Wednesday, May 04, 2016

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE...SO BE SURE TO DO IT.

Do any of you ever feel like you are drowning in the very work you love?  Do you notice, increasingly so, that there are not enough days in your hour?  I am there and I share openly for those who are also there...and for those who are going to hit such moments.

I'm losing ground.  I don't speak with complaint.  Is it about over-commitment?  Age? Lack of discipline by taking on too many projects?  I share this simply to say where we live is very real and sometimes we struggle to do what we are supposed to do coupled with what others expect us to do.

I wish to be careful about the age we live in--2016--but I do believe God's wonderful creation of individuals has encountered a pace far more intense than what I think I recall in the 50s and 60s.  Just now my phone bing-bonged me with a message from a preacher in Arkansas so I had to interrupt these thoughts.

Turn your phone off, you say?  I can't.  I'm addicted.  I'm addicted to muchness, I now believe.

So may we take a look at Jesus; always in demand, always in the center, always facing opposition.  He had such a knack of walking through the crowds and then entering the confines of seclusion.  I admire him for this.  And, he made absolutely profound moves to win the whole world.

I speak to you mommas and daddys and bosses and employees and coaches and parents and teachers and students and drivers and riders, try not to live so hard so far so much that you forget to live.  We function in a society that may be over-yesed.  We say yes to ministry, t-ball, sewing club, golf tournament, and weekend trips when what we may need most is to sit down and simply relax.

You know I'm not promoting laziness.  I am pushing for effectivity while we breathe. You are a person of incredible God-gifted value.  You are destined to change the world. Try to be careful not to let the unconscious and demanding calendar waste you.

You are seriously important.  You have differences to make.  Do it...intentionally.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

STAGES

I wonder if life is generally experienced in stages.  These are usually to be noted in ordinary age patterns; but even that cannot be taken as a rule for there are exceptions...always because some younger think older and some aged have minds of youth.

Generally speaking though, in the Teens and Twenties, one might note how the much the older people (like in their 30s-50s) seem to think archaic.  Their dress, their mannerisms, their lingo (the younger believe) are surely outdated.

The mid-range--30s, 40s, 50s, early 60s--see the obvious (to them).  The Teens and Twenty-Somethings live in a fantasy of sorts while the late 60s+ are apparently notoriously stuck.  If these younger and older could possess the get-up-and-go with the wisdom garnered in this bracket, these believe the world would be much better off.

Each age range seems to be consistent; looking back with rolling of the eyes and looking forward with...rolling of the eyes.

I wonder if the stages might signify that none ever really have a strong grasp of what might be needed for the large spectrum called life.  Maybe this would be why we must shift to the style of Jesus in order to gain a better dimension of this matter that we each deem most important.

God spells it out both simply and clearly; we are inadequate and the Spirit is the reason (the only reason) adequacy is ever experienced...II Corinthians 3:4-6.  Only when we admit our lack, while simultaneously realizing the confidence we have in the Spirit therein, will we have accurate grasp of exciting reality.

Doing Kingdom life from our own talent and will-power is not doing Kingdom life.  It is another mere effort to push our agenda under the guise of being positive on the exterior while being fearful on the interior.  Trusting God to do much with our very vague littleness?  This sets the STAGE for all of robust life.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

LIVING IN CALCULATION

Do think it possible that we live from an inner compelling calculation?  The kind where we can't dare give God room to surprise, honor, or endorse our wild ideas because reason and stability tossed wild out the window many insecure moons ago?  I don't just think so, I know so for myself.

Kingdom traits like grace, mercy, and love cannot be restricted to man's best minds.  We even have a slight tendency to mock those who would push such an agenda.  Regarding each of these three, it is not unusual for a few in Bible classes to caution just why it is that these (grace/mercy/love) must be guarded in practice else we become abusive, negligent, and....liberal.

Therefore, I simply remind us to evaluate our reach to others, our generous surrendering of our money to God, and our time spent in relationship with God through prayer.  In these three (and there are a host of others), we find that we are robust in daring faith or else restrictive by our self-defending humanistic wisdom.  The former brings an abundant experience of joy.  The latter causes us to be squint-eyed and suspicious....and usually afraid.

We are....one or the other.  If we are going to live in calculation, how about deciding to calculate that we can't calculate if we are going to walk the magnificent path of Jesus?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

THE OLDER WE GET THE NEWER WE ARE

One of the most outlandish phenomenons of knowing God is experiencing His radical newness.  All through the years, those who seem to make effort to follow God fall into two categories; those who leave God for organized religion or those who lean into God for refreshing new life day by day.  I have been both along the way.  Jesus was correct; the Law will kill and the Spirit will give life.

Aging according to God's directives and expectives develop, also, in two zones.  First, the outer man decays.  Second, the inner man renews.  The outer shell doesn't experience the resurrection; thus a new body will be received to house the eternally new spirit of man.  We will always be younger today than yesterday effective at the rebirth in baptism; Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father so we too might walk in NEWNESS of life...Romans 6:4.

From wrinkles to cataracts to more drastic decline, the aging body becomes a testimony verifying God's steady insight.  The joy develops when we connect the visual of the decay with the promise of inner renewal.  It seems He knows of what He speaks.

NEW is simply mega-exciting!  I would never in my wildest imagination would have guessed that being in the church could be so wired for wonder and awe.  Those who are driven to keep the church the way it has always been will note a correlation between decline of the physical body and the church body as they both age.  But....but when we live for the NEWNESS...new happens!

It is a biblical truth that the older we get the newer we are to be.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day...II Corinthian 4:16.

Friday, April 29, 2016

IF YOU MUST SAY SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING LIFE!

