Saturday, December 30, 2006


Accept nothing you see as permanent. The unseen is the real.

When I moved to Memorial I often encountered the question, "How are you doing with your elders?" My response would be, "Of which ones do you speak? The ones I have now or the ones I have in 15 years? The ones I have now are great, but wait 'til you see the ones I have 15 years from now!" Don't assume the best of life has already been discovered and someone else. The greatest treasures, I believe, are yet to be discovered within the range of our very own paths.

I find it especially fascinating to think about some of God's best intended blessings which are secretly buried within the hearts and minds of the unbelievers in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces just waiting to be released into faith.

We must continue to dig, to sow, to reach out. Blessings for the church are hidden in unbeliever's hearts. They have God-gift awaiting release. We must uncover such marvelous, wonderful buried treasure so the kingdom can gain even more momentum!

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart!

Dare to live wide-eyed! Ignore the bemoaning skeptic. The church has yet to arrive close to its fabulous potential. That's why I would never want to leave it.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I have an idea which would set Islam and Judaism and Christianity and the rest of the religious world on it's head. There is a move I could make if only I could get permission granted from the Iraqi government. Oprah, Larry King Live, and the O'Reilly Factor would clamor to give God praise. The media would bombard by seeking interviews and they would be granted over the next 30 days. The message for each venue would be the same: THE GIGANTIC LOVE FOR THE WORLD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

Through such an extreme measure the world would be a stage upon which everyone would view with interest the unfolding of God's wisdom and compassion. The motive would be to gain fame and glory for the Master who has been lost in the shuffle of war by indifference, war by force, and war by words.

What I would like to do is get permission to hang in Saddam Hussein's place. Is that not what Jesus did for us? Would this not rock every corner of earth? Would God be fabulous in His working not yet tried for quite some time?

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...." Is that not what we should be doing? Wouldn't it be something if the word "radical" was used for once to describe a believer's love?

While one might be tempted to chalk this up as verbal nonsense, I suggest that the seed of courage just entered hearts which will (unknowingly at this moment) take profound stances of staggeringly brave love against forceful enemies of the future.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I love God's teaching of how He creates something out of nothing and give life to the dead. Romans 4:17-25 is the text and it's conclusion is this remarkable thing called faith. It is available to all believers with the backing of resurrection power! I love it! We, therefore, are free to look at a need with no indication of possibility showing in the wings and create a solution.

I have been praying over the years for God to show up in the mainstream media and that Jesus would receive deserved recognition. Remember, maybe two years ago, Larry King Live interviewing the missionary in South America whose light plane was shot down? Days later the surviving Christian sat on national television and freely gave his testimony. Two days ago, December 25th, Rick Warren was on Fox News for an hour telling the story of Jesus and his call to the world. The program was repeated later in the day at least once.

I encourage you to take a look at needs in your work--in your area---and mix up a good batch of faith. Draw upon the resurrection power funding of God and let us know along the way what He does!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

PRAYER: What's Your Story?

Let's build up some prayer steam as we encounter the new year. I'm not what you'd regard as a famous pray-er nor a great pray-er nor a deeply focused pray-er. So don't jump to a mistaken track as we discuss this. My point is prayer is for the ordinary....and such lets me in. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would register at the low end of prayer devotion.

About 30 years ago (I was 29 years old), I began praying that God would let me reach thousands of people before I die. I would pray this desire over and over while standing alone in the church auditorium in Quincy, Illinois. A call came from Memorial Drive in Tulsa to interview with them. While I was wowed beyond measure that they would ask me, I told them emphatically "No". God and I were building something special in Quincy.

When I was back at my prayer once again rehearsing my request to reach hit me! Maybe Memorial's call was His response. I felt ill, guilty, and ashamed that I'd even consider bailing on the church I loved so dearly. I called Tulsa and they did want to talk to me. I was hurt. This is not how I saw it going at all. "Quincy, God." "From Quincy for the world!"

I met with Memorial's elders and told them emphatically I could not move to Tulsa. But God's response to my prayer seemed to powerfully and clearly override my heart's desire.

Today He lets me reach the thousands through this position at Memorial, the impact of the workshop, and even this matter of blogville!

I cheer you on to keep praying. Sometimes we feel we nearly have to beg Him to answer us. In my case I found myself begging Him not to answer...but He wouldn't quit....AND I AM SO GLAD HE DIDN'T. I love being at Memorial....while I still love and adore the church in Quincy.

