Thursday, December 31, 2015


Do you ever wish that some magic wand would let you continue to live while, simultaneously, you would discover it was a different you?  In other words, don't you find it strange that we can be so very critical of others when we are equally displeased with ourselves?

Some egos believe we are better than others.  Other egos are the reverse.  I'm both.  I often meet myself coming and going on the same highway.  It's very possible that I can wave at myself as I and the other me pass one another.

Everywhere I go I find that I'm there, too.

One me has great ideas with ambition to match.  The other me which rides in the car with the me me is riddled with hesitancy; even disbelief.  Thus as two opposing winds blow, an inner storm of sorts begins to brew.  Should I?  Shouldn't I?  Could I? Couldn't I?

A clue to the troubles this duality brings on is simply (and I'm sure you already see it) that I remain at the center.  Good comes from one me while evil proceeds from the other.  This is an across-the- board dilemma for humanity as well as huwomanity.

This, then, leads to one of the things I love about God.  He has us covered.  He didn't wink at my sins.  Rather, he caused his Son to become them on the cross.  The one me, the junk me, died on the cross.  The other me, the new me, was raised to walk a new life when I was baptized.  I became a new person.

To be a Christian does not mean that sin has subsided.  It does mean that God has paid the debt; the growing debt, the continuing debt.  God wiped the slate of the old flesh me and continues to mop up after me.  The new me gets to live in the imagination of God's glory.  It takes faith to accept this.

So it is, I believe, about you as well.  We are of kindred spirits.  We like the likable parts and so dislike the aggravating portions.  We are so alike in the human contraption.

There is such hope!  We possess true reason to lift our heads and move forward.  When we are baptized to have our sins washed away while at that moment receiving the Holy Spirit, it is then that God perpetually rinses our blemishes.  We come out squeaky clean.

Everywhere I go I find that I'm there, too is no longer the case.  With Jesus living within me, everywhere I go, He is there, too.  Life...real not about me/us.  It is about Him in us.  It is this for which we strive, wish, even hunger.  We want to be more than we improved version.

We will never get there...ever...on our own striving effort.  He will get us there.  By faith we let Him into us.  By faith He does more with me than I could ever do with ten mes.  And this is His calling.  Let go and let God.  Believe.  Believe that He can and that we can't....unless we surrender so that He can run the show.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Not everyone is like me.  Some really do have a great grasp of inner confidence as well personal security.  Me?  Not so much; but today is a much improved me.  I learned through severity an approach that, if it helps me, it might be of value to some of you.

Herein is what I've learned.

We go through the negatives to better understand others who battle demons like ours. That just happens to be the intent of the Son of God; learn what it's like to be human.  I know of a lot of people whose lives are under control and they know how to weather the storms.  But some of us shrink in fear of the unknown...and the uncertainty of difficult moments.

So consider the prophet of old who was one who learned how to negotiate the strong winds of opposition.  He didn't allow such to take him out of the contest.  Rather, he reset his determination as an eagle would its wings permitting the oncoming and forceful air to lift him even higher.

How do we weather the storms?  We hit them head on and use them to our advantage. Jesus even made a productive weapon out of death.  He took the very villain of life and used its intimidating process to bring him the highest of all outstanding acclaims.

We are called to follow.  We follow by receiving...from increased power to do more than endure.  We will learn to the take the very things that wish to take us down and, instead, use them to actually lift us up...and take us farther in the realm of success.

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:28-31

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


The subtle rigors of walking upon earth bind us, bind all of us, in ways which we mostly do not detect.  Yet, we are unconscious to our missing out.  We could even be found to be quite prideful of our limitations; unaware, but nonetheless limited.

Whether it be relational, political, or financial, ideas which would offer both improvement and progress await.  Some tap into this mountain range containing buried gold.  Others of us outsmart ourselves by believing we have conquered understanding. reality...we haven't.

Of course, I'm leading up to a discussion about the spiritual realm.  This field is of great interest to so many including me.  When I entered this zone, I was not prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.  I thought you read your Bible, offer a prayer here and there, and do your best to keep a strong attendance record at the local church.

I didn't know there would be more...much more...lots more.

Church is not a group of people who go through the week dispensing little godlet sayings of affirmation...or correction.  No.  It is a group of faithers learning to toss down the stones of criticisms toward others.  It is an entirely new world; but it does (admittedly) tend to look old.

So what's new?

Faith in God will break the human code of limitations.  Impossible yields to possibility. What can't work; does.  God will never be cornered by human discovery nor will He be subject to our church-invented systems.  God will always be God and we will always find a calling of submission to His glory.

Truth be told, in church we bring in the relational, the political, and the financial rigidity.  Add to that the spiritual hunt for Truth.  Restriction from discovery comes about due to our ever-absolute insistence that our ten or twelve concepts are right and we will defend them to the grave.  In this we miss out on the wonder of the Creator as we order Him to scoot over so we might man or woman the ship.

American churches are in a fierce power struggle with the God who created us.  Our belief system has been taken captive by our individual favoritism toward a relative's religious bent or a personal hang-up or even a church label.  We are closed to God's interactive hand because we parade extreme bias...and then spend our lives defending ourselves in the name of God's will.

Why are we so afraid to cut loose and live?  We are afraid because we insist we are right and some will die in this biggest error of all.  We are afraid to learn about God because of what others will think about us.  We sat with those friends and together we mocked the ignorance of the religious.  This is sheer cowardice.

Finally, I think we are afraid to cut loose and live because of our age.  Believing ourselves to be wise, in reality we are stuck; formed by a host of misconceptions that bore no joy, peace, or hope.

I'm still in the process of learning.  Yes, criticism comes my way for not holding to the ten or twelve claims that supposedly made us who we are.  But we are to be one thing; God's.  It takes more than attendance plus rigid doctrine to please God.  It takes bold moves of stepping out on the waters of the unknown trusting that God will supply the information as well as the support to carry us through.

Monday, December 28, 2015


From the moment Adam and Eve faltered in the Garden, mankind has been on a slope of banana peels ever since.  Spurts of accessibility to the Living God hit our hearts routinely.  Forward we move.  Backward we slide.  Our hopes are that the forward steps surpass the backward ones.

I'm concerned about my/our faith.  Has it basically been neutered?  Do we walk by faith or do we, rather, repeat faith equations while we indulge the flesh?  Are we a people of certainty in the invisibles?  Or, have we adapted to the point we dress up our carnality and force it into thoughtful ministries?

In general, there seems to be a boredom accompanying both spirit ritual and service. Take a look at the condition of mankind; rich or poor, educated or un.  There has been a tremendous shift from living in the power of God to operating by the force of man. The result is continued church activity accompanied by great disinterest in the invisibles.

The apostle made an earth-rattling statement when he voiced, 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 His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Why the eyes of our hearts and not simply our eyes?  There is a great divide between what we see in the invisibles and what we note by the visible.  This is a serious, life-transforming, systems-rattling, call.  Truthfully, the flesh is locked in on the latter.

Living by the invisible reality, then, would find us praying; whereas the flesh-eyes see prayer as dull, boring, time-consuming and basically useless.  Living by the unseen functions in a realm of hope that the carnal-eyes cannot focus upon.  In other words, they just don't believe it.

Added blessings of operating by the invisibles would include forgiveness of an enemy, giving of funds we think we need, and study of the Word of God.  The flesh responds: as if that's going to do any good!

Faith---this will be a profound statement---walks by faith.  It doesn't labor under our managerial ability nor or controlling succinctness.  Faithers baffle un-faithers as the latters claim; say it ain't so!

It is so.  Faith eyes believe on the very concourse where regular eyes doubt.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


It seems that the starkest faith issue facing us is whether we believe God.  I say this fully aware that we religious sorts have mantled and dismantled things like who handles the missions money, what qualifies a Sunday School teacher, and when, where, if, and how to take communion,

Beneath our subconcerns is a bigger one.  Is God real?

