Saturday, December 30, 2006


Accept nothing you see as permanent. The unseen is the real.

When I moved to Memorial I often encountered the question, "How are you doing with your elders?" My response would be, "Of which ones do you speak? The ones I have now or the ones I have in 15 years? The ones I have now are great, but wait 'til you see the ones I have 15 years from now!" Don't assume the best of life has already been discovered and someone else. The greatest treasures, I believe, are yet to be discovered within the range of our very own paths.

I find it especially fascinating to think about some of God's best intended blessings which are secretly buried within the hearts and minds of the unbelievers in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces just waiting to be released into faith.

We must continue to dig, to sow, to reach out. Blessings for the church are hidden in unbeliever's hearts. They have God-gift awaiting release. We must uncover such marvelous, wonderful buried treasure so the kingdom can gain even more momentum!

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart!

Dare to live wide-eyed! Ignore the bemoaning skeptic. The church has yet to arrive close to its fabulous potential. That's why I would never want to leave it.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I have an idea which would set Islam and Judaism and Christianity and the rest of the religious world on it's head. There is a move I could make if only I could get permission granted from the Iraqi government. Oprah, Larry King Live, and the O'Reilly Factor would clamor to give God praise. The media would bombard by seeking interviews and they would be granted over the next 30 days. The message for each venue would be the same: THE GIGANTIC LOVE FOR THE WORLD THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.

Through such an extreme measure the world would be a stage upon which everyone would view with interest the unfolding of God's wisdom and compassion. The motive would be to gain fame and glory for the Master who has been lost in the shuffle of war by indifference, war by force, and war by words.

What I would like to do is get permission to hang in Saddam Hussein's place. Is that not what Jesus did for us? Would this not rock every corner of earth? Would God be fabulous in His working not yet tried for quite some time?

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...." Is that not what we should be doing? Wouldn't it be something if the word "radical" was used for once to describe a believer's love?

While one might be tempted to chalk this up as verbal nonsense, I suggest that the seed of courage just entered hearts which will (unknowingly at this moment) take profound stances of staggeringly brave love against forceful enemies of the future.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I love God's teaching of how He creates something out of nothing and give life to the dead. Romans 4:17-25 is the text and it's conclusion is this remarkable thing called faith. It is available to all believers with the backing of resurrection power! I love it! We, therefore, are free to look at a need with no indication of possibility showing in the wings and create a solution.

I have been praying over the years for God to show up in the mainstream media and that Jesus would receive deserved recognition. Remember, maybe two years ago, Larry King Live interviewing the missionary in South America whose light plane was shot down? Days later the surviving Christian sat on national television and freely gave his testimony. Two days ago, December 25th, Rick Warren was on Fox News for an hour telling the story of Jesus and his call to the world. The program was repeated later in the day at least once.

I encourage you to take a look at needs in your work--in your area---and mix up a good batch of faith. Draw upon the resurrection power funding of God and let us know along the way what He does!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

PRAYER: What's Your Story?

Let's build up some prayer steam as we encounter the new year. I'm not what you'd regard as a famous pray-er nor a great pray-er nor a deeply focused pray-er. So don't jump to a mistaken track as we discuss this. My point is prayer is for the ordinary....and such lets me in. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would register at the low end of prayer devotion.

About 30 years ago (I was 29 years old), I began praying that God would let me reach thousands of people before I die. I would pray this desire over and over while standing alone in the church auditorium in Quincy, Illinois. A call came from Memorial Drive in Tulsa to interview with them. While I was wowed beyond measure that they would ask me, I told them emphatically "No". God and I were building something special in Quincy.

When I was back at my prayer once again rehearsing my request to reach hit me! Maybe Memorial's call was His response. I felt ill, guilty, and ashamed that I'd even consider bailing on the church I loved so dearly. I called Tulsa and they did want to talk to me. I was hurt. This is not how I saw it going at all. "Quincy, God." "From Quincy for the world!"

I met with Memorial's elders and told them emphatically I could not move to Tulsa. But God's response to my prayer seemed to powerfully and clearly override my heart's desire.

Today He lets me reach the thousands through this position at Memorial, the impact of the workshop, and even this matter of blogville!

I cheer you on to keep praying. Sometimes we feel we nearly have to beg Him to answer us. In my case I found myself begging Him not to answer...but He wouldn't quit....AND I AM SO GLAD HE DIDN'T. I love being at Memorial....while I still love and adore the church in Quincy.

He has a way of making life explode! Keep up the praying. Don't let it slack off. GOD WORKS!

Share with us...encourage the rest of us...about a move God made with you along the way as a result of prayer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Super Saturday...It's Christmas Eve Eve

Don't you just love right now? It's the day before the day before! I love Christmas!

Today, I throw gasoline on you! Thank you for being the kind of person you are. Thank you for caring about others and, yet, finding yourself sick over how selfish you are on too many occasions. Thank you for believing God is awesome and, yet, finding you are plagued with a double-portion of Thomas's doubting.

Thank you for believing in me when I can no longer believe in myself. Thank you for seeing the good in me when I botch one effort after another.

Thank you for your patience when I am at the end of the rope with mine. Thank you for continuing to give to me when I am a huge taker.

You bless the world....and I'm glad I'm in on it. You thrill so many....and thank you for including time for me.

Have a Super Saturday!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Fiery Friday....Unmentionedables

I made up a fit this day's intent to toss gasoline on heroes among us. Let's assemble a list of a few among us who serve so well, yet never stand with a microphone in their hand or have their picture hanging in the foyer beside an elevator named after them. My three are...ta ta da dat ta da....

JACK MAYNARD....retired television station engineer handles our sound (though he is handicapped with severe hearing loss), constructs our wiring landscape, and produces every sermon on audio and visual. I call him Dr. Maynard because the man is so smart he can fix anything! I love this man!

ETHELEN MAGNUSSON...retired...mother of two kids and a boo-koo of grandkids...and now a greatgrandmother, Ethelen comes through the church doors and beats it for the Teacher's Supply Room where she and partners keep the teaching materials flowing. Ethelen doesn't have the greatest of health, but she has the grandest of heart and attitude. She means very much to me!

JACK recovering from surgery and illness right now. He is a humble man somewhere between 42 and 78 years old...just not sure, but I think mid 50s?
This man works in the Day Center for the Homeless, is often seen sitting at the bus stop for this next juncture of travel about town, and is one of the most loved members at Memorial. Jack loves us! He brings such power to the heart of this church. I am better because Jack showed up!

I have tons more "Unmentionedables" to toss into the fire....but for today, this will have to do! It's your turn to talk......

....who say ye is a great unmentionedable?

