Friday, August 31, 2012

what ever I am doing

What ever I am doing now.  What are you doing now?  What will I be doing, what will you be doing in an hour?  At 5pm?  Tomorrow?  Whatever we are doing, there is this thought that occurs to me from time to time...........randomly.

I am working on a sermon, I am watering flowers, I am talking to a child, I am talking to a staff member, I am doing something about the church or my family or my home.  I am having lunch with a friend that loves history.

And the whole time that all of this is taking place, the entire time, I am rushing about with my life, people in the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Mozambique are starving to death.  Starving to death.  Starving.   Sorry to depress you, but what is wrong with me that I am not consumed by this reality?  Is what I am doing really more important that people starving?

Is it a beautiful day for them?

If this post takes you by surprise, then you may be as lost in your own life as I tend to get.  How can this be?  I go blythely on my way, and people are dying.  I am so glad for our missions program at church and the chances that each of us have to help others.  I want to do more of that.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Repentance means to turn around.  To stop one action or behavior and turn to another.  I wonder if the Christian church has missed this.

We tend to think of repentance as turning from sin.  But, what do we turn towards?  Do we say that we are sorry and let it go at that?  Repentance is more than saying we are sorry.  Repentance also must mean that we turn towards our Father.

Not just turning away from sin, but turning towards.  Towards our Father.  Is it enough to say sorry for the bad things that we do?  Is that where we want to leave it?  Or is the story that we really want to leave about us moving towards our Father.

I repent.  I want to stop the bad behavior, but I also want to move towards the great lover of my soul.

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I like you

I realized an odd thing last week.  Here it is......when I like me, I am easier on you.  They say that we are the worst on the people that we love.  The folks that we love tend to get the worst of us. 

So, I am nasty to my wife and kids when I have a problem.  Let's turn that around.  When I am feeling good about myself, then I am more kind to those that are close to me.  I love them better when I am happy with myself.

{Lord, is it still all that much about me?}

Take a deep breath and feel good about yourself today.  Will that prepare you to be more kind to your family?  When I like myself, I bring so much more positive things to my family.  Let me work harder on liking me so that I will be more kind to those that I love.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I have been thinking lately.  That is usually good.

Am I a believer or a Christ follower?  [by the way, there is no guilt here, I am just having a discussion.]  Believers tend to punch their ticket and then go on with their lives.  Christ followers think every day about who they are emulating. 

This is not about who the good ones and the bad ones are.  It goes like this- I love Jesus and I want to follow Him.  So, what did He do?  He loved, he cared, he invested in people.  He didn't judge anyone.  Christ followers are intentionally working to live like Jesus did, because we want to follow Him.

To the extent that we are able to do this, it is a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, August 27, 2012


Each of us have the choice in this life to be lovers or haters.  Lovers or users.  Too often we select our course of action, insisting that we are right, with no thought of the effect upon others around us.

What did the Aztecs think when they were being starved and slaughtered by Cortez?  What did the American Indians think when they were being hunted and systematically exterminated?  Did they pray to the Great Spirit? 

What did slaves think when they were kidnapped from their tribes in Africa and smuggled to America in the belly of a boat?  Their familes were split up and they were sold in chains.  They worked hard and they sang songs like, "swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home."  They looked for a time when God would save them and release them from the pain of this life.

Are we inflicting pain on the lives of others or are we bearers of hope?  Are people glad to see you and me coming or does it cause them distress?  We have a choice to make each day.  May we always be thinking about how our actions affect others around us.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, make it one for those around you as well.  Help them see the good.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


It is the Lord's day.  Why do we worship?  We go to worship because we love God and because God loves us.  We go because something happens when we are together in God's house.  There is an encouragement that comes to us that is hard to explain.

To love God and be loved by God is the greatest truth in this life.  To express our grattitude to Him is the most holy prayer.  Worship doesn't start at 9:05 or 10:10, worship has been going on for eternity.  When we get to church on Sunday, we are simply joining in a song that has been being sung for ages.

Sunday.  The Lord's day.  A time to rest from our concerns and celebrate life in Him.

