Monday, September 30, 2013

Bicycle trek

I have been keeping my eye out for a used bicycle.  I am looking for a hybrid with a 23" frame.  I saw one on Craig's list.  A beautiful bike, in great shape for $50.  Wow.  I am in.  It will be in a garage sale on a certain day.

I tried to contact the seller to purchase the bike before the garage sale, but they did not reply to my Craig's list email.  So I drove all the way across town to get there when the garage sale opened on the first day.  I was there at 8:30am sharp.  I enquired about the bike.  The home owner told me that the first person there bought it five minutes ago.  Sorry.

I should have been disappointed.  I was a little.  But I had been working on my brain.  The whole way out there I prepared myself for the inevitable.  Finding a bike like this for $50 would be a miracle.  The traffic was bad and it slowed me down a bit.  I missed the opportunity, but I was ok, because I lowered my expectations.

Sometimes we need to raise our expectations, and sometimes we need to lower them and relax.  Imagine if we got mad every time we did not win power ball.  Life is good, even when someone else gets the good bargain on the bicycle.  Life is good even when someone else wins power ball.  After all, when you compare our lives to our friends in Los Pinos, Nicaragua, we have already won the lottery.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Closing the mouth part deux

I posted on September 17 about closing one's mouth.  I talked about going for a day without saying anything.  If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

My friend Wendy is very thoughtful and perceptive.  She sent me a note that said, "or what about trying to go for an enitre day without saying the word I."  I this.  I that. I want.

It would change our perspective if we could learn to make something the center of our world beside the great I.

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.  It is God's world, isn't it?  Or is it mine?

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I have been watching a lot of TV shows recently about great men.  So many times, we don't recognize someone's greatness until they are gone.  Great men and women died on 9-11.  A great man led a civil rights march.  Someone was president during Vietnam.  Someone was pushed off of a cliff.  Someone fell off of a cruise ship.  Someone was golfing last month, and now they are gone.  All great people.

What does that say to someone like me?  What does that say to someone like you?

Every day is a gift.  Every moment.  We should live every day with great humility and gratitude.  We should live every day with a hope and an intention of seeing the good.

Friday, September 27, 2013

more on music

I have not yet compiled my top 100 list, but I decided to name some of the bands that would have a song or two or three in my top 100.

Here goes, in no particular order:
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Dire Straits
The Beatles
The Monkees
The Moody Blues
The Steve Miller Band
Bob Seeger
Van Morrison
Paul Simon
Grand Funk Railroad
Brooks and Dunn
Crosby Stills Nash and Young
Janice Joplin
The Who
The Rolling Stones
I am starting to sound like a hippie.....

And specifically Christian groups-
The Bill Gaither Trio
Sanctus Real
Lora Story
Point of Grace
Chris Tomlin

I have just been thinking about music lately and what a great and amazing gift it is from our Father.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

music party

I have a friend named John and he has a great idea.  He tells me that he has hosted parties that center around music.  He moved to Dallas before I was invited to one of these parties, but I love the idea.

You invite 5 of your friends over.  Each one brings 5 of their favorite songs on a CD, or a jump drive or you can bring 45's if you want to.  Ha ha.

Everyone finds a chair and one at a time, your friends play their five favorite songs.  Imagine that, great music, some of which you know and some of it you might not.  Add some shrimp and cheese and it is going to be good.

What would be your five favorites?  What five songs would you take to the first session?

Here are mine:

1.  Van Morrison- Into the Mystic
2.  Leah Kunkle- I've just got to get a message to you
   [Leah is Moma Cass's sister]
3.  Barry McGuire- Eve of Destruction
4.  anything Moody Blues
5.  anything CCR

What would your five favorite songs of all time be?
I am thinking maybe I should work on a top 100 of my favorites.
I would love to hear from you about your five favorites.

Music is a wonderful gift from God.

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

45 records


A few weeks ago I was in a thrift store and ran into some 45's.  [yes I sometimes shop at thrift stores] Many people today don't even know what 45's are.  Yesterday has come and gone. 

78 speed records
gave way to
33 speed records
and 45 records

which gave way to
8 tracks
which gave way to
which gave way to
which gave way to
jump drives, ipods, mp3 players and the like.

Did you know that several new car models for this fall are not going to include cd players?  All they will have is auxiliary ports and usb ports.

And my first record was "happy together" by the Turtles on a 45.

Life is blowing past us.  We better pay attention before it is gone.

