Friday, August 18, 2017

HAVE A BEST DAY!

Each of us has a sore spot, an axe to grind, an irritant of a person(s) in our midst.  People bug us.  Who can go through life without multiple I could do without them sorts?

For every person who causes inflammation to our attitudes, there are those whom we individually cause similar distress.  Believe it.  We are not as ideal, perfect, or sinless as we would like to persuade all others that we are.

So how shall we manage this perplexity toward others while remaining biased in our own favor?  We must be determined to develop equal bias in favor of our neighbor as well?  You don't want to, you think?  Uh-huh.  Then perhaps we just now flushed out the troublesome one in this picture.

Have a good day.  Bless others...including those whom you don't like...and you'll discover you are having one of your best days yet!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

BE HEALED

There is a glut of nasty waste moving through humanity on an hourly basis.  Woundedness lives on.  Our determined perpetuation of such increases as minds grow stubborn out of aggravation toward those who hurt us.  Simultaneously, hearts of hope grow dim.  I speak of the most aggressive enemy to each of us...our own unforgiveness of others...every other.

People hurt people.  People offend people.  But...hurters and offenders tend to grow up.  So why do we seemingly even enjoy carrying on the sharp and deep hurt of past offenses which may/can/are to be forgiven at moment's decision?  The reason?  We don't want to.  The result?  The carrier of lack of mercy toward another is eaten alive with ugly vengeance and hatred; all-the-while living unhealed while blaming the "other" party.

This.  Is.  Not.  Good.  Furthermore, This.  Isn't.  Even.  Necessary.

To carry on grudges or arguments or injuries over the past of ten days ago or ten years ago is a waste of one's own health; mental, social, and physical.  We can show mercy the moment we choose.  And the Word says that God will show mercy on the scale that we show mercy.  His advice is, Don't leave home without it (James 2:10-13).  Our seeming joy that we can make the offender pay is only determining the sentence we will receive at the Judgment.  We determine how ours will go--what God will say to us--by the way we treat those who offend us.

Forgiveness does not reside within the behavior of the offender; but within the heartfelt action of the offended.  Bringing an end to violators is not the solution.  The end of harboring ill feelings toward them is.  We.  Are.  All.  Just.  Alike.

Our families, our businesses, and our churches are breeding houses of animosity.  Rage, in places, rages; if not openly, then silently.  Squint-eyed animosity sets up camp within every heart; but, we are the ones who can deny it the power to affect one moment of our day.  The truth is that some seem to enjoy hating as if there is no alternative.  Yet, there is immediate cure when our own mercy is shown.

Mankind is living in perpetual tempest of insult and injury.  This can be changed in a heartbeat; when we decide to change it.  We can heal the world--our personal world--by letting go of spirit-beating resentment which takes its inner toll.  We can bring new life, new strength, and new hope to society immediately.  It will never be due to another's repentance; but due to our determined, selfless forgiveness.

Be healed.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

LIVE WHELMED!

I want to inform you that your life is just pretty amazing...right now.  So many can't see; but you can.  Others have difficulties in so many other areas that would surpass the temporary stresses you face.  I don't put your struggles down.  No.  Way.  But rather, I lift your positive attributes up.

So much of life IS going your way!

You are wonder.  You live in the midst of wonder.  So...go about/be about the wonder that stands awaiting to be acknowledged and applauded.

Live whelmed.  And for those of you who wouldn't mind making more in-depth notes of the grandeur which sits upon your path...be even OVERwhelmed!!!

Way.  To.  Go.  You.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MIGHT WE GASP AT THE WONDER OF THIS TRUTH?

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
                                                         II Corinthians 5:21.  

Jesus, the one who never sinned, traded places with you/with me.  He became wrong that we could become right.  Let me reword this a bit.  He became VERY WRONG that we could become VERY RIGHT.  

Our do-good deeds don't count when it comes to sin eradication.  Such are absolutely useless.  The shed blood of Jesus is the sticking point; our spirit cleanser.  Church attendance doesn't cut it.  Good deeds are no match.  Paint thinner is useless in mopping up our trails of sin.

Note from the above text that Jesus became, not like the sinner but, the sin itself.  Hanging upon the rugged lumber formed into a torturous Cross was slander, adultery, thievery, gossip, dishonesty.  On the list of sins may grow.

Step back a moment.  Peer toward the strewn body of Jesus dangling in public view.  Emaciated, no longer recognizable as to exactly who he is, this Man took on our sins.  Get it.  Think about it.  He became our very darkest deeds themselves.  Get it.  Think about it.  

This is to be noted with incredible strength.  This moment upon the Cross is so very and deeply raw that the Father of Jesus walked out.  God walked away.  He could not fellowship....sin.  And...not coincidentally...the light of that mid-day went out.  The whole eerie scene turned as dark as night in mid-afternoon.  

Do gasp. Revisit this scene today and again tomorrow.  Realize, my friend, that this man called Jesus is more than a Sunday School term for little children.  He is the one...the only one...in history that didn't just die for the sinner; but he actually became our sin on the Cross.

What's the point?  God had it out with sin and destroyed its eternal impact.  He obliterated the penalty of sin by becoming it Himself.  This.  Is.  Surely.  Great.  Love.  

It was our sins which were nailed to the Cross.  Might we still gasp at the wonder of this truth?  It's too much to take in.  But know this...Jesus became our sin that we might become his righteousness.  

The trade has been made.  Believe it.  We are free to believe it!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

WE MUST NOT LET RELIGION GET IN THE WAY OF CHRIST-IANITY

The four gospels are consistent with repetitive pattern; religion and Jesus do not mix.
This.  Is.  Their.  Message.  Of.  Which.  We.  Are.  Still.  Learning.

The church, which is to be the body of Christ on earth today, has a fierce ongoing battle which must be faced.  Yet, basic indifference has transpired.  The light has gone out in much of the spiritual terrain for the Son of God has been placed by a religious ego of sorts known as "we do church right".

We are in desperate need for the Spirit of God to awaken us.  Awaken us; not the unbelieving world, not the thieves and robbers and swindlers...but us!  A growing picture is developing in far too many places which replicates the garden scene; Jesus praying while the disciples tip over in contented slumber.  

Religion puts one to sleep in the midst of the very process of vital activity.  The constant repeating of acts of worship gradually becomes that which is worshipped....not God....in all religions.  Christ-ianity, on the other hand, is vibrant with anticipatory enthusiasm for the worshipper senses a reality of one's spirit connected to the reality of One's Spirit.

Imagination becomes fascinated as the heart engages in bringing God honor.  One at this juncture has no taste for going through the church motions.  The craving for the Higher cannot be satisfied by the habits of the Lower.

Religion is all about motions.  We call a portion of it "acts of worship".  The question for us is, "Are we genuinely, actually, actively worshipping God?"  Indeed, this accomplishment is rewarding, renewing, and rebuilding.  We must praise something (Someone) bigger than ourselves.  Otherwise, we will continually be watching the one(s) better than us...and such a one(s) will eventually have a clay foot fall off.

It is a daily call, I believe, because it is a daily war to not let religion get in the way of Christ-ianity.  I preached Bible too many years without preaching the Christ of the Bible.  I had my slants, my perspectives, and my applauded/lauded stances; all the while, Jesus was not the centerpiece of ministry and labor.  May we gain new momentum and then renewed momentum day by day.

Christ is to be the key in the term Christ-ianity.  Religion and Jesus do not mix; but, oh how we still try to make the two fit into our preferred forms.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

DELEGITIMIZING THE FACT OF FAITH?

An interruption to faith does not mean that the realm of faith is a false premise.  There are those in abundant number who perport exactly such a measure though.  These are quick to point out the slightest thread of Christianity gone awry as verification that faith is some sort of imaginary hoax.  I believe a "weak crutch" is what they oft times describe it.

Faith sees what isn't yet.  That's enough to cancel pursuit for many.   Yet, that's its secret weapon and it matters because...it is true.  Faith is the lifeblood of our day.  To pooh-pooh it without serious probe is catastrophic for any and all.

Every one of us lives by faith in some degree that hits interruption; yet, we do not boast that there is not reality of faith, do we?  How many have left the house with intent (faith, as it hadn't happened yet) to bolt off to work?  Yet, in the driveway sits a flat-tire.  I thought you were going to work (by faith that's where you were headed)!  Your intent (faith/belief) was deterred for a bit....but you eventually got to your job.

Have you ever planned on Monday to golf on Tuesday only to find storms arrived overnight and continued during the next day?  Did you golf?  No.  Hadn't you planned by faith to do so?  Yes.  So how's this faith thing going for you?  According to the many, faith should be dropped from any and all discussions because what some had planned as absolute didn't happen.

