Wednesday, December 31, 2014


One of the strongest, most valuable elements of life is routinely tossed overboard without thought.  And, this is precisely the problem.  Little thought is given to the fantastic wow of now.

For example, my eyes are noting with great detail that my arms lift my hands to this keyboard.  I watch with profound fascination as my mind trickles down to my finger tips letters and spaces in communicational sequence.  (Communicational?  Don't you love that...right now?)

If not attentive to now we will find ourselves perpetually in pursuit of bigger and better...and next...down the road...that's when I think I'll get happy.  While this trek in itself surely carries its own excitement (oh, the communicational is on a roll here), for ambition is such a positive matter, one must guard against wishing life away.  Greener pastures await in other places.  Yet, it is favorable to note the green pasture in which we now stand.

I love Paul's directness in Romans 5:1-5 of when you are having a good day, you are having a good day.  Yet, believers in Jesus have good days in their bad days.  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.

Troubles + endurance + developed attitude = hope.  Why and how hope?  We can never figure it for it comes from the Holy Spirit of God; that Spirit we receive when baptized into Jesus.

Hopelessness doesn't love right now.  It doesn't feel good enough to try or to think about much of anything other than the present disturbances.  Hope is the light for dark now.

Our tender minds are bombarded with sadness, degradation, and potential fret.  If it weren't for the resurrected Jesus in Spirit form, we would all cave in one gigantic heap. But the good news is that he did rise from the dead and he has conquered death along with everything leading up to it.

We get to enjoy the good days and treasure the bad ones because our eyes are focused upon raw reason to hope.  We will never give up.  We will not cave, as strong as depression tempts, we will get out our magnifying glasses (if need be) to search for the beauty of right now.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of the inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (Eph. 1:18).

Toward us.  Toward us who believe.  According to what standard?  According to the fact that Jesus beat death.

These (hope, riches, surpassing greatness) are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised him from the dead...  The point?  If God can resurrect His Son from the dead, He will use that standard to work in your daily walk.  Get it?

We don't love right now because we can dissect it, figure it, and control it.  No.  We can love right now because the One who raised His Son from the dead knows how to hand us hope, riches, and surpassing by

Jesus-back-from-the-grave isn't just a thirty-minute Easter sermon.  It is the way of life for the common folk to hold on the the wonder of liking who we are, where we are, when we are...NOW.

Now!  Don't you just love it?!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Due to the rapid-pace, broad-reach of FB, I am very blessed to be in touch with a wide range of great men and women who are in full-time ministry.  Many of these, I don't know.  Yet, the connection is surely valuable as well as meaningful.

I read your blogs.  I learn of your painful moments.  I hear you when it's been your turn to live in the pits.  I understand you when you speak of loneliness, unfairness, and (in some cases) abuse.  Therefore, I wish to stand beside you in spirit with words of enduring confidence.

Don't quit.

Some of the stresses you encounter are unique.  Few will understand.  That's why I speak to you of this.  I am one who gets some of it.  My goal is to cheer you on to keep on keeping on.

We have not been called into a venture that goes with the world's grain.  Jesus wasn't and we are to follow him.  Right?  As far as lack in the church, you and I surely must admit that we are at the head of the line in ignorance, lack of commitment, and sin. We are the chiefest of not-so-much.  Fact.

This constant awareness should, therefore, find room for our patience, our understanding, and our sympathy as many in the churches we serve don't get it right either.  But...we can grow in Him...together.

Having cleared that air, our role is to learn to follow Jesus while giving guidance for others to do the same.  His walk is not normal.  It descends.  He did it so perfectly that they killed him.  And we get offended at troubles?  We are called into a work which often includes not getting our way, for having people against us, and for facing darkness when we were hoping for light.

Don't quit.

I'm serious.  In times of trouble, learn to pray instead of feathering your nest with sympathizers.  Rough and tough stuff is supposed to happen to us.  We are followers of the crucified King.

In matters of perplexing confusion, learn to tell Him thank you for the very ones/things which are bent on making you miserable.  This is not their problem; rather it is our opportunity.

When moments of anger tempt, refrain.  Slay your enemies with love.  Once there was a member who gave me extended grief; always chirping that this wasn't right and that wasn't right.  I went to the mall and bought him a new shirt.  He was my supportive friend until his death.

Don't quit.

Sometimes there seem to be no troubles.  We can get down simply because the church doesn't seem to be functioning.  Memorial got down to just a little over 200 members at one point.  It was not good.  But...but there was God who could give life to the dead.  It was no time to be giving up; no time to quit.

Our two elders, Harriel Scarsdale and Ron Magnusson, made one of the boldest and most irrational moves I've ever seen.  When we weren't meeting our budget and couldn't pay our bills, they added a full-time worship minister.  Attendance has more than doubled since and three full-time, two part-time staff have been added.

Don't quit.

Finally, I feel the conviction to remind us about ourselves.  We surely haven't arrived.  I've been at this awhile and still feel like a rookie.  I am a rookie.  Really, in co-laboring with God, I'm still a novice.  Therefore, in the midst of troubles we will do well to keep in mind that we often remain immature ourselves.

The kingdom of God is seriously challenging and is no place for sissies.  To have a Savior/Leader/Mentor die on the cross and expect those of us who follow to walk paths of constant everything-seems-to-go-our-way is to misunderstand the sobriety of God's call.  We are targeted by opposing forces with one thing in mind; shut us down.

Yet, a stronger call from heaven pleads that we keep going.

Don't give up on the church, her leaders, nor yourself.  Tossing in the towel is not an option for disciples.  Barking at those parked in the pews is useless.  Enduring the cross, despising the shame, and walking beside the Spirit of God....this is required labor.

Don't quit.

Monday, December 29, 2014


A world of this order, where news flashes and time seems to travel rapidly, requires an element that can handle the load.  God had that in mind for us as He instigated a thing called faith.

Faith is not just ahead of the game.  Faith is ahead of the game before the game is invented.  If we are to be a people of faith, then we must become aware that our role is to be far ahead of our ever-changing world.  Believing isn't just a step in the plan of salvation.  It is our way of life; a new way of life.

As believers in our active Lord, we are not to live as if we are caught by surprise.  It was the brave apostle Peter who advised that we not be surprised at the fiery ordeals among us as if some strange thing were happening to us.

Erwin McManus' words lend support as well.  The way to not be overwhelmed by the radical changes and speed in our world is to know where you're going, to know why you are going there, and to do it with urgency....My goal is not to keep up with the changing world, but to be standing there waiting for it when it arrives.

The world does not happen to us.  We happen to it.

How to keep up with a changing world is to be standing there waiting when it arrives.

How do we do that?

For one, we are to be found more enamored with God than with the creations of the flesh.  This is major.  To continually be chasing after the latest and the greatest of earth will leave us following change.  We will develop a faith system that follows about twenty years behind the advances of the flesh system.

Seeking God through prayer and vision, we want to know what He is thinking for us now and futuristically.  This is why the Restoration Movement struggles.  It has shifted from restoring visionary faith to restoring the way we did church in the past.  One breathes life.  The other breeds death.

May we grow to be a people who find greater security in the unknown of God than in the known of man.  By this the changing world will find that we have been waiting for it to get here.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


The church might be found trying to do visible work in the invisible kingdom of God. We measure, we count, we sort, and we market.  Yet, God's work (and His work for us) is in the invisible realm.

Consider the while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen comment of Paul in II Corinthians 4:18.  Or the faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things not seen wonder of Hebrews 11:1.

Reality church functions on the invisibles of God rather than the marketeers of Wall Street.  Yet, the flesh is inclined toward the latter.

Erwin McManus ( An Unstoppable Force author) asks, Who will become an unstoppable force?  Only those who see the invisible.

The Hebrew writer (11:24-27) agrees.  By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt for he was looking to the reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is unseen.

This seeing the unseen is surely a 21st Century challenge.  We so tend to opt for the sight of the moment.  This causes upset, misdirection, and absolute failure.  All of the seen will eventually die out; people and possessions.

The unseen; this is the reality of where we live.  Therefore, what one sees as discouraging is free to counter with the unseen.  Noting a difficult person nearby? Believe what isn't in them can be.  Behave as if they will become.

A lot of us are stuck in our misery and it spills over into your misery.  Well, do something about it.  Quit operating according to the negative you see and begin to believe toward us what we can become.  This will change individuals, families, and the world around us.

To advance the invisible kingdom of God, we must focus upon what isn't yet seen.  This would be called FAITH.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


Feeling sorry for myself was once a rule-of-thumb for my daily life.  Pouting.  Not speaking when with others.  Embellishing negative words said to me to make their sarcasm even worse.  I was a mental attitudinal mess.  Sorry to say so; but I was.