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

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

an honest life

Yesterday I was writing a blog post and I wrote the word "life."  My fingers missed a letter though and instead of "life," I wrote "lie."  What a big difference the f makes in that word.

It caused me to think of something.  Is my life, is your life, a life or a lie?  I know people that are very good at pretending.  I know people that are very good at not being themselves.  I don't think that we were designed to live this way.  A true life is an open life, is an honest life, is a congruent  life is a love filled life.  This is the life for which we were created. 

Real love accepts you as you are.  Real love does not need you to pretend.  Real love embraces the best and the worst of you.

Live life.  There is no need to pretend.

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

a waste

And so I am sitting here thinking about all of the things that I worry about.  Things that you worry about.  Things that people worry about.  And it is a waste.  We can't fix it, we can't add an inch to our height or put the hair back on our heads.  Yet we worry. 

And the world passes us by.  Life passes us by.  How sad.   How many hours of my life have I wasted worrying?  Gosh wouldn't it be great to have them all back.  Better yet, let's not waste another hour worrying or sick of heart over something that we cannot repair.

God is good.  Life is good.  There is plenty of Good.  Let's focus on that and let tomorrow take care of it's own problems.

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

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

What is it about me and trees?

Somehow, for some reason, they speak to me.  Is that odd?  Someone told me a few months ago, that God's first bible was creation.  The first way that God spoke to humans was through creation.  I like that.  There is something about trees that reach me.  God made them, and he said, "it was good."  And they still are good.  If you have a tree in your yard, be sure to stop and appreciate it.  They are a beautiful part of God's creation.

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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

in a hurry

Last week we were on vacation.  I was driving on highway 1, the California coastal highway.  There are signs: "slow traffic use turnouts."  I understand this.  The highway department understands that some people want to sight-see and drive slowly while others are driving and trying to get somewhere.

I am sightseeing.  I am taking my time.  It is beautiful.  I am stopping to take pictures.  I am the tourist.

Well, don't you know, a guy comes rushing up behind me.  He is on my tail.  He must get by me and hurry on his way.  He is driving very aggressively.  I pull over at the next turnout and let him by.  He guns it and rushes by.  He rushes by me, to the next car which is about 50 yards ahead.  So, he is behind another slow driver.  In fact, there are five or six slower drivers in line.  The pace is just slow.  It was Saturday.  He was stuck and you know that he hated it.

Here is the thing that I find so sad about this:  Why would you ever be in a hurry on that road?  If you lived near such beauty, wouldn't you stand in awe of it ever single day?  [pause for a moment please and think about that.]   If you lived in such a beautiful place, wouldn't you stand in awe of it every day?

And then I remember that I live in Kansas City.  A beautiful town in it's own right.  I drive by things every day that are miracles of God, and I don't even notice.

Maybe, after all, I am the same as the guy who was in a hurry on highway 1.

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

Friday, September 20, 2013

people are funny

On vacation last week I saw something that I found funny.  A sticker on the ceiling next to a sprinkler head reminding you not to hang clothes on it.  Now I just have to ask... who in the world would ever think that hanging clothes on a sprinkler head was a good idea????  But, since the sticker is there, you know it has been done before. 

I am reminded at this moment of a title to a country song, "God is great, beer is good, people are crazy."
 Ha ha. 

The things that people do are hard to believe.  Please don't ever hang anything on a sprinkler head.

You won't like what happens next because your clothes are going to get really wet.

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013

your comments

Most of the most profound information provided in connection with this blog comes from your comments.  Since the following was posted anonymously, I am unable to ask permission to use this in this manner, so here goes.  Here is their comment from a week ago:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "pain":

One of the great questions of life is "what purpose the past?" This seems especially true if the past brings unresolved pain.

From the time we set our feet on the floor in the morning, until we go to bed at night, we usually walk forward all day, in going about our business.

One of the great mysteries of life is what compels us to walk backwards in our minds. Love and prayers for those whose past brings pain. As a brother or sister in Christ, it would feel so good to be able to take your arm and the arm of other sojourners in the faith, and help people walk forward, so the past won't hurt so much.

Wow.  That spoke to me.  "One of the great mysteries of life is what compels us to walk backwards into our minds."  I love it.  Walk forward, not backward.  Some years ago I found an old college friend and apologized to him by email for something that happened in 1978.  He did not even remember the event.  He encouraged me to let the past be the past and get on with life.  Funny how we keep learning things and then forgetting them and we need to be reminded over and over again of some basic simple healthy thoughts.  Walk forward, not backward.  Let the past be the past.

