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