Thursday, December 21, 2006


"First seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness" was voiced by Jesus in "The Sermon". The kingdom part is obvious. We want to be about "My Father's business", but why His righteousness?

We are to seek His because ours won't do....ever. Our combined right way of doing things...any things...many things....will never meet the standards of God. Never. Not even close. Until one accepts this fact, he will forever be seeking the kingdom on his own righteous standard....and he'll never find the kingdom. The kingdom is a wonderful secret buried in front of only the surrendered eyes.

I am a louse. Fact. I am not close to shoring up a couple of my strengths in order to impress Him...or you. I can't cut it. Jesus rightness cuts it. God switched out my sour rightness with Jesus's sweet rightness while Jesus wasn't looking on the cross!

Am I right with God? Oh, yeah! But never because of anything I do, but because of all He did. "He made Him who knew no sin be sin on our behalf that we might be come the righteousness of God(II Cor. 5:21)." I am right---not on the basis of how good I've done, but---on the basis of how wrong Jesus became on the cross.

"He saved us, not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy....(Titus 3:5)"

The only ones saved are all who reach a clear understanding we cannot save ourselves.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Beware of me. Beware of us. Jesus is the Truth. We are not. The truth will set one free. Truth has died a thousand casualties due to name brand religions or churches building their courses of faith on a hand full of passages. Thy Word is Truth, thy Word says. It is. Thy Word also warns of claiming man-made rules as truth....yet, we do anyway. Thy Word says we are to resist the captivity of men's traditions....and how God's people cry for release from such captivity.

A problem with all of this is it's tough to differentiate between Truth and Tradition if we have been programmed to believe Tradition is Truth. The reason the majority of our members do not teach their neighbors about the love of Christ is not because they are smug or heartless. They haven't a clue how to make the Bible fit their form of Truth. It's just too complicated.

Explain our stance on the three laws of interpretation when the Bible doesn't express such. How should our people teach what true worship is when their pattern is the congregation in the 50s and 60s, but not displayed in the New Testament? How shall our people
teach from the New Testament many congregations with many elderships when the Truth shows only one set of elders per city? How can our people justify no instruments in worship, yet endorse buildings and land?

The truth is our people can't. They may never say it...what's worse they don't say it. They don't say anything to collegues and neighbors because it's too hard to share this dead-end maze. Our wonderful people are tied up in knots; entangled in opinion and wishful thinking.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. There's a neighborhood near us crumbling and dissentegrating in front of our eyes. We have the best news in the world. It's not the news men have made up. It's the news Jesus delivered...and there is such a difference. May we get better at saying what he said and reporting the results. Relax in the Word. Regroup your thoughts to fit his walk. Reach out.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I am deep into March '07 workshop and am putting intial touches to the '08 one (Garnett is taking a break so Memorial has it for '07/'08/'09...and we are quite pumped!). We are seriously looking at the theme for '08 of "PRAYER: Our Declaration of Dependence"

If you were in my chair would you go with that theme? Do you have other ideas?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Small Group Study Book

I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm wowed at what I'm experiencing and simply passing it along. I often recommend books and this time I'm recommending my own...for a special reason. This study is bringing new life to individuals and congregations.

Years ago I wrote a little book called the Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense....because He makes heavenly sense. The book didn't really fly well until it was finally out of print. Afterward, we took calls for years (literally)of many trying to find the book. Finally I rewrote it in studybook form and renamed it Empowering the Ordinary (the Holy Spirit helping inadequate believers). It's going like crazy. Has for a year now. It's being used in Russia (translated) and Nigeria as well. Small groups are soaking it up.

If you'd like a copy, email me. The books are $14.95 plus s/h. Six or more orders are $8.50 plus s/h. Ladies classes, small groups, and individuals are enjoying the study of the Holy Spirit participating in our lives.

Contact me:

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fiery Friday...Impact People

We throw no water to kill dreams. On Fridays we toss gasoline to grow even greater fires of effectiveness. Today let's comment on two or three (or four) who have made benchmark impact on our lives.

LANDON SAUNDERS preached in a sermon in 1978 that Jesus came to work in the marketplace. My view of Jesus improvedly shifted to living where we live. Awesome sermon.

TROY SINGLETON, in about 1979, taught us that Jesus was so normal he had earwax and stomach cramps. I've never forgotten yet another improved concept of how Jesus related as a human.

WILLIAM BARCLAY wrote that the believer tends to only begin a ministry where he/she can start and finish the project. If one is traveling through New York and meets a waitress seemingly interested in God, Barclay points out many believers tend to not reach to her because they will soon be out of her life. Then Barclay points out the Holy Spirit knew how to put such a believer in her path and knows how to follow-up with the next believer to continue the conversion process. It opened my eyes to His working so vastly beyond my imagination.

LLOYD AND LUCILLE ERNST transformed my fear of reaching to the lost. They showed me how to reach, how to let God do the converting, how to believe their are masses who still want to know about God. I didn't believe it at first. They patiently stuck with me. Lloyd and Lucille taught me to believe everybody wants to be saved somewhere along the way.

Who impacted you?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dream Forward

Clint Davis's comment on this blog (yesterday) about planting Christmas trees in Uganda ( is precisely the kind of stuff I love to hear about.

This morning's paper reports the death of Lamar Hunt. He is credited with establishing the K.C. Chiefs football team and naming the Super Bowl. One idea failed. He wanted to buy Alcatraz and turn it into a theme park/shopping destination. The local community protested and the idea died. Can you imagine the community would rather have a prison? How often to great ideas die because preference to keeping the prison in tact overrides building an exciting park?

I thought I had a great idea for Memorial which would have worked but it didn't fly. I wanted to sell the building and transfer the proceeds to establish ministries to the poor. What church does this except maybe one in Acts...where they sold their possessions?

We could establish drop-in care for abandoned mothers as they ran to the doctor or went back to school. We could get dealerships to sponsor vans to transport the elderly to the doctors. We could get land donated (since we had given up our property) for camps for inner city kids and mentally handicapped children and use such camps to train our church teens how to minister all summer long. On an on the proposal continued.

Paul Harvey would have reported a church in America that gave itself away and, I believe, someone would have donated a facility for our church family to assemble in. A new vision of Christianity would capture the doubting/indifferent in our communities. I saw it as a way to get the community to help us and minister with us and eventually become a part of us. But we didn't try.

Of course it was extreme. I understand the hestitation. During the time I was proposing this to a set of elders many years back, an unsolicited offer to buy our property came along. Without checking with anyone else the seeker was told no we weren't interested in selling. I felt we should be.

Maybe my idea was way wacky. Maybe it was a foolish dream. My point is the grand march around the Jericho Walls and the reduction of Gideon's army was just as wacko and if we keep our dreams opened sometimes there'll be a match.

