Thursday, August 31, 2017

3 kinds of people

A commercial before today's post.  The company that hosts this blog has changed some of it rules.  If you receive this blog by email, you can no longer just hit reply.  The blog comes as a no-reply email.  This is to avoid spam.  So if you would like to reply to a blog email, type in my email address-  I will love to hear from you, but you can no longer just hit the reply button.  Send me an email!

On to today's post............

This is a generalization.
Read it, hear it:  This is a generalization.  That means it holds some truth, but not all truth.  I find it an interesting thought, but I also sense it's limitations.
It's a generalization.  Ok, disclaimer over, here goes...

There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who carry the banner of judgment, those who carry the banner of grace and those who aren't sure what they're carrying.

To those that choose to carry judgment, everyone is an enemy, everything is something to be for or against. For those who carry the banner of Grace everyone is a friend.  Those that carry grace do not need to have enemies.  They do not need to pick apart every issue or take sides.  They do not see bad or good people.  People that carry grace just see people.

We all have a choice of what banner we will carry in this life.
You only go around once.  Choose well.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I wish

I wish.  I wish I could save you from every hurt.  I wish I could save you from the pain that your parents delivered to you.  I wish I could save you from the results of some of your choices.  I wish I could save you from illness.  I wish I could save you from rejection.  I wish I could help you not worry about your children.  I wish I could wipe away the pain.

I wish it was that easy.  But it isn't.

We are going to hurt.  We are going to be hurt.
So since I can't fix it for you, let me wish for you what I wish for myself.
Take a little time, as little as possible to be mad.  Then move on and start to process what happened.  Make it your goal to move through the situation rather than being stuck.
Keep working on it.

I wish I could fix it for you but since I can't let me encourage you to keep going.  Keep your chin up.  Keep plugging along.  Life has it's hurts.  We just need to decide how we will respond to them.  Don't let them eat your lunch.  Life is still good.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

stages of grief

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book entitled, On Death and Dying, introduced her five stages of grief.  I would like to add a sixth.

Here are her five stages:
  1. Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.
  2. Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"; "Why would this happen?".
  3. Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise. For instance: "I'd give anything to have him back." Or: "If only he'd come back to life, I'd promise to be a better person!"
  4. Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die soon, so what's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
    During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
  5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it; I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions
I would like to add a stage six:  Savoring.  Yes that terrible thing happened.  Yes I am sick.  Yes so and so really did me wrong.  But as I move thru the stages and come to accept my current reality, I choose not merely to survive, but to savor the gift of my life.

I grieved the death of my father for years, but after a time, the grief turned to a savoring- a joyful gratitude for his life.  I hope not to simply be remembered when I am gone, I hope to be savored. 

May we learn to do more than tolerate life's difficulty.  May we learn to savor life along the way.  Oh what a joy it is!!!

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Monday, August 28, 2017

blessed are those

Sometimes we think that we have been done wrong when we really just need to look at a situation more objectively.  But sometimes we are certainly done wrong.

I have a friend who was recently done wrong by a home owners association.

I was recently done wrong by a car dealer.  I had a signed contract for a vehicle and the dealer sold it to someone else.  Bad news?  Good news?  Who knows?  [see Wednesday Aug 9 posting]

The point that I want to make today is this.... yes we are done wrong sometimes.  We can be angry, and we can stew over the situation.  We can even become bitter and hold a grudge.

Blessed are those who forgive the sins of others.
Do you wish to be released from your feelings about the situation?
Blessed are those who forgive the sins of others.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Sunday, August 27, 2017

lose control

My Pastor told a story about a baseball game where the pitcher was waiting for a sign from the catcher.  One after the other, the pitcher shook off every sign the catcher gave.  Finally the catcher went out to the mound and said, "look, I have given the sign for every pitch that you can throw.  What is up?"  The pitcher said, "I just can't do it, I'm afraid that I might lose control."