I believe there would be one thing worse than the dread of dying.  That would be the dread of living.

How silly is my observation?  Or, how absurd to reach such conclusion one might inquire?  Yet, this is neither silly nor absurd.  This is, however, our practice of where we often walk.  I think that the most of us carry the dreads of living day by day...well possibly all of us.

Certainly I am not saying that no one ever likes the presence of right now moments for we surely do.  But just as certainly, I am saying that for all of the reasons that we would bow our necks at what, at first mention would seem to be an outrageous statement, is in reality where we walk about with far too much dread on our minds....while we are supposed to be living.

So I ask you, Is the abundant life that Jesus promises a personal experience in your skin?  Most likely amens are in the many category.  However, I'll ask in another way, Do you go through life overwhelmed that a true walk in Jesus is more exciting than a weekend trip to Disney World?  Again, I believe there a the many who could say absolutely.  My concern is for the other many who don't feel this way; many of whom aren't sure that such an emotion would/could be reality.

For those who struggle with liking right now, I wish to cheer you on; not to frustrate you.  Peace and joy are richly available.  Regardless of upset or potential fret, abundant life is available for the now for every person; there is no exception.  A transition to abundance just might occur when we watch our language.

Word(s) have always been God's creative tool.  Actions toward us do not define who we are.  Incoming words don't either.  Our out-going verbiage sets the tone and the stage for whether our days are good or bad.  What we talk about comes about.  It seems to be a rule.

Mary and I bought a house in Tulsa in 1987.  For twenty-four years we said everyday to the other, Don't you just love this house?  Five years ago we moved to another...and everyday we say to one another, Don't you just love this house?  It isn't a law or a routine to say so.  It just blurts out.  We just happen to be nuts about where God lets us live!

And that's how I feel about my family and my friends and my church and the privilege of getting to preach and being this age and still finding God more than when I met Him and on the list goes.  Are there reasons to be discouraged?  Oh, I get there.  I pass by there; but I refuse to unpack my baggage and stay overnight in that miserable dump-heap of a motel.

Nope.  I will fight back with a self-talk lecture which rehearses words of God and of colleagues who speak life into my very center.  The ego, my ego, has to go.  But the wonder of life gets to stay.

Watch our language.  Every slant, every take, is powerfully creative.  If you must say something, say something life!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

KEEP UP THE GOOD THINKING

Where we are in life emotionally and spiritually is up to us.  It is not up (or caused) by another person.  Some people can make lemonade out of lemons while others have a knack of making a mess out of something wonderful.  Both are determined by thought patterns which eventually influence decisions.

I fought severe depression for years.  Uneasy about nearly all of my efforts, I was nervous.  Even if things were going well I was watchful for that other shoe to drop. Fearful of what others thought, I would never speak my mind.  What would be the negative consequences?  I was a child of God frozen so many times by things that never happened.

Therefore, I surely understand why so many living beneath the umbrella of faith do little more than chip in here and there; but seldom launch out into the unknown.  We. Are.  Afraid.  We.  Won't.  Get.  It.  Right.

True wonder comes about when we shifts gears and permit ourselves to think; think about possibility, of what could be, and positively of what if.  God is not tired.  He isn't even sleepy.  I cheer you on to quit rehearsing the things that aren't going right and calculate the numerous things that are.

When I say that our life is up to us, this must be considered in the context only of a decision.  Life is up to God.  It is up to us to choose Him.  It is up to us to believe Him. What we get to do (must do) is determine that God knows how to get us through this day when several obstacles want to assure there is no passage.

Some Israelites facing high waters once quite successfully followed a young pup named Moses into terroristic threat. And....they made it not having a clue what happened. They stepped and God did the parting as well as the drying of the track.

When you and I face problems that promise to drown us, refuse to buy in to them. Problems are daily.  But, provision to topple the problems are even dailyer!!  Yes....I did say that!!

Keep up your good thinking.  It pays off in inner peace which is sheer power of renewal.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

THE GIGANTIC SIZE OF LIFE

Trying to negotiate the twists and turns in our trek can be both fascinating as well as disturbing.  Little goes on well but what upset or interference....interferes.  We can't seem to catch a break.  Our intentions are good.  We even find that we have succeeded in places.  But the DistractorFactor walks right in and sits down in the middle of many a good day.

If we are not intentional, we will surrender the glory of now by focusing upon the disruption which was intended in the first place to disrupt.  This has been the tactic of Satan and his dark forces all along.  Rob.  Distort.  Fake out.  Blur.  Mislead.  Redirect down an unfruitful path of wasted effort.

Jesus says that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  So...you doing okay with abundance?  Are you noticing it?  Experiencing it?  Sharing it?

This is one of the strongest facets regarding the Kingdom of God; it is actually immeasurable.  I heard a man this weekend at our Monroe event say that we are to have an unbelievable faith.  How odd.  How truly wonderfully odd.  We are to have a faith that is unbelievable!

Our problem is that we try to develop a faith that is believable according to our measures of impact and weight and reason.  Yet, God promises to work beyond what we can imagine or think...Eph. 3:20.  We are to possess an unbelievable faith!

We will continually be challenged to look for what isn't yet and have the active faith to believe such need can come into existence.  This is remarkable.  It isn't average.  It isn't explainable.  It is life-affording as it thrusts us into partnership with the living, breathing, actual God of all creation.

So take your hits that daily existence will supply here and there.  But don't take these as the markers simply to pass through.  Fill your eyes with wonder, your hearts with awe, your actions with daring and risking hope.  Think about what is needed.  Determine to walk where no one imagined before.  The trail remains open for men and women to dream of the reality of a gigantic size of life...which patiently awaits our entrance...again...today.