Friday, July 31, 2015


Frustration knows no boundaries.  Social class?  Ethnicity?  Education?  Profession? Politics?  Every participant in all of these divisions tend to suffer immensely from discouragement.  Particular groups are not the cause of it.  The fallen life is.

The only reason I would think to address this topic is because my life has been plagued by the nagging struggles of trying to be on top, or in control, or having a grip on this element called a 24-hour day.  I love life while it chews me up and wears me down here and there along the way.

Jesus is the answer.  Of course he is.  But how?  The how is found in his thinking approach.  Men and women will discover the wonder of God (I Cor. 2:9) when we can dethrone our human perspective (I Cor. 2:14) and then take on the mind of Jesus (I Cor. 2:16).  What makes Jesus the successful answer compared to our failing exasperation is found in one place; his mind.

We are exhorted to begin to think like he thinks.

So stroll through the gospels.  Watch him.  Listen to him.  Note encounters with the helpless as well as with the critics.  Note adapting flexibility of his mind.  That's to be our procedure.  Think.

So much of the time we just want.  We want things to improve; to go better.  Want can be good; but to think launches us into a new world.  It is a new hope.  Thinking discovers potential, probability, and possibility that wanters don't realize just might be a-prowl.

Therefore, I recommend a book.  While it isn't a religious one, it is certainly about faith.  In walking through some treacherous and deflating times lately, it seems coincidentally weird that I'm reading concepts that are surely found in the mind of Christ.

A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, for me, is a perfect seminar in book form.  Sample comments:

  • The comfortable expert must go back to being a restless learner.
  • The glut of knowledge has another interesting effect, as noted by author Stuart Firestein: It makes us more ignorant.
  • If you don't have that disposition to question, says John Seely Brown, you're going to fear change.  But if you're comfortable questioning, experimenting, connecting things--then change is something that becomes adventure.  And if you can see it as adventure, then you're off and running.
  • It is not easy for a company to move away from what it has done in the past.  The consultant Jack Bergstrand of Brand Velocity thinks  one of the most important questions  companies should ask regularly is "What should we stop doing?"  Company leaders naturally tend to focus on what they should "start" doing.  Bergstrand notes that coming to terms with what you're willing to eliminate is always harder.  Yet if you can't answer that question, he maintains, "it lessens our chances of being successful at what you want to do next--because you'll be sucking up resources doing what's no longer needed and taking those resources away from what should be top priority.
Maybe this book would give you a boost where you lead.  It seems to be God-timed for me.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Even in church the concept of sin gets only vague recognition.  It seems to be more of a theological topic to be debated rather than noted as sheer rebellion spewing from the heart of man.  Before you sense this is a power-fisted rant by a squint-eyed preacher, wait.

This is not a rant.  It is an explanation hoping to help each of us who feel shackled by pushy forces larger than ourselves.  I include foremost myself.

Sin isn't an element of nasty or vulgar and only a few (well, okay, a lot) have it.  Sin is sweeping devastation intending to eradicate the hopes and dreams of every heart.  It is vicious.  It is cunning.  It is destructive.  It is also gigantic in measure as well as strength.

The overwhelming nature of sin goes basically undefined.  It isn't a breeze.  It is a tornado.  It isn't a kitten.  It is a wounded tiger.  It isn't sneeze.  It is an epidemic.  It isn't an itch.  It is a terminal disease.

And this is my point.  Sin is so overwhelming that it seldom feels like a choice.  Instead, it feels like what?  It feels like we can't help it.

We can't help it, we say.  Varying according to sins, the cries of self-defense can be heard seemingly before the words are uttered.  Some can't help it that they are addicted to porn.  Others can't help it because they are gay.  Yet, others can't help it because they are overrun by the thirst for greed.

Why is it that if God calls anything sin that man tries to call it a matter with which we were born?  It isn't because God doesn't know His creation.  Rather it is because the very core of sin has been dismissed.  (Again, I'm not yelling.  I'm wishing to open our minds as to what is happening to all of us.  I need this.)

Sin has been marketed and bought into as devastating only when someone else is committing an act that we would never commit.  When it comes to those sins like mine? Oh, those.  Those are the ones that we just can't help.  And, religious people just seem to be so narrow and closed-minded (when it comes to sins like mine).

If we are to get a glimpse of rugged sin we need only look at the rugged cross.  Jesus didn't die so that kiddies could have Sunday School artwork.  He faced the most ferocious, life-sucking villain ever; my sin/our sin.  And he won.

Sins (our personal ones) often feel like we don't have a choice.  But we do.  We have been relieved of this conflict.  This doesn't call for understanding of how it works as much as it insists on obedience to God when, truthfully and often, we just don't get it.

It is sin's vicious power and violent strength that go undetected.  We hardly note that we've been sucked into a falsehood of believing that whether gossip or thievery or any other sin, that God calls sin, have been dismissed as a matter of, we just couldn't help it/we didn't have a choice.

This is the temptation I have.  I wondered if any of you feel the same.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


We huff and we puff.  We sigh and we moan.  So much to do.  So much ground to cover. On top of that there's God.  He wants us to be on the move it seems.

We each are called to GO into all of the world.  Where exactly would that mean? Singapore?  London.  West Africa?

The call of God can become so easily dismissed because our going basically is in America and, more fundamentally, within a hundred mile radius.  Somehow the church GO has felt like a foreign territory of sorts.  Yet, it isn't limited to such.