Soon into Christianity, dreamed of getting to be a preacher. The church which converted me told me I really didn't want to preach. But I did....I did at least want to try.

When your Alcatraz's die under protest, don't let your imagination suffer setback. Keep dreaming forward!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nothing New Under the Sun

Don Millican's article (yesterday's post), I think, has a larger message I wanted young leaders to note. Don wrote what many have felt or pondered, but had yet put into words. His thoughts are clear; yet, with such depth they continue to call for our sorting/wading through.

I draw your attention to the fact he did not parrot the norm. He thought past the coffee shop chatter and beyond the Bible study rhetoric. Whether facing acceptance or rejection, he went out on a limb with his idea.

Everyone has in-built dreams from God. I wonder how many life-changing, church-changing, eternity-changing concepts go unannounced because we forget to dream from God's ability. Walt Disney is reported to have said, "Anytime I propose a great idea to the board and it is unanimously rejected, I start work on the project immediately."

Walt Disney was a dreamer. Joseph was a dreamer. You are a dreamer. If one billion concepts have been successfully released upon mankind, there surely are a million billion mega-zillion ideas awaiting hatchment. All of the potential ideas have not yet been thought.

Do your best to cooperate in harmony with one another. Then, dare to imagine what could be if God were to land in the center of another great idea.

I'm glad Millican said what he did. I'm more encouraged that he said something in a way I had not yet heard. I believe it true, there is nothing new under the sun. However, for me, there're a lot of square miles under the sun unexplored.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Being Salt and Light

I must share my delightful surprise to see a note from my friend, Philip Yancey, pop up on a previous post, "A Great Gift for Christmas". And then, I found out Sunday that Theresa Underwood reads my blog! I am still on a spending spree of friends!

On to another matter, Don Millican, elder at Park Plaza in Tulsa, wrote a most challenging article in Sunday's Tulsa World. I have felt increasingly uneasy over the years about the portrayal Christians are taking on for ourselves in the political arena. Thus, I pass the article on to you for consideration. If you don't care for the political scene, I'll catch you tomorrow. If you do, take a look.

Readers Forum: Being salt and light to all the world By DON MILLICAN 12/10/2006 View in Print (PDF) Format
I am, though imperfectly so, a conservative evangelical Christian. I make no apologies for that. And, if you are not one, there are obviously significant issues about which you and I will disagree. Perhaps that discussion is for another time, but for now, I invite you to listen in on a conversation with my fellow evangelicals:
Brothers and sisters, it is time for us to no longer allow our political affiliation and views to be presumed or for a single political party to assume our allegiance to the point that they can ignore our interests. And it is time that we cease allowing our views to be marginalized by being relegated to a two or three issue platform, prompting the rest of America to cast us as extreme and irrelevant -- the religious right. How did this happen to us? How did our witness for the teachings of Jesus become distorted so? As is often the case with unintended consequences, I'm afraid that much of the answer lies with us.
We speak, as we should, for morality, and yet do we speak for morality in all its facets? It is clear that Jesus considered morality to include taking care of the poor. One cannot read the 25th chapter of Matthew without understanding the centrality to the teachings of Christ of care
for the underprivileged. He tells us that He is embodied in the poor and the outcast, and warns that how we treat them is, in fact, how we treat him. Is it moral that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars giving tax breaks to people like me and in executing a war, while the basic educational and health-care needs of the poorest of our society are being inadequately met? Is it moral if workers' wages are inadequate to allow them to reach self-sufficiency or that more and more working families have no health insurance?
Scripture has much to say about the proper treatment of workers and severe condemnation for those who mistreat or take advantage of them. And speaking of workers, is it moral for us to enjoy cheap products if the Third World workers who produce those products are being paid less than a living wage? Where has our evangelical voice been in addressing morality issues such as those?
We say that we want a Christian nation, and yet are we prepared to accept what the hard teachings of Christ would say to a Christian nation? Rather than practicing an "eye for an eye" or "life for a life" retaliation policy, Jesus taught "turn the other cheek" and "love your enemies." Those teachings are unequivocal and cannot be explained away.
Are we really prepared to apply those teachings of Jesus to our foreign policy and our criminal punishment laws such that we are "pro-life" in every aspect of our policy agenda and such that we do not give up so easily on non-violent solutions? Jesus said "I was a stranger, and you took me in." Would Christ be so harsh in His immigration policies as many today would propose? The prophet Isaiah defined "fasting" that God wants from us as "to loose the chains of injustice" and "to set the oppressed free."
Are we prepared to accept from these teachings that civil rights must be a passionately espoused component of any Christian policy agenda, even civil rights for those whose lifestyles and beliefs we might not accept? Do we also understand that any policy platform that we advance must be forceful in its support for international human rights if we are to be true to the charge given us to free the oppressed?
By these comments, I do not suggest for a moment that we abandon one political party and run headlong into another. As E.J. Dionne Jr., said, "If the church causes discomfort only to one political party when both are in need of repentance, it is not being the church."
What I am suggesting, though, is that it is high time that our evangelical Christian voice begins to speak with the prophetic force by which it was first delivered, on the full range of Christ's teachings -- and addressed to both political parties.
If Jesus were walking the Earth today, from his actions and his words, some might understandably describe him as a bleeding heart liberal. But in truth, he is more accurately described as a bleeding hands, feet and side compassionate. And so must we be if we intend to bear his name.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

One Huge Spending Spree

MLB's Winter Meetings concluded Thursday and several mediocre players signed for millions on top of millions. When you ponder that kind of money the mind can drift into la la land considering all one could do with "that kind" of dough! Due to envy one could become blind to his or her own marvelous possesssions.

However, I really believe I already live there. I am "millions-dollar-wealthy" in friends. I live in the church like I'm on this perpetual spending spree of trying to be with everyone I know. I feel like a kid at church going from one aisle (hallway) to the next greeting and cheering and hugging all my friends. I love today....and every day called today.

From Darrel and Barbara way down South to Greg and Janice way out West to Jeff and Trinity way up North to Doug and Tiffany way down Southeast....and everywhere in between...I am wonderfully rich in friends. From Lynn, Shawn, Tracy, Marvin, Charlie, etc of the locals and then add Dan and Theresa, Lee and Marcy, Tony and Lea Anne, Randy and Kerrie, and on and on and on of Memorial's members...I'm a "million-dollar-kind-of-guy"! I pass by our office crew often with the words, "Don't you just love me?" They crack up...of course. But it's one of my ways to breaking them loose from routines which, if not careful, can turn potential shopping sprees into mediocre moments of daily rote jobs. Love the moment!

