Saturday, April 30, 2011



Every day and every event and every appointment....we are faced with a significant dilemma.  There is a greater need for 28 hour days.

Time flies.

It seems like it was just yesterday that we believed Y2-K or something was coming down the pike where once the new century blew in all of the computers would melt and all of the microwaves would wave good-bye.  It didn't happen...whatever that Y2 thing was called.

It's already May-Eve at this writing.  We no longer move about day by day and week by week.  Oh, we say we do; but in reality we live from holidays---Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Spring Training, and then we are facing Memorial Day again. 

One of the things I see in Jesus is he didn't operate by clocks nor calendars.  He operated by God and by people.  Mary was insistent regarding her dead brother Lazarus.  Did Jesus drop everything and rush out in a panic?  No.  He dallied.  What's up with that?

Concerns and dreads and threats and pains weary the soul.  So what should we do about it?  I think we should do the same thing God called the Israelites to do when they escaped through the Red Sea.  We need to trust Him.

Instead they moaned and groaned, claimed and blamed, as they wasted their years going in pitiful and non-productive circles.  I enjoy the dally moments as Jesus when I'm not going in circles.  I've learned over the years that not everyone's panic is my problem.  Yes, I'm viewed precisely as was Jesus by Mary.  Yet, a thing I am perpetually learning from Jesus is that while I'm living on this earth...I'm really alive!

I once lived life as if it were a deadening experience.  No more!  Jesus gave us life abundant and I say let's do it!


I am preparing for Pepperdine's Lectures which entail three classes on my new book, MVP!  It is really weird reading my own book.  I love the content so much that I find myself re-intrigued in the hope God clearly offers His fragile sheep.

I was reading a John Eldredge quote, I realized I was living a script written for me by someone else.  All my life I had been asking for the world to tell me what to do with myself.  This is different from seeking counsel or advice; what I wanted was freedom from responsibility and especially freedom from risk.  I wanted someone else to tell me who to be.

Thank God it didn't work.  The scripts they handed me I simply could not bring myself to play for very long.  Like Saul's armor, they never fit.  Can a world of posers tell you to do anything but pose yourself?  As Buechner says, we are in constant danger of being not actors in the drama of our lives but reactors, "to go where the world takes us, to drift with whatever current happens to be running to the strongest."

Do you know why I like this so much?  It was the truth about who I was.  I didn't go to a four-year college because I thought it was too hard and I was too inadequate.  I possess no degrees.  And what did God give me?  Hard work in ministry.  I didn't escape it!  Nor did I escape wandering around trying to be the successful people rather than be myself.

I urge you to stop the insanity.  Look at who you are.  Are you really you or are you somebody elses you?

It will take incredible guts to make the break.  From experience I can tell you that it is a marvel prison break.  Make plans to dig out tonight!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


The Cross remains a marvel and mystery of profound meaning.  It clears our sinuses in the process of defining what matters.

The Cross positioned us to watch for hope to be coming just around the corner.  Death had to be rugged for arisen life to look look so ALIVE!  We now know of the miracle of all miracles; the resurrection of Jesus.  And....WE BELIEVE IT!

If you don't believe that, then all else is truly done in vain.  Without the Cross bad hairs days are truly worth our hiding under the covers never to be heard from again.  But if you believe the marvel of the Cross, then everything else fits the category of a mere and wimpy bad hair day...these struggles weren't what we wanted but they are minor in the scheme of God's glorious provision.

What does the Cross have to do with a bad hair day?  When we believe he really died and then was back a half a week hope escapes us!

Monday, April 25, 2011


I'm at one of those forks in the road or maybe a hill to climb.  I don't know.  I think I am in a learning mode.  Therefore, I am going to lay it out there hoping some of you will join in with your concepts, etc.

The question is, Where are we going?  Specifically, how are we to determine in the local work where we are going?  Another way of framing the question would be, What is our purpose?

To all of the above I can rattle off all sorts of main answers.  However, I am puzzled of late as to our historic answers.  So many of them seem to be based upon answers which satisfy the flesh.  If the flesh can measure and tabulate, then we must know where we are going.  Really?  I don't think that way anymore.

