Saturday, February 28, 2015


I give significant attention to church and her surroundings.  What's working?  What isn't?  Who's being blessed?  Who's being run off?  What should we keep that is of God?  What should we discard because it was once a method that served well; but now has bottle-necked growth and maturity?

Basically, people want to know God.  This trend is rising.  And we will want to remember that church isn't god.  But because so many (both in and out of it) believe it is god, abundant confusion and distraction is presented.  Rather than us seeking God that He would keep us moving forward in life, we have reversed the course by trying to keep the church going.

Yet, something seems to be stirring within our complex society; something good and hopeful and life-giving.

It seems the church is awakening to the truth that we have cluttered our own lives (and others) with a repetitious dogma and boring routine while missing the ultra-simplistic nature of Jesus.  There seems to be a breakthrough so significant that it seems as if this is divinely coordinated by God Himself.

For one, the Sunday morning Show Time is being very challenged in a good way.  I don't mean to speak disparagingly; only to point out that for many church members Sunday mornings are a time to show up without realizing that Mondays  and all other days of the week are equally significant to the kingdom style.

To report for Sunday morning duty only has created a community habit that did not come from scriptures.  If not yet, soon we will increasingly note serious discipleship trends where the churches are gathered day in and day out to learn from the simple lifestyle of which Jesus intended.

Remember, Jesus was in constant hot water with the church leaders because he found their abundant thirst for rules to be offensive to the sinner who deeply desired some sort of news that they, too, could be included in authentic life from above.  He stood up for us.  We must applaud him in thanksgiving.

There is a hunger for more meaningful relationship with God within the church.  And such will most naturally spill over with strong attraction to those observing for these, too, are seeking a life of greater meaning.

Too, somewhat of a pruning seems to be arising.  I don't know if it is social gluttony or political disarray or extremist threat, but our lavish appetite for the flesh is gradually being replaced by a genuine hunger for the Spirit.  Self-determination doesn't seem to be in play as much as a calm spiritual calling.

Denominational walls are coming down; not in the name of care-less liberalism, but under the banner of care-full Jesus.  Church leadership of arrogance is yielding to discipleship of humility.  The indifferent are becoming curious.  Individualism is yielding to serving one another as community.

Something good is going on in the church world!  It's exciting.  It's meaningful.  And it's attractive; drawing us to the One who died for all.

Friday, February 27, 2015


Urgghh!  There's so much to life.  Communications come at us and go from us at the speed of can't-keep-up.  Debt pesters so many.  Aches and pains, others.  Concerns are in constant pursuit of our awake time.

And, then there's God.

What does He have to offer?  Where does He fit in with our maze of hurried boredom and worried waiting?  Is this faith stuff legit?  Or, is it a convenient cover-up which merely communicates that believers don't know how to do life either?

For certain, those who observe us from a distance don't seem to be buying our bark. Why is that?  And, is there anything we can do about it?

The answer is an absolute yes.

There is a trait of Jesus which profoundly advantaged his reach.  He was humble.  He humbled himself on the cross.  He learned to be obedient by the training of the things where he suffered.  He uttered no threats during his torture.  Getting even was never in his heart.  Converting the enemy was.

This, dear one, is serious Christianity.

Humility is the focal point.  Churches, however, have taken on many facets other than this one.  Arrogance, competition, insensitivity; these would begin a staggering list of why our influence has diminished.

Serious Christianity, as did Jesus himself, will take the blame for others' sins.  We will not blame nor will we label.  We will absorb.

Churches are known for programs, for architecture, for doctrinal stances, and/or for evangelistic zeal.  We are not known for that trait of Jesus that is of utmost seriousness; our humility.

So what shall we do?

May we go to work by first admitting this is a glaring problem in Christian circles.  How could we reverse this negative perception which is quite strong up and down our streets; whether we choose to believe it?  It would seem the posture would be simple.

While we yearn to grow in the Spirit of Christ, may we have steady, perpetual awareness that we have neither arrived nor conquered all there is know about the Bible.  Neither have we mastered His call for our walk.  And, surely any attitudes of doctrinal superiority are, in themselves, glaring error.

Serious Christianity is humble in both belief and in practice.

Yes, this system takes stands and carries weighty conviction.  But none of these have a road to walk on until we soberly see the need to begin the trek by humbling ourselves as least in the kingdom.  From this mode, we begin a healthy venture of seriously reaching to our neighbors.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Christians are having to fight for air.  Not because of opponents, but because of faulty doctrine, many are just trying to survive their own dull faith.  Why?

Why is this gigantic belief system walking with such visible limp?  Has faith finished its course and followers of God must now seek alternative steroidal support?  Or, have we created a man-made belief system that has subtly shut the corridors down to reduced travel.

I believe it is the latter.  And here's why.

The central Christian doctrine of wholeheartedly living a life in Jesus in present tense has been subverted into a life-after-death insurance policy for souls.  Hell-less has been the highest motivator.  Heaven-full would come in second.  Living a current life with interactive relationship with the Trinity has gone unconsidered by some of the most influential among Christian movements.

