Wednesday, February 29, 2012
I speak of jails and prisons.
I can sit in emergency rooms with our hurting. Too, I am able to minister to families in funeral homes; surely cry with them. It is the prison system that makes me ill.
Two things are wrong about them. I don't mean the punishment of such is wrong; but the actual scenes. For one, it is just a harsh scenario to watch real human beings be caged. Man wasn't created for such.
And second, it seems to be a brewery for violators to enhance, even escalate, their vices. I watched yesterday as five men moved about in their bright orange jumpsuits as if they were at church camp.
I applaud all who work in this venue. I can't do it. It is all I can do to visit on occasion. When young Michael was shackled to the wall by the guard yesterday....well, it just kills my heart. I couldn't do what prison ministers do.
We take our turns working in our places of God's giftedness. For those of you who go behind locked doors to deal with the broken, the tattooed, the tortured, and the abandoned....thank you.
Not everywhere is a garden or a ball game.
I salute you.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
No, we do not seem to get bigger; but definitely smaller. The closer we walk with God the larger He becomes and the smaller we grow. We have a challenge in front of us, church, and that is how do we approach a life that is simply far too much?
My self-confidence shrivels. My flesh is in perpetual angst as to my next approach plus my newest disappointment in me. This is good; but it makes me feel weird. My confidence is in Him; yet I am nothing.....never more than nothing. My flesh wishes I could just be something for at least a moment in important time.
Life is too much! Jesus defined it as abundant. Abundant life is twelve baskets full overrunning. How much of my day I feel out of touch for my fleshly standards clearly fail the grade. It feels weird because in the very same breath my spirit soars.
Spirit soaring is living too much! Resurrection power is too much! Seeing God work and hearing reports of His magnitude is too much....way too much to take in .
I say this to encourage you, my friend. I have a feeling you feel overwhelmed. I urge you to live overwhelmed in the spirit; not in the flesh. The flesh would moan while the spirit applauds. The flesh complains as the spirit gives thanks. The flesh counts the intake; but the spirit gives praise.
Look for too much life! Live abundantly. Every minute of every day is to be a glory to Him. Don't bother taking inventory. Just be thankful for walking in over our heads in gratitude for His abundant interest....in you.
Church will not hold up under the direction of the best minds; but rather the most flexible- toward-God minds.
This threw me for many, many years. I felt to be a leader I needed to exert control. Although I may have had little control; whatever I had surely was to be emphasized. Totally wrong!
Why do we think James emphasizes that we pray for wisdom which comes down from above? He spells it out. Our "best-mind wisdom" is earthly, natural, and demonic...for where jealousy and self-ambition exist there is disorder and every evil thing.
The way to "wisdom from above" is through prayer. It is not through study; nor is it from experience. Just about the time study and experience assure you how things will go, God may pull the rug from beneath you to force you into a newer way.
We must have wisdom for each moment for believers are to be as the fresh wind...flexible.
Fresh flexibility is why the church grows. Without it explains why we don't. Spiritual rationale...if it isn't from the Spirit, it isn't spiritual.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Be cheered and guided and encouraged to think LIFE. We want our kids to be good. I really believe we want our kids to be alive!
The Law kills; but the Spirit gives LIFE!
The mark of a Christian is of one that is alive. Dead limbs cannot bear fruit. We are to be alive.
When entering a cafe or an office or a mall, please look and talk as if you are alive. Anyone can float with the herd regarding frustration and displeasure. Only those of God sense LIFE in the midst of exasperation and devastation.
When you enter your places of worship this week, do one thing....LOOK LIKE YOU ARE ALIVE!
When you see others who offer no glimpse of hope in their world, believe LIFE into them.
When you teach, when you preach, when you decide, when you commit, when you dream, when you plan, when you determine.....think LIFE!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
From Wall Street to Syria and from border drug lords to Iran, turbulence is on the rise. We basically sit with our hands folded with little clue as to what we possibly could and should do.
I'm with us. I fear a trip to baseball camp or my outgoing friendliness as a regular at the donut shop pales compared to what is needed.
I'm not a prophet. Neither do I wish to be an alarmist. But I believe our nation and our times are under significant threat....and we need to be preparing.
Preparing for what? And how? For invasion so we should fill up our tanks and have a healthy supply of water stashed in our barns?
I wonder if we are about to get what we don't want; but may need. I wonder if serious persecution upon American soil is inevitable. Even if this is so, this will be another "yes" in God's realm (II Cor. 1:18-20). Too, it will mean we need to be in serious preparation.