He has a way of making life explode! Keep up the praying. Don't let it slack off. GOD WORKS!

Share with us...encourage the rest of us...about a move God made with you along the way as a result of prayer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Super Saturday...It's Christmas Eve Eve

Don't you just love right now? It's the day before the day before! I love Christmas!

Today, I throw gasoline on you! Thank you for being the kind of person you are. Thank you for caring about others and, yet, finding yourself sick over how selfish you are on too many occasions. Thank you for believing God is awesome and, yet, finding you are plagued with a double-portion of Thomas's doubting.

Thank you for believing in me when I can no longer believe in myself. Thank you for seeing the good in me when I botch one effort after another.

Thank you for your patience when I am at the end of the rope with mine. Thank you for continuing to give to me when I am a huge taker.

You bless the world....and I'm glad I'm in on it. You thrill so many....and thank you for including time for me.

Have a Super Saturday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fiery Friday....Unmentionedables

I made up a fit this day's intent to toss gasoline on heroes among us. Let's assemble a list of a few among us who serve so well, yet never stand with a microphone in their hand or have their picture hanging in the foyer beside an elevator named after them. My three are...ta ta da dat ta da....

JACK MAYNARD....retired television station engineer handles our sound (though he is handicapped with severe hearing loss), constructs our wiring landscape, and produces every sermon on audio and visual. I call him Dr. Maynard because the man is so smart he can fix anything! I love this man!

ETHELEN MAGNUSSON...retired...mother of two kids and a boo-koo of grandkids...and now a greatgrandmother, Ethelen comes through the church doors and beats it for the Teacher's Supply Room where she and partners keep the teaching materials flowing. Ethelen doesn't have the greatest of health, but she has the grandest of heart and attitude. She means very much to me!

JACK recovering from surgery and illness right now. He is a humble man somewhere between 42 and 78 years old...just not sure, but I think mid 50s?
This man works in the Day Center for the Homeless, is often seen sitting at the bus stop for this next juncture of travel about town, and is one of the most loved members at Memorial. Jack loves us! He brings such power to the heart of this church. I am better because Jack showed up!

I have tons more "Unmentionedables" to toss into the fire....but for today, this will have to do! It's your turn to talk......

....who say ye is a great unmentionedable?

Thursday, December 21, 2006


"First seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness" was voiced by Jesus in "The Sermon". The kingdom part is obvious. We want to be about "My Father's business", but why His righteousness?

We are to seek His because ours won't do....ever. Our combined right way of doing things...any things...many things....will never meet the standards of God. Never. Not even close. Until one accepts this fact, he will forever be seeking the kingdom on his own righteous standard....and he'll never find the kingdom. The kingdom is a wonderful secret buried in front of only the surrendered eyes.

I am a louse. Fact. I am not close to shoring up a couple of my strengths in order to impress Him...or you. I can't cut it. Jesus rightness cuts it. God switched out my sour rightness with Jesus's sweet rightness while Jesus wasn't looking on the cross!

Am I right with God? Oh, yeah! But never because of anything I do, but because of all He did. "He made Him who knew no sin be sin on our behalf that we might be come the righteousness of God(II Cor. 5:21)." I am right---not on the basis of how good I've done, but---on the basis of how wrong Jesus became on the cross.

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy....(Titus 3:5)"

The only ones saved are all who reach a clear understanding we cannot save ourselves.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Beware of me. Beware of us. Jesus is the Truth. We are not. The truth will set one free. Truth has died a thousand casualties due to name brand religions or churches building their courses of faith on a hand full of passages. Thy Word is Truth, thy Word says. It is. Thy Word also warns of claiming man-made rules as truth....yet, we do anyway. Thy Word says we are to resist the captivity of men's traditions....and how God's people cry for release from such captivity.

A problem with all of this is it's tough to differentiate between Truth and Tradition if we have been programmed to believe Tradition is Truth. The reason the majority of our members do not teach their neighbors about the love of Christ is not because they are smug or heartless. They haven't a clue how to make the Bible fit their form of Truth. It's just too complicated.

Explain our stance on the three laws of interpretation when the Bible doesn't express such. How should our people teach what true worship is when their pattern is the congregation in the 50s and 60s, but not displayed in the New Testament? How shall our people
teach from the New Testament many congregations with many elderships when the Truth shows only one set of elders per city? How can our people justify no instruments in worship, yet endorse buildings and land?

