Saturday, March 31, 2012
When believing hearts secure their confidence in the adequacy of the Holy Spirit, the power is up.
The difference is not based in feared doctrines versus accepted ones. It is found in the God-participation of His established church.
All along we have made up doctrines down through history to stabilize personal theories. To walk out on faith limbs has been and always will be serious tests for believers. Dare we see into the invisible? Shall we possess the land of hope?
When the Holy Spirit of God is present, unexplainable and undefinable life erupts to which our only accurate response can be Glory to God! The Power is up!
Friday, March 30, 2012
The more I lean into Him the more Life opens.
The idea of being buried in Christ is more than a point toward baptism. It is the route to life without living depressed. I live, yet not me, but it is Jesus in me.
I pooped out on trying to work the correct church growth formulas and direct magic touches toward effectivity in the kingdom. My ways flopped.
The secret about our walk is to allow His feet to rent our sandals. God takes us places we would normally fear to tread. With Him we really can do all the things needed to see the church produce.
In any congregation, the mystery of authentic life is never in the staff, the elders, nor the two strongest givers. It is always in Jesus and nothing more.
With God-fueled fire in his eyes, he reminded all of us that bearing fruit requires death. Jesus said we must die in order that we might live. Daily Christian living, in other words, is daily Christian dying: dying to our trivial comforts, soul-shrinking conveniences, arrogant preferences, and self-centered entitlements, and living for something much larger than what makes us comfortable and safe. God does everything through people who understand they are nothing. And God does nothing through those who think they're everything. (John Wood)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Jesus is to be the one who is head over all things to the church which is his body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all. Jesus is to be our everything.
Yet, distractions pull us off course into zones of seeming importance to our theories and our emotions.
From the above Ephesians segment alone, we should see that Jesus is our Primary Primarian. All is to revolve around him. This is nothing new to any of us.
However, it can be noted that church satisfaction rests upon other limited idols. Do the sermons connect well? Are the songs my preference? How about the time factor concerning the "worship service"? Are the teachings in line with my comfort zone? And, how about the building decor?
The church is not a marketing parade but rather a training ground for cross carriers. The very things which might upset any could be the very concepts which would teach endurance. It is true among us. We are in great need of never-give-up-ness.
Today I would call our attention back to the cross and then that empty grave site. The wow of God remains the world's greatest force. The world will likely perceive such in greater awareness if we as the church can align ourselves more fully with the Christ of the cross rather than the idol of personal preference.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tension is rife in the media, congress, Wall Street, race, and religion. Animosity is trumped with hatred by too many of high profile. Planting and watering provocation....some in the news (on both sides of the interviews) cannot resist the grooming of this monster.
Yes, for today, we are able to move about in fairly standard normalcy. Yet protests of Occupiers continues to linger and the recent shooting of the black teen gains concern...only to mention a couple of matters. We best be in prayer that our President remain safe.
Should you believe me to be wandering of into the political, such is not my intent. I am alerting us to the truth that Jesus is the only true calmer of the storms.....so you (in him) play a role in containing today's heated market. The body of Christ must awaken America to the possibility of tranquility.
What an opportunity for the church.
We are soldiers on duty to help steady the unstable. We are physicians prescribing salve for open wounds. We are ambassadors from another country supplying firm hope in this present darkness.
Every time we turn on the news, we complain, is more negativity. This simply is a signal of the great need for hope, and faith, and life, and love. These things of God are of prime necessity.
What an opportunity for the church.
Thus far some churches have existed on the meager crumbs of battling they and them over emotionalism, legalism, and other-isms as if the inner markings of the religious world were our real target. Yet, the arm is not to be at war with the leg.
We may be on the cusp of entering a different scale of battle.
What an opportunity for the church.
The church has so much to offer simply through the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Now is a perfect and significant time that we increasingly awaken to this power within us. His fruit is not only desperately needed; it is the only solid solution of hope.
Avail yourself to the battle. Exert yourself by His strength. We can curtail an oncoming storm. Jesus is the hope of our nation.
The elements are near for a fire storm. What an opportunity for the church.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The workshop just ended. I have emails of both applause and mild criticism. Phone messages await return. At stack of mail sits beside me unopened. (I'll look for the checks first.)
The computer just "binged" with reminders of things I had forgotten...and that is precisely why my computer binged. Ah, my system is working!
Life is a tad overwhelming this morning.......and I love it. I am one of the most fortunate men I ever met in my life.
I tell you all of this simply for those many times you feel similarly buried. We each may feel direct pressures due to our walk load. Yet, may each of us sense we are not alone; but rather in this unique system called the body of Christ.