Is there life after death?  Will there be a Heaven and if so will it come in colorful and living activity? Or, will it be as some assume; black and while boredom where we sit on very log pews and continue to listen to those sermons that seemed like eternity when on earth?

Believing God is always the task of the day for any who just aren't sure.  It seems that some give up their doubt at the very end since death is eminent anyway; might as well try the belief route since there would be nothing to lose.

However, the Bible is packed with such a mighty message; the invisibles are true (Hebrews 11;1).  Jesus (the one who's birth is continually validated on every currently dated document, every calendar, and every tombstone) is a historical figure.  His outlandish works were more than fascinating; they were verified.

The ancient Spirit of then is the same Spirit of today; opening doors, closing others, and bearing His fruit of love and peace through the hearts of believers who aren't in loving or peaceful situations.

God proves over and over that death after life is legit.  We see it from grains of corn dying and from other garden seeds sprouting after melting into the earth as dead.

Yet the fact remains.  The hope of life after death is a mystery...that I personally want all of us to be in on.

What I like about the Kingdom of God is that His works show up now, today, at the moment.  He is productive through weakness of people; just like He said He would (II Corinthians 12:9).  He brings hope to captives.  He is not dependent upon whether our days are good or bad ones; He blesses us in the midst of both sorts.

I understand the wobbliness of believing the factuality of God.  We sorta, kinda, wanna go down that street; yet, it seems to be so blind from the eye-sight point of view. That....would be called faith; believing what isn't yet while knowing that life will absolutely come from fragmentary and disruptive (but oh so temporary) death.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


There is a worm--a religious one--that is eating away at the church plant.  It's nothing new.  As a matter of fact, it is so not new that the secret to it's lengthy tenure is that it goes about its work completely unnoticed.  This thief is a crawler whose mobility is so undetected that man may often take on the burglar's ideas as his own.

We churchers would understand this concept quite well under the terminology of "within-the-four-walls".  Much of the general religious public's faith is built upon what happens during the one or two hour gathering on Sunday mornings.  It is here that lines are drawn, codes are established, and ruts are built.  It is here that many participants' egos are entrenched in "taking stances" which have much to do about preference and possibly less to do with God's merciful revelation.

The law within-the-four-wall religion has slipped largely into the rules and regulations of the more prominent members.  Speaking in tongues takes on a very weird twist because within these spiritual structures, money talks.  This truth crosses all denominational borders.

I'm in this mix.  It is not a "they" thing to me...nor most likely to you.  If we are to follow Jesus we must ever be on the alert to refraining from slipping into "my-way-or-the-highway" thrust of much of modern religion's habit.  There is more to us than our Sunday best us.  The "more" would be God; and He still knows stuff we don't.

Therefore, I encourage us to perpetually work at breaking from our own imposing modes.  May we soar in our faith rather than be sore about another's. May we be known as praisers of God more than being known for "where we stand" which often really means, "where we sit".

The law "within-the-four-wall" religion will always be a challenge to break open and to break out.  Humanity, in general, has taken twenty-five or forty-three Bible truths and built forts against the community when it is that very community we should be letting in.

Thursday, December 24, 2015


Merry Christmas!

It is this time of year that is for the enthused all of us.  Only the adult-in-mind seems to grump and growl; might spew and sputter at this time of year.  The rest of us kids and kids-at-heart love, love, love Christmas!

Of all of the times that Jesus was teaching regarding we must become child-like in order to enter the kingdom of God, this time of year seems to display more clearly what he might mean.  The child-heart treasures life; especially at Christmas!

The aging process has an inbuilt problem.  It goes on unnoticed; really, neglectful of Jesus' plea.  We, instead, are taught to grow up.  The reason this is a concrete stress is that maturing has assumed to mean that we must become more logical, more reasonable, less wowed, and less enamored regarding our walk.

Of course, this requires a measureness (most likely I just made a logical/reasonable call), as we begin to believe that we are not called to be silly, foolish, and ridiculous. But this measurement does not/will not support our informationalistic adult agenda because faith very much tilts toward the foolish.

Thus, we must ever be on guard against guiding solid spirituality by trying to be book-smart and human-coy.  Adulthood must be aware of the cunning thief; that one that pleases itself by appearing all grown up.  In fact it likely desires to be so adultish that it cannot enjoy family, shopping, holiday emphasis or the thrill of the wonder of it all.

Jesus began his time on earth as a child.  He seemed to never have lost sight of the incredible moment.  He was so alive at every turn, every wave, every routine-to-others moment.  He really lived.  His Word calls for the same from us.  The Apostle wrote in First Thessalonians of the fact that he REALLY LIVED because of the faith of others.

That's what we are to do; really live!  Children tend to show us the trek, the course, the responsive wow at Christmas!  May we regain and maintain our childlike heart to REALLY LIVE because we remember the impactful secret of being as a child.

Take in the next few days, dear friend.  Don't be so distracted by the rude, the selfish, or the consumer-brained.  Rather, relax.  Notice the beauty of smiles, the warmth of friends, and the treasure of happy everywhere we turn.

This is how children see it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


One passing by a barnyard in years of old, would never have guessed that it was destined to be a celebrated location of God.  The barn was behind the Holiday Inn where guests would park their animals overnight in order to move out in the next day or two on their long journey.

 A quite humble family was found sleeping among the camels and mules and cows. They surely must have taken on a--shall we say--certain odor?  Of course it wasn't any ordinary family.  You have that much figured.  It was a young couple anticipating their first child.  He would be known as Jesus.

Even from his birth, Jesus was of plain reputation.  The reason that so many wouldn't/couldn't take him seriously is that he didn't have the markings of a King.  He was so plain-clothed.  His deeds?  Ah, they are definitely celebrated; but the boy/eventual man himself?  Not so much.

There is a message/trend in this plain-clothed life.  This is how, where, and who God uses to reach the world.  When Jesus was executed upon the rugged Cross, he died a plain-clothed man.  No parade.  No fanfare.

Where the disciples had hoped for bold resistance, they walked away in timid remorse that this plain-clothed man was not going to walk the way he had talked.  Even the sun blinked.  It was a bad day on the hill.  Such hopes in the plain-clothed man; but not to be....they assumed.

Jesus was so common that toward the end he appeared to be a sham.  He evidently wasn't King after all.  Instead....he was dead.  Yet, all of this misgiving was embedded in the intentional plot of Father to rescue the masses.

Three days after entering the tomb, Jesus exited.  He returned to Father and Father sent the Spirit if Jesus back to earth.  He sent Him back to live where?  To live where my friend?  To live in plain people; common, ordinary people.

Today, Jesus remains plain-clothed.  Not in robes or Middle Eastern garb; but Jesus is robed in human beings.  He roams earth in humanity; we very plain people.  It's both strange and yet so powerful.  Plain-clothed Jesus continue to reside, not in kingly robes, but within men and women who are quite common.

From Jesus' birth to today, he is just so insignificantly common--such a plus--while he brings legitimate hope to all of the world.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Why is it that some people seem to have all of the right breaks when others can't seem to be as blessed?  Is it a matter of the luck of the draw?  Or, the spin of the wheel?  Or, that proverbial silver spoon?  What separates the haves from the have-nots?

I didn't know this for the longest time, but anyone who has a life of good fortune does so simply by a stroke of one thing; a decision.  We decide how our life shall go.  Oddly, that most likely just aggravated some who wish to blame; blame another person, blame a circumstance, or....blame God.

But it is quite true, whether one has a life of good fortune is dependent upon only one thing; our decisions.

The victory is found in our focus.  Every person I know--zero exceptions--experiences enough stress, even painful disappointment, to keep the depression mill a-going. Every person.  Not just the poor.  Not just the unemployed.  Not just the under-appreciated.  Not just the forgotten.  E-v-e-r-y-b-o-d-y!

