Saturday, June 30, 2012


Having a bummer-type day, are you? 

The kids won't mind, the books won't balance, and now you discover the dinner with the boss is in two hours when you thought it was scheduled for next week?

Whether health, finance, attitude, or relationship, a crimp in one or more can leave us feeling as if we are nothing; no good.  Why should be bother?  We are proven messes.

And then God. 

God comes along and asks us to help Him!  He seeks us!  God asks us for permission to rent out our space for His use!  God does!

Just when we had about convinced ourselves of personal uselessness and nothingness, God gives us a call.

A God whom we couldn't have thought up on our own has turned to us, reached to us, is revealed to be someone quite other than the God we would have if God were merely a figment of our imagination--God is a Jew from Nazareth who lived briefly, died violently, and rose unexpectedly.  This God scared us to death but also thrilled us to life, perceives author William Willimon in his book, Why Jesus?

Just how significant can you be?  The unexplainable, immeasureable, mysterious true God tapped you personally seeking permission to live from your shell.  That's how significant.

Friday, June 29, 2012


One of the more wonderful and flourishing marks of the church is noting the progressive prominence given to Jesus.  It isn't that he wasn't in the church earlier; for he was.  But as anticipated by him, the church is ever-growing to inch our way closer to his heart and style.

When Jesus is given prominence, it seems that edge and spite reduce while support and cheer increase.  As disciples we continue to ask, WWJD?  It isn't a game.  Nor is it a slogan.  It is the central theme more and more on the hearts of elders, preachers, and missionaries.

Jesus is our life.  He is our way.  Indeed, he is our truth.

From my meager experience, Jesus was not at the top rung in my ministry.  Sounding faithful to the Word was.  Causing all to approve of me was my inherent goal. 

Yet, Jesus wonderfully wrecks all of that.  When he gains prominence, our eyes begin to open to possibility while our ears go deaf to needed approval.  We love to watch him in God's glory move about in our shins, in our ankles, in our shoes.  He led/leads the way.

The church is experiencing Jesus.  We are growing in both worship and in work.  Our edginess has yielded to discpline of not necessarily liking difficulty; but at least seeing we are advantaged by it.

May our talk, as well as our walk, become more enmeshed into the prominent pathway of Jesus the Lamb.  He alone makes things work.  Lean upon him.  Be confident.  He knows best how to do real life.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I once made life too hard. 

It was bigger than me so I set out to trim it down.  That was an unnecessary task for it wasn't going to happen.  I was not big enough for the job.  Life is too big; so why not rather lean into it and reap its glory?

Two basics make up who we are and where we go with this new life Jesus provides: (1) how we choose to think, and (2) how we choose to speak.

(1)  Philippians 4:4-9 insists that if we think on things that are good, excellent, worthy of praise, etc, that peace will fill our hearts.  Ah, we could use that day by day.

(2)  Ephesians 4:29 calls for us watch what we say.  We are to speak life.  This is, again, a choice.  Created after His image, we--as did God--cause things to come into being by our words.  We can create a good day or a pessimistic one based upon/decided by the word arrangement we choose.

When we think life and speak life, simplicity will take over a complex and puzzling situation.  Clarity will arise from the ashes of confusion and disgust.  It doesn't take rocket science to think and talk right.  It takes a simple decision. 

Let's do it.


What should we say to the younger who aspire to be a part of the leadership team in the church?  I have would offer one word; HURRY.

I would explain my one word; BECAUSE YOU'LL LOVE IT!

Really?  Yes.  Absolutely.

I know of nothing more exhilerating than getting to be a part of the greatest system on earth.  Nothing.  If you want to experience life beyond your ability, vision, and imagination then join up with kingdom living.  God works from the very same office.

Is every day exciting?  No.  Some days are depressing. 

Is every move successful?  No.  Some efforts are costly.

But the God-element tranforms even the No into a clear cut Yes....II Cor. 1:18-20.

Through my years I have often referenced a story I once read about Walt Disney.  Whenever his board would unanimously veto a Disney idea, he would begin work on it immediately.  I love that concept.  Disney believed in the outrageous and impossible.

We, dear one, do not work for Walt Disney; although that would have been intriguing.  We work for the Creator of Walt Disney.  One of my favorite texts is Romans 4:18-25 where God teaches that faith believes something can be made of nothing and that life can arise from the dead.

