Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, December 31, 2009

More of the Best of 2009

God is good all the time and all the time God is good. Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's post. Here are some more of the highlights of were I saw God and how I experienced God grace and love in 2009.

I have not heard from anyone yet but, I hope that you will share some of your highlights of 2009 as well. Here are a few more ways that I experienced and grew in my relationship with God in 2009.

  • Care and love of family and friends.
  • Darbey took her first steps.
  • Darbey said her first words.
  • Witnessed God's healing.
  • Witnessed God transformation
  • Testimonies at church.
  • Testimonies over dinning tables.
  • Dallas's poems.
  • I got to stand before people every Sunday and tell them about my Jesus.
  • Dockery Dream Journal.
  • Trick or Treat for the food pantry.
  • Thanksgiving with family.
  • The hat, mitten, gloves and scarf tree.
  • The bear tree
  • Dockery adopting 20 families for Christmas.
  • The guy that gave money for a family in need when he was in a crises himself.
  • Caroling at the nursing homes and to the homebound.
  • A box of meat and a serenade.
  • Christmas-- with Christ and family.
  • The many, many, many hugs.
  • Tears shared.
I realize as I remember each of these highlights I am forgetting just as many. You, yes you, are one of those highlights. You are a way that I have experienced God this year. It has been a good year. It has been a God year. God is good all the time and all the time God is good!

What is on your list?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Best of 2009 - Year in Review

Help me out on this one. I want to spend a few days counting blessings. I would like to think about the highlights of 2009 as it pertains to God's activity in our lives.

They will make list like this for entertainment and politics and I think it is time we made one about our relationship with God. So, what are your highlights. Make a list. Count your blessings. Share your blessings.

Here are some highlights of my 2009 with God:

  • As a family we began 2009 by welcoming Jesus as the 1st person into our home in 2009. The family gathered at the front door of our home and we prayed together the first foot prayer.
  • I was blessed with a trip to the Holy Lands.
  • I was able to preach and serve communion at the garden tomb.
  • I sang "Up from the Grave he Arose" with brothers and sister from China and Nigeria. All of us singing in our native language.
  • I was able to worship each Sunday with the people of Dockery Chapel.
  • Followed God's leading to serve as Chaplain of the Grundy County Rural Fire District
  • Made many new friends.
  • Saw God as I help clean up after the tornadoes around Kirksville, MO with many friends from Dockery. Made new friends in Kirksville.
  • Participated in, and lead, "Fireproof" relationship enrichment class with 30 + other folks.
  • Nicole and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.
  • Tucker turned 11.
  • Tanner turned 10.
  • Delaney turned 6.
  • Darbey turned 1.
  • I was reappointed as the pastor of Dockery Chapel UMC.
  • Encountered God in the youth that came to Trenton for World Changers.
  • VBS! Almost 50 children. I got slimmed. Children learned about God and had fun.
  • Praise team.
  • Grew in my relationship with God and with my family on a 16 day camping trip.
  • Generosity of the people of our community.
  • I was blessed to officiate weddings.
  • I was blessed to baptize children and adults.
  • I celebrated the lives of several friends and relatives who entered the church triumphant in 2009.
These are just a few that I can think of and I am about half way through the year. I am sure that I have left out many. What is on your list. As you think about God's highlight reel for your past year what are the blessings? What are the ways that you have seen God? How has God been made real? I would love to hear about it.

I will have more tomorrow.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

I remember as a kid struggling to fall asleep on Christmas eve. I remember tossing and turning, looking at the clock, and looking at my bedroom door. As I looked at the door I tried to catch a glimpse of someone walking by the door or to see light coming in through the crack at the bottom.

It seemed like seconds took minutes and minutes took hours to pass. I would close my eyes and hold them shut for what seemed like hours only to discover that just one more minute had passed and had still not fallen asleep.

I was excited. I was full of anticipation of what was coming. It was Christmas eve all I had to do was get through the night and in the morning my wait was over.

It is Christmas eve today and I pray that I, that we, that all of us, are filled with this type of excitement this year about what is coming to us. I pray for child like excitement and anticipation as I celebrate Jesus birth.

I want to encourage you to make worship a part of this anticipation and excitement. I want to invite you to worship at the church of your choice and celebrate the birth of our savior. If you don't have a church home and you want to experience the Christ of Christmas I want to invite you to come to Dockery Chapel tonight at 7:00 PM for our Christmas Eve service.

I am excited about what is coming. How about you?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Last night I think we finished up our Christmas shopping. I had put it off long enough. Nicole, the kids and I put our names in a hat and we draw out someone else's name to buy a gift for. We also try to not to tell each other what we want them to get us. The idea is that you think about that person and get them what you think they would like or need. It is about caring for each other and thinking of the other person not just filling the gift giving need. Anyway, last night, freshly recovered from the flu bug, we venture out to get the last minute gifts.

It got me thinking about a children's message that I did at the beginning of advent. I asked the kids what God wanted for Christmas and then we opened different gifts that had pieces of the Nativity scene in them. In the last box, box #7, was what God wanted for Christmas.

What do you get a God that has everything? What does God want? What does God desire?

Box #7 had a mirrored bottom in it. When you look into the box you see what God wants for Christmas. You see the desire of his heart. You see what you give to the God that has everything. You see yourself. What God wants for Christmas is you!
You don't have to wait in lines, brave the weather, or fight any crowds to get this gift for God. We just have to offer our hearts and our lives to Him. Love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Missing You

Yesterday I was sick.
It seems that we have a "bug"moving through our house. Three of the kids and I have all been sick the last couple of days. I was in bed yesterday trying to get better so I missed blogging.

It got me to thinking about you. I miss you. I miss seeing you each week at church. I miss the times that we have together. When we are not together I miss you.

As I think about my missing you, I think that, at times, God must feel that way about us too. I think there are times that we can hear those words coming from God, if we are still and listen. "I miss you."

When you are gone you are missed. You are loved always.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thanks God

Thank you God for all the ways that you protect me in my day.
Thank you for the ways that I have seen it and the ways that I have not even noticed, but have been protected by you.
Thank you for your watch and care over my friends and family.
Thank you that you are mindful of all of us and care for all of your children.
Thank you that you are there with us in the storms and the tragedies of life.
Thank you that you are light in the dark places that we travel.
Thank you that you are a peace that passes understanding in a world where there seems to be no peace.
Thank you for your love that is beyond my understanding and comprehension.
Thank you that you love me just the way that I am.
Thank you that you love me so much that you wont leave me where I am at.
Thank you for your love that I am never separated from.
Thank you for hope.
Thank you for Joy.
Thank you for being you.
Thank you for being all that I need
Thank you for being more than enough.
Thank you God.
I love you and I am grateful to be called your child. Amen

What about you? What are you thankful for? Make a list. Tell God. Live out your thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas



It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Last night we had an awesome evening at the church Christmas program. Thank you to everyone who made the possible. It was such a joy and blessing to see the Christmas story come to life through the acting of our children, youth and adults. It was so wonderful to see all of the talent of the church come together to lift of Jesus. I was just amazed at all the talent. Dockery is blessed. It was wonderful to have all the soloist, the choirs ( yes, choirs!), the children's choir, youth choir, and adults choirs, as well as the praise team all sharing their talents to lead us in celebrating Jesus coming into our hearts, lives, and world.

