Sunday, August 31, 2014


Ahh, the power of kindness.  In a world where so many people are rude and self-absorbed, kind people are a breath of fresh air.

After dealing with several negative issues over the past few weeks, I was so pleased to get several kind emails.

I am not a note writer.  If you get a note in the snail mail from me, it is rare indeed.  I have terrible handwriting, and writing notes is just not my strong suit.

But, oh, what a joy it is to get a kind word.  Whether in person, in the mail or email, a kind word is such a blessing.  You have great power to positively impact the life of another, simply by being kind.

It is not that hard, it does not take that much effort, but oh, the blessed effect of kindness.

The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent,
    and their lips promote instruction.[c]

24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,
    sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov 16:23-24

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

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Some arguments cannot be won.  Some arguments are not worth having.  Sometimes the negative energy generated and the time consumed with an argument is not worth it.

As much as I would like to heal the world and everything in it, a person can only do so much.  People have to want to get better.  People have to want to play well with others.

We are obligated to do what we can do, but sometimes you come to a place where you just have to let it go and learn to live with it.  Not every problem can be resolved, and that is ok.  God is still with us and life is still good.

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

Friday, August 29, 2014

Awakenings pt 2

Following yesterday's post I have another thought from the movie "Awakenings."

In the movie, Leonard Lowe is a boy who became catatonic and lived this way for years.  When given an experimental drug, he came out of it.  He saw a life that he had been completely missing.  He saw the beauty of colors, of people and the sky.  He felt the wind on his face and the touch of a friend.

He was amazed.  In one of my favorite scenes he tells Robin Williams this:

You read the newspaper. What does it say? All bad. It's all bad. People have forgotten what life is all about. They've forgotten what it is to be alive. They need to be reminded. They need to be reminded of what they have and what they can lose. What I feel is the joy of life, the gift of life, the freedom of life, the wonderment of life!  We've got to tell everybody. We've got to remind them. We've got to remind them how good it is. 

Have you forgotten how good it is?  We have to remind each other.  We have to tell each other.  We have to tell everyone that we can.

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014


How we look at life is so important.  It is human nature to ask, "why me?"  We often ask this when things that we perceive as bad happen to us.

One of my favorite movies is "Awakenings" from 1990 with Robin Williams.  Part of the story line is about a boy who becomes sick.  In one scene his mother says this:

When my son was born healthy, I never asked why. Why was I so lucky? What did I do to deserve this perfect child, this perfect life? But when he got sick, you can bet I asked why! I demanded to know why! Why was this happening?

Instead of asking why something is wrong, maybe we should ask our selves things like this:  Why can I see?  Why does my spouse love me?  Why can I think straight?  Why do I have friends?  Why was I born in America?  Why do I have enough food?

How we look at life is so important.

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

a reminder of what this blog is about - -

Occasionally I get comments or complaints that this blog is not serious enough.  Some think it is not funny enough.  Others want it to be more personal.  I am sorry but I can't promise any of that.  I am not an entertainer, and sometimes, I don't feel spiritual.  Do you always feel spiritual?  What I simply strive for every day is to write about something that is on my mind.  I hope that is enough, because I don't have anything else to offer.  I have never been able to make people happy that wanted Super-Pastor.  I am just Jeff.  That is why in the side bar of the blog web page I have this disclaimer in purple:

This blog is the occasional ramblings of Jeff Brinkman, a United Methodist Pastor.  When Jeff cannot post, some of his buds take over.  This blog may or may not inspire, may or may not be humorous, but will always be honest.  This blog is Jeff's attempt to remind himself and others that God is greater than anything, and if we just look hard enough, we can see the good in life, and if we slow down and listen, we can hear the birds sing.

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Dysfunction is when something does not work right.  It is broken.  Sometimes you have to use a broken pencil, wear holy shoes or drive a car that is on it's last legs.  But when there is dysfunction in relationships, everyone hurts.

It never gets any better until we do something about it.  Confrontation is difficult, but we never move toward health until we do the hard work to make a change for the better.  Some people settle for dysfunction, and the result is an unhealthy broken organism, relationship or work place.

