Tuesday, March 31, 2015


How are those around us doing?  Happy?  Sad?  Distracted?  Ailing?

It is remarkable that often we can tell by reading one's eyes as to how they are feeling. The eyes tell the story.

I encourage you to be attentive to one another.  Relationship is of the utmost importance.  Yet, what I notice is that there are several who do not regard themselves of any value; especially to any who would not be regarded as "close".  In these cases we believe our words not to be important because we are not acquainted or "close" to them.

Therefore, I want to remind you that your words (even to strangers) are important.  A speaker in 1978 changed my approach to life when he said that the average person has not one good friend.  I was stunned.  Yet, since that time, I've seen this statement verified.

Michael Jackson said that he did not have one good friend.  The masses wanted his autograph or a picture with him.  Friends?  None.

It is for this reason that my heart goes out to those in the public eye.  These are often regarded more as icons rather than people.  How I wish all of these could realize their value...as a very good and loved...person.

My point is that there are NO EXCEPTIONS.  Every person in every social level needs to be reminded and confirmed as to their being simply special and extremely important.

Especially in our eyes, we can note the need for approval and love.  And, we take our turns at cheering and in need of being cheered.

Regardless of who we are near or who we know, every person at some point needs to be uplifted.  Every person.  And often we will pick up on this when we look them in the eye.  The eyes are so telling.

The eyes...they have the message that says, "Please, does anyone care for me simply because I am....me?

Monday, March 23, 2015


Due to sin's destructive nature from the onset of life on earth, men and women have been swallowed up with struggle; enormous struggle.  Even should a person not believe in the spirit nature of good and evil...even these are ravaged by some persistent trend of both disappointment and ruin.

How broken are we?

We are consumed with life's entrapment as we seek the hidden pathway of escape.  No one is immune to the dis-ease of keeping life's plates a-spinning.  Mankind is a mess. To display how great this upset is, we are so extremely warped that we can see the many flaws in all others while thick blindness seems to obstruct us from noticing our own severe sin.

Mankind is broken.  We have been sabotaged, beaten, and broken by dark forces who take little blame nor responsibility.

Of course, this leads us to the One who broke these bonds that wish to barricade us from refreshment and energy.  Jesus died on the cross to pay a debt we could not pay. Thick blindness, however, causes the masses to even ignore such a grand love.

I would urge many to be encouraged with life.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the LIFE.  It's weird.  It's odd.  It's immeasurable as well as unexplainable.  But it's ours for he traded us places.  He died that we could live.

May we use our brokenness as fuel to help us endure struggles and claim the purpose of reaching to others up and down life's corridors who feel helplessly broken...just as we once did.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Believing seems to be a rather major player in our walk.  What's weird is that it can be so easily dismissed with a shrug.  The latter would be known as unbelief.

But, doesn't life turn out the same whether one believes or doesn't?

No.  This faith factor is a profound instigator of developmental process.  With faith, things happen.  Without it?  They don't.

It should be noted that a ton of things happen which are simply an ordinary procedure of any given day.  Houses catch fire, tires go flat, and appendicitis attacks.  Details like these are reasons why man has been lulled to sleep regarding the concept of faith. Things just happen.

Yes, they do.  And, things happen also because of a powerful entity called belief. Therefore, one must be cautious not to let random acts of life's processes talk one out of the magnificent secret of believing.

Faith is creative.

It gives life to things that are dying and believes that something that isn't yet can become (Rom. 4:17).  A mate can see that a marriage is dying and by faith breathe new life into it and save it.  Too, a person can have no promising words facing their dilemma.  Yet, by faith can proceed as if there is possession  and potential and actually see the impossible happen.

Christians who believe in prayer pray.  Furthermore, these see results.  Christians who don't believe in prayer don't pray.  These see consistent results of nothing happening because they didn't believe.  Truth.

Believers who think that giving of their money will cause moments of grace from God see this play out day after day.  Those hesitant in unbelief hold on to their funds tightly and do not experience the weird and wonderful displays of God's provision because they simply operate on their own steam.