After the Program we celebrated with a birthday party for Jesus. What a great time to share together in the Christmas story and to find ourselves as participants in the story. It really is our story. May each of us find our place in the story and may our lives begin to look a lot like Christmas.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear God

Light comes into darkness.
That is what the Christmas story says.
For unto us a Child is born a Savior is given.
This is what the Christmas story tells me.
You so loved the world that you gave your one and only Son that whoever believed would not perish but have eternal life. You love me so you gave/give to me yourself.
This is what the Christmas story tells me.
You love me so you shine light in my darkness. You love me so come to me to save me from sin. From myself. From my enemy. From death.

Shine your light in me today. Shine your light in the dark places that I need to see your light. Fill me with your love and grace. Help me to see you in this Advent season. Help me to understand that you have come to me and that you love me. And shine your light through me so that others might see and know you are here and that Christmas has come to them.
In the name of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

You Can't Out Give God.

Since this past Sunday I keep thinking about the statement, "You can't out give God." I have seen so much generosity lately. I have seen hearts opened and people graciously giving of their time, of themselves, and of their money. It is amazing to see people reach out to families that have lost their homes in fires (we have had two total loses in the past week), and also to see our church trees filled with hats, scarfs, gloves and mittens. It is amazing to see all the presents for the 20 families that were adopted by Dockery and to see the bears on the tree that will go to the State Patrol to give to children in crises.

What is amazing is that the love and the generosity continues to come. Generosity is not about money it is about heart. Generosity is not measured by the size or amount of the gift. It is measured by the size of the heart. Hugs and presence display generosity as much, if not more, than presents. I have seen a lot of generous hearts in the past couple of weeks. The generosity continues to flow.

There are two thoughts that continue with me in regards to this generosity. One, it does not even compare to the generosity of God. God keeps giving. We give and God gives more. Second, what if the giving and generosity that we see and experience around Christmas continued all year long. What if we keep our hearts open? What if we keep looking for ways to share Christ's love? What if gratitude, grace, and love permeated every aspect of our lives and every season of the year.

I know this, God will keep on giving and we will never out give God. I know that love, caring, compassion, and generosity in the name of Jesus can make a difference in peoples lives and in our world. Thank you for your generosity and the way that God's grace and love can be seen through you. Keep trying to out give God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, December 14, 2009

Follow the leader

Follow the leader was a game that we played when I was a kid. The rules of the game were rather simple. One person was the leader and everyone else was the follower.
What the leader did the followers did. Where the leader went the followers went. Two things would mess the game up. One was that the follower stopped following the leader. The second, more than one person was trying to be the leader. There can only be one leader.

This is true for following Jesus as well. We are to follow. We don't lead. We are not even co-leaders. (I have never liked that bumper sticker "God is my co-pilot", If it is true you are in the wrong seat.) We are to follow the leader. The leader is not us- it is Jesus. We are to do what he does and go where he goes.

We need to listen and look toward the leader and when we sense his leading we need to follow.

Are you following or are you leading?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thank God It's Friday!

What are you thankful for today?
How have you seen God at work?
Have you felt God's presence?
Have you experienced God's love?

Thank God. Take a moment right now and thank God. Show God your gratitude.

I am grateful that God cares about us. The God who created everything. The great big God of the universe is mindful of us. We can pray to him and he listens to us. He cares that we are anxious about the things of life. He cares about our worries. God is concerned about us being concerned. God cares about you and me. God wants us to take all of our lives to him and find rest and peace in him. God is mindful of you today. God will provide you just what you need today because he loves you. We pray. God hears. God cares. God comes. God provides.

I thank God that he is mindful of me. I can cast all my life worries, my hopes, my dreams, my insecurities, all of me on Him--and he cares for me.

Thank God it's Friday! What are you thankful for?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Everything

I have a made a discovery in my life that is invaluable. I discovered this at a time that I felt I had lost everything. I lost my job and my home and in that moment I discovered what everything really is.

Everything is not all the stuff that we can get, consume, and acquire. Everything does not consist of material, consumable, goods. All that stuff is just stuff.

Relationships are everything. Our relationship with God is all that we need to save us. God is wholly adequate to save us. God's grace is sufficient for all of our needs. God will provide for us when we trust in his provision. God will never leave us even when all our stuff does. When we have our relationships with God and with others we have everything.

Family is everything. Immediate family. Extended family. Church family. Our friends are everything. Family and friends are the ones who are there with us when the stuff is gone. They are the ones that are there with us and cry with us. They are the ones that pray for us, encourage us, inspire us and help us to see that God is working for good in all situations.

When we have the love of God, the love of family, and the love of friends we have everything. When all the stuff is gone what we are left with is everything that matters.

Sadly, too often, we only discover this when we lose it all. I pray today that we all might discover this truth without having to go through the darkness of losing all the stuff that we thought we had to have. I pray for those who are feeling like they have lost everything that they will have relationship around them that will help them to see what everything really is. I pray for all of us in this season of preparing for Christ's coming that our hearts and lives might be filled with everything.

Love today, because love is everything.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In ALL things

I have had to take some time away from posting lately. It seems that life got extremely busy. I am happy to say that even though I was unable to get on to my blog and post I was still focusing on my relationship with God and looking to see and connect with God in my ordinary, everyday life.

The past week I had to write all my paperwork for ordination and I also had a good friends loose their homes in a fire. Through all of it I was able to see that God works in all situations. "In all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to His purpose." That is what the Bible

A good friend, became the answer to prayer by offering to proof all of my work. I saw my wife, out of love, do all that she could to support me as I wrote by taking care of everything around the house and me as well. In the tragedy of my good friends loosing their home I saw God love and grace shine through neighbors, church members, and strangers to reach out to let them know they where not alone in this. God is at work all the time. God is good all the time. In the stuff that is bad to us, God is still good and God is there. All we have to do is look for God. God is there in ALL things.

All things. That means everything. Too often we tend to think we are, or our situation is, the exception. But those three little letters mean there is no exception. ALL. God is working for good in ALL things. I have seen more proof of that as I have been on my break from the blog. I have seen people being the church and not just playing it.

Look for God.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 30, 2009

Giving my life to Christ

I was asked this question yesterday. "How did you know that you really gave your life to Christ?" This is a question we all want to know the answer to. (not about me, but for ourselves.) The person asking the question went on to talk about how several times they had desired to give themselves to Christ and asked to be saved but it seemed that maybe they had not done it right or they just have never "felt" like they had done it.

It is not that we gave our lives to Christ. It is that we are giving our lives to Christ. You see everyday we have the choice to live for God or to live for ourselves. Each and everyday we need to give our lives to Christ. At every opportunity that we have to be self seeking or Christ seeking we are either giving our lives to Christ or taking them for ourselves. It is important that we have those moments when we understand that Christ comes to save us and we accept the free gift of his grace but the scripture also talk about salvation as a process.

Acts 2:47 "And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."

1 Corinthians 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

2 Corinthians 2:15 "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

We are saved and we are being saved. John Wesley talked about salvation as an event and a process. There is the moment that we receive God's grace to save us and accept it and then we are being saved as we live new lives in Christ. It isn't that we once gave, it is that we are constantly giving our lives to Jesus.

This morning when I woke up I had a choice, and so did you, to give my life to Jesus or to live for myself. Throughout my day, probably more times than I even noticed, I was given the opportunity to choose to give my life to Jesus or to give it to something else. Until our words become actions they are merely words. Until our faith or belief becomes action than it is just words.

The question is am I giving my life to Christ? Not, did I give? The question is am accepting the gift of God to save me and am I being saved? Not, have I been saved? Saved by Grace through faith. Faith is a lived belief. Live as those who are being saved. Giving our lives to Jesus every moment of every day.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving with the family

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I thank my God for all of you and in my prayers I remember you always."
The family connection. It is amazing how you can go a year, or more, without seeing some of your relatives yet when you see each other it is as if you have been together all along. There is a "connection" that just seems to keep us in tune with each other.
Have you ever met someone who you did not know before and there seemed to be some sort of instant connection? Something that draws you together? As part of Christ family we have someone, the Spirit, that connects us together as the family of God. The Spirit draws us together as family. The Spirit in you and the Spirit in me connect as if we have known each other all along or as if there has been no passage of time since we where last together.

I am thankful for the family connection. I am thankful for family and friends and a place in Christ family. I am thankful for the Spirit. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Make room at the table for Jesus.

Love table.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving

I am spending time in Indiana with my Mom, sister and the rest of the family for Thanksgiving. We have seen a movie and last night we continued the tradition of Tanner and I winning at Pictionary. It is almost uncanny how we think alike and can understand what each of us is thinking and drawing. I an very grateful for this time with family and for the traditions that we have.

Today is Wednesday but it is never too early to stop and give thanks. In those moments this weekend stop and give thanks. When you see friends and family stop and thank God for them. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving! When you get the chance sing.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Writting Theologically

I am a believer that all people are theologians. All of us thinks about, talk about, and study God. Each and everyone of us are theologians. This week along with Thanksgiving and preparing for the Advent season I am also finishing up my ordination paperwork. This means I have to write theologically. Although, I say we are all theologians and I also believe that we all think, talk, and study God. I have difficulty writing this type of paperwork. I feel a pressure to write using the big words of my scholarship (I am talking about the stuff I learned in seminary). I feel pressure to be deep and thought provoking, with proper sentence structure and a weighty words.

This is not like my normal writing or my normal talking about God. I almost need to put on a different hat, a scholarly hat, rather than the one I wear most days. I wonder if this is wrong? I wonder if the hat I wear everyday should be the scholarly one? I don't think that it is. I do study God everyday and I do think about and talk about God everyday. My study has given me knowledge and the words to shape my experiences and encounters with God. My study has given me knowledge and understanding to take that which is deep and profound, the stuff of God, and understand it, and what it means, in my daily walking around life. It enables me to see God and know God in a down to earth way.

Soteriology, eschatology, atonemment, incarnation, depravity and many other large words that I have learned impact me daily and I need to be able to speak about them in a practical way. As I write these theological papers I understand more fully the need to be able to speak about God in everyday language and in our everyday lives. God desire is that we know him, not just about him. What we learn and say about God should speak toward knowing him more fully and deeply.

So, I apologize if some of the big words slip in this week, I am thinking about their meaning as I write my ordination paperwork. I also apologize to the folks that will read my ordination paperwork for those times that mt earthy language and writing sound less than scholarly. I also am thankful that God comes to earth. I am thankful that we encounter Almighty, all-knowing, all-powerful God in the stuff of our daily lives. I am thankful that God desired that we know him so much that he became like us. Talked like we talk, lived like we live, suffered like we suffer...all so that we could know that the God who created everything wants to live in relationship with us everyday.

Something to think about.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thank God it's Friday

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. It may be hard to recognize that because many places that we go we already see signs of Christmas. This year retailers are trying to boost there profits by starting the Christmas shopping season early. It is important to understand that the reason we are seeing Christmas ads on TV is that they are trying to get people to buy stuff. It is not an early run at celebrating Christ's birth.

I am grateful today, as we are being enticed to jump ahead to the buying and consumerism of the modern capitalistic Christmas, that there are those things that remind us that we still need to be thankful. Thanksgiving is still coming before Christmas.

I am also thankful for the season of Advent. Advent is a reminder to us us that we don't just jump into Christmas. Christmas needs our preparation. Christmas needs our hearts and our lives to be prepared for Christ's coming. I am thankful that this season, which begins after Thanksgiving, is focused on the reason for the celebration of Christmas and not just on buy, buy, buy. There will be competing carols over the next several weeks. One will urge us to buy. One will urge us to stress and to worry. One will urge us to think we can't do without something. One will urge us to to skip ahead and miss what God wants. And one will urge us to prepare for Christ to come into our lives. It will urge us to focus on Christ at Christmas. It will urge us to be thankful. It will urge us to love and receive love. It will urge us to make a place for Jesus.

I am thankful that this carol can not be drowned out by black Friday, early sales, or stimulus marketing. I am thankful that that carol is being sung by Christ's followers. Take time and give thanks. Enjoy thanksgiving and get ready to prepare your heart and your life for Christmas.

Give thanks!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We need it

I am not sure how you got to this page or even why you are looking at this blog. But, just stop and take a deep breath. Stop and try to slow down and relax.

Too often we are going too fast. We are in a hurry to get things done and get on to the next thing. As I started to blog I found myself thinking about hurrying and getting this done so that I could move on to the next thing on my "to do" list for the day.

Maybe the most important "to do" for us in our day is stop and focus on God. To stop doing and just be. Be a child of God. Be in love with God. Be in God's presence. Stop and breathe and think about the one who gives us breath and breathes life into us.

Maybe you, were just going to look at what Doug had to say today real fast before you moved on to the next thing. I want to encourage you to slow down and focus on you and God for minute. Stop and breathe. Stop and be.

Try to clear your mind. Try and give the stress of your day to God. Stop and give your worries to God. Stop and unload by just recognizing that you are God's child. God loves you. God is with you. We don't need any words. We don't need to know the right thing to say or do. We just need God. Just be.

Take a time out to be with God. Breathe. Let Go. Breathe. Let Go. This could be the most productive thing that you will do today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Devils Playground-- Independence

The Devil is real. I am not saying this to terrify or shock you. I am not saying it because it is a "religious" thing to say. But, the Devil is real and is a work in our world to keep us from following Jesus.

This being said, I think it is important that we don't give the devil more credit, or more power, than he deserves. The devil is not God. The devil is not like God. The devil is not all-powerful, all-knowing and in all places at all times. The devil is powerless toward God. The way that the devil gets to us is he messes with our thoughts. He gets in our heads and then we do the rest. The devil is a tempter. He works in thoughts. He gets us to doubt. He gets us to think opposing thoughts to following Jesus. He gets us to justify. He gets us to minimize. He gets us to thinking we are right. And the devil is sneaky and crafty in doing this.

I was thinking this morning about our need for one another. I was thinking about how we are created to be in community and how the more that we are connected to each other and love one another the more we reflect God. Then it hit me that the idea of independence is the devils playground.

We think that we can worship God alone in nature. "I can worship God in my tree stand." "I can worship God while I harvest." " I can worship God at home on a quite Sunday morning." "I can worship God with the TV evangelist." "I can do this all by myself I don't need the church." Then, we justify it because we can worship God by ourselves. We can pray during these times and we can read our bibles, we can think about God. We can sing songs if we want. We can do, all by ourselves, the things that we will do at church, or with the people of the church. So, we justify it and say what we are doing is right. It begins as a thought-- a thought of independence. And there we are independent. Solo Christians. Playing in the devils playground.

God did not create us to be alone. We shouldn't worship God just as individuals, even if we can, we where not created to do it that way. We shouldn't pray just as individuals, even if we can, God's design was for us to live in community. Here is the thing we can not love as individuals. We can not serve as individuals. We can not grow in our relationship with God as individuals. To become more like God means we will become more communal. It means that we will become more for the other and less for ourselves.