Do we not find the church the most brilliant, popping, and exhilerating place on earth? Did not Jesus say he came to give us life and go give it abundantly? And don't we think being of "million dollar gratitude" would fit the abundant description?

We are on one huge spending spree every day, folks. Notify your heart and your face and your step. Wake up early and get on the with the celebrating. We have spending to do!

Don't you just love getting to be you?

Friday, December 08, 2006


It's that time of week, once again, to toss some gasoline onto someone deserving of applause. We take this day to shower some with gasoline that their productive world go up in flames....flames of success....rather than having cold water tossed resulting in quenched ambition.

Today I applaud my daughter, Wendy Michelle Rush Chapel. Fifteen years ago last night her fairly steady world began to completely unravel. Her fiance, as well as his brother, were victims of gruesome murders. The days, weeks, and months ahead were blinding as cavernous darkness.

An immediate battle with Epstein-Barr soon took over. Continuing college was not feasible. We brought her home. Wendy's life was now reduced to long hours confined to her bedroom; her best friend absent in finality and her pursuit of education derailed. But she didn't pout; she didn't quit. She moved to Dallas to start over. The day she pulled out of the driveway en route to Dallas, I waved a tearful farewell and then promptly checked her room to see if she had forgotten anything. I opened the closet door and their encountered everything completely removed....except one wedding dress hanging alone off in one corner.

In Dallas she met on of the greatest men on earth, Chris Chapel. He reversed her life. Our family adores Chris.

A year and a half ago Wendy gave birth to premature twins. Ana Rush Chapel died after a few days. She was indentical to her baby sister and looked like a store-bought babydoll. We stood at the grave with Chris and Wendy and said farewell to one we briefly met.

Wendy has not wasted tragedy. She has insisted it be productive. Her stability runs optimistically deep. While she and Chris reside happily in Atlanta, Wendy has encountered a young deaf woman grieving over the loss of her husband eight months ago. The young woman is fearfully lost. Wendy knows all the feelings; she knows how to face this tough-stuff head on and win. Simultaneously, she is helping a close friend bear up under the fears of her child born prematurely and weighing in at two pounds.

Wendy is one of my heroes. The neat thing about her is she's normal. One would give her a break if she wanted to have moments of "poor me", but she has never spent one such moment. Her life praises God. look like you know the Living God! I love you today!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Elders Who Feed Us Freedom

Last night Memorial experienced some amazing event! We adopted a nearby elementary school. Some of our people go in every week and read to the kids. This week the church took gifts to the three secretaries.

Lindbergh accepted an invition to perform their Holiday Program for us at Memorial Drive last night. 65 kids stood on risers and sang with occasionally wobbly choreography. Applause was everywhere! There were maybe 150 parents and neighbors....mostly from our community to join in on the cookies and drinks afterward. The place was a wonderful buzz.

No one went to the elders to get permission to do this. They gave us permission a long time ago to pursue opportunities in the kingdom. There was no elders' meeting to discuss, arrange, or gain approval. We get to try around here. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we succeed. For the mostpart we have the room to make the effort.

To be fair there are occasions when, through discussions, there will arise an idea the elders will deem unwise and will properly impose their judgment. I say that to say they lead; they are not out of touch with us. The opposite is true. They still recall being younger and having ideas which died in the meetings.

If there was one thing I believe would inspire 90% of our church families it would be to increase the number of elders who trust their members' opinions as much as their own.

In this week's bulletin our elders will read for the first time an announcement: the women of Memorial will be having an event called WinterBlast. It's a gathering of our ladies on a January Saturday for a brunch, games, and door prizes, etc. Of course it's all right to have this. Of course the elders didn't know about it. They respect the faith of our people. We simply go to work....and the shepherds are in there helping us set up, take down, express their pride in us. WE FEED FROM THEM.

I urge other elders to move away from the board meetings and let your flock breathe freedom to minister in their many potentialed ways. Stand down from the permission givers and step into the applauding cheerers role. I marvel at what God gets done around here....and I love it!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Forward With A Focus

I love right now! Kingdom opportunities are everywhere! As leaders we are challenged to know where He leads. There are three main areas of Kingdom work I sense God's call for my followship:

1. The Memorial Drive Congregation
I love this church with all my heart. I dream about it and
for it every day. Because of the leadership freedom I get to
be around, I find I am still able to dream some of the wildest
stuff and just see "if" it just might work. I know the name of
every member and care for their personal thrill of feeling
connected to the mighty workings of God. It is my focus to
charge this flock with too-good-of-news-to-be-true every
time they hear me speak.

2. The Tulsa International Soul Winning Workshop
I have felt for a long time I was called to Tulsa for the
purpose of influencing and impacting the workshop. It is
more than a buzz. It's a Holy Spirit calling. I love it,
believe in it, am still enamoured with it. I see God get more
done with me in three days than the rest of the year
because of the adventurous spirit of a renewly ignited

3. The younger ministers/leaders in the church
I am not old, yet. However, I am older than many which is
exciting. God has given me a keen eye for the new guys on
the block. Three work on our staff at Memorial. There are
hundreds and hundreds arising. We are in good shape
brotherhood-wise as to the future men and women being
groomed. I want in on it. They have my attention.

Yesterday I received an invitation by Free Indeed to go to Africa with them next summer. How good would that look on my resume`? Mom would be proud! However, I declined as I want to do a good job with the three things above. That doesn't mean I'll never go to Africa. It does mean I can decline without feeling pressed, guilty, or like a failure who appears disinterested in global evangelism.

Are you feeling good about your direction? Do you feel it's becoming clear as to your mission? Mine evolved over time with Him. I never wrote out a personal mission statement....but rather I noticed He had developed one for me. Much funner!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Wonderful Dread of Preaching

A young preacher, Gilbert Kerrigan, asked if I would make a comment on his blog regarding sermon preparation. I really hadn't thought much about the process. As I wrote concepts, God's real participation and interaction became apparent. Thus, I share with you my response to Gibert hoping it will encourage you to risk the vulnerability to believing our Living Lord participates in our lives. Here's my response.

