Saturday, December 31, 2016


A thing I really enjoy about God is His practicality.  Oh make no mistake, He has His ideas.  Of course, we may count on them being divine...and true...and most effective. The disobedient break in the Garden, as a result, has placed everyones' path in a snare of challenge and stress.  It ain't easy being a person, huh?

Now some people have gobs of money equal to their self-confidence and, as a result, find no need for what I'm about to say.  That's okay.  But I promise you that your day, too, is coming because we are all very broken and our sheer muscle combined with ingenuity will fade.

The Spirit of God is to be one's secret code in order that we may break the lock-down of discouragement, even depression, that may come upon us.  Exterior religion of going to church and sitting in a pew may help a bit.  Yet, it is the interior of us that God targets; that He has always targeted.  Our struggles, however, dominate when we insist upon approaching life from the visible rather than the invisible.  What can I visibly purchase or who can I visibly meet tends to override the invisibles of attitude and thought.

The invisible interior of each person holds the code for survival as well as success.  Those living in plush mansions who dwell on the negative are not happy campers.  Those of pretty facial features who harp on everything in life going wrong are quite miserable when these should be grateful.  My point is that every level and caliber and race of a people face identical stresses which tend to shut one down.

I lived for years in this world.  Trying to look good on the outside; my interior person was a train wreck in the making.  This led to constant comparing myself to others and most of the time I fell even more behind.  It is quite a weird feeling to believe that regardless of how hard I would try, I was not good enough for whatever task was at hand.  In standing before the church or a large workshop crowd, I just wanted to preach without anybody looking at me.

So what can we do?  I will continue to tell you that Philippians 4:4-9 is the ice-breaker that works.  Let your minds dwell on everything going right.  Dwell is quite key here.  Every day one faces matters that are both negative while others are positive.  Practice dwelling on the good things.  This isn't living in denial of the bad.  But it does deny the bad permission to run up and down the halls of my mind screaming fear and insecurity.

You....just heard some good stuff right there, my friend.  It.  works.  Practice dwelling on thinking about all of the many good things in your life...and peace will become dominant.  Yay us!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


We seem addicted to living by comparison.  Judging ourselves (positively or negatively) by the existence/performance of another person seems to be our perpetual mistake.  This is significant, gigantic error.  The reason is that, when this goes on, our assessment is always vulnerable for we are wrong.  It's that simple.  Comparing ourselves to another is consistently without understanding (II Corinthians 10:12).

Indeed, each is gifted in unique areas and ways.  True, people are different.  This is what makes us community; the body of Christ.  Yet, we are all the same and this, too, is what makes us the church.  Each person lacks...a great deal.  Each person has deep zones of insecurity.  It matters not whether one is famously beautiful, ruggedly rich, or incredibly talented, every person is the same; incomplete without Jesus at the helm.

All gifted people come with glaring holes in personality or skill or income or education. This is why criticism can cease any moment we determine to do so.  No one is better than another;

Everybody is the same...and Jesus knew it.

He could see through the facade of the self-righteous front of the Pharisees as well as those who on the streets who had been improperly neglected by the religious leaders. And society tends to continue this blatant silent insult toward one another; always living by comparison.  We come out self-crowning on one hand and then self-condemning on the other...always noting the practice of someone around us.

Jesus was Jesus because he knew all were of one fundamental and true doctrine; that of being hollow on the inside.  The Spirit fills.  And why, may I ask?  Because when we first come to God we are running on empty.  We can be glad that he chooses not to discard us; but to keep us.  He intends to make powerful the weak, effective the frail, and impacting the shy.

We can relax our criticism of others...and of ourselves.  We are not much when left to ourselves.  With Jesus, we become a new kind of generation; alive everywhere we turn.

Friday, December 23, 2016


Life is to be fascinating, don't you agree?  I mean it is so very awesome that everyone wishes that it wouldn't end.  Some experiences surely could stop; but living has been held dear to the heart for...oh...generations now.

I think one of my favorite things about God's system is that we become younger as we get older.  I know, such isn't true about our bodies, it seems.  But it is true about our spirits; our ability to imagine, to create, to wonder, to....believe.

Faith increases day by day.  A very impressive factor about God is the legitimate push-back that He wants us to possess when stresses press in.  Try not to dismiss faith because you read of the sea parting or the walls falling in days of yonder year.  There just isn't that much need today for the Mississippi to separate.  But there is need of God's intervention in our practical day to day living.

And He lives to do so.

Fundamental church isn't about impressive Hollywood productions at a worship service.  Neither is it about continual commercials of raising funds.  Both have significant places, but church is about seeing what can't possibly happen....happen.  If not careful, we are surrendering the masterful arm of God for man's best creativity when we gather in large crowds.

What we want to know is whether God can make a difference as we face questions, dilemmas, and confusion.  Does God care?  Will He inject Himself into our matters?  How will that look if He does?

Faith is legitimate because we believe two things.  We believe He is and we believe that He can.  Our God has strength and avails such for our walk,  Dare to believe that people and circumstance can adjust for the good of themselves and for others.  Wake up to a breathing faith.  Shed the habitual routine of motion-going which is deadening to the imagination.

