Saturday, April 30, 2016


One of the most outlandish phenomenons of knowing God is experiencing His radical newness.  All through the years, those who seem to make effort to follow God fall into two categories; those who leave God for organized religion or those who lean into God for refreshing new life day by day.  I have been both along the way.  Jesus was correct; the Law will kill and the Spirit will give life.

Aging according to God's directives and expectives develop, also, in two zones.  First, the outer man decays.  Second, the inner man renews.  The outer shell doesn't experience the resurrection; thus a new body will be received to house the eternally new spirit of man.  We will always be younger today than yesterday effective at the rebirth in baptism; Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father so we too might walk in NEWNESS of life...Romans 6:4.

From wrinkles to cataracts to more drastic decline, the aging body becomes a testimony verifying God's steady insight.  The joy develops when we connect the visual of the decay with the promise of inner renewal.  It seems He knows of what He speaks.

NEW is simply mega-exciting!  I would never in my wildest imagination would have guessed that being in the church could be so wired for wonder and awe.  Those who are driven to keep the church the way it has always been will note a correlation between decline of the physical body and the church body as they both age.  But....but when we live for the happens!

It is a biblical truth that the older we get the newer we are to be.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day...II Corinthian 4:16.

Friday, April 29, 2016


I believe there would be one thing worse than the dread of dying.  That would be the dread of living.

How silly is my observation?  Or, how absurd to reach such conclusion one might inquire?  Yet, this is neither silly nor absurd.  This is, however, our practice of where we often walk.  I think that the most of us carry the dreads of living day by day...well possibly all of us.

Certainly I am not saying that no one ever likes the presence of right now moments for we surely do.  But just as certainly, I am saying that for all of the reasons that we would bow our necks at what, at first mention would seem to be an outrageous statement, is in reality where we walk about with far too much dread on our minds....while we are supposed to be living.

So I ask you, Is the abundant life that Jesus promises a personal experience in your skin?  Most likely amens are in the many category.  However, I'll ask in another way, Do you go through life overwhelmed that a true walk in Jesus is more exciting than a weekend trip to Disney World?  Again, I believe there a the many who could say absolutely.  My concern is for the other many who don't feel this way; many of whom aren't sure that such an emotion would/could be reality.

For those who struggle with liking right now, I wish to cheer you on; not to frustrate you.  Peace and joy are richly available.  Regardless of upset or potential fret, abundant life is available for the now for every person; there is no exception.  A transition to abundance just might occur when we watch our language.

Word(s) have always been God's creative tool.  Actions toward us do not define who we are.  Incoming words don't either.  Our out-going verbiage sets the tone and the stage for whether our days are good or bad.  What we talk about comes about.  It seems to be a rule.

Mary and I bought a house in Tulsa in 1987.  For twenty-four years we said everyday to the other, Don't you just love this house?  Five years ago we moved to another...and everyday we say to one another, Don't you just love this house?  It isn't a law or a routine to say so.  It just blurts out.  We just happen to be nuts about where God lets us live!

And that's how I feel about my family and my friends and my church and the privilege of getting to preach and being this age and still finding God more than when I met Him and on the list goes.  Are there reasons to be discouraged?  Oh, I get there.  I pass by there; but I refuse to unpack my baggage and stay overnight in that miserable dump-heap of a motel.

Nope.  I will fight back with a self-talk lecture which rehearses words of God and of colleagues who speak life into my very center.  The ego, my ego, has to go.  But the wonder of life gets to stay.

Watch our language.  Every slant, every take, is powerfully creative.  If you must say something, say something life!

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Where we are in life emotionally and spiritually is up to us.  It is not up (or caused) by another person.  Some people can make lemonade out of lemons while others have a knack of making a mess out of something wonderful.  Both are determined by thought patterns which eventually influence decisions.

I fought severe depression for years.  Uneasy about nearly all of my efforts, I was nervous.  Even if things were going well I was watchful for that other shoe to drop. Fearful of what others thought, I would never speak my mind.  What would be the negative consequences?  I was a child of God frozen so many times by things that never happened.

Therefore, I surely understand why so many living beneath the umbrella of faith do little more than chip in here and there; but seldom launch out into the unknown.  We. Are.  Afraid.  We.  Won't.  Get.  It.  Right.

