Sunday, June 30, 2013

as the deer

Behind our home is a little meadow and a water retention pond.  The retention pond is full of trees.  Sometimes the pond is dry, but routinely, especially when it has rained, there is a little brook that wanders through.

Deer drop by from time to time to drink the water, eat the grass and rest in the meadow.  After dodging cars and jumping fences all day, I am sure that it is a peaceful rest for their souls.

"As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you O God."  Psalm 42:1

May you find a place of rest for your soul today.

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

Saturday, June 29, 2013

pulling weeds

Jesus separated the weeds from the wheat.  He recognized that there was some good stuff and some stuff that had to go.  It is probably true for all of us, parts of us are great and parts of us need some work. 

I have been pulling weeds at home lately.  Volunteer elm trees and volunteer red buds.  Milk weed, thistles, chickweed, and weedy weed.  They all just show up from time to time.  My friend in the Lawn business, Jon, tells me that if you don't get something good to grow on bare ground, nature is going to make something grow there and you may not like it.

From time to time we need to take a look at ourselves and admit to the weeds that are in our gardens.  Be honest with God and let God pull them.  The Holy Spirit is always working to make us sweeter and it will happen if we allow room for it.

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

Friday, June 28, 2013


Reread that classic.  I read good things and am very impressed by them.  I think that the ideas will stick, then a month later, I have forgotten them.  I may even read them again somewhere else and recognize the information but forget where I first heard it.

Consequently, I am going to be on a bit of an unofficial quest to reread some of the books that have made a difference in my life.  I am hopeful that their insights will come alive to me again.  We all need new insights.

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

Thursday, June 27, 2013


If you are  looking for something to read, I want to offer some titles.  And by the way, I would encourage everyone to read, not just for enjoyments sake, but to read to learn.  To read to open up the paradigm of one's mind.  I love a good book of stories, but I also love the books that cause me to stop and rethink my path.  We never grow when all we read simply reinforces what we already think.  The best books cause us to really think about who we are and how we live.

Here are some pretty good titles, most of them are available at the church bookstore.

The Pursuit of God, by A.W. Tozer
The Orthodox Heretic, by Peter Rollins [coming soon]
Total Forgiveness, by R.T. Kendall
The Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell
Walking on Water, by Anthony Demello
What's so Amazing about Grace, by Phillip Yancey

If you have not read all of these, I encourage you to pick one of them up.

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

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

weathered pages

I love books.  I love old books.  I have a collection of old books.  It used to be larger, but keeping books around can become very troublesome.  Very heavy.  Bordering on hoarding.  So I have given many of my old books away.

I have a set of Charles Dickens from the 1860's.  I have an old Dante's Inferno.  I have the Works of Wesley.  [not the originals]

One of the things that I found odd about old books was how they weathered, greyed, became brittle and smelly.  Sometimes old books just fall apart in your hands.

The other day, I opened up one of the oldest books that I purchased new in 1984.  It was a copy of The Road less Travelled.  To my surprise, the pages are getting dry, brittle and smelly.  My book is now an old book.  It is after all, almost 30 years old.

I am no longer a spring chicken, but that is ok.  The good news about that, is that I was thinking and reading 30 years ago.  I hope you have something good to read.  Reading opens our mind and helps us solve our problems.

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

see the good

Someone is bothering you.  If you focus on that, it will just keep hurting.  If you did something wrong, apologize, but if you didn't do anything wrong then stop worrying about it.  Life is too short for us to worry about every single thing that we can't fix. 

We have to decide everyday.  Will we look down or will we look up?  Behind every cloud is the sky.  What do you see when you look?  The clouds or the sky?

God has given us a wonderful gift of life, and it is passing faster than we think.  Yesterday is gone, all we have is today.  Let's not waste any more time feeling bad.

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

Monday, June 24, 2013


Friday is my day off.  Sometimes I get free time and sometimes I have to work.  That's just the nature of the beast.  Last Friday I had a list of errands to run:  Harbor Freight Tools, Savers, A-1 Rentals, the gas station, etc.

When I came out of Savers I got into my car.  I was immediately approached by a homeless looking man.  He was saying, "I don't want money, I don't want money."  He looked kind of desperate, so I decided to listen to him.