Try not to be filled with fret and worry.  Rather try to reverse the course and pray effectively that Father knows how and will redesign both obstacle and interference. \Let your speech be of confidence; not of doubt.  Count Him in.  Glean from the Bible His artistic and creative methods of breaking into common ground.

Your world is subject to His blessing.  Look like it.  Thank about it.  Live with it.  Church isn't theory nor is it in mere existence.  Church is people and these people believe God is active when we are purely clueless.  So how about we set aside our controlling cluelessness and permit Father's profound

Thursday, December 22, 2016


The usual take on living happily ever after seems to be based upon success.  How relationships are panning out or the size of one's bank account appear to be barometers to our spirit's weather; up one day and down the next.  After awhile we seem to lose control of our day's destiny as we shift into being bossed by moods...our...own...moods.

I find that it takes incredible intentionality to live undistracted.  Hurtful words and wounding events present themselves non-stop.  So much breaks down either in front of us or within us.  Can we escape such deeply-rutted patterns?

Yes, I think so.

Frustration results from trying to live from illusive fleshly control.  Relief comes to the very same person when switching over to spiritual control.  We strongly lean toward the former and when bad things happen we may immediately seek another to blame. However, as we grow toward the relief, there is a discovery of living in sympathy, partnership, and sharing with others as never experienced on any other level.

What is meant by fleshly control?  Involved in the concept is effort to get others to behave the way we want.  When others don't say what we had hoped, live the way we had wished, or choose a style we prefer, tension grows within because the flesh firmly intends to be the boss.

Living from the spiritual is regarded by the flesh as vague and non-sensical.  To be patient or joyful or forgiving when offended is regarded by the fleshly as weak. Truthfully, it's just the opposite; a fullness of strength that the flesh can't pull off.

My wish for all is that each could experience abundant life.  This is a possibility from God.  Jesus taught that we are to have life and have it abundantly.  My call is to dissolve the misery that hunts us down at every turn.  There are no exceptions.  We all have it.  But we must stop it.  Think from the spiritual side.  Begin to believe in people; even those who disappoint.

The great thing about all people is that we can all change.  Our past of negativities? Not one of us escapes the label; no not one.  Poised for potential and possibility?  Not one of us is unqualified to experience the wow of it.

If you could use a big break, you might give any obsessive negative thinking a rest. Ponder the right and the excellent and the lovely...for these are all around.  God says that when we shift our minds to the spiritual a very unusual peace begins to fill our hearts...Philippians 4:4-9.

May we refuse to allow thoughtless attention to distractions rule our days.  Rather, may we operate in the abundance of real living which God has always intended for each of us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


It has taken me decades as a minister to get to the point that I yearn to do one main thing; praise God.

Do you think God has a chance of recognition in the very world He created?  Or, has mankind created sub-gods which require us to maintain focus?  The latter is clearly a threat.  Furthermore, the question can be narrowed a bit to ask whether God has a chance at being recognized in His church.

I know that last bit would seem absurd.  But, I think not.  Consider what it is that we religious sort have as a tendency to constantly volley.  Issues.  If not attentive, our spiritual make-up is driven by incessant chatter about much lesser points than that of vocalizing our love and praise for God.

Consider the lingo that can (and does) go on:
  • Which version of the Bible is the correct version?
  • Where might I find a church that offers the teaching that I prefer?
  • And, while we are at it, the music style my family likes?
  • Do we like or dislike the preacher?
  • Do I feel welcomed because if I don't feel welcomed, I'm not returning.
  • Is our doctrine in line with my family heritage?
  • Does the church stand for anything anymore?
In the above seven points, and another one hundred of similar concern, there is one thing that lacks while all of the above may be soberly monitored.  Are our people committed and devoted to praising God for who He is, what He does, and how He loves us?  Are we of the tendency to give Him credit on Tuesdays as strongly as we are for an hour on Sunday?

I didn't.

My early participation in the church was to support and win the argument that my group did church right.  Yes, we sang; but our emphasis was that we did the singing right compared to those other church brands who did it wrong.  My early days were full of proof-texts; not giving glory to God.  Honestly?  I had not thought of giving Him glory as that seemed hokey.  It felt that if I was to greatly emphasize the worship of God that somehow that translated into saying that I didn't want to stand for Truth.

Today it is different for me; for us.

Every morning I tell Him how exciting it is to join with the millions in China and other nations and our neighbors as we tell God how fascinating He is and how fortunate I am to know Him.  I yearn for Him to know that I have this knack of letting my daily worries become my mission and my god.  I convey to Him that I am sorry for going through hours and days without one verbal expression of my gratitude because I am so busy being right about everything.