Remember how I said the devil is sneaky and crafty? He packages this independence in lots of ways. They are always thoughts that divide us and not bring us together. The thoughts are really infinite. The list could go on and on. They are thoughts like, "that church isn't perfect, i will have to find another one that better fits me." The truth is no church is perfect. The devil has you playing in his playground though.

How about these independent thought? "I am too messed up, I am going through some things that I don't want others to know about, my life is too complicated, people will judge me."

What we need is people who will listen to us. Who will pray with us, worship with us, love us, and serve us. What we need is to love others, serve others, pray with others and worship with others. What we need is people to show us grace and mercy. What we need is other people to help us through the tough times and to help us to understand God's love for us. We need to see lives that are touched and transformed by God.

But instead, our thoughts, keeps us playing in the devils playground-- independent, right, justified. Oh, that us what we keep telling ourselves. And the devil wins. All he had to do was get us to think about ourselves and that we could do it all on our own. All he had to do was get us to think that we could be independent. We do the rest.

The devil has no power over God and he has no power over you. Don't go playing in the devils playground of independence. Although it might be tempting or alluring, it is empty. Independence wont get you to where you want to go. We need each other. Don't let anyone or any thought tell you other wise. When thoughts of isolation, division, separation, independence, "I don't need others", and "I can do this on my on", enter into your mind don't give the devil a foothold.

Love today. It will get us off the playground.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just Do it

I hate to play on our consumer culture but this morning I am borrowing a line from Nike advertising. I am not saying just do it like they do and implying that you deserve to do whatever you want or what ever feels good. I am not talking about entitlement. These words are speaking to me today in another way.

What would you do if you knew this was your last day on earth? What would you say to people? How would you treat the people in your family? What would you say to your co-workers? How would you treat the stranger you meet on the street? If you knew today was your last day on earth would you live differently?

If the answer is yes, and I think for all of us it is, then just do it! Life is full of uncertainties. Tomorrow is uncertain. Today is all that we are sure that we have. Death is certain. The death rate is still 100%.

What would you do differently if you knew that today was all you have? Just do it! Do it today. Treat people like it is the last moment you have with them. Love like there is no tomorrow. Live what is important. Don't wait to do the thing that is important because the day you are waiting for may not come. Just do it today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 16, 2009

It is raining today.

I am sitting in my car waiting to pick up the kids from school. I got into the car line early and it gave me the opportunity to think and to post a blog.

Rain is used a lot in music and poetry to describe down times. Rain is often the image used to describe the times that are stormy in life. "When it rains it pours."

There is a song by the group Counting Crows called, "Rain King" that is really a story about someone who has a lot of bad things happen. Rain is often used to set a depressing or omminous mood. Rain really gets a bad rap.

However, we need rain. Without rain nothing would grow. Without rain things would just dry up and die. Rain is an important part of living.

I don't like having to admit that when I am talking about all those things that artist use the image of rain to discribe, but I think it is true. That rain helps us grow. That rain often brings a deeper meaning to life and love. This rain often connects us more to God and others. The "rain" of life can be nourishing and enriching.

Just like the rain that I see on my windshield as I wait for the kids will soon pass. So will the rains of life. And what will come as a result will be life. Look for God in the rain. Today and everyday. Live. Love. Grow.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksliving -- TGIF

Life is a response to God.

God creates us and our lives are a response to being created by God. We sometimes respond by saying "thanks for creating me, now I will take it from here." Sometimes we respond by forgetting about the gift of life altogether. Sometimes we fail to even see our lives as a gift. Sometimes we live as if there is no God and life is just, well, it... it just is. Life is not just is.

What if we saw life as a gift that has been given to us? What if we saw each day as an opportunity given to us to live in response to a God who loves us so much that he gave us this day? What if we saw each sunrise and each sunset as a precious gift. What if we saw each breath that we breathed as a wonderful present? What if we viewed each relationship and each encounter with others in our day as a sacred offering to us? What if we viewed every moment as a moment to encounter God in the midst of this gift called life? If we viewed life as a response to God would we be thanksliving?

Today is a day that God has given you. Will you respond to the gift and live for God today? Will you respond to the gift by recognizing the giver? Our response is really to give our lives back to God, to say thank you by offering the day to God. Offering our relationship, each moment, ( good or bad) to God knowing that he will continue to work in our lives if we let him. Our response is to give it all to him. This is thanksliving.

Thank God today. Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Draw Me Close to You

Lord,
There are moments that I can feel you. There are moments that I am just overcome with a flood of emotions. My tears tell me you are there. There are moments that I am just lost in you. You are all that I can think about and you are all that I want. There are moments that I am afraid to move or say anything because it might disturb the peace of the moment and I will no longer see or feel you. There are those moments. And there are those moments that I struggle to see you. There are moments that I feel far away from you. There are moments that I search for you and fail to see you. There are moments that I want to hear you speak but can't hear you. There are also moments that I try to ignore you. Each of these moments remind me of how much I long to be near you. You are with me in each of these moments. You promise that. You are a God of your word. In every moment draw me close to you. Draw me close to you today. Fill my moments with an understanding that you are there. Draw me so close to you that your love for me will flow through me to others today. Draw me so close to you that even in the moments that I fail to see you or turn from you I am acutely aware that you are there. Draw me so close that I don't need to feel you to know you are there. Draw me so close to you. I love you. Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Just for Fun

Have you ever wondered about that delicious white cheese at Mexican resturants?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chasing

Today is a song day. Listen and enjoy. Allow it to speak to you about what you chase after in your life.




"The only time we are winning is when we are chasing Him."

Today is also Veteran's day. Thank you to all the men and women who serve and have served. Take some time and thank a veteran today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Full Surrender

There is a line in the song,"In the middle" that says, "how close can I get to my surrender without losing all control?"

That is the question isn't it. We want to surrender our lives to God and give all to him, but we struggle with giving up control. We want to trust God, but we want to do it on our terms. We want to follow him as long as he goes where we want to go. We want to surrender, but not to the extent that we don't have control anymore.

I mean, if we gave up control than what would happen? If we didn't manage everything who would? If we surrender everything to God and just followed than what if..? What if it gets out of control? What if something happens that I hadn't anticipated? What if we discovered that we were really never in control at all?

I think we will discover freedom. God will do something that we could never do. God will do something amazing. God will do something miraculous. God will show us that he has always been in control. We will see God. God will change our heats. God will change our minds. God will change us from the inside out. God will overcome the obstacles that we have been tripping over. God will tear down the walls that we have been banging our heads into. All we need to do is surrender fully.

Too often when we get close to that full surrender place with God our need for control tells us to retreat. The devil creeps onto our shoulder and tells us that we "need to be in control" or "we are weak if we surrender. " Or the devil is even more sneaky, "he tells us that we are not hearing it right", "we know better", or "it is someone else who need to surrender not us." There are lots of ways and excuses that we come up with to maintain our control and not fully surrender. All the while we miss out on fully experiencing the grace and power of God because we want to call the shots. We want to surrender but not surrender control.

God really does know what is best for us. God really is love. Why not let him have full control. God is better qualified to lead us than we are.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thank God...it's Friday

This month is Thanksgiving month. Last year at this time was when I decided that each week I would devote at least one day of this blog to giving thanks to God. the idea was that all of life should be thanksgiving. What prompted me was that far too often, even though I know I should be thankful and I know that God deserves the thanks, I fail to be thankful and say to God thank you.