What is one of the elements of our lives where we hear a bit of sighing; even complaint?  Listen to us.  I am so tired.  It seems like I am always on the go.  Always? On the GO?  Yes.  Always on the go.  Do you think that if we could transform our way of life already into His call for our lives missionally that we might be striking at a strong spiritual chord of need and opportunity?

Since we are on the go, we are to use such travels for the glory of God.  How could/would this look?
Here are possibilities:
  1. Through prayer
  2. Through invitation
  3. Through interest
  4. Through natural connections (work/family/recreation)
  5. Through study
  6. Through counseling
  7. Through community projects
  8. Through checking on the ill
  9. Through surprising with a plate of cookies
  10. Through inquiry as to how their day is going
  11. Through media encouragement
  12. Through noticing people everywhere we turn need support
Here are the opportunities:
  1. Kitchen tables
  2. Company picnics
  3. Sports events
  4. Doctor's office waiting rooms
  5. Car tags waiting rooms
  6. Hospital visits
  7. Praying for a neighbor
  8. Meeting waiters and waitresses
  9. Attending school events
  10. Donating to causes when the doorbell rings by seeing a wonderful person looking at you
  11. Seeing people everywhere you turn; believing that one day they will want to know God.
  12. Observing high-profile and public servants as to how they must be drained and need a lift.
Not surprisingly, GO is an outward direction.  If we could move the church outward, we would cure many of the churches inward ailments.  People are not happy when they (1) are not productive, and when they (2) are focused inwardly.  The reverse brings satisfaction and joy.  And...God is certainly for the latter two.

Try not to waste your ALWAYS ON THE GO.  Such is a significant kingdom matter.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


We have great need today.  It's always been this way.  That's why we like discovery. There remains a thirst for breakthrough.  And, often we experience it.  Such reports are exhilarating.  And we want more.

James Pollard Espy was eighteen years old.  Still unable to read or write at such an age, he was for some reason wowed when hearing the orator Henry Clay.  After the talk, Espy tried to make his way to his idol.  The crowds hindered.  A friend yelled across the crowd for Espy, He wants to be like you, even though he can't read.

Mr. Clay grabbed one of his posters which had CLAY in large letters.  You see that boy?  That's an A.  Now, you've only got twenty-five more letters to go.  Within a year, he started college and later became a great pioneer of meteorology.

This is not only the kind of story that we love; it is reality.

This is where we live.  What can be?  Adventure can be.  Learning can be.  Opportunity can be.  Success can be.  Overcoming failure can be.  Overcoming disappointment can be.  Starting life over can be.

The past, regardless of pros or cons, advantages us in both the present and the future. We are not like Rocky Balboa in his series of movies where the opponent couldn't put him away.  We are more.  We are like Jesus (from cross to grave to resurrection); you can put us away...but we will be back.

That, my friend, is what can be.  With God, all things are possible...Luke 1:37.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


How many of us live in what seems to be a self-imposed prison.  On any given day some of us could use that infamous get out of jail card.  Some days are tough.

A divinely fascinating thing I find to be true of God is that He lives to bring us great rescue; ultimate joy.  The grand stories from beginning to end of the Bible are of some of His people in trouble.  And then...and then there is the impossible rescue.

Sometimes we feel stumped.  Other times we feel trapped by life's unfair circumstances; even if we brought much of it on ourselves.  It seems that we believe that we will reach a point (or an age) where we have life under control.  But we never quite reach that peak.

Enter: God's "Start Over" factor.

It is God that calls us to be new, presents us as new, and perpetuates?  You've got it. New!

At whatever age one is, the new-birth effect is in play.  Tried and failed?  Try again. Believed and failed?  Believe again.  Risked and failed?  Risk again.

The Kingdom of God isn't for losers for in the kingdom there are no losers.  Because of one brilliant move--Jesus coming back from the dead (starting over in essence)--we have been supplied with a gift far too good to be true.

W E  G E T  T O  B E G I N  T O D A Y  A S  I F  W E  W E R E  N E W L Y  B O R N (again)!

Saturday, July 25, 2015


The swimming pool possesses great wisdom.  It has a call all of its own.

Let go!  Take your toe off of the bottom.  Don't be afraid.  Let go!  You can do it!  Try again!  Let go!  Trust yourself for more than a life of trying to swim with your toe on the bottom!  Don't be afraid!

This is the code of life: one can let go of the bossy fear and begin to swim or one can be limited to hopping about in the shallow zones of life while always envying those at the deeper end.  Safety comes from one end of the pool; robust laughter from the other.

I spent too many years suited up for the swim of life.  Yet, fear sunk me.  Afraid of failure, I played it safe.  Adventure was that thing that I admired in others at the deeper end; but it wasn't for me because I was bent on living from the shallow end of the pool.  From there I could wish; but I could not celebrate.

I found mystery to be torpedoed by explanation.  Adventure was sabotaged by the unyielding ruts of playing it safe.

The time comes when one simply has to make the leap.  We must let go of the ties that bind.  When we begin to realize that our spirits are not earthbound, something seems to open our senses to the Land of More.  This partly explains addictions; the craving for more than this.

Somewhere along the way we will want to consider moving from the shallow end of life to the deeper experience.  The transition takes place when we allow the Spirit of God to work with our spirit.  We move from crawling to soaring.