Does God have a chance in His own world?  Of course.  And, together we will get better at it because that's what we do; improve.  By His Spirit's gentle and patient leading, we improve our focus upon Them.  For so long my god was to do church right.  But I'm wishing to transition.  I still want to do church right; but it has to begin first with constant praise for Him above or else I am guilty of making gods of my stances.  Until worship becomes truly admiration and praise of God, our authentic heart-life, nothing else church-wise will really matter.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Uggh!  People.  Sometimes they can be a real burr under my saddle.  Personal offense from some direction is commonplace.  And, we have a choice as to how to handle it; (1) use such as a stepping stone upward by showing forgiveness and grace, or, (2) allow it to fester in our minds until it buries us in negative obsession.  We have a choice.

The lower nature about us wants revenge, due retribution, and payback.  But before we run off assured that such is deserved, let us rethink just a bit.

God is very clear that how we deal with people's offenses is how He will deal with ours.  If we choose to display mercy by forgiving; such is the case toward us from Him.  If not?  Well then, not.  We choose.  This needs to be taken very seriously.

What happens is that we have an amazing dodging skill to excuse our own violations as understandable while being very cut-n-dried critical of others.  We possess an innate ability to find whatever sin ours happens to be as lesser than some of the others.  The fact that we wouldn't commit adultery or slice a person's throat seems so much more vile than killing a person's reputation by our gossip about them.  All three are deemed intensely sinful.

So what we are to do when finding ourselves highly offended is to take a step back by realizing that we, too, offend others....many times along the way.  We do.  We don't think we do; but we are human beings which hurt, offend, neglect, and ignore those around us day by day.

Sins are not to be excused.  Such isn't the goal of this post.  It is that our own sins are to be recognized with the same intensity with which we seem to freely criticize others.  It isn't that we should quit calling sin sin.  It's that we should discontinue our personal chatters about others as if we are not guilty of the same.

Jesus died on the cross...for every person...remember?  This will change many of our conversations about all others.

Sunday, December 18, 2016


I love snow!  We received our first Tulsa snow blessing last night.  It snowed somewhere under 8 inches!  I love it.  We look to be a potential Currier and Ives.

Now...when I say that it snowed somewhere under 8 inches, maybe I should explain.  Actually, the snow barely covered the ground which is exactly somewhere under 8 inches.

So why do I say it that way?  I say it for us kids.  Which is more exhilarating?  It snowed somewhere under 8 inches?  Or, it snowed and barely covered the ground?  You tell me. paycheck this week was somewhere under $15,000 just for the week.


Saturday, December 17, 2016


God awaits our decisions.  Every person has to ponder the same question.  Does God exist?  Some say yes.  Others say the opposite.  How are we to gauge, determine, with any sort of factual accuracy?  Is His reality still up for grabs?  Human conclusions are clearly divided.

So I wish to come alongside the seeker who has yet to reach his or her conclusion. Maybe my words will assist; and, then again, maybe you will deem them useless. Nonetheless, I very much wish to contribute to the believing factors toward God.

It is a grave mistake to try to make sense out of believing in God.  Once one should reach such a state, God will have necessarily been reduced to human guestimation. The reason this isn't good is because, from this angle, in order to understand God we would necessarily need to reduce Him to humanistic, scientific, explanational concepts.  This would make us god to Him; not Him to us.

Faith...yes, note the is faith because it isn't sight.  It isn't catagorizable.  It is neither chartable, tangible, nor manageable.  Faith is a daring and true beyondness of human intelligence that pulls one into the territory of determining that God is, indeed, actual.

Believing God doesn't make sense to the calculatory-driven mind.  It thrives, rather, on conviction from the heart.  Ephesians 3:19 has an interesting choice of words....and to know the love of Christ with surpasses knowledge.... Pause a moment.  We are to KNOW something beyond KNOWING?  Really?

The first know in the original language is epi-know (as in epi-dermis/upper dermis). Epi-knowing is upper knowledge/beyond knowledge compared to the regular knowledge one possesses.  Thus the Bible states that we are to KNOW the love of Christ WHICH SURPASSES routine, explanational knowledge.  This, of course, is stated in the context of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

This is where faith takes a welcomed and gigantic leap.  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  The reason faith is insane to the unbeliever is because of his efforts is to make sense out of the Bible.  It doesn't, won't, and isn't supposed to make sense to the human mind.  Conversion isn't that we move from non-church attendance to church attendance.  Conversion is leaping into a totally foreign territory of life's unfolding beyond our wildest imagination as well as our most robust fact-gathering tour.

We are called into a tremendously absurd zone called belief.  But, even Christians struggle so with this concept as we do our best to build churches from our KNOWLEDGE rather than from the EPI-KNOWLEDGE that God affords all who  When one shifts from knowing to the epi-knowing daily walk the following changes:
  • We pray.  Normal knowledge believes the concept; but doesn't practice it.
  • We become strong givers of our funds.  Plain knowledge goes through the motions with guarded and self-justifying, but hesitational, giving.
  • We become merciful.  Normal knowledge still permits a believer to be huffy and hold eternal grudges against others; offense rules and reconciliation cannot happen without mercy.
  • We sense what others, who appear to be struggling, can become.  Regular knowledge has not the eyes to see futuristically as to the transformation that can take place for all.
  • We hope.  In hope against hope...we believe that what isn't can become...Romans 4:17-25.
It could be that some would sense immediate relief from the drain of life is we could just give our God permission to do His thing without our needing to KNOW.  What would really help each of us is to leap into His EPI-KNOWING.  Maybe there is something to the idea of letting go and letting God.  What if that isn't just a phrase....but the path to experiential life?

