Friday, April 20, 2018

WHAT TO GET MARY FOR OUR 50TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY

Today, April 20, Mary and I celebrate 50 years of God's amazing wonder as we learned to try to walk in His Garden.  Being the creative person that I like to think that I am, it was in my heart to do something special for this benchmark occasion.  "What could I get Mary to honor her?" was my mission.

I've hit upon the perfect, practical, creative and extraordinarily unusual gift that should put me in good standing for at least the next week.  She will be so surprised.  So Mary...get ready.  This may just blow your mind.  On the other hand, it may just be more of the amazing same!

If you'll look out your kitchen window in about an hour you will note quite a sight upon our driveway.  Try to imagine...no really...what might I have done to bring you tremendous joy.  It's something you've wanted for a long time.

So...in the voice of the guy who announces for the Price Is Right as the showcase is revealed, MARY RUSH...LOOK OUT YOUR KITCHEN WINDOW....IT'S YOUR BRAND NEW DRIVEWAY!  (And you didn't think I could out-do my creativity!  Well, what're ya thinkin' now?)

HAPPY 50TH MARY LYNN McENTEE RUSH....I LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

THINKING ABOUT BEING THRILLED WITH LIFE?

I cheer you on!  No, really.  You have so much wonder behind you, currently with you, and far ahead of you.  Oh, don't think that I deny your heartache nor break.  No.  No.  Such takes its toll...or at least takes a stab at it.  Each of us could trump the next person's heartbreak rehearsings.  I've got a few packed away myself.

The profoundly good news is that no one has to live...nor re-live... those moments for each of us has a gift handed to us by the Creator.  He has given us minds which are capable of making decisions.  How life is going for us cannot always be chosen.  How we react to it is always up for grabs...our reach.

I'm not trying to be PaulAnna here.  My walk is not one of pretense when it comes to the subject of rejection, discouragement, nor disappointment.  But stronger and truer (and much more funner to experience) is the glory of God; the wonder of possibility which accompanies each and every terribly bad moment.  Hope...biblical, spiritual hope...is not a slight "give it a shrug and wish for the best" nod from Heaven's Board Room.

So guess what.  There isn't a reader among us who doesn't have voice of desperation and frustration when it comes to a few things having gone/are going wrong.  No exception exists.  Yet, some choose to win while others choose to shrink back.  It isn't what has gone wrong that determines our day.  It's what we decide about the entire scope of our walk.

Our thinking sets the stage, dresses the players, and enacts the roles.  Therefore, think...really ponder...about the potential of being thrilled with life.  Such.  Possibility.  Is.  Only.  A.  Thought.  Away.

trush@memorialdrive.org

Monday, April 16, 2018

INCREASING LEADERSHIP BY DECREASING CONTROL

So much of the Kingdom life is upside down and backwards.  To live, one must die.  To gain, one must lose.  To keep, one must give.  This surely remains a most baffling thread to the hoarding mind of always being in control.  It remains true that effective leadership will always (and only) be found in release; not in tight grip of inner security.

God is the Master Builder of Leadership.  His Son is the epitome of world-wide Impactor.  His trump card was to die for the enemies so that they should/could/would encounter triumphant experiences.  His leadership increases to this day simply because he dared risk losing it.  Brilliant.  Only by faith will one submit to its mystery.

For each of us in church leadership, we are most challenged to loosen our grip.  Our insecurities, even our selfishness, must not drive any of us to build impenetrable borders of impasse.  Openness to the Spirit will always find good leaders positioned high upon the ledge with the call to jump.  Decreasing control is the only effective way to slip into the Jesus-mode of driving a nation of believers into the wonder of it all. 

The church is remarkable.  It's potential is perpetually promising.  Leadership--true leadership--will leap into the waters of hope and joy without one whit of understanding as to how or when or where or why or who will be added or extracted to get His job done. 

One of the great needs in the church is to break the bonds of tradition.  Such has always been the case.  And why is that?  This format tends to rule because leadership (I was a part of it) becomes protective of what little it knows.  Jesus' call, however, is quite strange to the spirit of man for He lives a resurrected sort of life and He expects us to follow.  One of those traditions that balks the loudest is my/our insistent security in leading the best way that would subtly keep me/us in control.

One of my greatest challenges that pressed me day by day as a lead minister in a wonderful place was the biblical need to let go and let God.  I didn't like trying without proof that such would make a difference.  Hesitation, even debate, would arise from within because I lived in a mode of holy defense rather than of Spirit surrender. 

To decrease control by trusting that God awaits to take all of us into a new horizon of wonder and awe will, in effect, increase our leadership skills.  When a few in America dared cross the mighty Mississippi and head for the West they had no concept of Rocky Mountains, Arizona Desert, nor the eventual downtown Los Angeles.  So it is in the church.  Each day we stand at the Mississippi of spiritual potential with a call from the Spirit to cross it.

Increasing leadership by decreasing control is one mighty step for all of us. 
"Let go."  Discover.  This.  Has.  Always.  Been.  God's.  Theme.

Friday, April 13, 2018

SALVATION DOESN'T IGNORE OUR SIN

The sheer glory of God is often distorted by man's obsession to get himself straightened out.  This ploy is the grand scream of unbelievers toward the church.  Plus, it is the strong call of the legalistic do-gooder who never sees his/her own disastrous flaws.  God is the true glory; our behavior (as hard as one may try) is not...ever.