But I learned a wonderful secret from God.  It changed my life and might encourage some of you.  His great and second commands to love God with all of our hearts and then to love others the way we attend to ourselves are powerful breakthroughs for the sad heart.

I read a few posts here and there that are about how badly I am doing.  Because I walked that road for so many years, I pick up on the lingo.  And, I have immediate sympathy.  Too, I know immediate solutions.

Love God and love others.

Life isn't about us.  It is all about God and others.  What we plant, we reap.  God will see to it that we have adequate encouragement if such is what we choose to plant. Encouragement is a choice and a tactic; not a coincidence.

Try not to get depression mixed up with humility.  Humility knows we are on the low rung of people-hood.  Yet, this isn't discouraging when we are wired to send love out rather than calculate whether it is coming in.

The way to break the bondage of self-pity is to quit measuring how self is being treated.  Only a few out of maybe a hundred spend their lives wasting away in the chasm of no one notices me.  But these can work their way into the luxury of being loved by others is this is what they would choose to plant.

To whine around and talk about how down we are is one of the most miserable positions of life.  And, it's completely unnecessary.  When we focus upon the glory of God and the value of others, there is so much wonder to fill our attitudes and our conversations.

I don't mean to be getting on any one's case.  I'm sympathetic to this bondage that tends to lead us by the nose.  But, from personal experience, my advice is to STOP IT.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Spiritual leadership and followship are up against incredible challenges.  Alphabetical orders, decent and in order procedures, and three point sermons don't/won't/can't begin to approach the fascinating world of the Creator.  Our minds will soon short out if going any other route than wild faith.

To train a populace to go to buildings often on street corners, file in form to sit in aligned rows, and then to pinch, sip, bow, and nod may have trained Christians to behave well; but this has developed a serious lack among us.  A love for pattern has overtaken America.  A commitment to Jesus would come in maybe third?

Believers are to be filled with a knowledge beyond knowing; Eph, 3:19.  We are to possess a gift from Him that He labels as indescribable; II Cor. 9:15.  We are expected to rejoice with a joy inexpressible; I Pet. 1:8.

When we shift from our earthbound how to do church to our heaven-focus how about the glory of God, transformation transcends our hearts from menial to WOW-dom!

Church isn't just a Sunday hour's worth.  It is a living organism of God interacting with His creatures.  Church isn't reduced to good behavior and clean words.  It is a robust system of exhilarating senses and actions that can neither be defined nor measured.

Due to the impossible fact that Jesus arose from the deadness of the grave, we are called to a most fascinating opportunity to live; to robustly, vibrantly, really live!! Christianity has a mistaken reputation of developing the sour faces of many communities.  I say, Not so!  Of all people on earth, we should be the ones with the huge smiles on our faces!!

We can't explain Him.  But, we can believe Him.

Aren't you glad?

Monday, December 22, 2014


I cheer you on in just one portion of our faith.

Believe that what isn't can eventually become.

That's what faith does.

Whether people or circumstances, if negativity from either, we have the ability and responsibility to believe them/it into positivity.  We carry the power to change things because that's what faith does.

Faith doesn't judge others for their lack nor for their misguidance.  It believes what these who lack can become.  It believes what we can become when we would rather kick ourselves for our own stupidity.

What a thrilling power for common people who believe God more than people or circumstances.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Being a part of a church is not at all what I had expected.  My assumption was it was a once-a-week club where we should feel good when we leave.  And honestly, I did feel pretty good when I left because, mainly, I was just glad it was over.

I must say that I don't think the church was off as much as I just wasn't getting it.

Today?  Well, it surely is a bit different.  While all congregations have those, as in my earlier days, who count their attendance as a blessing to God, there is an entirely new world going on here.

I think the greatest surprise that I found is the life of the Bible.  It is wonderfully weird in that it knows the intents of our hearts as we read.  I find it to be of faith, of Jesus, and quite serious.  Church is neither to be played nor manipulated.  It is to be experienced daily as God runs the show and we perpetually adjust to follow.

The follow part is quite the challenge.

Me?  When I got serious about it, my plan was to attend faithfully on Sunday mornings.  No evening services.  No Wednesday night classes.  No volunteering.  No participating.  My plan was to do the Sunday morning thing.

My heart wouldn't/couldn't stop entering into faith and Jesus seriously.

So these forty years of ministry I find to be unbelievably believable!  And the biggest surprise I find so far is that I thought after decades of involvement, study, and assertion that I would, understandably, possess a better grasp of the kingdom life.


As God gets bigger in my heart, I grow necessarily smaller.  As He widens opportunistic paths, my confidence in self narrows.  Faith.  Jesus.  Is a serious walk.

I urge you not to dismiss the call of God.  It will scare you probably.  But watch for Him. Listen for Him.  Want Him.  You will not be found to be a professional understander of God.  You will be, however, found to need more humility as His leading will be so unexpectedly enormous.  But, you can do it.  We can do it.

Faith.  Jesus.  You and me in it...seriously.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I don't know factual percentages, for who could, but my feeling is that religion has done more damage to mankind than any other entity.  It has inflamed, injured, and incensed.  Of course, fascinating wonder has come from it as well.  Yet, we must be aware of which portions are of God and which are of dark forces.

My concern is twofold; (1) the blinding of God's wonder because of our own spiritual blindness, and (2) the billions of souls who have shrugged at the idea of God because of religion's bigotry.

Very dear and wonderful men and women give little thought to the truth of the Living God because they have noted for all of their lives our self-centered, self-serving mannerisms.  They like us.  They don't get in our way.  They tolerate us.  But, they don't believe us.

Is this all our fault?  Not all.  But we must carry the burden that Jesus has not been our prominent portion of our spiritual walk.  Organization, promotion, and stubborn theology have.

Even those of us who deem ourselves as deeply committed to learning the walk and talk of Jesus are quite susceptible to perpetual distractions.  To focus upon him and his lifestyle cannot be done with a shrug of volunteerism while taking mild stabs at faithful attendance.

The very thing that took Jesus all of the way to the hill for execution caused by trumped up charges was the lead of the religionists.  These were the ones who mapped the plot of execution.  Matthew 12:14, But the Pharisees went out, and counseled together against him, as to how they might destroy Him.

These church leaders could not stand Jesus.  Why?  He was a threat to their organized religion.  I am deeply enmeshed in organized religion.  We tell ourselves we would not do what they did.  Yet, it is very possible we prefer to have our ears tickled (II Timothy 4:1-4) than to be challenged to strive more clearly to walk his walk.

Jesus brought two things with him that led to his brutal torture upon the most hideous executionery stands of all time; nailed to a roughly sawed, upright cross-beam.  Those two elements were (1) new, which led to (2) change.

Jesus ushered in a new system of spirituality.  To enact such there was a necessity of changes.  Sacrificing farm animals would shift to sacrificing the Lamb of God once and for all.  Rules would transition to relationship.  Management and control of man would be shifted to one known as the Holy Spirit.

Yet, the religionists of his day had their day in court.  The saw that this assumed (by them) impostor would succumb to their constant chirping.  Death would overtake him. He would be no more.

But Sunday morning came.  New had never been newer.  Change was forever changed. Religion met its match and it did not like bit.

My heart is driven to think of ways to reach the masses who have been blocked out by Satan's trickery.  We must not take our faith lightly.  Church isn't a matter of jumping enough hoops to keep the cynics  happy.  It is a matter of constant appraisal of how we are doing individually and collectively in being formed into the image of God's only begotten.

This is serious matter.  I am light-years behind.  However, I want to improve day by day.  The seekers are struggling to find reality in God.  We followers are naive as to just how much we have allowed the religion of man to infiltrate the raw courage of intended discipleship.

There is great hope.  It won't be when the seekers wake up to His wonder.  It will first be when the church wakes up to our incessant need to hear the call of God.  We are to be ever new; ever changing.  The problem with religion is that it organizes each generation to eventually defend rather than reach, to guard rather than to sow, and to act rather than to listen.

A thing that richly inspires us is to learn of churches that are experiencing God.  I want in on that.  I want in on that a lot.  I've done my share of barking and bragging.  All was a waste.  I want in on deeply Spirit-led mobility that I can't understand and I dare not try to control.

Satan tries to freeze the church in fear; afraid we will do something wrong,  Jesus warms our hearts to come unto him.  Fear or faith.  I want to experience the walk and the talk of the latter.