Admittedly, mine may be way out there, but it’s what actually goes on and what works for me. I used to be thrilled when I finally thought of next Sunday’s sermon and sick as soon as it was over. What’s left to study….to say? Now things are much different.
I study during the week to learn. If I haven’t learned something about God and His Kingdom during the week, I have nothing to say. I study to learn for me. As I go through that process I listen for Him to speak through society: i.e., a song on the radio, a comment by a waitress, a conversation with a friend over coffee. God will, somewhere along the week and every week, speak to me about what He needs to be addressed the next week.
Then I go to a computer file called LIBRARY where I have logged topics/scriptures referenced in the maybe 150 books on my shelves. I have hundreds of entries and if I need to recall what I studied about “fathers” I can go to the LIBRARY and it will tell me the six books and page numbers to recall what I’ve read earlier…often years earlier.
I study that material and wait for Him to speak about what He’s thinking. Often what I preach does not come from flesh and blood…it comes from ideas He gives me. Ideas….that’s as close as I can come to explaining His speaking to me. Too, I’ll go ahead and say, He always gives me the trump point on Sunday morning when I’m shaving or showering. We always meet in the bathroom.
I don’t rehearse the sermons because mine are never done until I’m done delivering them as He may change a point along the way. I meet with a few men at 7:30 every Sunday morning for pray for an hour over the morning ahead. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING I THINK I DO ALL WEEK.
I fully trust Him to stand with me and say things with the level of Life He intends. It’s a scary, sickening privilege to get to preach. I have a love/dread of the role. I’m enamoured with the thrill of it and sick with the thought of missing my audience….every time I preach. The pressure still makes me cry about it every week.
Now, I’ve let you in on something here. Don’t tell anybody.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Gold Rush Lives On

How would you like to own a gold mine? I mean really....guaranteed to contain the real thing. How would you respond to such discovery? If you were notified of such an acquisition, what would you say to everyone you meet? And then, how would you feel when informed of the risk and cost of extracting the prized ore? Wouldn't it be worth the struggle and concentration and effort in order to tap into promised wealth? Imagine the harvest!!!!!

We have such hope. We are promised God's grace that we may have an abundance for every good deed. The risk is we have to prime the pump by giving what little we have away. It is true, every believer is actually sitting upon their own gold mine of God's grace that we may have an abundance for every good deed.

It has been my conviction for three decades the greatest undiscovered secret to mankind is the thrill, the joy, the risk, and the result found in giving. When couples seek my counsel regarding their financial straights, I advise them to increase their giving. When I visit with a young pair for pre-marital advice the one thing I am certain to cover is risking by intentionally developing a habit of giving money to God.

Malachi shares God's call to try Him out on this one. He says, Test Me. Just wait and see if the Heaven's don't open up to you. I've tested. He's right. I cheer you on right now. You, my friend, own your own gold mine.....backed by live like it by giving like it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fiery Friday....AGAIN

10 1/2 inches of snow this morning in Tulsa, OK!!!!!!

Let's continue that Friday thing we've been trying by throwing some gasoline on some good people who make a difference for so many. This week let's explode on those who influenced us as kids or who influenced our kids in good ways they may never know.

CHARLES COIL inspired me to preach with passion. I met him while at Preston Road. I was 24. When I heard him preach, my grades soared in homeletics. Fortunately, I got to share such with him over the years as we became close friends. I'll not forget what Charles Coil showed me regarding pulpit skills.

MINDY PITTMAN was a huge influence on Wendy. Approximately four years older, Mindy gave special attention to my girl; treated her with kindness and thoughtfulness. The power of a teen mentoring a pre-teen is priceless. Wendy grew to return the treatment to those younger than her because she had a friend who trained her well. MINDY PITTMAN.....I salute you!

CHRIS JONES was Dusty's hero. Chris remains a solid leader in the church. Without realizing it, he provided Dusty with a tangible vision of what a popular, successful business man can accomplish for God. Chris' role...while totally unassigned...fulfilled what each of us dreams of. He walked the talk and inspired a boy to become a man of God. Chris, I applaud your true and consistent leadership.

LINDA JONES taught Timmy to read. He later grew to be known as "Tim". Teachers and two tutors had not been able to connect his mind to the written page. Linda asked if she could work with him. He quickly learned to read. (I don't think they ever worked on spelling.) Even today she will tell you she didn't do anything special except build confidence in him. How special! Linda, I throw gasoline on you to continue to brighten life in all directions!

Share what someone did for you or your children along the way which seems to never be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Keeping the Ministry Fires Burning

Bailey McBride has an excellent article in the Christian Chronicle regarding keeping our ministers from being overburdened. He addresses important issues which I bring to the attention of you young whipper-snappers out there who are knee-deep in the wonderful work of God's kingdom.

One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after the wind (Eccl. 4:6). Once again, the wisdom of God baffles the human mind. Less is more....and lasts longer. If you are going to complete the marathon don't spend all your much-needed energy by mile five.

How do you last a long time and find yourself increasingly enamoured with your work well down the road? Here are some clues:

1. LEARN TO SAY NO. My first few years in ministry found me saying yes to demanding members when I clearly wanted to say no. I could not possibly attend all the functions some members felt I should. Congregations are willing to house you on Guilt Street and let you abide there for as long as you can. Don't succumb. Learn to say no when you mean no.

2. ATTEND A SEMINAR NOT OF US. Each year I attend Catalyst in Atlanta put on by John Maxwell's INJOY team. The reason I go to this particular event is it caters to the younger minds. I'm 59 and I want to know what's connecting with younger generations.

3. REMEMBER YOU ARE MOST LIKELY THE DUMBEST PERSON ON THE COMMITTEE. I'm serious. I know it in every meeting I attend....and such awareness frees me to be vigorous about what I see needed among us. I fight and push and nag and complain....knowing all along my level of lacking competency, but wanting to see if God swings open some great and wonderful door. Sometimes He does! I am never a better thinker or more spiritual than anyone around me...ever. Such, ironically, doesn't defeat me. It frees me to try.

4. KINGDOM MATTERS ARE NOT DEPENDENT ON YOU....BUT ON GOD. Romans 9:16 keeps me sane. It keeps me from going over the edge of feeling trapped and suffocational. We deal with overwhelming pains, sorrows and needs. We can't possibly hold up under the pressures of making ideal choices and perfect decisions. The truth be told, we don't know how to fix squat. This passage says, "If it is to be, it is up to Him." He makes things work. We don't run the show.

Ah, these are simply man-noticed ideas. What works for you to help you remain as fired up today about your mission as when you began? For me? Everyday I feel like the teens when they come home from camp...except for one thing. It doesn't fade!

A great gift for Christmas

Philip Yancey is a special friend. I named my dog after him. Yes, I could have chosen Arthur, Manning, Swindoll, Colson, Lucado, or Warren. I couldn't envision a dog named Warren (while Maxwell might have worked) so I refer to him as Yancey.

Philip Yancey's newest book, PRAYER: Does It Make Any Difference?, is one of his best yet. His writing of this book is brilliant in the page-after-page intrigue of prayer while wording it so captivatingly simple. I am both enthralled and inspired. Every page has insisted I use the highlighter and several call for the addtional dog-ear.

Yancey has written several amazing books. This one brings clarity to a muddy topic. Easy to understand, he raises common questions as to what good it does to pray. His simple responses are inspiring.

Get the book!

