Thursday, July 31, 2014


You do understand that you rub elbows with grievous sinners.  Right?  And you do realize that when you do that they are rubbing against the chiefest of grievous sinners.  Right?

I constantly run into eyebrow-raising individuals who just can't be serious as to how foolish they appear.  I mean, after all, I am the standard by which men, women, and children should function.  Right?  No.  Not right.  Yet, I do have this persistent disposition that my way of thinking is His way of thinking and you all would be better off if you were simply quicker to catch on the the obvious.

This leads us to be attentive to how to approach life.  His way, naturally, is the opposite of our traditional assumptions.

God would lead backward as well as upside-down.

It will not be the top-dog who will be effective in kingdom leadership.  No. it will be the bottom-dog; the one who lives in utmost humility as a servant to all the top-dog mindsets with their visions of fame and glory.

Each time we find ourselves put down or rejected or even injured, such is a most valuable kingdom moment.  We need constant reminders that we are bottom-dog. Critics remind us.  Failing efforts remind us.  All we would regard as useless fumble-bums remind us of how we appear.

We are always advantaged in every situation that goes wrong.  If for no other reason, it brings to the forefront the truth that we aren't God.  Too, it hits the refresh button that we may reawaken to the stage from which we work...the lower level.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Maybe you could help me.

I'm doing research regarding times when people were disappointed in a circumstance only to find that because of that negative circumstance a greater blessing arose.  For instance, I have friends whose house burned.  They had wanted to remodel; but couldn't afford it.  The fire caused funds to be provided by their insurance company and....they were able to remodel after all.

The initial disappointment turned from water into wine.

I believe many of you have such a story.  Therefore, would you mind sketching out yours and emailing it to me at

I would like to hear what you have encountered where days of being discouraged turned out to actually be stepping stones for eventual blessings.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I cheer you on.  Life has its ups and downs.  The ups?  We like.  The downs?  Um, not so much.

Therefore, since we all walk in the same type of sandals, I encourage you that all matters are geared to lead us to one...Person.  His name is Jesus.

All skill and education and promotion and inside track and whim and lead and connection to powers-that-be pale to great degree when under attack.  Little by little life takes its toll on our confidences.  What we had assumed would get us through eventually suffers setback.

Don't fret.

Don't roll your eyes in exasperation.

Yet, do realize each bump in the road is to break our dependence of self-provision that we might better be focused upon Jesus.  We must translate interruption into clarification.  Our hurts and pangs of irritation advantage us.  They tend to eliminate our self-confidence and promote Spirit-confidence.

Even, as Romans 5:1-5 clearly declares, our bad days are good days for those who believe Him.

Saturday, July 26, 2014



Have you ever had days where you didn't do so well...and that's a very generous way of putting it?  I hit that territory yesterday and hit it hard.  I communicated strong ideas that were very difficult for me to approach.  Later, I found that my communication was not the best.  Therefore, I unnecessarily grieved a friend who surely didn't need my added stress.  But...I did it.

To risk something that I simply did not want to risk and then to discover I shouldn't have done it that way has incredibly deep ramifications of troubling discouragement if I don't attend to the Spirit and His directives.

Once again, I share disappointment in myself as a picture not only of what not to do; but possibly lessons learned as to how to keep from caving to the temptation of becoming very depressed.

Let's say it out in the open.  We all flub....sometimes very badly.  Denial isn't an option.  Gaining from it is.

So what shall we do with our talk and walk that occasionally turns into embarrassment or injury or whatever else could be negative?

We can turn personal failure into a ministry perk.  It is that pestering reminder that we not only don't run the show but that we are full of inadequacy in trying to even show up for the show.  While God has declared that our adequacy is only of the Spirit, we mistakenly slip into a belief that we can do a certain amount on our own.

Thus, the opening is created for necessary failure.

There is strong temptation to quietly believe we are better thinkers and better doers than our close colleagues.  Not the case.  Yes, each has gifts for these surely could not arise from our skill-set.  But ego likes to convince self that we are a step above. Clueless is attributed to others while ego-enamorization (unrecognized) is for mwah.

Failure is prominent in every believer.  We are weak in understanding, in direction, in commitment, and in vision.  Individually, we don't have what it takes.  I speak not of some of us, or a few of us, but all of us; even those we would regard as living from the apex of idealistic.

Failure is important for each disciple.  Until we admit we  are sinking (and strange, isn't it, how long we can live with our gurgling sound and not realize anything is wrong)  we will never reach for the rescuing arms of Jesus.  Yet, if we continued to walk atop of troubles, we would begin to wonder why we need him.  As we sink in frustration and embarrassment, the kingdom strategy begins to be perfectly realigned.

Disappointment?  I tend to cry in mine.  But I must not dwell within.  We must not cave to the warm blanket of being miserable.  Have you ever noticed that sometimes depression just feels better?  It takes intentional and determined energy to break the inner contentment of feeling sorry for self.

We must raise our eyes.  We must.  Then we shall see that failure is the valuable reminder that Jesus is our righteousness; our brains and our brawn are not; not even close.  When we need the arm of Jesus to be our strength, we are strong even though we are weak.