Friday, December 19, 2014


This pic after the big game was over in Jupiter, FL. Cardinal camp.  This is Andy Benes       congratulating me on the hit he let me get off of him.  He can strike me out anytime he determines.



Autographed baseball by author

          and sent to me by



God is glory; not routine.  God is fascination; not boredom.  He is active; not retired. And God is serious; not joking.

The church is to practice a doctrine that will rattle earth.  I specifically speak of how we are to view the concept of enemies.  We quote Jesus in reference to those in general who oppose society at large; yet, I find that we are seldom so driven to forgive when it comes to our personal ones.  This is a major source of breakthrough....if we will allow ourselves to...break through.

Enemies schmenemies.  Everyone's got one (some).  Shrug.  So?

We think when we have an enemy these are to be regarded as idiot-rejects, mean-spirited, and total-trash.  What we don't realize is that how we feel toward some, others feel similarly toward us.  But we don't believe it, however.  Not of ourselves.  I can explain and justify myself because...well...I love me.

It is the real sinner that we feel permitted to dismiss.  Not.

God sent Jesus to earth to rescue the very people who insult Him, abuse Him, ignore Him, and misrepresent Him.  For decades I honestly didn't think that included me.  Oh sure, I sinned, but then, who doesn't?  The cross-torture redefines the depth and brutality of Terry's sin....and yours.

We put him on the Cross.  Not the terrible others; but the equally flawed and rebellious us.

Until we conclude that those we would regard as enemies are mere reflections of ourselves, we will fail to grasp one of the central doctrines that impacts each person at the judgment seat.  So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.

Set free in front of the Judge.  Dismissed.  There is no case against you.  Next verse as to how we find such a declaration; For judgment will be merciless to the one who has shown no mercy.  Mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:12-13).

I say that there are few doctrines more difficult than this; to forgive another for wrongs that are clearly wrong.  Even those bent on quoting book, chapter, and verse, find it easy in practice to hate others.  This is one doctrine at which even the legalists find permission to offer a wink.

We tend to indoctrinate ourselves to believe sins come in shady, dark, worse, and worsest.  We don't get it.  (And yes, I know there is no such word as worsest.)  Jesus doesn't seem to note sin degrees.  Sin is devastating to the heart of God; commission or omission, public or private, major or minor (to us), sin is the human train wreck from which only one perfect and innocent Savior could redeem.

And pay the price, he surely did.

Mercy is a tough doctrine, folks.  I don't deny it.  Yet it is one of the most liberating opportunities in our path.  James wasn't fooling.  Mercy carries an innate law.  It is called LIBERTY.  Free from fear, free from worry, free from bad reputation, free from our own rehearsing minds, God says to all of us....Come.  Freely drink.  I'll change your demeanor, your outlook, your life.

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I had forgotten that someone sent me this picture years ago.  Maybe Mr. Walling sent it?  Nah.


Surely one of the grandest transfers God has made in my life would be that of prayer. Don't misunderstand, I am not the great example of a praying person.  As a matter of fact, I would be noted as the opposite.  Yet, I encourage you about this topic because He has led me into a new dimension.

First, I would want you to know that as a minister I did not like times of prayer.  They were boring, time-taking, and basically useless.  I had better things to do with my time than to speak words to the ceiling so that I could salve my conscience that I did at least say a prayer.

It seems I was a man, trying to be of God, who believed in Jesus; but not the mode of prayer.  Strange, don't you think?

A thing that needed to be adjusted was my mental vision of the prayer setting.  I saw me standing upon flooring speaking words into the air.  The words would wind their way up to God who sat upon an over-sized armchair.  He was to make note that I took the time to remember to take the time.

Too, as long as we held to an old doctrinal stance that the Holy Spirit had wrapped up his work and dissipated into thin air, we had no Helper.  He had been retired by the legalistic mobsters who took over by the dispensing of church rules that were based on lots of reason; but very little mystery.

When I began to realize God was not overlooking Heaven's balcony, but was here among us in Spirit form, prayer took on an entirely different perspective.  I began to see God was, now, at my elbow and in my heart.  He wasn't up there.  God was down here.

Prayer is no longer a formal (and boring) amount of time spent religiously.  It is a visiting conversation between four beings; Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and me.  We walk and talk as good friends should and do.

Prayer is not church formality.  It is personal relationality.  We think together.  We exchange notes.  We co-labor (as II Cor. 6 states) with God.  Interaction is much different than sending a message up the prayer chain with no response from the Balcony.

Prayer means two parties are on speaking terms; God and us.  He awaits our communication.  He loves to hear from His kids.  I encourage you to visit with God as a person and not as if He were an unapproachable icon who is indifferent.

Our God is a not only welcoming, He reached first.  He has signaled, Hey, wanna be friends?  We say, Sounds good to us!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014



....even though I am a nobody has to be one of the more could-you-repeat-that comments Paul ever penned.  This apostle was at the top of the charts according to any Bible student.  He was bold, persecuted, faithful, and wildly effective for the glory of God.

However, Paul understood a secret within the backward system called the kingdom of God.  

Nobodies function well in God's realm because these are dependent upon the Holy Spirit.  Their own manageability, organizational vision, and social resources pale.  Man can't orchestrate the majestic moves of God.

When God was born on earth, He began as a nobody; just another squalling infant of a family too poor to get a room at the hotel.  He lived a nobody; no street address, no security.  Jesus then died a nobody; executed in public shame with two other thieves. 

The Apostle (nobody) Paul followed in sync.  He wasn't magnificently who he was due to pure doctrine nor squeaking pedigree.  He was who he most efficiently was because he grasped the main thing about the main thing; if one is to serve God well, being a nobody is the beginning, middle, and end.  

God's servants are advantaged by this bewildering strategy.

This concept slaps the faces of any who wish to feel that we are somebodies in order to minister effectively.  This, too, explains why so many get so little done.  We are attending to the wrong end of meaningful progress.  

We naturally assume that our ladders are there to climb up.  Not right.  We are given ladders to climb down; down into the pits of the pitiful, into the darkness of the lonely. Serving others, being least, admitting nobodyism is not only the Master's call; it is his own very lonely road.

If you think you are nothing, try not to escape.  This is divine territory.  This is holy ground.  Shoes are off.  We are stopped in our tracks.  This is the place God gets His chance to actually live within a person(s) who isn't filled with himself.

My nothingness is His glory.  The same is for you.  We can't explain it.  We can only believe it.  This is the advantage; in order for us to get anything done, God must work for we are surely but a speck in the scheme of meaningful life.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Stormy days and howling nights try to disturb the equilibrium of the heart.  Hard times take a swipe at each of us with insult, disappointment, or very bad news.  And we are supposed to shine on how?

Matthew 14 contains that famous story of Jesus walking on water.  Really, two walked on water that day; but one of them (Peter) could not keep it going.  He eventually began to sink.

Peter was on stride to meet Jesus upon the fragile impossible sidewalk of water. Weird things happen when strolling in Jesus' direction.  We must watch for him.

Peter's sinking feeling came onto the scene simultaneously as his eyes wandered toward the storm.  He was going under because he was attentive to what was going wrong rather than who was standing upright.  This is a serious matter for us for we surely need/want to know how to master the rocky waves of our days.

When we give diligent focus to the complications which are discouraging and distracting, we must remember instead to continue our gaze upon Jesus.  He is the unexplainable mystery to our fundamental real-life stories.

No one can yet prescribe exactly how Jesus did it; nor for that matter, how Peter briefly took a few gigantic steps for mankind.  To walk upon water carries even more fascination that walking upon the moon.  Both are incredible, huh?

Knowing Jesus does not assure us that there will be no more storms.  For us to be stormless is not what believing in him is about.  Knowing him changes the way we handle them.  Our look is upon Him; he will calm the traumatic winds.

So really, what will this do?  Our looking at him instead of the storm?  What should we expect?  How will this work?

When we look at him, he calms the storms and lifts us.  Storms come and storms go. Jesus is our stability.  Whether we live or die, our eyes are to keep him in view.  We can be assured that we will be just fine because, after all, this is the man who shattered the bonds of death.

With Jesus we can do nothing but win.

How do we handle the storms?  Don't spend time staring at them.  Rather, look for him.  He's the calmer of the uncalm.  He can settle both the distracted individuals....and the storms.

Sunday, December 14, 2014



God is real.  He is true, authentic, compassionate, brilliant, ever-reaching, all-knowing and....well...

....He is....God.

How can one prove there is a God?  We would seem to think that if we could prove Him we would believe Him.  That's the rub, isn't it, for many?

I don't blame the doubters.  I get their feed; both of question and complaint.  To believe Him takes daring faith.

