Friday, November 30, 2007
The thought occurred to me of the similar rush we feel (should feel) while reading the revelatory Word of God. It's not a poem we dust off for reading sentiment. The Bible dances with celebration and prods with promise that we will discover brand new hope...again....and again...and again. You presents the case that new evidence explored over the past five years gives insight for new and exciting health. The Bible takes a back seat to no book from Barnes and Noble.
Why would we assume the scriptures to be less weighty? One of the things I really enjoy about my kingdom connection is that so many other cells in the body (you, for instance) are so wide-eyed about faith and its tremendous possibilities. Recently the news reports several who are questioning the operations of Tulsa's Oral Roberts University. Yukon native Mart Green and his family have pledged $70,000,000 to help out the struggling school. An article yesterday told of Green once fasting 33 days and on Thanksgiving Day breaking a 40 day fast.
Could it be Mr. Green has an awareness I know nothing about? It's not only probable. I believe it to be factual. Yet, the good news is that what he knows through his walk with God is available.
Life is available! That's what I want you to get today. Disrupt a rut or two. Break out. Don't stop at go! Run! Because of the remaining untapped resource of Jesus and the cross, no man has discovered near what is available to the human mind and heart.
We have a brand new hope!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Yes I misread, I am sorry, after I reread I understand that it was not members from Memorial or you."Blood thirsty" I get that from people all the time that have left Garnett, as in the above post. Even 4 or 5 years later people are still mad, Not just mad, but blood thirsty about hurting people emotionally, at Garnett, Leaders and Elders. It just blows my mind that the people that left can not let it go.It just gets old Garnett being bashed over and over. I hate to here it. I think they that left, are better off and Garnett is better off. A win win. I just wish that the leader bashing would stop. Those guys are doing there best and I support them. They are working and making hard calls and it comes from there heart. They are not out to harm or hurt anyone. It’s a hard job. There is no spin job going on either. The facts are Garnett can not afford to do the workshop, does not have enough volunteer base that wants to do the workshop. It is just a hard call that will make people mad again at the Leaders but a call that has to be made.I slammed you to Terry and that was not right either. I did to you what I hate.I think I over reacted so again I am sorry Terry, Please forgive me. I hope you understand.Thanks
Terry Rush said...
Dear Anonymous,What a nice thing to happen to us. I am most appreciative to know you simply misunderstood. Such does happen on occasion, huh?I've lived in your shoes....the in-fighting and the out-fighting.... and it's terribly disruptive, isn't it? I don't blame you for it surely does get old to keep encountering matters which should be forgiven and forgotten. I am sorry for your hurt. Thank you for not running away. Many may have. Too, thank you again for your kind response. It surely helps my day!
Words are like knife.I have had words cut me from another on a blog a few months back that cut me like a knife, I tried and tried to make things right but she never cared but to hold the bitterness.It hurt bad bc I had no idea unit I read her blog. Thur the weekend and the next week it bothered me unit I have slowly forgave.Now I have hurt another and I can see it went in like a knife. I am sorry.Word are like a knife.I want to use my words to encourage. from the one with bad words to Mem and Terry
Terry Rush said...
Anonymous Friend,All is fine between us. Zero hard feelings. One of the marvelous things about forgiveness is it usually makes the two side even more cohesive. Such is the case with us. We will serve side by side, stronger than ever!Blessings!
Sometimes we find that hurt runs quite deeply. Sometimes we would do well to let the Spirit bear His fruit. It is worth the risk. In this case I am happy He did.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Why bash Garnett and the Elders and leaders so much? I thought we are on the same team doing work for the Lord. Terry, do you smile at these comments? and say nothing? Why would people at Memorial say these things? I am anonymous bc I do not trust these blood thirsty people. No different in Jesus time either.
Terry Rush said...