I am saying that in my earlier experience with the church that far too many were a part of it simply to keep from going to Hell.  Compassion?  Not.  Unity?  Not close. Evangelism? Non-existent among these I describe.  Heaven was okay; but only because Hell was to be avoided at all costs.

This thinking kills faith because faith is for the moment; the right now of where we live.  And if we are merely crossing our fingers in hopes that we avoid Hell when we die, the basic calling is to sit, wait, and see how it goes once dead.

Faith, however, calls present life into a new realm.  What makes faith come alive is to discover that God's calling is not for us to avoid eternal damnation; but to make us disciples to spread the powerful hope of the resurrected Jesus to the four corners of the world.  What makes faith come alive is when we begin to realize we have more than an eternal destiny.  We have a mission.

We are raised at baptism to walk a new life; not to wait it out til last breath.  We are urged to realize our citizenship is in; not someday remotely out there. Faith comes alive when we dare to leave the security of our on control by yielding to His Holy Spirit leadership.

Pews are not shelves for bodies to sit in hopes of hearing their names called from the Book of Life after it's all over.  No.  Christians are God's army called to active duty.  We have burdened neighbors to encourage, heart-broken families to embrace, and enemies who hate-our-guts to love.

We have work to do and faith works!

The very command to love God and to love others is faith come alive.  If we groom a church-people to focus inwardly on their life-after-death mode, then we will have trained a people to be dead-while-alive indifferent.

What makes faith come alive?  Hearing the call of God and the need of others with no respects for ourselves; this will change the world where we the present tense.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015



Do you ever think it is really hard to be people?

We surely do lead lives of paradoxicality.  On the one hand we are self-absorbed; perpetually weighing most matters with the grid of how this affects me.  And, then on the other hand, we hide in a room full of people just hoping we go undetected.  Bless me; but don't look at me.  Life is about me.  Yet, I don't want to draw attention to my insistent obsession.

Me first.  But don't see me.  I want what I want.  But I don't want you to notice me wanting what I want.  

I want to be used by God.  But I don't want to be vulnerably placed in a position where I might fail.  So, it will be best if I keep my dreams for the kingdom to myself. That way, no one gets hurt...and I am safe from criticism.

From the extremes of social status, and any other status, a multitude live in what I label as public hiding.  While these are present in body, they are not available for interaction because their number one mode is self-protection.  Supportive?  Yes, as long as one can get by with being in the game in center court; but have the body posture that we are really on the sidelines.

I get insecurity.

I am a lead professional in insecuritilistic combat.  Fear has been my mentor.  I have been obedient to his constant and threatening beckoning.  It took the Spirit of God to cause this jail cell door to fly open.  So, I understand many of you for we are all so similar.

Of course this is my opinion, but I think all people live in hiding.  Even the most outgoing must be in control of the corridors we travel for it is of utmost importance to never look caught off-guard nor unprepared. Thus, these tread the repeated road of personal security as we appear to have the world by the tail.  In reality we don't.  These merely make sure our walk has the appearance of out-going effectiveness.

Man is crippled by fear.  God is insistent on faith.  Faith will take us places.  Man is bored with going nowhere (Ironic, don't you think?).  God is not boring.  His trek is not boring.  And believe me when I say, He will take us places.

I cheer you on.  Do not continually pass the plate of opportunity to someone else because you feel inadequate.  No one is adequate.  Hear me say factually, NO ONE IS ADEQUATE.  Adequacy is a kingdom secret; a powerful glory of God.

Not that we are adequate to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God (II Cor. 3:5).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23).

Initial glance gives us a most natural insight of welcome to each of these traits.  Who wouldn't want to possess these?  Who would reject these qualities?  No one.  Each is effective for every moment.

Yet, this Galatians text isn't just about labeling fruit.  

It is of utmost importance to note the Fruit Bearer; the Holy Spirit.  And, the location of this Spirit fruit being born?  Within or from a believer.  This is major.

Christians find ourselves in places of pressure.  Discouragement pushes us to do many things; lash out, unload, or maybe give up and quit.  It is within such uncomfortable moments that we need to be more than we can be from a Source who is more than we are.  Enter the Holy Spirit.

What the Spirit does for a believer in Jesus is He helps us hold on when we feel like we are about to cave.  He works from within us to see that what comes out of us does not resemble our moody, hateful dispositions; but rather the spirit of our Leader, Jesus.

The fruit is of the/from the Spirit; not from our recycled determination to behave better.  He, the Spirit of Jesus, allows a sweetness to issue from his disciples that would be of the nature of him; not of us.

These are not fruits; plural.  This is the fruit of the Spirit.  He will bear each of these in us when we can't muster another ounce of a try-harder-to-be-good attitude.  

Our job is two-fold.  Believe Him and let Him.

Every kingdom laborer is in need of Holy Spirit fruit because we are each pressed and distressed beyond cope-ability.  However, due to this promise of His fruit within us, we have a new hope; not about others first, but about ourselves and what we can endure to see that others are drawn to him.

To be like Jesus is more than a song.  It is a system; that of the Holy Spirit of God who would love to display the Son as coming from within us that we might have a tendency to look more like him.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


To balk at the truthfulness that God is real is not the only tactic which would please dark forces.  There is a fundamental need for all to know the way, the truth, and the life which is to be possessed by and in Jesus.  Yet, Jesus doesn't seem to have the church spotlight.