But I wonder what you may have learned over time that would help me.  I'm not interested in trite answers which please the flesh.  I want to know what the Spirit thinks; what the Spirit expects from us. 

Well...I've rambled enough to give you the picture I am searching for our direction.  I have thoughts.  I have strong ideas.  And...for your safety, I'm not waiting to see what you suggest and then give you the right answer in the next post.  I really want to know how you see the direction of the local church and what you believe would help us to get there.

For one, I could use your ideas regardless of how weak or powerful you deem them to be.

Thank you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I'm not against Monday night's "Labor in the Kingdom" or Thursday evening's "Win One for the Master" ministries a church might schedule.  These matter....and they produce.  Yet, I can't help but notice something about Jesus; he was "on" all of the time. 

Jesus was so alert to those in his path.  We might be a bit programmed to see kingdom opportunity only when it scheduled upon that not-so-biblical unit called the filled church calendar.  It is possible we miss glorious God-events because the calendar didn't note it as significant.  Possible? 

I had one of those special unscheduled moments this morning.  I love people.  I think they work hard and get little respect for being good and responsible in their efforts. 

I was sitting in my #1 hole-in-the-wall cafe this morning studying my car book, Why Jesus.  I am content to simply read and sip.  Still, I kept noticing the richness of the moment. There I was in a restaurant full of strangers; none bothering the other and all engaged either in conversation or scanning the paper.

I wondered to myself, What is it that can be done to direct these toward Jesus (realizing many in there may be more in tune with him than me)?  Everyone was going about their own business.  And they were so sweet.  The day may come when my eyes are too dim or my ears too weak or my body simply immobile to enjoy such a privileged sight.

Then it occurred to me.  I have church funds set aside for community outreach.  I called the waitress over and told her to gather the tickets of everyone.  Her eyes got big, All of them?! 

She quietly gathered all tickets and I met her at the register.  I told her to tell them when they got ready to pay, The church up the street with the funny roof wishes you a Happy Easter!

What will God do with that move?  Ah....I believe something meaningful.  The fun part is I don't control what it is.

Opportunity is before our very eyes.  Our joy is to imagine it.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Could there be good addiction as there is good cholesterol?  I think so.  And, if so what would such be?

Consider ten things we feel like we just have to have in our walk:
  • We crave the Word.
  • We hunger to be around His people.
  • We deeply desire to be outstanding givers.
  • We starve for ways to share hope with the discouraged.
  • We have a passion for building others up.
  • We need opportunity to walk like He did.
  • We yearn for the hopeless to know what we know.
  • We long for God's Holy Spirit to work beyond our imaginations.
  • We covet the New Creation God promises.
  • We are obsessed with seeing loneliness in others eradicated.


Teens aren't the only ones who are pumped!  They come back from retreats and camps and are bursting at the seams!  So are those who believe in Jesus' resurrection!  We are pumped!  That is the magic of the church!

When one believes whole-heartedly that Jesus lived, died, and arose again, the most fundamental truth to all of life is now engaged.  Every disorder, every dilemma, every threat is diagnosed and solved in the resurrection of Jesus. 

The Bible insists we possess resurrection power...not just for the cemetery, but....for everyday living. 

And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells--present tense--in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies--not the immortal ones from the graves--through His Spirit who indwells--present tense--you....Romans 8:10-11.

When we believe this to be true....there cannot help but be magic in the church!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


We at Memorial have been Hoopla-ed!  Easter Hoopla has struck and it was a home run!

Our Linda Scott and Stacey Kendall (Children's Ministers) put together what I think was the best package for Kids Night yet.  Easter Hoopla is devoted to our kids as well as community children.  Two things happened to make the evening special;
  1. The volunteers offered so many zones for the kids to enjoy.
  2. Children from the Food Pantry and neighborhood came.
Children make a church pop!  I am proud of our two gals for working so intensely toward these special events which care greatly for our little ones!

And....somehow I got out of there with a tatoo added to my face.  Hmmmm.....and cameras began to show up everywhere I turned.  Go figure.

