Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Ministry is exhausting.  Calls are frequent.  Demands are many.  Needs are abundant.  And....we ministers are such because of servant hearts.

Unable to cover all of the bases is a downer.  And there is a solution which is one of our best win-win opportunities.  As leaders, somewhere along the way, we will be ahead when we learn to shed our personal application to a work by learning to empower others to do it.  What happens to move the downs to the ups is to learn management skills.  Become a manager of people instead of doing the work yourself and you'll get multiple times amount of work done.  Jesus did it.

This move is often rejected by some leaders because of a factor we by nature possess; control.  We want to be in control because we believe our way of doing things is the right way and the only way.  At this juncture we are very wrong.  Others can do as well; it may be different than our way, but it is as well if not better.

This was not an easy transition for me.  Because of personal insecurity as well as immaturity, I was big on keeping control.  I didn't want to say it had to be my way; but that's precisely what I wanted.  To allow others the freedom to design, organize, and run any program was very difficult for me to allow. 

As a preparation for the day when I won't be here as the preacher, the elders suggested I begin using other staff members to do the preaching while I sit in the assembly.  We've done this about two years now.  It is working so well; but you need to know it was tough for me to give up "pulpit time". 

If you want to make solid strides in ministry (and if you want to enjoy long tenure) I highly recommend you let go of more and more controls.  Let me say it clearer.  QUIT TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYONE.  OTHERS CAN DO JUST AS WELL AS YOU CAN. 

I am enjoying ministry as much as ever....even more so.  While I'm not the chief of action I am chief of encouraging the actors.  My job is increasingly a supportive role to cheer the laborers of the vineyard on.  You can do it.  Engage more people in your work by letting go of the tight reins.  They will love you that you trust them.  And....if they aren't so good at first, they'll improve vastly and rapidly because you'll be nearby....cheering them on.

Turn the downs of exhaustion into the ups of participation by others whom you honor by trusting their efforts!


Hurt feelings.....hurt. 

How flippantly we quote Romans 3:23 that all sin and fall short.  How deeply does that verse call you out?  Or, does it basically apply to others?

One of the things that I admire about our elders is they have a perpetual grasp about the flock which they oversee.  They understand the sheep have a sinful nature.....and they faithfully include themselves in the mix. 

Do you know what this does for leadership?  Two things.  It gives them empathy for the burdened sinner as well as eager gratitude for His mercy.  When one possesses those two elements there will be beautiful fruit of nonjudgmentalism.  Then it can be said there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.

The Yo Yo of the kingdom is dealing with the variable ups and downs due to our own haphazard, selective, and biased commitment to His commands.  We are a fickle sort capable of whispering we need to hear more about sin....but seldom meaning my own.

Ups and downs present themselves in so many forms.  One of the things we need to hear about sin is that it can be forgiven.  God does for us and we are to do such for each other.  For awhile I was a pretty good record keeper when it came to being sinned against.  Yet, I wasn't so astute in keeping a chart on my own.

So....hurt feelings have opportunity to run free in our halls unless we learn to strike them down.  A reporter interviewed a Rwandan victim whose neighbors massacred her entire family.  But now living beside those same neighbors in harmony she said, Forgiveness is a gift one gives to change the heart of the offender.

Of the many things ups and downs present each of us, one of the strongest positives is the ability to forgive the most excruciating negatives....the sins of one another.  Could it be that sin and subsequent forgiveness have both lost their depth; devastation of the former and absolute miracle of the latter?

Our fanatical undoneness (downs) is conquered by our radical renewal (ups).  Live like it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Everything will work out all right.

I didn't know if it would. And....I thought if there was hope for anything or anyone, we would surely need to do it my way.  After all, I was the expert at stuff....whatever the stuff estimation was I knew best.

Ah, God has a way of growing us out of that.  He is always growing out of self and into Him.

Everything will work out all right.

So don't become dismayed over the weeds in your garden.  Apply yourself in His Spirit and let Him bear His fruit. 

I thoroughly enjoy the kingdom.  I have for several years now.  My first couple of decades I didn't as much for there was so much I couldn't control.  Today?  I still have little control; but my faith in God is enriched.  He knows how to get stuff done. 

Wasn't it Peter who was correcting Jesus about his stance on being killed?  Peter....oh why oh why couldn't he catch on?  He was advising the son of God?  And me.....uh, well....a bit like Peter? 

When we develop an ability to let go of the reigns, there seems to be an immediate appearance of His grace which we've desperately needed all along.  We have been mistakenly groomed in places to be a people of performance, out-put, and effort.  We base our faith on our labor. 

God would base our faith on His grace.  It isn't whether we are workers; but whether we believe He works....John 6:29. 

One of the victories over the ups and downs of ministry is to gain momentum in understanding God is highly engaged in our walk.  Let Him rule.  Our job is still to stay out of the way.


Ministry is the most fascinating work ever!  To directly connect an earthly walk with a heavenly order is the ultimate experience of mankind.  What a trip!

