Sunday, November 30, 2008


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do you find yourself fighting the nature to be a control freak? I mean do you get stuff in your mind and you seem like you've been taken prisoner as your determination as to how things are to be must rule; must win? The body of Christ is more effective when it is limber. Rigidity doesn’t belong in the kingdom system. I was reared to be very uptight. Such spiritual arthricity still plagues my ministerial movement. One who truly grows in the Holy Spirit increases in flexibility.John 3:8 discusses that all born again are so supple they can shift or even reverse direction, much like the wind, day after day. Unbending stances have become a modern day call for respectable doctrine. Such didn’t arise from scripture as much as tradition. What goes unnoticed by us as we are stuck in it is that we don’t know we are stuck in it. We think church is the way…........Okay, so do you want to hear something sorta weird? I’m in the office at 5:00 trying to write this article for the blog. I’m in when no one else is to keep from being interrupted, right? So I decide you need to know about flexibility and the doorbell rings. I begrudgingly go answer it wondering what somebody wants when I’m trying to work.So I go to the door just now even in typing mid-sentence and it’s one of our sweet college kids with an envelope marked “Terry” on it. In it is a letter from his momma expressing having saved up this money, $200, for me to use as I wanted. People are always giving me money and I give it away when/as I think God wants. How nice of this servant heart. I started to put it away and decided to pocket it as I may run into someone tonight who needs it.So I’m back now at my computer pounding out the sentences on arthricity and rigidity when the door bell rings again. Brother! Urghh! I’m trying to write an article on being flexible here and if you idiots don’t quit ringing that stupid and irritating doorbell, I’m never going to get done! (Insert more Urrrrrghh here.)I get up and go to the door to find a 60-ish year old disabled man with an electric bill in hand. He explains he and his wife are disabled and she is on a breathing machine and they just can’t afford to have their electric cut off. He showed me his ID and the bill which showed he lives in the neighborhood. He needed 70-some dollars so I peeled off $80 and told him that not ten minutes ago someone was ringing this same door bell handing me money for anyone who needed it......Now, back to my story about flexibility. We all need to…..nah, I think that was it. Once again, God wrote the text!

There is more to the story.

Today Shane and the team led us in two songs and then David Combs baptized Mary W. He and Lisa had befriended Mary at the food bank and have been caring for her for months. It was a great way to begin our morning.

And the invitation song Charlie B. came forward to be baptized. He looked familiar. I had met him once before.....when he rang the doorbell on a Wednesday evening asking for help with his electric bill. It was him! He came back to church to start life over.

Both Mary and Charlie are about my age. It is too exciting to see the love of God showing up in people all around us. Don't quit. God is working. We can count on it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Ah, I came up with a good title, huh? I doubt I can effectively write about it, but I sure do like the title. Seriously, faith is an outrageous element of the spirit system. It is more potent like Nitroglycerin than calming like Tylenol.

Faith breaks the decent and in order assumption. It is young like right now and old like ancient Abraham. Faith is more than a step in a plan of salvation; it is a leap in the scheme of God-sized moves. Faith causes water to stand at attention while it salutes the dry river bed of the Jordan.

Faith allows common people to participate in uncommon events. It abides by ridiculous whims of God like pushing from the inside to cause the Walls of Jericho to fall outwardly. Faith see as way Jose, when doubt said no way.

Faith is antsy. It must have a mission; a place to show its talent or else it spoils. It is very alive and alert picking up on the most unusual senses that possibility might be more of a reality than one would guess. God sat faith down in the very center of humanity and said, Take a good look folks. This is what I want you to possess.

Faith came in the form of Jesus. He defied all odds, beat all enemies, and freed the captives. I encourage you to live like you have a faith which has not yet been de-clawed by more tame and acceptable circles of influence. I urge you to provide your faith a mission in which it can roam and soar and celebrate. Nothing can shut you down or up if you believe in the resurrected Jesus. Nothing. So awaken all dreamers! Life has just you...again!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Jesus will always be of one direction. That direction will always be, in my opinion, the main challenge to members of the church. The direction? People.