How do you handle disappointment in yourself? way is to turn it into a good lesson to encourage another who struggles with the perpetual reminders that we never have been enough.  I hope I just did it.

Jesus alone is our strength.  We need him.

Friday, July 25, 2014


What may be holding you back is not the short straw after all.  It may be diapause.

You, I feel certain, will be as elated as I am that I have happened upon a new word...that I did not make up.

WEBSTER: D-I-A-P-A-U-S-E; a period of physiologically enforced dormancy between periods of activity.

This is a powerful as well as significant word to our walk.  Inherent in the awareness of this word is the excitement of possible transformation.  Romans 12:2, be transformed by the renewing of your mind, calls one to move past the delay via inactivity; the short-sheeting belief that at least no movement would create no error.

From what I can gather, hesitancy to transfer from one state to another is called diapause.  The idea is a struggle to let go as from a caterpillar to a butterfly.  Not so strangely, the Romans word for transformed is metamorphosis or the process of moving from one state to the other.  Diapause is the reluctance to make the transition as growth and development are suspended.  This happens, as science verifies, because the caterpillar is afraid to let go.

Sue Monk Kidd points out that it seems that at the moment of our greatest possibility in a decision, or an action, a desperate clinging rises up in us.  Suddenly we are not so sure.  We make a valiant attempt to save our old life as we become fearfully unsure of the promises of the new.

Daniel Day Williams supports her observation.  We fear it is all we have. Even its sufferings are familiar and we clutch them because their very familiarity is comforting...Yet so long as we aim at the maintenance of this present self, as we now conceive it, we cannot enter the larger selfhood which is pressing for life.

The call for the renewal of the mind is threatened by human diapause.  Fearful of the unknown is likely to keep one in their present condition, even when suffering, because that one would prefer the familiarity of disappointment over the uncertainty of possible success.  Men and women, in essence, are suffering from a diapausal state of the mind ruled by fear rather than adventure.

Faith of what can be is our theme.  Launching out is a gospel truth for believers.  Ours is the choice to live either as a creeping caterpillar or a butterfly in flight.  The former is constantly called to let go in order to enter.  The matter which would stop us is our own diapause.

Dare to let go...and let God.  It is always appropriate to remind us to remove our big toe from the bottom of pool and begin to swim.  The church awaits leaders who can let go of earth's certainties in order for us to soar into the wild adventures of great kingdom exploration and experience.

God calls us to live larger than life.  May we have the confidence in Him to let go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Regardless of how much we talk about humility, this one kingdom factor is as tough to master as would be trying to corner a hundred cats each wearing roller skates.  I feel that if I could ever master this for one week I would have reason to be very proud of myself.  (uh-huh)

We sing out to one another in church, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord. Each of us respects another who lives in meekness.  Plus, the greatest command as well as the second one can only be obeyed by individuals who have no regard for self first.

May I ask why this concept is so hard for many of us?  And, would you mind if I take a stab at the answer?

Humility is elusive because we often have a self-installed spotlight above our heads assuring each of us that what we think, how we appear, and where we hob and nob is the first matter of every conversation.  To amplify this situation, we have such a strong tendency to believe that our perception of any situation is the right one.

Some of us are crafty enough to use humility as a front in order to blanket our inwardly ambitious audacity; but the truth beneath our low-keyed approach is adamant.  We are right, we know it, and we firmly believe the others are clueless. This is nothing but ego in pseudo-religious garb trying to appear cooperative while manipulating our way by quiet managerial control.

One of Paul's more thrilling calls is for us to engage beyond our imaginations in the God of glory (Eph. 3:20).  I love this text.  I am always in need of its perpetual reminder.  The preceding verses are just as potent.  The Holy Spirit working directly in our lives to the measurement and style of Jesus.

Yet, we must note our position to approach such a calling.  For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father...:14.  

In prayer we knock on doors because we have not the strength to pry them open on our own.  Furthermore, we don't have the intelligence to know which doors.  We take our hard-earned dollars and place them in a Sunday morning plate as congregational voices send God a message that our greatest earth-power won't work as well as Spirit-power.  The big stories of the Bible cause our best advice and strongest insight to wilt in authentic humility.

No.  Ours is not to be the mission to out-smart or out-labor or out-maneuver anything and then call it kingdom advantage.  Our role is to be on our knees while open to the Spirit working among us.  We are not to sit in rooms with brothers and sisters with a secret sneer at their incompetence compared to our quite capable self-evaluation.

We are to do the work of God with knees bowed; not once, not in the serious stuff; but always.  It seems, and I surely could be wrong, that education and effort and funds and expert leadership are never what the church needs first.

It will always be that humility lifts the windows of our hearts so that the Son can once again shine in.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


It seems that community is swelling with fatherless children.  I don't speak of only those who have no fathers in the house.  I speak of a growing number who have a dad present; yet he isn't a father in the home.  He is distracted by or obsessed with other important issues in life; but has little attention for his children.