Taking our queue from the cross the immediate understanding is we will be killed for our work...and we've got it coming.  This pretty much eliminates the surprise when things don't go as planned.  Too, the cross informs us immediately there will be many "downs". 

So since it is clear we will take many shots of attack along the way, how do we keep going?  The answer is as simply as the big commands; love God and love people.  I'm convinced that if either of these two elements should be absent, we will live in perpetual frustration and irritation.

When you love God you will not give up.  When you love people you will not quit believing in what they can become.  Your fire will stay bright.

Some, though, really give lip-service to these main things.  In reality these are in it for the work...they love church work.  The tongue-in-cheek joke that "I love the church; it's the people I can't stand" comes into focus.  The missionaries, ministerial staff, and volunteers who feel that way are often sweatingly  and fatiguedly miserable. 

God's ministry doesn't cause misery.  It may cause disturbance, confusion, and pain; but it will not cause misery. 

Out of sorts with the church?  This serves as a signal that you may need to revive your devotion to the two greatest commands.  Otherwise, it is the end of the line and everyone knows it but you. 

Stay alive!  Love God!  Love people!  This is the "up" to ministry!

Monday, June 28, 2010


I don't think I will ever get a grasp on ministry.  Ironically, I think that is the grasp.  The sooner we don't get it we've got it.  No, Yogi Berra didn't say that.  It's my own conclusion.

I love working for, in, and with the church.  It has so many tangles and blessings no day is ever dull.  Quiet is a relief and activity is adventuresome.  What a life.

But as long as I've been at this I find myself still trying to figure its basic tenets.  This is a great way to be stumped as I think it verifies God is running this show and not us.  And when God is running something the plots, the plans, and the positions are always way out of whack with the human-oriented mind.

Every day we are on the verge of winning or losing.  We are approaching the best of the best and the worst of the worst; all included in the same day.  All of us who minister are bankrupt of self-sufficiency and delighted over divine blessings upon our path.  We lead lives of possible misery transformed into absolute awe!  How did we get this way?

Ministry has its ups and its downs.  Both are included in the same package.  The former rescues the latter and the latter draws to the former.  You've got it.....that we never have it.  He does.  God gives the gifts, the supplies, the blessings, and receives the glory.  We?  We are the earthen vessels honored---whether cracked or chipped---to be considered worthy of His presence!

Good for us!  We are in ministry.....and we get more excited.....every day!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


There is much disagreement among the religious regarding the role of the Holy Spirit.  I was clearly on one side of the Spirit controversy; but no longer.  I was taught and believed the Holy Spirit only worked through the Word.  I believed it with a vengeance because those who taught me so had an ulterior motive.  They appeared to be in keeping with the church fathers of our past.  But they were not/I was not reading the very word we were attributing credit.

The word is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).  The Spirit is not the sword the word uses.  It's the reverse.  The Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit.  The word does not direct God, nor the Son, does it?  Neither does it wield the Spirit.

Jesus said once that there were those very religious people who believed they had eternal life in the word; but they didn't.  He was frustrated because the word should have led them to him...but they would not come.  Why?  They became stuck in the word.  That was enough for them. 

A result was there was no love in them when stuck in the word.  Oddly, love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and not of Bible reading.

The sword of the Spirit is very much the word of God.  The Spirit had such written by mere men.  We must intentionally receive the Holy Spirit at baptism; not the Bible.  He is our guide.  He causes our fruit.  We need his activity among us....and within us.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Don't worry.

He said don't worry.


Seek Him and His kingdom.  He'll take care of the rest.


We go through life foggy to the fact that we are individually targeted by The Terrorist of all terrorists.  For some reason we believe life works the way we work it.  Pay attention, be responsible, keep your nose clean are but a few of our deceiving mottoes. 

Life doesn't go without a hitch.  Illnesses strike, finances crater, hopes plummet, and plans get rerouted.  Yet, we notice no enemy usually concluding we did something wrong and we can get ourselves out of this spot.  Not.

We must obtain the proper alarm system....the man named Jesus.  He is the only one who can provide life in the midst of pain, agony, frustration, and even death.  Jesus is the conqueror who makes his followers conquerors.

Watch it when you try to position yourself as a better manager.  Set your eyes on the Alarm System...Him.  Believe the Resurrected One dealt a deathly blow to The Terrorist.  It is through Jesus we live; not our upgrading of personal life skills.

There are angels all around distributed by the Father to secure His children.  Fix your eyes upon Jesus.  Trust in His marvelous talent.  Let him go to work with you and then return home.  Hand him the books.  Give him life gnarly problems.  Trust him to give you life's in the center of attack.

He knows how. not oblivious to our Enemy.

(Tulsa Workshop--March 23-26, 2011--Let the Chains Fall Away)

Friday, June 25, 2010


This will sound strange; yet it fits perfectly in the kingdom style.  I am confident to reach anyone and everyone in the world because I have no confidence in myself.

I couldn't invite people. I couldn't study with them either as I was so fearful of getting it wrong.  This nature thrust me into selective ministry.  Mostly I elected not to reach out.  I was safe and so were they!

