Saturday, May 31, 2014


Earlier this week, I took my first bicycle ride of the season.  I should have done this months ago, but we get so busy - you know?  It was great.  A six mile loop around the neighborhood at 630am.  This was my first outing on my new hybrid bicycle.  It is a 1996 model Giant brand bike that I bought off Craig's list.  Yes it has a big puffy gel seat!

I love bicycles and bicycle rides.  I am not sure why, but I always have.  My first job in 1972 was at a bike shop in San Jose.  I was president of the bike club in high school.  I once rode 120 miles in one day.  But, my first ride of the season this year.......only six miles, but it was great.  I enjoyed it so much.

I hope you have some things that bring you joy and get you some exercise.

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

Friday, May 30, 2014


I was thinking of you the other day.  A word came to my mind - delightful.  I thought of how delightful it was to have you as my friend.

Delightful is such a happy word.  Such a good word that is full of joy.  It makes me happy to think of you.  I am blessed to have you as my friend.  I am totally delighted by the opportunity.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Auschwitz.  The word stops me in my tracks.  My brain is derailed.  What ever I was doing, what ever I was thinking has come to a complete stop.  The horror of Auschwitz is so painful to think about.

I was flipping thru the channels the other night and landed on a show about a family of little people who all went to the camp.  Because they were musicians and because they were  used in experiments, they all survived.  Almost unheard of that an entire family would survive.

I was hoping to watch some entertaining show, but when that came on, I was pulled in.  The story is deeply painful but also captivating.

It is hard to know where to go, after pondering this except I think someone once said, "never again."  Never Again.

And I think of who I meet today and how I will treat them.  Kindness is so important.   Every person is valuable in this life.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

people in ministry

One of the things that I love about our church is the number of people that have gone into the ministry from Woods Chapel or who have found growth and encouragement while on our staff.

I think every now and then we should celebrate these folks:  Sandy Nenadahl, Kate McClain, Bob Jeppson, Stacie Williams, Clay Withers, Shawn Franssens, Jennifer Biggs, Sherri Swanson, Gina Kennedy, Wendy Minshall and others.

Currently we have at least two people that I know of in the candidacy program:  Steve Elkins and Mike Scott.

For our church to help others move through our system and out to another church is a wonderful gift.  It is a way that we can exponentially expand our reach.  Please encourage anyone who is in or is thinking of going into the ministry. 

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

cell tower

Several have asked so I thought I would take a moment to bring you up to speed on the cell tower situation at church.  It is off the table.  The contract we that we had with the phone carrier allowed them to pull out for any or no reason.  They decided that technology is changing too fast right now and so they cancelled the installation.

Several had asked and I just wanted you to know.

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

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day gift

My oldest daughter came to visit for Memorial Day weekend.  I have not seen her for months.  She asked if I could pick her up at the airport.  Everyone loves her and at least three people took off work so they could horn in and go pick her up from the airport too.  But No!  I want to pick her up!  She asked me!

When she came out of the secure area, I hugged her and cried like a baby.  We had a great drive from the airport.  We had a wonderful lunch together, and then we went home.

It's been a great visit.  I hate to see her go back, but it was great to have her this weekend.  Having a family is a wonderful gift.

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

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Someone mentioned that one of my posts last week was heavy.  Probably so.  Some of the daily posts sometimes feel light to me as well. 

Life has it's times doesn't it?  Happy, sad, funny, heavy, lost and found - we find it all.  Sometimes we wish that we never had ups and downs, but what would that life be like?

Personally I find that the changes of life turn me towards our Father.  The joys and concerns are all part of the daily dance of life.

Today we will be gathering in worship at Woods Chapel to celebrate again the presence of God in the midst of our lives.  Some will arrive happy, some heavy, some ambivalent.  God is with us through it all.

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

Saturday, May 24, 2014


Oh the joy of living a generous life!  Recently I have witnessed some amazing generosity.

