Friday, August 30, 2013


We continue to struggle in a most basic area.  I would add that if you aren't wrestling with it then you might want to take heart-inventory for possibly you should be.  I speak of sin, the sinful, and the church that encounters both.

The world news is having a heyday reporting of a Church of Christ in Tennessee that has disciplined a member who stands beside her lesbian daughter.  Media seems to get a high when it has opportunity to church-bash.

What and how that particular congregation chooses to deal with their issues is surely and appropriately their call.  However, such a move sets the stage for an important consideration about sin and sinners.

I have experienced times when our congregation disfellowshipped some; usually because they no longer attended church. It just happened that none making such a decision were guilty of the same.  Stubborn unbelief, American greed, dangerous lust, and judgmental divisiveness were never marks which needed in-front-of-the-church correction for much of it, coincidentally, also lived within several of us leaders.

It seems both absurd and ironic that to any of the above charges we would give a shrug by saying, We were born this way.  Thus my/our hypocrisy.  And the world loves to parade our hypocrisy.

Yet sin is sin and it is grievous.   We have not surrendered the grievousness of others' sin; but we have our own.  The problem with the church picture is we do not take our own lusts, greed, and self-serving seriously.

What is the answer?

It is not to be found in formula nor equation.  It is only found in the Son of God.

Jesus dealt with sin and sinner.  He became the sin that the sinner might be set free.  Our call is to stand in the sinner's place by being executed upon our own cross for his or her sin.  This is the only way we were healed and the only way they will be healed.

When we accepted Jesus' rescue he did not hand us a diploma; but asked us to lean upon a new world-evangelism tool.  That tool is a cross.  It is to be used to save lesbians and thieves and elders and preachers and Sunday School teachers.

A quote that came from one observing the Tennessee situation says, We must make a strong stand on this issue for the sake of our families and our nation.  This is THE issue of the next generation.  We can't let them down.  We must lovingly fight sin.

THE issue of the the next generation is not same sex-attraction.  It is the same THE ISSUE which has always been since the garden; the self-attraction.  We are all a dilapidated, ugly mess.  All of us.  Jesus would fight sin and fight for the sinner.  He did it by dying to himself that others might live.  

Ours....our call is to take up our crosses and die for the repulsive sinner....for such already happened for us when we wore similar garments.  

Where are are we to stand?  

We are not to stand.  We are to hang. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013


The news out of Syria isn't good.  It hasn't been good from pockets of the Middle East for quite some time. We appear to be poised for yet another war.

Before we brace for adjacent attacks upon American entities which might include some upon American soil, I would ask if we believers are also poised for possible hostile circumstances.

We must be ready.

We must be prepared to do our best work.

Do the words poor, helpless, and downtrodden ring a bell?  All calamities produce these three zones.

Uprooted, people enter into days of franticism and nights of terror.  These are poor, helpless, and downtrodden.  And truthfully, we don't need a new war to birth such extreme standards; they are already present.

We have immediate connection due to the nature of the Kingdom of God.  We live to assist, to revive, and to resurrect.  Ours is the mission of Jesus.  And, His mission is within this terrain of deep need.

I like Henri Nouwen's observation; there is connection with the blessing given by God and the blessing given by the poor.  Blessed are the poor in spirit seems to be the opening line of His many public speeches.

Let not fear intimidate.  Rather let mission ignite.

Life isn't about whether one is safe.  It is about the heartbeat of Jesus in the center of each dilemma and disorienting circumstance.  Ours is not to flea in cowardice but to move forward into heroic warfare to benefit the riches known as the poor.

Always hope.  Never shrug with indifference.  Refrain from fear.

Jesus is the Life and Solution to all conflict.  By spiritual nature we are to be set for grand and glorious response when calamity is presented.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


In the life of faith the pressure of forethought is transferred to God by the faith which fulfills His behests: we have faith in God's accountable rationality, not in our own.  If we have never heard the call of God, all we see is the accountability that we can state to ourselves.  Practical work is nearly always a determination to think for ourselves, to take the pressure of forethought on ourselves: I see the need; therefore I must do something.  That is not the effectual call of God, but the call of our sympathy with conditions as we see them.  When God's call comes, we learn to do actively what He tells us and take no thought for the morrow.  Take a step of faith in God, and your rational friends will say: "Very beautiful, but suppose we all did it!" 