To "Anonymous-the-last", I feel you must be misreading the comments:
1. Did you read my article supporting Garnett and their elders?
2. Did you see a couple of comments where I got in trouble for supporting them?
3. Where do you get Memorial commentors degrading Garnett? It isn't there.
4. So what am I not understanding from you? Where are you getting "blood thirsty"?
5. I have tried to assure you I am not attacking anyone.
Something is amiss here. I've never attacked Garnett and no commentors from Memorial did either. It is still...I will say once again....difficult to respond to "anonymous". Yet, I try. We love Garnett...and those who are hurt by staying and those who are hurt in leaving. If you should not be satisfied and leave another anonymous note degrading and misrepresenting my efforts....then that will have to suffice. I will not respond again. My duty is to support Wade and Garnett...and I have.
The reason I post this is to encourage those of you who are trying your best to lead, yet continue to take hits. How do we deal with "anonymous"? (I heard last night of a local preacher who's been getting so many hateful letters...unsigned.) Trying to deal with this when it hits one personally is so different than offering advice when you haven't been on the receiving end. I am on the receiving end. So listen up if this would help.
Hateful words aren't of the Holy Spirit. However, He can use them to our advantage. Among the many characteristics of Jesus, he was a master at taking criticism. We must have injury to learn his walk. Injury will hurt; that's its purpose. Use these times to try to learn not to lash back. That's a big difference in Jesus from me. I hit the end of my rope and "kaboom", I begin to swing. I'll take it for months...even years....and then I'll break. Jesus wouldn't. He stayed on the cross.
Being hurt is an important part of ministerial training. When we learn to love those who are trying to kill us, it may be a good signal we are starting to get just a glimpse of what our Friend endured. He did it. We can, too. But, as for me and maybe you...it will take some practice. Nicely said....but difficultly walked as practice can only come from the training of more injurious insult. If we are to grow we must accept the scholarship of pain which is issued often by "anonymous".
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
We will do well to give each other all the room and all the slack we can as we surely need it from God. He calls it mercy. We need one another when we are succeeding and when we are unstable. Peter had Jesus' complete partnership when he did that walking around on top of the water thing. Jesus is here for us.
A recent note from a dear friend whom I greatly admire says: We are venturing into uncharted and uncertain waters. We are questioning the old "vision" of mega church, and finding out that there may be a better way to be Jesus to the world. I find myself in a new paradigm where "Church of Christ" as we know it doesn't seem to fit anymore. "Unchurch of Christ" seems to fit better and seems to fit better with the vision of the original "Jesus" movement. With sentiment, I miss the Old days and the old ways, yet with courage and strength of spirit I see God working in new ways that I cannot dismiss. I acknowledge that our leadership has weaknesses, but as Paul emphasized in 2 Cor 9:12, God's grace is found in weakness.
If we are growing we are likely to find ourselves in new paradigms where our friends aren't. Patient love is major for such times as these. We are moving forward; some in giant steps and others in gigantic questions. Due to the nature of Jesus we have reason to be full of exciting hope!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Don't get me wrong----science has given us many wonderful advances in sanitation, medicine, transportation. But we've tried to use those methods to tame the wildness of the spiritual frontier. We take the latest marketing methods, the newest business management fad, and we apply it to ministry. The problem with modern Christianity's obsession with principles is that it removes any real conversation with God. Find the principle, apply the principle--what do you need God for? So Oswald Chambers warns us, "Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as he is with you."
It has been such a subtle maneuver of man to claim theological understanding and explanation of God as if he were to fit on our scales and submit to our detailed analysis. God is the Potter....still. We are the clay...still. Ours is not the job of explaining away his mystery, but to shout from both high and low our marvel at his inexplainability!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
We never know when He'll take the stage. It could be during the sermon, but not likely. While the Word preached remains elementarily essential to us, God will show up in random and surprising ways. Often it's in the unplanned; i.e. a response at the invitation song or an announcement or a celebration. We look for God to step in through a special reunion or even reconciliation.
Memorial Drive is a place to start life over.....for each of us....70 x 7. We soak in one another's tears and sparkle at the overall gratitude He builds among us. We are a place where jailbirds get a second chance (and third), the divorced find hope, and the broken find acceptance. We are a place which makes the often trite saying that the ground is level at the foot of the cross become experiential. No one here has mastered faith....or hope...or love.
For the longest time, I'm not certain God attended our church. He wasn't needed. We believed we had it under control. As a result we were missing something vital; yet our efforts at restructure failed us. We needed God to sit with us. Today He's invited, welcomed, and needed. I can't wait to hear what He has prepared for me to preach Sunday by Sunday because I leave it open-ended up the very time of delivery. I want God to participate with me...with us.
