Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The word change has suffered from legalizing damage as well as rumor-mill impairment.  Would it not be impossible to repent without change?  Could growth take place without change?

Sharon Hersh makes a very stark statement, This is the mystery of redeeming love.  It allows no one to remain unchanged.

Every kind, sort, and label of people are called to make major changes in our lives....constantly.  If there is a chameleon sin among us it is the one that starts us in a religious rut and keeps us in a rut while shaking our fists at the core essence of the kingdom; that of change.

One cannot read scriptures with a student's heart and fail to learn again from such a reading--drastic and sometimes radical--for sweeping need of being new again.  The Word references such occasion as day by day

Well, we don't need change for changes' sake, quips the rutted.  Right.  And when have we really been in such a context? 

Rather, I hear of such great need for church growth and individual maturity.  This is a constant.  Congregational methodology is surely suspect when controlled by stiff rutism.  The body has suffered paralysis for years because we have refused--by argument and threat--to make adjustment both to the Word of God and the culture we are trying to reach.

The good news is that it seems the body of Christ is gaining momentum; especially in places where we assume we need to change before we ask those we are trying to reach to do the same.

New life.  New hope.  New understanding.  All of this is found in the kingdom of God....day by day.  A huge problem arises when we try to do church without anticipating change in, for, and with everyone.  New hope is ushered into every congregation when we hurry to grow in Him.

A mark of the true church is not imprisonment by religious habit; but rather freedom by the mentoring Christ.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


God is a speaking Creator.  What He says becomes.

We are created in His image.  What we talk about comes about.

His instruction that changes churches is that we who are a part of His glorious body are to learn to talk in front of others' backs.


We are called to tell others to their faces what's right, excellent and worthy of praise....about them.

Ephesians 4:29 assures that when we talk in front of others' backs they will be filled with grace.  Grace is that energy of the kingdom system to does what the flesh cannot imagine.

May this be a week devoted to talking about our friends in the kingdom....in front of their backs.

Try it.

They'll like it.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


I know.  I'm too simple-minded.  It's a gift. 

Others are gifted in tech and detail; not me. 

So I share what I believe to be a key to connecting with people. 

Pay attention. 

No.  I'm not suggesting you pay attention to what I'm about to write.  Pay attention to those around you.

Listen to them.  Notice them.  Don't be off in some other zone but notice the person at the moment.

Pay attention to the moment; whether it be spouse, child, friend, waitress, sales person, nurse, beggar, neighbor or a begging nurse who is your neighbor who is pondering going into sales....pay attention.

Yes.  Everyone needs God.  And most are going to find him through one person who looks them in the eye and pays attention.

Later there may be verses to explain or classes to attend or churches to visit.  In the beginning, though, it all starts because someone notices another.  It's that simple.

Reaching out for God is not rocket science.  It is a meaningful interest Jesus has embedded into us at baptism.  We are to see the people everywhere we go. 

This is what I know: every person ever created will have a moment(s) in his or her life when they wonder if this God concept is true.  I, therefore, plant or water others' plantings so that one day the Spirit-seed will sprout. 

Pay attention. 

It is that simple.

Friday, July 27, 2012


There is spiritual movement.  I assume it is global.  It surely is encouraging.  The movement is that churches are transitioning from fossilized self-preservation of our biased traits to flexible Christ-centeredness.

Few strains of churches would be exempt from the charge that we have become caught up in defending our self-preferenced faith more than we have yielded to Jesus and his words. 

Jesus is serious stuff.  In many churches he will not bring a handshake; but rather a sword.  His is not just a name we use to endorse our prayers.  He is to be lively person in our midst.

Jesus will use his sword upon our arrogance; and yet, get out his towel to mop our moments of humiliating inadequacy.  He is both tender and wild.  Churches, though, seem to have a bent toward a rather domesticated kind of savior; don't bug us when we take our belligerent stances against others but please show up in the desperation of emergency rooms.

Would it (could it) be that in the midst of our workshop wars and our worship wars and our doctrinal beefs, that the world and its grating culture would be blessed if all churches would convert to Jesus?  Shouldn't it be a new life in the Spirit if we were Christians only? 

