Monday, March 23, 2015

JUST HOW BROKEN IS MANKIND

Due to sin's destructive nature from the onset of life on earth, men and women have been swallowed up with struggle; enormous struggle.  Even should a person not believe in the spirit nature of good and evil...even these are ravaged by some persistent trend of both disappointment and ruin.

How broken are we?

We are consumed with life's entrapment as we seek the hidden pathway of escape.  No one is immune to the dis-ease of keeping life's plates a-spinning.  Mankind is a mess. To display how great this upset is, we are so extremely warped that we can see the many flaws in all others while thick blindness seems to obstruct us from noticing our own severe sin.

Mankind is broken.  We have been sabotaged, beaten, and broken by dark forces who take little blame nor responsibility.

Of course, this leads us to the One who broke these bonds that wish to barricade us from refreshment and energy.  Jesus died on the cross to pay a debt we could not pay. Thick blindness, however, causes the masses to even ignore such a grand love.

I would urge many to be encouraged with life.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the LIFE.  It's weird.  It's odd.  It's immeasurable as well as unexplainable.  But it's ours for he traded us places.  He died that we could live.

May we use our brokenness as fuel to help us endure struggles and claim the purpose of reaching to others up and down life's corridors who feel helplessly broken...just as we once did.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES BELIEF MAKE?

Believing seems to be a rather major player in our walk.  What's weird is that it can be so easily dismissed with a shrug.  The latter would be known as unbelief.

But, doesn't life turn out the same whether one believes or doesn't?

No.  This faith factor is a profound instigator of developmental process.  With faith, things happen.  Without it?  They don't.

It should be noted that a ton of things happen which are simply an ordinary procedure of any given day.  Houses catch fire, tires go flat, and appendicitis attacks.  Details like these are reasons why man has been lulled to sleep regarding the concept of faith. Things just happen.

Yes, they do.  And, things happen also because of a powerful entity called belief. Therefore, one must be cautious not to let random acts of life's processes talk one out of the magnificent secret of believing.

Faith is creative.

It gives life to things that are dying and believes that something that isn't yet can become (Rom. 4:17).  A mate can see that a marriage is dying and by faith breathe new life into it and save it.  Too, a person can have no promising words facing their dilemma.  Yet, by faith can proceed as if there is possession  and potential and actually see the impossible happen.

Christians who believe in prayer pray.  Furthermore, these see results.  Christians who don't believe in prayer don't pray.  These see consistent results of nothing happening because they didn't believe.  Truth.

Believers who think that giving of their money will cause moments of grace from God see this play out day after day.  Those hesitant in unbelief hold on to their funds tightly and do not experience the weird and wonderful displays of God's provision because they simply operate on their own steam.

Play it safe if you want.  Go ahead and supply your own lifestyle.  Take matters into your own hands.  Others of us, however, are certain we cannot provide for ourselves on the level that God can.

Faith.  Faith that He can or faith that He won't.  Which way do you lean?  Whatever you believe is the way it will go.  Now....that's either promising or scary; dependent upon your stance.

Really, disbelief is a misnomer.  One either believes things will happen or things won't.  Whatever we believe is fundamentally and basically the way life goes.

Belief makes a difference; not whether one does, but how one does. We all believe.  Do we believe God is true?  Or, do we believe the concept of God is false?

Whatever our persuasion is usually how life unfolds.  I would rather believe God will than believe that He won't.  Beyond our understanding, we cannot fathom how our Powerful God is willing to yield to our faith parameters; regardless of our direction.

It takes work to believe God (Jn. 6:28-29).  Sometimes life doesn't unfold the way we wish because we are simply too lazy to believe.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

WHY WE STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP WITH OUR REMEMBERING

Have you noticed how hard it is to be able to recall what it was you meant to say or meant to do?

I feel certain there are accurate statistical studies to support what I wonder.  Living in the information age (Are we still there?) seems to be pounding my head with more content that ever!

And the problem isn't just with quantity.  It is with the when that this takes place.

The when is constant; like in always while awake?  Information comes at us faster than a thousand people can post a message on FB, Twitter, etc.  We find ourselves with plenty to do, as is, and then with the bombarding of notes, funny stories, and sad ones....we are trying to survive a glut of threads to our heads.

Now I'm not walking away from these terrific communication tools.  I love them and am benefited by them.  They are an answer to prayer as they help me to be in touch with more and more of the world. But what I am trying to do is to say no to more things so that I can get more done.

Distraction is a serious villain.  When one cannot focus upon matters at hand, people often suffer as a result.  We want to be attentive.  We must not pass by the hurting masses because we have a new app that explains how great our help can be.

Therefore, I direct your attention and mine to people.  I'm not writing a post this morning to say I wrote a post.  I'm connecting with the wonders of His creation; men and women.

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy His life.  Refrain from being sucked into the swirl of needing to know so much about so much that you can't remember who it is that needs your love today.

Just sayin'.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

TULSA WORKSHOP BEGINS WEDNESDAY EVENING

I am so excited!

What we work on for over a year becomes actuality Wednesday evening as the Tulsa Workshop's "SPEAK LIFE" begins its three-day keynotes, classes, worship, and over-joy day by day!

What are some of your favorite workshop moments over the past 40 years?

Friday, March 13, 2015

WHATEVER WILL BE WILL BE. REALLY?

Imagine creating a movie scene where the gangsters were in the beginning stages of plotting a show-down with the towns-people.  And while these evil planners were merely (unknown and unmarked) scouting out the territory, what if the citizens began bringing their gold, silver, cash, and jewelry to the town square and dumping all in huge tubs for any thieves to take at will?

Bizarre!