So it is in the spiritual world of sheer faith.  We are engaged and embedded in a belief system that is quite legit.  Interruption?  Well....there is not interruption at all because faith's very nature is full of options.  We begin immediately in our minds (faith) to work an alternative plan.  (We will work an hour later at the office due to that flat tire and we can golf next Tuesday.)  Faith's flexibility bugs the those bent on doubting its most essential nature.

Yes, flexibility is key.  Faith never gives up.  Faith is the terrain and the substance of all hope.  Adjustment defies rules.  We will get to work regardless of interference and we will join the foursome.  Too many, however, shut down when the slightest interruption happened in their faith/church world because they assume that when matters don't work out that faith has been delegitimized.  Not.  True.

We are called to walk by faith and not by sight because faith is the real.  The flat tire by no means signals you won't make it to work.  Your faith says you have options.  The rainy day does not transfer to sell the clubs.  Your faith says you will win over this time-restricted contest.  And...you succeed with both.

So to the doubters of Christian faith out there, you are barking up a mistaken tree.  I know, you believe you've got this church/faith thing all figured out because you've noted inconsistencies like sins, sinners, and even death.  However, all of these are our flat tires and our rain-delays.  Jesus has them all covered.  Your charting of our failures feel quite pleasing to your egos, but what you haven't remembered is that faith always trumps the previous day(s) failures and interruptions.

Jesus has changed the game, the rules, and the results.  Really.  And, truth be told, every person already understands quite well the deep practicality of the realm of....legitimate faith....don't we? I would ask that you possibly rethink your position of delegitimizing faith for it is both practical as well as authentic.

Reschedule your tee time with God.  We all have had to do so somewhere along the storms of life.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

WHERE THE CHRISTIAN WORLD MUST GET A GRIP

This is just my observation, but I believe that the bulk of mankind is wasting a huge portion of its breathing, walking, and talking time.  I speak, not from a sense of criticism but, with intent to be one of those voices in our lives which would join the ranks of assisting each other in moving forward...as well as upward.  Regardless of age, there will always be room for attainable improvement.  This would be called growth and maturity.

I believe that our inner part (our spirit) is carrying a dis-ease that could be compared to a chronic headache or back pain.  That ailment is so ultra-subtle that it goes unnoticed only to be detected by Spirit x-ray.  I speak of the sin of being aggravated and disliking those around us.

"Oh, that's a problem?"  Oh, yes.  It's ruling our world in so many cases.

We must get a grip on this glut of enemyism for it's eating our lunches seven days straight each week.  I'm not necessarily speaking of any deeper violation than that there are those in our lives that we just don't like because of one or one hundred injurious moves they have committed against us.  So?  We have determined to shut them off as no good, unnecessary...and totally not like self.

But...this latter observation is where we are wrong....precisely and devastatingly so.

Why can we not a get a grip that when it comes to sin, we are all alike?  The answer is we tend to give ours an explainable pass while throwing condemnation at all others whom we have determined with enormous conviction that we don't like and won't ever like....again!  But there's a hitch with this mindset.  We have forgotten that we are all just alike.

Consider the apostle who regarded himself as least in the kingdom, "For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves to themselves, they are without understanding."  (II Cor. 10:12)

I make a tremendous amount of mistakes.  So much so that I battle shutting down because of how old I am and, yet, I remain so foolish, silly, and weak at times.  So how is it that I can still think of myself as better than another?  Any other?  This verse says I'm precisely like all others.  And, it declares the same of you.

Rather than carry a grudge, you might find life to be a greater dimension of joy and robust enthusiasm if you would get a grip on your own great lack.  Such isn't a negative thought, but rather a most powerful piece of lasting and meaningful encouragement.  We can do better at loving others and the good news is....that it's only a thoughtful determination away!

Friday, August 11, 2017

IMAGINARIUMilisticly SPEAKING

IMAGINARIUM is my new role; my new mission.  The concept is so off of the wall that I can't define it well.  I can't even define it average.  But, it is full of hope and joy and wonder because it is based upon faith in what God can, might, and will do that I/we have zero ability to coerce.  Well coercion is there....but only through the invisibles such as faith, and prayer, and stepping out onto the waters with no footing.

And...I'm very enthused about the practice and the potential and the possibilities.

This venture will be embedded in the Ephesians 3:19-20 promise of God.  I want to knock on doors, His doors, for ways to cheer on the entire world.  I believe that as the universe in which we live has yet to be fully discovered, so it is with the spiritual portion.

Have university labs discontinued experimentation for hopeful discovery for improvement in farming, medicine, education?  Nope.  Then, I say more so are we to dig into the truths and the vision of God's call....for it is His calling in this direction.

IMAGINARIUMilisticly SPEAKING, we get to enjoy this life God affords.  And one of those major factors is that He calls us to be new day by day which would include search, research, and discovery!

You....me....may we continue to SPEAK IMAGINARIUMilisticly.  Let this become a new language for the church!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

LET'S START AN AVALANCHE OF HOPE!

Not one person is immune to negative, frustrating, routine disappointment.  Every person--as in every--faces combat in their particular trenches every day.  The temptation to yield to the dark trend seems overwhelming from time to time.  And, I say let's do something about it.  At your fingertips today is a tool poised to cause an avalanche of hope...and that's exactly what we are going to do.

People--as in all--need encouragement and re-encouragement.  This need isn't a one-time fits all; but rather is a daily need for all.  Today we are going to tackle one of the greatest calls ever.  You can change the world for two or ten and when 1000 of us do it (we have 3600 readers here so I just tossed out a low number) for IMAGINARIUM'S sake.  Think what would happen if 3600 followed through!

So here's what I am asking you to consider.  Would you select 2 to 10 friends today; some would be very close to daily walk while others would be friends; yet there isn't all that much of regular contact between you.  Would you send them a note informing them of two things: (1) why it is that you admire and love them today, and (2) asking them to select their 2 to 10 to do the same...asking those 2 to 10 to do the same.

Y E S....we will start an avalanche of hope for hearts that we may have not thought needed such a project of wonder!  Let's go for it!!

Yay you...and yay me!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

FEELING SUPERIOR TO OTHERS? DON'T. GO. THERE.

Man has a debilitating practice which perpetually shoots oneself in the spiritual foot of intended progress.  I speak of an attitude of superiority stacked against our fellow man...any and every fellow man.  Such a disposition or stance sucks the life right out of us; even while we inwardly crow that we are not like "them".

Jesus did his best to reverse our self-saturation of believing that we are individually elite-illistically right while noting the errors of THEIR many ways.  In one place He referenced two men praying in the temple.  The religious hound stood thanking God that he was not like others...who were, in his eyes, blatant oughta-know-better sinners.  This one of towering prayer practice believed that he had avoided all of THOSE pitfalls....Luke 18:9-14.

Yet, Jesus didn't buy the Pharisees comparative lingo.  The reason?  The praying man was not close to being superior to the one whom he regarded as a shameful sinner.  God's teaching here and numerous other texts is consistently revealing that only the humble grasp His call to allow Him to make us right(eous) because we can't produce such on our own.

So how are you/we doing?  Do you ever feel superior to another social class?  A race?  A creed?  An accomplishment?  Are you ever caught thanking God that you are not weak like others, you don't have a skin tone like others, or you haven't a mistaken sexual preference like others do?  Do not misunderstand.  I am not condoning sin where God would condemn it.

I am saying we commit a hideous and repetitive sin when we grade ourselves as superior to another...any...other.  This kind of sin doesn't seem to bug us.  But it does God.

Why do I believe this goes on?  I do it.  I have for years.  I've thanked God that I didn't commit this and that I wasn't like that.  I've been quietly grateful that he didn't make me like....many of  them.  But...Jesus came along and broke me.  Oh, I try to hold on to the reigns of effective elite-ism, but Truth won't dare let me set up camp there for I am the least, the weakest, the greatest failure that I've ever met.

This doesn't permit me to accept anothers' lifestyle if it is against the nature of God.  But it reminds me every time that not one person is lower on the Totem Pole of righteousness than I am.  Accepting a lifestyle and accepting a sinner are two different matters.  Jesus eradicated sin....and made the sinner his sister and brother.  Jesus hated sins....and dearly loved those who practiced them.

When you have those days of feeling superior to others because you don't commit THEIR sins, think again.  Each of us is always least to all others and it is this profound route that makes life pop with hope...and with power...and with God's glorious leadership style.

Feeling superior to others?  Don't.  Go.  There.                                                                            

Sunday, August 06, 2017

THE INNER PUZZLE OF CHURCH

The Kingdom of God isn't handy.  Neither is it comprised of moody do-gooders when opportunities of service are convenient.  No, life in the synchronization of the Master is an all-in matter which will chase the most of us all the way to our graves.  Yet, we will continue to try for our hearts deeply desire to bring Him honor and mankind hope.

My good colleague Jason Thornton preached this morning about our commitment being all in.  The challenge is nothing new.  Yet, due to our bent on playing life safe (and church safer), his words rang new yet again.  There's something about God's declaration that His followers are made new day by day.  This is one of the funnest things ever that, even as we age, we find ourselves feeling newer than the calendar confirms.  This is His promise when we follow Him; new day by day.

That commitment Jason proposed is a struggle for many; if not all.  Here may be one reason why.  We like to put puzzles together; but we basically stop once all of the edge pieces are connected.  The inner pieces are more difficult to place.

So it is in the church life.  Putting the edge parts of church life together are simple to the point the basic masses may engage.  Attending is fundamental as is taking communion, singing, and listening to another pray...briefly.  But those inner pieces of the kingdom puzzle come with delicate requirement of sober attention coupled with intended application.

The Inner Puzzle finds the need to pray...often...with depth...of faith.  The IP calls for sobering giving of what we would naturally rather keep for ourselves.  Too, IP insists that we love others...all kinds of others...from those whom we love dearly to those we would rather enjoy detesting.

Because of the Inner Puzzle reality, the kingdom life isn't for sissies.  Placing the edges of church participation together without concentration upon learning just exactly how the inner pieces also fit will always leave one stranded without ever seeing the complete picture.

There...that's why the Inner Puzzle of the church is important.  The world can't see the value of the church if we only live from the edges of easy assembly.  Furthermore, we will never offer the world a picture of understanding the spiritual life if we refuse to be connected together.  Once harmony in the Holy Spirit is connected, our neighbors will begin to see the picture of God's glory.

MORE GOOD NEWS: YOU GET TO DECIDE

A tornado breezed through Tulsa during the night rearranging furniture, lifting vehicles...and destroying much property.  Several individuals were rushed to ER.  Damage is extensive as winds were high and rains were intense.

Seeing the debris caused me to reflect on Jesus for he is surely the reverse-tornado.  Jesus wreaks havoc with sin and sin debris by swooping in and putting wrecked situations back together again.  He is the one who passes over us with healing rather than harm.  He restores rather than demolishes.  He re-assembles families and friends rather than unravels.

The good news is pretty fascinating as well.  When the dark weather-storm of a tornado hits, its movement is random and well beyond our control.  But when the reverse-tornado of Jesus comes into play, you and I get to decide whether we allow its entrance into our situations.  We can choose to see relationships healed or we can opt for a disgruntamental attitude which only perpetuates the division.

The good news is that you get to decide.  Your option is current, applicable, and poised with healing fascination.  Why you would you opt to decline such a potent grace available for your walk (your heart)?  The decision is all yours.

Might this be a day of restoration for you as you decide to throw down those matters which keep your heart at bay from those around you?  The result can be sheer wonder and delight of life itself?  You decide.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

WHY REACH TO OTHERS WITH YOUR FAITH?

Faith is often said to be a private matter between one and his or her God.  While such a statement is certainly socially acceptable, it pretty much sabotages what our God has in mind for us.  We are called to reach, to extend, our faith in Him to others.

Why is this the case?  God wants everyone to have a relationship with Him.  His news is far different than any other.  His ways are higher than man's ways.  This Word must spread and God chooses to do so via the human voice; one to another, to another, etc.  We, individually, are anticipated to reach forward to our neighbors, our friends, even to our enemies regarding the overwhelming relief and hope God offers through Jesus.

Why, then, are we to really extend our faith to others?

   1.  God calls us to do so.  We are to share who He is, what He does, and how He reverses life.
 
   2.  (All) Others want to know.

The first reason is generally accepted and believed.  But, the latter one?  Ummm, not so much.  Our personal outreach takes a huge hit when we doubt that colleagues would be interested in faith toward God.  We hesitate.  We refrain.  We withdraw out of our own fear and doubt.  The option is....we go to church and sing about Him to ourselves with hestiation that we could effectively extend His grace to others.

Everyone wants to know God!  Every!  One!

What I've learned is that they may not want to know Him on my timetable; but they will want to know Him.  These may not be ready to meet Him on my Tuesday night outreach schedule; but they will want to know Him.  Why do you think that the day will come when every knee will bow at the sight of Jesus?  All have it within us to believe Him.

Embedded within every person is a seed faith toward loving and desiring to know our Creator.  There.  Is.  No.  Exception.

Two things are true.  Each of us will die and each of us will live again.  Just as the seed is buried only to sprout through a resurrection process following death, we follow the pattern.  Death isn't the end and God verifies this through each Spring's planting season.  By faith, the farmer believes the Harvest is coming.

But not everyone knows of this system.  They believe we are born, die, and eventually done.  But why do you think we have a calendar with a date on it?  At date of two-thousand seventeen years....from what?  You know that the calendar switched historically from B.C. to A.D.  The reason is the birth of Christ.  He is so real, so believable, that the very thing hanging on our walls or perched upon our desks declares that, in reality, the date has extended one more day from the time He was born.  Jesus is verifiably the real deal.

There is a reason for faith in God.  We have no other means of knowing Him.  Yet, He is more real than reality.  The world in general is blinded by what it can see while faith sees what can't be seen.  We each are in desperate need of the latter.  We who have been reached are to reach toward others that faith may spread and God is perpetually reintroduced to His own created populace.  That's why.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

HOW TO WIN THE WAR OVER DEPRESSION

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he...Proverbs 23:7

I didn't like that verse at first.  I believed that my negative conditions weren't due to the ways I had been thinking.  I was not my problem.  No, the rough times were due to how people had mistreated me...or...how I had done the same to them.  The bad breaks I encountered were not of my doing.  So why should I be responsible for my reaction?

Inner peace is reachable every day in every circumstance by every person.  Please don't volley your explanation of how I don't understand stress and pain and conflict and heartbreak which lead to towering depression.  I might have a bit of experience which would match, even surpass, yours.  But, I learned (the hard way) how to combat this gigantic ever-present opponent.

Victory revolves around the way we think.  Does this eliminate pain?  No, but it stops us from camping there over the weekend.  Think with me.  People or issues which hurt us not only inflict wounds at their given moment; we tend to rehearse...and rehearse...and rehearse...our injuries.  And just where does such take place?  In.  The.  Mind.  Our thinking is the battle ground.

Here's what I've experienced; being bent on insecurity, being blue, perpetually counting the offenses against me or mine toward others.  We can't undo the past; but we don't have to establish permanent residence there.  We have an amazing alternative.  Get this: WE ALL HAVE THE OPTION to lead a happy, refreshing, productive life.  Yes.  You.  You hold the key.  Open your mind.

But open it to what?  Stop replaying the injuries or the neglects or the disappointments.  Replace the junk mail with the truth of what's going on with you.  Rehash everything that is going right.  THINK in healthy format.  Who loves you?  Name them.  Start your list.  One?  Three?  Eighty-nine?  Then THINK on these.  Forty-two friends are a bigger number than two enemies.

Second, quit giving the negative people air-time in your head.  STOP IT!  You can, you know.  You and only you has access to the control switch.  Refuse to tune in to their repetitive, harping, poor-me station.  They are exactly like you in places; fearful, frustrated, angry.  So don't be carrying their dysfunctions in your heart.  Love them, indeed.  But do not inherit their displeasure as your own.

Philippians 4:4-8, one more time (and I'll quit sighting it when everyone has it mastered), transforms the way we think which transforms the was we experience which transforms the way we feel.  I know.  I fought depression and it still creeps in.  But I learned through God to quit inviting it in to stay overnight as a guest in my heart.

I'll choose to think about the amazing people in my life and the impossible wonder.  For some, I encourage you to drop the excuses as to why yours are the exception to maintaining your depression profile.  When we want to feel better about ourselves and about others, it will always be found within the basic training of how we allow our minds to be creatively aware of our blessings.

Overcoming depression, I have discovered, is not theory.  It is reality.  Be bummed.  Be sad.  We all hit those walls.  But within our thinking processes we are able to conquer day by day.  Therefore, I recommend possible actions which might bring favorable adjustment to your life experience:

    1.  Stop talking about your ailments.  We've all got 'em.  Well is who you are.  If your hand hurts talk about your feet that don't, your heart that doesn't, your ears that hear and your eyes that see and your......

    2.  Focus on others.  Talk about what you like about them....to them.  Share your gratitude for their walk, their faith, their successes.  They could always use a pep talk and yours would be ideal.

    3.  Believe that you carry the power to make others have a better day.  Give them hope and love and life!  If you want attention, sow it.  Give it to others.  Otherwise, you are annoying the daylights out of those around you by bumming everybody out with your bemoaning whine.  Stop it.

Now....go bless somebody and you'll find you have new purpose and meaning in life.  Yay you!