All he wanted was a ride up the street, from 44th and Noland to 36th and Noland.  He had to get to the barber shop.  I said ok.  He got in my car.  Sorry about this, but he smelled.  Smelled of alcohol.  10 in the morning and he had tied a pretty good one on.  I introduced myself to him.  He told me that his name was Paul.  Paul.  That was my Dad's name. 

On the way to 36th and Noland, I thought about his life, I thought about his future.  I was glad to help him.  I hope he has better things come his way.  We said goodbye and he went into the barbershop.  I drove on to the next place on my list.

There are a lot of people in this world that need help.  A small effort on my part saved Paul a ten block walk on a very busy street on a hot day.

There is always someone to help if we are willing.

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

Sunday, June 23, 2013

too complicated

Preparing sermons can be a pain in the neck.  You pray, you listen, and you work.  Routinely I get stuck in sermon preparation and I have to take a step back and look at it from another angle.  Often I see the problem- the sermon is too complicated.  Too many thoughts, too many things for my brain to follow.  And if my brain can't follow it, how can I expect anyone else to follow it?

So I simplify the thing, and it usually goes better.

I think there is a life lesson here.  Sometimes we make things too complicated.  We need to simplify.  We need to find a few really good things and focus on them.  When we try to focus on too much, we lose our focus and are prone to miss some of the really good parts of life.

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

Saturday, June 22, 2013

wedding ring

I lost my first wedding ring a couple of years ago.  I went to play softball, I took it off and put it on my watch band, somehow, later that night on the way home, I had the watch but not the ring  I went back to look for it several times and never found it.

I went without a band for a year.  No one seemed to care.  After a year,  I got a new one.  Just the same.  Simple white gold band, no diamonds.

Three days ago, I lost the new one.  I spend several days retracing my steps.  I called several restaurants.  I remember taking it off and setting it down, thinking, "this is not a good idea, you are going to forget it."  And forget it I did.  I spent three days looking for it.  About the time I thought I had really lost it, I found it.

Everything that I lose is somewhere.  In fact, everything that I lose is right where I put it.  Right where I put it.  If I could just slow down and savor each moment, I would lose fewer things.  We are so busy we can't keep track of much of anything.  Time to slow down.  My favorite author says that if you can't remember where you left your keys, you are too busy.

Slow down.

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

Friday, June 21, 2013

This Beautiful Mess

I came upon a book that I read a few years ago.  The author is Rick McKinley the book is titled This Beautiful Mess.  I had made some notes about it at the time.  The thoughts seem timely to me.  Here are the thoughts.....

I have been trying to stay up with what I think a pastor's brain should be doing -trying to get smarter.  What if God just accepted me as I am? Is that enough? Have I been reading to be accepted by God or to find the approval of people?

 The Beautiful Mess says, – Stop trying to do everything….Stop trying to please everyone or at least stop worrying about it all.  The kingdom is here now, in me – in my kids.  How is God present in this ordinary, broken, goofed up life that I’m living now?

 You have to invest in people.  Give them your time. It’s time.  Page 56: “Spiritually we tend to think in levels too. Everything depends on what we do.”  Page 57: “He simply invited His followers to see it, embrace it, believe in the unfading reality of it – and join in what His Father was already doing in the world.”

There is something that I am fighting in my life – it is the notion that I have to keep doing something. What if the most spiritual people just rest in his love?  The kingdom just is.  Page 61: “It dawns on me that the weight of the climbing up levels just about killed me. For the first time in my life, I begin to sense the possibility of a new way to just be in the kingdom.”

 Every week the pastor says, “Go in peace”, but are we at peace?  What if we are so at peace that the kindness just flows from our life?

 Page 86: “Practicing the presence of the kingdom changes how we see the world, our neighbors, and ourselves. It changes the way we use money, understand children, and play in creation. It causes us to stop and listen, see, touch, taste, and feel. The kingdom is found in justice breaking in all around us, in beauty in the midst of the mess.”

You can’t be salt or light because you are trying. Jesus makes us salt and light. Relax. Then live.
Page 129: “This is a place to start: to wake up to the million mysteries that unfold in us and around us every day. Why are so many who call God Father passing their gift of days behind drawn shades? We must come alive. We must say with every breath and every act, “Look! The world!”

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I love history.  I am not sure why.  Why do we love the things that we love?  I am just very interested in history and archeology.  Somehow, when I think of what people did and thought and built hundreds of years ago, it puts my life into perspective.

