Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Storms

This morning I have been thinking a lot about storms. We have been getting a lot of rain lately. (No, at this time I am not praying for rain, please don't blame me.) Nicole bought me a new digital rain gauge while I was in Israel and last week I got it set up. It is working. I think I may have to bring it inside though because since setting it up we have had several inches of rain. I doubt, however, that it is responsible for these storms. After all it is spring.

Storms come in all shapes and sizes. Not all storms in life involve the weather either. Some times the stuff of life comes on us like a storm. There are a lot of people right now faces the storm of unemployment. There are people facing storms financially. There are storms in relationships and storms in families. There are storms of grief and loss and storms of stress and anxiety. Storms.

I think about the time that the disciples were in the boat and Jesus came walking on the water to them. Jesus was right there in the midst of the storm. Jesus came to them in the storm. He called out to them, "Don't be afraid." Jesus walks into the storm, onto the crashing waves, into the eye of the storm to be with the disciples. He is there for us in the storms of life. We can encounter Jesus in the storms of life if we look for him and listen for his voice. It will be the voice saying, "Don't be afraid, I am with you."

What I have been thinking about most is following Jesus. What does this story mean for me if I want to be real about walking in the footsteps of Jesus and following him with my life. To follow Jesus might mean to walk into the storms of people lives and come along side them to let them know they are not alone, to calm their fears, and help them to see Jesus is there in the midst of the storm. Maybe it means that we go to people in the midst of their storms and bear the storm with them. And maybe the maybe are really shoulds. We should do these things because that is what it means to follow Jesus.

What am I doing when I hear about people struggling in their relationships? Do I walk into that storm? What am I doing as I hear about people losing their jobs? Am I walking onto those waves to say to people don't be afraid? What am I doing when I hear about a friend who has lost a loved one or dealing with some other tragic news? Am I following Jesus into the storm?

I know this, the storms that I have faced in my life have been bearable because Jesus was with me. I was able to know that because people stepped into the storm with me and helped me to see Jesus and to get through the storm. It made a difference.

Jesus came to them (and he comes to us) in the midst of the storm, walking on the waves, saying "I am with you, don't be afraid."


Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No blog yesterday

I was unable to post yesterday. The day got busy and I by the time things slowed down I wasn't quite sure what to say. All I could really say was "thank you God for being with us."

Just as I logged on to do my post yesterday I received a call at the office from Nicole. She was worried because she had heard that there might be a problem at the kid's school. I began to pray and went to see Nicole to decide what to do. We went and picked up our kids just before the school was evacuated because they had received a bomb threat.

You think stuff like this only happens some where else. You think that it can't happen in your town. I am grateful that it turned out to just be at threat. I am thankful that no matter what God was with us. I am thankful that in our very real fear as parents we felt the presence of God. I am thankful that God was presence with the kids at the school in the midst of their fears.

I know that today there is still some fear and anxiety. I know that today is still a little tense. But, today we can thank God and lean into his presence. We can pray for one another. Love another. Care for one another. Help one another see that God is with us. Lean on Jesus today and everyday. Thank you God for being with us always!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday

Despite the rain I still enjoyed our camping weekend. It was a great time to experience God's blessing of friends, community and creation. We have this common bond of the storm at the camping trip that somehow has brought us even closer together.

We will have the memory to share of the time that we had a torrential downpour just as we started to make dinner. We will have the common memory of running around like crazy people trying to find a place out of the rain. And together we laugh. We talk about what happened and what we did. We remember the time that we were in the storm and how we got through it.

That is what doing life together is about. Weathering storms together. Laughing together. Crying together. Sharing things in common. Helping each other get through the storms by sharing our experiences. Celebrating together. All with Christ squarely in the center of our lives. Experiencing God's blessing of family, friends, community, and presence with us.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

Today is the start of our first church camping trip of the season. Last night Nicole, the kids and I pulled the camper out to our campsite and spent the night so that we could get the site we wanted. (It was non-reservable.) I woke up this morning at the campground, took the kids to school and made a couple of visits. I havae more work to do but at this very moment I am setting in the camper looking out at the campground. There is a breeze blowing through the window and the temperature is perfect. They are calling for 85 degrees today. It is beautiful. We already have people arriving for the weekend to enjoy time in God's creation. I looks to be a great weekend to grow in relationship with God and with others.

Thank you God!

Enjoy your day today and give God thanks.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Truth

God is with you.
You are not alone.

No matter where you are.
No matter what you are doing.
God is with you.
You are not alone.

Whether you feel it.
Whether you notice.
God is with you.
You are not alone

When things are going good.
When things are not so good.
When things are really bad.
God is with you.
You are not alone

The sun is shining.
It is raining.
There is a storm.
God is with you.
You are not alone.

