Monday, November 20, 2017

IT'S ROYALTY CHECK DAY!!

Oh, I like days like this one.  My quarterly royalty check from Simon and Schuster came in the mail.  I don't mean to be bragging, understand, but just the sound of it sounds so...well...so roll-off-the-tongue big deal.

But wait.  Once I give details, maybe it isn't so roll-off-ish as I had at first inferred.

The total of the check is $ 7.12.

Right.  Yes.  Below $100.  Well...even less than $10.  It is a check for only $ 7.12.

And...that's royalty for two (2) books!

The Miracle of Mercy brought in $ 2.08 while God Will Make A Way raked in a whopping $ 5.04.

Yep, it's Royalty Check Day at my house.  And, it just happens to be Mary's birthday!  Just in time!  I'm headed out to pick up a gift for her now because I just coincidentally (?) came into a bit of cash on her big day!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

WHY DO WE SIN?

Sin is a we thing.  Sin is a very much of we thing.  We know it's wrong...always.  So why is it, that when we know it's grievous, that we continue to shop in its market? 

Sin unfolded in the Garden of Eden when Eve was instructed to avoid a certain fruit.  She broke the mold and humanity received a glut of crude sin flow. 

What backed this move?  Wanting what she and Adam were told they could not have upset the Apple-Cart.  This is the backdrop of all sin; wanting what we can't have. 

Whether it be stealing, adultery, gossip, embezzlement, or any other vice, each is based upon the Garden of Eden format of wanting what one can't have. 

Why do we sin?  We are contaminated by the First Couple.  The battlefield was marked and the war was on.  Our only relief is Jesus on the Cross and through the grave.  The Good News is that we need no other mode of rescue.

He is our victory!  Thank you, God!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE TWO SIDES TO ONE PERSON

You surely must realize that there are two personalities living inside of you, right?  There's the one who loves, admires, cheers, and enjoys others.  And then there's the other one of you who lives selectively disgruntled and hateful toward others.  What's sorta strange is that the two of you dwell together under one skull.

Let me guess.  Your world is a challenge because you can't stand being disliked; yet you are free with the offerings of your disapproval toward others.  Perplexed over why one can't forgive you seems to go unnoticed to you that you treat others with identical and harmful disdain.

We are hypocrites.  Not a few of us.  Not the most of us.  All of us.  And, how would I know?  Jesus had to die, not for 75 or 80 per cent of us; but, for every one of us.  We all fail at being who we should be, could be, would be.

The two sides of one person is a plague that bugs, disturbs, and hurts.  We will not escape its harmful airs.  One way to deal with it, though, is to face up to it within ourselves before we make negative notations about others in our circles.  Are we guilty of failure?  Very much so...very much.  The problem bigger than the failures themselves is the personal dismissal that we are to be included in this great disarray to human harmony.

There are two sides to one person...every person who ever existed.  Jesus paid the debt...for every person.  If you want to catch a glimpse of your ugly side, take a long gander at Jesus upon the Cross.  If you want to hone in on your good side, applaud the empty grave of God's successful mercy with robust gratitude.

You...and me...none of us are whole because we get ourselves straightened out.  Some of the most "straightened out" are some of the most irritating and obnoxious.  Jesus' value escalates when we surrender in admission to our own sinful style.  He takes His robe of righteousness and drapes our shoulders for we stand naked and guilty before the entire community without Him.

You (and I) are each one person with two sides to us.  No exceptions.  The Good News is that Jesus wasn't lying when He died on the Cross to save....sinners.  Count US in!!

WHAT'RE THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS DOING TO OUR CHURCHES?

I love the mission, the direction, even the simple thought of the church.  It's baffling.  It's hard work.  It's rewarding.  And, it's ever making adjustments.

The younger generations are always a challenge it seems.  What's weird is that all older generations were likely to have been the younger generation in their day.  Do ya think?  So, what's with the seeming collision between generations which seems to ever abound when we older ones went through the earlier process ourselves?

I don't know.  It  seems that we are learners for awhile and then preservers of our meaningful learning experience as if, somehow, God maxed out His imagination on my era.  But...not so.  God is creative all of the time and creative will always include new.

So exactly what are the younger generations doing to our churches?  I believe they are bringing us life and giving us hope.  They dare to love us while exerting a new supply of energy to our design which is clearly the process of the God-involvement.

This younger generation of leaders sees things, knows things, and approaches church life in ways that I knew/know nothing about.  And who inspired these younger men and women?  Well, hopefully, guys and gals like me who dared to believe what hadn't been believed yet.  Hopefully, we were imaginers who passed the plate of imagination to the next group of leader/followers.

What are the younger generations doing to our churches?  Keeping them alive with hope and adventure in the Spirit.  That's what.  Go.  Forward.  In.  Your.  Faith.

Monday, November 13, 2017

LET LIFE REIGN ON YOUR PARADE

Be alive.  Live aware of the wonder of it all.  Such a call is not to abide in pretense that there isn't something wrong...like in many things wrong.  Yet, the beckon is to defeat the negative with the outrageous and incalculable positive which reigns on everyone's parade.

Wonder exists in every setting.  I live and work within the ranks of depression and devastation of family after family.  This isn't an occasional experience; but is rather a daily unfolding.  Life is rugged.  It bites and stings...every person.

What we do, therefore, is never pretend.  We do focus.  We look at the grand scheme of a redeeming God and praise Him for it.  In the very center of his prison cell, the apostle Paul sang to God and the jail collapsed under the load of...of...singing in a very unsingable situation.