Thriving organizations do not let dysfunction derail them from their mission- they deal with it and get back on track.  Everyone has problems.  Healthy people deal with their problems and get back into the game of life.  They may have to keep working on things, but that is exactly what they do- they keep working on things, striving towards healthy living.

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

how the mind works

It is Sunday morning at 5:45.  I have parked the car at church in the pitch black, way out in the north 40.  We always ask staff and anyone that is going to be at church a long time to park out farther so visitors can park close.

Did I say it was pitch black?  It is 100 yards to the main building.  I have just started the walk across the parking lot when a car comes racing around the building, weaving between the islands.  Looks like teenagers.  Its a joy ride.

How the mind works....

They see me, look, and start to slow down.  My mind says, "uh oh, this is trouble."  They are after me.  They will catch me before I can get to the building.  They will beat me and gut me.  It will be one of those moments when I am trying to get my key to work in the door and they are coming closer and closer.  Maybe I can at least get into range of the parking lot cameras so that someone could know what has happened to me- and on Sunday morning! Poor preacher!

The car makes a u-turn and whips around at the youth building.  Yikes.  My worst fears are going to come true.  I pick up my step.  I watch the car, expecting it to race towards me at any minute. 

Then the church custodians get out of the car and walk up the sidewalk to clean the youth building.

All is well.  I am safe.  How the mind works.

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

Sunday, August 24, 2014

connecting fair

Once a year we have a Connecting Fair at church.  This is a chance for you to visit booths that have information  about all the ministries available at Woods Chapel.  There will be worship and a sermon as usual, but if you are looking for a place to fit in, today is your day to find a ministry fit and meet some new friends.  Look for the tables set up in the foyer.

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

can't sleep

This does not happen to me very often, but I am wide awake and it is the middle of the night.  I am asking myself why.  What is going on with my body?  With my brain?  The sermon is in pretty good shape, I am not worried about that.  I have a song stuck in my head from the movie Pitch Perfect, but I don't think it is keeping me awake.  Nothing on my old carcass hurts.  Not sure why I can't sleep, but here I am.

Maybe there is a tremor in the force.  You know, one of those odd things, almost a spiritual thing that just seems to reach in and grab you some times. 

I am thinking about my sister.  Not sure why.  I guess I will call them both tomorrow and make sure they are ok.

Sometimes in life things aren't perfect.  If there is not a problem, there is sometimes a foreboding, a worry, a premonition.  Who knows?  Or it might just be the pizza I ate last night.  Except I didn't eat pizza.  I hope I can take a nap this afternoon.

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

Friday, August 22, 2014


If any one sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  1 John 2

Yes we do it.  We all sin.  We all miss the boat.  We all fall short.  Usually we do it by accident or by negligence, but sometimes we know what we are doing and we do it anyway.  Sometimes we are just small.

The gospel is good news.  When we mess up, we can make things right.  We have the wonderful opportunity to confess our sins and be forgiven.  If you are reading this today and feeling badly for something that you have done, that does not have to be the end of the story.  It does not have to dominate your day.

God is in the business of forgiveness and he has a generous heart that is extended towards you.  Simply ask and you shall receive.

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

Thursday, August 21, 2014


After yesterday's post, someone asked if I thought my parents were ever in love.  I know that I can speak to this and that my sisters would agree, because we have talked about it many times.

If love means staying with someone through thick and thin, then they did.  If love means providing for a family's physical needs, then they did.  If love means taking care of your spouse when they are dying, then my Dad sure did.  We know that later in life they enjoyed taking trips together:  Hawaii, New England, canoeing, and such.

But, they never ever had a date night.  They always went to bed at different times of the night.  They never closed the door to their bedroom.  They never smooched in front of us.  They were both born in the middle of the depression.  They grew up in very difficult circumstances.  Their upbringing was hard, and their tenor in life reflected that.

With that said, from some people in this life you learn how to do a thing.  From other people you learn what not to do.  You can learn something from everyone.  Sometimes we are a reflection of what we were taught and sometimes we are a reaction to what we were taught. 

Back to love.  Pat S said in a sermon last year, that being thankful does not count if you don't say thank you.  I would add to that, loving someone does not really count unless you tell them.  How would they even know if you loved them?