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

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Framiliarity breeds contempt.  If you are around something long enough, you can forget how wonderful it is.

A man loves the beach so much that he moves from the mid-west and buys a home on the ocean.  He goes out to fish in his boat every day.  After a while, he allows his life to be overcome by the same things that bothered him in the mid-west.  His worries and insecurities take over his brain.  Pretty soon, he stops noticing the wonder of the ocean, the waves and the beach.

A person gets married and is so excited about their spouse.  After a few short years of living in close proximity, the good things are forgotten and the painful things are exagerrated.  The person wonders how it got to be like this.

A family gets a pet.  They are so excited. The new pup is so cute.  One year later, after feeding it and cleaning up it's waste, the same family that so loved the dog, now moves through it's life, barely noticing.  The dog is left wondering what happened.

You and I.  We lived for years before we actually noticed the miracle of a sunset.  Once we caught on, we spent some time savoring the beauty of sunsets, day after day.  Then we got busy.  Today we know that sunsets are beautiful gifts from God, but we rarely take the time to enjoy them.

I think this is a sin.  To be so close to something that you love, that you no longer recognize it's wonder.  Take another look.  Look at that spouse, that pet, that home, that ocean, that sunset.  Take another look.  See the good, it is still there.

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

Friday, August 24, 2012

what do you love?

One way to tell what we love is to see the amount of power that we give to it in our lives.  I love my dog, but he doesn't get to chew up my car.  There are boundaries.  I love my kids but they don't get to sass their mother. [It's just an illustration, my kids love their mom.]  I love our trees so I protect them from pest infestations.

Now it gets tricky.  I love my money so I protect it from things that want to take it, including God.  I love my time so I resist the invitations from God to give my time.  After all, it is my time and my money, isn't it?

Ask yourself what you love more, your time and money or God.  Are these things submitted to Him or is there a boundary that you have placed up that holds our Father back from speaking into how you spend your time and money?

Answer honestly, and you can tell pretty easily how much we love which things.  The good news is, the moment we put God first, there is a joy and a happiness that we cannot find when we put other things before Him.

Love God!  Love Him with all your heart, your soul, your mind, your strengh, and love your neighbor as yourself.

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

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Last night I was going through a drawer in my desk and I ran across a copy of a speech that the late Steve Jobs had made. I kept it because it spoke to me and still does.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." Steve Jobs

Each day is a gift. If I don't put that thought into my head each morning then where is my day taking me? to the next day? end of the week? the year? and so on.....

Lion's Den Man

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

do more

From a reading this morning..... "Love pushes us beyond duty, rather than stopping there, and acts when we don't know for sure what the ethical thing to do is. If the ethical question is, "What must be done?" love adds, "I will do more."

If you are like me, sometimes it is hard to go into the day with the attitude I know is best and the one that actually works.

Colossians 3:23 (The Message)
22-25Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work.

Lion's Den Man

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Years ago when I felt more on the "outside" of my faith, I used to think that being a Christian meant throwing everything away...I mean big things like your personality, your humor, and most of the things in life that I could identify with....

Unfortunately, at the time, the people I knew who were working hard at their faith and working hard to gain others into a life centered on Christ just seemed dull and somewhat unhappy. They seemed to lack a spirit...their soul did not soar.

Now, that is an experience with a certain group of people in my past, but there are some, today, for whatever reason that still walk in the shadows and can't quite seem to express fully who and what they are all about. Maybe it is fear. Maybe they feel they need to project a certain image. Maybe we all have a bit of this in our makeup...

What I do know is a fuller life is available when we set our souls free.

Lion's Den Man

Monday, August 20, 2012

moving forward

Sometimes I find great pieces of insight in movies.

From the movie HUGO
Hugo Cabret: I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine... I couldn't be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. Maybe that's why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn't able to do what it was meant to do... Maybe it's the same with people. If you lose your purpose... it's like you're broken.

Of course broken things can be repaired. Hope is always there. You may not be completely dismantled...maybe just a little off track. Either way it is just about taking the next step. Move forward. As Jeff said in the sermon yesterday, “the rest of my life is mine”. Take that thought and run with it....