The Gospel story known as the Prodigal Son offers a quick glance at a few in a family. A younger son who is sinfully rebellious, an older son willfully stubborn, and then there is the father of both.  Take a good look at the loneliness of the father regarding his two boys.

One is missing.  The father is left with heartache.

While the younger is gone, it appears the older brother is in good sorts with his dad as they work the farm.  When the big sinner returns, it is at this point that the older one ratchets up his pouting.  From yet another angle, the father is rejected by a child.

In both scenarios, the father suffers heartache and break.

Note that the father did not react as was the pattern of his sons.  When rejected by either boy, he neither indulged in drunken sin nor took cheap shots at the rest of the family.  He stuck by his role regardless of painful rejection momentarily inherited from both sons.  The father remained the father of the story.

It seems important to notice that when each son was in deep and poor behavioral mode, the father did two important things.  First, his eyes were always looking for, as well as after, both boys.  He wasn't distracted from them.  And second, his arms were opened wide for both.  He seemed to favor neither and treasured both.

Receiving the full force of rejection, this man arose to his role.  He lived above treatment received.

In the story of the prodigal, we not only have the visual of what it means to be a father.  From his display of God-like love, we learn to be fathers...or mothers...or brothers and sisters...or friends when encountering the same sort around us.  And the reason we should/can/will do this is because we are oft times found to be one brother or the other....or both.

Luke gives us one of the greatest insights ever revealed.  He shows us in the Prodigal story the vulgarity of gutter life and in the same breath reveals the selfishness of religion.  Father had to fight for both.  So do we.

In this picture, therefore, we discover we are not like one of the two; but we find ourselves relating to each of the three.  May we mature in shifting our poor behavior as found in either son at times to live with new eyes and extended arms like the father.  May we be willing to experience the loneliness of hopeful waiting as we battle our way toward home.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


We are called to walk the most exhilarating course of all history.  Our path is to be that of Jesus'.  The dark powers of this world know this.  Therefore, we are targeted to get less from our walk than the heavens intend.

We must be alert.

Consider Paul's statement of Philippians 3:10...that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings....  Really?  This is our goal as well?  It should be.  And, what a different approach to life's venture.

We all want the first half; none prefer the last.  Yet, the power of His resurrection is found in the midst of His sufferings.  The two are correlated.  If there were no valleys, mark it down, there would be no mountains. Resurrection is prominent only when suffering has struck.

Knowing Jesus is to know that life is difficult, filled with chasms, and yet God empowers us to arise to have very good days because we connect with the pattern of Jesus.  If not on guard for the workings of the kingdom, we will miss them because we commit ourselves to a different path...the one of safety and assurance.

I urge us to be attentive to the difficult days.  Such is not a signal of our inadequacy as much as our calling.  These are to verify we have not bailed.  May we find that we live willingly in the Suffering Servant's sandals.  Without much thought, we tend to disregard.  I say give heed to the stresses among you for they may have the purpose of God buried within.

Friday, July 18, 2014


We live in very strange and absurd times.  Yesterday's news was fascinating on many fronts.  It is concerning, disconcerting, and stunning.  298 die in a jet over Ukraine. Israel invades Gaza.  Troubles loom large as media focus is both intense as well as extravagant.  We are a generation that can watch live war from the comfort of our living rooms; chips and soda in hand.

So what does this do to you?  Bring about fear?  Arouse dis-ease?  Conjure insecurity?

World turbulence has a "yes" in it.  It drives one to search for the true hope of inner peace.  Such will never be found exteriorly.  Regardless of shelters man builds for protection, other men build bigger bombs.  We must have a better reinforcement against the most determined enemy.

God gives us Good News.  Mankind has a most unique hiding place.  We must seek such shelter.

Of course, I speak of Jesus.

When one is under intense fire which could be life-ending, man begins to set aside trivial Sunday School arguments and get serious about the things the Bible posts. There has always been correlation between new start, born over, bringing our old life to an end, and the act of baptism.  The beauty of this process has been lost on the fields of church wars.  And to be fair, baptism isn't the church's god; so forgive us for intimating such.

What I think the world of wonderful, cruddy, fair, and dishonest people would want to know is that there is not only great hope; there is direction given by God for our security, safety, and protection from all battles. This isn't found in a doctrine; but in a person.  Lavish hope is always found in Jesus.

Where baptism comes into play is that it is a part of the process of entering into him. Romans 6 expresses the fundamental fact that one is to be buried into Jesus.  Verse 3 says that one is baptized into his death.  Why death?

The safest place to get away from death is to get to the place where someone else already died and beat it.  We hide where Jesus died because in his death he was able by the Holy Spirit of God to break lose.  The way to encounter the highest and widest world threat is to take shelter in the Son of God.

In Colossians 3:1-3, the apostle Paul clarifies by stating, If you then have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.  For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

When one is buried alive in baptism something goes on eternally wonderful.  Our old nature is transformed as a caterpillar to a butterfly.  No one can explain it; let alone argue it for it is a sheer fascination of God.  We simply have choices as enemies pose bigger and bigger threats?  Build our own shelters or hide in the only one that death can't crack.