  • people working on the landscape team
  • people building the wall in the old mission building to make space for the youth
  • someone gave money for the new youth worship area
  • someone donated their employees time to the church
  • someone is going to cut out some bad concrete for free
  • someone gave carpet
  • someone repaired gutters and soffits
  • someone spent the day on the paint crew
  • someone joined the hospitality team
  • someone joined the security team
  • families in Nicaragua have been adopted
  • donations were made for a car wash

On and on this list could go.  I am amazed at the kindness of each of you.  I know it makes for a happy life when people live generously.  You guys rise to the top of incredible.  Thanks for all that you do for the kingdom of God.

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

Friday, May 23, 2014

beyond my control

There is a thing that is happening, and it is beyond your control.  You wish it were different, you wish that you could fix it, but you can't.  Welcome to the human race.

Each of us have a choice in life, to worry about what we cannot control, or to put the thing or the person into God's hands.  Worry will leave when trust in God arrives.

Worry leaves when trust arrives.  It sounds simple.  It might be.  But it does not seem that easy to me.  And so I keep striving to do right, to make a difference, and to leave the rest to God.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

woe to those

[I will begin by saying that I am writing this part tongue in cheek.]

Woe to those.
Woe to those who read unacceptable authors for you may be indoctrinated with heresy.  Woe to you who read history for you may learn things that will confuse the present.  Woe to you who question the status quo for questions debilitate everything.  Woe to those who do or think anything outside of what I think is acceptable.

[That is the end of the tongue in cheek.]

I used to think the way I described above.  When I was in my 20's I knew it all.  Today I still run into people who think that they know it all.  They think that they know what is right and what is wrong without a shadow of a doubt - for everyone.  Life is black and white to them. 

Let me ask some questions.  Are questions allowed?  They better be or your life system is in great jeopardy.  Is it possible that in my 56 years I have missed a few things?  You bet it is possible.  It is not only possible, not only likely, but the fact is that none of us have it exactly right.  Some people find comfortable lives by putting hard borders on the God that lives in the box that they created for him.  I would tell you that great lives come into being by heartfelt consideration of all things.  The greatest believers have some doubts.  No author gets it right every time.  Just because someone wrote something that I don't agree with does not mean that we should never read their books or that they should be rejected by the latest inquisition.

Bases of power have a great history of telling us what they want us to know.  Great organizations and great people, not only allow, but encourage questions.  Never be afraid to take a new look at a thing.  God is bigger, much bigger than our ideas about him.

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

dead mower

Our mower finally died.  Actually it runs great, but the wheels keep falling off, so we had to spring for a new one.  We had this mower for 12 years.  It was a good mower, but the hills took their toll on the rear wheel drive.  I bet I fixed it ten different times.  In the last few years I have had to buy new gears for it every single season.  No more.  Now it is someone else's problem.  I put it out on the street one morning.  Free mower. When I came home for lunch it had already been picked up by it's new owner.

By the way, did I tell you that I am a lucky guy?  My wife likes to mow the grass.  She gets mad at me when I do it.  So now she has a new mower with wheels that work.

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

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

self disclosure

So I am going to tell you something that no one knows.  I don't think my kids know this.

When I was a kid I had a baby doll.  Her name was Ethyl.  I carried her around all the time.  I played baseball and did boy things too, but I had a baby doll.  My Dad used to give me grief about Ethyl.  He wanted me to get rid of her.  I wouldn't do it.  Then one day he took her away and pitched her.  I was sad.  For about ten minutes.  Then my life went on with out Ethyl. 

Occasionally I think of Ethyl and smile.  It was a long time ago.

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

Monday, May 19, 2014


If you have ever watched a grandpa rocking on his porch and thought, "how sad" did you ever wonder what he was thinking?  What is he thinking about you and me? 

What if he is finally past trying to figure everything out?  What if he laughs at us thinking that we know something?  Or better yet, what if he is not even worried about us and what we think. 

What if he is finally at last resting, relaxing, enjoying and celebrating life. 

It's a beautiful day in God's world, relax and see the good.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


From my friend Ami-

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

Saturday, May 17, 2014

two old sayings

There are two old sayings that I think collide with each other.