Thank you, Linda!  Thank you, Stace!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


If we keep parroting that we are the true church some of the longer tenured members will continue to believe it.  Not the case with the younger generations.  Are they to be viewed as selfish and disrespectful?  Perhaps a few could be so labeled.

Yet I think their exit is more accurately placed upon some of us who remain.  The old standard of keeping the doctrine pure in the church house via those five steps simply weakens our drive; for in the early church there was no church house.  Since World War II, at least, great emphasis has been stressed to the church that what we do "in church" has to be right...absolutely and unequivocally right.

So why is it so few pray?  Why is it that so many of us who have been in the church 30 and 40 and 50...and yeah 60...years cannot and will not pray?  How has this been allowed among us while claiming to possess all of the trademarks of the true church?

When I look at scriptures which reveal the pattern of the people back then, I appear to be utmost in one main category; shallowness.  I am a shallow believer.  My prayer life is on oxygen.  What's worse is comparing my prayer walk now to my earlier years in ministry...I've progressed light years.

Churches of all kinds are dying off.  In each case there is sober concern for the welfare and continued existence...yet in nearly all of those cases, weak and shallow breathing of prayer exists.  There is little prayer.

I remain disappointed to get with a group of Christians to or women...and some refuse because they appear to be just too shy.  Our God is the answer to the world's dilemma.  While thousands are obviously moved to protest in the streets in nation upon nation...I am convinced the real victorious movement of hope will be found in prayer.

This post began because I was reviewing my own shallowness.  And then it seemed to me that it might be a useful thing to share it with you.  May we build a powerful protest for good over the earth by coming out of our shells and exposing ourselves to the prayer life Jesus exemplified.  Change--proper and healthy--will arise.

Until we restore the valiant and all-member-inclusive participatory prayer life of the early church, we need to discontinue the parroting that we are it.  We are far from it.

Believe it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


One of the best things that happened to me along the ministry way was to not get my way.  This was a huge struggle.  I had big ideas; great ideas.  Often they withered under some sort of invisible wave of dismissal.  I was resentful.

I will never know why God was so graceful during those days; while He was graceful I learned to become grateful. 

I don't really know of a more inadequate person at being a person than me.  I'm serious.  Yet, that very qualification is a reason I think God works with and through me.  If He can work with this He can work with anyone.

I needed the "running the show" and "parading my talents" crushed out of me.  Many of them have been.  I am blessed by His patience and love. 

Each time I hit another hill too steep to climb I immediately wonder what God has going in the center of the challenge.  I wasn't much of a praiser of God.  I was an orchestrator.  I was a dreamer.  But I was not one who gave a thought to praising God. 

Today such is my goal.  I want to see God honored and praised.  Now I can see that young leaders as I once was fight the very thing we need; not getting our way.  If we are going to work from such a special position in the kingdom we are necessarily going to get clobbered.  We must learn to take it.  We must learn not to run.  We must learn to praise Him in the very center.

Paul and Silas in prison unfairly?  They sang their hearts out as if they were attending a very special seminar of sorts.  When they bellowed out their praises to God, everything which restricted them let go.  That's operating by kingdom style of Jesus....effectively navigating the rugged hills of leadership.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Next Sunday is Easter promising to be a big boost to church attendance around the world.  In case you don't realize it, this is the most natural week to invite friends, neighbors, and relatives to church. 

Since the guest list with be stronger this week, many in our circles would be more open to an invitation to visit your congregation.  I spoke with one of my neighbors today.  I intend to contact two more in the next few days.

Be assured; people think about God and look for Him.  This week is one of the most natural for those in our zone to consider sitting with us next Sunday.

Opportunity.  Look for it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Functioning by the Spirit is not natural to the flesh.  However, it is to the spirit.  Our challenge is to walk by the Spirit without calling the flesh moves spirit ones.

Our entire call is to be in sync with the Spirit formation and arrangement.  How we forgive others and ourselves cannot afford to have flesh overtones; otherwise we will take out our pound of flesh before we relinquish hostilities. 

How we determine monetary giving must be accented by the Spirit love; not the flesh calculation.  Otherwise, the flesh will talk us out of spectacular blessing in the name of security....false security at that.