Sometimes in one's Christian exuberance, the implication is that baptism is god.  It is not.  It is not the main thing.  Jesus is.  Baptism is the door to his grave so that we can be dead with that we can experience the resurrection with him.  It is the importance of every person concerned that one know how to prepare for the onslaught of uncertainty in this highly threatening time.  We have a hiding place.

There is one name that rescues; Jesus.  Muhammad wasn't raised from the grave. Neither was Buddha.  Only Jesus.  Every person must know where to hide...and how to enter the hiding place.  These words of mine are fiercely inadequate, I feel certain. Yet, maybe for some this is one beginning place.

Inner peace is not found in a process nor is it in a church.  It is in Jesus, the Savior of the world.  He died so that we could live.  Let's not miss the living because we didn't do our homework.  May we find that protection from all enemies is not in a doctrine; but in a Person.

Please...isn't it time some make the decision as millions of others have?  Isn't it time we quit hiding in bottles, and activities, and multiple distractions that serve to numb our hearts from the inevitable?  Isn't it time?  Isn't it time to get serious about the safe place to hide?

I would urge you to contact a friend, a relative, or a minister and just tell them you are tired of trying to reinforce your eternal hope.  Tell them that you want to enter the Hiding Place.  They will help you.

Glory be given to God through the Spirit of Christ.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Jesus redefines who we are, what we are about, and where we focus.  We are under threat to miss his walk in our shoes for we who are committed in the church tend to look toward the reverent rules and not the needy people.

It is the strangest of all strangenesses to watch Jesus.  He consistently bucked against the religious trends in favor of nameless societal underdogs.  The woman at the well. The good Samaritan.  The lame.  The blind.  The littler man up a taller tree.  Jesus was obsessed with those who were unfortunate.

Why did this bug the religious leaders of Jesus' day?  They weren't into people.  They really weren't into legalism.  They were obsessed with being right which leads to narrow-minded and deadening legalism.  This is why the word righteousness is to grab our attention anytime it is used in the New Testament. His righteousness versus our self-righteousness is of constant contest.

I write via email to one of our members, who is in a federal prison, everyday.  I have for months now.  Just this week she told me about a block-mate who is in desperate need of encouragement.  She has no family, no friends, and no funds even to receive costs 5 cents per minute of computer use.

My heart goes out to my friend...and now to this other woman who is in prison basically alone except for a random prison friend.  That's all she has.

So it is where you walk.  People need you.  Some are trying to sneak to the well in broad daylight without being noticed.  Others are atop balconies of wishfulness just hoping to get a glimpse of someone who knows the better road.  Yet others would love it if the religious sort could put down our busy schedules long enough to notice that they are hanging onto the next day only by a thread.

Much needs to change in Washington.  But first much needs to change in the church. May we increase in our drive to be obsessed with helping those who are in terrible binds.  There are many...and we can/do make a difference....just like Jesus did.

If we are not caring for the needs of others (including strangers) among us, we are very wrong while we tell ourselves how we are the only ones right.  People need help. We are in the helping business.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Monopoly is quite the board game.  The power struggles to buy, sell, manage, and control are found in the intrigue of the business plots.  That is until our little icon receives instruction to go directly to jail.  Our whole functionality is then limited to lock-down.

All we can do is wait to get out of jail.

This is what people do in real life.  We move through our days accumulating, dispensing, interacting, and plotting our way toward success.  Strategic approaches captivate our days.  Imagination roams the streets of possibility.  Until...until we are put in jail.

I don't speak of a literal cell block.  No, your attention should be drawn those other kinds of jails; the invisible ones we create which has just a much power as the real ones. Those that shut us down because we have volunteered to be arrested even out in broad daylight by our own pessimism are just as cold and just as gloomy.

Receiving negative words seem to toss us into the clink.  Revelation of bad health might affect us as if we are to go directly to jail and not to come out.  Even dark self-talk about how stupid we are, or how abused we are, or how many times we have drawn the short straw, or how lonely, or how neglected we are has a stark and arresting nature.

We must guard against living in self-imposed penitentiaries that have only the walls of our minds as reinforcement.

Philippians 4:4-9 is written by a man sitting in a jail cell.  Paul's words are far from pooh-poohing his day.  Rather, they are inspiring, invigorating, and actually productive.  Anyone can find new life by flipping the switch of our own mind-talk.

Each carries a GET OUT OF JAIL CARD.  It is that one that gives us immediate passage as soon as we reprogram our thinking.  We are not only permitted to be happy and free, we are called to live so.

Everyone has access to this marvelous truth.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, is stronger than a faith that will change our whole world because it reverses adverse course.  It is true.  Abide by it.  No one is exempt.

All have the ability to get out of jail...wherever your incarceration...because due to faithful thinking the doors to our assumed restraint just flew open.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


THIRTY-SEVEN years ago today, Mary (along with 7 year old Wendy, 5 year old Dusty, and 4 year old Timmy) and I moved by a very small U-Haul from Quincy, IL. to Tulsa, OK.  We were young...and terrified.  Guilt-ridden for leaving a precious church, we had signed on for a new work.