Today?  I can meet with a homeless person, a good friend, or a leader of a nation with perfect ease....really.  That's why I can work with celebrities.  What is that reason?

I now know all people are the very same; they have strengths to be admired and weaknesses from which they tremble. 

I dearly love Chuck Swindoll.  Do you know how we became good friends?  I realized he had days where he wondered if he was doing any good and wrote him accordingly.  This opened a fascinating and special friendship to the both of us.

Curt Flood was my childhood hero and, eventually, my dear brother.  How I was able to move into his heart was to talk with him in private about where he hurt; racial bias.

Becky Fulton is my neighbor.  He is now a brother in Christ.  How did this happen?  I knocked on his door one day asking for assistance with Mary's car when I didn't really need the assistance.  I just figured that being a person he might need to feel needed.

While I once was blocked from reaching to people about God and spiritual matters, I find myself no longer afraid of anyone.  It is because I am now sure that every level of individual (social, financial, etc.) is absolutely racked with insecurities over something....just like me.  There is no exception but for one man; Jesus. 

Oddly and wonderfully, he gave us his confidence (II Cor. 3:4-6) for ours wilted every time we took a deep breath and made our approach. 

Want to win the world?  Go for it.  You are too small to think you could one day master this.  You can't.  I can't.  But he us.  So I say....LET HIM! 

The world is waiting for us to realize it hurts and doubts and fears.  Will anyone use their weaknesses to reach those with weaknesses?

Let's do!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


In what has become one of my favorite books, Kingdom Come, I came across this quote of a Restoration leader named Boll:

In some respects the bondage of law appeals to the flesh more than the freedom of the gospel.  "It is far easier," says Adolph Harnack, "to live under any authority, even the hardest, than in the freedom of the good."  Freedom is strenuous.  It calls for thought, for principle, for heart-searchings, for decisions.  Freedom stands in self-control as opposed to outside control.  The slave's life is easy in some respects.  He is told what to do; and when he has done that, he is through.  His master sees to all the problems of life for him.  All he has to do is follow orders.  There are not a few Christians who would thank you to tell them exactly how much Bible reading they are expected to do every day, how many times a day they are to pray, exactly how much of their money they are to give, how much of Christian work they are to do, and exactly what work; also what they must no do---in short to have a rule and code of precepts which they are to perform, by which to keep out of hell and go to heaven.

While Boll's list is well-targeted, I would add another.  Those who live by the flesh want to be told what to believe without studying freely for themselves.  This is the lazy way out.  This explains the strenuous division in churches.  It isn't personalities per se.  It is personalities who yield to the comfort of the flesh, while claiming to be a vital part of the church, which causes extreme disarray. 

I find it odd that the most unhappy about the condition of the church are nearly always those who fail to do two things.  The flesh cares not to learn from the Word.  Neither does it care to pray.  It just wants to know the rules and it will be a good little man or woman.

The lazy way to and through the Christianity maze is to approach it through the law.  Freedom is more wonderful; yet much more difficult.  One has to make application day in and day out.  Freedom won't allow one to coast.  The kingdom of God will keep a follower on his or her toes. 

Let freedom reign.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Prayer doesn't seem to be a discipline which comes natural to most; at least it didn't to me.  During my tenure in preaching school and then as a minister in a local work, prayer was a basic bore and church ritual to me.  I simply didn't care for it.

I know.  I know I was to be the example.......but I wasn't.  I didn't like praying. 

The reason I didn't (I later discovered) is because in school we had been grounded in the doctrine that God wasn't active among His people any longer.  It was "our" work, "our" effort, and "our" meritorious assertions that mattered.  God was basically done and it was now up to us.

My understanding shifted for the better.  I gradually began to realize God is active among and within His people today.  Therefore, I began to want to pray because I saw a connection between spending time with Him and seeing Him do the work.  God actually engages in our work!  How amazing!

Tonight Memorial divvied up the adults into four arenas of prayer; one being in my office where six of us prayed for an hour.  On Sunday mornings another five of us will meet at 7:30 to pray for an hour for our day.  Sunday evenings our small group meets to spend another hour praying; usually dividing into three groups because of the number in attendance.

Praying draws members together like nothing else I observe.  It is the best thing in ministry to create cohesion, understanding, and harmony.  Believing God works among us is what motivated me to change my attitude toward prayer and such might help others to adjust in the same fashion.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm a sports enthusiast; but maybe not for the reason many would assume.  If you know me you know I love baseball; especially the Cardinals. 

What you may not know is I think sports are one of the greatest inventions of vanity of humankind...ever.  Who sinks the longest putt, kicks the winning field goal, or doubles up a runner on first is of little consequence to the homeless, the terminally ill, the lonely, and the incarcerated. 

Sports are some of culture's greater injustices.  That a skilled batter would get paid multiplied thousands and even millions more than a skilled school teacher or a high level social worker is major leaguely imbalanced.  The hope of getting out of the slums is not hanging on the ability to shoot a basketball.  It must be because one can become a scientist or a popular waitress. 