The difference between the succeeders and the failers is whether one decides to note the abundant blessings which are owned by every person; no exception.  There are a tremendous amount of poor, unemployed, and under-appreciated who are delightfully sweet and cordial.  Simultaneously, there is an adequate amount of the rich, famous, and blessed who are miserable snobs who seemingly cannot strike a pleasurable pose.

We.  Are.  All.  In.  The.  Same.  Boat.

Each of us faces enough threat and trouble; yet, if we could know about the real struggles of others which are going on behind the scenes, we would wrap our own pressures and count them as gifts.  I know of no man or woman who does not face impending heart-breaking disruption along the way.  But, the victorious choose--that's right, choose--to count their blessings; sometimes even due to the disruption.

A group of us got to meet with a middle-aged woman this week who has not had it easy. Her love abandoned her and their children.  She is a quiet, humble, lady who has seen her dreams crash against the shores of discouragement.

So do you know what she is choosing to do about it?  Efforts to reconcile have failed; but by faith she made a decision to transform this pain into a ministry of reaching to the lonely and abandoned of the divorced scene by developing an outlandishly good arrangement for a support group of these who face similar pains.

Cry?  Lots.  Decide to use it for good?  Scheduled for immediate ministry to encourage others.  This person decided to be blessed and to be a blessing.  It could have been easier for her to live in remorse.  But she made the decision to live otherwise.

To live a life of good fortune might begin by noting that our eyes just read these words as so many have no sight.  We might be thankful for what we have; which would be a very long list compared to what we don't have.  Gratitude sees that the glass holds water whether half full or half empty.

Any who live in misery live there only because we give ourselves permission.  We hold the key to the jail cell.  We determine if we enter to brood or if we break out of jail to enjoy a coffee when we want.  I spent too long unblessing myself with "what if" and "how come" questions while neglecting the fact that so much of what I had would be counted as wealth by others.

Good fortune isn't an inheritance of jewels, land, or finances.  It is rather the riches which pump like an oil field through the minds of winners who select the GLAD button over the SAD one.  Good fortune is always a choice....Romans 5:1-5.

Monday, December 21, 2015


Faith sees.  You know that don't you?  Faith peers through the visible veil into the true what is yet possible to become portion of our very practical lives.

Faith is not a game of Guessmanship where the one whose best guesses come true wins.  Faith brings about.  It creates.  It is a non-fleshly dynamic that believes when it can't understand.  Thus the trial of such an important factor that is to be a strength in our walk.

When I was preaching in the mid-70s in Quincy, Illinois, I was at an ideal church where Mary and I were really fortunate to be a part of God's work.  My biggest prayer was that God would help me reach the whole world.

Memorial Drive in Tulsa called in 1977 as they were looking for a new guy.  What an honor; but of course my response was no but thank you.  I continued my prayer to reach the whole world and during one of those hit hit me really hard.  What if I was saying no to His yes prayer?

So I called back to Tulsa, flew in for an interview and the very first words from my mouth were, I can't possibly move here.  I love it in Quincy.  Against my deepest emotions we packed up the U-Haul and cried our way to Oklahoma.  Miserable, discouraged, going against ourselves, we arrived.

I wept for six months.  I missed home.  But I knew something; something beyond reason, beyond the visible.  God would respond to my prayer from here. And He did.  And....He does.

It says of Abraham, known as the Father of Faith, that he went out not knowing where he was going.  Really?  That's leadership?  That's a man whom one can have strong confidence?  Yes.  And yes.  An then yes, again.

Our problem is that we want to walk by sight and yet label it faith.  And, that doesn't work.  We are called to walk by faith and not by sight.  The church is stuck, very stuck, because it generally functions in its patterns and programs by the human calculation. There is little fire, if any.

Faith isn't easy.  It is risky.  It appears to be most foolish.  And, it often goes against the grain of the very people we are trying to lead.  Just read about Moses trying to lead God's people according to God's direction.  It was a holy fiasco.

We are called; not to the useless and the boring.  No, we are called to the fantastic which can only come about because someone(s) of faith can envision God's accomplishments for His people while the followers might sneer and jeer.

Dare to light the torch of faith.  Keep it burning by the fuel of the Holy Spirit.  Believe past what you can see.  And...get ready to be wowed.

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Could it be that a very simple adjustment would make us, the church, have greater impact immediately?  Is there possibly a posture of ours that holds us back?  Do we have a practice that puts evangelism in a straight-jacket?

I was thinking about my style this morning as I backed my car from the driveway.  It is this first thing tradition I have every morning of giving vocal praise to God; thanking Him for street decor, neighbors, homeless, special friends who need prayers, etc.  But today something different occurred as I entered into my drive-closet.

I transitioned from my list to simple, steady, and singular vocalization of only one matter.  I spent all of my time listing the things I love about Him.  While I try to improve as praising Him, this morning seemed different as it was somewhat of a precious moment where He was the topic, the subject, the receiver, and the honored.

After this time of offering God my meager brags of Him, something else occurred that I bring before you.  Do you think is possible that we have made gods of our churches?

Just as one could spend time praying without offering much adoration to Him specifically, is it very likely that God has been asked by congregations to take the back pew while we brag, parade, and adore the many valuable things our churches do?

I could be off-base.  My vision may be blurred.  But I do ask the question.  We, as churches, might make significant progress if we were as vocal to our communities about Father as we are delightfully vocal about our worship style, our class offerings, and our missions efforts.

The latter are so very valuable that I don't wish to minimize any of them.  Yet, my question is asking if within our structure and thinking patterns, have we minimized God Himself?

Friday, December 18, 2015


It does seem that so much of life has traps set just waiting for the snare.  The captured are usually us.  What's worse is that if not careful we begin to assume that's the way life goes; snagged, injured, discouraged, and even worse....stuck.  But it is not supposed to be this way.

Jesus didn't experience punishment on the cross and then declare; Let me pay you back by making you go to church.  You know that I like  But it wasn't always that way.  (And yes, my critics, I know that church isn't the building, it's the people.)  To many the church represents anything but new.

Cutting edge?  Current grasp?  Effective reach?  These terms might fit Facebook or Twitter; but would hardly ever be used as an accusation toward the church.  And, while this might be true, it is wrong for the church to be behind.  There should be nothing newer in the communities than our churches.


We believers are called to be new creatures; old things have passed away and new things have come.  But this isn't the trend.  The route that we take is basically what worked yesterday is good enough for me to day.  Serious thought must be given if this is our doctrine and practice.

The very essence of being born again is to start life over; not in sitting upright in a pew and paying attention, but to take on a new heart for an entirely new kind of life.  It isn't a matter of stopping doing bad things and beginning to do good things.  It's more.  It's a transformational experience just as a caterpillar transitions into a butterfly.

Can you imagine a butterfly that still crawls?

If butterflies still crawled they wouldn't be butterflies.  They would be  known as buttercrawlers.

Christians are to be new people (born again, John 3;3-5) who are in perpetual, constant, repetitive in in new again.  Christianity is being blunted by steady input to cling tightly to the past.  Preference may win the battle; but no productivity will signal the war was lost.

Therefore we do not lose heart, though the outer man may be decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day (II Cor. 4:17). by day by day. Butterflies are not commissioned to crawl.  May Christians learn to fly in the exploration of experiential renewal.

I want to quit my crawling.  I want to stop my old-habit-limiting of the faith concepts.  I want to fly in the new; not grovel in the old arguments that still don't produce new life. How many churches out- duel other churches in their Sunday School class chatter while neither of the groups rage with a fire for effective evangelism?

So I ask if you would pray for me.

I want to meet with radical Muslim leaders to see where they hurt, where they are distracted, and how Jesus might begin to occur as more than a Prophet to them.  I want to know what it is about our outreach efforts that are ineffective because such are weary-worn.  I want to know what ideas God would have for effective evangelism that would surpass what the Silicon Valley could imagine, create, and produce in their admirable display of thinking new.