True wonder comes about when we shifts gears and permit ourselves to think; think about possibility, of what could be, and positively of what if.  God is not tired.  He isn't even sleepy.  I cheer you on to quit rehearsing the things that aren't going right and calculate the numerous things that are.

When I say that our life is up to us, this must be considered in the context only of a decision.  Life is up to God.  It is up to us to choose Him.  It is up to us to believe Him. What we get to do (must do) is determine that God knows how to get us through this day when several obstacles want to assure there is no passage.

Some Israelites facing high waters once quite successfully followed a young pup named Moses into terroristic threat. And....they made it not having a clue what happened. They stepped and God did the parting as well as the drying of the track.

When you and I face problems that promise to drown us, refuse to buy in to them. Problems are daily.  But, provision to topple the problems are even dailyer!!  Yes....I did say that!!

Keep up your good thinking.  It pays off in inner peace which is sheer power of renewal.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Trying to negotiate the twists and turns in our trek can be both fascinating as well as disturbing.  Little goes on well but what upset or interference....interferes.  We can't seem to catch a break.  Our intentions are good.  We even find that we have succeeded in places.  But the DistractorFactor walks right in and sits down in the middle of many a good day.

If we are not intentional, we will surrender the glory of now by focusing upon the disruption which was intended in the first place to disrupt.  This has been the tactic of Satan and his dark forces all along.  Rob.  Distort.  Fake out.  Blur.  Mislead.  Redirect down an unfruitful path of wasted effort.

Jesus says that he came that we might have life and have it abundantly. doing okay with abundance?  Are you noticing it?  Experiencing it?  Sharing it?

This is one of the strongest facets regarding the Kingdom of God; it is actually immeasurable.  I heard a man this weekend at our Monroe event say that we are to have an unbelievable faith.  How odd.  How truly wonderfully odd.  We are to have a faith that is unbelievable!

Our problem is that we try to develop a faith that is believable according to our measures of impact and weight and reason.  Yet, God promises to work beyond what we can imagine or think...Eph. 3:20.  We are to possess an unbelievable faith!

We will continually be challenged to look for what isn't yet and have the active faith to believe such need can come into existence.  This is remarkable.  It isn't average.  It isn't explainable.  It is life-affording as it thrusts us into partnership with the living, breathing, actual God of all creation.

So take your hits that daily existence will supply here and there.  But don't take these as the markers simply to pass through.  Fill your eyes with wonder, your hearts with awe, your actions with daring and risking hope.  Think about what is needed.  Determine to walk where no one imagined before.  The trail remains open for men and women to dream of the reality of a gigantic size of life...which patiently awaits our

Monday, April 25, 2016


Life is tough.  Parts of it stink.  Struggle could possibly be our middle name on many occasions.  But who wants to live on the corner of Bummed Street and Never Satisfied if we could reside on Upbeat Avenue?  This possibility is surely worth pursuing.

I was a part of the church for a long time--as the minister--and didn't see the beauty of liking right now.  My bent was not on God's glory and wonder.  No, mine was a pursuit of truth which masked as ego-mania with a Bible in tote.  It isn't that one is unable to know truth; for we are called to do so and his name is Jesus.  Much of the so-called truth I knew made those around me more miserable than more alive.

But I was more of a clear-the-air sort of guy.  Pounding pulpits and bellaring favorite quotes, I eventually ran into the real me; the man who didn't know beans about God, yet had a recollection of a few heavy verses.  Thanking God?  Not likely.  I was busy correcting errant believers for I was about the meatier things of faith.

In singing songs I wasn't praising God.  I was set on doing worship right.  Even that turned out that I was wrong because I had made a god out of my preferred worship style over actually worshiping Him.  Oh sure, praise was in the line-up; but I had it headed the wrong direction.  The praise I was pursuing was that of hoping others would tell me how bold or how daring I was in my delivery.  And, many did.

The biblical direction, however, is praise going to God.  I didn't know much about that. Oh yes, I sang and I prayed.  When in song, I was more about whether I liked the tune.  In prayer, I was all about my grocery list of wants.  Little of my effort exuded in telling God in one form or another just how awesome He is.

The breakthrough came when I realized somehow that God glories in praise to Him.  I now pray more--even constantly--for there is so much in which I am thankful.  Drive through His streets.  Do you notice how much of life comes in 3-D?  Isn't that awesome?  And did you also note that you can see?  And that you are driving?  And that you are able to multi-task: see, drive, feeling elation, watch your speed, and not fall from the car....all at the same time?