The truth is our people can't. They may never say it...what's worse they don't say it. They don't say anything to collegues and neighbors because it's too hard to share this dead-end maze. Our wonderful people are tied up in knots; entangled in opinion and wishful thinking.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. There's a neighborhood near us crumbling and dissentegrating in front of our eyes. We have the best news in the world. It's not the news men have made up. It's the news Jesus delivered...and there is such a difference. May we get better at saying what he said and reporting the results. Relax in the Word. Regroup your thoughts to fit his walk. Reach out.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I am deep into March '07 workshop and am putting intial touches to the '08 one (Garnett is taking a break so Memorial has it for '07/'08/'09...and we are quite pumped!). We are seriously looking at the theme for '08 of "PRAYER: Our Declaration of Dependence"

If you were in my chair would you go with that theme? Do you have other ideas?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Small Group Study Book

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm wowed at what I'm experiencing and simply passing it along. I often recommend books and this time I'm recommending my own...for a special reason. This study is bringing new life to individuals and congregations.

Years ago I wrote a little book called the Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense....because He makes heavenly sense. The book didn't really fly well until it was finally out of print. Afterward, we took calls for years (literally)of many trying to find the book. Finally I rewrote it in studybook form and renamed it Empowering the Ordinary (the Holy Spirit helping inadequate believers). It's going like crazy. Has for a year now. It's being used in Russia (translated) and Nigeria as well. Small groups are soaking it up.

If you'd like a copy, email me. The books are $14.95 plus s/h. Six or more orders are $8.50 plus s/h. Ladies classes, small groups, and individuals are enjoying the study of the Holy Spirit participating in our lives.

Contact me:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fiery Friday...Impact People

We throw no water to kill dreams. On Fridays we toss gasoline to grow even greater fires of effectiveness. Today let's comment on two or three (or four) who have made benchmark impact on our lives.

LANDON SAUNDERS preached in a sermon in 1978 that Jesus came to work in the marketplace. My view of Jesus improvedly shifted to living where we live. Awesome sermon.

TROY SINGLETON, in about 1979, taught us that Jesus was so normal he had earwax and stomach cramps. I've never forgotten yet another improved concept of how Jesus related as a human.

WILLIAM BARCLAY wrote that the believer tends to only begin a ministry where he/she can start and finish the project. If one is traveling through New York and meets a waitress seemingly interested in God, Barclay points out many believers tend to not reach to her because they will soon be out of her life. Then Barclay points out the Holy Spirit knew how to put such a believer in her path and knows how to follow-up with the next believer to continue the conversion process. It opened my eyes to His working so vastly beyond my imagination.

LLOYD AND LUCILLE ERNST transformed my fear of reaching to the lost. They showed me how to reach, how to let God do the converting, how to believe their are masses who still want to know about God. I didn't believe it at first. They patiently stuck with me. Lloyd and Lucille taught me to believe everybody wants to be saved somewhere along the way.

Who impacted you?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dream Forward

Clint Davis's comment on this blog (yesterday) about planting Christmas trees in Uganda ( is precisely the kind of stuff I love to hear about.

This morning's paper reports the death of Lamar Hunt. He is credited with establishing the K.C. Chiefs football team and naming the Super Bowl. One idea failed. He wanted to buy Alcatraz and turn it into a theme park/shopping destination. The local community protested and the idea died. Can you imagine the community would rather have a prison? How often to great ideas die because preference to keeping the prison in tact overrides building an exciting park?

I thought I had a great idea for Memorial which would have worked but it didn't fly. I wanted to sell the building and transfer the proceeds to establish ministries to the poor. What church does this except maybe one in Acts...where they sold their possessions?

We could establish drop-in care for abandoned mothers as they ran to the doctor or went back to school. We could get dealerships to sponsor vans to transport the elderly to the doctors. We could get land donated (since we had given up our property) for camps for inner city kids and mentally handicapped children and use such camps to train our church teens how to minister all summer long. On an on the proposal continued.

Paul Harvey would have reported a church in America that gave itself away and, I believe, someone would have donated a facility for our church family to assemble in. A new vision of Christianity would capture the doubting/indifferent in our communities. I saw it as a way to get the community to help us and minister with us and eventually become a part of us. But we didn't try.