This is a picture of a Roman aqueduct from Sergovia, Spain.  My friends Fred and Irene are in Europe and they are sending me pictures.  I am going to have to make my own visit there some time.

History reminds us that we are not as smart as we may think.  It also reminds us to apply ourselves to life because we will not be here for ever.

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

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I believe

I believe.  I believe in you.  You may not be sure about what is going on, but I believe in you.  I have seen you.  I know what is inside of you. 

It is time.  Stand up.  Stand up! Fulfill your potential.  I know that you have insecurities, but the time is here.  Stand up.  Be who God has created you to be.  Every time that you hold back, you limit God's work. 

He has called you.  He loves you.  He is with you.  Step up to the plate and get your swings in for Jesus.

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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

three things

People often ask me what they can do for their church beside pray.  Here is my answer, and it comes in three parts.

First, talk to people about your church.  Tell them about the missions and ministries that you like.  Be positive.  Tell folks why you like your church.

Secondly, invite folks to join you.  Invite them to sit with you in worship.  Invite them to join you in mission.  Invite them to give.  Invite them to love what you love.  They don't just join your church, they join you.

Finally, each person needs to work to add value.  The church at its worst is when the members go to church, sit in the pew and then expect the pastor and staff to do the work of ministry.  The church at its best is realized when the members are actively engaged in kingdom work.  It is interesting as well that when a person is actively working to add value, they are usually doing steps one and two, talking to others about their church and inviting others to hop in.

Healthy churches thrive from the ground up.  Every member in ministry, mobilized and working for the mission of Jesus Christ.  Talking, sharing, inviting, doing, going.  I want to go to that church.  Don't you?

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

Monday, June 17, 2013

random thoughts on Fathers

Jim T used to say that on Mother's day I would praise mothers, and on Father's day I would chastise fathers.  I am sure that he was right.  Somehow in my brain that makes sense. 

Since I have never been a mother, there is this mystique about them.  A mythology maybe, it goes like this.......Mothers always know what to do, or were supposed to know.  They just do it.  They instinctively sacrifice themselves for their children. They can't do anything but do the right thing.  Maybe this is why I praised mothers on Mother's day.

Fathers I know about.  I know about how hard it is to get up every day and try to do the right thing.  I know about how hard it is to sacrifice, and I know what it takes to get the job done.  Not an easy thing.  Anyone can father a child, being a Father is really hard work.  I think this is why I have goaded fathers along, hoping to encourage or motivate them, but I guess fathers should be praised too.

Peter Pan had a happy thought.  In the movie Hook, he rediscovered his ability to fly when he remembered his happy thought, which was, "I'm a Dad!"  It is indeed a happy thought.

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

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Every now and then someone shares a picture with me that just has to be passed on.  These little guys are too beautiful not to share.  They were visitors to the yard of my friend Betty N.

Can you hear the birds sing?  It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

my sisters

I have two sisters. One older and one younger.  One lives here in KC and the other lives in Northern California. I left my heart in both places. Kansas city and the bay area.

We are in our fifties and we are just finally getting close.  That is both sad and good. Sad that it took so long but good that we are getting close.

If you have a brother or sister that you are not close to, I urge you to reach out to them.  They are your blood, your family, and life is very short.  Very previous and very short.

It is a gift to have family. Make it the best that you can.  Keep working on it. It's worth it.

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

Friday, June 14, 2013


Sometimes things just don’t make sense.  We get in the way of what is good…say things that are only true to ourselves and poof a good thing turns bad.  We are so caught up in our understanding of things that we can’t see the truth from truth’s perspective. Or sometimes, as a another has put it, “Our need to control how others see us is like a god we’ve been bowing down to for so long we don’t even realize it.”

So a happy place turns sad. A relationship turns sour. Hurt and resentment enter the picture. Someone leaves with an ugly feeling and the other has no clue that there is a problem.

When we believe so strongly in ourselves nothing good happens. Our truths are not always His.
Filtering our thoughts before they become words is necessary and prayer is the best filter.

Lion’s Den Man


Thursday, June 13, 2013

slow down - part two

Well I couldn’t agree more with Jeff’s post yesterday.  Slowing down.  Balance.  Unfortunately if your scale is tipped to the side of the busy, hectic, frantic then it often takes a lot of deliberate effort to bring things back to even again. I can relate Jeff. A lot of us can relate. And most, if not all, wish it were not that way.

