Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Ah, that title isn't exactly right is it? However, I speak a word to all church leaders, all business leaders, all family leaders; slow down.

One of the things that made me sick in my early years was trying to keep up with the fickle demands of church members. So many wanted me to jump at their call at their convenience. Me? I hopped for I was a "good" minister who really cared.

Add to that I traveled a lot; too much for a young man. I was off inspiring the church to save the world. But one day I heard someone reference a very famous preacher among us and he said, "You know his kids left the church, right?" No. I was clueless....and it greatly disturbed me.

I made immediate changes. I cancelled workshop keynotes. I began to go to my kids' games regularly. My target was that when I get done with ministry there would also be my three in the mix. And....God has blessed.

This quote was sent today, "This is a difficult subject for me to write about, but over the years, the [Billy Graham Evangelistic Association] and the Team became my second family without my realizing it," Graham recalled in his autobiography, Just As I Am. "Ruth says those of us who were off traveling missed the best part of our lives—enjoying the children as they grew. She is probably right. I was too busy preaching all over the world.

"Only Ruth and the children can tell what those extended times of separation meant to them. For myself, as I look back, I now know that I came through all those years much the poorer both psychologically and emotionally. I missed so much by not being home to see the children grow and develop. The children must carry scars of those separations too."

Coincidentally, I visited with a friend just this week who is a preacher's kid. He spoke in resentment of how his dad was never around.

So listen, all of us who are leaders are highly conscientious about being responsible to those who pay our way. But we need to be encouraged to say the two-letter word very clearly--NO--when any press to get us to give them more favor than our children.

Yes, they will say ugly things about us. Furthermore, they won't be around when our grown children crater....for they truly care less. Our children are our responsibilities and we want to do the best we can. None of us are ideal at this role. But time spent in attentiveness is always a right thing to do.


It might be that one of my bigger gaffs in ministry is to assume I knew how to do church better; better than a neighboring congregation or better than another preacher, etc. I really did believe that if all would do church my way it would flow quite nicely. Big wrong!

Two men were praying in the temple; so says the Bible. One was spouting comparative excellence over the other standing a few feet away in prayer. The second one was simply full of admission; he wasn't much.

The Bible goes on to say the latter was accepted by God and the former rejected.

In our ambition to be good preachers, elders, or congregations, we must guard against a malfunctioning perspective that will leave us in the dust of all those others who make humble progress. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Regardless of who we are or who we think we are, humility is the narrow road and few seem to find it. Should ego prevail over what we study, who we know, where we serve, or how well we have done, at those moments we short-sheet our participation in the kingdom of God.

God can use all of us as long as we praise Him for the supply and the harvest. Jesus said he could do nothing without the Father....and neither can we. So it would be best if we not talk as if we can.

To Him be the glory.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


The more we are around, the more God shows His hand.

I marvel.

I marvel at how much God is displaying His handiwork among us. So much wonder abounds that our conversations--whether verbal, twitter, email, or phone--cannot keep up. His work is too rapid-fire for efficient reporting.

If you want to turn a church around, resist complaining about how bad our culture is and begin telling about God working. If you want to see spirits resurrected, avoid measuring with what the eyes can see and begin talking about what the heart can believe.

Little people complain. The small in faith fret. I know. I lived at the end of those streets at the corner of Complaint and Fret. No longer. That address won't fly.

We want to discuss God working. We want to live at the corners of Faith and Hope. We believe....even when there are no signs of provision....we keep believing.

I am impressed. So many there are who believe God works. That number is growing. The discussion isn't regarding whether miracles have ceased. The winds have shifted. The topic is now that God does wonders among His very common people.

Tell your children God works....and then show them some of His quilts. See if they don't stay around the church in their later years because the lingo made faithful adjustment.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Liz Pence strode into Tulsa to roar....well really for three the Tulsa Workshop. She is fantastic.

She is a typical wonder-story of God. Her messages are so freshly-spirited some want to call her Paulette resembling the passion of her counterpart; the apostle Paul. Liz is that persuasive.

Liz hasn't always roared with such presentation strength. Until most recently, she struggled mightily to deliver without wear and tear of her nerves. A friend observed her stressful efforts a few months back and offered a couple of ideas.

What is interesting about Liz is she is as moldable in the Spirit as she is convicting in her teachings. Liz is the true heart of a servant; she simply wants to do it kingdomly well.

John 3:8 insists one led by the Spirit is one who must be graciously moldable. If we are Spirit-filled we are to be flexible. Adjustments are for us to be as turning on a dime. Not all of us can do this well. I'm just now learning.

But Liz did it. She made necessary adjustments, came to Tulsa, and let out the most wonderful roar in the Spirit! She has always been fantastic and is becoming even more fantasticker!

And will do well as will I to be like roaring grow in the ability to change all we can from rigidity to pliability. This isn't easy. It is why it takes the Holy Spirit of God to work it into us.

Practice it. Try it. Begin to roar!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I don't know what to say or how to start. To say the workshop was wonderful would be like saying feeding the 5000 was wonderful. That just wouldn't quite do it.

Something is going on among God's people. There is a healthy stirring of His Spirit that has been building for several years now. Last year was evident. This year? More so.