I want to be as a butterfly that....gets to fly.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


Radical Islam is making the headlines.  This group is intentionally aggressive against the Christian (and others) nation solely due to their doctrinal impetus.  This isn't a religion gone haywire.  No, this is the activity of a segment of earthlings which is driven by conviction to expand their borders of influence to the ends of the world.

The radical Muslim reach is broad.  News has spread.  Abuse, murder, even beheadings seem to elevate exactly what these religious leaders have in mind; run over the top of anyone, any group who stands in the way.  Theirs is not a board game. Neither is it a vague concept.  It.  Is.  Here.

Having pointed to this situation in brevity, I do so to redirect our thoughts toward us. Where do we fit in this scheme of aggression?  Do we have a place.  Should we?

Could we consider that we are called to Radical Christianity?  Might we evaluate just what it is and where it is that we stand for in a religion which holds to a firm call of God?

Look at Jesus.  Radical or moderate?  To oppose the strongest leaders of the Law says radical.  He was neither intimidated nor was he mediocre.  Of course he was the strongest and the clearest regarding being radical when he was poised on the cross, absorbing our sins, and calling for preposterous forgiveness.

This.  Is.  The epitome of radical.

And just what is it that we are called to do?  We are to take up our crosses and follow suit.  We are not called to take up our song books, our pet peeves, nor our specified that-is-where-my-family-sits pew.  We are called to live in radical style.

A radical Christian doesn't quit when feelings get hurt.  This sort doesn't complain; but rather prays believing that even what isn't yet can become.  To think that dead settings and attitudes can somehow be resurrected to become productive and useful is....R A D I C A L.

To sense being blessed when things are going wrong is radical.  To forgive enemies is radical.  To endure hardship unfairly is radical.  To know that the end on earth isn't the end is radical.

Therefore, the term radical is not owned by the Islamic State.  It is to be by possessed by the Christian Nation as well.  Their weapons include knives to cut throats and bombs to massacre those in coffee shops.  Our weapon is to defeat that very enemy with a love unknown to human reason.

We saw it in Jesus.  Today (and all of our tomorrows) we are to pick up the cross-baton. This is the positive side of radical...and we are in on it!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Will one find high motivation to dig into spiritual matters because of assignments by a teacher to study a Bible text?  Maybe.  Would one be more likely to make significant changes when becoming acquainted with a neighbor who is of a servant heart? Possibly?  Should there be acceleration of faith interest when testimonies of conversion are given?  Likely.

But there is this one factor that seems to consistently determine whether one is driven to follow God or is indifferent.  The element?  Whether one feels lost.

There might be readers at the moment who....well it might be said are doing quite well; but inwardly it could be verified not so much.  It's a strange thing, life is.  When we seem to have a grasp on matters and everything is going our way there is consistent tendency to innocently assume we are doing fine without this religious stuff.  That's a trend.

And when one, however, finds that the bottom has fallen out of the stock market or the relationship that some begin to get smart.  Life is more than accomplishment; fame, finance, or otherwise.  Life is about the inner person; each of us has one.  God knows all about this as He, after all, created us.

So mark it down, if not now then for later, the very thing that might inspire a follower of Jesus is not that everything turns up roses; but rather that sometimes the thorns cause us to yelp for help.  No one understands pain like Jesus....and no one overcame it like he did.


Every distinctive segment of society (race, religion, etc.) faces similar stresses.  We pretend we are doing okay while there is the constant sense that our eggshell sidewalks are increasingly temporary.

Our problem of the moment is solved by the eternal.

Mankind has gone deaf to the call of God; partly because ministers/followers like me have shouted at our neighbors as a dog barks at a passing car.  Even when our voices grow louder, ears have been trained to ignore.

This is a devastating blow to men, women, and children.  This tide of indifference must be turned back.  Those of us in the hunt for encouraging the world must...simply must...continue to seek those spiritual tools which would break down some very bold barriers.

Jesus is always the way.  There is no other answer nor another solution.  Jesus was perfect in his demeanor, his approach, and his outlook.  He stood for the fatigued and the disadvantaged while brashly against the self-serving religious leaders.  Read your Bibles.  The Book is all about the underdog becoming victorious.

We, mankind, must awaken to more than getting through our days.  We must set aside our religious snobbery of useless infighting and open ourselves to the bigger (much brighter) picture; a wonderful but lost people who are tired of pretending that they are all right when, truthfully, they are terrified to die for fear there is not an eternal tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


No man (or woman) is an island.  But somehow we may have gotten the idea that picking YOURself up by your boot straps is an individual survival mode....that of the fittest, the sharpest, or the top dog in the pound.

It seems that our culture may be bent on individual accomplishment rather than group success.  Have we groaned to win?  To finish at the top?  Alone?  Singularly?  Ahead of all others?

Maybe so for a few.  One thing is true; every person's steam finally evaporates and plans have a way of fading into yesterday's yesterday.  Muscles lose their tone.  Faces sag.  Minds scramble.  And schedules testify that we aren't too fit for bossy calendars.

The good news is that we must not be driven to loneliness; but rather do something about it.  That something is to gain reliance upon the Spirit of God for He surely is present to do for us what we cannot possibly do for ourselves.

Larry Crabb points us in the Spirit direction when we are to be reminded of the power of connection with others:

When we do require that our involvement generate an effect, we usurp the Holy Spirit's role and usually find ourselves in the middle of a power struggle.  The central calling of community is to connect, not disrupt, to release something powerful from within one person into the life of another that calls forth the goodness in another's heart.  And the work of God's Spirit in helping us overcome the obstacles to connecting (wrong agendas like adequacy, confidence, safety, and satisfaction) provides rich opportunities for uniquely powerful connecting.  

If one is star, a team is a meteor shower!

Monday, December 14, 2015


There is so much need among us.  People hurt in such varying ways.  We can help somewhat; we get to assist.  I encourage you to watch for God's leading rather than finding a place where you can serve with a guise of convenience.

Larry Crabb, in his terrific book CONNECTING, spells out a powerful idea.  We prefer instructions on what to do over an invitation to connect our hearts with his and then do whatever he reveals.

It is this factor, or lack thereof, which is embedded within traditional churches.  Struggle is constant.  Just tell us what to do and we'll do it.  We tend to call this a servant's heart when in reality it may possibly be based within hearts which do not pray, do not want to pray, do not wish to find His lead.  

Basically or fundamentally, we want a lazy way out.  Tell me where to deliver the food can override the seeking of God through study and prayer as to who it is that needs to be fed. In these cases we are not in need of God as much as a program director.

I'm not against good deeds.  I do a few myself.  My charge is for us to gravitate toward seeking His leadership and direction which might be a bit different from our fleshly preferences.  Sometimes His calls are threatening; at least intimidating.  

If so, we want to grow in sensing His voice in these matters.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


I'm not saying that we do not face intense concerns.  Neither do I deny them.  Yet I do wish to address wasted focus which falls upon the nervous and the worried; those who conjure fretful matters before they ever arise.

We do not control our days.  No one does.  What I found myself doing to my own life was wasting it by fearful imagination of what might go wrong.  On my bad days, I worried.  On my good days I worried that they would go bad.

The result?  I was never satisfied because I couldn't get happy.

God reverses this dismal trek.  God puts hope into scenarios in the most fascinating of terms.  He delivers.  Truly, God is all about delivering His people.

Trapped by an overflowing sea, God parted the waters to provide His nation escape. Not enough food for the 4000 and then, later, the 5000?  God dealt with it and society is still raving about the historical detail.  The Son of God lay dead in a grave and then...and then the greatest lift in history.

So get this.  Our moment of being trapped or found to be lacking or experiencing dead situations are all temporary due to God's touch.  All are temporary.  Sometimes things get perplexing simply to get us to pay attention to the fact that God really does run this show called LIFE!

Maybe....since God is still active...we could relax just a bit.