God is more than us going to church and quietly sitting in rows.  We are called to the greatest journey ever.  We are called to do more than we can do.  This call can either inhibit or thrill.  I say we vote favorably for the thrill.  I say we give ourselves a vote of confidence that since we are already suited up for life....why not dare to move out into the deep?

Psalm 46:10.  Let go...and let God.

Friday, July 24, 2015


I'm in research mode and I wonder (iWONDER).  iWONDER about so many things in so many areas about so much.  Today, I wonder if those of you who have some interest in my posts, yet little in church, would talk with me.

Dare I ask?

For those who don't care for church, what is it that you don't like?  And, what is it that would help if you were to be a part of it?  These aren't rocket science questions.  I really would like to know.

While I just love God and love being a part of the Christian fabric, it surely is accurate to believe that those of us who proclaim to follow Him have not arrived.  Because we have significant lack, we have very much to learn.

I want to learn.  One way is to hear your voice.  Maybe you could help me.

WARNING: I don't learn well by being yelled at anymore than you do; so try to speak calmly, yet frankly.  It is my conviction that we may not be listening to some very wonderful people.  Too, I believe if I could get to hear your voices then I would learn a great deal.

So here is an opportunity of a lifetime!  I ask you three questions.  Respond to some or all:
  • What is it that you don't like about church?
  • Are there any elements you do like?
  • What adjustments could be made that would make it a more favorable experience?

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Life improves dramatically as we learn how to use failure to our advantage.  As if it is ultimately backwards, success is found in learning from disappointment just as much as it is found in discovering formulas which work.

There is deep hope, even meaning, when we determine to let imposition and discouragement fund our future.  If one gets good breaks, celebrate.  However, if one gets bad breaks, celebrate even harder.

Winston Churchill said, The trick is to go from one failure to another, with no loss for enthusiasm.  When things don't go right, we are presented with opportunity to learn from this exact disruption.  Do we really think Thomas Edison's inventions came about on first try?

So it is with the art of believing.  Faith isn't a magic wand to be wielded.  Rather it is a system--a very deep system--which believes something can become that isn't yet. While faith doesn't operate by the visible, it actually sees into situations or issues as to what could eventually be.

Ephesians 1:18ff calls us to accept a strong truth; eyes of the heart (a faith that is certain when there is no physical evidence to verify) are to be enlightened so that one can know both riches and hope coupled with the great power of God directed toward those who dare to believe.

There is benefit in failure.  We learn we don't run the life show.  It forces us to look for God's supply as we have reached the end of our ropes.  Dispensing reports of our successes is not our entire story.  The added confidence that our failures give advantage is a Kingdom of God secret.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


The Bible is clear that when one operates by the mode of comparison that such a person is without understanding (II Cor. 10:12).  If we believe we are doing better or worse compared to another, we are immediately found to be off-base in our grasp of reality.

So I ask the question as to whether we are on thin ice when any generation discusses life's problems as if it is somewhat the fault of another generation.  We are all similar. Each younger group rolls their eyes at the perceived rigidity of the older. Simultaneously, the older sigh over the immaturity of the younger.

This has gone on for...generations!

Both groups may have defined the other with accuracy.  The hitch is forgetting that we, too, do the same.  Romans 2:1-5 frankly says that an ideal of which we find ourselves critical is to first be assessed that self is guilty of the very same.  O U C H !

I propose that Generation Gaps are very real while we are all guilty of the very same thread of neglect or silliness, etc.  Each generation seems to pass through the same waters at similar ages.  The young want to see change.  The middle feel held back by the older while being pushed by the new.  And the older can't believe how ridiculous this young generation is!

Therefore, it is felt by each generation that in places there is spacious difference.  The spoof of it is that said generation (whichever one you select) is blind to its own superficial and blind judgment.  Comparison is never to be one person or group against another.

Life changes everything when we begin to honestly place our habits and natures against the Son of God.  This shuts our mouths of complaint and disrespect toward another.  We have enough about ourselves that demands correction and improvement. This is the reason that Jesus still teaches us to take the log out of our own eye before the pluck the speck from another.

The Generation Gap will begin to narrow when at each turn of each age we can admit that we are not sharper than all of the others.  We, at this point, might be relieved to find that every person at every age is called to live new day by day....which would make each of us to be about the same again today (II Cor. 4:16).

And...being now in the early stages of the older generations, may I point out something from experience?  While the younger are huffing and puffing with disdain at the stuck thinking of the older, your day is coming when those younger ones believe you to be antiquated and narrow.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


REMINDER: Be sure to notice the fascination of life which includes others...and very much yourself.

If you want to know a world-changer, let me give you two words: Thankful and Take Action.  (But Terry, aren't those three words?  Well, no, they really are four; but I just wanted to say it that way?)

If you want to see life either continue to be a great experience or else enter into such, being thankful plus taking action upon being thankful will transform your world.  It has changed mine and I believe it will yours as well.  For all of us, we need this day by day.

To live in abundant fascination is not to win the lottery or discover a million dollars has been left to your family (although admittedly, I would be fascinated if such happened). It is to be grateful that eyes can see, ears can hear, hands can pick up a fork, and food is on our table...once again.

To live in fascination is to refuse to be robbed by worry.  Rather, it includes ability to imagine what isn't yet; but could become.  Our God, if He is anything, is C R E A T I V E.  Life is life because it is brim-full of creativity.  From new home to new car to new menu to new do, we are in line for Him to creatively provide our newest need.

