Sunday, December 27, 2009

People Who Inspire

I love movies. Especially ones that have a good message. Jack Nicholson was in a movie with Helen Hunt called, "As Good As It Gets". Jack's character (Melvin), is an obsessive-compulsive man who has a hard time communicating with other people. As the movie progresses he finds himself romantically attracted to Helen Hunt's character, (Carol), but he is at a loss for words in trying to describe his feelings for her. Finally, in a last-ditch effort to make sense of his feelings he simply says, "You make me want to be a better man". For Carol it is the highest compliment she could have received. It's a wonderful movie and I highly recommend it.
I wanted to write a blog about "authors" who have inspired me over the years. And then, the more I thought about it, I realized that there were actually people in my immediate life who have inspired me to "be a better man". There is the older gentleman in our church whom I watched nurse his wife through 6 years of Alzheimer's Disease... saying the "long goodbye" with a grace that constantly amazed me as I observed his faithfulness, love and tenderness towards her. The young couple who suffered a great loss of one of their children...and did so without wavering in their faith in a loving God and His promise that "this is not the end of the story". My own pastor, whose messages of redemption through the finished work of Jesus Christ has bolstered my faith tremendously over the years. My good friend who struggled most of his adult life with drug/alcohol addiction but managed his final years of recovery with strength and courage. My two sons, who have grown into compassionate, Godly men that any dad would be proud to have raised. Our family friend, who, despite bad health most of her life has always "been there" when we needed a friend. Anothe friend, who succumbed to cancer a few years ago. She still amazed everyone at her funeral by making even that into a celebration. (She actually bought "baby gifts" for her yet-to-be-married friends). A sterling example of a life well-lived. Then there is my wife, God love her, who has been an amazing example of love and hospitality to others all her life.
I'm sure there are others I haven't mentioned. Thank you ALL for writing a bit of your lives into my life. I can say without a doubt that knowing you has indeed, made me "want to be a better man". As you are reading this, I'm sure there are people brought to mind of whom you could say the same. Sure, there are authors/musicians/writer-muses who have challenged my life and actions through their wonderful songs and literature, but that's nothing compared to witnessing, first-hand,... lives that inspire.

Monday, December 21, 2009


My wife and I just saw the film, "Invictus". It is the story of Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela spent almost 30 years in prison in South Africa for protesting the apartheid government, ruled by the white minority. When he was finally released from prison he ran for and won the office of President of South Africa. In most cases this is how repressive, ruthless dictatorships begin...the opportunity to finally get "revenge".
In the case of Nelson Mandela, he surprised everyone by including blacks and whites in his administration, even to the point of hiring white bodyguards, men who, in the past would have been part of the forces that imprisoned he and other family members. Mr. Mandela had learned the secret of "grace" and had been given the gift of forgiveness. Forgiveness is, I believe, the most powerful force in the universe. It is part of that supernatural thing we call "grace". In the 12-Step program (and in everyone's life) there comes a time when we are forced to make a decision.... forgive, or... hold fast to our lust for revenge and vindictiveness. It's one of the toughest decisions you or I will ever make...and one of the most important... for it sets the path of how our future will be played-out. Will we live lives free of bitterness or will we break through that wall and become people of character and persons of love and respect? Nelson Mandela made the right choice and it changed, in some way, the hearts of 43 million people. We are each given the opportunity to follow his example. More importantly, God Himself gave us the supreme example in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. God, in Christ, came into this world not to condemn it, but to save it. He did so by offering Himself to pay the penalty for our sins...our grudges, our addictions, our self-centeredness. It is through the gift of grace and forgivenss that any of us have the opportunity to change our lives (or, a better way to say it would be to say, to "Let go and let God" change our lives, our hearts. The greatest words every spoken were uttered from the God-man on the cross of Calvary two Millenia ago: "Father, forgive them". If God has forgiven us then who are we to say that we have the right not to forgive others? It's part of the beginning of a remarkable Spiritual journey...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 Steps... the Music CD

During the two years that I was pursuing a degree in Addiction Counseling I did my practicum at Mainstream, in Bonner Springs, Kansas. As a songwriter I often was taken by some of the things discussed in group counseling sessions. Often it inspired me to write a song about a particular subject and then I would sing it for the guys at the center. Most of the time I would have great feedback on the song and even had requests for me to put it on a CD or, at least, make them a copy of the lyrics. It was during these two years that I sat in my little basement recording studio and put together the CD, "12 Steps And a Winding Road"... 15 songs of hope and healing for those in recovery. I wrote or co-wrote half of the songs and culled the other songs from some of my favorite songwriters who I felt had written a song which would tie-in to the message of hope. The CD was completed in 2009 and I now have copies available. While I would love to just give them away (and sometimes that happens), I also would like to recoup my financial investment in the recording, paying other musicians, the extensive artwork (full color booklet with lyrics) and the CD productions costs. If you are interested in purchasing a CD they are available for $15 (shipping and handling included) by sending to: Bob Jenkins, P.O. Box 671, Shawnee Mission, Kansas 66201. You can hear some of the songs at:
Also I would love any opportunities to share my time and talent with any groups, organizations or churches that might be interested. email me at:

I've enjoyed the journey so far and am looking forward to carrying the message of hope and healing to the hurting and suffering, wherever they may be and wherever the road may lead. God Bless