To me, sports are a valuable vehicle for connection.  Golf scores don't cause me any consternation regardless of how poorly I shoot.  The cronyism of it provides meaningful delight.  Whether major leaguers or minor, whether front office workers or vendors, sports allow one of society's greatest methods of connecting with those who need to know God. 

Sports are a double-edged sword; valuable or vain.  If they are gaged from building up fame and fortune, I think such is a path destined to pale.  However if the same is to be used as a kingdom connection, opportunities are as abundant as the imagination. 

Winning is the issue; but it isn't the game being played.  It is all about winning the one playing the game.  Like sports.  Enjoy the relaxation.  Focus on leading others to Jesus through the common passageways of hitting balls and scoring runs.

Yes, we can lose sight and begin to believe that how our team does really counts.  It doesn't.  How God is doing with those individual teammates does.  An exciting thing to me is to know that many who are suited up are there to promote the real field of opportunity....God's.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Tuesday morning early our youngest and his family head back to Guadalajara after a year long furlough especially designed, I think, for grandma and papa Terry.  With two cars, three kids, and a dog in tow, Tim and Kim finally begin their long trek back to their dear mission field.

Of course, this is an emotional departure for me.  Their distance away is a part of it; but the danger factor at the border and then through the Mexican highways is a big challenge as they experienced plenty of frustration exiting a year ago.

All that said, I am most grateful.  How could I not be thrilled over their love for God and commitment to His work?  They've spent six good years there and are now headed back for the next God-phase. 

I'll not complain. 

How many parents wish their kids had enough interest in God to move far away to help others?  I get to experience it and I will not curse such a move by sighing and moaning.  Many kids have grown up in the church to become quite effective and impactive in the professional field chosen by the leading of the heart.  Mine just happens to love ministry.

All dads get to dream of their kids being happy at what they do.  I'm a blessed one who gets to experience it.

Thank you, God!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


God works with the small stuff.  Wasn't His son the one who said something about mustard seed impact? 

Because I am from the farm I get the major truth that sowing affects harvest.  God set up that system and it is what works on the Kingdom Farm.

Don't think about increasing your giving my $100 or $1000; but make such a move by $1 or $10.  You may not be able to consider feeding the homeless until you practice feeding a neighbor you don't know so well.  It could be you aren't capable of reaching another nation until you extend a local invitation.

I know what it is like to be a young and ambitious man who wants to set the world on fire.  I still want to.  But I lacked the skill-set.  However, each of us can do a little and this is a big thing!  Little amounts to something in God's eyes. 

Don't be discouraged if you aren't the President of a corporation or the Chief of an administration.  You are connected at the heart to the living God and He has always delighted in working with the improbable and even impossible.

I get to do fun and amazing stuff in the kingdom zone.  One of the reasons is I still accentuate the need to sow seed.  We sow, we water and we till.  We sow, we water and we till.  He alone provides the produce....and our job is to enjoy it!

If you aren't I am not...we are just enough.  What everyone should remember is that dinkyness matters!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


DON'T GIVE UP! Don't give up on God. Don't give up on others. And for Pete's sake, don't give up on yourself. The latter is what will be addressed today.

As much as we fight others by criticizing their major and minor flaws, nothing penetrates the heart like the self-awareness of how much we aren't. How many times can we miss the mark and not get it that we are wretched, blind, foolish, and regretfully ashamed?

DON'T GIVE UP! We need to know these things about us to steer our dependence to the One who never slips; never fails. It is good for us to have our missteps always in front of us where we can evaluate the truth we are not near what we expect all others to be.

To see ourselves in bad light from time to time is a rich blessing. It shows we have not lost touch with tenderness of heart. Callousness has not crept in and set up shop.

DON'T GIVE UP! Thank God for the struggle. It isn't fun. It isn't easy. But it is a good thing to happen to us. It keeps our feet on the ground and our heads hunting for the riches of the heavenly.

Me? Struggling with me today....that's why I write this. I figure you are tempted toward the same. This is good for us. While we aren't much, He proves to be everything. Don't be discouraged. Even our weaknesses prove valuable.

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, June 18, 2010


I have a new friend.  Well...maybe you would not monitor us as close friends as we haven't really met in person.  My hope is one day we will.  We might even become brothers or brother and sister as I don't know the gender of this new one in my life.

I've noticed recently that we have a visitor staying in our building overnight.  They seem to be here the morning after any evening event the church has whether AA meetings or church.  In one of our larger rooms I found two blankets forming a pallet on a pew one morning last week.  I folded the blankets and moved them to the center of the pew just to see if they might be moved again.  It's sort of a fold the blanket game.

Yesterday I went to check on my field and sure enough the pallet was stretched out one more time at the end of the pew.  Someone spent the night again. 

So I folded the covers once again and moved them to the center of the pew.  But this time I stood and prayed over/for the person sleeping in our building.  And then I left a note to wish him or her a great day and put $2 in the envelope. 

