Saturday, May 22, 2010

Do You Need a Financial Coach?

Christy Dunham is blessed with an amazing financial mind. She is someone that I completely trust and rely on to help those who are in financial need. She can also help those who are in need a finding their path again. Christy started a new company called KC Money Coach. If you need to talk to someone, contact her immediately.
Christy and her husband Sean lead our FPU. She is so passionate about helping others, she has branched out beyond our church to the community. If you need help or you know someone who needs help, check out her website.
Go in peace and go with God.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I Need A Rainbow

Dear Lord,
Have we done something wrong? The earthquakes, volcanoes and floods are getting to be a bit much. The rain seems to not be stopping. It keeps coming. In the last two weeks the rain filled half of a 5 gallon bucket. I thought you said you would never flood the world again. So, where is our rainbow? Amen.

Ok, not the most appropriate prayer, but sometimes in the midst of frustration we say things in a direct way. Or as many of you know, I just say things in a direct way just because, that is the way I say things. No excuses.

Here are some lyrics to a well known song focused on finding that rainbow.

Somewhere over the rainbow Way up high, There's a land that I heard of Once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow Skies are blue, And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true. Someday I'll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops Away above the chimney tops That's where you'll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow Bluebirds fly. Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I? If happy little bluebirds fly Beyond the rainbow Why, oh why can't I?

So, one of my favorite tv shows is Scrubs (except season 9, I mean really!). In their 100th episode, they focused on someone need a heart, brain and courage. The end of the episode everyone has found what they needed. Rainbows are a sign of God's covenant with humanity to never flood the earth again. For many of us we pause and stare when we see a rainbow. We smile. So my hope is that today we all see God at work in our lives today. Go in peace and go with God.



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Know Your Limits

Ever heard that phrase? Maybe from a parent or friend? When we are younger, we feel as if we have no limits. Life is limitless. Dreams are everywhere. Some of our dreams are absolutely impossible to achieve, other than by and act of God.
When I was in Jr. High I dreamed of playing professional football. NFL dreams.
No, baseball was never my favorite sport, neither golf or basketball. It was football. I watched and learned everything I could. Sadly, I realized this somewhere in High School that it was just not possible. Call it genetics or luck, it was probably not to be for me.
Now we all have dreams. We have hopes. And some of those hopes and dreams never come to be either. The problem is really that they don't come, it's how we deal with it.
I could have chosen to be bitter and angry all of my life for not achieving that dream. How about your dreams? Have you achieved them? Are they still out there? Or sadly, has it not come to be?
If you have a dream, do everything you can to achieve it. Don't just sit and hope it happens. Make it happen. And remember, sometimes, our dreams don't happen. But that is not reason to be angry or upset. Trust in the Lord and follow the path He sets before you.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What Is Church To You?

Some of us treat church like a restaurant. We go when we are hungry. Other than that, we go for weeks without considering, praying, worshipping or growing. And sometimes, when we feel as if the meal wasn't good, we go someplace else.
I love Chick Fil A. It is probably one of my favorite restaurants. Ok, probably my favorite. The nuggets are the BEST! No it's not something that is weekly due to location. But, if I am near one, BAM, I am there.
Every now and then, the nuggets are a little too cooked. But does that stop me? No. I go back.
I have received incorrect orders from Chick Fil A. Does that deter me. No. I love Chick Fil A. Again, my favorite restaurant. There is really nothing they can do to keep me away.
I know some treat church as a restaurant they like, but if the service is not what they expect, well then, "we aren't going back there again".
We need to find a place where we fit.
My guess is, that most churches provide spiritual nourishment. It's a matter of flavor and taste. There is no need to be rude about it. Some people like certain things. That is ok. But it's not ok to gripe or to become angry about the flavors. Maybe you should get in there and do a bit of the cooking. When you find yourself treating the body of Christ like a fast food restaurant, especially one that you expect to deliver things "your way", stop. Take a moment. Pause. Why are you here? What are doing? And, what does God expect of you?
Go in peace and go with God.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Choose Peace

