Sunday, March 31, 2013


Today is a world-wide recognition that Jesus arose from the tomb.

What a day!  What an event!  What a glorious truth!

When Jesus broke the bonds of the grave he ruined death.  It is no longer a voice whispering in the wings that it will get us.  Nope.

When we meet Jesus in baptism's grave---Romans 6:3-5---we meet Jesus (raised from the waters) in the air to soar the resurrection kind of flight.  We are new.

We are new. 

We are a new kind, a new sort, a new disposition, a new frame-work, and a new complete hope!

I know of many who have been baptized; yet seemed to remain old.  Nothing changed except church attendance.  I yearn for us to experience a new kind of Life in a new kind of Kingdom with a new perspective of what it means to be new.

The Bible says we are new day by day.  We should be.  That's the mark of growth.  In first grade did we not learn new things? How to read, to write, to add?  New is maturity.  In 11th grade were we still trying to pronounce "L-o-o-k" as when in the first grade?  Was the teacher still inquiring, What is 2 + 2 class? 

One of the facets of newness in Christ is we are always learning new things about God and about life.  Many have assumed newness in Jesus meant start going to church now.  That's a good start; yet, there is abundantly more to be experienced.

It is a new approach to life.  We learn--mature--to understand that being a follower of God does not mean everything goes well in life and my team wins all of the ballgames.  It means we know how to manage both the good days as well as the bad ones.  We learn how to deal with enemies as if they were friends.

In God, everything changes.  We are newer day by day.  As we age we don't play it safer.  We grow more courageous.  Life is worth living!

See it.  Believe it.  Do it.  The new us....dare to be wowed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


This morning was a great time for breakfast wasn't it?  I mean have you ever noticed how handy breakfast is at the start of a day? 

I love my little coffee shop from where I launch many a good day.  I'm sort of the Norm of Cheers.  Sometimes as I'm leaving--after I announce I'm leaving now!--they, with one voice, call out Goodbye Terry!

It isn't unusual that here and there I'll note a family or a lonely person in one of the routine eating establishments.  What is their day is like?  What their life is like?  Sometimes I'll step over, thank them for the goodness in them, wish them a strong day forward, and extract their ticket and buy their meal. 

This always brightens a face.

This morning the question occurred once again of what one could do to crack hearts open in the little cafe where many of us regularly roost.  I told the waitress to go by the tables and pick up every check.  Memorial provides me with a little outreach fund; so I OUTREACHED. 

No.  We didn't feed the 5000.  We did feed the 20 or so.  Memorial Drive spent $108.93 on community at breakfast this morning.  The waitress was instructed to tell them that the church up the street wishes them a Happy Easter.

The friends I have in there?  They know who I am and where I work.  And they were all smiles.  The strangers in there?  Every one of them came over to thank me.  Now where is your church again?, was filled with both gratitude and intrigue. 

I share this with you to offer any who would need an idea of people awareness that this would be just one way.  This is nothing new.  Many have been doing this and things like this for years. 

We find life in the Kingdom fascinating.  It is always a fascination boost to imagine ways to be people.  Food and people; God seemed to repeatedly reveal such a workable theme.

Imagine away!

Friday, March 29, 2013


Iran uses war words aimed at Israel.  North Korea is using war words toward the United States.

War words; those phrases that have intent to actively attack and conquer.

Jesus gives us war words.  He assumes we will engage in the gigantic battle for the hearts of humanity.  Atomic or nuclear, nothing is as disastrous as the trail of deadened spirits strewn across college campuses, local neighborhoods, and the corporate world.  Devastation waits in emergency rooms and coffee shops.


The church denies there is any sort of war going on.  It simply hides within the safe routine of churchianity.  Yet, the dread and the dead are everywhere.  We must save them.

Erwin McManus insists Christianity over the past two thousand years has moved from a tribe of renegades to a religion of conformists.  Those who choose to follow Jesus become participants in an insurrection.  To claim we believe is simply not enough.  The call of Jesus is one that demands action. 

Jesus invited disciples to follow him with instruction to Go.  McManus continues his thoughts with a quick survey of the modern church would lead you to believe His invitation was "Come and listen." 

You and I must fight for the hearts of humanity.  Confusion, disorientation, and depression reigns...and seems to rain upon neighbors and relatives.  We must engage.  We can do this.  It is being done by many.  Yet the church masses seem both disengaged and disinterested.  Our personal comfort seems front and center.

Me?  I perceive myself to be far from what Jesus had hoped.  I believe I have no idea how much more God wishes for me that I reject because I'm either too afraid or simply too self-centered.  However, the hope and the faith and the love which are the weapons from God are handed to me (to us) for these three are war words. 

May we be determined to enter the world-wide battle instead of just the name-brand church assembly.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


I have been bombarded with texts and emails referencing the over-joy of individuals who attended last week's workshop.  In all of my years, nothing has ever compared to the responses this time.  It is wonderfully overwhelming. 