In my earlier years I didn't want/like to pray. It was redundant and redundant with redunancy. Plus, it went nowhere. When I began to realize God works among us/within us, the need to pray became critical. Yancey's work deepens my hope of why the necessity.

How do you see the role of prayer?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Restoration Movement Calls for Change

The Restoration Movement has given us great motivation as well as direction. When I was converted the very nature of such a movement wowed me and continues to do so. I feel, though, we may have allowed the movement to jump its orgininal tracks into a zone open to great human error. The Restoration Movement is not the Word, it is not God, it is not the rule book for the church. It is a man-created society with respectable principles....and that's all.

Some view the Restoration Movement as providing the criteria for what the church should believe and how it should behave. We don't call our preacher pastor even if he does shepherd the flock. We don't call our meeting room sanctuary (but auditorium) even-though such is the only room in the building where we can't take food and drink because it is sanctified.

It is probable that every leader in the church of Christ has hit a fork in the road as to whether to remain committed to the Movement or to the Word. If to the former, the paradigm has no shift. It's cut and dried---some believe---as to what God thinks. Yet, these remain divided and re-divided over exactly what Campbell or Nichols or others concluded we should believe. The latter (the Word) will call for our devotion to both unchange and much change. Jesus will always be the Son and methodology will always be subject to shift. Word study will necessitate perpetual adjustment.

The Restoration Movement set the boundaries and several locked the Holy Spirit out. The Word insists He's in. The Restoration Movement set the parameters for worship......referred to the Word of "decent and in order" virtually shut out emotion and expression. The Word authorizes "decent and in order" without curbing the celebrative excitement of praising the Lord.

The ideal of the Restoration Movement may need to slip back onto the tracks of holy writ. Restoration does not mean petrified. We are not a people locked down; but rather, opened up. I see it as it was originally designed; to call us back to the Creed of Jesus the Lamb. Will such include change? Of course. Who would be against changing the number of souls we are winning each year? Who would be against changing the numbers gathering for corporate worship each week? Who would be against learning more of the Word......even if the Word disagrees with our policy to this point? Who would like to see more interest in Jesus by our teens. Who would like to see fewer leaving the church distressed over bickering and arguing? Who would like to see more of the homeless homed and more of the rejected accepted? Who would like to see the church change from rote meetings three times a week to meeting in the Word? Who would like to see more effective praying....more members praying?

There is so much I am eager to learn. I believe I know about 1% of 1/2% of what He intends for me and I'll not discover as much of it by dragging along my man-created rules. I suggest only two areas the churches of Christ---in general---does not address: prophecy and the occult. I believe we unintentionally have dampened our members' enthusiasm for the Second Coming having ignored the study of Prophecy. Too, I believe we have set the church and her families up for unnecessary struggle due to the disinterest in the spiritualism. These are just two areas that need to change. There must be hundreds more topics we have yet to consider.

Will the Restoration Movement allow change? It's very nature calls for it. Yet fundamentally, our goal is to abide by the Word; not restore the Restoration Movement.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Don't flinch.....ever.

In September of 1986 a friend sent a most amazing note my way. I had sent an earlier note expressing my being stumped as to how to approach the work of the church while sitting in on one hostile/frustrating meeting after another. Fear was holding us back....and I was a part of it....and I wasn't sure what/if to do.

Dear Terry,

My friend.....hang tough!

Legalism and pharisaism are hoodlums on the loose in our Lord's Body, the Church. They have always killed and destroyed, assaulted and raped, clawed and crushed, bruised and battered the spiritual lives of others. Our Savior reserved His severest words for those whose hypocrisy and squint-eyed judgmental attitude bullied others into submission.

Stand fast. Stand against. Stand alone, if necessary. But stand in the Ephesians 6 "full armor of God" with that effective "shield of fatih" that extinguishes all the adversary's flaming missiles. All.....including legalism and pharisaism.

I respect you for your discernment. I affirm your courage to face wrong head-on. Don't even flinch, Terry. God honors those rare spokesmen who trust Him in the hard places. You're one of 'em, my friend.

Praying for you....honestly,
Charles R. Swindoll

Just ten days ago I received a similar S.O.S. from one of our most brilliant ministers pleading for prayer over him as he felt he was dying in his work. I thought of Swindoll's note and pass it along to those of you who really needed to read this letter today. God has a way of providing that just right message...even from a twenty year old letter!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Did this blog show up?

I wrote a very good blog earlier today. It was well written and cheered a lot of great servants onward. And.....the blog connector evidently didn't connect. It must have gone on to blog-heaven.

So.........did this blog show up? If so, how do you feel about what I wrote earlier? For it? Against it? Need more information?

It's Fiery Friday...AGAIN!!!!!

I'm back from a long Thanksgiving break just in time to write a new blog on "FRIDAY"!!!!! So, let's toss some Fiery Friday gasoline on some good works God has going.

Let's comment on congregations you find great delight in knowing about His work in them.

I salute:

THE SHANNON OAKS church with Jeff Jenkins. Their heart for people combined with courgage for God inspires me. I love that they endure from the cross all which might consume them and keep their drive for extending His kingdom.

THE UNIVERSITY CHURH OF CHRIST where Dusty is. Their leadership is committed to building a sweet family. This congregation is well on it's way to the excitement of watching God do things through His provision and protection which will bless some---well down the road----who have yet to be born.

THE GUADALAJARA CHURCH where Tim and Kim are. What a powerful work going on that does not possess the norm of success measurements. The numbers are few...but growing...the lifestyle (compared to mine) has it's challenges...but the Holy Spirit visits this work.

(And, I'll mention they have lost some financial support and are worthy of someone picking them up....soon.)

THE CROSSTOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST IN TULSA where Charlie Kymes preaches. The congregation was declining a few years ago and God has begun to rebuild right where they live. Their humility, their stability, and their simple devotion to stick with Him is bearing the fruit of joy in the land.

THE RICHLAND HILLS CHURCH OF CHRIST hasn't reached it's size by playing church in neutral. This is a prayer-based, vision-oriented group whose drive seems to be two things: The Cross of Christ and the outlandish hope of reaching the lost. Rick Atchley.....good leadership from you and those who partner with you!

Toss some gasoline on a few churches you'd like to see continually fired up!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fiery Friday

Let's throw a little gasoline on some friends to inspire their work to even greater levels!

First, this will be my last post for a week as I'll be traveling home to see my momma for TG.

Now, to Fiery Friday!

Eph. 4:29 says to speak words which will give grace to those who let's "speak us some power!" I chose to throw gasoline on three people whom I applaud for their servant faith.

JOHN DOBBS......serves tired and tirelessly as pulpit minister in Mississippi. The man is both worn down and stronger than ever due to the amazing grace of God filling his shoes. John inspires me to work when it ain't fun. We took a team to Pasgagoula last summer. What a depressing thrill! That is rugged work and it's facing John every day he drives down the street. JOHN DOBBS, I think you are a living wonder!

ARLENE MAYES....serves faithfully beside her husband (SHAWN) while he leads worship at Garnett. The Mayes are members at Memorial Drive; their home. But, Shawn has been called by God to help Garnett out for a time with his strong ability to lead in worship. Arlene packs up her four little kids and steadily, faithfully stands by her man by attending a church---while neat in its own right---is not home. She misses her Memorial friends and family. She misses the worship here. Yet, she serves faithfully to God and to her husband by keeping the family in tact. The kids stand by daddy as momma does and the lessons they are learning will bear continued fruit. ARLENE are JUST one amazing, powerful friend. I love you!

BRENDA a wife, a momma, and a nursing student. I call her the "Going Home Nurse" because of the saying that when you are in the hospital and the nurses start looking better, you are about to find out you are going home. BRENDA is beautiful all the way through. She carries a big load which includes missing every Sunday morning's assembly in order to complete her training at the hospital. One would think her faith might be threatened; that her interests might slip. NOT! She is committed to Him....period. She has not and will not let go even though her temporary schedule is not ideal for her and her family. BRENDAY HUGHES......I salute you!

Would you pick three people and throw a little gasoline on them? Let's cause their fire to erupt by grace-filled words which will cause them to pop with over-joy! Tell us about three of your most amazing servant-hearted friends.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Aging youthfully

I really enjoy my work. It's exhileratingly exhausting. The challenges are often more than I can emotionally bear. One thing I continue to enjoy about it is it never gets old. And, I don't either.

However, I do find my role changing. One of the more obvious is I am noticing the need to be less of a spark plug and more of a gasoline can carrier. Where I love motivating the troops, I love now the opportunity to throw gasoline on the younger ones' ideas. Yesterday I sat in my office with two church leaders 20 years my junior. They had visions and dreams of what adult Bible classes could be. How exciting. How not like what I had organized over the years. My secret/quiet goal toward them from the beginning was to do everything I could to toss gasoline onto the Holy Spirit fire within them.

I may be 59, but I don't want to get in the way of wild horses leading in the kingdom. Enough of taming and domesticating the ambitions of good young men and women. We've done that along the way, and we are losing some of our best to discouragement. I think they have tremendous ideas. I'm not here to tone them down. I'm here to see their fires keep burning.

Lord give us the wisdom from above to know when to carry a water bucket and when to carry a gasoline can. Speak words of life....and then expect the fires of compassion to roar with extravagant hope!

An Athiest's View

Ellen Johnson is the President of American Athiests. During her interview on the O'Reilly Factor November 13, 2006, she said, Religion can't survive without government. She was emphasizing the decline of religion in America by making the point that if it weren't for the U.S. government, faith-based organizations wouldn't survive. Bill O'Reilly challenged her with high percentages from polls indicating religion was much stronger than her perception. She was bent on voicing what great gains her organization is making on bringing about religious decline.

Those who speak anti-faith seem so glib. What a calling to rid earth of God?!?

It would be interesting if there was a way to calculate the money religion sent in goods, man-power, and occupational sacrifice to the Katrina shorelines. Could it be goverment wouldn't survive without religion? Government isn't surviving without it.

Don't be dismayed when strong statements regarding faith are introduced. Faith is dependent on one thing....let me correct that....on One. His name is Jesus. His Father flinches not, even if the circumstance appears the minority. There was David and Goliath, Esther, Gideon, and so many others. Their dependence was on God; not on numbers, not on statistics, not on funds in reserve. We live in their jet-stream.

Calulate where you see God working.....and then tell the whole world about it. Hopefully such contagion will grow that unbelievers will volunteer to praise the name of Jesus with us.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Peak Effeciency

Do any of you ever feel foolish at your computer? Just how smart is this little gray box, anyway? It can do things I will never think to require of it. It can twirl, it can dance, it can skip, it can prance its stuff. Yet, I call on it to do maybe.....1% of its capability, if that much? Do we ever connect with the software's maximum capabilities? I doubt we get close.

Shawn Mayes is a PT working with me as I prepare to return to the Cardinals Legends camp. He has me stand on one leg atop a half rubber ball about 18" in diameter to teach me balance when coming off of the mound. At first, I could not remain balanced for even a few seconds. When he taught me to contract my stomach muscles, I can stay balanced a long time. How much of our physical prowess do we neglect because we simply didn't understand how things work?

I heard a healthy looking man who possessed maybe 1% body fat speak at a Peter Lowe Seminar about diet. He explained in overwhelming detail about chemical interactions and fuels for the body that my mind could not possibly take in all he was saying. Don't eat fruit after 4:00 p.m. because such interferes with other chemicals and on and on he continued. My conclusion was, "Donuts are out?"

Study of the Bible floods the brain as well. There is so much to know. The name of God...and how many names? The intriguing connections to Jesus' instructions which could be better understood if we were Jewish. Yet, the Jews struggled to understand him. When we speak of restoration we must consider we are most likely only speaking of the half % we know.

My point? Don't become enamored with what you know in any field. Whatever it is you have gained is but a fragment of a fragment of what there is available to absorb. So? Park your high-horses. We are all foolish....even in our strongest environment.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

When Golfing Gets Rough

Thursday was a fabulous day to golf. Three of us ventured to our favorite course. As I was teeing up on the second hole we heard a blood-curdling scream and looked up.

The foursome coming our direction one fairway over had hit a shot which had veered in our direction. As the man was surveying his ball location his golf cart began to roll toward him. Panicked, his wife jump in to set the brake, but instead hit the accelerator. She ran into him, knocked him down, and kept screaming and keep pushing the accelerator to get the cart to stop.

It was a hilarious scene!

She knocked him out of his shoes and drug/pushed him 40 feet before the cart finally stopped on its own. Then she got out of the cart and another had joined by this time and they are hunched over asking the man if he was all right....with the cart still on him. They didn't back the cart off for several minutes.

The sight was hilarious. This man's shoes back up the fairway, him pinned beneath the front wheels and them leaning down to talk to him while this cart sets on him.

We lost our composure. I've never seen Ralph Gray cry. It took him four attempts to hit his drive because he kept stepping back and drying his tears. Ralph, who shoots in low to mid 80' s shot a 105 that afternoon.

Needless to say that couple didn't finish their round. She drove him back to the clubhouse and my guess is they have been in therapy ever since.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What do we do?