Struggles?  Suffering?  Injuries?  At every turn for each of us.  And what shall we do about it?  We shall notice the blessings, the hope, the encouragement that is supplied from above...right on the very stage that wishes to beat us to a pulp. 

Let life REIGN on your parade!  Soak in it!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

CREATED TO BE MORE THAN WE CAN BE

There remains a treasured commodity among us to this day that must never be taken for granted.  We need to note its luxury, its range, and its unmatchable impact.  Do I reference gold?  Success?  Fame?  No, I speak of the magnificent simplicity of faith.

Faith moves modern day mountains.  It goes where eye cannot see; but heart can.  It travels where legs cannot take; but imagination leaps even the tallest hurdles.  Faith is that word oft discussed in classes and sermons; yet tends to escape through the discussionary air into evaporational ineffectivity.

But faith is where the invisible rubber meets the visible road.  Our belief in what isn't yet, but can become, is a remarkable earth-shaking kind of dynamic.  Faith sees where formula and plan can't.  Faith is daring while human measurement and estimation are cautious.

We are created by the Creator to roam the high hills and the low valleys with a tool that defies logic, understanding, and systemic rule.  Faith is so amazingly wowing that if not careful we will miss it; all in the name of Bible discussion and sermon pondering. 

Dare...yes dare...to invest in what can't be seen, what can't be verified, what can't be proven as an act of gigantic wisdom so that the hand of God may be set free to do His thing among us. 

Think.  Question.  Wonder.  Envision.  Wrestle.  Risk.  Try. 

And then watch impossibilities become possible.  This is the very thing that pulls in the hearts of every age range.  We are looking for Life beyond our own meager provision.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

DOUBLE CONDEMNITY

The human side of life is, indeed, baffling and full of twists and turns.  As we age, we often find ourselves playing "catch up" rather than reminiscing the solutionary answers we've accumulated over our decades.  Due to God's display of perpetual creativity, man can hardly make a new discovery but which it is quickly outdated.

An area that bugs us is our perpetual hankering to judge others while claiming Free Space when similar judgment slides in our direction.  We are all alike in that we possess a very strange factor; double condemnity.  Here's how it plays out.

We condemn others because they are not as good as we are (so we've persuaded ourselves).  We would never do the wrong they do.  We would never think to do what they have carried out.  Our condemnation is firm and often unforgiving.

Too, we simultaneously condemn ourselves because we are not as good as others.  We did what they would never do.  We have dark thoughts that others would be ashamed of us if they only knew.  And, our personal condemnation is firm and often lasting...well into depression.

So how can we be both?  Condemning others for they are so sinful and condemning ourselves for we, too, are so sinful?  It is at this junction that we look at Jesus and say, Is there any chance you could do something about me?  I'm a mess as I live in double condemnity.  I judge them...and myself.  Help us!!!

May the righteousness of Jesus be the prominent factor in our walk.  May our self-righteousness move to the back of the bus...and jump out the back door.  No one is right with God unless Jesus makes us right. 

 For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 
                                                                 II Corinthians 10:12

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

JESUS' SECRET APPROACH TO IMPACTING THE WORLD

One would think that to be a world impactor there would of necessity be information, accumulation, and destination; know your subject, gather pertinent tactics, and set out on mission.  One would think.  And thus, we who regard ourselves as mission-minded are able to take note of similar personal concepts in our faith walk.

Yet, there is another factor that's incredibly significant. 

When Jesus was sent from Heaven to earth to begin his mission, it was key that he first become an infant.  Yes, he was a man to be built from the ground up, so to speak.  This is where we replicas of him fight our biggest inner contest.  We do not want to appear vulnerable.  So?  We have traded the nakedness of an infant for the appearance of being equipped with knowledge.

Yes!  That's how we will tackle the world!  We will not approach society vulnerable as in an infant!  We will impress with our knowledge!  Therefore, the spiritual drive experiences shut-down because education was never the driving force.  Vulnerability and the willingness to try anyway has always been the secret approach to impacting the world.

Basically, we don't believe it.  Let me say that again.  Basically, we DON'T BELIEVE it.  The lack of faith is the game-changer when it comes to spreading the Gospel. 

The way to break through on mission--on impacting mission--is through the standard of infancy at heart.  Humility.  Dependence.  Hunger to learn.  Directable.  Ears that hear.  Receptive.  Defenseless.  Moldable.  Pliable.

A baby is vulnerable times 100.  It is this single route the God chose to save us.  Indeed, He would voluntarily become a person.  But more than becoming a person, which would seem to be humiliating enough, He became a baby person; can't walk, can't talk, can't convince, can't persuade.

This isn't the route I was hoping He would take for me.  I was more inclined to think that when I gained a more complete set of answers that it would be at that time that I was equipped to evangelize.  But one evening in a one-on-one Bible study He unlocked an imprisoning door.  I learned to say to the couple I was trying to teach, I don't know.  Surprise to me, their hearts opened even wider to me.  My lack was the secret to their eventual conversion.

Your secret to impacting the world will never be more than the secret Jesus knew.  Being inadequate seems to be a welcome mat to seekers.  Jesus didn't hit earth in cap, gown, and degree.  He hit it with inability to speak, inadequacy to plan, a diaper, and a bale of straw. 

Go.  Figure.  the.  Wisdom.  of.  God....and then...Enter.  In.