This week you are faced with a choice. Do I become frustrated or angry over something that has happened OR, do I just let it be and move on? This dilemma is one many of us face every week, or sometimes, every day. In our legalistic judgmental bodies, I don't have to be frustrated that someone driving inattentively almost caused a huge accident today because the weather is a bit rainy. I can pray for that person and hope that they would care more about others than themselves. Not paying attention is a huge struggle for some. We become so wrapped up in our own world of smiles and cries that we neglect to look around at the people right in front of us. The more we focus on our own needs and desires, the more miserable we become, because life is not about fulfilling those things. Life is all about the love. How we show it, share it, give it and live it.
So today, make a serious and intentional effort to choose love and peace. Don't let a mess somewhere else mess up your place.
Go in peace and go with God.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Relationships

Relationships are tough. They can also be full of blessings. God reached out to humanity to be in relationship with us. We were created to be in relationship. Relationships at their best are full of love, kindness and kinship. There are friends, family and others we encounter. Treat everyone as if they are your friend unless to they prove otherwise. I heard that once.
When the people of God strayed, God sent His son. God's son provides a path to a healthy and vital relationship with God......and our neighbors. Our connection to God hopefully helps us grow as disciples. As we grow, we grow in a relationship of love. We grow and become more loving. Love becomes the center of our lives, not selfishness or desire. Our hearts desire is to love God and neighbor. Check your heart today. Check your relationships today.
Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Miles and Miles

Yesterday my 2004 Ford F-150 4x4 and I crossed the 100,000 mile mark together. That is a lot of miles together since I have been driving it since the odometer read 77. We've had a good run and I hope to continue to drive that amazing truck for another 100,000. Been in a wreck, in ditches and mud puddles, through creeks and fields, and on several adventures all over the Mid-West. Hopefully our adventure will continue many more miles.
Now that is all about the what did you travel in.
But let's think about the who. Who have you traveled 100,000 miles with, or maybe, you might count in years? Who have you spent time with these past 10, 20, 30, 40 years?
Cherish those moments and those years. For some us we have only 20-30 million more minutes to live. Live in every one of those minutes with faith, hope and love.
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Churchianity

This week we continue our "Unchained" series at Grace. Colossians 2:8 says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."
Churchianity is something that happens when we begin to more closely identify ourselves with a church rather than Christ. We lift the church up above Christ. We are the church, and yet, we forget that Christ is who we are truly connected to as his followers. Our discipleship lifts high the name of Jesus, not high the name of First City Church (insert other church name here).
We are not a country club, although some treat the church as such.
We are not a civic organization, and yet, some of us act like it.
We are more than another service organization (Red Cross, etc.).
The Body of Christ, the church, is not about focusing our devotion to serving the church. No, we serve God and neighbor and live out our faith in Christ in a specific, local and the global church.
It's a fine line.
One of the ways to discern if you have fallen into Churchianity is to listen to how you talk about your church. Yes you can be proud of what your church does, but how do you speak about your church in comparison to other churches. Listen to how others and how your pastor speaks. Hold us accountable for our words.
So this day, focus on Christ. Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Account-ability

Accountability- The state of being accountable, liable or answerable.
Account- To Answer concerning one's conduct.
Ability- The power to act (morally, physically, etc.)

Being able to act in regard to one's conduct. Holding others to account.

Accountable- Subject to explanation, justification and or responsible.
Account- To answer concerning one's conduct.
Able- Qualified, authorized or necessary power.

The power to answer for conduct.

Do you have accountability in your life?
How are you accountable to and who is accountable to you?

Go in peace and go with God.



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Google Homepage Changes!?!

Wow, for the first time in YEARS Google has changed their homepage. I for one like it. Their font has changed as well as the right side of the page. Some people are saying that it's very similar to bing.com, which is Microsoft's search page. Funny, do people really think that Google is now copying Microsoft? I for one would say probably not. Anyway, it's change. And well, there are few articles out there who do not like the change. Not a lot, but there are a few people who resist change. The search is still the same. The quality is the same, and maybe actually better. It's updated. After the many frustrations of facebook changes, I welcome the Google change.
For those of you out there who don't care about facebook and google (very few of you) I'm not really talking about google and facebook.
Change is never easy. I know. Change happens. People come into our lives and move out of our lives. Sometimes quickly, sometimes they linger. Today I ask you to think about those people you have lost touch with in the past year. What was the reason? Did you leave the relationship in a bad way?
Remember-
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:17-19

Go in peace and go with God.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Do You Need Financial Help?