Of course it was extreme. I understand the hestitation. During the time I was proposing this to a set of elders many years back, an unsolicited offer to buy our property came along. Without checking with anyone else the seeker was told no we weren't interested in selling. I felt we should be.

Maybe my idea was way wacky. Maybe it was a foolish dream. My point is the grand march around the Jericho Walls and the reduction of Gideon's army was just as wacko and if we keep our dreams opened sometimes there'll be a match.

Soon into Christianity, dreamed of getting to be a preacher. The church which converted me told me I really didn't want to preach. But I did....I did at least want to try.

When your Alcatraz's die under protest, don't let your imagination suffer setback. Keep dreaming forward!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nothing New Under the Sun

Don Millican's article (yesterday's post), I think, has a larger message I wanted young leaders to note. Don wrote what many have felt or pondered, but had yet put into words. His thoughts are clear; yet, with such depth they continue to call for our sorting/wading through.

I draw your attention to the fact he did not parrot the norm. He thought past the coffee shop chatter and beyond the Bible study rhetoric. Whether facing acceptance or rejection, he went out on a limb with his idea.

Everyone has in-built dreams from God. I wonder how many life-changing, church-changing, eternity-changing concepts go unannounced because we forget to dream from God's ability. Walt Disney is reported to have said, "Anytime I propose a great idea to the board and it is unanimously rejected, I start work on the project immediately."

Walt Disney was a dreamer. Joseph was a dreamer. You are a dreamer. If one billion concepts have been successfully released upon mankind, there surely are a million billion mega-zillion ideas awaiting hatchment. All of the potential ideas have not yet been thought.

Do your best to cooperate in harmony with one another. Then, dare to imagine what could be if God were to land in the center of another great idea.

I'm glad Millican said what he did. I'm more encouraged that he said something in a way I had not yet heard. I believe it true, there is nothing new under the sun. However, for me, there're a lot of square miles under the sun unexplored.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Being Salt and Light

I must share my delightful surprise to see a note from my friend, Philip Yancey, pop up on a previous post, "A Great Gift for Christmas". And then, I found out Sunday that Theresa Underwood reads my blog! I am still on a spending spree of friends!

On to another matter, Don Millican, elder at Park Plaza in Tulsa, wrote a most challenging article in Sunday's Tulsa World. I have felt increasingly uneasy over the years about the portrayal Christians are taking on for ourselves in the political arena. Thus, I pass the article on to you for consideration. If you don't care for the political scene, I'll catch you tomorrow. If you do, take a look.

Readers Forum: Being salt and light to all the world By DON MILLICAN 12/10/2006 View in Print (PDF) Format
I am, though imperfectly so, a conservative evangelical Christian. I make no apologies for that. And, if you are not one, there are obviously significant issues about which you and I will disagree. Perhaps that discussion is for another time, but for now, I invite you to listen in on a conversation with my fellow evangelicals:
Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to no longer allow our political affiliation and views to be presumed or for a single political party to assume our allegiance to the point that they can ignore our interests. And it is time that we cease allowing our views to be marginalized by being relegated to a two or three issue platform, prompting the rest of America to cast us as extreme and irrelevant -- the religious right. How did this happen to us? How did our witness for the teachings of Jesus become distorted so? As is often the case with unintended consequences, I'm afraid that much of the answer lies with us.
We speak, as we should, for morality, and yet do we speak for morality in all its facets? It is clear that Jesus considered morality to include taking care of the poor. One cannot read the 25th chapter of Matthew without understanding the centrality to the teachings of Christ of care
for the underprivileged. He tells us that He is embodied in the poor and the outcast, and warns that how we treat them is, in fact, how we treat him. Is it moral that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars giving tax breaks to people like me and in executing a war, while the basic educational and health-care needs of the poorest of our society are being inadequately met? Is it moral if workers' wages are inadequate to allow them to reach self-sufficiency or that more and more working families have no health insurance?
Scripture has much to say about the proper treatment of workers and severe condemnation for those who mistreat or take advantage of them. And speaking of workers, is it moral for us to enjoy cheap products if the Third World workers who produce those products are being paid less than a living wage? Where has our evangelical voice been in addressing morality issues such as those?
We say that we want a Christian nation, and yet are we prepared to accept what the hard teachings of Christ would say to a Christian nation? Rather than practicing an "eye for an eye" or "life for a life" retaliation policy, Jesus taught "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies." Those teachings are unequivocal and cannot be explained away.
Are we really prepared to apply those teachings of Jesus to our foreign policy and our criminal punishment laws such that we are "pro-life" in every aspect of our policy agenda and such that we do not give up so easily on non-violent solutions? Jesus said "I was a stranger, and you took me in." Would Christ be so harsh in His immigration policies as many today would propose? The prophet Isaiah defined "fasting" that God wants from us as "to loose the chains of injustice" and "to set the oppressed free."
Are we prepared to accept from these teachings that civil rights must be a passionately espoused component of any Christian policy agenda, even civil rights for those whose lifestyles and beliefs we might not accept? Do we also understand that any policy platform that we advance must be forceful in its support for international human rights if we are to be true to the charge given us to free the oppressed?
By these comments, I do not suggest for a moment that we abandon one political party and run headlong into another. As E.J. Dionne Jr., said, "If the church causes discomfort only to one political party when both are in need of repentance, it is not being the church."
What I am suggesting, though, is that it is high time that our evangelical Christian voice begins to speak with the prophetic force by which it was first delivered, on the full range of Christ's teachings -- and addressed to both political parties.
If Jesus were walking the Earth today, from his actions and his words, some might understandably describe him as a bleeding heart liberal. But in truth, he is more accurately described as a bleeding hands, feet and side compassionate. And so must we be if we intend to bear his name.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One Huge Spending Spree