Below is just one.  I wish you could read them all.  Amazing.  Encouraging.  And....then more amazing!

Dear Terry,
This was the first time we had ventured to the Tulsa Workshop and what a pleasant surprise. We have been missing out all of these years! I am sure next year I will take time off to come more! I was off of work on Thursday and came and spent the day at the workshop. The classes I heard really touched my heart and I was so impressed by each of the speakers. I truly hope I can get my husband to come with me next year as he does not care much for church stuff but I sat in wonder.
One of the speakers that spoke really touched my heart and I was wondering how to get into contact with him because I feel my husband would really relate to him. My husband is such an outdoors kind of guy and this guy would have really have impressed my husband as he always says all preachers are wimps Ha Ha which I know is not true but he says it anyway he is such a man sometimes. My husband does go to services with me sometimes but often he would rather do something else.
I am going to order a copy of different messages that touched my heart and hope to get him to give them a listen. I had to find my program to get a list of Thursday speakers to remember the guys name right to ask you. Daniel Dickard was his name and he spoke Thursday morning and I would love to know how to contact him and maybe he would take time to talk with my husband if Possible. I believe he was from Arkansas but I do not know how to contact him or even if he would be interested in speaking with my husband. Daniel spoke with such passion and he would be the kind of guy my husband would really like. If there is a way you can give me a way to contact him that would be great if not I understand. I talked with Daniel afterwards on Thursday but forgot to ask him his contact information as he was swarmed by people and there were 3 girls who wanted a picture with him so I left him alone.
Thanks again for the Workshop and I was sad that I had to work Friday and Saturday but if possible next year I will take the time off next year and hope to bring my husband and maybe he will talk with Daniel if possible.

In Him
Sila Bonegard

PS I know you are busy so I will be patient in any response from you

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


To be open-minded would seem to oppose narrowness.  Open.  Narrow.  Shall the two meet?  And...both survive?

With God, yes.

The narrow road (the way) can be many things to many people.  It might be a set of beliefs or a series of steps or, yet, a determined theological stance embedded with a conviction to never budge.

My thought today is that the narrow is Jesus; the Person.  He is the narrow way, truth, and life.  As is said in the text of Mt. 7:14 the way is narrow that leads to life.  No other name gives life.  That surely narrows the field, wouldn't you say?

Sharon Hersh makes two very interesting notes which apply to this discussion.  First she points us to Isa. 2:8, (their land is full of idols), by stating that's what addiction really is---it is worship. 

The wide path is an ultimate path of worship of items, thoughts, and people.  This trail is an endless maze of personal and habitual desire for satisfaction; what makes one happy.  Much of church is still not based upon the Word of God; but upon our addictions as to what we want.

And then Ms. Hersh claims, addiction is from the Latin word "addictus", which means "to surrender to the gods".  Addiction will cause the worship of many things; alcohol, pornography, church music preferences, or insisting your preacher has a certain delivery style, etc.  Oh, we have many wide varieties of preferences that lead us to bow down to their demanding calls.

One can be on either side of the music preference aisle....with strong conviction.  Others have their sometimes inflamed concepts regarding the women's role....again on either side.  And yet others become attentively obsessed with root words in the Greek language.  All serve merely as gods if the heart does not Alpha and Omega the person of Jesus. 

The religious world is full of obnoxious noise from small congregation to university finals; all a chatter about many things that mean nothing---nothing at all---if Jesus is not The One Narrow path which will open our minds to an entirely new array of legitimate and meaningful attention.

Jesus is to be The One.  He is to be the Only One.  He is the narrow way.  And when we conclude him as our Friend/Brother/Lord our minds open to life and wonder and possibility and joy.  Open-minded narrowness is not only what the whole world needs. 

At some point it is what every person who has ever lived wants.

(I hope you don't mind, but I have to Amen God this morning for giving me this idea.  I really like it!)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


We--commoners as you and as me--are to actually be like Jesus.  Can that possibly sink in?  Will such thoughts make it past the security entrance without the buzzers and sirens erupting?  Can we really believe that we awkward and weak dare ponder the literal walking like Jesus upon earth?

Such is our call.  At best, a good theoretical discussion from our Sunday School Quarterlies would create....discussion.

But what about God's expectant call in our direction?  Can we, should we, could like Him?

The answer is Yes; otherwise God would not have given such an invitation.  So how shall we view this seemingly impossible task?  I would suggest slowly, studiously, and prayerfully ponder Jesus' walk.
  1. Learn to be at ease.  We are just too tense.  How I have fought this one.  Things going the way I wanted has nothing to do with the kingdom system.  Going the way He wants is everything.
  2. Learn to trust Him with your moment.  Our calculation of how things are going are just so vulnerable to misreading.  Everything is or will work to His glory.  My problem has been I wanted to steer the matters at hand to go favorably without awareness God had another in the wings who would be blessed if there was just a bit of interference.
  3. Learn that God is near.  The Word says so.  God is not a 911 responder.  He was there before the fire started, during the fire, and there for clean-up.  You are not separated from His hand nor His love.
  4. Learn that God is still creative.  This is one of my favorite things about God.  For years I believed He had already used up all of His good fireworks.
  5. Learn that our wisdom pales compared to God's.  So don't perpetually try to stay in control.  We tend to get in the way.  He knows stuff.  Let Him lead.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I've never experienced from other workshops anything like the outpouring of the one last week.  This is and Ephesians 3:20-21 kind of beyond your imagination moment.