Why would they surrender to robbery before these with planners even began to execute their strategies?  Why would a community do worse than defend their goods? Why would the place them out in the open for the dark side to plunder at will?  Why would a decent people possess no energy nor drive to stand against abuse?

Bizarre!

Is this not a reflective scene of some of us who claim to walk by faith?  Have we not said to the Enemy, Here you are.  Take our congregations.  Take our families.  Take our missions.  Take our children.  We surrender them.

And how is it that we do this?

I believe we allow this due to lack of prayer.  Certainly, we can count the numbers of dear brothers and sisters who lead well or follow well in so many works of the church. Yet, this keeps us busy; but may not be keeping us healthy.

Who is praying?  Is it being done?  Yes.  Definitely.  But I think it is not being done by the majority.  This is my concern.  Statistically, I don't have a spreadsheet.  Listening to us, I believe I am accurate in my assessment.

We have work to do; big work.  We have God to believe; big God.  We have tasks before us; big tasks.  But we have not a prayer life to match.

Why?

This is the point of this post.  Could it be that prayer is diminished because we have failed to develop a faith of vision.  The church has succumbed to a whatever will be will be mode.  We've lost our way.  We've forgotten we can create, mold, and groom things that are not yet into being.  We've lost our sense of believing He is strong enough to create the very needs the church has to push back against the Gangsters.

Prayer is tempted to couple niceties with wishfulness.  I encourage you to be visionarily creative in seeking what God has in mind for you today; where, when, and why He wants to move you here and then there.

It is bizarre that we basically sit on our hands when the church and the scrambling world needs impact.  Pray is nothing new as far as topic.  It would be incredibly new to those committed in the church to do good; but can't seem to develop an activated faith.

God can always do more than we can imagine.  All love the text referenced from Ephesians 3:20.  What I wish to do to your day is encourage you to imagine more than surrendering to the dark forces simply because whatever will be will be.  

We have a bigger God than that.  May we develop a bigger faith to fit His size more than ours.











Thursday, March 12, 2015

BELIEVE GOD CAN....AND WILL

For certain, walking in the spirit zone is tedious.  Because God calls us (II Cor. 5:7) to walk by faith and not by sight, we can be assured that the visibles will do their best to choke out the invisibles.  Our goals to walk by faith in the unseen is forever tripped up by the distractions of what we see.

It is for this reason that masses of believers don't pray.  Saying words into the ears of an invisible God is about one of the strangest senses a fleshly body can feel.  Speaking words into the air and believing they resonate with Some Being out there? Absurd...unless you really do believe.

Belief is nearly a contradiction to man's most basic anchor.

We should not be surprised, therefore, at the great strain connected to believing God. Our addictions to walking among the tangibles, the measureables, and the handleables seem to undermine the purity of faith before we ever head out the door of a morning.

Curious followers of Jesus posed the big question, What shall we do that we may work the works of God?  What response did they anticipate?  Pray longer?  Track the needs of the poor?  Go to church regularly?  None of these.

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.

Jesus' comment seems so basic that still today the religious world takes constant effort to improve such a fundamental sentence.  Surely there must be more.  However, the religious conglomerate is suffering from lack of efficiency and stability today due to bypassing his simple statement.

There are many things we state that we believe.  As a matter of fact, unity seems to teeter if we don't adhere completely to the rationale of others.  But believing in Jesus; the one whom God sent?  This is easily dismissed in the name of there is much work to do.

There it is.  The kindergarten version of simply believing Jesus tends to be aborted by the time we get to first grade.  Yet, this is our assigned work order.  So why do we tend to rush to a place to serve or a need to be met by robust attention rather than focus on the Son of God?

The flesh seems to crave verification.  Am I doing well?  Do you see me doing well? Will I make a difference?  To believe in Jesus seems/feels like.....vague vagueness?

It takes spirit muscle to believe in Jesus.  Concentration.  Conviction.  Determination. These are in the mix.  Believing Jesus isn't a good mood.  It is a major work.  No one does this haphazardly.  No one possesses a passion for him simply by occasional tossing a thought his direction.

When we do the work of believing him, we are altering the course of life.  We work to believe he knows the how, the what, the when, the where, and the why of any given need.  We believe in his timing; not ours.  We are sure of his ability; not ours.

When we watch him, we make powerful progress because we know that he isn't doing anything until he sees Father doing it.  Synchronization and harmony will never be more basic than when we shed the many church dynamics that distract in order to focus upon the one who runs the show.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TULSA WORKSHOP...BEGINS ONE WEEK FROM TONIGHT!

40 years!

Next Wednesday evening crowds will gather at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds to begin the three-day TULSA WORKSHOP!

I attended the very first one in 1976, spoke at the second one in 1977 (as a guest preacher from Quincy, IL.), and then directed the third one in 1978.  What a fabulous ride!

The workshop continues to be a kingdom tool to inspire, encourage, and promote outreach.  It started that way and will be the same this year.  The format is always designed with "reach" in mind.

When I begin to plan the workshop program (as my good colleague Shane Coffman and I alternate years), I think about the churches across our land and in other nations that are the size of 38 or 73 or 125 in membership.  I wonder what we could do to offer popular speakers who they might not otherwise get to hear.  Plus, it is a consistent thought of ours as to what would give them a boost in their work back home.

From Wednesday evening's keynote with John Alan Turner to Saturday's rallying final keynote by Jeff Walling at 4:00, the workshop will be powered by the Holy Spirit to send us back into the world with a charge!

If you plan to be here, spread the word of this exciting venture! If you hadn't planned to be here, I would encourage you to make new plans!

Too, all who plan to stay over for Sunday are encouraged to visit one of our area churches.  Memorial Drive will have only one assembly that day which will be at 9:00 (like in nine) for those needing to get on the road.

www.tulsaworkshop.org

Terry