It's an odd relationship, I know.  We are just beginning.  I'm not sure this person will like me; but I already love whoever I'm talking about.  I'm just doing what God says; planting and watering. 

Granted this guy or gal and I have a rather blind friendship.  But it could be a God-thing.  So pray for my friend.  This person might just become your friend as well!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


In a discussion with a close friend of mine, a ton of bricks hit me as to the church's many divisions.  There is one root flaw which causes (insists there be) multiple-troubled fruit.  It has taken me all these years to see and then it sorta just fell out into the midst of our conversation.

First, I've learned from my elders over the years that often what is placed on the table as the reason for upset isn't the real issue.  A family or an individual frustration is usually never truthfully presented; rather a superficial one is bantered as the culprit.  Such is the case with our root cause to division.

The church isn't divided over music style or support of orphans homes or women's role.  It is divided in these and many other matters by one thing....the belief that the Church of Christ is always and the only religious body to possess correct doctrinalities.  When any adjustment comes along which challenges our pride in being right...there will be war.

Now I think back when I first moved to Memorial Drive and subtle comments would come backed by half-hearted smiles, You seem to think we don't do everything right.  The innuendo is that I was out of line for such a conclusion. 

After all of these years, I have assumed I was in trouble with many in our fellowship because of my stance on the Holy Spirit working in our lives, or my friendship with guys like Max and Rick and Jeff.  Ah, not so.  I've been in trouble all of these years because I have spoken out against our audacity to believe we have cornered the market on understanding God, interpreting the Bible, and walking the path of Truth.

I don't change my mind nor my position.  But now at least I have a better understanding of what division has been all about.  It hasn't been about right and wrong, truth and error.  It has been about offending those who are sure they are the only ones right....and yet fear their own salvation.

God works with humility and opposes the proud.  Pride over being right is the root cause to a tree full of problems.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Our heritage of discipleship has a beckoned call of which strikes at the heart of what we are about, Thus saith the Lord.  This phrase has rung out from well before I came along as an interested participant.  Too, the quote has been heralded as a means of putting people in their place when they wished to experience new-fangled ideas in church.

I was big on the idea myself.  As a young pup I was a proud pulpit pounder of what the Lord said.  I used such as license to put people in their place and I did it with great ease for the pulpit served as my wall of protection.  I was my usual cowardly self when away from my fort from whence I tossed verbal hand-grenades.

Back to the phrase.  It tripped me up.  I've had to take my own medicine and it hasn't been easy to swallow.  Thus saith the Lord will catch all of us anytime we wish to promote tradition over bibliocity.  The truth is (and we are all about Truth) that the Lord hasn't said nearly as much as we wish He had said.

In one of our past meetings one elder was pushing the not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages when another elder advised his colleague scripture did not speak of such.  The first elder responded, ought to!

Thus saith the Lord may be a King James kind of comment, but the Truth of it remains as pertinent as ever.  Our problem is we've heard error along the way assuming God said it....when He didn't.  Stick with the Bible.  It still says what it means and means what it says. 

The challenge for me has been to take my wishes and verify they were His as well.  Often it isn't the case.  I find He is often silent because to Him it didn't matter.  God seems to have spoken up and out when He wished to get something through to His children.

I'm still a learner.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


While all can use this article, I specifically write to the very young leaders.  Many things will take place in the church that you won't like.  What shall you do?  Move?  Fight?  Quit?  I think not.

I don't know how I knew to do it, but I saw at an early age the need to keep my mouth shut and learn.  I studied what wasn't working for I knew the day would come when things changed.  I lived in pain on several occasions; even then realizing I was in an important class studying church leadership from the trenches.

Anybody can work with a church when things are going great guns.  What God seems to look for are men and women who will take the icon of the cross seriously...things won't go our way.

Don't be discouraged when the seas are rough.  Rather learn to walk on them.  Choose to capitalize on their educational value.  You are designed for effective leadership.  Sometimes your best days will feel like your worst.  Fret not.  He still oversees His work. 

Monday, June 14, 2010


If you want to do something productive for your work, shift from wishful thinking to expectation.

Wanters wish.  Faith expects.  There is a difference from wanting and expecting.  Faith separates the two.  The difference is key.

Many wish for opportunities.  They want doors to open or results to happen.  But wishing can require little ambition or risk. 

The deal with faith is it will often be accompanied by challenge to see if we really want to believe.  Tests are what God calls them.  Wishful thinkers don't like authority.  They don't care for rejection either.  But faith walkers believe that even the tough times as well as difficult people are blessings for their work.  Thus, they expect God to bless even when stress presents itself.

I know of a host of Christians who became extremely useful in the Kingdom because they did the little things well.  They were hurt.  They were abused.  They were discouraged.  But they would not quit believing.

You can wish things were different or you can expect things to be different.  The change will be when you accept rejection as valuable as acceptance and struggle as important as celebration.  Wishful thinkers run the race as long as the weather is decent.  Expectationers run the race when most would collapse from discouragement and fatigue.