Christians have an uncanny ability to live in acceptable deceit; not just deceiving others but self. Being in the church has its moments for every size, mood, and tenure. The deceit is that we are about the business of the church while staying as far away as possible from people in need. We may pray and we may give, but contact is out of the question. The prayers and the givers are important facets. They cannot, though, be provided as hiding places to keep from expressing the Life of Christ among the community. The one challenge which crosses all generational as well as doctrinal boundaries is the actual coming into contact with the messy, unruly, needy of our communities.

It is one thing to decide as a board of directors whether to send money or support ministry to a needy and worthwile camp. It is quite another to roll up sleeves and serve at the homeless shelter or give a ride to the stranded.

I've had my moments in both camps; the deeply involved and the excusively removed. Jesus lived not in but one camp; highly and intensely connected in both word and deed. Until the church grows in gracious relationship with those less fortunate....personally one member at a time...we are in great danger of being a social club with a self-consoling name over the door. May we continue to strive for the accurate doctrine of Christ who was continually going home with or welcoming strangers into his circle. I am most proud of any of us when such is the experience.

The heart of Christ is not a philosophy nor a discussion topic. It is hand clasping another's hand while offering genuine hope.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The Restoration Movement is unique to the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ/Disciples of Christ as we had our American beginnings in such a movement. It is a thrilling story; one which hooked me as I studied to become more committed as a Christian. Names as Jacob Creath Jr., Racoon John Smith, Moses Lard and of course Stone and Campbell riddle pages of Restoration history with riveting accounts of men moving deeper into the Bible church. Plain people with common thirst for God’s truth volleyed and adjusted their religious bent continually hoping to more align with the Word of God in belief as well as practice.

However, the movement shifted from restoration to preservation. Teachings began to crystallize. Pliability took on a strange form of rigidity. Learning was replaced by defending. Humility was booted out for a conquering sort of pride which moved from tender-hearted disciples to legalizing Pharisaism. Effort to get back to the Bible was t-boned by getting back to the Restoration Movement; something Stone and Campbell would never have accepted.

From the Restoration Plea there was a high note of “go by the Bible”. However such a thrust did not come from the movement itself. It came from the Bible. The idea of a movement leading anyone back to the original thoughts of God’s revelation is always a respectable course. However, when such attempts shift to preserving what little has been recovered, momentum and direction suffer injury. Discovery and mystery are replaced by defense and form; de-formed is the result.

A significant hiccup may be found in evolving plans to restore the church to the New Testament pattern. Scripture would indicate what is called for is to restore people to the New Testament Christ; he will not restore his church but will continue to build it. His church isn't something mankind gets back to. It is something man is added to. Have we not been in a long state of reversing the work by trying to add the church to man?

I love the early days of the Restoration Movement. To operate trying to restore the restoration movement, however, is something added to the will of God. Such a course is radical and the cost is a mistake. The latter day saints’ minds atrophy as the Bible doesn’t have a chance. It has been replaced in its own camp by names of notoriety other than Jesus. If we don’t continually move back to the glorious name of Jesus, God will most likely find someone who will.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Strong opinions had built up. Somebody needed to say something. Finally, our small group did it. We couldn't take it any longer. We just had to call them in. So, we called the elders into our home and gave them a piece of our minds tonight. Whew! It was some scene!

Tonight at our house was a wonderful setting. Our small group consisting of eight couples brought pies and cakes as we gathered to tell the elders exactly what we think of them. And we did!

It was, in my opinion, a benchmark moment. All sixteen spoke in abundance as their hearts were each filled with praise and thankfulness for what our guys do for this flock. All sixteen had much to say. In reality much was left unsaid which needed to be said; but after an hour and half we felt maybe that was enough for one night.

Fortunately for Memorial Drive, our elders are as grateful for the flock as the flock is for the shepherds. Everyone was touched by the outpouring of grace and love. These men and their wives deserved hearing what wonderful work they do. We are a blessed congregation as these allow God to work with them, in them, through them.

Memorial Drive isn't the only special church in town or in the scheme of things. It is, though, one of His happy ones! We enjoy noting the "out of the blue" experiences God hands to us week after week. In reality, there is so much of God among us we hardly know how to comment. But for one evening, I must say it was a real joy to observe our elders and their wives as they were bombarded with intense and highly deserved accolades.