That's the God we serve.  That's the formula of the God we serve.  If that is the case--and it is--why would we not rush to get to be a part of the leadership of such an aggressive and progressive walk? 

So you want to be a leader in the church?  Go for it!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I talked with my son who lives in Mexico last night.  I couldn't do what he and Kim do.  I don't have the sacrifice it would take to live in their world.  I admire them greatly.  And, it caused me to reflect on something that impacted me all these years when I once heard a strong sermon when in preaching school in Dallas.

One of my preaching heroes, Charles Coil, told of a young teen that wanted to do mission work on the continent of Africa.  Her mother had a fit.  Grandmother's sympathy for her daughter talked her granddaughter out of her dream; your mother will just die if you leave.  The young woman submitted to parental and grandparental fears and stayed home....began to live with a hippie....and her life was a vast failuristic dud.

Coil's point was that afterwards the mother and grandmother wished a thousand times over they had let their precious girl pursue the dreams of her heart.  They would prefer she lived serving God away from them rather than walk in front of them no longer toting that faith she once treasured.

I never forgot my friend's passionate plea for parents to let go for their kids' sake.  Mine were all preschool age at the time.

When Tim called home from Sunset at about age---oh 18 or 20---and asked me to pray for him and some others to find doors opening for Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East in order to become embedded into the Muslim culture, I knew not to flinch.  He expressed that should such opportunity unfold it would most likely mean the end of earthly ties. 

I knew not to flinch.  I was proud he could envision the possibility. 

He did not go there....yet.  His family, though, has been in Guadalajara for around nine years.  The setting, to me, is rough and rugged and carries that increasing Mexican threat of the bad side of things. 

Again, I remember Charles Coil's admonition to get out of the way of His progress in our kids. 

So what's this have to do with you? 

Be of great care when you respond to your children's imaginations.  Yes---mark it down---they will encounter difficulty and they will be hit with substantial stress.  That goes on just going off to college....or shopping at Wal-Mart.

Rather than fight their faith (which you have prayed they would have for how many years now?) with disgraceful fear, why not endorsed their faith that these are no longer your little ones in short pants hopping off to daycare? 

No, these are the ones you toted off to VBS and groomed them to believe God could cause the walls of Jericho to actually fall down and that if the devil didn't like it he could sit on a tack.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Our walk with God seems to be a constant combination of joy and challenge.  Joy plays a major role, I believe, in evangelism.  On any Sunday at any assembly one of the best things a congregation can do to reach toward the hearts of seekers is to have faces that appear content, hopeful, and happy.

The challenge element affects all as well.  We must be a persistent sort to make adjustment to the new nature Jesus would impart into our inner being.  Not to judge.  Open to generosity.  Appealing to sinners.  Refraining from depression. 

These and so many others challenge us to stay alert in the Christian walk.

Laziness is a natural terrain for the mind and heart get beaten down or tired or bored.  We must make accented effort to arise in the new day to a new call for a new life...that comes from His will for our walk.

Saturday, June 23, 2012



So we had this wedding last week of Ronny and Vicki Stewart.  It was so fascinating with costume and setup since it was a take-off of The Princess Bride.  Pictured on the left is our worship minister, Shane Coffman.  Standing between us is the deacon over thermostats.

My attire was, shall I say, unique as one more way I find myself as a Cardinal.

Since Mary was in the hospital at the time and unable to attend the wedding, I decided to be funny and wear my outfit to St. Francis hospital.  Well....I did make her laugh.

But before I got there, I called our daughter who was in town for her father-in-law's funeral to see if we might be coincidentally meeting at the hospital.  She explained that they were headed there; but first were eating across the street at Pei Wei and asked if I would join them. 

So I garb and all.

As we were leaving, a young mother stepped up to seek my prayers for her son.  What an honor.  I felt a bit sheepish, but such would not have happened if I was not in such attire.  I shared with her that what I was wearing was a part of a wedding, but that I am a minister and will pray for William.  And, I gave her my bubblegum card.

Even in the fun stuff, God seems to draw.  Everywhere we turn, everywhere we are, everywhere there is absolute and complete God-need.  Don't assume anything differently.  We are always on call for the need for spiritual assistance is dominant, prominent, and extreme.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


People are a funny sort aren't they?  Oh yeah....aren't we?

When we determine at some point in life to follow Jesus, it is a big decisive deal.  Well it should be.