The first one is about how when your kids are children they think  you are smart.  Then when they are teenagers, they think you are dumb.  Then when they get older, they decide that you got smarter along the way.  This is a smart, dumb, smart story.

The other is the old saying that says, the older I get, the less I know.  This is a dumb, smart, dumb story.

They seem to collide to me.

So I will reconcile them like this: 
When the kids thought we were smart, we weren't as smart as they thought, or as we thought.
When they thought we were dumb, they forgot that experience is a great teacher.
When they decided that we were smart again, well, they were only part right because none of us know as much as we think.

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

keep at it

My friend Keri shared this Mother Teresa quote.  It reminds me of the Martina Mcbride song, Do it Anyway.   Here is the link to the song:

One foot in front of the other. One step after the last.  Never quit, never give up.  Keep going.  Keep going.  Sometimes life is difficult.  Sometimes we don't want to do the right things, but we keep going.   If you quit, you will never get to the other side.  Perseverance is a virtue.

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

Thursday, May 15, 2014

4201 NE Lakewood Way

You may remember an all church conference a few weeks back to consider the purchase of a building.  The proposal passed 82-0 with one abstention.  Last week, the building closed.  You are now the owner of an 11,000 square foot building on the 291 frontage just 1/2 mile south of the church.

The new building will serve as our missions center and will house the following ministries: 

-early responders
-children's clothing closet
-cancer ministry
-prom dress ministry
-video production
-the new baby ministry
-several other things that I can't think of.

The burgeoning youth group will be moving into most of the vacated space at the current mission building.  Help is needed for minor remodeling inside the new building, and to move the ministries over.  Send me an email if you can help.

Thanks for being an awesome church and for outgrowing your missions space!

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

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

both at once

Someone asked me how we can help in Princeton and at Raytown at the same time.  [Read yesterday's post and the post from Oct 17, 2013].  The answer to this is that we won't be.  Princeton will have a new pastor on June 29, which is when we start in Raytown.  We timed it this way on purpose.

However, generous people do many things simultaneously.  Generous churches do as well.  We are currently in a mentoring relationship with several local churches, we have adopted a village in Nicaragua, we hosted a seminar last weekend for a nationally known church consultant, and on and on the list goes.

A generous heart cannot be, should not be bound.  May we all do all the good we can, to all the people we can, in all the ways that we can, all the times that we can.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


The Raytown First United Methodist Church is closing their doors.  The Missouri Conference has asked us to step in so that we can maintain a ‘United Methodist’ presence in that area.  June 22nd will be the last Sunday that Raytown UMC will be in service and on June 29th, “Woods Chapel UMC-Raytown Campus” will hold our first service in the building. 
There is a great need in the community around the church.  Michael Scott along with others from our church will be preaching and will help revitalize the ministries of this church. 
This is a pretty low risk way for us to try and expand the kingdom.  If we are not able to successfully restore ministry in this new setting, the conference will simply sell the building and use the money to start new churches.

We will be sharing more opportunities about Woods Chapel UMC-Raytown Campus soon!  There is a work day on May 17th to do some clean up and painting.  Let me know if you are interested in being involved.

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

Monday, May 12, 2014


If you missed church yesterday, you missed an important announcement.

It is with mixed emotions that I share the following with you.  If you have been around the Methodist church for any length of time, you know that pastors are appointed from June to June, one year at a time.  Pastor Shawn has been asked by the Bishop to be the Sr. Pastor at the North Cross UMC in NKC and he has accepted.  Shawn and his family will be with us thru June 22nd. 

These kind of changes are difficult, but it is a great opportunity for him.  It is also important to keep in mind that he will be a great blessing as their Sr Pastor to that church and to the Kingdom.  Be sure to thank Pastor Shawn for all that he has done for us here at Woods Chapel.

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

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Equanimity.  An evenness of mind, especially under stress.  Surrendering to those things which we cannot control.  Surrendering to the mystery of life and the challenges that come.

