Monday, November 30, 2009

Peace

Find peace for your soul. Are you restless? The God of all is available and is ready to listen. Turn your life over to Him and find your new path. During this season of hope, faith, joy and peace, seek Him. Let go of the worry, let go of the fear and trust in the Lord.
May the God of creation grant you peace this holiday season.
Go in peace and go with God.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Edith Clarke- obituary

Funeral Services will be 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 28, 2009 at Williams Funeral Chapel in Holden with Reverend James Stanfield-Myers and Reverend Jeremy Vickers officiating. Interment will follow in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, located north of Kingsville. Pallbearers will be Barth Burgin, David Koerner, Dennis Petett, Duane Williams, James Willis and Dale Williams.Edith E. Clarke, 87 of Lee’s Summit, Missouri passed away Tuesday, November 24, 2009 at the Lee’s Summit Medical Center.
Edith was born October 28, 1922 in Kingsville, Missouri, daughter of John H. and Lola E. Talley Clarke. She was raised on a farm north of Kingsville and graduated from the Holden High School in 1940. Next, she attended the Huff Business College in Kansas City. Edith had been a resident of the Plaza area of Kansas City for several years, prior to moving to Lee’s Summit. She was a secretary with Petett & Grether, Inc. in Kansas City for many years. She joined Wesley Chapel ME South Church, located north of Kingsville in 1935. She was also a charter member of Grace United Methodist Church in Lee’s Summit since 1991. She loved to write.
Survivors include a sister, Isabella Burns and her husband, Bill of Monterey Park, California; a sister-in-law, Lois Clarke of Holden; two nephews, James Clarke of Blue Springs and Stanley Clarke of Holden and a niece, Mary Lynn Dodson of Independence. Edith was preceded in death by two brothers, James T. Clarke and John L. Clarke and a sister, Naracissa M. Clarke.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Meal Matters

This week we will all celebrate Thanksgiving. Hopefully you will celebrate around a table with friends and family. For your meal, I'm sure the following might be involved.
Turkey
Stuffing or Dressing
Mashed Potatoes
Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potatoes
Rolls
maybe a ham?
Lots of pie (pumpkin, pecan, apple)

Now, imagine one of these things missing. How would you feel if there was no turkey, no dressing...NO PIE! You would probably get over it, but as you think about spending time with family and friends, hear this passage of Scripture-
11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13
Learn to be content in every situation, whether well fed or not. The secret to happiness and joy in this life is learning to appreciate what God has given, and what God has not given. Rejoice in the Lord always, I say rejoice.
Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All Church Thanksgiving Dinner

Thank you to all who attended and helped with our All Church Thanksgiving Dinner. Thank you to finance for helping put everything together and cleaning up. Thanks to the men's group for setting up the other night. A big thanks to the youth for the pie auction. A big thanks for all who made this another wonderful fellowship dinner. I love being part of a church that breaks bread together in a spirit of joy and fun. Thank you to all who make Grace such an amazing church to be apart of for these past few years. And thanks to everyone who made some awesome food and shared it with the rest of us.
Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Purpose of the Church

We are called to make disciples. The best way I know how to do that is with my arms wide open, not closed. When we are closed and cut off certain avenues for people to find their way into the church then we miserably fail at making disciples. The church is the only institution in the world that focuses on the people not there. Jesus Christ said that the church would be built through or on Peter. People gathered. They prayed. Disciples were made through connection and conversation. Buildings don't make disciples. Open your Bible and start searching around and look for the conversations that help connect you to God. Jesus did not hang out with the religious. Jesus hung out with the sinner. The lost. Who are you hanging out with these days?
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Church Rules Just Don't Work For Me Anymore