We all like to be in control.  We like to make sure that life goes just how we want it to go.  We hold tightly to the reigns.  We want nothing to mess up the rhythm of our life.

Yet we are not in control.  We make plans and God laughs.  In Luke 12 Jesus tells the story of a man who had a great harvest and decided to build bigger barns to hold it all.  But that very night, he passed on into eternity.  What became of his plans?

We may think that we are in control, but it is a complete illusion.

We are not in control.  We can make the best decisions that we can, but there are some factors, some aspects of life where we just have to trust God.  Do all you can, and then trust in God.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Saturday, August 26, 2017


On Sunday Pastor Tim said, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

It reminded me of a story about a young man who did not apply himself in college.  Years later a professor was asked if the young man had been his student.  The professor replied, "he attended several of my classes, but he was never my student."

Sometimes we are not ready to learn.  Sometimes we think that we know it all.  I used to say to my kids, "you can learn these lessons from me, or just let life teach you."  Be well assured- life is a very good teacher, and it has a way of painfully opening our minds.

Sometimes we pour ourselves into people trying to help them get it, but they have to learn it on their own, they have to do it their own way.  And who knows, maybe their way will work out just fine.

We can never learn from anyone else until the receptive student part of our heart is open.

Do I know it all?  NO.
Who am I learning from?  Who are you learning from?

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Friday, August 25, 2017


For 12 years I have taken an annual trip, a pilgrimage to the Redwood forest.  I have actually missed the trip the last two years with all of the moving going on.  But this year, I have again made it to the Redwoods.  In the past I have always gone south, to Loma Mar, Pescadero, and Felton, California.  This year I decided to go north.  I am staying in Ft. Bragg California in Mendocino County.

On Wednesday I got up at 4am.  My flight left Melbourne Florida at 6am.  I arrived in San Francisco at noon, which is 3pm Florida time.  I rented a car and drove 4 hours to Ft. Bragg.  Long day of travel.

Yesterday was my first day of doing what I do in the redwood forest.  Hike in.  Find a place to sit.  To sit, to reflect, and read.

In the first picture you see an old redwood stump that was cut after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  It is surrounded by 5 or 6- 100 year old trees that sprung from it's roots.  I'm sure that there is an interesting lesson there.  We are all cut down at some point.... what will spring from our roots?

The last picture is my typical setting.  A picnic table in the shade of the redwoods.  A little reading, a little reflecting, a little talking with God.

Times like this should be required for every human.  It is so refreshing to renew your soul in the quiet.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Thursday, August 24, 2017

be the good

My good friend Margaret Lightfoot posted this video on her facebook page.  It is well worth the watch.

This is the essence of Christianity, acting out our faith.  Being in mission, every day, every moment.  Seeing every person as a person of worth.

We do not do these things because we are trying to earn God's love.  We can't earn God's love.  We do these things, we act this way, we live this way, because this is the sweet spot of life.  For this type of living we were created.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

so many great thoughts here

There are so many great thoughts in this quote.

The world has not devoted itself to making you happy?  Then apply yourself to making the world a better place.  Spend every ounce of lifeforce that you have to love others.  You may just find the happiness in giving yourself away.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


I love this quote, and I am happy for the dreams that I have had in this life.  And I am very thankful for every person who helped make dreams become a reality.

As a retired person, someone who is definitely closer to the end than the beginning, I don't know that I have any more big dreams for life.  But I do want to do this.... I want to encourage every person who does have dreams and visions for life to pursue them with all their might.

Nothing meaningful was ever accomplished without a lot of hard work.  Let my voice join 1,000 others to cheer you on as you pursue the dreams of your heart.

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

Travel with Pastor Jeff

Italy's Historic and Religious Sites
November 7-16, 2017

Holy Land via Jordan
March 5-14 2018

Wesley's Ireland
October 8-17, 2018

Monday, August 21, 2017

I have a problem

My mom used to say, "no one makes you mad.  You choose to be mad."  We humans like to blame our issues on others.  Look what they did to me.  I am so mad about them.  Their behavior did not suit me.  They have done me wrong.