There is much work to do....and we get to be among those who get to do it.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Many of my colleagues kept saying what the others had just told me, I know every year seems to be the best one, but this one really did.
This was a very good year. Something is going on among us. I think it is the Holy Spirit of God.
For me, not every year has been the best year. Some have been poorly delivered and others have been poorly received.
It's just so wonderfully different these days. We, as His children, seem to be growing up. We still have our differences. But in these last three or four years there seems to be a hunger; a new hunger.
It seems the wounded are caravaning our direction to experience recovery so they can move back out into the fields. Some arrive for the reunion due to the loneliness where they serve. All of us soak in the wonder-words of our speakers.
I, personally, treasure in my heart much of what I heard from humble and wonderful speakers of the Word.
The Word still counts. The Lord still reigns. And souls are still our goal at the Tulsa Workshop.
I am very happy this Monday morning. Fatigue surely is a strong, but momentary, factor. However, I find overjoy to be the leading element of this Monday morning!
I am grateful....still!
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Wow! God was on.
In addition, the following article came out in the Tulsa paper Saturday. The timing of God is just wonderfully weird that this would hit when we have a workshop going on under the umbrella of reaching a broken world.
You can read it here. There are three picture of which you will need to click for the next two.
And then there is yet this morning to be unveiled. Workshop fever is stronger than ever! I've caught it...I caught it 37 years ago...and I don't want anyone curing me!
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Patrick Mead was at his best Wednesday night.
Jeff Walling hasn't been as on target---in his usual never-miss-on-targetness---in years as when preaching Thursday night.
Last night? I've never heard Don McLaughlin come close to being as powerful as he was last night. Profound.
How can it be?
God surely is with us.
Friday, March 23, 2012
It has no campus to call home so the expense of renting a public facility is considerable. The rising price of gasoline plus the whining propaganda by the aginners push against us each year. Yet, the heartbeat remains, oh so, strong!
Patrick Mead, Randy Harris, Rick Atchley, and Jeff Walling....well....would you permit me to say they are at the top of their game thus far? However, due to the Spirit they will have matured even more by next year.
Everything on the program is geared for outreach. Everything.
I'm highly inspired by what I am hearing and seeing. There is a gracious and rich heart within our people. We are increasingly focusing upon those things Jesus would attend. Almost reversibly so, the clarion call this week is to see what he sees by realizing how broken we are first.
There is rock-solid hope because of the Rock who gives us solid footing.
Workshop Fever! It has been caught! And, we've got it bad!
Thursday, March 22, 2012
We gathered last night in the Pavilion at the Fairgrounds. Patrick Mead had the ideal message; the world is broken and it begins with us. And it is Jesus who puts us all back together...all of us!
While we adults and several youngsters were in the Pavilion, Brenda Hughes had 37 children working on the Workshop Kids Praise Chorus which will sing for us tomorrow evening. That will be a moving scene!
Blessings to your day as you pray, as you walk, as you reach to Him and to others!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
How is the title worded? Maybe it would be better said, I NEVER FIND A MOMENT THAT I AM NOT GRATEFUL. However, I am never not grateful.
I live in this world of grandeur called the Kingdom of God. To operate from human reason and logistics is a mistake. To function from the spirit side of impossibility-made-possible is reality. It isn't fantasy land. The abundant life of Christ....is reality.
We approach the Tulsa Workshop today. It will be filled with joy, excitement, criticism, exuberant chatter, and the Holy Spirit of God. The most of it is fun. Some of it makes me cry. All of it is a glory to Father. None of it is a wasted crumb.
Who wouldn't want to get to be me? And, for that matter, who wouldn't want to get to be you?
I am not never grateful! That's a secret we can know about our inner attitudes.
How about you? Are you not never grateful, too?
Monday, March 19, 2012
That He can work beyond what He dares us to imagine is too fascinating to me. Because of His energy we can get anything done. Truthfully, we get so much accomplished because He makes a great drink for the world out of we lemons.
My problem is that I am a dinky thinker. While I love the passage I still seem so glued to security and mediocrity.
The world really does need us; really is waiting on us. I charge you to continue to imagine what can be/could be/should be/would be and do not stop such fabulous faith.
God is not looking for super stars. He is scouting for mite-giving, fish and loaves believers.
Why would guys like me try to control so much? Because we are inferior to begin with...that's why. Our range is so small. Thus, we try to keep what little territory we think we can command under control.
But....it just won't work. We are still too small.
Our role is to die to self; even that nagging spirit of being in charge. Our God is too big. His kingdom is too magnificent. His vision is superior. Our role is to follow His lead rather than us coercing Him to follow ours.
I am in kindergarten. I've moved down a few pegs over the years. Once I was a high school graduate in the church only to be knocked down several notches due to pressure, failure, and ultimate collapse of self.
I can't. He can.
I believe Him. And, He does the work.
This is a much better working arrangement. He does the work while my work is to believe Him...Jn. 6:29.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
We are always pumped!
Last year I was farmed out to the Skiatook church while their Russell Hill was farmed in. Today North Sheridan's Tim Luster gets a shot at Memorial while I take aim from his post. What a delightful way to encourage the interaction among area churches.
For those of you traveling long distance, pack your bags. Rains begin tonight with promise of showers Monday and Tuesday with intent of phasing out on Wednesday....ah, just in time for the workshop kickoff Wednesday night at the Pavilion.
The whole thing is just too exciting!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
And then.....and then I wondered if the former were delivered to my old address. They were. The bank had printed the new checks with the new address, but sent them to the old address.
I picked up the earlier order and went ahead and used them first since the number order would be in sync.
Everything has been going smoothly until I got a "bounced check" notice from the state for my car tags. What?
When I went to the bank not only were there sufficient funds...there were swollen funds. The banker's research discovered they had (appropriately) stopped payment on the checks I found at the other house should they have been stolen. Thus, my checking account is very big because incoming withdrawals have not been allowed by the bank!?!?!
At the moment I have a lot of money in the bank. At the same moment I have a lot of creditors scratching their heads. Little Terry has begun to scam the community!
For months now I have been writing checks to everyone in the world and I have a feeling that world is about to come down on us. When I discovered this error according to the banker I called the church accountant to see if any contribution checks had bounced. They had not...until that afternoon's mail. Now they have!
What a mess. Not to worry. I just have to wade through it and take care of it. That one bad check to the tag agency ended in a penalty of $25.
Sure, my utilities may be shut off and the house repossessed....but my main concern is whether Mary will have to serve time.
Friday, March 16, 2012
The good old standbys mixed with some rookie names on the speaker roster will fill the hearts and minds of a myriad of thirsty workers of the kingdom. We will laugh, cry, sing, and applaud the God-experience of varying moods among us.
Mark it down, one display will be a home run of sorts when the WKPCs file onto the stage Friday night to sing their little hearts out. Brenda Hughes is the Workshop Kids Praise Chorus director and she is one top-notch talent; ideal for children to build confidence as they serve beside us.
The future of world evangelism, as well as experiential faith, is buried within our young. Events like the WKPCs participation serves to embed within their tender hearts the truth that being involved in the church is refreshingly alive!
Whether Marvin or Patrick or Sally or Jeff are those whom you travel to hear, brace yourself! When the WKPC group fires up....you will applaud the God of all children!
Join us in Tulsa....March 21-24!
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Later I learned a great secret of God is that He gifts His followers in various manners...still. Some are gifted in mercy, others in giving, etc. One of Memorial Drive's staffers, Jason Thornton, has blessed our work (and mine in particular) through his PLACE program that has helped this congregation know where individuals are gifted and where we are not.
This has become a blessed awareness. Everyone fits in. Not one among us is one-size-fits-all. The teamwork and the church harmony resulting from Jason's careful mentoring has set this congregation on a new course of joyful productivity. We have learned that we all fit and exactly where we fit.
Spiritual gifts tell us a couple of things at the moment:
- If we are gifted in one area we can assume we are clutsy in about 100 areas.
- And even in the area we are gifted, such comes from God and not ourselves.
Therefore, we have much to be thankful in that God would share His fragments of skill with each of us and that the body would keep us in spite of our obvious lack.
Spiritual gifts....needed from God because we are so inept without Him. The church has such life because we dare to allow Father to provide that which we cannot possibly muster on our own...effectiveness. What a gift!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
For I testify that according to their ability and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord.
Believers are called to a radical zone of behavior in that we do not do things according to logic. Human reason yields to Spirit capacity. This is very difficult for earthlings. We are challenged to walk with our feet upon earth with our minds in the heavens....literally.
My problem has been attacking problems with earth-bound solutions. It still takes me a few failures to relinquish my tight grip in order for God to get to breathe upon my/our efforts.
I don't know about you but this is just one more reason I find myself in kindergarten in the kingdom. I keep learning my ways are lesser than His...of which He already pointed out.
May we grow in the willingness to operate beyond our ability!