We must prepare God's children to be believers when things are desperately rough. Disruption at the Twin Towers a decade back brought the community together at noon to pray---friends and strangers were gathering in churches and at work to pray rather than have lunch.
This tells me there is an inner sobriety that knows where to turn. We must not be asleep to threat. Rather, we must awaken to faith opportunities as intimidation arises. We will not see our peolple fold in anxiety; but rather we will see us arise in spirit focus. We may be about to get what we don't want; but we may need.
May we stand by one another as we all live vibrantly for God.
Friday, February 24, 2012
When one believes God works among us, He does. When one doesn't, He doesn't. Yes, the rain falls on the just and the unjust. When it comes to individual faith, what we choose to believe or doubt falls into place.
Abraham so strongly believed in God's resurrection power that he could faithfully offer Isaac upon the stack of wood. Sure enough, God came through.
Mainly, I note the twelve spies. Two believed. Ten doubted. The entrance into the Promised Land was not a mixture of the two groups. No. The dividing line was consistent witht the belief/doubt line.
Some fiercely believe they have abundant reason to be joyous. Others doubt it. Watch the day unfold. It will align with the faith/doubt elements and will not vary. Those who believe will see God's blessings; even in the midst of suffering while those who doubt will fail to see abundant riches; even in the midst of a very good day.
That's sorta weird.
Yet it is consistently true. Those who believe see life abundantly. Those who doubt have conversations brimmed with bummeristic doctrine.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Just in the book of Colossians alone:
- We give thanks 1:3
- ...joyously giving thanks to the Father 1:11-12
- Now I rejoice 1:24
- ...rejoicing to see... 2:5
- ...and overflowing with gratitude. 2:7
- ...and be thankful. 3:15
- ...singing with thankfulness in your hearts... 3:16
- ...giving thanks... 3:17
- Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving... 4:2
As I drove to work today I thanked God for the new neighbors who would one day fill that empty house, for street lights, for our sewer system buried beneath the streets, that my eyes could read message boards, and that I could pay higher prices for gasoline. I want to bombard God with thanksgivings.
Might you have many things you might tell God about Him?
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Mindless and empty chatter coupled with endless church activities are blurring the kingdom to those most engaged. We must be cautious. Is it just my age of 64 or does it seem so for you, too, that weeks now go by as rapidly as days once did?
Slow down. Even stop. Stop the insanity of borrowing, rushing, worrying, pushing, and pulling.
As a friend, Chuck Swindoll has handed me wise and valuable insights over the past 25 years. He wrote for all of us to view, An inner restlessness grows within us when we refuse to get alone and examine our own hearts, including our motives. As our lives begin to pick up the debris that accompanies a lot of activities and involvements, we can train ourselves to go right on, to stay active, to be busy in the Lord's work. Unless we discipline ourselves to pull back, to get alone for the hard work of self-examination in times of solitude, serenity will remain only a distant dream. How busy we can become...and as a result, how empty! We mouth words, but they mean nothing. We find ourselves trafficking in unlived truths. We fake spirituality.
The sin of surface living goes unreported, undetected, and therefore, unaccounted. That's just the way life goes; too busy to hardly notice that we have become more robotic by simply reacting to bossing schedules than noting the wonder in the stillness of His presence.
It may go that way; but it only does so with our permission. I had no more landed upon the work in Tulsa in 1977 when I soon landed in the hospital with hyper-thyroidism. Exhaustion doesn't begin to describe the frustration of it all.
I had a week to think about life in that stark white and lonely room on the fourth floor. Then I had another seven weeks home confinement; of not being permitted to preach or carry on work responsibilities.
I looked out of my dining room windows to the church parking lot three times a week...and wept. I so wanted to be right in the middle of things. I ached to get to be in the hub-bubishness of us!
I went to school during those long days. By that, I mean I studied such a predicament as I had much, much time to think. That's when I created my own term of taking a class called Suffering 101. Oh how I needed such a course. What I learned in those two months has fed me for the next 30-some years. I learned God runs the ship; not Terry Rush.
What an outstanding thought!
Might it be true of you as well? You live as if every meeting will fail if you aren't in on it? Your calendar says you are behind as soon as you open your morning eyes? Your voicemail, the email, and your snail mail indicate you are much more behinder than you had assumed?
Might we slow down? Might we begin today....to stop the insanity?