Saturday, December 12, 2015


I tell my colleagues two things...repeatedly.  I live like I'm ten years old and I just love right now!

Now you may not need this post as you are doing just fine.  I'm wagering some do.

For too many years I lived hobbled by worry.  Obsessive insecurity will do that to a man.  I felt silly, inadequate, no good, and stuck.  This is why I feel so strongly about the opportunity to believe in God.  He sets us free from those things which try to bully and intimidate us.

When Jesus calls for us to be born again, he means it.  We, as grown-ups, can start life over.  I love it; am fascinated with and by it.

Today, yes I'm still silly, but the difference is that I'm new every day and very happy because knowing God lightens the heart and the load.

I cheer you on.  Wake up to the wonder of you!  It's possible.  It's likely.  It's authentic.

Live like you are ten years old in that you simply love all that you experience....right now!!

Friday, December 11, 2015


Misunderstanding regarding religion is so galore that I hardly know, myself, what it is that I don't get!  There has to be, and I concretely believe there is, more to the concept of believing in God than what I/some-of-us are putting forth.

Faith is more than a church nicety.  Is is more than a step in a salvation plan.  It is a daring way of life for earthlings as we carry on a working agreement with Father.  Faith may be many things; but it is not a neutral and vague concept of dull religious rote.

Faith is the working dynamic between Father and child.

  • Faith is convinced that Father can cause dead things to live and He, too, can calls things into being that don't yet exist...Romans 4:17.
  • Faith is a clear certainty that what is hoped for is on its way while, simultaneously, believing that the workings of God of which we can't see are factual....Hebrews 11:1.
There is a next-step gravely needed in our conversion process.  Churches.  Churches are to be the body of Christ moving about with anticipation, energy, and effectiveness. Yet, there seems to be another slant to this (non)movement where church inhabitors have developed an attitude that it is a place to roost on the pew convinced we have put in our Christian time.

Church houses are not to be storage sheds where members roost and rust over time. Rather they are to be fuel bins supplying this vast world with a new kind of energy that gives off life to dead circumstances.  A new kind of robust hope is to arise across this land because Christian warehouses are to be converted into launching pads where once dull believing is being transposed into brilliant dynamics of light.

What's wrong with this world is not first political bossy pants nor intrusive terrorists. No, the crucial issue before us is that the light which God intended to bless the entire scope of humanity has been hidden under a bushel called the church.

Of the many things we are called to be, it was never to become a place to hide in routine, boring, and traditional church services.  The next step for Christianity will be to trim the wick and allow the light to beam brightly into the dark corners of society.

We can do this because He can do this through us.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


Parables are windows Jesus has built so that we humans can peer into God's Truth. Otherwise, the Divine commentary would be staggering to the human mind.  God is so immeasurably much in size and reach and glory that something had to be done to put the two of us on the same page; Him/us.

One of the most fascinating moves of God, to me, is that He was originally such a great distance from His created ones in matters of relationship.  He is God and we are not.  Yet, He chose to do something about it; that perfect something.

God didn't first speak in a parable.  He spoke in Baby.  Baby became the parable so far as giving simple humanity a peg (a real live-among-us person) of understanding to grasp.  Jesus experienced the entire course of earthling; from birth to death.

Up to this point in history, God had largely been a set of rules to be followed.  At the birth of Jesus a magnificent twist took place.  He moved from chiseled rules to humble human.  World!  Meet Baby!

Baby then became a Man and spoke in parables; more baby/simple stories that the human mind could better perceive.  Visuals of trees that had no fruit.  There was a rich man in one story beside a poor one.  Oh, too, there was a real religious guy and a sinner in church together.

A housewife couldn't find a coin, a farmer couldn't locate a sheep, and a father couldn't get his boys to cooperate with one another.

Parables.  Stories.  Tangibility by word-form provided pictures of life in utter simplicity so that the human mind can be led to God's fascinating and eternal Truth.

Jesus spoke in parables and through glorious stories because the overarching dimensions of God's love are hardly containable.  Who can fathom His reach, His grace, His mercy?

Simplified stories provide the human heart with illustrations which help us say....Oh, I'm beginning to get the picture.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015



Through personal misery and depression I have learned a huge secret over the long-haul that I know about every person.  It fooled me for the longest time.  Blow me over; but I never would have guessed it.  Regardless of stature, physique, accomplishment, or any other definitive personal accolade, every person is dealt a dark and blinding curse.

Each cannot see our own ideal-ality.  This would be why the perpetual anger, even illness, sets up shop among us.  We betray ourselves by comparing us to others' strengths....of which they can't see in themselves.  Whether pauper or saint, the standard holds true, every person obsesses with something inadequate about themselves....of which is often not true.

I am insecure.  If you are ever wondering, "If I have thinner thighs and shinier hair, will I be happier?" you just need to meet a group of models because they have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes and they're the most physically insecure people on the planet.
                                                                                                    Cameron Russell, Supermodel

I learned this from Jesus.  Every person carries on wars within the inner heart as to how we are not enough; even those we regard as most celebrated.   We.  Are.  All.  The. Same.  We hurt.  We are insecure.  We are fearful.  We exaggerate our own inadequacy.

I spent three hours with Charlton Heston.  He was the same as all of us.  Profound in an area or two while inwardly battling the demons of intimidation and uncertainty.  The same for Loretta Lynn as I spent days with her.  The list goes on.  We are all the same.

Everyone wants what we already have.  Each is unique.  Each is gifted.  Each is valuable.  Yet, we dismiss our do the awesome supermodels...because we have a curse.  We are blind to the glory of God within and among us.

He didn't create junk.  You might have a better day if you would but believe you truly do possess an awe that encourages a world of others.  And if you would/could, you might find that those around you get to have a better day as well!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


For an intelligent human being to believe that God is actual and factual is a big stretch for some; really for many.  The Bible speaks of the concepts of God appearing foolish to many.  I get it.  I get the struggle to surpass the non-sensical barriers to believing God is real.

Therefore, consider the ant; one of the most intelligent and industriously well organized of it's very small world.  The ant has great knowledge regarding organization.  Community teamwork is on grand scale to the point humans marvel at their devotion.  The ant counters laziness and triumphs in construction.

But what if an ant were asked to believe on the human scale?

Could ants fathom ten miles?  Would they think a street light would be several ant-years away?   Do they send out sneeze warnings of which they cannot understand? How do ants view crossword puzzles?  What do they know about DVDs?  Or for that matter, bank accounts?  Jet planes must freak them out.

So it is with humanity trying to grasp the reality of God; His size, His power, His provision, and His creativity.  All we can do is go through the fragile and lower case terrain of earth while we occasionally gasp at the immeasurable size of the heavens.

Those ants....and us...bearing similar perspective in that we are both over-matched by the glory of something so large we can't contain the weight of knowing about it; the ants about us and us about Him the true, living, and magnificent God!

No wonder it is a stretch to believe Him; He's so immeasurable.  We are so little.

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Some days seem trimmed and brimmed with smiles and celebrations.  Others?  Not so much.

What I like about life is learning about God's style.  And He surely does have style.

Without Him life is found to be herky and jerky.  For certain....moody.  With Him, though, our days are packed with definitive and absolute hope.  The reason? Resurrection power.

His Son arose from the grave.  Whether our moods swing regarding confidence in the moment is dependent upon one thing only.  We either believe or don't believe that Jesus came out of the grave.  If He didn't, then we are free to return to our misery of hopelessness.  But.  If.  He.  Did.

But if He did....wake up our world!!!

Confidence in resurrection power does not signal we will never encounter discouragement nor does it imply we will never shed another tear.  It means that we WILL NEVER GIVE UP hope!

Whether good days or bad, we will always have reason to keep moving forward; chins up, even tears become telescopes into the future.  Romans 5:1-5.