As I read this Oswald Chambers quote this morning, wow ran through my veins.  I've encountered two major calls of God in my time; (1) to pack up family and few belongings in a U-Haul and venture off to preaching school in Dallas, and (2) to pack up family and few belongings in a U-Haul and move to Memorial Drive in Tulsa.

I truly sensed His call for both; yet there is no rational conversation nor explanation to how one knows such is a call from God.  Chambers' last sentence is stunning.  Those were the words used with intent to halt my very dear friends....for both moves.

Finding ministers is a perpetual church opportunity.  A conflict all seekers need to consider is whether such a man is called to your place or is merely looking for employment.  If called one will tend to endure because while there is no explanation which satisfies the practical evaluator, there is a clarity which will tend to withstand hardship.  If merely employed, though, church troubles usually call for another U-Haul rental.

It is neither illegal for unspiritual for a preacher to move about.  It is important to make all moves the best we can by leaning into the Spirit's whisper rather than earthy needs.  The practical and the rational are often the mockers of the spiritual (I Cor. 2:14) and this must be weighed seriously.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


The victory that overcomes the world is not human love, but Christian faith; it is not won by natural heart, but by the recreating cross.  Forsyth

Weariness seems to be a major player today.  I know I am worn down trying to track too many things from messages yet to be returned, to usual appointments, to full-blown crises.  No one in my circle is shirking their duty.  My plate appears to be as all of the others; really full.

I don't live overwhelmed very often; but of late the feeling is that I am failing.  If the door bell isn't ringing or the phone messages insisting calls be returned, the texts remind me, You are very much (sorry, had to take that call just now at 7:15 a.m....really) behind.

So what do we do when these times hit?  Complaint will do no good because some of you would tell me to go to the back of the line; you've been there for awhile.  Pouting won't help.  I tried that years ago and no one cared.

Victorious faith will.

We must move by faith.  Friends and neighbors may not understand; but then, they may not be flirting with discouragement at the moment.  Their turn has been or will come...again.  No, we must be brave enough to tell a screaming world to hold on; we are pedaling in your direction.

Faith that God can deliver is our concrete hope.  We receive problems too big to solve...on purpose...that He might show us who runs this Universe.  It isn't Congress.  It isn't the IRS.  It isn't the last two calls of emergency.  And it surely isn't me.

It is HIM.

May we lean upon Him for He first led the way via the cross.  That's where the victory is found.  Walk like a winner!

Saturday, August 24, 2013


At 66 I find myself still surprised at the routine of God.

It is anything but routine!  That IS His routine.

The thrill of study and the exuberance of anticipation of what God will show/do next perpetuates indescriptivity.  We cannot get a grip on His multi-tasking Holy Skill-set.

All we can do--at best--is to believe Him.

God will not hold still for a photo op.  He's mobile, He's stable, He's fluid, and He's defiant to the human mind which wishes so badly to explain Him.  Mystery bugs the controlling mind.  We are bugged.

Community church egos do not prefer that the foolishness of God is wiser than the award-winning thinking of man.  This, of course, bugs us even more.

Congregational strength is put in its proper place by the weakness of God.  Once again...we are bum-fuzzled.

When it gets down to the nitty-gritty, men and women seemingly from day one train to finish toward the top while God calls us to a very upside-down trek.  Lose your lives, die to live, give to keep....these and more do not fit our assumed Success Scale.

Upside-down, however, is the right way to go.  There is no wowing resurrection dynamic if there is not first a suffering Cross which insists upon a very personal death to the serving and preserving of self.

All backward, huh?

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I want to tell you about a small boy I heard about that has a fascinating story.  When he was much younger in years he was typical kid; wide-eyed with imagination galore.

His family didn't have any money but that didn't stop him from building imaginary riding toys; tractors and cars and even trucks that....well they didn't really move about because they had no wheels.  Yet, he had such a strong imagination his newly formed vehicles (from scrap lumber) took him up and down country lanes. 

Ah, you should have seen when he put it into third how the dust flew!  Occasionally, he would venture out onto the daring highway; always only in his mind of course.  And, my goodness, the neighbors who saw him actually driving down the highway on his tractor at age 7....well they were all smiles!

The little boy's mom was a good woman.  She was very outgoing and intricately aware of the needs of others.  She had a huge heart for people. 

She did laundry by an electric ringer-washer on the back porch.  The water came from the well on that same porch.  There were no bathrooms.  The outhouse was at the far end of the chicken house.

The boy's dad was strong. He was a very hard working farmer.  His arms looked especially strong as he donned his summer farmer's tan.  All of the neighbors thought he was the best.  His kids agreed.  Who wouldn't want to be strong and popular like him. He made little money; but he was a hard worker to see there was food on the table.

However, there was a problem behind closed doors.  The dad had a significant problem with extreme anger.  The mom and kids never knew what would set him off.  Something always seemed to cause major upset.  Neighbors most likely never guessed; but surely some of the relatives had a clue.

The family walked on eggshells day in and day out year in and year out.  Trouble brewed and if there wasn't any all knew the clock was ticking.

The kids were well-disciplined yet the punishment was often conveyed in rage.  Spankings (which were a trademark of the home) turned into uncontrollable whippings that killed the others as they had to listen to the screams and wails from the other room.  It was unforgettable torture to either receive the poundings or overhear.

The kids survived. They eventually grew up to be adults.  I suppose in their later years they carried remarkable baggage of guilt, regret, and severe confusion.  Yet, they did not waste their distresses because from the pain grew understanding of their adult friends and neighbors who have also experienced a history of mistreatment and abuse.

What I would like you to gain from this story is that much mercy is needed for our relatives, colleagues, and friends.  There are times when their behaviors are both puzzling and just simply out of line.  But if we could just pause a moment to look into their possible erratic past, maybe we might find reason to pull alongside rather than push back.

Upheaval still lives.  Jesus clearly understood injury, pain, and abuse.  When you experience it in the church, much as the little boy did, try to remember such mistreatment is supposed to be ours so that those who assail may find healing themselves....for they, too, have been terribly wounded...I Peter 2:21-25.

It could be---no I think it is true---the ordinary people on our streets are trying their best to use their tears of private as telescopes to help the wounded public....just hoping to cheer someone on. 

We can do it.  We should do it.  And we will do it.

Bless those who curse you for they may have been badly hurt in their earlier years as well.  Together we, as Jesus, will use our wounds to save others.


We are a funny and weird sort.  We get down on ourselves far before anyone else does; yet we are most defensive for ourselves because no one else seems to be defending us.  We note that our self-criticism is depressing.  And then we rare up if anyone dares to point out a correctional idea.

We beat and blame ourselves; but also defend ourselves if another should utter blame.  We are sinking while trying to throw ourselves a life raft.

One of the hardest lessons seems to be that we aren't all we wish to be nor are we all God wishes us to be.

The answer isn't criticism or blame of another as to why my bad day.

The answer isn't avoidance and hiding seclusion so we will go undetected.

The answer isn't depression.  Rather it is surrender to Jesus.

We don't need Jesus to fill in our personal lack-gap.  We need Jesus to be our Life.  He is the one who knows us from head to toe.

I continue to impose my wisdom upon my walk; I can handle, I can fix, I can correct.  When all is said and done, if everyone in my circle corrected their many blatant errors, I would still be undone if I have failed to yield to Jesus the Lamb.

He is our life.  Our organizational skills are not.  Our political pull is not.  Our ranking education is not.  Our devotion, our commitment, and our determination are not.

Jesus is.

We must work at believing him...Jn. 6:29.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


We must not be flippant toward the II Corinthian 4 passage which insists the inner man is renewed day by day.  Man is continually tossed and challenged by the earth process that age implies maturity.  The stress over this is that it is true that we do tend to mature over time.  One must guard, however, to see that the maturing does not develop hardening of the faith arteries.