It might be a good idea if other congregations would consider giving their elders a piece of their minds! It built us up....I know that for sure.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This week I finished a book I have been writing for about five years. It has taken a lot of patience to keep writing between distractions as well as interruptions. Now after 250 weeks of labor there remains another significant hurdle. Will any publisher want it?

Too, I have been working on a celebrity golf tournament for two years. The goal is to raise a million dollars for Tulsa Public Elementary Schools. One door after another either closes or simply fails to open. There is one more door at which I knock. Friday when I knocked a voice on the other side said rather curtly, Go away and come back some other time. It sounded like a brush-off, yet the invitation to return leaves me with hope to try once more.

You have works you envision. We must not give up. When doors fail to open, this must only serve as a signal to watch for the doors which do. We must not get discouraged and quit knocking. Souls literally depend on our ability to endure the tides of discouragement. We just can't quit trying.

You are quite important dear colleague. None will know the amount of time you may have spent with seemingly little results. Fret not. It is worth all of the hassle and the wait when a door here and there opens for His measure of productivity. Do not quit!

It seems it would be easier not to press. But, we have too much work to do and too many people to lead to God.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It appears the church is about to find itself in a very blessed position...again. America’s economy is rocky to say the least. I believe 2009 is going to be a valuable year and we must not be found reading the comics.

Families will possibly find themselves in a serious pinch. The financial load will affect not only those outside of the body of Christ; but those within as well. I would encourage us to be in prayer that God would do with us what He did with the unsuspecting lad with the fish and the loaves. More is going to be required of us than there is of us. This is the ideal setting for Jesus to show his stuff.

America is going to find enormous need. Will we be as his disciples calling to him to do something about this? Or, will he return the monkey and advise us to do something about it? I believe the latter is his action for the former. Jesus did not just use the sack lunch. He used the unassuming disciples to distribute what they could not see as the answer. They were just as shocked as the boy.

As reports of layoffs and financial strain escalates, let the church be of a different language than those who have no Jesus. May we do as Jesus. He did not deny the extreme need. He called on God to bless the moment. Did He ever! Therefore, it is not up to us to scramble to find more funds. It will be up to us to present the few funds we have with anticipation he will do that expansion thing with them. What will be up to us is to continue developing the faith which believes our God can take of what little the church has to offer and multiply it so many times the community can only look toward Jesus with grateful applause!

You have a different perspective and role. Hear of the world’s troubles. Then dare to be different. Plan on being a tool….used similarly as the nameless boy with the bread and the fish. Bless the world in need.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I think a lot about you. Really. Throughout each day I wonder about you, root for you, and hope you are feeling good about your work. You can gage how much I think about you by the number of times I post a blog each week. I think of you more than I write.

I wonder about all of us. Do we get it that while we have the calling of God to reach the world we must be cautious not to impose our own wishes, meaning, and glory? Pride is a hangman's noose camoflauged as a necktie. It may look dressy, but it will hang the greatest of visionaries.

I like it when we can discuss differences of opinion. Yet, on occasion an edge comes out in print on the part of any of us. We must be so careful. It is right that we cheer each other on by spurring deeper thinking or considering alternative methods. We must be careful to keep pride at bay for, the truth is, not one of us is a sharp knife in the drawer.

There are not some in the church who are pros while others are novices. Compared to Jesus we are lucky to be let into the stadium let alone onto the field. My articles and your responses are always safe when written from dispositions of gratitude.

Therefore, I urge you to hold fast to your convictions to which God has led. But do not assume yourself as better or wiser or more capable than the next for God has allotted each a measure of faith. Use sound judgment keeping in mind each of us possesses incredible and enormous lack. This is precisely why it is so doggone thrilling to work in the kingdom. We should never have had our application accepted. But you know God! He insists everyone gets a uniform!


I wonder if we remember to do anything with our faith. I don’t mean nothing by faith has ever happened. But, I wonder if Christians are not tempted to go through our days aware there truly is a God, yet we tend to muscle our way through the cones and intersections of normalcy on our own skill-set.

Calvin Miller emphasized a most valuable reminder; Still our respect for His majesty is ever to remind us of our inherent weaknesses. The only way that we can ever make strong decisions is to depend on Him. Each of us is quite capable of slipping into the zone of handling life’s challenges and opportunities from our own ingenuity base.