No, we minor in Jesus while majoring in wandering pursuit of distractions. Distractions can be truths which would be valuable to discern, for sure.  But if their goal is within themselves and not to know Jesus better...then there you have it.  This only serves as another religious creation of man to keep others from pondering the Lamb of God.

I'm not innocent in this matter.  I've had my series of disgruntlementations which chewed up my time when Jesus received my mere name-dropping; so to speak. Therefore, this post serves as a warning or at the very least a reminder that it is religion's nature to get caught up in distractions under the guise of truth.  When all is said and done, it will still have been a distraction.

What version of the Bible is the accepted version?  That was a hot-button topic at the time of my conversion.  There were opinions and sides and bold claims of right and wrong, black and white conversations in abundance.  Jesus truly seemed secondary.

Our stance on the authority of elders was a big one to me.  My opinions were mighty. Simultaneously, I was preaching Church of Christ and not Jesus Christ.  Distraction kept me from seeing a major flaw about myself while I was correcting those (my assumption) weaker folk.

Could a woman teach a Bible class in a building; but not on a bus?  We argued this one and caused resentment along the way.  Really?  Women could teach if the property was standing still; but not if rolling on wheels?  Distracting pursuit?  Possibly?

Fast forward today.  Have you ever heard of the term worship wars?  Really?  A people so possessed by the Holy Spirit of God that we would actually divide over worship styles?  The answer is yes.

Women's role is a current fad of front-burner issues that I believe is yet another distracting pursuit.  The reason is that in the clamor I don't see or hear any battle for Jesus to be dominant.  Stances are the issue.

In each of the above, along with a host of other doctrinal segments, there is important insight to be gained.  In every case, these matter.  Yet, we must awaken to our perpetual thirst for majoring in minors compared to knowing our Lord.

Some like me have been consistently off at this point.  Spiritual equilibrium must be regained by singular pursuit of Jesus; wherein all other matters will find wholesome resolution.  The world did not want to know in the '40s whether it was best to take communion with one cup or individual cups; and it still does not want to know.

Who will save us from our perverse selves?  Jesus would be of utmost importance.  As we learn more of and from him, we will surely be found to have gained spiritual wisdom regarding the assorted issues which continually serve as significant distractions.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


If God is everywhere, why can't He be found by so many who are searching?

This is a dominant thread of my heart.  It is strange, really, how much I root for the person(s) who are seeking the truth as to the reality of God.  This urge within society to find the Living God is serious, sobering, and significant.

The homeless want Him.  The celebrities want Him.  The foreigners want Him.  The industrious want Him.  The distracted want Him.  I want to be a part of the solution. These people matter.  I was once one of these of whom I write.

To begin, I think it would be wise that we realize man's mind and heart have been seeded with doubt while we slept (so to speak).  In utmost simplicity, we live with a vague hope-so that at our personal last breath on earth there will actually be a new kind of breath lift us skyward.  Oh how we want this to be more than religious theory.

What happens is, then, that multitudes over multiple centuries have devised ideas, theologies, doctrines, and practices in hopes of making the next life a successful transition.  Faith becomes/is much more than an evangelistic step to being saved.  It is where authentic certainty meets determined hope; not as hope-so, but as fact.

Within our 21st century nature is embedded a subtle superiority that educated man can deal with the question of the eternal God with a casual nod.  We tend to deem our personal understanding on any matter as the right perspective.  This trend is so strong among us that it is simply assumed that our views regarding God are correct; even if given no real research or attention.

So, as one small man writing this article, I think I have the answer?  Partially; but accurately, yes.  Partially, because I am in kindergarten as a theologian with little hope of making it to first grade in all there is to know about God.  Accurately, in that while I don't have all of the answers I have utmost confidence (literally) in the one who does.

It is Jesus where I place all of my egg-trust into the hope-basket.  His is the only way I can, after decades of search and research, conclude that there is a next life and how we obtain it.  His I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me of John 14:6 is to be awarded the winning bid.

Jesus is the only one who traded places with us; II Cor. 5:21.  He became our messes that we could stand before God robed in his goodnesses.  He is the only religious leader who came back from the dead; historical proof from multiple witnesses including the redating of our calendars upon his birth.

Be encouraged, you!  You who possess a glimmer of wonder as to whether this stuff is true!  I believe that I don't have fifty good answers per thousand good religious questions.  Yet, Jesus is the only one who loved us enough to actually be executed only to rise from the dead.  Even much of the world still believes him and I cheer you on in your search.

I think you have ample reason to believe him.  Give him a fair shot.  Endure the strain to know God...and then enjoy the surprise that He will...find you!

Friday, February 20, 2015


Who can think at the pace of God?  As mere men we are, at the most, clumsy in just trying to dissect the Word of God that we give forth hope and courage.  Upon any matter of concern, how are we to gauge our possibilities as well as our responsibilities? This is a sobering consideration because God seldom does anything routinely.

The Islamic terror cells are for real.  They named themselves; not the media.  And aggression, wild aggression, seems to be their tune.  So are we to do anything?  Can we do anything?  Who would know what or how other than the Controller of the entire stage called life?