Churches, filled with us, believe deeply that the God-idea is true.  We think it takes as much faith to not believe Him as to believe Him.  And, we have evidence to believe.

I think what guys like myself may be doing to hurt the cause is that we try to build churches that think on the high-end of humanity instead of the Holy Spirit.  We see ourselves as generous.  Compassionate.  Sensitive.  Workers.  Etc.

I know.  I know.  The doubters who just read this thought immediately of 35 people who go to church who are nothing like the above adjectives.  I get that.

But what doubters don't get is that we are also scared, lonely, insecure, and sometimes doubtful ourselves.  This is why we need God.  We are inadequate on our own.  You may not think we know it....but the most of us know it.

We want the whole world to know about the love of God.  But we are fiercely inadequate to fulfill such a mission.  We, therefore, are so sorry you would easily (and I get it) judge God from our crumbs.

He is glory.  He is honor.  He is radiant.  He is ever.  He is the doer of the impossible by, through, and with an impossible sort...believers.  He is not dull; yet churches communicate that He is, not by our lingo only, but by our lack of enthusiasm.

To represent God is both difficult and easy.  The difficulty is that while we are representing Him, we are trying to mature in His nature ourselves.  So we communicate contradiction.  The easy facet is that God uses broken vessels to transport the news that He accepts all.

I urge any to keep from dismissing God due to silly guys like me.  I get it.  I wouldn't blame you.  But please don't.  Your soul is on the line.  You are headed for the grave; really.  But that doesn't need to be assumed to be THE END.

Heaven is for real.  None of us are good enough to have a ticket punched.  Jesus was the only one.  Yet, he had such a vision for the puny, the shy, the ego-manics, the larger-than-life, and the common.

It is impossible to express the need to believe in God strong enough; yet, He seems to have a way of getting it done anyway.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Our church is located in an increasingly poorer part of Tulsa.  Since I have been here, five nearby congregations have fled to nicer parts of town.  We thought about it a bit.

But we stayed.

The reason is that we want to be of encouragement to those within our community. These are important and special children of God.  They bless us by letting us assist where we can.  We are blessed as a few become a part of our church fabric.

Today we get to do something really exciting.  Every December we have a Saturday where we open the Christmas Store in one of our larger rooms.  Tables throughout are draped with potential gifts for the littles of our community.  It is a big deal!

The Christmas Store now awaits about fifty-five families who will do much of their shopping for their children.  Our members have shopped, purchased, brought items, and donated them to be sold to these shoppers.  Toys, clothes, games, etc. are currently perched upon tables.  Shopping carts are poised for their first customers.

This isn't a fund-raiser.  It is a fun-raiser.

All of the items can be purchased with tags on them of $1, $2, or $5.  These families who can't afford to get their children something nice for Christmas will come to our store in a few minutes and buy items at approximately 25% of their true value.

Rugged yellow Tonka trucks are now aligned on the showroom floor.  These are being guarded by dolls and stuffed animals, you can be assured.

I'm blessed to be a part of a church family that has worked hard these past few weeks in order to bring financial relief to parents and fun to their children Christmas day. a fun-raiser and I'm pumped!

Let the fun-raiser begin!!!

Friday, December 12, 2014


I've been sorta down lately.

This is going to sound like it's about me.

But it isn't.

It is about encouraging you.  It is also about walking with God.  I want to expand your perception of your light that shines for surely our vision gets blurred as to our true opportunities as well as effectiveness.

My prayer for forty years has been, God, help me to reach the whole world.  Yet, lately I have been discouraged because I don't feel like I'm doing any good.  Ever felt that way?  I thought maybe that's the case for some of you as well.

Yesterday and again today I have been thinking about God.  I began to think about what He had done since the initial first prayer seeking His guidance so that I could reach the whole world. I'll share just a bit of what I realized.

As soon as I started praying this prayer as the minister in another city, Memorial Drive called and asked if I would consider a move to Tulsa and become their preacher.  I declined.  Then when praying that prayer again, I stopped in the middle and never finished my prayer that day. Had this call been His response and I didn't want it?

I begrudgingly flew to Tulsa for an interview.  I told the elders in my very first sentence that I just could not leave Quincy, IL.  One asked that if I did move, why would I?  I told them that if God would use me to reach the world from Tulsa instead of there, I would have to.  I did so very reluctantly in 1977.  The only reason I made such a forced and unwanted move was because of that prayer.

Besides Memorial Drive's congregational outreach, this Tulsa move put me on the stage of a world evangelism workshop as speaker; but more importantly its director.  This puts me in yet another position of influencing mega-amounts of believers through these talented speakers and booth reps of even more outreach ministries.

I continued the prayer.  A publishing company called asking if I would write a book.  I did; plus twelve more since.  God seems to help me to reach the whole world.

I continued the prayer.  Out of God's blue I got a call from Louisiana about hosting a national television program, CrossView.  With little skill in this field, I agreed and for three years hundreds were baptized into Jesus.  God, help me to reach the whole world.

During this time the editor of my hometown newspaper, Chris Feeney, asked if I would like to write a weekly column.  Tossing Life Your Way has made its way into approximately 500 issues to date.

Later a rather odd thing happened.  God created Internet.  First there was blog outreach.  And then that extended to Facebook.

I share this with you to inspire you about you....and your God.  We tend to pray for things we want that are about us.  Be cheerful about praying things that are for others.  I still want to reach the whole world. 

What is it you want from God and for others?  Is it something for a family member?  Your community? Your country?  The whole world?

I cheer you on.  Go out into the unexpected, unplanned, and unseen.  Link with the creativity of Father.  He has the talent.  We have none.  Our none, however, does not hold us back from seeking His all.  We live in a fascinating world....and so much of it is behind-the-scenes invisible...that works due to God's remarkable reach.  

Life in the kingdom is not about us doing.  Rather it is about us believing He can do.

This post makes me feel quite uncomfortable in rehearsing what God lets me get to do.  However, I risk criticism of some that you might be encouraged.  

This isn't about Terry and it isn't about you.  It is about us believing our God to the point that we would pray that He would help all of reach the whole world.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Life is ungraspable.  Who can track it efficiently?  The bulk of society is attentive to developing a productive life.  We want to matter.  To make a difference is the honorable goal of oh so many.

Often, interruption...well...interrupts.  Our goals are hampered by setbacks.  Our missions suffer distraction.  If we create a new venture or ministry, one can assume problems go with them.

I urge us to continue the path of determined endurance.

Life isn't easy.  Sin in the Garden planted that truth.  Our job is to never give up.

Paul was speaking our language in, Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Cor. 12:10).

Life isn't for sissies.  The church isn't either.

I struggle with Paul's list.  One of the more difficult is that of receiving insults.  It seems squint-eyed church people have no qualms about speaking with insult.  It seems to give them a rush of sorts (Pun intended--believe me when I say that God has given many a critic a Rush).

Yet, we must not be distracted.  Weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties is in our contract.  They will be ours and the longer we serve the more abundant they will be.  Carrying the cross does not get easier as we climb Calvary's hill.

So, my colleagues, be determined to endure.  You are going to need it.  You need it now.  Do not think some strange thing is happening.  It is a valuable part of our lives.

Never give up.  Never be moved to anger.  Never write the persecutors off.  Endure not only your stresses and difficulties; but remember to endure the stressful and difficult....people.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


A lot of people don't get God.  They don't understand Him.  These can't seem to measure or monitor Him.

A lot of people?  No.  How about all people?

The kingdom system is broken because guys like me seem to imply we know a lot about God.  We don't.  Of course we know a few things.  The Bible is here for us to learn.  Yet, so many of us have taken our favorite texts and camped out.

Church has shifted from being the body of Christ in sheer and fantastic effective motion.  As time proceeds, we believers repeat the development of fears of change when God is the God of creativity.  We tend to fossilize movements into preservation houses to the extent that churches are more likely to be assumed as buildings rather than people.

Tours aren't given down hallways of artifacts; but down lanes of doctrinal past.  But the truth is that the church isn't a museum for our gaze.  It is common people encountering the Living Lord who is back from the dead.  He is here to give life to the dead.  We were once dead in our systems....and now we live!

We Christians are in danger of taking the narrow gate and the narrow way to mean that we are to become and develop a narrow people.  This isn't the case.  Jesus is the one true gate and true way (out of abundant and deceitful options) being offered to mankind which would afford authentic living.

Robust life will be found in no one else nor in any other kingdom.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  One cannot enter through any other passageway.


God is Creator.  God is beyond man's best imagination.  God is mystery to the fullest of our mysterious minds.