Worst yet, I take the credit. I say that this happen because I am so good or because I worked so hard. The reality is all good and perfect things come from God. Apart from God I can do nothing. God is the one who needs thanked.

Thanks is due everyday. Not just on Friday. Not just when I can see all the good. Not just when I fell good. God deserves our gratitude.

Find something today that you are grateful for and give God thanks. Tomorrow do it again. Begin to live a life of thanksgiving. Recognize the source of life. Recognize the giver.

Please share what you are thankful in a comment.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Laughter

I searched for something that could just bring a smile and a good chuckle to each of us today. I thought I would post a funny video or something to brighten our day. I didn't find the right thing. I thought I needed something that reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously. I wanted something that poked some fun at the way we are sometimes but was not too critical or judgmental. Again I didn't find anything. So, I guess what I want to say today-- I am just going to say.

Laugh.
Laugh at yourself.
Don't take yourself too serious.
Have a good chuckle.
A belly laugh.
It will be good for us.
Don't be critical or judgmental.
Have fun being you and not knowing it all.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Time for a song

This morning I want to share a song that talks about how God is with each of and helps us to get through the trials, temptations, and difficulties of our lives. It illustrates how if you and I will just fall into Jesus he will carry us through.

The key is we have to let go and fall into Jesus. There is an image that I have of my children as toddlers when I would pick them up and they didn't want to be picked up. They would kick, twist, turn and scream until I finally put them down just so I didn't drop them. We are like that in the arms of God sometimes. He wants to carry us but we do everything we can to keep him from carrying us. We kick, twist, turn and scream. God won't force us to stay in his arms but he will carry us if we will let him. Is it time to stop kicking, twisting, turning and screaming? Let God carry you.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Disageeable

We will not always agree with one another. There are times when brothers and sisters in Christ's, people who are sincere in their efforts to follow Jesus, will disagree. We are all different and unique. We are not clones. We are not meant to be identical. God has designed us to be diverse. Diversity in unity. What unites us is love of God and desire to follow him. What unites us is that we are all children of God created by God.

We can disagree about things and each of us still be Christians. To often I hear people attack someones sincerity of following Jesus because they disagree with us. This is becoming disagreeable. If we are going to be faithful to loving as Christ loves us than we can't become disagreeable when we disagree.

It is helpful to me when I find points of disagreement with others to remember that this is not an us and them thing it is a "we" thing. We are brothers and sister in Christ. We are each created by God and we need each other. We can each seek God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and still disagree about something. I cannot become judgmental. I can't become condemning. I must be loving, especially when I disagree. It is easy to love when everyone agrees with me. It is easy to love when others are loving. It is in those moments of disagreement that we may have a chance to love most like Jesus.

Disagree but don't become disagreeable. Tear down the wall between us and them. Build a bridge to we.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, November 2, 2009

Bridge building people

(Attention please: this post has a strong use of metaphor)

Jesus is a bridge builder. Jesus is not a wall builder. We are most like Jesus when we are connecting to one another and bringing people together. We are not a good advertisement for Christianity when we build walls. Love doesn't build walls, love builds bridges. Love tears down walls.
That is what Jesus did. He welcomed and dined with those that everyone else wrote off, cast out, left behind. He built bridges to the marginalized and tore down the walls that separate all of us from God. Jesus is in need of bridge builders. Jesus needs you and me too deconstruct some walls.

When was the last time you built a bridge?
Have you built any walls?
Is it time to tear down some walls?
Where might you build a bridge?

What if each of us tried to build a bridge and tear down a wall today? What might happen? What might happen in our homes? Our workplaces? Our communities? Our churches?

In some way today each if us will be an advertisement for our faith and our trust in Jesus. Will the ad be about bridges or walls?

Love today.

In Christ's Love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 30, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

It has been raining like crazy this week. It has been a dark, gloomy, cold, damp week. This morning something beautiful happened. As I was driving home this morning after dropping off the kids the sun came out. It was bright and it made all the wet stuff look beautiful. It warmed my face and sent my mind to greater things. The sun shine came through. Maybe it is just temporary and for a moment while the sun is still below the clouds. Maybe it will last longer today. I know this I saw and felt the sun today and for that moment it was amazing. It changed the way that I saw things and the way that I felt. I changed my perspective.

It reminded me that no matter how dark, cold, damp or gloomy life can get the SON is still there. Jesus is is still shining his light in our darkness. His love and light shine though. When we see him and recognize his light even if it is just a glimpse or a glimmer for a moment, it changes our perspective. Look for the Son shine today. Look for Jesus when it is dark, gloomy, cold and damp because he is there shining his light. Thank God for that.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where do you go when you can't?

During November at Dockery we are looking at God's promises for all the "I cant's" of our lives. The "I cant's" are those times and places in life that we say to ourselves "I can't do this." They are the places that we see impossibilities rather than possibility. They are the places that cripple us and scare us. They are the places that seem hopeless and dead end. They are the places that on our own, under own power, we can not go, refuse to go, or don't want to go. So, we say, "I can't do it."

"I can't break this habit."
"I can't deal with this situation."
"I can't get through this."
"I can't forgive that person."
"I can't love that person."
"I can't change."
"I can't..."
"I can't..."
"I can't..."

The list can go on and on. We each have our own list. We can each can finish the sentence "I can't...". What is your I can't?

Now, here is the Good news--- GOD CAN.

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." --Mark 10:27

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." --Philippians 4:13

The question for us is, "Where do we go when we get to the I can't place?"

Do we trust God or do we trust in ourselves. Faith is often described a step. "A step of Faith." That step is a step away from trusting ourselves and step of trusting God.

Think about you I can't. God can. There is nothing that you and God together can't do. That is his promise. You are saying, "I can't." God is saying, "together we can." We are you going to trust?

Go with God.

If you are able to be with us over the next several weeks in worship I want to invite you to come and hear about God's promises for you. We may even talk about your particular I can't. If you want to share it I will work it in to the promises we look at.

Wherever you are at, whatever you are going through, whatever you have been through, whatever is before you, you can trust God to see you through. Go to God. Follow Him.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forgiveness

You are forgiven. That is what Jesus says. We ask for it. Jesus gives it. It really is that easy. The price for our forgiveness has already been paid. Jesus says you are forgiven. He also says, "go and do it no more." He also says, "forgive as I have forgiven you."

Life is too precious to spend it bitter and angry. Life is too valuable to allow it to be filled with hate, resentment, regret and remorse. Unforgiveness drains us of really living and it keeps us from experiencing the joy of life. Unforgiveness, as much as we don't want to think this, hurts us more than it effects the person we refuse to forgive. They may not care. They may not even be effected by our hurt. They might not even be aware of it. We stew. We get bitter. We get angry. We are joyless. We are drained. We need to forgive. For us. For Christ's sake.

Forgiveness does take time. It takes as much time as it takes. We need God to heal our pain and our hurt. It takes prayer. It takes God and understanding his forgiveness. It may be one of the biggest steps that we take in our trust of God to forgive others. It may be the greatest point of growth in relationship with God when we can truly forgive as Christ has forgiven us. It could be the most freeing and life giving thing you could ever do. It is for Jesus.

God desire for your life and for mine is not hurt, anger, bitterness, resentment, regret, remorse. It is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control. He wants us to let go of all that other stuff so that he can fill us with the later. That is probably, why he says, "I forgive you, now go and do it no more." And It is why he says, "forgive as I have forgiven you."

