Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Everyone needs someone to adore them.  Someone who treats you as if you are the greatest thing in the world.  Everyone needs someone who thinks that you hung the moon.

If you don't have this, I hope that you find it.  Life is much better when we experience true love.

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

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Today, the Lord willing, I will do what I do every year on Memorial Day. You probably know what I do because I write about it every year on Memorial Day.  The last couple of years since Cathy has been in Florida, my friend Tim has joined me for the trip.

So always in the past, when it is time to go, I get in the car and load up any kids that want to go with. The older they get, the less that they want to go. I don't blame them, I didn't want to go to the cemetery with my parents when I was young either.

Anyway, we load up and drive I-70 to Sterling. North on Sterling to Winner Road. Left on Winner, through the beautiful Englewood district. Turn left on Truman road. Up the hill, past the monument company, turning right into Mt. Washington Cemetery. I have gone there every year on Memorial Day since I can remember [except when we lived out of town.] My parents took me there as a boy and told me the stories of the people buried there.

Into Mt. Washington, take the first left, wind up the hill, keep left, then near the top, turn right. The road dead-ends in the Rosehill Gardens section. At the end of the cul-de-sac is the Toll plot. My Grandmother on my Dad's side was Mary Lee Toll until she married my Grandpa Brinkman. My two sisters and my 4 cousins and I are the remaining heirs to this burial site. There are about 8 grave sites left there, more if people choose to be cremated.  When I was younger I wanted to be buried there, now I want to be cremated and my ashed scattered in the redwoods.  I want to be useful in my death and help the trees keep growing.

When we get there, I will look around and remember. Remember being a boy. Remember my Mom and Dad. I will tell them about how the church is doing, and how the kids are doing.  I will tell them that I am moving to Florida. I will tell them everything is ok. But, they already know that. I will tell them that I love them and miss them. We will linger for a while, then drive the long way through the cemetery, past some of the more notable chapels and tombs. We will emerge on the north side on what I guess is 24 highway, but I am not sure. Come to think of it, I am not sure of the name of the road. All I know is that there used to be a Dairy Queen right there.  It closed.

Cemetery. Dairy Queen. Home. That is how it used to go.  I hope when my kids take their children to the cemetery to visit, that the DQ is open again.  If it is, they will stop at the Dairy Queen when they are done. It's a tradition.

All in all, Memorial Day is a time to be thankful for life. O dear Lord, we are so blessed. Thank you so very much for all of the wonder and glory and joy of life. And you, dear friends, thank you for the privilege of sharing this life with you. I am grateful for every single one of you.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dances with Wolves

One of my favorite movies of all times is Dances with Wolves.

I have had to say goodbye to several dear friends lately and it has been very painful.  It reminded me of the final scene of the movie when Wind in his hair cries out from atop a bluff:

"Dances with Wolves
I am Wind in his Hair.
Do you see that I am your friend?
Can you see that I will always be your friend?"

Here is the video clip if you wish to watch it.  Love hurts sometimes.


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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The electrical outlet

I noticed that there was a broken electrical outlet in the house. I did not tell anyone about it. I just bought a new one and installed it. I thought, “someone might put this on facebook.” Oh, look, I changed an outlet! Oh, look , my grandkid changed an outlet!

I won’t post it. Sometimes you just do what is right without attracting attention to what you did. In fact, when we attract attention to some good thing that we did, it tends to take away from the joy and goodness of the action.

The right thing to do is just the right thing to do, whether anyone knows about it or not. The sense of having done the right things is a reward in itself.

Here is a side bar, and another problem with calling attention to yourself……. Sometimes we think we are on it, when we have missed it. So I replaced the outlet, but I did not notice that it was white and I replaced it with a beige one…. So there is nothing here to brag about. I will have to replace it again!!!!!!! Ha ha.

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

Friday, May 27, 2016


Thomas a'Kempis was a 14th century German Catholic monk. He is best known for his book The Imitation of Christ which was one of John Wesley's favorite books.

I came across this quote by him the other day and I thought it was great:

"Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be."
Thomas a'Kempis

In other words, why should we be upset with others, when we can't even straighten ourselves out?

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

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ignore me

Ignore me.  Sometimes my blog is good advice, and sometimes it is not.  Sometimes my words are helpful to you and sometimes they are not.

