Tuesday, December 31, 2013


When I was in Jr. High school I was a member of the astronomy club.  We had weekly meetings and would occasionally go out to remote parks to look at the stars.  I have always been interested in telescopes.

Having said all of that, I really just know two constellations: the big dipper and Orion the hunter.  My Dad taught me the big dipper.  Orion is a throwback from the astronomy club.  Orion is a winter constellation.  I have watched it rise and fall in the Eastern sky during the winter months each year since I was 13.

Orion is back now, reminding me of the passing of another season. 

Millions of people before me, before us, have looked at the night sky and contemplated the amazing wonder of God.  There is a happy

peace that comes to me from looking up and seeing Orion.  The caring hand and watchful eye of our Father is forever upon us.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, the sky proclaims the work of His hands."  Psalm 19:1

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

Monday, December 30, 2013


The red tail hawks are back.  I am not sure why, but I love watching these guys.  They appear to be loners, as I never see them together.  They are here in the  cold weather and gone when it warms up.  You will see them in the trees and atop the telephone poles along 291, Anderson Drive, and Lakewood way.  They seem to have territories as they keep about 100 yards apart.

I have seen them snag a snake, mice, and pigeons.  They are quite beautiful.  They are powerful and strong.  Another one of God's amazing creatures.

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

Sunday, December 29, 2013

I loved this

I loved this saying of G.K. Chesterton-

You say grace before meals, that's all right.

But I say grace before the play and the opera,
and grace before the concert and pantomime,
and grace before I open a book,
and grace before sketching, painting,
swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing,
and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

He called this his complete intoxication before life.

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Someone noticed that I was not singing in a service on Christmas Eve.  They asked me about it.

It reminded me of a joke.  Why couldn't the pony talk?  He was a little hoarse.

I told them, yes, you caught me.  I was not singing.  Sometimes I don't.  Now I love to sing, and I love to participate, but when it comes to verbal things I have to be careful.  We have lots of services and if my voice fully participates in each one, I will likely have nothing to give for the later worship times.

Please understand and sing louder yourself to make up for me.

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

Friday, December 27, 2013


When I was a kid we had Christmas lights on our house.  Dad put them up until I got old enough to do so, then he gladly retired from that task.  So as we have been able over the years, we put Christmas lights on our house.

When the kids got into high school, we switched to Blue Springs South colors: green and blue.  Don't think anything funny if your kids go to a different high school, I love all of our schools, my kids just happened to go to South so we put up South colors.

In the picture, there are two aberrations.  The one on the upper right is a reflection from the street light.  The red light in the top center is a lone red light.  Amid the blue and green, a lone red light.  Why?  What does it mean?

I put the one red light up, because nothing is perfect.  Because life is good, but not perfect.  It has a bit of a reminder quality.  It has a bit of an attitude.  A sense of humor.  Oops!
Boing!  Life- wonderful, but not perfect.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

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

Thursday, December 26, 2013

thank you

I want to say thank you to everyone who worked to make the Christmas season wonderful.  For those who led the children's pageant and the children of course.  For those who sang and played in the cantata.  For the Jazz band and their wonderful concert.

For all of the singers, ringers, players, readers, hospitality, ushers and otherwise who helped make Christmas eve wonderful.

You are a fabulous bunch and I am the most fortunate pastor in the world.  Thanks for the cards and gifts.  I love you all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

I wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.

May the joys of family and friends warm your heart.
May the knowledge that you are loved fill you to the fullest.
May your future be filled with hope.

Christ is born.
There is much to celebrate!
Thanks for being my friend.

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

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve.  It's a busy day at the church, but it is a great day to be in church. 

I know that every day is the same.  I know that every day is a gift from God.  But there is something unexplainably magical about Christmas Eve.

Hot Chocolate.  Family and Friends.  Sitting by the tree.  Wonderful Music.  Giving thanks for the last year.  Giving thanks for life itself.  Appreciating God.  Candle lighting at church.  It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year.