Saturday, December 05, 2015


Terror(ists) has one thing in mind; being dominant by producing fear.  Radical Islam is a global terroristic force.  Their targets are being groomed to fear.  Reports of unspeakable crime now flood the news market.  Talk shows, morning and evening news, and coffee shop chatter are currently experiencing a glut of newest developments coupled with grave concerns.

What shall we do about this?  Can anything be done about it?

Intimidation is the threatening operating code.  Strike and stun.  Spread the fear.  To me, this would then be a significant lead to effective defense and solution.

I raise a question with intended delicate care.  Is radical Islam advancing because aggressive Christianity has retreated?  I don't mean this to sound harsh; but merely asking us if possibly we have a solution without awareness of it.

Have we grown silent?  Has our faith gone to sleep?

Have we slipped into a slumber of comfort, handy, selective spiritualization among us? Is radical Islam finding free reign wherever it chooses because of a deradicalization of Christianity?  Have we been duped into believing that our battles were to be fought within the confines of brand, and doctrine, and worship style?

I believe we might awaken to the difficulty in front of us with new eyes; perhaps those of Ephesians 1:18 brand.  My desire is to put the rise up in our Christian walk and talk. Otherwise we will be mere targets for a trampling opposition.

So what is it we would expect from the invisible, non-sensical-appearing, power labeled faith?  We would expect God to deliver the weirdest provision which would push against the enemy.  Visit Judges chapter 7.

Gideon was facing a national opponent when he had but 22,000 troops; not enough to take the opposition.  The number was trimmed to 10,000 per God's reduction request. Then at 10,000 God told Gideon to bring the number down once again; but this time to 300.  These 300 moved upon the enemy in the strangest of approaches to the extent that they won hands down because the enemy became so confused.

This.  Is.  God's.  Style.  This is where faith lives; in that zone that can't be explained other than one believes God can when we can't possibly see what would work.

Today's experience of powerful radical Islam has much to do with the slumber and intimidation in the Christian realm.  There is a great need for us to arise; arise in prayer, arise in faith, arise in love (even for our enemies), and arise in confidence in God.  We will either complain or believe.  We will either bemoan or build through one element; what we speak.

Radical Islam is serious, it is ugly, it is dangerous.  It must be found to run head-on into a global nation who heeds the call as did Moses when in similar circumstance; Do not fear!  Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.  The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent (Exodus 14:13-14).

Rather than wringing our hands in worry, I want to be a part of the believing team who cheers us on the lift our hands in praise to God....even when times would offer terror.

Friday, December 04, 2015


Every seems that every day we experience both extremes; joy and sorrow. Birth and death would be two strong examples. We do our best to navigate through this high/low-point terrain.  At times we do well.  And then we have our moments, don't we?

It is possible (note that I did not say it is easy) to block those things or words which would tempt to talk us off of the tower filled with happiness.  If not guarded, we will actually live our lives being pushed and pulled by many entities other than our own convictions.  Such is clearly robbery by negative gangsters within our own heads.

The more I study and the longer I live I note that we sometimes tend to set aside faith; a movement that changes our world, our path, our circumstances.  To know that we do not have to live in the depression of so many things going wrong would surely set us on a new course.

We are wired by God to acquire and develop a spiritual factor which defies the way things are because believing sees past the visual obstacles and into the invisible possibles.  Hebrews 11 is given to you and to me to keep such assurance close in heart.

You are created in the image of God.  Try to refrain from permitting negative circumstances and negative individuals to run your show.  These don't own you...unless you give them permission.  Neither do they represent the true you. Each is an impostor posing as chief-of-everything-necessary police.  Neither are.

You have the power from the tower of joy to call the shots.  You do.  Avoid handing over the reigns of your inner peace to your critics.  You, by faith, determine direction of hope and of life and of love.  See the sheer wonder of now.  Don't waste it on the frowny and the scowly.

Be enjoy....the joy of now!

Thursday, December 03, 2015


The mass shooting at San Bernardino sinks our hearts and raises the bar of concern. From East Coast through America's Heartland and on now on to the West, enormous stress mounts as to the apparent unstable society in which we now live.

We are surprised at how we are no longer surprised.

From a few of the politicians and on through the ranks of some of the television news pundits, words of accusation and guestimation without facts alarm and divide.  While the slaughter of the masses causes adequate outrage, the dividing of good people has multiplied.

Listen to our daily chatter.  The division is so routine.  Husbands vs. wives.  Parents vs. children.  Men vs. women.  Democrats vs. Republicans.  Laborers vs. unemployed. Blacks vs. whites vs. browns.  Baptists vs. Church of Christ vs. Lutherans, must be added to this divisive turbulence.  It seems we can't catch a break.  Or...could we?

What shall we to do; are we to do?  Where do we begin?  What would work to develop a cohesive spirit among men, women, and children who differ on oh so many matters? Can unity take effect?

You know I'm headed for God as the answer.  Yet, I must.  For He is the Creator of life and life abundant.  Everyone wants in on it; but we insist upon shooting ourselves in the foot.  This would explain why society walks around crippled.

Consider that mankind takes sides because of one central thread as to who it is that is right.  All divisions believe they possess THE ANSWER to such matters.  And it is here that we may find our solution.

Each of us possesses a glaring error.  We are not right...ever...on our own.  All parties possess some truths and equal falsehoods.  No exception.  And how is it that I know this?  Because of God speaking up ages ago.  He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God.  Man is so deeply off-base to the point that Jesus has to take on our discrepancies on the Cross in order that we could be appear right in the sight of God.

Wouldn't humanity look very different if we could drop our squint-eyed huff-cusations of another and take a gander at our own very personal lack first? For me, this would mean taking the plank from my own eye which would insist that I admit I have one.  I'm so able to cut others down (even block them) so that I can appear the stronger, the more efficient, the....more.

Do others deserve blame.  I believe so.  But the cure to their misdeeds will begin when we each admit our own.  There is enormous stress on humanity right now...and there is a possible solution.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Prayer has to be one of the strangest of all human activities.  I found such a time to be spelled two ways; b-o-r-i-n-g and w-a-s-t-e-o-f-t-i-m-e.  Even as a minister I didn't like to pray, didn't want to pray....didn't pray.

Now I do...a lot.

What changed?

When I discovered that God wanted a relationship with me, as in Father/son, it changed my perception of the process.  I shifted from placing my grocery-store order of wants and wishes to a connection where we would discuss mainly two things; praise to Him for His wonder and needs for others who were in binds.

This change has altered my world significantly.

Praying isn't a signal of being religious.  It is a testimony that we believe that God is still currently very active with His creation and the created.  Our praying signals to Him our dependence upon His skills for ours will be proven over time as just too meager.

We have a big world calling us to live larger than life.  We can do it...but not on our own.  God take us into fascination by a Talent far beyond our imagination!

Monday, November 30, 2015


I seriously want to know how to turn the world's terroristic tide. I believe we can....really.  Threat is occurring to be more than conversational concern over a coffee or during a round of golf.  Escalation of human abuse, rapes and deaths, is strong, it is clear, it is aggressive, and it is surely spreading.

As stern threats arise this is precisely the time to take action; not shrink in fear.  Our God has done battles for and beside His people in the past.  Moses was one.  Oh, there was that time Kid David faced down the imposing was that giant's name?

Finally be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).

I believe the day is coming when every believer is going to be thrust into the biggest battle ever. Whether we will publicly hold that we stubbornly believe God in the view of overwhelming threat will be the inner war.  News will spread.  Terror will advance. So we must practice responding as Joshua once did, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The days of religious talk are numbered.  Churches' petty ways of dividing over traditions will flush like a toilet in the face of true and imposing forces of destruction. Faith will arise; a genuine certainty that we can't and yet God can.  This will be the new order of the Christian message; one that has boundless energy for the glory of God in all situations.

Through the darkest of intimidation and the ugliest of deeds, keep this one in your hip pocket; Father has been through this before.  His only Son yielded to a pulp beating....and cleared the grave.  The enemy?  The enemy has no cure for God's smooth warfare.