My incoming emails and texts are off the charts remarkable.  I don't do Twitter or Facebook; yet I'm sure the wires are experiencing flurries of positive response.

What a workshop!  What a work of God!

Google "Francis Chan Unloaded His Heart" by Erik of the Christian Chronicle.  Read the reponses.

Just amazing. 

I was engaged in hundreds of conversations every day.  It was one testimony after another of humility and great love.

My favorite of all favorite comments was by a twenty-four year old university student from LSU.  She said, The Workshop has caused me to love the Church of Christ again.  That's what it did for a lot of our guests.

God moved and we saw Him; we experienced Him.  And....we are so very grateful.

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Something went on at the workshop this year.  It wasn't just Beam or Rush or Harris or Chan or McLaughlin or Atchley, etc. 

It was the Spirit of God.

Here's what I know. 

Due to the Resurrection Power we possess, Life is always near.  It came from the wings this year.  The crowds were not impressed with the messenger, nor the messages, as much as with the Message Sender.

We got the Message Sender's message which came through His messengers!

From a personal perspective, it is so strange to walk through this Wonderful Maze of a workshop.  I heard lavish comments of praise and really dumb complaints.  I will focus upon the wonder of God....which is abundant for any who would like to behold.

I am most moved by those who attend.  I sense rich hearts; hungry ones.  I sense determination and life and hope.

We have much work to do.  We have much faith and mercy and compassion to do.  Many corrections to make.  Wonderful opportunities to note. And, an awesome work of God to anticipate.

The overall theme seemed to be that we get over ourselves and grow up.  Get out of the way.  Expect God.

Why do I believe it was historical?  By the grace of God, He seemed clear in His message that He isn't done with us yet.  Our focus is to continually develop in the nature of Jesus.  We hunger for Him.

Thanks to all who made this a most amazing year for the Tulsa Workshop.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


My soul runneth way way over!!! My cup does too! And my spirit, and my heart !!!! It's almost more than I can stand!!! I'm So pumped! ..... And then there's SATURDAY!!!  (From Arkansas)

SATURDAY IS NOW HERE....and this has been an historical year like nothing I've experienced at the workshop in over a decade.

I'm wowed...gratefully wowed!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tulsa Workshop: CHAN-TASTIC!

This year is a terrific one for the Tulsa Workshop. 

The crowds are more crowdy-like.

While six classes per hour are filled with learners, the booth area is a buzz with seekers and searchers of items for back home.

I believe God is pouring Himself upon us again. 

I'm pretty tired as my body wants a break; yet my spirit wants more of this incredible experience.

And Francis Chan? 

Simply Chan-tastic!  He packed the place last night...and then unloaded his heart.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Due to God's intricate enormity I would guess many more things cause the workshop to click than I would ever have knowledge.  Therefore, know that I know it.

But since it's my blog and I can write my opinion, you know I've got something in mind.


One of the things that makes the Tulsa Workshop work is that those of us who prepare the program assume the attendees have brains of their own to sort, accept, ponder, and think.  This isn't preschool here.

I am no longer afraid--remember Leonard Sweet?--of what a speaker will say.  If it should be something mistaken, I would assume the hearer has the ability to weigh the information without behaving as if the sky is falling.  We don't all think alike.  We can't even disagree alike.

One of the high hopes of the church is we are being properly challenged about ourselves; where we got our convictions, how to maneuver through circumstances not of our tribe, and is there evidence of needed repentance among ourselves over our firm stands which may have been built in the sand piles.

What makes the workshop work is that decent people gather to hear other decent people express their kingdom awarenesses at the moment in hopes we hold on to one another as we give evangelism another robust shot.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013



That word is a blessing or an irritant.  It is a blessing in our original use as Christians only.  It has developed an obnoxious scent when shifted to the Churches of Christ are the only ones right.  A huge problem with the latter (other than not being biblical) is its obsession as to exactly which of the only ones right among us are truly the only right ones. 

I believe our obnoxifications are showing.

Meanwhile, the world around us says, So long.  See ya later.  We're outa here.

What seems to be the line of demarcation between the former and latter use of only?  I would see two elements; feeling assured there are several.  The first would be thankfulness and the second is humility.  These twins lead a person to be humble in approach due to being thankful to have been invited in by the One who chose to knock.

We do Bible things Bible ways seems to always be said with a nose-in-the-air glare.  It's harshly worded as if another ignorant soul has just been informed of their failure; their botch of getting the Bible right.  All the while, we remain ignorant of our collapse on the very stage of our pompousity.