Today we have services at 10am, 4pm, 530pm, 7pm, 830pm and 11pm.  You are invited and welcome to attend.  If you live far from here we invite you to watch our services live on the web or attend the local church of your choice.

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

Monday, December 23, 2013

a great thought

I recently read an article by Lauren Martin that I found quite helpful and profound.  The article was about overthinking things.  Dwelling on things.  Many things happen that bother us and linger painfully in our hearts.  We should let them go, but sometimes it is difficult.

Here is one of the main quotes from the article, "the only thing that keeps making this thing a thing is that you keep thinking about it."

In other words, let it go.  Just stop thinking about it.  It has no power over you unless you allow it to have power over you.

If you would like to read the full article, here is the link:

I would also say that this kind of thinking is very helpful in learning to worry less.  Jesus was big on that.  Learning to worry less so we can just simply live.  Worry less, celebrate more.

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

Sunday, December 22, 2013


back seat filled up to the windows!
I love coats.  I have a thing for jackets.  I own too many.   My Dad would have asked me, "Son, how many of these can you wear at once?"  Well I know that we take coats to Westport, so I scheduled a day to take a few down.

I mentioned it to staff that I was going to Westport and one person had me stop by their house and pick up 4 coats that they wanted to send.  Amy and Missy loaded me up with coats from the missions room.  And I mean that they loaded me up.

he was very appreciative
The passenger seat and floorboard in my truck were filled.  There is a jump seat in back - it's a super cab for you f-150 fans.  Not a 4 door, but like a door and a half.  Anyway, the back end was packed too.  I had to smush them down so that I could see out the back window.

When I got there, a gentleman sitting on the step asked for a coat.  He was so very glad to get this black and blue coat that one of you donated.  He let me take his picture.

A small act of kindness on your part made a big difference in his life and the lives of many who are cold this time of year.

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  Well, they are predicting snow for today and into tonight.  That means that several of you will wonder if we will be having church.  Some of you will watch the TV to see if Woods Chapel is cancelled.

We will not be cancelled.  We will be having church.  We will always have church. 
Be safe, but if you can make it, we will be here. 

Now let me say this, please do not skip church because it snowed and then go out to shop.  If we can make it to shop or make it to the Chief's game, then we can make it to God's house.  I have found that the days when we make an extra effort to be there, we often find a greater blessing.

We will be open for business.  Free hugs to all who make it tomorrow.

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

my name is

When I came to Woods Chapel, people called me Steve for months.  That was the name of their prior pastor - a great guy by the way.

I took no offense to being called Steve.  I figured that it would take time for folks to learn my name.

Recently there has been a rash of folks that want to call me Jim.  I guess I will answer to that.  I actually find some consolation in the fact that some folks are having trouble with my name.  I am ok with that because I don't remember every person's name either.

But for the record.  I am Jeff.  Or if you are mad, follow my mother's lead when she was mad and call me Jeffrey Scott.

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

favorite Christmas songs

There are of course many great Christmas songs, but here are some of my favorite:

Hark the Herald Angels Sing
I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Once in Royal David's City
In the Bleak Mid-winter

How many of those four are you familiar with?  Probably all of you know Hark the Herald Angels sing, but do you know the others?  Learning new and obscure songs is kind of cool.  If you don't know the others here are some youtube links: 

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Once in David's Royal City

In the Bleak Midwinter [this just brought me to tears]

Do you know any obscure Christmas songs that I should learn?

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

winter driving

Last Friday I went to a wedding rehearsal at the Elms in Excelsior Springs.  This was the evening when they were forecasting ice and 2-4 inches of snow. 

Fortunately in addition to the 05 Honda Civic, We have a 2001 Ford 4x4 truck.  It gets about 12 miles to the gallon, so it does not get out much, but in the winter, it is a life saver.  So I prepared for the worst.  I made a packet of food and water.  I packed a blanket and warm clothes.  I charged my phone and gassed up the truck.