Friday, December 16, 2016


Every person's daily routine is glutted with sound.  Voices approach us from phones, emails, texts, and of course, an avalanche of peopleistic conversations.  The messages are mixed.  Within this region of communication, life builds as well as unfolds.  We must be careful to hear well.  This will take determined intentionality or else we will become a twisted discouraged society of misunderstandings.

Power words of hope and understanding remain in great demand.  The reason?  Words of sarcasm and pessimism flow down our streets at flood level.  If you want to ruin one's day, unload a boat load of negative expression.  But if you want to build a nation, speak life into the hearts of those who are within your broadcast signals.

Words.  More words.  These are the only tools for building an entire universe that God choose beginning with Day One.  Words.  Let there be...  We, being spoken into existence in the original person-hood of Genesis, have inherited this God-strength. Yet, due to sin's rude imposition, words now create or destroy; depending upon the goal of the speaker.

As recipients of a barrage of incoming voices, we must be determined as to how we hear.  We must take charge of our own communication board by sorting the incoming calls.  Accept the life-words and quickly delete the won't-work, not-good-enough, no-hope words.  The good news is that we control the switch.  It takes assertive practice to be attentive in our sorting.

Personally, I struggle every day with this situation.  That's how I know to write about it. It seems that the more we are in the public eye, the more we become targeted for negative verbalization.  It's wearying and I choose not to repeat it to anyone; but it seriously affects my confidence level at times.  Due to this, however, I have learned that I must hang out with those who speak life.  I am careful to hear their words for the others drain my energy.

Listen with care for the voices of the life-givers.  And, by all means, be attentive to your own words by expressing love and hope and faith into those who have ears to hear your comments.  Life is found in our words.  No one becomes effective or successful until words from somewhere and someone begin to resonate.

Speak life.  Speak love.  Speak that those around you can be resurrected to face another day.  That's how Lazarus came from the tomb, remember?  Jesus told him to come out of he did.

Thank you...those of you who fill my world...for talking a talk that awakens hope, potential, and possibility.  I will always need it.  May we increase our power voices...and change the world around us.  Use your power

Thursday, December 15, 2016


There is an intended divine pattern to one's life.  While it is simple in direction, it seems to be most complex to fulfill.  The Good News is certain.  If and when we develop this region within our walk, we begin to note an uncanny satisfaction with life...our lives.  Isn't it odd that there is such abundance of information and technology among us and, yet, we struggle so very deeply to just be happy?

For a few, the Pattern is discussed in terms of what the church is to practice on Sunday mornings for an hour; the music style, the worship correctness, etc.  But this focus is merely a distraction from the real authenticity that the Son of God reveals.  He...not our arrangements, not our preferences...Jesus is the Pattern.  When we imitate him, we are stepping into the footprints of fundamental productivity which thrills both the receiver and the giver.

The Pattern?  We are to die to our wishes, wants, and will that others be blessed.  Church-walk is anything but convenient.  It is to be the duplication of the very heartbeat of Jesus.  This is to be both seen and heard by our communities who so yearn for hope.  So are we called to religious chatter?  Nope.  We are called to not get our own way if such would mean another could find hope.

Why do you think God asks us to pick up our crosses and follow Him?  It is because true Life is a gigantic struggle and no one can attain it on his or her own will-power.  And what do crosses mean anyway?  These hold us to unfair treatment that presses, even breaks, our hearts.  Being treated unfairly is the rejected rub that even church people have with the call to be Christian.  Thus, we abort our calling at the very center.

We are called to partake with the hurting, the devastated, the confused, the being ourselves hurt, devastated, confused, and crushed by that we might understand better how to be a genuine help.  Society needs our help; deeply so.  But it will not receive it if we merely shout out directives from the balconies of our safe-place, no-harm-no-foul towers.

Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.  For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham (Hebrews 2:14-16).

  • Jesus became human to understand what we go through.  Father, this is what it is like to be a created person.
  • He came to knock out death; to make it temporary by pulling the plug on its assumed permanency.
  • The help comes to us who are no angels; but are recipients through the human channel of birth.
Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Hebrews 2:17).
  • Jesus had to be human from birth to the grave in order to really understand with sympathy our various stages of plight.  
  • Rejection (that offense that cuts us so deeply) was his assignment...and he pulled it off.
  • And we are called to walk in his sandals that by our being unfairly treated and even crucified, at the office or within the family, that we could be merciful to all others who encounter similar treatment.
Church isn't about sitting in rows and behaving ourselves for sixty minutes.  It is about learning that our mistreatment at the hands of some are personal training that we might learn endurance and meaning in these very moments.  Friend, we are wasting our lives wishing and fretting troubles away when these are of the very intentional and Holy Pattern to help us live with our neighbor in sympathy and understanding.  As long as we run for relief, we will never have relief to offer another because we refuse to go to school during these recurring hard times.

