed. 

I refuse to shame my child.  I frankly celebrate that they are thinking and coming up with their ideas.  Yes we will continue the banter, but they will know that they can make up their own minds on the issues of the day. 

And then I am thinking later about the fact that this is a gift to all Americans.  You don't have to follow the party line.  You can think for yourself.  You can protest.  You can run for office.  And we are all welcome, all cared for, all a part of the American family, or we should be.

This is a simple freedom that I think we too often take for granted..... freedom of speech and freedom of thought. 

At our church too, it is possible that we will not always agree.  That is fine.  There are lots of different kinds of folks in the kingdom of God.

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

Friday, May 11, 2012


Lately I have been thinking about the inward journey of spirituality.  What does it mean to be a spiritual person.  How can I, how can one change to become more like Christ.  I listen to much of the church world, and I hear their definition of spirituality:  don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t get a tattoo.  Don’t gamble, don’t dress like that, don’t go to that place, don’t don’t don’t don’t.  I have listened to this message for years.  Finally something has occurred to me, as I am reminded of something that Jesus once said:

             “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs,(AB) which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.   Matthew 23:27

Jesus is saying, that we should worry about the inside.  We should be concerned about what is going on in our hearts.  How clear this passage seems to me, yet why are there so many voices in the church world that keep pointing to outward righteousness?  It is like some folks in the broader church have forgotten Jesus’ words altogether and have in fact turned them around to where they are focusing on the outward appearance instead of the heart.

Jesus’ words don’t change.  If  you want to be a person of spirit, look to your heart.  Open it up and let the spirit in.  That is what spirituality is about.  A clean heart, a generous heart, a heart that is turned toward our Father, and oh my how life changes in a joyful way when we have his love in our hearts.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the redwoods

You know that I take a trip to the California redwoods each year.  I stay at a camp and use the week for reading and retreat.  This experience is almost indescribably good.

A new friend of mine, Lynn Youngblood, wrote the following article which was published in The Blue Springs Examiner, Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Lynn Youngblood – The Green Space – The splendor of the redwoods

I am writing this from California, where I’m visiting family. Today, my brother-in-law, Peter, drove my sister, Margaret, and me to see the Giants – not the San Francisco baseball team, the other famous giants in California. You know, the ones that reach for the sky and are about 2,000 years old – the redwood giants.

Peter and Margaret live about an hour and a half from a large area of privately owned redwoods. Peter took the scenic route for my benefit and we drove Highway 101 along the coast headed north along Tomales Bay, then headed inland.

As we got closer my brother-in-law said, “We are almost there; soon we will start seeing the redwoods.” As we traveled just a couple of miles further, I started smelling a sweet, freshness in the air. “I can smell them!” I exclaimed, feeling as giddy as a 5-year-old smelling cotton candy. It has been more than 10 years since I have visited these giants.

About a mile or two more and we entered their magical paradise; tall, stately trunks that pierce the sky above. They are so tall, that with most of them you cannot see the top. Although these are big, we have not yet reached the virgin redwoods. These before us are second or third growth, meaning they were the second or third cut after the virgin trees were cut by the first settlers.

Most of the redwoods were cut when California was first being settled. Even then, one felled tree could bring nearly $1,000. Landowners soon learned how valuable the trees were and gladly, willingly, allowed these ancient giants to be cut – many for timber and for the railroads.

There were a few visionaries who saw the need to preserve these trees for future generations to witness their awe-inspiring beauty and strength. After all, novels have been written, books have been filled with poems, art painted, sculpted and carved, and many other creative pieces have been produced after seeing these incredible gifts of nature. Standing in a grove of redwoods one cannot help but be humbled to their core. It is a place of peace and sanctity, of healing and grace. The forest floor is so far below the canopy above, that just the beauty of shafts of sunlight piercing through the dark shade is a sight to behold.

The forest floor is covered with many different species of ferns, mosses, and small delicate wildflowers. The mosses also grow up many of the tree trunks and in some places, so do the ferns; in some of the crotches of the trees and along bent trunks small ferns grow. The smell of damp earth, bark and green “pine” boughs is so fresh you want to capture it in a bottle and take it home. Bird songs I have never heard fill the air, even in the heat of the day. Drive out of the forest and the birds rest during the day, but in the redwoods, the birds celebrate the life within and sing with joy. Many forests are special, this is magical!

If I were lucky enough to know when I might draw my last breath – I would say, let me visit the redwoods one more time, say good-bye to friends and family, and then I will be ready to go.

I hope you do not wait that long – go see the redwoods, let the magic inhabit your soul forever!

And there I hope you see that Lynn has hit the nail on the head.  What a blessing it is to walk among the redwoods.  If you ever get out that way on vacation, let me know and I can direct you to the many places to visit them.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

hear the birds

We are all around it, and yet we so often miss it.  I received this email from a very fine young man.

For the first time in a long time today I stopped mindlessly consuming whatever it is I am constantly consuming, and I heard the birds singing. I never really understood before why that was the title of your blog. "Of course I can hear the birds," I would think. "They're always chirping and calling to one another." But today I heard them. I never understood before that there is a difference between simply hearing an audible sound and being present with whatever or whoever is speaking. The birds were calling to me today. "Peace, peace, peace, peace, peace," they chirped. "Be still and listen," they sang. I am grateful for the birds.