Feeling stuck?  Life isn't about us making something of ourselves.  It is about God making something of ourselves.  And when God is involved, all people are within His sight.  Wow!  Such hope..fascinatingly so!!

I would recommend a book that, for some, will give you a tremendous boost; A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger.  Life itself can begin to break down in places. We can become frustrated because we aren't sure what to do or if anything can be done.

Go.  Live in fascination.  Such isn't a good break.  It is a decision.  Like right now!

Monday, July 20, 2015


Jesus is amazing.  He is our light, our way, and our hope.

One of the many practical traits I find fascinating in him is his ability to not only walk on water; but to calm the very storm that wishes to push him off-balance.  We need this.  I want this.

Do any of you feel the maze of confusion seems to be swelling?  As in stormy?

If not reminded to keep our eyes upon Jesus, we will be mistakenly distracted into believing/developing concerns that aren't worthy of our attention.  We simply embellish them into existence.

Problems aren't our problem.  Forgetting to stay focused upon the Storm-stopper is our struggle from which all other struggle flow.

If we are going to do life...and we surely are...we must strive to increase in watching the one who calms the storms.  In him....we actually find the peace for which we hunger.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Faith is such an escalated challenge.  One can't just give a task or a need a mediocre effort; if it works it works and if it doesn't it doesn't.  That isn't faith.  That's roulette. Confidence that God works, supplies, and responds is crucial to one walking by faith...and not by sight.

There is a difference in possessing a vision of what we can do from believing what God can do.  The former tries to collect the best attributes of man's best ideas.  The latter waits on God with even a stronger certainty that He has both the know-how coupled with delivery power.

The age-old prophet Elijah (I Kings 18) was surely one of God's prized servants.  The land was in the midst of extreme drought.  Famine had spread.  Yet, he believed what God had told him.  Rain was a-coming.

Elijah settled for a moment atop of the mountain, put his head down, and instructed a servant to go look to see if the rain was coming.  There was nothing (:43).


How many times have you prayed and you feel like you had gotten nothing?  How many times have you believed for naught?  This is not an uncommon experience among God's children.  This can cause our faith to move into the very drought we were facing in the first place.

So Elijah told the servant to go back.  Look again.  Nothing.  Again?  Still nothing.  Not until the seventh time did the servant begin to notice a tiny cloud the size of a hand moving in their direction.  Seventh try.  This one followed six failures.

And just how many efforts does it take to sink your ship?  One for most?  Two for some?  Three maybe for a slim few.  But seven?  Just how slow does one think we are before we catch on to the truth our effort isn't God's will?  Such a question causes abortion of the blessings of God.

Is something wrong with our faith?  Yes, if we give up on door #2 or #5 in praying, checking, looking, enduring.  In such cases there is very much something wrong with our faith.  We have shifted to want microwave results; ask and you shall receive NOW.

Do not give up.  Never quit.  Send someone out to scout, as Elijah did his servant, to see if God's hand can yet be seen.  Even in the midst of whatever drought you are in, God knows how to provide.

Our problem is not that God is hit-and-miss with His supplying.  Our problem is we want response and we want it now and if it doesn't happen we then haphazardly and immaturely conclude that there must be something lacking in God.

Is something wrong with our faith?  Only if we give up too soon.  Otherwise, as did Elijah and the entire land, refreshment is surely on its way.

Friday, July 17, 2015


Faith is certainly a huge challenge in today's culture; even our church culture.

Man has such an innate drive to manage, to control, to direct.  So even in the realm of the spiritual we are so very likely to take over the steering wheel.  Directions then become tangled as faith can drive spiritual leadership nuts trying to sort through what is of God and what is of us.  Blessings to all who try to undo the tangles.

Why?  Why is faith some sort of complexity?  That it operates in the invisibles is dramatic as well as pertinent.  We want explanation; not mystery.  We want definition; not surprise.  We want security; not flexibility.

God's pattern is that in leading His people there is no pattern.  That IS the pattern and we will do well to 'fess up to it.  We want God to lead.  Yet, we seem to desire to be assertive in seeking clarification from  Him know whether we are to move right or left, up or down.  Thus, we basically try to run the show. shows.

Faith is hard because it insists that we move into uncharted waters.  We tend to want the waters charted so that we can feel a bit more secure in navigation.  Due to this latter consideration the church has basically reduced faith to be a one-time matter in a handful of salvation steps.  It isn't just that.  It is our call to walk with our never-to-be-put-in-a-box God.

Faith, by biblical definition, is the certainty of hope coupled with a conviction regarding matters not yet seen.  We may do well to separate belief from wish.  We can want many variations of blessings.  Our call, however, is to believe.

Be encouraged.  Focus.  Grow.  Develop a steady increase in moving about day by day with a faith into the unknown toward matters that will surely and positively develop.

Faith: the walk of man with God that no one can ever explain.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


There is a Trojan Horse error in the church's midst that is as costly as anything I can weigh at this stage of ministry.  I have no idea how deeply I create, perpetuate, and support this concept which nags at our progress.  I believe it to be so masked that I'm not sure I can convey my thoughts substantially.

The longer I get to work in the church it seems the more I learn, of course.  So let me toss to you an age-old idea that continues to itch.  Have we developed as congregations--a religious, Bible-studying, generous-hearted people--to do kingdom life from the muscle of the flesh rather than the mystery of the Spirit?