Walking by the Spirit is......spiritual.  The flesh doesn't understand it; votes against.  The battle isn't necessarily between believers for it is usually within oneself.  In Ephesians six God labels this as war. Armor, shields, and missiles are displayed in this treacherous reality-of-life conflict.

It is easier for the flesh to ignore and dismiss the Spirit contest. 

We must stay alert.  We must awaken to the abundant life intended.  Don't miss the life of Christ all around you because your flesh--cowardly and unbelieving as it is--convinces you of its side of the argument.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Next up for a big adventure for many of us are the Pepperdine Lectures.  Psalms: God's Unchanging Faithfulness will guide the 68th annual in Malibu May 3-6.  Jerry Rushford does a remarkable labor in God's Vineyard of putting together a winning event.  It is a remarkable experience topped by pie and coffee!

One of the keynote speakers is my good friend and Tulsa colleague, Mitch Wilburn, of the Park Plaza congregation.  Mitch is an absolute wonder in Christ.  I love his spirit and his humility as he works with a huge congregation.

The scenery in Malibu is gorgeous.  The sea of friends is exhilarating.  And...I get to see my Hallal friends!  But the feast of the Word served by the common men and women of our generation is the dynamic that makes Pepperdine....well...Pepperdine!

Color your calendar for May 3-6.  Color it Pepperdine!

Friday, April 15, 2011


There is a way to stir the church so that discouragement and darkness loom.  And, there is a way to stir so that it is encouraged and light exudes from day to day and week to week.  Both are tied directly to mouths which house tongues.  Some bless while others curse.  We want in on stirring the church with blessings.

How do we do it?  How do we stir the church to positive, faithful productivity?  We speak life; grace seasoning voices which energize for every moment. 

We are learning to speak up about the rich and great things God is doing among us.  It is important to point out, whether in general conversations or public addresses, the delightful and good which our people accomplish.  When we let our elders, our members, our visitors, and our staff know how good they are, how important they are, and how needed they happens!

We see this practiced by Jesus.  He was always encountering those on the other side of the tracks with words of hope.  He could be interrupted at a dinner party by a bawling stranger who was wiping his feet with her hair...and he would never flinch.  Moreover, he would point out her value to ultimately every generation.

Jesus always pointed out the value of those deemed by some as lesser.  That's what we do.  We stir the church into coveted strength by shining the light on the valued.  We do more than appreciate their presence...we tell others of their worth.  The church just cannot afford to sit in silent appreciation.  We must raise our voices as to the brilliant glory of God in our people; His people. 

May we be ambitious with graceful hope as we find the good in one another...and then say so....Eph. 4:29.  If you want to stir the church into a productive frenzy...begin to speak of what's right about her people.  Afterwards...sit back and enjoy the scene.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I wish God would teach me what He wants me to learn so I can get on with life.  How many times I have heard that said....and not one of them was sincere.  What He wants us to learn is to quit worrying and the above sentence is always said by a worrier. 

We need to learn to give it up!  "It" being the strain we put ourselves through while missing the opportunity to note God working in the very circumstance where we want out.

I have learned little by little to let go of the helm of whatever I'm engaged.  I don't run the show.  I don't even run a part of the show.  Life is from God and up to God.  My job is to believe the one whom He sent....Jn. 6:29.  Your job is to believe Jesus and he said not to worry.

I have spent far to much inhaling/exhaling time over wasteful fret.  Non-productivity has been the result.  I tried to coerce and manipulate life.  Bummer!  I failed.  Today's life in Jesus is really weird to me.  The less I exert but the more I believe, he does the most amazing things. 

Worry and fret and worrisome fret....GIVE IT ALL UP!  Psalm 46:10....Be still and know I am God.  The be still is translated Let go and relax.  Relax wasn't a trait of mine until I began to watch Jesus work in my life.  Possibly you could use this trait in yours as well? 

Don't take charge of your life except in one area....give it Him!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Is it all right to tell you that some things just bug me?  Well...if it isn't all right...that bugs me too!  Just kidding.

I was labeled in the late 70's when I arrived at Memorial and continue to bear up under the charges in 2011 that I am not evangelistic.  That's weird to me because it is what I think about constantly.  I might be off; yet I think I understand the accusations. I just don't agree with them.