First, my hat's off to my two colleagues and friends, Jason Thornton and Shane Coffman. They knew workshop ropes beforehand. Now they know deeper interruption and ache and distraction that goes on when in this role that most would never assume. Because these two are so extremely capable I was able to sit back for 365 full days and enjoy being brimmed full of pride in these two. They didn't let us down. I respect both and esteem them highly.

A positive difference in the workshop is the shift from taking on the works of the church from the flesh to engaging in the many opportunities via Spirit involvement. Class teacher after class teacher came to town to say the very same thing; "Listen to what God is doing where I live." The workshop was all about God.

McLaughlin, Frase, and Cope.......three strong keynotes, three arousing messages...all about God working.

For the first time in years, all of our booths were sold out. Our main problem is due to having left the huge QuikTrip Center due to cost, our classrooms are not large enough in some cases to accommodate the crowds. Thus, we have work to do.

Next year's theme is "LET THE CHAINS FALL AWAY". Randy Harris, Rick Atchley and I will be evening keynoters. Dusty Rush, Jason Thornton, and Jonathan Storment will be the 11:00 a.m. keynoters.

Finally, after being involved in the workshop for so long I can tell it isn't losing momentum. Here are a few comments I heard as I moved about the reunion:

1. "I would die without this workshop" (a preacher from Enid)
2. "My deacon and I stayed up to 2:30 this morning dreaming about our work back home." (a preacher here for the first time)
3. "I've seen people here that I haven't seen here in 30 years."
4. "I don't know what's going on here. I've been gone about ten years. But everyone is so much kinder to each other. They seem happier."
5. "We have to have a gathering like this to just hear of possibilities. I love this workshop."
6. (sobbing uncontrolably) "I've been an elder for 31 years. I've been here the last six. I need this event so much. Don't ever quit."
7. "We've had more traffic through booths this year than last."

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I have this dear friend named Joneal Kirby. We are never in touch throughout any year. Our only relationship is when coming across one another at a workshop here and there. Yet, we share one of those intimate bonds in the Spirit as dear friends that you just wouldn't trade anything in the world for it.

Joneal is one of those gals gifted in beauty. She simply is very pretty...and she can't help it.

As we talked at her booth at the workshop yesterday, I noticed something new. She has a fresh 4" scar on her right cheek. I started to avoid the discussion, but I love her so I inquired. "What's this about?"

"This?" "Oh, that's my blessing from God."

Three weeks ago a surgeon removed a cancerous tumor from the middle of her pretty face. And do you know what? Joneal is still beautiful....really.

But what I love most about our conversation is what I love most about my friend. Her faith in God is stronger than her awareness of her make-up arrangement. She praised God with her life before this occasion. Now she uses this to praise Him even more.

That's what I love about what's going on in the kingdom right now. His children are ever-learning to give Him praise for ALL things.

She called her new scar embedded upon her cheek her a blessing from God. Jesus told Thomas his new scars in the center of each hand was his blessing from God. Be encouraged....visible scars are a believer's faith tatoo!

Joneal, my friend, your scar is a blessing to me from God. Thanks for sharing it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


The Tulsa Workshop officially opened last night. The only reason I am writing an article today is I'm to meet with 15 preachers in 20 minutes for an Early Bird special in my office.

Last night was huge!

Don McLaughlin was as good as ever and with good reason. All he did was report on God working. I've said it before and will say it again, there is magic in simply telling about what God is doing among His people.

Don's message was thrilling and inspiring as it was filled with God's continued handiwork.

Here we go into a full day! Hurray for us!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Experiencing God is a relatively new thing for several in the Churches of Christ. While we have been sincere in our approach, we have chosen to steer clear of anything which could toss us into the salad bowl of questionable position. In other words, we have chosen a doctrine of safety which was never authorized by scripture.

As we wade into the deep waters of the kingdom there will be gigantic opportunities to need to weigh what we know of God against what we have secretly vowed to always believe. Whether we like it, our vows will always be challenged by God Himself.

One of the things we have learned not to say is "God talks to me". This could be viewed as an imaginary radical who can't prove what he or she claims. Thus we toss God out with the bath water and rely only on some of those verses we see in print with flesh eyes; but cannot dare allow ourselves to view by faith with eyes of the heart...Eph. 1:18

God talks with me. He works with me. He promised He would.

I heard Jim Cymbala reference God talking to Him when he shaves. Same here. Often He has things to say to me as soon as I awaken and I haven't begun to think about anything...He shows up. This morning was no exception.

As soon as I realized I was awake, He was giving me His ideas about something I was preparing for Saturday's class at the workshop. It was something in scripture I had never thought of. I didn't think of it on my own for I didn't know it. He spoke the ideas to me.

Why we are so gun-shy about this...I get. We don't want to appear to be.....believers. We want to have a respectable building to attend while we complain to the religious community it isn't the church (people are) and we are quick to correct any who would reference our preachers as reverend.

But to acknowledge we experience God is simply over the edge for some. It seems hocusly pocus so we reign in any hint of actually carrying on any interaction with the invisible world and the invisible God.

Jas. 1:5 declares if we lack wisdom go to the invisible bank of heaven and ask for some. Jas. 3:13-18 says the Teller will send it right on down. Ah, how we trip up on looking respectably Christian without the involvement of the Christ. A very strange doctrine we have forged which never came from God nor the Word He sent down.

God talks to us. Mock it if you like. If you don't believe He does....then, for you, I doubt He does.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I had a nice visit with Lynn today. He is battling cancer big-time. I would imagine a great number of friends keep snail-mail, email, facebook, and phone lines hopping.