Someone once said, if I have a problem with someone, then I have a problem.  That means that I am able to, or I should be able to separate my reaction from what has happened.  I can react to something in the news and be upset, or I can see that it is still a beautiful day.  Most of what we get upset about we can't remember in a week anyway.

Maybe this has happened to you.... someone that you haven't seen in a month comes up and you start talking.  They ask about a situation that you were concerned about a month ago, but now, just a few weeks later, you can't remember it.  They have to remind you- but it seemed so important at the time.

We worry too much.  We waste too much time being upset over things that we cannot control.  The only thing that I can control is me.  I have the power to see the good or not.  If I have a problem with you, then I have a problem.

But I love you, so I don't have a problem.

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

guilt and shame

A South Carolina woman shot her children and herself. Seems that her husband had filed for divorce and had a new girlfriend. Jessica Edens shot and killed the girlfriend, then her children, then herself. She left a note for her husband which said-

“I hope you rot one day for what you have done to me and my kids,” the woman wrote to her estranged husband, Ben Edens, with whom she was fighting for custody. “You can no longer hurt us. We are at peace. I hope you live with pain and shame and guilt for the rest of your life.”

Now this is a mess of a situation for sure, and I wish there was no such thing as divorce. I wish that every marriage worked out. But I want to say this- having been raised for 25 years on guilt and shame, I would wish it on no one. I don't care what people do to me, I don't want them to feel guilt or shame. People do what they do for a myriad of reasons. Life is complicated.

We can seek to understand others or we can make it all about me.  Jesus never delivered guilt or shame to anyone.  Neither should Christians.

Thought for the day:  Make a concerted effort to offer grace to everyone, especially those who have wronged you.

In so doing, make it a beautiful day in God's world.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Negative posting

In response to one of my posts last week [the story about the boy, the crocodile and the rabbit] a dear friend wrote in and said, "Jeff - you don't always have to post happy everything will turn out right posts. That's not how the world is. This one made me think."
My friend's comment made me think. And I want to tell you.... I don't try to write happy or sad or anything particularly. I just write what is in my heart and mind. I am glad that some posts make people feel good. I am glad that some posts make us think.
I do think that there is a fine line between pushing us to think and being negative.  I don't ever want to be negative.  [and my friend was not saying that I should be]
I read some of what my facebook friends post on the internet and I just cringe.  In fact, there are a few folks that I have unfriended on facebook because of their negative rants.

Especially as a pastor, we have to remember that although we are entitled to our opinion, half of the congregation will not agree with us.  And if you want to be the pastor to everyone, they should have no idea what your politics are..... Ever.  We did not go into the ministry of Jesus to make political statements.

Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in thy sight.  Ps. 19

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

Friday, August 18, 2017

predictable outcomes

There is a country western song titled, God is Great, Beer is Good, People are Crazy.

Sometimes I watch what people do and I wonder what were they thinking.  I want to use the Dr. Phil line, "so how is that working for you?"

Mostly you can just watch decisions that are made sometimes and know that the out come is predictable.
Make bad money decisions- the outcome is predictable.  Eventually you are broke.
Make bad people decisions- the outcome is predictable.  Eventually you are alone.

Now I have made plenty of bad decisions in my life.  I am sure that people, my Father for sure, would sometimes watch me and shake their heads..... the outcome of my choices was predictable.

But, here is to making good choices.  We can't control what others do, but we can control what we do.  What are my choices today?  What will the outcomes be?

We only go around once in this life.  Freewill is a gift from God.  Let's get our ego out of the way and choose well.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

On being the bigger person

My friend Chris sent this in....

I am right. Why should I make amends when the other person is wrong? They owe me an apology! I’m going to sit here as long as it takes, in a closed body position with my arms crossed firmly, not budging, after all, I am right!.