Many churches have rules in place for building use. Many of those rules are based in keeping people from using the building. Namely, the fees for use. Sometimes rules are meant to control. Other times, they are used to protect. Rules sometimes are rules just to have rules. And then there are policies. I wonder if many churches go about the task of writing rules and policies for the good of the community? For the good of the lost? For the good of those who might come next week? Some policies are good, some bad. Safe Sanctuary- good. Building use, not sure. Church rules are usually beneficial to members of the church as opposed to non-members. There is a huge distinction. If you are member you are treated this way....and a non-member, well you are treated a different way. Why? I have several answers bouncing around in my head, especially in regard to weddings and funerals. I am praying about this at Grace. I am praying about this alot! I think if we are going to change perceptions of church we might need to rethink how we approach church rules and policies. If you have been on the wrong end of these rules or policies at our church or another church, I am sorry. I am deeply sorry. Look for some changes in Grace over the next few months and years. I think you will all be pleasantly surprised.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What Is Important to You?

Yesterday in worship I asked a simple question. If we came over to your house and asked your kids, grandkids, spouse, etc. what was important to you, what would they say?
Job?
School?
Sports?
Them?
Church?
God?
Those in need?
A simple question with a complicated answer. If you look at your checkbook and your calendar you will very easily be able to answer that question. Sadly, you might not like the answer.
Let others know without a shadow of a doubt what is important to you. Make sure others know who you care about, what you care about and if you are a person of faith, let them know about God.
Go in peace and go with God.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Christmas Lights Up

Our Christmas lights are up. We are the first house on our block to have our Christmas lights up. The weather was nice, Phil let me borrow his ladder and well, I felt like putting up Christmas lights. Every year I like to try and put up Christmas lights because I am a Christmas junkie. What is a Christmas junkie? I love Christmas. I love everything Christmas. I love the lights. I love the decorations. I love the trees. I love the stores. I love the way cities decorate. I love the the Plaza and Crown Center at Christmas. Halls is AWESOME at Christmas. Andres is great at Christmas. I love that the radio is playing Christmas music already. I love the way our church celebrates the season and celebrates Christmas. I love that families get together. I love the Christmas dinner, almost as much as Thanksgiving dinner. I love the snow. I love that Jesus Christ came down to earth to save us. Christmas is a wonderful time of year (advent for you traditionalists). It's a joyous time of year. Remember to celebrate the season and be joyful. Remember to rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always and put those lights up. Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coming Home

So every day when I arrive home I am greeted by our dog Rheau (roo). She is a loving ball of fur that once the door opens you can hear her tail wagging loudly. I let her outside for a bit and then she is back at the door. If I have only been gone for awhile she is excited to see me, but not that much and goes about playing with her toys and running around. If it's been a long day she comes and sits near me, puts her paws on me and if I am standing, she leans in. She will sit next to me and lean in to the point of either pushing me, she falls over or I start petting her. She wants love and acknowledgement. If you are not a dog owner it might be tough to understand. You can't imagine the joy there is when you arrive home and have something excited to see you EVERY DAY no matter what has happened. Just excited.
Excitement is a good thing. Not sure what you are excited about but excitement is contagious. When people are excited, joyful and happy, it's tough to not join in.
I often think about how excited God is when we turn back to him after an extended period of time.
Luke 15 says, 7I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
Be passionate. Be excited. Be a person motivated by love.
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where Are You Today?

Today I am doing exactly what I need to be doing. Today I have hopes and dreams. Today I will complete many tasks. Today I will have the opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends. Today is the day of my choosing. Today can be joyful. Today is what I make of it. Today is a day for God. Today I will show great compassion and love to the stranger. Today will be a day of excitement. Today is a day I should spend serving the Lord.

Today I am NOT doing exactly what I need to be doing. Today I DO NOT have hopes and dreams. Today I will NOT complete many tasks. Today I will NOT have the opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends. Today is NOT the day of my choosing. Today CANNOT be joyful. Today is NOT what I make of it. Today is NOT a day for God. Today I will NOT show great compassion and love to the stranger. Today will NOT be a day of excitement. Today is NOT a day I should spend serving the Lord.