He is such a joy. While having been very ill for the past few weeks, it isn't so bad at the moment.

He told me he would like for me to pray for two things:
1. His ability to speak at Pepperdine in May.
2. And, his ability to face what may be coming at him health-wise.

I pondered those two questions. Upon further discussion I told him I would only be able to pray for the second; not the first. He wanted to know why not the first. Because, I said, you and I are speaking at the same time. We both laughed. Then he told me in that case he might pray that I get sick!

Lynn is a good man; a great friend to many. I shared with him he would either get well or he would die and be well. He laughed at the truth of such a comment.

When you think of it, remember Carolyn and him.


Tim and I were driving down the street yesterday discussing our Monday morning meetings; staff with elders from 6:30 to 8:00 (or whenever Jason takes a breath and we can all dart out the door). Tim remarked at our elders being so rich.

Rich they are and; thus, rich we are as a church. Our four are so incredible it makes me think of God's "joy inexpressible". How can you define joy inexpressible. How can one describe the flourishing leadership of these men....especially when they are basically unaware of it.

We love our shepherds for they are neither pale wimps nor deputy sheriffs for Jesus. They don't rule by command; but they lead by humble partnership. The church doesn't live in the wings waiting on permission from the elders. The elders don't like and don't want that role.

Who decides the Bible class material for the adults and the children? Not the elders. They never see it. Who scans the songs for worship and the notes for the sermons? Not the elders; it isn't their job.

Who looks our members in the eye to listen to their latest med need or their most recent celebration? The shepherds do. Who sends emails to the church staff with boosting encouragement? The shepherds do. Who visibly doesn't panic in times of trial? Who permeates the flock with attentive eyes and supportive hugs? Our elders.

Elders of old once worked from the office of control. Too many still live there for they just know best....their mistaken opinion. What divides a shepherd from an authoritarian? I think it is whether one wants to be a learner of the Word or a preserver of it.

The former hungers for God to fill his heart and shoes. The latter lives a picky life of irritation and bossy-buttness that keeps the cowardly in the church content and safe while frustrating those who wish to live in the freedom of the Spirit.

For all elders, hear me say we believe in God's ordained role for quality men. Whether you like it, you set the tone of your congregation: living in constant fear or thriving in glorious appreciation. Your heart sets the beat for the church's heart.

Give His flock room to explode in wonders!

Monday, March 22, 2010


The kingdom of God is the funnest thing on earth. It is equally treacherous. While we are engaged in works that bring dead things to life, we are also involved in a system that requires us to die to ourselves day after day after day. We will do better in our work as we can remember the latter.

Don't be discouraged when things don't go right. Either someone has a better idea or God is using this temporary disappointment to train us to endure....or both.

I've been full of good ideas over the years. Truthfully I've been just as full of baloney. Dreamers are sometimes better at imagining than instigating the success of the imagination. Don't quit dreaming for God and for people. I'm not running dry of bright ideas.

However, I am learning through experience to sow seed in confidence and wait on God for the crop. If not careful we will tend to microwave our dreams; see them crop up immediately.

I've learned to plant seed just as He said; then water and till. I love God-surprises and when He causes works to bear fruit five and twenty-five years later? is back to the fun again!

We will always be challenged to believe all of the Bible. Ours isn't the call to be liberal or conservative for both groups include the cowards and the doubters. Ours is to believe God when everything in front of our eyes would tend to disbelieve.

Don't be disheartened about anything. God works. We believe......and that is our work...John 6:29.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


This is it! The big week! What we have all been waiting for! The Tulsa Workshop!

I've already received a letter complaining of the name change; that Soul Winning has been removed.

Be encouraged, while the words Soul and Winning are legally removed from the title, the emphasis has not been lifted a gnat's size. Consider the new name, The Tulsa Workshop (Inspiring the Church to See the World with the Eyes of Jesus). What could be more international than "World", more motivational to go than "Inspiring" and more sensitive to lost souls than "the Eyes of Jesus"?

Through the years I receive many complaints that "Soul Winning" or "Evangelism" isn't listed in more classes. There is a reason. Everything we do, my opinion, is for the purpose of soul winning; I am an evangelist and evangelism is how I think.

My three kids are in ministry; Wendy is a secretary for the North Atlanta Church of Christ, Dusty is the pulpit guy at the University Church in Conway, Arkansas, and Tim is a missionary in Guadalajara. What would you guess was one of the greatest impacts in their young upbringing at the workshop? Acappella concerts!

Sermons from Cline Paden and Mid McKnight? Soul winning classes at the workshop by Jimmy Allen or Charles Hodge? No, the Acappella concerts and church camps and sleepovers and stuff teens do. But the body combined in all of its actions and events count as grooming all of our people to be soul winners.

The lectures at ACU and Pepperdine are soul winning events while little label signals such. The refreshment of the Word, worship, and fellowship at these places are very much evangelistic and soul winning.

So this is the week of workshop! Let not your hearts be troubled. Good things will go on from children's Bible Hour, to classes for the deaf, to motivational sermons by hyper preachers....and all of it will contribute to the winning of wonderful people presently buried in darkness.

This is a privileged week and I am thrilled, still, to be a part of an event that has both Jesus and the world in mind.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I am grateful to be in the kingdom of God. It is fascinating to watch expect work.