If I say "try harder in your marriage," this may not apply to someone who is being abused.  Remember that all advice is usually general in nature.

If it helps you, great.  If it does not, then put it on a shelf for some other day.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

make amends

I have decided that I want to do everything that I can to make amends with a few people before I leave.

Oh, this is painful for me. I recognize that there are several friends and members that I have experienced fracture with over the last 22 years. Some of it I did not understand. I just did not get why that relationship became so broken. In other instances, I saw what happened, and in several cases, I saw my complicity, my participation in the brokenness.

But I am determined that I am going to do everything I can before I move to heal as many of the relationships as I can. I have already begun sending notes and texts. I have one more person to reach out to and then my heart will be clear. Unless of course that there are others out there that I have hurt that I am not thinking of.

Always do everything in your power to make amends. Life is too short to allow wounds to fester.

Sometimes the good comes to us, and sometimes we bring the good to others. Let’s fix everything that we can. Set aside your pride and apologize- you will be glad that you did.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

make a conscious effort

I run into people who understand the concept of "seeing the good" but for some reason, their default is to complain.  Complain about work, when many are out of a job.  Complain about a spouse when many wish they had someone to spend their life with.  On and on it goes.

I think if we will see the good, we must make a conscious effort to look.   Yes, to look, to actually see what is around us.  To look past what comes into view at first glance, and look deeper.  Look past the clouds and see the sky.  There is always something to be thankful for if we work at it hard enough.

Life goes better with gratitude.  Why not make a conscious effort to see the good.

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Thank You

Last night several hundred people came out to say goodbye.  I am not very good at good byes, but it was delightful to see so many friends.  I can't say thank you enough for all of the warm smiles and the kind words.

Please remember that I am not gone yet, my last Sunday in the pulpit is June 12, so I still have a few more weeks to torture you.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

today's sermon

Today's sermon is on the 23rd Psalm -

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

It speaks for itself in so many ways.  I hope that you can join us for worship at 8am, 905, 1010, or 1115.  The 1010 and 1115 services are available via livestream.

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

love them

90% of success in this life is loving people.  Maybe 99%.

Loving people is more than a feeling inside your heart for someone.  It is more than a decision.  Here are some of the things that you learn to do that helps people know that you love them.  Although many of these things are simple, they are too often neglected.

Love begins by simply showing interest in another person.

  • ask their name.
  • use their name.
  • look them in the eye.
  • square your body up and face them.
  • lean closer.
  • take your time.  Don't be in a hurry.
  • smile.
  • say kind words.
  • Ask them how they are doing.
  • Ask them about their family.
  • buy their lunch.
  • leave the better parking spaces for them.
  • tell them how much they mean to you.
  • tell them what a good job they are doing.

Repeat this behavior over and over for weeks, months and years.  It is surprising how people respond so graciously to kindness.

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

one more time

Don't give up just yet.  Try one more time.  One more time with that boss, one more time with that child, one more time with that spouse.  We throw each other away way too easily.  Don't give up just yet.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Don’t make it about you. The paths back into selfishness are many.

We make life about us every time that we hurt others. Every time that we lord it over them. Every time that we use our power to attract attention to ourselves we have made it about us. When we insist upon our comfort and our service, we have made it about us.

What if we went out to eat and made the encounter about the server? What if we drove to work and made the drive about the others on the road? What if we went to the office and sought to engage and support and care about the others in our workplace?

The self will lead us straight to hell. The spirit leads us to a life of love, joy, peace and patience.
Fight off self every way and every time that you can. You will be glad that you did.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

cup of coffee

I have no picture of this morning event, I wish I did, but we are not our best when we are drinking coffee.  No photos allowed.  But a few weeks ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my wife.  Each of us had our morning coffee. 

I felt a feeling and I spoke it to her:  “this is how life is supposed to be.”  That meant, me and her together, in the same house, living our lives together.  She smiled and replied, “yes, this is how life is supposed to be.”

As much as I feel badly for moving away from many many friends, I am so happy to be rejoining my dear wife.

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


The morning awakens!

Ahh. I am ever blessed by the views of the morning sky! Hello world! Another day is dawning! How sad that all human beings see the dawn, but not all of them celebrate it. God has set some amazing things for us to witness in this world. Choose to be a person who sees the beauty in every day. Life is too short to miss it.