I am so glad.
Awe is for us today for it is a huge part of the church of Christ.
How do we live in awe? Self-generation won't do it. Trying harder is the same. Yet, there is a factor--an awe gear--to which we may shift.
Luke 7 paints an ugly/beauty scene; that of a member of the church (of sorts), a community reject, and then the Son. One in this painting is in awe. A second is in complete disgust. The one in awe had at least three things going her way:
- She was overwhelmed with her own sinfulness and, therefore even more in awe of the Son who would dare let her be in the same room.
- The Son covered her back.
- She seems oblivious to her critic for no one was more aware of her persistent lack than she.
These three traits lead us to complete awe. Life isn't awesome because we finally get it. Life is awesome because we finally get us...devastated without Jesus. Mediocrity spends too much time noticing the critic as well as nurturing our own possessive pride.
When we realize we are a train wreck with no deservation of God's intensive and extensive grace, our hearts open to abundant tears of awe....just like the woman discussed.
Awe is for the church today. A villain which has robbed us of awe is the same villain that robbed that Pharisee of his; we have paraded how right we are and how wrong others are.
Repentance of such a mindset will surely fill the church with awe once again.
Monday, March 12, 2012
We rehearsed repeatedly through the years how speaking in tongues has ceased. I for one believe that is true.
However, in working at this battle we have lost major territory. Too many of our people--in general--don't use their tongues to speak. I see two glaring traits among us: (1) our people speak to those they know and struggle with using their tongue to speak to a stranger (in the church), and (2) fundamentally our tongues have gone mute when reaching to the unchurched.
So while we are a clan that basically doesn't speak in tongues we are also fail to speak in any tongue at all.
If we are going to be serious about the kingdom of God and being like the original church, we must perpetually groom, train, and work on speaking in the one tongue we know....love for God and others.
I start the 6:30 to 8:00 session with about 45 minutes of ministry counsel.
Patrick Mead will be the guest speaker who will share ideas for another 30 minutes of ministerial insight.
The session concludes with my four elders praying over these men at 7:45.
I have space for 15 guest preachers. 11 places have been filled. 4 openings remain.
If you would like one of those spots...email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will take the first 4.
See you at the workshop!!!!!!
Glory seems to be one of those Bible words that gets skipped in order that we might get to our work assignment. Yet, it is a crucial word to kingdom life.
Watch the glory references as you study. Notice how often this words shows.
We are to let our light shine in such a way that glory is given to God. God is to be honored (credited) with the wonder and awe among us.
Keep feeling the sense of awe as the beginning church did for we have many reasons to do so. And in that posture, be sure to rumor among your colleagues the grand skill and talent of your Father. Brag on Him.
Thursday, March 08, 2012
After about two hours I work up the nerve to ask him. To my surprise he takes me seriously. He points to a sign he has tacked up on one of his cabinets, and translates it from the Greek: The smart person accepts. The idiot insists. He got it, he says, on one of his business trips to the Ministry of Tourism. “This is the secret of success for anywhere in the world, not just the monastery,” he says, and then goes on to describe pretty much word for word the first rule of improvisational comedy, or for that matter any successful collaborative enterprise. Take whatever is thrown at you and build upon it. “Yes…….and” rather than “No……..but.” “The idiot is bound by his pride,” he says. “It always has to be his way. This is also true of the person who is deceptive or doing things wrong: he always tries to justify himself. A person who is bright in regard to spiritual life is humble. He accepts what others tell him – criticism, ideas – and he works with them.”
Take whatever is thrown at you.....and build... Is this not the pattern of Jesus the Conqueror? Take the meager loaves and fish...and build. Take the startling screams of fear when awakened in the boat...and build. Take the widow's mite...and build. Take the Prodigal's return...and build. Take the cross timbers...and build. Take the waiting disciples in the upper room...and build.
Shall we be authentic imitators? Shall we take disappointment, interruption, heart ache (and break), loneliness, persecution...and build? Build hope?
I say Of course! After all, our Master Carpenter is in the construction business (Rom 5:1-5).
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Few of us can start with a congregation ideally poised for immediate productivity. All of us, however, can vouch for days (and nights) of mental labor due to worry and fret that we can't seem to get things moving.
Everything large begins with an extremely minute and even invisible element called an idea. An idea is how small seed for harvest actually begins. Today jets criss-cross the skies because Orville and Wilbur had a seed thought of an idea. I wonder whose it was to have the idea to give them the idea.
My word to you is plant, plant, plant.
I plant ideas...what I call seeds of the kingdom. I plant ideas of potential in some who feel beaten, of drawing to God in those who reject Him, and of hope in those who think they drew the short straw.
I have written twelve books. Not one of them came into existence without the seed idea first. The cars we drive? One's idea. Which car we purchased? It all began with an idea.
Watch what you think. It may be a kingdom seed idea that will revolutionize some significant form of ministry. No idea is too small. Everything in existence began with a seed idea.
Plant, plant, plant.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Learning takes effort and application. The kingdom of God is not for three-times-a-week nesters whose selfish goal is to discover one's personal death to hopefully be hell-less.
This is what the law has done to some of our people. If our efforts are to be hell-less we make others twice as much the sons of hell.
Our goal is to be alive; here and now and then....then!
Jesus is Life! Abundantly at that!
We have things to learn, people to meet while we hope against hope that God still wields that famous resurrection power arm.
We are not dull.
We are not haphazard.
We are not indifferent.
We are alive. So...behave like it.
Please....don't go through life in the church with the goal of staying out of hell. Rather, live abundantly with the goal of experiencing maximum security in the over-joy of heaven; then as well as now!
Sunday, March 04, 2012
Strangely I am a teetotaler when it comes to alcohol. I don't want it, don't need it, and don't like the abuse of it. But my preferences do not make drinking of alcohol wrong.
When I once preached that drinking was not a sin, a dear sister met me at the back of the auditorium lividly upset. She explained to me that just one sip could make a person an immediate alcoholic. Whether her view has any backing, I don't believe the Word agrees with her.
Yet, this is precisely how the Holy Spirit teetotalers in the church talk. If we allow it to be said that the Holy Spirit lives in and operates directly in a Christian's life, then we have opened the flood-gates for speaking in tongues.
That's the way it will be?
Well, it isn't the way it will be. I've been distributing books referencing what little I know about the Holy Spirit's direct involvement in a believer's life. In those 27 years, not one person has told me that because of such studies they now have people speaking in tongues.
That threat is a fear factor which the teetotalers love to whip out, but has no backing.
The Holy Spirit is given to a newborn when baptized and lives within to bear His fruit. He is our power.
The reason so many congregations are dry is they refuse to drink of the Holy Spirit of God. On the other hand, those who gain momentum in life seem to drink from the refreshment of the Spirit of Christ.
Saturday, March 03, 2012
So I discover today that I am tomorrow's fill-in.
What a great opportunity.
Hmmm. What shall I say to several guests who didn't get the word of Dan's illness? How are we to approach this day intended to bring great joy to hundreds?
We don't flinch. We move full steam ahead with plans to bring great joy to hundreds.
If you were faced with preaching to a disappointed group, what would be your topic? Mine will be How to Handle Disappointment....a most perfect theme. They will get it immediately!
I'm sorely disappointed Dan will not be with us and our many guests will miss him. We are working on rescheduling.
For now....I look forward to seeing what God will do with this for He has a history of not wasting one crumb. Tomorrow...it will be a day very on target. That will be our plan. That's what we do when the fun stuff doesn't work out. We look for His movement from a different perspective.
Friday, March 02, 2012
Sunday will be so exciting! And...I am so in over my head!!!
Dan McLaughlin, television broadcaster of the St. Louis Cardinals, will be Memorial's guest speaker regarding his recovery from alcohol abuse. Leading to this event I have dealt with Dan, local media, the church, the community, and God.
Dan, I hardly know. Acquainted for the past five years in mere passing, I am amazed he is willing to make such a sacrificial trip to Tulsa. I am most grateful for his kind gesture toward us....but I can't figure why. This high-profile man has enough to focus upon without going to the trouble to speak to a people he has never met....and at a church no less.
The local media is an interesting world. Some bend over backwards to give me direction. Others have become demanding by putting pressure on me to put pressure on Dan to give them privileged interview time. Others...well they move on in life totally ignoring me.
The church is simply a buzz! These people, whether sports minded or not, are always game for a God-moment to see just what He might do next.
The community? The same reaction. There is immediate and enthusiastic interest.
And then there is God. This is the one factor I know. Because of Him I can relax and enjoy the moment(s). How Dan does, how the media reacts, how the church functions and whether guests arrive, God has all of this covered.
In my earlier years I would have fretted away the blessings via worry. But I learned to go to Jesus and find rest.
What's it like working on the fun stuff?
Well...let's just say I am in over my head and out of my league....and I just think what a privilege that God would let me get to participate in an opportunity to expand the kingdom in a fashion that I don't have the talent nor skill to create.