We are in a wonder-full time right now at Memorial Drive. The area around our property is decaying. Businesses and churches have opted to move into a nicer, safer part of town. Streets in our vicinity are good for the wheel alignment business. They are so rough they have put the rumble-seat back into all cars that travel them.

Everywhere we turn slack and sloppiness is seen on the increase. Neighbors are letting their houses and lawns suffer from lack of attention. Incomes in the area slide while attendees at the nearby casinos increase.

And yet...and yet...our people are naturally engaged in such a social climate of need. The work at nearby Lindbergh elementary gives just the right place for some of our members to engage their faith wares. Others find great opportunity to serve in the food pantry. They don't just hand out bags of groceries. These servants sit in private with every person who passes through to check on their needs and pray over/with them.

More and more are sitting with us on Sunday mornings and now serve beside us in community projects. We are called to be at the right place at the right time. Few among us are disengaged. From the wealthy to the middle class to the poor among us...everyone is so excited to be used by God that He be glorified for His work among us!

I can't explain what's happening to and for and with this congregation. It is remarkable. Nothing would be possible apart from God. We have no earthly heroes or icons. We simply have people that believe Him; whether the going is good or bad, we believe He calls us to His work.

So much wonder is going on. I don't know how God does that....but I pray He won't cut us off or shut us out. This is what we've dreamed about...and I really believe He is just getting us started.

Friday, March 19, 2010


So you realize every day you are not ideal.

Take a good stab at it. Who do you think is ideal?

Mike Cope?


Randy Harris?

Ah, nope.

Jeannine Reese?


Keith Lancaster? Rick Atchley? Truitt Adair?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

No one is ideal. Only Jesus is. So how do we function? We pool our gifts and pray He use us.

I met with a man this morning borderline homeless. In a few more days, I would guess such is his destination. I've helped him a couple of times in recent months with gas money.

He can't find work. He's a humble sort. I believe his story.

When he sat in my office this morning I listened to his case. When he finished I told him two things:

1. I would give him the money he needed. I had more than he needed in my billfold and it was tucked in there for such an occasion.

2. I told him I wanted him to know something. I wanted him to know that I could see he was a valuable man. I expressed that when one can't find work and then they have to go into a church to scrape up money, one is possibly going to assume themselves useless.

I went on to tell him it didn't matter if he ever showed back up at this church but I wanted him to get to some church so that the unique gift God had buried in him could be shared. I told him God's people need him.

Be encouraged. None of us are ideal. Our flaws glare at times. But we have the God-element in us enough to see the value in one another and in strangers. Speak up. People who are down on themselves need to run into others who see that some sense of goodness remains in them.


There is a zone of my world that keeps me perpetually stirred as well as confused. Because I want to be liked, it mostly makes me so sad.

It happened again yesterday. I went to a funeral of a dear friend. I left so yo-yoed.

At funerals I always encounter dear friends who left Memorial so upset with me they could no longer worship with me. While they had their circle of sympathetic friends, I was left holding the message of total and stinging rejection; "I was so bad they could no longer accept nor tolerate me." Their message was clear to any who wanted to listen to their laundry list of my failures.

But at appear to delight them?

Which am I? Am I wicked or am I wonderful? I've received both messages from the same people in strong terms.

I really like it that they "seem" to like me, but my history can't decipher if such is a front because of their stark distancing themselves years earlier. This really confuses me. I don't know if I am visiting a regained friend or a pseudo friend who is simply acting the part for public display.

Any of you feel these pangs? I don't' feel critical of any of these. I feel awkward every time. Which one are they really talking to; the rejected me or the accepted me?

I'm sure that many of you who have mastered maturity can easily see through this screen door. I nearly make myself believe I can....until I run into them again. I love them a lot or I wouldn't care, I guess. I really loved them when they were at this congregation. But, they made their harsh statements years ago and I still don't know how to read them now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Christians walk on a rug which is constantly being pulled out from under them. This is designed to keep believers staggering near the center-line of unbelief. For example, consider how the carnal world has warped God's forceful theme of giving. It is mocked on purpose to influence others to no longer believe in one of God's greatest truths. The world is robbed because giving has been so ingenuously maligned.

There is another truth we have lost. Once again we are blindsided by giving such assumption credence. That truth being given away to darkness is whether God does speak to His people directly. He very much does; but so many want to claim this as a modern-day hoax.

What? God talks to you? If you believe He does, have you ever been tempted to keep that little twist to yourself? Mockery the blindsided church.

Yes. God speaks to me. I seek Him and He answers. Why else would I pray? Is it not silly to go through the motions of Christian prayer with the understanding He isn't going to respond? When there is no communication between two, there is no relationship. For those who are in the church simply as Hell insurance, this non-speaking relationship is quite adequate. Yet, for those of us engaged in His work, we no longer accept the lie that God has been mute for 2000 years.

His Bible says we are co-laborers with Him. How does that work without talking? Sign language? We do the talking and He serves us and our motions in silence?

Didn't James urge God's children to seek wisdom; to ask for it? Didn't he also write that such wisdom will be delivered coming down from heaven? Wouldn't wisdom out of heaven be answers to our questions?

How does He sound? While I'm no expert, I am an experiencer of His voice. The best I can describe it is He gives me ideas; His ideas. He is steady with the supply. I once built my messages on my own research steam. Now, and for a long time, I have continued my diligent study of the Word and coupled it with seeking direction from Him.