To take up our crosses and follow him is not intended to be a quarterly study in Sunday School.  We are expected to live (and die) from there so that even offenders might encounter relief and hope.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


There is much discussion, even accusation, that social frustrations are due to generational gappage.  Strange, isn't it, how the conversation goes?  I mean the rub is consistent in that the problem lies within one of two generations; (1) the one older than me, or (2) the one younger than me.  Seldom is it my own.

Yet, another element must be entered into the mix due to that last sentence.  When it is my own, rarely do I mean to include me.  Self has a way of being accepted as well as excepted.  Constantly!

Maybe the gap as we tend to perceive it isn't quite the glaring dimension assumed? What if we are all alike; but we simply have selfish styles and preferences which are permitted from "my" preferential stance and rejected from "theirs"?

My point is that I believe we could give one another a break in the identical way we give our own generation a break.  We are all alike.  II Corinthians 10:12 says that when we compare one generation to another in criticism that we are without understanding. That means they, we, and....(reluctantly) me.

We are all alike in that we want what we want.  All of us sin; no exception.  All judge others; no exception (oops...I just passed judgment).  We are all in over our heads with pressures, disappointments, and enormous demands.  The more we seek answers to life it seems that the amount of questions multiply.  This goes on in all generations.

We tend to look at the older and question why they can't loosen up.  To take a gander at the younger causes us to wonder why they can't get a tighter grip.  What we forget is that each of us has an older generation looking at us wondering why we won't tighten up and a younger ones wonder why we can't loosen up.

You are correct.  I am talking in circles...because that's what happens if we fall for living by comparison.  When 20 we see the holes in the thinking of the 40s and the 60s.  Oddly, when we reach our 40s, we believe we see through the perfect lens; but the 20s and 60s are still wandering in their wildernesses full of obvious blind spots.

We are all alike.  The gap isn't as generational was we thought.  Therefore, may the Spirit fruit of love and joy and patience continue to have its way with we are all so very much alike.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Due to the direction of this post I feel first that I must make an introductory comment.  I love being in the church.  I remain fascinated by the surprise and wonder of it all.  Who would have guessed that it could be so meaningful?  Plus, innumerable amounts of people are finding God...via the church landscape.  Today's post, however, is to send a signal to the unchurched who are frustrated with people who are in the me.

That congregations are known to be planted throughout every community and, yet, so many can't find God through us is both concerning and reality.  Due to this troublesome sore spot, I (we) want to do what we can to make necessary adjustments that seekers may be drawn into the True and New life God has intended for each.

The reality is that the faithscape has always been a two-way street which finds reaction to be both positive and negative.  Followers of God can provide ample hope.  Simultaneously, other believers can kill a person's perspective of who God really is.  No wonder society is left guessing.

Let this be no surprise.  Why do you think it was the religionists who led the way to kill the Son of God?  He went against the grain of the embedded orthodox establishment.  This is a fascinating truth about following God; it will often not agree with the direction of the well-versed herd.  Believing in and listening for God is a challenge....and society would rather find the easy way out.  The easy way, ironically, can be in opposition; but with identical results.  (1) We can be activists and yet not know God while just being busy keeping up with boring and deadening church regulations.  Or, (2) we can reject, along with our cronies, the God-system altogether without bothering to see what might be rich blessings available.

Both are killers.  Within both realms...people who are wondering...can't find God.  One is domineering or burnt out while the other is distracted by poor and moody witnesses.  Yet all through the ages, wonderful men and women are wondering within their hearts, Could it be possible that this God-thing is legit?

I find that many want to know the answer.  I wanted to know the same thing.  Never did I intend to be a part of church; but I ran into God along the way and found that what I had come to believe about church and church people was fundamentally true...with a hitch...a serious and wonderful hitch.  I found life!  I would never have guessed one would find life in the church setting.  Yet at its purest, that's exactly what it is!

The difference maker is found in The Difference Maker.  Jesus and not rules.  Relationship and not religious activism.  Faith and not formality.  And everywhere we turn in society, there is strong reach for paths that give life.

I believe that every person, at some point(s) in life, have a serious hunger to know whether God is real; and if they would/could/should be a part.  I don't have all of the answers; but I do have some valuable experience.  If ever you have questions, and you wonder if I could be of help, email me at  Some along my path helped me years ago.  I want to do the same for others as you would need.

Together...we just keep learning about the True God of all Creation.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


WNDITWB was once spoken to bring laughter to religious conventions and ministry workshops.  We've Never Done It This Way Before was similar to the WWJD bracelets of days gone by.  Today the religious landscape is peppered with break-out re-names; new names which seem to make a statement that the old denominational names are, shall we say, outdated?

Consider some of these churches you may recognize: Guts.  City Church.  Church on the Move.  Vertical Church.  Willow Creek.  Contact.  Real Church.  Destiny Church. The Gathering.  Liberty World.  These are names of churches, community churches, who are thriving in reaching America.

What I wish to accomplish in this brief note is to ask that we continue to imagine what can be for God that no one has yet to consider.  A few decades back, not many would have guessed that remarketing the church name would has this much impact.  My goal is not to create a new name for Memorial Drive (unless such would prove to be a positive move).

I am saying that one of the reasons name-branded congregations are stuck is partially due to the unwritten code of restrictions placed upon them by tradition; a factor that Jesus himself hit head-on.  He knew then and we should know by now that this is a real Kingdom problem.

I applaud churches, whether of new branding or old fame, who are creative.  It is this factor that is the difference maker.  Creativity is the hallmark sign of God.  It isn't decency.  It isn't order.  Jesus broke the backs of both of those.  It was the imagination of believers as to what God could do that broke the resistance barriers of the neighborhoods.

We are living in the same world Jesus and the disciples did.  People hurt.  Religion bullies.  The two don't match.  We are to be a people who must be ever ready to take what did work and dispense of it so that God can pull us into what does work for this age.  Words about such are easy to express.  Deeds toward such are most threatening because each generation seems to find something new that works and then eventually the very same generation works to see that we keep their ideas the law of God.

Don't let what once worked become the very factor that deadens the new church; your new church.  Whether Baptist or Guts or Church of Christ or Vertical Church, we must be aware that the Spirit of God will work in the hearts which are new.  The Word is most clear that man-orchestrated traditions shut the Kingdom down.  We must never take this lightly.

Friday, December 09, 2016


Words.  Our world seems to be increasing in word volume.  You know that I'm for words; otherwise, there would be no post today, huh?

The very base of all action seems to be words.  We can think about an assortment of things; but when we "say" we seem to move toward engagement.  Words like, I'm going to buy that car, would you marry me, let's go out to eat, block off your calendar on these specific dates; all will find action following.

Jesus was the most effective at action.  He wasted no time.  He wasted no clock time and he wasted no interaction time with people.  The message Jesus shows us is that our productivity, influence, and power are embedded within words....that we use toward others.  Jesus was not a public theorist; but rather, he was an intentional peopleist.  He saw people, reached to people, talked to people, died for people, and arose to bless people.

To be in the kingdom and hide within a church activity in order to avoid contacting people is a flagrant doctrinal error.  I surely realize that not everyone seems to be born with the ability to connect; but every one can learn to connect.  Jesus rebirthed us for this mission.  For some of us, it simply takes practice.

That message Jesus shows us is that everywhere we turn there are individuals or groups of people who matter.  Since I was a kid, I have been a people-person until....until I became serious about serving God and then I reversed.  So many things were taught me where I understood that I so had to get  it right--could not be in error like other religious groups--that such froze me in my tracks.  I became a different person.  Due to Bible teaching; strong, adamant Bible study in school.  I became...afraid; afraid that I would get Bible teaching wrong.

This is all wrong.  My reach out became reserve within.  I began to live to be sure I didn't so church stuff wrong.  Within that mixture was reluctance to be with/talk with people for I might express an error.  Church, my friend, has removed many (who wish to win the world) from the world.  Our lips have gone silent as a self-protectionary effort.  We see missions and programs and meetings while hedging on actually interacting with the very thing (people) of which all of these efforts were designed.

That message Jesus shows us is that we must not hide within church works in order to refrain from  engaging with common man.  People...need people.  God didn't just send a Bible to earth.  He sent a child with arms, legs, eyes, ears, and emotions to connect; divinely so.  God connected, not with a telegram.  He could have simply made an announcement over the Heavenly PA system.  Rather, God intentionally connected by being like us.

He spoke our language.  Such IS the message Jesus shows us.

We are the message to be read by others.  Do they see us as a story interested in them/sympathetic to them?  Or, do they read us as religiously busy as our eyes avoid contact with theirs?

Thursday, December 08, 2016


July 16, 2017 feels like it must be next weekend.  I've known this would be coming; but my birth certificate indicates that my calendar age is in conflict with my mind age. Good grief, I've yet got so many more things to forget; where did I leave my keys, what month is it, who's on first kinda stuff.  Forgetful?  I've only just begun.  And, did I mention that sometimes I don't remember where I put my keys?

However, it is true.  In 7 months and 8 days, I will step aside.  This is a challenge for one like me of such renewable youth!  So what shall I do?

The first thing I had to do was get a grip on stepping aside for it surely has not been easy.  While no one is saying it, the initial feeling is that of being shelved.  But, I think I've gotten over that glitch and am moving forward into more of that Abrahamic trek of not knowing where I'm going.  

I will be stepping aside as pulpit man and office manager.  And there's more.  My baseball cleats will go into storage.  January will be my thirty-fourth and last Cardinal camp as I can't see the baseball to hit it nor can I see the baseball coming at me to field it.  But....I really do look nice in my uniform!

After July 16, Mary and I will take a road trip.  We aren't the Cruise Ship/Resort-relax sort.  We will visit family if they have good food.  I might take my golf clubs and Mary may pop in at an Antique Store here and there.  I know for certain that The Price Is Right, Wheel of Fortune, and St. Louis Cardinal baseball games are at the top of the list for both of us.