Being a follower of God's call is not intended to be a statement that one has arrived.  It's quite the opposite.  It is a public declaration that we found ourselves too far gone to get ourselves right with God...although we did give such repeated efforts to do so.  In the end, we kept coming up short.

Critics, however, spend minute time on self-evaluation.  No, when we criticize another (and I'm guilty of this very practice), we speak from a base of blatant blindness to the self.  This practice is a desperate move to make self-justification by living in comparison to others.  And, of course, such evaluation mistakenly leads the evaluator to be sure to come out better than the evalued one(s). 

Admission of our own personal lack, violation, and habit-formed sin is the gateway to the Savior.  Otherwise, we find no need for a Savior; we merely wanted a weekend Advisor.

Salvation doesn't ignore our sin.  It sees it, addresses it, admits it, and allows Jesus to destroy it.  The Cross remains the most powerful hope for every individual.  Every one we know has been shut up in disobedience.  Why do we clamor as if such doesn't really mean "me"?

For God has shut up all into disobedience that He might show mercy to all.  Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  Romans 11:32-33

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A SPIRITUAL GIFT NEVER MAKES US SUPERIOR TO ANYONE

Each believer is gifted by God.  Each has strengths that serve the flock well.  It may be organizational tactics or your gift might be found in serving others.  There are many variationalistic traits of leadership skills among us.  Our call is to exercise our gifts with great joy as well as gratitude to God for His reach to us via the Holy Spirit economy of talent.

We must be cautioned to maintain awareness to the truth that, while each of us is gifted in one area, we are lacking in many areas.  The foot cannot say to the hand, "Why don't you approach Kingdom life the way I do...the right way?"  The eye is not like the ear.  Yet all four are significant components of the body-life.

The eye is not to live in quiet, self-satisfied arrogance that it is pleased to no end that it was chosen by God to be the seer rather than the hearer.  It is the ear that often warns to the eye to look toward safety.  It is the hand that opens the door in order for the foot to walk one into the house.

One's bent toward personal giftedness must never be inwardly framed as superiority over another person.  We are not better than others.  No one ever is.

Be thankful for your blessings from God.  Pool such treasures with others who have different gifts than yours.  Without the Spirit operating from within, each of us is a glob of self-serving nothing.  With Him, however, we find ourselves able to participate in this wonderful arena called successful society of God-followers.

May we shed the temptation to thank God that we are not like others.
Luke 18:9-14

Thursday, April 05, 2018

PUMPED FIRST THING THIS MORNING

It wasn't yet 7:00 this morning as I was getting my coffee at Quik-Trip when the customer ahead of me handed the clerk $2 for gasoline.  Two.  Dollars.

This one, maybe in his mid-50s, was dressed for labor it appeared.  Two dollars would not even purchase a whole gallon.

I paid for my coffee and headed directly out to pump #9.  I carefully approached the man as it was just hinting that daylight was in the mix.  I handed him a five dollar bill and encouraged him to get just a bit more fuel.  He was humbly gracious.

I am so much more blessed than so many.  I'm pumped the first thing this morning, of all places, at gas pump #9 at Quik-Trip!  The whole world needs our encouragement.

What I like about so many of you is that you do similar things repeatedly day after day.  May we be a nation of God that lives this glorious day....pumped!

May.  We.  See.  The.  People.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

CARRY HOPE IN YOUR HEART

Let there be incredible wonder take place within your very personal reach.  Change the world from pessimism to optimism.  Challenge the status quo.  Arise to the resurrection power of Jesus by carrying the surging dynamic of hope everywhere your foot treads.

People don't want to know how much we know.  They really can't take in how much we care until a certain communication exudes from our very being; hope.  In the political realm, bemoan all you want.  Or...hope.  In the religious realm, quarrel and fret til the cows come home.  Or...hope.

How is it that hope can be so transformative?  It dares to balk at believing that the negative issues in our lives are permanent.  Hope lifts the face-look from scowl to smile.  Too, it even reverses sad eyes to sparkle.  His grave is empty and hope endures.

Hope in your heart is a legitimate and quite obtainable factor.  In the very center of where the majority sit in frustration and aggravation at this very moment, there are a random few who have the guts to dare hope.  It will be the latter who encounter victory.

Carry hope in your heart.  Of course there are discouraging factors...everywhere we turn...for all of us.  It isn't that some have stress while others don't.  The good news is that these intended distractions are very capable of producing...of producing the wonder-power of God's inclusive hand when we...carry hope in our hearts.


Tuesday, April 03, 2018

SELDOM AM I SO SPEECHLESS

I was caught way off guard yesterday and it sent my mind reeling.  Having been asked by
Grady King to speak at a Leadership Conference at Oklahoma Christian University was a big deal to me.  To say the least, I was pumped simply at the invitation.  I was hyper (surprise) to be a part of their two-day event.

There were approximately 60 Christian servants gathered (I'm telling, however, that there were somewhere under 500) to hear from a few ministry leaders regarding the wonderful opportunities which await.  The challenges were welcomed as was, indeed, the inspiration which accompanied.

But a thing happened as I was invited to the stage to speak that still blows me away.  The President of OC, John deSteiguer, presented with me with the Christian Service Award.  I so didn't see this coming that I didn't know what to say.  Well, more accurately, I was so stunned I didn't say anything.  My mind couldn't take it in.  I'm not in the habit of being honored with such an award and it rattled me. 

Seldom am I so speechless.  But what a very nice speechlessness to encounter.  Thank you, Grady King, John deSteiguer, and OC for the awesome presentation and the huge plaque.  My head is still trying to get a grasp on what I think happened yesterday.