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, August 19, 2012

cats and dogs

So, here is a long story.  When I was 13 I read a book called In the Serpent's Coil by Farley Mowat.  It was about ocean going tug boats that save ships in distress.  I know that makes me a nerd.  In the past year I have learned that Farley served in Holland during WW2 and has writeen many books and has been involved in at least one movie.  The movie is called, Never Cry Wolf.  I found the movie and recorded it.  I started watching it the other night.  So did our cat, Tyler.  He was very interested in the big white wolf.

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

Saturday, August 18, 2012

truth, pt. 2

Truth Part Deux.  I mentioned yesterday that we like truth.  I need to readdress that.  I think we like truth when it is convenient, when it is what we like to hear.  I think we hate truth and ignore truth when we choose to.

We see the hypocrisy in the other candidate but refuse to acknowledge the very same practices in our candidate.  We easily identify the shortcomings of our spouse, but have a deaf ear to our own.  We like the part of Jesus that makes me feel saved, but we are not interested in the truth that asks us to live differently.

What is the truth about how I treat my spouse?  What is the truth about my standard of living?  What is the truth about my eating habits?  What is the truth about my level of generosity?

Living a Christan life means living a congruent life.  It means that we allow the Spirit to reach in and change us, even in, especially in the ways and places that make us uncomfortable.  It means that we finally come clean and are honest with God and with ourselves about who we are.

When we begin to live like this, it is a beautiful day in God's world.  Be sure to see the good.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Truth.  We all know it and we all like it.  We all identify truth and take it in.  Sometimes we think that we have the truth market cornered.  But, how much is there in the world that I don't know about?  How much is there in the world that you don't know about?  Isn't there a lot of truth out there that we have never heard, and will never hear?

Now don't get uncomfortable, but if there is truth out there that we don't know about, doesn't that mean that there is a lot about God that we don't know?  Jesus said I am  the way the truth and the life.  That cannot be defined by our tiny grasp of truth in the world.  What that tells me instead is that Jesus is a whole lot bigger than I thought, and a whole lot bigger than even the church thinks.

The God that we serve is immense and amazing.  Although He is beyond our ability to control and manage Him, He has made himself known to us.  That is pretty wonderful.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

being there

Someone was there for me.  I am going to be there for them.  It is a life principle.  Sure we need to take care of everyone that we can, but there are those people that have loved you for a long time.  Sometimes they need help, and when they do, we must be there for them.

It is not done out of duty, though it could be, it is done out of love.  To stand with someone when they need your help is a very good thing to do.  I owe a lot of people.  You may as well. 

We should all count ourselves as lucky to have people in our lives that have had our backs.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


You have to put rejection into perspective.  There is always going to be someone that does not like you and does not agree with you.  If it is a serious discussion, then I love to entertain them, but if it is just criticism, then sometimes you have to put rejection into perspective.

How hard is it to let something roll off of your back?  Don't let the arrow stick.  Love everyone, especially those who seem to enjoy hurting you.  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.  I think Jesus said that.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

my latest disaster

My latest disaster occurred about five days ago.  I was going to write about it, but I was so angry that I couldn't.  Finally today I sit down to write about what was bothering me so much, and I cannot remember what happened.  Do any of you remember why I was so upset?  It seemed so important at the time.

How many times has something happened to me and I thought it was the end of the world.  But just a few days later, I couldn't remember what all of the commotion was about.

Maybe much of what we get bothered about really isn't worth being upset over.

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

bike ride

Last night I went for a bicycle ride.  Six miles.  I saw several friends from church out for a walk or a walking of the dog.

The thing that impressed me the most about the ride as compared to driving in a car were the smells.  I loved the smells of the trees that I caught along the way.  It was wonderful.  It was so nice to have a day to be outside in God's world.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Don't give up

You may feel that you are behind.  You may be in trouble, and not see a way out.  It is very easy to get discouraged in this life.  Don't give up.  Keep after your goals.  If you are overwhelmed by 5 problems, then work on them one at a time.  God makes a way where there seems to be none.

