Friday, January 31, 2014

a bit of joy

I am never sick.  Hardly ever.  When I do get sick, I am never sick on Sunday.  I can't remember a time when I had to call in sick on a Sunday.

Well, this week, I was sick.  For one day.  It was either the 24 hour ick or I ate something bad.  Has anyone else had trouble with the Red White and Blue salad at Red Robin?  It may have just been the 24 hour ick.  But I am telling you, I felt bad.  Green at the gills.  Yucky.

So where is the bit of joy?  The bit of joy comes from feeling better.  After you have been sick, it feels so good to feel good.  We take life and health for granted.  Being sick every now and then reminds us of how good it feels to feel normal, to feel healthy.  Today, I am good to go.  Thank God.  Hey, maybe we should thank God every day for feeling well, for feeling healthy.

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

Thursday, January 30, 2014

No complaints

a better than typical home
People keep asking me about my recent trip to Nicaragua. 

How was your trip?
Did you have a good time?
Are you going back?
What was the weather like?
Was it a good trip?

village pig rooting along the trail
It is hard to know how to answer such questions.  But, I have finally found a response that I think fits a trip to Los Pinos, Nicaragua.  Here it is:  We Americans, we Woods Chapilians should never complain about anything again for the rest of our lives.  Period.

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I want to thank you for the many comforting thoughts that y
ou sent my way after yesterday's post.   One friend shared the picture and my Pastor friend Wes shared this story of the Rainbow Bridge:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...”

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

sad news

Lou in his Pitt State Gorilla gear -
waiting for mom to come in the door.
Yesterday we said goodbye to our family dog, Lou the schnauzer.  We had him for 13 years.  We got him when Scott was 9 years old.  All of my family is sad.  The entire thing is very sad.  I hurt for my kids.

He has been blind for several months.  Yesterday morning, he fell down the stairs and was hurt.  That was the last straw.

Lou with some of his buddies
You know how these things go.  Tough decisions, tough moments and someone has to take the lead on all of it. 

Well, he had a great life.  He was dearly loved.  He never longed for food or water.  He learned some tricks.  He could do somersaults and flips for a treat.  He chased cats and he wiped out some rabbits in his time.  He barked at all intruders.  He passionately protected his family.  He left this world with a belly full of treats and an hour of back scratching and praise.  We will always remember him and love him.  If in heaven, the lion lays down with the lamb, then we will see Lou again.

A sad day.  A tough day.  I cried like a baby.

Monday, January 27, 2014

big hearted

Generous.  Big hearted.  That is one of the great characteristics of the people of Woods Chapel.  I continue to be amazed at the way that you all so willingly give of yourselves to help others.

Yesterday during services, we asked for help to build a village of concrete homes for our friends in Los Pinos, Nicaragua.  The homes cost $4,500 each and there are 25 of them in the village.  That is a lot of money, but it makes a tremendous difference in the lives of the Nicaraguan families that currently live in mud huts.

I have not heard the final numbers, but I am expecting that we received checks or commitments for 20 of the 25 homes yesterday.  I have faith that the rest will come in short order.

You are a great people with a great heart and it is my pleasure to be your pastor and to be on this journey with you in life.  There is a joy that comes from generous living.  Thank you and God bless you!

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

a sin

There is a sin that I think of every time I come back from a mission trip.  It is the sin of forgetting.

We go, and we see, and we think, how can it be like this?  We have so much, they have so little.  It is very easy for us to fall back into our comfortable life, and forget the people that God has called us to love.
We love the scriptures that tell us of God's forgiveness for us, but we like to forget the ones that point us out toward others.
1 Jn 3 says, "16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
And so here are these wonderful people that we have grown to know and love.  We have taken them into our Woods Chapel family.   Let's not forget them. 

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

Saturday, January 25, 2014

a significant moment

I was in Nicaragua this past week.  One night at dinner, I had a very unusual feeling.  We were discussing something amazing, [which I will cover with you on Sunday] and I had this feeling.....  it just came into my brain, "this is one of the most significant days of my life."