I am finding in life, more things that I cannot fix.  I think it is human nature to want to fight against difficulty and fight against what we do not like.  But sometimes, the fighting a thing, only makes it worse.  It gives a thing power and control over you.  Oh for a little more equanimity in such situations. 

What the Apostle Paul referred to when he named the fruit of the spirit - "love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, self control....."  May God grant you an evenness of mind when the storms of life blow in.

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

Saturday, May 10, 2014

a visitor at woods chapel

new visitor at church
After the recent rains at church, we had a very scary visitor.  This snapping turtle which was about 18 inches long....just the shell was 18 inches, was found in our parking lot.  Maybe he was trying to get in to pray.

Some of our staff were a little worried that he might get hit by a car and squished.  So, they gingerly approached him and hauled him back down to the pond.  I am sure that he is happily eating fish again.

Snapping turtles can really take a chunk out of you if they get a hold of your hand or finger.  I know our staff was pretty nervous about this visitor to our church, but they did not let their fear get in the way of their hearts.  There is a lesson for us all.  Don't let your fear get in the way of your heart.

snapper gets a free ride to the pond
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Friday, May 9, 2014

what to say to children

I get questions all the time about how to explain death to children.  It is an important topic especially because in this day and age, when parents tend to be more open with children, we can easily overwhelm them with ideas and emotions.

Children are not dumb.  They have some idea of life and death.  There is a great book in the church bookstore call The Fall of Freddie the Leaf which deals with the subject quite well.

Generally I experience parents and adults sharing way too much with children.  Children are not prepared to take on the adult emotions, ideas and grief that you may be feeling.  It is not appropriate to expect them to act as a counselor to us.  We need to allow them to be children.  They deserve a short explanation about what happened and then they need to have the chance to go back to being a kid.

They do want to return to play and they will do so if you free them to do it.  If you tie them up with your grief, they will not return to play until you let them.

Children will take their cues on how to act from you.  If you are totally freaked out, the kids will be as well.  If you tell your kids what happened, briefly, and then tell them that it is ok, they will understand and go back to being a kid.  "yes, Great Aunt Suzie died.  She is in heaven with Jesus.  It's ok.  Mom and Dad are ok and we love you and everything is ok."  Everything is ok.  That is the message they need.

Allow your children to move through the loss of a loved one without having to bear the burden of emotions that they are not ready for.  Allow them to be kids.  That is what they are after all.

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

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I need to grow up

When I was 20, I needed to grow up.  I needed to stop blaming my parents.  I needed to work and pay my own bills.  I needed to stop complaining and take responsibility for my life.

Now I am 56.  I still need to grow up.  I need to stop worrying about my kids.  If they live in Chicago or Lees Summit, that is their choice, not mine.  If they make a little money or a lot, that is their choice.  If they pay their bills, if they go deep into debt, if they don't get married and I don't get to have grandchildren, those are all their choices not mine.

Some people drive themselves crazy worrying over their kids and grand kids.  It is crazy for me to waste my life worrying about their lives, their choices, their future.  After all, they are not my choices to make, they are their choices.  It's a free country and they are free to make their own choices.

I am still working on this.  I am still trying to grow up.  Am I alone out there?

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

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

on Marriage

On Marriage.  There is a principle that I have come to believe in when thinking of marriage and what it takes to be successful at it.  It is the principle or the practice of "common goals."

The issue may be finances, the issue may be children, vacation, how much to spend on college, curfews, or any number of things.  For a married couple to remain sane, you must find common goals.  That requires sitting down and hashing through the issue until you find a position that you can both agree on.

What is the issue?  Where are we at on it?  What is our compromise?  Our common goal?  Then you move for it.  Together.  Marriage is us moving toward a goal - together.

Things go better with common goals.

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

not sure what to think

So I have this problem with chocolate.  If it is in the house, I eat it.  All of it.  It's very serious and I wish my wife would stop bringing it in.  I blame her.

So, on Easter Sunday I was given a nice card and a gift from a young man in our church.  A chocolate fish that spells Jesus.  I hate to eat the chocolate, but I am also thinking that fish is supposed to be healthy.  Omega three and all of that.  I am probably going to eat it.  It's a holy thing.