Wasn't this the Church of Christ's original clarion call to likes of the Presbyterians and the Baptists and the Methodists?  That we be simply Christians without divisiveness in names? 

It was.

But it wasn't long until our own debates arose contaminated by flaring tempers and ego-centric preachers who turned the well-intentioned Restoration Movement into churches that looked precisely like the very denominations it was assumed to have rejected.  We became one more biased denomination.

We in the Church of Christ have lost our way along with any other group who has elevated stance and status over Jesus.

Should one be confused by my inadequate wording, I believe doctrine is of utmost importance.  I am also convinced we churches have created pet stances God would label tradition while we insist upon calling them doctrines.  These are divisive and need to be shed.  Jesus is our only hope of such major adjustments.

Wouldn't it be something if before we convert another to our church-style and framework, we would see our churches (all churches) converted to Jesus? 

Yes...and I think that is what's happening throughout Christendom.  This is exciting for some and detestable for others.  The sword or the towel: drawn by our hostility or our humility. 

May brand name churches (especially us) allow our fabricated doctrines which would only serve to divide, melt in favor of banding together under the Name, the Lamb, the Savior called Jesus. 

Jesus: the glorious name above all names.  May the world's ears have a shot at hearing that name.  The chances are much better when united by the Light rather than competitive due to Darkness.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


The Bible is wild with God-stories.
  • Waters parting
  • Angels climbing ladders
  • Withereds healed
  • Sun standing still
  • Rude interruptions being blessed
  • Rejects being accepted
  • Vague wording having deep meaning
  • A tower falling to divide
  • A king dying to unite
An inch and a half thick volume called God's Word displays the wonderful, the weird, and the wild.

Even in the book of Acts where we Restorationists want to formulatize the plan of salvation, God's will is consistently inconsistent on taking the direct and exact five steps we chart. 

Take a look at the gospels.  Note the surprises assuming one had never encountered them in reading before.  The apparent reject is welcomed and the assumed holy is slammed.  God is consistently inconsistent with how life will go.

You are free to conclude what you want at the pace you desire.  After nearly four decades of study, I am just now beginning to realize the Bible is wild with consistently inconsistent stories to get it into my thick head that God is fluid, flexible and.....God. 

John 3:8 is such a firm challenge to any like me who are so frail in understanding that once we grasp a part of a truth we want to control matters so that we can explain what God says, means, and does. 

Yet, it isn't my job to explain God. 

It is my job to believe Him. 

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent..Jn. 6:29.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


The kingdom of God won't work well when we are lazy.  Too many of us in the church are too lazy to study, to pray, to search.  It seems it is too much trouble to bother. It is easy to latch onto three truths or seven, close our hearts and minds, and conclude we know the truth about the truth.  To weigh, gage, measure, and consider isn't the lazy's cup of tea.

John 3:8 and its context reveals the Truth to be fluid.  The Word is our guide and it will always keep the student....the student. 

When I was converted, I approached the Bible as if there were 1000 details to learn and I was working on #23, 24, and 25 at the moment.  Upon graduation from Preaching School I felt I had advanced to #312 and 313. 

After I had been in ministry for about 20 years I discovered the details' range had grown substantially: maybe the 10 trillion category and I was back at # 4, 5, and 6.  In other words, not only did I not know all I assumed I did, a bit of what I learned was not Truth but Tradition.  I originally understood we had weeded out the latter. 

However, the Word is so in sync with the lively God that it continually adjusts the unadjustables.  It isn't that Truth changes.  It is that Truth changes the student.

I am resigned to forever reside in kindergarten in the kingdom and this doesn't frustrate me one bit.  Trying to convince others I had arrived did.  The more I study the more He fills me with awe!  I still can't get used to the fact I attend church regularly.  This God-stuff wasn't for me.

But....He changed my mind.  I get to be a part of the most amazing system EVER!  The secret isn't in knowing facts only.  It is also found in living overwhelmed at wondering just how much I don't know.  Wide-eyed and in kindergarten.  What a life!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Wonderfully weird stuff happens in my ministry.  Great stories of God working arise from time to time.  They keep me grateful.  But sometimes stories like mine do not motivate others to reach out.  Rather, they intimidate others that they could never do those things.