Noel Wilson and I moved into our offices the very same day in 1977.  He was Memorial's new Education Director.  He saw me unpacking in the Preacher's office, looked me over head to toe and said, You're it? with obvious doubt.

My prayer in Quincy was, God, help me to reach the whole world.  I still pray that prayer.  I still watch for ways to reach.

It has been quite a ride.  I haven't loved every minute of it.  But I have been so blessed by the ups and downs of kingdom life.  I'm the luckiest man I ever met.  No one has been more blessed to get to watch, participate, and enjoy so many things breaking out for kingdom life.

Thank you to all who have dared to let me get to be a part of this work!

I am more excited today than ever!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Don't you love life?  Or, do you?  Do you find living to be a marvelous experience? Or, do you find it to be a troubling puzzle waiting to be solved?

I have always been impressed with a phrase in First Thessalonians 3:8, for now we really live if you stand firm in the Lord.  Really live hit me that one could be living; but not really.  I was a portion of the not really until I began to move into Jesus instead of moving into church rules and regulations.

(Don't misunderstand.  There are true doctrines and false ones.  We must mature in the true ones.  But one of the greatest false ones is that we can have a right church without heart-felt devotion and praise to God through Jesus.  It is possible to be enmeshed in church with all of its correctness and not know the very Son who is redeeming us.  That was me.)

Life takes off when drawing toward the Son who is the way, the truth, and the life. Why?  Of course, I wouldn't have a complete grasp; but will venture out with an observation.

I think what makes life tick is the industrious and defiant Spirit of Jesus.  Nothing is impossible with Him.  Swollen lakes?  Walk on the top.  Overrunning sea?  Part it. Dead in the grave?  Break out.

It is this factor that keeps us from ever giving up.  There is always possibility in Jesus.  We can read any situation and circumstance and believe God has an unthought-of and an unheard-of answer.  Christianity has been reduced over time to hoping for the best; but not so much the impossible.  As a result, life seems to be rather routine; even with church tacked on at the beginning of the week.

I am very weak in this; yet, it is worth considering.  Churches are ignored by much of society because we are a powerless sort.  This is a Last Days dilemma.

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.  (II Tim. 3:1-5)

The church is in desperate need of receiving the warning of Paul's charge to Timothy.  We move about in formation with little difference in power from what one would find in a humanly designed institution.  This is not to be the case for those of us in the kingdom.  It is a super-charged plant of workers for God; workers at a whole different level beyond man's energy and focus.

God's Holy Spirit is what makes life tick.  We must perpetually trade our insight, talent, and muscle....for His.  May we pray to see God work upon earth according to His power and strength.  When we believer will really live!

Saturday, July 12, 2014


Not much bugs us more than a friend's relentless expression of misery....unless it would be our own relentless misery.  Not many, but a few, seem to enjoy (as if they thrive) being unhappy.  I'm sure you may have just now seen their faces flash across your memory screen.

What these don't understand is that each of us may select the misery meter at any given moment; yet we choose not to.  It isn't a question of whether all humans have excuses to fret.  The question is, How shall we choose to handle these nagging menaces of the mind?  The good news is that we do have options.

I like Virginia Satir's observation.  Most people  prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.  Uncertainty leaves us with questions while we prefer to live in a certainty world.  We want things fixed, figured out, and nailed down; so says Sue Monk Kidd.  These two authors indicate that fretters would prefer to be miserable than to encounter the struggle (misery) of learning what might be a possible solution.

How one is to win over this burdening process is to enjoy the travels of not knowing. Think about entering first grade while worrying as to how being a graduating senior would look.  If one chooses to be obsessed with burden over such a matter, basically the next twelve years would be miserable.  Each of us would advise the six-year old to enjoy first grade.  Life will unfold.

The way to win over misery is to let life unfold.  It will anyway, so why not enjoy the ride with the windows rolled down and the wind blowing in our faces?

In Matthew 6, Jesus urges us to take it a day at a time.  Therefore, do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Anxiety is cured by the Son of God.  An anxious Christian is an oxymoron; one who lives in constant inward conflict.

We can count on troubles.  Each day has enough troubles of its own.  And, what we can just as certainly count on is that God has us covered.  Covered to where there will be no injury?  No.  Look at His own Son upon the cross.  Yet, God has the better way waiting for each circumstance; note His Son arising from the grave.

Troubles aren't eliminated just because one has faith.  They simply serve to make us vulnerable to a bigger and brighter picture of what can and will be!  No one is exempt from the temptations of misery.  The winners are those who opt for the newness of life day by day.

A problem with those who live in self-bemoaning misery is that they live as in the grave before they get there.  The solution is to live in those very moments as if we are resurrected into new life now....because it is already here!

Friday, July 11, 2014


Life is a constant battle...really.  Day by day we find both elation and discouragement.  Both are fueled and serviced by the same element; words.  Words can be depressing.  Other words can bring relief.  You are hired has motivating impact while you are fired reverses that trend.