Reading a book tends to slow me down a bit. Funny thing is what I read the night before the "slow down” post was this...
“(Knowing) God has made my life better. I move more slowly than I used to because I don’t want to miss anything.

I find more and more beauty and meaning in everyday, average moments that I would have missed before.
I need fewer answers because I see more.

I find more people fascinating than ever because I’m more and more used to being surprised by the mystery that a human being is.
I’ve discovered more and more events are less about the events themselves and more and more about me being open to whatever it is that’s going on just below the surface.”

So I ask myself the question. Do I respond to the thoughts this writer shared in the same way because of my relationship with God? If not then what do I need to do to make that happen...

Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

slow down

Slow down.  I have to slow down.  I have so much going on that I am catching myself coming and going.  I have forgotten the dog's name.  He has forgotten me.  He barks at me when I come in the house.

I am sure that I am not the only person who feels this way.  We get so busy.  At annual conference last week, someone reminded us that "busy" is not a spiritual gift.

The only way I know to get less busy is to do fewer things.  It means that I can't meet with everyone who asks.  It means that I can't answer every single email.  It means setting boundaries and learning to say no.

Just yesterday it was my birthday.  Now here comes by birthday again next month.  Busy is the enemy of a beautiful day.  Let's all slow down so we don't miss it.

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

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

what a person knows

I am convinced that the older I get, the less I know.  When I was young I knew it all.  My Dad used to say, "those who say, don't know.  Those who know, don't have to say." 

John Wesley said, "When I was young I was sure of everything.  In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before.  At present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me."

Somehow, it is easier for me to relax now that I know that I don't have to know everything.

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

Monday, June 10, 2013


Engaged.  Connected.  On it.  I like to talk about prayer as something that helps us to be "spiritually engaged."  Praying for your church means more than just lifting up the pastors and staff.  True prayer helps us to be spiritually engaged.  That means that when something happens that we don't like or don't understand, instead of complaining to a friend in the foyer, instead of calling someone to gossip about it, we pray.

"God, help me to understand why the service went that way.   God help me to understand why that staff person seems to be fighting what I want to do.  God help me trust in you.  God help me to get past my feelings of frustration.  God help me to be engaged with my church in a positive way."

Spiritual engagement does not put an end to disagreements, but it radically changes the way that we go about disagreeing.  Prayer drives us to keep a matter as private as possible and allows the people in the mix to resolve it without others being drawn in unnecessarily.

When something happens in your life that you don't like, is your first inclination to complain, to be angry, or to pray?  Prayer grabs hold of our humanness and helps us to be a part of a constructive dialogue and resolution.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.  And if you can't see it, don't complain, pray about it until you find a better place because it really is a beautiful day.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

summer radio show

Woods Chapel will have a summer radio show beginning June 11th.  It will air on KCWJ 1030 AM on Tuesdays at 4pm.  For those of you who miss the live broadcast, it will also be available on the internet through the church web site.

The format will feature at 14 minute talk by me or one of the other pastors and then a 14 minute focus on some ministry aspect of the church.

This will be a great tool to invite your friends to listen and learn a bit more about who we are, what we do, and how we go about it.

Thanks for all that you do to support the ministry of Jesus through Woods Chapel.

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

Saturday, June 8, 2013


From the book "Fish" by Stephen C. Lundin.

"There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself."

And so our attitude is so very important.  Are we working for our boss or are we working for the Lord?  When we do our work as if it were for God, everything changes, and everything is beautiful.

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

Friday, June 7, 2013

ha ha

Maybe it wasn't so funny, but I thought it was funny and it didn't seem to bother the bride and groom. 

So last week I am doing a wedding away from the church.  Cramped space where only the bride, groom and minister can fit in the front.  I have my wedding service outline in one hand, I am holding a microphone in the other [no lavaliere] and it is time for the rings.  The best man and maid of honor bring me the rings.

Now I have my notes folder, a microphone and two rings in my hands.  Do you see where this is going?  I am clever though, so I drop the groom's ring into my suit pocket.  We go on.

We get the bride's ring on her finger and I reach into my pocket for the groom's ring.  Uh Oh.  And this suit is less than a year old.  There is a small hole in the corner of the pocket and his ring has fallen through and made its way to the bottom of the inside of my coat.