We set out to make a difference.  Mountains need to move.  Waters should part.  Chipping away at death's grip is a must.

I marvel at me (and you, but won't point you out too blatantly).  We want to see the big stuff--the God arm of stuff--among us.  Miracles, we ponder, are those God moments we would love to encounter.  And, He can do it today, don't you think?

Whether the parting of the Red Sea or walking atop of another, we carry a card to be played a moment's whim which will heal hearts, cure family collapses, and rebuild relationships.  This miracle power will radically improve homes, businesses, and even entire cities.  It is available to every believer.

This power is called FORGIVENESS. 

Forgiveness is one part mercy, one part love, and one part will.  It is the culture-changing miracle that is needed from Hollywood to Hong Kong every day without exception.  Ironically, forgiveness is a present day miracle which goes unused and untapped because we believers are looking for the bigger, the better, and the more impressive.  We yearn for leaping of tall buildings and flying the skies with capes before we research our own closets for friends and relatives who would resurrect if only they could receive the gift of our forgiveness.

How tragic can life be if we live in the kingdom arguing for or against miracles when God handed every generation the biggest one?  May we experience a miracle surge among us.  May we heal and be healed of all injuries and sins. 

May we thrive upon the lavish new world the Cross created for each of us.


We are enjoying a season of community connection at Memorial Drive.  There are those manufactured ways the church can share; and yet, stay at arms' length from actually touching the people.  From operating behind this invisible barrier the conscience can pacify itself as having done church work.  Jesus led the way in changing servants, though, to engage one-on-one with individuals.

See the people.

I enjoy the fact that we have two teams of workers soon to be returning from Honduras.  What glory they give to God in their sacrificial efforts.  Many of these will hit the ground running; once back home, in our own neighborhoods because they simply and honestly care about people who hurt.

See the people.

One grandma who comes by our food pantry told one of our workers--as she shed tears--My child is in prison so I am raising my grand kids.  This is the only place in my life I can come to cry.  Holding up in front of her family, she has encountered a church in her neighborhood that serves her by letting her have a place to cry.  Food?  Important.  Friendship?  Matters.  A place to cry?  Priceless.

See the people.

Something happens to the Church of Christ when we see the people.  We suddenly feel the inner joy of His workings for when we see the people we often find ourselves in over our heads.  The need coupled with His power is overwhelming.  It takes our breath away.  Good for us!

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened (Eph. 1:18)....see the people.  When you do, you will see your place in the kingdom process.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


When the twin towers collapsed in New York due to jets intrusion, the Christian world took a hit up the side of the head that we surely needed.  The attack awakened us to two things; (1) our foolishness as well as (2) refining our core beliefs.  In a sense, we were purified by the fire and bellowing smoke of death and ruin.

(1)  Christianity had developed a combative personality toward other brands as well as severe inner tensions within any brand's developed system.  The Muslim attack caused me necessary pause. 

Do I really want to argue that women can pass communion trays side to side while seated but cannot pass them back and forth while standing?  That only men can pass those trays because we got that from the Bible?

Do I really want to engage in dialogs which debate for the old Church of Christ patterns that were not in the Bible in the first place; i.e., one song leader...songs out of a book...three times a week assemblies...only the men pray....etc.

(2)  Jesus is desperately needed.  We have been shocked into service that matters rather than arguing about what can and can't be involved in "the worship service".  We have become hungrier for his talent, his skill, his eye, and his walk.  We have appropriately become less argumentative and more compassionate for the handwriting is on the wall; this world isn't where our treasure is buried. 

We have more properly developed a yearn to be more like the Christ of the church rather than defending the way of the Church of Christ.

Hope is our theme.  Defying death is our certainty.  Robust attention to the things that matter because we live in Him instead of theory's big talk in an auditorium class is becoming more prominent.

We have been advantaged.  The Muslim attack was more than crumbling of concrete and tangling of cable.  The crash was to announce an intended take-over.  Thank you.  We will focus our hearts and minds on the Jesus kind of things.  We will do a better job of helping our people hide in the Jesus-cave.  We will not be taken.

When the towers went down our faith went up.  We believe bigger and stronger in the One True God because we have been advantaged by the Muslim terrorists.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Father's Day is a wonderful day of celebration for many; but just as many experience it as a day of sadness for the man in their home either neglected or bailed on the family.

Today is a reminder for several of the biggest man in their world; dad.  Those giant men embraced victory in heroic manner while providing every need for child.  Love abounded and childhood thrived upon the Dad-icon of the home.

For those who even had dads at home....congratulations.

My baseball hero, Curt Flood, told me that most of the black men are incarcerated in prisons.  If you've ever visited a state prison, isn't it stunning to note the thousands of prisoners which verify Curt's statement?  I know this to be true and, yet, still find myself shocked as such a sight upon my next visit.

Society--our society--continues to be in need of fathers.  The men are glaringly absent.

So I say to those of you who are dads, thank you for being such.  Too, don't take your role for granted.  Many an adult suffers today because they did not have a man around to disciple them in life's ups and downs. 

Be a good dad.  Be an attentive one.  And go through life realizing you are truly needed.  Don't take your role lightly.  You are of the utmost importance. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


God ruins human perception of the ordinary the best way possible, I need to add.

I have preached for years that God is a Yes; that we are blessed in the good days and are having good days in the bad (II Cor. 1:18-20 and Rom. 5:1-5).

This has surely been a week of Yes and good days in the bad.

John Chapel died Monday; my daughter's father-in-law and my good friend who was a member at Memorial.  The funeral is scheduled this morning at 11:00 right after a dress wedding rehearsal of a special couple at 9:00 for the actual event at 6:00 tonight. 

And then Wednesday evening Mary turned deathly ill and I took her to the ER early Thursday morning.  That afternoon I checked with mom some 500 miles away as to her doctor's visit.  She was told she has a brain tumor.  More appointments are ahead.

Mary has gone through a battery of tests.  One yesterday was incomplete so she will take it over this morning with hopes of being dismissed soon.

So how shall I look at this week?  It is complete Yes.  Everything is noted by God.  Circumstances do not determine how our days are going.  Yes, tears.  Yes, concern.  Yes, heart goes out so many directions. 

No to worry.  No to fret.  No to discouragement. 

The body of Christ lives in constant conquering state; so says Rom. 8:37-39.  Do we slip into defeat?  At times we take our turns.  But victory isn't based upon our performance but His....and that doggone grave is still empty! 

We, church, get to live in the victory of even defeat!  As we hide in Jesus, we win in life!

Friday, June 15, 2012


God opposes the proud.

God gives grace to the humble.

We must be careful that we are never prideful in believing that we are the only ones who do church right.

The other side of the sword is that we must never be prideful that we are not like those prideful that they are the ones who do church right.

Pride---coming or going---will get us.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Some days seem loaded with celebrations.  Others come wrapped in significant challenges.

Where is God during the tough stuff? well my friend.  He is on the job.  He is everywhere.  Nothing gets by Him; not even one crumb of opportunity.

Every day we have that knack of watching God show up; even in the tough stuff.  Romans 5:1-5 insists He is there in the good days and in the bad; that everyday is a good day for the believer. 

II Cor. 1:18-20 supports Paul's Roman text in that every kind of winning or wearying is a yes.

Joseph in the pit?  Zacchaeus up a tree?  Peter sloshing atop of the lake's waters?  All poised for God's presence.

Don't forget to like right now, friend.  It is vibrant with colorful, Spirit-filled wonder.  Too many let such tough-stuff moments slip by failing to notice the God-glory.

Be not discouraged about anything. 


Where is He?

Everywhere!  That's where! 

You and me?  Never abandoned...ever.


I was taught what turned out to be a devastating and most costly false doctrine when I was converted.  I was told with energetic clarity in school that the Holy Spirit does not operate directly in a Christian's life.  We were repeatedly warned that any who believed such was a liberal to be eventually cursed.  I firmly vowed to maintain such an upright position.

However, such a warning proved to be wrong.  To make the adjustment was one of the fiercest inner, as well as outer, battles I've ever encountered because being naturally inferior one of my main goals was to finish the course knowing the brotherhood gave me its eye-winking, head-nodding approval.  (God also had something to say about that as well.)

Oddly, another one of the warnings--which was to stay faithful to the Word--is the very thing that led me to defy the previous admonition. be strengthened with power through His Spirit IN THE INNER MAN began to sound a bit like the Spirit operated in the inner man...Eph. 3:16.  Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS WITHIN US....Eph. 3:20 continued to sound like maybe the Spirit worked upon us interiorly.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything  as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter, BUT OF THE SPIRIT, for the letter kills, but the SPIRIT GIVES life....II Cor. 3:5-6.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the POWER MAY BE OF GOD AND NOT from ourselves....II Cor 4:7.

For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the POWER OF GOD DIRECTED toward you....II Cor. 13:4.

The Word of God clearly speaks of that which causes much consternation among those of us who declare we go by the Bible.  The Holy Spirit has not been welcomed among us in the past; but He is working His way into our lives....and we are surely grateful.

The Holy Spirit doesn't cause us to do the weird.  Rather, He allows the Holy God to do the wonderful...among us.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Church is surely a nebulous entity from the man-side of things. 

We want great things for her; but we tend to desire such from the framework of safety.  Who wouldn't love to see a pentecost-like growth come along; yet with manageability and organizational control?  One foot wants to stand in the thrill of God's out-of-Jordan's banks phenomena while the other foot demands solid ground pleading for assurance that personal drowning is not imminent.

A question I have asked myself a lot lately is, Am I/are we trying to be the church God is building by  straddling threatening fear and astounding productivity?  Do you wonder if we might be standing on the Word while short-sheeting the faith the Word wishes to groom?  Are we Fraidy Cats who point to any stutter of success and, thus, call mediocrity good enough?

I wonder that about me.

I hear of women's roles and music issues while deeply desiring to keep the waters non-turbulent.  Are these distractions of Dark Forces to throw us off course or are these doors we refuse which would ultimately open the hearts of our community?  I want to know.

Are we practicing anything doctrinally which keeps the neighbors at bay while we are completely oblivious to our own impediment because we are fat and satisfied...and of course accepted by others of our name brand?

I constantly seek to know.

For me, I don't need to see major adjustments in "things we believe".  The big move seems to be in front of us, though, "that we grow to trust and believe God".  How long have we tweaked, detweaked, and retweaked practices among us only to find we are still a Church of Christ that is the same size we have always been while the town multiplies in darkness? 

People are doomed for Hell without introduction to Jesus.  He must meet them; and them him.  This is a front burner call.  So what shall we do? 

I think the number one thing we do is give public glory to God in both our assemblies and outside of them. It would seem to me that the biggest plunge the church in general would need to take in order to encounter Jordan's flood waters would be for more and more members to open our mouths about our brilliant God.

This isn't so say "issues" aren't important.  It is to say that until we get our people to get vocal about His mighty hand all "issues" are a cover-up dressed as pertinent when they aren't.  I once was adamant about adamant matters; but I wasn't speaking up except among ourselves.  I had to learn to reach out.  I was afraid and I was intimidated and I was scared.  So I fought the big battles in our classrooms and at some of our dinner tables. 

Hiding in issue discussions is a circular distraction for, as soon as we conquer one, two new ones arise which will challenge deeply the pushers of the first.  When all is said and done, what is the thing we need to do to reach the poor and the lost?  In this answer, we will have the right doctrine.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Why is it that with each oncoming generation the faith system perpetually fights-pushes-pulls-tugs and strains its way forward?  I mean it when I say that some parts of a progressing and maturing church are like pulling teeth. 

I address this not from statistics--although I think such would be supportive--but from observation and experience.  Each new generation seems to carry an almost automatic grudge, to a certain extent, against the previous.

Why this edge among us?

From my labors I see two possible explanations.

First, traditions bog.  Jesus addressed this and my generation has traditionally agreed.  However, we have also failed to adhere to his warning.  How quickly we turn our new ideas into "the way it is supposed to be".  We have, as did the Pharisees, built monuments of dos and don'ts that came from nowhere other than our created bias, habit--and in some cases--pet peeves.

Second, God is new.  As old as He is and as ageless as He is, He perpetually calls us to transformation into a new life.  He gives us a New Testament.  His Word declares we are to be newer day by day.  Never does He vie for new whims of man's imaginary sort.  Yet, His core theme is to make us new; newer day by day.

The reason generations fight new wars is because we have blindly carried on old battles.  The newest generation believes they see new ways, styles, and possibilities.  What they don't see is that in twenty years they will have stepped to the other side of greener grass to pick up the defense of their new ways that a younger generation will regard as a Christian repeat of bias, habit---and in some cases---pet peeves.

So what shall we do?

We each have enough room to grow in Him; to mature which will require an openness to diversity combined with an absolute remaining for Thus saith the Lord.  The two are not in conflict.  The rub hits when we begin to dumb down from our original zeal for learning by shifting to protecting what we think we know. 