MLB's Winter Meetings concluded Thursday and several mediocre players signed for millions on top of millions. When you ponder that kind of money the mind can drift into la la land considering all one could do with "that kind" of dough! Due to envy one could become blind to his or her own marvelous possesssions.

However, I really believe I already live there. I am "millions-dollar-wealthy" in friends. I live in the church like I'm on this perpetual spending spree of trying to be with everyone I know. I feel like a kid at church going from one aisle (hallway) to the next greeting and cheering and hugging all my friends. I love today....and every day called today.

From Darrel and Barbara way down South to Greg and Janice way out West to Jeff and Trinity way up North to Doug and Tiffany way down Southeast....and everywhere in between...I am wonderfully rich in friends. From Lynn, Shawn, Tracy, Marvin, Charlie, etc of the locals and then add Dan and Theresa, Lee and Marcy, Tony and Lea Anne, Randy and Kerrie, and on and on and on of Memorial's members...I'm a "million-dollar-kind-of-guy"! I pass by our office crew often with the words, "Don't you just love me?" They crack up...of course. But it's one of my ways to breaking them loose from routines which, if not careful, can turn potential shopping sprees into mediocre moments of daily rote jobs. Love the moment!

Do we not find the church the most brilliant, popping, and exhilerating place on earth? Did not Jesus say he came to give us life and go give it abundantly? And don't we think being of "million dollar gratitude" would fit the abundant description?

We are on one huge spending spree every day, folks. Notify your heart and your face and your step. Wake up early and get on the with the celebrating. We have spending to do!

Don't you just love getting to be you?

Friday, December 08, 2006


It's that time of week, once again, to toss some gasoline onto someone deserving of applause. We take this day to shower some with gasoline that their productive world go up in flames....flames of success....rather than having cold water tossed resulting in quenched ambition.

Today I applaud my daughter, Wendy Michelle Rush Chapel. Fifteen years ago last night her fairly steady world began to completely unravel. Her fiance, as well as his brother, were victims of gruesome murders. The days, weeks, and months ahead were blinding as cavernous darkness.

An immediate battle with Epstein-Barr soon took over. Continuing college was not feasible. We brought her home. Wendy's life was now reduced to long hours confined to her bedroom; her best friend absent in finality and her pursuit of education derailed. But she didn't pout; she didn't quit. She moved to Dallas to start over. The day she pulled out of the driveway en route to Dallas, I waved a tearful farewell and then promptly checked her room to see if she had forgotten anything. I opened the closet door and their encountered everything completely removed....except one wedding dress hanging alone off in one corner.

In Dallas she met on of the greatest men on earth, Chris Chapel. He reversed her life. Our family adores Chris.

A year and a half ago Wendy gave birth to premature twins. Ana Rush Chapel died after a few days. She was indentical to her baby sister and looked like a store-bought babydoll. We stood at the grave with Chris and Wendy and said farewell to one we briefly met.