I think the charges come from those who are hyper-activated at "winning the lost".  By hyper I mean aggressive, in your face, set up studies, and meet at the baptistery at any hour of the day or night.  I once lived on that intense lane.  And....for those who love to live there, I just wish they could let other modes of evangelism be all right, too.

Yes, I lived there.  I'm the one who came up with the idea of 600 baptisms in six months at Memorial in the late 70s.  We shot out like cannons on January 1 and baptized several over the next couple of weeks.  I think we baptized 7 that very first day.  Eventually we wore down.  Worse, none of those 35 or so baptized ones stayed around.  None.

This changed my approach but it did not change my fire for evangelism.  I changed because of my fire; not because of losing it.  That's my explanation and defense and I sticking with it!

I noticed God converting people where I or others merely sowed seed.  A word came from Indiana of a woman baptized at 2:00 a.m. because she read a very weak book I had written.  A teen wrote me of finding that same weak book in her sister's closet, read it, and was baptized.  On the stories go year after year.

The change that happened to me needed to happen.  I once loved evangelism.  If not careful, one can become egotistical and prideful at how ambitious we are for the lost while noting how others are less for they don't seem to possess such admirable passion.  Not good.  Now I find I love people whom I want to see led to Jesus.  For me, this is different and important for my walk.

Jesus has changed me.  I saw him teach his disciples to fish with nets; not rods and reels.  I saw him work in such a way that baptized ones were not trophies; but the Father is the glory-receiving One.  There was a time I would not enter into an evangelistic mode if I could not figure, as I viewed a person, how to move from meeting them to the baptistery.  However, I have since learned the Holy Spirit--versus man's motivation--knows how to connect the Christian influence dots and make a disciple from a man or a woman via multiple connections.  There goes that net fishing again.

So it bugs me to hear the charge after all these years that I am not evangelistic.  I'm not even according to my old patterns.  I know it.  Yet, I really believe my old patterns were what needed to go in order to enjoy global evangelism centered in the Spirit of Christ rather than the tabulations of my short-sighted work. 

Evangelism....I'm still for it.  You might not think I am....but I am. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Something surprising, in a way, has shown up recently.  Those most displeased with life are also those who are indifferent to learning.  I visit with preachers and leaders and it is a consistent trait that those grumpiest are also those who believe they have reached a point they no longer need to learn.

At 63 I feel I'm just getting started.  The reason for that is I AM!  Six books sit stacked to the left of my office phone bidding, Me next!  Me next!  I can't imagine the treasure awaiting to be discovered.  I have three car books in the back seat.  They each bid at coffee or a doctor's appointment, Pick me!  Pick me!

If you want to live in a land of extreme wonder and awe, read and study and learn.  We are always to learn.  Knowledge hasn't begun to begin.  It is always on the horizon.

I am slowly wading through the Why Jesus? book of William Willimon.  Books seem to ready us to face the next instruction or inspiration of a volume following.

Books are like little kids....constantly calling out to be chosen next.  Don't be grumpy.  Don't be critical.  Hear a great book calling, Me next!

Monday, April 11, 2011


I have been in the church the last two-thirds of my life thus far. 

The first third was indifferent to God.  He was okay.  I believed in Him.  But, I had no clue the Bible had a message pertinent for today.  The second third began with conversion, thrill, and a fire for doing God stuff right.  The third facet has more enthusiasm with a bit more and greatly needed humility.  (Is it correct to admit humility...or is that bragging?)

Today I find myself burdened by the spiritual needs of the masses.  Last week I was golfing in North Carolina with strangers.  I wondered the entire rounds what could be said to draw them to God.  I would toss out the bait; not even a nibble during both rounds.  Four at the cafe last Saturday.  Three plumbers in my home today.  I continually probe in conversation to see if kingdom issues will arise.

I am more excited about God working and less sure of my own skill.  Knowing all of the answers in my 20s and 30s has shifted in age to wondering just how much I haven't yet a clue.  This is not discouraging; but rather fabulous that God has much more for me than I am able to corral.