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
God continues to bless. We live under the strains of other powerful venues now available, the speed of internet access, the rising price of gasoline every February, and the constant critcism of those who wish to do so. While each of those is significant, the gracious blessings of Father upon this workshop keeps us highly and intensely motivated.
There are reasons to be encouraged.
- New ideas light new fires for kingdom service.
- Churches are strengthened.
- Soul winning is kept in front of leadership eyes.
- Compassion for the poor escalates.
- The sheer reunion is worth the entire effort.
It doesn't seem to matter what names we throw onto the schedule, the heart of the matter is to lean in a bit tighter with Jesus. Our goal is Jesus. He builds the case for outreach....effective outreach.
Year by year we marvel at God showing up. We anticipate His strong presence next month at the Tulsa Workshop, March 21-24.
Theme: Good News for a Broken World.... http://www.tulsaworkshop.org/.
Start packing your bags!
Monday, February 20, 2012
Be extremely warmed over the fact that you are covered by living in Jesus. You walk his walk and talk his talk because he is breathing from your carcass.
Don't sweat the small stuff....nor the big.
Everything is worked out. It is a done deal.
Never panic. Never flinch. And....never quit.
The Lord is near....Phil. 4:4-8
God has never shown up late. It's just that sometimes our expectations show up early.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I assume my own pilgrimage is shamefully behind.
Yet, the hope of the gospel is he must increase as we decrease.
Our arguments against one another can cease any day now. We each have much growth before us as our idol worship of what we both stand for and have accomplished subsides while pure honor of the Jesus style arises even more profoundly.
Friday, February 17, 2012
I graduated from preaching school defeated. In one hundred and four weeks of Monday morning chapel reports........I never had one. Glowing reports were given of responses to their sermons or conversions of next door neighbors. I listened with enormous envy; but never made a contribution to success during those two years.
It was the practice that the school sent out the students to preach in area churches beginning in their sophomore term. All were given assignments 'cept one. I was not given a place to preach until my senior year. They had to send me sometime!
I was so pumped....and got laryngitis. That would be me....failure. No report the next day in chapel.
While the graduates moved on to large and fairly large congregations, I moved to one of eight; not eighty nor eight hundred.....but 8....well....plus ten kids.
Where were my glowing reports, anyway? Our goal for a church that small was Don't anybody die. On that count we did succeed. I lasted there only one year before moving on.
So about you....how are you doing? Nothing much to report? Others seem to have that church-knack and you don't?
I say hold on to God. He will give you something to report when He is ready; not you. What kind of report would have Joseph made about His co-labors with God....from the dark pit? How did Gideon look when he could report for duty having reduced the number of soldiers from 22,000 to 300? We know the disciples report on Saturday while Jesus remained entombed.
Don't allow yourself to be faked out by glowing reports. The glowing isn't wrong. Rather, what we count as reportable is. Buying 40 acres and having 38 baptisms isn't the only items worth knowing. The green beans prepared for the funeral meal, the paint brush strokes upon the Bible Hour cabinet and the cup of cold water to the insurance adjuster count.
We in the church continue to struggle with the fact that it isn't what we get done that matters. It is in Whom we believe can get the big things done that rocks the world.
We've got work to do and that is to believe in the one whom He sent....Jn. 6:29. When we apply our energy first upon believing the skill of Jesus, he will give us all sorts of wonders to report!
Thursday, February 16, 2012
This is nothing new.
It is a breath of fresh air for congregations who have elders which rise above such basic instincts. That's what happened at Memorial Drive years ago. Members talked of leaving if certain things were or weren't done. Often the elders cowered and this put the entire work at risk because the bank account was deemed our success rather than Father's provision.
But something happened and one day we found that the squawkers weren't going to intimidate the leadership any longer. Smiles broke out across the congregation and we haven't quit smiling. Our elders bravery rescued us from constant defeatism.
People are important. Understanding each is crucial. When elders refuse to be held hostage in their leadership as they will no longer listen to voices of threat, new church life is born.
Faith in God vs. faith in money is every bit a major issue for a congregation as it is for an individual. This is an important issue.....extremely so.
The war is over money or grace. Our money power or God's power via grace. Which? The bank account is not the first consideration...ever. It is God; His power, His talent, His invisible skill.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
The basic instinct of church leadership is solidly squared upon one of these premises. The question is which one reigns where you serve?