There a few things that I believe we don't do.
  1. We don't pretend steep threat does not exist.  
  2. We don't "eye for eye" it.
  3. We don't hide.
Should Christians be taking some sort of effective action?  I think so.  What should it be and how should it look?  I have an idea for one direction.  Would it be of God?  Possibly. So here goes.

What I think we should first do is lift our heads from any sands of denial and admit that these extremists have announced that they are coming for us.  That seems to be fact; not rumor.

Too, we can already note that their hostility is progressing in rapid-fire.  A beheading here, three there, burning of one in a cage, and then 21 throats cut.  It seems there is escalation that calls for alarm.

Next we should discuss among ourselves how we will be benefited by hostile action should it arise.  Here's one thing I believe of importance.  God knows how to deal with opposing forces.  He's good at it.

Well, first, He died for all enemies which includes us.  So we know His heart is in it. Next, we know that when opponents believe they are restricting God's children, He has this great knack of entering from an unannounced door to be nothing more than advantaged.

When the church came into existence in Acts 2, it was due to a great eruption of faith backed by Holy Spirit leadership. Some of the religious zealots were finding Jesus' new way to cramp their traditional style.  Peter and John were jailed.  Great threat was issued that this new nonsense stop or else.

By Acts 5 there was such outrage against the new believers that a respected Pharisee, Gamaliel, pleaded that they refrain from killing these renegades (?) for God would deal with them if they were not really of His system.  By Acts 7 trouble was still stirring and young Stephen was executed.  Yes, this was going on at the very beginning of the church Jesus was building.

Acts 8 is where God lets it get interesting...and hopeful.  He used the wickedness of the extremists to expand the preaching of His Word.  And Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death.  And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.  And some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentations over him.  But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house; and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison (vv 1-3).

Believers were being persecuted by another kind of believers.  With interest we can note that God used this negative circumstance to expand His work.  He used the enemy methods to force the church into new territories...where they would evangelize in the name of Jesus.

So verse :4 gives such interesting perspective; Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the Word.  The later scene of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch would not be there if the religious extremists hadn't persecuted the church in Jerusalem forcing scatter.

I mean God is so on to outreach that in Acts 10 this angry Saul of Tarsus was himself baptized into Jesus, becoming a promoter of the very one he had battled against.  He will forever be known, by the way, as the apostle Paul; the man who wrote more books than any other New Testament writer.

God has vision!  He knows possibilities!  He can handle this!

That may be an area we find free to imagine.  If and as persecution of the Christians escalates, I believe we can count on an awakening that we churches desperately need which will cause more to become believers had the future persecution not have happened.

If attack occurs, grief and tears will be obvious.  Be assured God will use such a time as opportunity to reach more nations just as He did when it happened in Acts 8.  We may be pressed and bewildered; but God has tremendous ways of converting even those who press hardest against His church.

Be encouraged.  God is not done being creative in His reach.  May we find joy in all things.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


You know that I know that not everyone needs everything of which I decide to address, right?  Yet, there is this thing about us that I'm guessing a whole lot of us need....need today.

Why is it we resent any who seem bent upon insulting us or hurting our feelings; yet we do more of the same to ourselves...from ourselves?

Have you ever heard yourself talk about yourself in front of your back?

Your hair isn't right.  Your weight isn't right.  Your complexion isn't right.  Your neighbor isn't right.  Your pay isn't enough.  Your clothes look outdated.  Your influence seems to have hit a wall.  Your time seems to slip away.  You are tired of eating the same ol' meals.  You wish that you didn't have that funny eyebrow or those big ears or....or something!

Stop it!

We would defriend any who talked to us the way we tend to talk to ourselves.

How about we make a pact with God that we like the way He has created us?  What would you think about eliminating the self-talk that pulls us down....that in all reality pulls us down much more than those we deem as nuisance critics?

Let's do this.  Let's eliminate one of our biggest critics; one of our strongest enemies which terrorizes our minds while we drive down streets or try to pass off into deep sleep.  Let's tell the bully of self-destructive-talk to back off.

We have living to do.  We will not go through life permitting ourselves to be our own worst enemies.  No.  We have a God to be glorified, people to encourage, and we are on a big mission.

Good for us!

("Thank you, Terry, I really needed this.  Ah, you are welcome.")

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Faith isn't a step in religion's organizational redemptive approach.  It is a big word with bigger backing.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  I'm not so sure I haven't developed more of a wishful wanting rather than a holy conviction of what God can do.

Is my faith embedded in the fact that Jesus, once dead, has arisen?  Do I possess that kind of certainty about my work/our work with God?  Or, do I seem to have a Santa version of faith that wants things; wants answers, wants blessings, wants effectiveness?

No.  I believe I have developed a kind of faith that is based more upon what I can imagine for God than what God can imagine for me.  While I love Ephesians 3:20, I seem to hedge by playing risky faith safe.

Note the fascinating workings of Jesus.  Too, scan the moves of faith in Hebrews 11.  If we were a board of directors, would we have launched into these no-verifiable-certainty-this-will-pan-out modes?  Or, would we have wished for great to happen; yet, would not have ventured into such silly looking traps?