So, today, if you love someone, tell them.  And tell them like you mean it.  You just might make their day.

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

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


cover of picture folder
My sister gave me a couple of boxes of old pictures.  They had things that my Mom had saved.  Scrapbooks, high school letters, mementos of vacations gone by, and many pictures that I had never seen before.

Evidently my Mom was in love before she met Dad.  We never knew this. She never spoke of it.  There were several pictures of her with someone named Art.  I am attaching photos today of them together at a place called the Black Forest restaurant in St. Louis.  It used to be a very cool place to eat.  Swanky.  They had this picture taken as a memento- It came in a very nice cover, much like what you would get if you had your picture taken at the prom.

I find it interesting that in the back ground of this picture at this "very nice" restaurant you can see that the chairs are old and beat up and they do not match.  You would never see something like this at the Hereford House today.  I think the expectations were a little lower back then.

I am still trying to get my mind around the number of pictures of Mom and Art.  What happened?  What if it would have gone differently?

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


I read this somewhere......

"Leaders don't inflict pain, they bear it."  I would add to that:  healthy people don't inflict pain, they bear it whenever possible.

Bearing pain puts an end to the cycle of retribution.  When we decide not to hurt back, we take the high road and begin the process of forgiveness.  On the cross Jesus said this:  "Father forgive them...."  He said this after he was put on the cross...... Father forgive them...

Today instead of hurting back, absorb the pain.  Take it in.  I know it may not be fair, but it may be just what is needed to heal the breach.

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

Monday, August 18, 2014

Robin Williams part 2

My initial reaction to Robin's suicide was deep sadness and a disbelief that someone who made movies about waking up to life, could take his own.

Well, now we find out that in addition to struggling with depression his entire life, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.  One of the symptoms of Parkinson's can be severe depression.  So pile that onto a lifelong struggle with depression.

Someone made a very astute comment the other day that I have also been thinking about.
  Here it is.........

I don't think that because he killed himself it means he didn't see the good in life. One can be grateful and thankful and still be depressed. They are not mutually exclusive. Depression is a a very serious illness that can be devastating to live with.

I agree with the writer and it is again an illustration of how my perspective isn't always right.  We have to keep an open mind.  We are not as smart as we think we are.  At least if our minds are open we can keep learning and growing.

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

Sunday, August 17, 2014

we think we know

We think we know.  We make up our minds about something.  Then we find out we didn't know the whole story.  Sometimes just one little bit of information can change how we view a thing.

My dad used to say, "the older I get, the less I know."  What he meant was that the older he got, he realized that there was so much that he did not know.  Things are sometimes complicated and not nearly as black and white as we had thought.

Maybe that is why Jesus said, "judge not."  By the way, you are all invited to visit Jesus at his house today.

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

Saturday, August 16, 2014

from a friend

In response to Robin Williams’ suicide, a friend shared these thoughts-

And the most important things to remember are:

1)      You do not walk alone…  God is always with you and if you’re a member of this church – you have friends, too

2)      Tomorrow will be another day and things can get better.  There is always hope.

I think that people who commit suicide feel there is no hope – how sad.  With God – all things are possible – and if you give it enough time – God will work things out.

I have to wonder how many people have committed suicide – but would have chosen not to – if they had just waited a day.  The sun would shine.  The birds would fly.  God’s good would be revealed and they might have changed their minds.

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


Friday, August 15, 2014

12 step group

Twelve step groups help people who are addicted to a particular thing.  The support group helps them to break out of destructive behavior and return to a real life.

Bill Easum in his book Leadership on the Other Side, suggests that churches need a 12 step group so that they can learn how to change with the times.

Churches need a 12-step group for those addicted to old forms.  '"Hi, my name is Bill.  I attend this church because I know it is the one place in my life where nothing is ever going to change." pg. 38

How funny, yet how true.  if there is anything that we know about God, he is always asking us to change, to leave our old ways and find the path of life that is the most effective.  Are you comfortable with change?