The Word is thrilling to remind us over and over about the resurrection power of God. He defied the most basic bully; death. God made life out of death. He pleads with us that such a truth is where and how we are to walk on earth. This resurrection power/something from nothing recipe for mankind is called what? Miracle? Magic? Neither. It is called faith. That’s it. Faith.

When He urges us to walk by faith and not by sight, is God not calling us to enter a zone of bewildering and scandalous wonder? Surely He does! Your faith….is significant. Allow Him to help you grow it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The eye is the light of the body. It is regarded as one of our more important parts. We treasure their expertise of discernment and evaluation. Good eyes can avoid oncoming calamity by alerting our feet to dodge and our heads to duck. Too, sharp eyes can assist in sinking a long putt.

Could it be that great vision in the kingdom is provided by those who see far but have no view of themselves? Could it be the reason such men and women are so effective is because they don’t live with regard for themselves? This class of servants can see all over the place as they bring the body news of potential and opportunity. But they never focus upon themselves.

How blessed every congregation is to have those among us who have no concern for self. How fortunate to labor beside young and old who are ambitious in proper spirit. May we each strive to be most valuable for kingdom good and while we are at it, may we be careful not to keep watching ourselves.

May you be increasingly determined to serve in such a way you are effectively looking out for the rest of the body. That’s a tall order. But the body of Christ is dependent upon eyes with good light!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Maybe twenty years ago I invited a Jewish Rabbi to speak at Memorial on a Sunday evening; and yes, from the pulpit. He had a message I felt our people needed to hear. It was far ahead of 9/11, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His message was one: the Muslim world is comprised of only 1% radicals; but we better believe they are one mean batch. Ironically, 1% of Memorial’s membership got mad and left us because we had a Rabbi speak at our place.

When I saw Mike Huckabee’s recent interview with Bill Maher the “Few Percent” principle leaped out at me once again. He has built his argument and his movie upon the assumption that all religion is what just a few percent reflect. This is not only a big mistake for Mr. Maher, it’s a big mistake for us if we practice judging anything by the fewest percent who happen to be ridiculous or radical.

Do you struggle as I with suspicion toward the Muslims? Do you find yourself not trusting those who say they are peaceful? Do you believe that given enough rope they’ll hang us? I viewed all with great suspicion…until I watched Maher’s interview. I now must reevaluate.

I do to the Muslims what atheists do to Christianity. They (atheists) run to report the abuse, the immoral, the warring, and speak with apparent intelligence that this is what God does for you. Why can they not peruse the larger percent of the upright instead of the renegade? Why is this? Because they are not interested in truth, they build a defense to fit their preconceived ignorance. That trait is found in me….maybe in us.

Why is the Bible rejected? Partly because 1% pounded people over the head with it? Why is the topic of giving the laughing stock of unbelieving coffee shop patrons? Is it because 1% (possibly television evangelists) abuse it?

We keep our faith. We don’t melt any of God’s truth away. We don’t jump to all religions as being right with God. But it is always right to judge others upon truth rather than gage any by those few percent who make a mockery within every brand and tribe. Jesus, for me, will always be the only way, the truth, and the life. His call for loving our neighbors, though, needs to find expansion in places. I find I may have judged all by the antics of the few. We even do it among ourselves.

Monday, November 17, 2008


It seems in my travels I continually learn of the consistent burden elders feel. Appropriately, they take their roles extremely responsibly. I've not encountered one who did not possess a near reverence for the office. Their demeanor is found to be a good combination of sobriety and devotion. They take not their assignments lightly.

However, I see in many cases good men trying to swim in the wading pool. They are dealing with things deacons and deaconesses should be handling. Elders are mistaken when they find themselves devoted to being the Board of Permission as well as the Financial Board of the Church. Such is terribly poor leadership which causes the congregation to be immature. When elders operate from AUP (Ask Us Permission) the flock does not develop in risk, faith, and mystery. It only develops upon the restrictive control of its three or four or six men in charge. This is crippling to the body.