Love God.  Love others....which certainly includes our enemies.  Never quit believing!

Sunday, November 29, 2015


Today marks the closing of the facility of the Garnett Church of Christ in Tulsa.

It does not represent THE END.

Today merely turns the page of the wonderful and eternally perpetual Garnett story. Due to the combination of the Spirit of God coupled with hearty believers, this gigantic thread to life will continue to unfold with steadfast impact.

I salute Marvin Phillips, Randy Moody, Wade Hodges, and Greg Taylor for being a part of the leadership over the lifespan of this robust congregation.  I have been richly blessed.  Nations of God-followers owe much to the inspiring dynamics of this congregation.

Anticipation OF A STRONG NEW BEGINNING is validated by the steadfast love of God as to the new and exciting chapter for this group of believers.

Congratulations Garnett!  You will always live in my heart for you have provided joy and hope to thousands all over the world....and such Spirit impact will never end!!

I love you....intensely!!  I watch with unquestionable certainty for the very strong matters of the Spirit God will choose to deliver throughout your powerful future!! BEGIN STRONG!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015


We live in a very sticky world order.  All of us are involved.  None can declare free-space.

For the purpose of this post, I will say that there are at least four variations of good people as to how they/we view the concept of God:
  1. Those who realize our own sins first and live gratefully for God's move of Jesus dying on the Cross.
  2. Those who are given to church attendance in order to salve our consciences; but Jesus is simply not truly on our radar.  Religion is.  As a result proper doctrine seems to have become god.
  3. Those who aren't inclined toward God; but have private and serious questions as to the possibility that there may be an order of faith that could be quite legitimate.  These have warm hearts toward God; yet may be faked out by noticing that Christians who are in church all of the time still sin.  (Yes, that's why we are in the church.  We couldn't save ourselves.)
  4. Those who have no interest nor time for such foolishness.
Not only do I get all four; I've been all four.  God isn't a whim.  Neither is He hiding.  As I continue to learn about Him, I become increasingly sensitive to the very wonderful people who just aren't sure about what to think about this entire range to be considered.  

Is there really a God?  If so how does one know?  Where will we find Him?  Know Him?

My very simple response today is;
  1. Yes, God is real
  2. No, He's not ignorant of Bible-professing followers who are just as sinful as the next guy.
  3. Yes, His Son died on the Cross so that people like us wouldn't have to pay the price ourselves.  Jesus paid the bill for our damages.
  4. No, no one goes to Heaven on the basis of how good we are; church-wise or not.
  5. Yes, everyone will finally reach a point in life where we can't carry our own load anymore.  It just gets too heavy.
  6. Yes, God is sympathetic.  He created us.  He sees the bind we are in.  And He gives us perfect hope because He has footed the bill.
If you see yourself in one of the above categories, you may note that some in the other ranges oppose your perspective.  The day will come when all who have ever lived will voluntarily and openly admit that Jesus is the Son of God.  In the meantime we have every reason (and obligation) to be patient with one another as we try to grasp this immeasurable concept called Life in the Kingdom of God.

Be open to God.  He will show you as He will open ideas to you.  He cares; even when we have our doubts.  We are in this together...growing toward Him.

Friday, November 27, 2015


All are subject to interferences.  Whether a person, a circumstance, or the weather, each of us spends time in the tough-to-tame territories of frustration and distortion of plans.  We've had it up to here!

So?  So we can either quit or continue.  We can complain or grow.  We can be negative or we can search as to how a particular moment may be lined with productivity.

Faith is able to see what isn't...yet.  It is capable and able to see past the barriers.  God is in the business of doing with, for, and through people....what can't possibly be done. We are to reside on this fantastic course.

Waters too high, Kings too mean, graves too permanent, jails too sturdy, God has a way of disproving these and more as threats.  We are called to know Him and, therefore, believe past the barriers.

Religion, if abused, can be a mere crutch.  Faith in the living God is much different. Believing Him changes the landscape and the rules of order.  Even death folds as it loses its assumed conclusive grip.  So be of good cheer.

Live beyond the barriers and launch excitedly into the world of marvel; that land of the unhindered God!!

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Thanksgiving is indeed a very warm and special day.

I urge you to know that it is also more....very much more.

Thanksgiving is a way of the heart every

Thanksgiving, being of thankful heart and disposition, will transform anyone's lifestyle...anyone's.

There is never the need for more money, more education, or more time until there is first intentionally and tediously developed a spirit that is grateful for a million visible blessings which each of us ALREADY possesses.

Until we step up with our thankful hearts, no amount of tampering and pampering will satisfy.  Living clearly grateful seems to be the way of God....Philippians 4:4-8.

Don't you like right now?

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Life.  We can't live without it; but sometimes it feels like we can't live with it.  Suicides declare such in strongest terms.  It concerns me that so many haven't pulled the trigger or taken the overdose; but have ingested a thought process of sorts that declares life over; the remaining days will consist of breathing and sleeping.

I say to you--AGAIN--to never give up.

How?  Why?  Where?  What?  How to we approach such a call?

A transforming turn for me was when I truly began to understand (and believe) that even the negative stuff was useful for my good days.  Energy operates just as a battery; positive and negative posts.

An all positive way of life person is shallow; lives for self-pleasure, self-comfort; is sheerly selfish.  The all negative way of life person is shallow; lives for self-pleasure, self-comfort, etc. but can't obtain it.

It is the battery-post life that gives us energy.  We don't like the hits; but we must learn that even these dark times will be productive for we will one day know better than most how to truly support the next guy or gal who is encountering similar stressful moments.

The best help for any sufferer is to meet a friend who has both battery posts experience.

Therefore, fellow struggler, don't waste one moment of your breatheability.  Everything is going right; even when it looks wrong.  That's what the empty tomb of Jesus insists!

Saturday, November 21, 2015


At first it seems like it could be an oxymoron; confidently humble.  But it isn't...I don't think.

To me this is a paramount challenge.  We want our servant-warriors (there it goes again) to be fearless without being obnoxious.  What I'm seeing is that the pathway of Jesus is incredibly unique.

If awareness, focus, and concentration are not given attention, then we will find that we will drift in unbalance toward one or the other; confident or else humble.

Christianity advances due to humble effort.  Yet, it declines when voices of self-confident arrogance begin to label, sort, and judge one's caliber of devotion and service in the kingdom.  A key, I believe, to being confidently humble may be sorted out at the cross-bridge of the word self-confidence.

Self-confidence is that main thing I always wanted; always believed I needed.  Oddly, lacking it is often at the height of being very low.  Truthfully, I find that self-confidence is a fundamental lie for it leads us by our own noses to engage in only the things where we believe we can excel.

The Kingdom of God is not about calling the exceller's to help Him out.  It is all about a call to the fishermen-become-apostles, the ordinary, and the you'd-never-have-guessed-who-or-what-God-would-use talent roster for His next you've-got-to-be-kidding-me exercise in rescuing mankind.

It's just plain weird and only gets weirder.  Moses, you lead 'em.  You're least likely.  Esther, you speak up.  I know you'd prefer not.  Jesus, go in as an infant born in a shed.  They'll never have guessed.  Paul, get a prison record.  That'll throw 'em.

How can one be confidently humble?  In the wild and unordinary system of the Kingdom of God, it's nearly a natural.  This becomes encouraging and fitting reality when one systematically shifts confidence in self (self-confidence) over to confidence in the Spirit.  II Cor. 3:5 spells out our basic rich confidence even as we are clearly aware of our own inadequacies.

Until the Spirit of God hit earth, confidence and inadequacy never seemed to fit within the same person.'s all over the place.

To know that we can't and yet He can within us is the open door to effectiveness.  We are not enough. He knows that.  Yet, He has asked our permission to rent our space so that He could do His kind of reach.  Our job is to give Him permission.

