Saturday, June 24, 2017

MIGHT WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR INNER PASSWORD?

I don't know how to say what I'm about to say--what I want to say--to you at this very moment.  Believe me.  My (com)passion is charged and ready to express in deep meaning the value that I see in you and how much I believe that each is basically unaware of your own profound depth of wonder.

Mankind is stripped of its potential because Satan's original work in the Garden divided us.  Oh, I don't mean that such division is merely one against another.  No, I mean that we entered a zone where we are divided against ourselves.  We want to be effective; yet, find ourselves plagued with failing moments.  We desire to really be alive only to spend far too much time in dread of a day or an event or of a person.

This is why faith enters the picture.  It is a warrior against fear for fear still wants to be the Boss.  That's what happened to Adam and Eve.  They simply became afraid....and many have never gotten over what we inherited from them.  Yet Jesus, at our rebirth, very much does reopen one's potential and possibility in a whole new power display.

From Princess to Pauper, we are all the same; wanting to be more than we are and blinded to our own positive dynamic at any given moment.  Don't misunderstand.  I'm not promoting rude self-centeredness.  But rather, I'm wishing to draw out an inner confidence embedded within us by the intentional design of the Holy Spirit of God.

Individuals do not grasp just how deeply wonderful they/you are.  Thus, we perpetually thirst for something more without realizing we are currently and valuably very much, very sharp, very effective, and very meaningful.  This is not to brush against one's ego; but rather, to dip into His Supply.  So how do we reverse this mistaken daily tendency of missing His glory within our very own interior?

Realize that we are all the same.  When I was entering the sales world as a 20-something, before I seriously entered into ministry, I was highly intimidated by any of slightest power.  How many times I heard from my colleagues, Hey, they all put their pants on one leg at a time.  But this didn't help...and I failed.

When I eventually entered into ministry, I was plagued by the very identical insecurity.  This is a part of the reason that it wasn't until my senior segment of Preaching School that I was sent out into area churches to preach (while all other students began such an experience in their sophomore term).  I.  Couldn't.  Do.  It.

I was scared.  Fear drove my every day.  But little by little, I gained confidence in Him.  I never gained confidence in myself (to this day).  Yet, the key was increasing in assurance of His absolute presence and His productivity.  I actually began to believe; to trust God.  Count.  Me.  In.

My burden for you is that I believe that every person on earth battles insecurities galore.  This, then, carries an inner defense mechanism within our thinking that goes unchecked.  We refuse to learn new ways for we are protecting what little security we dare think we possess.  We take the talent He gives us and we hide it.  We hoard it for fear that it, too, will diminish.

Often we balk at the very idea of just trying.  This very practice reduces blessings for those in your path as well as your own potential ones for you would rather play life safe.  There is nothing safe about this for it is robbing you of the real you.  This is your personal Thief.

Whether you are my friend or are my foe, I cheer you on.  Dare to open up your heart to your dreams and imaginations.  Quit playing it safe.  Refuse to hide within your manageable schedules and controlled talents.  Explore.  Dream.  Imagine.

And then....dare to step out of your comfort zone and into His.  Nothing in life has us trapped by enemy pursuants but what God cannot part your Red Sea and provide a way of escape into the unknown wonder of your very own Promised Land!

Change your inner password from I'MAFRAIDI'LLFAIL to GODLET'SGOFORTHEVICTORY.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

PUSH BY FAITH

What kind of spiritual exertion are we to....well....exert anyway?  I reference our walk with God.  Is it all up to Him?  Or, all up to us?  Shared responsibility?  I send a bit of ponderment your direction for consideration.

Christians are to do work in the kingdom.  Yet, there's a subtle distraction that seems to undermine the theme of working.  We seem to transfer or translate such self-effort as if we are viewing our Bibles as a place to put our invisible savings stamps so that, when we get the book (the Bible) full, we can hope that we are saved.

This is the work-side that comes off as humanistic earning power with the hopes of persuading God that we could/should enter Heaven on that Day.  Aren't you impressed God?  See what we have done?

Yet, of course, Father puts a twist and a challenge into the biblical word work.  We are very much anticipated by Him that we will work in the Kingdom.  He wants it.  We want it.  That settles it.

Not quite.

Work is not knocking so many doors setting up Bible studies, per se.  Work is not attending church three times a week in hopes finding an Eternal Pass awaiting at Heaven's gate.  Neither is work an involvement in ministry which gives self the appearance of Kingdom connection.

These are to be questioned for one simple reason.  One can do these things without having any trust in God.  Many are in the church who know their place to sit; but do not have a relationship with the One.  Much labor goes on within and for the church which may be exercises of one's will without confidence in the Spirit that He would be engaged in any part of walk.