Should we begin at Acts 2; and who doesn't love to begin there, we will find the true Churches of Christ which are the only ones right begin to---shall we say---fudge a bit?

For examples:
  • :38  Baptism for remission of sins is held while many bow their necks at receiving the Holy Spirit.
  • :42  The apostles teaching has been hijacked with the teaching of Wallace and Warren, etc.
  • :43  The awe factor is out and the decent and in order is the yardstick.
  • :44-45  Yes, donations are offered.  Yet, the church is obsessed with more for self.
  • :46  Day by day.  We've shortened that one to three times a week and called it the most faithful.
  • :47  Praising God has been trashed.  Praising leaders and ministries and the way we worship has replaced hearts adoring and honoring God.
These are just a few examples found within ten verses of one chapter of one book.

When we get back to the Bible we will discover that a host whom we had been told were our religious enemies are, also, to be found getting back to the Bible.  Christians only remains a glorious plea and hope.   The only ones who are the real Christians is stark confession of guilt; not of righteousness.

Monday, March 18, 2013


This is a most exciting time.  I love right now.

It seems something is going on with and among us.  I think it's God.

We have our interests and our agendas and our manipulative abilities to match both.  But something feels new and wonderfully out of our control. 

Yet, something more--more than us--is arising.  I really believe God is on the scene in some unified way that could feel rather strange.  Something transpowerful is among us.

There is a growing love for God and for His Word.  Movies and news reels verify it.  Our senses wonder as well.

Our job would be to note His star arising in the midst of community.  We should both stay out of the way and get on board.

What is going on in the church?  More than we can guide, guard, and direct. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013


The Tulsa Workshop is too big to discuss. Its reach is more than across the nation or the oceans. It extends into the next generations as well. Its reach is as close as heaven or as far as heaven; however that proximity works.

The mission of the workshop is soul winning.

The route to accomplish that is as varied as the gifts spoken of by the Apostle Paul. I have three grown kids who are lit for kingdom in their 40s. Yet, at the Tulsa Workshop in their gradeschool and teen days it was not Mid McKnight nor Jimmy Allen that lit their wicks. It was A Cappella concerts!

The mission of the workshop is soul winning.

Drawing others to Jesus is what I think about every day of my life. Whether at the mall, the game, the cafe, or simply waiting in my car at an intersection, I'm studying people and ways to reach to them. In my mind we must explore multiple avenues at the workshop to be of assistance to the various ministries and talents among us simply for the purpose that we reach those who are lost without Jesus.

The mission of the workshop is soul winning.

Two things have caused many to conclude the opposite; (1) the lack of aggression as we approach individuals, and (2) the lack of strongly promoting the Church of Christ as the only route to heaven. So let me clarify. Both conclusions are accurate.

I did my share of "in-your-face" evangelism. If that still works for you, praise God. There are other effective ways; and they are still soul winning ways. I choose them.

Too, the Tulsa Workshop isn't in the business of preserving the Church of Christ. Haven't you thought it odd that the tighter we preserve it the tougher it is for other "souls" to get in? In many ways the Church of Christ has been engaged in "soul losing".

The Tulsa Workshop is bent on helping us grow to the "winning" side. We want to keep the fires lit for outreach, for brotherhood, and for worship. This takes intention as well as devotion. Haphazard shrugging of the shoulders over whether to reach out is simply not an option. Yet, there are optional methods.

Join us Wednesday night at 6:30 at the Pavilion for the launching of year 38! Dusty Rush, Randy Harris, Francis Chan, Joe Beam, Rick Lytle, and Mike Cope are the keynoters. We hope that when all is said and done the church will be re-energized to go back home and draw neighbors to the Master of Eternal Life....Now!

Friday, March 15, 2013


My friend, Jim Woodell, placed a comment on one of my recent posts. However, I want you to see it here. Jim is a winner of people to Jesus; a man who never gives up looking for ways to draw others to The Hope. You'll enjoy his story. _________________________________________________________________ Jim has left a new comment on your post "IF SNOPES DOESN'T KNOW THIS YET; AT LEAST YOU DO": Since everybody reads Terry's post and nobody reads mine, I will post here in the comment sections (Thanks Terry) I went with Wes to the Serloin District of SF with Wes. This was close to the beginning of the ministry plant there being led by Francis Chan. They are there to minister to the poor and disenfranchised that live in the many high rise apartment buildings. I went on a tour of one of the buildings to invite the occupants to come and eat at an inner city mission. Upon returning to the mission to eat I sat at a table among the folks that had gathered and two young ladies joined us. Now I was sitting among the homeless,that is those that were being ministered to. One of the young ladies said, "How are you doing sir? Have you had a good day?" (She thought I was one of the high rise occupants!) She made me feel glad that I was there. Although she was about 12 years old she was a great conversationalist. The wife of Francis and a daughter led the group in worship. Francis spoke to the group and it turned out the 12 year old who led the conversation at my table was their daughter also. You don't want to miss this man of God in Tulsa.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Shane Coffman, pictured above with some of our worship team when in Abilene, and his awesome team have a glorious CD available next week at the Tulsa Workshop. 