Everything went pretty well on the way up there, except that I ate all of the food that I had packed for an emergency.  The way home was slower and colder, but I made it there and back safe.

I was a boy scout.  Be prepared.  If  you are going out in the elements, there are some things that you should do.  Gas up your car, pack food and water, pack extra warm clothes.  It is better to be safe than sorry.

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I still miss them

I thought I was over the loss of my parents.  I thought I had healed.  Mom died in 1995 and Dad in 2002.  Last week I visited both hospitals where they died.  I hit both of them in the same day.

I visited a man on the same floor that mom was in at St. Joe and I visited a man in ICU at Research.  For some reason, going to Research was really difficult.  I was not expecting it.  The halls are long at Research and the longer I walked and the closer I got I could feel myself going back in time. 

I felt sad and alone.  I started to tear up.  It all came rushing back.  I miss them.  I guess that is a good thing.  Paul and Mary, you are not forgotten.  Thanks for doing your best.....

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

what do I want for Christmas

The kids are starting to ask what I want for Christmas.  One of them just got a big fat raise and so I told that one that I wanted a lot of things, and really expensive things!  I was just kidding.

Really I don't want anything.  I don't need anything.  I tell my kids that I want them to go with me to Westport or somewhere to care for those less fortunate.  I want to  spend time with them doing something meaningful. 

I am more interested in spending time with them than getting things.  Is that because I have everything?  No I don't have everything, but they are not going to buy me a Mustang are they?  Is it because I am older?  Is it because I have met so many people in the world that have so little?
I don't know why I don't want anything.  Maybe I wanted so much when I was a kid, that my wanter is all wanted out.  Anyway, it is nice to just enjoy the time, the season and the peace that God can give. 

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

Sunday, December 15, 2013

funny or serious

There are some very serious issues in this world.  Injustice, hunger, starvation, death.  We should pray for all of them and do everything that we can to make a difference in the world.  Christians should be positively engaged in the world.

Yesterday I wrote a post about praying that it would not snow on the weekend so that we could all get to church.  I wrote it in a moment of levity.  I did not mean to demean or ignore the real issues of life that we should be praying about.  I was looking for a funny way to remind the Methodists that 1" of snow should not keep us  away from church.

This blog is not always going to be serious.  This blog is not a sermon.  It's about life, all of life.  Life has to have it's moments of levity.  I hope you allow yourself to enjoy and celebrate life without forgetting the weightier issues.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dear Lord,

Dear Lord, The weatherman told us that we would all wake up to a little snow today.  Can you please make it snow during the week and not on the weekend?  When it snows on the weekend, kids don't get out of school.  They don't get the extra days to sled and play in the snow.  Lord, don't you want the kids to have fun?

And Lord, when it snows on the weekend, some good Methodists will skip church.  Here I have worked all week on this sermon and an inch of snow is going to keep some of them away.  I hear that they might be seen out to lunch or shopping later that day, but I just can't believe that.

So, Lord, if you care for kids and your church, please have it stop snowing on the weekends.  Snowing during the week is good for kids and it's better for church attendance.  Thanks for listening.


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

Friday, December 13, 2013


I guess I used to be funnier.  When I was younger I was funnier.  More funny.  Funnier than I am now.  More funny things from the pulpit.  Some people miss that. 

Maybe I miss that too. 

Life has a way of wearing on you.  Real life, adult problems.  The innocence of youth is often tempered by the grinding cadence of adult problems.

The larger our church gets, the more problems I hear about.  It all takes it's toll.  But, just for fun, one of these days, I should tell a joke in church and play the guitar and sing.  What do you think?

Sometimes the best medicine is to remember the joy of lighter days.  Either way, it's all good.  Life is good.

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

Thursday, December 12, 2013

a painful memory

For some reason I thought of this story. 