If we who believe Jesus is raised from the dead do not change our routine and anemic approaches to faith we are going to offer the world nothing more than Santa wishes. We will just hope we get the gifts for which we had prayed.

Faith presents deep conflict.  Shall we go through the motions of each day and reach the end concluding it had been done by faith (when what we really mean is that whatever happens happens)?  Or, shall we approach needs that can't be manipulated by man's organizational skill and anticipate God's wild provision?

I pray for three things consistently:
  1. That God's glory would show up in the media.
  2. That God would show us things about Himself that no one ever thought to ask.
  3. That God would convert another Saul of Tarsus; namely Bill Maher.
These items are not the epitome of prayer opportunities.  Neither am I the only one that prays by faith.  I simply list what I do to give those who would like to be challenged in faith as to one (of millions) possible scenario.

Faith is treacherous conflict.  Man wants to see God work; but we hesitate.  We fear. I'm here to cheer you on.  Take a look at the world's needs for God.  Pray for Him to interact among us when we couldn't take a wild guess as to where or how or when or who or why.

Faith's conflict is that it wishes to function from the talent of the Creator rather than from the frailty of the created.  May we release ourselves into the fascinating world of believing when few indicators suggest our ideas would work.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Men, women, and children walk under tremendous burden...every day.  No one is exempt; neither of age, mental capacity, nor physical qualities.  Every person is consistently broadsided by the inner discussion between our ears that we are not good enough.

This may be the phenomenon of all phenomena.

To say that this lie we tell ourselves is strange really is because such a confession doesn't begin to cover the width nor the depth of its devastating trail.  To show you how odd this lie is, consider any of us who seem to parade an over-inflated ego.  The egotistical are blemished by being super-confident.


I don't think so!

I've never met the person yet who displayed excess confidence who was not a child-in-hiding at the core.  Every person is smitten with uncertainty and insecurity regarding self.  No exceptions.  True, each of us possesses gifts from God which encourage others; even inspire.  But I still say there is this extra person we each carry within who wears us thin with inner arguments of lack here and wishful thinking there.

If I could meet a CEO or a Queen or a movie star, I would know immediately what I would want to talk about.  I would want to speak of assurance that they are more adequate in God than they imagine.  While their faces are plastered upon magazine covers, the famous scurry to feel better, appear better, do better because even their fame is not enough assurance that they are valued for being simply who they are.

You and me?  No different.  That greener grass on the other side of the fence is finally discovered to be a mirage.  The grass is green, for sure, but there has never been a fence.  We are all the same.  Fame or not?  Success or not?  We are all the great need of the God-assurance that we are lovable and the Creator of wonder and awe.

I wish not to pedestalize anyone.  I merely wish to remove your unnecessary limp. Living by comparison is an assault upon the good heart.  Either way we do it, comparing ourselves to others is a cover-up; a very useless one at that.  We don't need to feel we are better than others for we are not; but we are wonderful.  Neither do we need to feel less than another; because we are wonderful in the way God made each of us.

I would ask that you do more than nod in agreement.  I would ask that you believe it. Very good lives are being wasted wishing to be someone else somewhere else somehow else.  This is a discarding of good, valuable, powerful material.

The lie that strangles all of mankind is that we seem to volunteer to believe the worst and the ugliest and the stupidest about ourselves.  Surely we are not called to be self-gawking egoists.  But just as surely we are to treasure the uniqueness God has dared to entrust to each of our personalities.

May we live like we really like life!  That would be a good start to the week, don't you think?

Sunday, February 15, 2015


There is a phrase in Romans 4:18 that, at first glance, seems bewildering.  In hope against hope, he believed.  This references the aged Abraham who believed God's promise that he and Sarah could have a child when they were the age of most great-grandparents.

In hope against hope Abraham believed he and his wife could have a child...if God said so.

This is very significant for believers for the idea is that we can have a hope that would surpass normal hope because of the power of God.  Later in that text, the writer points out that the late-date parenthood of Abraham and Sarah is parallel to believing God could raise Jesus from the dead.

The Bible, here, takes two of life's strongest timings; an over-aged couple beyond ability to conceive and a man dead.  And then God states that, due to faith, we have reason to believe there is hope that would surpass normal hope.

We must take care that we do not turn hope beyond hope into, I hope so.  I sorta doubt it; but I'll try to have a glimmer of hope.  Rather, we want to develop a hope that has certainty in God when fleshly calculations would not dare believe such a possibility.

Be encouraged to work on building a faith that hopes beyond where the flesh would hope.  There is much needed in this tired world or ours.  There is much life available through Jesus.  To sigh with a hope so just won't cut it.  We must have a belief in the God of impossibilities.

May we build forces of faith.  May hope be bigger, better, higher, and stronger than ever!

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MY INVITATION TO YOU FOR EASTER":

First words out of a man's mouth indicates his heart. Judges 17. Samson saw a woman and that was his downfall. I feel your heart needs to be adjusted. Who cares if you have 1700 friends on FB. Not about you. That could have been differently than starting it out with I statement. Yourself is before the cross. 