Play it safe if you want.  Go ahead and supply your own lifestyle.  Take matters into your own hands.  Others of us, however, are certain we cannot provide for ourselves on the level that God can.

Faith.  Faith that He can or faith that He won't.  Which way do you lean?  Whatever you believe is the way it will go.  Now....that's either promising or scary; dependent upon your stance.

Really, disbelief is a misnomer.  One either believes things will happen or things won't.  Whatever we believe is fundamentally and basically the way life goes.

Belief makes a difference; not whether one does, but how one does. We all believe.  Do we believe God is true?  Or, do we believe the concept of God is false?

Whatever our persuasion is usually how life unfolds.  I would rather believe God will than believe that He won't.  Beyond our understanding, we cannot fathom how our Powerful God is willing to yield to our faith parameters; regardless of our direction.

It takes work to believe God (Jn. 6:28-29).  Sometimes life doesn't unfold the way we wish because we are simply too lazy to believe.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Have you noticed how hard it is to be able to recall what it was you meant to say or meant to do?

I feel certain there are accurate statistical studies to support what I wonder.  Living in the information age (Are we still there?) seems to be pounding my head with more content that ever!

And the problem isn't just with quantity.  It is with the when that this takes place.

The when is constant; like in always while awake?  Information comes at us faster than a thousand people can post a message on FB, Twitter, etc.  We find ourselves with plenty to do, as is, and then with the bombarding of notes, funny stories, and sad ones....we are trying to survive a glut of threads to our heads.

Now I'm not walking away from these terrific communication tools.  I love them and am benefited by them.  They are an answer to prayer as they help me to be in touch with more and more of the world. But what I am trying to do is to say no to more things so that I can get more done.

Distraction is a serious villain.  When one cannot focus upon matters at hand, people often suffer as a result.  We want to be attentive.  We must not pass by the hurting masses because we have a new app that explains how great our help can be.

Therefore, I direct your attention and mine to people.  I'm not writing a post this morning to say I wrote a post.  I'm connecting with the wonders of His creation; men and women.

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy His life.  Refrain from being sucked into the swirl of needing to know so much about so much that you can't remember who it is that needs your love today.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


I am so excited!

What we work on for over a year becomes actuality Wednesday evening as the Tulsa Workshop's "SPEAK LIFE" begins its three-day keynotes, classes, worship, and over-joy day by day!

What are some of your favorite workshop moments over the past 40 years?

Friday, March 13, 2015


Imagine creating a movie scene where the gangsters were in the beginning stages of plotting a show-down with the towns-people.  And while these evil planners were merely (unknown and unmarked) scouting out the territory, what if the citizens began bringing their gold, silver, cash, and jewelry to the town square and dumping all in huge tubs for any thieves to take at will?


Why would they surrender to robbery before these with planners even began to execute their strategies?  Why would a community do worse than defend their goods? Why would the place them out in the open for the dark side to plunder at will?  Why would a decent people possess no energy nor drive to stand against abuse?


Is this not a reflective scene of some of us who claim to walk by faith?  Have we not said to the Enemy, Here you are.  Take our congregations.  Take our families.  Take our missions.  Take our children.  We surrender them.

And how is it that we do this?

I believe we allow this due to lack of prayer.  Certainly, we can count the numbers of dear brothers and sisters who lead well or follow well in so many works of the church. Yet, this keeps us busy; but may not be keeping us healthy.

Who is praying?  Is it being done?  Yes.  Definitely.  But I think it is not being done by the majority.  This is my concern.  Statistically, I don't have a spreadsheet.  Listening to us, I believe I am accurate in my assessment.

We have work to do; big work.  We have God to believe; big God.  We have tasks before us; big tasks.  But we have not a prayer life to match.