Today.
Everyday.
God is with you.
You are not alone.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It is a Beautiful World

Do you notice the beauty? It is easy for us to see all the ugliness in our world. All we have to do is turn on the news or read the paper and it will be pointed out to us in great detail. Sometimes we can get caught up in the ugly and the bad and allow it to grab all of our attention.

I don't think that it should be this way. When God created everything, the land , the water, all the creatures, the moon, the stars, the earth and everything in it there was a constant chorus that repeated after each and every verse of creation. "It is good!"

Take a look around you. Look at the budding trees, the greening grass, the blooming flowers. Notice the blue sky, the radiant sunrises and sunsets. Look at the birds and the wildlife. Listen to the sounds of God's beautiful creation. Look around you at the people. All of them sing the chorus, "It is good!"

Each and every day is filled with beauty. Each and every day we can see the good and sing the chorus of creation. The difficulty for us is that the beauty is here in the midst of some ugliness. There is bad stuff among the good. We can't get caught up and focus on that stuff. We need to always look for the beauty of this world and work towards making it more beautiful place. Have a beautiful Earth day.

Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Morning Prayer

Each morning when I take my kids to school we have prayer together. When we reach a certain place on that familiar trip if we have not yet started our prayer one of the kids, usually Tanner, will say, "It's time to pray." Each day I might pray something a little different but there is always one thing that has to be prayed. Tanner insist that we ask God to "help them listen and follow directions and do what the teacher asks the very first time."

If that line is not prayed than Tanner is not ready for his day. He wants to hear it. He needs to ask it. It must be prayed. Everyday.

You know something? Tanner is on to something. Each day we need to just ask God to help us to listen and follow directions. We need to ask God to give us the strength and the courage to do what the teacher (Jesus) asks us to do the very first time.

"God help me listen today. Listen for your still small voice. Listen to others. Listen for the cries of those in need. God help me to follow you today and do what you ask of me to do today."

I need to pray this everyday.

Thanks Tanner.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 17, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

This week I just have to thank God for the wonderful Easter weekend that we had. The Good Friday Service with our friends for Edinburg and Shelburne Baptist Church was a moving service. I am thankful for all the people that prayed for forty hours from Friday until Easter Sunday worship Service. I am thankful for guys that cooked the Easter breakfast (and saved me a plate). I am thankful for my in-laws who came and set with a sick child (Delaney is better today--Thank you God!). I am thankful for everyone in this community who worship and celebrated this Easter weekend.

I am thankful for the lives that God touches through this church and its people. I thank God that I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful church and community. I thank God for my family and friends who show everyday that the tomb is empty and Jesus is Risen.

You know what-- Every Sunday is a little Easter!
Every day is a day to encounter the Risen Lord!
Everyday is a day to give thanks!

What are you thankful for today?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Inspiration

Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle within them the fire of your love.
Send fourth your Spirit and they shall be created
and you shall renew the face of the Earth. Amen

This prayer is called "The Prayer for the Gift of the Holy Spirit." I thought of this prayer as I thought about what I wanted to write today and sought inspiration for my daily blog.

Inspiration is a gift from God. I think about inspiration as having the Spirit put in me. To allow the Spirit to work in and though me to inspire love, compassion, grace, kindness, gentleness, self-control, and joy. I pray each day for that type of inspiration. Not just for writing something, or preaching but for living. Pray for the Spirit to fill you with the gift of the Holy Spirit so that your life might be an inspiration for others.

Love today,
Doug

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Live like the Tomb is Empty

I wonder if I live my life like it is the Saturday before Easter or if I live like the tomb is empty. Do I live on this side of Easter, with the promise of the empty tomb and the resurrection, or do I live like the resurrection has not happened yet? Do I claim the promise of the cross but not live the new life that is promised on Easter?

Saturday people live thinking there can be no change, that all hope is lost, that they can have no impact on the world and life is just passing by one day at a time until it is over. Easter people believe in the possibility of today. Easter people see the the presence of the risen Lord and understand that all things are possible in Christ. Easter people die to self and live for Christ. Easter people offer hope, grace, and forgiveness. Easter people love and care for others. Easter people live for the transformation of the world one human heart at a time. Easter people live. Have you heard the country song, by Tim McGraw, Live Like you Where Dying? Easter people live like they are dying knowing that Christ has overcome death and sin.



Living on this side of Easter we need to:
Love deeper
speak sweeter
give forgiveness we have denied
read the good Book
take good hard long look at what we do


Love today.

In Christ love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Whew!...what a week!

This past week has been a wonderful, exhilarating, exhausting and inspiring week.