This is a very moving mission to be involved in.  I hope that each of you are finding the joy of being in mission for Jesus.  Somewhere, anywhere, sometime, anytime, all the time.  Local, national or who knows where, the world is waiting for you, and we find fulfillment when we are being about our Father's business.

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

Friday, January 24, 2014


I want to thank you today for the gift of vacation and the gift of mission trips.  Sometimes people ask, "where is Jeff?"  "Gone again?"  After preaching for nine Sundays in a row, on January 12th I was on vacation.  It is so nice to have a week to rest up every now and then.  January 19th I was with our mission team in Nicaragua.  It is important that the pastor is able to experience our missions so that I can articulate and help them find a foothold among the church family.

I will be in church this Sunday, January 26 and will be preaching the normal schedule.  Thanks for your understanding and support.

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

Thursday, January 23, 2014

thoughts on prayer

I wish I could honestly say I knew how prayer works. I pray…not for the new car or the powerball, but mainly for direction and for others in need. I am not sure if my prayers have had an impact on anyone, but I do know how they impact me. They bring me peace and comfort. I will also say, without a doubt, being asked by someone to pray on their behalf is a powerful thing. There is a reason this happens. A connection is made. The spirit is flowing and God is at work joining us together, changing hearts and minds while providing hope and comfort.

The great thing is God, who knows and understands me better than anyone else, hears my words and thoughts and is happy that I am in conversation with Him.
So I pray.

Lion’s Den Man

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

one thing leads to another

The other day I posted a scripture reading from Philippians 4:4-9.

I received a nice comment about that post from a reader. They referenced another piece of  scripture that my post reminded them of:
Isaiah 26:3
3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

As I was looking for the verse from Isaiah in my bible I ran across a note from my daughter which had her favorite verse:
Joshua 1:9
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

She is away at school. I miss her. I will call her today…..
There is a connection that flows and binds us together. One thing leads to another. A good path can be followed if we just open our hearts to see it.

Lion’s Den Man

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

expression of the heart

I came across this story of Rebekah the other day. What is said after the story stuck with me. It made me think of our many missions and the folks that serve in various capacities at WCC.

When the servant arrived in the town of Nahor, a young woman named Rebekah greeted him and offered to get the servant a drink. When he had finished drinking, Rebekah said, “I’ll draw water for your camels too, until they have finished drinking.” We are told she “quickly” emptied her jar into the trough and “ran” back to the well to draw more water. It all sounds fairly unremarkable, until you read between the lines:

One gallon of water weighs eight pounds; a thirsty camel can drink up to thirty gallons of water; and there were ten camels. Do the math. Rebekah is running to the well. This girl is drawing three hundred gallons of water for a stranger.

She does all that could be reasonably expected of her and then some. This was the pivotal moment of her life. Because of her act of service, Rebekah became the wife of Isaac and went on the adventure of a lifetime, becoming part of sacred history. To this day, her name is remembered and revered by people of faith. But Rebekah did not know all this was at stake. She did not offer to draw three hundred gallons of water because she knew what the reward could be. It was simply an expression of her heart.

I am blessed to be part of a church that reaches out simply because they feel the call. Please keep our Nicaragua team in your prayers.

Lion’s Den Man

Monday, January 20, 2014

daily exercise

I was reading a book and it referenced this piece of scripture so I wrote it down on an index card to use as a bookmark. I have been reading it (the bookmark) every day prior to my book reading. Since I read in the morning I have found this little exercise to make big a difference in how my day unfolds.

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Lion’s Den Man

Sunday, January 19, 2014

pluck it out

I have been working on redoing our shower at home.  I have never done this before and I am not doing a very good job.  It is kind of a nervous thing, because if you get it wrong, you may have a leak and the ceiling below come crashing down. 
Not good. 

So, twice now, as I have been working on the floor, I have made mistakes.  I have stewed over the mistakes, wondering if they would make a difference.  In the end I have taken the flooring out to start over.  Twice.  I want to make sure that I do this right.

As I was laying in bed one morning thinking about tearing the floor out again, I was reminded of what Jesus said, "if your eye offend thee, pluck it out."  So removing the floor to start over was a spiritual thing.