Friday, July 21, 2017

DO WE BELIEVE FAITH?

Faith is a very common fundamental word quite easily understood.  Or...is it?

I suggest that we may have had a tendency for quite some time to have talked the "container" while possibly having overlooked the "content".  Faith isn't just a step or a concept linked to Bible discussion.  We all know this.  Yet, to observe its existence is one thing.  To follow (see) its activity is quite another; a worlds-apart another.

Faith sees what can't be seen.  II Corinthians 5:7...we are to walk by?  Faith.  And, not by?  Sight.  Yet, our tendency is to live day by day in the reverse.  I don't speak critically; but wish to informatively.  We've changing/improving to do.  Yay us!

While the platform of faith easily passes through the lips of we Sunday School students, we are speaking micro and mega experiences in the invisibles which, quite honestly, bugs the teacher (us).  We prefer things cut and dried, black and white, explained, understood....and manageable.  Fortunately, faith isn't going to abide by such yearnings.

Faith takes a person into a realm that is unmonitorable regarding its operational scheme.  Yet, one can "see" its results.  It sees (II Cor. 5:7) into, through, and out the other side of what normal visibility can provide.  We are called to believe faith; not believe "in" faith; but believe that faith is an activity of most profound, yet immediate, sensory.  A world of actuality and reality exists which can only be reached via this believing scope called faith.

And the question always remains.  Do we believe faith or do we simply use the terminology with a bit of a spiritual wink?

To believe that faith is active in a prominent invisible form is to connect to the larger side of our basic existence.  It supplies us, fuels us, drives us, and blesses us.  Our hearts and minds are bent on approaching every single day with strong (and certain) ambition toward matters which haven't happened yet; but we "believe" they will.  Furthermore, we believe that seed sown yesterday will sprout in the future and we have zero skill-set to know how, when, why, nor where.

Odd, don't you think?

Faith is the binding of the physical with the spiritual.  It is the Grand Link.  The study of "physics" alone is mind-boggling because it cannot be approached without including the strong dynamic of the "spirits" (spiritual).  Therefore, read Ephesians 3:20-21 again.  Note the truth that we are to believe with an experiencial faith that is beyond....is beyond...even our wildest imagination.  Note: not beyond our greatest "understanding"; but far past our wildest "imagination".

And we insist upon conducting church in a way that is safe, manageable, routine, with no surprises?  No wonder we are at times dismissed by our neighbors with a shrug as if we are boring.  We must forever gain momentum in believing in our fundamental doctrine called faith.  It has no limitations for it is the very invisible fabric of the most powerful entity on earth....a believer.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

DON'T LIVE UNDER THE BIG THUMB OF FEAR

Fear is profoundly bossy.  It highly prefers the chief seat at your table.  Our days take hits like crazy due to this manic, self-indulgent, obsessive personality which insists on air-time.  Yet, there is Good News from Above.  Faith is toxic to fear!

Inner conflict is surely a spiritual matter.  Faith and Fear stand in opposing corners of the Boxing Ring.  Because both are "inner" matters, we are engaged in perpetual slug fests for each wants to be crowned Champion.

Awaken to the dynamic of believing!  Faith isn't a step in some salvationalistic code.  It is the revised road map for all who wish to experience life rather than just a getting-by existence.  See the sheer wonder of hope and joy and meaning...from...within!  You are not average.  You were never created to live under the Big Thumb of fear.

To believe is not for the weak.  Faith is neither cowardly nor timid.  Rather it is the reason to hope when there isn't any, to celebrate when all others assume the party is over, and to anticipate another Sonrise when darkness shrouds midday.

Believe.  Dare....to believe....for God delights in blessing those who trust Him!!

Fear....go to the back of the bus and sit down!  Now!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

GOD KNOWS HOW TO.....

W A I T could almost be regarded as a four-letter word.  We fundamentally, basically, over-all like to do many things in life without the interference of being forced to wait.  Yet, I've found it to be well beyond average in meaning and importance.  It carries impacting power.  To wait is often to restrain self in order to allow God to work from His timing rather than our insecure and self-induced weak management of life.

In the very beginning of the book of Acts (1:4), the disciples are told not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for what the Father had promised.  Two things seem to be going on: (1) they don't have much to go on as to why other than a promise is coming, and (2) they don't know what the promise would mean.  Their immediate response would be typical and understandable as they offered immediate inquiry.

And the response they got?  It is not for you to know (1:7).  Talk about vulnerable leaders!  These willing followers are clueless; very likely a bit bewildered.  They are commanded to wait on who-would-know-what.  How will they know when "it" happens?  What if "it" happens and they missed it because they should have been alert; but they missed it?

The W A I T was for the incoming arrival of the Holy Spirit!  The moment was so lively that, when it eventually took place, these men never got over it....ever!  Their lives, hearts, minds, and ministries were converted to a newness that would change them in such a way that they would never be the same.  This took place all because they took one major step that a hurried world notes as a waste of time; they waited.

I cheer you on.  In a very accelerated society of which one is yanked to and fro by demanding hurry, slow down.  Stop.  Wait.  Anticipate God showing up at the end of your wait.  Look for Him when you don't have the information as to how long to wait nor for what you should be watching.  This is the wild dynamic of God.

We must be quite careful else we will step in and be god because we don't feel He's quick enough.

W A I T I N G is a powerful spiritual thread for every individual.  Try not to bypass nor abort progress because you are impatient.  God knows how to...manage your time.

Friday, July 07, 2017

BE THE FULLER, BRIGHTER, BETTER YOU!

You, my friend, are more than you can imagine....so keep imagining.  You are an implement of God designed to be more than you can be, to think farther than you can think, and to believe more thoroughly than you can believe.

We are not in this landscape called Life all by ourselves.  God so promised to partner with us that He has set up shop within our very hearts and minds.  He's lightweight so there's no burden of our carrying Him within.  He's the Grand Visionary so we are not stumped as to how to handle the most tedious dilemmas.  And, He's waiting....waiting on us to lean into Him for hope and wonder and the more-than-we-can-fathom style of living.

We are talking about you.  Yes!  You!

Refuse the gnarly snags of daily existence.  Arise to the wonder of it all.  Don't miss out...own your own life.  Yes, you are the decider.  You are the believer.  Determine to be the fuller, brighter, better you than you have ever been up to this point.  Discover your own awe which resides in direct connection to the Holy Spirit of God!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

JESUS CUT AGAINST THE GRAIN OF RELIGION

Jesus is the most fascinating personality ever!  His name has been, however, reduced as basically meaningless in public square throughout the world because of cowardly followers as myself.  Rather than being noted as an ultra-brave soldier who carried his own execution tool upon his back, Jesus is regarded with incredible indifference from bar to golf course to church pew.  No wonder Christianity struggles to make impact.  It has become devoted to plan far more than to the man.

I believe that the masses of indifference toward faith would surrender to Jesus if they could find him.  I'm not saying no one ever finds him, for such a thought is exaggerated.  Yet, the truth is that finding church does not mean one has found the Lamb of God.  Therefore, we who are church simply must restructure our drive to be one of promoting him which would allow him to add newcomers to his church.

If rebellious-toward-church society had any idea how boldly Jesus stood in the face of organized religion, these very ones would open to incredible possibilities of recognizing him as friend, as mentor, as saviour.  He hasn't been hidden by prostitutes nor gamblers nor thieves.  He has been set aside by the very group who believe we are in line with him.  He lost his life/gave his life fighting the crime of religious authoritarians who cared more for their pet doctrines that they did for hurting, lonely, and lost people.

Jesus fascinates me.  As the Son of God, this one saw life for what it surely is; everyone matters to Father.  Those who have the courage to break the mold of ritualism and, yet, remain in the process in order to develop into the personality of Jesus...THANK YOU!!  For those who have never given up on self and on others that we might make progress in being the church with eyes and heart for the hurting, THANK YOU!!  And then for those who are aging in the church; yet have a renewal of heart day by day that keeps you young instead of church grumpy...THANK YOU!!

I say to every person reading this post who doesn't care much for church, for religion, for spiritual direction, I get it.  I don't blame you.  Guys like me tend to shut down one's interest in such things due to our immaturity and our self-centeredness.  Try not to throw out the Saviour with the bath water.  Rebel against ones like myself if you must; but please ponder awakening to the truth that church habits are, at times, causing a blinding glare to restrain you from seeing when the Son is out.

Everyone in church and out, in religious organization and out, have the very same need.  We must know of someone who took the rigors of death and made jelly out of it.  We must meet the only one who was beaten to death on our behalf.  Once we do....we must spend the rest of our days thanking him rather than rejecting him.