Aging in the church?  Well, I guess it could make us grumpy and even bitter.  That is not how I see it.  To me God is like technology; I can't get on board with the simplest of concepts let alone keep up.  Isn't that a sign of seeking the True and Living God? 

II Cor. 4:16-18....due to being deeply involved in the New Creation....we actually don't age.  We get newer day by day!  Wow!  What do you have for us today, God?


Preachers are weird.  And we are strange.  Foremost we are susceptible to immaturity...even into our later years.  Yet, we survive...or should we say that the church survives us?

Wade Hodges has written recent posts ( revealing his struggles that go along with such a role.  I see it in myself; inadequate, immature, and vulnerable.

Elders are major players as to whether preachers make it.  There is not a contest between the two roles.  Each is God-ordained and God-called to fulfill specific obligation as well as opportunity.  While some elders tried to kill me off; it was other elders who would not let me die. 

Oddly, I am grateful for both groups.  Looking back I can see I was advantaged by the fire-storms of the former which served as training ground to beat some of the nonsense out of me.  (I didn't feel so blessed at the time.)  The latter, though, from day one at Memorial might not tell me I was great but did assure me I would make it.

A preacher will hear plenty as to what is wrong with him.  This experience magnifies why he must hear of the approving factors from his shepherds.  We will grow.  I can't say we will ever grow all the way up; but we will grow.  We are slow give us time.

Elder patience is also elder vision.  When they can see that adjustments are surely needed in their man but possess the awareness of what he can be, confidence arises in within the groomed one to keep trying.  My personal failures are abundant and embarrassing.  Yet, I get to engage in the most exciting work on earth because within every set of elders I have had, someone dared to believe in me.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Sermon preparation is a wonderful and lovely thing.  I take it seriously.  Over time, I have developed even greater respect for God as He faithfully works with me on each sermon.  I pray to Him to not leave me at the pulpit by myself.

The Word is still sharp and active.  The Bible is a mountain range full of precious ore.  Our job is to enthusiastically dig.  With great admiration for the scholars and insightful students, I am confident to use what skill of searching God has awarded each.  My paperwork of accreditation would merely be a hunger for seeing God arise in the eager hearts in front of me.

Tomorrow I get to open the Word and let it coast into the hearers' heart-zone.  It is not my job nor my worry to track down cleverness of delivery.  Tomorrow I will open up the text and stand in awe of what God will do with the combination of my study and their need.  It will be a match; no doubt.

It is a strange thing being a preacher.  While the sermon is being delivered I am learning as fast as the listeners.  Sermons are like blooming flowers on speed-dial.  They unfold at good pace and, if centered on God, develop into a word that even the deliver hadn't intended.

Hunting for sermon material is rather easy once two things come into the forefront of one's heart; God's hope for people and a people's hunger for God's hope.  When I find another reason to offer hope....I have found my sermon.

Friday, April 08, 2011


God has given me new life.  I'm not the same person I was up to ten or fifteen years ago.  Oh, may have appeared confident on the outside; but that was a part of my game.  I was filthy with darkness from inner corner to inner corner.

To put it frankly, I have struggled most of my life with extreme frustration, disappointment, and depression over my lack.  I'm just not much. 

What God changed was not my value....but His value in me.  The transition wasn't as a flip of the switch.  It began with the awareness of Holy Spirit activity.  Yet, I could hardly grasp He really meant "for me".  Oh how He has tended to my heart as a Shepherd.

I'm no more than I was.  He is the more.  As a matter of truth, I am less than I was.  It is just that now I can see the value and the advantage of decreasing that He might increase.

When a minister doesn't believe God works directly in him/us (as I had been thoroughly grounded), then we really are out on a most desperate limb.  But when the waves beat against our mind's shore that God is actually a part of our walk....wowie!

I have learned to let go of control.  It is up to Him.  I have learned to tell Him of my burdens including sins and it is up to Him to cleanse, renew, and refresh.  It isn't up to my acute obsession of controlling the moment.  My life is not dependent upon my precise calculation as to how things will go.  It is totally up to God.

Here is my/our sanity verse....and He means it: So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy...Romans 9:16.  The context is that God loved Jacob and hated Esau....with the call to explain such a position.  We can't.  And this is what has freed me.  When I stopped trying to explain and arrange the great stresses of life...when I refrained from being in charge....He seemed to step in to show His stuff.