Last Wednesday was the "Elvis wedding" of Doug and Vicki Fryer. Did I mention that Elvis was a part of there wedding before. It was a real Elvis wedding during Holy week. The bride was escorted down the isle by an Elvis impersonator and "Elvis" sang three songs in the ceremony. The ceremony was traditional with and Elvis twist. It was by far the most laughter and dancing that I have seen during a wedding. As the best man said after Elvis sang A little less Conversation a little more Action, "That was Awesome!" It was pretty cool.

Our flight arrived back in KC about 12:30 AM on Good Friday and it was after 2:30 before we got home. I had the blessing and honor to bring the message for a community Good Friday Service. About three times a year we do services with a couple of sister churches in our community, Shelburne Baptist Church and Edinburg Baptist Church. The service was wonderful. God was certainly present. A 40 hour prayer vigil began at 5:00 pm on Friday and had had several hours of prayer and meditation in at the church over the weekend.

Sunday was Easter Sunday and what wonderful time of worship we had. I am so thankful for the group of people who have come together to help lead music at Dockery and we were blessed by their ministry on Good Friday and on Easter.

Celebration. That has been the theme for the past week. Celebration look different at different times but it was celebration all the same. Also, the source of the celebration was all the same. It was God. We celebrated God's love and God's uniting Doug and Vicki as husband and wife. We celebrated that after 13 years of courting they made this commitment in front of us, God, and Elvis. We celebrated God on Friday and his love that is revealed to us in the cross of Christ. We celebrated God as we prayed for forty hours and we celebrated God and the resurrection. WE celebrated the promise of the Empty tomb. And the celebration continues.

Everyday we can celebrate God. Everyday is reason to celebrate God. Sometimes our celebration will be over the top filled with laughter and dancing. Sometimes our celebrations will be in the midst of suffering and sorrow like Good Friday. Sometime our celebration will be quite and meditative. Sometimes the celebration will be a worship service gathered with other people. Sometimes it will be alone. Celebrate God!!! Keep celebrating God with your life and throughout everyday of your life. That is what I am learning through this week of celebration. Join me in the celebration.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thank God it's Good Friday!

What are you thankful for today?

For starters I am thankful for getting home safely from my brother-in-law and sister-in-laws wedding. It was very early this morning but God got us all home safe. I am thankful that I was able to be with them for this special moment in their lives and that I didn't stress to much about the fact that it was Holy Week and I have a million things I need to do for this Easter weekend.

It is Good Friday and today I can't help but think about the cross and be thankful for Jesus and what he did for me on that Friday so many years ago. I am thankful for the love of God for me, you and the whole world. A love that gives all. A love that is expressed in that while we are sinners he dies for us so that we don't have to. A love that says this is how much I love you and stretches out his arms to be nailed to a cross. I love that says I will take your place, I pay the price so you don't have to.

I thank God for forgiveness and that when he forgives we are forgiven and we can began again. Fresh start. New beginning. I am thankful for the cross. I pray to have eyes to see all the ways that this Friday and the events of that Friday so many years ago are truly "good."

What does the cross of Christ mean to you?

Give God thanks today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday- Do this in Rememberance

Today is Thursday. I woke this morning thinking about the Thursday of Holy Week for Jesus. It was on Thursday, when he knew that his time was short, that he got together and had a meal with his close friends. They all got together in the upper room and it was at this meal that Jesus gives us the sacrament of communion.



There is something about a meal that brings us together. Last night after the wedding everyone got together for a meal and we talked and shared, not just a meal, but our lives with each other. I think something special happens, maybe we drop our guards or lift our mask a little when we are eating, but we are more intimately connected over a meal. I think Jesus knew that.



Do you need to take someone out for lunch or for dinner? Is there someone that you just fell you need to connect to and deepen your relationship with. Is there a fence that you need to mend or an apology you want to make? Is there encouragement you want to offer? Invite someone out for a meal. Invite them to your house. Fellowship in the name of Jesus.



Meals can be Holy. God can do special things in a common and ordinary meal.



Love today.



In Christ's love and mine,

Doug

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Traveling

You may have noticed that there was no post yesterday. In an already busy week for people in the church I am traveling quickly to be in the wedding of my brother in law in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Ok, quick get it out. The pastor is in Vegas during Holy week. Alanis Morrisettte would say, "Isn't it ironic."

Needless to say this travel caused me to be away from the computer and from this blog. Tomorrow I will be traveling again so I am not sure what will happen.

Congratulation to Doug and Vicki, on there marriage. I pray for Christ blessing upon them and their marriage.

It is Wednesday already, soon it will be Sunday. Easter Sunday.