Here's what the latter might not realize.  To effectively catch, a fishing one must do a lot of non-productive fishing. 

Oh I love the stories like being in baseball camp and Loretta Lynn's agent asking me to help her with her depression.  The woman who found my book in the library in Lubbock, checked it out, and was subsequently baptized brings delight to hearers.  The stories roll on.  I am grateful.

But what some may miss is that not everything I do produces.  I recently bought a new car.  I planted seeds for hopeful response toward the salesman....twice.  Nothing.  Not one reaction of interest came back in our conversation.  It went nowhere.

And then the financial officer who took care of the paperwork....I tossed similar worms and hook toward him.  Zero response.  Noisy silence. It was if I didn't say anything.

Today, while writing a check to a salesman for shoes, I planted seed in his direction. No comment.  Nada.  Nothing.

Do I regard my soul winning prowess a failure?  Never.  I plant and water.  God gives the increase.  Regarding any increase I have had the privilege to encounter, it all came from God and never any creative influence I possessed.

All any of us can do is sow seed.  It isn't that we aren't good soul winners that holds us back.  It is the truth that we are to believe that every one we meet will someday want to know God.  Therefore, I sow away.....freely....with great enthusiasm.

Recently I gave a waitress at Cracker Barrel my card.  I told her to put it away in safe hiding.  When the day comes that she finds herself depressed, give me a call.  I expect that might just happen one day five or ten years from now. 

Similar matters have happened in the past like the one I wrote for 9 years with no response, who called one Mother's Day Sunday to tell me she had finally come back to the church after about 20 years.

God works.

We get to believe it.

Maybe one day one of the three above will dial my phone or email me according to the info on the back of my bubble gum card I handed them. 

Sow seed.  Leave the increase up to God.  It will happen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


I don't know that I'm totally of accurate grasp about that which I address at the moment.  From both experience and observation, I feel certain I am in the ballpark.  I speak of religious institutions accumulating debt.

God cleared the air with seeming clarity that one cannot serve God and money; for he will hate the one and love the other.  One seems to carry earthy power; the other heavenly strength.  The church is at its best relying on God's grace-provision.  Each passing of the plate is to transfer cash into grace.

Dependence is the issue at stake. 

In the church I've watched us do both.  One leaves us in perpetual mediocrity and the other in constant state of awe.  Giving--personal increasing of giving away that which the flesh believes it needs most--is kingdom magic.  Amazing and awesome things happen in the church when members release that very thing that the flesh yearns to save.

Giving is the surest way to persuade God we believe He can do what we would assume impossible....with us.

Anytime a church or a Christian school or university is prone to keep an eye on pleasing men to gain their money, that institution will not be able to avoid stale and dead movement while it convinces itself it is alive and well.  Fear of losing financial contributions is disastrous to the hopeful Spirit impact of any group of believers.


God's truth is in perpetual state of expansion. 

The Word is beautiful, alive, and ever retraining the believer's heart.  If a huge donor is more attentive to his Wall Street investment than spiritual ones, trouble will mount as this person will not have the heart to expand in knowledge of God and, therefore, will not be able to take the risky moves God places in front of the church.

Tied to the monetary, fear will do the voting.

When money is the assumed strength of the church, God's power is drained.  Still, much hustle and bustle will prevail; but only according to man hours and man arms, but not God's.  When surrender of that which the flesh believes to be the social power and reliance upon our sheer weakness in front of God (sheer dependence upon Him), He will and does show up in those biblical mysteriously profound ways.

I've experienced both sides of church life; indebted and debt free as a congregation.  The former does a lot of listening to the pocket books rather than the Word.  The latter has an ear for the Spirit's whisper regardless of who might not approve.

The drain on church power is likely if leaders launch out by faith only to be dependent upon contributors.  When those leaders move under the guidance of God regardless of threat....a new world of overjoy soon follows.

May our faith to launch any good cause be simply because we believe God has called us to walk on such water.  He will be there....regardless of threat of Wind and press of Storm by those who give in order to control the leadership.

Know what I mean?

Saturday, July 21, 2012


One of the severest lessons of retraining for me has been to learn to relax.  I fretted over matters that hadn't happened and didn't happen; but they could have.  Worrying was as natural as eating.  What if?  Why did?  How come? 

When I watch Jesus, he was a man of many emotions; but never of worry.  Never.  It didn't happen to him. 

Living uptightly creates the very ailments and disappointments we were intending to avoid.  Whether it be enemy traps or disciple disappointment or execution in public square, Jesus never panicked.  Yes, he endured excruciating pain; yet fright, terror, alarm, nor anxiety never crossed his mind. 


Relaxed and composed, Jesus did not stop until death did him part.  In deepest pain, he held onto confidence in Father.

Sharon Hersh recalls a yoga class where she was in knots.  But the instructor never interrupted us.  When class ended, she said, "Some of you were spending all your time tense, anticipating embarrassment and shame, and trying to control it and deal with it before I made an example of you.  You missed the whole point of class.  You can simply acknowledge that you won't do everything the right way, and that some poses will be painful.  Just wait for that to happen, and trust yourself to deal with it when it does."

....if we spend all of our time being tense, anticipating something terrible, and dreading and fearing what is to come, we miss the whole point: engaging with God in the midst of painful relationships.

Relax.  Learning to relax is a great spiritual secret that endurers finally learn.  Otherwise, we would be quitters.  We would be filled with aggravation while being incessantly stirred in nonsensical and non-productive hub-bub.

Regardless of situations and circumstances, God has us covered if we will permit such.  Could it be you bring on more trouble than necessary because you refuse to turn the controls over to Father?  Such has been true of me too many painful times.

Calm down.  Be quiet.  Let God run the show.  He does such a better job of providing spectacular life.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Whether money, prestige, position, or fame, power backs and applauds the world's movement.  Militarily, educationally, etc. power is....well....powerful.

The once dead and now alive Jesus crushed such a dynamic into continued power failure.  It was Henri Nouwen who wrote, Our world is ruled by diabolic powers that divide and destroy.  In and through the powerless Jesus, God disarmed these powers.

It is Jesus who wrecks the assumed positions of strength and ushers in an entirely new system called God's kingdom.  Our lives are not to waver in the ups and downs of economic reports or military threats.  Ours is a walk of confidence even when encountering the fiercest of storms.  Jesus has spoken.  The Sea of Intranquility has been shooshed.

Blessed are the gentle.  Blessed are those who mourn.  Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Jesus sneered with irreverence at the big, the flashy, and the bold who mock the selfless, as well as surrendering nature of God Himself.

Might it be possible you need to be reminded that assumed worldly power has failed?  Jesus gripped it and ripped it.

Awaken to the wonder of walking in the Holy Spirit of God.  He is the one who will do the undoable and discover the undiscoverable and accomplish the unaccomplishable....within us...Eph. 3:20-21.

Believe it.  There is a power failure on earth....and it isn't God's kingdom.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Billboard entering the Stadium

 Anna Kay...the Hot Dog Princess

 Fans seated along the outfield wall

"Babe" Gentry and the Whiffle Ball Field

Last night was the Perfect Party as we celebrated Mary and me being at Memorial Drive for 35 years!  Wowie!

The staff decorated our Great Room with a full whiffle ball stadium; bleachers and all.  Old people were mixed with little ones; some played ball while others ate hot dogs, popcorn, and ice cream from the left and center field bleachers.

Our staff excelled in building the field so the visitors would come.  Take a look a the advertisements along the outfield corridor.

Thank you Memorial Drive for 35 years!  And....thank you for the Perfect Party!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



Truth is a dynamic breath of fresh air; a wonderful welcome mat for any church.  Jesus declared that he is Truth.  He insists that such will set us free.  We need it; and...truthfully...want it.

However, Truth takes a beating in any culture and every society simply because self-assumed possessors of Truth gradually use such as an instrument for bossy control.  Utterances are made in endorsement of Truth when Truth may have never issued such an exact declaration.  A few considerations would be:
  • The Lord's Supper can only be observed (usually at breakfast time) on Sunday.
  • The true church uses only a Bible name and of the Bible names, it must be Church of Christ.
  • It is scripturally declared that women are not to mixed pray.
  • We are to follow the Bible example in church organization, but never admit publicly to deaconesses.
  • And the list goes on.
Truth's importance takes no hit from this.  It merely makes its case.  We ought to yearn for Truth....and we do.

Truth keeps us in the Word of God.  Too, it peels away facadical doctrines that Truth never one day held.  This is the threat to Truth.  Yet, it will not budge as to its bold and life-intending, spirit-freeing boundaries.  Truth is consistent.  We holders of Truth are suspect.

Of course we are suspect.  We are learners.  Learners adjust, confirm, discover, and then readjust in places.  That is Truth's wonderful process.

So how about the church.  Are we still seeking truth?  Yes.  And why?  Because it is as deep as God and, therefore, always unfolding before our tiny and biased-threatening minds.  His ways are higher as well as deeper; thus Truth matches such measurement.

Truth's dynamic will never fade.  It will keep we religious in perpetual consternation; not because Truth is wobbly, but because man's mind is quirky and self-promoting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Rocky roads are for learners; not complainers.  Steven Furtick spelled out the importance of such thorny passages.

Have you ever considered that, in the overall scheme of God's design, the process is the point?

If all God wanted to do was get right to the happy ending, you'd be in heaven by now.  If his only intention were  to make your dreams come true, he'd snap his fingers and your vision would appear out of thin air.  But that's not all God wants.  And deep down, it's not really all you want either. 

You want to learn to walk by faith, not by sight.  And you can't learn that without walking through complete darkness.  The apprehension and gut-level fear you'll feel in these stages may make you turn back and pursue something safer.

Or, you can opt for something better.  You can embrace the process with audacious faith.  Because every big dream has small beginnings.  Between the promise and the payoff, there's always a process.

Jesus effectively ministers because he endured the process.  Peter?  Paul?  All went through the disciple-training school called The Process.

When you feel badly about anything....when you are suffering....try to remember that you are merely in the process.  When in the pits, go to school.  This is precisely where feeling a life of meaning and purpose unfolds into reflection of His glory.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Yesterday was draining....in all  the good ways. 

Memorial Drive spent significant time honoring Mary and me for being here 35 years.  They gave us a plaque and a silver serving tray...only kidding.  They gave each of us words of meaning and a special gift.

The elders spent significant time during the assembly expressing appreciation.  Someone asked me if I thought it went too long.  Since it was about me....I didn't think so.

And then Wednesday night we are having a huge surprise party for us.  Take Me Out to the Ball Game will find a mininature baseball stadium set up with whiffle-ball game, tables in the outfield for hot dogs and  home-made ice cream, and then ticket holders everywhere.

Thank you, Memorial Drive, for a great day yesterday.  We look forward to the All-Star game Wednesday evening!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


We can keep our eyes focused upon ourselves.

Or, we can watch what others do.

Too, we can watch what others do in reaction to what we do.

Or, we can watch God for supply, leadership, and His fantastic glory.

We are still not the center of the kingdom; the King is.

We are to develop eyes toward His glory that we might note more and more of His abundant radiance.  How very glorious He is.

May we mature into and maintain a hunger and thirst for His style of righteousness.  Ours is full of bugs.  His is the kingdom.  He is the King!


There is a strong element that all serious Christians deeply desire in our work of kingdom service.  It surely would seem to clarify both our pace as well as our direction.  Yet, God won't budge.  He will not relinquish such coveted info. 

I speak of the how of every one's work.

God will not tell us how.  We seem to believe that if we knew how to build churches, we would do a better job.  If we knew how to increase giving, it would improve.  If we knew how to give advice, we would be more effective in counsel.  Yet, in all of our work it is not the how but the Who; God in Trinity package.

How did Abraham and Sarah have a child being greatgrandparenting age?  How did God part the Red Sea?  The Jordan?  How did God impregnate Mary?  How did God cause the Jericho walls as well as those of Paul's prison cell to fall down?  How did God raise Jesus from the dead? 

God doesn't seem to think it necessary to reveal His ability to we believers.  He expects us, though, to trust that He surely does know how to do the fantastic. 

He does reveal that this and abundant other brilliant moves happened at His doing; but He will not tell us how He did them.  It seems that this part of the plan belongs to Him alone.

So when you assert yourself in teaching a class, or ministering to a stranger, or caring for a neighbor, trust God will be in the mix.  Be assured you will not know how things will go.  You just won't.  Yet, we believe He works and He will deliver the goods.

The church needs to be reminded of this for too often action is delayed until an explanation of how such an effort will work is communicated.  I believe it safe to say that if such a thing is presented, it did not come from God. 

What we get to do is believe in the talent and skill of the Who because they hold the scope of the how within their strong arms.

The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seeds upon the soil; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows--how, he himself does not know...Mk. 4:26-27.

Friday, July 13, 2012


Sunday, July 15, is a major life-marker for me.  I will celebrate 35 years at Memorial Drive!!!!!!

Thank you.  Be seated.

This continues to be an outrageously wonderful journey. 

I have been forced to learn a few things along the way.  No, I didn't arrive the complete package.  I failed at more turns than I succeeded.  I drove more away from Memorial than I attracted.  I regret this.

When I got here Jesus was basically a name-dropping closing endorsement for prayer's end.  I didn't know him, realize I needed to know him, or look for him.  I was steeped in brotherhood opinion of what was to be and not to be in the church.  My goal was to please the opinionated brotherhood....which can't possibly happen.

Oddly, of all the troubles I encountered within my work here, none was as significant as when I began to preach Jesus rather than brotherhood issues.  That is still strange to me; no surprise to God.

My first 18 years here were unbearably painful.  How many times I gathered Mary and the kids into the living room on Saturday night to apologize for potentially separating them from their friends for I thought I would be fired immediately after the next morning's sermon.

The last 17 years have been the complete opposite.  The congregation has been good to me to let me try to grow.  I learned from Jesus to quit yelling at the congregation during my sermons; but rather to seek their assistance in my own needed growth.  Jesus changes the rules and the playing field.

Thanks to those who never gave up on me.  I needed you.  And to those who couldn't take me anymore...well, my apology.  I wouldn't have been able to take me anymore either. 

Preaching in the Church of Christ is still fun.  I'm just getting started!  I'm not intimidated nor discouraged with the fact that I am still in kindergarten with no hopes of ever graduating to first grade in the kingdom.

This makes me privileged, happy, and even thrilled.  I am the luckiest man I ever met.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Be still and know that I am God (Psa. 46:10).

When Jesus enters any scene two things likely will happen: (1) the humble will be wonderfully whisked up in surpriseful acceptance, and (2) the religiously correct will encounter equal surprise of rejection.  Seldom is (2) found to yield to the nature of (1); but such is needed from each of us.

For those of us in the (2) frame of heart, it is really hard for us to see ourselves.  After all, we are religiously committed when these others seem not. 

For one, I am highly intrigued by politics.  One reason I am glued to radio and TV reports is that often these scenes reflect the church's presence in our own communities.  While I'm not sure, it seems to me that political parties are gaining momentum in polarization.  And churches?

Has truth been burned at the stake in the name of arrogant gain...from both sides?  Is progress to be shelved while personality contests distort national interests?  And, has this scene/is this scene playing out in the religious world as well?

Of course it is.

We will forever be called to yield to Father.  We will also find ourselves challenged to rethink one more time what we have already rethought for Jesus is perpetually full of unveiling and revealing new ways.  We will do well to gain in being still so that our voices might be silenced that God could get a Word in.

Could it be that truth is distorted by assuming we are right when truth would call us to be distracted for the love of others?  Could this be the shortest route to harmony's reality?  Distracted by love....might be our planet's resolve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


From day one of my induction into the Church of Christ, I have been enamoured with the Restoration Movement.  I love its approach, its simplicity, and its biblical yearn.  While we slip down that slope of mistakenly trying to restore the Restoration Movement instead of the biblical Way, the impact of hope the New Testament church offers is wonderfully staggering.

One of the things that intrigues me about the RM is that it isn't owned by the denominational Church of Christ.  It is, rather, possessed by believers who hold within their hearts a passion for maturing into Bible direction. 