Elders would find their load greatly lightened when two things happen: (1) turn over the work of the church with full confidence in the members, and (2) learn to stay out of the way. Right now there is so much productive good going on at Memorial there is no way our four guys could permit it, support it, understand it, or know about it. They are interested, quite interested, in the productivity and spirituality of every member. But the members health cannot depend on the shepherds knowing about and how to run every good work this membership can envision.

When elders bless the church instead of boss it, profound life is experienced. Right now David and Lisa Combs are arranging to baptize Mary on November 30. They have been working with her through the food pantry. None of the elders (I imagine) know who Mary is. I know her and can't think of her last name. The point is our shepherds love this flock and are proud as punch that God works so many fascinating ways they cannot possibly keep up.

Bottom line: our elders believe God works. They are not afraid to give shepherding the flock their best shot without having their hands in every paint bucket. If we want to spend money we don't ask the elders. We ask the four on the finance committee. If we want to have an event, we don't ask the elders. We check the church calendar to see if it would conflict. If we are uncertain as to an expenditure or an event's wisdom, then we go to the shepherds and they wrestle with us over the best approach. They are terrific to work with any of us; but they do not own the work. God does.

I think too many elders are frustrated because they are trying to shepherd from the safety of the wading pool. Such a work was not designed for men of such faith. This can frustrate the spirit of the men trying to serve as well as the flock trying to do good and mysterious works. If these men would move to the deep end of the pool where they have fewer answers as well as control, they just might find that God's involvement would be a great necessity. Too, they will discover He is willing to participate in the work to such a degree the loads get lighter.

Go figure.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Anonymous' comment to the last blog article, In view of Acts 19 and "rebaptism", I find it interesting that we don't generally "rebaptize" folks, who were baptized with no knowledge of the Holy Spirit, is most important. The text in Acts addresses questions toward Christians, Did you receive the Spirit when you were baptized?

This is the reason for nearly all of the rebaptisms I experience. When in school we were taught that Acts 2:38's reference to the gift of the Spirit was not the Holy Spirit himself we received, but the gift of salvation. I went along with it as the argument seemed to fit. But, I don't believe it today. I think the passage speaks to our sins being forgiven and the Holy Spirit moving into the Christian's new life for activity.

I wouldn't want to make what I'm about to say as law for I am far too weak in my understanding. Yet, it seems to me the mistaken teaching on Acts 2:38 has been hazardous to the church's health. We have had generations baptized by immersion into John's baptism instead of Christ's while saying we have done the opposite. Yet the fruit of argumentative and divisive walks substantiates my view. The church fusses and fights as it cannot possibly bear the fruit of the One it denies. Thus, we are stuck with us.

I would suggest the church adjust its teaching regarding the Holy Spirit for it is a vital part of the God-head. There were not two. There are three.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Why is the church so divided over the Holy Spirit? Why is it some freak out? This is a strange phenomena among us that to mention the Holy Spirit in our lives is worse than believing Satan works in our lives. He can get direct billing anytime without raised eyebrows. Yet, mention the Spirit of God and suddenly one better be looking for a new congregation.

I understand the threat. I once believed the opposite of what I do today. What I don't understand is who started this panic. When the church shut down the Holy Spirit it shut out God working among us. That (spirit) form is the only way God can work and we say (said) we don't believe it.

What happened to change my mind? What made me begin to believe the Spirit works today? The Bible did. I was reading Ephesians 3:14-21 where it says the Spirit gives strength to the inner man and I said aloud, That's not right. I caught myself speaking back to the Word correcting it and it stopped me from continuing the false belief that the Spirit no longer works directly in a Christian's life. He does; the Bible says so.

One of the things that happened to me as I began to search this new possibility was listening to our older men pray (who didn't believe the Spirit worked either). They would pray things like, God guide, guard, and direct us. Really? Direct indirectly maybe? Or, God, give Terry a ready recollection of the things he's about to say. But, I bet they didn't mean directly...did they?

We have tossed the Spirit out and He is so gentle He has willingly left. When this happens we are left to do church on our own. His fruit of love and joy, etc., cannot possibly hold up for it is His fruit. The spirit of hatefulness, and division, and gossip will prevail when He is absent....and we've proven that in too many places.

The Holy Spirit isn't spooky. He is God in Spirit form which happens to be Holy. If the Spirit is booted out the only thing left is our conglomerate business minds doing our best to pull off average. Average worship, average commitment, average life, average experience; no relationship with God and no anticipation of His working for we accepted the false notion He doesn't anyway.