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I was at Costco on Sunday September 8th.  They have Christmas items out for sale.  When I was a kid, you never saw Christmas in the stores until the day after Thanksgiving.  Little by little, year after year, it has crept earlier and earlier.

I know that the stores are just trying to make money.  I know that Christmas may account for 60% of some store's annual income.  My problem is with what this practice says about the rest of the year. 

Does September count for nothing?  Is October a worthless month?  November useless?  Is the only month that counts in the year December?  Should we spend 3 months thinking about Christmas gifts?  Personally, I am not going to look at the stuff.  They have wasted their time as far as I am concerned.

I want to enjoy September for what it is.  I want to celebrate October for fall and November for Thanksgiving.  Every month, every day, every moment is a miracle in and of itself and we should never waste today, looking forward to tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

close the mouth

I took three years of French in Jr. High and High School.  My teacher was Mrs. Rosenberg.  One of the things that she made sure that I learned was "ferme la bouche" = close the mouth.  Ha ha.  Does that make you laugh?  A teacher wanted me to close my mouth!

Now let's think about that.  Is there ever a reason for us to close our mouths?  Is it possible that James was right when he said that we should learn to "tame the tongue?" 

Imagine a day where I say nothing, except the minimum.  Imagine a day where you say nothing, except the minimum.  Where we just love people, and stop trying to fix things.  Just go with the flow.  Talk if you need to, but don't try to fix people.  I like it.

Imagine a day when I am only trying to love people, care for people, hug people, smile at people and I am not trying to fix everything...... :-)

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

paying attention

I was in an elevator at a hotel.  I was hoofing a bunch of stuff from the 4th floor down to our car.  I got on the elevator, I was the only one on it.  I pushed the button for floor one.

Now let's take a break from the story to talk about elevator etiquette.  I have a few elevator rules. 
1.  always stand back and let others get off the elevator before you try to get on.
2.  no talking on the elevator
3.  the elevator should always go directly and immediately to my destination

Now that I have set up the problem, lets get on with the story.  I am riding the elevator down to the first floor.  The elevator stops and I start getting my stuff towards the door to get off.  But oops, there is a woman, talking loudly on a cell phone who is coming on.  She fights around my stuff, while talking loudly and makes her way into the elevator.  I am annoyed, but I get my stuff off, the door shuts behind me and I start looking for the lobby.  My brain is thinking "what is wrong with people that talk on cell phones on elevators and won't let you get off before they have to get on?"

Now here is the problem.  I can't find the lobby.  I finally realize why.  I am not on floor 1, I am on floor 3.  She had been catching the car to go to the same place that I was going, the lobby.  I thought I was on one, but got off on three.  I was annoyed with the woman, but the real problem was this:  I wasn't paying attention to what was going on.

How many times do we run into trouble, even blaming others for it, when the real problem is that I was not paying attention.  Wake up Jeff!  The world is passing you by.  God has given you a beautiful life to live!  Open your eyes and see it.

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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

last words to me

It is always sad to lose a friend.  Well, we never lose them, they just go on to be with the Lord.  It feels like a loss to us.  On Friday, Sherri did the service for Don Richter.

What a delightful, wonderful man.  He passed on Sunday the 8th.  I had the chance to visit with him just a few hours prior.

He was positive and happy.  He asked about the score of the Chicago bears game.  I told him that everyone I ever met thought Don was a great guy.  He told his daughter that she needed to help me meet more people.  Sense of humor intact until the very end.

I asked him if there was anything I could help him with.  [This is a pastor fishing for a spiritual need or desire for some consolation...]  He said, "no, Jeff, I am 73 years old.  I have lived a good life.  I am going to a better place.  I have three great children.  It doesn't get any better than that."

I have to agree.  It doesn't get any better than that.  Imagine living your life so well that you are just ready.  Ready to go.  No regrets.  May we all live like that.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2013


What a gift is a sense of humor!  How wonderful it is to be able to laugh!  How great it is to teach children to learn to laugh.  Laughter is medicine for the soul.  Laughter helps us to forget our problems.  Laughter is a gift from God.  Proverbs says that a cheerful heart is good medicine.

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose."  Woody Allen

I was sent this comic from my daughter who has a very funny sense of humor and loves to deliver me little preacher and church jokes.

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

into the wild

I watched this movie again the other night.  Into the Wild.  It is a true story of a young man's journeys to California and Alaska.  He ends up living in an abandoned bus deep in the wilderness.  I am not sure why, but I find the movie very interesting.  It was produced in 2007.