When I stumble badly then the doubters are ready with their mocking posters declaring God does not do as I say. More rug pulling. Satan has always tried to blind believers by accusing others in their failure.

So awaken to the truth of God based on God and not on human learners. God loves to engage with His people in the greatest show on earth....His kingdom. Try to avoid being blindsided by what you think is respectable and middle-of-the-road doctrine.

God has a voice and He uses it.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I've always been a dreamer.

As a first-grader, my parents had little money from the 120 acre farm on which we lived. So I built from scrap lumber a homemade John Deere tractor. Oh, I guess I drove that tractor all over the my mind. The teachers were always impressed as I came pulling into the school driveway on my imagined John Deere A. What astounded them about my mind....was I was only six.

As a new Christian at age 22 I imagined standing before thousands to tell them about how the Bible really had seriously good news for all. I could envision the thrill of hearts exploding with thoughts of "I never knew that!"

Imagination is a wonderful thing. More wonderfully, it is a powerful factor in the Christian make-up. God is in on the concept. As a matter of fact He said that whatever we stir up in the imagination, He will trump! That' pretty impressive for we have the ability to imagine many glorious things.

So what if you were to wonder if you could do great things....greater things than He has allowed you to accomplish thus far? Could you walk across the street for a cup of coffee and buy a stranger his or hers? Or could you fly off to Uganda and build a village well? Could you write a book? Create a feature film? Pray for a stranger on a park bench? surely can wonder. Father says if you wonder He will do more even according to the power that is in us. God isn't half done with the remarkable. Brilliance and radiance and overjoy are poised for the showering upon us.

It is up to us to step into His way. What if you wondered if you could? I say explosive marvel would come about. Don't be held back by the things you see. Move by faith into the substance of things not seen. God is there....and so is your effective wonder!


"Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation."

Just how difficult is it to serve in the kingdom of God? Painfully excruciating. Yet, suffering is so the style of Jesus and we followers that there is no alternative. We either endure or we quit.

Endurers become a source of salvation to others; right on schedule with Jesus' walk. Quitters sit; but they don't offer salvation to anyone from where they have plopped.

Recall Paul's shipwrecked, abandoned, and stranded tirade? What was he also if not a source of eternal salvation?

I had to enter the same process if I was to become a source. I've been threatened with being fired, written up, preached against, endured the murder of a family member, conducted a granddaughter's funeral, experienced my house being robbed nine times and my office about six, and failed personally and miserably at one effort after another. Yet, to endure such is to go to school.

Suffering 101 is that unique class that few are willing to elect. Too many abort the process by dropping out.

Suffering 101 is a kingdom necessity. Peter urged that we not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among us as if some strange thing were happening. Struggle isn't strange; it is essential.

If you want to develop a peace and calm you will most likely do it through the Jesus-trail....suffering. The good new is those who attend the course are used by God to offer eternal salvation to those nearby.

How exciting is that?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Benjamin Zander wrote, "Michelangelo is often quoted as having said that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue; one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within. If we were to apply this visionary concept to education, it would be pointless to compare one child to another. Instead, all the energy would be focused on chipping away at the stone, getting rid of whatever is in the way of each child's developing skills, mastery and self-expression."

The reason Zander mentions this is he noticed the anxiety of his graduate students at the New England Conservatory. At the beginning of the semester he announced all students got an A. The results were nearly miraculous. The students responded to one who believed in them beyond performance. He had thrust them into a free world of possibility.

Has not God done the same for us? Has He not declared we all get an A for choosing Jesus as our Savior? Has God not been wonderfully clear He loved us before we were to the extent He sent His own son? Do we not get it? We've been saved, not on the basis of performance; but on the basis of the best tool of

So could it be we will see our world function in greater prosperity if we will give our spouses, children, public figures, and colleagues an A? What potential every region of society has if we can see past the unchiseled into the completed beautiful product called living beings. We are most blessed to get to be us. And we are each much better when hanging around those who apparently believe in us.

Have a good week by making someone else's even better. Give them an simply believing into them what they can become.

Monday, March 15, 2010


We at Memorial Drive love March! I'm still thrilled to be a part of one of the high energy and impactive events on earth! It is too exciting!

Jason Thornton and Shane Coffman are directing the event this year. I have complete confidence in their eager leadership.

You'll note some new twists this year which I believe will be a big plus. For one, you'll note round tables with chairs on the floor of the Pavilion more conducive to class settings. A big move, though, is the initial gathering at the Pavilion on Wednesday night for the kickoff of the entire workshop.

Couple new speakers to the Tulsa scene like Al Maxey, Kim Pyles, Kyler Erwin, and others with Don McLaughlin, Rick Atchley, old Marvin Phillips, etc. and we've got a tremendous program on our hands.

I look forward to having First Day back in concert Friday evening. There is a special singing group Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights at 6:00 so get ready for singing great strong praises to God.

The workshop concludes Saturday afternoon at 5:00. And then....I really look forward to speaking alongside two of my heroes Sunday morning at our 9:00 a.m. (and only service that morning) assembly. They are great guys and I always love to listen in on what God is doing with their hearts. Their names? Dusty and Tim Rush!

See you in Tulsa!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


What kind of garden would you like? Full of vegetables? Only flowers and shrubs? Mostly vegetables with a rim of flowers? So what will you have? Whatever you plant.