The Holy Spirit is controversial. How we tried to toss Him on His ear out the back door while trying to keep the Father coming in the front door is most amazing. The church of Christ is in desperate need of the mighty power of the Spirit functioning with us today.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I know (wonder at least) many of you must feel you've been put in your place. I mean you go to work, do your thing, stay out of conflict best you can, achieve a bit here and there, and start over again the next day. Such routine can rob a person of his or her gigantic calling. Don't let it happen!

Abraham was one man. God kept his promise. The father of many is he. David was one man. Sinful and selfish did he behave. God made him an example of courage. Esther was one woman. God shows the world of believers today that bravery to speak up in the tightest of pinches can break open remarkable doors. Saul of Tarsus was one man. He was hell-bent on destroying the church. By the time God was through with him, Paul was heaven-bent on building the very thing he once gave his life to destroy.

Don't forget your calling. You may feel as a minnow in an ocean, but you must not let your courage wain. Step up with your songs (as Paul and Silas) when treated unfairly that the Spirit of Christ may do His work. Step forward with vision to do what no one has yet thought to do. Get going. Quite living a shrunken life in the most advanced system on earth. Get up! Get going!

Write the best book ever! Produce the best movie ever! Imagine the greatest evangelistic crusade ever. The Shack? Gone With the Wind? Billy Graham? All people backed. Get with the program---His program in you---and be more than you've ever been right where you are. The church is not located on a street corner like Phillips 66.

We don't have a J. C. Penney Jesus. The church is sitting in your study, or your office, or your airplane terminal, or wherever you are reading this blog. The church is located right where you now sit. Don't you think it might be good to dream again for God? We aren't the Rut Church of Christ (unless, of course we have a building at the corner of 7th and Rut). We are the Imagination Church of Christ, the Anticipation Church of Christ, the Where We Live Church of Christ.

Ah, drop the criticism of others. Wake up to your own assignment. Live where you are planted and build the church; expand the kingdom. It will take courage but, then, we know the guy who excelled in that, huh?


I spent three days this week in Guadalajara with Tim and Kim and kids. Very fun. Very important. Very meaningful.

I saw to extreme sites on my trip; at least two. The first night in Zapopan we went to visit the house church in Jocotan. The crowded streets became narrower and rougher. We have nicer alleys. The people were delightful, but, oh, so poor. The housing conditions were severely impoverished. Americans have nicer tool sheds in their back yards. Adults line the streets for conversation while children run and play. Everywhere one turned, everywhere eyes could see, there were hundreds, thousands, millions of people loved and adored by God. Do they know Him? How will they know Him? A few will (do), but the number who may never learn of the Savior Jesus is upsetting.

The other extreme was sitting in DFW going and coming. Adults line the well-manicured terminals while children run and play. The people are delightful, but oh so poor in attitude and inner strength. Everywhere one turned, everywhere one could see, there were hundreds, thousands, millions of people loved and adored by God. I keep wondering, Do they know Him? Surely many do. But what about the number…the vast number….who don’t? This, too, is upsetting.

An odd thing I noticed in my travel among the extremes. Overall, the poor in Mexico were happier than the rich in America. Nonetheless, we must ramp up our efforts to live in the Christ that the big message reach both groups for both are dying without him?

This note today has nothing to do with guilting any reader. It has everything to do with a reminder; we must reach the world by every method and concept our small imaginations can fathom…..sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Do not underestimate the enormous, profound, absolute truth that in the name of Jesus is crucial. The reason anything goes right is because of Jesus. The reason for any hope is always because of him. Church flows in sweet and effective mystery because of the one who paid it all.

We are to honor his name. If not careful "in the name of Jesus" can become a "10-4" to our signing off on prayer. It isn't. It is the secret code (used out in public, no less) by disciples to credit the one---the only one---who runs the show. Nothing is ever about our plans. It is about Jesus blessing plans, leading efforts, and causing results.

