Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF

This is your weekly reminder to slow down, stop, and give thanks to God.
Everyday is a day for us to do this. Everyday is a day for us to count our blessings and to thank God.

Yet, each Friday I still use this post as a reminder to do just that.

I am thankful that there are reminders. How about you?

I am thankful for people that help keep me doing the things that I want to do. I am thankful that God places in my life people that care about me and my relationship with God and they keep me going in the right direction. I am thankful for the folks that lift me up when I am down. I am thankful for those that inspire me and encourage me. I thank God for the people in my life that challenge me and stretch me to love more and to follow Jesus more fully in my life. I am thankful for the ones that show me God's love and forgiveness. I am thankful for the ones that remind me that there is good around me everyday. I am thankful for that my life in Christ is not meant to be a solo journey and that it is a journey, a relationship, in community.

Thank you God!!!

Stop and give thanks today and everyday.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vulnerability

"When we understand just how weak we really are and that we need each other."

Yesterday I was blessed to make some new friends with a family from Sullivan county in Missouri. A group of people from Dockery went there to help clean up tornado damage from a couple of weeks ago. This area has been hit very hard and has been devastated by the tornado damage. We help clean up around the Kilmer family farms. They rented several farms and of the 5 farms that they rented ion that area four where hit by the tornado. Their home was destroyed along with countless barns, garages, and farm equipment.

Mr. Kilmer, when he spoke with us during our lunch break, told us about how people from Kansas drove tractors to to Northeast Missouri last week and planted 500 acres of his crops for him. HE told us about how he has seen good in this storm through the people who have just stepped in to help them in this time of need. And he said something like the quote at the top of the page. It is amazing, "when we understand just how weak we really are and that we need each other."

We are all weak and in need of each other. I think that the great myth of our culture (and we do everything we can to perpetuate it) is that we are not weak, fragile, broken people in need of others and in need of God. We are created by God to be in community, to be dependent on one another. Yet, we shake our bony fist at God and say we can do it on our own. We put on superman capes and wonder woman bracelets and we pretend that we are independent and bullet proof. We try to do it all on our own and it just makes us more fragile and more broken and then we have to try even harder to hide our weakness and not let others see us as we truly are.

"It is amazing when we understand just how weak we really are and that we need each other."
This might be the start of something very freeing and powerful in our lives.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A prayer

Hey God it is me Doug [You can insert your name if you like].
Help me to be me today. Help me to be more open, more vulnerable, more real. Help me to take off masks and not hide who I am from you and others today. Help me to be more fully human as I find myself in you. Help me to lean into you and rely and trust you rather than on me. Help me to recognize my own brokenness and need for you rather than others brokenness and need for you. Help me to love with actions my family, friends, and all people that I encounter today. Help me to love outside of my comfort zone and beyond my comfort level. Help me to be more like Jesus. May my life today, in some way, reflect Jesus to others. In Christ's name I pray, Amen.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, May 22, 2009

Thank God it's Friday

What are you thankful for today?

This weekend is memorial day weekend. It is a time to remember and give thanks for all the people that we have been blessed to share our lives with who are no longer with us. This weekend will kindle in us memories of loved ones and it will remind us of what people have meant to us. It will be a weekend to pay honor and tribute to people who have fought in wars and given their lives in service to others. The weekend will offer us opportunities to show respect and it will give us the opportunity to celebrate and give thanks.

Who are the people that you give God thanks for on this memorial weekend? Who are the "saints" in your live that you thank God for this weekend?

What will you do to honor them? What will you do to celebrate them? What will you do to give God thanks and show your gratitude?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I am for the underdog

Last night was Father & Son night at the new K. A group of us took our sons to the Royals baseball game on the last day of school. We had a blast and really enjoyed the new stadium. If you get a chance to go this year it is really a good time. (the church trip will be rescheduled soon!) Although the Royals did not win it was still fun rooting and cheering them on in the ninth as they almost made the comeback for the second night in a row.

This morning I find out that (spoiler alert!!!!! spoiler alert!!!!!) the underdog Kris Allen on American Idol won!

My thought today is that God is on the side of the underdog and we ought to be as well.

I think about how the crowd was on their feet in the bottom of the ninth with the Royals trailing. I think about everyone chanting "Lets Go Royals" and cheering them on. The stadium was filled with energy and excitement as the Royals tried to muster up another rally.

God is cheering each of us along. God is your biggest fan.

I think that this is understood and seen most clearly in his love for the underdog. I am not saying God doesn't love the front runner. God loves everyone. But we can see clearly God's love and grace in understanding that God is for the underdog. He calls us to be for those who are left out and left behind. We are called to cheer on the ones that no one else is cheering for so that they might her God calling their name and see Christ's love. We need to see that we are all the underdog and that God loves us all.