I also got to wondering about some other things in my life that maybe I need to change.  When we see things that are hurting us, sometimes we need to take Jesus' advice and pluck them out.  Just stop a thing all together.

Removing a thing can be difficult, but it the long run, it may prevent the ceiling of your life from falling in.

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

Saturday, January 18, 2014

an itch

2005 Civic
I got the itch to get a new car.  My Honda civic is a 2005.  It has 130,000 miles on it.  It does not have heated seats.  I stewed about this.  I prayed about this.  I wondered if God would tell me to buy a new car.

I waited long enough that the feeling went away.  Hooray!  I went on line and bought a heated seat cover for $20.  Now, I have a heated seat, and no car payment.

heated seat cushion = $20
Next time you feel the itch, wait long enough for the feeling to subside.  There are often many, less expensive ways to solve your problems.

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

heated steering wheel = free.  wear gloves 

Friday, January 17, 2014

someone to listen

I hope that when times are difficult that you have someone to listen to you.  Someone that will let you cry.  Someone that is not bothered by your tears.  Someone that feels that it is an honor to hear the cries of your heart.  It is a blessing to have someone like this in your life. 

It is also a blessing to be someone like this.  Can you listen to a friend today?  Can you take the time to walk with them through a dark valley?  Together, we can make the world a warmer, more beautiful place if we simply make the time to listen.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Dad's tools

Mom died first.  Dad got rid of a lot of her stuff.  Then after he died, there was still a lot of stuff.  We split it up three ways.  It was still too much.  I wanted to keep it all, but after a few years, it started to go.  I realized that it was just stuff. 

I did save a few of Dad's things.  One of them was a Craftsman brand set of taps and dies.  That is a specialty tool that you use to clean out threads on a nut or bolt.  That set has sat in my tool box for 10 years.  Finally the other day, I needed it, I got it out, and I used it.  It worked like a charm.

I thought of my Dad and it made me smile.  Somehow, even though they are gone, I sense that they are still with us.  I think he was happy that I used his tool set.  It certainly made me happy to do so.

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

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

feeling bad

I talked to someone the other day who always struggles with feeling bad.  They said, "it's what I do."  "It's how I was raised."  "There always has to be something that makes me feel that I am not good enough."

Part of me can relate to what they were saying.  There are so many critical voices in the back of our heads, and it should not be so.  Life is short, life is good and God loves us.  What more do we need?

I think it may be a long journey, but all of us need to work to fight off inappropriate guilt.  We waste our days feeling badly when God wants us to celebrate the gift of life.

There is so much good if we can just see it.

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

who will remember

Who played in the Fiesta Bowl this year?  Baylor and UCF.  Other than those players and fans, who will remember in ten years?  Heck, who played in the Fiesta Bowl last year?  We don't remember.  It's just a football game.  Who sponsors the Fiesta Bowl?  Umm.  Hmm.  Tostitos.  Did you know that?  Who cares.  It doesn't matter.  It's just a football game.

And so I think the Chiefs played the Colts a few days ago.  Ouch.  OUCH!  I would like to tell you that no one will remember that.  Except I do remember.  I remember the Superbowl victory when I was 13 years old.  [I won $5 from Eddie Buller on the game] I remember Jan Stenerude missing multiple field goals in 1971.  I remember a lot of painful Chief moments. 

Being a Chiefs fan is like loving a person who will not love you back.  It is such a jilting thing.  Who will remember?  I probably will.  But I have to keep reminding myself, it is only a football game.  It is only a game.  A game.

On the other hand, we who follow Christ are engaged in life.  Real life.  There are so many things out there that are so much more important than football.  Let's keep our eyes on the ball.  God is good and He never lets us down.

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

Monday, January 13, 2014

at the end

Say what you may about the Duck Dynasty program, they always pray at the end of the show.  What a person does at the beginning, and at the end, is a bit telling about who they are in the middle.  To bookend your day with prayer is a good thing.  To bookend your life with an acknowledgement of God is just healthy.