My favorite song on the CD is Beautiful Things.  The words in that song remind me of God and His awe as He continues to show up in beautiful praise as well as beautiful praisers; a band of believers. 

You will be able to find this Light Will Rise CD on sale at the registration booth.  For those of you driving, Shane and his team will make your return trip move along just a bit smoother!

Watch for Shane and the Memorial Drive Worship Team at next week's Tulsa Workshop.  You'll get caught up in praise to Him as this group leads out in a sweet and powerful way.

Enjoy some snippets from the cd in the video below.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Over the years good plans for kingdom advancement have been quenched when the blind faith card was played.  Efforts for weighing potential and possibility by church committees have been abruptly trashed by those two words.

From experience, I interpret this phrase as ignorant.  From the Word, I interpret it as unbiblical.  We walk by faith, not by sight (II Cor. 5:7).  From this text our faith is blind; unable to note the distractions which would serve to discourage our hearts. 

The blind faith warning is issued at the point of unexplanation.  The flesh loves explanation.  It does not cherish mystery.  Rather, it fears it.

Sight faith, as the reverse would imply, would be a controllable and monitorable movement supported by calculation, examination, and inspection.  This form is where most churches rest.  When we can get the plans and dreams to balance with the bank accounts while formulating desired results, we will then robustly engage.

Bible classes rehearse the mysterious moves of God, Son, and Spirit.  The plea is made for followers to....follow.  For those who won't, we then label as unbelievers while our own steps are full of caution in the name of being reasonable.

God's way it light years from earth's habit walk.  I believe the church hungers for the moments of the God Surprise.  We love testimonies of human restriction being obliterated by divine intervention.  We are growing in appetite for morsels of God's movement.

I urge you to beware of the blind faith announcements which are intended to stop us in our tracks.  The flesh eyes don't have it in them to see the God potential.  Rather, view your walk from the heart eyes of Ephesians 1:18-20. 

We are to see.  We are to see with a new set of eyes!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


As is true of many words, expectations may be celebrated or mourned.  Goals are valuable.  Their absence might explain why some remain in a neutral state of mediocrity.

It's sort of like child.  Paul told us to put away childish things only after Jesus urged us to become like children.  Context is key.  Mood is major.

It is a strange thing how the word expectations has been used in negative connotations lately.  Relationships in both home and in the church are suffering deep strain because some in the picture have higher expectations.  While these toss forward this word with supreme delight their spirit is one of negligence.

From this framework, expectations is used to hold control (mean-spirited and aggressive) over mates or ministries.  The holder believes it is the correct word; but it has become a villainous trap to kill life in their settings.  In this context expectations are scheming and devious as they are used to regulate circumstances as well as people.

Brennan Manning, speaking of Israel's rejection of the mission of the real Messiah, said, They looked for an unreal messiah of their own making and found a real one of God's making---but only after they were dispossessed of all their illusions and expectations.  Expectations are our subtle attempts to control God and manipulate mystery.  We can get so wrapped up in them that when Jesus breaks into our lives in new and surprising ways, we neither recognize Him nor hear His message.

The church has expectations to grow.  This is good to a point; until we are found as humans trying to manage the estate of the Divine.  The church has largely spent its time stripping God of both mystery and marvel by packaging Him in explainable terms.  Thus, very much struggle.

Expectations from God's free creativity is a far cry from our stingy and meager calculations.  May we open more to the Spirit of Him whom God sent.

Monday, March 11, 2013


It's time for the workshop to explode into full throttle!  We've got company coming! 

March 20-24!!!!

We begin Wednesday evening @ 6:30 with Master's of Praise. Randy Gill and the praise team from Atlanta crank up at 7:00 and then Dusty Rush (I've heard of him) will be the keynoter.

Classes, keynotes, singing and singing, and visiting of the booths, and singing and WKPCs for the kids chorus....and then some more singing will go on for three days!

For all visitors who intend to be at Memorial Drive on Sunday morning, you will want to note that our only gathering that morning will be at 9:00 like in Nine O'Clock a.m.  This will get our hyped travelers on the road a bit earlier.  Mike Cope will be our guest speaker.

Get your rest!  We've got Kingdom Life to encounter! 

Experience Eternal Life Now!

Saturday, March 09, 2013


Once again man has taken a precious gem of God and reduced it to a non-productive form. 

As newly churched, I will never forget sitting in John and Carolyn Taylor's house in 1970 in Quincy, Illinois.  They were telling my Catholic wife and Presbyterian me about a thing called the Restoration Movement.  It was a wild idea from God that had swept America from the east. 

Racoon John Smith, Daniel Sommers, Alexander Campbell, and David Lipscomb headlined the study of leaders of various church brands growing toward one another in a new and refreshing spiritual movement.

The Taylors painted an incredible new church culture.  All variations of beliefs moving toward one in Jesus. 