Cheer each other along today. Support the underdog.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nudging update

On Monday I said that I was trying to organize a trip to the Kirksville, MO area to help with cleanup from the resent storms. After a few days of calling around to different places and leaving messages I am able to say that we will be going to Novinger, MO next week to begin to help our brothers and sister there to recover from the tornado. I am told that there are about 500 people in this community and that over 100 of them have been effected by the storm.

If you are able to help we will be going on Wednesday and on Saturday. I am sure that each day will be a full day and the first of many more days that we will spend with our neighbors in Novinger.

This will be a great opportunity to show Christ's love in a real and tangible way. I will be a great opportunity to grow in relationship with others and see Christ in others. If you want to go just let me know.

My kids had their last day of school today. They are so excited and they have done all they can to enjoy the day. Can you remember the feeling of the last day of school? Can you remember the excitement of that day? May we all look to each day with that kind of hope, excitement, and joy!

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Little Windows

Where I am sitting today it is a beautiful day. I can look out the window and catch a glimpse of the sunshine. I can see flowers that are blooming and I can see the birds feeding on feeders. It is a beautiful day. As I set here I am drawn to a couple of thoughts:

The first is one on perspective. Everyday is a beautiful day. I recently talked about how there is always good and bad going and all the time. It is never all good and it is never all bad. The Kingdom of God is growing in the midst of the kingdom of the world. Perspective is important. What are we looking at? What gets our attention? What do we focus on? Do we look for the good? Do we look from the perspective of Jesus? Do we see others as Jesus sees them? Do we look at our world through the eyes of heaven. We can choose the perspective that we look at our world and our lives through.

The second thought is on windows. I talked on Mother's Day about how mothers can be little windows by which we can get a glimpse of God love through. In motherly love, we see a small bit of what God 's love for us is. All of us, as we live our lives have the opportunity to be a window into the love of God. There are lots of different kinds of windows. In the 80' when I started driving the thing to do was tint your windows. Get them as dark as you could with out getting a ticket for being to dark. The idea was to get them so you couldn't see through them. How much "tint" do I have on the window that I am to God's love? Do I allow God's love to flow through me so that other can catch a glimpse of God's love?

How do you choose to look at the world today? What do you want others to see as they encounter you?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, May 18, 2009

Time Off

You might have noticed that I took a little time off from blogging over the past week. (Thank you to those that noticed.) Although, I did not set out at the beginning of the week to take time away from posting I soon discovered that it was time for a break.

Last week was a week that my focus and attention was elsewhere. More than ever, I needed to constantly focus on my relationship with God and lean on Jesus. However, I was unable to use a daily blog as a means to do it. My friends in this local community are aware that we lost the week began with the lose of Bryce Wells. Bryce is the son of my friends Adrain and Tyann. Bryce was 22 and we celebrated his life on Wednesday of last week. The love and support that has been shown to the family has been nothing short of amazing. There were over 700 people at the church Sunday night for his visitation and then almost 500 for his celebration of life service. Please continue to pray for this family during this difficult time. Help them to feel and know the comfort of Christ in their lives.

It was not that I could not have posted, it was just that I felt God nudging me to take the week off. So, I listened. That is a good lesson to learn. I also think it is a hard one to learn. The lesson that when God nudges you listen.

Do you know what I mean? God nudges. We get a since we should do something. Call someone. Write a letter. Send an email. Do something for someone. It is just a nudge, a feeling that we need to do something. As quickly as it comes it is gone. It was just a nudge. An inkling. A hunch. Could it have been God? Do we listen? Do we ignore? What do we do?

How do we know if it is God? I know that is what everyone is asking. How do we know that it is not? Is it consistent with God word? Who does it benefit? Who will get the glory? If the answer to the last two questions are "me." Then it is not God nudging us. But if it is consistent with God's word, others are benefited, and God will receive than glory than it is a good bet (not that I am a betting man) that it is God nudging us.

The nest step is that we listen. God nudges...we listen..we do.

God is nudging me to get folks together to help our brothers and sisters recently effected by the storms. I will be sharing more on this and be asking for your help in days to come.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thank God it's Friday

Today, I got the opportunity to work at the Church Women United thrift store in Trenton. It was such a blessing to work at the store and to be a part of this ministry. I thank God for the people that donate stuff, the people who work to organize the things and price them, and for the many people who make it possible for this community to have a place for people to get clothes and other items at a reasonable cost.