Make the move.  Expect---in the center of all troublesome opportunities---God to work in your work!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I have been rather sad for the past few days.  So I tell you a true story of a couple who live some distance away.  The names are changed; but other than that, the story is true.

This is about John and Jane.  Jane has been one of my closest friends since third grade.  She married a great man.  He was smart, warm, outgoing, and highly successful in the business world.  I loved him as soon as she introduced us and he and I have been close friends for these past 45 years.

Wednesday night Jane came home to find John dead.  He had collapsed of a heart attack.  No warning.  Dead.

When I was notified I called Jane immediately.  I was surprised she answered the phone.  But she saw my name pop up and wanted to talk.  Completely stunned, she discussed how bizarre this was.  She kept repeating in rapid cadence as she gasped for air, This is awful.  Oh gosh, this is awful.  Oh Terry, this is awful.  Oh gosh.

I've called her early three mornings in a row as I can tell it is good for her to vent.  He was a marvelous man.  She loved him dearly; they lived in love.  She can hardly breathe.

But here's what I want you to get.  Each day my friend speaks of extreme regret.  She didn't realize how she needed to appreciate the moments much more.  She missed opportunities to verbalize her love for him because she felt she was too busy keeping up with work and those things we all find heaped upon our schedules. 

She spoke of one regret after another.

My heart can hardly take her mourning for she is understandably and properly so sad.  A vital part of her existence has been severed.  She is a very good woman and married a very good man. 

Jane suffers from something natural to all.  From so many aspects of humanity, she felt she didn't do enough during their years together to express how wonderful he was.

Whether families or friends, brothers or sisters, neighbors or colleagues, try to pay attention to the goodness all around.  It is abundant.....but we have a way of focusing on so many things which don't really matter in the face of death.  Live strong. 

See it....and then say so!


Jesus changed my life.  I couldn't count the ways.  But one is quite clear. 

As I watched him walk through towns and roam the countryside, he had an extra sense about the value of the person in his presence.  Their value of him was not his foremost concern.  When they departed, each citizen had encountered one who esteemed them highly.

Where Jesus changed one part of my life is to realize the awe of others when I enter their presence.  I once didn't.  Whether at a restaurant or walking through a church foyer or shopping at a mall, people are everywhere and I cannot help but wonder if they have any idea how glorious they are.

Yes, we all suffer from an overdose of self-centeredness.  My discussion almost approaches it; except I see a different twist.  Self-centeredness seems to present itself because self can't get a grasp on its authentic and natural beauty as is.  We strive to be different and more.....of something....extremely unsatisfied with who we are and what we have become.  We underestimate the resource of God in us because we overestimate our personal need to become something we aren't.  Wishful thinking gone awry is such a scenario.

From little children to haggard old men, I perpetually encounter a race called humanity that is oblivious to its own mysterious wonder.  Everyone we know has been created in the image of the Three; Father/Son/Spirit. 

It is our role to point out to each other along the way that we see (as Liz Pence would say) God in them.  Politics and Wall Street are neither our hopes nor our main problems.  The ruinous lack of confident spirits within the carcasses of humanity is costing society to an immeasurable extent. 

We must, individually, become more like Jesus to point out the brilliance and beauty of one another.  Until we do, communities are filled with Satan's lie that we are not good enough.

Learn to live in the midst of saying so!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Learn to suffer well in the little stuff.

When we are young and ambitious we have visions of doing great things for God.  I can tell you from intending to reach age 63 next Friday that those fires never dim....and we never feel anything but young. 

Along the way, however, I have realized something useful to any now pressing from the younger side.  God will reward you for enduring the many hang-nail difficulties.  Learn to not be distracted by upset.  Upset is valuable to dreamers.  Moses?  Joseph?  Esther?  David?  Jesus?  These leaders wanted big stuff for the Kingdom.  Rough moments were in every path.

Don't cringe at struggle.  Don't fight stony paths.  Realize....realize strain and pressure are test flights of soaring faith.

If you want to lead well you must have things go wrong.  Failure is only real failure when assuming your day should always finish in the win column.  Resurrection power can never show its stuff if there is no death. 

A tough but valuable lesson to learn is difficulty and disappointment are tutors to high flying faith.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Don't you get it?  The world around us is breaking down.  Difficulty lurks at so many turns.  Despondency has some of its greatest potential.  Yet, we seem to find enthusiasm is actually gaining momentum.  Why is that?

We are free to remain alive because of one big big word...RESURRECTION.  Resurrection ruins discouragement, death, and decay.  Resurrection puts back together what was.  It is the new day dawning every day!

We are free to move about full of certain hope because the biggest blockade to all of life is over.  Put is deeply into your system; DEATH HAS DIED!

Jesus died.  When he was raised to never die again......death died.  Lazarus died only to die again.  Not so with Jesus.  Death died.  Did you hear the good news?  Death had a terrible accident.  It ran into the Son of God and did not survive.  It was enamoured with its power; but Jesus ruined all of death's dreams.  Hurray for the glory found in Jesus.  He took out the enemy.