A couple of quick observations:

Cities are not sinful people are.

We can be an influence to our environment.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, April 6, 2009

Holy Week

This week we recognise and remember the last days of Jesus earthly ministry. Over the next several days we are called to reflect upon the passion of Christ and the resurrection.


There are a lot of times that I just want to rush to the end. I want to just fast forward to Easter. I want to skip the passion, skip the anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane. Skip the betrayal. Skip the denial. Skip Friday. Skip the cross. Go straight to Easter. However, this week and all the events that took place and will happen are important. They reveal something to us about God and about ourselves.


We need to slow down this week and look for God. Slow down and listen for God to speak. Slow down and see what God is doing. Take in his love, grace, and forgiveness. Let go of our need to hurry and speed through the week. Let go of our plan so that we can grasp onto the plan of God.


If you get a chance this week come by the church and see what God is doing. Take a look outside at the visible signs of the promise of the Holy week. If you are near by drive by the church and see the daffodils on the hill proclaiming the Good News. Slow down this week and take it all in .


May you have a blessed and Holy Week.


Love today.


In Christ's Love and mine,

Doug

Friday, April 3, 2009

TGIF-- Prayer

Thank God it's Friday!!!

I am thankful that we can pray. I can talk with God and God listens. I remember a wise person named Charlotte Dennis telling me one day "we can pray!" The emphasis being on the can. Prayer is not a last ditch effort or what we do when we have done everything else. Prayer taps us into the power of the creator of the universe. Prayer connects us to God and turns our attention to God. God hears us when we pray. God cares about our lives and desires the best for us. And you and I can talk to God whenever and wherever we want. You and I can invite God to be a part of our lives and lean on God's power through prayer. I am thankful that I can talk with God about the things of my life and know that God hears me and that he cares and answers my prayers.

God does answer our prayers. Maybe not always the way that we wanted or thought was how they should be answered but, God always answers our prayers. A friend of min, Dave Goes, told me a long time ago that God answers prayers in three ways: yes, no, and wait. Wait is the hardest one for us. I have always found his words to be true. I am thankful that God answers my prayers. I am thankful for the times that God answers them in ways that are best for me rather that ways that I think are best.

What are you thankful for today?

What do you want to offer to God today? What do you want to talk with him about? Tell God. Trust God. He cares about you, will hear your prayers and will answer them.

Thanks God!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Nothing is Impossible with God

Today I feel like I need to tell you that nothing is impossible with God.

Really, I mean it, the Bible means it.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe you see an impossibility in your life right now. Maybe there is something that you are facing, a trial you are going through, or a tough situation that you are in.

It is not impossible for you to get through it or to overcome it.

On your own it is impossible but, and this is a big but, (yes I said big but) it is possible with God. Lean on God. Trust Him. Trust the promise.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible with God.

If you got time and want to see a movie clip that illustrates this click on the video below. It is a football movie called "Facing the Giants".


Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A Fool for Jesus

Did you here that George Brett is going to make a comeback in professional baseball? He is going to play for the Yankees!"

April Fools!!

Growing up my brother and I would always make up some story about George Brett being trading to the Yankees on April fools day. Each year we knew it was coming but we tried to be the first to get the other with this April fools joke. It is a good memory for me of April fools day.

Honestly, I am not that big a fan of practical jokes. I really don't like it when they are played on me. It was heart breaking every year as a young kid to hear that my baseball hero was traded to the team that I found hardest to root for.

This April fools got me to reading my Bible by searching the word "fool". You should do this it is amazing how many times it appears in the Bible. Solomon, who is known as one of the wisest men that every lived, talks about being a fool a lot. I came across a passage from Paul where he talks about being a fool for Jesus and I really has been speaking to me today.

"We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me."

1 Corinthians 4:10-16

Paul seems to be saying that what make the apostles fools for Jesus is that they are living differently than everyone else. They are acting differently, and reacting differently than others. Being a foll for Jesus is to over blessing to those who curse you. To be a fool for Jesus is to be kind when others are unkind. Being a fool for Jesus is to endure when other persecute you. Being a fool for Jesus is to love when other hate. Being a fool for Jesus is to work hard even when it is not rewarded. Being a fool for Jesus is to come along side, recognize and associate ourselves with those that are without offering love, grace, kindness, and blessing.

Are we willing to be fools for Jesus or are we just fooling ourselves about our relationship with him? Will will love in a way that seems like foolishness to the world? Will we offer grace in such a way that people around us will think it is foolishness? Will we endure the hardships and the persecution? Will we join with others who are experiencing hardship and persecution? Will we imitate Christ in the way that we love others and live our lives?

Be a fool for Jesus today!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug