Thursday, January 31, 2013


There is one big swoop that, should it fall upon the church, would turn the entire declining world upside down.

If we could lift our concept of the immeasurable and indefinable God while lowering our assumed self-talent and skill, the world would have a better chance at seeing the invisible glory of Him above.

If the church were to see God, we would melt in humility.  When we humble ourselves, the distracting glare of humanity will be curbed and the glory of the Holy will arise for all to fall on our knees in praise.


When you meet with God, what goes on?  I would assume talking and listening...for both God and you.

I encourage you to get with Him--if you haven't been--and talk.  Talk about His work.  Talk about His supply you surely could use.  He wants to know.  He is interested.

I pray for two things consistently: (1) that God would show up in the media by being mentioned, credited, or named, and (2) that He would show me something He wishes the church would learn; but hasn't noticed yet.

(1) God's name shows up more and more.  Yesterday I saw the newsreel of the family in Missouri that adopted the five brothers and sisters from South America.  On world television it was declared by the host and then the guest that it was God who was at work here.  More and more we hear of God being credited publicly when it would seem that much of the world ignores Him.

(2)  I go through phases where I will ask Him what He thinks we are overlooking.  To keep this brief I will point to what He subsequently showed me of the arising of Holy Spirit truth which was foreign to what I believed and foreign to what I wanted to believe.  He continues to do it.  This past summer, following a time of that sort of prayer, I received unsolicited books in the mail which were of one theme; our strong security of salvation through the covenant.  This material is outlandishly wonderful and terribly new in concept to me.

Learn to own a closet.  When you pray, talk to Him about things you need for the kingdom; not about things you want for your driveway....unless such is of kingdom importance.  I believe that at the year 2013 man has not scratched the surface of holy truth of God.  We are still playing in the sand pile with an occasional squabble over who got to use the toy truck last.

When you are in your closet; try to talk God about what it is He yearns to do for you.  I feel sure He has things in mind that would thrill all of us. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


He said he didn't do anything unless he saw Father do it.

For the longest time as a minister, I didn't think to note Jesus' movement for I was busy proving things and generating church action.  I was quite enamored with ministry; but not with the Son.

As I have learned to observe his walk, two things consistently stand out; Jesus gave attentive eye to the underdog and he had zero tolerance for the legalist's need to debate.  He often pitted one against the other in the same story in order to show us the difference between right and wrong. 

Jesus believed Father.  He centered his moves based upon those he read as coming from above.  God delights in His needy creatures while rejecting any who believe they have risen to a personal stature of god.

Watching Jesus believe is a natural train wreck to preacher, elder, and teacher for he never follows the rules.  Just one example would be the bad guy in the Prodigal story turns out to be accepted while the good guy, it turns out, is delinquent of godly behavior. 

All leaders will be challenged to walk such a tedious trek.  It isn't that such is a difficult path for really it is quite simple.  The flesh, however, can't tolerate it....and won't.

Watching Jesus believe will draw us to the side of faith or push us to the side of irritated religion.  He will not leave us on the fence.  May we spend increased time in watching just how it is the Master walked upon the same earth we do.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Talk to me.  Even if you think your concept to be minor or redundant, share anyway.  Sometimes a spark of just one word or phrase will develop a chapter.

I came away from baseball camp wondering how people find God.  With all of the distractions, how would you suggest to another how to find God?  I'm looking for more than they ought to go to church. 

Many of us were not raised in the church or a church.  He found us...or we found Him...however it works.  I see so many variations of people...habit, locale, disposition...who want to know God.  What we churchers don't get is that such a search is an impossible task to many hearts.  They don't know where to start.

Is there a way we could help? 

If we were to write a book, say, How to Find God When You Don't Know Where to Look, what are some pointers God have given you that would help me help them?

I love such a challenge because God is so big this question can't be answered in five steps or eight pages.  Yet we can join in on the watering and the planting which would lead to a God-given increase.

Ideas anyone?

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Who wouldn't want to get to be me?

I ask not from ego...really...but from incredible gratitude.

Today wraps up the last day of my 30th year of baseball camps with Cardinals.  It is a God-story.

I find it amazing to visit with new friends I met this week as I share with them just a few of the stories of God and this camp.  Each listens with delight as I share about Curt Flood or the three times I asked the Missions Committee not to send me because I didn't see this work producing only to have bizarre circumstances arise that called me back, or the unusual work with the Field of Dreams, or the video High Hope for the Human Heart, and then the many who have been drawn to God because of some seed we planted along the way.

God has shown me to relax.  He will do His work if I will get out of the way. 

Oh, as far as baseball this week?  I've decreased in fielding ability as the eyes don't have it.  Yet, hitting increased...6 for 13 and even a hit in the big game off of Andy Benes. Go figure. 

The overall picture is that God will settle right in the middle of some of our greatest passions if we will have the vision to use fishing, and shopping, and travel, and bowling, etc. to be a tool for kingdom opportunity. 

And would you know why? 

It is because in all of these, and things like these, there are billions who don't yet know that people who believe God are ALIVE!  May we look like we know God and reach accordingly.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I report from Jupiter Florida.  We are headed into day three of games; two today and one tomorrow.

Two things are taking place game-wise for this too old man; 1) I am 4 for 10 in batting which is raising strong positive comments from the Major Leaguers.  They suspicion I am juiced on Snickers or something, and 2) they try to hide me in right field, but it does little good.  I can't see the ball....on the ground or in the air,,,until it gets much closer to me.  When I hear a bat hit a ball I begin to look to see if any of my teammates are moving.  If so, it must not be at me.

Kingdom wise--and why I am here--God and I are all over this place.  Things are so different from my latter years in that I have learned to let things of God happen instead of trying to make them happen.  The "get out of the way" philosophy remains some of His best advice.

Finally, I want to say that the good news is I am not hurt.  I've done well.  However, I am sorer than I recall any other camp.  I've been on base more, running more, and right field is soooo far away.  My body is protesting big-time.  I'm not kidding, the most painful part of my morning before I board the bus has been trying to reach my toes to put on my socks. 

That hurts! 

When you have to back up and try again to get the sock OVER the toes?  Well....let's just say I'm headed to the trainer as soon as I get to the complex. 

Friday, January 25, 2013


It's six o'clock....a.m.  This surely is an earlier six than Tulsa's six.

We made it through our first day of workouts.  I'm glad I worked out in preparation because I am so sore.  However, the good news is I am not hurt.

The thing that strikes me most about camp is I am always so surprised at the special conversations I get to have about kingdom life.  This is a place of searchers.

It seems now I just sit and someone comes along and begins to talk; not about my work, not about my life, but about something they had been wondering or noticing about God.

I gave special attention yesterday to one of my teammate's 8 year old son.  His name is Jake so I called him Arthur.  I visited with Arthur--sat with him lots--all through our games.  One day Arthur will grow up to be a man who will have had some God-seed a baseball game....for Arthur is my friend.

Gotta go catch the team's already 6:11. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I am in Jupiter, Florida as the Legends Camp opens tonight.  This event carries such intrigue.  In just a couple of hours it is already detectable that God is working.  I love it.

I've been in preparation for the grueling week of abnormal exercise, etc.  With eyes dimming and reflexes fading, this great opportunity to play baseball is an increasing challenge. Yet the wildness of the Spirit gains momentum

Yes, I've worked out, stretched, and practiced.  And, I've prayed.

Would  you, who would be so inclined, pray for God to work in this camp?  He has trained me to quit trying to manipulate and control His participation.  Would you thank Him for helping me be a man of vision for opportunity and action where sensitivity is needed?

I think you will.  I believe you will.  And, I thank you.  This effort doesn't function well because I have a knack with people. It is effective only because God has a knack with people.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I love the God-stories.  They fascinate me for two reasons: (1) I believe them to be historical, and (2) I also believe them to be for our learning as well as experience.

What I find most disturbing is that too much of Christianity is presented to an unbelieving world as a philosophy to be talked; but not an accelerated reality to be walked.

I think about this constantly.  There are serious self-questions as to why I don't seem to break through into the superior kingdom life of wonder and awe.  If we can find what prohibits His display among us, we will simultaneously discover what affords it.

My meager observation is that we tend to think we are to plan the big move, the big event, where God would display His wares for all to be wowed.  Such a tendency is dull; if not deadening.

Rather, look at the Word.  Peter walked on water.  Why did he think he could do that? 

I don't think he did think about it.  It seems he simply responded in obedience to a ludicrous admonition from Jesus.  Jesus urged it.  Peter did it.  It happened.  It was when Peter got to thinking about it that his momentary success sunk.

May I suggest that much of our wishfulness doesn't come about simply because we over-think immediate opportunities into failure to seize the moment?  We study, we map, we plot, and we plan.  Upon reflection I can tell you that much of the super-excitement of my walk came about without my bright coordination and effort.

Think about it.  Peter's walk was basically an interruption turned marvelous.

There were no plans in my scheme for life of ever going to church; let alone preaching.  But God started toward me from across the lake and asked me to reach out my hand.

I think of connecting with Jackie Gleason because the power was out on a Sunday evening at home and I subsequently saw him on 60 Minutes.  I'm reminded of simply reading an ad in a baseball magazine which interrupted my stride as I wept over the possibility of reaching into the baseball world.  Tomorrow I leave for my 30th year of Cardinal camp...impossible.

Who is Peter to think he could walk on water?  He is a plain man with an ability to go with the least for a bit.  This is encouraging.  It takes practice to follow Jesus.  Who do you think you are that you could walk on water?

God calls us to walk across the tops of waves of insult and injury, of confusion and disorientation, and of disappointment and perplexion.  It isn't our call to measure the how or the why.  It is our thrill to simply get to do it. 

We must break from this hypnotic trance of going through the church motion with hope of barely being permitted to enter heaven at the end.  We must open our eyes to the extended hand of God which reaches to us day by day, moment by moment....often in interruption.

Monday, January 21, 2013


If we are ever to get an understanding of God's Kingdom, it will only be because we surrender all of our human ways, strengths, and means.  We must yield our calculational approach for the non-calculational.  Much reality is upside-down or inside-out or simply backward to the way one would assume.

The virgin birth is matched by the resurrection from the dead.  Neither are logical nor possible.  Both, however, are historical fact.

The church doesn't work the way I had figured.  By now, shouldn't I have a better grasp of this work; what goes, what won't?  So much remains illusive.

Enter God.

I am realizing that any time I gain an inch in understanding God, He then reveals another foot of Truth.  Thus, in our aging years we are thrust into younger material for God is God and we are not.

The GPS to kingdom life is humility; what we don't know, when we can't manage, where we can't advise, and why we shouldn't be fit for any of these will lead us to God's pathway to effective and fruitful labor.  I think they nearly force us to His pathway.

God's way are not ours.  They are higher, wider, mightier, and abundant.  Without His Spirit our works have a problem.  They are ours.

It will take brave faith to enter the land of God's work.  And I say we are fed up with much of ours; therefore, day by day we are more inclined to look for His.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


I fit. 

One of the marvels in my life is I found a place I really feel like I fit.  The church is an ideal spot for a fiercely insecure grown man.  And, yippee, I get to be a part of the most exciting system on earth because it is completely designed for me.

For those mature ones of you--and there are very many--you need to know what you are dealing with.  And for those immature ones as myself, you need to know what the mature ones are dealing with....US!

Insecurity carries awful baggage.  A strong blemish among us categorized in this zone is we don't do conflict.  It isn't that we don't do it well.  We don't do it.

This explains the maze of division among us.  Little of it is about what the Bible says.  Much of it springs from the natural fruit of weak-minded elders and preachers just like me.  We are good in hearts and lousy in dealing openly and honestly with the weaknesses that we convince ourselves we have masked with some sort of faux wisdom.

The good news is we can make it!  We can!

Let us not be surprised at our vast amount of flaws.  But let us be ashamed if we refuse to learn from our inadequacies by continuing to rely on our best logic versus leaning upon the Holy Spirit power.

The Holy Spirit is the dividing line.  We will or we won't pull out of our enormous lack based upon our effort to grow in understanding the Holy Spirit which can't be understood....but is to be experienced.

I wish I were this great example of strength and honor and skill and drive.  But I'm none of these.  I am a weakling empowered by the Spirit of God.  If He doesn't get the job done, the job doesn't get done.

The problem with us isn't that we haven't had many lessons on the need to go by the Bible.  It is that we have defended our shameful childishness in promoting suspicion and anger as a part of leadership in the kingdom.  We try to talk big and walk big....when we aren't anything of the sort.  We are fundamentally in the way of God's willing progress.

At age 65 I am just now beginning to begin to learn more of what it takes to get to be enmeshed into the glorious and striking work of God.

Thanks be to God for those of you who endure us.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Could it be that the one church group that emphasized baptism the most underscores life in the Spirit the least?  It appears this may have been our past trend.  We have taken unity in Christ to mean that one is to become standardized to the herd's way of thinking.

When I was converted I repeatedly heard about two clear routes the believer was to take.  One was a call to stick to the Old Paths and the second was to stick to the Narrow Road.  While both are biblical expressions, neither calls an individual to ancienticity nor legalistic timidity.

Jesus is abundant and provides excessively and lavishly.  We are called to be liberal in God and conservative in self.  Yet, self can be a religious bully which stalks and hounds us to be fearful of everything from our shadows to God's Most Holy Spirit.

The baptized are set free; not reduced to standardized formula.  The best the latter can do, since they are frozen in fear to serve valiantly, is to criticize the free ones.  This is a consistent standardized style which never changes is the standard of being stillborn into the kingdom. 

I was baptized and then standardized.  I preached standard things in standard ways with standard words for standard members to live standard lives.  Few lived robustly in His Spirit.  I certainly didn't because I was preaching my standard sermon against such heresy.  Rather we lived suspiciously of every religious neighbor who had not been properly and truthfully standardized.

God is changing all of this because He is changing a high volume of people which would include us.  Two things seem to be happening simultaneously; the more I see my personal lack the more I see Jesus' heroic essence.  I am glad I was baptized and urge every person who will hear to do the same.

Today, however, I cheer the newborn on to heights of God's terrain that will thrill the soul for it will be eternally far too grand to comprehend such glory and awe.  May we not be afraid to tread upon the majestic possibilities that only the spirit of a person would dare explore.


I really like Gregory of Nyssa's, Concepts become idols. Only wonder understands.

Brian McLaren followed with, This is why I believe that in the end, the most important thing you can communicate to anyone is something beyond your logic and arguments---your own humbled sense of wonder, passion, and love---the very things that canned formulas have a way of squeezing out.

Logic is sacred to some; maybe to most of us.  It gives us measurement, definition, and even much needed stability.  Yet it should be noted that logic is especially in sync with the flesh side of our walk to the extent it often could vote against wonder and awe and mystery. 

When the spirit of man begins to take on stronger form from the guidance of the Spirit of God, inner conflict arises.

Peter walked on water (not logical) and was saved by reaching for Jesus' extended hand (logical).  He also walked out of a prison set free by angels (not logical) on his own two feet (logical).  He was deeply pained at Jesus' death (logical) and was overjoyed at his resurrection (which was not a logical development).

Therefore, our guard needs to be against petty logic; arguments that bring pleasure to fleshly concentration, but are completely indifferent to the possibility (even probability) to spiritual reality of any given moment.

Petty logic's misplacement shows up when the wonder of faith's imagination is overruled.  If not careful, a walk in the church's routine life can be attributed more to petty logic than a risky astonishment and surprise from God.  I believe He wants us to possess the latter....and so do we.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


While seeing they do not see.  While hearing they do not hear.  It seems Jesus was the one to reflect upon these concepts.

I'm convinced abundant life goes on before me (us) in much greater fashion than my piddly awareness.  Therefore, I wish to draw you into a zone that perhaps could be presently a void where you live.

John Eldredge makes a stunning comment that, I believe, could/should/would awaken an army for Kingdom life.  I believe we must add two spiritual disciplines to everyday life.  The first is worship.  We must adore God deliberately, regularly.  The other is grief.  We must allow a time for sorrow to do our own personal sowing.  I see no other way to care for our hearts.

Worship and grief.  Two things Eldredge calls to our immediate paths.

Worship should be simple enough; except is isn't.  Christians have a tendency to gather (even in massive assemblies) for reasons which are all about us; does the music, decor, message, and minister fit me?  God is to be worshipped, admired, adored.  There is great need for us to intensify our lip service away from us and toward Him.

Grief?  Grief would never be considered as a necessary discipline by most.  Rather it serves as a call to figure a way of escape.  Much of life's value is tossed in the garbage of humanity's walk because we fail to recognize the potential buried within disappointment and suffering.  Grief is not our enemy.  Rather it is an awakening force notifying the soul of wonder, potential, and hope.

Those who sow in tears
       will reap with songs of joy.
He who goes out weeping,
       carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
      carrying sheaves with him.
                                  Ps. 126:5-6

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The church has always been strongly opinionated about behavior; not as much about belief. 

Beliefs?  Yes.  Belief of, in, and through God?  Not so much. 

Tullian Tchividjian penned, Our survival mechanism is to measure spiritual maturity almost exclusively in terms of behavior--what we do and don't do.  Only the "toxin" of God's grace can turn that mechanism upside down.  Real spiritual progress happens when our typical natural understanding of progress is rooted out.  The key to Christian growth, then, is not first behaving better; it's believing better--believing more deeply what Jesus has already accomplished.

In general, the American church is experiencing fundamental stagnancy because Tchividjian's observation is right on.  We have traded a belief system for a behavior code and then failed (on many fronts) in both.  Even belief (system) has taken a deep hit for such has been focused upon believing right things the right ways instead of believing the right person.

I reference first and foremost myself.  My past is not a religion in vain.  However, it is marred by debate and control over matters that had to do with flesh-behavior religion more than it had to do with the risk all for Jesus.  This pattern continues. 

Watch the trends.  Orphan's homes?  Christian colleges?  Worship?  Women's roles?  Music?  Bible versions?

Where is the Jesus trend?

I believe two things about that question.  1) I'm sure there have been many voices calling for such a trend; but I was too steeped in my decent and in order enamorization that I didn't hear.  2) Next, I believe the call is growing and more are hearing.  I want in on that one. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Hope is not to be moody among we believers.  Our God can do anything He wants any time He wants where ever He wants.  Period.

Our call is not to manipulate His movement in correlation to our wants.  Our call is to know God is never through even when all signs declare it's over.

We are to be a people who look not just to Jesus; but to the resurrected Jesus.  His seating at the right hand of God is to remind us that even when his most intimate disciples walked away that Friday with utmost wasn't over. 

Moreover, the sheer nothingness of the darkened hill that possessed the crucified Lord simply made the storyline of God even bigger. So do not be discouraged.  Let a down time lead to your wow moment!  Darkness only causes the diamond to shine brighter.

We get so moody with God's show.  We are up because things go well; but tend to sink when facts of reality do not give us the message of hope....that we had hoped.

God can cause things that aren't yet to come into existence; plus He can give life to the dead...Romans 4:17.  The next words and context?  Hope!  Of course!  Hope!

And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character, and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us....Romans 5:3-5.

When a person is resurrected through the event of baptism, the Holy Spirit is received...Acts 2:38.  Too many have been baptized into Christ only to walk around as hopeless as one who knows not God.  Wake up my friend.  We have hope regardless of the mood of the day...or of the people. 

Jesus sets the tone because he beat death.  He is resurrected so that we can face every beating with a wink.  We win.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Without notice and if not careful, our lives will conclude as having been led by the collar in circular motion over things--many things--that really didn't matter.  One of Satan's greatest ploys is not laziness nor is it mediocrity.  It is the assumption we must be doing all we are doing for good people do all these things.

Not so.

Years ago I learned by health setback a most valuable lesson.  I will not let the calendar be my boss.  If illness and death can negate a calendar on any given day, why can't health and life?

Seth Godin wrote in The Dip ...if you're sold on being the best, but you've been frustrated in the route you're taking to get there, then you need to start doing some quitting.

Then you need to start doing some quitting?  What kind of advice is that for progress?

Excellent!  That's what kind of advice for progress that is!

From our good hearts we are tempted to be many things for many people....that we aren't.  The solution is there are many people who need to be called, need to be engaged, and would be great at doing what you and I are about to decline.

One of my challenges was in traveling to many destinations as a guest speaker.  I love people, the opportunity, and the messages.  My mind and body were cratering.  I learned to say no.

I learned to say no to many good things.  The result is a clear transformation into productivity that discovers we are bearing fruit even while we rest.

If you are frustrated over the many demands of life, I join alongside Godin to say, then you need to start doing some quitting.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


(NOTE: I am having difficulty getting some of your kind comments to post.  Know that I have received them and hope to get this resolved soon to where they will be posted for your viewing.)

Life goes where the eyes go.  They are our load-levelers.

Regardless of high winds of life's infractions, our walk finds the balance to keep from tipping over only when we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Close your eyes while standing on one foot.  Do you find it difficult to keep your balance?  As you are beginning to wobble, with your eyes still closed to the point you are about to tip over, open your eyes.  Immediate balance returns.

So it is with wobbly versus balanced life.  Eyes closed to Jesus?  The former.  Open to Jesus?  Balance; not rocked, not worried, not falling apart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 centers our lives by fixing our eyes on Jesus.  It is no accident that this context regards endurance.  When looking at Jesus, regardless of circumstantial distraction, we will not give up; endurance means to finish the race.

Let's cut through all of the worry, fret, counsel, and grasping for hope.  In all that we do or think, may we train our eyes to stay upon the Great Rescuer.  He alone never fails.  The eyes are the GPS to stability.  Of all the parts of our complex body, the eyes have it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


In working with us and living among us and dealing with us...I have experience you know...I have begun to wonder about us.

I think there is a strong possibility that our obsession with control and always being right and continually preserving our self-image are signs that we are just as afraid to live as we are to die.

All want robust life.  We want to see growth and marvel and victory....everywhere. 

Yet, we continue to invent humanistic ways to walk in the shrinking backwoods of humanity rather than the lush forest of the Divine.

Giving.  Serving.  Dying.  All a part of life in the kingdom.

Keeping.  Being served.  Being preserved.  All a fight for self.

Once again....the road Jesus travels is the correct path.


I want to share with all readers just what it is that's making me tick as I write articles day after day.

I'm not depressed.  I'm surely not mad at the church.

I'm learning.

I'm learning that much of my work turns out to be human both in direction and energy.  At this ripe age I am still learning about God.  And....I hope this trend does not change.

I am not embarrassed that much of my work appears embarrassing.  It's been good for me to learn the hard way.  A great surprise to my desire to control matters--all matters--has been that if I was to stay in this work; of necessity I would have to learn to not get my way.  Not easy.

On the slant of Paul's comments regarding not doing what he wished and doing what he didn't wish, I find myself being criticized for things I didn't do and not getting the criticism for the things I did do.  We live a strange life when it comes to the kingdom path.

Stronger than ever before, I feel the call into the greater truth in the church.  I don't sense superiority for I possess none.  But I sense His leadership for us.  This will mean things will--yet again--be found to be different. 

Would not the very meaning of maturity surely possess the concept of anticipated change?

We live in a church world of yappers and harpers.  Does Jesus' ministry ring a bell here?  My past is marked with return volleys of yap and harp.  Jesus, on the other hand, dished back at times what came his way, but mostly looked at the need for compassion, risked assault from the religious, and showed us how to move through a needy society.

He works all backwards to my work forward.  While I'm not discouraged, I am very challenged.  More than ever I can tell I've spent much of my ministry shifting with the whim-winds of the church.  Shift--in many places I should--but on the basis of the call of the Spirit and not from the perpetual desire to escape the ridicule of any who are in the same religious rut as me.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


THE STORY byLucado and Frasee has surely caught me by surprise. 

Some on our team wanted to enter into that 31 week study for all ages for all classes at Memorial.  I was alright with it; but certainly not enamoured.  I felt my roll would be to stay out of the way as well as cooperate everywhere I could.


This study is such a powerful blessing simply because it leads us to the an entire congregation.  We are all on the same page; being impressed by different veins by the same texts.  Yippee!

Just as one of our stand-by passages--faith comes by hearing--has insisted, my faith has increased via the tunnels of this rich digging.

I'm not learning what's wrong with other tribes.  Rather I'm learning a bit more of that which is lacking in me.  God is increasing as the Word puts me in perpetual decrease mode. 

It's weird....what the Bible does.  It is constantly a Spiritual Boot Camp breaking me down and then building me up to where my confidence is not in me for I am inadequate.  My confidence is in His Spirit...II Cor. 3:4-5.

I've experienced Him this week; not knowing what to do nor what to advise another to do....but was certain He could and would do.  And....He did.

Our faith takes on too much baptismal water.  We tend to focus on that event and then carry out the most of our days under the format of human reason while we call it smart theology.  It isn't.  It is merely us with a spirit-based lingo that we might sound like we are maturing in faith.

Faith believes God without explanation.  It appears I have been stuck in searching for the best-of-men concepts.

God is to be thanked.  The wonders of His love have not ceased.  They are not over.  We may have passed along such a negative word....but it just isn't true.

I highly recommend your congregation give this study a serious look.

Monday, January 07, 2013


From experience the phrase We go by the Bible is usually spoken by one who doesn't.  I reference myself as one in the lead of such a grave mistake.

That phrase was expressed by this new convert at my first family reunion once attending the CoC.  It was good for immediate separation for such smugness is not from Jesus.

We go by the Bible needs the interpretation of our camp.  It means we go by a few things in the Bible and then we also go by several things not in the Bible but others spoke as if it was in Holy Writ.

For instance, let's take the drinking of alcoholic beverages.  In an elders' meeting it was discussed that consuming such was sin.  Understand, I don't drink as I continue this discussion.  I pointed to scripture that such a stand wasn't there.  His response?  Well, it should be.

We go by the Bible is a noble goal; really a holy one.  The goal isn't the spoiler.  The statement of untruth by those of us spouting it may be.  The reason?  Because we go, not by the Bible, but by a mixture of Scripture and tradition....a very strong mixture.

We should continue to strive to function from biblical discourse.  It is the inspired Word of God.  Nothing about that has changed.  With Bibles in our laps, to assume that sitting in rows three times a week without a piano, but with communion on Sunday, is going by the Bible is simply a glaring hypocrisy.

All of that can be done without the Jesus of the Bible as the centerpiece.  This is a grave mistake from which I have suffered my own consequences of deadness to the Spirit and so do many of the rest of us.

Sunday, January 06, 2013


We live complex lives.  On some fronts it is secure and stable.  On others, however, it is remarkably vulnerable and fragile.  And we are expected to walk this plank.

How many have recently assumed the stable was simply a way of life until......until that particular job in the organization was phased out or the lump was found or the divorce papers were served.  Suddenly the solid melted into confusing fluidity. 

Train wreck.  Train wreck.

If God is supreme and we believe Him, why the mishap experiences?  Each serves to refocus our eyes upon the Provider.  When life goes unblemished by struggle, humanity begins to assume ownership as well as authority.  This gradually leaves God off to the side as unneeded.

Train wrecks--the stable found to be fragile--are not to alarm us; but rather to awaken each as a strong reminder that taxes and death do occur and the only true stability for us is the resurrected-from-the-dead Jesus.

He alone is our hope.  Deny him if you like.  You will not manage the grave by yourself nor with a host of friends.  You will need to call in the one--the only one--who beat death on its own court.

Jesus is true stability.  We are true fragility.  Therefore, we should hide in him at baptism that we be assured of substantial and perfect hope; not only at the cemetery, but even in routine matters of the moment.

Saturday, January 05, 2013


As is true at the turn of each New Year, consumerism is driven with Weight Loss means and methods.  ABC's 20/20 devoted an hour last night to this theme.  Weight Loss is on our minds.

But not until this morning when talking with Lisa Combs at breakfast did the thought occur to me about the Weight Loss program Jesus initiates.  He died on the cross that we not have to carry the baggage of sin and destruction about from day to day.

Come unto me all who are weary laden and I will give you rest, he came to earth to tell us.  Jesus extracts the weight of sin which so easily entangles us.  He came that we might be LIGHTer. 

America is obese with sin.  So is the rest of the world.  It's so frustrating.  Regardless of how hard we try and how often we repeatedly promise God we will not eat again from that Sin-Tree, we do not find we are making progress.  This is clearly one gigantic obesity problem that heaven must solve.  We can't.

So don't give up dear friend.  You are to be credited for recognizing your great need for Weight Loss.  Thank you for not wanting to stay fat in sin.  Be not discouraged.  You will never initiate nor activate a workable solution.  Rather, Jesus did, does, and will.

Walk lighter.  You have been set free because Jesus became sinfully obese upon the cross. 

Happy New Life!

Thursday, January 03, 2013


I was converted when 23 years old, went to Preaching School when I was 25 and began preaching for a church of eight when 27.  Thirty-eight years later I find a very unusual blessing in the midst of kingdom life.

I am in over my head.

Where I had hoped I would become better equipped; I'm not. 

I assumed that somewhere about year seven or twelve the chips would fall into alignment and I would have a significant and mature grasp of how life in the church should go.


Not close.

I am in over my head. is more so year by year.

Overwhelmed would be a fitting description.  I know less about local work and workshop approach than ever.  I'm not kidding.  In laboring over the workshop I am tempted to get discouraged because it is just too big.

And....I'm realizing I like it this way and want it this way.....and if it is of God, it must be this way.

The more I am common me, the more I discover my inadequacy and His adequacy.  The more I try, the weaker I really am because the kingdom walk is always going to be above and beyond us.

The disciples' greatest understanding was that they didn't understand....all they could do was learn to trust in matters that had no explanation.

I had hoped I would understand by now.  Disappointment arose when I realized I still didn't.  And then it hit me!  That's the very sign I am doing God's work.  Of was He who declared He would work through us beyond our imagination.  Of was God who rescued every story.

No wonder I feel in over my head.  God is too large, too broad, and too magificent to fit into my very meager level. 

So it is with you.  Don't be discouraged when you feel overwhelmed and inadequate.  This is merely a revelatory reminder that we can't and He can.


Two things are changing our tribe of believers.  Each is welcomed.

First, praise of and to God is increasing.  Second, Jesus is becoming more prominent.  These have not always been our practice.

What has been our mode of operation past is that all eyes have been fixed upon the church.  In other words...US.

Little was attributed to the lavish works of God.  Our doctrine minimized His activity to keep us from shifting into a perceived error which, interpreted, meant we don't want things in the church that we can neither control, manage, nor explain. 

To follow Jesus as a living being was basically a courtesy call.  The church was what we were all about.  In other words....US.

I don't mean to imply that God was never praised and that Jesus was never noticed.  We legalists referenced both when needed.  Yet, even our fundamental question to strangers if we were so inclined to reach out was, Do you go to church?  What church do you attend? 

My mission--and I believe to be so of many of my colleagues--was to de-church and re-church the pre-churched.  Possibly many of you just don't relate to my mindset in those days; but my goal was to see that they did church right.

I know this.  Such fruit has prompted a significant number among us to approach the eleventh hour with great fear that I haven't done enough.  How many times I have been called out in the night to hear this verse.  The cure for it is found in two things: (1) praising God, and (2) making Jesus more prominent.

Those two directives shift eyes from self to Father and Brother.  These two put hearts at peace.  Our works won't.  Our church organization won't.  Our piano-less singing won't. 

God will.  Jesus will.  And they gave us Their Spirit to bear what we can't possibly on our own; love, joy, peace, patience, etc.

The very good news among us is that we are growing in both accounts.  This change is surely necessary.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Do you know what I find fascinating about life in Christ?  Our souls are permitted to yearn for more than what the flesh is capable of providing....or even knowing.  We literally operate from another world.

Jesus' on earth as it is in heaven strategy opens the window for personal experience beyond the confinement of human routine.  We are expected to function from greater heights than default living.

No wonder Eph. 3:20-21 is a favorite text.  God vows that if we will take our minds to the highest peak of imagination, He will trump it!  Imagination roosts in what isn't yet.  And whatever we shall dare ponder, God will do it higher, deeper, wider, and us!

The yearn of the soul is to see life be more than is assumed.

That's why we pray; not for selfish receptivity, but for impossibility to become possible.  The soul yearns to see life look like God.  We want to see His delivery of the wow-stuff.  Each has an appetite for the world of heaven on earth.

My word to you today is to never quit anticipating heaven on earth.  I especially warn you to be aware of people in your midst who could be assumed to be just another billionth in number.  This is not the case.  Each is a rare form of God incarnate. 

Notice them.  See them.  Believe in them when they may not in themselves.  Each has a yearning of the soul.  We want to see life reversed from wither to unfold.  The yearn of the soul says, We are still alive!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


The Fiscal Cliff still stands.  Iran is showing off the testing of major weapons.  Employment concerns mount.  And, sometimes the city workers overlook our trash pick-up.

And God's people are growing in spiritual depth toward things that deserve life's attention.

God never wastes a crumb.  He demonstrated His great arm when the Israelites were cornered among mountains, armies, and the swallowing Red Sea.  Too, we could be reminded of a jar empty of oil as well as a rambunctious disciple named Peter up to his knees in fear of sinking. 

Ah, that arm of God!  How it shows up at the last moment. 

What's thrilling about God is that His signature move was when mankind assumed the last moment had passed.  I speak of the Great Resurrection.

Signs of the times: they can be good and they can appear troubling.  All of them fit His mysterious plan. 

Our job is to fix our eyes upon Jesus; the author and perfecter of faith.  May 2013 find us looking at that precise man who still baffles the invented laws of well as our assumed reasons to worry.