I am thankful for this ministry that gives all of it proceeds back to the community through other outreach agencies and ministries. What a blessing it is to have the thrift store in our community.

I thank God for all of the new people that I met through this ministry and for the blessing that they are to me.

Also, this Sunday is Mothers Day and I want to thank God for the Mothers in my life. I love you! I thank God for all of the people who have "mothered" me and shown me the love of Christ in motherly ways. Thank you God for moms.

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

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, May 7, 2009

National Day of Prayer


Today is National Day of prayer. I was thinking about what to post this morning. At first I was going to share a prayer written by me. Then I read some prayers written by a guy named Paul Chilcote in a book called "Praying in the Wesleyan Spirit." I thought about sharing one of his prayers that he has written based on the sermons of John Wesley. However, I realized as I spent time reflecting this morning that what I needed to encourage today was prayer.

Today is a day to encourage all of us to turn to God. While a prayer written by me or someone else can help us to do that I want to encourage you today to pray. Tell God what is on your heart and on your mind. Tell God about your dreams and ambitions. Tell God about your concerns and your fears. Speak to God about what is going on and what you want to have go on. Speak to God about your relationships, your work, your home life, your finances. Speak to God about your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Speak to God about what you desire and what He desires for you. Pray today. Turn to God with everything. Most of all listen for God to speak to you. Listen with your ears, your eyes, and your heart. Pray. Pray for you. Pray for me. Pray for all of God's children.

You have a direct line to God. Pray today.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Quotes that have been stalking me

When I say stalking me, I mean that they just wont leave me alone. It is as if they keep following me around, continuing to jump out at me and make me think about there meaning. They wont leave me alone. I cant stop thinking about them. Maybe God is trying to say something. I am trying to listen. Here are a few that are stalking me right now.

"All men must die, but not every man really lives."
Sir William Wallace in the movie Braveheart

"If you ask the average person how Christians live, they are stuck silent. We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like everybody else they just sprinkle a little Jesus along the way. And doctrine is not very attractive, even if it is true. Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offer them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death... I am convinced that Jesus came not just to prepare us to die but to teach us how to live"
Shane Claiborne

"Beware of the almost good, for if the devil can't get you to do bad things, he will get you to settle for the almost good, just short of the good that God has for you."
Unknown

"We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore the cross without taking up ours." Shane Claiborne

"God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comfortable"
Unknown

"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."
Dorothy Day

"Our Father..."

Can you hear God whispering?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Imitators of Christ

On Sunday we talked about being imitators of Christ and how Christ hung out with people that had been marginalized by the kingdom of this world. Ever since Sunday I have had a song written by Toby Keith stuck in my head. I could not remember if I have shared it on here before and did not have the time to check. So here it is. Lets all be imitators of Christ. I follow the clip with the lyrics. There are some really good lines to help us think about if we are imitating Christ with our lives.



If I Was Jesus, I’d have some real long hair
A robe and some sandals, is exactly what I’d wear
I’d be the guy at the party, turnin’ water to wine
Yeah me and my disciples, we’d have a real good time.

Ooh and I’d lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who’s the boss (woooooh)
I’d forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin’ on your cross

If I Was Jesus.
I’d have some friends that were poor
I’d run around with the wrong crowd, man I’d never be bored
Then I’d heal me a blind man, get myself crucified
By politicians and preachers, who got somethin’ to hide.

Ooh and I’d lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who’s the boss (woooooh)
I’d forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin’ on your cross
If I Was Jesus.

If I Was Jesus, I’d come back from the dead
And I’d walk on some water, just to mess with your head
I know your dark little secrets, I’d look you right in the face
And I’d tell you I love you, with Amazing Grace.

Ooh and I’d lay my life down for you (woooooh)
And I show you who’s the boss (woooooh)
I’d forgive you and adore you
While I was hangin’ on your cross
If I Was Jesus.

If I Was Jesus.

Love today with Amazing Grace.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sacremental Living

"Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here and upon these gifts of bread and wine. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world the body of Christ redeemed by his blood."

This is a portion of the prayer that we pray each time we have communion. I long to live this prayer.



Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thank God it's Friday!

Thank you God for those people who witness with their lives. I am grateful for those people whose lives inspire, encourage and give me and others hope. I am grateful for the people who step into the storms of peoples lives and witness to you. I am grateful for who die to self and live for you.

Thank you God for these saints, these ordinary radicals, who walk the walk of the Good News and bring Good News to others by being with them. Thank you for their lives which shout, "the Kingdom of God is near!"

Thank you God for living in and working through your people. Your beautiful people.

I thank God for you. What are you thankful for?

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug