Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Living in treacherous times has always been the case for every individual.  Stresses, pressures, inadequacies; all loom large in our current-day hurry up and wait scenarios. One reason we can't even keep up with remembering seems to be that there is so much more information to forget these days.

As long as I've been directly engaged in ministry, I remain ultra-sensitive and sympathetic to the struggler.  Community tends to not notice such pain until it is found to be in their lap.  Otherwise, we are proficient at offering critical assessment as to how the cow really should eat the cabbage.

So...I remind you that a herd of very great and wonderful people have headed off to work one more time; one more day.  These will do their best to be amiable as well as efficient.  But just beware that too many have slipped into your workplace wearing a mask of happiness when behind it is nervousness and confusion.

May we be attentive; taking no one around us for granted.  For smiles to be genuine smiles; the more the merrier.  But be sensitive to those who are wearing their obligatory happy face while tears flow within.  Do well...my friend.  Cheer all on. People need us.

Friday, August 26, 2016


The connecting factor...is a Person; not a rule-book.  We have the scriptures to know him...he said...John 5:39-40...but they weren't connecting because they had become infatuated with Bible study.

While the world has breath-taking aspects of wonder too enormous to describe, the daily pursuit for all has been reduced dramatically to getting by.  Such an observation isn't meant to be negative; but rather, to be accurate.  Take a walk in any direction and one will eventually come upon deep pain and agony of someone(s).  And then the sarcastic call of a few (well, maybe more than a few) is, Where is God in all of this?

The answer to that legitimate and important question is that God was, and is, and will be in the mix calling every soul to look in His direction.  His direction?  Why would one who is about to fade into insurmountable overwhelm have any regard for what God might think?  After all, if He is God, why hasn't he done something by now?

He has.  He does.  He will.

God's move toward creation was a brilliant tactic.  He entered as a newborn in order to experience our entry...and then our growth...and then our imagination...and then our obstacles...and then our defeats. God experientially walked through every phase from birth to death in order to understand both our hopes and our fears; our desires and our defeats.  God, through Jesus, was mentored by His own creation to learn first-hand just what it took and what was needed to do more than survive.  He found that restart was necessary and Jesus verified the Way.  He is the New Way.

The connecting factor is not our compassion for the hurting.  Neither is it the grasp of the Hebrew or the Greek language.  The connecting factor is not something we do or did.  It is totally what Father did.  He sent His own Son that whosoever would believe in Him....but oh how we've nearly over-quoted John 3:16 into a meaningless compilation of wordage when God intended it to be our most powerful Get Out of Jail Free card.  

Jesus is intentionally the connecting factor.  He did not begin on earth and pray his way upward for an audience with Father.  Nor was his an earth-beginning trek pressing in to the regions of Above.  No, rather he came from above to work his way into humanity; that very core where we live...and question...and doubt...and offend...and strive to improve.  It is Jesus who reached to us first.  He is the connecting factor...and the perfect one at that for he has walked in our sandals, encountered human rejections, and then beat the system....by beating the grave.

Live connected!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


One of the great breakdowns of humanity is that of comparison; people to people.  And it is beyond strange just how flexible we use such a device.  We may compare ourselves to others to inflate our self-value while, simultaneously, we may deflate our worth when we stack our meager accomplishments against a few others.  We are so weird that way.

Here's a thing I know.  Every person on the planet struggles to believe in his or her exceptional significance.  From Prince to Pauper, generally speaking, very normal people live their days oblivious to their actual, factual wonder.  I know people at the top.  I know more who are at the bottom.  And I know even more who reside in the middle.  One matter is of striking resemblance.  Each level is the same regarding the insecurity as to whether they are making any real difference for society-at-large.

We strain to know exactly what it is that is valuable about us while being very touchy if anyone points toward one of our flaws.  Our self-defense is often only for the public arena for we privately are aware that we are so much worse than even what our insulters/accusers seem to note.

Every person....every individual....is quite significant.  The Accuser (Satan) has done and is doing his number on mankind.  We voluntarily have whittled ourselves down to nothing in our own minds.  We try not to look like we've had this talk with ourselves as we mingle among our friends.  We don't want them to know of our envy, our jealousy, our wicked thoughts, nor our relentless struggle for approval.  We portray to them in deceit at times that....we are doing pretty good.

Our job, therefore, is the job of being Jesus to the neglected, the unsure, even the unnoticed.  He had such a knack of picking up on the lonely soul in the crowd. Remember the woman who touched the hem of his garment?  He wasn't the least bit bugged by her for he wasn't touchy.  He was in touch with the inner struggles of one lonely lady.  Surrounded by a pressing crowd, her loneliness could not/would not have been detected by anyone other than a person with the heart of Jesus.

Bingo!  He knew something special just happened and that something was done by an exceptional individual.  This is how we are to see life; not with schedule, but with people (even strangers) integrated within our set course for the day.  People are who Jesus was about.  Religious leaders wanted rule clarification.  Jesus wanted people justification.

Our lives will transform when we open our hands and see the people.  They are everywhere!  And not so oddly....these strugglers include ourselves!  Is every person significant?  Every one.  The problem is that the vast majority don't know it.  Maybe we should tell them?  Oh, let's do.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I know of no other stage as drastically undermined as the one which would  try to call individuals toward God.  To prove it, just take a slight glance at our communities. Total disregard for having anything to do with God is justified by the masses because of the abundant negative story-flow about those of us who seek Him.  Not only do the atheists hack at believers, believers take shots at other believers.  So why wouldn't one who has determined not to approach this topic simply give a mere shrug while we duke it out for our churchy favorites?

In the midst of chaotic religiosity remains decent men and women who wonder if there is a God and, if so, what would be the correct path to take?  I know a bit of this because I lived there.  I was a below average church attender as a kid.  My god was the baseball diamond by day and Gunsmoke by night.  As I aged, I found myself wanting to know more about this God I had begun to know in my childhood and visited church after church during my college days hunting for some sort of spiritual hint.  I just felt there was more to living than what was on my visible plate.

Obviously, God has changed my world of which I will never get over it.  Yet, I continue to pull for the one who basically doesn't want to die without hope of full and remarkable eternity.  Just as there is fruit from a seed that dies in the ground, I believe that there is a next life after the body folds in complete deterioration; just like the seed becomes a flower or a vegetable or a tree.  Death...and then life.

So what about you?  Interested?  Numb and indifferent?  I offer a bit of direction for those who are seeking Him today and for those who will think about God perhaps next year.  In the last few verses of the first book of the New Testament an interesting charge is given by Jesus to the eleven remaining personally-trained disciples.  These words are from the Savior to the original eleven; a concept destined for all generations of the entire world.  Bible students know this portion of the Bible as The Great Commission.

17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Neighbor girl Julie Brown told my brother about this.  Classmate Debbie Hilpert told me.  We didn't realize that it was time that we be baptized.  We just needed somebody to say.  This wasn't really the topic discussed a lot at third base nor coming from Chester Good as he limped along his way down the streets of Dodge.  This simple truth that Jesus told the eleven and then Julie and Debbie told the two of us just continues to roll through the ages (as has gone on for so many of you and your friends) as we pass the baton of this Matthew 28-17-20 text.

The simplicity of this stunning call to rebirth has been sabotaged by religious debate and prideful distraction.  I am one who has practiced such argumentation to a fault. Therefore, direct your eyes to the plain words of Jesus and ask if you might be able to see the simple truth which has been blurred by accumulated religious habit; even by guys like me who mean well but know more about winning an argument than knowing the Son of God.

I believe that there are many who will read these words and wonder about being baptized into Jesus.  I say that this would be the Spirit of God calling to your spirit. Yes, you should be.  It is an indescribably exciting thing to learn that a person of age can be reborn.  Nicodemus of John 3:3-8 had never heard of such hope either.  But to be born again is an option that every person should take God up on.

Don't let the simple truth be blurred by accumulated religious habit of someone else...but rather seek the one named Jesus who will give us the Divine Guidance that we all desire.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Same Kind of Different As Me

If the movie is anything like the book, this will be a winner.  Coming in February 2017.


I just spent a significant part of my morning writing and weighing and defining my blog topic to send out to my dear readers.

I looked it over.  It was terrible.

I trashed it.

Feel blessed.

And my point?  I have none.

So there.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I've been thinking about you.  No.  Really.  I sit at this computer and wonder how your heart is, what might bug you, or what could be said that would give you that just right boost for your day.  And, I think I'm about to nail it for some!

There is the slightest of comment in Paul's discussion of First Thessalonians 3:8 where the words are expressed, for now we really live....  This phrasing changed my entire world some three decades ago.  I was in the church; but I wasn't really living.

I was a tough believer.  I was proud of my doctrinal stubbornness.  I was pushing hard to do right for God; but I wasn't really alive.  The rigidity of church law had done just what Jesus said it would do.  It killed...my drive...my life.  Upbeat?  No, moody.  Full of faith?  No, full of criticism.  Confident?  What would that be?  I was deep into church at its deadliest form; earning my salvation and desperately pleading with God to back me.

I was as a mere robot doing church things....and quite outspoken about my devotion, I might add.  But to say that I was really living?  Nope.  I was marking off my church checklist of Done Good or Did Bad.  Really living...had never occurred to me.

Let me reemphasize.....really living had never occurred to me; the man who stood in front of hundreds each Sunday and thousands at special events.  Is this not precisely what Jesus warned?  The Law will kill; but the Spirit will give life?

So transition was demanded.  The how is still in progress.  I had to first park my high-horse and dismount.  My self-assumption of knowing more than others and knowing what I knew better than others took a significant hit.  I had become an ego-driven, pulpit-pounding, sinner-judging, law-keeping dead man while I walked.  I knew not the Spirit of God; and furthermore, verbally mocked those who thought they did.

Yes.  Me.  The Bible carrying self-righteous one.

So I hit a point where I had to make a new resolution sorta like HAPPY NEW YEARS! Mine, however, was HAPPY NEW LIFE!  As weird or as odd as it sounds, it took great focus (and continues to require attention) to transition from being right to being of the joy of God.  Being of His joy IS being right.

For you and me, one of our simplest calls to inspiring the entire world toward God would to be to become a community of believers who are the happiest people our neighbors and colleagues ever met in their lives.  These good people are not wanting to know if we go to church.  What they really want to know is whether our going to church has done us any good.

And together we say.........It.  Has.  And.  Does.  And.  Will.  Continue.  To.  So.


Thursday, August 18, 2016


Matthew 22:36-40

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
Um...how many of you know about this text?  Oh, everyone?  So let's evaluate where we are as congregations to this point in life. Where are your victories as well as disappointing losses?  Too, are you perhaps a bit weary of trying harder to try harder which at times results in...well...not so much?
What do you think might happen if we were to restore (and you know we are all about restoration) the most basic of all basics of spiritual development?  What if...what if our members were obsessed with two things; (1) love for the Trinity and (2) love for all people.  Would this have impact on both the community and the church?
Impact?  It would revolutionize both!  
But here's what we have.  Generally speaking (fully aware there are grand exceptions, thankfully, within all congregations), churches love their format and their tradition far ahead of loving God.  And Jesus spoke to this directly.
And next, churches love those they love.  Hatred of others isn't the scene; but intentional avoidance/absolute non-interest is.  At our truest core, we want church to be meaningful to me in that one hour time-slot and we want to get to see our friends whom we dearly need.  
Our focus is anywhere but upon the above words of Jesus.  We are not pondering God and have no intention of meeting/reaching to strangers.  We have no intention of risking even saying hello and appearing interested in any whom we do not know.  Visitors.  See.  This.
You know that I'm not saying that reaching to others is never done.  It very much is; but only by a percentage of the gathering with little conscious-stirring-duty of the rest of the flock.  When this happens, and it does, the church slips into something Father never intended; a self-seeking, self-satisfying false form of spirituality.
It is the Gospel truth that Jesus changes people.  He changes us. He changes me.  In what way?  Jesus doesn't just flip our internal switch which moves us from Destination Hell to Destination Heaven.  It's more.  It's very much more.
Jesus calls us to follow; not just hope that we are right with him at our final breath.  He calls us to see, to notice, to touch both the lovely and the unlovely.  He assumes we will take on the whole world; not in finding our handy church niche only to operate from here or use such to hide from the "othernesses" before us.  
He calls us, those of us who are timid, uncertain, and afraid, to infuse His Spirit within that we might find love and joy in reaching...when we don't know how.  This truth is one of my most surprising kingdom discoveries.

My earlier days of faith were bulked with try harder coupled with someone else could do this reaching part much better.  But it is our God who uses our weaknesses to reach the world.  We are all qualified; never due to our own might, but because of His untameablilistic and wild imagination toward us.

This very old truth spoken by Jesus is still the secret that would cause the church to pop with renewal.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Crowds are everywhere we turn.  Traffic, supermarkets, ball games, hospital rooms...people...venues lined with people.  And within each of these collections of friends, neighbors, and strangers are sweet souls taking their turns at a very bad day.  It is here at this juncture of deep need that we religious people must be on high alert.

When walking through the Gospels there is one consistent thread: Jesus saw the one(s) in need while religious leaders simultaneously cried foul in pointing out how Jesus was doing ministry all wrong.  Today, we the church continue to be captured by these tender reaching stories of Christ's labors.  We love the compassionate Rescuer.  Yet, in practice, we continue to very much struggle to be like him. Rather it remains our tendency to wear the mantle like those of his constant opponents.

When we observe that the church knows Jesus we see the congregation being different than when it knows Bible.  Can that be?  Aren't these two one in the same?  Hardly. Jesus said as much.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.

Hear him be very pointed toward the situations that we may face today.

We are to remain led by Jesus.  This is very different than parading the knowing of our Bibles if such information does not make him (Jesus) our ultimate destination.  It is in Jesus that the world finds authentic hope; not if congregations know their Bibles.  This can sound contradictory; yet, the legitimate concern is in our possibly being able to reference Bible proof-texts while being fundamentally disinterested as to whether we have close relationship with the Son of God.

This concern isn't a moot point.  Jesus brought it up.  The reason is off-the-charts astounding.  If we were to become a people who know Bible verses without developing an intimate knowledge of Jesus, we will not/cannot have the love of God in ourselves. The latter statement is far too representative of the congregations peppered across our landscape.  This isn't a take-it or leave-it doctrine.  This is essential.  This is the nuclear power of the dynamic and effective church....the knowing of Jesus.

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were engaged in constant claims of foul.  They could not stand the Son.  He bugged them.  He got under their very thick skin.  He did religion the wrong way.  They bravely cried foul and many chose them over him.  These doctors of doctrine were gravely mistaken; yet caught up in the driving fever of their legalistic hotbed topics.  I find myself subject to this identical negative thread if I neglect knowing the man by obsessively knowing the plan...without the man.

It just seems to be a worthy reminder that to know Jesus does not bring about peace in the religious setting.  Rather it may be found to be of stressful challenge as his style is framed from the rugged cross and not the table of negotiation with a coffee pot awaiting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Don't you just love being a person?

With our twists and turns and dips and dives, we face challenges non-stop.  Do any of you recall the day you walked away from your high school doors on that last Spring day with the enthusiasm that finally....trials....are...over?  No more enduring lectures!  No more annoying assignments!  No more tests!  Yay me!

Ah, that didn't really seem to last long, huh?

I was not intending to set the world on fire necessarily; but I did have ideas of making a difference.  We all did.  The good news is that we did and we have...and we will.  That's the essence of God in us.  We make a difference....for others.

One of my favorite things is to believe in what people can become when they don't feel very worthy.  Everybody counts!  Everybody has value!  Everybody is needed!

So what I love about getting to be us is that we get to speak life into the hearts and minds of those around us.  And there is great reason.  Those around us need encouragement.  The grind of the day and the worry during the night; both take great toll.  We are needed...every last one of us...to bring a breath of encouragement to others....by saying...by speaking words of hope and love and life onto their paths.

We love being us because we get to tell others how dear they are....when often they are truly clueless.  Yay us for getting to say yay to others!!

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Well, of course, anytime one tries to define God he just entered into a zone that cannot be fathomed.  I know that.  And to say that there are certain things that I love about God is like trying to describe...well, God!  So do I think I'm going to put on paper in ten paragraphs or less what I love about Him?  No.  But at least I can begin.

One of the things that I am lit up over is how God can take negatives and make them positives.  Think about it.  He took darkness and splashed light all over it.  He took an overflowing river and made dry ground from it.  One of His biggest scenes was when He extracted Jesus making an inhabited grave become closed to business as usual.

This is our God.

Again, I say, this is our God.

So may we lift our eyes (Eph. 1:18) that we might see from the above perspective of wonder rather than from the lower perspective of wander.  There is much more to life than getting by with some sort of Christian scent.  Our God is a Happening-Maker!

May we think like it, believe like, and for our neighbors' sake, look like it.

Dare to go by faith; not by sight.


Well, of course, anytime one tries to define God he just entered into a zone that cannot be fathomed.  I know that.  And to say that there are certain things that I love about God is like trying to describe...well, God!  So do I think I'm going to put on paper in ten paragraphs or less what I love about Him?  No.  But at least I can begin.

One of the things that I am lit up over is how God can take negatives and make them positives.  Think about it.  He took darkness and splashed light all over it.  He took an overflowing river and made dry ground from it.  One of His biggest scenes was when He extracted Jesus making an inhabited grave become closed to business as usual.

This is our God.

This is our God.

So may we lift our eyes (Eph. 1:18) that we might see from the above perspective of wonder rather than from the lower perspective of wander.  This is much more to life than getting by with some sort of Christian scent.  Our God is a happening-maker!  May with think like it, believe like, and for our neighbors' sake, look like it.

Dare to go by faith; not by sight.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Life revolves around how one thinks.  Identical situations can happen to two people simultaneously.  One can take the circumstance of, say a ball game rained out, and be disgusted while the second person is relieved.  One might find that a flight cancellation due to mechanical problems ruins an entire trip while another in line may be grateful that the problem was not discovered in mid-air.  We tend to view all matters from different perspectives.

Each of us encounters news or issues which can sting.  There is no exception to one's vulnerability.  And the Bible clearly addresses the truth that we are to let our yes be yes and our no be no.  Furthermore, we are allowed to shed tears as in weep with those that weep.  The good news of any given negative situation is that the darkness doesn't have to stay there.  We can move on.  And, on we do go.

The conquering of stressful moments is not found in the annihilation of the problem; but rather in our viewpoint....how we choose to think.  Even in the simple matter of anger, God didn't eradicate it from our paths.  What He did way was to be over it by the next day.  So where do we develop our approach to constant attacks against our day...our will?

The conquering takes place in the thought-life.  First, we are called to live in the Kingdom of God day by day.  Yet, we race past that as we have calendars harping and tires going bald because, well, most plates are full.  So daily thinking slows down the hurt, the pain, the frustration, and the worry.  By the way, did Jesus have anything to say about worry?  And....do we brush that off as he's never lived in my shoes?

Within my little 5'8", 190#, frame of a person, I am just like many of you.  I've got plans that get sabotaged, friends who are fretful, and a brotherhood of voices coming my direction; some in sweet love and others in treacherous hate.  Add to this my slightness; inadequate, ignorant, and/or foolish style.  The truth is that every day...I am not enough.

The truth is also...neither are you.

So what we do to keep from giving up is that we live day by day; just as He said.  And in that renewal, we fill our minds with the wonders of our world and not our worries.  This is magic for me.  It isn't that I don't cry nor have moments of fear.  But in my choosing to think about those I love and the many works that have gone right and the encouragement that floods my FB, mailbox, and phone line....I get to live a very privileged life.  And.  So.  Do.  You....for the very same reasons.

Everyone faces angst; sometimes huge amounts of it.  I'm standing beside you.  But I will tell you that there is one main Kingdom trait that keeps me driving forward.  That one thing is rehearsing via my thought-lines the many amazing and wonderful people I get to know.  Who wouldn't love to get to be me one day?

Tears?  Yes, I have my share.  Concerns?  I'd assume average.  Reason to hope?  Perfected...because The Grave really is empty.  We.  Win.

Live in renewal.  This is God's intent.

Friday, August 12, 2016


We must have help to get through just the most ordinary of days.  You get that.  Right? No, really.  You do get that about life?  Struggle is as faithful as the sun rising.  It comes in clusters and leaves profound imprint.  It is our work to shift from the frustration of the flesh to faith in the Son...John 5:29.

This cannot be taken lightly.  Because we are humans with brains which develop extremely high estimation of our own surmising, we are quite likely to take our daily trek into our own hands.  Life is more than astute fleshly calculation.  It is linked directly to the potency of God.

Opinionation and moodiness are very likely to become little gods who boss us around in our own walk while leading us to conclude the same for those around us.  If the Divine isn't in the mix we simply have a conglomeration for aiming at causes and solutions as if tossing a dart toward the board.

But we are in life for more than this!  We are in the Kingdom where the you never would have guessed it in a million years takes place.  Don't you love that?  Or...maybe you really don't?  So I ask, are you in the church so that everything goes well?  Or, are you in it because things don't and you are connected to the One who transforms discouragement into energy?  Really....just which is it?

Are you one who wants to make a difference for others?  Or, is your main goal that during church on Sunday mornings nothing goes wrong?  Do you pray for the Divine to happen?  Or are you one who simply wants to survive a day without insult?  Divine potency is needed; always in the camp of the inadequate and the too weak.  That's where God leads.

This morning I walked into my office to find two items awaiting.  One is a gracious note from a minister's wife miles from Tulsa asking me to pray for her sweet preacher husband who is near the end of his rope.  The second was a message from a stranger asking me to please pray for her husband whose struggles are mighty as well as threatening.  Welcome. To.  Today.

This is not just my world.  It is yours.  If we think we are going to manage from our best efforts we have failed before we left the house.  Our only skillful manner in which to eagerly assist the many among us who are taking their turns at being bumfuzzled and heart-broken is for us to look to and believe in the mighty Divine Potency of our Father.

Faith isn't second class that sits on the back row.  Faith dares to face stubborn discouragement head on.  We don't know what to do from our strengths, our confidences, nor our intellect.  Sorry.  We know what to do from Father's spiritual leadership of which we go to school in our own sufferings in order to understand the notes we open or the calls we receive seeking our input.  Go Divine!

Thursday, August 11, 2016


I have come up with a great line to encourage any person who is manning the cash register at any business.  I just build an oh-so-slight bit of tension only to next ease into bringing them a smile.  When it's my turn in line to pay, I ask a very simple question; Do you accept bad checks or stolen credit cards?

Immediately their eyebrows form a V.  And then, at the next immediately, smiles form a U.  And they always have a comeback that sort of makes a guy feel good like we've just become good friends....maybe even family....and next week we may even draw names for Christmas.

Ah, that's just an idea of one way to break into the good hearts of some very important people who walk upon our paths...or us theirs.

And while I've got you on the phone, I share another ice-breaker I have with the Police who gather regularly at Jesse's at 11th and Memorial for breakfast.  I will walk back to their table and ask if it would be possible today to shoot the gun inside as long as I don't hit a customer.  As nice as each of them is, they sure seem to have a negativity toward my question when I only wanted to shoot the gun one time.

So then I will next ask one of them if they would care if I were to take one of the squad cars for brief spin.  This causes more smiles as I plead to stay on the parking lot; but I do request lights be a-flashing and the siren roaring!  Oh, how my imagination can just see the pride in my mom's eyes as I would do donuts....in the parking lot...in the squad car.  Dare I ask to wear a badge?  Nay, I don't want to push it.

Oh, how this does create a stir among the officers.  Unglued might fit some moments.

Their best comeback to my inquiring as to driving the squad car is, No!  But we WILL puts the handcuffs on you and let you ride around in the backseat.  Well, duh.  Shouldn't they know by now that one can't drive a squad car from the back seat?  And, here they are supposed to be protecting us from the messes of the strange people in our neighborhood?  Oh.....oh yeah...I get it now.

I just love people.  The above are two examples where I walk in through the back door unarmed...and capture them!  They are now....my friends!

Tuesday, August 09, 2016


Would you think it a strange, even contradictory, thought that professing believers...often struggle to believe?  Unbelief is a power deterrent to spirituality's foremost element; faith.  It is complete sabotagery in the making.  Believing has been ever so subtly replaced with behaving.  Hear.  Behave.  Repent. Confess.  Be baptized.  And keep behaving.  Believing has taken a back seat to rules of religious approval.

The art of believing is, I think, the most fascinating concept for humanity as it is certain of what can be when the can be isn't yet.  God has and will always function by taking nothing and making something from it; Romans 4:17 and Hebrews 11:1 would be fundamental kindergartenish verifiers.

The art of believing is to see the yes in moments precisely on the occasion where the masses see nothing but no.  Take any circumstance and listen to one or one hundred explain why it won't work.  Faith of, faith in, and faith from God says it will.  We are always blessed to remember that faith is God's idea for the deep need of mankind and that such will always have a tendency to appear that is won't work.  If faith were simply seeing the obvious, why would Father have developed such an idea?

Don't misunderstand.  Faith is not equal to want.  It is not whimsical nor wishful thinking.  We have that ability to want a gallery of desires which could have nothing to do with kingdom matters.  Faith is the lamp that lights our paths while we serve God..  Faith is the eyes of our heart (Eph. 1:18) that we might see what He is wanting and where He is taking us.

Faith isn't code-language exchanged among those who deem themselves as in.  However, it is a talk that speaks of possibility and hope at the very point where there is zero concrete evidence that such could come about.

Therefore, I encourage you to do more with your life today than gain the approval of others through your behavior.  Watch...watch for opportunities to inspire others by your believior.

Friday, August 05, 2016


I'm crazy nuts to get to be a part of the church; the one where Jesus is the leader.  I'm not referring to the one(s) propped upon street corners pushing and probing to keep their brand in public eye for social response.  Rather I mean to reference a group of united believers who have hang-ups, misconceptions, sinful addictions and yet continue to believe that Jesus Christ is their/our complete form of righteousness.

Do I believe the Bible is true?  Very much so.  Do I believe that the most ardent disciple's commitment can fade into a self-imposed bias which leads to a religiosity that God never intended?  Equally on that very much so comment....of which I would at times be quite guilty.  Churches are a very necessary fabric of the community cloth. In my very frail way, I wish to remind us of how we got here and where we are supposed to be going.

Church is not successful based upon location, nor decor, nor publicity angles.  Neither is it effective because it found fifteen hundred available doctrines and focused upon 10% of those as their main purpose.  The church has been, is, and will be only effective when each member carries his or her cross and follows him to the public hill upon which to die.  Dying to self is the centerpiece of Christian doctrine; of which could possibly become discarded via our grand avenues of rhetorical theory plus criticism of others.

What will help the church to gain influence is for her members to be mistreated (from within and without) and yet never grumble nor complain.  America's Christian populace is a shambles because we are often found to be divisive rather than uniting and grumpy rather than patient.  We often are found to act as if we have no God because we are madder than wet hens over something...about our church.

The good news is that not only can this change; it is changing.  We are making strides at spiritual maturity.  The final hill in conquering the battle is to find stable hope in the righteousness of Jesus rather than our own (self) righteousness which gives our neighbors heartburn.  We will find greater influence for God; not when we sell the church through better advertising, but when we advertise the church from our crosses of patience, understanding, sympathy, and love for every neighbor (even those who loves to bark at us).

Thursday, August 04, 2016


When I was a kid back home in my wonderful Memphis, Missouri, I went to Sunday School and Church; sometimes by myself.  Sometimes mom and/or my brother John would go and some of those times they'd go without me.  I was a hit-the-church-scene-in-spurts sort of a school kid who would much rather toss the baseball around in the back yard.  Basically, I went to church to keep God off of my back for six more days.

I mainly went to church in the warmer months.  The walk from 448 East Jackson street was not awful as being in a small town had such advantages of destinations being in close proximity.  Too, my reward for going to church was that on my way home my path just happened to pass by Gardine's Drugs on the city square where I could pop in and get a quarter's worth of candy as a personal reward for looking like I was attentive to what Rev. Trower said during my sit-still-and-look-interested misery at the Presbyterian church.

I'm guessing there are a lot like me who thought (and many still believe) that going to church is a penalty for personal misbehavior Mondays thru Saturdays.  To me, church was what I owed God for being bad 6/7ths of the week.  Sundays were sort of a time-out from sinning for all of us.  To me...of which I really didn't know beans...attending church was my effort to sort of experience Jr. Heaven for an hour.  Yes, I resented going.  It may have been just me; but I felt that boredom itself was bored at church.

On the upside, I felt God was obligated to me since I publicly put in 60 minutes of sacrificial sitting when I would much rather have entered the golf tournament. Might I ask if anyone else ever felt that the closing Amen equaled a Get out of jail card  free?  Oh...it wasn't just me!

Of course, I was a kid back then and misconceptions ran galore through my curious mind.  And I've fortunately gotten to learn a few things here and there....about God...about others...and about myself.  Church isn't Jr. Heaven for an hour.  It is rather a team of people (a nation of people) who strive to mature in the Spirit of the Son of God.  Our desire is to credit God with the abundance of life while also living compassionately as we do try to help others experience the authentic joy of meaningful and productive living.

Attending church is a divine assignment from God to help us help one another to keep going in this burdening world of disappointments and rejections.  Life isn't easy.  Jesus came on a rescue mission and then handed us the reigns that we would keep his goals moving forward.  We can do this.  We can make a difference.  But no one can make it as the Lone Ranger.  We are in need of Holy Spirit assistance which oft times comes from the core of other believers who can endure our difficulties and support our woeful insecurities.

Church isn't orchestrated boredom for an hour on Sundays.  It is the hope found at the scene of an empty grave for every person due to the brilliant tactics of our Living God. And this hope lives on our streets and in our hearts in this very day and age....24/7.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016


....takes place when we think that "they" don't do things/believe things the right way.  They seem to be clueless, we've decided.  We all know...well anybody would know...that the way we do things is right and that they seem to lack the good judgment (which we ourselves have) to pull off  the task at hand.

One of our most common mistakes is that we believe that we know and do better than others.  But hear Paul's words; Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things...Romans 2:1.

Ooooh.  When we condemn another for their lack we just pointed our puny little fingers at ourselves.  That doesn't sit well, huh?  Concluding that another is weak or lacks is not the warning for such surely might be the case.  To label another as a failure without assuming we, too, possess great lack equal to theirs in some area is the error.

May we care about the works of others, and leave our criticisms out if possible, because every time we condemn another...God insists we just confessed another one of our own errors.


As I approach this subject I want you to know that I know two things beforehand; (1) I don't know everything, and (2) what little I do know might be wrong.  With this in mind please allow me to speak in somewhat generalities for such could be the case that parts of this idea deserve attention.

You recall, don't you, that much of the Kingdom structure is backward to human wisdom.  That which is to live must first die.  In order to keep, one must learn to give. To be truly strong, one must be confident in weaknesses.  This church system is fundamentally anything but immediately graspable.

Absolutely there are facts of God which remain eternal in both truth and nature. Equally absolute are the clear warnings from the Word that man will choose to live circularly in the wilderness of trying to figure the direction to go.  Therefore, we will do well to remain attentive to the what else of God.

The costly concept of the church which plagues every new generation is to develop policy over Spirit calling.  Layers of habit and doctrine suffocate the church's relationship to the Trinity.  There may have been more time debating the Three than knowing Them.  The result is dead children who have no heart for God while they either avoid church or work diligently right in the center of it.

All leaders and followers must perpetually renew our drive to find His life and to find it Abundantly.  God will never be consumed by our knowledge of Him.  The reverse is what I've discovered.  The more I realize about Him the more I learn there is yet to be known.  In other words, the more I gain in understanding the behinder I get because He is just too much to be eternally discovered.

It seems that we churchers basically learn five to fifty good things about God and then hold on tight to these items declared as truth.  But in doing so we neglect (refuse to fathom) the nine hundred million pertinent wonders of God (and those numbers were just now under-exaggerated).

The costly concept of the church is that we somewhere along the way of church engagement we may have determined that we surely have learned some facts, these don't agree with religious neighbors, we obsess over being right, and as a result live very far from knowing God.  There has been strong movement all along to break this mistaken trek.  I haven't always been in on it. That's some of why I know a few of our mistaken patterns.

So what I like about this generation of Generations is the old and young alike are all in the same mix.  We want to know more about Jesus than about our sub-stances.  We desire to really worship from our assemblies rather than put in our Big Hour.  We want to see sacrifice mean something.  Basically, we want to live lives that count.  And....all of these things come our way when we move His way.

This isn't called Rocket Science.  It is called....faith.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016


Would all of the people out there who are carefree...would you raise your hands?

Oh.  None?  What's up with that?

As wonderful and beautiful as life is, we are residents of a marred community awaiting some sort of eventual recovery.  Regardless of how many times we paint the barn, it will be necessary to paint it once again.  This present life of earthiness, if it is anything consistent, is temporary.  Jesus beat the grave to call us to build in the eternals.

Eternals?  Things that last...like people in the spiritual realm.  Other things that last like places and things and realms...and God.  We see life fade before our very eyes so what do we do?  Some tighten their grip with clinched fists as if this is all there is. Others begin to ponder whether there just might be a reality which exists on the other side of this fleshed-out one.

The question of, Why are you going through what your are going through? is one of heaven's strongest most useful calls.  We hurt to understand others who hurt.  To spend our time trying to escape our pain for comfort's sake is to misread the moment. To the fulfilling life, what goes on among us is never about ourselves.  It is always about how we might better understand others.

Why are you going through what you are going through?  I believe it is because others are going through similar matters and these need real people to be real help; not just someone who read about the topic distantly from a book.  We help foremost because we understand very much, indeed, their pain.

Compassion reaches when education may live only to take a test.  We are most compassionate where we have most experienced similar obstruction, interference, and disappointment.