Very well said by my young friend.  This is a challenge to us all, but when we do listen, we are blessed.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Leadership Books

I mentioned in service on Sunday that I was in touch with some very good books on management and leadership.  Several asked, so here is my short list-








Any of them would be worth your time to read.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday nights

Sometimes people try to get me to do things on Saturday nights.  I tell them no.  I don't do anything much on Saturday except get ready for Sunday.  I might make a party on a Friday night, but usually not on a Saturday.

I was thinking about this a couple of days ago, and what I have noticed is that even if the sermon is totally done, Saturday night is a needed time of rest and reflection for me.  It is a time of Sabbath. 

Imagine that in your job you have to prepare a talk for very important clients on a topic of vital importance.  Imagine that you have to step out on the platform and reach the folks.  Do you go out and have a big time the night before, or do you take it easy, gather your thoughts and make sure that you are ready to go when the bell rings?

I usually don't do much on Saturday nights.  I need the time for my soul.

What time are you setting aside for your soul?

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

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Sabbath.  Seventh day.  Rest.

To be mentioned today in the sermon, but tossed out this morning for all.  The problem with Sabbath isn't that we do too many things on Sunday.

The problem is, we were meant to work and we were meant to rest.  Most of us do not rest.  We rush from one thing to the next with no peace in our lives, only to face our deathbed totally unprepared. 

We humans need to take some time, make some time to rest.

When we rest we feel better.  When we rest we get back in touch with the best of who we are.  When we rest we find the presence of God.  Isn't that what sabbath is all about?

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

Saturday, May 5, 2012

the right thing

The right thing to do is the right thing to do, even if you are the only one doing it.  You know in your heart when things are right, and you know in your gut when things are wrong. 

We cannot control or fix everything, but never be afraid to set your own personal boundaries and do the right thing.  The right thing is not always the easy thing, but it will bring peace to your heart so you can sleep at night.

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

Friday, May 4, 2012


I have not usually used this blog as a forum to share my jokes, but today I cannot resist.






By the way, when is Cinco De Mayo this year?

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

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I love our church for so many reasons.  One of them is the beautiful grounds.  A friend shared this picture.  Sunset provided by our Father.

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


No one is going to read this blog. Ha ha. The word stewardship makes us nervous. It shouldn’t. The concept of stewardship is simple- who we are and what we have is not ours to be used at our disposal, our life and our stuff are gifts from God - we just get to take care of them, temporarily.
This is precisely why we don’t like the idea of stewardship. We want our stuff to be ours and we want our life to be in our control. Whether we like it or not, it isn’t our stuff and life is in God’s hands, not ours.
I go on a trip with my wife and leave the house under the care of my children. They are stewards. They can take care of the house and do the right things or they can call all of their friends and have a big wild party. It happens.
I give my child something to help them out. They can use it for the purpose intended or they can sell the thing and take the money to use for some other purpose that I did not want to fund.
On and on the illustrations go. Ask yourself some questions about you and being a steward.

1. Do you understand that every thing that you have is on loan from our Father?
2. Do you volunteer or give your time in some way that helps others?
3. Do you give your gifts and talents to benefit others?
4. Do you give a portion of God’s money back to his work?
5. Do you wake up every day, aware of, and pleased that this day is a gift to you?
To the extent that we understand that we are stewards, we find joy and purpose in this life. To the extent that we fight the idea, we spend our days clinging to that which is not ours and cannot be owned.
Set yourself free from being controlled by stuff. Put your heart, your time, your money, and talents in the hands of our Father. That is where they belong.
It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The more you know

Sometimes humans get stuck thinking how smart they are. Sometimes we think that we learn so much and then we have it all together. Interestingly, many of the great Saints of all time realized that the more they learned about God, the more they realized how ignorant they were. Kind of like, the more you know, the more you know that you don’t know very much.
You study astronomy and learn all the stars and feel pretty smart. Then the Hubble telescope shows us that there are billions more and we realize we are into something that is well beyond us.

A doctor goes to medical school and feels smart. But as he gets into his practice, he becomes amazed at the complexity of the human body, mind and soul. He realizes that he isn’t healing anything, he is just helping the body do what it does naturally. He comes to realize that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Then we make a decision for Christ and we start to grow. We learn the books of the Bible, the Apostle’s creed and the Lord’s prayer. We keep studying. After a while we start to feel smart. Occasionally you will find a Christian who acts as if they have arrived. But as we delve further into the mysteries of God, something strange happens. We start to see that there is so much of Our Father that we cannot explain. We have 1,000 unanswerable questions. And we begin to see God as something immense, beyond and other.
Thomas Aquinas was a famous medieval monk. On Dec 6th 1273 he had such an intense personal encounter of Christ that he declared that everything he had ever written seemed like straw after what he had experienced.
The more we know, the more we see that we do not know. The more we know, the more thankful we are for God’s love and grace. The more we lean into our Father, the more we are overtaken by his indescribableness.
It’s a beautiful day in God’s world, be sure to see the good.