Ephesians 3:14-21 calls us to enter into a knowledge beyond knowing.  This would be the territory of God.  We do have the capacity to know--according to this text--which is beyond knowledge (God's words), but only due to the Spirit of God helping us.

I encourage us to enter into a zone that we neither control nor closely grasp; yet is more fulfilling than we can imagine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


On occasion I'm assigned to work with some whom I have never met.  When I know they have no idea what I do, I tell them I am the church janitor.  They readily accept such.

Last weekend the Ann Voskamp team was here to do an amazing outreach event. When I met some of the behind-the-scenes crew, they needed to look over several rooms to see what all would work for their needs.

I told them I was the janitor and had a key to any room they wished.  We toured.

Later I told them what I really do and, of course, there was great response in the surprise as I never appear in everyday living to be more than a janitor.

Jesus was the Janitor.  He came to earth to connect at the servant segment of society so that he could move into the hearts of the world's inhabitants.  Marvelous.  A stunning move of God.

This Savior, King, Prince of Peace shocked communities because didn't wash dishes....but feet.

Man's constant stride from his earliest years seems bent on becoming somebody. Jesus, the Somebody of all somebodies, became a slave in his Mastership.  We are called to follow him.  We are called to lay down our lives for others.

That they are more and we are less is surely a strong thread of kingdom positioning.

Being a big deal doesn't fit in the kingdom of the King.  Church stars aren't born.  No. Janitorial duty, cleaning up the messes of others, is our highest calling.

People hurt.  They feel lost and alone.  These had hoped for better.  We can help.  Only a few will need a doctorate or a million bucks.  We will all need a bucket and a mop; maybe a towel over our shoulders.

Look out world!  Here we come!  And, you won't recognize us...but we belong to the Janitor/King!

Friday, December 05, 2014


From the newly converted to the aged theologian, there is a blind side to our Christian walk.  It needs immediate correction.

We have grown indifferent to the powerful word grace.  Guys like me tend to make it come across as anemic, meaningless, and churchy.  Yet, it is clearly noted in Scripture as the power of God.  We need to know the power of God.

I direct you to three mighty verses of power through His profound, meaningful, holy perspective.

  • And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (II Cor. 9:8)
  • My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness (II Cor. 12:9).
  • But He gives greater grace.  Therefore it says, God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Jas. 4:6).
Grace is power through giving.  Grace is power through weakness.  And, grace is power through humility.

It is important that we note something of great force in each of these three.  Yet, these lead us down a corridor no one wants.  They make us nothing more than vulnerable.

Vulnerability is the last thing on our wish list.  There are many things we do not want. To be found inadequate and helpless is of utmost dread.  Long-time members faithful in attendance and service find knees buckle when opportunities leave us profoundly susceptible.  

Giving calls the flesh to be guarded as to just how we will manage.  Weakness is the sheer opposite of respectable and influential.  Humility, it seems, isn't so bad as long as I come out looking good.

Truthfully, vulnerability is a major tenet of grace.  It is either His doing (not ours) or else it won't happen.  When life pops it is always caused by Him; never us.  

If we want to reposition ourselves for engagement in the glorious workings of Father, we will necessarily need to make adjustments in the zones where we build to give off the impression we are invincible.  When we met Jesus, we met him in the grave.  We are dead to ourselves.  Our invincibility days are over.

Praise be to God.  How freeing it is to grasp such life-affording truth.  When we surrender concepts that we once believed essential to appearing strong and in control, a new world opens for immediate and effective engagement.

Thursday, December 04, 2014


The world of church fascinates me.  It is the strangest of strange combinations.  From meaningful to absurd to tender to erratic, church people are awesome.  And, we have much work to do...with and about...ourselves.

Churches seems stuck.  Not all, of course.  Many for certain.

One, the stuckness is true.  Two, I wouldn't know all of the reasons.  Three, I venture into one possibility.  We have failed to translate old personalities into new.  Our people may have pushed the doctrine of baptism by immersion for the forgiveness of sins without realizing the new birth meant new start of an old become a brand new breed of humanity.

To make my point, name me a more divisive word among any Christian organization which creates more havoc than the three-letter word n-e-w.  It is true; churches treat this word as if it is more of Satan than of Savior.

New, however, is to be the core trademark of all disciples.  We are to be more than redirected.  We are to be more than having three hours a week claimed with a ministry project under our belts.  God expects us to be transformed.

But I wonder if it isn't more accurate to assess that a hefty percentage of believers have held to our old mannerisms and characteristics only to bring them into the church. This has caused the life of the church to pale.  Energy and drive have been lost.  Have we developed a doctrine of wet at baptism; yet, dry in heart?  Probable.

Old (not new) guardian natures have taken over the kingdom in the name of preservation of our old ways.  This was never the intent of God.  We tend to like the way many things are and we don't want them to change.  New has been labeled radical.

And that's my point.  It is.  Our old nature prefers docile; no troubles.

And you see Jesus how?

Our old nature lives in steadfast fear.  The new one is brave; not timid.  It is full of action; not reclusive.  Fundamentally, new is neither convenient nor easy.  It is of God. Indifference, however, has excused us to believe that we were born this way and that's the way it is.  But this is only true of the first birth.  The second is to make us into a new generation with new personalities.

So what have I had to release of my old nature in order to become a new person?  Well, it is a perpetual process.

When I came into the kingdom I was fiercely insecure.  It is a new world for me to learn to move forward, to be heavily targeted for criticism, and yet not retreat in hiding.  It is a new world for me to be a part of a church.  I didn't like it, didn't want it, didn't believe in preachers or the church.

God has had to transform my giving, my praying, my reading, and my outreach.    I didn't do the first three and couldn't do the fourth.  He has had to work at my need to control, my need to know, and my obsession with being liked.  He, though, made me a new person hungry to move into those once intimidating zones.

I share this, not to parade me for it is most embarrassing, but to signal I understand strong personal hesitation.  To be the same person we have always been is to short-sheet the recycling nature of the Spirit within.  Before the world changes, we must. And then it will.

Too much of the church has been buried in baptism only to fail at being born again. The new birth is a transformational process that takes us into new ideas, new concepts by developing entirely new-from-above attitudes and experiences.

Not only have Christians found churches a place to hide by misunderstanding the very nature of the new birth in becoming a new person, we have found churches a place to be void of becoming more.  We have dumbed down God's transitional, transformational, expectational call.

The old life and the old world is  Things won't just be different when we go to heaven.  Life is now actually, tangibly different because the Son of God dares to break into our walk with his courageous heart.  We must do all we can to abide.  Hiding in our old hesitations, intimidations, and fears will no longer fit.

Opening to the Spirit of God to take us places that scare the old person to death is both daring and exciting....and very productive for our new side.  Thanks to the many of you for moving forward when you would prefer to wander about in the old nature's wilderness.

You just knew God would be awaiting with an entirely new kind of life....and you haven't been disappointed.  May God gain momentum in all of us.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014


Don't you just love people?

I do.  I first learned it from my mom, then from friends, and ultimately from God.

Fascinating.  Ambitious.  Tender.  Imaginative.  Thoughtful.  Welcoming.  Talented.

If I were to survey what it is that helps men and women, boys and girls, make it over the highest hurdle in order to finish the course successfully and effectively, surely randomly intelligent answers would flow.  A good education.  Commitment.  Discipline. Beauty.  Investment.  Etc.

I toss a biggie your way for consideration.  It seems that reality life is based upon the spirit(ual); not the flesh.  The flesh may give life a good shot at first.  Later, however, it begins to wrinkle, age, wither, and then die....100% of the time.  So the flesh route can be exciting; but it must be regarded as very temporary.  At lot of movies are on television today starring actors/actresses....that are dead.

So how does one get a grip on the best life possible?

I think it is through the back door of super-humility.  This is the champion trek.  Jesus is surely the Master of mastering life.  He was super-humble to the point of dying for the worst-case-scenario; for those who hated his guts.

The apostle Paul was not far behind.  Through humility he allowed us to know the real inner Paul.  He stated repeatedly of his own lack coupled with his certainty of the Spirit's power.  This is a magical combination.

Paul openly admitted he was a nobody, he was the least, he was the chiefest of sinners and that the only power he possessed was to be attributed to his weakness.  Nothing else came to his mind except one.  Oh, that would be his sheer confidence in the Spirit's functioning within his own vulnerable frame.

It is a most natural course to take a swipe at life in the fast lane.  We thirst for the impressive and the noticeable.  Yet, the real crux of the best life possible is to give oneself away that others be blessed.  We have a choice to either empty ourselves for others or experience noisy emptiness because we live selfishly.