I recently read from Jason Ma's, The Blueprint, a concept he sees from his ministry of which we would most likely assume to be light years from us.  Restoration...This occurs as each successive wave of revival restores great truths that were part of the normal experience for the Early Church of the apostolic age but were neglected since then.  In my experience, restoration of the New Testament Church has to do with the revelation God had given me to empower students and every believer to be missionaries to all of society by planting relationship-based, student-led house churches--particularly, networks of campus churches (planting simple churches) like they did in the book of Acts!

No one group owns the Restoration Movement.  It is a movement of courageous hearts that craves to discover what Jesus might desire of our moment at hand.  I still love being a part of it.  The Church of Christ has largely lost its way in this noble cause as it has frozen itself in a time capsule of "the way we have always done it" to the neglect of the Spirit's willingness to move among us today.

May we enjoy being a part of a great movement rejoicing that others may not just be with us; but may likely be ahead of us.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


God's children shine when under pressure. 

With the cross as our icon, we surely must continue in the understanding that faith isn't for sissies.  We are called into tough--yes and glorious--stuff that won't set well with the flesh standards.  We are called to the Spirit language and map.

We will be most challenged; intensely pressured.

I might not be right about this; yet I wonder if our five-step plan of salvation is perhaps undermining the gospel development among us/within us.  Have we so pushed to get 'em to the water that we have basically believed mission accomplished?  Have we not told this to them (seekers) and to us (finders)? 

Christianity isn't about being baptized and then sitting in church houses 'til Jesus comes.  Nor is it the taking up of a benevolent service engagement here and there. 

It is about losing.  Faith is about losing....losing our lives that we might find life.  Take a look at today's church inventory.  Every man or woman that is valiantly alive are always the ones who risk losing.  On the other hand, each anemic among us is one who can trace their baptism with pride but refuse to lose their reputations, their images, and their comfort for the sake of reaching to a hurried and frenzied world.

Christianity upsets the flesh docket.  We lose to win.  We are winners.  There is victory.  Study Romans 8:26-39 and see if victory isn't in the midst of actual pain and agony. 

Story after story in the Word reveals a people or a person under severity of pressure only to find this  would be yet another stage from which God will perform His outrageous skill.

Do not be discouraged with discouragement.  Rather, lift your eyes.  It is most likely true that just as the resurrection disarmed the tomb's strong grip, you are being perfectly poised for yet another awesome stroke of God.

Living under pressure?  Don't be surprised and don't be discouraged.  God is at work...NOW.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself, and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will gird you, and bring you to where you do not wish to go (Jn. 21:18).

Hmmmm.  If you think this is a somewhat strange comment, wait until you read the next verse which says, Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. 

Jesus seems to be teaching his disciples that as we mature we will find our lives are not lived for ourselves as we once assumed in our younger years.  We will shift from robust plans of success to a lifestyle of tears; even violent death.

Henri Nouwen opens my eyes in these words: All preachers are called to endeavor to take away the obstacles that prevent this painful process of becoming human.  This is a difficult task, since there seems to be in us a profound resistance to change, at least when it concerns our basic outlook on life. 

Once we have a more or less satisfying standpoint, we tend to cling to it, since it always seems better to have at least a poor standpoint than to have none at all.  In this sense we are quite conservative.  We seem to be constantly tempted to deny our most precious human ability--which is to shift standpoints--and we often settle for the comfortable routine.

In our younger years we walked pretty much wherever we wanted; to our own drumbeat.  As we get older we find the law of the Spirit placing restrictions as well as directives upon us.  May we grow in heart to stretch out our hands that we might be led upon the path of the cross He intends.


Some seem obsessed with church.  I guess you have noticed.  Others are equally obsessed with not caring for it.  Each is permitted to have strong opinion.

Sometimes the concept of church is misunderstood; even by the churched.

The Bible talks about the church being the body of Christ.  What is that all about?  Simply that Jesus left earth having resurrected from the dead and he sent his Holy Spirit to dwell within believers called the church.  The church is to be Jesus in our shoes in every community.

But so many in the neighborhood are poor examples, you want to blurt? 

And, you would be right on target in most instances. 

Jesus picked nothing but poor examples to be his disciples.  James and John argued over who could sit at the head of the table.  When Jesus declared that he must die, Peter was in his face with correction.  Jesus selected a motley crew to be church leaders.

The poor examples in your community are simply messengers of God saying that you would fit in perfectly.  The apostle Paul told that he was the chiefest of sinners.  Paul never met me.  I would be the worst in any church any place. 

Church: who needs it?  Every person who is tired of doing life on his own.  Every person who has figured by now she cannot save herself.  Every person who wishes to do better; but finds the doing tougher than anticipated. 

Every person; that’s who.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


How cautious we must be about us.  We are a mess.  I don't speak from a critical heart; but more of a biblical one.  The flesh is enemy territory to the Spirit and we walk around in such garb 24/7. 

The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace....Romans. 8:6.

We must be ever mindful regarding the poor influence the flesh has upon church direction, doctrine, and mission.  The flesh is highly jealous to the extent it thinks nothing of imposition to Spirit ways.

However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness....Romans 8:9-10.

We are called to be on guard against leading out on spiritual matters from the flesh...for the flesh is biased against the things of the Spirit of God.  The church has suffered deadly consequences due to the flesh's pride that the Spirit no longer works actively among us.

This teaching did not come from the Word of God.  It came from voices boldly, yet mistakenly, calling from bossy, self-preserving flesh.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Waldo Fire

There are times we slink into forgetfulness coupled with ingratitude as to how good we have it. 

May we remember today to remind our God of our abundant joy found in Him. 

These in Colorado might put our worries and frets into a more proper perspective.  And then....there are others who would put the worries and frets of these victims into similar perspective.

In every situation, God is to be thanked.  Rejoice in the Lord.  He expects it of us.  Philippians 4:4-9.

Monday, July 02, 2012


I like to think I carry my weight in the teamwork put forth at Memorial.  I like to think it.  Sometimes, though, it isn't the truth.

Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those days.

Shane and his worship team were above awesome.  The baptisms by war hero Legrand Strickland of his two boys was so moving (as you might recall Legrand lost both legs during from a bomb when in Afghanistan). 

But my part? 

Um....it wouldn't go.  I fought the sermon and it fought batck the entire time I was preaching; only public speakers would know what I mean.  I knew I wasn't clicking right and argued with myself the entire time.  I never recovered. 

The good news is....God worked anyway!

So I say to those of you who wish to hit home runs in your line of service and feel you strike out....join the ranks of servanthood.  One more time God shows us we are not His pivot point; Jesus is.  Yes, we want to do very well....others need us to.  But when effort doesn't fly; stay up in spirit for there will be better moments ahead.

Trying to stay up when performance is down is good for us.  It shines the spotlight on our need for Him.  Of course we want to do well.  Our dependence, though, continually shows up to be upon His shoulders and not upon our self-assumed talent.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


It's July.  You know what July is, right? 

July 15 is when I reluctantly moved from Illinois to work with Memorial.  I didn't want the job.  But two weeks from today will be 35 years of, I changed my mind! 

What a job.  What place.  What a people.  What an opportunity.

I have never quit trying to qualify for this job.  It turns out I wasn't the young hot-shot I had assumed.  (I guess mom was wrong.)  It turns out I was much more clueless than I originally feared.  I don't know how any have survived me (hundred and hundreds didn't). 

If ever God has displayed that He is willing to work with weakness, my ministry is His posture child.  Riddled with inferiority, I am still the luckiest man I ever met.  Jack Buck thought he was....but he was mistaken.

I developed an early philosophy that helped me endure me and us.  While I didn't like some of the decisions and attitudes that went with them, I would tell myself, Hey, a lot of men out there would love to sit at your desk for one day.  God chose me.  So be grateful.

On the plus side, I guess I could be credited with grooming the faith of the members at Memorial for in order for any to stick with me they would direly need it. 

At this stage of life (turning 65 and anniversaring 35), I am just getting started.  I've never seen a time when hope is so marketable.  The world wants a break from the pestering antics of self-absorption and self-obsession.  We must find relief from ourselves.

Jesus is still the way.  His message is stronger and brighter than ever. 

Wowie....I get to work in a most meaningful labor.  Thank you, Memorial Drive, for holding on to me when I didn't have a clue what to do next.