My mattress has transitioned from a rack of torture to a place of peaceful rest.  I was trying to make life work versus learning that all workings are a yes...II Cor. 1:18-20.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


I specifically address young leaders with this post.  Any may benefit, but those in earlier days of ministry are my target. 

Don't waste discouragement.  It is in your face for a purpose.  Keep in mind you must have opposing wind to fly the kite very high.  Too many quit when they should have been learning to fly.

Opposition is useful to give us redirection.  When I have a "grand idea" I have learned to knock on doors of opportunity and then try to walk through the open doors and not the closed ones.  God works with us.  Jesus said he would be with us.  We can count on it.

Dream away.  But be prepared to be shown your idea is lousy or foolish or, at the least, misdirected.  Adjustments are key to the Spirit life.  Read again John 3:8. 

I believe some of our more pertinent mistakes in ministry are when we stubbornly avoid redirection.  God works from the Yes-iness of life and we must learn to adapt.  Paul didn't get into every nation he wished.  Neither to we.

Our goal is not to get our way.  Our target is to get on board with His way....really.  Father knows best.  We don't.  While the kingdom will call for us to die to ourselves, such a death will go down easier if we realize it is a part of the success road.  Learn to die to your summation as to how the work goes, and where it goes, and when it goes.  With will go....and often in a completely different fashion than what we had assumed.

So don't be discouraged.  Die.  Then brace yourself for new life...because it will be on a scale beyond your dreamability.


I just returned from a walk on the Atlantic.  Regardless of coast, I marvel at the power of God as I see and hear the roar of the waves relentlessly pound the beach.  I love the slapping of the water and I wonder how it is God moves such immeasurable weight.  Water is heavy!

The visual and audible muscle causes me to ponder the power God has in mind for the church of Christ.  What does He have in mind as far as reach, potency, and persuasion?  Might it be in the range of His other creativity?

So I wonder about the ship of this church He is building; who or what wind drives it?  It would seem to be designed to run by the invisible power of the Holy Spirit; at least it began that way.  But now, there seems to be confusion; a steady dismantling of hopeful and harmonious sized productivity.  Is that true and, if so, what is needed to change us?

I think Christianity has been hijacked by the loudest voices and furthest reaching printing presses.  We find ourselves being carried about by doctrinal gales rather than Spirit wind.  Decent and in order has even become a villainous opponent to the truth of the Spirit leadership.

Paul called us to no longer be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by very wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.....  This remains an important call for believers.  We must watch ourselves to see that we do not link into the various waves and winds which distract from the Christ who possesses a power far to greater than we presently seem to experience.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


When I completed the first of five lessons in Richmond last week, a white-haired older gentleman came up to me with the following comment; It is good to have you with us.  I am very analytical and I will need to hear you a couple of more times before I can assess how good you are.

Hmmmm.  What would such a statement mean?  I will be assessed and reviewed?  What will I win if I pass?

I could not help but notice this man as I spoke twice Saturday morning.  He listened quietly as well as intently.  When the second session was over, he offered no comment.  I didn't know if I passed or if perhaps he forgot.  Either way, God graced us with a terrific morning.

Sunday's gathering was really special.  Class was packed with members and visitors and my elderly evaluator.  It was a big deal for me to be their guest.  God was present; I think we all could tell.

At the conclusion of the sermon the responses were powerfully special.  Each of us possessed an awe of His kindness toward us.  And then the gentleman stepped forward when we were dismissed.  It was a special moment.

He approached me and said with dampness in his eyes, I am so inferior that if you knew how much you would be ashamed of me.  I have to analyse everything...every the very penny of any calculation...I have to control every thing.  What I heard this weekend has opened my heart and I want to thank you.

I wondered how it would go.  I knew that whether it seemed good for felt badly, it would be a yes.  To see the relief in this man's eyes melted my heart.  God struck the both of us.  I won't soon forget the tension I initially sensed from this man....and then to hear of his confessed relief. 

I wondered how it would go.  I had hoped it would turn out as it did.