Life in the kingdom is about planting. We plant our future crops. The Bible says the result is what we plant; one doesn't plant corn and get cucumbers.

So what kind of garden do you wish to live? If friends, be a friend. Sow friendship. If you don't want friends, don't sow it because that is what you will get. Money? Give money away. Sow money. Health? Sow hours at the gym; you'll have better health.

So much of life is not dependent upon destiny nor coincidental breaks. It is based on a very simply principle; what we sow we reap.

Whether you would like peace, leadership, encouragement, or world vision, if you plant the seeds to such you will begin to see the garden of the same. While life in Christ is a hyper-mystery for us to stand in awe, there are many things we can anticipate if we will but note the simplicity of His mystery.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Yes, we (okay, "are" should go right here...but I was "busy" and missed it) all busy. We are up to our eyeballs in busy. Our world is dizzy with calendarific appointments. And what person among you isn't short on hours for any week? We must work with care to operate at a pace in stride with God's opportunities. Otherwise, our own steam will soon evaporate and we will pull over to the side of the road to rust.

I love this work!

I just sent a note off to an elder inquiring about a young preacher as to the potential of being a possible fit with their congregation. I'm happy to do it.

Every week I gladly talk with young preachers around the nation and on foreign sites. I feel compelled to give them priority every where I can. And, I have good reason.

I received the same as a young man (and still do). I had men who were busier than me stop what they were doing to share nuggets of kingdom gold. Philip Yancey, Marvin Phillips, Max Lucado, and others have been nothing but encouraging to one who knew too little to be in this position.

When our family hit a tragedy, I called my friend Chuck Swindoll. He was in a board meeting and the receptionist properly declined my call. But when I told her who I was, she already knew from Chuck what was going on. She put me on hold and got him out of their meeting so we could talk. I haven't forgotten his courtesy. Just yesteday I received a two page letter from him advising me on important matters of kingdom life.

So when I learn of one of our soldiers wounded or killed (in spirit) in the line of fire, I am an ambulance driver. Nothing is more valuable to a preacher than the severe pain of hurt. But we all desperately need those who have been trained on the battlefields to stand with us while we bleed.

Jesus did it. He bled. He suffered. He died....and arose. Those like me who are back from the dead can only find it a privilege to cheer the young crop of proclaimers on! And....when I find one who's been charred by the fire, I know I'm dealing with one of God's real men!

I feel committed to these guys for busier than me found time/made time to reach back and breathe new life into a fatigued heart.

(Hmmm....calendarific didn't pass spellcheck. What's up with that?)

Friday, March 12, 2010


The one question we deem most important goes unanswered. God goes silent on us.


"God, would you tell me how I am to get through this trial, handle that mess, and endure those frustrations?"

More silence.

God doesn't tell us how; He just tells us He will.

God will take care of us. He gave us His Word....literally.

Look back over your span of God-involvement. How did He get you to this point? How did He arrange for so many right breaks? How did He surround you with such love? How did He pull off those blessings which, looking back, seem like they would never come about?

God goes silent on the "how" for if He were to tip His hand we would try to both mimic and market it. He can't trust us with the explanation of how; but He can trust us with the promise of hope.

He won't tell us how we are going to make the next ten days or ten years; but He is firm in His promise that we will be all right. Should you need a refresher course, read once more Romans 8:28-39. He knows. We win. No circumstances interfere.


Referencing his younger sister who died a few days after birth, my six year old grandson Hayden passed by his mother with the following; "Hey, Mom. I've made something for Ana. You know of anybody going to heaven?"

Thursday, March 11, 2010


When I graduated from preaching school I didn't believe there was enough material about Jesus to last six good sermons. That is a clear indicator of my enormous immaturity, wouldn't you say?

What is the message of preaching Christ and him crucified? Well it has eternal ramifications as well as perpetual information to be extracted from the most lively Word. But I think the basic message is one of hope.

When I preached in Kahoka for a year, Quincy for two and then moved to Memorial, hope was hardly in my vocabulary. I preached what I thought made me appear "solid" in other preachers' eyes. I wanted to fulfill the role of standing for something and being doctrinally respected.

How much I had to learn!

I wasn't preaching Jesus. I wasn't preaching hope. I was delivering frustration, aggravation, and gloom.

But Jesus changes all of that. We want to be among those who fill every member and visitor with the best news we can muster for their new week. They will hear enough trash and encounter enough pain without our starting their week off with such.

Fill your friends...with good news for such is what we are all about!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We have secure reason to hope.

One was a coward and schemer and (who would have believed this) he went on to be known as the father of our faith.

One was but a young boy still wet behind the ears and (who would have believed this) yet he faced the Giant when armies wouldn't...and won!

One was a virgin and (who would have believed this) she had God's son.

One was pronounced dead at the scene and (who would have believed this) he came back to life in three days....never to re-die.

One was a spit-fire rebel against the church and(who would have believed this) he became so convicted he was wrong he devoted himself to the cause of Christ so much he wrote more books than any other biblical author...old or new testament.

And just why all of this drama? To persuade us that our God is up for the dramatic! Don't fret. God knows how to get the LifeWork done...right where you live.


Prayer is a major factor in the real grunt and grind of kingdom labor. I once thought that wasn't so; but I've changed my mind. We must pray. Otherwise, we are left to shoulder the work on our own. When that happens we burn out for the Father's business must be His business. We must connect to Him.