Not so strangely, all of the efforts above may also be mighty and powerful in content as well as effort.  The difference is, again, whether the work that we are doing is on the God-plane.  That plane?  Faith.  Faith is the work that we are required by God to do.  Without faith...without a working faith...our works are dead in their tracks.  Without faith in Him, we are possibly pursuing life in the church with faith in our own brain and brawn.

They said therefore to him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"  Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."  John 6:28-29

The work that we are to do is to believe in Jesus.  This is the work requirement.  Without this commitment we will be a people who serve without prayer-prep.  We will reach out with little expectation of Jesus' participation.  Too, our walk will be undermined by distraction--easily disturbed--because we have developed a ritual of church activity rather than a confidence in the very Spirit of Christ.  There.  Is.  A.  Difference.

May we be a people who push into our communities with the labor-intensity of the Spirit's highly productive leadership, provision, and backing.  May we be wowed at what He gets done with, in, and through us.  Yet, we will always be sensitive to the truth that He is the One doing the work....not our best foot forward.

Our defining work is to believe that God works.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GARAGE SALE AT MY HOUSE FRIDAY!!!

For all in the Tulsa area, we are having a garage sale Friday, June 23, starting at 8:00.

  • Exercise equipment
  • Antique signs
  • Tools
  • Table
  • And lots of etc. stuff
10% of proceeds go to Mary!

2636 E. 18th St., Tulsa

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

FAITH MAKES NO EARTHLY SENSE

Maybe three decades ago, I wrote a book; The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense.  The meaning of the title is that one will never learn of the Spirit of God using earthly measurements.  No, these would need to be spiritually evaluated.  The title alone caused a stir within the church.  Some were irritated by the sheer fact that I believed the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  And, then, others were upset as they thought that I was saying that the Spirit made no sense in any realm.

So today I still say that the Spirit does not fit the 1 + 1 = 2 mindset of human efforts as if such  equals a basic formula for kingdom living.  What is required is a very unique territory known as faith.  Otherwise we are simply a batch of humanistic minds trying to make church work from earthage rather than from the heavenlies.  Our bodies will one day succumb to injury or disease or age.  Our spirits are the eternal portion of each of us.  Thus, we give attention to such a key element of....our us-ness.

The spirit world is in each of us, among each of us, and very much to be involved with all of us.  What is to be expected, then, in this zone which is the spirit side of us?

For one thing, we need to be aware that our flesh will strive to be boss of our spirit.  It will try to weigh godly Truth from the mindset of what would be regarded as normal and obvious thinking.  Faith, though, is not normal.  Faith believes that what isn't can still become.  Faith sees into the invisibles which blows the mind of the flesh.  As a matter of fact, the flesh can't tolerate this paragraph.  The flesh-mind resents what the spirit-mind strives to believe.

One's spirit, then, engages poles apart from the flesh.  The flesh is willing to attend church; but it doesn't want to pray.  You can't make it pray.  It doesn't want to learn new landscapes and regions of the Word and it most certainly does not want to be uncomfortable.  Ultimately, it is terrified of dying to self that others might be blessed.

The flesh is self-ish while the spirit is self-giving.  The flesh fights to preserve self at the very center.  Yet, the spirit goes to school in order to learn how to give itself away for the needs of others.

The spirit wants to spend time in prayer, learn how to love enemies, become enthusiastic over giving of our money, and finally it wants to grow in freedom to reach to the world around us without being so paralyzingly self-critical.  There is no enemy to our spirit as large and monstrous as our fleshly approach to thinking which tends to hold us captive.

We incarcerate ourselves all the while complaining as if someone else did the arresting.  Others are never our main trouble.  Our interiors--the mind of the flesh or the mind of the spirit--set the course for our every day.  The former is captivity while the latter if freedom.  We.  Get.  To.  Choose.

Faith makes no earthly sense.  It makes much heavenly sense.  As the grave being empty still creates doubt in the flesh-minds who just can't believe it, that empty grave sets a believer's heart on fire for God because we operate more from the Spirit of God than our own lower-life thinking.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I'M ENTERING THE YOUTH GROUP OF OLD AGE

Tomorrow--June 18th--I am to turn 70 years old.  Since 30 sounded old when I was 23, you might imagine how old I thought 70 was way back then!  But it's sorta weird in a good-weird sorta way, that age seems to somehow grow on us with time.

I feel certain that my 70 isn't nearly as old as my grandparent's 70s.  I mean, mines much younger in feel, in attitude, and in....well, in most everything.  I do recall a gradual moving of my expectation factor when playing baseball in the Cardinal camps.  Beginning at age 36 and finishing at age 69, there was a trending away from actually catching the ball to feeling joyful that I could at least see the ball coming....and watching it go by.