Jesus....he's that one who dared to cut against the grain of religion.  The leaders killed him for it.  We praise him for it.  And then....we follow him because of it.  Might you who can't stand church be finding your heart wavering a bit?  Might you be wondering if, rather than  rejecting the idea, you might just be thinking your could be a part of it?  It happened to me.  It may very will be happening to you.  Listen to your own heart.  It will tend to lean toward the voice of God.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

IF YOU HAVE CHANGED, WHY WOULD YOU BELIEVE OTHERS HAVEN'T?

The voice of God via His Word is repetitive with a call to start life over, to be a new person, to arise with a renewed dimension of power and hope and love. If there's a consistent fact about the God dynamic, it is that His people often make adjustments toward the improvement side. Hopefully, we mature.

I venture to guess that you are not the same person you were twenty-five days ago; let alone even twenty-five years ago. You believe differently. You approach problems more maturely. Frankly, in many instances you've simply changed your mind.

So, if we note within ourselves significant changes having taken place, why would we not believe the same would be possible for those within our cluster of stressful contacts? Grievances are carried on far too long. We may note progress within our own walk; but simply forget that those with whom we differ may have grown up at the same pace (or possibly even accelerated beyond us).

Living in begrudgment is a waste of heart-energy. It isn't necessary. Furthermore, it's costly. Our anger and frustration blocks out our enemies and contaminates our friends. Assuming that we are immune from identical mistaken behavior, we chatter with those "on our side" as if we are not just like "them". This practice merely strengthens mistaken barriers.


My guestimation is that, with age, you have changed. Yes, there remains room for improvement; but you've likely come a long way. So why would we not think such inevitable for those among our strained-relationships? Might we drop the grudges and begin to believe in the good side of....us?


Monday, July 03, 2017

SCARED TO DEATH IN ORDER TO BE THRILLED TO LIFE!

A God whom we couldn't have thought up on our own has turned to us, reached to us, is revealed to be someone quite other than the God we would have if God were merely a figment of our imagination--God is a Jew from Nazareth who lived briefly, died violently, and rose unexpectedly.  This God scared us to death but also thrilled us to life.....

.....Many Jews expected God to come and save them; few expected God to show up as a homeless man, unmarried, and unemployed.
                                                                     William Willimon (Why Jesus)

Mankind is stuck because the church is more stuck.  Hopelessness abounds when church focus is slanted toward ritual, religiosity, results.  The Good News is that all three of these are crushed by the unimaginable display of Heavenly Father taking form in Earthly Son.  Jesus defied every thing and every place where man thought he could hang his theological hat.

When one reads the Bible...and this is the Divine Revelation standing the test of time...the weird, the wonderful, and the absurd describe the Story.  Nothing is average.  The exciting Truth is that we are to be a part of this Story unfolding; overlapping into the next moment which (as of yesterday) was only known as future.  We are not to enter in as much as we are to realize we have entered in.

Might it be time that we step out of our boats of security and begin walking atop of the waters of uncertainty?  Might this be the thrill for our lives which initially, we must admit, scares us to death?  We are called to move from a lifeless living to a living kind of life full of meaning and power and God's rich glory.

Don't be afraid to step out, step up, and step into the incredible zone of defiant hope.  Do be afraid of never taking the leap.  It's when we make the bold jump that we break the bonds of fear and slip into the freedom of wonder.  Don't stop at being scared to death.  But, be scared to death in order to be thrilled to life!


Friday, June 30, 2017

THE CURIOUS ADAM AND EVE SYNDROME

After all of these years---well centuries really---wouldn't you think that we would have gotten a few things corrected regarding the pathway to being a newly and vastly improved society?  Shouldn't the caliber of inner man have bypassed the hurdles of wear and tear a long time back?  Wouldn't what ailed families, businesses, and even churches have significantly subsided simply because each generation stepped forward/ahead of the last curve of stressful errors?

Wouldn't you think so?

But, no.  Disarray of the human course and disfigurement of the social process seems to find our present day course to have been perpetuated by malfunctioning philosophy of accumulated past.  Even in the church, we are snagged.  Why is this?  What's causing this ongoing mindset which cripples even the best of our best to the extent that current disorder among us is the same ol' story of ages gone by?

Could it be that there is extreme need for each of us to submit in humility?  And think about those two descriptive words (submit/humility).  Especially in any range of leadership, force and power tend to get the Gold Star.  Force and power are marks of strength, we assume, so move that man/that woman up the success ladder!  These two marks were clearly not a part of the leadership of Jesus; the only one who can spare us from this downward spiraling mess we are in.

The Adam and Eve Syndrome is curious, to say the least, for it causes each individual to approach each day with an assumption that, What I think is the correct way to think.  Such isn't necessarily violational until we then move to step two: Everyone should think as I think.  Thus, mankind is stuck just as broken today as the Two were back in the Garden.

The Good News is that there is a way to overcome this societal monster which hungers to ravage the hearts and minds of every one of us.  The formulaic way is that of the Cross.  And, wouldn't you know that the Cross is the very last place each individual wants to be found?  Didn't God mean to say Captain?  CEO?  Foreman?  President (of something)?  Boss (of someone)?  Older sibling?  Longest tenure?  Shouldn't He have come out with an impressive rather than submissive approach to effectivity?

No, the only way to success is not to be found at the top; but is always at the bottom.  Assess each of the aforementioned list.  The successful ones are those who maintain an inner awareness of humility which is the quality (of Jesus) that makes them/leads them to rise effectively to the top.  The curiosity of the Adam and Eve Syndrome is that it is broken while it tries to convince each of us that everyone else is wrong; but never ourselves.   Strangely, we continue to buy into the lie....as did Adam and Eve.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

HAS THE TERM "BORN-AGAIN" DIED AGAIN?

I don't know if meaningful Christian terms are camouflaged or sabotaged.  Either way, much of what had original intent has been reduced to sloganalism which is heard; yet has lost its impact.  Such is possibly the case with "born-again" for it very well may have been hijacked by casual and very anemic religiousity.

To be born again is one of the most thrilling concepts of all mankind.  We must protect its mighty existence.  All experience being born-once as obvious fact.  This cannot be denied.  Too, all born-oncers would admit that life is a struggle of harsh reality.  Inner battles aren't random.  Nor, are they timid.  But rather, difficulty is compounded to the point that we wonder if we can carry on at times.

God saw this dilemma.  Satan wrecked the Garden scene.  Imposingly, he reversed wonder into wander.  From such a time, man has sought the Promised Land; a way of escape which would be the path to restored normalcy of hope, and of delight, and of sheer treasure.  Jesus was sent head-long into this quagmire of death for the very purpose of transforming the same walk into and new and robust gust of perpetual life.

This is why Jesus approached his mission at the very early stages with the call for men and women to begin anew by being rebirthed.  We are able to start life over.  Don't rush past this wonder of all wonders: WE.  ARE.  ABLE.  TO.  START.  LIFE.  OVER.  Just as the first life finds the infant born through the waters of the womb, the second begins through the baptismal waters.

Jesus calls every person to be born again.  Such isn't a call to be churchy.  Rather, it is a call to get to do what everyone wishes we could do anyway....step away from this killer life and shift into a new kind of life where possibility and potential are realities of hope and happiness.

There's much that goes into this fact that will forever grow us in spirit through the ages.  For now, I wish to point out that upon the first birth death looms as final word.  From the second birth, wonderfully so, death dies.  It can't have us.  It will sting us; but it doesn't get to keep us.  When Jesus left the grave, death went into depression for it lost its eternal bite.

Yay Jesus and your empty grave!  Yay.....for giving us the option for being reborn.  We must not let the term die for its origin is intended for the opposite...ALWAYS LIFE!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WHAT TO DO ABOUT THOSE WHO SIN AGAINST YOU

There are no exceptions.  Every person has a host of others who sin against them.  It's rugged.  It's painful.  It's daily.

And, what is one to do about this?  What are we to do about them?  God is not vague in this matter.  How we choose to deal with them sets the parameters for how He will deal with us.  We set the course for our own trial and judgment.  It's weird; but it's true.  As a result, this changes our entire perspective on how we choose to deal with any who sin against us.

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).  Verses 2-5 reinforce the writer's statement.  We will be judged by how we choose to judge others.  Condemnatory?  Then we shall be likewise.  Merciful?  Such, then, will be afforded us.

This.  Is.  Serious.  Business.

Take inventory of just how many people there are whom you despise; even hate.  Look them over thoroughly with your self-righteous squint-eyed disdain.  God is not vague.  He insists that each of us is looking in the mirror.  Ah, how we don't want to believe it.  We just can't be like them.  Yet, it's true.

Our role is to be as Jesus; not only to die for those who sin against us, but to love them so much we take on their sins.  Tall.  Order.  We could not get well if Jesus did not suffer our due penalty.  He paid for what we deserved.  Why do you think we are to carry crosses day by day anyway?  Religious jabber?

No.  We are on a mission to die for the very people who hurt us....hurt us deeply....by their offensive and obnoxious sin against us.  This is what Jesus did...and continues to do...from within us.  It might be good for us to be reminded to park our high-horses and dismount as quickly as we can.  Should we continue to hold animosity toward any, we are setting our own Judgment Day in a framework that we do not intend.

Yes.  Of course we are mighty aware of the sins that some others commit while seemingly able to be quite forgiving of our own.  It feels good to dislike (even hate) others, do you think?  Such spite seems to keep your cause charged.  It seems to keep you charged.  But....drop it.  The greatest sinner you ever met will look back at you in the mirror every morning and then...will be waiting to look back at you every evening.

What to do about those who sin against you?  Forgive them as quickly as you can for Someone is monitoring your behavior.  And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God (Romans 2:3)?

Saturday, June 24, 2017

MIGHT WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR INNER PASSWORD?

I don't know how to say what I'm about to say--what I want to say--to you at this very moment.  Believe me.  My (com)passion is charged and ready to express in deep meaning the value that I see in you and how much I believe that each is basically unaware of your own profound depth of wonder.

Mankind is stripped of its potential because Satan's original work in the Garden divided us.  Oh, I don't mean that such division is merely one against another.  No, I mean that we entered a zone where we are divided against ourselves.  We want to be effective; yet, find ourselves plagued with failing moments.  We desire to really be alive only to spend far too much time in dread of a day or an event or of a person.

This is why faith enters the picture.  It is a warrior against fear for fear still wants to be the Boss.  That's what happened to Adam and Eve.  They simply became afraid....and many have never gotten over what we inherited from them.  Yet Jesus, at our rebirth, very much does reopen one's potential and possibility in a whole new power display.

From Princess to Pauper, we are all the same; wanting to be more than we are and blinded to our own positive dynamic at any given moment.  Don't misunderstand.  I'm not promoting rude self-centeredness.  But rather, I'm wishing to draw out an inner confidence embedded within us by the intentional design of the Holy Spirit of God.

Individuals do not grasp just how deeply wonderful they/you are.  Thus, we perpetually thirst for something more without realizing we are currently and valuably very much, very sharp, very effective, and very meaningful.  This is not to brush against one's ego; but rather, to dip into His Supply.  So how do we reverse this mistaken daily tendency of missing His glory within our very own interior?

Realize that we are all the same.  When I was entering the sales world as a 20-something, before I seriously entered into ministry, I was highly intimidated by any of slightest power.  How many times I heard from my colleagues, Hey, they all put their pants on one leg at a time.  But this didn't help...and I failed.

When I eventually entered into ministry, I was plagued by the very identical insecurity.  This is a part of the reason that it wasn't until my senior segment of Preaching School that I was sent out into area churches to preach (while all other students began such an experience in their sophomore term).  I.  Couldn't.  Do.  It.

I was scared.  Fear drove my every day.  But little by little, I gained confidence in Him.  I never gained confidence in myself (to this day).  Yet, the key was increasing in assurance of His absolute presence and His productivity.  I actually began to believe; to trust God.  Count.  Me.  In.

My burden for you is that I believe that every person on earth battles insecurities galore.  This, then, carries an inner defense mechanism within our thinking that goes unchecked.  We refuse to learn new ways for we are protecting what little security we dare think we possess.  We take the talent He gives us and we hide it.  We hoard it for fear that it, too, will diminish.

Often we balk at the very idea of just trying.  This very practice reduces blessings for those in your path as well as your own potential ones for you would rather play life safe.  There is nothing safe about this for it is robbing you of the real you.  This is your personal Thief.

Whether you are my friend or are my foe, I cheer you on.  Dare to open up your heart to your dreams and imaginations.  Quit playing it safe.  Refuse to hide within your manageable schedules and controlled talents.  Explore.  Dream.  Imagine.

And then....dare to step out of your comfort zone and into His.  Nothing in life has us trapped by enemy pursuants but what God cannot part your Red Sea and provide a way of escape into the unknown wonder of your very own Promised Land!

Change your inner password from I'MAFRAIDI'LLFAIL to GODLET'SGOFORTHEVICTORY.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

PUSH BY FAITH

What kind of spiritual exertion are we to....well....exert anyway?  I reference our walk with God.  Is it all up to Him?  Or, all up to us?  Shared responsibility?  I send a bit of ponderment your direction for consideration.

Christians are to do work in the kingdom.  Yet, there's a subtle distraction that seems to undermine the theme of working.  We seem to transfer or translate such self-effort as if we are viewing our Bibles as a place to put our invisible savings stamps so that, when we get the book (the Bible) full, we can hope that we are saved.

This is the work-side that comes off as humanistic earning power with the hopes of persuading God that we could/should enter Heaven on that Day.  Aren't you impressed God?  See what we have done?

Yet, of course, Father puts a twist and a challenge into the biblical word work.  We are very much anticipated by Him that we will work in the Kingdom.  He wants it.  We want it.  That settles it.

Not quite.

Work is not knocking so many doors setting up Bible studies, per se.  Work is not attending church three times a week in hopes finding an Eternal Pass awaiting at Heaven's gate.  Neither is work an involvement in ministry which gives self the appearance of Kingdom connection.

These are to be questioned for one simple reason.  One can do these things without having any trust in God.  Many are in the church who know their place to sit; but do not have a relationship with the One.  Much labor goes on within and for the church which may be exercises of one's will without confidence in the Spirit that He would be engaged in any part of walk.

Not so strangely, all of the efforts above may also be mighty and powerful in content as well as effort.  The difference is, again, whether the work that we are doing is on the God-plane.  That plane?  Faith.  Faith is the work that we are required by God to do.  Without faith...without a working faith...our works are dead in their tracks.  Without faith in Him, we are possibly pursuing life in the church with faith in our own brain and brawn.

They said therefore to him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"  Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent."  John 6:28-29

The work that we are to do is to believe in Jesus.  This is the work requirement.  Without this commitment we will be a people who serve without prayer-prep.  We will reach out with little expectation of Jesus' participation.  Too, our walk will be undermined by distraction--easily disturbed--because we have developed a ritual of church activity rather than a confidence in the very Spirit of Christ.  There.  Is.  A.  Difference.

May we be a people who push into our communities with the labor-intensity of the Spirit's highly productive leadership, provision, and backing.  May we be wowed at what He gets done with, in, and through us.  Yet, we will always be sensitive to the truth that He is the One doing the work....not our best foot forward.

Our defining work is to believe that God works.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GARAGE SALE AT MY HOUSE FRIDAY!!!

For all in the Tulsa area, we are having a garage sale Friday, June 23, starting at 8:00.

  • Exercise equipment
  • Antique signs
  • Tools
  • Table
  • And lots of etc. stuff
10% of proceeds go to Mary!

2636 E. 18th St., Tulsa

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

FAITH MAKES NO EARTHLY SENSE

Maybe three decades ago, I wrote a book; The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense.  The meaning of the title is that one will never learn of the Spirit of God using earthly measurements.  No, these would need to be spiritually evaluated.  The title alone caused a stir within the church.  Some were irritated by the sheer fact that I believed the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  And, then, others were upset as they thought that I was saying that the Spirit made no sense in any realm.

So today I still say that the Spirit does not fit the 1 + 1 = 2 mindset of human efforts as if such  equals a basic formula for kingdom living.  What is required is a very unique territory known as faith.  Otherwise we are simply a batch of humanistic minds trying to make church work from earthage rather than from the heavenlies.  Our bodies will one day succumb to injury or disease or age.  Our spirits are the eternal portion of each of us.  Thus, we give attention to such a key element of....our us-ness.

The spirit world is in each of us, among each of us, and very much to be involved with all of us.  What is to be expected, then, in this zone which is the spirit side of us?

For one thing, we need to be aware that our flesh will strive to be boss of our spirit.  It will try to weigh godly Truth from the mindset of what would be regarded as normal and obvious thinking.  Faith, though, is not normal.  Faith believes that what isn't can still become.  Faith sees into the invisibles which blows the mind of the flesh.  As a matter of fact, the flesh can't tolerate this paragraph.  The flesh-mind resents what the spirit-mind strives to believe.

One's spirit, then, engages poles apart from the flesh.  The flesh is willing to attend church; but it doesn't want to pray.  You can't make it pray.  It doesn't want to learn new landscapes and regions of the Word and it most certainly does not want to be uncomfortable.  Ultimately, it is terrified of dying to self that others might be blessed.

The flesh is self-ish while the spirit is self-giving.  The flesh fights to preserve self at the very center.  Yet, the spirit goes to school in order to learn how to give itself away for the needs of others.

The spirit wants to spend time in prayer, learn how to love enemies, become enthusiastic over giving of our money, and finally it wants to grow in freedom to reach to the world around us without being so paralyzingly self-critical.  There is no enemy to our spirit as large and monstrous as our fleshly approach to thinking which tends to hold us captive.

We incarcerate ourselves all the while complaining as if someone else did the arresting.  Others are never our main trouble.  Our interiors--the mind of the flesh or the mind of the spirit--set the course for our every day.  The former is captivity while the latter if freedom.  We.  Get.  To.  Choose.

Faith makes no earthly sense.  It makes much heavenly sense.  As the grave being empty still creates doubt in the flesh-minds who just can't believe it, that empty grave sets a believer's heart on fire for God because we operate more from the Spirit of God than our own lower-life thinking.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I'M ENTERING THE YOUTH GROUP OF OLD AGE

Tomorrow--June 18th--I am to turn 70 years old.  Since 30 sounded old when I was 23, you might imagine how old I thought 70 was way back then!  But it's sorta weird in a good-weird sorta way, that age seems to somehow grow on us with time.

I feel certain that my 70 isn't nearly as old as my grandparent's 70s.  I mean, mines much younger in feel, in attitude, and in....well, in most everything.  I do recall a gradual moving of my expectation factor when playing baseball in the Cardinal camps.  Beginning at age 36 and finishing at age 69, there was a trending away from actually catching the ball to feeling joyful that I could at least see the ball coming....and watching it go by.

Seeing had become key.  Who needs reflexes anyway?

Admittedly, 70 does sound old.

My agility has somewhat crystallized.  I never saw the day coming when I would need to sit down so that I could think on my feet.  And hey, young people, you know that country sound along the creek banks on a summer's night where you get to hear the humming of the locusts and grinding of the crickets?  Well, about age 60 or so, God implants both of those sounds directly inside of your ears and you get to enjoy a summer evening out all day long...everyday...all year long...really.

Regarding driving a car, I've noted that some people just don't respect my sudden change of lanes.  And green lights?  Yellow?  I've upgraded.  They are now the same to me sorta like slow down or stop.  Slow down works just as well and, frankly, saves a lot of time at intersections.  And, being the considerate man that I still am, my moving on through in yellow/reddish simply allows the lady behind me a sooner turn.  Just call me thoughtful.

One more thing.  I've noticed that as we age, others around us seem to become more confused.  They have incredible imaginations remarking that I already told them certain things...several times already.  They are obviously confused....yet I do a nice job of rolling with their absurd suggestions.  They can't help it.

So for now, 78 sure does sound old to me!  Yep, that's most likely the actual and true over-the-hill number!  Right now I 'm merely entering the youth group of old age.

Friday, June 16, 2017

DO YOU HAVE YOUR OWN DAILY BOG?

I ask, do you have your own daily bog?  At first glance, some might have thought that I meant to say blog; not bog.  But...not the case.

My question is whether you have those matters which bog you down day after day?  You know, those words, or deeds, or actions that knock the wind out of your sails?  Perhaps you set out for a time of anticipated wonder only to encounter a grump or a pessimist or and infraction by those around you...or....your own grumpy, pessimistic, infractionary disposition?  Either way, our balloon moments may encounter deflation.

So how do we negotiate a daily bog?  Philippians 4:4-9.  Oh, I know.  You've heard this before.  Yes.  And you'll need to continue to ponder it for daily bogs require daily mindsets upon all that is going right in our world in order to stay up.  Bogglism is always awaiting in the wings to drain your momentum.

Upbeat and forward moving is the stronger option.  This never pivots off of how things are going.  No, upbeat and forward consistently derives from how we choose to think.  Will we sink because of challenges before us?  Or, shall we choose to use these very intimidating struggles as stepping stones to an even higher walk?  Get behind me, bog!

Today is filled with potential, encouragement, and participatory awe.  Enter in.  Don't just wish it was so for you.  Claim it.  Expect it.  Live it.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

WHY SHOULD WE UNSPELL "UNTIED"?

Division has become a way of life.  Not to be neglectful, there are those issues which such would seem necessary.  But truthfully, it appears that very much damage is being done in the name of stances taken against other stances.  In addition, I wonder just where people as myself have fueled it without thorough thought.  Have we/are we experiencing a time-warp of intense multi-level separations which are both unnecessary and avoidable?

The political and religious compartments among us are two potential sources of enormous strength and pressure-relieving harmony.  Yet, I hardly believe that their potential is recognized as such; but rather are perceived as contesting forces within their particular zones of seeking advancement and service.  Even the dear term of family has been hacked with terms of separation, abuse, and selfishly individualistic demands.  Pride reigns in all three of the aforementioned categories.

Admittedly, there is such room for improvement right where I live and serve.  That's why I even know what to address here.  Long before Facebook, mankind was hitting like or avoiding hitting it only upon the simple basis of preference.  Preference will not take us into the rough spots of society.  Neither will it win the enemy.  We are called to do both.

Should any be fatigued over a few of the politicians' (and news pundits') sarcasm toward the other side, we just as well confess that churches are hitting our communities with identical thread.  Suspicion and hatred are fruits of our self-serving, self-promoting bias which demands microphone time.  Neither political party has mastered the escalating challenges of states and counties and cities.  None of we churches have captured the entire range of Truth; although competing tribes verify such a mission has been accomplished within our own narrow context.  In both cases, society loses.

We will ever be encouraged to learn the steps of Jesus; not in biastistic plans of salvation, but in walking toward the hurting and the confused and the lost?  Might we grow...up?  May we set out on any and every given day fully aware of flaws...major flaws that need correction...our flaws (not "theirs", not some of "them"; but m-i-n-e as well).

If we could unspell u-n-t-i-ed (meaning that we refuse to be linked in harmony) and rearrange the very same letters then just maybe a new word would have a chance among us; u-n-i-t-e-d.  We can do this.  To make progress, the route of Jesus is the only way... and that way is to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.






Wednesday, June 14, 2017

DO NOT BE DISTRACTED BY BEWILDERMENTICITY

I have a daily routine.  It isn't necessarily a matter of following an order nor a procedure.  Neither is it conducive for monitoring impact.  Tangibility it most certainly is not.  My routine is to watch for and to believe that every person in my connectivity range needs encouragement.  There is no exception.

Person hood takes a beating.  We are beaten by forces from the exterior.  Yet, some of the most vicious are the mean ones within our interior.  Be certain.  Be reminded.  Every person, regardless of race, sex, or stature, needs a river of assurance flowing their way.

If we refuse to accept this platform, our personal insecurities go to waste.  At this juncture all one can do is mainly lick our own wounds.  Truthfully, this is not our calling.  Self is not our main interest.  Anyone other than self is.  I've heard it said that if you can't help yourself, you can't help others.  That may have a ring of wisdom; but it is exactly backwards to the Kingdom system.

When we attend to others, our own ills lessen in this deeply spiritual process.  And note, discouragement, frustration, anxiety, etc. are marks of one's spirit; not one's physical attributes.

I have this habitual ability to get distracted by my own maze of bewildermenticity.  I want things to go well.  Really.  But it is the not going well that is paving the road to meaningful and useful participation upon the life-scale of losing self by placing greater value in others.

I am to turn 70 years old Sunday.  I am still fighting this confidence bear.  How long is this going to go on?  It appears that it will continue as long as there are people around me who need a cheerleader.  Our presentations are not backed by our dollars nor by our accomplishments.  The hurting aren't up for our personal rehearsal of grandeur.  No, our value is what we learn from the biting, even stinging, stirring of balloon-puncturing disappointments and ugly failures.

These moments of seeming mishaps connect with others.  They do.  The very thing we don't believe we want (and spend enormous energy and focus trying to kill off) is the exact place we are to fruitfully hurt.  Believe me.  No, believe God.  There is a reason that Jesus is known as the Suffering Servant.  Suffering is what Servants do to reach the whole world.

This has been an IMPORTANT REMINDER.  Never quit!  Never be distracted by bewildermenticity.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

DO YOU PRAY YET?

It's interesting how emotionally engaged we can all be in one or many areas of church life.  We enter into studies; both group and private.  Our knack for helping others is applaudingly noble.  It would seem that, for the most part, the vast majority of our members care about the direction and effectivity of the church.  Yet, there appears to be a gap in our walk which isn't Rocket Science.  It the participation and practice of prayer.

This does not reflect well upon my walk, but I went through a Preaching School and out the other side without giving prayer much of a look.  Oh, believe me, we studied about and believed in it.  I just didn't do it.  Prayer?  Would you be ashamed of me if I told you that I didn't like it?

Later I would hear of highly effective men and women who seemed to do extraordinary work while being most ordinary themselves.  I don't know if it would have been a sermon(s) I heard or a book(s) I read or a leading of the Spirit....or a combination of these.... but prayer began to become real in practice rather than a dull and obligatory expectation.