I tried to publish this response three times to my post but it would not go through. To be honest, the note doesn't make me look good.  Therefore, I share with you publicly this critique of yesterday's post.  I choose to do so for several reasons; the main one being to encourage those of you in the public eye of church leadership.  

We have this coming.  No one is above criticism.  Whether misunderstood in our statements, or guilty as charged, the toughest thing for any is to be criticized; especially in a public format by one who will not give their name.  

So, young leaders, what shall we do with things like this?  We thank God for it and we thank those who send such notes.  Everything is a yes.  So we calm down, don't breathe threats, and simply take what's due, learn from our mistakes, and don't fear others.  We are learners.

Take a look at the note.  Romans 2:1-5 clearly says that what we are critical of, we are guilty of.  What are the first words out of this person's mouth (of which they find like-minded upset with me)?  The same from them as the charge against me.  Evidently this person's upset is in front of the cross, as well.

I do not point this out in defense.  This is the way it is for all of us.  Therefore, I say to you young leaders, calm down and just weigh incoming attacks.  Think it through.  Don't race to defend and, simultaneously, ponder the message for its accuracy.

I truly wish not to be putting this person on the spot.  Their charge might be right on target.  I am pretty excited about the number of followers because I assume each reader has their own number of many followers.  If we multiply our numbers in invitations....WOW!....look at how fast FB connected invitations to a big Easter Sunday!

However, anonymous doesn't see it that way and I get it.  My apology as well as thankfulness of their remarks.  I know this from biblical perspective.  Whoever anonymous is, they are a better person than me.  That isn't a false humility; rather it is Word fact.

Yes, it bugs me that we in the public eye get told off by such brave brothers and sisters called anonymous.  That one bugs me.  Yet, again I say to the young leaders, we have this coming.  This is an important part of ministry fabric.

We do not shrug.  We do not smirk.  We do not dismiss.  Neither do we worry. We evaluate; take our lumps and dismiss the parts that are inaccurate.  This takes serious discernment; otherwise we will always conclude that we are always in the right.  Often, that is not the case.  We need correction.

Our job is to grow deeper in the Spirit of Jesus from every encounter of harsh wording toward us.  Many times we deserve it.  Sometimes, not so much.  But every bit of it, whether accurate, is a blessing and a must to effective ministry.

Do not be overwhelmed by those who boldly hide behind their letters signed anonymous.  We've all received our fair share.  But rather listen to the charges. Accept correction where appropriate.  And always tell God thank you for getting to live in the Kingdom where this goes on.

We must have criticism.  Otherwise, we are very likely to begin to believe we run the show.  We don't.

To my anonymous friend, I really thank you.  I'm sure you to be a valiant servant of His.  You have blessed my day.  I will work at wording my posts more carefully.  I will not be discouraged by your note, but will use it to hopefully cheer on many readers of this post who will in turn bless others through their efforts.

My name is Terry Rush.  Anonymous, what is yours?  I wish this question not to be tacky.  I wish, however, for the young leaders among us who are going to encounter their due share of criticism to make note that sometimes this will come from bold but cowardly hearts.  

This is a serious matter.  

Our good men and women have left ministry and the church by the droves because of such faint-hearted tactics.  I wish to encourage them to stay.  It is worth the endurance to watch the love of God transform even our enemies into our great friends.

Friday, February 13, 2015


I have no idea what percentage of the over 1700 friends I have on FB who are local; Tulsa and surroundings.

I say to each of those that if you don't really have a church home for Easter Sunday, I'm inviting you to this one.  The Memorial Drive Church of Christ;10:30 Sunday morning on Easter at our church at 9th and Memorial in Tulsa.

You'll be welcomed.  Hopefully God will speak to your heart that day to give you perhaps a boost you and your family have needed.

And those who live far away, I applaud your good hearts that you would attend some congregation in your locale to give honor to God.  This is especially the time for those fortunate to have a vibrant church to invite, invite, invite.  Ask them to sit with you so that they won't be alone and feel disconnected.

Easter is that main time of the year that the authentic goodness of man--what we are really made of--shows up in our trek to join other believers. There remains a deeply and honorable embedded faith within the hearts of mankind.  On this one day it seems to take priority over all other routine and schedule.

Jesus arose from the dead with no ax in his hand; but rather tenderness in heart for his beaten and battered creation.  Why would we not be ultra-appreciative?  Thank you for being among the good hearts who will take the time to give God attention on Easter Sunday!

If you would be one who hasn't been to church in a while, I think you will be amazed at the boost you give others because you cared enough to be with them.  People matter....all people.  Bless a church.  Attend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


We believe many things.  Of course those things vary....a lot.  Some prefer Fords. Others would not own one.  We understand such opinionated trends.  Often such conclusions have been reached due to experience; if not research.

When it comes to God, however, a pattern is fairly predictable.

We tend to believe what we inherit.

If our parents were church people; so are we.  If not, we are not.  To an extent, the churched tend to continue the family brand-of-theology preference; but not as much as maybe it once indicated.  Being a certain brand of faith once meant the next generation will follow the same style of faith.  Yet, today those of God-interest seem to be more faithful to seeking Him than to attending their family's historical denomination.

What we believe about God (whether to give attention to Him or dismiss Him), usually follows what our parents did.  This part is most disturbing for it could indicate that much of spirituality is honestly nothing more than thoughtless.  For this to be the case--and I believe it is in many instances--it appears man in general is more likely to give attention to cologne preference or sandwich toppings than to adapting a faith in the living God.

Do we not realize that our general perspective about God is inherited rather than researched?  Are we okay with dying while giving our own souls extremely little thought?  Do we not matter to ourselves?

How easy it is to dismiss such points and questions with a grunt or a sneer.  But please don't.  Be obstinate toward me if you like; but don't be that way toward the deepest part of your true self.

Would you consider doing more than inheriting your faith or your non-faith; dependent upon family history?  Believing God isn't for cute children and silly women. It is for grown-ups who are, indeed, quite important.

Please don't waste the most important part of yourself; your eternal soul.  Please.  And, would you consider dropping what you deem as a valid excuse of staying away from God because of all the hypocrites?  What a waste in this well-worn and tired chatter.

Men, women, and children die.  Obituaries validate this fact.  I would urge you to take a serious look at this God who is crazy about you.  He is not a hoax.  Neither is He the demon some of your friends may have made Him out to be.

Consider looking at Jesus.

Notice he was executed because religious people--the very kind you may detest--set him up.  Yet, notice his love for those who simply wanted hope and renewal and life. This man, Jesus, lived and died that we could really have a serious hope beyond the grave.

Please, I don't mean to sound preachery.  Rather I mean to sound neighborly; as in a neighbor who cares for you forever!  You deserve better than living indifferently toward the God who created you in the first place.  Don't you think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Good grief, I root for people.  So many, regardless of race, gender, or social level, struggle day after day.  Misery seems compounded for some.  Anger.  Bitterness. Sheer loneliness.  Troubles abound.

Where is God?

Where is God?

Does He not care?  Is He not supposed to be the One who makes everything work out better?

Yes, He does care.  That His Son was executed in one of the world's most torturous styles is one of the strongest signals that He cares.

No, God is not supposed to make everything work out the way we wish.  Again, He didn't do it for Jesus and He doesn't do it for us.

So?  What good is it to believe in God?

When we learn that He does not just transform life from loss to victory; but that God transformed loss into meaningful power, we are then onto something most valuable. God's followers suffer.  We are called to do so; to take up our crosses and follow Him; all for the benefit of others.

Man's problem with religion is we have entered believing that now we will discover the Midas touch.  And then when things don't go the way we had hoped, we blame God for being unfaithful to His promises.

Life with God does not mean everything goes my way.  It does not mean that Christianity is a walk in a rose garden.  It means struggle, frustration; even irritation. And what it also means is that we yield our own will that others may become blessed.

Jesus died that we might live.  We die for others--take our insults and our persecutions--so that some with such frustrations can have genuine hope....just like we have.

What good does it do to believe in God?  He doesn't give us painless lives.  Rather, He makes our hard times useful that others would be blessed.

Sunday, February 08, 2015


Living with God is not a routine.  It is a walk.

How long I made my trek to church as a little kid.  There I was always hoping that this time it would be interesting.  I especially liked it when my Grandpa and my uncle sang in the choir.  But mostly I counted down to that final dismissal song that set us free.

Shaking the pastor's hand was meaningful mostly because I could see daylight again.  I had just lived through another time of mostly boredom; but felt so much the better for having endured.

Whew!  Did it again!  Now, on my walk back, pop into Hendricks Drugstore, snag a Snickers, off to home, off with those Sunday-only duds and out to gather up enough kids for a baseball game.  Sunday!

There you go, for those similar to me, church seems to have always been about entertainment.  But when it comes to us personally, we never call it that.  That label belongs only for those of modern day who want new things in church.  Right?

But I was a kid.  Church meant sit-still big time.  I just wasn't a sit-still sort.  Oh the drudgery of church.

So, do you think those who attend are feeling as I did?  They are putting in their time?  Or, are they as I am now, finding the pleasure of really, attentively worshiping God?  The latter is a major shift.

If in a church to be pleased, then ultimately criticism will be on the tips of our tongues.  The sermon was too long, the music to loud, the attire by some too....something.  But when our goal is to give praise to God, the church scene seems to experience complete remodel.

We think about Him in gratitude.  We sing to Him.  Pray to Him.  We believe He hears us as well as dwells among us.

What a lot of churches these days could use is a good dose of God.  I speak from personal need.  Church isn't God.  Church music isn't either.  Neither are attendance numbers nor contribution counts.

God is.

Church.  When we can all pool our praise for Him, God seems to release blessings within our hearts that can neither be explained nor manipulated.  May we have more of that!

Saturday, February 07, 2015


Let's see.  How many links of communication does one have at his or her disposal?  Let me count some of the ways.  You got your telephone.  You got your postal service.  Oh yes, there's that email and voice mail and Texting and Pintrest and....well there are surely alternatives to get the job done.  Oh, and then there is that other mode of (how I almost forgot) prayer.


You know.  That communication concept that works off of a Satellite System from way out there in space somewhere?


Verbal expression that, for most, seems to be a futile exercise in time consumption?


For the longest time, not only did I not do it, I resented the need to do it.  However, much has changed for me and maybe I could encourage some of you to restart your engines.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not an ideal praying person.  It's just that I've learned to need it, like it, and do it.  If my technique would be meaningful to you....well, there ya go!

Prayer for me has been a time of God and me together.  I speak to Him as well as listen for Him.  As soon as I awaken--every day--I tell God how grateful I am for Him.  Prayer is a conversation where we brag on our Life-giver.

As soon as I back the car out of the drive I praise Him for what He has done for those on my street, those in far away lands who are being mistreated, and for the great unfolding plans He has for His kingdom today.  I thank Him for people in cars that I know not their name; but I am sure they are in need of His direct attention.

I thank God...throughout the day.

While people are talking to me in my office, I will whisper inwardly of my gratitude for His delight in them.  For my hometown of Memphis, Missouri, He knows how proud I am that He gives all attention.

For my sweet congregation in Tulsa which is surely immature, and lacking in so very many things, so strong, so dynamic in others; yet God has chosen to let a wimp of a guy like me be a part of their great nature?

How could I do anything but tell Him of my complete wow?

And as I lean in upon sleep for the night, I remind Him of the 48 names of my neighbors that I've met over these last three years; secretly seeking His blessings upon them all.

Stationed for communication.  We hold in our hands these cute little framed boxes which can contact the world in an instant---like Instagram--but no mode of contact can compare to prayer.  It isn't a churchy routine.  No.  Prayer is a breathing communication between you and the Greatest Communicator....Ever!

You can want a lot of things in life.  But to be clear, if you have not yet developed a true sense of prayer, you are out there on your own.  That can be appealing for a while.  Yet, linking up with God in a real, substantive way is of utmost well as blessing.

Friday, February 06, 2015


I can't think of anything that feels like a bigger waste of time than being stuck.  A ring on a finger that needs to be removed, a car in a snowdrift, or big critter wedged within a small doghouse, stuck is not what one would identify as a progressive moment.

A mood hovers over much of mankind.  It isn't angry.  Neither is it necessarily painful. It is burdening; quite so.  I think men and women everywhere are stuck.  With inability to move forward coupled with lack of direction, people everywhere are spinning their daily routinic wheels with an overwhelming feeling of, I'm stuck.  I'm going nowhere.  

Stuck equates to not knowing what to do next.  Therefore, we just keep doing what we've been doing.  What we've been doing may really be just fine.  It's that feeling. You know what I mean?  That feeling of there is lack of an edge of excitement productivity, and joy.

(Let me assure you.  I know many do not live this way.  I give you an atta boy or an atta girl.  I speak with those too many who do know what I'm discussing all too well.  So thank you for enduring.)

I have a very good life.  I've always wished I could get to be me and it turned out that God let me.  But that wishing times that was hard because it felt never enough; never going anywhere.  It's that Bingo free space in our hearts that, even it, feels unoccupied.

What I do in those moments is thank Him for making my life tick.  I brag on His skill for no one has talent like He has talent.  Now pooh-pooh this all you want.  Go ahead. Work it out your way.  But for those who are stuck, God knows stuck.  His Son was stuck in a tomb one day and God....well, let's just say He possesses know-how.

Romans 4:17 is a miracle truth for every stranded person.  God knows how.  He can give life to dead efforts and He can cause things which are not (yet) to become.  That just happens to be something where I would have interest; you as well.

My guess is every person of every social class and skill level encounters this thing of feeling momentarily stranded because we are creatures of habit.  We keep doing the same thing over and over while wishing over and over we didn't always have to do the same things over and over.  (Gosh, mom must be proud.)

So how do we get unstuck from serious stuckability?  We live thanking God for His creativity right where we live.  We don't necessarily need greener grass on our side of the fence.  We simply need a signal from Him to blow by that reminds us that we are not alone.  And, neither are we stuck because He is moving and we are along for the ride of a lifetime!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015



The word seems kinda conditional.  If things go the way we had "hoped" then hope seems to live.  If not; then there wasn't any "hope".

Truthfully, there is always hope.  If what we had wished doesn't come about as we had planned, there is ample reason to believe there is a plan B.  Again, as long as matters go right, then we feel hope is legit.

It's when tragedy and heartbreak arise that hopelessness seems to abrasively pound.  And this is where God is in the lead.  He knows how to take darkness and make light.  He can turn a flooding sea into an aisle for His children to cross.  He can even take a once depressing grave and empty it for future passersby to marvel.

If there's one gigantic joy that I find in knowing God, it is He constant message of hope.
  • He vows that regardless of struggles, hope will be there....Rom. 5:1-5
  • He makes a YES out of every NO....I Cor. 1:18-20
  • Love hopes all things....I Cor. 13:7

Everyone has reason to hope.  God isn't a puppeted magician expected to dance to our emotional fancies.  No.  He is a serious God that knows how to perfectly turn defeat into victory.   He is the best lemonade maker of lemons...ever!

We can count on Him all of the time.  Even His Son died.  That event, in itself, was to display His promise to us of reason to hope.  With every moment that strains try to pull us down into a giving up mode, we can be sure that God has a response...that will really bless us.