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I love you

Three words that mean so much. Three words that we all long to hear. Yet, three words that we often find difficulty saying. "I love you." Did you read that? I am talking to you. Yes, you. I love you. You are loved today by me and by God. God and I love you.

As hard as these words are to say, I think, we may have an even harder time putting them into action. However, people will never believe our words until we live them. Love is a verb. Love needs feet. Love does.

Now, don't hear me saying that we need to not say the words and just do. We need to hear those words. We need those words to be connected to our actions. But, we all need to hear those three powerful words. Some people have never heard those words. Some have gone years without hearing those words. We all long to be told that we are loved. God is whispering it to all of us. God is continually trying to speak to each of us through all the noise of life to say those three words, "I love you." God's love was put into action as he entered our world in the person of Jesus and loved us all the way to cross. He loves you and me, the whole world, literally to death. He died for us. His love is given feet when his followers love in response to his love. His whisper through the noise gets louder when you and I love one another in his name. Don't hold back those words from others. Tell someone that you love them today. They need to hear it.

I love you. Yes, I am talking to you. I love you.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, October 26, 2009

And A little Child will Lead Them

Yesterday was one of those long days. It was a great day but it was long. We have those days form time to time. Worship was wonderful. In the afternoon we had a birthday party for Delaney and then we went trick-or-treating for the local food pantry with other United Methodist in our area. This event was put together by Wesley United Methodist Church and they invited us to share in the event.

It was really awesome to go with the kids door to door around town and collect food for others in the community. What a blessing to listen to the kids and to watch them give of their time to help other. And you know what they had fun while they did it. They did not ever ask, "why cant we get candy like when we trick-or-treat on Halloween?" They got it. Helping, caring, and loving others in real and tangible ways builds community. Working together for the benefit of others shines a little bit of God's light for other to see in the darkness.

Shine the light in real ways today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 23, 2009

TGIF

Last night I went to a concert that featured Todd Agnew, Building 429, and Kimber Rising. It was a wonderful time of worship. Building 429 signed a CD for us and I got a shirt that says, "Love is the answer." Today, I went to St. Joseph, MO to watch our Trenton Lady Bulldogs softball team play in the state tournament. They won. I am so proud and excited for these young ladies. Tomorrow they play for the state championship. It has been an exciting last 24 hours. Full of joy and excitement. Full of all kinds of things to give God thanks for.

Take some time to give God thanks. Thank him for his joy. Thank him for the celebrations of live. For being with us always. Thank God it's Friday.

It has been awhile since I shared a song. Here is a one about the joy that comes only from God by Todd Agnew.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What to say?

“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!”
- Proverbs 15:23

"How good is a timely word." Has someone every called you, stopped by, or written you a note and you received it it just at the right time. I remember one time I went through a bunch of cards that I had received as appreciation one time. I thought I had read all the cards the day that I had got them, but a few months later I was going through the cards to file them in my encouragement folder and I noticed that there was one still sealed. I had missed it on that day months ago. On this particular day I was not feeling the best spiritually and emotionally. It was one of those days that I questioned whether anything i was doing was making a difference for God. So, here was this unopened, several month old letter. I opened it and it told me to keep going because what I had done had made a difference in this person life and in the life of their family. "How good is a timely word."

A man finds joy in giving an apt reply. We all want to have joy in our lives, don't we? We all desire joy in our inter most being. The proverbs says that joy comes to us when we speak timely, apt, words. A place for us to find joy is when we speak kind words, when we encourage, and when we comfort others. Our words can be comforters or they can be wet blankets. The proverbs say that joy comes when we are comforters.

How can you offer a timely word today. I got a phone call to just say good morning today. It was a timely word. Joy was felt. Maybe there is someone you/I need to call this morning and offer your love and care to. Maybe you/I need to write a letter or send a card. Maybe I/you need to go by and see someone. Follow God where he leads today. “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply— and how good is a timely word!”

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Birthdays

Today is my six year old daughter Delaney's birthday. My emotions run from pure excitement and joy to sadness and wonder about where the time has gone. It has gone by so quickly. Last night we looked at a few pictures of Delaney when she was 2 or 3. She is now 6! Bright, funny, playful, energetic, loving and beautiful 6!

For me, at times, she is growing up too quickly. I wish, as I watch my children grow, that i could slow it down and savor every minute. I wish that I could keep them young and innocent. But, I cant change time. (Someone wrote that in a song I think?) What I can do is enjoy it while I got it. I can take in the joy and the excitement. I can experience the moment. Too often we just let time pass by without experiencing all that God has for us in this gift we call life. Without experiencing the precious gift of relationships that we have. And without experiencing the joy. Instead we are in a hurry to get to the weekend, or the summer, or next year, or pay day, or the end of the month. We long for our next birthday, or make plans to make plans some time in the future. And as the old comic book artist would write...MEANWHILE.

We can't change time. We can't make it go slower. It will always be 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to an hour, and 24 hours to a day. But we can slow down and experience the moments. We can slow down and take in the gifts all around us. We can slow down and encounter God. We can slow down and invest in relationships. One of my favorite sayings, and I am not sure where it comes from, is, "it takes a lot of slow to grow." If we want to grow in our relationships with God and each other we need to slow down and experience, enjoy and invest in them.

Delaney is growing older. So am I. We are all. Her birthday is a reminder to slow down and experience life, love, and God. Slow down and love. We can't do that in a hurry. It takes a lot of slow to grow in our relationship with God and each other. Take time for God and for others so that we can all grow deeper and closer to God. Each day is a new beginning. A re-birthday.

Happy Birthday Delaney!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 16, 2009

TGIF

Thank God it's Friday!

This week I want to make sure to thank God for our WACKY Wednesday Nights. Last week we started a Wednesday night time for fellowship and intentional spiritual growth. I thank God that over 70 people are involved on WACKY Wednesday. I am thankful for the growth that is happening in the lives of each person as they share and learn with and from one another. There are people discovering their spiritual gifts and how they can use them in ministry. There are people strengthening their prayer lives and prying for God's power in the church and in their lives. There are people digging into the scripture and learning form God's word. Thank you God for what you are doing to grow each of them in relationship with you and each other. I am also thankful that on these Wednesdays the church is full of young people and children. I am thankful for the learning that is happening in our Willy Nilly group, our Middle School youth Group and our Senior High Youth Group. Thank you God for this time. It is more than just a meal and a class. Lives are being transformed by you.

Thank you God that we can be WACKY on Wednesday!

Give God thanks today. Thank Him for growth and opportunities to grow. Thank him for the work that he is doing in your life. Give thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Written on your heart

Recently, we have tried to add scripture to our prayer time with the kids each morning on the way to school. The problem so far has been that we don't always have a Bible in the car.

This morning was one of those mornings. Nicole said, "Quick, what is a scripture verse?" So, I said the first verse that came into my mind.

I would tell you that verse but it would taint what I want to do next.

What verse comes to mind right now for you? Don't go get a Bible. Don't look anything up. Just think of a verse. What is it? What verse comes to mind? What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a verse from the Bible?

What is written on your heart to recall in the moments there is no Bible to read from?

Do all of us reading this post a favor and write your verse in a comment.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What draws you?

I was reading a blog post by a good friend the other day and he quoted from a book he had read. The quote he shared said,"more people are won by Christian kindness, then by lofty words and clever speech."

It made me think about what it is that draws us to Jesus and to living out the faith. Is it lofty speeches? Is it because someone told you that you shouldn't live like you are living? Did someone scare you out of hell? Did someone scare you into heaven?