What changed it all?  One major component thrust me into a hunger for prayer rather than a time to take my spiritual medication which tasted badly.  When I saw that thankfulness was a central player in the relationship process of/with God, my prayer life was converted.  Thanksgiving for what He has done, is doing, and will do is a gravitational pull toward the activities arranged in Heaven.

I'm not saying that such a trek is the solution to all non-praying individuals.  I do offer at least this one possible solution of thanksgiving.  My concern is that we walk in the midst of highly-engaged, strongly-opinionated members of the church who are resistant to the heartbeat of the Spirit.  God longs for our interaction with Him as Father; not as Boss.

We walk with Him and we talk with Him.  Remember?  Prayer is where we connect, not just for okaying a meal before us; but, by carrying on a Father/son, Father/daughter walk...us down here...and Him down here with us in Spirit form.

Do you pray yet?  If so, then awesome!  If not, maybe practicing telling Him how thankful you are for all of the wonder in life might bring about a change that you've wanted for some time now.  It can happen.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

HOW SHALL WE APPROACH OUR DAY OF WORSHIP?

Sundays are gigantically awesome, amazing, and mighty!  They are especially that one day of seven where we band together to raise our voices in praise and delight of Him; our living Creator/Sustainer God.  Robust.  Heart-engaged.  Beyond hesitancy, visible praise will be offered up.

Yet, this isn't the case for too much of, at least, the American version of church.  In far too many hearts, intimidation reigns.  We have developed an unintended promotion of lethargy toward giving our all because decent and in order was precisely what the fearful and the controlling needed to become their foundational stance.  Decent and in order has always been the habit of God; but such a command was never given to the Pharisess that it would be their bully pulpit.

Go ahead.  Point to the wild and crazy emotionalism that may be over the edge.  Warn us.  Give us what for when we raise our voices, lift our hands, applaud instead of just amen.

Two things are happening with this guarded position which is offered in the name of truth...but isn't truth:

     1.  We are killing the imaginations of our children.  These little ones among us will not develop a taste for the outrageous possibilities of the heavenlies if what we do most is patrol the pews for acceptable humanistic behavior during church.  Such behavior of which I speak is that inner law that the older ones possess as to what's allowed and what's not in a church building that was never (the building that is) authorized by scripture in the first place.

     2.  The second thing happening is that we have sent missionaries into the foreign territories for years; not with the news of Jesus, but with the proper ways to do church...our various brands of church.

What happens when these two things go on is that spirits are quenched.  Inner drive to imagine and explore potential in the Spirit of God, by the Spirit of God, are buried so deeply within our people that it takes a heaven-quake to bring them back.  The good news is that heaven-quakes are happening!

So I mean to cheer you on.  Please....don't just attend worship today....but worship.  Applaud Him.  Brag about Him.  Salute Him.  Talk to Him.  Wake up church!  We have a God to honor...again!!!

GO.  FOR.  IT.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN JESUS

Would you think we live in a demanding time?  We are surely an on-the-go crowd.  From one appointment to the next meeting, we hardly have time to remember what just happened for we must focus upon what is about to happen.  Add to this the upkeep for all of the things around us like, homes, cars, people, and jobs (just for starters) and it's no wonder we feel breathless and out of shape.

So I wish to speak a word of caution to my friends.  Be on guard that you might experience the real life Jesus intends; rather than a surface life that evaporates by the demands of the next, and the next, and the next calendaric event.

Things, including over-scheduling, are draining our hearts dry.  It's unusual, don't you think, that we struggle to think about right now because we are distracted by what has been plus what will be?  I speak not as if the latter two don't matter.  The caution comes in flagging down your speed-traffic of hurriedness that you inadvertently bypass the glory of His wonder at the moment.

Therefore, I would encourage you to possibly make progress in one key area.  Don't tackle the demands and wonders of a day without first consulting Father regarding our praise and glory toward Him for His sheer existence.  A praise-less person is on a course of emptiness.  A praise-full individual, though, experiences abundance moment by moment.

We have a world to reach for God.  Experience the marvel of allowing Him to extend you beyond your clocks and your calendars.  See the person you are visiting.  Hear their words.  Don't rush past the glory of the moment so that in the simplest of situations....you can both see and hear.  What an exciting two traits to possess!!

Thursday, June 08, 2017

REACHING THE PINNACLE OF POWER

We tend to not think about where, why, or even if we are a powerful people.  Oh, it isn't that we don't desire it; don't dream of being such.  But, I think that few ever realize their arrival.  I know for certain that even fewer know how to get there.  So, let's discuss how one reaches the pinnacle of power.

This is weird; the approach to hitting upon our individual dynamics, I mean.  The peak of our power is always found in our lack of it.  Only God would prescribe such a fundamentally backward and awkward platform.  One's most heaviest strength is never the truest in our best foot forward; but is always found within our frailest convictions of the mind.

Why is this?  The answer is simply because God has called each of us to love others, build up others, encourage others, etc.  Why would these others be in need of love or building or encouragement?  Because.  They.  Are.  Down.  We cannot possibly understand how these truly feel unless we have been there ourselves...beforehand.  Our greatest weapon to assist a down-and-out friend is for us to totally understand where they are coming from BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN THERE!

Otherwise, we nod our heads uh-huh while being basically clueless as to how to listen; how to help.  The great need within mankind day by day is hope.  And, how exactly did God figure our hopelessness?  He became like us in human form in order to gain experiential understanding.  That's the trail we follow.  This is why we are ever effective at ministry.  We suffer with our friends in order to be of genuine assistance.  Having answers is found within the very center of not knowing all of the answers.

Reaching the pinnacle of power is not in accomplishment.  It is in going to school in the hard times; struggling in the harsh reality, which moves us to being Kingdom useful.  The great biblical stories of God are where His people were stranded (even stumped) in weakness only to watch Him unfold incredible drama of outrageous success.

You are your most powerful at the very point you likely resist the most day after day; your clueless, weak, inability to see how you could be of any value at all.  Wake up to the wonder of God in yourself.  It doesn't come with gold and glitter; with large marquee and billboard of attentive self-praise.  No.  Your secret weapon is the very thing you wish you didn't have.  Your.  Own.  Lack.




Wednesday, June 07, 2017

CREATIVE: IT'S WHO WE ARE BECAUSE IT'S WHO GOD IS

One of the noticeable differences between organized religion versus abundant life is that the former drifts toward shutting down in preservation while the latter draws toward opening up via imagination.  This has been, is, and will forever be our earth-bound challenge.  Will we live robustly or shall we cower?  Shall we hope or shall we die?

The standard of Jesus is neither whimsical nor indifferent.  His wisdom is absent from every man-made, man-driven, man-controlled chart.  The life of the Spirit of God has no equal.  Remarkable!  Highest of intelligence!  Greatest in possibility!  The masses who yet know no God cannot afford for the religious to toy with church.

We must be set free.  The choir (as in preaching to the) seems to consistently need the nudge of the Spirit to imagine what can be for large regions of what isn't yet.  Believers are seers.  We see lack and envision provision.  We note rejection; yet, pursue acceptance.  Trusting God insists that we will not give up.  We will not give up our mission nor will we give up on people....whose dear hearts are our mission....that with one voice we may gain momentum in offering praises to Him.

Nothing turns our eye from the goal of believing that more of the very ones who imply they have little interest in God can one day join the team of His proclaimers.  This has happened to many of us who had no intention of being a part of a church only to find ourselves in the midst of leading within.  Weird, huh?  Such is the case for me.

Law abiding church kills the drive because it arrests the imagination.  Such ones take a very weird stand.  These are not driven to do what is right; but live under the timidity of getting things wrong.  Therefore, I join a chorus of other voices to say, Dream.  Imagine.  Think.  Wonder.  Dare.  Try.  Risk.  Pursue what isn't yet.  The world awaits for the people of God to look like, act like, feel like we are actually newer today than we were yesterday.

Look at God.  He created the heavens and the earth.  That was a good day's work.  Oh, and then He noted the need for form.  Oh, next He saw the need for light.  Ooops, God developed apple trees and carrots evidently realizing a few hours later He didn't have any people around to eat them.  So here comes Adam and Eve and we are off!!!

Creativity is the very heart of God.  There is more damage done by my fear than my effort.  Faith functions by what isn't.  This is the very eyesight of the congregation.  What can be seen in the invisible is the very location of heavenly productivity.  The Cross was key.  The work done by the Spirit overnight behind the scenes in the tomb continues to shatter man's obsession to try to do life according to our very crippled and handicapped concepts of how we think life should unfurl.

May we gain momentum as we perpetually learn to come out from our hiding in safety in order that the latest seekers up and down our streets might get their chance to run into the wildest kind of hope ever!!!