I look forward to seeing Him today.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
How do you keep going? Sunday by Sunday I feel less and less. Tomorrow I have a sermon to deliver and I fiercely struggle to step up to the pulpit. I love God and all of Memorial. I am the luckiest man I ever heard about or met! Yet, the sheer load of standing between God and humanity and saying something worth the time of both makes me wince.
How do you keep going? Does it ever occur to you that you have nothing to bring to the table? I'm not feeling God is out of words or ideas. My intake of nothingness is ever increasing and it takes much, much more faith to keep going. For a few years I thought I was the bright star for whatever church I happened to be serving. Later, I began to realize I was much dimmer than imagined. Later still, I am ever-growing to realize my worth is only found in whatever He would choose to let me do.
Such feels contradictory: nothing yet enough, little but big enough, lacking but strong enough. To experience His grace in our bodies is to be positioned over and over and over as the lame man when he heard Jesus tell him to get up and walk. We do. We leap. We dance. We whoop and holler. But we can't explain why except that He passed by and saw us.
What keeps us going? Never our own creativity or masterful organization. It is His gigantic healing touch which makes weak hearts brave and knocking knees strong enough to bow in prayer. Tomorrow we will all do well....only if He shows up. Oh God, please don't leave us alone; don't leave us to ourselves. Only with You are we ever all right.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I say such talk begs for bigger and deeper questions. What about the clear verses? Why are we not as agitated about the clear verses? Where's the stance on the clear doctrines? Let me explain.
Didn't Jesus say something about greeting your brother only? Don't many who speak loudly about the music issue find their practice often ignoring the strangers around them...even in the assemblies....because we are too shy or just don't know what to say? Didn't Jesus have something to say about anger with brothers and sisters? Haven't some sort of "skipped" such a passage as they feel authorized to broil over some gender roles in question?
My point is while exploration of the women's role in the church takes place, deploration of those who explore are vehemently viewed....and this seems perfectly acceptable to the guilty party. It isn't. Hatred and anger and disdain and disgust fall short of the Holy Spirit fruit of light. Really, they enter from the back room of darkness.
Why is it all right to be hateful when we disagree over doctrine? Why is it some feel a free pass to run over a brother's reputation with reckless rumor and damaging innuendo? It never has been acceptable to God for any of us to be ugly about the faith of another. While we do find ourselves with differing views on matters of silence, we have no option to ignore the matters of speakage.
I believe we each have enough failure in the realm of personal prayer, giving, and hospitality to sink our own ship. Add to this short list tongues which set congregations ablaze via gossip and we should find our lips closing tightly.
May we take a good look at the doctrines everyone clearly understands; that are in no way ambiguous. Then may we give one another merciful slack as we spend our lives building a faith upon the Christ of the Cross.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The church has its role in preserving, protecting, and exploring. We are called by God to rescue civilization; the inhabitants of earth. We are called to increase involvement of global warming as many hearts have grown cold. They have become indifferent to God and to neighbor. We, as his church, must warm the hearts of men, women, and children globally.
This course of action takes missionaries, visionaries, the business-minded, the homemakers, the school teachers, etc. Our duty is to succeed at globally warming the hearts of disparaging souls. We must do it. We can do it. We shall do it.
There is no individual too remote or a nation too indignant which cannot respond to the gracious and living God if we will join together in global warming efforts to revive one person at a time. Inventory of churches indicates temperatures are rising in a most faithful fashion. Hearts are alive in worship and in service. Global warming is having its impact and we are its promoters!
Preserve, protect, and explore the ways you can save a person. Reach far and near. All hearts need warming at times. We will do our best. Global warming: pass it on.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Yes, it is you and me who today have picked up his baton and stride with love and peace and joy as Jesus spills over from us into others. We are ones most privileged to encounter an irate customer or a depressed colleague. We are the ones called to strengthen the weak-kneed and the insecure. Yes when the Son rises, paralytics of all sorts shed bemoaning ailments and seem to have gained a new and vibrant bounce in their step.