Jesus will always keep us on our toes in an extremely good way.  He will always be the way, the truth, and the life.  There is no other rock.  Our whims, needs, and wishes aren't rock material.  His tender heart, compassionate approach, and sacrificial demeanor is always the great reducer of generational strain.


Since Francis Chan is scheduled to do two keynotes at next year's Tulsa Workshop, I thought you might like the following quoted from his book, Crazy Love.

We have done everything humanly possible to make church "easy".  We kept the services short and entertaining, discipleship and evangelism optional, and moral standards low.  Our motives were not bad.  We figured we could attract more people by offering Jesus with minimal commitment.  But we ended up producing nominal Christians whose unchanged lives have deterred others from being interested.

There is a new generation rising up.  Young adults are studying the Bible without missing the obvious.  They see how shallow methodology is incongruent with the Jesus of Scripture who asked everything of his followers.  They are bored with Sunday morning productions and long to experience the Holy Spirit.  They need to be challenged with the awesome responsibility of praying for, baptizing, and making disciples of their acquaintances.  They need  to be reminded of the Spirit who supernaturally empowers them for this task.

The days of merely bringing our friends to an event so the pastor can save and disciple them need to end.  New churches must be formed where all believers are expected to do the work of evangelism and discipleship.  This generation sees the potency of a church where pastors equip and shepherd disciple-makers rather than service-attenders.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


The best thing to know when you can't fix something is to know you can't fix it.

We are called to believe in the One who is expert at fixing stuff.  He's got it covered.

The best thing to know when you can't fix messes and can't patch people is that He can. 

Therefore...hang out with Him a lot!

Saturday, June 09, 2012


Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you as if some strange thing were happening to you, so said the only man that I know of that walked on water besides Jesus.

Life leads all down various paths of ordeals and some are surely fiery.  Filled with pain and anguish we can speak from experience that hurt hurts.  Injuries injure.  And pain is painful.

All of these are kingdom ingredients when reading the Recipe for authentic and meaningful life.  Too quickly we abandon the very meal which would have made us stronger for a sweeter dessert type consumption which would be less risky and much less imposing.

Hurt hurts.  We need hurt.  Hurt isn't an option.  The cross doesn't come with pads, earphones, and a fan.

COME ALIVE!   Come alive! can only be said to the dead and can only be issued by the voice of the Spirit.  Don't you get it?  Hurt hurts.  And about the time you think it is going to sink you, you should...for it is supposed to.  Why?  To bring us back to dependence upon His power that we know nothing about other than faith.

This has been a hard week in pockets; a good hard week.  It has caused tears.  But in the very center of the very core we can be assured the resurrection power of God is at its prime. 

Yes.  Absolutely.  Hurt hurts.  And just as much yes.  And just as much absolutely, the Helper helps.

Thursday, June 07, 2012


When anyone picks up the footprints of God in the flesh, they can be trailed to the down and out...repeatedly.

The Adamic Fall has put all of mankind in a world of hurt.  No one escapes.  Rugged terrain is at every turn.  Ache.  Disappointment.  Even disorientation plagues everyone at some point from the White House or the Queen's throne to those beneath bridges or incarcerated pods....and everywhere in between. 

Enter once again our opportunity to follow his trail.

We are here to minister to the ruined and the desperate.  That's where Jesus is found.

Ministry.  It's called ministry.  Jesus on the trail...on the find those dying of disappointment and hopelessness.  He traded their fears for eternity.  Jesus offers the most unusual hope as it always comes against the greatest, if not impossible, odds.

May we continue to note the excitement and the purpose of Jesus' leadership on the trail.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


We sing There's Power in the Blood with great gusto.  We must be aware that Father expects power in the church as well.  Paul warned his young mentoree about this stating that there actually could be church in organization which would deny the power.

The CofC heritage has blatantly denied Paul's warning having done its best to function without the power of the Holy Spirit.  We have functioned because we have organized the best we could according to scripture.  Yet, also according to scripture, we have failed in general to turn on the power. 

It is interesting, I think, that one of the places in scripture that addresses this power working in us is Ephesians 3:20; according to the power that works within us.  The context of that chapter is the filling of the Holy Spirit.

What needs to be noted is the subject of prayer within (:14). 

Here's what I have noticed about my personal walk.  When I didn't believe the Holy Spirit worked in my life I also did not like to pray.  And why should I?  While I was obedient, prayer felt to be blocked by ceiling tile.  I know....that's just peculiar me.

Yet, when I realized the Spirit is factually and biblically active within the common believer, there became a new vent for prayer; His participation, His provision, and His potential.

Prayer changes things.  True.  Our Holy Spirit view changes whether we pray.  Also true.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


Hit the road, Jack!

There are those times when we would love to tell another, Hit the road!  I'm done with you!  We are done with you!  Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

Oh, we can have such snarliness about us, huh?

Do you realize that when we are told to hit the highway that such in the kingdom is the high way?  Yes, rough stuff happens to His kind of people.  We are called into a system whose icon is nothing less than a gruesome and ugly cross.  Get used to it.

In our culture, though, we don't want the highway or the high way.  We prefer ease.  We have prejudiced bent toward the comfortable; even if it would mean sacrificing the meaningful.

Try not to reject the painful as if some strange thing were happening to you.  This is the very nature of God to groom us for the next round of combat.  Be not discouraged and, for heaven's sake, don't run or quit.  The rough stuff is supposed to be in our walk to help us understand both Him and those whom we make effort to reach.

Some of the most effective ministry leaders are the very ones who suffered earlier loss.  These are the ones who truly understand the pained ones who are in need of being reached.

The highway or the high way?  Yes.  That's right.

Monday, June 04, 2012


Be encouraged!

Christianity is far from boring!

The younger generation is pulling away from us in places.  Some of them say it is because we are boring.

Maybe we are.

Maybe we should revisit the Word.  Maybe we should trim up our prayer life; our confidence factor in His Spirit.  Possibly we might perpetuate the move among us to get to see God's hand among our ministries.

All I can say is that as a kid I wanted nothing to do with churches when I got older because of one thing; superficially boring.

What has changed my perspective?

God.  God at work.  God who loves to work.  God who does work. 

He makes something out of nothing.  He can cause dead efforts and ministries--and ministers-- to come alive! 

God is not boring.  His kingdom is anything but boring.  Possibly inviting friends to church is only part of the outreach. Perhaps we could take the church to the community with our fascinating testimonies and service which would awaken good hearts.  These might even decide to follow Jesus after all. 

Just a thought.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


We are instructed by God to give tedious care to our words.  Through Paul He said, Let no unwholesome word  proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear (Eph. 4:29).

This has become a strong servant passage at Memorial Drive.  We verbally rehearse the God-stories which go on day in and day out.  We talk about the profound moves God makes, the great people He allows us to work beside, and the never-ending reports that continually pass by our ears.

Just this week a woman visiting our food pantry found her car would not start when she got ready to leave.  After failed attempts to get it started, she placed a call to someone with instruction to come get her at the church that is a place to start life over! 

A Place to Start Life Over is a subtitle on our lawn sign, entrance canopy, welcome mat, and letterhead.  Her comment raced throughout our offices Wednesday when David Combs said, Listen to what happened yesterday! and then rehearsed her comment.

The world is filled with more good news than bad.  It is our job to repeat that which is wholesome for it gives treasured inspiration to those who overhear.  Be careful what you say...very careful...for it can cause new life to arise in gloomy hearts.

Friday, June 01, 2012


Today is June 1.  I turn 65 on June 18.  I guess you know the significance of such a benchmark.

Today I am officially on Medicare! 

Believe it or not....I now carry an official Medicare card!

So here are ten things I have accumulated in knowledge over these six and a half decades:
  1. If the English language does not have sufficient words, make them up.  Sometimes these new ones are even better.
  2. As you get older you cannot help but notice how the younger generations mumble so badly.  Try not to say anything for they just don't realize it.
  3. When you refer to "when you were a kid", this causes others' eyes to roll into the backs of their heads.  This is a rather weird reflex, don't you think?
  4. Do not go into shock nor display your inner frustration when your colleagues cannot remember where you put things.  Don't people pay attention anymore?
  5. If you will drive around just a bit more, you will most likely recall where it was you were headed. 
  6. There seems to be a blurring as to whether you took action on an item or you thought you should take action on said item. 
  7. It is of vital importance that you scout out where all of the public restrooms are.
  8. You conclude that those who sob when they turn 30 are idiots. 
  9. Old is always ten years away.
  10. For those of you in your 40s, your day is coming sooner than you think and this makes me happy!