Friday, February 29, 2008


One of the wonderful ministries Memorial has going is our adoption of down-the-street Lindbergh Elementary. We love this place. They come to events at Memorial and we attend venues of theirs. Several of our members tutor. We help the school with enrollment. Once, I attended a funeral in proxy for the staff at a sad and bad-timing moment for the school. Two weeks ago I dropped in with latte for the secretaries.

Mrs. Nance has asked me to serve as Principal of the school March 13th! Me? A Principal? What a daunting task. What should I do? What do I do? These are important questions. I'm sixty years old and have never been Principal of a school so I've got to have immediate impact.

I'm trying to think of my several and natural moves:
  • Change a few of the rules
  • Give all of the faculty a pay raise
  • Declare one Terry Holiday....maybe two
  • Be sure to tell my Mom

What other ideas do you think would be good for me to implement? Do you think there'll be an intercom for me to make updating the Cardinal game and the golf tournament?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Leaders face rivers of pressure, avalanches of threat, and storms of danger. While the body of Christ is to be revered for its heavenly call, it can also be dreaded due to personality disorders among the maturing processes of us members. Leaders must be patiently assertive and courageously visionary. Otherwise, the blind sheep influentially cataract-ize the outlook of the basic flock.

From the git-go there are those who believe it their God-given duty to keep the church under their control for the protection of us all. Sometimes “they” are “us”. Such misguided defensiveness stifles the wonder and the mystery and the risk of wild faith. Our God’s heart is wild on fire for rescuing and redeeming and thrilling His people. Why would we think playing it safe is a New Testament doctrine?

Realize, therefore, to be a Christian leader will require a willingness to fight off repeated Goliath breathings; many times single-handedly. What’s the emotion when in such battle? You will most likely die in the confrontation unless God, once again, intervenes. While the flock is quite dear to know, it can be amazingly fickle. We cannot depend on our majority vote. If such was the case we would basically live in hiding. That’s not the nature of our Jesus. It’s not the nature of his New Testament body.

Stand strong even if it’s solitaire. Don’t flinch. God is near. Our people are built for bigger things. Sometimes they need a child-like Davidic leader to come along and yell, “Charge!”

Have a courageous day.


I may be off an author or two but I think it was Juan Carlos Ortiz who wrote a book in the 70s discussing unity. He pointed out boiled potatoes in one bowl does not equal unity just because they are all together. Mashed potatoes is unity. He went on to explain: boiled ones are still individuals simply at the same location. The mashed are blended in with all others to serve one purpose as a unit.

Boiled? These members are in but not committed. They are in the church for their welfare, but not in it for the sake of the body. There is a thin line which calls for personal examination. Are we in the church for experiencing what makes me happy or to extend the body of Christ to the current and the next generations? Are we in it because our kids like it and need it or because God has burdened our hearts to live for Him? Are we in it to give us something good to do or to show mercy and love to a rude society? Are we boiled or mashed?

If boiled we find it easier to pick up our blankets and toys and find a new picnic. If mashed we find we can’t breathe without the body of Christ…He is our total life. What makes a boiled potato a mashed one? Beaters. Jesus asked us to face the beaters every day…..take up your beaters and follow me….he said, sorta. Each congregation is so much healthier mashed. There is found complete harmony. Only boiled? Oh, we may sit in the same bowl but we aren’t in it for the others. While we may sit together, we are still in this for self.

Take up your beaters. Let us submit to the beatings we take realizing we are simply in the wonderful kingdom process of God growing His people into one selfless body.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Mankind is groaning for relief from itself. I've had to quit watching Greta as her forte seems to be to cover the murders and suspicioned murderers of the world. I don't fault her. That's her job. I am simply weary from the sadness. More dead on Long Island. Now Tinker.

As we've encountered such trials increasingly for the past couple of decades (and several so close and personal) there's a factor in all of this which is additionally disturbing: many are not premeditated. Meaning? Good and seemingly stable people unfortunately snapped. Those who never dreamed of taking another's life totally lost it and entered nearly unconscious rage.

What's going on? Darkness is in desperate need of overpowering Light. Society seems to be begging for the Rock. Our sand castles are eroding at greater pace in front of our very eyes. All of the king's psychiatrists and all of the kings counselors cannot put Adam back together again. Only the Rock can do the job.

Awaken once again Christian to the perfect call from our Rock. Hear Him plead with you to not only refrain from buckling, but to stengthen the weak-kneed. Do your best not to sigh with the unbelievers about what this sad old world is coming to. It's gaining momentum in coming to the Rock. Jesus alone offers stability. That's what the world's coming to!