The battle for life is won in our words.

Mankind seems to monitor progress by other standards; income, social prestige, or maybe educational accomplishment.  Each of these is truly significant.  Yet, none are as powerful and important as the simple word.

By words we make another's day or we can ruin it.  Comments ignite a fire to either thrive or maybe to quit.  The battle for life is won in the words we select.  In gearing up for life's terrain, it is necessary that we recognize the fact that we carry the greatest dynamic in that we can choose how we wish to approach every conversation.

We must not let another's faithless and dark words determine what will flow from our mouths.

Yes, income plays a significant part in our day's development.  So does opportunity. Yet, nothing affects us moment by moment as do the words we use to react, to respond, and to recognize possibility.

Why is this element so mighty everywhere we turn?  The answer is that words are creative.  Comments build. They contruct both happiness as well as sadness.  These little gems give hope or they pull rugs out from beneath dreams.  Great intentions die on the battle fields when targeted by sharp words of negativity.

Kingdoms are promoted by words.  Dreams are fulfilled by them.  Success is due to them.

May we awaken to the one thread of successful kingdom life.  It is always found in the words we use.

Use them guardedly well, my friend.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014



Church is a triple-edged word, it seems.  It is loved.  It is also despised.  In many ways it is ignored.

Those of us in it surely care about the church-at-large.  We wish for acceptance; yet have sympathy for those who don't see church as much of a blessing.  I, therefore, alert us (the churches) to be aware of the multitudes who have washed their hands of our lingo, our facade, and our oft spiritual arrogance.

How I earnestly yearn for there to a be a meeting of the hearts.  By God's grace and mercy, this might at least increase.  I don't blame those who can't take us.  I get it. So, may I toss a couple of ideas your way for your consideration?

One, let's talk about building hope in those who frankly can't take organized religion. Yes, we organizers have our glaring faults.  And, these faults have become nothing more than crutches for generations of people who simply don't take the time to think; to investigate the very thing they mock.

By this I mean to inquire, do those who reject the idea of God do so because of honest search or is it, rather, a matter of moving thoughtlessly with the herd of unbelievers? Do you not notice life after death; like the seed in the ground or the caterpillar transforming into a butterfly?  Do you nonchalantly shrug at your own impending death with lazy disregard for your spirit which yearns for more than this life?

Why would you gamble yourself away in disinterest without research?  Should you deeply ponder the concepts of God and reject them, so be it.  But to pass through this life with no attention to Him because your circle of friends has inherited the same neutrality from their families is a grave mistake; emphasis grave.

Two, let's address the hope of those of us in organized religion.  We are perpetually shooting ourselves in the foot when we wish unbelievers would join our ranks; and yet we send constant signals of not doing so well ourselves.  Something catastrophic has happened/is happening to churches.  Church has become our god and Jesus has been reduced to a name to close out our prayers.

Christianity has been traded for Churchianity.  We have substituted life in Jesus for the gods of doctrine, habit, and debate.  The world has gone deaf to our call because our voices have grown hoarse from yelling at one another.  We may feel smug about being in Truth while the TRUTH is we find ourselves losing ground.  Would this be because of God's indifference?  Or, could it rather be due to our failure to center upon Jesus?

The strong hope of the church is that the church will get back to knowing and loving Jesus.  We have fallen prey to too many false gods within our walls.  Therefore what we want becomes suspect and rightfully so.  We want things for the kiddies, for the ladies, for the men's groups, for the worship style, and the for the missions efforts.

The question of church strength lies within none of the above.  Only one matter is most essential; but we are numb to the need.  Are we in deeply in love with God?  Or are we enamored with the multifaceted aspects of church?  The former breathes life into every congregation while the latter smothers and suffocates.

May both groups experience a new and stronger hope of the church because our beautiful congregations become increasingly devoted to giving praise to God before we specialize in any other spiritual effort.  Maybe if we churches could gain momentum in honoring our God, He would in turn nudge those who see us as suspect to be drawn to Him as well.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


I had cataract surgery yesterday.  It was a success this time through.  Very happy.

Can't be at the computer long, so just sending this much out.

Thanks for you prayers.  I am most grateful.

Sunday, July 06, 2014


Most naturally I have a special inclination to root for our preachers; especially the younger ones.  You have taken on one of the most paradoxical tasks on earth.  You will work with the divine Spirit while being enmeshed in some of our most enormous flesh struggles; yours and ours.

I cannot tell you how much I fear for you.  I fear you won't know what to do with criticism.  Oppositely, I fear just as strongly that you will misinterpret things that don't go your way as another's fault.  Not everything will be your fault; yet much of it can and might be.  All things will be for your advantage.  My fear is that you would scamper off to another place which has hidden the very same attacks awaiting down the road.

But to override my fear, I must tell you how much I love you.  I love it that you have a vast imagination for what can be.  I love you for launching out after your heart's dream.  I love you for subjecting your family to both the joys and the trials of being a follower of Him.