Two avenues are powerful assistants in my work---our work---at Memorial Drive. The prayer team at Brooklyn Tabernacle and the prayer team at Memorial Drive.

1. Brooklyn Tabernacle ( is Jim Cymbala's church. They have a 24/7 prayer team. I often shoot them notes of requests for phases of God's work I am approaching.

2. Intercede4u ( is Mike Gardner's facilitation at Memorial. Mike is not an up-front guy as far as speaking in front of a class, etc. However, he is an out-front guy in his leadership skill to perpetually and consistently lead a host of members to be in prayer over people and their circumstances.

While you do what you can to pray, I encourage you to tap into such resources as these.

You might want to add your prayer resource via a comment on this post for readers to add to their support.

Monday, March 08, 2010


What should one do when it seems there just is no reason to hope?

Hope! And then hope some more!

We must never give up. Ah, yes we are free to give up on our own efforts and maneuverings, but we never need to give up on the hope in Christ.

I think it is correct to say that hope does not guarantee things go the way we calculate. It does promise God will work in any challenge which will prove to be glory to Him.

When Lazarus died, Martha and Mary were miffed at Jesus because he dallied. Their hope was he would save their brother. It never occurred to them he could raise him from the dead. How much more spectacular!

We often just don't get it. We think we drew the short straw and for some reason His magic just didn't work on our begging prayers. Ah, but His magic always works on our prayers; in our paths. We must see Martha and Mary's lack of vision for who their God was and then place us in their shoes. God knows our needs. Like Jesus hearing the news of Lazarus' death and waiting a couple of days, God hears the news. He knows the dire straights. And He will be His time on His terms.

When is seems there is little left of hope, think again! We have every reason to hope. God has never been stumped. He has never been out-matched. You can count on Him. You need to know that the worst failures are mirages. He will deliver and He proved it by the empty grave.

Read all about you....Romans 4:17-25!

Sunday, March 07, 2010


About three years ago Jerry Rushford and the Pepperdine Lectures introduced me to what would become an incredibly special new kingdom partner and friend; Liz Pence. What a teacher of His Word!

Liz did a special seminar for us Saturday called Mind MakeOver. It was for both men and women. All were wowed!

What makes Liz so powerful is her lack of power. It is of God; not of her. Her story of abuse, mental illness, abandonment, and attempted suicide were all fruit of her atheistic darkness. But....a big word in her presentations....she was afforded the light of God to shine upon His light within her.

Today? Liz is a megaphone of "look at His glory" as we watch and listen. I don't know when I have listened to the multiple and convincing testimonies of Memorial's members as are being heard from Liz' presentations. She was riveting, effective, and starkly in line with the Powerful Word. will lead you to her sight.

For now...we are wonderfully thrilled....and I owe Jerry Rushford!

Saturday, March 06, 2010


The human terrain is remarkable. Who can encounter the abundant information about our make-up? The scientists and the philosophers continue to dig out brand new information which yet staggers our understanding.

Add to that the incredible format of a belief system. Faith is a strange bird. Life truly responds to this concept. What one believes is weirdly powerful. If one believes they will fail at an attempt; often such is the case. However, if success is believed, this too seems to be the actuality.

Therefore, we must check our belief system to see that we don't try to drive through life with the emergency brake on. Too, we are challenged to develop a belief system which can virtually operate under God's natural laws of His Holy Spirit.

Faith is convicted of things that aren't yet because it has an intentional hope in the unseen. This keeps a body ambitiously active.

Belief isn't just a word; it is a life pattern. What we believe often proves to come about; whether we think we can or we think we can't.....we are right.

Friday, March 05, 2010


I am wired to hope for your work. Some have so much wonder going on, they need little assistance. Others aren't sure if they'll ever escape the darkness which plagues their work. I address the latter.

That which is missing in all struggling works is, of course, the very thing needed; the Holy Spirit. Critics of the activity of the Holy Spirit are both doing dead works and are in great error.

We have all taken our shot at doing the work of God without the Spirit of God. We are frenzied like the 450 prophets of Baal with little fruit to show for it.

Here's what I would do to get a group started regarding the Holy Spirit. I would lead our people to study the Word about Him for He guided the writers. As aids to that study I would recommend three books:

1. Experiencing God by Blackaby and King
2. Empowering the Ordinary, my book
3. Forgotten God by Francis Chan

A mistake churches tend to make is application of effort without the leadership and the sustenance of God. We have taken on the task of the church to the extent that if God were to leave our churches we would look just the same. We have kept Him at bay.

This not only must can....and it is. To believe the Holy Spirit works is not hocusly pocus. It is verified in the Bible. For those who have coasted many decades refusing to accept Holy Spirit activity, they have made a horrendous blunder. God wishes to work among His people. He does so in Spirit form.

May we keep this truth in front of all. The above tools will help if you need.


Joy is of the Holy Spirit. So why is there an absence of joy in so many religious circles; in so many individual believers? The absence of the Holy Spirit would be obvious; but why?

I think it is pride. While Jesus did what he could to pull believers into a grateful pack, American churches have taken on a consumerism, brand name culture of their own and then spread it across other continents called mission fields. We have promoted a one-up-manship among the tribes of Christianity. Pride has been that trait we know God detests; yet we blindly accept as if such is a rather moot point among us.