For now, it's sorta weird.  How am I to de-office, de-work, or de-visit all of my many friends who pass through my office that I now....I now....?  I am going to miss my office team so much.  How are they going to get along without my silly comments?  My forgetful assignments?  My homemade wordilistic phrases?

Yet, I mainly exciting!  Who wouldn't have loved to sit in my office for forty years and be the boss of stuff?  As a team, the world has come to us in ways.  We've gone out to it in other ways.  To reach the whole world is our goal....and that, my friend...isn't changing!

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


We need this.  We need to know how to live a lifted life.  Otherwise, we will repeat Peter's failed attempt.  Instead of walking on water, we too will just sorta slosh through life.  But Jesus' extended hand changes that sinking feeling into a lifted celebration.

The reason that I write of this today is because I am burdened in two strong ways. First, I carry a very real weight for young men and women in ministry who find the work so difficult that eventually they will quit.  I don't know if you would realize this, but most do give up, walk away, unable to crack the code of endurance.

And second, my heart is heavy as twenty-four years ago I sat at a murder scene of my daughter's fiance and his brother that still takes my emotions to task.  It was a scene like no other.  Blood, tears, and squad cars were everywhere we turned.  Our family couldn't escape the fog of that nightmare for weeks.  Police believing we could be targeted next at our house; a guard-dog was brought in to live with us while squad cars patrolled our street.

So what I feel motivated to say to you this morning is that you are to never give up. Whether you are in ministry or are facing life's robbing moments, never give up. Because of Jesus being lifted twice (first upon the Cross and next from the grave), it must be understood that if we are to follow him, we will...follow....him.

When your day seems to be going South, do not flinch.  The days of the Cross are supported by the enemy in hopes that he will take you out.  But you keep breathing. Transform that Cross into a launching pad of hope for others.  You pain is their gain. They need, just like we need Jesus, to know that you understand their pains.  Others are blessed to know that you didn't get your ministry from reading a book; but from shedding tears in the center of struggle and frustration.

There is nothing more alive than turning your sinking feeling into an assembly line of hopeful productivity.  If someone hurts your feelings, learn from this how half of the people you know are feeling and they could use a friend who never gives up.  If you are robbed of glory, thank God for now you identify with another portion of neglected ones.

Everything that goes wrong fits the code of the Cross.  It hurts.  And such agony will break into bigger life!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016


Yogi Berra might also have said, Sometimes it ain't easy being us.  If he would have said such a thing, he would have been pretty accurate, don't you think?  Life is glorious until it seems to turn against us.  Therefore, I speak to the less hopeful heart compared to your more inspiring one you experienced maybe day earlier.

It's a good thing that God is supreme over the grave because we desperately need One who specializes in Resurrection Power in very ordinarialistic lives.  We find ourselves low.  He finds ways to bring us up.  That's what God does!

When we remember this, the stresses have a way of dissolving as strangely as one raises from the dead.  Such can be neither calculated nor explained.  It.  Just.  Is.

Therefore, I urge you to give yourself permission to drop the frets and the squirms and simply wait on God.  He knows how to handle loud-mouth executioners, a two-ton stone sealing a grave, and and a dead body that needs to get up in order to attend an apostles meeting.  This is the One who runs our lives.  We don't manage them.  We avail ourselves to His wisdomic procedures.

Be confident...a bit more every day!

Sunday, December 04, 2016


There is a false faith among us...deeply and convincingly so...that the church is fun, is alive, is productive, and is meaningful. surely better be.  Yet, this is only one side of the picture and to assume this is the entirety will end in sheer breakdown of God's intent for us.

Absolutely the church is strongly alive and incredibly meaningful.  Personally, I'm nuts about it.  To give people hope when their hearts are shattered is some sort of awesome calling.  To help some understand that the things going wrong in their lives are actually secret benefits and blessings?  Well, what a story everyone has.

However, if one is to experience the true life of Christ, we must absorb the truth that we have been designated a cross; not to sing a song about, but to carry.  This cross has weight; it is a drag.  It's unhandy like all get out.  And....quite honestly it hurts.  Jesus said, Pick it up!

If one is in the church without the personal cross, feelings get hurt easily and then "feel"ings begin to rule.  The cross doesn't feel good....period.  But we are in this for the eventual life that such a tool gives others and promises us.  From the cross we can envision what can be...for ourselves...and especially for others.

The cross is neither handy nor is it convenient.  If you have one, carry one, you will surely get your feelings hurt and you will find that you didn't get your way.  People will be rude.  Insult will be in your face.  Ideas will be misrepresented and efforts will be derailed.  Welcome, therefore, to the side of church that isn't fun...but this deep and offensive struggle is crucially significant for every person who claims to be a part of it.

Rejection is a part of the plan of salvation.  There are no exceptions.  Either we will endure.  Or, we will quit.  The cross is the defining and dividing factor as to how our personal walks go.

....fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Saturday, December 03, 2016


Isn't Fall a most beautiful time of the year?  It's my favorite.  The color scheme from God's creative pallet is so awesome that even the finest photographers may catch only a momentary glimpse.  Eventually, naked trees stand as if death to the beauty made the final call.

Yet, we know that such isn't true.

The bare trees remain poised in Winter pregnancy ready to give birth in the Spring. Of course, we celebrate!

Flower bulbs are similar.  In order to become their utmost fulfillment, they must first be buried in their little flower cemeteries.  These must pass away (give way) to the temporary processes of death in order to experience the stature of a newly resurrected life.

When death has been used as a step-ladder into a higher calling, these little guy bulbs and gal bulbs will burst through the ground in some sort of divine resurrection power to take our breath away with renewed and vibrant beauty.  Death isn't a final statement; but rather, is involved in the life-giving process.  What Satan intended as hurtful, God redesigns as blessings.

Death of plants and bulbs and dying leaves are perpetual testimonies of death.  Their message: DEATH ENDS.  Death comes to an end because life eradicates death's grip.

By faith, we believe this to be true for humanity because Jesus paved the way.  Killed and put away, he created a scandal of sorts that his own death was, in reality, quite weak when it had been assumed by all that it had the final say.

Not.  So.  Jesus returned.  Death was shunned.  Life is possessed.  We carry such a dependable hope!

Death's testimony is that it carries a powerful bark; but it has no eternal bite.  Thank you God!

Friday, December 02, 2016


When in preaching school a thread of information came at me that I had no idea existed in such profound quantity.  I had heard of the Restoration Movement, it seemed, from day one of beginning to begin to learn about God and His Divine set-up.

The idea that we strive to be a people who are restored to the parameters of the early church which began in Acts was overwhelming in a most glorious way.  That a people could simply go back to the Bible and be New Testament Christians was surely an attractive concept.

This remains a profound idea.  But, the Movement took on baggage; the very thing it was saying it had escaped.  It became the very thing is disdained.  With profound effort to shed man's tradition and breathe from the simple biblical calling, it wasn't long until man began to impose new rules of his understanding of abiding faith.  This was anything but casual.  As a result the Restoration Movement went haywire and developed a fabric of  "true churches" of varying (even opposing) beliefs; each claiming to be the One True Church.  Within this movement to curb the Movement, egotism volcano-ized.

I found there to a be a similar thread in all divisions as they began to unfurl.  Rules ruled.  New traditions similar to what we thought had been booted out were now a fixture.  And the entire scope of thought had been found to lack three central personalities; Father, Son, and Spirit.  The Word was king.  The practices were proof.

Prayer was vague, if not absent, which signaled Father was not necessary (though we would never voice such).  Jesus was not real; but an historical figure whose name sanctified our prayers at the end.  The the Holy Spirit was treated, no neglected, as if we were embarrassed and ashamed of Him.  We did our best to restrict Him to go no farther than the very end of the book of Revelation.  From there we would manage with our best explanations and efforts.

The Restoration Movement, a once splendid concept, has backfired; significantly so.  Yet, the concept remains feasible and full of Good News.  It is a challenge for all Bible students to remain open to the unfolding reality of God.  His information is not captureable.  It is believable...and there will always be additional ideas and truths to believe which will align with much of what we previously garnered from in-depth study. That would be why we study.  Right?

In reality, as we students take in news (NEWs) of God, we are often found that we must shed some crucial mis-learnings; mis-understandings.  This is too thrilling; not threatening.  We are anticipated by God to look at His Revelation and do things like learn, grow, increase, develop.  The Bible isn't handed to us to pass Bible quizzes.  It is given to us that we can enter increasing glimpses of Life found in Jesus through the Spirit.  Father is quite serious about this.

Yes, we should very much be a part of restoring the New Testament church; one which every time it discovers an answer it seems that four new questions break out.  God is not to be captured; but vigorously pursued.  We are called to know the love of Christ which is beyond our fullest exploration....Ephesians 3:19.

Thursday, December 01, 2016


To truly worship God is surely one of the most urgent calls of the heart.  To give Him praise and honor and absolute attention is the paramount calling of all believers.  For a long time, as a Christian and then as a leader in the church, I gave this little thought.  I was what most around me were also about; getting church done right.  I was more driven by my squint-eyed perception of true church; rather than an open-hearted fascination of true God.

Through time I have begun to begin to understand that I have worshiped many things other than our Marvelous Creator.  I have worshiped the Bible version used, the style of and the selection of songs, as well as the church's doctrine.  The Kingdom Pedestal has been a lofty place for many of these matters; but not Father.

It is a grave mistake to transfer the worship God deserves over to an element of our lives that we prefer.  The Kingdom of God is both vital and vigorous.  There cannot be a substitutional distraction from the absolute and singular prominence of God.  The saved can't afford this.  Neither can the lost whom the saved are to be reaching.

I'm guilty of spending too much time fretting over matters which I believed to be central to the church life while ignoring the One who wishes I would increase my look toward Him.   In all of my drive to do church well, Father patiently awaits my heart's engagement in vocal praise of Him alone.

I have worshiped the Pattern, the Movement, the Church of Christ, and thirty other lesser matters without giving heed to the necessity that He is to be honored foremost and certain.  This must change.  It is changing.  It will continue to improve.  I will note Him more and my church preferences less.