I am 12 years old.  We just bought a basketball goal.  I had never had one before, and I thought it was the coolest thing. 

I went out to play on it all the time.  Then it got cold.  Winter.  No one warned me about what can happen to your fingers in the cold.  I played for hours.  Day after day.  I noticed the tips of my fingers getting sore, but I didn't think that much about it because I had never had this problem before.  But after prolonged play in very cold weather, all ten of my finger tips cracked.  The picture here does not do the situation justice.  They were really dry and cracked and painful.  All ten of them!

Painful, bloody, cracks.  It took weeks for them to heal.  I have never done that since.  I guess that is one benefit of really making a painful mistake, we rarely repeat them.

So if you have done something that hurt yourself, take heart, at least we probably won't do that again for a long time.

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

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

the power of the Holy Spirit

I continue to be amazed at the power of the Holy Spirit to reach people.  I should not be amazed by that,  but it is very interesting to watch it happen.

Sometimes we humans like to act like the Holy Spirit, telling people what to do and how to do it.  But the Holy Spirit really does  not need our help as much as we might think.   

God was reaching people before preachers existed.  Imagine that!  God reaching someone in their car, in their home, in their dreams. 

When people are ready, they don't need any pressure from us.  God can do the work.  I love to hear the stories of how God has reached into a person's life.  They are amazing stories.  And more often then not, no preacher was needed.

What is God doing in your life?  Is he pulling you towards himself?

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

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Someone stopped me on Sunday and asked how I was doing.  Not in a passing way, but they were asking for real - HOW are YOU doing Jeff?  To that person who asked how I was doing on Sunday:  Thanks.   Thanks a bunch.  Your kindness means the world.   I am fine, but I appreciate the candid question. 

Is there someone in your world, in your office, in your life that you might want to ask that question to?  How are you doing?  Really, how are you doing?  You have the power to make someone's day.

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

making new friends

When you go to church, do you see people that you don't know?  What would happen if every single one of us introduced ourselves to one new person each week?

Families are invested in each other.  I know that you already know some folks, but what's wrong with meeting a few more?  What is wrong with expanding the size of your family of friends?

Show some hospitality.  Make  a new rule.  From now on, I promise to meet one new person every single week.  You may make some great new friends.  Jesus is always looking for new friends.

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

from a friend.......

A friend shared this with me.......

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

Saturday, December 7, 2013

garage door

I lose my keys.  I lose my wallet.  I always find them - right where I left them.  One of my favorite authors tells me that if you can't remember where you put things, then you are
in too big of a hurry.  He suggests that we slow down and savor the moment of emptying our pockets, of setting out the collection of things from the day.   What most of us do is set our stuff down, all the while our brain is already in another room.  No wonder we can't remember where we put anything.

And so there is that garage door.  That darn door.  I shut it almost every time I leave the house.  But, I rarely remember doing this.  At least three times a week I have to turn around and go back home to check and make sure.  Now I am usually just a few blocks away from home when I turn around, but I go back to check that the door is down way too often.

I guess I need to learn to savor the lowering of the garage door.  I need to live in the moment and the joy of that instead of rushing off to begin the day.

You know, when I think about that, it bears some merit.  Many people in this world do not own a home, much less a home with a garage or an automatic garage door opening device.  Maybe I should stop to be thankful every time I push that button.  Maybe that would turn a frustrating moment of forgetfulness into a brief time of prayer and thanksgiving.

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to my dear wife Cathy.  Today she is 29 years old.  She is wonderful and delightful and the older I get, the more I like her.  It is an interesting thing, being married for a long time.  It starts to feel like an old shoe or a pair of jeans that has acclimated to your shape.  It just fits.

Join me in wishing her a happy day.  She is a delightful soul.

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

Thursday, December 5, 2013


Behavior.  Some of it I like and some of it I don't.  I have values.  But I am not throwing you or anyone else away.