Where are you today?
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Next Mother Teresa Lives in Queens

If you were not in worship with us yesterday you really missed out. Music was amazing, confirmation drama was excellent and we showed a video about a guy who takes serving to the next level. A guy named Jorge Munoz spends most of his day at work as a bus driver. He arrives home around 5:15 pm, hangs out for 10 minutes and goes to his second job- which is serving 140 meals to the homeless. He is not paid for this second job. He spends half his paycheck every week helping feed those in need. His website can be found here.
I can't believe this story. He is doing exactly what God has called him to do. If you can help out, go to his website and send him some money.

Here is a great story about him-

Go in peace and go with God.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swine Flu and Your Kids

Here is a great website that helps us all better understand the flu this year. Go check it out and read as much as you can. Being informed with good information is always a good thing, especially when information leads to action. Go in peace and go with God.

Children's Flu Center

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A stink that stinks

On my way to church every day I drive down a stretch of road that stinks. Why you might ask? There are three dead skunks along the road. Two weeks ago the stink was nearly unbearable. I would hold my breath between dead animals. It was simply overwhelming. Now the stink is nearly gone. The skunks are still there but their smell has diminished. That is the way it is with sin. When we sin the stench is right in front of us and very powerful. After a few weeks we seem to forget that we sinned. The stink seems like it's gone but it's not. To sin means that we have done the exact opposite of what God would have us do. Sin separates us from God, the church, family and friends. It destroys relationships. Sin does stink. So, avoid the stink today, this week and forever. The stench of sin is something that is not easily cleaned, except through Jesus Christ.
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Worry

I recently read a survey that said 50% of married adults with kids lay awake at night and worry about finances/bills/money/mortgage, etc. Worrying cannot add a single hour to our lives and yet we worry. Why do you worry? What are you afraid of? Matthew 6 says, "33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
And yet we worry.
I once heard that worry is a sin. Yikes! I worry sometimes. There are over 300 passages in the Bible that essentially say "fear not". Don't be afraid. Don't let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe in Jesus Christ.
When I worry I take the focus off of God and I put it in front of me. It's as if I forget that God the creator of the Universe cares about me and loves me. I forget that Jesus Christ died for me. It's a sad day when we take our eyes away from God and focus on our own problems. Give it over to God and I guarantee that you will worry less and that your troubles will not look so big.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Direction Determines Destination

Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta is currently in a sermon series where is main theme is "direction determines destination". What a wonderful line. So true. Whichever way we are pointed is the way that we will probably go. If your whole life is pointed in the direction of God, then you will probably walk that way. If your life is pointed in the direction of "self", you will probably take that route. The first thing we need to do is take a good look at our life and figure out which places or parts are not pointed in the right direction. We can break them down as- family, finances, job, church, relationships, future, etc. As we look at each aspect of our lives do we look with a smile or a frown? Self assessments are always a good thing, especially when we include others in assessing our situation. Close, good and trusted friends can often share things with you that you are unwilling to see yourself. Maybe right now you are doing well, GOD BLESS YOU then. If you are struggling, GOD BLESS YOU TOO. Seek after God every day in your heart, soul and mind. And as you seek, your direction will become clear and you will live out the destination you should be pointing toward.
Go in peace and go with God.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Next Step

What will be the next step you take toward God? Today we discussed generosity. Many of us have the best of intentions when it comes to being generous. I want to be generous. I feel I need to be generous. I think about ways I can be generous. And then I have a choice. Be generous or go back to thinking about it. Being generous really comes down to actions. Are you generous with your time, resources and energy? God has been generous with us. Financially, God gives us 100% blessings and then asks for 10% back. We keep 90%. Do whatever you want with it. I have the capacity, as do you, to be generous. When it comes to our finances, actions speak louder than words. Put your money where you heart is...and well, most of us do. So where is your heart? Where are your finances? Because where your treasure is . . .
Take the next step toward God. God is waiting.
Go in peace and go with God.