What draws you? What is it about living as a follower of Jesus that would draw others to that way of life? I think that it is Christian love and kindness. The Good News lived out in real and tangible ways. Kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, love, compassion. It is random asks of kindness that offer freedom to those who are imprisoned in live. Random loving acts that offer hope in hopeless situations. Random acts of compassion to offer release to the oppressed and sight to the sightless. Random acts of giving food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, and rest to the weary. Coming along side people so that they can see that they are not alone that God has not abandoned them. Random acts of love that show people that Jesus is real and worth following. This draws people to Jesus. Real stuff, tangible stuff, love. It is Spirit filled, loving, compassionate, acts of kindness that draws us to want to live a new way of life. Not lofty word or clever speeches.

The bible says that we can only come to God when we are draw to God by the Spirit. The Spirit wants to dwell in us and work through each of. Jesus said that everyone would be able to tell who his followers where by their love. God is love. Random acts of kindness, compassion, and love draw people to God because God is love. When we do unselfish, grace-filled acts, that is the Spirit at work in us. On our own we would never do those things.

Some thought provoking questions:

What draws you to Jesus and to want to live your life for him?
Are you/I drawn to Jesus or are you just being "religious"?
Are you/I drawn to follow and trust Jesus?
What are you/I drawn to?
Are you/I compelled or drawn to love?


Love today. Get crazy and radical about your love. Make it tangible and real.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Getting Ready

The morning at our house can get hectic. There are six of us in the house. There is one bathroom. Hectic sometimes looks like chaos. Sometimes insanity. Sometimes freak out. I was thinking about how we get ready for most things. We get ready for the day by showering, getting dressed, personal grooming and those types of things. We get the right cloths on to match the weather and what we are doing. We get ready by packing the diaper bag, or packing a lunch, or checking the couch cushions for spare change to get lunch. Although these might need be your daily ritual of getting ready. We all have things that we do to get ready each day.

I have a friend who serves a church in Sedalia, MO. Above the entrance to their worship space on the glass it says, "Have you prayed for the worship experience that you are about to enter?" Now that is getting ready!

I think the greatest thing that we can do to get ready is pray. Pray to get ready for the day that we are entering. Pray to get ready for the meeting ahead. Pray to get ready for the conversation you will have. Pray to get ready and pray it through.

Have you prayed for the worship experience you are about to enter into today?

Get ready.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bible Reading

I don't know who said it but it is something to think about. We may be the only bible some people will ever read. This past Sunday at church we talked about how each of us have a story to share. A story of how our lives have been touched and transformed by Jesus.

The reality of this is that many people "read" us before we ever tell the story. The way we live and treat one another tells a story. What is it that people read from our lives? Do they get an understanding of grace? Do they read about unconditional love? Do they see the Good News? Can they see transformation? Do they see life?

Be good news today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thank God it's Friday

It is cold and rainy outside today. The sun is out but it is not shinning. It is definitely fall. But, this is not all that there is to today. The weather doesn't make the day. Our situation, our circumstance don't make the day.

The psalmist says, "This is a day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Look past the weather. Look past your circumstances and your situation. Look for the good and give thanks. Look for God, who is there, and give God thanks for the day that he has made and that he makes it a day. Not the other stuff. Rejoice and be glad.

Thank God it's Friday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Transformation

Becoming. What are you becoming? What am I becoming? The promise that is at the heart of the scriptures is that we, if we will allow God to do it, all are being transformed.

Transformation is becoming something different. The worm becomes a butterfly. The ordinary teenagers become super heroes in the Mighty Morphin Power Ranger. Okay, that one was just a TV show, but they became something new.

In the scriptures we are also given a picture of what we are to become if we will allow God to transform us and work in us-- if we will really follow him with our lives. What followers of Jesus are to become is like Jesus. To love like Jesus. To have a heart like Jesus. To have the character of Jesus. To care for others like Jesus. To have the mind of Jesus.

You and I are to become something new. For our world to become new we must become new.

What are you becoming? Are we being transformed by our relationship with Christ? It is the promise. As we are being transformed what are we doing to transform the world around us? As we are becoming what are we doing to help others become.

As they said on that TV show, "It's Morphin Time!"


Love today.

In Christ Love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God is there

I was thinking this morning of the story about the man that gets trapped in a flood. As the story goes, this guy is a faithful man who trust in God to rescue him. As the water rises he prays trusting that God will save him from the rising water. The man climbs out a window and up onto his roof as the water rises, still praying for God to rescue him and trusting that God will. Another man comes by in a raft and invites the God trusting man to get into the raft. He tells the raft pilot that God will rescue him and that he can go on. The water continues to rise.

After a while longer someone comes by the house, whose roof is all that is above the floodwater now, they are in a boat and ask the man to get in and they will take him to safety. The man explains to the person in the boat how he has been praying and that he trust that God will rescue him from the flood. He thinks the person in the boat for checking and sends them on there way.

Some time later the man is now forced to the peak of his roof and he is unable to stay out of the water because, for the most part, his house is underwater. As he holds onto the peak of the roof praying and trusting that God will rescue him a helicopter flies up to him. A person in the helicopter reaches out a hand and hollers for him to get in and they will take him to safety. He tells the helicopter people that he has been praying and he trust that God will rescue him. He sends the helicopter on it's way because he knows God is going to rescue him.

The man dies in the flood. When he gets to heaven and he sees God he doesn't understand. He asks why? Why did you not rescue me? I trusted you? I prayed and I believed that you would rescue me from the flood. God, replied I tried but you refused my help. I sent a raft and you turned down my help. I sent a boat and you still refused. I sent a helicopter and you still didn't see that it was I rescuing you.

God works through people. God works through ordinary everyday stuff. He fed thousands with the meal that one little boy had. He turned dirty water into the finest wine. Ordinary things. Ordinary people. God works through you and I to rescue, to love, to care for others.

Look for God in the people that you encounter. Try not to miss what God is doing around through common ordinary people and things.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thought for the Day

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever-- the Spirit of truth." John 14:16-17

God is with you today. It is a promise that we have when we love God and follow Him. You are not alone.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, October 5, 2009

Out of place or belong

I saw a wild turkey this morning. If you know where I live, that statement does not seem odd. In fact, in Trenton, expecially in the country where I live, wild turkey are everywhere.

The reason I tell you I saw a turkey this morning is because it is odd to see one where I did. I didn't see the wild turkey in Trenton or somewhere in the country. I saw a wild turkey on the side of I-35 in Kansas City. As I am looking at skyscrapers I notice this bird that is not your usual city bird, in the midst of the city.

Two things immediately hit me as I saw this bird out of his habitat. Well, three. First, how did that turkey get here. Turkeys are not big flyers. He somehow traveled out of his "home" to this foreign land of concrete and brick.

Then my thought turned to how this world is really not our home. We are strangers in a strange land. Our home is with God.

Next, my thought was how we all long to be where we belong. What am I doing to make other have a since of belonging? Do I make the stranger feel loved and welcomed?

Jesus did and he called us to do likewise.

That turkey must have been scared. I bet that turkey would have liked someone to stop and help him get to where he belonged.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thank God It's Friday

This week has been homecoming week in Trenton. Tonight is the big homecoming football game. It got me thinking and thanking.
Some will say that you can never really go home again.

