Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

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