We all hurt other people. With our words, looks, attitude, tone of voice, actions, lack of actions and many other things. Who are we not to extend grace to someone else who has wronged us? Although we may not recall, or even know it, others have extended us grace in the past.

What good does it good to dig deep in the sand & refuse to take action. Sometimes being the bigger person isn’t just about being the bigger person, it’s about making things right, regardless of who is wrong. If we stay focused on the wrong we will not grow. We will stay in rightness, which can be a form of prison. Look at the bigger picture. Is this relationship, friendship or business associate worth losing over a position that you think is right?

Remember in Matthew when Peter went to Jesus & asked “How many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to 7 times?” Jesus replied “I tell you, not 7 times, but 77 times."

Being a bigger person is a beautiful thing. Reach out to that person. Call, Send a note, or email, asking to make things right. Acknowledge your accountability. Ask for forgiveness. Who are we not to give it?

Be kind to yourself today. Be kind to to someone else today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Sometimes I get angry.  Sometimes you get angry.  I wish it were not so, but it is.

We get angry when things happen that we don't like, and there is no clear means to fix the thing.  Many situations in life are beyond our control.  And as my mother always said, we can't control what others do, but we can control what we do.

Sometimes I can go to bed and sleep angry off.  Sometimes it takes several nights to sleep an anger off.  I don't like being angry, but  it's a feeling that we all have from time to time and it is ok to have.  If you need to be angry, let yourself feel it, but don't put roots down there.  Don't become embittered.

When I look at things that people do that make me angry, their actions usually fall into one of three categories:
1.  they did not mean to hurt me
2.  they thought they were doing the right thing
3.  their ego was small and they needed to hurt me

If I can identify any of those three thoughts in relationship to why I am mad, it helps me to understand the other person and move through the anger.

At the end of the day, I choose to hold on to my anger or I choose to work on it, and move on.    I hope if you are angry, that reading this blog will help you.  May we all find the grace to release others who have hurt us.  Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.

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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

St. Joseph

This is pretty funny. So my friend from Cape Coral, Ken Fox, gave me a foxtail palm. A little bitty one. It was about a foot tall. It came in a pot, but after a few months, I decided it was time to plant it in the yard. So I got my garden kneeling pad, my trowel and a watering can.

I set out to dig. The first place that I chose turned out to be an ant's nest. So I moved over a foot. I started to dig. Very quickly I hit something. I thought, hmm, a rock, hmm a root. Then I noticed something- the thing was orange and appeared to be hexagonal. I kept digging. I could see that there was this plastic something buried in the yard.

I started to pull on it. I thought It was a child’s toy. Batman?  He-man? Then I got it out and I saw that it was an 8” statue of St. Francis. Now I love St. Francis, so I thought that it was a little statue that had been knocked down and covered over by the sands of time.

I cleaned him off and stood him up next to the foxtail palm wanna be.

A few weeks later my friends tim and Kathy came to visit and I was telling them about the St. Francis statue that I found in the backyard. They told me that there is a tradition that if you want to get a blessing to sell your home quickly, you bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in your backyard. I went and looked, and sure enough, it was not St. Francis, it was St. Joseph. Someone years ago was hoping to sell the house. Now today, I have a beautiful palm waking to it’s life, guarded by a statue of St. Joseph.

You never know what you will find when you dig in your back yard.

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

no hands

There are several versions of the following story...

The story is told that during World War II, a church building in Strasbourg, France was destroyed by bombings. After the bombing had ceased, the members of the church looked over the damage. In spite of the severe damage they were pleased that a statue of Christ with outstretched hands was still standing. It had been sculpted centuries before by a great artist.

The people discovered, however, that both hands of Christ had been sheered off by a falling beam. Later, a sculptor in the town offered to replace the broken hands as a gift to the church. The church leaders met to consider the offer and, after giving it considerable thought, decided not to accept. They felt the statue without hands would be a great message to everyone that the work of Jesus Christ is often done through His people. If there are sick, lonely, or hungry people around us, we are the hands the Savior will use to answer those needs.

Instead of repairing the hands, the church put up a plaque at the base that states, "I have no hands but yours."

This is a reference to a poem by St. Teresa of Avila that begins:
"Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours."

In Luke 10, an expert in the law asks Jesus about salvation.  I find it interesting that when asked about salvation, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan.  Remember, Jesus is talking to an expert in the law, a person well read of the scriptures.  Yet, the Good Samaritan does not merely pray for the man, nor does he read him scriptures of comfort.  What he does is actually help the man.  Jesus says, go thou and do likewise.

Prayer is fine.  Bible study is great.  Sending a check is nice.  But, if we are not being the hands of Jesus, we are missing the central part of the story.

Let's be his hands today.

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Oh my.

This made my gray matter arc.

From a recent Richard Rohr devotional…. “Jesus never asked us to worship him, only to follow him.”  Stop and cook on that for a moment.  Really just pause and think about that for a bit before you read on....“Jesus never asked us to worship him, only to follow him.” 

Other writings in the new testament point to the importance of worshiping Jesus.  The God of the Old Testament expected to be worshiped, but Jesus himself never asked for it.

  What are the implications of that?  What are the implications of that?  Ok, there is nothing wrong with worshiping Jesus of course, but… maybe Jesus would like a bit less singing and a little more living.  A little less worshiping and a little more following.  Too many Christians sing the songs on Sunday and live the rest of the week as if they are following themselves. 

Following Jesus is worshiping him.  It’s time to engage in the mission.

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017


My friend Tyler, who is a bit shy, but also a genius, sent me his collection of quotes. Here are a few of them.

"What people think of me isn't any of my business."
-Oprah Winfrey

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather a man of value."
-Albert Einstein

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.."
-Frederick Keonig

"People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes."
-Abigail Van Buren

"No wind favors him who has no destined port."
-Michel De Montaigne

"The thing that counts is not what we could do, but what we actually do."
- Leo L. Spears

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

Another thought about Holy Communion

So on the first Sunday of every month, many churches celebrate Holy Communion. We have made it a convenient little celebration where we like to think that we feel close to God.   At the last supper Jesus said, “do this in remembrance of me.”  What did he really mean?  Did he mean, eat a piece of bread and remember me?  Or is there more going on?

At the last supper, Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me"   ….. do this.  Do what?  Eat bread?  Is that all that the Lord's supper is about?  Eat bread and remember me?  The bread is not just bread.  It is broken bread.  Communion remembers Jesus being broken.

The bread is the symbol of his body broken.  Let’s look at this another way… every time that you are broken,  remember me.  Every time that you are broken as Jesus was broken,  every time that you live as he lived, it is sacramental.  Do you want to feel close to Jesus?  Then go be broken as he was broken.  Go give yourself away.

The next time you share in the bread and the cup, remember that this is not merely a feel good time.  Just as  he was broken for the world, and we too are called to follow him as a sacrifice for others.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017


When I was eight years old, I was waiting for my mother to pick me up from the Ward Parkway Swimming Pool. By the way, that pool was torn down years ago and an office building went up in its place. Anyway, I was waiting for my mom and I was swinging my swim mask around on my finger. Unfortunately, the metal bolt on the top of the mask scraped my knee, and my knee busted wide open. I sliced it about two inches long and ½ inch deep. I knew I was going to need stitches, but my dad insisted that it would heal up fine on it’s own.

My dad was raised during the depression. Personally, I would have driven my kid in for stitches, but he did not, and I watched this gaping wound for a month. But eventually, he was right. It did heal. However, if I show you the inside of my right knee today, you will surely see the scar that is left behind. Wounds heal, scars remain.

I recently read a book by a survivor of Pearl Harbor.  One of his statements that stuck with me was this:  "I have other wounds, ones that cant be covered up with slacks and long sleeved shirts. Scars on a part of me no one can see."

We are all broken. We all have pains. It’s ok to have them, and it is ok to admit that we have them. Anyone who pretends that they do not have problems….. well…. I know better, and so do you.  I prefer to run with real, broken people.

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

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?

Another Anthony deMello story...

There once was a simple farmer who lived and struggled alongside his neighbors and friends, trying to exist and fulfill a peaceful life. One day news arrived from far away, that his old loving father had died. His neighbors gathered to grieve, but the farmer simply said, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?"

In time relatives brought a very fine horse of great cost and fine breeding, left to the farmer by his father. All the villagers and neighbours gathered in delight with him to celebrate his good fortune, but he just said, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

One day the horse escaped into the hills and when all the farmer’s neighbours sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

Commentary- we are too tied to circumstances.  Life is good.  Period.  Things happen that we like and things happen that we don't like.  But life is still good, if we just take the time to see.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

the law of life

I posted this a few years ago, but it came up in discussion again the other day so I thought I would share it.  Part of me hates this story and part of me loves this story. It surely exists in many forms and in many writings. I found it first in an Anthony deMello book. Warning- pain ahead......

When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world becomes right. We're always bothered by the problem of evil. There's a powerful story about a little boy walking along the bank of a river. He sees a crocodile who is trapped in a net. The crocodile says, "Would you have pity on me and release me? I may look ugly, but it isn't my fault, you know. I was made this way. But whatever my external appearance, I have a mother's heart. I came this morning in search of food for my young ones and got caught in this trap!"

So the boy says, "Ah, if I were to help you out of that trap, you'd grab me and kill me."

The crocodile asks, "Do you think I would do that to my benefactor and liberator?"

So the boy is persuaded to take the net off and the crocodile grabs him.

As he is being forced between the jaws of the crocodile, he says, "So this is what I get for my good actions." And the crocodile says, "Well, don't take it personally, son, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life."

The boy disputes this, so the crocodile says, "Do you want to ask someone if it isn't so?"

The boy sees a bird sitting on a branch and says, "Bird, is what the crocodile says right?" The bird says, "The crocodile is right. Look at me. I was coming home one day with food for my fledglings. Imagine my horror to see a snake crawling up the tree, making straight for my nest. I was totally helpless. It kept devouring my young ones, one after the other. I kept screaming and shouting, but it was useless. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is."

"See," says the crocodile. But the boy says, "Let me ask someone else." So the crocodile says, "Well, all right, go ahead."

There was an old donkey passing by on the bank of the river. "Donkey," says the boy, "this is what the crocodile says. Is the crocodile right?"

The donkey says, "The crocodile is quite right. Look at me. I've worked and slaved for my master all my life and he barely gave me enough to eat. Now that I'm old and useless, he has turned me loose, and here I am wandering in the jungle, waiting for some wild beast to pounce on me and put an end to my life. The crocodile is right, this is the law of life, this is the way the world is."

"See," says the crocodile. "Let's go!"

The boy says, "Give me one more chance, one last chance. Let me ask one other being. Remember how good I was to you?" So the crocodile says, "All right, your last chance."

The boy sees a rabbit passing by, and he says, "Rabbit, is the crocodile right?"

The rabbit sits on his haunches and says to the crocodile, "Did you say that to that boy? The crocodile says, "Yes, I did." "Wait a minute," says the rabbit. "We've got to discuss this." "Yes," says the crocodile. But the rabbit says, "How can we discuss it when you've got that boy in your mouth? Release him; he's got to take part in the discussion, too." The crocodile says, "You're a clever one, you are. The moment I release him, he'll run away." The rabbit says, "I thought you had more sense than that. If he attempted to run away, one slash of your tail would kill him."

"Fair enough," says the crocodile, and he released the boy. The moment the boy is released, the rabbit says, "Run!" And the boy runs and escapes. Then the rabbit says to the boy, "Don't you enjoy crocodile flesh? Wouldn't the people in your village like a good meal? You didn't really release that crocodile; most of his body is still caught in that net. Why don't you go to the village and bring everybody and have a banquet."

That's exactly what the boy does. He goes to the village and calls all the men folk. They come with their axes and staves and spears and kill the crocodile. The boy's dog comes, too, and when the dog sees the rabbit, he gives chase, catches hold of the rabbit, and throttles him. The boy comes on the scene too late, and as he watches the rabbit die, he says, "The crocodile was right, this is the way the world is, this is the law of life."

There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all the sufferings and evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the world! You'll never explain it. You can try gamely with your formulas, religious and otherwise, but you'll never explain it. Because life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it.

[I edited the next line, from deMello to soften it up a bit.... ]
If we would make sense out of life we must wake up and then you'll suddenly realize that reality is not problematic, my understanding of it is problematic. I want to fix it, instead of working on me. Difficulty will come. What will I do with it?

In the movie the Princess Bride, Cary Elwes say, "Life is pain, Highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something."

Let's be honest. HONEST. Some people have a little pain in life, some have lots. Some deal with it bravely, some weep over a hangnail. Part of the journey of maturity is to learn to lean into God and trust him no matter what the circumstances.

I talked with my daughter about this post. She found it depressing. Well, I don't want to depress anyone, but life can be hard and pain is real. I don't believe in pretending, but I do believe in pointing people towards God. Especially in difficulty. God is with us. What more do we need? Sometimes things are difficult. There are valleys. But in the valleys, we always find the Shepherd.

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

I met a friend for lunch

I met a friend for lunch on Friday.  I miss him so much.

The service was slow.  Although one of my favorite restaurants, you could tell that something was off.  I arrived at 12:05.  At 1:05 I had to leave to get back to a job.  I never got my food.

But that is ok.  That was ok.  I so enjoyed my friend.
a few hours later, I kicked off work early and got some happy hour food.
So I did not starve.  [as if you were worried about me starving....]

This friend is bright and caring.  But what I love about him is that he is a great thinker.  Honest and soul bare with me.  I love him and I look forward to our next lunch.

Being with good friends is better than eating.  Given the choice to have the friends or the food, I will take the friend every time.

If you have one friend in this life, you are blessed indeed.  Never take the gift of friendship for granted.  Next time you see them, tell them that you love them.

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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Notebook

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie the Notebook staring James Garner.

“I’m nothing special, just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve lived a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten.  But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who has ever lived, for I have loved another with my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”

What is on your list for today?  What is on your schedule?  Make time, take time to love someone.  That is why we are here on this planet.

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

my life, your life

I was talking to someone the other day and they said something like, "the mess that is the story of my life."  Then they went on to recount to me all of the mistakes that they have made along the way and how badly they still feel about some of the choices that they made.

I told them, I said, "stop."

Stop.  Just stop.  No one is perfect.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone makes mistakes.  If you are still feeling badly about something that you did in the past, just stop it.  Life is too good and too short to waste an hour or a day feeling badly.  Jesus never shamed anyone.  Do not shame yourself.  Some people waste the rest of their life suffering over something that they did in the past.

Wake up.  Live.  It makes God happy when we bring a smile to the gift that is this day.  My life is not perfect, neither is yours.  But today is a new day.  Today is a good day.  Let's go get after it and give ourselves fully and joyfully to this day.

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

work part deux

As a follow up to yesterday's post - and thanks to SG for those words, as a follow up, I would like to comment on work.

I love to work.  I always have.  Well I didn't when I was young, but by the time I was 15, I was a working fool.  I just don't sit still very well.  I work all day and make lists at night for what I am going to do tomorrow.  Everything that we have, Cathy and I worked hard for, for a long time.