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Yet on this scene and at every turn is unparalleled argument and divisiveness. We have leaped into this pool head-long assuming God has named us to clean up this epidemic of confusion and death.
We haven't in many cases. We have added to the turmoil and if we could see His truth may have created, in some instances, those who are twice the sons of hell.
A lofty percentage appears to be faithful in attendance and/or intensely laborious in congregational ministry who are neither lovers of the Word nor of God. This shallowness perpetuates division. Its base is comfort as well and preference; not what the Bible says.
The good news is there is a way out. We must revert to becoming as children. The need for humility is great. Dependence upon Father is always the path. Reliance upon His provision and productivity always trumps our combined and meager efforts.
The church today is in the same need that the church of the first century had; God. We desperately need Him to reach us, save us, and live among us. Otherwise, we are grown-ups contributing to infertile languish of the church on every street corner.
To run wide-opened as a child will find us willing to say things like:
- I was wrong.
- I can't fix it.
- I need God to take care of this.
- I believe God will provide.
- I cannot breathe unless He provides the breath.
- I must love the Lord and His people above all else.
- In so many things I have been wrong.
- Father, hold me. I don't know how to do yet another day.
We have become an answer people. We are learning to be a praise and worship kind. The former, unfortunately crusted the many hearts. The latter melts the heart.
The heart of a child....open and melted and ready for God's entrance.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I agree with his statement. And, I key in on two words: purpose and unfold.
Life that unfolds is a beautiful sight to behold. It is both peaceful and joyous. Unfolding is the opposite of charting one's pressurized performance in order to obtain reportable results.
Purpose is core to the believer's doctrine. Several can't find their niche in the kingdom; they feel like they have no meaning, no purpose, in life. This struggle is a result of trying to perform life rather than allowing it to unfold.
To find purpose, in the N.T. contextual use of that word, is to sense our call to stress and struggle. God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose of Romans 8 would be one example. The context is the extreme threat placed upon those who choose to follow Jesus.
The unfolding life refuses to run from painful circumstances. Meaningless life, however, seeks the shortest route to the quickest escape. These do not learn and do not allow God to bless for their central doctrine in life is "don't get hurt". This is a cross-less formula.
For you have been called for this purpose, wrote Peter, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps. Unfolding of a productive and meaningful life takes place in the very depths of suffering. When we live solely to avoid suffering, life will not unfold. It will stagnate due to our self-protectionary doctrine designed to keep one safe at all costs. This is the opposite of the life of Christ.
A life that unfolds into the glorious warmth of Jesus is one that does not revile when being reviled; while suffering he utters no threats. A life with purpose submits to such punishment and life arises as from those momentary.
The cross is the picture of true life. To avoid it in our daily walk is to avoid our core purpose. To allow it is to see the marvel of God unfold right where we live.
(Thank you, God. This is a good one.)
Monday, February 13, 2012
Yet, possibility is what God is all about.
This is precisely what God is all about for you and me; accomplishing things that cannot get accomplished. Crazy people with crazy ideas baffle the logicians.
God's ways are higher than ours. Be glad!
So go for it! Imagine and then know God will trump your imagination...Eph. 3:20.
For with God nothing shall be impossible...Luke 1:37. The key for you and me is "with God".
May we be with Him while He does the fun stuff!
Sunday, February 12, 2012
I can't wait...can't wait...to see what Father will do with, to, and through us this morning. We are nothing without Him and everything with Him. We intend to see an everything sort of day!
I have already met a returning visitor; a homeless man that I adore. He's here early and loading up on the warm coffee and donuts on this 11 degree morning.
Watch for God among you this day. Try not to miss Him.
May you be richly blessed because you believe fascination comes from the spiritual when human reason would balk.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
But I really write to tell you about this morning. When I awakened He was there. We do some of our best work right at the moment I awaken.
I was thinking about an upcoming assignment to speak at the high school graduation back home this coming May. What would be a good thing to say? What can be said the graduates will remember a bit down the road? Hmmmm.
And then God planted a terrific idea of which I will embark to see if such could be accomplished.
I am going to write a book for the graduating class. The title is DON'T DRINK THE WHINE. Good idea, God!
DON'T DRINK THE WHINE is about leading a life free of grumpiness and full of thanksgiving. So many live completely wasted; they waste their days slobering in misery and complaint.
I don't know if I can get it done in time....but I think I can.
Friday, February 10, 2012
I recently ordered new checks; a second order. We had received an earlier order six month ago when we moved. After sufficient time, I called the bank out of concern that the checks had not been shipped. They had been shipped...to my old address...with my new address on the checks. (What?) (Say that again?)
Is it any wonder society struggles to get along let alone function? Communication has a hard time around people. We may think one thing and say another and then argue about it because our minds know exactly what we were thinking; no one else. Yet, our lips betray while the mind does not know where the delete key is. Our spouses and friends do.
Communication has a hard time around people. One can say wrong or one can hear wrong. If it is both then it starts to get sort of funny. My word to you this day is don't be surprised about it. The Cardinals won the series and I went to my old house and retrieved my new set of checks.
Communication....it isn't easy being people.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Dan McLaughlin is well-known throughout the Cardinal Nation. He has recently encountered a personal crisis with alcohol abuse. His rebound gives him intense passion to help teens and older avoid such an addictive pit.
The public is invited. Would you spread the word through Facebook, Twitter, etc. as Dan's presentation, Just Getting Started, will offer substantial inspiration to everyone who struggles with some element of their lives?
Our community is plagued by so many frustrations. Please pass the word that Sunday, March 4, will be a special day of encouragement and new life. In God each of us is always Just Getting Started.
The Memorial Drive Church of Christ is located at 747 S. Memorial. We hope you will be our guest.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
I don't know that you would need this, but in case it would help, I want to remind you to work on one major shift. The work of God is the difference between light and dark when we shift from creating ministries and asking God to please bless them (please-oh-please-oh-please) when, on the other hand our job is to pay attention to where God is working and we get on board with Him.
As a young church leader wishing to prove my prowess, I ushered in many an idea. Some of them took. Some didn't. All had some measure of nobility, I thought, but not all evidently had the Leader convinced.
Today is so much different for me. All I do is watch for Him; that's all. God is fascinatingly able to open some doors and close others. I told my kids from early on walk through the open doors and don't force your way through the closed ones.
God is very interested in our kingdom labors. He has that knack of both supplying and withholding at the perfect time. He is in control.
Be encouraged. God knows our street addresses. He knows our hearts' desires. Every day is a gift from Him. Look at it. Pay attention to it. Respond accordingly.
My life is a wow! But in the last few years it seems it has been a wowie!
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
The why is in the Holy Spirit. We will never know the how; but we will the why. Jesus told us he had to move on up that we could receive him in Spirit form. He did and we do.
I remain enthused because of two basics: (1) I have not lost sight of what a sheer zero I am, and (2) Father has given me sight as to how deep He will reach to provide salvation. My being "up" is not dependent on how a day goes; good or bad. It is dependent upon Him. He really works in our world.
Be careful not to miss the forest for the trees. The Jesus life--in his terms--is abundant. We aren't called to die to go to heaven. Rather, it has come down in the form of Jesus and then the Holy Spirit. We are to die to self that we might enter the vast regions of unexplainable heaven now.
What keeps us pumped. It will never be a series of presentable and explainable passages from the Bible. It will never be because the church always comes through for us. It will always be because we know and carry the resurrected one, literally, in hearts.
Because of Him, we are able. Ephesians 3:21 says glory will, then, be rampant! God's glory...that's what keeps us pumped!
Monday, February 06, 2012
One of the zones hot for growth among us is insistency that Jesus is our life. This includes his exemplary dependence upon Father while he was both revered and rejected. The kingdom of God bears Holy Spirit fruit; none of which can be mimicked by humanity because an individual without the Spirit will ultimately cave to hatred, anger, harshness, and operating out of control when living under duress.
None of us are exempt from failure to yield to the Good Spirit. Intentions are solid; but behavior is not so much.
From experience I can say that a lot of things I thought were devastating turned out to be blessings from the classroom of Suffering 101. We must go to school when conditions are negative. What would Jesus do? is more than a rubber bracelet. It is the question to be raised when humanity is on the threatening ledge.
We learn to trust Him when we can no longer solve the puzzle. If we would begin our days with this in mind, we might not find ourselves on so many negative ledges. It really could be that our problems are such because we refuse to let Him use our frustrations to lead us to the Christ-Life.
Our understanding of What would Jesus do? is to be duplicated by you and by me. If we can increase in our actions mimicking his, we will find that even if more troubles arise, joy will exceed.
Sunday, February 05, 2012
But, as in many instances, God has shown me my academics lacked wisdom from above. There is much to be noted regarding giving God glory.