In the 70s it was the motto that we wear our best to church.  And?  And that came from scripture where?  But it was a theme that gave many of us standard comparative pride.

It is not unusual that those assigned to major leadership roles in our congregations are successful in business.  Why?  Is it because of an innate spirit element that these are leaders?  For certain, many are.  For others is it simply the truth that these are good managers from the flesh side?  I believe the latter is significant.  There is a literal world of difference between the two.

We must be cautious when we  operate from decisions based on what makes sense. This is fleshly leadership.  The Spirit does not make sense.   The spirit-life opposes the flesh.  This is clearly a biblical truth.  We, however, deem knowledge and order and explanation as blessing in the church.

It was Paul who said that we are to have a knowledge beyond knowledge; Ephesians 3:19.  Why is that?  It appears to be that God will befuddle man at every turn for He operates in mystery to the flesh-type of understanding.  The Word is quite clear on this.  Parting of river and sea.  Sun stand still.  Fire from heaven.  Life from the grave.

The natural man can't fathom the spirit side of things.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words (I Cor. 2:12-13).  There is a threat to man's understanding.  If not from the realm of the Spirit, we truthfully don't get it.

The very challenging nature to the kingdom of God is that its effectiveness doesn't come from man's best and corporate minds.  It comes from the mind of Christ.  But the natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised (I Cor. 2:14).

For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him?  But we have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16).  To be pessimistic toward the kingdom of God is to admit that we don't get it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

C E L E B R A T E W I T H M E ! !

Today is my 38th anniversary of getting to be at Memorial Drive.  That is a big deal to me.  In school we were advised as ministers to try to last two years; three would be good, and five would be max.  At my first congregation I lasted one year and the second one two.  It seemed the advice I received was on target.

I interviewed at Memorial when I was 29 years old.  It seemed to me that by 40 I would have corralled nearly all of the answers.  Honestly, now at age 68 I find that I don't even know but a few of the questions.

And here it is 38 whole years.  I live a story-book sort of life of adventure.  How God sticks by His call that we get to live new day by day is surely a fantastic mystery to me. Yet, it's how I feel.  I'm just getting started.

Thank you church!  Thanks to those who have endured me anyway.  And, my sincerest apology to those who couldn't take me.  I don't blame you.  I couldn't stand me at times either.

While God was not kidding that if we are following Jesus we will find ourselves carrying our own crosses, I know of nothing more exciting than to endure hard times so that others can receive hope.  May we never give up!

What excitement!  What joy!  What fun!

Don't you just love right now?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


There is something about God that is mysterious; even uncanny.  Some who don't know for sure if they even believe in Him find themselves (at least secretly) wondering if this faith thing might have a substance of reality.

I understand any who doubt.  I am sympathetic to all of us who labor over trying to get this spirit side of life to take form.  I've been in this long enough that I should have more answers.  But God is so "God" that the more I learn of Him the behinder I get; He's just so immeasurably immeasurable.

One of the elements of Christianity which seems to begin to creep into one's mind is the question of baptism.  I can't explain why this goes on; nor how.  It just does.

Baptism is a big deal to God.  It, however, is not God to the extent that baptism is where we concentrate to the point once immersed then done with commitment to the Kingdom.  It is highly significant.  In Jesus' command for the disciples to go into all of the world, he stressed that the hearers were to be taught and baptized.

When Peter delivered the first sermon in Acts, repentance followed by baptism was the message.

Two things go on when one is buried in a grave of water.  Sins are washed away and we receive the Holy Spirit of God to help us get done the powerful things of life which the flesh is too weak to carry out.  See, the love, joy, peace, patience, etc., that the Spirit bears in us does so because--on our own--we give up out of weariness.

No one is too bad to consider being baptized.  Some don't believe they are good enough.  None of us are....and that's the point.  We finally have to acknowledge that our efforts of being good enough to go to Heaven when we die is not going to happen. Only Jesus was good enough.

He, therefore, makes us right with God by taking on all of our wrongs...II Cor. 5:21. This is for you.  This is for me.  This is for us.

I believe that the famous and the non, the rich and the poor, are called by God to one day end our lives of self-sufficiency and begin all over.  This is one of the greatest, strongest blessings for mankind,  We can actually begin life again while still being us. This is mysterious if not profoundly magic!

Who should be baptized?  One who is tired, tired of trying to get this life to produce.  It won't.  It will have leeches of draining failure connected to every accomplishment.  We can be set free from this pattern.  To be buried in Jesus is to start life over.

Many reading this want it.  Contact me privately, if you want.  No one will know.  You may have much closer friends who can encourage you.  Email me at if I could cheer you on.  Your spirit will give you the nudge to do something about moving to the heart of God.

Be encouraged.  There is new life abundant for each.  May we experience what we are each designed to walk...a whole new life!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


The acquisition of happy is not a theory.  Neither is it a secret.

Happy comes about by giving happy away.

It remains true, what one sows is what one reaps.

Sow selfishness; that's what you get.

Plant aggravation.  It will come back to bite you.

Scatter joy; that'll be your crop.

What makes one truly happy?  Living a life of nudging others to be happier.

Just a thought.  You are welcome.

Friday, July 10, 2015



That's how I feel day by day.  How about you?

I love God.  And, not only do I love people, I root for them.  There is so much to learn about God.  There is so much need by hurting neighbors.  There is so M U C H !

And aren't you glad?

