Tuesday, November 30, 2010


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

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

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

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

Monday, November 29, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Blessings and love to a very good man,


Sunday, November 28, 2010


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


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

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

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

Magic markers....really are magic!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2010


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

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 19, 2010


What about God?

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Just sowing seeds for their next encounter with Him.

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

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

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

Plant the seed and throw the rolls!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 15, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

No word.

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

Saturday Old Mr. Bat sold for $650.

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

Sunday, November 14, 2010


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

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

Friday, November 12, 2010


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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings....and I mean it.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfulness.....it is a major doctrine gone unnoticed.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phil. 4:11

Sunday, November 07, 2010


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

I think you do.

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 05, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jesus claimed he was the Bread of Life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 04, 2010


The concept of faith still fascinates me.

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


Waiting is a weighty topic.

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

It is a secret of God.

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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