My understanding of it is merely kindergartenish. Such a spoonful, though, ignites a fire within me and us that spawns enormity in the God-size; not ours.
To give God glory is to give Him credit for the marvel around us and about us. To issue praise is appropriate lip-service.
Try not to spend your time in assemblies today noticing anything nor saying anything nor singing anything until you have heart-mailed a report to God that you are infatuated with His talent, skill, and energy.
It is all about Him. May we open our mouths and say so!
Saturday, February 04, 2012
The constant barrage upon our minds regarding divisive political maneuvers is either enhanced or smeared by media bias. CNN and FOX evidently are reporting from two separate orbits.
On one hand there are Senators Reid and Schumer and former speaker Pelosi while loud opposition offers speaker Boehner, Ann Coulter and Rush.
A middle ground isn't needed. To find humility in congress or in the media would be like striking a vein of gold.
We who watch from the sidelines remain in a perpetual state of confusion, irritation, and eventual indifference.
Hmmm....I wonder if this same aggravation lies within the hearts of our communities where bias and smear-tactics have filled the church air-waves. If one could find worse division than in our government, could it be found in our very own denominational circles?
I wonder if middle ground isn't at all what people seek; but rather a humility of heart which would reflect a humble dependence upon Father.
Maybe the blending similarities of church and state is worse than even Christians have believed.
Friday, February 03, 2012
Jesus suggested that heart trouble was epidemic among God’s chosen
people saying, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly
hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might
see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and
turn, and I would heal them.” (Matthew 13: 15). Thus, symptoms of the
calloused-type of heart trouble are spiritual blindness, spiritual deafness,
and an inability to understand what the Great Physician has to offer. It
appears that softening the calloused heart is prerequisite for sight, hearing,
and understanding on the spiritual level. Jesus said that these changes
must occur in a person before he could heal them. A calloused heart still
exists today among God’s people. These are the Christians who refuse to
let God’s Spirit affect their spirit. They keep God and everyone else at
a distance, believing that a good strong Christian is one who does not
show emotion, but rather maintains tight control of all aspects of their
lives. Jesus said these people will never see his glory, hear his voice in their
lives, or understand what he wants them to be until their calloused heart
is softened. He would like to soften it, but he refuses to force change
on anyone. The owner of the calloused heart must open the door before
Christ will come in (Revelation 3: 20).
One of the things I very much love about the Church of Christ is we are free to seek His will above the loud personalities of the past as well as our own unbiblical biases of the present. It is not a "they" thing; but rather a "we". We have work to do and that work is to begin at the starting pointing. Our work is to believe in the One whom He sent...John 6:28-29.
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
When I came in this morning two emails awaited me (from two of the stars) which are surely encouraging about God's timing and involvement.
Too, I share a note with you which will be sent today to another of the former Cardinals--a major name in the game. I planted good seed in camp and follow up with the following letter.
You don't go to baseball camp. You work in offices, or teach classes, or go to the doctors, or take coffee breaks. Awaken to your world of people and take action. Plant kingdom seed.
You have words that fit your stage, your circle of connections, and your life-zone. Do what you can to open doors and hearts with your words. Most of all, realize the opportunity few have in the space God has you planted.
February 1, 2012
Dear (name withheld for this post),
Thank you for being so ultra good to me. I never take your kindness for granted.
Too, thank you for being gracious when I risked saying to you what I did at the coach’s box that one afternoon. I admire and love you so much.
File away my cell and keep my card with the email address nearby for any emergency where I would be deemed as helpful.
I don’t want to get religious on you for I resist that dead-end alley myself. I live to encourage others about possibility and hope. If you have never been baptized, you might want to think about it for it is there that one’s blunders are completely washed away never to be brought up by God again.
If you can imagine the Cardinals trading Matt Holliday straight up for me, the move would be scandalous; a young pro for an old nobody? Yet God traded His son straight up for you (and me) which is even a much bigger trade—everything right about Jesus placed on us and all of our wrongness placed on him on the cross (see II Corinthians 5:21)!
All of this is private stuff; thus, I would never bring it up to you in a crowd. This is the kind of stuff one needs to begin to work out in his own conscience.
Know of my admiration and deep appreciation for your goodness toward me. My email is on the back of my card should you ever want to be in touch if even for you to give me advice on hitting!
My best to a terrific friend,
I do more than play baseball. I plant. I water. I watch for God.
Be encouraged. Knock on hearts. See what God will do with all of us!