From His move-in date, we then can anticipate a new sort of personality; one moving from fear to love.  We can expect a new world in the same world; new attitude, new patience, new understanding because the Spirit is loaning us His.

Are we to be confident?  Of course; but never in that one we had which fades in cowardice.  We are to present His confidence as He pumps through our heartbeat.  His body died on the cross.  He's begged permission to use ours.  We humbly...and confidently...let Him!!

Friday, November 20, 2015


Seriously, what could we possibly do to see that our society gains momentum in the most positive ways?  Some could care less; whatever is to be is to be.  Others of us, though, continue with our addiction to rescue, to build, and to improve.

We.  Love.  It.

I would ponder the following possibilities:
  1. We restore or re-ignite personal confidence that God uses each of us to make impact.  We are not born of the Spirit in neutral or without mission.
  2. We lay down our confidence that we have a clue.  The Holy Spirit has the clue.  We have His call.
  3. We reclaim our joy that God is doing things productively with billions of us; none of us are in this encounter alone.
  4. We resist the temptation to live in the kingdom as if we are stuck.  
  5. We will not stop learning.  
  6. We will not stop trying.  
  7. We will not conclude that we can't reach to others because "It's just not me."  It is His follower...who learns to follow.  None of us knew anything about anything...without learning...and even failing and falling...repeatedly off of the ministry bicycle.
How do we improve the world we live in?  We press against the temptation to resist change.  We not only awaken to potential; we hunger to know what might be needed next to bring a new kind of hope to a desperate and muddled community.  New depths of energy should/could/would flow from the Spirit of God within....each....of us!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


There is every reason to breathe deeply with a joy of contagious outbreak.  We can light up the world; well, we are supposed to do so anyway.  So how do we be a light when the World News speaks of destruction, decay, and even death?

I know of no one that relishes stress and the supremacy of any bad day.  No one likes it. No one wants it.  No one prefers it.  However, everyone can find blessings from God within the center of these awful, ugly, very mean days.  Like what?

Sue Monk Kidd writes, Without such upheaval we would likely go on as always. It's so like us to deny things until some jolting moment--something we call and "eye-opening" experience--comes along and sharpens our vision.  And then she continues with a quote of Alan Jones, There is a self within each one of us aching to be born.

So, for you and me, as we take note of the latest disasters, may we also beware of the inner blessings of upheaval.  Something goes on in these very conflicting moments that is very likely going to find a new and improved self being born.

I received a note from an author/actress a few days ago speaking of being repeatedly raped and abused.  She has two sons; both in prison.  It is the same story for her husband.  And do you know what she wants to tell me?  She has a prison ministry, an addiction ministry, and a recovery ministry.  Simultaneously she keeps learning about the dynamics of God.

This is us.  This IS us.

Our world is in constant disarray.  We don't need ISIS to strike to remind us.  We hurt. We suffer.  We fret.  We pay the price for others' mistakes....or our own....or both. But be encouraged.

Be.  Encouraged.

This is why we lean upon God.  We can't do this life without Him.  We must have something about us that would lift us above these dumpster moments.  And we possess Holy Spirit form.

Enjoy.  Enjoy either the victory that has been gained....or else the victory that is surely on its way!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


Mark Hodges So what does a Christ like love of enemies look like in this case? Not, what do we not do but how do we love this enemy?

Of all of the lively chatter following yesterday's post, Mark's question led me to ponder possibly an undercurrent to our discussion.  Did I make a poor point by targeting who it is we should love too soon?  By that, did I create a storm of controversy when I chose the topic of loving an extremist organization when, in reality, Christians struggle with the sheer topic of loving those who oppose and offend us?  I think I did.

I've lived with me for quite some time now.  And in that process I've lived among us.  I've lived among us in the secular segment and then in the Christian format.  When it comes to those who oppose us, there is stark difference in Sunday School/Sermon presentation as to loving any and all enemies in theory.  Yet, transforming such a belief system into our behavior seems to be quite another story.

So from Mark's question, just how are we to love any enemy?

First, who are our enemies?  To ponder possibilities might open our hearts as to who it is we are called to love.  
(Side note: If the fruit of the Holy Spirit includes love we can be assured we are being called into a zone where love is needed and we CANNOT produce it on our own.)  We are called to love God, love our families, love those who like us....and love those who don't.  Thus, this post's task.

Spouses may find the other one to be the enemy on certain days (weeks?).  Office interaction could be a great strain to some because bosses or colleagues seem to oppose.  School systems, families, and neighborhoods are currently riddled with anger.  Vengeance broods. Tempers boil.  Accusational mortars are fired continually.

It is upon this turf that we have our own mini-ISIS Crisis.  And, what are we to do with it?

The Christian world has been permitted to get by with far too much selectivity as to whom it is we will find acceptable.  Just like the world who knows not God, we too are found to love some and despise some and even hate some as if that is just the way it is and we just can't help it.

Yes....we can help it.  By the Holy Spirit power and lavish fruit, we can help it.

So maybe I brought the Isis Crisis to the forefront too soon.  Maybe we should first consider who it is among us individually who seems bent on terrorizing our families and friends; these whom we subtly and possibly unconsciously have tagged "enemy".

The world grows dark not because enemy population increases.  No, from watching Jesus walk and talk, the responsibility lies upon the shoulders of Bible-toting, Bible-quoting Christians as we develop an increasing bent upon the handy, the convenient, and the comfortable.

How do we love any enemy?  We see the good in them; as Jesus does us.  We believe they can become; as Jesus did us.  We see possibility beyond their injurious ways; as Jesus did us.  We take the blame for their behavior by paying a most uncomfortable price; as Jesus did us.  This isn't Sunday School time.  Life calls us to be saved in order to save others.  The cross isn't a necklace around a collar.  It is an execution tool slaying our personal preferences strapped across our backs.

We will do our best to move from a distant perception of the cross to a more close-up of being attached to it.  For me, I have work to do, growing to do, expanding my love-range to do. As far as discipleship goes, I'm still in kindergarten.  How about you?  

Saturday, November 14, 2015


Christianity faces some of its greatest days.  We best not miss them.  I'm not being Pollyanna nor am I being naive.  In these very treacherous, threatening, and perplexing days of militant-striking global news, the stage is set for believers in God to shine on this very stage which has such a stark, dark background.

If ever there was a time for God's children to arise, it would not be in knocking doors to set up Bible studies.  Neither would it be to send food to a mission sight.  While these are surely effective and valuable, there is an ultra-necessary call for those of us who carry our Bibles.  We must learn to authentically, seriously, honestly love our enemies.  

It is here we drop the ball (faith in the Word) and take on a fleshly system of religion of sorts.  We will engage in many things, seemingly everything doctrinal as best as we can interpret , except...loving those despicable people we know as...enemies.  It is here that all denominational flavors who parade our differences join shame.  

Jesus called for us to love those who wish to do us harm.  He did and does. We somehow dismiss such a divine charge.  We go to church.  We conduct home Bible studies.  We work hard at good deeds.  Yet, the Christian world has no voice when it comes to absolutely loving and being deeply concerned for the welfare of our enemies; whether across a vast ocean or across a property-line fence.

We.  Have.  Gone.  Silent.

Instead, we have joined the ranks of bitterness; even hatred for this segment of society.  God loves these people.  Their deeds are injurious. Their souls are dear.  We must expand our belief system from strong preference as to what goes on inside of our church buildings; worship experiences we prefer or mission efforts we like.  We must adhere to His dynamic call to deeply love those who oppose us; else our words and efforts are wasted breath.

I spend time in prayer asking God to bless these barbaric leaders who appear to take us out.  These have not gotten to know the One who laid his life down for them; for us.  We are all, says the Bible, enemies to God at one time.  God is in the enemy-loving business.  And...we love Him for it.

For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:10).

May the church wake up in order to practice what it has preached; yet, most likely never regarded it as a reality.  Now is the time for our enduring love to go public for our enemies to be both seen and heard.

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men (Luke 6:35).