Wendy has not wasted tragedy. She has insisted it be productive. Her stability runs optimistically deep. While she and Chris reside happily in Atlanta, Wendy has encountered a young deaf woman grieving over the loss of her husband eight months ago. The young woman is fearfully lost. Wendy knows all the feelings; she knows how to face this tough-stuff head on and win. Simultaneously, she is helping a close friend bear up under the fears of her child born prematurely and weighing in at two pounds.

Wendy is one of my heroes. The neat thing about her is she's normal. One would give her a break if she wanted to have moments of "poor me", but she has never spent one such moment. Her life praises God. look like you know the Living God! I love you today!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Elders Who Feed Us Freedom

Last night Memorial experienced some amazing event! We adopted a nearby elementary school. Some of our people go in every week and read to the kids. This week the church took gifts to the three secretaries.

Lindbergh accepted an invition to perform their Holiday Program for us at Memorial Drive last night. 65 kids stood on risers and sang with occasionally wobbly choreography. Applause was everywhere! There were maybe 150 parents and neighbors....mostly from our community to join in on the cookies and drinks afterward. The place was a wonderful buzz.

No one went to the elders to get permission to do this. They gave us permission a long time ago to pursue opportunities in the kingdom. There was no elders' meeting to discuss, arrange, or gain approval. We get to try around here. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. For the mostpart we have the room to make the effort.

To be fair there are occasions when, through discussions, there will arise an idea the elders will deem unwise and will properly impose their judgment. I say that to say they lead; they are not out of touch with us. The opposite is true. They still recall being younger and having ideas which died in the meetings.

If there was one thing I believe would inspire 90% of our church families it would be to increase the number of elders who trust their members' opinions as much as their own.

In this week's bulletin our elders will read for the first time an announcement: the women of Memorial will be having an event called WinterBlast. It's a gathering of our ladies on a January Saturday for a brunch, games, and door prizes, etc. Of course it's all right to have this. Of course the elders didn't know about it. They respect the faith of our people. We simply go to work....and the shepherds are in there helping us set up, take down, express their pride in us. WE FEED FROM THEM.

I urge other elders to move away from the board meetings and let your flock breathe freedom to minister in their many potentialed ways. Stand down from the permission givers and step into the applauding cheerers role. I marvel at what God gets done around here....and I love it!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Forward With A Focus

I love right now! Kingdom opportunities are everywhere! As leaders we are challenged to know where He leads. There are three main areas of Kingdom work I sense God's call for my followship:

1. The Memorial Drive Congregation
I love this church with all my heart. I dream about it and
for it every day. Because of the leadership freedom I get to
be around, I find I am still able to dream some of the wildest
stuff and just see "if" it just might work. I know the name of
every member and care for their personal thrill of feeling
connected to the mighty workings of God. It is my focus to
charge this flock with too-good-of-news-to-be-true every
time they hear me speak.

2. The Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop
I have felt for a long time I was called to Tulsa for the
purpose of influencing and impacting the workshop. It is
more than a buzz. It's a Holy Spirit calling. I love it,
believe in it, am still enamoured with it. I see God get more
done with me in three days than the rest of the year
because of the adventurous spirit of a renewly ignited

3. The younger ministers/leaders in the church
I am not old, yet. However, I am older than many which is
exciting. God has given me a keen eye for the new guys on
the block. Three work on our staff at Memorial. There are
hundreds and hundreds arising. We are in good shape
brotherhood-wise as to the future men and women being
groomed. I want in on it. They have my attention.

Yesterday I received an invitation by Free Indeed to go to Africa with them next summer. How good would that look on my resume`? Mom would be proud! However, I declined as I want to do a good job with the three things above. That doesn't mean I'll never go to Africa. It does mean I can decline without feeling pressed, guilty, or like a failure who appears disinterested in global evangelism.

Are you feeling good about your direction? Do you feel it's becoming clear as to your mission? Mine evolved over time with Him. I never wrote out a personal mission statement....but rather I noticed He had developed one for me. Much funner!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Wonderful Dread of Preaching

A young preacher, Gilbert Kerrigan, asked if I would make a comment on his blog regarding sermon preparation. I really hadn't thought much about the process. As I wrote concepts, God's real participation and interaction became apparent. Thus, I share with you my response to Gibert hoping it will encourage you to risk the vulnerability to believing our Living Lord participates in our lives. Here's my response.