Great news.  Boredom doesn't have a chance when overwhelmed by the size of these two entities.  Praise toward one and compassion toward the other.  Who wouldn't love to get to be us?

Moreover, we seek the One to help the other for the task is far too enormous for us to manage or control its outcome.  We are in on the greatest opportunities E V E R !

There is a big world of need to reach.  We are all so small.  But our God...our God takes us places of value and meaning that we could never design or arrange on our own.

Don't you love right now?

Thursday, July 09, 2015


God has been assuring us all along that we possess something we need very badly; yet we move through life unaware of this trait.  Sometimes we simply forget.  I speak of doing things that we can't get done.

Positive thinking.  Go for the gold.  Be a winner.  These and other sloganish statements push us to do better.  Eventually, even if we are ambitious, we fizzle in some arenas. Nada.  Nothing.  Done.  Failed.  Life is bigger than both our talent and our wishful thinking.

Yet, we do have a way to win.  A spectacular way.  A divine way.

The Holy Spirit of God resides within us to work.  Romans 8:26-28 is a masterful elaboration of what the Spirit does with, through, and for us.  In our weaknesses the Spirit helps us to the extent that anything and everything that goes against us works to advantage us.  This is another reason why I treasure the realm of God.

God functions beyond the best of the best minds of men and women.

What do you think the fruit of the Spirit is?  Faster legs for running marathons? Stronger arms for throwing footballs?  Better eyes for effective and detailed sewing? What?

The Spirit bears in us what we can't (on our own) when the tough stuff hits.  When we can't do life any longer, He causes patience to nudge us forward.  If a neighbor has exasperated us for the last time, love for him or her will begin to arise if the Spirit of God is allowed to bear fruit from within us.

This is how we do more than we can do.  It isn't us because we have about had it with those stupid irresponsible people.  It is that hope overshadows all of our short-term negative conclusions because the Spirit of God is pleading within us, Let me take a stab at this!  Together!  Together, we can do this!

Men and women are far too quick to give up on ourselves and one another.  While high walls and dark storms face us, we have a way to win that the flesh knows nothing about. We work in tandem with the Holy Spirit.  Our job is to yield.  His job is to produce.

With Him, we can do more than we can do.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


The challenges before us are ever new and, ironically, always the same.  The young like new.  But as each generation (let me repeat, each) ages, it has a subtle way of crystallizing; fossilizing might be more accurate.  I still recall the family discussion--even mockings away from the table--of one set of my grandparents who refused to change their clocks for this new modern creation called Daylight Savings Time.  

I believe that one of the more profound supports to the existence of God is this very consistent theme; there are always new challenges before us.

We especially see this in the church.

New can be viewed as either progressive or jumping the  tracks of Truth.  Either could be true and must be evaluated.  Appraisal, however, cannot be without forthright challenge because  potential and possibility are quite likely to discover a new and better route.

This is very exciting to me.  Surely we do not believe we (this generation of Bible students) have sewn up discovery hidden within the leather cover of the Bible.  And just as truthful, surely we do not think that any generation before us cleaned up religious mess-iosity.  The Word of God is alive and active.  As we discover God to be bigger than we imagined we, simultaneously, find that our understanding was smaller than originally imagined.

The new challenges before us will probably be identical to those of the past.  Some truths mixed with significant understandings.  This does not discourage us; not in the least.  It enthuses us to wonder what there is about God--those multi-dimensional facets--that has not yet occurred to any generation.

Please be relaxed as we learn.  The old things of God need not our narrow minds to keep them going.  He knows how.  It is the mass of new which we also want in on.  We do not want to lose numbers from any generation because we were too timid to learn what He might need of us today.

The world is still still dying to know if this God-stuff is true.  It sees through our weaknesses when we barricade ourselves behind church walls to spew and sputter about the latest sins of mankind.  The hope is that we can humble ourselves before the Lord and look (along with our neighbors) upon the marvel and awe and immeasurable God who is consistently teaching us new things in new ways from new hearts....II Corinthians 4:16-18.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Here's what I note about mankind...well...about us.  We are blind to the true good about ourselves.  Before you assume I'm being egocentric, I'm addressing you.  I don't think the most of you can fathom your own personal wonder.

Believers in God are also to be filled to the fullness of God--Ephesians 3:19.  This filling, in Holy Spirit form, is the actual residing of the Holy One within we human ones.  There is, however, a blindness that continues as to our own capacity for effectiveness because this Presence is invisible.

From the flesh, we are blind to this enormous blessing.

If faith is about anything, it is about unique convictions of the invisibles; what can't be seen.

  • ...we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal...II Cor. 4:18.
  • Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen...Hebr. 11:1.
I am not addressing the self-centered side of us; that part that hungers to satisfy what we want.  Rather I'm pointing out that we are fundamentally blind to the wonder and awe that resides perfectly within the core of who we really are.

Yes, we can rehearse the flawed, the bad, the despised, the sin about ourselves.  When we are baptized in into Jesus, he is perpetually cleansing you and me of these blemishes.  The Holy Spirit is given to us at that baptism to create a new sort of lifestyle; one that is much more than we are, but from within us.

We must shed the blindness to the good of God which works from within our very being.  We are more than we can be simply due to Him within us.  He lives to assure us we can really live.  This is the difference He makes; not that we make, but He does.  

Awaken.  Awaken to the power you carry.  Open to the dynamic you are.  Become convinced that terrific isn't just for someone else; but is also

Monday, July 06, 2015


Everyone knows not to sweat the small stuff.  Such reasoning is that if there is something we ought to worry over we should focus on things that loom larger. However, God would encourage us not to sweat the big stuff for He's also got that covered.

You know.  Big stuff.

Hefty clashes and setbacks.  Extreme disappointments.  Things like death for example. Big stuff.

God specializes in rebound.  He did it with His chosen people who were found enslaved centuries back.  He did it with Jesus assigned to the grave.  He did it with Paul and Silas when they were imprisoned...and then the earthquake came and the jail fell down.

We are likely to find ourselves in the midst of the big stuff.  Surrender to the fact that you don't know what to do with it.  Simultaneously, be assured God knows how to put it in its place.

Don't sweat the small stuff.  Neither do we need to sweat the big stuff.  God has us covered.

Sunday, July 05, 2015


Humility is one of the deepest, strongest, most meaningful human entities referenced in Holy Writ.  It  is accurate.  It is powerful.  It is always to be present in all believers.

Because we are us, we have tendencies to get on a roll with the latest and greatest need in the Kingdom.  We push, pull, plead, and beg.  Causes get into our hearts and mission becomes our drive.  Only when humility, however, is in the mix does the true partnership of God come into play.

There is God to be honored.  Humility will glorify.

There is a Bible to be promoted.  Humility will try.

There is a world to be reached.  Humility will care.  

I find it a rather sensitive, maybe nebulous, line to cross when trying to combine humility with outreach.  We've got a message; but it isn't ours.  It's His.  We've got a compassion; but it isn't a mark on the chart of our good deeds.  It is His.  We've got an assignment to love others; but only God can pull it off from within us for we are just too self-aware at times to be effective.

Humility risks.  We prefer hiding.  It's more secure; although such is an ineffective posture.  

Humility believes.  We open to the senses of God when we believe He can through us; the very ones when working from our own self-confident base fear that we can't.  We move forward because we dare to decide to believe Him over doubting ourselves.

Humility, the strength of Jesus, is to be among us day in and day out.  That's why power is perfected in weakness (II Cor. 12:9).  Power.  Weakness.  When the two are wed within a person, the full God kind of work goes on.

Lowly humility is the High Way to Heaven; and there's plenty of room for it to go on within and among us.

Saturday, July 04, 2015


From mistreatment (coming from external) to mistakes (coming from internal), we are wonderfully challenged to step up to the plate and do something/be something beyond ourselves.  Such is the story of Jesus embedded within men and women.  More than we can imagine of Ephesians 3:20 has to be one of the most thrilling messages of hope still today.

I am perpetually driven to be alive while I live.  Certainly, we would agree, that our world in our time on our street has its significant stresses and multiple inconvenient challenges.  Yet, it is these very climates of concern that provide opportunity for faith to shed meaningful light.  We get to experience hope when so many would believe there isn't any.

Faith is a weird thing in a way.  When one believes what can become, it often does. When one doesn't believe in a specific area, there will be no development.  This is the constant faith factor hinging on our what-can or what-can't system.  For those who believe they can become, they will.  For those who believe they can't, they won't.

That simple truth brushes past us far too easily.  Life doesn't depend on breaks as much as on our pursuit of dreams.  Failure seems to knock the props from beneath some when the very same scenario only inspires others.  Either trek is based upon words spoken.

That's it.  What we talk about is not only who we are but who we become.  Words...are the difference.

What we say determines our destiny.  If we say God doesn't work in our lives, He won't. If we say He blesses in all situations, He will.  This is neither pretense nor is it Rocket Science.  It is faith.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.  It isn't Sunday School gibberish (as some would mock); but rather the route to highest satisfying and meaningful life.

We must watch our language.  Within our words, phrases, sentences, and even rants, each of these builds props which will follow precisely what has been expressed.  Never is a structure built until first someone said such a facility was needed.  Never does one become a teacher in a school system until such a person first said that they may go into teaching.

We must watch our language.  Guard it to speak life.  Form it to give hope.  Build people, events, and circumstances by your best power; your dynamic of visionary speech.

Friday, July 03, 2015


Even in our harshest and most frustrating times there is gold in them thar hills!  That's the message of the Bible.  River out of its banks?  God can part it.  Man's hand withered?  Jesus can make it well.  Son lay dead in a grave?  God can raise him.

It does not matter our circumstance.  We are advantaged.  It does not matter our restrictions.  We are advantaged.  It does not matter the mountains of confusion before us.  We are advantaged.  Problems?  Secret solutions are most assuredly embedded.

If we live, we win.  If we die, we win.  If we get our way, we win.  If we don't get our way...well bummer (only kidding)...we win.

Jesus doesn't make us religious.  He makes us winners.  He equips us to be victorious regardless of the size of the contest or the size of the opponent.  Goliath found God's boy to be advantaged.  Nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed.  That we are advantaged in every setting is the story of God.

Live the story.  Always advantaged.

Thursday, July 02, 2015


God makes a statement in Second Corinthians that astounds me every time I see it...every time.  Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  At age 68 I can verify decay; but only of my outer shell.  The inner me is wide-eyed as if I'm in kindergarten; not just occasionally, but every day.

This fascinates me about who we really are because of Whose we really are.

Do I get discouraged?  Yes.  Do I ever want to give up and quit?  Never.  Renewal of the inner man is a verifier of God's support system for His creation.  We have reason to hope when things are going well..Romans 5:1-2.  And, we have equal reason to hope when things aren't going well...Romans 5:3-5.

The outer man is our flesh; arms, legs, torso, etc.  The inner man is our spirit comprised of knowledge, imagination, and emotions.  The flesh will ultimately pass. The spirit is a fountain of youth.  As a result we individually are often found to be in conflict because the spirit is willing; but the flesh is weak.

The spirit of a man or woman is always on the hunt for the creative, the imaginative, the hopeful.  This may be why we can rearrange the same old furniture in our living rooms and it comes off feeling like everything is new.  The spirit thrives on new even if it is merely the restructuring of the old.

Our spirits seem to blossom as we search for possibility.  We don't care for ruts; for being stumped or stuck with a problem.  Something goes on within that brings flourishing hope even if others have formed grumpy assessment of the same situation. We are built by God to dream of what isn't yet; but can be.

This fact is most fascinating to me.  However, I believe there is a reason that so many do not feel this way and do not live this way.  Very simply put, we do not want to be wrong.

Being wrong is most likely our largest threat.  We tend to debate, argue, and even push back.  We will run from and totally ignore, at times, rather than say three of earth's toughest words, I am wrong.

Deborah Meier innovated and then renovated a successful new approach to learning. A substitute-teacher-became-principal, Meier dreamed of developing education more creatively.  Her results are now used as formula for success.  Her basic thrust came from a very plain conviction.  I believe you have to have an open-mindedness to the possibility that you're wrong.

When we question, we tend to keep what is effective for the day and purge those elements which would possibly keep us stuck.  One of the grand facts about God's creation is flexibility.  Jesus is the one who said, regarding being born again, that being able to adjust is a thrust of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8).

May we always be in pursuit of life for the day with the awareness that our world is gigantic in possible, potential, and probable hope.  Wonderful, wonderful things have transpired in our past.  Our future is quite bright.  But it is our very right-now-ness that should cause a magnificent buzz of amazing hope.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015


As in all I do, I feel quite inadequate to address this theme.  For those who don't hear me preach (and only know me through writings), I continually speak that I am the least in any room of people; the chiefest of any sinner.  For one it's true.  Secondly, I know it. Take this into account as I continue.

There seems to be an increase of demands coming from some within the Christian community of late to call sin sin.  Of course, this is nothing new.  Sin is the devastation of mankind; ruination while we try to live.  It is serious.  It is deep.  It is volatile.  Its consequences are immeasurable.

Yet, there could be an insincerity that rides alongside this prominent call by some for us to call sin sin.  This may contain an unsaid statement that possibly overshadows our intent.  Why has it never been said, It's time we call my sin sin?  Why is this statement never heard.  Why do bold blogs and sermons not use this phrase?

There seems to be a reason.

The Christian world has always battled the need to be in contact with hurting people. It seems much safer and handier to join in on Bible class theory.  I speak only in general terms for very much engagement goes on.  I question, however, the call for calling sin sin by those whose lives display an avoidance of the lowly....and the sinful.

We are long on principles and short on love for people.  Jesus died making this very point.  When this happens we find it acceptable to be quite vocal against another for, in reality, we don't care about others.  We care about our concepts.  These demonstrate, in our minds, our stances.  Doctrinal positions run ahead of community compassion.

The Pharisees were masters at such.  This is why they and Jesus were in one constant tangle after another.

If not cautious, we will be strong on stances; weak on relationships.  Jesus reverses this order.  To him Truth loves others to the maximum extent including all enemies.  This Truth will always challenge organized religion because it is easier to speak of rules than to relate to any who don't think, believe, or act the way we think they should.

What has happened, I believe quite unintentionally, is that we are prone to express our deepest opinions with clarity.  Our objection about those guilty of sin may freely be expressed while our extended hands to help in their rescue are not as available.  When this happens we cause a glare rather than shine.

Indeed, there is a great coming out of comments regarding the same-sex topic of our day.  Stances are taken.  Lines are drawn.  Yes, the sin is deeply serious.  And we must also raise our voices are for the sinner because someone did the same for each of us. Remember?

To simply be loud about standing against sin is anti-Jesus.  Did he condone sin?  Not one time.  His mission was to rescue the sinner; common ones like you/ME.

With great fascination, the church has enormous opportunity right now to display the love of Jesus in our tired and discouraged and distracted communities.  Yes, sin is wretched.  It brings misery.  Yet, to be adamant against a practice and not practice a deep compassionate love for the sinner is in itself the ultimate sin.  Is this not what makes the Son of God different from the religion that barked loud enough until he was finally executed?

I'm more than calling sin sin.  I'm saying the call for sin to be labeled as sin to be a ruse from which many who regard themselves to be strong Christian leaders are merely hiding.  We have work to do.  Words are easy.  Connecting to people is the difference Jesus makes.  He is the Master when it comes to this.  We have a world to love; the gay, the gossips, the touchy, the grouchy, the thief, the adulterer, and on the list goes.

The loud call for us to call sin sin is disingenuous when and if we are silent when it comes to our own missing of the mark.  Always.  Noticeably.  Loudly.  Silent.

Indeed we are to call sin sin.  But, it must be targeting our own sin first.  This changes the entire religious landscape.  May we perpetually learn from the One who became our deep dark personal sin so that we could become the righteousness of God....II Corinthians 5:21.