So how do we get younger as we age?  Only the Spirit-realm would instigate such a concept.  Yet, we are called to abide.

Age, it seems, can either harden or renew dependent upon whether one is natural or spiritual.  To me, a mark could be whether one is growing dim in kingdom vision (old) or increasingly wide-eyed (younger and enthused) about matters of the God-Life.

Some age in crusty stuckness; others in pliable openness.

The line is drawn at death and the resurrection.  To abide in death is surely stuck.  To experience resurrection power (II Cor. 13:4) is to become newer day by day.  Believers grow younger.  Followers of the Jesus model grow newer; new life, new vision, new direction, and new experience.

This is why church is never to be ho-hum.  It is not stuck.  Jesus pleaded that the traditions of men would stall the church.  Why?  Unspiritual men cloud the Light of Glory.  In this case our eyes are distracted to follow the restrictive measures of failing man.

God is the Visionary and the Creative Wonder of each new day.  May we join in robust enthusiasm for the talent of God which He insists He has yet to display even a hint of all He has in store...I Cor. 2:9.

Crotchety and complaining or positive and adoring?  Grumpy or cheerful?  Age; natural age takes us one direction and spiritual age leads us into the marvel of another way.  One spreads death; the

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Wait is a dirty four-letter word to the driven, the ambitious, and the assumed wise.  Yet, within those four small letters is a gigantic secret code of God.  W-a-i-t.  

Wait has patience and joy and endurance embedded within.  Oddly, it seems ambidextrous.  We can tend to expect others to wait patiently for us; yet, we likely grow frustrated at the time lapsing while we await with expectation for another to change.

Wait is often mistaken as in conflict with want.  Yet, the lack of waiting is very often the undermining deterrent to getting what we seek.

When we deeply desire that people and circumstances change (in order to be more pleasing to us) without the nature of God's patience, ruin is usually prowling the path.  We simply give up on our own blessings because, somehow in this twisted universe, cutting people off and out seems to give our egos some sort of weird control boost.

Isaiah reminds us when we are tired and weary, Yet those who wait for the Lord will find new strength. This isn't hope-so-ism.  It is a promise of God.  Marriages, vocations, and other general life situations have bit the premature dust all because one could not/would not wait for God to do His stuff.

Waiting is the name of life's game.  Nothing will offer better insight than God's promise to deliver.  Sadly, frustration has replaced faith and spite seems to have overridden love.  The good news is that these can be and should be reversed.  It isn't a matter of anyone else's cooperation.

Waiting is between God and you.  There are no other players.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Men and women tug at one another in skirmish and battle.

So do men against men as well as women against women.

Children can be added to the mix.

Conflict is a norm to many.

The solution is the cross.

The victim (the hurt-ee) is to remain on his/her cross that the assailant/culprit/offender (hurt-er) can find new life.

The cross.  The simplicity of resolutions.  The ruggedness required of mankind.

The hope of every relationship.

Often the last effort.

Friday, August 16, 2013


I have been wondering about something that goes totally against the grain of what I/we have said for as long as we have been serious students of His Word.

I know the answer before I reveal my question.  Yet, I can't quit wondering if there is an element I just can't get because of a misfire in my programming of church answers, etc.

Is our believing in Jesus a weakened criteria for salvation?  The mere question causes me pause.  Should I delete the this post?  I'm tempted.  But there's a place in scripture that bugs me, so I put myself before you to see a perhaps more-flawed-than-we-would-have-ever-guessed Terry.

I reference Romans 5:6-21.  Note the entirety; but specifically verses 17 and 18.

  • For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of the righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
  • So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
My questions:
  • Are we to understand it is easier to be lost than to be saved?  
  • Is condemnation more powerful than righteousness?
  • Would this make Adam's sin stronger than Jesus' salvation?
Is our believing in Jesus a weakened criteria for salvation?  Is the way we tend to believe in him somehow a church short-sheeting that retracts from his deeply masterful move?  Have we reduced belief in Jesus to a quick-step in our plan of salvation which is to cause a gain in momentum on our way to the big and meaningful step; baptism?

It is possible I'm doing nothing but hair-splitting.  Again, from experience though, I have been through too many tearful moments with a brother or a sister who checked off the five steps, sat in the pews three times a week, were facing death any day now...and were terrified they were lost.

Thus, my original question.  Are we saying words like believing in Jesus in a way that weakens his mission as well as our own hearts?  Has the Christ-ian realm spoken rather nonchalantly over time to the extent mankind has come to receive Adam's unrighteousness without a blink of a thought while giving hoop-service to Jesus' conquering move of love from the Cross?

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him....II Cor. 5:21.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Several of us pray for God to show up in the media.  I have for maybe four years.  And, He is.  News reports, talk shows, and internet are increasingly afloat with stories of God and His wonder.

One of the more profound elements to arise is the phenomena of Duck Dynasty.  The Robertson's are taking America hostage by their captivating humor, warmth, and appearance of truly being happy, happy, happy.

They not only appear on their own show, but a wide range of other network programs.  I have admired this family for twenty-five years, plus.  Devotion in faith coupled with intentional outreach is a part of this family's DNA.

I can't imagine what it must be like to be them.  Due to crowds of crowds, they have trouble moving about in any sort of normalcy.  Me?  I walked in and out of my local cafe this morning and no one wanted my autograph...even after I offered.  Pictures anyone?  They must not have heard me.

Last night was Alan's debut.  It was a great story-line as he was the elder son/pastor who married his already married parents on their anniversary.  From Phil and Kay, Uncle Si, Willie, Jase, Jep, and now Alan, and their beautiful wives and kids, the Louisiana cast appears on television they way they are in real life; a tight-knit family with bursting personality.

There is definitely a Duck Dynasty contagion sweeping the streets and county roads of America.  I would urge you to join me throughout the days ahead to pray in thanksgiving for God to hold them together.  The responsibility of constantly being in front of microphones as guests on one media link after another surely carries a new sort of pressure.

We must be in serious prayer for this family and their labor for Kingdom matters.  It is all fun for us to watch, but they need us to participate in the seriousness of behind-the-scenes prayerful support that together we can reach millions for Jesus....that IS the reality show.

And, Alan, congrats on your debut!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


When in preaching school I wanted to learn how to reach others and win souls.  I loved the thought.  I dreamed about it, imagined it, and deeply desired to be in on the most wonderful work upon all of the earth!

However.....I couldn't do it.

I tried.  Instructors advised and admonished.  Others in the class caught on in astounding ways.  Not me.

I'm glad.

I'm glad I couldn't succeed because this lets me know how many in the church feel at this moment.

I'm glad again because God helped me learn.  Today I live in that dream world of productive outreach.

What lights the spark?  Inner reconstruction?  Outer education?  Godly props?  Lucky breaks?

Hint: how would the empty tomb sound to you?

When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Mt. 28:1) came to look at Jesus' grave they found it empty. This spark of excitement gave them the chills as well as overjoy.  Immediate response was to turnabout and head right back into town declaring what they had just experienced.  Why?  They were told by the angel to go quickly and tell the disciples.

Not coincidentally, it is the resurrected Jesus in that very chapter who issues the great evangelism command to go into all of the world.

What's the spark?  The grave is empty.  Something beyond calculation and imagination occurred.  Spreading the word is easy when we have that immeasurable news!

The reason we struggle with going into all of the the fascination of the empty grave has been reduced to creative programs and impressive speakers.  This is not so in God's territory.  When we are personally struck with awe at the empty tomb, we cannot help but spread the word.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Hope is surely the highest motivating factor!

Whether hope of graduation, hope of the loan going through (or being paid off), or hope of a purposeful life, the ignition to our daily movement is securely based upon that bedrock word.

This word gives me reason to awaken day after day for six-plus decades with a drive and an energy that does not slow.  Jesus resurrectionally thrust all followers into a pattern of even the impossible can become possible.  Show me a person who is dragging just to get by and I'll show you one who possesses no hope.

A good question is how do we get there?  How do we land upon assurance of such?  Hebrews 11:1 specifies that the faith factor is the key that unlocks the wonder in our trek.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen.

Faith is not possessing the want for things.  Anybody can want improvement, blessings, and successes. Faith is an assurance, convictedly so, that what isn't can be.  Review Romans 4:17.

And then read on through verse :25.  The key that shifts us from wishful thinking to reality is faith that if the Son of God can come alive from the tomb after being dead, we can believe (are permitted to believe) that the impossible can happen for us!

The earth is pregnant with hope for those who believe God works.  Nothing says it's over.  No message of death or non-existence shuts down hope for we believe in the mighty and glorious hand of God.  He can make something of nothing and give life to the dead.

Hope is every direction a believer turns.  Join in on seeing the impossible become possible.

Everywhere we turn is pregnant with hope!

Thursday, August 08, 2013


A significant portion of Christianity has been sabotaged.  The reason for its obvious limp is it shot itself in the foot.  I speak of guys like myself and any of you who would have Christian tendencies.

Where has this wounding taken place?

When our faith shifted from our hearts of gratitude to heads of doing church right, a comparative spirit broke out that has set up major roadblocks of distraction and destruction for the movement for which Jesus died.

Those who haven't become know-it-alls may have at least participated in our squint-eyed judgmentalism of community sinners as well as those other-brands-of-church sinners.  Our eyes have gone blind to our own hazardous Bible selectivity as to what we determine will be our faith focus.

When they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding, wrote the Apostle Paul.

The Christian influence is suffering because we have traded seeking and knowing Jesus for a myriad of lesser matters.  We have divided into brands all the while fighting both other brands and within our own ranks.  In the meantime the poor and the hurting struggle to find a day's worth of hope to see them through.

My ministry world has been rocked; well....shattered.  It needed it.  I had it coming.  So much of my emphasis was on me being right.  Such stinkin' thinkin' caused me to be wrong on so many fronts.  I knew a lot and served in many places without relating to Jesus the authentic Savior for every person.

May we be devastated by our own lack; our own ignorance, that the life of Jesus may become necessarily more prominent as we grow toward influencing any community.

When we begin to compare ourselves to the Son of God, at that point we may become humbled that the world can begin to find realistic hope; but never until then.  May we shine and not glare.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Truth has always been paraded often in a bully's fashion that was unTruthful.  It seems Truth was backed by the loud, the prejudiced, and the narrow-minded.  Yet, Truth is the very honesty which sets a person free.

We always need it.

May we awaken to robust life.  May we not revere Truth as a whip to be used on any who are too ignorant (our opinions) to read their Bibles.  But, may we read our own from hearts hungry for His grace and mercy.

Michael Wells was very direct in pointing out that some Truth-Toters are, in reality, a defeated crew.

The defeated can be found among those who were baptized in the "proper" manner at the "proper" time, who are submitting to spiritual authorities, who lead shepherding groups, who have whole books memorized, who promote devotional and quiet times, who are tireless evangelists, who maintain levels of separation from the world, who make positive confessions, who read only the King James Version, who will not own a piano, and who have read all the good Christian books on parenting.  We believe the words of Jesus, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).  Obviously, those things which we are mentioning are not the Truth, for those who practice them are not free.

From experience it seems that God continually whittles at our perspectives and standards to show us clearly which came from Him and which from man.  We crave life.  He craves to give it.

Could it be we are in the mix for increasingly living among the victorious as we learn to shed the walk of living among the defeated?

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Nothing has changed since Adam and Eve.

Eve understood the doctrine of fruit-bearing trees.  She was one of two experts at the time.  Yet, a third party assured her that what she clearly understood contained blurred and narrow understanding.  Eve re-looked at the forbidden fruit and began to ponder beyond original instructions.  The more she thought about it the more seemingly better evaluation arose.

She would do it.  She would eat, though God pleaded not, because it appeared she would be even wiser. In the name of wisdom the First Lady crossed the line. Mankind's emotional health, coupled with eternal destiny, came immediately crashing down.  A new thing called fear struck the hearts of an otherwise oblivious couple.

Yet, we must not be too hard on Sister Eve, for we follow only a very close step behind.  While we don't look into sin with a delightful eye of becoming more intelligent, we do so because we believe we will be happier.

We walk among the wounded living.  We are the wounded living.

How did we ever enter into such perpetual collapse?  It seems we believe as Eve that what is clearly forbidden by God will somehow bring us happiness; each of us feels we are the exception in that we can handle sin.  And, Eve's pattern remains firmly in tact; what seems filled with promises of delight soon turns wormy.

The wishing for more (for some other place, somebody else) versus living with contentment with what we have and who we are is a major Garden Battle.  Yes, the World News repeats concerns in and from the Middle East.  Today multiple American embassies will be shut down in several countries.  Threat looms.

However, the Sin War is always our greatest enemy and is as near as our conscience. Promises of feeling good, being really happy at last, and living a grand life of eventual peace fall into immense ruin once sin has a grip.  We all speak from experience....all of us.

Our hope is in Jesus.  I believe the church's strongest avenue of recovery is to admit we are too far gone to recover on our own; that only Jesus can make us pre-Garden whole.  Promises offered to intensely impressionable eyes are always a scam if such are not the promises of Father.

Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:24-25)!

Saturday, August 03, 2013


God gives all disciples a big hint on what He is wishing for us, in us, and through us.

What is it that drives each of us to keep going, to stay on track, and to accomplish His will?  That is a big question and His answer matches.

God's children are ignited to serve by one word; compassion.  Even being of the stature of Himself, He so loved the world He gave....His only Son.  He cashed in all of His chips for us.

Reflective of Father, Jesus took off on the human-walk of John 3:16.  He so loved the world that he gave....God's only Son....himself.

Albert Nolan addressed these thoughts when he said, The remarkable thing about Jesus was that, although he came from the middle class and had no appreciable disadvantages himself, he mixed socially with the lowest of the low and identified with them.  He became an outcast by "choice".

Why did Jesus do this?  What would make a middle-class man talk to beggars and mix socially with the poor?  What would make a prophet associate with the rabble who know nothing of the law?  The answer comes across very clearly in the gospels: compassion.

The very fruit of the Spirit is to assist in our walk of compassion.  Jesus was continually moved with compassion.  He accepted the rejects and rejected the accepted.  I think it is true that true religion is caring for those disadvantaged.

The world stands before us naked without hope.  We carry the news for all to hear.  Jesus is the rescuer of the unrescuable.  He reverses the course of life.  Our fires are lit as we continually engage in movement away from our comfort zones and into the broken, hobbled, and cobbled streets of the lowest of the low.

It is our choice to make.

Thursday, August 01, 2013


R. T. Kendall lists five preaching positions:

  1.  Preaching down to the people; patronizing the listener.
  2.  Preaching up to the people; this occurs when intimidated by the people.
  3.  Preaching for the people; this is a form of entertainment.
  4.  Preaching at the people; in reality, this is cowardice.
  5.  Preaching to the people; which what one is supposed to do.

In my early years I was mainly guilty of #s 1, 2, 3, and 4; especially 4.  In preaching at the people I had a particular person or group in mind that I hugged in the foyer and blasted from the pulpit.

If it would be alright with author Kendall, I would like to add one more consideration:

  6.  Preaching with the Spirit of God; this relays the message from Him to us.

I know of no preacher who is more than standing upon clay feet.  Name the top-liners and I'll show you weak individuals destined for the grave.  Their/my only true power is that of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit possesses solutions for all of our concerns.  Will we be interesting?  Will we have selected the correct texts?  Will we be understood?  Will we speak to the moment?  Will we inspire?  Will we convict?  Will we get in the way?  I carry all of these questions to the microphone every time I preach.

The only true answer I can find to any and all is that of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God. He knows the thoughts and intents of the speaker and the listener.  He knows the secret battles of the ears that hear.  He knows them...and He knows us/me....and He alone knows how to make the connection bear fruit.

It is not up to us to produce a well-oiled outline (as I once assumed).  It is up to us to allow the Spirit of God to rent our bodies and use our lips in proclamation of the most magnificent message EVER heard.

May we who stand at pulpits receive our information from the Word of God and be empowered by the Spirit of Christ.