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

Thursday, August 14, 2014

if you would only agree with me

Two ways to think:

The first is the thinking of someone who has a closed paradigm. 
If you would only agree with me, things would be going so much better!  Why do people disagree with me?  Don't they know that I am right?

The second way of thinking is from someone who has an open paradigm.
Is there something about the way that I am coming across that is not the best approach for this situation?  What is it about what I am doing that is messing this thing up?  What can I learn from others in this process?

The outcomes of both ways of thinking are predictable.  Which kind of person do you want to be?  One who learns or one who knows it all?

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams

How could Robin Williams take his own life?????  I loved most of his movies.  He was Patch Adams.  He was the doctor in the movie Awakenings.  He seemed to surely understand the importance of seeing the good in life.

It makes me sad.  It makes me wonder, why, how?  We know he struggled with depression.  I don't understand, but I do insist that we do not have to follow his lead.

Life is good.  Life is great - No matter what is going on in a person's life.  You want to talk about problems?  I have mine, and I could bring you to tears talking about them.  But no.  NO.  We must live.  L-I-V-E live.  Your life, it is a wondrous gift from our Father.  Never forget that.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

refine or define

This quote, sent by a friend, reminded me of the challenge of seeing the good.  Is life a problem, or is my attitude about life the problem? 

One of my favorite authors says something that I both love and hate...... "if you have a problem with someone, then you have a problem."  The point of that saying is that so often we blame others and see the source of our discomfort as coming from others, when in fact we have much more control over our actions and responses than we might think.  I love it because it challenges me, I hate it because it is so very difficult and it forces me to take responsibility for myself.  As my mother would have said, no one makes you mad, you choose to be mad.

Refine or define.  What are you allowing the things that come to you in this life to do to you?

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

Monday, August 11, 2014


Squeamish.  There are some things that make me feel that way.  Spiders.  Snakes.  Poison Ivy.  I had to cut down some poison ivy over the weekend.  I hated every minute of it.  I have taken 28 showers since I did it.  Pray that I won't break out.

The feeling of being squeamish is so human.  It stops us in our tracks and reminds us that we are not large and in charge, we are broken and human.

What makes you squeamish?

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

Sunday, August 10, 2014


What is it about being in church?  For some reason, I just feel close to God when I am there.  Is it because so many prayers go up from there?  Is it because there are so many good people there?  Is it because there are so many sinners looking for hope there?

I don't know why- but I feel more forgiven when I am in church.  I feel closer to God.  When there is a national catastrophe, just like everyone else, I want to go to church.  Say what you will, church is an amazing place.

Most of the greatest people that I have known in my life, I met at church.

I hope to see you at ours this morning.

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

Saturday, August 9, 2014

time share

Have you ever stayed at a time share for a free trip and had to listen to their sales pitch?  You are a captive audience and it is very high pressure.

Recently I heard a pastor talking about how they got their children to make decisions for Jesus.  It sounded a bit the same as the time share pitch.  Stuck in a room with no opportunity to leave, with no idea what is coming, the children are goaded, guilted, and manipulated to choose Jesus.  Then later the adults have a big party celebrating their success for the gospel.

The problem is this:  The best decisions are never made under duress.  I want everyone to choose Jesus, but never under pressure or threat.  Jesus never pressured anyone.  God's love and grace is quite effective enough at winning people.  It sells itself.  When the glory of God's amazing love is held out, people will choose him of their own accord.

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

Friday, August 8, 2014


It's a choice.  I choose my response.  I choose my attitude.  My mom used to say, "no one makes you mad, you choose to be mad."  My favorite author used to say, "if you have a problem with someone, then you have a problem."

We all have our issues and our stories.  Something is bothering you this week.  Me too.  How will we respond?  It's our choice.

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

Thursday, August 7, 2014


My friend Joy posted this on facebook. 
I appreciate your prayers very much.
It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Many of you know that it has been a real blessing to me to visit the redwood forests in California.  Well, actually, we cut most of the redwood forests in the 1800's.  What we have today are mostly preserves or redwood parks.  Pockets of them, here and there, that a few foresighted people were able to save.