This God of ours is fascinating!  Put your eggs in this basket of daily gratitude. Worries distract us and rob God of our saying thank you.  Worries don't necessarily go away.  They just get lost in the shuffle as we have a thousand more things going right and we choose to give Him praise.

Fill your day with praise.  It will change your life and cause those around you to be a bit more happy as well.  They might even see such a significant change in yourself that they will wonder what you have been up to!

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Church at Memorial Drive is closed....this far as meeting at this location is concerned.  No, we haven't gone out of business.  It's the reverse really.  We are leaving the building for the day to go to North Tulsa to be with the fabulous people of Monroe Demonstration Academy.  We are taking church to them while, simultaneously, they will share church with us.  And, I love the idea!

First, I just love getting to be with our church family.  I never tire of the abundant joy, the thorough encouragement, and the drive for mission.  Today we will practice all three out there in the streets  rather than in here in the pews.

I applaud Jason Thornton and his tireless crew for setting the day's table for what will be one terrific event.  The church will leave the building in order to go out and be the church by cheering on a segment of our community which could use a boost.  For me, this is an Abraham-like day for I am going out there not knowing where I'm going, what I'm to be doing, nor how any of this will look.

So, yes, while our usual pattern of gathering at our place will be closed it is only because the church is to visiting so many families rather than expecting them to come visit us!  God has many ways, many styles, and such varying concepts for all believers.  I can't wait to experience the right now of what this morning will bring!!


Saturday, April 23, 2016


It might be that some of Sunday's Bible Class gatherings will include the outrage over Target's new bathroom policy.  I for one don't like the store's new stance for, in my opinion, it opens the doors to new troubles....I mean literally opens the doors.  So as you read the remainder of this post, know that I, too, sense the unease with such a recent revelation as to Target' open door policy.

We are to be a people of God who desperately want other people to be of God.  We are obsessed with the desire for good men and women and bad men and women (in reality we are all a bit of each) to know God.  Or....are we?

Just as this development over bathroom door postings is concerning, its very nature substantiates yet another facet of which I believes carries even surpassing distress for our ordinary communities.  The accelerated energy the Christian community seems to gain from social issues seems to tower over that same community's love and compassion toward those we deem as sinful.  This is the undoing of the Christian movement.

The very thing that I see that separates Christianity from every other organization is singular: the resurrection power of giving life to the dead.  This concept isn't just for latter days when the cemeteries pop open; but is also for living life at this very moment.  Believers believe.  We don't just believe in Bible facts.  We believe that what isn't can become and what is dead can live...Romans 4:17.

I do not deny the need for stances; for oppositions to sinful direction.  This need has always been true and seems to only escalate.  I, too, deny that raising our voices against regulations without raising these same voices for the offenders of these regulations is a serious glitch.  We are to love differently than an other system on earth.  The difference?  We are to love those we don't like.

Honestly, we have evolved into a religion that (while we don't want to admit it) not only hates sin, but we also very much hate the sinner.  It is at this point that we have evidently forgotten that we were and would still be the very same if not for our accepting the relief found in the blood of Jesus for by such not one of us can be saved.

While I very much disagree with Target's news, I am challenged to take the log out of my own eye first.  What bugs me about me is that evidently more than one log grows in my eyes for this need to pluck from my own seems to only increase.

For the possible critic of this post, I don't blame you.  I've great hesitation to hit publish.  Yet, regardless of personal fear, I simply ask us to weigh the idea that before we become possibly flippant about sins of another we must first concentrate on our own.  Note that God did not teach to take care of our own sins and not focus on the sins of others.  Quite the opposite.  He simply improved our approach.

He said that we are to remove the log from our own eye in order to get the speck from a brother's eyes.  Evidently such a personal extraction opens our hearts to the truth that no one's sin is as bad as our own.  Would it not be something if we would take the log from our own eye to construct our crosses from which we die that even our enemies would have new life?  That would be impressive, huh?

Friday, April 22, 2016


Behind the scenes gets substantial credit for getting major things accomplished.  Every success one individual experiences is surely backed by hundreds of others whose participation was vital; yet receive little recognition.  Thus, it is with the Kingdom of God.  Great things.  Clueless as to who exactly were the causers....except to yield credit to God.

Ours, you realize, is to receive the batons of rescue.  Such is our assignment; our purpose.  To live to reach and to rescue is paramount in both importance as well as power.  There is no one exempt from the need of eternal rescue.

The baton is central in understanding.  Jesus hit earth with the intention of rescue. That's why he entered.  No person could survive life without this valiant effort from Heaven above.  The hope sustained is sheerly mind boggling.  The heart can't contain such a thrill; it can only believe it.

But have you thought about Jesus?  In his process of soberly reaching to us, he died. Jesus succumbed to the pressures of sin; even death.  He took everything warped about us--past, present, and future--and admitted before Father that it was he who was guilty as charged; not one of us.

But there is a problem....he died.  When that happened his close disciples assumed the game was over.  They gathered their toys and went devastating defeat.  Not only was their day ruined, so were their dreams for what they had believed would become.  Although Jesus did die, the baton was not to be cast aside for the Holy Spirit resurfaced and brought Jesus to a new kind of living.

For you--for me--we live from day to day making firm efforts to rescue.  Often we hit repeated days of collapse.  We don't have what it takes.  We can't cut it.  Nothing works.  Hope dissipates.  We are left to feel about ourselves precisely how the disciples felt about Jesus; we are dead to life and feel that we are going nowhere.

But then...  But then the same thing that happened to Jesus must be remembered has happened to us.  It isn't a new determination; but rather a new life we possess due to the identical source that kept the baton going with Jesus...the Holy Spirit.

We are too tempted to operate from our own plausible system of try this and avoid that.  We must recall the baton of the Holy Spirit is given to believers for specific reason.  He is the understander and the director of those who feel sorely lost.  We are the vessels as was Jesus.  What brought him back to life brings us back to life.

It is this fascinating process from Heaven that we find ourselves engaged.  We are in over our heads.  Our calling is one of big question; Do we believe God could use us to extend the baton to our neighbor?  And when we die trying just remember....Jesus did, too.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


There is this facet of ordinaryistic living which is surely genius straight out of Heaven. The reason I credit God is because that's precisely where the invention and provision began.

There is a burden known to all men.  It has no bias as to whom it shall chose to target. Everyone experiences this struggle in significant degrees.  Devastation to the heart and mind result.  I speak of the enormous quagmire of living upon earth with the perpetual nagging of sin...their sin and our own.  This Villain is everywhere we turn and goes everywhere we go affecting everything we do.

So what is the cure?  It has been issued and is to be experienced.  It is called forgiveness.  Releasing one another from offenses is double-edged because it accomplishes two dramatic wonders.  First it sets our offenders free from guilt and shame...all done by a decision that is very possible on our part.  The other side of this sword is what it does for us when we forgive; we, in turn, enter into forgiveness from Him.

This is a serious matter.  We are to be merciful to others that we receive mercy from God.  This is a life-changer in attitude, in disposition, and in walking throughout our days in marvelous gratitude.  The double-edged sword for all lives is simply that we choose to forgive and to be forgiven.

The constant replaying in our minds of offenses received or caused is a drain on the human heart.  A mere, but potent, decision to drop the angst thrusts us into the works of Heaven as we walk upon earth.  Jesus is the Master of this.  Look at the Cross.  Note the torture.  Observe the refusal to lash out in harsh words but to receive their sins upon himself.  This mark remains foreign to too much of Christianity.  The result is we consume each other in anger and spite...and the Villain wins while we feel rather firm about our own holiness which is, itself, a sham if based upon our selfie goodness.

Thus, Jesus introduced an entirely new standard; die for the idiots who wield pain and spite.  Love them deeply.  Overlook their rudeness and then...and the price which would satisfy Father so that they won't lose their souls.  That, my friend, is a much different approach than going to church and determining whether we like the hour and half presentation.

Now do you possibly see why each of us is handed a cross to bear?  Do we really believe these crosses have nothing to do with reality; the actuality of facing sarcasm, silliness, and sin?  Have we neutered one of the greatest powers ever handed to mankind by making the cross a wasted symbol for we have no intentions of radically forgiving those who have hurt us?

Listen, we have been hurt deeply.  No one would deny this.  Do not assume, however, that we have not also hurt others deeply.  It is here we would prefer to deny.  The double-edged sword of forgiveness cleans up their well as our own.

The Cross of Christ is not only the most brilliant move ever; it has been assigned to each of us to carry responsibly for it is the only true way to win the world.  The double-edged sword of forgiving others and them forgiving us and God forgiving all....truly brings life beyond one's imagination.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


We churches have great work to do.  A blanket of darkness hovers over a large percentage of our people.  A great misleading concept that began in the Bible days of the church continues its aggressive march through ours and foreign lands.  This movement is slick, powerful, and deadly.  I speak of church competition as to which is biggest, better, and most right.

It doesn't matter the brand that any of us claim.  There remains a hole empty of hope in the hearts of friends, neighbors, and even enemies while churches and their people dot earth's landscape.  The community populace is in big trouble and our voices just must make some adjustments ourselves in order to be heard.

Devastating pride and arrogance rules many Christian hearts.  It did mine for years and I have no idea how strongly it remains.  Nonetheless, such framework opposes the very gentle and generous nature of Jesus.  It is in our discrepancy we can also find His solution.  For the most part, we churchies have become more addicted to promoting our name brand than we are in advancing the name; Jesus.  We can talk church here and there; yet to discuss Jesus seems to find we have some sort of mute button.

My concern is spoken in a spirit of tenderness and care; but I can tell you that as a preacher I thought my calling for years was to promote the Church of Christ (my preferred brand) which was to carry a message of dos and don'ts, rights and wrongs, blacks and whites, without our people ever having confidence in the One whose righteousness trumps ours.  This is tragedy as well as neglect of Scriptures.

The good news is that Jesus is becoming the greater Light among us as we wade from our own hangups all the while striving to learn at his feet.  As it turns out we can only convert others when we have been converted ourselves to a style far beyond our own imaginations.  The entire birth-through-death experience of Jesus is based upon an exact threat to man's spiritual enterprise.  Knowing him is a challenge.

Jesus is different than any leader anywhere at any time including the church one.  He changed the rules of knowing God so dramatically that opponents tried to kill him; not just in the garden, but at his birth.  Opponents went nuts destroying newborn males in the hunt for the biggest Threat to man's religion....ever!

Therefore I wish to speak in tenderness from the seat of extreme personal guilt.  If we don't do more of Jesus and less of our church is right, we will continue to groom a people who go to church; but do not pray, do not search the scriptures in honesty, and fearfully hope that they are saved when at death's door....but aren't really confident.  This is religion in regulation; but it is not life.

Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.  This we shall experience in greater measure when we quit trying to out-debate others church doctrines and humbly submit to the One who died on the Cross because we were so very lost ourselves.

People want to know God more than why we are right and others got the church stuff wrong.  This does not mean that there are not vastly important truths to be known as well as followed.  But it does say that standing for Truth while being silent about the one named Jesus is the poorest of doctrines.

May we win the world by presenting the Winner rather than what we perceive to be winning arguments.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


An element to the Kingdom of God that I just love is the newness of which we are given and expected to live.

From the world clock, we age.  From the Kingdom clock we un-age.  Churchism has played a part in aborting the Kingdom clock.  We have traded adventure for tradition, risk for routine, and impossibilities for calculated effort.  We have taken a grand wonder and dumbed it down to be nothing more than another place of endurance when it has always been intended to be a movement of mysterious glory.

Only in the Kingdom does one grow young.  Born again does not put us simply into a new start.  No, it thrusts us into a, You've not experienced anything like this before...yet!  Our first life gained momentum only to ultimately wind down with time.  Robust energy eventually evolved into wrinkles.  Yet, this path is only restricted to the flesh side of us.

There is another life for us; the wonderful spirit side.  It is here where we thrive with heart and hope.  It isn't Pretendville.  Rather it is Truth City.  Regardless of the count in body years, the inner person is actually new day by day.  This is why one will say something like, Well, I'm 72, but honestly I feel like I'm 50.  This is the verification that the body and the spirit are not in sync...and that the spirit portion of life truly is valid as it is perpetually inclined to be in new right now. may not be a real word.  But who cares as long as it is authentic truth?

Friday, April 15, 2016


Tell me, just how many short straws are there to be had?  They drive me nuts.  Always drawing that villainous thief bugs me.  Why am I never enough?

I've been thinking about the time that I was in a golf tournament back home in Memphis, Missouri.  That quaint little nine-hole course is still one of my favorites. When in High School, I entered a tournament and worked my way up the charts to play for the Consolation Prize.  My opponent was our family doctor; Earl Gilfillan.  He was an elderly man in his 50s and me a very eager teen.

I was pretty certain that I could take this man nearly three and half times my age. After all, he was old and brittle and I was young...and young.  He reinforced my confidence in my ability to take him on by bragging to me about how hard I swung the club.  I sure wish I could swing that hard, he repeated...and then repeated some more.

I wasn't exactly hitting the ball very well; but he continually pointed out how he wished he could swing with such might (him being old and me being much stronger, I guess). It became my wish, then, to be even more impressive with the speed of my swing.

Well, the round didn't unfold as I had planned.  I would actually make occasional long drives; but then there were those many errant shots.  The entire round I knew one thing; I surely could swing hard because doc just kept pointing to my strength (me being young and him being old and envious).

Doc beat me.  Yeah, he won.  I should have claimed the victory because I ordinarily shot better golf than he did.  But for some reason, I just wasn't on my game that day.  It occurred to me later that doc beat me in my mind.  Swinging hard does not make for good golf.  It does make for beating a young kid.

I didn't get a trophy.  I lost.  Bummer.  But in the long-run I gained for I learned a tough lesson that warm Sunday afternoon.  Trying to impress others will eventually backfire.

Be who you are because of who God makes you.  Everyone matters...everyone.  At times we lose during the day because we are trying our best to be who others say we are.  It might be more efficient to proceed with confidence as the one person God would form.  Pleasing Him would be enough, don't you think?  The more we can be confident in His call the more we will experience ultimate victory.

May we make great strides in being who we are and not what others press us to be.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Faith is nearly a word of habit.  Tossed here and bantered there; often a discussion can easily shift to the fundamental concept of believing.  Certainly faith is designed for the human culture.  And just as certainly it carries within enormous challenges to actually walk by it.

Faith believes.  It believes what isn't yet can become.  It promotes hope when reasonable calculation would declare doubt.  Faith sees from the eyes of one's heart; not one's head.  Therefore, you can see why this factor is not a shrug-of-the-shoulders unthoughtful whim.  This spiritual characteristic is most challenging for the outer man will too often opt to operate from fear of the unknown while the inner person delights in confidence of what can be.

I know of no other force as magnificent as faith.  One of faith can focus upon information which declares there is absolutely no hope and still disregard such.  Faith sees where eyes can't.  The Bible is stunning when it insists that we are to walk by faith and not by sight.

Why is that?  What's wrong with sight?  When we measure by the visible we are calculating via the flesh rather than the spirit.  The story of the Bible is one of moment after moment what couldn't possibly happen...did.  The parting of the Red Sea, the feeding of the 5000, the resurrection from the dead and a ton of other historical matters happened...when they just couldn't have done so.

And this is the system--this Kingdom action--from which we are to serve.  Words may discourage.  Reports might deflate.  Actions may disturb.  Yet in the Kingdom, nothing reverses threats like believing full-force into the possibility-realm.  God does what can't be done through ordinary believers who can't do it.

This.  Is.  Our.  Story.

I see the church as rolling with the tide; the church tide.  If things go well; they go well. If things don't work; look for what will.  However, I am challenged personally to read God more than I read the tea leaves of circumstance.  Are matters challenging? Seriously so.  Can God reverse decline, raise nothing to become something, or empower the weakest? any given moment.

Faith is a strange and absurd dynamic because it can be possessed and dispensed by humans who, if not careful, tend to worry more about who does and doesn't like them than ambitiously striving to reverse negative trends that would bless entire communities.  Faith isn't a catalog of dos and don'ts.  It isn't a rule book.  Rather it is a transformative way of life that blows the cover of the fear-lords.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


WON:  Each is more valuable than can be imagined so don't live depressed.
TO:  Each is capable of operating from the falsehood of inflated ego and this makes the rest of us depressed.

Furthermore, you know that I meant to spell them ONE and TWO, but it is just so much more fun to mess with you!!

So try to live in humility and anticipate the world of erratic surprises will unfold as a result!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


You realize that you and I are called to walk on water, right?  Oh, I don't mean the H2O kind as did Jesus (and Peter for a few steps).  I speak of you and me walking across the very things in life that promise to sink us...probably drown us.

The concept of faith has been maligned and suppressed just as has the word love.  How many think of the term love--as in we need to love better--as a rather anemic trait which tends to be more poetic than empowering?  I wonder if faith has not taken on similar misdirection.  Has this intended mega-power issued from God become a mere step in a plan of salvation or Sunday School rhetoric which carries little weight?

The challenge of living by faith is that it actually does its stuff when there is no human reason as to why there should be any hope.  Faith isn't for sissies.  It's robust, daring, and quite nervy.  Faith thinks that things that are not, yet, can become.  Believing includes noting that what issues or circumstances may promise that death has conquered (like...a grave) have no essential power.

I am faced with the wrestling of this matter day by day.  How is it that I am to actually have hope when there seems to be none?  This is most intimidating...for all of us.  By nature, we tend to take our lead from watching others; their strengths, vulnerabilities, successes, etc.  However, our Leader (the one who conquered legalism, doubters, and death) takes us into zones of unpredictability as well as unexperienced challenges.

It is here that we find ourselves in a dilemma.  Our vision so wishes to look back; find someone or some thing that assures us that we are on stable ground.  But our Rock is Jesus; not a colleague's success or failure.

The challenge of living by faith is that it will necessarily include taking us into uncharted waters of potential and possibility.  At these moments we must decide for ourselves whether we will walk upon these waters or stand on the shoreline and fretfully wish.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


When I began a serious walk with God, I was wide-eyed and over-enthused.  But after these four-plus decades I've learned something.  I am still wide-eyed and over-enthused.  Yet, the rules have changed, the markers have been moved, and there is a story-line that opposes my early entrance into the church.  I speak of the disturbing, yet quite advantageous, realization that I am one of the sinners of which the Bible speaks.

There is enormous, even untapped, power is the awareness of how sinful each of us is. Overall I'm going to assess from experience with churches world-wide that Christians see ourselves as more having cleaned up our act than being so wretched God had to do it for us. When the Apostle who wrote more books than any other New Testament writer chose to admit that he was the chiefest of all sinners, a powerful secret was just unleashed upon all of churchianity.

What has happened, however, is that church houses have become packed with a self-righteous sort who don't/won't/can't admit our own sins.  The produce of such a glaring glitch in the spiritual system in both immediate and abundant judgmentalism.  A very good society is sick of much of us for this reason.  We have forgotten why it was that we could not manage our own sins.

The Bible is packed with the message that we can't save ourselves; but Jesus can.  The Cross is a victorious one because our debts were/are so unpayably huge.  If God thought the church would shape up, He wouldn't have had to spend His biggest treasure in Operation Rescue.  Instead, He could have just demanded we get our acts together. But God knew the bigger picture; we can't.  It isn't that we won't try for we do...very much try.

God understands something major.  Man can't handle the depth of sin.  Yet, we have acquired a false image of if we just try hard enough we will master the ills of sin.  And we try.  And as soon as one seems conquered two more break out of a different kind. So our call is to experience the lavish gift of mercy and grace for we had assumed by now we would have a grip on sin.  That grip is quite deceitful for it makes us feel like we have won the battle...and that's the false image.

Jesus has won the battle for us.  Sin?  Consequences?  Yes.  The bodies we have are contaminated and are not destined for Heaven.  That's why there will be a new body. It isn't that sinners aren't going to Heaven.  It's that our old sinful bodies are not....they will return to dust.

There is gigantic hope for the world.  The momentum increases, not when we overcome and control our sin-nature, but when we will face up the the fact that we are sinners...just like those in our neighborhoods we wish to reach.  It is here that the neighborhood begins to connect.

Self-righteousness repels them.  Humility opens their hearts.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016


The determination to like every day is built upon a mistaken theory that such must be experienced upon the mountain tops.  Anything less is drudgery; most likely discouraging.  Yet, this is the very place so many waste good quality living; that terrain of being down (in the valley).

If we are going to transform life, we must awaken to the truth that if we only shoot for the stars we will surely miss out on a massive amount of living time on this earth.  We do not want to waste our breath.  Are we really in favor of going through our days trying to get past them?  Seriously?