One of the lines from the movie is "when your kids are messed up, you live in suspended animation."

Wow.  Can I relate to that.  Maybe you can too.  Even if you don't have kids or if your kids are angels, surely we all understand those moments of life when pain comes in such waves that we are stuck in what seems like suspended animation.

Thankfully, there is something that can break through suspended animation, and that is the loving embrace of our Father.  When difficulty seems to be coming in waves, keep going back to God.  Pain seems immovable and constant, but it is not.   Only God is immovable and constant.  He is there, all the time- dependable, solid, and trustworthy.

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

Thursday, September 12, 2013


I guess that I am a little interested in pain.  Probably because I have some, and so many people in this world have some.  It plays such an interesting role in the domination of so many lives.  The scriptures invite us to take our thoughts captive, but pain from our past is so very powerful.

I read or heard this quote recently, "nothing is left but the cry of my hate."  Wow.  Do I feel the pain in those words.  The deep honest confession of a person who has been dominated by a painful event in life.

Well, maybe you have felt this way.  Nothing is left but the cry of your hate.  But that does not have to be the end of the story.  That does not have to be the last word.  If you are alive, and you are, you have a chance to rise above your worst moments.  One of the nice things about hate is that I think we all know that it is bad.  Hate is not an answer in any way, shape or form.

If you have pain, please know that Jesus did too.  He understands.  He accepts you, warts and all.  There is something left in the world besides the cry of your hate.  There is also the cry of the Father's love.  Love is stronger than pain.  Believe it. It is true.

Days with no pain are great.  But when we can see the good even when things are difficult, those are beautiful days in God's world for sure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?” - Albert Einstein

What tree are you climbing?
What holds you back?

By design God created each of us to be unlike anyone else.

By design God gave us choice.
We can either allow life to take control of our path or we can pursue the person God designed for us to be.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

lots of good

I got a cool email forwarded to me from my daughter yesterday.
It read:
“I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to be a not so good day because of the fact it is Monday, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that will win the multimillion dollar lotteries, 600 people will get promotions at work, 600 dogs will be adopted, and 35,000 balloons and 800,000 skittles will be sold. Plus, the words “I Love You” will be said over 9 million times. So, again, I know today is the dreaded Monday and you assume it will not be a good day but actually you can smile knowing it is going to be a really nice day after all.”
How much truth is in these numbers I am not really sure, but the truth is, there are a lot of good things happening around us each and every day. It is our choice whether or not to see them.
Lion’s Den Man

Monday, September 9, 2013


Something may be on your mind today.  Something that is troubling. You are concerned, perhaps worried.  We all do it from time to time. We become preoccupied.  We take ownership, fret and try to control whatever it is, forgetting that what we need to do is turn it over to God.  Find His comfort and direction and then take action.

“Life is too short, joy is too precious, God is too good, our soul is too valuable, we matter too much to throw away a single moment of our one and only life on anxious striving. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid.” Ortberg

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, September 8, 2013


What a delightful day I had yesterday visiting some of the sights where our members were in mission for SERVE day 2013.  In Raytown, I helped on a habitat home.  The homeowner was there and she was so grateful for everyone's help.  Later I was at James Walker Elementary and caught the tail end of some work on the rock garden.  My final stop was the Hillcrest Store where many of our members were helping sort items.

It is always so exciting to see others from church giving their time to help people.  It also feels good to do it yourself.  It made me happy to put on the tool belt.  It made me really happy to know that I had spent part of the day helping others.

If you're down and you don't know what to do, find someone to help.  It will lift you up.  Thanks to all of you for being the kind of people that you are and living the missional life of Christ.

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

Saturday, September 7, 2013

the flag

I was watching a show on CNN about a 3 x 5 flag that was raised on 9/11.  It was a good show.  It brought back very many painful memories.  I was not blogging back then, but if I had been, the things that I felt and expressed would have been very  painful.

What a horrible event this was for our country.  At the time, my Dad was still alive.  I called and asked him if Pearl Harbor was like this.  He said, "no, this is worse because Pearl Harbor was military on military.  This was an attack on innocent civilians."

I told Dad that I hoped that he would come to church the following Sunday.  At the time we were running 700 in worship.  He could barely get around.  I will never forget seeing him wander in the back door with his plaid shirt and suspenders.  It made me feel so much better, so supported.  Over 1,000 attended the first Sunday after 9/11.  Like many things in life, the feelings waned and worship went back to it's previous levels.