I have to set down my notes and the microphone and fish around to get the ring back up to the bottom of the pocket and out.  It took a couple of minutes, but it felt like much longer.

None worse for the wear, the bride and groom finally got married.

I need to get my pocket sewed up.

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

Thursday, June 6, 2013

no fix

Sometimes in life we come upon things that we don't seem to be able to fix.  How we hope something will go, is not how it turns out.  You do everything that you can to make it different, but you can't.  The thing is beyond your abilities.

What to do?  Keep trying.  Keep at it.  You keep going.  And, you trust in God.  You lean on Him.  In fact, these kind of things tend to force us to lean on Him.  That is at least one positive result of the things that seem broken beyond repair.

God is with us!  There is always hope.

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

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

if you really knew

If you really knew the worst about someone?  Could you still  love them?  I run into people all of the time who have big giant secrets.  They can't bear to tell anyone because they think that they would be rejected.  So they wander in this life, hunched over with the burden of guilt on their backs.

When someone tells you the worst that they have done, are you able to still love them?  Are you able to look past their dirty laundry and love them?

This is God's kind of love.  God looks at us, knows all that we have ever done, and still loves us.  He still sees the good in us.  If God can do that for us, maybe we can work harder on releasing others.  To err is human to forgive is divine.

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

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bible jokes

If God has a sense of humor.........

When was baseball mentioned in the Bible?
In the big inning.

When were loud motorcycles mentioned in the Bible?
David's triumph was heard throughout the land.

When was tennis mentioned in the Bible?
When Moses served in the courts of Pharaoh.

How does God make tea?
Hebrews it.

Who is the shortest man in the Bible?
Nehemiah [Knee  High Miah]

What kind of man was Boaz before he got married?

Lot's last words to his wife.....
"honey are the kids behind us?"

How do you know that God likes cars?
Jesus was a car painter.

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

Monday, June 3, 2013


Sometimes people ask me about the weather.  Hey, today is the golf tournament.  Can you get us some good weather?  Jeff, can you get the rain to hold off?

I like to respond, "I am in sales, not management."

This reminds me of another saying that is often used, "opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the management."  It seems to me that there are a lot of Christians, and a lot of Pastors who have forgotten this.  They come to think that their ideas about God are the only right ones.  When we get to feeling this way, we can become a very heavy burden to those around us.  No one likes an arrogant Christian.

None of us are as smart as we think.  We all need to be in submission to our Father.  None of us know as much as we think we know.  I have come to believe that when we die and fly up towards the pearly gates, about 80% of what we think we know is just going to fall off.  We will be left with some very simple truths. 

Did I love God?  Did I love my neighbor?  Did I do for the least of these? 
Well done good and faithful servant.  Enter into the joy of the Lord.

Opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the management.  And I find some consolation in that.  I don't have to know everything.  I can trust in God.

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

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A bigger God

The following is my experience, it may or may not resemble yours.....

I was raised in the church.  When we were children, and first believed, our God was smaller, but big enough to resolve the issues in the mind of a child.

When we became teenagers, we started to have problems.  Some of us gave up on God during this time, because we thought that we shouldn't have problems, or we decided that we couldn't believe in a God who would allow such painful things.

Those of us who survived adolescence and returned to the church as adults, have learned that a child sized God or even an adolescent sized God is no longer big enough.  Adults can run into some pretty difficult stuff.

The only consolation that I find from adult problems, is that God needs to get bigger.  Our capacity is increased, the hole in our life is larger, and we need a bigger God.  Thankfully, he is able and willing to rush in and fill the void.

Bigger problems?  Bigger God.  He is there.  He is waiting.  He is trustworthy.

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

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Father's Day

Father's day is coming up in a few weeks, but lately I have been thinking about the kind of father that I have been.  Being a father is a funny thing.  I used to work really hard taking care of kids, teaching them and raising them.  Then one day they grew up and moved out.  Now they have taken responsibility for their own lives.  I am in effect, out of a job.

It is a funny feeling.  Not needed anymore.  Not thought of.  Poor me!  Time for a pity party.  The empty nest thing takes some time to transition.  You look back and wonder what you might have done differently, you think of mistakes that you made.  I wish I could have those moments back and have a redo.

Mostly I just look at my kids and feel proud.  They are all going to be fine.  They have good hearts.  Maybe one day soon, I will have grand kids to invest in.  Now there is a happy thought!

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