Don't fret that today does not look quite the way you wanted it to look.  The world is filled with countless stories of those who persevered difficulty to overcome.  In fact, the only great stories of victory belong to those who came from behind to win.  Does anyone even care if the Yankees win the World Series?  They have the best team that money can buy.  Oh, but if the Royals win the World Series, that is a sweet victory indeed.

Keep smiling, keep loving, keep going.  The race is not always to the swift, nor the victory to the strong.  Get up every day and put one foot in front of the other. 

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

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Three favors

Sorry that today's post is late.

I have this theory that you get about three favors with most people before they get sick of you.  Consequently we have to be careful how much we ask of the people around us.  Sometimes we get in trouble at church because I think I have only asked a person  who may be looking for help.

Take care not to over burden those whose help you need.  Also, feel free to say "no I can't help with that."  And don't feel guilty about it, if you are the one being asked.

Where are you and I on the three favor thing?  Have I exhausted you or are you pretty open to my asking for help?

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

Friday, August 10, 2012

internment camps

I am reading a book called "The Invisible Thread" by Yoshiko Uchida.  Someone recommended the book to me, so I ordered it.  Unfortunately the book they were wanting me to buy was a different book of the same name. 

I will have to get that invisible thread book another day.  This one is the autobiography of a Japanese- American woman who was 24 or so when WW-2 started.  Of course, she and her family lost all of their possessions and were put into an internment camp as all  Japanese- Americans were for the duration of the war.

The stories from her book are so terrible, so unfair and so unconstitutional.  I am not going to chase any of them in this blog, but it does cause me to stop and ponder a question:  "Are we oppressing anyone?" "Are you oppressing anyone?" "Am I?"

Anytime we hurt another person, we crush them down and force them to live in a prison of fear and worry.  How do you treat your employees?  Your co-workers?  The annoying cousin? 

It is far too easy for us to ignore injustice and just go about our merry way.  May we all learn from the lessons of the past and refrain from actions that hurt.

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

Thursday, August 9, 2012

hearing and seeing

The bible is filled with comments about how the people had ears but did not hear, or eyes but did not see.

"Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?"  Mark 8:18
See also, Jeremiah 5, Ezekiel 12, Psalm 135, Mark 4, Isaiah 6, Deuteronomy 29 and there are many more.
And how many times does Jesus end a story with, "he who has ears, let him hear."

There is the trait of humans that we just are not paying attention.  It is something that all of us have going on, but we face it in different ways.  Some don't see or hear but they aren't aware of their predicament.  They think they are doing great.  Others know that there is more, but don't ever take the time to explore what it is.  Then there are the brave, those who realize there is more and pursue it every day.  These are the folks that truly live.  They are ever growing, ever changing, ever falling deeper into the arms of our Father.

How are your ears doing?  Are you listening for that which is truly real?  Are you pursuing the life that is truly life?  Our days are too short to just muddle through.  Spirituality invites us to wake up, to be aware of what God is doing all around us.

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

cats and bags

What is it with cats and bags?  Cats and bags, boxes or cartons.  Throw something on the floor for them and they are inside of it in a flash.  Leave something on the counter and they will find a way to climb in.  Is it a source of comfort?  A place of safety?

This cat is named Tyler, and he and his sister were fighting over who got to lay in this bag.  He won this time.  Cute cat.  Good pet.  Pets make us happy.  They too are a gift from our Father.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

the mystics

mys·tic (mstk)
1. Of or relating to religious mysteries.
2. Of or relating to mysticism or mystics.
3. Inspiring a sense of mystery and wonder.
      a. Mysterious; strange.
      b. Enigmatic; obscure.
Mystical.Right brain, left brain.  Learning or experiencing.

In my younger years I had more answers, in my later years I have more questions.  I would rather have a God that I have experienced, but cannot explain, then a God that I have all of the answers about.

Recently I have been reading a book by Kenda Creasy Dean called "Almost Christian."  Late in the book she encourages her readers to believe in a God that is near and available.  She suggests that we come to know God is this way, more from experience than from knowledge.