Anyway, this show on CNN about the flag, took me back to the day.  And it hurt, and it hurts and we must put our trust in God.  In times of pain, He is the only one who can hold us.  When life hurts, we have one place to go.  I am sure glad that God is there.

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

baseball season

nominee for fan of the game.
There is a little grief that enters my life every year in September as baseball season comes to an end.  I just love baseball.  I love going to the Royals games.  Even when they don't win, baseball is just so much fun.  Watching the players on both teams hit, throw and run is quite an experience.  I have one more game left and then I will have to wait until April.  I was at a game this year and was nominated for fan of the game.  Tom B took this picture on the jumbo-tron.  Baseball brings me happiness.

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

Thursday, September 5, 2013

change pt 2

A friend shared this poem with me after a recent post.

I have resisted change with all  my will
Cried out to life – pass by and leave me still

But I have found as I have trudged times tracks
That all my wishing will not hold life back

All finite things must go their finite way
I cannot bid the merest moment “stay”

So – finding that I cannot change “Change”
I have changed – and this is strange

 For I have found when I have let change come
The very change that I was fleeing from

Has often held the good that I had prayed for
And I was not the less for change – but more

 When I accepted Change and was not loath
I found change was the seed of growth.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

weight loss

Someone asked how I lost the weight, how much I have lost and how I have kept it off.

Ok, I hate to talk about stuff this personal, but here goes.  Between May 2nd and November 15, 2012 I lost 45-50 lbs.  The amount fluctuates because our weight in general fluctuates. 

During that time, I simply did what everyone tells us to do.  More fruits, more vegetables.  Less fat.  No desserts, no biscuits and gravy, no junk food.  Smaller portions.  No eating after dinner.  If I need a snack in between meals it would be an apple or an orange.  Smaller portions.  No more diet coke. 

Cut the carbs.  Eat more protein.  Less bread.  All carbs turn to fat if not consumed.  This process got my weight down.  I exercised a little bit, but not that much.  I am not a big exercise person.  Losing weight is simply math.  Fewer calories in that what a person expends. 

I know folks that exercise but don't lose weight.  What we don't realize is that it would take 4 hours of running to work off one piece of cake.  Diet is the main ingredient to weight loss.

I eat fruit for breakfast, or two eggs.  For lunch I eat a tuna sandwich on 45 calorie bread.  Or if I go out, I eat a chicken sandwich on lettuce instead of bread.  I avoid pasta and pizza.

Speaking of pizza, I miss pizza.  It's kind of sad.  I miss diet coke too.  But I feel a lot better.  For those who asked, that's how I did it and how I keep it all in check.  So far, so good.

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

woke with a song

How nice to wake in the morning with a good song in my mind.  The WC band sang this one on Sunday and evidently it stuck.
And He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden I am unaware of these afflictions
Eclipsed by glory and I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all
And we are His portion and He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
Oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us, how He loves us all
Yeah, He loves us, yeah, He loves us
How He loves us, oh, how He loves us all
There is not much more to say than that.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Monday, September 2, 2013


We hate change.  It makes us uncomfortable.  We like things to stay the same.  When things change, our equilibrium gets disturbed.

How sad it is that many of us spend our entire lives fighting change!  Some cling to old ideas because they can't bear to consider anything new.

Bertrand Russell said, "All great ideas start out as heresy."  There may be an idea just around the corner for you that will change your life.  It may feel different, but don't be afraid.  Much of what we were taught as children was based on fear instead of love.

Change is always good when it aligns us with God's mission. 

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

Sunday, September 1, 2013

buying trouble

I am sure that I am not the only person that does this.  A problem is detected, and my brain often makes it bigger than it should be.

I have an argument with an adult child.  Then I sit around and worry about it.  I stress because it is painful.  I have "bought trouble."  I have imagined it to be bigger than it really is.  Usually what happens is that they walk in later and we patch it up.

A person has a pain in their abdomen.  They are immediately concerned that they have cancer.  They bought trouble.  In almost every instance, a pain in the abdomen does not mean that I have cancer.

We worry too much.  We are not very good at dealing with pain.  We expect our lives to be pain free.  When you think about that, that is a little bit funny.  Into each life a little bit of rain must fall.

I think the trick is to keep working on learning that life is always going to have its angst.  Take it, live with it and trust in God.  Gosh if life was perfect, would we need to trust in God?  Maybe our problems push us toward his loving arms.

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