I loved the work of a pastor.  But I love so many things.  I love to paint, to trim trees, to lay tile, and clean out drains.  I love to build shelves, plant flowers, work on the sprinkler system and replace rotten boards.

There is so much good stuff to do in this life.

Paul wrote, "If a man would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thess. 3:10

I don't know about you, but I don't want to give up eating.  Lets go find something to do.  Work is good.

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

Thursday, August 3, 2017

work is a blessing

From a friend and reader - - -

Okay, okay, before you say “yeah…right” and exit this blog to go read someone else’s postings, read on.

The more I look around the world, and in fact among all of God’s creation, I have concluded that work is a blessing and that we were created to engage in work. In fact, I learn a lot about this from Adam and Eve. When God created them, he didn’t set the garden up with two recliners and a couple of martinis. He gave them work to do, tending the garden.

And in today’s world, I enjoy observing how all creatures great and small find work to do in their everyday world. An experienced child care worker at church told me one time, “children’s work is play.” She was right. Have you ever watched small children at play. They sometimes play by emulating adult behaviors. Children are never still, and they absolutely work very hard at playing. One inspiration I receive from watching children is that they seem lost in the moment and are refreshingly unattached from the worries and baggage that adults carry around in their work world.

Although I do not like the pesky squirrels, who can do a lot of damage to property sometimes, I love watching how fast and hard they run from one place to another, going about their work. They can climb up or down a tree trunk, quickly, always moving forward and not having to back down like humans. These guys are just “nuts” about their work.

And I love to watch how geese go about their work of moving from one climate to another, all organized and in formation, as they go about their work.

I could name examples, on and on, but we’ll wrap this up with human beings and what typically goes on with work and careers. Adults work at jobs, from the time they exit their education path, until it’s time to retire. At this stage it’s about supporting themselves and/or their family. After families are raised and retirement is possible, wise adults don’t quit working. They just suddenly have more time to work at something they’ve always wanted to have time for.

All of this brings me to the conclusion that we were created to work, and the ability to go about some kind of work is a blessing from God.

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

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


There is color blind.  There is snow blind.  There is another kind of blindness where we can see the faults of others but cannot see our own.  This kind of blindness is self inflicted and self perpetuated.

Why is it that I can see the arrogance in you, but not the arrogance in me?  Why is it that I detest your bad habits but excuse my own?  Why does your behavior rub me the wrong way, but I cannot see the very same behavior executed by me?  Why am I upset when you drive like that but I do the very same thing sometimes?

Thank God that Jesus cures blindness.  But he doesn't force us to see.  We have to want to see.  We have to want to change.  We have to take the initiative to look inside of ourselves and see what is really there.  The good news is that if you look inside and don't like what you see, you can always make a change for the better.

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

one less rib

This is an embarrassing story from my youth.  It is a story about how some religious teachers, Pastors, Sunday School teachers and the like can really mess you up.  Some religious people, in the name of religion, believe some cra cra crazy things.

So I was 18 years old and a freshman in college at San Jose State.  One of my courses was humanities.  The class was small, about 15 students and we sat around a big square table.  So we were all face to face and in close proximity to one another.  One day the topic of the Bible came up.  Every student in the class spoke about how the Bible was not true and how there was no proof of the Bible’s claims. 

I spoke up.  [This is so embarrassing.]

I spoke up in defense of the Bible.  I said, “what about the issue of ribs?”  No one had any idea what I was talking about so explained that God made woman with one of Adam’s ribs and that is why to this day, men have one less rib than women.

The class, obviously, broke out in hysterics.  I was shamed.   I felt like a fool.

The moral of this story is this:  be careful what you eat.  Be careful what teaching you take in.  Even if it is supported by a scripture, there may be other scriptures that contradict it.  Also, I believe that 90% of what we believe is foolishness.  It doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that we love the Lord with all of our heart and love our neighbor as ourself.  Your opinion on the Bible, Revelations, politics and everything else is irrelevant.  Just love.  That’s all that matters.

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