When you encounter unfair words and treatment, don't flinch.  Because of the style of Jesus we must learn from the tough times.  These are also gifts.  No one is to go into ministry with the assumption of any other route than experiencing deep pain and frustration.  Such is the picture from the cross.

Churches aren't what we should be.  Many, however, just need a preacher to believe in them.  Elders may have traits that hinder the work; but they really could be blessed by a preacher who believes in them.  Those who seem to be on the edge of the fellowship circle and question their value really need a minister to notice their strong points.

And I know this sounds so backward, young men, but the strongest thing you have going for you is your weakness...II Cor. 12:9.  I know.  I know what it's like to wish we were pulpit stars and managerial gurus.  But we are not.  We are plain, common, and obviously (to all) lacking.

Nonetheless, we will not hide.  Neither will we pretend to be of a rank or a level that we are not.  We will use our weaknesses as a holy stage for God to demonstrate His dynamic.  We will not shrink in fear but we will arise in Holy Spirit confidence that we are enough as long as He is the One empowering.

Do not overestimate your sharpness.  We are never more than a nobody.  It is the secret of the kingdom system that God uses all of us leasts who allow God room to show His stuff.  Try not to be jealous of any other minister you would believe has been targeted by God for the big stuff.  It is easy to let this happen.

But, our role is to tell Him thank you for the ways He is choosing to use us to reach the world.  You most likely assume that you are not a big deal.  Good.  We aren't. However, we are in His eyes when we walk in humility alongside the Spirit of Jesus.

Saturday, July 05, 2014


Mankind is out of control for one very simple reason; mankind has taken control.

Since those dark days of the Garden where Adam and Eve sinned, one may note that their rebellion against God came upon their move to take control of the situation. Control was their first and most immediate move.  Their trust in God dissolved.  At that point man invaded a territory not intended for him.  The transition of a take-over was then completed.

Until we meet Jesus, we are stuck with our own best guesses as to what to do next.

After all of these years, man remains obsessed with control.  Preachers cause church havoc when we must control the workings of the congregation.  Congregations are thwarted and stifled because many of the elders insist upon restricting the church to abide within their narrow perception of what church should be.  Families suffer constant disruption over the same issue as husbands and wives face off.

One might want to note that fear is the culprit behind man's magnificent obsession.  It was with the Original couple...and nothing has changed thus far.

In the Garden, the original tandem sinned and then took over.  They made executive decisions as if it was theirs to make....they would hide.  Furthermore, they determined what men should wear as a well as women.  When approached by God they had answers...their answers....their dim, narrow, restricted, and fear-loaded answers.

It should be no surprise to the spiritually-minded that one trait of the fruit of the Spirit is that of self-control.  I mean, really, of the nine variations listed is this one not a seeming oddity?  Yet, self-control is ushered by the Holy Spirit because we make such a mess of it on our own.

Control is a sin that won't go down easy.  It is such a hard-core impediment that only the Spirit can muster the kind of trait we so desperately need.

But when we think about it, once again God makes perfect sense.  The reason we need the Spirit to yield self-control fruit is because we are so failing at it.  We need self-control to refrain from trying to control people and circumstances.

This is very necessary today.

Man cannot stop our dominating nature.  We want things to go our way.  We insist they go our way in many places or else we will move on to where it does.  Would divorce or church split or contempt or family feud ring a bell for any of you?  Just as Adam and Eve, man still believes we are in the best know.

We are not in the know.  Yet, we are obsessed with convincing ourselves that we are and every time such a conviction comes along, due to our manipulative management, we make a such a mess of things.  This is the fruit of the Garden; not the fruit of the Spirit.

It must occur to us that the reason for the fruit of Holy Spirit of self-control is to help us refrain from issuing our sort of earthy regulation.  We need Him to bear His fruit through us because we are more than lousy at self-control; we are sinful about it.

Spirit fruit of self-control is the opposite of man's.  In it we find He helps us to keep quiet, to refrain from demanding my way or the highway, and to yield to God's daily leadership rather than trusting in our own.  Our own, by the way, is simply an interfering protrusion of what we believe best into the lives of those around us.

Man's magnificent obsession to control how the church goes, as well as what you/I want, is currently detrimental to the life of every congregation; and every individual in it.  We have been groomed by guys like me to do this and don't do that according to our best fleshly ingenuity.  We have given little attention to God's will regarding the Holy Spirit fruit of self-control in us.

May we grow together in the Spirit of Christ.  May we trade our self-control darkness for the Spirit's self-control light.  Upon this transition we will find that our magnificent obsession is to stay out of the way rather than impose our fears in the name of truth and righteousness.

Jesus moves us to a New Garden.  May we take on the new self-control that he has in mind; that of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, July 03, 2014


I can't think of a more impossible concept for the human mind to encounter other than faith.  Due to patterns and habits, we in the church may have a tendency to undermine its dynamic by discussing it in more routine and explainable framework. Rather than be lifted into faith's balcony, the natural mind tries to pull faith down into the corridors of rationalization.