It is huge!

I thought I was better than my religious competitors and even so among my own clique. I thought I knew best, believed best, and did church best. Not. For one thing my pride exposed me to be the failure I truly was.

Recall the two men praying in the temple; how the one thanked God he wasn't as low as that miserable other? That would be me....and many of us.

When we are arrogant enough to believe our worship, or doctrine, and our spirituality is better than another, we have slipped into a deep and dangerous and dark hole. When we cannot appreciate another's stance different from ours, we are short-sheeting the kingdom breadth and width.

The disciples questioned Jesus on this regarding others who didn't follow precisely as they. His response was if they were not against them they were for them. Our prideful controlling nature resists the allowance of others being all right without being just like us.

A terrific joy release is to let other believers do what they can to grow in the Christ while we do the same thing. He will change us for the improvement of joy if we will relax, see the blessings (however few we think they are), and trust our God to run His show instead of us.

Thursday, March 04, 2010


I just have to share this. A most amazing thing happened to me this morning. It's one of those things you hear happen to others, wished it happened to us, and it did!

I drove my car to work.

I went for breakfast with David Combs.

I stood in line at the bank and waited my turn...a long time.

I filled up the car.

I took coffee by Lindbergh elementary school for the secretaries.

I brought a coffee back for our secretary.

What's so amazing?

I did it all by myself! I had the energy, the balance, the money, and the mental capacity to pull this off. Not everyone can. Ask the stroke victim, or the blind, or the nursing home resident. I did all of this by myself!

They day may come when I'm unable. So today I celebrate able! I backed out of my own driveway early this morning....and boyee am I having a good time! When I turn 98 and can't do some of this stuff, I will not wish I had noticed it when I could....I already did! I noticed me doing this.

How about your day? Ah, phenomenal as well?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Students of the Word are subject (expected) to change along the way. Growth insists change necessary. When a child grows many things change; hair style, length of limbs, and weight are just a few. Other things don't; two eyes, two ears, one nose, etc.

Growing in the kingdom requires learners to sort between the changeables and the unchangeables. While the Word doesn't change, it will change any who read it.

One of the things one may want to consider is to responsibly separate scripture from method. Methods will always change; yet some will claim a method to be scripture. For example, some would believe Wednesday night church is God's establishment when such is merely a method of mid-week assembly.

Too (and this may be more important), we will do well to weigh the spirit of the change innovators. It is not unusual for various ones to have new ideas. Some might even be radical. But should any have an attitude of arrogance or superiority, be on guard.

Remember the two praying in the temple? One was so pleased that he was not stupid like the other. When one is grateful they see doctrine or scripture application better than a neighbor, inaccurate spirituality looms.

Some things will change. Change is at the core of the kingdom. Making adjustment from smug assumption of superiority is never an element of godly kingdom work. Avoid failure by refusing to hop onto an illegitimate band wagon. Be wise in making changes from the spirit of humility rather than conquerability.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I am very grateful for the way God has designed a believer's life. He plants us amidst the body; the church. We are not a conglomeration of islands trying to unite. We are individuals blended into the growing formation of Jesus still on earth.

When I'm with my elders, I'm a part of the works of Memorial. When I'm with our staff, I'm still in the loop....a meaningful, important loop. When I'm with area ministers, again, I'm drawn into the fascination of getting to be a part of a movement of God that really makes a difference.

See, when I began in ministry it was an individual deal. I was programmed (I'd been trained in a preaching school pressure cooker) to perform ministerial acts. Well....when you are aware you are not much to begin with, it makes it difficult to get much momentum going.

But a thing that changed for me was to realize a most fortunate design of God. I am in a productive community called the church. I am connected to believers who...well...believe! I'm connected to the ministerial artist of the past and all of the believers of the now!

We aren't in the kingdom solo. We are in it via duets, trios, quartets and entire choruses. We are a part of a gigantic movement....not just of our tribe but connected in meaning as well as in search of truth with many other believing units.

We win together. We suffer together. We heal together. We are a part of a body...not a part of many bodies. We are productive, we are useful, we are successful....because of a most fortunate design.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I was born into ministry with self-imposed conditions. I intended to preach intensely, but I didn't want to get my hands dirty. I believed God's message but to my surprise to myself I was a great respecter of persons. I choose my inner circle carefully. To no surprise they liked me and liked how I did church.

There was a kind I didn't care for. I wasn't rude to them. I simply had easy ways out to avoid them. They never knew it as far as I knew. While I thought I loved people I was a religious snob.

I thought I could do without the poor. I thought I could do without the unfriendly. I thought I could do without the critics. I thought I could do without the organized. On my list went....without being aware I even had such a concept.

My biggest mistake was I assumed them to be of no use to me or the rest of the church. I think God mentioned that in one of His letters to me; how He figures I will esteem some as significant and others as not so much. I now know He tried to lead me to realize even the least were a secret part of His intrinsic design.

I've broadened my base of acceptance assuming I will always have light years to grow. It is a marvelous thing, though, to note how much wonder God has buried within every person I know. He uses every one and every thing....including the crumbs like me.


God is working.

He has all situations within view.

He knows how to live through every dilemma.

He knows how to get you through your treachery or your uncertainty.

You can be can believe....our God can do the most amazing, impossible, and even improbable tasks.

Let Him.

Romans 4:17-25