I don't like everything that everyone does.  I don't condone what everyone else does.  I don't even understand what everyone else does.  I am not going to do some of what I see others doing.

But I am not throwing them away.  Or you.  I hope you won't throw me away if you see something in me that you don't like.  When we love people, [and that is why we are here on this earth] we love them in spite of their warts.  Plain and simple.  When we dispense our love only to the worthy, we don't get to give very much of it away.

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

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Sometimes I don't understand.  Sometimes you won't understand.  There are things that we see in this world that we can't explain.  We don't have power over them and we don't know all the details. 

I don't like a thing, but I am powerless to change it.  I know there is more to the story.  It is certainly more complicated than I know.  But I still don't like it.

I can quit.  Or I can hang in there.  Every job, every marriage, every church, every country is going to have things in it that we don't understand and we cannot control.  Don't quit your job, divorce your spouse, go looking for the perfect church or renounce your citizenship.

We just aren't going to know all the details.  We just don't  know the entire story.  It is still a great job.  A great marriage, a great kid, a great church, a great country.  Let me focus on the good and worry less on the rest.

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ten reasons

I read a couple of articles the other day on the internet about managing money.  I thought they were wonderful.  They were like, Ten reasons why you will never be rich......

Here are some of the highlights, and I added some of my own:
  • you spend money like you are already rich.
  • you don't have a plan.
  • you don't have an emergency fund set up.
  • you don't save.
  • you started to save too late.
  • you neglected retirement.
  • you sacrificed tomorrow for today.
  • you did not invest in an education that will put you into a good job.
  • you have too much debt.
  • you pay too many fees.
  • you are easily influenced.
  • you have no budget.
  • you don't pay attention to the budget that you have.
  • you don't track expenses.
  • you don't balance your account each month.
  • you don't save via automatic withdrawals.
  • you buy high and sell low.
  • you buy everything new.
  • you think you deserve the best.
  • you try to keep up with the Jones'
  • you are living a life of consumption rather than generosity.
  • you try to retire too early.
  • you have no sense of urgency.
  • you would rather complain than commit to change.

Here are the links if you want to read it all.

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

Monday, December 2, 2013

three things

I rolled out of bed early the other day.  I had three things on my mind.  Three things.  In the middle of the night.  I can't stop thinking of them.  Over and over my mind is thinking about them.  I am dreaming, thinking of them.  No I am awake thinking of them.  I don't know for sure, but I can't stop thinking of them.  Three random things.  Here they are:
  1. I don't feel well.  They Mexican food from last night is upsetting my sleep.  No more green sauce for me.
  2. The movie Pitch Perfect.  The songs are going through my head.  "When you walk on by, will you call my name...."
  3. The sermon.  It's being preached in my head, over and over.  This is not a bad thing.
So, I couldn't take it anymore.  I rolled out of bed and got to work.  I took an antacid.  I sang some songs from the movie.  I worked on the sermon.  Finally, I am at peace and can get on with the day.

What do I take from this dumb little story?   Our minds are amazing.  Incredible.  They are certainly a gift from God if not a spiritual thing.  They are beyond our understanding.  To think that in the middle of the night, while I am sleeping, my brain is still working.  And on all kinds of things.  Amazing.

I pause in this moment to marvel at the wonder of our minds, our bodies, our lives.  Thank you God.

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

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What would Jesus do?

Judgment or welcome?  Which do you choose?  I am often asked, "if Jesus loved everyone and welcomed sinners, why do so many churches push people away with judgment?"

It is a very good question.  I don't know why.  The only people that Jesus squared off with were the Pharisees.  Everyone else, he welcomed.

In my opinion, churches should focus less on judgment and more on welcome.  On, loving people instead of trying to straighten them out.  It is the job of the Holy Spirit to straighten people out.

Life is too good and too short.  Give to others what you want Jesus to give to you- open arms, a loving heart and a sincere welcome.

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