Sunday, February 24, 2008


This note serves to update those three or four who wonder.....I am now in good health. It wasn't such a pretty sight traveling to Atlanta to speak at a men's retreat in the midst of Flu-end-za! My vocal chords are still burnt from vomiting. Now should you think that's too gross to say, let me just assure you I left the gross unsaid.

I stayed in bed all day Friday with one phone call to Sherri Storm to ask her to get the word out that I was really sick and needed all to pray. My son-in-law drove me to the mountain retreat while I was zoned out. Twenty minutes before time to speak the sickness lifted from me as if it evaporated into thin air and I was fine from that moment on.

I treasure the time spent with these men. I watched God fall from heaven into their hearts. It seemed visible to see them released to believe God works. This morning I preached a the North Atlanta Church where a-friend-to-many, Don McLaughlin, preaches. It was a fabulous morning. God attended. We knew it!

God had us laughing and then we'd be crying and then we'd be laughing and then we'd be praising and was a tremendously emotion-packed morning of joy in Him! Three were baptized and the front rows were strewn with many in tears asking for personal prayers. One of the things I liked was NA is just like back home.....before and after there is such great noise of people simply happy to be together.

Although not at home, I preached at Memorial as well this morning as I taped the sermon back on Wednesday afternoon between.....well, just between. I feared I may have looked sickly. I tried to sound as happy as I could. I love being with the church wherever God lets me go....but I really, really, really miss my Memorial Drive family back home!

To the guys who need to know this.....I won't be at the meeting in the morning. Whatever comes up for a vote.....I say go for it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Dear Reader,

I'm to leave tomorrow for Atlanta to speak at a men's retreat. Ice is coming our way again. Plus, I'm in day two of the flu....the real good kind. If I'm able to get out of bed tomorrow and able to get to the airport, I'm headed for Georgia and will be back in the office Tuesday morning. Notes from me on this blog may be few during this time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I've had such a hard time learning some leadership traits. For one, I'm just now at 60 years old getting a feel for volleying opposing ideas without feeling personally attacked. I know this doesn't make me look good. Such is my point. I don't look good.

From the very beginning of Memorial World the elders would say, "You are just too sensitive." my credit maybe we needed some sensitivity around here....would be my usual silent debate under my breath. Truth: I was too sensitive. I think I still am.

The elders and staff have helped me learn that self isn't supposed to be the purpose of plans and ideas. What's weird is I can quote passages which teach it, but I couldn't seem to get it in my heart. Through decades of patience I feel like I am finally coming over the horizon with growing understanding of what they have been trying to tell me lo these many.....decades.

I have made such big deals out of things and totally missed the picture....the bigger picture. While intensity does have its place in getting kingdom things moving, self-defense is not one of them. Jesus shrugged such a pattern. His walk wasn't about Him. It was about the Father connecting with the children. Ours is the same calling.

I'm enjoying leadership more. Life in the church is progressing. I don't yet possess a knack for the best leadership. But the committed patience of my colleagues has given me the room to consider growing up.

If you have a guy like me in your midst, do your best to be patient. He might get there one day. I remain grateful to get to learn the simple things of leadership. I'm assuming some of you do as well.

Monday, February 18, 2008


I stood today at the foot of the hospital bed consoling the three relatives as life supports were being pulled. How many times have I walked those sanitized corridors to join in the tender choruses of meaningful tears? How heartbreaking is a real broken heart? How much more pain can mankind take?

To keep my own emotions in check, I occasionally walked away from the bedside to the window from which I stared out in no specific direction. A fussy world races right on by. Car horns are honking, street lights systematically blinkety-blink, and patrons file into their favorite stores as if on the main mission. “Don’t you people know there’s a man dying in here and a family crushed?” I say quietly to myself realizing there no need for such criticism. How could they realize it? They are busy being normal.

But, not all is negative on this sunny afternoon. Once again I cannot help but note how pending death has advantageously mellowed all moods. Kindnesses are the only order of the moment. Compassion holds hands with Consideration as no one presses to be in the front of the line. Not once were the Stock Market or the Emmy’s discussed. There was little chance anyone cared if Roger Clemens was misremembered against. A loved one was gasping for his last 100 breaths….99…..98…..

Would it be all right if I pointed out to you while you are not in such a setting that your beefs and gripes are probably insincere? Ah, they are simply big talkers who don’t really mean what they’ve steadily conveyed. Could it be we have better ways to spend our brief time on earth? Yes, it would be all right to make such a note. Love the people who love you. And, as did Jesus, love the people who seem to hate you. They don’t mean it. Being in the presence of death seems to rearrange feelings, moods, and emotions…..all for the better.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Do you ever get over the startling fact that we actually work with the living God? I remain as nervous and tentative as ever. His ways seem to be so very far from mine. Yes, I've studied His Word and know a little of it by heart. Yes, I've been to seminars and put together a workshop on occasion. However, I can't seem to gain on God. Why is that?

Our knowledge of God is so small. He is surpasses measurement but our understanding of Him is fascinatingly piddly. As we absorb new facts and concepts about Him and His kingdom the only thing we seem to really gain is awareness that He surely is undiscoverable. Eternity in Heaven? It'll take 10,000 years just to catch our breath, another 10,000 to look over His entry way and who knows how long it will take to view the clips and the trailers from His production of Parting of the Red Sea. They say He has a later version filmed at the Jordan River is a real show stopper as well!

It is exciting to think God would desire to partner with any of us. We are so in over our heads. Regardless of our lack, His grace putties over our cracks, smooths our blemishes, and covers our rebellion. He is the Master of everything including people.

Don't be set back by any earthly comments or negative circumstances. We are so behind in catching up to our Partner God that we have little time for lesser distractions!


One of my elders forwarded this note. I share it with you. It's valuable.

Everyone has a different opinion on the war, and with our current President. But, this article makes a lot of sense, and I hope you will read it and give it some thought.
What a difference 60 years makes..!!!
'You ain't gonna like losing.'
Author unknown, but he should have been given the Medal of Honor for this:
President Bush did make a bad mistake in the war on terrorism.
But the mistake was not his decision to go to war in Iraq . Bush's mistake came in his belief that this country is the same one his father fought for in WWII. It is not.
Back then, they had just come out of a vicious depression. The country was steeled by the hardship of that depression, but they still believed fervently in this country. They knew that the people had elected their leaders, so it was the people's duty to back those leaders.
Therefore, when the war broke out the people came together, rallied behind, and stuck with their leaders, whether they had voted for them or not or whether the war was going badly or not.
And war was just as distasteful and the anguish just as great then as it is today. Often there were more casualties in one day in WWII than we have had in the entire Iraq war. But that did not matter. The people stuck with the President because it was their patriotic duty Americans put aside their differences in WWII and worked together to win that war.
Everyone from every strata of society, from young to old pitched in. Small children pulled little wagons around to gather scrap metal for the war effort. Grade school students saved their pennies to buy stamps for war bonds to help the effort.
Men who were too old or medically 4F lied about their age or condition trying their best to join the military. Women doubled their work to keep things going at home. Harsh rationing of everything from gasoline to soap, to butter was imposed, yet there was very little complaining.
You never heard prominent people on the radio belittling the President. Interestingly enough in those days there were no fat cat actors and entertainers who ran off to visit and fawn over dictators of hostile countries and complain to them about our President. Instead, they made upbeat films and entertained our troops to help the troops'
morale. And a bunch even enlisted.
And imagine this: Teachers in schools actually started the day off with a Pledge of Allegiance, and with prayers for our country and our troops!
Back then, no newspaper would have dared point out certain weak spots in our cities where bombs could be set off to cause the maximum damage. No newspaper would have dared complain about what we were doing to catch spies.
A newspaper would have been laughed out of existence if it had complained that German or Japanese soldiers were being 'tortured' by being forced to wear women's underwear, or subjected to interrogation by a woman, or being scared by a dog or did not have air conditioning.
There were a lot of things different back then. We were not subjected to a constant bombardment of pornography, perversion and promiscuity in movies or on radio. We did not have legions of crackheads, dope pushers and armed gangs roaming our streets.
No, President Bush did not make a mistake in his handling of terrorism. He made the mistake of believing that we still had the courage and fortitude of our fathers. He believed that this was still the country that our fathers fought so dearly to preserve.
It is not the same country. It is now a cross between Sodom and Gomorra and the land of Oz. We did unite for a short while after 9/11, but our attitude changed when we found out that defending our country would require some sacrifices.
We are in great danger. The terrorists are fanatic Muslims. They believe that it is okay, even their duty to kill anyone who will not convert to Islam. It has been estimated that about one third or over three hundred million Muslims are sympathetic to the terrorists cause...Hitler and Tojo combined did not have nearly that many potential recruits.
So...we either win it - or lose it - and you aren't going to like losing.
America is not at war. The military is at war.
America is at the mall...

Friday, February 15, 2008


Charles Stanley is a hero to me. He and I did some work together on a television program years ago. He was gracious enough to be a guest on CrossView. It was a big deal to me to meet and study him. His son, Andy, is one of my favorites to hear when I attend Catalyst in Atlanta. While both are powerful speakers, their styles vary greatly.

Charles and Andy meet the first Thursday of every month for breakfast. They once were discussing preaching; its theory, direction, etc. Charles told his son, “You’ve got to have a burden. That’s the thing most preachers are missing. A burden. If they don’t have a burden it’s just a bunch of fluff.”

I love that thought. Such a statement pierces the air of church busyness, mission statement preparation, organizational shuffling, and the showing up at the appointed times. It clears the church sinuses. We do well when we have a burden. I have one. Do you?

I want the entire religious world and all of the non-religious world to know the abundant life God desires for us. So many churches don’t know of it and don’t have it. So many away from God, of course, don’t have it. I don’t think there’s anyone in the world, if they knew about it, who wouldn’t want it. My burden is to get the news out. See I not only believe we can do it, I think it is getting done.

While I may work from a small cubicle located at 747 S. Memorial in Tulsa, I work the entire planet. We do it together as a part of his body. Memorial Drive has people stationed in Scotland and Guadalajara and South Africa and Iraq and on Oklahoma Christian's campus and in Detroit and Indianapolis…..that’s just a smidge of the people I know directly who are involved in God’s work. We are sending others I know from here to Kenya and Honduras and China.

But what excites me even more is my burden connects me to others in the body whom I don’t know personally. I just know they are out there doing His stuff from their cubicle as I am mine. They are in Peru and Nigeria and Alaska. Some are imprisoned in Texas and New Hampshire. Believers are in serving in Iran, suffering in Pakistan, mobile in Greece and shivering in the Ukraine. God’s body is large and we are all given in the burden of seeing that mankind has a shot at abundant life in Jesus the Hero.

Do you have a burden for the world? Great! We must not bark at the church because it isn’t doing enough. We are alert to its doing more than can be imagined. Refrain from being bummed by so much going wrong. God will take care of that. Applaud and rejoice that so much is going right. Don’t be burdened that you are burdened. Transform such pressure into fuel for the world to know Life….real, authentic Life. Yes, it’s slow. Yes, it’s tough. And, yes, we are on fire for the cause. We are burdened and because of such…..we are driven to lose neither sight nor hope.

Share your burden. What keeps you enthused and thrilled over kingdom work?


Being converted to our religious body, I heard the phrase "The Marks of the Early Church" from the git-go. Our goal, it was pressed, is to be identical to the first century group. Furthermore, I was assured, we do it better than any other brand of believers. Such stance has come back to bite us repeatedly if we happen to be off in one or a few details. And, we happen to be off.

Who's right and who's not seems to have been assumed the trump card on the table. The huge problem with such an overbearing question is how quickly leadership and its movement slips into self-rightness (self-righteousness) which one finds Jesus fighting at every crossroads. "We are right!" "We are right!" say the placards held high by the protesters across the land.

Jesus is right. The Word is clear we could never get there on our own, by ourselves, regardless of superior training or coveted understanding of the original language. Yet, we continue to march in the parade and carry the banners which now read, "We are Right!" "You are Wrong!".

I was wrong about being right. Jesus makes any of us right. Jesus is our mark. Think about it: preachers who are angry, elders who are disgusted, members who are hacked....this reflects the hope and assurance of a believing true body of Christ? Why the tension? Why such extreme touchiness in our brand of spirituality? If we slip into believing we are right then abundant pressure presents itself. We cannot rely on the Holy Spirit to bear His fruit of kindness, patience, and love. He won't bear it in us and we can't produce it on our own.

Being right isn't the mark of the early church unless one is discussing the righteous gift God gives us. Pulpits and pews have been ransacked by the bully of rightness. Preachers fear they'll get it wrong and members become convinced they will never be good enough to meet the standards arrogantly taught in Bible classes. They don't rebel visibly. They simply pack up their weaknesses and carry their tackle to the lake where they can hope to find some semblance of peace and quiet and joy.

It should have been found in the church for such is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. But it wasn't found by too many as the slimmer crowds continued to say to one another, "You know many are called but few are chosen." The selection was never based on who could name the fives steps to anything. It is based on who believes Jesus is the one who makes any of us right.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Are we doing all right? I mean is the way we do Wednesday nights valuable? The question could imply I'm for ridding us of the mid-week repetition. Such isn't my intent. I'm simply asking are we believing our approach to Wednesday nights is valuable or is there need to adjust.

Let's say we cancel Wednesday nights. We say we are too busy and these nights simply press an already smothering schedule. So, how do you feel about it? I don't like it. Why? I love being with my church family. It's a mid-week reunion to me. Each gathering is like I won some sort of shopping spree where I can visit as many as I can within a certain time limit. Tonight, as hurried as I visited, I still let some whom I love to be near get away before I could get in my gab time with them.

Yet, there seems to be a problem. Gradually, fewer of my family (church family) shows up. For me, the issue isn't what's going on that's valuable. It's the fact we get to see each other. I don't necessarily need to sing or pray or study. Fine if we do. Okay with me if we don't. I just want to be connected. I want to relate to the people. Sometimes I can't wait for us to dismiss so I can engage in the good stuff. Other times, I feed from the thoughts and songs shared. Does anyone else go through these hoops?

The fact is fewer seem to be assembling on these nights. I'm for evaluation and adjustment if such would be beneficial. I'm not proposing to start a movement, understand. The reason for this discussion is you may have experienced a Wednesday night breakthrough you would share. Or, you may have a thought as to why you think what we are doing is right on track.

What would be your take?


Here’s a jump-start for your day: if earth ever has a trace of good news, it should be coming from us. While we each have a church building sitting in a prominent section of town with our denominational logo defining much of whom we are, there should be a second label: our reputation. We should be known as the Good News people. Such is both biblically defined and exemplified.

I began my career as a bad-news preacher. I addressed the critics mostly. Truth be told, we may have been a bad-news church. I misunderstood preaching. Loud and stern were twin tools of my trade. Claims of bravery justified myself against the scoffers. Of course the church didn’t like it, but that’s because they weren’t spiritual. So I told myself. Today? I am a good-news guy.

How did this change come about? First, I noticed my elders being kind and full of mercy toward the flock as well as the staff. They kept saying encouraging things as if they were really rooting for us. Odd, don’t you think? Shepherds who give benefit of the doubt? Actually care about potential failures becoming possible successes? I found myself out of step. Strangely, this was confusing to me.

I was raised in a harsh environment, converted to the identical atmosphere in the church, and assumed such a style as both normal and biblical. Yet, the Holy Spirit fruit was none of that. The more recent sets of elders were none of that. I’ve had to learn (am always learning) to yield to the Holy Spirit.

So Sunday I’m preaching on two facets which will help our flock feel more satisfied in their walk: prayer and giving. I won’t give them bad news. I’ll inspire them to pray more and give more by pointing out how much good they are already doing in this area. Why? Because it’s the truth. This church is incredible in prayer and giving. Some though are struggling to reach such heights. By pointing out the good going on, I believe such will encourage any who are not there yet to see the possibility. It will be a good news morning.

Our elders continually point out the good things about the staff and about the flock. We live in good news. Therefore, I urge you to evaluate your place of ministry. Whatever needs arise which may seem to be considerably weighty, try to believe a huge part of the solution would be for you to be a good news sorta minister. It will change the atmosphere of your place!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


What is it about being born again that should ring our bell? It’s more than one deciding to be spiritual. It’s a lot more than choosing to be religious. Being born again is an act of God upon an individual. Lifestyles are switched from Adam’s (the first man) to Jesus’ (the second man). We were not switched “at” birth but “by” birth. Our first birth was a failure. The second one takes.

So what’s new? I ask not necessarily on the basis of quoting chapter and verse. But what is really new where we live? Oh, so much has changed. Let us count the ways:

We find a place (His kingdom) that lets weak ones get to serve in big ways.
We can trust His carrying our load when we caused the problems…we are invited to take our burdens to Him.
We can remember Gideon when making exertion which seems to go backward in effectiveness.
We transfer the heart of David into our skin when facing obstinate bullies as Goliath.
We discover Jesus redefines normal.
We can refuse to be shaken by temporary injury and insult.
We find the church truly comprising of more than duties; it is our relationships.
We can start over…..again.
We can trust Him when we can’t explain Him.
We can believe when it makes no earthly sense.
We can take our imagination to the limit and then anticipate He’ll trump it.
We can expect Him to use us for great things all the while feeling completely inadequate.
We can quickly recover from disappointment in others and self.
We can feel like a little kid with excitement even if we’ve been around a long time.

I could go on and on. We are born again! Such a rebirth changes us…..a lot! What would you add?


Faith defies logic. At times we deem the latter more believable. Odd aren’t we? More than debating colleagues, I find I argue more with myself than others combined. This faith thing is the brain power of a new race; the Christian race. Such a belief system requires grooming and manicuring. In other words; it must have our attention.

Our heads are in heaven and our hearts are in Christ while our feet roam earth’s landscape. That's a pretty far stretch, don't you think? Why wouldn’t one walk in conflict? It takes the Master to sort us out. How shall we succeed? How do we lead our people to victory when the flesh gravity is so doggone strong....and sometimes bossy?

Each day and every turn presents opportunity. If we confess the invisible is reality and superior to that which we see, obviously our heart-eyes are in tact. Just what is it we see when looking at what the rest of the community views? We see what they see and beyond it. We see to it and through it into the new realm. Biblical terms like mystery and surprise and possible no longer bug us. They free us and excite us.

We live in a land thirsty for a new kind of life. All of the name brand politicians are correct. America wants change. It isn’t that we want a new face or a new policy only. We want change to mean something. God’s kingdom is the route to go. It defies what earthiness presses as true. We can live on earth while participating in heaven. That, my friend, is the ultimate change. We may be here, but the supply is from there. Oh that we could be wowed. One of the things I told God early this morning was, God, it’s fascinating being a person. Head out today enthused to possess a faith which defies logic.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Andy Stanley wrote, When the leader blames the follower for not following, the leader has ceased to lead. While this truth is quite simple and known by the most, I experienced the struggle of such a statement earlier in my work. I found myself complaining because various facets of the church wouldn't follow. It was a tough pill to swallow that the reason might be me.

Leadership is a living entity. It is not a solidified once-established fact, but a constantly moving and fluid activity. If we are leading we are in perpetual tension to know when to speak up and when to remain silent; when to take action and when to wait. Leadership finds itself assessing the need to make daily judgment.

The transition from being a good follower to a good leader seems to be in the realm of courage. There are moments when one can seem to be quite alone. Shall we drift with the herd of acceptance or enter the alley of loneliness by risking rejection? The latter is where leaders are birthed. Jesus was many things. His brutal rejection, though, lit up the world of leadership.

So, my word to you guys and gals out there on the front line: with humility in being fully aware of your deep flaws lead out in bravery. Souls are weary of trying to follow mediocrity. Give them a light to follow. They want to know the way to life. You may be their hope!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


There is a great secret good Christian leadership knows. Crisis is the springboard for vision. If we live in a time ravaged by skepticism, we surely must acknowledge such moments as also opportunistic. Personally, I am driven every day by a crisis I noted in religion from my earliest days as a child. That crisis? Anemic, pale, sickly, lethargic religion. Such rides a Trojan horse into every spiritual arena in hopes of capturing all dreamers.

Crisis causes dreamers to take action. Calvin Miller wrote, Often vision comes as the result of some tearing circumstances by which we come to an end of our own ability to make life work. My guestimate is that the good souls of Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky are more benevolent, more freeing of their money and possessions this week than in the previous twenty-four months. Why? Tornadoes ripped their neighborhoods.

Compassion now takes over. Really, it begins to rule. Vision pole vaults crisis! It loves the challenge. It lives for such a time. So, dear believer, while some in your pocket of society bemoan the negatives which may be in abundance, just rememeber you possess a spirit...a Holy Spirit....who loves to strut His stuff when human minds start to retreat. Onward Christian soldiers....we've got dreaming to do!


Click on this website.....

Notice the windows in a row along the top. Click "About", "Him", and "The Ripple Effect".

Once you've read these three segments, write me back and tell me if you were moved.

Friday, February 08, 2008


For those of you brought up in the church, let me share with you some of the wilderness those of us not as fortunate must encounter. I thought the Bible was a gift for 8th grade graduation. My churchy friends got one with the names stamped on the front cover. Me? I was so happy I didn’t go to church. What a bummer to get a Bible as a gift. When I left home to attend a little business college I lived in a one room apartment which included a community bathroom shared with two grumpy old maids living one and two doors down. My room was papered in flowers which was coincidental as the Statler Brothers released their hit, Counting Flowers On the Wall. It was often a quiet and lonely setting.

Not realizing my spirit was hungering from within in those college years, I began to pick up the Bible and read at it. I’d take on three verses a day. Such a weak approach proved my premeditated opinion to be accurate once again….boring. I eventually shifted my search to topics listed in the back of the Bible. Once I was curious about why it was wrong to dance. I didn’t dance but was simply trying to decipher the Word. The listing indicated dancing was forbidden, but when referencing the recommended verses there was no word “dancing” mentioned. More confusion.

To make matters worse, the references seemed unstable as to the whereabouts of a guy called John. There was John I and II and III which made no sense. It got more confusing. There was a fourth John but the book was called Revelation. Go figure. Too, there was a fifth John known as Regular John or Plain John….or Just John.

My point? I’m convinced there are hundreds and thousands today who are just like I was. Their interest in God is awakening their spirits. Their self-imposed objection to Him is melting. But, they have no idea where to begin. For those of you who have desks in the workplace, get a religious book by Lucado or Swindoll or whoever and place it on one corner. Say nothing to anyone. Just lay it there. See how many ask if they could borrow it. I’m telling you, people around you want to know God. You can help them get started. It’s easy.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


I think I have some impressive books on my shelves regarding prayer. E. M. Bounds, Bruce Wilkinson, A. W. Tozer and others have blessed the Christian world with impressive insight to the discipline of prayer. I just completed yet another one rich in simplicity and meaning. Keith Roberts has a new book out, Why God Waits For You To Pray.

While the 139 pages is an easy read, it lacks not for depth and insightfulness. Few pages are left clear of my yellow highlighter and seventeen of them are now dog-eared. I really like the book. Keith makes simple point after magnificent observation. He did a good job of directing us to the lifestyle of our Savior’s prayer habit. He explains effectively how we can know what Jesus prayed for by measuring the results and activity. It isn’t that Keith points out matters about prayer or about Jesus we didn’t necessarily know. But he ties everything together to where the reader keeps experiencing “ah-ha” moments of understanding.

I encourage you to watch for the book at the workshop. Regardless of how much we learn about prayer, we will ever be in need of growing in this foundational area. I’m not a great man of prayer. I’m not even average. However, due to writings such as Keith’s I find myself continually encouraged to trust Him more than me.


Yesterday was not a legal holiday. It was neither Memorial Day nor the Fourth of July. However, I celebrated just the same. It was Oklahoma Primary Election Day. I love this stuff. I'm intrigued by every party and every candidate. I love to watch all of the debates. I'm fascinated....just our privilege to get to participate in government and her elections.

Being human, we tend to be appreciative too late. We don't necessarily acknowledge a garage door that works four hundred times. We just curse it when it fails. We seldom soak in the presence of electricity, food, shelter, and health. We simply pray for its return when absent. Are we this way with freedom? Do we have so much of it for so long we find ourselves easily annoyed? Do we sigh when we get recorded messages from candidates seeking our vote or complain about the amount of television coverage politics generates? Oh that Iraq and Iran could encounter such stress.

So thank you General Gillespie, and Gay Jones, and Doris Carlisle, and Ron and Mona, and my dad, and Tom Ezell and countless thousands like you who gave reckless abandon to see we could continually live in perpetual holiday. Super Tuesday was a tribute to soldiers, many of whom never got to come home to hug their momma one more time, shouting to the world we are taking action upon the grit of our finest heroes.

Once again I draw your attention to like right now. I ask you to love it that you live in a nation under God where you can see multiple candidates bid for the presidency in each party and then two will slug it out for the big job. We are in on it. We receive information. We can comment. We get to vote.

I encourage you today to live like you possess luxury. Don't let complaint or feeble irritation distract you from the holiday called today. It's a wonder to behold. So...behold it!

Monday, February 04, 2008


I've been pondering an idea for the past few days. I didn't learn it from flesh and blood. It just sorta popped into my thinking system....and it doesn't seem to leave me. While I open myself to possible criticism, I risk such if it might awaken us to something of kingdom value.

Our heritage comes down pretty hard on brands of faiths which have bypassed what we believe to be essential regarding the essence of baptism; i.e. that it is biblically accurate only by immersion. Other practices find our clear opposition. We've taken our stance and we have refused to surrender. After all, the scriptures and original language seem to be in sync that baptism is a burial.

Regarding the Lord's Supper, though, we have not such a stance. While it seems clear such an event is always involving a meal, our tradition has felt it permissible to reduce it to emblematic pinching of a cracker and sipping of a thimble full of juice. Such a practice is never promoted in scripture by command, example, or necessary inference.

Have we accepted a principle to the Lord's Supper which we condemn in denominational baptism: reduction and sybollism for convenience sake? Are we guilty of practicing a form among ourselves which we have notoriously judged as forbidden in others? I think we have. I think we, as Romans 5:1-2 points out, are found guilty of the same thing we criticize in others.

If this is true, what does it mean? One thing is clear. We again find reason to be accepting and tolerant of others while we do our own laundry. It's not that we don't do anything right. We do. It's that all the others don't do everything wrong and sometimes they may get their direction from the same place we get ours: traditions passed down from generation to generation while we call it "of God".


I received this note from my friend Keith Roberts early Sunday morning. I read it to the Memorial family. It broke our hearts.

Will you have the Memorial family pray for the child who sent me this email through our Ask The Preacher icon on our website. I don't know where he lives, but I answered him as best I could. We are praying.
"hi my name is Ronny i am 11 years old. the medicine they make me take makes me bald. my friends make fun of me and push me around. i got in trouble they took my cap and jacket and put into the creek at the bus stop. they spit on my head on the bus and the driver put me on report for changing seats while bus moving.
my dad wont get me more hats cause he says i am iresponcible and lose them. they took my science book and spaceshuttle model and threw over the brigde in the creek. is it true that i will go to jail or hell if i beat him up to make them stop? do they hit bald people in jail or hell? i know you probly wont answer cause you sound important and would be mad that i getting in trouble. i didnt used to tho. i dont like it at school anymre and i wish God would make them stop."
Thanks, Terry.
See you soon.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


The President and Congress are scrambling to introduce an economic package hoping to reverse a recession. My world of numbers doesn’t register with theirs. They deal in millions, billions, and trillions. I deal with hundreds and thousands. Thus, I’m correct in refraining from opinionizing or criticizing these men and women assigned to be custodians of the nation’s bank account.

I am able to join in the conversation regarding the bully of indebtedness and how it is ruining society. Overextended credit, unfortunately, has become the boss of the house. The man is no longer the head of the household in many cases. The credit card companies are. Such is killing our families and permanently retarding our children. They are groomed to want, demand what they want, and get what they want as mom and dad lead the pack. Society is suffering great injury from being in love with money and what it can buy.

Such injury can be healed. We must band together determined to love God more than money. We must signal to Him we trust the Master more than Mastercard. We must join together to push the bullying giant of indebtedness back. It can be done, should be done, and will be done.

Giving instead of keeping is the ladder out of the debt pit. God’s kingdom is so often backward to earthiness. Give ourselves out of debt? How does that work? God never reveals His secret to such mystery. It may be $25, $10, or $1 a week increase, but I encourage you to beef up your giving. Your getting isn’t what’s creating the burden. Lack of giving is. We must send a signal to Him we believe Him more than we believe our billfold.

Steve Diggs will be here in October for his No Debt, No Sweat Seminar. I believe what this man will share will break the back of obnoxious and stubborn debt. I believe it will free a burdened generation. For those of you not living in Tulsa, some may want to load up the van and get here for that Sunday/Monday event. Financial healing would bless America….and will begin with the church.

Friday, February 01, 2008


We have so many fun and amazing things going on. In getting ready for the Soul Winning Workshop, one of the things we wanted to accomplish was to have a new DVD series ready with the intent of inspiring congregations in Bible classes and small groups to reach into their communities. By His grace we are getting it done.
The 100% Natural Evangelism ad is designed by Memorial Drive's Theresa Underwood.
This will appear in the workshop magazine. I get so excited to see our people come alive within the range of gifts God has given them. Theresa is a gift to this congregation. I applaud all of our workers; all of our believers. It's this caliber of work we perpetually see coming from God and through His people. I always dreamed of working in a kingdom like this. Now, I get to!


A few weeks ago a most wonderful thing happened to me. I was headed for Monroe, LA. to film the 100% Natural Evangelism Seminar. The event in itself was surely thrilling. But a group decided to charter a bus and go with me which accelerated the charge many times over. I've said for years that groups traveling together for any event will gain much from the event, but much more from the being together along the way. It was true for us. We laughed. We shared. We connected. Paula Gray later told me she had intended to go all along, but finally had to make herself do it as she needed to get out of her world and get with others and into their lives.

March 27-29 is your opportunity to attend the Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop and gather a group to come along with you. It's a huge family reunion and your trip could magnify such intent. Why not bring a couple or a van load or a charter to Tulsa?

Here is the website: On it you'll note:
  • A poster link you can print out for your lobby and classrooms.
  • A list of speakers and schedule.
  • Teen plans
  • Childcare
  • Motel list

PRAYER: Our Declaration of Dependence just might be something you and your congregation needs to experience. It might be time to extend your efforts to God's people all around. When I was making plans to film a group asked if they could go along. I was surprised anyone would want to go. Then they wanted to charter a bus and get others to go. I told them I didn't think anyone would sign up. 32 went and it was so exciting. What did I know? Maybe you think no one would want to go with you. Before you decide for them, maybe you should ask them.

This is a golden opportunity!