I have been watching a show on Netflix called "Survivors."  Its an old BBC series about people who survive a disease that kills 90% of the population.  During each show they have all sorts of drama and trauma going on.  Characters are kidnapped, they get lost, they run out of gas and things like that.  But at the end of every show, they all come home. The door to the house opens and they all come home.

To end the day by coming home is a good thing.  Home is a good thing.  To pray, to acknowledge God, and to come home...they are all such good and important things.

When today is done, go home, and pray.  Give thanks for the people in your life and the gift of life itself.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

more on God's voice

It is really dangerous when we hear God telling us to do something that we want to do, something that others might think suspect.  It is so easy to get a person's self in the way of hearing God's voice.  Pretty soon, God told me to buy that car or God told me to do something else which conveniently is exactly what I wanted myself.

Self interest is a very destructive force and can blind a person to what is really going on in the world.  When America was being colonized by the Europeans, several diseases came over with them that the Indians had no immunity towards.  Entire tribes were dying of smallpox, which caused more than one colonist to say, "well, this is just proof that God wills that we should have the land."

Be very careful about claiming God's will to do something that you want to do.  Buy the car if you like, but take responsibility for the decision, don't blame it on the good Lord.

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

Saturday, January 11, 2014

God's voice part 2

It has always made me a little nervous to say that I was hearing God's voice.  As a Pastor, one should certainly hear God's voice, but I never liked saying it.  It sounds kind of pretentious to say that one has heard from God.  It is also dangerous.  What if you are wrong?  You know, a good number of people through the years have said that they heard from God about something, and it turned out to be nothing close to God's voice.

I believe that if you hear God's voice or are led by the spirit, you don't have to tell anyone.  They will know it.  They just know it.  There is an old saying, "those who say, don't know, those who know, don't have to say."

I hope that you all hear God's voice.  But more than that, I hope that we all live in such a way that others will look at us and say to themselves, "wow, that person is listening to our Father."

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hearing God's voice

We know we hear him when we are doing his will.  Are you helping someone?  Are you being joyful?  Thankful?  Then you might be doing God's will. 

When we break the law, hurt others, steal, ignore our responsibilities, and things like that, we are probably not hearing God's voice.

God's voice produces within us the fruit of the Spirit.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Meekness, and Self-control.  I missed one, but you get the idea.

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

first world problems

I am intrigued by the issue of "first world problems."  First world problems are problems that folks like us, that live in wealthy countries have, that most other people around the world would never worry about or never have the chance to worry about.  Many of the things that we used to consider normal problems, are in fact, first world problems.

-I had to park a long way from the entrance.
-someone cut me off in traffic
-we are having a very cold winter
-they stopped making my favorite kind of _____.
-my car broke down.
-my Internet is down
-my phone is dropping calls
-my boss is annoying

Those are all first world problems.  Real problems on the other hand, would include things like hunger, rape, human trafficking, a dictator, or disease.

The apostle Paul said that he had learned in all things to be content.  What kind of things are bothering you?

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

quote from a friend

Sometimes I wonder if people are hearing some of what I am trying to say.  A friend sent this and it made me happy.  It strikes right at the heart of something that I feel is so important in life.

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I was watching a post-apocalyptic show last week.  It is one of my favorite genres of movies.  [post nuclear war, famine, societal breakdown, scare resources, people struggling to survive and fine meaning] There was a scene where folks had a tense run in with some bad guys.  After the encounter was over, they talked about how much they hated them.

Then one of the brighter characters said, "I don't have the strength to hate anymore."  I loved it.  I don't have the strength to hate anymore!  Why waste the time?  Why waste the energy?  When we hate, we are the losers.  Usually the other person does not even know they are loathed.  Or they know and don't care.  We are the ones that get eaten up by hatred.

Life is too short.  Life is too good.  Don't waste your strength on hatred.  Love is so much better.

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

Monday, January 6, 2014


I will probably be writing a good deal about Lou the Schnauzer.  We think he is nearing the end.  He will be 13 on May 5th. 

He can't see, he can't jump, he can only go up one or two stairs, and that very slowly.  He runs into things.  He is routinely lost.  But, but, but- he still barks at every stranger that comes into his house.  He does not miss an opportunity to bark at someone he does not know.