Jesus tells a story about a young man who leaves home and wonders off with his inheritance. In the story the man goes away and spends all his money and is left in hog slop feeling like the hogs got it better than he does. So, he decides that he will return home. But in his mind he cant really go back home because of the way he left and what he had done. He thinks maybe I can go back and work for my dad. "I may not be able to go back to being a son but maybe I can be a hire hand", he thinks. He thought he could not really go back home. But, Jesus tells as he gets close to home his father sees him and runs to him and takes him into his arms. The father rejoices and tells everyone it it time to celebrate because this child of mine has come home. IT was time for celebration! It was time for a party!

Then Jesus tells us that this homecoming story has been told to us so that we could understand how much God loves us. So, that we could understand that we could always come home to God.

You and I can come home again! God desires that we come home. There is rejoicing in heaven when we do.

Thank God for homecomings. Thank God it's Friday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Time

Time is very valuable in our world today. It could be one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone. We often talk about quantity and quality of time when we talk about giving our time to others. We want quality time. But, I think quantity is just as important. When some body gives you the gift of their time it makes you feel loved. It makes you feel important. It makes you feel like you matter because they chose to spend time with you.

The truth of the matter is that what we do with our time, for the most part, is up to us. I am thankful for the people who give of there time for the church. I try to always thank people for giving their time in meetings or at different events because I know that time is valuable to people and they chose to spend their time doing it. If I have not thank you for that please know that I am grateful.

This week think about how you can give your valuable time to someone who needs a friend. Take some time to make the phone call or make a visit to that person you have been thinking about or need to talk with. Take some time to offer a shoulder to lean on. Take some time to have lunch or dinner with a friend, co-worker, or someone you want to begin a friendship with. Give the gift of your time to someone. Take time to offer forgiveness. Take time to love. Honor God and others with your time. Isn't it about time? Those of us who are busy and wish we had more time, this may be just the time that we are looking for.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby Steps

My baby, Darbey, started walking this week. She finally, took that first step that led to a second, and then a third, and now she is walking.

It has been amazing to watch her. She walked later than our other kids. She is more cautious. She made sure that she could stand and balance before she ever tried to take a step on her own. Darbey made sure that she understood how to step while holding onto something before she ever ventured off on her own. There were small steps from the table to the couch to get her confidence up and then she finally took that first step and then added another to it.

As I have watch Darbey God has caused me to think about my walk with him. I think about how cautious I am at times. How afraid I am to take the step, or to risk, because I fear I might fall or worse fail. I think about how the real growth happens when I finally take that step. I think about how when I do fall, God helps me back up.

Darbey, has learned this, when you fall you get up and take another step. At times she needs help up, but she has gotten up on her own. In our walk with Jesus, failure is never getting up and taking another step. Failure is to not risk at all. Failure is to stay so cautious that we never move toward Jesus. We will fall. It is how we respond to the fall that makes it failure or not.

We may learn the most when we fall. We may grow the deepest through falling and getting up again. We also have others who will help us get up. We have fellow baby steppers in this thing called life that will reach out a hand and pull us up. They will clap and celebrate when they see us walking closer to Jesus. These are our friends in Christ.

Finally, I have noticed a new since of joy in Darbey. This can be translated to our walking with Jesus as well I think. There is no joy like the joy that comes with walking with Jesus. There is a new since of joy with each step that we take in faith.

This is a process. Following Jesus and growing to be more like him is a process of walking in faith. Taking one baby step and than another. It is a process of getting up and moving forward. It is learning, it is risking, it is not allowing fear to win. It is joyful.

Take your next step.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Life Changing God

God is a God of life change and he wants to take the mess that we make of our lives and turn them into a message. God desires to change our lives and He will do it if we will just trust him with our lives. He will give each of us a testimony to share that points to his life changing power. A friend of mine shared this video with me on Facebook. He played it at church during their worship service. I wanted to share it with you today so that you might be inspired but, more importantly you might think about the message that you have to share. And the message that you long to share.



How has God changed your life? In what ways are you needing to experience God's life changing power. What is the mess that you long to be turned into a message that points to the life changing power of God?

I know that God is a life changing God. I have experienced it first hand. I am a life that has been changed. I am a broken a vessel in the hands of God. My sign said depression, addiction, hopeless and loveless. It now reads follower of Jesus. Pastor for 11 years. Lover.

I also want to just remind us us that these cardboard testimonies get there start among the homeless in our society. People who long to know life change and transformation. What might we do to help them turn their signs over to reveal life change and transformation.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, September 28, 2009

Service vs. Servanthood

Yesterday at church I talked about how I thought that what I see God calling us to is servanthood rather than service. The way that I see it, service is a task. Service is something that I do. Servanthood on the other hand is a way of life. Servanthood is a lifestyle of giving it all away for the other.

The example that Jesus gives us, and invites us to, is servanthood. Giving our lives away in service to God. Giving our time, or talents, our gifts and our resources for the benefit of others in service to God.

Servanthood, submission, humility, sacrifice. These are not 21st century words. They are counter to our culture. Yet, they are words that would describe the way of life for those that want to follow Jesus.

How can we move from service to servanthood?

Love today?

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it. From time to time, I will have us say this to each other at church. It is a truth that we/I need to be reminded of on a regular bases. For multiple reasons, (maybe it is not what other tell us, or the world send a different message, or we don't fell loved, or the church told us different or acted different... the list could go on and on) we forget this truth.

But here is the truth, and it is worth our thanks,-- GOD LOVES YOU! NO MATTER WHAT! GOD LOVES YOU AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. YOU CAN'T GET GOD TO STOP LOVING YOU. GOD LOVES YOU!

That thing you did. The stuff you got into. What you are about to do. None of that. Nothing you will do will make God stop loving you. No matter what people tell you. No matter what your feelings tell you. You are loved.

Give God thanks today. Tell God that you love him too!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friendly Reminder

There is no need to worry today. God knows what we need and his grace is sufficient for all of our needs. You don't have to stress out. You don't have to have all the answers. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to get uptight. The more we try to be in control the more out of control things will be. The great theologian Bobby McFerron said it best, "Don't worry be happy."

Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."


Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bright Son Shinning

I as drove east into Trenton this morning, I could hardly see because the sun was shinning. The sun was so bright.

As I drove and prayed for the start of a new day I thought about how bright will I shine today?

I prayed that today, I would shine brightly with the Son. That I would reflect the light of Christ into the world.

Shine today for Jesus.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, September 21, 2009

Better late than Never

It is late in the evening as I finally get a chance to write a few words for today. My thought as I turn to the blog is "better late than never." For me, it is better to take this time and write late in the day than not take the time at all. I need this discipline.

This makes me think about how perfect God's timing is. God's timing is always perfect. No matter what, we can trust that God will always be right on time. We may want God to work sooner. We may think that God should do something now, or yesterday, or at a certain time but, God wll be right on time. Trust that. God is never too late and God is never too early. God is always right on time.

Whatever you are going through trust in God's perfect timing.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, September 18, 2009

TGIF: 1 Chronicles 16:8-36

8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.

9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.

10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

11 Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.

12 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,

13 O descendants of Israel his servant,
O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.

14 He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.

15 He remembers his covenant forever,
the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,

16 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.

17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:

18 "To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit."

19 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,

20 they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.

21 He allowed no man to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:

22 "Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm."

23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.

24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.

26 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.

27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.

28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,

29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.
Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.

31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"

32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!

33 Then the trees of the forest will sing,
they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

35 Cry out, "Save us, O God our Savior;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
that we may glory in your praise."

36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Then all the people said "Amen" and "Praise the LORD."

Thank God it's Friday! Tell God what you are thankful for.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug