Friday, December 31, 2010


My plans for 2011?  To win a few.

In 2011 I plan to become all things to all men that I might win a few.  I plan to intentionally connect with those in my natural surroundings by giving attention to....them.  It is an easy life in Christ.  Be interested in the people God places in your path.

There was the woman at the well.  And then how about that man up a tree?  Jesus didn't go door-knocking (and it isn't illegal to do so).  He went through life with his Father's eyes intentionally connecting to the huddles and masses and lone strangers.

In 2011 I look forward to running into the Scotts and the Kylas and the Dorises and the T.J.s of 2010.  Some were at the pantry and others up a creek.  And...Jesus was there in our various members of his body.

In becoming all things to all men of I Corinthians 9, I am mostly the weak; I became weak that I might reach the weak.  That's the easiest and most natural.  I am naturally nothing and such goes over so good with those who feel the same about themselves. 

Regardless of your position or non, view 2011 with enormous hope.  Several will bump up against you with their thirsts and their inability to see clearly.  Notice them.  Let God use you for such times as these.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


There is grave danger in everything going right.  After awhile our dependency upon the Lord diminishes as we subtly take on an air of personal skill-set provision.  It is when our backs are against the wall with no way to be self-provisionary that we get to see who really runs the show; God.

When visions and dreams strike a leader in the church we tend to look to the bank balance to see if we can first afford it.  This is the beginning of a man-made venture.

One of the several things I enjoy about our elders at Memorial is their detachment from materialistic provision over this flock.  If God doesn't do it via some person or circumstance, it won't get done.

I recall a time when we were in pretty slim straights financially at this congregation.  A poor college girl who had no family here gave the church a check for $17,000 without restrictions.  A gift!  A surprise gift from one least expected.  We are still blessed by her timely move as she followed God's urge.

Don't be discouraged when you have a deep need and you just don't know how.  God knows about you just as He is verifying it by this article.  How did He know you needed to read this right now?  Oh...He has a way!

It is His very way that puts smiles on our faces and adrenalin in our faith muscles.  We may be pinned in by a wall too high and an army chasing us.  It matters not.  With God there is always His talent to part the sea on the other side which we assume would cause us to drown.

Is your back against the wall?  Don't flinch.  God is simply pruning you of your assumed essential provision.  Your way won't cut it.  So don't labor long in your weak management skills.  Look to Him.  He has a blessing coming every moment of every day. 

Our backs aren't against the wall.  Our God has our backs.  We just assumed it was a wall.  Our backs are up against God....the Great Provider!  Walls...our opportunites to notice Him.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Who would disagree that we should love like Jesus?  We are free to give lip-service and song-service to go tell it on the mountain or I'm in the Lord's army.  Yet, de-roosting of the pews is surely a goal of all churches.

So how do we accomplish this meaningful task?

There seems to be an interchanging word for love.  It would be care. God so cared that He gave.  God cared about us.  We will love when we care and we will care when we love.

So how do we accomplish this meaningful task?

Sermons will support.  Bible study will help.  To put legs on the task we may find placing our people in the line of the poor is what opens the hearts the quickest.  Impact is felt when hearts begin to feel.  The body of Christ is a feeling system...everyone kept feeling the sense of is written of the church's opening day.

The church is both emotionally based and emotionally charged.  Both have been siphoned by "church correctness" and "decent and in order" propaganda.  Our people have frozen for fear we might get service wrong.  We have been reduced to mere "clock in" "clock out" for so long that we have let the tenderness of the body of Christ wane.

How we move into the love of Jesus is to realize, first, this is an emotional matter.  The church always needs deep-seated emotion.  Indifference is a lack of emotion; a lack of care, a lack of love.  What breaks indifference is to stand face to face with a poor person in need of your care.  We stand together in our little acreage and find that we care.   Our immediate response is to give.

God so cared for the world He gave.  Giving hearts love people, root for people, and move for people.  How we might move into the love of Jesus is to hang out with those whose life isn't going well rather than only those of our social level where we are getting by.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


And we know God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 

God causes is a mighty statement.  The only reason all things (distress, failure, disappointment, etc.) work for us is because of God's innate capacity to turn lemons into lemonade.  We got it from Him!

So where you live, try not to waste God's shipment of power through the cargo system of ruggedness or strain.  Neither are something one rids; but rather precisely designed power to be used.

All things.  Arguments.  Disagreements.  Varying opinions.  Hurt feelings.  Relationship violations.  These are not to be ignored.  They carry as much kingdom value as harmony and justice and honor.

Life is being wasted when such cargo is assumed discardable.  None of it is.  Everything works together for the good of all who see and serve God.

We are not just mighty in successful deeds; but also in horrendous malfunction.  Leaders, I think, are different from followers in this vital area.  Leaders are not manipulated by circumstances; but rather are fueled by them.

Life is right under our noses.  Do what you can not to miss it.

Monday, December 27, 2010


Does anyone else get those gnarly sensations that we are not making a dent in this fallen society?  Such could seem legit.  News reports of tragedy plus threat bombard our minds...unless.  Unless...we have filled our minds ahead of time with the news from Heaven Live...that journal eerily inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Reporters David and Daniel, Peter and Paul, and others promote an entirely different concept....hope.

I think daily earth reports (II Cor. 12:7 references these messengers from Satan) are designed to both detract and distract from the faith-armies of God.  Abundance of progress is being made.  Souls are being more than saved; they are being transformed into glorious soldiers of the cross.

From the Mid-East to the Mid-West, small group Bible studies are cropping up in magnitudinal measurement.  Such students are serious about their mission.  There is a serious move of believers arising to bravely and confidently challenge the opposition of our time.  God's righteousness is be heralded. 

Be assured the gaining of ground is neither imaginary nor weak.  Substantial sowing of kingdom seed is arising world-wide.  People are adoring the Father, believing the Son, and empowered by the Spirit.  Change---real hopeful change---is taking place in all nations. 

Do you think we are losing ground?  Consider books and journals and blogs cannot report all that is being accomplished by God today.  As the Bible emphasizes that the world could not contain all of the reports of Jesus' works when he was still can't. 

Be encouraged.  God is happening and those connected to Him are in the winning mode!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Just in case you haven't watched the local news, or the world ones for that matter, a major death has taken place which will affect each of us.  A highly sought criminal has been charged, arrested, and most promptly executed.  Fear has died.  Yes, the agony of harassment is all over folks.  No longer is there a need to lock the doors and windows to our dreams.

The twist to this fascinating news alert is that Fear is inherently tied to the conspiracy of Self.  As long as Self has the stage Fear has an audience.  The preemption of Fear is the death of Self.  When one dies, so does the other.

Congratulations to all conquerors.  You now have entered the Real Life known as the style of Jesus who did not live for himself but died and was resurrected.  When we each die to Self, resurrection--free from Fear--hits us square in the heart. 

Live Big!  Live Grateful!  Live Happy!  Live!

Friday, December 24, 2010


I love Christmas!

One of the things I like about God is He insists upon giving grown people child-hearts.  Count me in.  I know I am a child at heart and I have no plans of growing up or out of wonder, fascination, and awe.  This is a remarkable world we live in.

I really like AT&Ts slogan Rethink Possible.  The child-heart does not know marvel can't happen.  Growing old is too much about losing our enthrallmalicity.  On the other hand, growing young (II Cor. 4:16-18) is believing possibility becomes reality.

Do you know what I really like about Christmas?  Because of the surprises and astonishing moves of God, we experience it every day!  Christmas doesn't lose its luster regardless of our age.  Why?  Because God is all about celebrating the new...and new is a kingdom vitamin!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Have you ever heard it explained in great pride that we aren't a Reformation Movement, but a Restoration Movement?  The point that immediately tails such statements are Luther's Reformation Movement merely ended up in many divided denominations.  Our (RM) is better....more biblical...we conclude.

Reformation means to "reform", "re-do", or "re-make" because something is inherently wrong with the current.  We may be in need of the very thing we have boasted we are not....reformation.

For one, the Restoration Movement has delivered the same divisionary communities identical to the Reformation denominations with one exception; our various splitages insist on calling ourselves the same name---Church of Christ.

Our efforts to regain firm relationship with our living Lord is a pursuit which must not be adjusted.  The inserting of doctrines in the name of Jesus which are truly and merely doctrines of habit continue to debilitate the body at large.  Restoration and Reformation are dually needed.

What we didn't realize, in our earlier years, was that whatever we decided to believe became and what we decided to not believe didn't come about.  For those who believe firmly the Holy Spirit of God works in and with us today...He surely does!  However, for those who staunchly believe the Holy Spirit does no such thing; in their lives He truly does no such thing!

We have much to learn, much to ponder, and much growing to do.  All sensations of pride of having arrived calls for immediate repentance.  We want God to be free to roam upon us, with us, and for us.  Rigidity of habit will not permit the freedom of His call.

May we be about the receiving of His grace and the relenting of our stubborn stances.  The world awaits...and so do the authentic people called the church.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


First, I want you to know I feel wonderfully weird in writing you through this blog.  I mean by that that I don't have a series of anything lined out to write about.  I just keep getting these impulses (that's all I know to say) of things I think might interest you.

So here's a weird one. 

Today I've been going through my routine of a very non-routine ministry.  I love the ins and outs, ups and downs (well, maybe not the downs...yet even they are kingdom useful) of working in a zone on earth I would at one time have never believed to be remotely a part of my life.  Now it is 24/7....and I am nuts about it!

It occurred to me this afternoon that we are so removed from the true scope of our work that we cannot declare what is working for us nor why.  God is in charge of these facts; these truths.

For example, of the many wonders I've encountered today, did they happen because I prayed this morning...or yesterday morning...or fifteen years ago and God is just now developing it?  Or, are our wonderful experiences happening because an inmate off in some forgotten prison hole two centuries ago devoted herself to prayer to the extent I was blessed today...and neither of us (she nor me) know of the connection?  Only God.

And what victories (ups) or defeats (downs) that happen to you tomorrow are not specially designed for one to be blessed in Singapore in 2075 who, at present, has not yet been born?

Who can wonder if a prayer by George Mueller decades back just came to fruition in Portland, Oregon this morning?  We can't fathom.  God runs the show.

My point?  Don't question your life---good or bad, favorable or non---but believe God is continually knitting away at His table making sense of the Larger Life which seems blurred to us right now.  We live a robust life of miracle after miracle....but some in our heritage robbed us by the abortion of our faith before it developed.  Shame on them.  But even that move can prove to be a cause of grandeur for God is the One leading...and funding...the parade.

Be blessed....from a thousand different moves that none of us would have ever guessed!  There is more going on with us than we can perceive....and it was God who said He would do more than we could imagine or think.  We may not be able to imagine it.  We may not be able to think about it.  But...we can believe it.


God created the world and delivered the Words by which humanity was to live.  Spectacularism and routine cohabitated for centuries.  And then....and then a startling thing happened.  God moved in.

God's move is a matter to behold.  He got His fleshly start in a barn.  I'm a farm boy.  I've worked many days in the barn.  Should you think God moved into a nativity scene, think again.  The barn is absent tablecloths and polyester drapes.  Among its many uses, the cattle barn is the sewage department of the farm.  One of the first barn rules for all farmers is, "Watch your step."

This is where God chose to move in.  His moves were astounding.  How we love to read of each account.  His semi-final ending was that of excrutiating pain from the rugged cross.  God moved in....with complete Alpha and Omega commitment.

We?  His followers?  Aren't we called to follow in his steps?  Thus, when living out the life of Christ within us, we can count on treacherous days where we help the down and out so much we, too, have to "Watch our step."  We too will find the Jesus-involvement will involve foul odor and probable injury. 

God moved in.  And when He did He burrowed in with the rough and tough stuff of humanity.  The church wants to the be true church from a distance.  In other words, we tend to not move in.  We want to help...but we would rather not smell. 

What I am seeing is the church is most alive the more it smells of working in the barn instead of donating at mall.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The answer to the title question is obvious.  Or, is it?

I don't know about you but I find myself still growing in this area.  Of course God being my God has received much lip service; especially in songs.  Yet, as I look back I note maybe He was not actually at the top of the "hunger for" list.

Here's what might have inserted itself into His place in my walk:
  • Performance.  I was not as concerned about God hearing from me in worship and adoration as I was getting my religious skills/duties sharpened.
  • Reputation.  It was critical that all cross-sections of the brotherhood liked me.  Popularity was essential.
  • Doctrine.  Of course it was absolutely crucial to believe the right things in the right way in the right order.  Being right was the pinnacle from which I vowed never to jump.  His righteousness for me was a non-essential for I could bring my own to the table...I thought.
Each of the above is important.  They are not God.  It took me a bit--a long bit--to realize I wasn't crazy about God; but was mesmerized by functioning well in front of Him.

My wrestle is the church's battle still today.  It is a dead-end alley to believe that getting our i-s dotted and our t-s crossed in precision pleases God if our hearts are vacant of complete adoration of His central being.  One of the things I pray every morning on my way to the office is for those driving alongside of me to acknowledge the God of our lives rather than drive throughout the day without a complimentary thought of gratitude toward Him.

Love the Lord your God---commandment #1.

Monday, December 20, 2010


No one needs to be alerted to dangers of judging others....Mt. 7:1-5.  It can cost us our own souls...Jas. 2:13.  Yet, we seem addicted to this sin.  Worse, we don't regard it as anything heavy against the heart of God.  After all, everybody does it.

Judgment is a tough sin to break. 

Try---as hard as we must---not to be guilty of this.

The reason it is vicious is because it is completely without truth basis.  When we judge we do so from our own heart; not the victim's.  We tend to assess others according to how we would and why we would behave in those situations.  Thus we might come to conclusions based on our own wobbly, mediocre, or dark thoughts rather than knowing facts for certain. 

Assuming the motive for another's behavior from the markers from which we would do similarly can be a grave and mistaken assumption.

Perception, concern, etc. easily play into this zone....and they fit.  However, judging is simply a slippery path which can thrust us to quick and wrong conclusions about another because we didn't have facts; we made humanistic guestimates.

Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things....and do you  suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God (Rom. 2:1, 3)?

Sunday, December 19, 2010


God's glory....who can fathom?  God's range of work....who can report it?

The more we tell of God's doing the more He does.  It is that simple.

The way to fill the earth with His glory is to sow seeds of it by our speaking.  If we will but rumor His love we will gossip the world into spectacular life without limits for He inhabits His praise.

We can't possibly take in the fascination of God's varying talent, skill, and unspeakable productivity.

We lost ground when we used up our words to out-argue other Christian brands.  We gain ground when we form words of hope, and life, and great love.  These words are working words; creative in the nature of the Three!

Let the redeemed say so...the Psalmist advised.  Still on target.  Spread the Word.  God not only is not dead....He isn't even getting tired.  His handiwork is still handy we can't possibly take it in!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Humans are a moody sort, huh?  Up one day.  Oh up three years!  And then one day---boom---not speaking, not responding; very distant.  What's this all about? 

I spent a lot of time in that prison.  I ain't easy serving time there; especially for one who wants EVERYONE to like him.  But...such is real life. 

So what shall we do? 

The solution is very simple; think upon all who do like you.  Give them your mind; not the one(s) who have some sort of social problem.  Theirs isn't yours to cure.  Theirs isn't yours to fix.  It belongs to them.  Hopefully they will one day return.  They often do.

In the meantime, treasure those near you who have neither abandoned nor punished.  They are in abundance and you can be glad....very glad.

Friday, December 17, 2010


(The one giving the announcements)

"Welcome to church today folks. We hope you enjoy your time with us. In order not to offend anyone, we ask that you not act like you are happy. We all have our druthers and preferences. We all want to get along so let's be sensitive to all today and just hold back any expression of joy. We are in church, you know."

While this tongue-in-cheek comment is ridiculous, I've been in settings where similar announcements really did happen. This is painfully unbearable.

Of all people we should be the ones who sense great joy...over-joy...and are free to express it!

When visitors gather in our assemblies, one of the first things I believe they ought to experience is that they have entered a place of joy. "Decent and in order" has served as church handcuffs to stop whatever it was that Sister Gert or Brother Bert didn't like. Yet to be assembled for the purpose of praising God without the element of joy is a misnomer.

I don't know what your main church doctrine you. I would direct your attention to the truth that those dragging in from your community have endured enough pain and agony in the week past. May the start of their new week find that you are know it....and you look like it!

A shift from looking like we were weaned on dill pickles to that of chocolate would be a wonderful decent and in order improvement!

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I spent the first two decades of my new-found faith trying to match up with verses and doctrines.  I was a basic failure.  My alignment was off, my spirit was unhappy, and my results were nil.

Over the years momentum has shifted to the point I live mesmerized at watching God work among us.  It is a new experience everyday.  He is proving Himself true when He had Paul write that we are new day by day.  We are!

Over the past few months I have been stricken once again by God's tender mercy toward me.  He has let me grow into another level of awe toward Him.

God has opened my heart eyes by letting me be among the poor.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, Jesus began his irreversible crusade.

Here's what I see; being with the poor is the walk of Jesus.  It is also the doctrine as well as the heart of discipleship.  The poor draw God.  Find a church growing and more times than not it will not be due to upper scale location nor spit-shined architecture.  It will more likely be due to the poor being touched by His majestic love.

Look at those who work with orphans, with food pantries, with clothes closets. Look.  Depth.  The heart of God, the doctrine of God, and great faith in God.

Where we have struggled over the years may be resolved (not in our moves to the right, left, or center) by shifting to the very doctrine the heart of God has cherished most....caring for the poor.

Building facades are supposed to say; Here we are.  Come join us!  But doctrinally enriched faith says, Where are the poor?  I must join them!

Merry Christmas.....reflecting upon that deed where God let His doctrine show by joining us....the poor and lost.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


The more we talk about God working the more God gives us to talk about.

Even Santa opens doors and hearts within our immediate community!  I experienced a marvelous thriller last night at Memorial Drive.  Santa came to see us!  Oh, how many times have you been there done that?  That's what I thought, too. 

For the first time, we extended an invitation to the immediate community (through fliers at Lindbergh Elementary and our food our new digital lawn sign) for pictures with Santa.  David and Lisa Combs developed this idea with the expectation of maybe 10 to 100 visitors.

Whoa!  When the doors opened at 6:30 I counted 56 waiting in line.  Hundreds came.  It was a wonderful zoo.  We had one printer going and had to bring in another to send home the pictures of little ones with Santa.  Because the crowd was slightly delayed in getting their photos, it gave me time to work the crowds.  They were so appreciative, so polite, and told me they would like to be at church soon.

One of the scenes which touched me greatly was an older woman entering with her mentally handicapped son of about 45 years old.  I introduced myself and thanked them for being here.  The mother said, Oh we had to come to see Santa....he is soooo excited.  They were here for the man's picture with Santa.  It was adorable!

Santa will be back tonight for our Children's Christmas Program!  He will be a huge hit....again.  The more we talk about God working the more God gives us to talk about.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


James commented two posts ago, Terry, I can't help but wonder if doing all these positive things caused some negative hearted people to leave your group, leaving behind more good hearted people who enjoyed and thrived in these activities? Or did everyone stay and find their relationships changed as they worked side by side rather than having face to face tension? Did cohesion come because you all forged a vision that included these activities and only those who shared the vision stayed? OR did cohesion come because carrying out the vision changed their hearts?

And then a Memorial elder responded, James Riley’s questions are interesting and thought provoking. Having passed through this time at Memorial I find myself occasionally musing in a similar vain. I can say I know of examples of each. My conclusion is it does not matter. God not mortal man is the source of such change. The answer to these questions matter as a means of measurement and/or comparisons that are not mine to control. Terry said, “I can't say exactly how God reversed our trend.” I think Terry would confirm one of the things He did was free us from worry over matters involved in answering these questions.

James, my answer to all of your questions is "yes". 

James' questions are so on target and David's response equalled them.  Our congregation went through extreme gyrations and victories and sweat boxes and celebrations!  One week we would be eating candy bars and the next would be sour pickles.  God had His hands full.  I still can't figure what happened or how it worked. 

But I know one thing I wasn't expecting happened.  Much more changing had to go on in my head and heart than I would have ever guessed.  I had no idea those holding back the work included me. 

Surprised me!


I want you to know a bit of behind the scenes with my new book--MVP!--that you might be encouraged when you continue to encounter brick walls. 

I worked on the manuscript for seven years.  It was difficult to sort my thoughts.  To put this time-line into perspective I had written ten other books in the last 20 years.  I had a nationally-known independent publisher lined up to do the book.  I was thrilled over this agreement.

However, six months before publication, Rich fell from a concrete deck and broke his neck and back.  He was immediately out of the picture.  But God.  God knows things.

I contacted another great friend who really didn't publish books; but he did manage a cracker-jack printing business.  Colin looked at the manuscript and liked it.  He put thousands of dollars into publishing the final product.  Yet we had no distributor.  Walmart wouldn't respond to my inquiries.  Neither would Mardell's Christian Books.  Barnes & Noble said no.  No stores will carry it....yet.

It could have appeared I was up a creek with only a book for a paddle.  But not the case.  No need to flinch in worry.  God said....

God said that when you need things ask.  So I did.  I prayed asking Him if He would be the distributor of my book for I didn't know where else to turn.

I spoke with Colin yesterday.  We can't explain it.  MVP! sales put us in the black within 100 days and still no store carries it!  Big-time book stores are crying because book sales are tanking (economy and Kindle) while we can't find an earthly distributor.  We can't figure...except for the One who told us to ask.

So be encouraged about your projects.  Go through the open doors and don't be deflated over the closed ones.  God runs the show...all shows. 

If you haven't gotten your copy of MVP! (Why You Are Most Valuable in God's Eyes!), but better get your Christmas order in now!

Order online:  The book is going so well.  God said I did.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Pulling members alongside one another is very key regarding church health.  It is important to be together.  Such is clearly a New Testament thread.

Memorial struggled for several years.  Even our get-togethers were divided.  Work had to be done.

I can't say exactly how God reversed our trend, but He surely did.  Here are a few reasons:
  • Children's Ministries....whether it be VBS, Fall Festival, or this week's Christmas Program, children bring adults into a special kind of unified goal; do a good job.
  • Local Works....whether the teens are conducting Work Camp or adults are unloading and packaging food for Mary's Pantry, we have members applying their faith through works...side by side.
  • Celebrations....Shane Coffman is key in this for Memorial.  The worship leader is such for you.  We don't assemble to put in our time but to celebrate the glory of God.  Last night we had our church Christmas Party.  The food, the preparation, the dressing up, the entertainment (?) and the mood were all a sampling of a church which enjoys being together.
But here's what I appreciate most about God's deliverance of cohesion among us.  In all of these events one will find non-members sitting among us simply enjoying life with us.  We have yet-to-be believers serving at the Food Pantry.  We have the same participating in some way in the entertainment.  We are building a growing family.

Cohesion is a significant matter....evidently the Three felt the same....Gen. 1:26, Rom. 8:9-11.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Regarding my Friday morning post on The Favor of Doubt, this comment was left:

For the first time I find myself disagreeing with you. Perhaps I missed your thought, but what stood out was "doubt your whole faith system." Jesus said, "if you have faith and do not doubt" Mt. 21:21. I think we get stuck on traditions and our church formats and rituals and confuse that for "our faith." If you meant those things are what we should doubt, then I agree. But I basically think Seth Godin's statement is incorrect. Having been an entrepreneur, I acted in great confidence--not in doubt, or I wouldn't have taken the first step, nor do I believe others would.

John P. Brown

I started to comment in the "comments" of that post in response to John.  But I didn't want his note to be lost in the comment graveyard and go without notice.

I love his response.  I want you to see it.  Here's one who graciously....doubted me.  What?  Me?  Absolutely.

John's points are fair.  His quote of Jesus is undeniable.  My post needed a bit of clarification. 

Indeed I was intending for us to doubt our faith system where the tradition of men, which crept in as Truth, might be flushed out.  Yet, John is correct.  Jesus was frustrated over lack of faith due to the presence of doubt.

But my main main point is to let you see that all of us have room to be questioned; certainly me.  And we should learn that such is perfectly all right.  God is right always.  We are on occasion.  So don't be surprised that anyone would question you.  Rather be thankful when they do it in the spirit John P. Brown did.

So, John P. Brown, if we ever meet (due to my appreciation for your kindness), I will let you buy me lunch!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Be encouraged about your work for God.  It is pregnant with hope.  Do not despair.  He has you and your needs in His sight.

I do believe His work is held up by us and not by His reluctance.  You know I don't understand Father's timetables nor do I come close to understanding His responses to our prayers.  But Jesus did say that matters of importance did not happen for some disciples because of weak faith.

In an age where we don't want to accept responsibility, we try to explain away---sometimes---why kingdom matters haven't developed.  Seldom do we admit we failed to believe God can.

Is the hold-up of progress coming from our side?  I think it surely must.  What happens when we engage in a God-project?  Immediate reason to be discouraged.  Some believe by enduring while others bail on the issue. 

We are a weak-faithed sort.  Not all and not always, understand.  But in general we tend to operate by "faith" according to our mood or reading of a situation more than according to the promises of God.  We are too careful to not blame God; so we blame and elder or a preacher or a teacher or a song leader or....when the real issue is God can't find one person in that church to believe.

So awaken to the wonder of it all.  When rugged terrain imposes itself upon your faith walk, I cheer you on to believe in God deeper, higher, wider, and farther.  Don't back up nor down.  Push.  Push.  Give birth to a new work in an old congregation by daring to believe---God needs one person to dare---that God can do the impossible. 

God can.  We can't; yet our calling is to believe He can.  That's the magic of ministry.  This is the fun of faith.  We need never give up!  You are connected to the Amazing God.  Believe like it!


Larry Wishard sent me a quote of Seth Godin.  Take a look.

Living with doubt
... is almost always more profitable than living with certainty.

People don't like doubt, so they pay money and give up opportunities to avoid it. Entrepreneurship is largely about living with doubt, as is creating just about any sort of art.

If you need reassurance, you're giving up quite a bit to get it.

On the other hand, if you can get in the habit of seeking out uncertainty, you'll have developed a great instinct.

There is healthy room for us to doubt ourselves.....and believe in God.  Independence (self-dependence) leaves one frozen in fear that we will mistakenly step.  Dependence (God-dependence) thrusts us into the true arena of belief where we can relax (Ps. 46:10) knowing He is God and we are not.

The church economy is in dire straights when living without the room to be wrong.  Doubt gives the church lungs room to breathe as true newborns.  Without knowing it, we have smothered much of our own potential by being fed perpetual "right" phraseology; We do church right, we have the right doctrine, and we are the church that is....right.  When these lines pelt the heart in repeated fashion one will begin to withdraw from risk.

We must learn to discern when to doubt ourselves in order to learn to not doubt God.  When this happens our verbiage takes a faith shift to, He does church right, He has the right doctrine, and He builds the church that is right.  By our leaps of faith, struggle, and doubt, it is our goal to partake of His wonderful Life!

Our Father is full of untapped Life.  There is gold in them thar hills!  Pharisaical rigidity has arrested the church and these rarely come out of their cells (shells); but only to be fed.  On the other hand, when a disciple can learn to doubt him or herself a new world of faith will open. 

We will forever learn.  Do you think heaven will be a place of only what we know?  How un-Life.  It will be eternity just to get over the first day of AWE!  So be it while we walk on earth.  Do yourself a favor.  Doubt your whole faith system and give God room to feed you what He may have been wanting to say for a long time.

The Truth will always be there.  Openness to it will always be our challenge.

Thursday, December 09, 2010


What is a person to do when life's billows want to bellow?

How much more roaring can some take?  Health.  Economy.  Relationships.  Don't they ever feel the need to talk with their "inside" voices instead of screaming?  Such clamor may not be a 24/7 things, but there is admittedly a lot of stress borne by each of us.

How do we weather these storms?  The good news is that there are ways.  For one, such moments are powerful times to exert our faith muscles.  We choose not to believe that these crises are the final statement.  We will operate from our possibility reserve. 

We recall the resurrection is a daily reality.  We possess resurrection power.  Now this is the point too many quit....they shut down in life.  Big mistake.  Dark times are simply those times of the grave.  Light, though, resounds from the resurrection potency of a believer. 

Paul and Silas did it in prison.  Praying disciples did it for Peter also in prison.  Jesus did it for the lame as well as the blind.  And then there was that time it was "growing dark" and 5000 wanted to eat.  Remember?

What are these stories to illustrate if not that overwhelming storms can be weathered? 

Eighteen years ago our family began a walk in a horrific storm.  Wendy's fiance and his brother were murdered.  By the time I got to the murder scene, my daughter had no appearance of blood in her body.  She was so pale she appeared embalmed.  It was a startling and stunning night of pure horror.

What a time for Jesus.  What a time to learn more about his ways.  What a time to learn to pray in thanksgiving when all indicators were the storm may not be over.  A picture of Bobby and Wendy was found on the stairway which indicated the murderer(s) knew her as well.  The police informed us of their concern. 

During the following days a squirrel happened to break into our attic.  It had the same sound as possibly a person up there...we couldn't tell.  We were given strict orders to call the police at the slightest unusuality.  We called 911 explaining we just couldn't tell if it was a person, an animal, or the wind.  Squad cars, dogs, and a helicopter soon surrounded our home. 

It was a living nightmare as media camped out in our living room and police patrolled our street.  A guard dog was brought in to live with us.  It made us sick.

But God.  God was remarkable.  He showed up.  He shared His promises of peace. 

I know you hurt over a few things; some of you many things.  I believe your evaluation.  Do what you can to direct your attention to His resurrection power embedded within.  It is there for a purpose.  We have every reason to rise up in victory; not lie down in defeat.

Bless you as you sort through the darkness of confusion and disorientation.  I've been there.  Our Father was there long before we came into existence.  Trust Him when you can't trust your own judgment in settings too rugged.  You can weather the storms as He gives each resurrection power.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Here are a few of the classes for church leadership:

Kevin Skidmore......For the Mission-Minded Only: How to Peg Proper Focus

Shane Coffman/Gary Bruce.....For Worship Leaders Only:

Will Spoon and Friends: For Children's Ministries Only: How to Enhance a Vital Work Pt.1

Kevin Skidmore.....For the Mission-Minded Only: How To Keep the Soul Winning Fires Burning!

Don McLaughlin/Al Maxey: For Preachers Only: How to Move Deeper Into the Word

Rick Atchley/Terry Rush: For Preachers Only: Lessons We've Learned (and Some We Are Still Learning)
Will Spoon and Friends: For Children's Ministries Only: How to Enhance a Vital Work Pt.2

Memorial Drive Elders: For Elders Only: How to be Shepherds and Like It  Pt. 1
Memorial Drive Elders:  For Elders Only: How to be Shepherds and Like It  Pt. 2


Tuesday, December 07, 2010


It seems anything of power leaves us enchanted all over again; regardless of how many times we have experienced its presence.  Looking at the ocean does this to me.  I am as fascinated at 63 years old as when I first saw it.  For some such a re-thrill may be at a sunset (or rise), the sight of a waterfall, or the sheer goose-bump of a newborn viewing. 

I find this same sensation pondering the Word of God.  It has remarkable strength and surreal beauty.  When we are students of this Dynamic, we are engaging once again in perpetual wonder.  The Bible has that ability to stun and even resurrect moods as well as potential of the weakest man.  Wow!  It is perpetual wonder.

We dare not observe this volcano of Life with indifference; certainly not with boring routine.  Hearts which yearn in perpetual wonder for God-moves find that mining the revered pages will always produce a strike-it-rich haul.

The perpetual of wonder in calling, praying, reading, waiting, and God-timing are all absolute overjoy for the hearts of men and women.  Who can contain the awe of it all?  Isaiah was ruined when he saw God.  The church was so struck upon its inauguration the Word says "it kept feeling the sense of awe".

  • Feeling....emotion
  • Sense......sensational
  • Awe........indescribable emotion and sensation
  • Kept.......perpetual wonder of emotions and sensations which never could be described; they could only be believed and experienced.
That' I want to live in the church.'s how I do live in the church!

Monday, December 06, 2010


I think earth-life has some very difficult days ahead.  I'm no prophet.  However, I sense we need to prepare for some intensely confusing and disorienting times. 

We will do well to be bound to the Book; not our whimsical moody doctrines, but the authentic life-meaning and life-giving ones.

Our biases against others will gradually be chiseled to one war: belief in Jesus or not.

Our hopes will pervade the landscape because of a famous empty grave.  Our dispositions probably will be challenged; yet our confidence will prove to rely upon His Spirit and not our own.

We are believers for doubtful times.  We have the tools to win---whether life or death or somewhere in between.

Jesus is the Savior and we intend to be  Do not lose heart.  Light and momentary affliction merely causes productivity in the secret and invisible kingdom.  We shall not grow old in our ways; but newer today than yesterday and far newer when tomorrow gets here.

Rough days are ahead....unless we slay such days with the love of our Lord.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


For all of us responsible for pulling off much of the day's plans, let us not forget that God runs the show and a good show He can put on.  Whether it be preaching or praying or participating or planning, God is the main one through His Son Jesus.

Go into your day full spirit ahead.  Be ready to give it your all.  Yet, keep it close to your heart that you and your performance isn't close to the main thing.  Full and exaggerated Life in Jesus is the big deal.

Work today...and believe today...with the main thing being the main thing.  You and me?  We aren't it.  Glory and praise be to God because Jesus is!

Friday, December 03, 2010


In 36 years of ministry I have done 127 weddings.  Other than my three kids, two stand out with special note.

A few years ago a homeless couple stopped in.  They wanted to get married, needed a minister, and wanted to know if I could do their wedding for $10.  I told them I could....but I could only do it for $40.  They looked naturally saddened.  I expected such a reaction.  And then I said, I can't do your wedding if you pay me $10....but I can do your wedding if I pay you $40.  Their smiles were priceless!

Today I did a small wedding for a couple of similar circumstances; but not quite that drastic.  They were of extremely humble means.  Her mother and his father came as witnesses.  It was a special meeting in my office.

I cheered them on with simple words of encouragement from God's word and from my heart.  At the conclusion I gave them a $20 bill for letting me do their wedding.  They could hardly believe it.  The life in their eyes made it worth it. 

I don't usually pay the couples to let me marry them.  But the ones I have are two of my favorites!

Thursday, December 02, 2010


I believe a great secret of God often escapes us for we spend our time trying to escape it.  I speak of pain.

Regarded as a liability, pain is a wonderful kingdom asset.  Becomers are robust when found to have a history of affliction.  Look at Beth Moore; abused in her younger years.  How's she doing as far as influence goes today?  Blessed are the pained.

Liz Pence; the same as Beth to the extent of pondering suicide.  Yet, consider her vast impact across America.  Blessed are the pained.

Joe Almanza, whose family owned the Mexican mafia, was in a Texas prison when he finally called out to God from his cell late one night in suicidal mode.  Who could possibly count the souls reach by this man who cannot be stopped for God's glory drives him day in and day out?

Each of these is extensively productive in the Kingdom today because of the gift of the great God-secret; blessed are the pained.

I'm driven to excel in seeing the church lives because of a major struggle in my childhood.  I couldn't bear to attend church because it seemed to have no life.  Church is the last place I thought I would spend significant time!  Blessed are the pained.

For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...II Cor. 4:17.  In other words....blessed are the pained.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


  • In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White.  A very roughly languaged but an intensely honest true story about a young man imprisoned only to find his stay shared by a leper colony.  What he discovered is what you I would also find if we could humble ourselves by the suffering nature of Jesus.
  • What Good Is God? by Philip Yancey.  In typical Yanceyesque style, this book is riddled with extensive real-life research to find the movement of God in places other than typical church buildings.
  • The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen.  A classic which will tie your heart to the One who did heart things best.
  • Experiencing God by Blackaby and King.  Still....after two decades in print....if you want to find a starter-book to bring new life to a congregation, begin a class study with this one.  I don't know of a group which hasn't been wonderfully impacted by this study.
  • The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander.  This secular work gives even the religious a few hints at opening our minds.  And, wouldn't that bless a bunch of people?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


March 23-26, Wednesday night through Saturday at 5:00 p.m., are the dates for the Tulsa Workshop!  Get ready.  Let the Chains Fall Away will offer the usual challenges, excitements, and hopes.  This will be a powerful time of renewal for great-hearted leaders who give it their all 24/7 fifty-two weeks of the year.

Walling and Harris and Pence and Phillips and Mr. McGuiggan, and Atchley and Maxey and....on goes the list of speakers for this most inspiring four days.

In addition to the usual keynotes and general class presentations, we have added specialty classes targeting specific ministries:
  • For Worship Leaders Only
  • For Elders Only
  • For Preachers Only
  • For Children's Ministries Only
  • For Outreach Only
With so much great opportunity to soak in presentations and booths and fellowship, we will provide these "only" sessions to address some of the matters which would give such a leadership a boost back home.

Mark your calendars---March 23-26.  You won't want to miss this one!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Patch is my dog.  He was found abandoned in a ditch east of Tulsa two years ago as a newborn.  Now he lives in my back yard.  Patch is quite social....and funny.

While Mary and I were at Dusty's over Thanksgiving, Patch got out twice.  He hadn't been out...ever.  Our neighbor Jenny called as she found the dog out.  I told her to put him back.

Later on Thanksgiving Day I received a call from another (new) neighbor who didn't know us.  She had Patch at her house.  I called to tell her when we would be home. 

I rang the doorbell and a nice man in his mid-30s answered.  Hi, I'm Patch's dad.  Patch and their dog were at his heels to see who was visiting....tails a-wagging!  Both dogs and the man came outside and I thanked him.  He stopped and yelled at his four and six year old boys to come say goodbye to Patch.  They were sad. 

Patch found this family on a walk Thursday afternoon and tagged along.  He was proud as punch, I'm sure, to go somewhere with the neighbors!

Later in the afternoon, I took one of my MVP books by as a gift of appreciation.  The wife was home and she seemed quite pleased to receive the book.  Too, she invited Patch to stay with them when we leave town again. 

What will come of all this?  Possibly a door opened for kingdom value.  My Patch....he is an evangelist....simply by running away.  It is all so natural.


A note came to a few of us from a dear friend who had been hurt by another.  A struggle ensued of frustration, disappointment, and even retreat.  His words called for help; and help we must and can.  So what would you say? 

I share my note back simply for the purpose that you may find similar times where you are called to minister to one hurting over sinful deeds coming in their direction.  If the following words help....then good.


I read your words with the pain intended. While I am sorry for your struggle; yet I am proud of you in it. You are a good man.

Here’s how I get through this kind of thing…for it is very much a part of our walk; intentionally so. I would direct you to II Pet. 2:21-25….read about Jesus dying from the cross to save us….and then (since it was written that we catch our purpose)….read it again by putting your name everywhere Jesus name goes and putting the offender’s name everywhere our name first went. You will discover, again, the cross is for such a time as this. Jesus healed us and we, in turn, heal others….both healings take place from the cross. The world of sinners cannot get well without the perpetual dying on the cross by those indwelled by Jesus.

Rejection and offense are the style of the cross and it is at that point we tend to want to abandon. Don’t. Rather do the impossible as did Jesus….forgive. Don’t just forgive and forget….but by your forgiving you make the offender well. He/she cannot get well until a savior (us following in his steps) releases others of their shameful error.

You are a hero to me, my friend. It means a lot to me you would reach to us.

Blessings and love to a very good man,


Sunday, November 28, 2010


Lately I have had a bit of trouble with my garb.  I've lost 20 pounds so I'm in the process of having my shirts and pants altered.  Last week I decided to wear to church a pair of pants yet to be adjusted.  I was miserable and expressed such to the congregation.  I felt like I was wearing curtains; the pants were so big.


Well, I thought I had it all lined out.  I chose a pair of slacks I particularly like; sort of a gray and black tweed.  With my white shirt, tie, and blue blazer....well I look pretty sharp!

I came into the office and sat down at my computer.  It was then I noticed I had a patch of white frosting on my pants.  Odd, I thought, I had toast for breakfast. 

It was not frosting, folks.  It was a large hole where the moths had held a barbeque.  Do I change or not change?  No...I'll wear them anyway.  And then I had a sufficient idea!  Why not take a black pen and dot the white spot to fit into the pattern.  Wa-la!  Looks good for a bad situation.

Magic markers....really are magic!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


To begin, the above title is far too skimpy.  The truer title needs to be, Why Would Anyone Want to be a Preacher or a Youth Minister or an Outreach Minister or a Children's Minister or an Involvement Minister or a Missionary; Full-Time or Part-Time?....But I felt the Title Bar wouldn't hold so many words!

The fundamental question is why would anyone subject themselves to full-time or part-time roles in the church.  The answer is simple; it's the greatest, most exciting, most challenging work on earth!  That's why!

I passed through our huge complex of a snaggled building early this morning to check on progress of the Christmas decor of the auditorium.  I love December, Christmas, and our team that decorates our place.

As I was meandering along I had that surge of gratitude strike once again of "I actually get to be here and do this."  I live a dream which has come super-true. 

Upon reflection I realized a part of this walk which may need to serve as a reminder for some.  I regretfully wonder how many don't get to live their super-true dreams because they gave up far too soon.  There is something to be said about the value of challenge and endurance.

Therefore for any who are about to toss in the towel after wiping your hands of one frustration after another, I tell you two things:
  1. I don't blame you.  This isn't easy.  Yet it is the Enemy who targets us for quitability.
  2. Don't give up.  I will testify that I spent far too many days not knowing up from down....but each was important to break me of me. 
  3. (I know I said two things, but it's my blog and I've changed my mind.)  In case you wonder what it is like in my shoes, here is the bottom line; I am the most nothing anyone could possibly be.
What does this say to you?
  1. God can and will use anyone who is willing to try and fail and try some more.
  2. Working in and with the church is a dream job.
  3. Don't give up.  God does some of His most fantastic work when the armies and mountains have us cornered and the sea has us blocked in.
Are you thinking of becoming a full-time or part-time employee of the church?  Think again....and again and again.  And then...........DO IT!  You'll never hurt so much over a work so wonderful for a fruit so eternal.

Why would anyone want to be a preacher?  Well, I think it would be because some covet the over-joy of being crazy about life!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I have noticed something significicant; sort of a benchmark realization.  The more I don't understand how things work or work out, the more alive I seem to feel; the more exciting life seems to be. 

In my early years I guess I thought I would eventually corner comprehension as well as a good bit of understanding.  Not.  The more clueless I seem to become about most things, the more I seem to be content with God's unexplainable mystery.

Go figure. I've made life way too difficult.  I have learned over time to enjoy the simple now.

For instance.  Did you notice I misspelled observation in the title?  Just wanted to for the fun of seeing if you caught it (and how did you like signficicant)!

Anyway...I like right now!  Happy Thanksgiving!


All through my years of ministry it is not unusual to find a few here and there who esteem themselves a few spiritual steps above the rest of us.  Ah, one might find me there on occasion.  Either way, it isn't a good thing.

In the bus ministry there were a handful who felt more devoted than the rest.  They operated from constant criticism of the workers, the church leaders, and basically Christianity in its present form.  Too, there were those who gathered in large conventions to discuss our discipleship failings....and their successes.  Even today the exasperation of the church not being radical enough finds some pulling away for we are not good enough for their assumed faithful prowess.

A thread of clear irony runs through all of these moods.  Dissatisfaction.  Unhappiness.  And eventually, if not immediately, far less fruit than those they criticize and abhor for their perceived lack of godly devotion. 

I enjoy some of the things which accompanies discipleship as is also found in radicalism.  Yet, Jesus is the maintained way for all who hover over truth.  His fruit in spirit form is love, kindness, patience, etc.  Irritation, frustration, and impatience are not a mark of commitment to the true gospel.  It is the signal of the opposite.

I hear complaint of us not being in the community.  That's odd.  When I'm at the public school or in the businesses working into neighbors' lives or at the emergency room of a non-Christian or doing a funeral for such....I don't seem to ever run into the radicals who want us to be serving more like Jesus.  Why is that?

Why are these who feel more devoted to the Master smiling less, cooperating less, and bearing fruit less?  Could it be that all of us have to take our turns at eating crow?  I surely have.  I've been a religious idiot in the past over my self-nobility.  What's scary is a fear such days aren't over.

There's a lot of spiritual talk.  Oddly, there is an abundance of Holy Spirit fruit.  Usually the latter doesn't proceed from the former.  Granted, we all have much room for improvement.  The code in such a statement is found in "all".  I know of no one who has arrived.  We really could use the support for one another.  No one is exempt. 

May we strive to develop hearts of compassion for the world and for each of us who try to serve Him from the avenue of weak and sorry as some may believe it to be.


My daily calendar has this quote today from Martin Luther; Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.

There seems to be a growing theme among us: daily.

Those freed from Egyptian slavery were to receive manna day after day.  There is a reason.
Jesus taught the disciples to pray for daily bread.  There is a reason
Paul wrote that we are to be renewed day by day.  There is a reason.

Because man tends to shot-gun his telescope, he seldom works from right now.  Right now--today--hardly has a chance for recognition unless it is a birthday or a holiday.  We live with looks past now to the future.  When this pattern completely develops we may well miss the daily relationship and provision Father wishes for us.

Yes, Thursday will be a super-special and important day of family celebration.  But lest we miss it, may we celebrate the wonders of right now.  And if the world should go to pieces tomorrow, at least we had a good time planting apple trees of love and hope and awe today!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I saw this quote yesterday.  It sums up my approach to preaching and teaching.  If it would help you....then awesome!

OVER PREPARE----then go with the flow.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


At breakfast this morning I began to ponder two hero brothers of mine.  They just occurred to me and I wasn't trying to match them or compare them against one another.  I was simply reminiscing how I so love both of them....still.

The first was Curt Flood.  Curt, an African-American, was a sensational center fielder of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals.  At age 11 I began imitating the best of my ability (which was always lacking).  Through my baseball ministry, Curt and I became exceptionally close friends. 

His mother already had six children and she "honorarily" adopted me.  Our phone conversations always began by her saying in that smoky voice, baby boy; for I was now the youngest of her seven children!

I flew to Oakland to meet her.  I rang the bell and the door opened.  There she stood.  She looked me over from head to toe and studied me a bit before she spoke.  Suddenly she threw her arms opened and declared for neighbors to hear, baby boy!  I always WANTED a little white boy!

When Laura Flood died, one of my new sisters called from Oakland and said, Terry, momma passed.  Can you come?  I did.....spoke at her funeral and rode in the funeral home's family car with my six African-American brothers and sisters.  I had been adopted.

Last year I learned the whereabouts of one of Curt's daughters.  I called her home in LA.  When she answered, I told her my name.  There was a very long pause then with great excitement Shelley blurted, Uncle Terry? 

I will never reach the skill level of Curt; but it means so much to me that he claimed me as his little brother. 

The second of my hero brothers is Jesus.  I find myself thinking about him as I do Curt; often in the same thought framework.  I dream of interacting with society after his pattern.  Jesus was sensational on the streets where people hurt and in the quiet of gardens where he dealt with his own agony.  I mostly love trying to imitate how it was he would notice the slightest drop of hope within every down-and-out person.  No one could move in on the heart of the unsuspecting like Jesus.

While his family was already pretty good sized, his father adopted me.  In this case, it wasn't honorary but truly authentic.  As hard as I try to emulate this hero-brother I never get close to being of the same talent.  He remains to me the epitome of wonder and grace.  Oh, if I could become half as non-judgmental and non-condemning to the sinners as he.  I will forever strive from my child-heart to reach to the level of his relationship artistry.  I'll never get there; yet he will openly claim me as little brother.

As I was contemplating these two special hero-brothers, it dawned on me that one of the things lacking in the church may be that Jesus simply isn't regarded as heroic.  Is he more legal or official or expected to be named?  We love heroes.  We don't necessarily love names associated with rules and regulations....but we adoringly love heroes.

Elvis?  John F?  Oprah?  Madonna?  Michael J?  Oh, how these and others are worshipped along the way...for they remain heroes to some.  But Jesus?  I think it time we evaluate whether he is a hero to our hearts or merely legal representation to escape punishment after death.

Curt Flood and Jesus---Curt would never have guessed one was so like the other---both have so much in common.  They will always be my brother heroes.

Friday, November 19, 2010


What about God?

Don't you get it?  I write as if I know stuff.  I don't.  I love God and you.  Therefore, I say stuff.

As I first drive through the Tulsa streets early each morning, I pray for many things expressing thanksgiving and seeking vision.  I talk with Him in apology for so many of us ripping up and down the highways without a thought toward Him.  I pray for those at the bus stops and others at the gas stations, telling God I hope they acknowledge His presence and provision today.

I hope God is blessed by His creation.  Do you ever wonder if the trees, oceans, and mountain ranges give Him more praise than humans?  Do we who believe in Him do a sufficient job of communicating to God our depth and width and height and breadth of complete awe over him?  Do we do these things or do we recite grocery lists of needs and "please be withs"?

I must grow in worshipping God instead of seeing that I do worship right.  One goal is actually God while the other could become merely form.

In all of my writings and reachings and wantings and needings, I simply must be careful to carry a fire for the indescribable God and His over-arching love which is truly yearned for from every day. 

May we be about God.  May we promote God.  May we visibly get the privilege of laying our eyes upon His beauty.


To a post a couple of days ago, Vasca left the following comment:

Hey Terry...serve 'em cookies, brownies or something sweet. We had a city crew working on our street so one morning I made brownies and served all of them.

Just sowing seeds for their next encounter with Him.

Well.....I hadn't thought of that.  So I rush-ed (pun intended---one should not Tarry) out and bought breakfast rolls early yesterday morning.  I told the crew that I felt the work the day before appeared lacking (joking) and that these guys needed a boost.  They heartily agreed! 

Vasca's idea was magic.  For the remainder of the day they volleyed jokes to me or showed me autographs of OU players, etc.  The banter was kingdomly significant.

Thanks, Vasca, for suggesting such a simple way to their hearts that I had overlooked.  I'm on my way back this morning for more rolls to let these men know I am most appreciative of their work.  Down the road, should God want me personally involved in their lives, He/they will let me know. 

Plant the seed and throw the rolls!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Although I do feel new day after day, I have the good fortune of having been around the block a couple of times regarding church leadership.  I've worked with approximately 20 elders where I've served and as many staff personnel; if not more.  There have been those exciting ups and then there have been those productive downs; all have been kingdom tools.

I notice a trait among these.  It isn't a rule or a law, mind you.  It just seems noticeably consistent.  It takes ten years for preachers or elders to begin to fit in their own skin.  Or, should I say for Jesus to fit into our skin?  I think it takes a man ten good years to bump into enough interruptive walls to begin to groom the blend of faith in Jesus and courage for the task.

During those ten years we are more like interns.  This process sands off our harshness and judgmental nature and then sharpens our hearts for shepherding/preaching tasks at hands.

Honestly, it took me a bit longer....20 years.  I never will arrive, so please don't read this post as such.  I am forever resigned to be a clueless kindergartner.  Still, we do learn and we do grow.

Whether my view is accurate is up for the guessers and the estimationers.  My point is that churches hiring preachers and congregations adding elders might do well to anticipate at least a decade of "fighting in the sand box" style of leadership.  All is unintentional, of course, but such may take place because we are very, very fallen men. 

We want to lead, desire to lead, and are up to the challenge to lead.  But the truth remains, leadership is developed in the trenches of heart-break-and-ache.  Flushing out the anger and the disorientation takes time---ditch time.

The solution?  Patience with us all...especially toward those as me who are slower than the rest.

What does it take to develop an elder or a preacher?  About 10 years.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I'm having a new driveway poured at my house.  Mary has an eight year old Ford and I have a six year old Chevy and I say, hey, why not have a sweet driveway for both to pass over!

So a crew, all strangers to me, came in this morning at 8:00 with huge trucks and loaders and re-bar and 2x4s.  How fun!  I love construction.

Without flinching, I did my reaching out because it is way on my mind and is most natural.  I spoke mainly with the owner of the company.  My words were intentionally headed for his spirit.  He appeared to be rather crusty toward spiritual matters; but oft that might not be the case.  Nevertheless, I simply did what I've watched Jesus do over the years; show interest on purpose. 

I talked with him about him.  I complimented him on his artistry.  He seemed pleased and very open to visit about why his work meant so much to him.  I learned he had been ill and inquired about his concern.

All I did was plant and water for who knows what he might need from God in three years or twelve.  I am making sure of this over the next three days he'll be at my house; I want him to know he met a Christian who had time to be interested in him. 

Don't you love how Jesus did that at the well....and then that time he looked up into the tree?  Ah...people.  Wherever people are potential is.  Remember it.


If Henri Nouwen wrote it, I want to read it.  This author continually reshapes my heart for God.  If you want to know a good book to get a dear one for Christmas, I highly recommend The Wounded Healer.

Addressing the complexities of man, Nouwen wrote, His goal is not a better man, but a new man, a man who relates to himself and his world in ways which are still unexplored but which belong to his hidden potentials.  That line speaks to my heart!!!!!!!!!!

Not until this morning did the sentence strike me as an ah-ha moment.  My spirit enjoys much of the Restoration Movement; yet our brotherhood's devotion to it seems misplaced.  We have not been called to restore the church.  We have been called by the Restorer so He could build the church.  There can be a difference.

One of those differences is the hunger many of us have to know what hasn't been discovered; to walk where no one thought to walk.  We are not expected to be a part of a Restoration Movement; but an Exploration Movement.  Our inability to make this very slight adjustment could be the link which polarizes much of the Church of Christ.

I love the idea of learning.  Yes, we surely do learn from history; especially biblical history.  Yet, His comment on the plow---looking back---should motivate us to explore (looking forward) over restore (looking back).

Because the Restoration Movement is not an actual Bible term, I believe there is room to ponder what we might become---at least as much---instead of devoting ourselves to studying what we've been.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Twenty years ago I happened upon a flea market treasure that called my name.  It was a very old baseball bat that seemed to have the aura of heroics plus sentiment.  Who could deny its $7 price tag as it was tucked upon the table with other "valuable stuff" just waiting---as in a puppy shelter---to be picked by a new owner.

Well....I gladly volunteered and took the keepsake home.

I felt sure that Old Mr. Bat had great value.  Even with its crack durably taped and its proud nicks and dings, I thought I had found the $7 bargain that evidently all other shoppers didn't see.  Hurray me....I was secure in my delight.

I sent pictures, measurements, and descriptions off to two viable appraisers in Chicago and Dallas.  They both were quick to offer their professional opinions; worthless.  But I loved and believed in my find. 

I moved the bat from one side of the garage to another for two decades.  In June I contacted experts in Pennsylvania with pictures, etc.  They were quick to agree with the first two estimates; but said I could send it on for detailed lab evaluation.  So I packed Old Mr. Bat and sent him out East.

No word.

In October I contacted the appraisers to tell them I never heard back from their evaluation.  Did we not tell you??!!!????!!  We were able to detect cleat and baseball stitch marks embedded into the barrel as well as date the tape...and of course the bat logo.  It is a Major League game-used bat by a Hall of Famer; Travis Jackson about 1929.  The estimated worth is between $1500 and $2500 dollars!  Our minimum bid---because it IS an auction---is $500.

Saturday Old Mr. Bat sold for $650.

So here's what we learn.  People are like Old Mr. Bat; dinged, cracked, taped, and marred.  Some are considered by multiple--dare we say professional?--estimates as worthless.  Refuse to believe it!  God has already declared them valuable and placed His bid from the cross!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Struggles in life are not what shut us down.  Horrible circumstances do not strand us.  Our assumption we can maneuver through them on our own talent, knowledge, and steam does. 

May we increase in our trust in Him as we decrease in our own efforts to get through it all.

Friday, November 12, 2010


For those who teach and preach, I share a personal struggle with the assignment.  The past two Sundays have been painful for me.  I think I need to say so for those who feel it is only you who have such experiences.

I love preaching.  A good shift came when I evaluated my topics a couple of decades back.  Self-appraisal is challenging as it would not be unusual to be biasedly critical or benevolently lenient.  However, I took a look at my topic and my demeanor and concluded two things about my preaching:
  1. If I were a member of this church I would be afraid to invite a visitor for what tirade they might encounter.
  2. What the church was hearing could not be classified as Good News which is the assumed message of Gospel.
My intent every sermon is to now reach for two things:
  1. A message continually relying upon the Bible.
  2. Hope and hope and even more hope.
However, the last two Sundays I have struggled with my delivery.  I could not get comfortable with me.  This is important to share because, once again, I had to believe while I was fighting myself during the delivery, that the Word of God was/is sufficiently powerful if I will just continue to expose it. 

Strangely (and I feel certain you know what I mean), those times I feel inadequate seem to draw the strongest and most genuine responses of gratitude.  Go figure.

I want you to know this because you are quite capable of believing you alone live in this dungeon.  Not true.  You have company!  We are never professionals at this work.  We are called.  Those called will always find it true; we must perpetually decrease that He might increase.  The more we feel inadequate the stronger He seems to be present....II Cor. 3:4-5.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This clearly isn't a pleasant topic.  It saddens me to know of the conversations over the years with men who greatly feared being fired.  In addition, discussions with those who have been dismissed is most strenuous.  I specifically address the fear due to what is/was preached.

I lived in such fear on many Sundays in my earlier days at Memorial.  I once called my friend Jeff Brown asking if he would visit our congregation the next day (Sunday) as I felt sure they would fire me.  Indeed, a meeting was subsequently held seeking my dismissal.

As cowardly and insecure as I was, to preach strong ideas in the face of powerful opposition is intimidating and threatening.  I would often gather my family on a Saturday evening and apologize for I felt I would be fired the next day. 

But I trusted God.  I honestly did not assume I had a great grasp on truth nor did I have superior insight to the Scriptures.  I simply could see that the law was killing us as there was no Holy Spirit allowed.  A big challenge came when I quit preaching brotherhood issues and began preaching Christ.  This may sound strange but the subject of Jesus is very different from marriage and divorce, five-steps to worship, and the Spirit of God works through the Word only.

I want to say to you men who fear being fired that I am deeply concerned for you.  I am clueless enough about my own work.  My huge and magnified flaws leave me little room for giving advice.  Yet, because I have been in your shoes and may be so again one day, I would urge you where you can and when you can to simply trust God to work things out. 

He will not abandon us.  He will let us die on the cross; but He will not do so in vain.  Keep preaching the truth the best you see it and let the Spirit of God make adjustments in the congregation as He may have wished to do for a long time.

I write not from authority.  I do so from love for you and your congregation.  God's ways may feel so backward at some of the worst moments in ministry....and He will be right on target every time.

Blessings....and I mean it.


The first thing I do when I open my eyes and realize I'm me is to thank God.  The first thing I do when I start my drive down the street at 6:30 a.m. is to tell God how thankful I am for Him.  The last thing I do when my head hits the pillow is to tell God Thank You!

When I stand in the shower I think of those imprisoned in the noon-day heat in third-world countries' prison camps......and I can't help but feel thankful.

I think a profound Christian trait which goes unnoticed as doctrine among us is that of thankfulness.  I don't think God was kidding; He expects it of us and yet believers (of all people on earth) deny it.  We are moody with it.  Yet, we are to be thankful in all things; in all circumstances.

Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS; again I will say, rejoice!  Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but IN EVERYTHING by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known.

For some reason a brotherhood of debate and defend has yet to pick up on this doctrine which is most crucial among us if we are going to offer light to the world.

So?  Be thankful.
  1. Be thankful for food.  Not what you will have to eat tonight but the fact you will have food tonight.
  2. Be thankful for pain.  Not that you enjoy the toothache but that you are aware you are not a leper who can feel no pain at all.
  3. Be thankful for boredom.  Not that you want to stay there but that you don't own an iron lung.
  4. Be thankful for bad news.  Not that you thrive on it but that you do have ears to hear.
  5. Be thankful your feet ache from standing at work too long.  Not that you would wish this but that you aren't living from a wheelchair.
  6. Be thankful for grouchy bosses.  Not that a kind one wouldn't do but so many have no employment.
  7. Be thankful for bad days.  Not that you desire a series of them but that your good ones will so shine.
  8. Be thankful that you lack.  Not that you wouldn't want to grow in knowledge and talent but that you need so many friends around you to complete you.
  9. Be thankful that you.....(you fill in the blank).
Almost two decades ago Mary, Wendy, and I returned from the sickening murder scene.  I was rocked.  The only thing I knew to do, after getting to bed at 2:30 a.m. and up at 6:00 for I couldn't sleep, was to come into my office, get on my knees, and tell God thank you for everything that had gone right.

Oh how some of our brethren with big voices, prominent stages, and printing presses live to hurl divisive comments about pertinent doctrines.  But few there are who dare be as rigid about the doctrine of living in thanksgiving. 

Yet it is true, those who live in the gratitude and grace of Jesus surely must display dispositions of thanksgiving at more places than a prayer before a meal. is a major doctrine gone unnoticed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


We have a choice regarding life; whether it runs well or falls off the edge of the mountain.  It is up to us; not Congress, not employment, not health.  It is up to us. 

We are free to receive or reject God's blessings.  We choose.

But first, let me explain by economy I simply reference how we are getting along in life day by day.  Economy is more than finance; it is attitude, perception, and disposition.

We are in complete control.  The good news is we are never dependent on circumstances.  They neither ruin nor rule our day. 

The tool which determines whether our day shall be claimed as a good one or a bad one is simply the tongue.  What we speak is who we are.  Too, it is how our day goes; our life goes.  This is a God-kingdom rule.  Our speech is virtually the rudder to our life-path.  We cannot control most things.  Yet, we can control the one thing which determines our emotional economy....our tongues.

Everyone gets thumped pretty good.  That is both life and reality.  Some, though, function better than others.  The reason is their rudders.  Those who do well guard their speech. 

Should one continually rehearse everything that has and is going wrong, darkness will prevail.  Those who speak of blessings in the center of despair....never despair.

You are free to build your own economy regarding your home, your health, your life.  Aim your rudder for smooth sailing; even in the tempestuous waves.  Not only will everything one day be okay, you'll discover everything is

Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Phil. 4:11

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Do you really think God is going to bring you back to life from the grave?

I think you do.

Then why is it we struggle so much regarding sub-grave issues. 

Has He not promised to do more for us than what he does for birds of the air and lilies of the field?

Therefore, little one, do not be anxious.  You are already predisposed to believe He will extract you from the grave.  Let Him be free to do the same for your daily struggles.

Lord, we know you will be there then.........and we trust You to be here now.

Friday, November 05, 2010


From experience, Christians take two major tests.  I speak of two when God would wish I would get it that there are 200?  2000?  Yet, I address two which are challenges enough.

One is dealing with critics. The other is reaching to the poor.  We cannot hide from these as they are flood lights to our hearts.

Criticism has been my worst nightmare.  I hate it, despise it, wish it would die, and then I really hate it.  But it is most valuable.  Criticism keeps us from exalting ourselves...II Cor. 12:5-9.  Criticism carries little messages which cut us down to true size.  No one in kingdom work can afford to be C-free.  I hate being cut down.  Cut downs kill a person...and that's the intent of God. 

Criticism is spiritual boot camp where you eventually surrender your assumed powers to the One who can get you through life...for you discover your own have no endurance.

And then our attitudes toward the poor are revealing.  This is more than handing out money and developing methods to help the needy.  It is talking with them, sitting with them, loving them.  The poor are in need of much more than dollar bills.  They need another set of eyes to look at them coupled with a set of ears to listen to them.  They are valuable people with important names like Herb or Juanita or Curly or Shelley.

The poor often carry riches for the church which God knows we desperately need.  They may not know our songs nor our formulas for having done church.  We have one young man right now who lies down in the pew during services...usually during my sermon.  (So what's different than those asleep upright?).  Yet, this man is welcomed and it was our shepherds who led the way in saying....Hey, he's not hurting anybody and he thinks he's home among family.

Kingdom life is a matter of the heart.  We need criticism as God irons the wrinkles out of us inch by inch and day by day.  We need to touch the poor with our eyes and our arms. 

These are real big tests.  Courses like these lead us to getting our Master's degree.


Jesus claimed he was the Bread of Life.

Bread....sort of a daily supply.  Jesus is the provision of energy for our rigors from one day to the next.

Henri Nouwen points out an important twist to Jesus, communion bread, and us.  To identify the movements of the Spirit in our lives, I have found it helpful to use four words: taken, blessed, broken, and given.....These words also summarize my life as a Christian because I am called to become bread for the world: bread that is taken, blessed, broken, and given.

When we follow the Bread of Life we take on his traits.  So it is with our walk; taken, blessed, broken, and given.

TAKEN is reflective of one being chosen by God.  We are noticed for our special importance.  If we forget our chosenness, we become filled with inner voices of self-rejection which, in turn, leaves us without original purpose of serving others.  BLESSED affirms the truest part of our goodness.  The world hammers away with strong effort to put us down; yet we move about reflective of God's graceful buried treasure within us.

Everyone we know is BROKEN.  Our brokenness is as unique as our chosenness and our blessedness.  Hearts broken stimulate our search for oneness with others.  By Jesus body being broken, God was able to reach us for the same purpose (through our brokenness) to reach more of us.  Suffering is not one's obstacle to life; but purpose in it.

GIVEN is the grace we express by living for others.  We are TAKEN by the Potter to be constructed with the highest BLESSINGS that when we are BROKEN our true wonder is GIVEN to others.  Jesus is the composite of this truth.  Nouwen wrote, Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom in giving.

So good morning you!  May your walk today leave the aroma of freshly baked bread straight from heaven!  And, you thought you were simply headed out the door to be average.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


The concept of faith still fascinates me.

I want to be around believers for they shake the ordinariness of society.  Herd living tends to moo-ve about with the trends of the day.  This takes no thought; requires no risk.

Believers, though, take what is and see potential and possibility in it.  Abraham saw dead Isaac could return to life.  Boy David could see the timber Goliath fall before the fact.  A stark truth about these and all other faith-leaders is the odds were not only unfavorable; there were no visuals which would lead one to conclude such beyond the assurance of an active God.

This is missing among in an active God.  This is stirring among in an active God.  This is momentum among in an active God.  This is for us....a participating-in-full-partnership God.

When one is awakened by the quake of faith, such will surely see a new movement of God-sized hope for better and larger and more meaningful days!  Legends of biblical portioned faith never deny facts are facts.  Their wonder for us is that simple faith rocked facts---sturdy, concrete undeniable facts---to the extent towers of assumption fell.  Jesus' grave would be one.  Paul and Silas' prison cell would be another while the arresting chains around Peter are yet another. 

Facts of what is will melt when faith awakens to what can be.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Waiting is a weighty topic.

We live in ADD streamlined.  I multi-task just getting dressed; tuck my shirt in, while threading my belt while slipping on a shoe.  Waiting is a foreign seven-letter word for the ambitious. 

It is a secret of God.

Those who wait for the Lord will mount up with wings like eagles, Isaiah told.  The early disciples in all of their enthusiasm for the empty grave were told to go to Jerusalem and be quiet.  Be quiet?  Be still?  When Jesus is no longer in the grave and the world needs to know about it?  Shouldn't they "get going"?

For us.....I find extreme productivity in waiting.  It is against my fleshly nature; but not His Spirit within me.  I've learned to wait for moments and for decades to see kingdom life erupt in the center of dead mobility.  I know of nothing more satisfying than to watch God do His thing with that life-zapping move He has in the very middle of assumed disappointment and disillusionment.  God causes things to rise, grow, endure, and live.

For us.....we do have much to accomplish.  God's timing is the right timing.  Learn the rhythm of moving and waiting....and the move of waiting.  The fruit will be bigger and the glory will be God's....and you won't be so frustrated.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Should you think I'm addressing terrorism from some other country, I'm not.  I am discussing a social trait which reflects an ongoing terror; a personal terror which erodes and pains the hearts of ordinary folks.  I speak of being afraid to meet strangers.

Have you ever considered how frozen we are?  When we encounter or are encountered by the unacquainted a freeze-stare or a bold look in another direction is too often imminent.  One of the things I like about the Quik-Trip employees is they greet the customers/strangers (Maybe strange customers?) with such enthusiasm.

I was in line to vote in the darkness of 6:45 today as a group of us awaited the 7:00 a.m. opening.  A dozen strangers stood in line without a word; complete silence.  After a bit, it just became too weird.  Are we in frozen terror of one another? 

I decided to make an announcement.  Why not.  Anyone could have the floor; I mean the sidewalk.  Thank you all for coming.  This won't take long.  The reason I called this meeting is I have a few church bonds for sale....this won't take long....really.  They broke out laughing.  I was their anti-freeze!

Strangers began interacting.  One man was surely happy discussions began as he had lots to say!

After a bit I said, Well everyone, I think we can see where this is going.  Let's go ahead and draw names for Christmas!  Urgh...wouldn't you know the doors opened and our gathering on the sidewalk came to a halt.  Just when it was going so had to end.

Our goal?  Become anti-freeze to a society that needs thawing.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I can read and speak English.  I know a few Spanish words and have traveled in and out of Mexico several times.  Last week I managed to get to the doctor for a flu shot all by myself.  I even know a few who have written books.  So why can't I get it right when the time changes from daylight to non-daylight?

I'm 63 years old.  It can't be this difficult to set clocks backward and forward an hour. really is.  I have a terrible track record on this.

There have been those times where I did the forward when I was supposed to do the backward. who hasn't done that one?  And....yes, there was the time I set my clock up an hour; but I did it a week early. that's understandable....I think.

But this past Spring I did everything just right---on purpose and with great care no less.  Nothing could possibly go wrong....except.  Except I had purchased a new alarm.  How was I to know that it made the time changes automatically?  How come it would know when I don't?  It isn't that I'm not grateful for it and nearly relieved; but someone should have said something at Target when I bought it...don't you think?

As with all other clocks, I set my new alarm ahead an hour early.  During the night it set itself ahead yet another hour.  When I thought I was getting up at the early 5:30 a.m., I was really up at the new 4:30 a.m.!!!!

Do you have any idea how early two hours earlier are?  It's not right...that's how early it is.  It just isn't fair.  I don't recall one note in the instructions about a satellite beaming in a change of time to my bedroom. 

So now it is time to once again change the clocks next Saturday.  And really....hasn't somebody been changing the time as to when we are to change the time?  There's my case!  It can't be done and any who get it done simply luck out.  Will my clock change by itself the way it did in the Spring except the opposite...sorta?  Who knows?  I'm not touching it!

The problem with all of  this is that it always hits on my one day a week to work!  Help me!  Would somebody help me?

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I lost a special friend this week, James MacArthur of Hawaii 5-0.  I last heard from him earlier this year when he sent me a picture of his wife, son, and himself. 

Jim was God's first signal to me that celebrities needed Him and common people could reach them.

I first ran into Jim in the Denver airport.  I asked for an autograph with full intent of knocking on his door as fast as I could in this brief window of entry into his heart.  He was taken that I wanted him to sign my Bible for his dad played a significant role in Christianity.  Are you a minister?  I've never been asked to sign a Bible.  This is very special to me....really.

I asked if he had time for coffee and he brushed that knock immediately as he had to get to his plane.  Out of time and almost out of words, I asked him one last thing.  What could someone plain like myself and all these people in this airport really do for someone like you who is rich and famous and so lonely.  That last word was my sword word.  I went for the heart with that one.

He talked to me so long that I finally began saying, I'm sorry.  I must go else I will miss my plane.

He gave me a mailing address and asked if we could keep in touch.  Further, he stated he would be in Tulsa in the Fall at the Roy Clark Golf Classic and wondered if we might get together.  We did.  He came to church that Sunday in September and I remember it like yesterday.

He sat in my office.  Very humble.  Terry, you don't know how badly I need this.  I haven't been in church in years.  He loved it here.  We remained friends over the years.  Him treating us to be his family one Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City while he was performing in a stage play was a highlight for our entire family.

Jim is an icon to me of fame looking for God.  No one is exempt from needing Life in the center.  Often the most visible in fame are the most lonely and empty in heart. 

I will miss him.