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

Monday, May 5, 2014

Cinco de Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo.  Cinco = five.  Mayo = May. The fifth of May.  I love to ask people, "when is Cinco de Mayo this year?"  Many people recognize it as a holiday but do not understand that it is date specific.  Much like someone from another culture might hear that we celebrate a holiday called July 4th.  If the words July and fourth don't translate well into their language, they might not know it was a specific day.

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not celebrated very much in Mexico?  It is also not the Mexican day of Independence.  That is September 16th.  Cinco de Mayo celebrates a Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla, May 5th 1862.

Anyway, today is Cinco de Mayo.  When is it next year?

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

Sunday, May 4, 2014


It was Easter Sunday and I was tying my shoes.  These shoes are 15 years old.  They have been soled and heeled but they have some miles on them.  Uh........oh that reminds me of a joke.  Did you hear about the fire at the shoe factory?  500 soles were lost.  I'll bet it was started by some heel.

Back to Easter Sunday.  I am tying my shoes and my shoe string breaks.  On Easter Sunday.  I am in a quandary.  What to do?  I can change to a different pair, but it gets complicated at that point.  I could just tie a knot in them and go on.  Then the dysfunction kicks in..... what if someone sees that I have a knot in my shoelace on Easter Sunday?

Then I remember something that I believe very strongly... Christians are not perfect.  They have knots in their shoes.  Hypocrites are not Christians with problems or with knots in their shoe laces.  The hypocrites are the ones who have knots in their shoes but pretend like they don't.  I decided to wear the shoes on Easter with the knot in the laces and let the chips fall where they may.

Christians aren't perfect and we need to be honest about that.  Authentic living means we are honest about who we are.  It works for God, it should work for us.

By the way, when is Cinco de Mayo this year? [more Jeff humor]

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

Saturday, May 3, 2014


From one of my favorite writers…….
“You’ll know people by their fruit, by their life, by how they actually live in the world. Lots of people get excited about new ideas and then they shove these new understandings in other people’s faces and become the very thing they despise. If a new idea or understanding or interpretation doesn’t help transform you into the kind of person Jesus is calling us all to be then it isn’t worth much. Are you more forgiving that you were? Less judgmental? More present? More courageous? Less worried and anxious, more free and loving? That’s what is interesting, you being transformed. You can debate and discuss and try to prove and show who’s right and who’s wrong-but living the life Christ invites us to…that’s where it’s at. - For Jesus the criteria is fruit.
Lion’s Den Man

Friday, May 2, 2014

good memories

I have a radial arm saw in my workshop. A “Saw Smith” made in 1960. It was my fathers. It is one of many tools of his I now own since his passing. Every time I take on a new project one of his tools comes into my hand. It is impossible for me to do anything with a tool that does not bring a memory of my father. He spent hours in his workshop building all sorts of things and hours with both my brother and I passing along whatever knowledge we were willing to absorb. My skills and passion were never as strong as his but recently I have begun to spend more time enjoying and using the things he taught me.
Ami’s post on Wednesday led me to this post and to the thought of my legacy. I hope I have the kind of positive impact on my kids as my father had on me. It put me on a good path and I and grateful for what he was able to provide.
“One day you’ll be just a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.”  -  I like that….Thank you Ami.
Lion’s Den Man

Thursday, May 1, 2014


It can be easy to miss out on the things God places around us like family, friends and all the beauty and awe that can be seen in nature.  In last Sunday’s sermon Jeff mentioned a stand of Redbud trees along 291 that could be easily seen and I hadn’t……. How often we miss these things unless we are either deliberate in doing so or we are simply breathing God in closely each and every moment. I wish I could say the later was true for me but to be honest I need to be deliberate before I can breathe that way. So after church my wife and I decided to be deliberate and we took a Sunday drive through the parks that are close by. Time well spent…. Time in nature….Time shared with someone close to me…. Time to appreciate many of the things God places around me. Now I am breathing again…

Lion's Den Man