Seeing had become key.  Who needs reflexes anyway?

Admittedly, 70 does sound old.

My agility has somewhat crystallized.  I never saw the day coming when I would need to sit down so that I could think on my feet.  And hey, young people, you know that country sound along the creek banks on a summer's night where you get to hear the humming of the locusts and grinding of the crickets?  Well, about age 60 or so, God implants both of those sounds directly inside of your ears and you get to enjoy a summer evening out all day long...everyday...all year long...really.

Regarding driving a car, I've noted that some people just don't respect my sudden change of lanes.  And green lights?  Yellow?  I've upgraded.  They are now the same to me sorta like slow down or stop.  Slow down works just as well and, frankly, saves a lot of time at intersections.  And, being the considerate man that I still am, my moving on through in yellow/reddish simply allows the lady behind me a sooner turn.  Just call me thoughtful.

One more thing.  I've noticed that as we age, others around us seem to become more confused.  They have incredible imaginations remarking that I already told them certain things...several times already.  They are obviously confused....yet I do a nice job of rolling with their absurd suggestions.  They can't help it.

So for now, 78 sure does sound old to me!  Yep, that's most likely the actual and true over-the-hill number!  Right now I 'm merely entering the youth group of old age.

Friday, June 16, 2017

DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN DAILY BOG?

I ask, do you have your own daily bog?  At first glance, some might have thought that I meant to say blog; not bog.  But...not the case.

My question is whether you have those matters which bog you down day after day?  You know, those words, or deeds, or actions that knock the wind out of your sails?  Perhaps you set out for a time of anticipated wonder only to encounter a grump or a pessimist or and infraction by those around you...or....your own grumpy, pessimistic, infractionary disposition?  Either way, our balloon moments may encounter deflation.

So how do we negotiate a daily bog?  Philippians 4:4-9.  Oh, I know.  You've heard this before.  Yes.  And you'll need to continue to ponder it for daily bogs require daily mindsets upon all that is going right in our world in order to stay up.  Bogglism is always awaiting in the wings to drain your momentum.

Upbeat and forward moving is the stronger option.  This never pivots off of how things are going.  No, upbeat and forward consistently derives from how we choose to think.  Will we sink because of challenges before us?  Or, shall we choose to use these very intimidating struggles as stepping stones to an even higher walk?  Get behind me, bog!

Today is filled with potential, encouragement, and participatory awe.  Enter in.  Don't just wish it was so for you.  Claim it.  Expect it.  Live it.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

WHY SHOULD WE UNSPELL "UNTIED"?

Division has become a way of life.  Not to be neglectful, there are those issues which such would seem necessary.  But truthfully, it appears that very much damage is being done in the name of stances taken against other stances.  In addition, I wonder just where people as myself have fueled it without thorough thought.  Have we/are we experiencing a time-warp of intense multi-level separations which are both unnecessary and avoidable?

The political and religious compartments among us are two potential sources of enormous strength and pressure-relieving harmony.  Yet, I hardly believe that their potential is recognized as such; but rather are perceived as contesting forces within their particular zones of seeking advancement and service.  Even the dear term of family has been hacked with terms of separation, abuse, and selfishly individualistic demands.  Pride reigns in all three of the aforementioned categories.

Admittedly, there is such room for improvement right where I live and serve.  That's why I even know what to address here.  Long before Facebook, mankind was hitting like or avoiding hitting it only upon the simple basis of preference.  Preference will not take us into the rough spots of society.  Neither will it win the enemy.  We are called to do both.

Should any be fatigued over a few of the politicians' (and news pundits') sarcasm toward the other side, we just as well confess that churches are hitting our communities with identical thread.  Suspicion and hatred are fruits of our self-serving, self-promoting bias which demands microphone time.  Neither political party has mastered the escalating challenges of states and counties and cities.  None of we churches have captured the entire range of Truth; although competing tribes verify such a mission has been accomplished within our own narrow context.  In both cases, society loses.

We will ever be encouraged to learn the steps of Jesus; not in biastistic plans of salvation, but in walking toward the hurting and the confused and the lost?  Might we grow...up?  May we set out on any and every given day fully aware of flaws...major flaws that need correction...our flaws (not "theirs", not some of "them"; but m-i-n-e as well).

If we could unspell u-n-t-i-ed (meaning that we refuse to be linked in harmony) and rearrange the very same letters then just maybe a new word would have a chance among us; u-n-i-t-e-d.  We can do this.  To make progress, the route of Jesus is the only way... and that way is to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.