Monday, April 04, 2011


There is something so intriguing about being a new creation.  Jesus makes us new.  Paul insisted that we are new day by day.

New is the perfect concept for an old humanity.

If one is tempted to be enamoured by the fascinating advances of technology, consider the far more amazing truths of being a new people.  Men and women can start life over!  We can actually be born again!

Has the new birth become old hat to those who claim to know Him?  I surely hope not.  Has the new creation become a back-up passage to the new birth?  No way.

We are a brand new people and this re-creation is of the most extravagant proportion.  We don't just say we are new....we believe it...and are crazy about it.

I love being in the church and I love ministry.  Many things about myself, others, and ministry perplex me.  Yet, I'm not afraid of the future because of the freshness that comes upon us.  What hope!  What life!

We are a new may we walk like it, talk like it, and believe like it.


Today has been a day of....well....vacation.  I made myself not call in to the office as badly as I wanted to see how they are doing without me.  I preached in Richmond, VA. this past weekend and then Mary and I drove four hours to Outer Banks, N.C.  Chris, Wendy, and their two met us here about 7:00 last night.

We are on the banks of the Atlantic. The ocean is on both sides of this place called Buck Island. Chris and I took the kids to the beach this morning and they loved working at building sand castles....a little messy...but lots of work!

Wendy and I golfed this afternoon.  Well, I golfed and Wendy drove the cart.  The wind is fierce but the sun is shining!

Tonight is the NCAA Basketball Championship game.  However, on the East coast it doesn't start until minutes before my bedtime.  I'll read about it tomorrow.

Vacation is a good thing for all of us....but I sure do miss home.  Churches are great along the way...but I miss my Memorial Drive!

Sunday, April 03, 2011


The Holy Spirit of God is ultra-key in our personal walk.  We must avail ourselves to His Spirit.  John 3:8 declares one led by the Spirit is as the wind blowing; constant adjustment to new direction.

The church doesn't like new when the church is anchored in the flesh rather than the Spirit.  New direction makes it afraid.  However, life in the Spirit allows the church to be anticipatory in daily nature.

When the Israelites were freed from bondage the God-leading wilderness uproar pursued.  The people were mad about this unknown path God Himself placed them on.  Rather than being wowed they were mighty outspoken as to their insistent displeasure.

Thus, they worried and fussed their way to absolutely nowhere but wilderness living.  They had no hope and they gave no hope.  They were gigantic (and miserable) duds for God.

The flesh must be checked.  It will impound entire congregations if elders or preachers or any leaders listen to the fear of the flesh---theirs or other members.  The flesh wants to know orderly and explainable details.  The Spirit won't say.  The flesh wants to settle.  The Spirit wants to explore.  Mystery is the wonder of the Spirit led.

Life is to be found in the one Jesus.  He will take us places we never dreamed....but only if we are bold enough to tell our own flesh to "get behind us Satan" for there is great hope for the dreamer.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


Leadership is a blessing or a curse dependent upon the one enacting the role.  A leader that leads blesses.  One that holds the position, yet will not lead, bottlenecks the works at hand.

I question my leadership.  I'm not down on myself, understand.  I just continually wonder how much of me stifles the church I adore and love.

Granted, I'm a nice guy to most.  Yet a question gnaws at my heart as to whether the church has sufficient and effective direction once we burst into our newly found freedom in Christ.  We are no longer under law other than that of Jesus.  He is the charge.  He is the path.  He is the authenticity of life.

Yet, I ask myself the question, Are we going anywhere? 

I sat beside a soldier on the plane yesterday.  His unit is soon heading back to Iraq for the final phase that U.S. military will completely pull out.  When I asked if Iraq was ready for this, he shrugged, I don't know.  So far, they are free but no leadership will step up.  I wonder if they will survive in their freedom because they seem lost.

I, for one, question my leadership skills.  This leading in the Spirit without putting fleshly concepts to it does not come easy for me.  So often I find myself "wanting a king" of sorts regarding our approach to kingdom business. 

God works.  That's what I want us to believe.  May He grant me the grace and the mercy to see where my vessel fits into His scheme.  Otherwise, I'll be wasting His love and efforts.