Last night I got one of those dreaded calls. A sixty-one year old man who attends Memorial became despondent over a property-line dispute. He shot three of his neighbors and then himself. All four died. His daughter, dear to this church, and is in my small group. We just baptized her mother last month.

Upon receiving the call, I drove to the church to catch any elders who might be there. During the short drive over I found myself praying. It was an unscheduled time for God and me to meet, once again. And, here's what we discussed.

I thanked Him. I thanked Him for being God and thanked Him that we weren't. I thanked Him for understanding when our frail minds couldn't grasp the English words we were just now hearing. I thanked Him for His glory, His beauty, His quickness, His patience and long-suffering. I let Him know that in the center of devastating news that He remains the Beauty of the World. I thanked Him for the successful work He and Jesus and the Spirit did at the cross and through the grave.

As I continued to praise Him, I asked Him if he would develop this tragedy as a backdrop for the diamond-beauty of faith to shine ever so brightly in our lives.

When news hits us so starkly it feels that someone has darted off with our oxygen tank, it is always a right thing to praise the Living God for His extreme loveliness and presence....Phil. 4:4-9.

That's one thing we can do.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lead, follow...or get out of the way.

In my early years as a cynical and brash preacher I relished the sting of the bumper sticker which boasted, Lead, follow, or get out of the way. The message of course was a bold call for the bum-fussler(s) blocking church progress to either get with the program or else let me lead and he/she/they move to the rear. It was a strong, stern message of power coupled with vision.....I thought. Just to recite it excited the take-charge guy within me!

As God grew me down I have practiced that line so much better as the secret to it's call is really to get out of the way. That's what John the Baptist did when Jesus approached. That's what I try to do to be an effective leader at Memorial. I try to calculate how to best get out of the way: out of His way, out of the members' way, out of progresses' way.

Now in my 30th year we are having Jason Thornton and Bobby Smith (both staffers) preach once a quarter. Others must increase and I must decrease. Gradually, these and others will be in the pulpit more. I intend to be present cheering them on. Getting out of the way doesn't seem to be natural. I feel weird sitting there while a young fellow does the preaching. I'm doing seems.

Yet, getting out of the way is such good leadership. It let's God and His people continue the flexibility to be current, to try the new, to experience uncharted courses which would also be good for developing missionaries out of our kids and training reckless young minds to exert their energy inside the halls of kingdom living. Oh, Lord willing, I'm far from being put out to pasture. I'm only 59. But we are planning ahead for the future when I hit 85 and they have had enough of me.

We have many mottos which produce effectively at Memorial Drive. A great one is, A Place To Start Life Over. Another one we try to practice everyday is, Get Out of the Way.

It's a Haggard week

Ted Haggard surely has caused much stir. Blogs and emails contain sensitive and well-thought-out comments. The new merciful nature of Jesus seems prevalent in most compared to gnashing of teeth. One note which passed by informed readers that James Dobson and Tommy Barnett would be evaluating Haggard's spiritual and emotional base for the purpose of giving him healthy counsel.

My question is: Do we get it that Dobson and Barnett are in the same boat as Haggard and we are in the same condition as Dobson, Barnett, and Haggard? The Romans 3:23, all have sinned and fallen short is packed with mighty and deep sin and irrecoverably short. Somebody's got to pay for this mess! James 2:10 still prods us to accept a truth we tend to hedge upon, if you are guilty of one sin, you are guilty of all.

Ted Haggard's sin isn't to be regarded lightly. It's the dropped jaws of Christians that disturbs me. Our personal sin we accept with a shrug of it's not that bad. While immorality may not have been carried out in your flesh, there's reason to believe Jesus said if it's in the heart it's the same. Few, very few, would enter a school firing a weapon. Murderers we regard ourselves as not. Yet, Jesus claims that to be angry with a brother is murder.....and we yawn and shrug. At least we are no Haggard.....but we are.

Ted Haggard being exposed is not the devatation of the week. It's discussing the likes of him as if we aren't exactly like him.
Squeaky clean from sin is surely to be celebrated; yet, all have such opportunity only because Jesus makes us exception for any who considers him/herself as having done a fairly good job of avoiding pitfalls. We are ugly wretches cleansed only by the blood of Jesus.

The kingdom is about restoring the ugliness of mankind to the beauty of His Son...II Cor. 5:14-21. That includes Ted Haggard and you.....and me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Don't give up...God works!

I've been with Memorial Drive 29 1/2 years. We've enjoyed watching God reverse our course. At one point we were sliding as a congregation into "not much hope for us". Everything about us seemed bleak. A couple of things happened which seemed to turn us around about twelve years ago. Mainly, a hand full of women began to study a new workbook, Experiencing God, by Blackaby and King.

They began to share with the rest of us the idea of getting on board with God where He is working instead of us generating concepts and then petitioning God to endorse our plans. What followed were two bold moves.

He lead us to add a part-time children's minister as we had very few children's classes....there were so few children attending. Too, we added a worship leader who took us to a new level of praise in our assemblies. Today the church is enthusiastic in its participtation in kingdom matters. God has richly blessed.

Share what moves you have seen God do---in your congregation or others---which might cheer others on to hold fast to their confession and, once again, see the church headed in a positive direction.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Faith Under Fire

We are living a time of significant opportunity to display our faith. Persecution has passed our way in rare and intermitent dribbles. Some get written up for not walking the perceived party line. Others are eliminated from the speakers' bureau because their presentations offend. Such persecution is simply anemic.

Take a look at under the topic of "The Threat of Radical Islam". We are squarely facing the rumors America faced when Hitler and his were doing there thing....over there. Persecution is on it's way as a thunderous and bellowing storm. We will no longer watch war on TV. We will be in it. We are in it.

We must bury our people in Jesus ahead of time. Cute programs for adorable children and adventurous outings for church adults won't cut it. We must develop within our churches the mindset of confessing Jesus as Lord when under severe fire. The resurrection of Jesus is the conquering hope.

Up 'til now we have lived in the ease of biting and devouring one another in the name of "Truth". We've sounded big...but we aren't. Now, the stakes are escalating. We are headed for confrontation as to whether we will testify in the presence of our enemies that Jesus is our King.

We are poised for blessing. Our future will find absolute opportunity to possess faith with a purpose. We belong to Him and there will be no turning back!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What's the value of blogging?

As I see it, the blogsites are defeating privacy fences. We are becoming neighbors once again. Blogs allow our visits to be brief while our days remain free to get so much done. There is value in gaining connectedness in a world which seems so crowded, yet leaves some feeling so lonely. I am all for seeing that all feel absolutely connected to someone.

I'm not sure how often I can or will pay attention to this site. I am a very green novice. I know this....people are important. In future notes, I will join with many others to be another voice to cheer you on.

For now....enjoy your weekend!