In 2008 Jill and I went through Financial Peace University. That is Dave Ramsey's program for churches. As a newly married couple, it helped us merge our finances and set some really good goals for our future together. If you have not taken FPU, sign up now. There are countless churches in your area offering FPU. Don't wait another minute. FPU can provide a path to financial peace for anyone.
One of the things that Grace is now offering is a Financial Coach. Christy Dunham, a member of Grace, was trained by Dave Ramsey and his team. She completed her training this past year and has graciously offered her services to Grace. She will provide an initial consultation, followed by a two hour session and then a follow up meeting. The whole process takes about three months. If you are struggling with debt or just need some financial direction, please contact Christy today. You don't need to be a member of Grace to ask for her help. If you live in the KC area and would like to talk, please contact her today.
Cdunham@kcmoneycoach.com or contact the church office 816-246-5764

If you do not live in the KC area, you make click HERE and search for a coach in your area.
Go in peace and go with God.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Didn't Jesus know about Weed and Feed?

I was at the Grass Pad yesterday picking up some stuff for our tomatoes and a big sign caught my eye. Step 2- Weed and Feed
It's time to feed your yard with fertilizer and kill the weeds with whatever they put in the weed stuff (chemicals to kill weeds).
It has a dual purpose and works at the same time. Quite a brilliant combination if you are not willing to use someone like Weed Man.
We don't use those companies.......yet.
Anyway, there is a passage in the New Testament that talks about weeds.
It's found in Matthew 13.

24Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' 28" 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' 29" 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'

As you read that you might be saying..."whaaaaat?" Well, so did the crowds and disciples. So, they asked him to explain it. He did.

37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. 40"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

So does that mean I am not supposed to use Weed and Feed on my yard? No. It means that at the end of the age that there will be a time of reckoning. An accounting. Those who cause sin and do evil will be thrown into a fiery furnace. Ummm, yikes. Wow. That is rather a stark description of where you end up if you do evil and sin.
So I guess, there is sin and evil in this world. It's not our place to stand as judge over them. But, it's also not our place to make excuses. Sin is sin. Don't sin. Jesus once said, "go and leave your life of sin". Your sins are forgiven.
Don't get caught up in judging others. It's just a frustrating and vicious circle. Try and grow and shine brightly, "like the sun". Who knows, maybe you will have the chance to witness and call others to shine. Never give up living the life you are called to live, no matter what others think or say.
Go in peace and go with God.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Trees and Fruitfulness

Yesterday I spoke of a scarred tree in my front yard. Several years ago in the life of this tree someone hit it with a lawn mower (not me) and scarred the tree. It did such damage, that the tree is permanently stunted. It will only grow so much. It will produce leaves every year that don't look very healthy, and in the mid summer the tree really struggles. No matter what we do, it can't be fixed. The advice of a tree expert was....."cut it down".
There it was again standing there just struggling. We cut down a honeysuckle tree yesterday in the yard but did not cut down our wounded tree. Why? Not enough time in the day.
Some of us have been scarred or wounded during our lives. Some spiritual wounds are so deep that we still carry them with us today. We have not fully healed and don't feel we will ever heal. We also use those spiritual wounds to keep us from growing. We are called by God to be fruitful. We have many excuses that we give and share to not be fruitful. Those are too many to list here. My advice today is this- seek a path to healing and vitality in your life. Do not let your past struggles and pain keep you from future glory and victory in Christ.

And yes, some day soon, that tree will be cut down because it is not effective or fruitful. It's unproductive.
Go in peace and go with God.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Serving God and Others While Playing Golf

Several years ago I read a book about combining your passions and gifts with God's purpose for you life. So, one of my passions used to be playing golf (before my car accident). Still, I enjoy playing golf, but the passion is tough to find when you are constantly in the rough. Friday, eight people from Grace UMC played in the JuiceBox Challenge. This was a benefit for Children's Mercy, The Lymphoma Society and Jude's family. The tournament was organized by friends and family. There were over 80 people their playing golf to support Jude, Addy, Clint and Sara. And countless others helped put the event together. You can follow Jude's progress here. And check out the story page which tells you how all this happened. And check out Jude's website too.
I guess today I want to say thank you to Gary, Gil, Travis, Rocky, Craig, Steve and Brian. Thank you for taking Friday off and playing golf to help a family and others during a time of difficulty and struggle. I deeply enjoyed playing golf with all of you and you are all some of the most amazing Christians I know. God bless you and thanks for making a difference.
And thanks for all those who spend time together helping others. We can all make a difference if we make ourselves available to God's leading.
Go in peace and go with God.