Persistent little dude.  You have to admire that.  Sometimes we give up too soon.  Persistence is a virtue.   Many things in life never happen because we gave up too soon.  And many great things were accomplished, with great persistence.

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

inclement weather

Good Morning-

There is about three inches of snow on the ground at 6:15am.  Snow continues to fall and is blowing.  The church lot is being plowed at this very moment.

We will be holding services per our usual schedule of 8:00am, 9:05am, 10:10am and 11:15am.

If the weather keeps you from attending, we invite you to worship with us on live streaming by going to the web site

note- do not type the "WWW"

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

a good report

I had some things checked out last week.  I got a good report.  A friend had a tumor removed.  She waited and waited for the results.  Then she got a good report.

Not everyone gets a good report, not every time.  The day is coming for most of us that we will get a report that we do not want to hear. 

But for today, let's celebrate every good report that we can.

God is good and life is amazing.  Let's give thanks for every moment that God gives us.  "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good."

It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to say thank you.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

search and rescue

Poor old Lou is having a bad time.  He is failing in health and is totally blind.  I let him out to do his business the other night.  There was an inch of snow on the ground.  I turned my back for a moment and he was gone.  I called him and looked a bit, but he had bolted.  Surely off chasing [blindly] the smell of some deer, raccoon or antelope.

It was really cold.  I went back inside and got my cold weather gear.  Freezing cold, pitch black of the night, I am going to find this dog.  Heaviest gloves, heaviest coat, Russian hat, hood, boots, all zipped up tight.  My best flashlight.

Off I went on the search.  I tracked him like an Indian.  I followed his little footsteps in the moonlit snow.  Across our yard, across Cooks, across John's, into John's backyard and into the woods.  I am calling him and it occurs to me- how do you see a black dog on a black night?

I was about to give up and then he just appeared.  Boom.  There he was.  I think he was glad to find me.  I was probably more worried about it than he was.  He didn't even know that he was lost.  He is back home now and resting safely, but he did make me a little nervous.  We sure love our pets don't we?

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

Friday, January 3, 2014


So, when you are over 50, they want you to have certain tests.  Some of them are embarrassing.  When I was 50 I had one of those, and they removed some growths.  So I had to have it again this year.  This week in fact.

So, I woke up one morning, and was not allowed to eat for 36 hours.  Let me tell you, by the time the test started, I was hungry.  HUNGRY.  It was comforting to know that as soon as the test was over I could eat, but I could not help but think about people who are hungry all the time.  We are so blessed.  We have so much.  There are people in this world who are hungry every day. 

Anything that we can do to simply feed people is just good.  I have no argument with any program that feeds people.  If you have plenty to eat today, please don't take it for granted.  It is a blessing.  Food is a blessing.  I was hungry and you fed me.  Jesus said that.

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

Thursday, January 2, 2014

lecture part 2

I heard something else that I found interesting in the lecture.  The speaker was talking about the separation of church and state.  He noted that in Europe, they have state churches and they are almost completely dead.  Here in America there is a separation, and the level of people's religious activity is much higher in the states.

He suggests the reason for this is not the condition of the churches, but the state of politicians.  He said that no one trusts politicians.  The minute they get in the middle of something, it gets corrupted and people don't want to have anything to do with it anymore.

He suggested that if we created a God-centered state in America, that people would flee from it because the politicians would pollute it.  He suggested that we celebrate our system as it is.

I am thinking about this.

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

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I was listening to a lecture the other day and the speaker was talking about the Protestant reformation that took place in the 1500's.

Early Protestants referred to this period as being "a time of the outbreak of truth."  Early Catholics referred to it as "a time of the outbreak of heresy."

Consider your position on a thing or on a topic.  Are you sure you see it the right way?  Is it possible that someone else, maybe even someone close to you might see the thing or topic exactly the opposite of you?

I am coming to believe that we are not as smart as we think we are.  We need to learn to trust in God more and not be so full of ourselves.  May your new year be filled with a trusting in God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths.
                                         Proverbs 3:5-7

Happy New Year!

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