This is the point of this post.  Could it be that prayer is diminished because we have failed to develop a faith of vision.  The church has succumbed to a whatever will be will be mode.  We've lost our way.  We've forgotten we can create, mold, and groom things that are not yet into being.  We've lost our sense of believing He is strong enough to create the very needs the church has to push back against the Gangsters.

Prayer is tempted to couple niceties with wishfulness.  I encourage you to be visionarily creative in seeking what God has in mind for you today; where, when, and why He wants to move you here and then there.

It is bizarre that we basically sit on our hands when the church and the scrambling world needs impact.  Pray is nothing new as far as topic.  It would be incredibly new to those committed in the church to do good; but can't seem to develop an activated faith.

God can always do more than we can imagine.  All love the text referenced from Ephesians 3:20.  What I wish to do to your day is encourage you to imagine more than surrendering to the dark forces simply because whatever will be will be.  

We have a bigger God than that.  May we develop a bigger faith to fit His size more than ours.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


For certain, walking in the spirit zone is tedious.  Because God calls us (II Cor. 5:7) to walk by faith and not by sight, we can be assured that the visibles will do their best to choke out the invisibles.  Our goals to walk by faith in the unseen is forever tripped up by the distractions of what we see.

It is for this reason that masses of believers don't pray.  Saying words into the ears of an invisible God is about one of the strangest senses a fleshly body can feel.  Speaking words into the air and believing they resonate with Some Being out there? Absurd...unless you really do believe.

Belief is nearly a contradiction to man's most basic anchor.

We should not be surprised, therefore, at the great strain connected to believing God. Our addictions to walking among the tangibles, the measureables, and the handleables seem to undermine the purity of faith before we ever head out the door of a morning.

Curious followers of Jesus posed the big question, What shall we do that we may work the works of God?  What response did they anticipate?  Pray longer?  Track the needs of the poor?  Go to church regularly?  None of these.

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.

Jesus' comment seems so basic that still today the religious world takes constant effort to improve such a fundamental sentence.  Surely there must be more.  However, the religious conglomerate is suffering from lack of efficiency and stability today due to bypassing his simple statement.

There are many things we state that we believe.  As a matter of fact, unity seems to teeter if we don't adhere completely to the rationale of others.  But believing in Jesus; the one whom God sent?  This is easily dismissed in the name of there is much work to do.

There it is.  The kindergarten version of simply believing Jesus tends to be aborted by the time we get to first grade.  Yet, this is our assigned work order.  So why do we tend to rush to a place to serve or a need to be met by robust attention rather than focus on the Son of God?

The flesh seems to crave verification.  Am I doing well?  Do you see me doing well? Will I make a difference?  To believe in Jesus seems/feels like.....vague vagueness?

It takes spirit muscle to believe in Jesus.  Concentration.  Conviction.  Determination. These are in the mix.  Believing Jesus isn't a good mood.  It is a major work.  No one does this haphazardly.  No one possesses a passion for him simply by occasional tossing a thought his direction.

When we do the work of believing him, we are altering the course of life.  We work to believe he knows the how, the what, the when, the where, and the why of any given need.  We believe in his timing; not ours.  We are sure of his ability; not ours.

When we watch him, we make powerful progress because we know that he isn't doing anything until he sees Father doing it.  Synchronization and harmony will never be more basic than when we shed the many church dynamics that distract in order to focus upon the one who runs the show.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


40 years!

Next Wednesday evening crowds will gather at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds to begin the three-day TULSA WORKSHOP!

I attended the very first one in 1976, spoke at the second one in 1977 (as a guest preacher from Quincy, IL.), and then directed the third one in 1978.  What a fabulous ride!

The workshop continues to be a kingdom tool to inspire, encourage, and promote outreach.  It started that way and will be the same this year.  The format is always designed with "reach" in mind.

When I begin to plan the workshop program (as my good colleague Shane Coffman and I alternate years), I think about the churches across our land and in other nations that are the size of 38 or 73 or 125 in membership.  I wonder what we could do to offer popular speakers who they might not otherwise get to hear.  Plus, it is a consistent thought of ours as to what would give them a boost in their work back home.

From Wednesday evening's keynote with John Alan Turner to Saturday's rallying final keynote by Jeff Walling at 4:00, the workshop will be powered by the Holy Spirit to send us back into the world with a charge!

If you plan to be here, spread the word of this exciting venture! If you hadn't planned to be here, I would encourage you to make new plans!

Too, all who plan to stay over for Sunday are encouraged to visit one of our area churches.  Memorial Drive will have only one assembly that day which will be at 9:00 (like in nine) for those needing to get on the road.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Negotiating the clock is a major challenge in this present age.  The calendar is no easier.  Communication galore carries with it great value and, then, constant threat. We are blessed to be in touch.  Relationships strengthen through being in contact. We are also threatened by numerous distractions which pull us away from necessary labors.

Interruptions are a profound part of our daily pattern.  The phone rings or the iPhone beeps.  And occasionally that old-fashioned introduction by a knock at the door occurs. Whatever the tool, surprise communication bombards our days second by second.

As we try to accomplish intended goals we find ourselves in a fight for the ability to simply focus.  Yet, we must...or else go nuts.

How can we simplify in a complex time?

We learn to say yes those things that seem to be our God-assignments and no to the many opportunities which beg our attention.  Saying no is both the challenge and the victory.

Surely your emails and texts light up with requests.  And just as certain, our hearts wish to expand that others--the many legitimate needs of these very wonderful others--may be encouraged.  We are all about blessing others.

There must a be a seriousness, though, that we may (or have) become spread too thin. Of course, I get it.  Such admonition is precisely what the lazies want to hear.  But I speak of the servants among us.  We must run our schedules and not the other way around.

Just as our food-intake would be blessed by a disciplined diet, so would our activity-intake benefit by our disciplined scheduling.

If we are going to be a people of efficiency and productivity, we just must focus on the items where we serve well while abandoning the need to please men by our endless offers to cover too much ground quite ineffectively.

Friday, March 06, 2015


One of my greatest struggles in life has been to like who I am.  If the world has flaws, I seem to have a world of them.  As a result I didn't seem to enjoy the living while being alive.  And even today, those feelings will make effort to intrude upon my wonderful life.

Maybe some of you wage war on a similar battlefield?

I think so.  I am sure of it.  Therefore, I run a few ideas by you which might give you a boost to the point you can be who you are...and like it.

Luke 10:38-42 tells about the personality differences between Martha and Mary.  One scrambled in preparation while the other sat at the feet of Jesus and listened.  The two women represent the competition and strain within our own individual hearts. Committed to live in this distracting world while desiring to slow down and enjoy are very much who we are and what we are like.

Jesus declares distraction unnecessary.  Yet, we believe it is and often offer defensive explanation as to why.  However, Jesus is teaching via these sisters an eternally important truth.  Less is more.

This battle of liking who we are (and not constantly wishing we were someone else) finds clarification when we can focus.  That was Mary's secret from God.  Of course Martha disagreed; out-spokenly so.  She viewed herself as the responsible and mature one.  So Jesus disagreed.

It's interesting that he did not compliment both in that each possessed a wholesome quality.  No.  To the active one (as far as serving others), Jesus leveled, you are worried and bothered about so many things.  Worried and bothered distract. Distractions rob us of liking who we are because we feel behind, overwhelmed, and unappreciatedly obligated.

Mary enjoyed the moment.  For so long I struggled with her seeming lazy indifference. Yet, she gains our Lords praise?  Yes.  She would rather be with him while she had the opportunity.  She treasured him over personal responsibilities because she knew how to focus on what matters.  Mary wasn't lazy.  She was simple.

Simple is desperately needed in our walk.  I've learned over the years that God manages this show; not me.  I've learned that I can be so mobile upon religion's turf that I may miss the presence of God.  Too, I've learned a great secret in saying no to distractions that I might say yes to liking life.

It takes extreme discipline to be simple.  When I get distracted, I tend to get down on myself.  I'm not doing enough, being enough...I am just not enough...and this depresses me.  Simplicity of refusing to live according to interruption's cadence is most freeing as well as enjoyable.  Peaceful doesn't equate to being lazy.

Mary enjoyed Jesus.  Martha surely loved him but missed out on being with him while he was actually in her house.  This is no news; but we spend entirely too much time majoring in minors when it is not necessary.  We are the ones, as did Martha, who put mandatory burdens upon ourselves.  At these points we don't like being who we are.

One of the most difficult things for me to learn was what Mary already knew.

I learned to say no to well-intentioned opportunity that did not fit my calling.  Others can view this negatively; but living to please others is killer law embedded within our own insecurities.

No.  Regardless of how appealing ventures were or how ego-building some invitations seemed, I learned to say no when such was the necessary and disciplined response. Just because someone had an idea for me to be involved didn't mean I was a villain for gracefully declining their approach.

Are we to stretch to be productive for God?  This will always be His call.  For Martha, it was a stretch to sit down and enjoy the moment.  Such moments will often challenge each of us.  The exciting thing for us is that, due to the nature of the Spirit, more gets done when we offer less.

Thursday, March 05, 2015


There is clearly an invisible choke-hold on our minds.  Strangely, it comes from within our own skulls due to being anchored by our own thoughts.  Mankind is snagged and stumped and limited by strangulated thinking.

Faith makes long strides in unstrangulating us.  This is very serious business.  The secret powers of human-connected-to-God living are curtailed exponentially by hesitancy and fear.  Those who reverse this trend experience what God would deem as the surpassing grace of God in us which immediately allows, Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (II Cor. 9:14-15) to become our walking reality.

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

Discussing the deep need for faith, the apostle points to God and insists that faith, gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist (Rom. 4:17).

As long as we continue to sit with our Bibles opened, having listened to thousands of sermons already, too many remain captive in our own fearful minds.  Hesitancy. Threat. Vulnerability.  Sheepishness.  These combined are stagnatizing the Great Commission.

I speak of this not in criticism nor in warning; but in pleading with our very good people.  I'm with marvelous, beautiful, generous, tender believers day in and day out. Few, very few, realize the magic touch within themselves.

Some are pretty. Some are intelligent.  Some are gifted.  Some are serious about their faith.  The vast majority lives in public hiding completely unaware that they possess power and love of Holy Spirit impact that relatives, friends, and colleagues around would be blessed to hear what we have discovered in God.

Very average and normal church members need to understand something about themselves.  God uses very average and normal people to reach very average and normal people.  That's how we found God.  It wasn't through professional parents (for those raised in church).  Nor was it through professional believers (for those not accustomed to church life).  Plain people impact plain people.

I wish Mr. Average and Miss Normal would come out from hiding.  I wish you would imagine inviting some to sit at your table or go to your cafe with you.  I wish you would realize how fascinating the God who resides within you is and that you are the perfect (PERFECT) one to help others reach for that which they deeply yearn; a relationship with God.

You.  Not just others, but you.  You are magnificently influential because no one has a law against being loved.  Our communities are in a world of hurt; depression, anxiety, loneliness.  You and me, we have a way of cheering people on.  God has called us to light up their lives.

I wish you would believe that about you.  You are more wonderful than you can imagine.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015


If there are fantastic messages in the Bible, one of them must be that God uses nobodies (like you, like me) to perpetuate effective influence.  Meaning?  We can make a positive difference in a world of pain, insecurity, and frustration.

We are not called to spread the bad news that "they" didn't do church right.  No.  We are called to sow seed of good news with the expectation that some of it will sprout.

I don't know how to say this well.  My motivation is to cheer you on to expand your vision of possibilities.  So here goes.  Wish me luck.

Influence doesn't come about because the world reaches to us.  We imagine.  We knock on doors.  We see three out of ten open.  We try.  We fail at times.  But we reach.

While I am tech-inferior, I use it for my reach.  I marvel at sitting at home of an evening and watching Wheel of Fortune and within my iPhone I talk in so many directions to so many people day in and day out...without exception.  (In praying for years for God to help me to reach the whole world, I believe He created iPhones for me. The rest of you just get to enjoy the blessings of His gift for me!)

Last night I was watching a television program while volleying texts with one of the personalities on the program.  Simultaneously, I was cheering on a friend whose mood was slightly bummed.  While all of this was going on, I was hearing from a congressman as to his day at work with Prime Minister Netanyahu.

And then there was the conversation with a sister in Colorado who is recovering from surgery.  (Get well friend.)  Oh, and the volleying of ideas regarding the Tulsa Workshop with my co-director in Washington state linked with my workshop assistant here in Tulsa.  And....then the communication to those working on housing for the workshop event.

It's ongoing, never-ending wonder!

What can we do to encourage the world?  Quit staring at it.  Refrain from wishing for it. Reach.  Knock on heart-doors.  Sure some will not respond.  But, some absolutely will. I want to reach the world.  I desire to give off rays of hope to nations full of His creation.

Please see your potential to do the same.  Together we can keep this message-of-hope baton moving.

I have prayed for Bill Maher for six or eight years.  I have written him repeatedly.  I don't know if he ever gets my notes.  Nothing.  Nothing to show for these efforts.  Not one thing.  The trying, though, matters.  When/if God gets ready to use any part of my efforts of influence, then it will happen...and only then.

The reason much of the world, from the poor to the rich, is not encouraged by the church is because we believers hide in our unimagination as well as our constant inventory of our own inadequacies.  Neither of these are acceptable excuses.

The world doesn't usually knock on our doors nor ring our phones...first.  We go. We are sent by God with the expectation that we will go.  We cannot hide in religious discussion and wish a hurting, aching, dying world into life.

We must go.  We must reach.  We must risk.  We must love.  We must care.  We must.

No one of any social level is exempt from depression and pain and discouragement.  No one.  We can, should, and must see that everyone gets a good shot at the Good News from God for it is both life-changing and soul-building.

May we have the heart to go.  He will work beside us.  We have the strongest hope to offer.  Let's do it.  Would you please free yourself from self-imposed shackles of "I can't" and move out on that outreach limb...and start sawing?

Very good people need you; need us.  And...we need them.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


Life.  It's exciting, distorted, fascinating, complex, and very important.  We live in its center.  We breathe it, hold it, spend it, and promote it.

Minds are bombarded with variables which are terrific options for some while serving as detrimental distractions for others.  Simply put, much of life is spent avoiding the inevitability of death.  We know of it, experience it for others, and believe it.  Yet, we are consistently looking the other way.

God is most sympathetic to our resistance to death.  He never intended for this to be imposed upon His creation.  He did not give this devastation to mankind a holy shrug. Rather He took action and did something about it.

Father sent Son to replace the hell we were destined to experience.  Jesus experienced it for us.  We won't go because he did.

And...there's more.  After Jesus paid the price on the cross (beaten to a pulp because of guys like me), he was left in a tomb to rot.  But...he didn't stay.

That Jesus didn't stay in the grave is our signal that more than this life is still on its way.  If that grave were to possess a dead body of the Son of God, we would be able to scream hoax.  When the body of Jesus was gone and he returned to interact with his colleagues, we can still call out, "Thank you!"..

Life is about the empty grave.  Give Romans 4:17-25 a glance; so powerful.

God gives us such strong hope that He has the skill to call into being things that don't even exist and can give life to the dead.  This is only and wonderfully through the avenue of faith.

Faith doesn't go with the religious flow.  It believes the radical.  It bears creative power that causes wild moves to break the mold of managerial control.  Faith goes against the grain of routine human expectation.

Breaking into the world of God legitimacy among us is to break out of the grave due to a new kind of life...fueled by faith.  Authentic hope...it's all about the empty grave.