I wanted in on it.

I still do.

However, the Church of Christ has made human moves which severely impede this rich concept; all the while claiming it is still perpetuating it.  I say we are killing it.  We have become the very thing we thought we weeded out; a denomination.

Our Restoration Movement should be retitled The Preservation Movement.  The explanation for such a sad development is one; fear.  Being the only ones right (our proud and misguided assumption) has fossilized a generation or two into a frozen body of narrow habitual believers; but not lively spiritual ones.

Many a dying church has thanked God for that passage that speaks of the narrow way.  Few doesn't bug us.  It never occurs to us that the narrow here refers to Jesus being the only one rather than an explanation (and sorry excuse) as to why we are losing our own members.

Rigidity has proven arthritic to the body of Christ.  Fear of What will this lead to? coupled with the man-created doctrine of silence of the scriptures have proven to shut down a tremendous movement of inspiration as well as outreach.

Yet, just as God kept a remnant going, I see the Restoration Movement breaking out from where its roots were in the first place.  In connecting with other church brands and their leaders, it is quite clear that we are not the only ones drawing closer to God's restoration of the church.

I have many Baptist, Community, Presbyterian, Anglican, and Methodist leader/friends who are just as devoted to studying the Bible as we are.  Furthermore, they possess tender hearts for God.  While we press our Preservation Movement, others are experiencing the beauty of the Restoration Movement.

Doctrines of men are being laid aside in many fronts for the pure meat and milk of the Word.  Barriers among churches are dissolving from biblical perspective.  The Restoration Movement is not owned by Churches of Christ.  It started without us and will continue without us if we continue our ignorant and arrogant stance that no one knows their Bibles like we know ours.

As we should, we continue to make good strides in learning our scriptures; but we have developed a church culture among us that does not know Jesus.  Fact.

This is more devastating than any nuclear threat from North Korea.  At my age and my service time, I am wowed and thrilled that a movement I thought had been ruined is alive and well.  I found it among others not like us; yet they are much like what I read about us in our earlier years. 

The denominational world isn't as stupid as we have been told.  Neither are they deceptive.  In many ways they are more the way we assume ourselves to be than we really are. 

For any church leaders who are wondering why we are losing our people, I've risked to share one of the reasons.  We cannot continue to assure our people that we are the one true church because we think we can prove it by reading Ephesians.  If we are not open to the Holy Spirit's direct involvement among us, we are a dead people trying to move our lips. 

When the Spirit of Christ is central in our walk, we will find stiffness, suspicion, and rigidity being shed.  Flexibility, renewal, and surprise offer new life with new hope to a rejuvenated generation.  We will then be restored.

Friday, March 08, 2013


To understand this post you will need to read the previous one, That's An Interesting Comment.  This story gets funnier by the hour.

First, I could not tell if this lady was serious or kidding.  I couldn't tell from such a comment and I don't know her to know her personality.  I did find the comment to be rather humorous as it didn't seem to belong anywhere.  It was just out there.

Whatever her message, I knew I wasn't going to stew over it.  So, I wrote about it tongue-in-cheek.  The anonymous, (Didn't I just write a post this week on critics?), Not your best effort is not a gunshot wound to the head, and By the way, Dee, I clicked on your name to see who you are.  That's not your best picture were all me taking a stab at being funny. 

As soon as I posted my response, I showed it to two of my office colleagues and we were all laughing at how funny my response was.  Although I did seriously write to encourage us when/if we are being criticized (How fun is this?  We are not losing ground.  We are gaining momentum.  We are intending to improve with youth...the newness God gives us day by day.), the whole thing seemed funny to me.

So Dee emailed me.  She was apologetic that all was intended also was tongue-in-cheek as there were no words to a post....which I couldn't detect on my screen.  The joke was on me.  There was a phone number.  I called her.  We were both laughing.  She was just sharing the response with her supervisor...and they were laughing.

And then....I got comments both of sympathy for me and alertation to possible humor that I may have missed.  This now gets funnier for those supporting me may now be irritated with me and those drawing my attention to the humor side may not believe I really thought it could possibly be funny.

What's worse.....Dee turns out to be a man!

I want you all to meet my new friend, Dee.....whoever he is!  I know I like him.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


The message below was left by someone named Dee.  At least it wasn't anonymous.

Dee has left a new comment on your post "":

Not your best effort.
This person's comment is listed below my last post of Jesus' Double Birth.  The comment didn't seem to belong with that post as far as claiming to be.  It had no fit to a specific post.  It just says Not your best effort.  (Didn't I just write a post this week on critics?)

So what am I to do with this; if anything?

Well, nothing is a waste.  Evidently Dee felt I simply missed the mark...somewhere.  What I am to do with this is not to hunker down in self-failure mode; but simply realize I don't always come through with the best.  Whatever Dee is referencing, my effort clearly wasn't favorable.

Not your best effort is not a gunshot wound to the head.  It is an observation by someone who read something I wrote and didn't feel it was all that good.  That is reality where we all really live.

I encourage you to continue to move forward.  Don't stop.  Don't quit.  And don't fall apart when the whole world doesn't see life through your eyes. 

How fun is this?  We are not losing ground.  We are gaining momentum.  We are intending to improve with youth...the newness God gives us day by day.

What Dee said to me is probably how many more feel but didn't have the courage.  Good for us.  We can move forward in the Spirit of Christ because we have opportunity galore.  Live like it.  Love like it.  Look like it.

By the way, Dee, I clicked on your name to see who you are.  That's not your best picture.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013


The body of Christ was delivered in a manger.  How we continue to celebrate the story of the infant becoming a man.

The body of Christ was born in a loft; in an upper room.  How we continue to celebrate the story of the infant becoming a church.

All I want you to ponder for now is the extreme vulnerability of both; weak, threatened, and unknown.

J. B. Phillips expressed a synopsis of Acts this way:

It is impossible to spend several months in close study of the remarkable short book...without being profoundly stirred and, to be honest, disturbed.  The reader is stirred because he is seeing Christianity, the real thing, in action for the first time in human history.  The newborn Church, as vulnerable as any human child, having neither money, influence nor power in the ordinary sense, is setting forth joyfully and courageously to win the pagan world for God through Christ....

Where you live may seem rather infantile.  Possibly you don't have the big attendance, the big education, the powerful speaker, or the generous giver.  So quit looking for them. 

Learn to pray in the upper room setting.  Learn to wait.  Learn to depend....on One; not all of the others above.

Jesus' double birth displays the prominent mind of God.  Let Him be Him.  Step out of the way...with incredible confidence.  God knows how to get it done; even through we weak and ordinary sort!


Do we look like Washington or does Washington look like us?  Polarization is now in chasmic both places.

The Republicans and the Democrats work against each other just like the Baptists and the Presbyterians or the Church of Christ and the Church of Christ.  Proclaiming only ones right has resulted in deadlock in our nation's government and dreadlock among the religious.  We are dead in our tracks; but our speeches still try to convince ourselves of our own glory.

(While this post isn't centrally about politics, it could be worth noting that one of the deadening problems with such these days is they have become the religion of many.)

The solution to needed and God-desired unity will only be found in the line drawn; that line being Jesus.  He separates to harmonize.

It is surprising to me how divisive Jesus is in his proposal for solution.  I would never have guessed he would cause division in his church; but he does.  I could get along with many of my enemies if I would revert to my days of preaching on the Church of Christ that we build; but under the guise that he is still the one building....but by our tradition laden blueprints. 

I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't experienced it; but to preach Christ instead of Church of Christ is highly divisive among us in the Church of Christ.

Yet, when Jesus draws our attention to himself (since he is the one building his global church), life in any church becomes immediately different.  One loses his or her appetite for argument because we realize our personal foolishness.

When focused on the church, the yardstick of accomplishment and measurement of pattern gain ungodly power.  Comparison thrives.  Unresolute division does as well.

When one's focus grows to be inclined toward Jesus, several necessary things develop:
  1. Being the only ones right fades for no one is right except Jesus.  We are only right because he dared to take on all of our wrongs.  A sense of humility is properly experienced.
  2. The specks of denominational error is shown to diminish when noting the tree trunks in our own doctrines.
  3. Division will remain significant; believer from unbeliever.  Yet, the unity among we believers of varying tribes will experience a harmony out of heaven; nothing like earthy unity could provide.
  4. Jesus will cull, by his very words and actions, what the Word really says versus what we mistakenly and egotistically insist the Word says to back our traditional patterns.
  5. We will find that in the Gospels Jesus constantly pitted two or three in a picture with at least one of the players being a reprobate; the others religiously committed.  100% of the time he will expose those of us who have made the church our God.  He will reject--always in the story--the one who promoted his narrow and proud religious perspective.  This surely must awaken us!
Are there accurate doctrines to be followed?  Of course.  The reason religion glares instead of shines is we have lost our way...Jesus being that way.  Church brand is the American norm.  The good news, in being a 65 year old church enthusiast, is that the brand names are losing impact while the Brand Name is arising in expected, anticipated, and needed prominence.  Jesus is the hope.  He remains the only way.

I have experienced about four years of praying once a month with Baptist pastors at the South Tulsa Baptist Church where my good friend Ted Kersh pastors.  I didn't know water and oil could mix.  I didn't know if we would mix.  By His grace, this is one wonderful experience.

It's an odd thing in a biblical sort of way.  When you authentically love another in the Brand Name of Jesus a mutual, holy, and pure relationship evolves.  Together we plead that God would bring revival.  Together we pray for one another and his work.  Together we learn about ourselves and each other without having one lecture.  Prayer to God in Jesus authority is bringing about a biblical unity I didn't know could happen.