The good news is that we have a choice.  The best possible life isn't that one that is dealt to us.  It's the one that transforms the dead-end inward attention by being attentive to everyone around.  Giving ourselves away is the true grip of the best life possible.

Be considerate.  Be thoughtful.  Be merciful.  Be generous.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


I root for people.  We give our best; at least we take a stab at it.  Driven by possibilities galore, it is commendable that we live in a populace of ambition and drive.  Success is a worthy goal.

I caution, however, that success can be misused as well as abused if not approached from the spiritual base.  Spiritual base?  Meaning?

Jesus fundamentally reverses life's rules.  To keep we are to give away.  To live we are to die.  The backwardness of true success is certainly challenging.  Yet, we must take note.  Otherwise, eventual frustration and disappointment loom.

I think it is assumed by most in our earlier years that to be successful one must climb the ladder of accomplishment coupled with promotion.  While this route will satisfy several, there is yet another ladder which seems to bear God's authentic fruit.

This particular ladder is approached by His servants who climb down; not up.

It was the Samaritan who climbed down into the ditch of rescue.  It was the Apostle Paul who found success in prison cells.  It was Jesus who, also, was a prisoner soon executed.

My point is that success isn't a matter of wearing a three-piece suit and driving a Rolls.  If God blesses you with such....terrific.  For most of us, success will be based upon the climbing of the social ladder downward where the lonely, the needy, the depressed, and the abused are gathered without a clue as to how to negotiate another day.

We are to be encouraged about our ladder and the downward climb.  Loss isn't unsuccessful.  It is leading us to be with others who need us.  Failure isn't useless.  This is a step down to experience how others feel who have no hope.

We are consistently advantaged by such a direction which, at one time, we would have assumed a worse-case scenario.  This downward trek finds a host of valuable people waiting for rescue by someone(s) who understands (and experiences) their personal demise.

Jesus did it.  He came down.  We are called to follow his path.

It is God who will do the lifting up.


Life is in constant tension--or at least it should be--of the seen versus the unseen.  It could be, however, that there is little tension if we find we have simply sold out to the seen.  Peering into the invisibles is surely a faith matter.

Faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen.  Hoped for (but not yet) and of things not seen (not to be discerned by the naked eye) are certainly in the realm of the unseen.

Man must guard against the temptation to buy into the visible as if it is reality.  It is very temporary.  Just look at lawns today; the raking of leaves that four months earlier were seen as a great and new beauty.  The temporary passes on.  The invisible realm is the greater reality; but this is so difficult for our minds to grasp.  Yet, we must.

I encourage you to never give up.  We live in a deeply messy world that has its ups and its downs.  The key to endurance is the faith in  God's resurrection power.  He can create something from nothing and give life to the dead.

Spats, disappointments, or failures perpetually try to erode our confidence to try to hit each day with excitement.  Yet, we surely are permitted to do so because of the invisible overcoming the visible.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen; for the things that are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (II Cor. 4:16-18).

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


The church is poised on the edge of its seat with powerful anticipation of what's next. it?

I think not.

Rather, churches in general do not function with a drive to reach the wonderful populace which knows little about God and His elaborate transformation system.  No, we are snagged on the splinters of looking backward (as did Lot's wife).  A very large contingency of most churches are willing to give lip-service to going into all of the world; but not foot-action.

One of the most profound personality traits of Jesus is his compulsion to connect and contact individuals.  He cared about the hurting; not in theory, but in one-on-one connection.

This major element has been blurred among us.  Our focus has been welcomely diverted to personal preference over building decor, ministry options, coupled with a very strong what pleases me thirst.  Doctrine may be bantered a bit while the urgent call of the Great Commission has lost its urgency.  Did no one notice?

The church remains poised in a culture with great and useful friction.  There is to be a hunger and thirst for the hurting and lost masses that these, too, may find the greatest hope and comfort available to mankind.  We hold the keys.  We were once them.

Erwin McManus points out that multiculturalism has created tremendous friction for the contemporary church because the church has fashioned itself around monocultural ministry--not simply in its style and texture, but also in its message. The gospel, as presented in our time, has been crafted in a way that would only win Christians to Christ.

While I don't love his statement, I need to hear it.

Guys like me and most of those reading this post are being called into a world of upset, messiness, and horror.  It isn't clean.  It doesn't align in rows.  Neither is it poised upon a hilltop with a sign that says, Please, rescue me.  I want to know about God.  No, this segment is hurt, confused, and worst of all, forgotten.

We should awaken to the fact that we are rubbing elbows with generations of very decent people who have been involved in far too many life-wrecks.  Some have grown numb to God and to those who follow Him because we proved to be raising funds for a new wing on the educational structure more than possessing interest in the distraught.

The calling challenges for churches will always be to resist the thrill of being saved only to slip into being comfortable.  Jesus' way is still via only one route; that of the cross. Opinions, theories, concepts, and distracting church needs only serve to keep us from the main thing; touching people.

There will never be enough of us to quench the thirst and heal the scrapes of mankind.  Yet, we can determine to personally move forward in prayer to God, praise for God, that we might have eyes to see the masses that pass us by.  And with these focused eyes, may we have the courage to tell them about the Great Physician.

We can't heal them; but He knows how.  Our challenge is to take on the responsibility of introducing these dear people to the One who not only knows life....He IS life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


How is one to interpret and deal with the out-rage of the past few hours in Ferguson? So many statements.  So many more questions.  So many interpretations and opinions.

I sit some 400 miles away.  Yet, I sit with intense interest.  Such upset is not a city-wide occasion.  It affects humanity at the center nerve; people behaving poorly toward people.

Me?  I would not have answers.  I would have sympathy to all involved; both sides. With an extension of concern, I would also say that I have a love for all; both the injured and the injurers.  Ferguson is a picture of man-gone-stressed.

Who started it?  Who caused it?  Who feeds it?

The media will name names and then we will create our own surmisings.  Satan will go unnoticed and unnamed.

Man likes labels.  We want names to go with our accusations.  If we don't have accurate accounts, we'll make good guesses.  This isn't productive.

Occasionally we can seem bent toward a good beef...or a fiery riot.  But this isn't a battle with racism nor is it one of fanaticism.  This is a picture of man being tricked by a source of power that confuses, misleads, sets the stage for turmoil, and then sneaks off unnoticed and unscathed.  It is Satanic.

Satan exists to throw wrenches in man's relationships...with one another.  He then backs out of the picture visibly; yet remains on the scene with his stirring influence.

We are not enemies of one another.  Jesus knew this.  He died on the Cross because man is so crossed up we find ourselves, at times, not knowing which end is up.  Jesus didn't live and die to have cool VBS summers.  He did it because man is an incurable mess unless someone divine breaks in and stops the God's own bleeding for His precious creation.

Emotions are running high.  Our test, as children of God, is whether we can remain calm of heart and love those who are being injured as well as those who are doing the injuring...before, during, and after the murder of young Mr. Brown.

Sighing and crying won't make a dent in the civil unrest we are know seeing unfold before our very eyes.  Leaning in upon the wonder of the One who died for all of us is our hope and our answer.

For the joy set before us, may we use these trying times to see just how serious we are at taking up our crosses and following Jesus into the world of turmoil in order to truly love those who have never experienced a deep and abiding interest in what they can be and who we know the good that they really are.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Victory.  Oh how we like it.  Celebration.  More of the same.  Success.  A feel-good moment.

Who doesn't appreciate the victory and celebration of success.

Christianity is not a new brand of V-C-S lifestyle.  Neither is it simply a notch above worldly V-C-S.  No. Christianity gives its inhabitants abundance of life and grace when there is loss, when their are tears, and when there is embarrassing failure.

This is a zone the church struggles to see.  But....let's grow to see it.

If we have a goal day of attendance or of raising funds and hit these goals, we parade our way-to-go smiles coupled with hugs and pats on one another's backs.  If we miss our goals, there can be a tendency to feel like failures.  Worse yet, we might even feel that God didn't bless.

How we keep the awe going is to realize that the faith God seems to wish we possessed sees well.  It is a new sort of sight; walk by faith not by sight looks at every setting with a secret faith-code.  The code is remember resurrection power.  

God is all about His family living under the clearly affixed divine umbrella of resurrection power.

  • The hope spoken in Rom. 4:17-25 is based on Jesus being raised from the dead.
  • The Rom. 8:28ff all things work together for good text continues to speak of such direction which is issued upon the basis of Jesus being raised from the dead.
  • We are to fix the eyes of our hearts to know the hope, the riches, and the surpassing power of His greatness....identical to and the same as was when He raised Jesus from the dead....Eph. 1:18ff
Get this: raised from the dead is an exhilarating effect of God's deliverance.  Certainly.  And, we want this kind of awe in our very walk.  However, we short-sheet His grace when we forget that if there is not severe strain, anguish, misrepresentation, disappointing moments, persecution, and eventual death of Jesus....there is no resurrection.  