When Jesus came back from his own funeral, death was sent to his own.  It was a wonderful funeral! 


I know.  I know you as a leader have big ideas.  I know that sometimes those ideas aren't greeted with colleague mutuality.  Fret not.  If your idea is worthy, it will come about.  If not, accept it and either drop it or try again later should it be a matter of God-timing.

Learn to wait.
  • The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent...Ex. 14:14
  • Be still and know I am God...Ps. 46:10
  • Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength...Isa. 40:31
Granted, I'm an idea man.  I enjoy creativity and risk.  However, many x many of my ideas were at first rejected.  I went to school (I learned) from repeated rejections.  What did I learn?  Kingdom progress isn't about me, my ideas, nor my selling skill.  It is all about God's we learn to wait.

Elders can be blind, colleagues can be biased, and you.....can be wrong.  So we freely toss ideas trusting the opposing wisdom of others and the full vision of God.  God changes minds or circumstances or both. 

Rejection is not defeat.  It is pure opportunity to learn to wait.  We live in a time of increasing desire for immediate gratification.  When we serve from this impatient mode we tend to eliminate the main force--God--without realizing what we are doing.

So you don't get your way?  Good for you!  Good for God.  Maybe you will learn to wait and by doing so will find you actually trust Him more....the very thing He had been waiting for.

(Wow, Terry!  This was a really good one!)

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


It is God's perpetual call to His people to love others; love one another as well as our enemies.  Connecting with any outside of our safety-circle can intimidate.  For some reason we wish to be more polished or professional before we make an approach. 

Have you ever thought about the one needing your reach?  They are not polished receivers.  Nor are they professionals at being reached.  They are as we....mere and fantastic people.  So drop the "I wouldn't know how" and join the crowd.  No one knows how and that's the secret of it all; the reachers don't know how and the reach-ed don't know how.  It is a mutual tie!

One of our new members recently said she had no idea one was to pray in Jesus' name.  She had never heard of that before.  Her husband wanted to know how one becomes an you have to pay money?  Who could guess such questions?

A world of hope exists because we have so much in common.  I was on the one side.  Now I am on the other.  I was reached to...and now I reach toward.  When I visited church I was nervous; what to do, when to stand, when to sit, etc. 

Our fear comes honestly in that often we encounter the arguers and debaters.  But what I want you to know is there are many more who simply don't know beans about God.  We, on the other hand, know only a few beans. 

This makes a great match; they know little and we are just learning!  If we can operate from their shoes, we will do remarkably well.

Monday, June 07, 2010


American churches are in a sensitive bind; we are stuck and don't know how to get unstuck.

It is more common than not that churches of all brands are not only not growing, they are shrinking.  Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Christian....many churches are stymied and the solution doesn't seem to be easy.

Those who are still attending struggling congregations yearn for the good ol' days when recollection verifies that these same places were thriving.  The stumper is such members are dying off and the new generation doesn't care for the good ol' days.  If the younger generation happens to get their way, the older ones will be offended and leave.

So here churches sit....stuck.  Understandably the wish of the current (yet fading) few is that young people will come along and take the worn baton.  But the younger ones just aren't going to reach for it. 

So there you have it.  A choice has to be made.  Keep it the way it has been and die.  Or, allow creativity to enter and learn to adapt at an old age to a new trend.  Few can do this, but it is being done and will work.

All of us either live in this zone or rub elbows with others who do.

I think a solution to all of it is to love God.....really.  Instead, love for God has taken a back seat to loving the church system to operate the way we love the church system to operate.  And yes, we each have definitive verses to stand upon for our hearts' particular desires.  However in this maze of dos and don'ts, can but won'ts, the body of Christ is suffering; not only from low budgets but equally from inability to budge it. 

Opinions are voiced and preferences battle, but the church Jesus is building struggles to breathe because we have overridden God's involvement by reducing kingdom life to our "favorites".

There is hope for every kind of church if we will each shed our sacred cows which cause more stumbling than surviving.  God is not stumped; we are.  God knows how to part the Dread Sea of complacency.  May we grow in Him enough to step aside so He might heal the church and what ails it.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


All things work for good on the condition we finish the rest of the sentence of Romans 8:28.  They work for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

The love God part is understandable.  The purpose portion might throw a wrench into the works.

Our purpose is to suffer for His cause.  This is a rather touchy trait.  Any struggle turned into kingdom value becomes fuel for ministerial advancement.  While we will be tempted to melt under discouragement's power, realizing that all things prosper the believer when given to God brings about great wonder and hope.

Don't be surprised at the difficulties within or among yourselves.  Rather, choose to use each intended derailer for the glory of kingdom learning and advancement.

Our life is to be given away...surrendered...that we may discover even newer life within the confines of those very things which would shut most people down.

Believe up!  All things work for good!

Saturday, June 05, 2010


If we intend to be of any affect at all in leadership we must learn three of the biggest words in ministry; I AM WRONG.


Wrong on everything?  No.  Most things?  Not necessarily.  Many things?  Absolutely.