Our communities share in an area-wide ache which pulls determination down and drains the once highly-intended goals of making a difference while on earth. We must let the Son rise. We must rebel the best way we know how that our friends and neighbors should get to experience the mystery of the living God. We must be their Sonrise.....now!
Henri Nouwen wrote, The revolutionary believes that the situation is not irreversible and that a total reorientation of mankind is just as possible as is a total self-destruction. He does not think his goal will be reached in a few years or even in a few generations, but he bases his commitment on the conviction that it is better to give your life than to take it, and that the value of your actions does not depend on their immediate results. He lives by the vision of a new world and refuses to be sidetracked by trivial ambitions of the moment. Thus he transcends his present condition and moves from a passive fatalism to a radical activism.
Do your part to see that the Son rises in your town. Dispel the darkness of sour grapes and dull apathy. We are talking about very good people. We must do our part to give 'em heaven!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Will we ever learn we (individually and personally) are too foolish to have much complaint? The line is so fine each of us is vulnerable in possibly disobeying God's command. I'm very likely to complain about those who complain. Yet James wrote, Do not complain, brethren, against one another, that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.
We can afford to be patient with one another because of two things: (1) We have no idea how patient God is with us, and (2) we have no idea how patient others are with us. Paul voiced he was chiefest of sinners because he was actually that. Does it occur to you that you are actually the chiefest; as well as myself? If all we sub-class chiefs realized our sinful condition wrought with repulsive failure, maybe we'd humbly submit to the only one real Chief and the rest of us would be transformed into the intended kingdom Indians.
We talk big. But, we are little. We try to walk tall. Yet, we are fall short. We believe ourselves to be right. However, our fundamental call is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, because our (self)righteousness is putrid and stenchy. I am convinced none of us whether it be President or Preacher, Congressman or Courier, CEO or ADD....none of us fare well when lined up with the Living God. We simply fold as did Isaiah when he saw the throne and could not wait to spill his guts as to his sickening state.
We are like one birthday candle trying to show off in front of the Sun. As loudly as we try to convince ourselves it is we who are quite bright, it ain't gonna happen! May we each find room to accept our deep lack. May we follow up such awareness with genuine worship of the One Who Is All. All of Him. None of me.....we once sang.
Friday, November 16, 2007
A gust of wind caught my blog of two days ago regarding my comments about Garnett and the future of the workshop. Some comments are strong and some in conflict. At first I was not going to address them, but because this blog reaches many young preachers and missionaries, I've decided to make the following observations with the intention of training/discipling to stay calm, don't panic, stick with God.
Clearly, anytime "Anonymous" makes a critical innuendo, I always regard such a one as quite cowardly. Such a stance may be taken by masked terrorists applying machetes to Christian necks, but it doesn't belong in either the Christian or the leadership arena. Therefore, I highly applaud Michelle for voicing her strong opinion. She stated her case in the open. Thank you.
Now here's what I see by being on the receiving end of those who disagree with me. First, it makes me blue. Division zaps me and such is intended by dark forces. Knowing that, I have great sympathy and love for Anonymous and Michelle. Their pain is brutally clear. They may have been beaten up spiritually. I have counseled many who felt the need to part from Garnett. I am crushed for them. They have given their lives to such a grand work and, for them, the work suffocated and died. Debris is strewn on several fronts and I personally ache for all. We will recover.
The truth is Garnett in general, Marvin/Randy/Wade specifically, have made many poor decisions over the years. I can say it: (1) because it's true, and (2) because I am guilty of the same. How many moves I've made at Memorial over 30 years I wish I could have a mulligan...and then another. My point is I am aware of serious leadership flaws the four of us have possessed over the years. However, during our terms of service, it's just as true each functioned under leadership gifts from a most generous God.
I choose to abide by Ephesians 4:29-32 as best I can. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath an anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Since Garnett let me know they are not sponsoring the workshop, I gave it my best effort to speak with truthful grace. I believe those remaining at Garnett are hurting in many ways. They don't need my feisty criticism. I was not addressing who's left and who stayed. That's the business of others; not mine.
If me speaking supportively and gracefully to my brothers and sisters at Garnett offends you, I make zero apology. They, too, need encouragement. I have lived often in the spectrum of painful division among us. Both sides have my complete sympathy. I can tell you this fact: anger will subside, the Spirit of Christ will arise, and hearts will one by one be healed. He is that powerful and we are that tender. In the meantime, both groups have my sympathy and understanding.
Regardless of comments which will come in, I'll let you have the last word. Blessings and sympathy and love to each regardless of side or position or accusation. Sometimes we get hurt doing kingdom work. That's why God calls it a cross. In every setting, without exception, the secret treasures of God are buried if we will but hold on long enough to discover.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I know you are in the middle of workshop, Butt.
I know you are about to step up to preach, Butt.
My name isn't Butt.
I address one other episode which always calls that name. I know it's your day off, Butt. Do you in ministry find you have an identical name? I get Mondays, Thursday afternoons, and a half a day Saturday off. I need that time away and the church needs me to have that time away. I get called Butt during some of those times.
Nearly all such days have at least slight interruption. Last Thursday evening I had a meeting in my home regarding a golf tournament we are laboring over. It was the only time in two weeks all five of us could get together. The meeting went from 6:30 to 8:00 and at 8:00 one developing an unexpected counseling session arrived in my drive which lasted 'til my bedtime....9:15 (That's a joke....sorta).
Multiple claims on singular time-slots can wear a servant down. Here are some things to consider for where you live:
- It's not up to you to fix things or people....Romans 9:16.
- It is lawful to let your yes be yes and your no be no. When you mean to say no, say so.
- When, in your opinion, no is the proper response, give it without feeling guilty.
- It is important to discern which pressing issues are legitimate and which are from sheer irresponsibility.
- Try to remember that while some are actually interrupting your day, there are other leaders in the church who have full-time jobs and will be interrupted by several we no nothing about as soon as they sit down to eat with their families.
- Remember that recurring characteristic of Jesus' ministry is that he ran into one interruption after another. Such makes his story.
Hold on when the plates begin to wobble. Say no when you need. Be grateful all of the time. Don't complain. One of the things I say to myself when the going gets tough is a lot of good men wish they had my job just one week and I have it every day!
Garnett has reached a tough decision to step away from leading the workshop. They will remain supportive and involved as they love the event as well as we do at Memorial. Wade gives the most concise explanation for their decision: The consensus here is that on the leadership level there simply isn't the passion for and commitment to the workshop that is needed to design and execute a quality program. We love the workshop. We support the workshop's vision and mission. But we feel like its time for our church to direct it's energy in other directions.
The Memorial leadership has been in prayer knowing such a possibility loomed. We had many options, including whether it is time for the workshop to cease. The future of the workshop is headed in the following directions:
- It will continue until we read from God the event is no longer a needed venue.
- Memorial has three highly qualified ministers in Shane Coffman, Jason Thornton, and Bobby Smith.
- I will train the three in the details of workshop preparation and execution. Eventually they will take the even years as was Garnett's pattern. This will give me a much-needed break.
- We four work in the same office so mutual availability for training is quite simple. While we experience complete partnership, we have differing approaches to the same work. This will give the program a good and new perspective.
- I felt it important that we find those to lead who have strong hearts for evangelism while possessing such leadership strength they would not think exactly as I. We need younger minds to protect the workshop from burrowing into my rut.
I must applaud Wade and Garnett. It takes great courage to step away from what has been any famous and effective ministry when the leadership senses the call from God to do so. It's easier to cave to the pressure of rote pattern as well as fear over potential rumor. They weighed, they prayed, they concluded and they acted. It was time for them to step back. That is courageous leadership. How many ministries now burden congregations because the time had long come to pull the plug, but lazy leadership couldn't endure the pressures of such?
Garnett will remain a partner in assisting with the workshop as are increasingly more area congregations coming on board over the years. The Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop is a desperate mission lodged in our hearts. We at Memorial sweat bullets over its direction. It takes us two years to prepare for one workshop. This means I have been working on 2008 and 2009's workshops for the entire 2007 season. I love it!
Garnett and Memorial remain positive, sweet friends. We need them. They need us. Our admiration remains mutual. Today I find it time to be sharing these decisions so you can be praying for our congregations to do God's work the most effective way possible.
Thanks to many of you for years/decades of support.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Trouble is a sly blessing. Because it has purpose it is valuable and because it has value one can conclude its purpose. Stress and difficulty are not a wast of time. Trouble is not a non-kingdom item. It fits very well in God's scheme of developing His ministries as well as His ministers. Trouble 101 is required; not an elective. Trouble 201 is also required as is 301, 401, and 501.
Crushing encounters and disappointing information present opportunities to determine whether we are going to be believers only when on the mountain top or in the valley as well. Our spiritual development is dependent on things going wrong. We need people skills to break down. We must have these elements in our path to flush out our own crud. God's children are growers; we are to grow up in Him. So, as I often tell my Memorial loved ones, whether your day is a good day or a bad day....you are having a good day....Romans 5:1-5.
And...then there's that other statement which counts for something: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.....I Peter 4:12-13.
This nice thing about trouble is it both benefits and blesses us. Don't reject rejection. Learn from it; grow through it.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We must shift to more of him and less of self. We are as John the Baptist; we must decrease that Jesus might increase. Followers are expected to take up their crosses daily. To please every one is a direct contradiction to the call of the cross. Believers die on the cross because they are persecuted. The reason they are persecuted is they are disliked. We strip the cross of its intended dynamic when we race to keep ourselves on the good side of everyone we know.
How am I doing? What are they thinking about what I’m saying? This turns our mattresses into racks of torture. Such thinking shuts us down. We get to where we’d rather not try than try with the possibility of failing. When that happens we volunteer to take ourselves out of the game and sit in the stands with the other spectators of life. Not me. No more. I feel badly when I hit people the wrong way. But when I walk into a crowd of people there’s a fair chance a few may not like my shirt or my haircut or my speech or my attitude.
I must get it about myself: I have and will make mistakes which will turn people off. I can either quit living….or keep trying to escalate my effectiveness. Oddly, the more effective we become the bigger target for criticism we are. Life isn’t about me…..or others approving of me. It’s about making concerted effort to encourage as many people as we can that God has incredible hope for the hopeless and life for the lifeless. Somebody has to risk their own popularity by daring to risk to help a few.
Jesus is the most criticized man ever. There is no neutral with Jesus; people love him or hate him. He does not call us to be obnoxious. That’s not his style. He does call us to be brave; full of courage. Cease to let everyone else run your show. Awaken to the courageous Spirit of Christ within you. Dare to peek out of your shell and become the man or woman you were intended to be. If some don’t like you? It will be good emotional exercise for them to try to get over it.
Friday, November 09, 2007
The truth is we have done a lot of good; but made many mistakes which have caused unnecessary damage. I celebrate the former and grieve over the latter. When we err there are thousands who are ready to think on their own, overlook, and keep moving forward with us. Others feel too beaten down and they walk away.
We (Memorial and Garnett) have taken strong negative shots from every year we have put on the workshop. It is evidently not possible to please a certain core group. However, we must continue to exert faith and works hoping to inspire and re-inspire more to join us in the great cause of winning souls to the Lamb.
Bottom line: while the workshop is 33 years old, it has much room for improvement. We have only just begun.
So talk to me. Tell me what you need from us.
- What would help you return to the workshop if you are one who left?
- What would help regarding publicity?
- What can be done to get congregations on board?
- What other possibilities do you see which would build a stronger workshop?
While we've been at this a long time, we remain in kindergarten in wisdom, creativity, etc. Think with me. If you were directing the workshop, what would you do to make it better?
Thursday, November 08, 2007
POST/NUMBER OF COMMENTS
When You Don't Know Where to Turn 2
Am I Trying to Run the Show? 3
This Is My Blogiversary 11
The Excitement of Being a Person 1
Thanks for the Long-term Love 1
Will There Be Another Life After Death? 1
When I gauge my effort by responses, I'm not sure this blog is anything but barely breathing. However when the counter says we are having 200 hits per day/1200 per week, this tells me there are many readers and I must trust blessings from this work are happening. I must view this by faith, not by public comment count.