Awe hinges upon un-awe.  In all things, awe is coming!

Believers get to march in the parade of awe; not because the breaks always go our way and we have victory, celebration, and success parties galore because we get what we want as with some magic wand.  No, we have awe because even in the abuse and mistreatment we receive, we can still set our eyes on God's resurrection power which is with us day by day.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Change is refreshing to some and a dirty six-letter word for others.  There are those who believe change represents everything nobody wants and that no one should have. It is the heart of the kingdom of God; yet, for another part of the believing family.

Change is a vital part of normal, spiritual, progressive living.  For a newborn to never grow to be 3 and then 7 and then 22, would be grievous to any parent.  For flowers to never bloom?  For Seniors to never graduate?  For workouts to never change bodies? For discoveries to be outlawed?  Man would be hurt if change wasn't a steady part of the daily fabric.

Change factors are essential if one is to grow in the Word of God.  For those who simply manipulate the Bible as a proof text for pet doctrines, we miss a glorious part of pondering scripture in order to mature as well as develop.

Bible classes must be on guard against ever discussing in order to never learn.  Paul clearly warned us of joining Bible study groups to tickle our ears by hearing what we want heard.  Our tendency is to promote II Timothy 4:1-5 as if this text is a warning for others; never us.

Believers who have always believed what they have always believed are in danger of carrying a stillborn faith.  The Word is sharp and active.  It is new, exciting, adventurous.  Of course, many things true yesterday will still be true today and tomorrow.  Fact.  In addition, that same text is productive; always changing through flexibility of the Spirit those things where man is called to learn and to grow.

Brandon Hatmaker targets this subject.  But change is not a threat.  It's a fact.  If we act as if change just happens upon us--surprise!--in a sudden upheaval, we miss its continuing flow and its lessons and the opportunity to keep up with it.  Change is a fact of life.

Change is a reality and we are living right in the middle of it.  Speaking of God, He sends us on journeys that bring us to the end of ourselves.  We often feel out of control....

Yielding our control is man's rub with the divine.  We cherish and treasure knowing how things are going to go.  Letting go is foreign to us.  We feel at risk as if the safety net has been removed.  It has been taken away if we believe it to consist of man-ordained guidelines.

Rather than waste our breath fighting change, it would be more fruitful for all of us if we would accept it as fact.  It is the kingdom's systemic process.

So how shall we respond?  What are we to do?

One idea would be to read the Word of God still believing it has come from God.  Be free to use it as a proof text with the clear understanding that we are studying a fountain of life; not a rusticated law.  Hear the call to believe when there are no signs of hope.  Note the charge to go with Jesus and not the religious mob.  Dare to engage the New Creation which can be much different than old-hat church.

May we delve into the Word of God with daily new-found faith; not with fearful and imposing restrictions which He never issued.   There is a difference.  May we enjoy His New Creation in the max!

Friday, November 21, 2014


Image.  What we think people think of us has an earth-shaking magnitude.  Image can be a blessing or a curse depending on whether we control it or it controls us.

Image, I believe, often houses every person's insecurities whether famous or not. Mirrors are loaded with information.  Many negative mirrors have been installed in most houses.  Regardless of who we are, who we know, where we live, and what we do, mirrors tend to speak about speck-tacular lack.

The mirror industry isn't to blame.  The lies that Adam and Eve bought into in the Garden are the culprits.  At that historical moment man fell and we have been trying to buy better mirrors ever since.

So let's talk about why so many don't believe in God with a courage to publicly let it be known?


One of life's greatest losses is found in this region.  Very good men and women have listened to their core groups mock Christians, to the extent that should one begin to question that possibly this idea of believing is valid, the strong undertone would be to spare oneself of the subsequent mockery

This one wouldn't want to take on the verbal abuse which they, themselves, have issued toward others.

Image.  The front one has to keep up of being a good person; but not too good so that our cronies won't suspect a change of heart.  Image.  The liar.  The non-existent voice that bullies normal human beings into a silent cowardice so that no one will know we have a spiritual side that yearns for freedom.

I have dear friends from all ranks of social standing.  I love them completely.  Some have nothing to do with God and His church body because they think they aren't good enough.  Image again.  And still others are self-pressured to keep up there non-church, non-God, non-belief.

This is catastrophe gone mad.  It involves a whole lot more than eternal destiny.  This is a matter of living from day to day without the joy of knowing how to make life pop on any stage.

I would ask each reader to pass this message or one like it on to others.  Good people want to know God; but they don't know how to ask, necessarily, and they don't want to appear foolish to a few of their colleagues.  Image.

For those who are high up in life and those who are way down in your own minds, drop me a note at  I work with a lot of people one-on-one and no one knows.  You are out there.  I know it.  When the tumor is discovered or the depression is mounting, I care.  When you have neither, but life seems to bug you.  I care...again.

For now, do this.  Determine to have the courage to live a robust life without the taxing element of fearing what other people think.  Image.  Develop one of courage.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


If there is anything more touchy in the marketplace of humanity than religion it might just be politics.  People have opinions (in both) that are strong; in some cases unbending, closed-minded, and unapproachable.  For some, politics is their religion. Nevertheless, I wade into both today.

The idea that religion and politics don't mix is a lie that the church has swallowed.  It is very much an inseparable blend.  Look at Jesus' walk.  Was he constantly facing Sunday School teachers and deacons over class materials and softball teams?  Or was he encountering political figures; national rulers, advocate groups, and military might?

Jesus was deep into the political scheme.  The reason would be that this seems to be also a place where common people live. Jesus was always about the welfare of people.

As a result, he lived with his own political agenda.  What do we think got him crucified? He believed in helping the orphans and the widows so the crowds barked, Crucify him? No.  Jesus' walk bled into the political arena causing the power-lords of the day a great deal of pain worse than gas.

The life of Jesus faced a dark world's power head on.  Get this.  He killed, not the killers, but killing.  Jesus killed killing.  He eradicated the very thing that would end life.  This is a magnificent political move.  He used their swords to beat them at their own game on their own turf without a sword of his own.  By the process of submitting to their killing machines, he then exited what was assumed to be a permanently confining grave.

This great move proved the opponents artillery could not stand a chance against the might of love.  Both the religious and political machines did their best to join forces to take this man out.  Assassination was their cry.

Willing to be assassinated was the beginning of his victory lap.

Our enthusiasm for perfect hope is built upon this majestic, inspiring, and outlandish truth.

The wonder of God is buried beneath political intensity because we don't realize that Jesus established a new era; a new political party if you will.  He stood for the underdogs everywhere he turned.  His power wasn't in chumming with the elite who carried power.  His was to present mankind with the greatest system that could ever be known; death met its match...and life wins!

This was new religiously and politically.

Our mission statement is to die well that others might live.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death works in us, but life in you (II Cor. 4:11-12).

Some think we are elephants.  Other believe we are donkeys.  Clearly, we are called to arise from beneath the political intensity in this America of ours is to be the party of the Lambs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Church is surely one of the most misunderstood entities of all time.  It is distorted and maligned from those outside...and those inside as well.  What is it really?  Why is it misinterpreted, misread, and misjudged...all too easily?

I could offer only a hint of a reason.  The true intended depth of church has been transformed into a shallow and hollow symbol of light-hearted goodness.  The masses assume those who go to church are either good or trying to be good.  Yet, these onlookers aren't buying it.  Well they shouldn't.

The church is anything but a symbol of minding-your-own-business and being-good. No, the church is the continuation of the resurrected body of Christ.  It is to be on the go.  Such a statement right there has suffered the hiccups because church-building-concepts have demolished the "Go" only to reconstruct a fake system which calls out "Come and sit awhile."

The church is the continuation of Jesus.  We are to be deep into at least two things. Fighting off the Pharisaic legalists who make church only about law-keeping while, simultaneously, reaching to the underdogs who need to be rescued from a harsh world of political scheming.

The Cross is our logo.  So?  So be alert as to how smoothly this icon is reduced from sacrificial living for others including our enemies to simply ornate jewelry and church building decor.  The Cross calls for a life surrendered to the extent we will die even for those who wish to wreck and harm our personal lives.

Church is not symbolic goodness.  It is not a gathering of voters who cast emotional ballots as to how the sermon and music went on a given Sunday morning.  The church is comprised of plain people who have absorbed a divine love.  These, in turn, are driven to see that the poor and the naked and the prisoners and the immigrants are warmed, fed, encouraged, and loved.