Like right now.  Yes, the one with the doctor's appointment.  Yes, the one with the trip back to the store because the clerk left one item out of your sack.  And for Heaven's sake yes; even when you've made an error that has been a costly one.  Jesus said it and we believe it, Don't waste your time worrying.  

I'm faced with such temptation the first thing this morning.  On Thursday morning I am to meet with 15 ministers in my office from 6:30-8:00 as our Tulsa Workshop begins.  It's all we can do to get that many chairs packed in here.  Plus, I always buy books as gifts for these guests and I have 15 stacks atop of my counter as I write.

But here's a problem; I don't seem to be able to keep track like I once did.  The 15th one contacted me Monday to see if there was yet space...and there was.  15!  Got it!  Full!

But then a minister contacted me to be sure that I had his name on the reserved list from when he contacted me in January.  Not.  There.  Now what?  No room.  No stack of books for 16.  So, I say come on anyway; maybe one will cancel.  So last night I get a text from Jim McCutchen confirming that I still have him on the guest list.  I have a Brian McCutchen on the list; but not a Jim.  Did I mis-write?  Or, did I mis-remember?  Uh-oh.

Jim's name?  Not.  There.  (That now makes two Not. Theres.)  Now the count is up to 17 with 15 chairs and 15 gifts.  So what am I to do?

Well, I'm choosing to be glad that too many want in rather than too few.  I'm going to assume that God will work out the details.  I'm going to hope that if 17 actually show up and I only have gifts for 15, that two of them can't read.

My point is that life throws us curves; oh so many continual curves.  What we learn to do is enjoy right now.  We will not waste our breath...not one breath...for every breath is a right now glorious moment.  Plus, if someone chooses to give you a rough time today?  You might want to tell them to not waste their breath.

Have a good day!

Saturday, April 02, 2016


We have every reason to hit this day full steam ahead.  Only the Enemy wishes to set up the roadblocks along with a maze of detours.  What we will do is like right now.  If our moments have significant twists and turns, at least they verify we are still above ground.  So, even our difficulties signal something positive.

Our day will not depend upon whether we see the glass half empty or half full.  We will be just a tad bit delighted that we can even see the glass!!!

Now...go out and try to like who you are and who you get to know.  This will be one of those days where we find the gold.

Friday, April 01, 2016


This could be one of the most focused emotions which transcend age and locale. People..and we just happen to be some of those...are on constant prowl for the happies.  Is there a way, I wondered, to find such day by day?  Or, is such a state merely religious folklore?

For the longest time, this element seemed to run hot and cold.  Good mood one day, I was in a bad one the next.  Urggh!  And then things fundamentally shifted.  I'll share what I think I know as long as you understand that I understand that I am not the expert.

Happiness is not just a matter of the mind; but of the heart.  Life seems to unfold according to the way we think.  Interruptions and disappointments do not negate this idea for a significant key to moving through such is dependent, not upon the troubles themselves, but rather upon our thinking about them.  Problems do not stop us in our tracks.  How we determine to view them does.  If we believe troubles rule us; then we are sunk.  But if we perceive these as stepping stones, then of course we are advantaged

Consider the Beatitudes of Blessed are.  Notice that the circumstances are not always positive; but one's faith turns rough stuff into favor toward our days.  Blessed are the peacemakers and Blessed are those who are persecuted are not conflictive points.

The good day/bad day experiences are not determined by one's circumstantial unfolding (could I just admire for a minute my wording circumstantial unfolding) as an enormous life-adjustment takes place when we realize that we are to/can be happy, even blessed, in the very center of any moment.

God is the difference maker.  It is God who can make something from nothing or give life to the dead (Romans 4:17).  It is God who takes the old and makes us new.

How does one not only get happy, but remain happy?  This equation is never...underline never...dependent upon the behavior of another for we are set to find blessings in the conflicting truths of peace or persecution.  We are about the joy of the Lord.

The world is looking, I believe, for followers of Jesus who aren't so moody; so touchy, or so easily offended as if to appear that we don't know God either.  The Cross that we are to take up is our signal of intended injury and pain....very personally, I might add. Therefore, we are to quit running from stresses in the form of sad-faced pouting.

Even in the struggles of the day, we are able to have the strength from Him to be happy.  We can do this....and many already do.  May we do our best to think on the Bright Side.