The doctrinal differences among us are not due to grand conclusions due to deep and faithful research.  It is because once egos set their course, they are stickin' by it.  Minds become set as in concrete and eyes go blind to truth and each closed-minded blind individual reaches an impasse in the kingdom called STUCK.

This was a tough lesson to learn because our tribe emphasizes so much on being right.  Right has shifted from accuracy to competition.  Who is right?  Which group is right?  We go by the Bible...whichever slant a particular group has...and will never admit to being wrong.

I AM WRONG is a very tough admission to swallow.  I didn't like it myself.  I fought it for the longest.  That takes quite an exaggerated technique, too.  You see, in order to always remain at the top RIGHT, it is important to chisel others down to size.  This comes in many forms; bitterness, anger, resentment, and defensiveness.

Surprise!  To consider and eventually admit personal error is to leap into a region of freedom not experienced until.  Can you envision life without bitterness, anger, resentment, and defensiveness?  These things make us sick.  Yet, RIGHT insists we possess them and never let go.

I say let go!  Let go of your assumed accuracy at every turn.  Everyone else knows you are not.  Ego is the last to learn of our demise.  It isn't a rumor.  All of us have enough wrong about us to become a great bit more open to all others.

Always being right is a wrong move.  And, this is a tough lesson to learn.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


How many possess the urge to adopt the oil-covered Pelican drenched before the cameras which have focused upon the Gulf disaster?  That poor animal sat in a seemingly irrecoverable coating of black tar.  What an immeasurable and undefinable mess!

BP has worked for weeks to contain this oil leak a mile below the gulf's surface.  Liquid gold sneezes and coughs its harmful way to affect not only wildlife but human welfare.  It is as disaster which seems to have no immediate solution.  Life is stricken by this oil line which wheezes man, fish, and bird into strangulation of some form.

Could this be but a token visual of sin contaminating God's creation?  Is BP's efforts to shut off the spewing spill an illustration of sin's insistent spread to more than A & E imagined in the Garden?  Can anyone or anything run deep enough to shut off the greasy sin supply?  And then to clean up the mess....who can step up for such a task?

Enter Jesus.  Yes, the Father submerged Himself as the tool labeled, of all things, human.  God sunk to the depths of humanity (as a human) to do the clean up the to-far-gone-to-do-anything-about-it sin spill. 

The task wasn't to cover the mess from Louisiana to Florida.  No, this call was to recover damaged life from the Garden to the grave.  Centuries' worth of leak pelicanized every man and woman.  Tears of frustration and hopelessness filled the prayer-waves. 

The wonderful news is God was not stumped as BP.  He didn't try.  He did.  He sent His only son to sweep up the sin-pool by becoming the sin.  God fought fire with fire and the ideal Rescuer became our sin that we might become clean in the sight of God....II Cor. 5:21.

As we observe the mess, the challenge, and the great need in the Gulf, may we be reminded of the work Jesus has done to save every believer from dying without a solution.


If we are going to succeed in kingdom work a new way of thinking is required.  We will walk on very thin to speak. 

The nature of man is to be in control.  We don't mean to be brashly egotistical.  As a matter of fact we spend a lot of our time trying to hide our bossy/self-centeredness with acceptable garb of humility.  Isn't it odd that after awhile humility, too, seems to wear thin?

The thin ice is to speak of that part of walking with God where we can never calculate His moves; we can seldom perceive His use of challenging moments we would love to dissolve.  Thin ice means we must not get comfortable in anything except our faith in the Jesus. 

About the time we believe we have a destiny figured, God moves the terrain.  Once we assume the church's posture is definitely set, He will open the Word to a new possibility.  This strain creates our own Pharisaism.  We mistakenly feel we've altered and been altered enough; it's time to settle down.

The kingdom of God doesn't settle.  It doesn't quit the perpetual shift called maturity and growth.  If we are going to stick with the kingdom...and we will be because we learn to stay young and pliable in the Spirit of God. 

Don't get discouraged that you can't get the church to stay happy or productive in places.  New generations continue to arise (thank God) and with that new awarenesses of the Word develop.  We are most challenged to be flexible in the Spirit....John 3:8.

Our walk is very exciting and very daring....yet, it is because we walk on thin ice.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Our lives are very challenged. Any of us can talk the spiritual; but the flesh insists upon ruling that portion of humanity.

It isn't easy....being spiritual that is. We like the things that we like; singing or praying or reading the Bible or serving others. We like the things we like and don't the things we don't.

Brilliant you accuse me? Or mock me? Well, the point is the spiritual if oft' found in the realm of sacrifice and surrender. Watch Jesus.

Indeed there is a major war; spirit versus flesh. The battle isn't just between us; more so it is within us. We are our own battlefields and war is waged in our minds.

Read Romans 7 and see if the Apostle Paul is not stumped by his own inward warfare. His conclusion was twofold: wretched self and thankful for Jesus.

That's how we are to see us. We are identical in both nature and action. Don't be disappointed but rather be inspired. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life....of spirituality to the max!