Truthfully, however, faith is surely a spiritual horse of a different color.  We just must not lose the intrigue nor the suspense of this Word-backed call.  After all, we are to be BELIEVErs.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...(Hebrews 11:1)

When one scans what is known as the Faith Chapter in Hebrews 11, impossible settings becoming actual are listed.  Faith does that.  Nothing else.

Everything else insists that there be a formula, an equation, or a pattern of effort equaling results.  Not faith.  Faith to the human mind is the ultimate conspiracy of foolishness.  I love love what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:26-30.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God.

I  L-O-V-E  T-H-I-S.  Nothing lets me into the front lines of kingdom opportunity more than this text.  I am the most nothing person I ever met.  It is strange that I no longer spend my days in deep depression.  As long as I have been in ministry, I still don't know what to do next.  I'm the picture of the text above.  Therefore, I am so glad He would let me in!  I am in!

And you?  How about you?  My guess is that many of you feel as I; small, insignificant, and clueless.

But faith is.  Faith is the factor that ruins intelligent calculation.  Faith upsets fleshly-minded assumption.  Faith pierces the impossibility veils.  Faith insists that what can't possibly be can actually become.  Anyone remember old Abraham and his great-grandmother-aged wife named Sarah?  Anyone remember that incident at the Red Sea?  Oh, and the emptied tomb of Jesus?

Faith plays havoc with the natural mind.  Such a mind cannot and will not wrap around faith concepts.  But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (I Cor. 2:14).

What is it that allows men and women and children to dare to tackle the unthinkable, the impossible, the unimaginable and encounter successful results?

Faith is it.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


There has been hesitation on my part to post this one.  My concern is that I would be venturing out into the area the Word warns against; that of offering ignorant speculation.  However, I have such a perpetual and strong sense for the following that I dare go ahead and make a statement.  There will be effort to speak with care.

Turbulence is mounting in the mid-East.  Boundaries are being re-defined as warring parties push and pull.  Borders are blurred and fright fills the homes of the innocent. The simplicity of family and business life is being pounded by bullies with heavy-hitting artillery.  For thousands this has to be a never-ending nightmare.

We can no longer believe that 9/11 is now serving as a mere memory marker. Rather, it could be the introduction to the possibility of a potentially larger chaos. Having been struck once on our turf was, indeed, hard for America to swallow.

I believe more is coming and it may not be restricted to one location; but many, simultaneously.

Should such happen, just as church houses were packed with voluntary prayer groups during the week following 9/11, we can count once again on intensified leanings toward the spiritual.  As sturdy believers, we must imagine massive disruption to things like our water supplies and/or our communication abilities.  In addition, we must practice calm confidence in the Spirit of God regardless of what is thrown our way.

Does anyone recall two of God's servants who were imprisoned?  And they were singing?

We know agony by watching Jesus.  We have a leader who hung upon the brutal cross.  He did not flinch.  He endured to the end that as he hung upon the tree we might, in the future, hang upon his words.

Review Philippians 4:4-9.  Note the traits that are to be ours.  Especially note the call to practice these things.  Preparation for the possible shaking of America will not come about in places to hide; but in practices.  Practice thinking about the lovely and the excellent.  Practice thinking about the hope and the joy.

Truly, I don't mean to be a nay-sayer of doom and gloom.  Rather, I intend to be one voice among many that would call attention to serious threats to where and how we live.  We cannot pretend that war is for all soils but ours.  Neither can we afford to live in denial that extremists are global.

What we can do is concentrate on transferring our Sunday school discussions into actual fearless conduct.  May we be a people inclined to pay attention to the fervent life of the Spirit of God.  Furthermore, may we conclude that our assuring hope is found in the Son of God who gives us life abundant...regardless of circumstances.

Intimidation is wasted breath when cast toward followers of the one who defied the confines of a cold dark tomb.  Fear is to fade.  Faith is to arise.  Let our hearts be on fire in gratitude for our Living God.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Shallowness bugs me.  I'm shallow.  I bug myself.

To listen to those of us serious about God and kingdom life, one might believe we are among the more serious.  Well, I think we places.  Yet, by noting those we deem less devoted, we simultaneously commit increasing shallowness.

We are not to compare ourselves.  When we says II Corinthians 10:12...we are without understanding.

I would not know of the multiple ways to grow deeper in the Spirit.  I do know that for me a beginning would be for me to curtail my constant assessment that I am better than others.  Oh, I try not to be blatantly obvious; yet, inwardly I speak so critically of so many who aren't as me.

BTW...none of you are like me!  And, aren't you relieved?!

We must guard against a very errant assumption that we are ever smarter, wiser, or better than others?  In places, we may be.  Yet how quickly we forget our own chasmonic gaps.  Or, how sadly we never acknowledge them.

Regardless, we have a calling to develop in the Holy Spirit of Jesus.

For many of us, a good place to start would be to refrain from elevating ourselves by mistaken and faulty comparison with another.  As each of us is gifted by His Spirit, we each must remember our sins are so dark that it took the Son of God to be executed upon the cross for all; no exceptions...only eventual exemptions by His abundant mercy and grace.