Anyway, I try to go every year to a camp in the redwoods.  I take a pile of books and try to digest the books and renew my spirit.  The redwood forest is really an amazing place.  Being in it is much like sitting by a fountain, a fire, or the beach.  The place speaks to a person's spirit.  I have recommended the journey to so many, and I have asked my family to scatter my ashes there.

A friend of ours is out in the forest now, and from the pictures and the notes, they are finding the soul of God, as I always do when I get to go.

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

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

God's creatures

We were driving home last night about 8pm.  We were 2 blocks from home.  My wife said, look at the deer.  I pulled off, turned around and got a good angle to take a picture. 

What a beautiful sight!  We should always stop and take a few moments to take in God's amazing miracles.

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

getting used to a thing

There is a sin that I have noticed lately.  It is what happens when we get used to a thing.  We are so used to having professional baseball in Kansas City, we don't appreciate it.  We are so used to living with air conditioning that we take it for granted.  We are so used to our spouse, so accustomed to them being there that we no longer see the miracle in them.

We have a great job.  We used to love it, but then we started to take it for granted.  We are not so excited about the new car as when we first brought it home.  The new toy has been put down for something else.

My parents had nothing growing up, so they were pretty appreciative of everything their entire lives.  When we get used to a thing and stop seeing it's value, I think that is sad.  It is a very un-spiritual state that we have fallen into.

There is only one remedy.  We must wake up!  We must see what is right in front of our faces.  We must force the scales to fall from our eyes and see what God has done around us.  Don't allow yourself to get used to a thing.  Live every day with wonder.

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

Sunday, August 3, 2014

I was glad

Ps 122 says, I was glad when they said unto me, let us go to the house of the Lord.

This is exactly how a person should feel about the chance to go to church.  Not every person around the world can worship freely.  Christians are persecuted in many countries.

Today, I get to go and hang out with a bunch of wonderful people.  I get to sing the songs of joy and hopefully hear a good message.  I get to love and be loved.  I get to be challenged to be more than I am.

I hope that you are glad about going to your church.

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

memory lane

with my sister Julie - 1962?
A month ago my sister gave me two boxes that she had kept in her basement unopened, since Dad died.  They sat in my car until yesterday.  I opened them finally and found a treasure trove of pictures.

Mom as a child.  Mom in high school.  Mom with the boy she almost married but didn't.  [Wow was that a surprise!]
 Us kids as little ones.  Vacations that we remembered, but had no pictures of.  Pictures of my children that we had never seen.  Pictures of vacations that mom and dad went on by themselves after we were gone.

Happy, sad, melancholy.  They lived.  They had their dreams.  They went on to their eternal rest.  It seems so unfair.  But let me say this:  In many of the pictures, they were happy.  They were young and happy.  They were old and happy.  There is something to say for that.

Don't be in a big hurry friends.... it all goes by so quickly.  Seize the moment.  Live the day.  See the good.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Leadership Nuggets

          Everyone is a leader.  You are leading people somewhere.  Where are you taking them?

          A leader has an intrinsic sense of right and wrong, an intrinsic sense of the appropriate course to take.

          A leader listens to others.

          A leader considers all possible information and acts accordingly.  Sometimes quickly, sometimes patiently.

          A leader sees the big picture, he or she knows when something seems big, but is really barely a blip on the radar screen.

          A leader shapes the culture.

          A leader surrounds himself or herself with those who will bring honor to the cause.

          A leader does not compromise on honor, integrity or character.

          A leader relates to the common man.  A leader is not better than others, but he/she leads from the respect that is given from the rank and file.

          A leader celebrates the success of others.  Good leaders want everyone to win.

          A leader knows that the only thing that we compete against is our own potential.

          Leaders know what to say and how to say it.  They are not hateful or vindictive, they are gracious and kind.  Their speech is positive and it attracts others to them.

          All leaders come and go.  They prepare for their departure 

          A leader learns to deal with the pressure of leading.  This is no small feat.

          A leader identifies not only good ideas, but embraces the systems that undergird them. 

          A leader sees the big picture and does not simply live for today, but prepares for the future.

          A leader grows to be comfortable wearing the mantle of destiny.

          A leader leaves the world a better place than he or she found it.

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