So it is with you, dear friend. You work very hard in the kingdom. If you count the meager few you have baptized or the hand full whom you led to attend a church, the count might plead a failing grade. However, if you walk by faith and believe He is working in your walk, you must be assured more good is being done due to Him than you can imagine or can be reported.
We must continually cheer one another on to lift our eyes to the ones reading our work and benefiting from it knowing they simply choose not to comment. You need to know this about yourself and your work. Hundreds, even thousands, admire you and brag to others about your walk. Most likely they make no "comment" to you.
Be sure. You are making a remarkable difference whether one person other than God ever comments. You are a winner. You are phenomenal. You are effective. You are taking on hundreds and hundreds of hits as friends and family check in to read how you are serving. And, you are looking good. You each are a blog....a walking blog being read by all. Don't count the comments. Praise God for your readership. I do.
You are our letter (Blog), written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter (Blog) of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God....II Cor. 3:2-3.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
These questions, and multiples more, sometimes give the mind a thrashing for striving to believe in another/next world. Critics have written volumes to draw out we fools who take on such absurd, if not ignorant, possibilities. They basically have no faith nor use for God. Their skepticism is trumped by their dead-end pursuit of human intellect and selective accumulation of scientific data.
However, I don't know of a soul who would not delightfully accept the truth that there is absolutely, unmistakably life awaiting immediately beyond death's veil. If one could just have a signal from "somewhere" or "Someone", might there be an increase of confidence that death is only temporary? I run two thoughts of hope by you:
- Jesus Christ actually existed. When one dates a check on any given day, that marking is testifying of so many days, months, and years since the birth of Christ. Jesus is a historical truth verified by every banking system in town.
- If one wants a signal from God that life after death is not only possible, but actually probable, consider His simple parable of the seed. Not until it dies (whether corn or wheat or apple or acorn, etc.) and falls into the ground, does it have any chance of experiencing the glorious next life it was always designed to be. Which would you like to preserve: the first life of the brown tulip bulb or the next life of the resurrected bulb in full, radiant bloom? We are planted an earthy person and raised a heavenly one.
God has promised life again to be more awesome than any we've experienced thus far. And He proves it over and over through seed being buried only to rise again in stronger and more beautiful fashion? Life after death? The next time you drive by a corn field consider the acres and acres of proof screaming at you year after year. In order to have ears of corn, seed has to die and be buried first.
So it is with us....really. Life after death? Such is merely what we wrestle with on this side of the grave. It's the after part which is the real living. We've just begun. Death is not to be feared. It is simply a stage of the living process. You and I have reason to believe such a phenomenal possibility.
Patience waits and doesn't bite its nails in the process. Grown to be a fretter and a worrier, the idea of believing all will work out all right in the long run is, for me, learning of an entirely new world. It is a fascinating adventure.
If we will learn to knock on doors of opportunity and wait for God to respond, we will find ourselves lavishly happy....and productive. I learned patience because I was shown patience. Memorial Drive is stubbornly long suffering. When I arrived in 1977 I was a pulpit pounder and shouter. I thought loud equalled enthusiasm. It didn't and doesn't. It equals annoyance. I saw in Jesus great enthusiasm, but in a different light than my philosophy. Memorial gave me room to operate by trial and error as this Jesus thing was new to my shoe-box answers for ministry operations.
I must admit I am still quick. However, I have steadily gained confidence in the operation of God in our work. He will provide. I learned through writing a young woman for nine years (not hearing from her and not knowing if she was getting my notes) encouraging her to come back to God, that she coveted every note and called me the day she came home to Him. Eight and three/fourths years of nothing to show for patient efforts. But how thrilling to see the eventual fruit.
In school our goal was to last two years at a church. That was the mark of maturity(?). My first congregation lasted one year. Thus, my suspicion that I was most likely a failure was confirmed. I did make it two years at my next place...Quincy, Illinois. Ah, success! Yet God has shown me so much of Himself by holding on at Memorial when I felt either they or I or we were factual failures.....and He showed up 70 x 7.
One can't construct a seminar on God. He does the strangest and most wonderful works. He refuses to fit our scheming molds and rules. Our role is to believe Him. I am thankful to Him and my wonderful congregation as both express meaningful patience toward me day by day, week by week, year by year, decade by decade.