Church is not symbolic goodness.  It is much deeper.  If we leaders of churches do not redirect our real mission, our young will continually drift into the mocking world.  For these, churches are mere symbols of lethargy and self-indulgence.  When we hit life in the stride of Jesus our families, too, will sense a common purpose which imitates our Savior in his fullest glory.

Here's the thing that puts us in cohesion with Jesus and his walk upon earth.  He did not make contributions to community betterment.  He, rather, made the greatest of sacrifices.  He touched the sinners.  Jesus did not come to earth to find a job he could do in the kingdom that would keep him active in symbolic church.  No.  He waded into the lives of rejects and engaged them.

Symbolic church will always be symbolic until we determine that we were sinners lost and now are found.  And, that others await.  The latter are not waiting for a symbolic church program.  These are watching for someone who cares to get down in the ditch to help them out.

Do we have a religion that has taught us to be a good and better people?  Or, do we have a faith with eyes, arms, and legs to place us into the struggling regimen of touching the hurting and the forgotten?

We want to increase in seeing those in need and then take immediate and compassionate action.  This....would be the authentic church; not a symbolic one.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Church is fantastic!  So is believing in God!  So is helping so many others who are in need!  There is nothing like it!

However, this isn't the vision that many have because of experiences which did not cause them to be fired up about God and church.  Rather, cold water was tossed their way.  I mean, really, who even in the church hasn't had a cold shower or two thrown our way?

Therefore, I address those who are what we would call turned off of church.

Oh, there are a few.  I mean a many.

The general populace has a warped view of church.  It seems to be regarded as a place where people go to behave well for about an hour on Sunday mornings.  The remainder of the week is free space.  We seem to believe that if we give God His time and a bit of our money then we are all square for the next six days.


That isn't church.  That is more like taking a humanistic stab at vague spiritual concepts where humans offer a sacrifice of their time.  Most of our friends got to go to the golf course, but us?  Naw, we sat in church and paid the price of heavy and meaningless boredom.  That was my take before I became engaged in the most meaningful system on earth...which came out of heaven.

As one grows within the church concept, a marvelous new life begins to arise.  It seems our deepest yearnings begin to find their niche.  To love God and to love others can do nothing but encounter the richest of all riches, the gloryest of all glories, and the most wonderful of all wonders.

A stigma to this marvel is the approach.  It takes faith to enter in.

Observation? Calculation?  Management?  Human planning?  All of these will not let us walk into this wonderland wonder.  Only a courageous step of faith (when you can't figure) will release the powers of the Living God into the very center of where we breathe.

Turned off of church?  Shame on you for letting narrow people and policy thwart your fire.  Don't let their cold water subdue the real person you are.  Come alive on  the inside and move out.  Move toward.  Love God...heartily.  Love people in need...robustly.

May we build a new kind of society that is turned on to church because the Holy Spirit aids us in making a real difference for real people.  We can do it...because He will do it in us!

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Fear is worse than any disease.  It stifles imagination, intimidates planning, and then shuts down hope.  What can be, due to bullying fear, shifts to what might have/could have been.

The temptation of a hopeful faith (as in boy David) is so effective that opposing forces send Goliaths to put the scare into the dreamers.  How many great tactics for blessing mankind have been aborted on the fields full of frowns, scowls, and browbeating words?

Yet, the reverse is also true.  Fabulous accomplishments have succeeded because brave men and women refused to buckle at the hands of the intimidators.  Courage was called for by leaders like Joshua.  The need remains...always remains.

The enemy has always used intimidation.  We are called to be on to such tactics of deep warfare.  While we have spent much time building arsenals of faith, may we walk with the boldness to activate our deep spiritual vision.

May we change the world, not just for good, but for an entirely new kind of life.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


There is a consistent plea from Jesus in scriptures that says, for those who have ears, let him hear.  II Timothy 4:1-4 includes the warning that there are those who want their ears tickled to the extent that these will not endure sound doctrine. Subsequently, these hard-of-hearing will lean in upon myths over truths.

My guess is that no one reads this text and assumes it to be true of themselves.  From my experience, this passage is used against any who can't seem to hear what we are trying to say about what we are trying to believe.

I'm learning that this passage is also for me.  I have grown secure in preaching between the lines.  I have been trained to not rock the boat.  People like me.  I'm happy and, basically, my messages are pleasing for I do so want to encourage all who would take the time to listen.

Yet, it remains true that if we are to follow Jesus we will not be winning popularity contests among the hyper-religious.  We will be disturbing and often creating conflict. Even within these statements all readers would long as I don't rub up against one of your pet doctrines, assumptions, or defenses.

Therefore, I call us to check our hearing.  Yes, guys like me can be dismissed with ease when we hear anything that doesn't have that ring of what we have always believed. Warning needs to be given or at least a reminder offered; we are light years from concluding all the Bible has to say.

To huddle together tomorrow morning in our favorite cluster-shops (churches) to rehearse and reaffirm what we have always believed is a half-baked truth.  We must also have ears to hear things/truths from God that we have promised ourselves we never want to hear.

The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It remains sharp.  Studying with dull ears, though, is really a serious conflict.

Friday, November 14, 2014


While we are vigorously striving for better ministry with greater outreach, we must guard against making either of these a personal god.  One of the things good church leadership tries to do is engage new members as quickly as possible.  Connection is serious.  It is important.

But, connection cannot become god.

Worship style cannot become god.

Preacher ability cannot become god.

Friends and acquaintances cannot become god.

Church programs cannot become god.

Time spent in prayer or reading the Bible cannot become god.

Church tradition cannot become god.

God is to be God of all for all in all and with all.

He is to be sought.  God is to be credited for our blessings.  He is the One who supplies, sustains, rescues, and redeems.  No one else.  No thing else.

Only Him.

May we grow in worshiping God; not worshiping the preacher nor worshiping worship. May we become increasingly enamored with....God himself.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


We tag our mental calendars with post-it notes as targets for breathing room.  Our days and nights are cluttered with uninvited problems.  These are energy drainers for certain.  So we look forward to an event here and a break there just in hopes of surviving routine drudgery.

Some of these stresses, honestly, are caused by our poor judgment or even poorer action.  Others are the result of life's weaknesses that simply seem to cause good things to unravel.  When some of these occur, one can feel so overwhelmed it can begin to take on a sense of what it might be like to be buried alive.

How shall we respond?

Shall we fight back?  Should we heap more guilt upon ourselves due to our obvious pitiful failures?  Or would it just be better to go ahead and breath our last?  The response needs to be weighed in light of the power of God rather than a reaction to insurmountable frustration.

What we might consider is the need to yield.  Jesus gave in to the crowds of that he could save...the crowds of persecution.  There was no other way.  Jesus' call for followers to take up our crosses and follow him had at least two goals in mind; our death and our resurrection.

To bow our necks and grit our teeth in self-willed determination to win any battle is, for certain, humanistic; but it isn't spiritual warfare.  The way to really win an enemy is to lay down one's life so that the enemy can become a converted disciple of Jesus.  Our dying capacity is on the line.

And then there's that resurrection part that follows the dying part.  We can surmise a bit how the deadening factor works.  That's within our will.  We are clueless about the resurrection power part because it is completely in the will and the hands of God's exertion.  We can do nothing about resurrection power except receive it.

So it is in relationships.  As contrary as they/me/we are, the God who lives to make something from nothing and gives life to the dead (Romans 4:17) gets to show His talent in these exact moments like no other.  Our misfortune is that in such moments we forget to believe.

Note: when we believe we let go of our managerial and manipulative approach in order to have a chance at experiencing what can't be forecast nor explained.  We surrender our gotta fix it mentality for the divine process of Him running our show.

Yes, we forget.  So we roll up our calculating sleeves and march off for yet another conversation that often goes South.  We forget.  We don't seem to remember that we know a Specialty God who has mastered the nothingness and the deadness of our relationships.  He alone holds the keys to unlock man's disappointing tombs.

Our isn't to figure the best manipulation to win another.  Ours is the work of believing God when we are stupidly clueless with a touch of exacerbating self-defense.  We can't. Our job is to die for the aggravating enemy.  By His grace God will use this death to bring two people or three (or 30) to new life!

When you are overwhelmed which feels more like being buried, try to remember that the One you call Master humbled himself by coming to earth to walk in your shoes first.  When he heard that whisper of Father he came back to life never to die again.  If he is our hope, what hope must we possess for others who wish to wear us down.....or even kill us?