The dividing line is Jesus--not the church and her doctrines--and the solution to unity is that same Jesus.  The hope of all harmony will not be a convention of whose doctrines are kept and which ones go.  No, it will come about when all of us peel away our denominational pride and forge a new path to the One Jesus. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Critics?  No one told me I would have critics when I volunteered to go off to preaching school in Dallas.  What critics?  I'm going to be a Gospel Preacher for heaven's sake!

As it turns out, critics exist.  More stunning to me is how badly I needed (need) them.

We must have those who harp (even in non-instrumental churches) for such is of significance.  If we don't have bossy butts and yapping dogs at our heels we are likely to believe things go well because we are so effective. 


And never.

Critics are similar in role to Pharaoh's armies pressing God's children to be dependent upon Him.  He delivers as the oppressors continue to push our buttons.  We are forced to shift from self-dependence to God-dependence.  This is necessary for every believer.

Paul had critics who were thorns in the flesh...II Cor. 12:5-10.  He didn't like them and didn't want them.  Yet, they were gifts from God.

Our critics are gifts from above.  We need them.  Things and people not going well are not bugs in the works.  These are instruments presented for our learning.  Critics help us to mature.  Find the servant with no critics and I'll show you a childish self-serving person.

How do we handle critics?  Well in reality, often with tears and anguish.  Such is the point.  If we choose not to quit (not to run), we will be forced to mature.  One of God's most valuable tools in his Network is that of the barking dogs. 

We learn to stand in the fire. 

We learn.  So don't waste your furnace.  These times are...shall we say....critical?

Monday, March 04, 2013


I am learning from God a most valuable and greatly needed (in my life) lesson.  God has us covered.

From one Monday to the next to the next, disruption and interference both disrupt and interfere.  Living seems to be plagued by traps of ruin and ultimate death. 

But that thing Jesus did---or Father did with Jesus---of coming up out of that tomb set a new standard for any who would choose to believe it.  Resurrection isn't a holiday to celebrate; it is a new sort of system to absorb.

Christians possess resurrection power.

This means something.

We are no longer stumped by the words tumor, divorce, failure, depression or I have some really bad news.

Good news is eternal and it began for us when Jesus was no longer restricted to the cold grave.  We are not limited by any earthly malfunction or travesty.  We live alive from any tomb imposed upon us. 

Sure.  We may not understand the scenarios we face nor know the answers we need; but we can be assured of one major truth; since Jesus was raised from the dead, he did so that we might live by that new standard....Romans 4:17ff.

This means for each of us that regardless of circumstances, everything is okay.

Friday, March 01, 2013


Have you ever thought about non-change?  It would be called stuckism. 

Have you ever dreamed of your infant never learning to walk?  Or talk?  Did you go into your profession determined to protest if ever offered a raise?  A bonus?  Would you have ever considered recommending your colleagues never bathe?  Or, shower?

Why, then, is new such a dirty three-letter word among some professing to have experienced the three-letter word birth?  Weird, isn't it?

I thrive on God's willingness to allow us imagination room.  He seems to delight in our experience of it to the point He will trump what we can imagine...Eph. 3:20.

When you pray, I encourage you to seek the hand of His imagination connected to our walk. 

Think.  Dream.  Wonder.  And....then knock.

Don't plan.  Don't arrange.  Don't control.

Just knock.  Knock with thanksgiving for what He will do with, for, and through you that you haven't the slightest concept. 

Praise.  Worship.  Imagine.  Receive....receive more than you imagined because of Who and How God is; not due to who and how you are.

Don't maneuver.  Don't plot.  Don't align the success ducks in rows.

Imagine.  Reimagine.  And then re-reimagine.

I believe God will send down heaven's surprises...again!


Odd, don't you think, that such a title surely causes a bunch of medical morphins to surge within our bodies for we don't know the why just yet; but we can already anticipate the threat?

To hear us on our conservative days, Jesus did church exactly the way we do it.  Mind our own business.  Never rock the boat.  Stay within the acceptable religious framework.  Get along with all.


That's precisely what Jesus was not about.

Do you think the religious leaders spent their ministries setting Jesus-traps because he was so scripturally correct?  Do you think he backed off when he realized he was being labeled liberal?  Notice him draped upon the cruel cross and we have our answer.

Why did Jesus perpetually raise religious eyebrows?

Simple.  He didn't mind his own business; he minded his Father's.  He did rock the boat. He refused to live restricted by the brotherhood chatter of his day.  And then, he clearly didn't get along with some of the pulpit-guys who had told their flocks what they could and could not believe.

So....they strung him up!

It is this Jesus who calls us to walk the narrow road.  That road isn't our narrow doctrines.  It is him.  He is the Way; he said so.  The narrow is to do faith and sacrifice and compassion his way; not the judgmental shall all religious eyebrows rise?

I've done my fair share of abrasive Bible thumping.  I got caught in loving my passionate phraseology more than God and people.  I believe it is true that if we will return in trying to obey the first and second commands (love God and others) within the narrow context of Jesus' walk, not only will eyebrows raise; but threats of great displeasure will come from the churches.

Odd, don't you think?