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

Jobs that I have held

Someone asked the other day what jobs I have had prior to becoming a pastor.  I wondered later if they were thinking that I might need to prepare myself for another line of work.

As if anyone cared, here is the list of jobs I have held.

High School
Bicycle shop
Gallenkamp Shoes

Furniture mover in the summer
Gas Station Attendant

Post College
I laid asphalt
youth director at a tiny church

youth director at a Methodist church
deck builder
kwik copy printing
ups delivery

post seminary
bank teller
et cetera

because inquiring minds wanted to know.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Conversion is a word that used to bother me.  It has been hijacked by certain corners of Christianity and for me at least has had a good amount of guilt associated with it.  How many times in my life have I heard people say things that sounded like this......... "you better be converted and do Christianity just like we do it or we will make you feel guilty and you will go to hell."

Not helpful.  No wonder so many Christians are turned off by the word conversion and the phrase "born again."  They are not harmful in their true context but oh the pain that humans can attach to certain words.

Today the sermon is on conversion.  Not the guilt laden, manipulative variety, but the concept that if we would move towards God, we must make a choice to change our thinking, to open up our minds and to allow the spirit in.  That is not a bad thing.

I hope to see you at any of our services today: 8am, 905, 1010 or 1115.

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

Saturday, May 14, 2016


what is that funny noise?
We are all bombarded with commercials for various drugs.  The commercials are all filled with the warnings about possible side effects.

i guess he has some pain :)
I saw a commercial for the first time the other day for Xifaxan.  It is evidently a drug that helps people with intestinal problems, gas, bloating, abdominal pain and irregularity.  It's not a very funny topic, but I noticed their mascot and could not help but smile.

He is probably called the Xifaxan "Intestine Man."  What else, right?  If the Michelin man is made of tires, the Intestine man is made of........... you got it.... rolled up intestines.  A drug that helps calm the intestines must be sold by a happy intestinal man!

now he is happy :)
What a cute little super hero.  If there is a problem in the world, not to fear. If Superman or Spiderman are not available, maybe to our rescue will come "Intestine Man."

I just couldn't stop laughing about this little guy.

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

mad at God

I had a dream the other night about a friend who was mad at God.  It was about a real person that I know, but the circumstances of the dream were some of the crazy things that dreams are made of.

So in the dream, her husband insists that I come over to visit with he and his wife because she is mad at God.  It seems that she had a full ride to college on a soccer scholarship, but then the economy turned and the college cut sports in a cost saving measure.  Ha ha - you know that is a dream, a school cut sports??

Anyway, since she lost the opportunity to go to college, she was mad at God and had been embittered towards him for years.  How could I help?

First, let me say that it is ok to be angry at God.  When Scott was sick, I was pretty mad a God myself.  However, we must always remember that the basic nature of God is goodness- loving kindness and graciousness.  He does not make bad things happen to you or me.  In fact, in times of our pain, he walks along side us, he carries us.  In the valley of the shadow of death, we have a Shepherd.

See God for what he is, not the cause of your pain, but a Comforter in times of pain.

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

Thursday, May 12, 2016

my burden

If you suffer with being a doormat, or if you suffer with too much guilt, ignore this post.  If you don't, then read on.....

In any difficult circumstance, we should always ask ourselves, what is my responsibility in this situation?  What is my burden?  What did I do to contribute to this mess?

Difficulty is rarely the result of one person's actions.  Years ago, my mother went shopping at a mall where a number of crimes had been reported on the news.  She parked at the far end of a remote parking garage [she wanted the exercise] and walked into the old mall.  On the way back to her car, she had her packages and her purse stolen.  You can totally blame the person who took her stuff, but she bears some burden in this story.  Needless to say, she parked closer after that, and chose her shopping venues more carefully.

In relational problems, it is rarely one person's fault.  We love to think that we are the victims, but we almost always play a role in the craziness.  If the suggestion of this makes you angry,

then you might want to take a hard look at how you see the world.

If something isn't going the way that you want it to in your life, don't focus on how the other person is doing you wrong.  Look for the ways that you might have contributed to the mess.  It may help you with your feelings about the others involved and the situation as a whole.

Life is good, and a little self-reflection from time to time is good.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

plants in Florida

 I have noticed a couple of things about plants in Florida.  First of all, you cannot kill them.  I accidentally cut this little guy off in mid trunk, an act that would have been fatal to a plant in Missouri, but not in Florida.  Chop it, cut it, spray it, pull it out of the ground, it doesn't matter, the plants keep growing.

Secondly, where I come from, plants and trees usually keep to themselves.  In Florida, everything grows on top of everything else.  Ferns on oaks, Spanish Moss on trees, random things popping up everywhere so that the botanical eco-sphere is a giant exercise in mutual support.

Allow me to make a couple of observations from these plants regarding people and church.  First, lets encourage life.  Some Christians like to shoot the wounded.  Lets not do that.  Never give up on another person.  Water them and encourage them.  Lets do everything we can to help everyone heal and grow in this life.

Second, lets remember that we are all in this together.  We all need each other.  We are the body of Christ and the eyes need the brain, the hands need the skin etc.  Sometimes we have to be carried and sometimes we have to carry others.  Everyone matters and we are all in this together.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


In response to a post last week about hearing the birds sing, a reader wrote in-

Maybe the reason the birds just keep singing is that they don't "toil or spin." We toil and spin around so much as humans, in this crazy world we live in.

What a great point. Maybe if we slowed down, maybe if we let go of some of the outcomes, we would sing a bit more as well.

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

Monday, May 9, 2016

the painful parts

There are painful parts of this journey.  Changes, heartache, fear of the unknown.  In this life each of us will find some moments of difficult passage.

We will most likely be uncomfortable during those times.  We may want to wish the discomfort away.  We may want to pray it away.  But there is another choice.

Painful times are not necessarily bad times.  Some of the most enriching memories from our past are the times that we went through stressful and challenging experiences.  It has been said by many wise teachers, "you can be in pain and suffer, or you can be in pain and not suffer."

In the midst of difficulty, may we all at least consider savoring the tough days.  When we feel things very strongly, we also feel  the most alive.  Instead of fighting every uncomfortable moment, we can choose to make friends with the pain.

God is good.  Life is good. God is still good.  Life is still good.  Into each life a little rain must fall.  Sometimes it is good to walk in the rain and thank God for the gifts of a rainy day.

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

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

One of the most beneficial holidays in my opinion is Mothers Day.  I cannot think of any person or class of people that deserve to be honored more than our mothers.

First of all, if you are a guy, you have no idea, we have no idea what mom's go through.  The changes to their bodies.  Their hopes and dreams.  To carry a new life inside of you 24 hours a day for 9 months.  The travail of birth.  Yikes.........
Then the transition back to the work force or the transition back to life as it was before, if that were even possible.  A new life to juggle.  Now she must become a teacher.  Tie your shoes, brush your teeth.  Then comes the heartaches: the sassy mouth, the pulling away of the teenage years.  Finally this child that you brought into this world leaves for college.

I have had more people on my deck in tears over they years because their kid moved away than for any other reason.

Moms always love us.  They are always there for us.  We owe them more than one day.  We owe them a lifetime of gratitude.

Mom - Thank You!!!!  Thank You!!!

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

Saturday, May 7, 2016

the sadness of life

I was listening to someone talk the other day about the sadness of life.  Not the sadness in their life, but the sadness of life in general- this idea that all of us from time to time have to face things that are difficult and we can easily become discouraged.

I understand this.  I resemble this.  Loneliness, sadness, sorrow, and loss are companions for most of us on this journey of life.  Without making light of such feelings, I want to suggest that we do have choices.  Yes, sad things happen, but we have a choice.  We can fall into depression and wallow in the feelings, or we can work to combat the feelings.

Life is too short to succumb to sorrow.  It is not glorifying to God if we are stuck in sadness for long periods of time.  So let's get to work.  Make new friends.  Read a good book.  Get some exercise.  Stay busy.

Mostly I would tell you that we fight such powerful feelings by seeing the good.  By finding one thing that is going right.  In a world where 99 things are wrong, find the one thing that is right and focus on that.  When we see something that is good, when we see something that is a blessing, it turns a person's attitude.  At least it turns mine.

I end each blog with a tag line.  It is the same every day.  I don't just write it for you.  I also  write it for me.  Sometimes we need it more than others.  Here it is, one more time-

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

Friday, May 6, 2016

Vero Beach and Cape Coral

Several people have asked me about the apparent challenge with owning a home on the Atlantic side in Vero Beach, and being appointed to a church on the gulf side in Cape Coral.

This is how we intend to handle this.

First of all, we will move into the parsonage in CC.  We want to be a part of the community and get to know the fine people of CC1.

My wife travels every week and will end up sleeping a night or two each week at our home in Vero because she will be on that side of the state.  Our daughter who lives in Vero will be by on a regular basis to try out the swimming pool.  I will treat it like a lake house and get there as I can.  [you know when you only work one day a week, you have a lot of free time.]

It is about 3 hours from Vero to Cape Coral.  The good news is for me, I will be seeing my lovely wife 5 days a week!  Hip hip hooray!!

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

Thursday, May 5, 2016


There is a holiday coming up pretty soon.  It's a Latin holiday Cinco-de-mayo or something like that.  When is Cinco-de-mayo this year?

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

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hear the birds

thank God we are not electrocuted!!
I  received a note from a reader.  They wrote: "I am trying to handle great change. I pray for courage daily. I am awaiting the bird song. All is silent now."

We have all felt this feeling:  The heavens are brass.  If God is there I don't sense him at all.  I believe, Lord help my unbelief.  

I am supposed to hear the birds sing?  I don't hear anything- the pain of life is just pounding in my ears.

So dear reader, let me talk to you.  I am sobbing as I write this.  Hearing the birds sing is not about waiting for a day when the clouds part and the sun is shining.  If you have trouble, sometimes it does not go away.  Parents of troubled children still must listen for the birds to sing.  People with arthritis must still listen for the song of the bird.  Get it straight in your mind and heart that the birds sing every day, regardless of what is going on.

Keep asking, keep praying, keep seeking, keep knocking.  God is there.  God IS there and the birds are singing.  I am praying for you that you will find the joy, don't give up.

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I am going to rant a bit today.  I love the Royals, but I love baseball more, and I love people more than sports. We went to the games when the Royals were terrible because we loved baseball.  Just because we have won the world series and our team appears to be emerging from 30 years of funk does not give us the right to hurt others.

 Sometimes we get too hung up on “our team”or “our colors.”  I am fine with you rooting for whomever you want, but it is never appropriate to throw our colors into other people’s faces.  Some people think it’s funny to make fun of KU or the Mets or whomever.  It isn’t.  People are attached to their teams, just as we are.  Enjoy the game but never forget, it is only a game.   We should not be hurting each other by insisting that our tribe is better than their tribe, even if others have treated us that way.  If you are with a friend and they are watching their team, root for their team, even if it isn’t your team.  After all, your friend is on your team isn’t he or she?  Let’s learn to root for everybody.  I think that is what Jesus would do.

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

Monday, May 2, 2016

To Laugh

I have a friend that I like quite a bit.  I was thinking the other day of why I like him.  And it occurred to me, he makes me laugh.  He makes everyone laugh. 

Life can get serious- too serious.  My life can be real serious sometimes.  It is so nice to have people that have ornery left handed  ways of making us laugh.  Laughter is good for the soul.

Tell a joke.  Tell a funny story.  Look for the irony in a moment.  Bring a smile to someone’s face. We are all the better for it.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Crucify me

I visited with an old friend the other day.   I invited him back to church.  He said, “oh, those people would crucify me.”

I told him that it was a big church and there were plenty of places to hide if he needed to do that.  But how sad, to think that others would want to get even or exact revenge.  How sad that sometimes it is true that people do want to hurt back, and how sad it is to live in such fear of retaliation.  This person does not realize that he has been forgiven.

There are difficult things that happen in this life.  Life is messy.  Somehow we have to find the grace to move along.  If we believe that God can forgive all sins, then maybe someday we will learn to do so as well-  To forgive even our own sins, to finally believe that grace is bigger than whatever it is that I have done.

Blessed is the man or woman who does not hold a grudge. 
Blessed is the the man or woman who releases others from their sins.
Blessed are the persons who forgive themselves.

Life is short and life is good.  Let’s do everything that we can to live in the joy of the positive.

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