"For Christians, the best guides for faithful reflexivity are not scholars, but mystics- contemplatives who understand the necessity of temporary apartness from society in order to become detached [decentered] from self interest, in the service of perceiving God more clearly.  Throughout Christian mystical tradition, detachment serves as a preconditon for spiritual insight."

In other words, when we find a way to break loose from our self interest, we can find our Father.  Most often this comes from a place of prayer that goes beyond head knowledge. 

Take some time.  Savor the God who is above, below, around, beyond and amazing.

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

Monday, August 6, 2012

the pelican

I had the good fortune to spend a couple of days with friends in Florida last week.  They take some great photos which are posted around their home.  Being there allowed me to take this shot of this pelican.  I just love getting up close to God's creatures.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.  And take a picture of it if you can.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

rain storm at dawn

In a picturesque moment last week, the author captured this photo, which he named "rain storm at dawn."

You can drive right through many wonderful moments in this life and never see them for what they are, but if we keep your eyes open in this world, there is always something amazing to see.  The art of actually seeing is quite a gift from our Father.

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

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Are you growing as a Christian?  Is your capacity for love expanding?  Are you becoming a sweeter person?  Are you going on to maturity?

The Christian faith, and Methodism for that matter has always valued the journey of this life that takes us from a new believer to an experienced believer.  Too often we confuse this with knowledge.  Knowing and learning things is surely a part of Christian growth, but by itself it is not the answer.

Real Christan growth happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to reach into some new part of our heart.  When we join with God in actively working to become better at being loving, joyful or peaceful.

I am all for entertainment, but what are you reading that is challenging you to become more like Christ?  What are you reading that is inviting you to change your life paradigm?  Life is too short to simply skate through.  There are many Christians that have aged chronically but not spiritually.  The spiritual life that is not becoming more loving............ is it really that spiritual?

Sorry that this post is a little heavy.  Don't let it deliver you guilt.  My point is that all of us can read something that will help us become more kind.  Is there any reason not to?

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

Friday, August 3, 2012


A few blocks from our home is an open field.  It butts right up to Veile Road which is pretty well travelled.  There is a vacant house with a big yard that has attracted a lot of visitors lately.  I saw these little guys in the field and rolled up to about ten feet from the closest one.  You know how close fire hydrants are to the road - there was no zoom involved in these photos.
There is something about seeing God's creatures up close that just warms the heart. 
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


brag (brg)
v. bragged, brag·ging, brags

To talk boastfully. See Synonyms at boast1.
To assert boastfully.

1. A boast.
2. Arrogant or boastful speech or manner.
3. Something boasted of.
4. A braggart; a boaster.
Brag.  Bragging.  Bragadocious.  How ever you say it, most of us find the practice to be unattractive at best.  Every time I observe it, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  I hope that I don't ever do it.  If I do, please punch me in the face.
There is an old saying: "those who say, don't know, those who know, don't say."  I would add a couple of words for clarification: "those who say, don't know; those who know, don't have to say."
It's like if you know that you are pretty or handsome, you don't have to run around and tell everyone.  They can see it for themselves.  There is no need to blow your own horn.  It's not a very good tune.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

should or shouldn't

Regarding the earlier post today,  I should have written:

  If God doesn't throw this arrogant son away, then maybe we shouldn't.

Thanks to my friend who caught this. 

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

two sons revisited

My post last Saturday raised a couple of questions.  Let me clarify what I was trying to say.

In the story of the prodigal son, there are two brothers.  The prodigal brother has a bad attitude in the beginning and a good attitude in the end.  The other brother, the older brother has a bad attitude at the end. 

At the end of the story, the prodigal is sorrowful and humble.  The elder brother is arrogant and sassy.  It is all about him.  We generally love the humble and loathe the arrogant.  I think that the tone of scripture usually leans this way  as well.  God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

In this case however, both sons are loved by the father.  This picture gives me something to think about.  If God doesn't throw this arrogant son away, then maybe we shouldn't, I should be a bit more gracious to those whom we may have set aside, for any reason.

Grace is amazing.

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