Admittedly, mine may be way out there, but it’s what actually goes on and what works for me. I used to be thrilled when I finally thought of next Sunday’s sermon and sick as soon as it was over. What’s left to study….to say? Now things are much different.
I study during the week to learn. If I haven’t learned something about God and His Kingdom during the week, I have nothing to say. I study to learn for me. As I go through that process I listen for Him to speak through society: i.e., a song on the radio, a comment by a waitress, a conversation with a friend over coffee. God will, somewhere along the week and every week, speak to me about what He needs to be addressed the next week.
Then I go to a computer file called LIBRARY where I have logged topics/scriptures referenced in the maybe 150 books on my shelves. I have hundreds of entries and if I need to recall what I studied about “fathers” I can go to the LIBRARY and it will tell me the six books and page numbers to recall what I’ve read earlier…often years earlier.
I study that material and wait for Him to speak about what He’s thinking. Often what I preach does not come from flesh and blood…it comes from ideas He gives me. Ideas….that’s as close as I can come to explaining His speaking to me. Too, I’ll go ahead and say, He always gives me the trump point on Sunday morning when I’m shaving or showering. We always meet in the bathroom.
I don’t rehearse the sermons because mine are never done until I’m done delivering them as He may change a point along the way. I meet with a few men at 7:30 every Sunday morning for pray for an hour over the morning ahead. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I THINK I DO ALL WEEK.
I fully trust Him to stand with me and say things with the level of Life He intends. It’s a scary, sickening privilege to get to preach. I have a love/dread of the role. I’m enamoured with the thrill of it and sick with the thought of missing my audience….every time I preach. The pressure still makes me cry about it every week.
Now, I’ve let you in on something here. Don’t tell anybody.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Gold Rush Lives On

How would you like to own a gold mine? I mean really....guaranteed to contain the real thing. How would you respond to such discovery? If you were notified of such an acquisition, what would you say to everyone you meet? And then, how would you feel when informed of the risk and cost of extracting the prized ore? Wouldn't it be worth the struggle and concentration and effort in order to tap into promised wealth? Imagine the harvest!!!!!

We have such hope. We are promised God's grace that we may have an abundance for every good deed. The risk is we have to prime the pump by giving what little we have away. It is true, every believer is actually sitting upon their own gold mine of God's grace that we may have an abundance for every good deed.

It has been my conviction for three decades the greatest undiscovered secret to mankind is the thrill, the joy, the risk, and the result found in giving. When couples seek my counsel regarding their financial straights, I advise them to increase their giving. When I visit with a young pair for pre-marital advice the one thing I am certain to cover is risking by intentionally developing a habit of giving money to God.

Malachi shares God's call to try Him out on this one. He says, Test Me. Just wait and see if the Heaven's don't open up to you. I've tested. He's right. I cheer you on right now. You, my friend, own your own gold mine.....backed by live like it by giving like it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fiery Friday....AGAIN

10 1/2 inches of snow this morning in Tulsa, OK!!!!!!

Let's continue that Friday thing we've been trying by throwing some gasoline on some good people who make a difference for so many. This week let's explode on those who influenced us as kids or who influenced our kids in good ways they may never know.

CHARLES COIL inspired me to preach with passion. I met him while at Preston Road. I was 24. When I heard him preach, my grades soared in homeletics. Fortunately, I got to share such with him over the years as we became close friends. I'll not forget what Charles Coil showed me regarding pulpit skills.

MINDY PITTMAN was a huge influence on Wendy. Approximately four years older, Mindy gave special attention to my girl; treated her with kindness and thoughtfulness. The power of a teen mentoring a pre-teen is priceless. Wendy grew to return the treatment to those younger than her because she had a friend who trained her well. MINDY PITTMAN.....I salute you!

CHRIS JONES was Dusty's hero. Chris remains a solid leader in the church. Without realizing it, he provided Dusty with a tangible vision of what a popular, successful business man can accomplish for God. Chris' role...while totally unassigned...fulfilled what each of us dreams of. He walked the talk and inspired a boy to become a man of God. Chris, I applaud your true and consistent leadership.

LINDA JONES taught Timmy to read. He later grew to be known as "Tim". Teachers and two tutors had not been able to connect his mind to the written page. Linda asked if she could work with him. He quickly learned to read. (I don't think they ever worked on spelling.) Even today she will tell you she didn't do anything special except build confidence in him. How special! Linda, I throw gasoline on you to continue to brighten life in all directions!

Share what someone did for you or your children along the way which seems to never be forgotten.