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).

Saturday, November 07, 2015


No one is exempt from conflict.  It presents itself moment by moment.  One of the more stronger ones is the contest between the flesh and the spirit.  I speak not of a matter of doing what's right vs. what's wrong.  Rather I address the war of aging.

II Corinthians 4:16 presents one of man's greatest divides; outer man decaying vs. inner man getting newer day by day.  Note: this is simultaneous; not either/or.  Both are a common part of our daily routine.  The Outer vs. the Inner is the fiercest of all competition.

Count on it; we will go 15 rounds.  There is no need to assume exemption.  And...the contest will be inescapably stormy.

The flesh ages while the spirit invigorates.  Fact. One will tend to decline.  The other is to move onward and upward.  Fact.  Both want to run the show.  Fact.

This truth should/could/must serve as Church Alert.  Every generation will fight the aging process; locking down the flesh's preferences and comforts.  It is no easy contest to release ourselves from the flesh soaked in fear and into the flotational promises of spirit wonder.  The flesh will selfishly preserve while the spirit will be inclined to explore.

Some who are engaged in what is known as the Restoration Movement have very strongly shifted into the Preservation Movement having forgotten our forefathers seemed more engaged in the Exploration Movement.  There is a difference.  One slant will kill.  The fruit will be shrinking churches.  The other will give life resulting in growth; both inwardly and numerically.

There are many wonderful biblical blessings which have flowed from our past.  We have learned how to praise, how to connect, and how to serve.  Yet God is most clear, that He has things awaiting in the storehouse of blessings that man hasn't even thought about yet (I Cor. 2:9).  Sometimes when these blessings are discovered, we find that we are faced with a solemn decision.  Are we to remain unmovable from what we attained in the past are shall we grow into the newness He seems to adamantly present?

This is no easy task.  On the contrary, it is deeply sobering.  Of all of the conflict management one faces, whether, family-job-or-profession, this one is major because it separates whether one lives dead to the promises of God or lives alive to His radiant and ungraspable creativity .

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


Tell God how much you love Him....constantly.

Don't flinch when things don't go the way you had hoped.  Advantageous training is buried within.

May your tears fail to drown you in misery; but rather may they be used as telescopes for discovery.

Tell God how much you love Him....constantly.