Thank you Memorial Drive and thank you Brotherhood for letting me try and re-try. Patience breeds patience and I am committed to passing your gift to me on to generations of others.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Oh I know you must be like me wishing you were so much more and driven to reach as much of the "moreness" as you possibly can. Ambition is a powerful tool in the arsenal of human drive. However, I find too many live their lives disappointed they turned out to be themselves. I lived that way a long time out of the church and then several years in it.
My obsession with inward focus was surely the pits. I could not find reason to get happy. Sadly, I often pointed to the errors of others to bring them down to my level since I couldn't seem to arise to theirs. I know that doesn't make me look so good; yet that's how much of it was.
Jesus changes things. Jesus changes people. Jesus changes me....day by day.
I really like waking up. I can't necessarily give sufficient explanation, but I love facing the next day and the next. I believe God will work. The people I know are phenomenal...really. I work around geniuses. I am connected to those of lavish and generous hearts. No longer do I have the need to live by comparison to others. I am in the body of Christ.
When we all get to heaven, I'm not concerned with what little acreage I might receive. A little bit of heaven will be better than a whole lot of hell. Being saved a little or a lot? Saved is saved and I'm in. I cheer you on.
Be grateful for all the things that have gone right with you, through you, for you. To wake up each morning is to take on life like it's never been lived by anyone like you before. Don't discount your value......really. Every move you make, every note you write, every call you make, and every person you kindly greet is designed with the Living God in the center. Strike out determined in your new day to be so happy you are a person.....that really matters!
You are above average because Jesus has introduced the new normal.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
One year ago today I unintentionally entered the world of Blogville. Merely commenting on Tim's post, I inadvertently set up my own blogspot and Wendy called to inform me I had done such. Too, she continued to say over 200 hits came in on the first day....but there were no words! Ah, words would be good.
C-A-R-D-I-N-A-L-M-U-S-E-U-M became one of the more fascinating works of God in my ministry. Every morning...at least five days a week...I address what I believe to be a class of young leaders ranging from late teens to somewhere below age 90. Readers get my first attention every morning after God and coffee. I've loved this segment of ministry. Once again God fooled me as I fought even getting email. Now look at me. I can email and blog without getting dizzy!
This blog expanded by transferring key posts on over to my hometown's weekly newspaper in Northeast Missouri. The article comes framed with the title, Tossing Life Your Way, and has me pictured standing in my Cardinal uniform. One publishing company is talking to me about creating a book of random posts over the year and titling it, Morning Rush.
Thank you readers for connecting. The counter says there have been over 74,000 hits in this first year. I would initially assume my mom is clicking on 200 times a day...but she doesn't have a computer. Thanks for being a part of an encouraging project.
HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO US!
Friday, November 02, 2007
I'm afraid I have stepped up to the podium similar to a press conference and spoken for God as if He momentarily stepped down the hall. Has He become dependent upon my talent to inform the poor Bible peasants of His immeasurable love and inexpressible workings? I think not. True, He does use each of us to give testimony to our relationship with Him, but I don't believe He is looking to me for Him to have a good day.
I believe the Bible. However, I'm quite selective at what parts I prefer. Comparatively, it doesn't weigh as much as me so I have shifted with ease into giving it direction. The reverse finds the authority and strength. I will not judge the Word of God. It will judge me.
I believe discipleship is a continual call to park my high horse and dismount. If we think politics is an increasingly bitter mess, religion is in worse condition. Arrogant? Bitter? Nasty? Judgmental? Our laundry hangs out on the line for all of our neighbors to see....and they basically want none of it. God has become dislodged from a great and wonderful civilization in part because guys like me forced Him into exile. Humanity can't afford this misstep.
It's time we were known more for our apologies than our winning arguments. Possibly we might find more doors opening if we walked through them with the people instead of handing out religious tracts at them. Perhaps, just perhaps, we religious leaders have spoken for God so long we have begun to believe our thoughts were His and our ways were His. Could it be that over time we have booted God out of business, but we still use His name over the door?
Anyone interested in parking his or her high horse beside mine?