You may wish for this and that. Be sure to place the signet ring of God---the name of Jesus---upon every task before you. Imprint your heart's desire with the authority of God's touch. How this works and why this works is up for grabs as to explanation. We know this for sure; the work of God in Christ Jesus is most amazing and our job is to believe in the very one whom He sent....John 6:29.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We would be amazed if we had just a hint about us! There are so many working patiently and faithfully to reach into this world's populace with the too good of news to be true.

Many commenters on this blog are ones doing a good job of reaching out. Some are missionaries in the church sense while others are missionaries in the momma or the office worker sense.

What mission field are you in and where are you doing such faith work?


I love being in the church. Not everything is fun and full of joy because real life in the church includes the cross-like elements which are most pertinent. Yet, the direction and the thrust of the work of the church is vibrant with hope due to the enduring nature of Jesus.

What does the future hold for the church? Well, it would seem two opposites. For the part of the church which insists upon denying the active Spirit of God, there will be a growing cause to fight what is perceived as false doctrine only to notice the graying of the members (age-wise) and a loss in numbers. The other group which acknowledges the truth of the Word regarding Spirit involvement will ever be learning God's masterful and mysterious ways. The former will be church from flesh engrossed with argument and ever stuck within its own strength. The latter will note a new normal; a harmony of work and faith, hope and promise.

Neither will be without sin. Both must rely on the bloodstained cross as beggars like in need of crumbs of grace. Both groups will find desperate need for His mercy and grace. But one will find life and love and hope because that's what God does among His people. The other will live fearful they got something wrong and disgusted with those they mistakenly believe to surely be wrong.

Life in Christ to the maximum level is what the church should hunger for! May we hunger to find the righteousness Jesus provides for we are unable to do so on our own. The future of the church? It will depend on where we decide to place our faith. I would urge you to build a faith based on an active God with the understanding the most any of us know to this point is probably less than 1% of total Truth.

Monday, November 10, 2008


What is it that brings us over the horizon of daily service to find inspiration leaping in our hearts? Two things are involved; more I'm sure, but two for now. The cross of Christ and the poor for the moment.

When we reflect upon the cross with its guts and gore, hearts seems to rush to new focus. Hang-nail issues diminish by comparison. The cross blasts away indifference and causes renewal of energy. When we consider what happened to the Son of God by religious and Roman thugs we become aroused in spirit to push back against dark and unruly forces.

Too, encountering the poor motivates me to take action. The poor depress me a great deal. I don't feel sad that I am blessed; I feel lonely that others are not. Prisons housing human beings like zoo animals make me sick. Jesus, recall, had compassion toward prisoners. Those who have meager income or abuse what small income they have tugs at my heart. I want everyone to be well off.

What is the answer? Can we really do anything about this? Yes. Absolutely! Give 'em heaven! Give them Jesus. I think about this trying to go to sleep. I think about it when driving. I think about it sitting in airports. What can we do to impact the masses? Jesus is the only way. He is the way.

Please. Try to do more than finish your day in a tie. Keep doing something with your heart (with your imagination) to invent, create, activate works of impacting good. This world is weak at every turn. People are crumbling. The conditions are perfectly rotten for the love of Christ to shine like crazy. Blessed are those who mourn. Much mourning is going on. May we team up to pour in the blessings.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm not sure that what I'm about to tell you is a rule; more like it is an opinion which I wonder if it would help some of you who speak of kingdom matters publicly. I remain fascinated with the task of preaching. The reason is not about me; but is about Him.

I'm noticing the more I stay out of the way in sermon organization and planning, it seems the more God shows up in the message. Don't get me wrong. I study everyday. I am a slow reader and it takes me longer to prepare than others.

However, I am seeing a trend that the fewer notes I take to the pulpit the more His Spirit seems to work with my spirit during the presentation. That sentence could come across very wrong and I don't mean it improperly. There does seem to be a matter of trust from me to Him. I have in my notes basically the verses I want to read. Of course I've searched them. Of course I've given them serious thought. But what is different is I don't write out precisely what I intend to say should God have new ideas I had yet to consider.

In every sermon something shows up in the delivery I had not yet pondered. I am enthused to hear what He is going to say....really. Ah, I'm fumbling terribly in trying to convey this. Sorry.

My point I want to make is it may be possible we obstruct the Spirit of God by mapping out precisely what we intend to say to the extent He can't get a word in edge-wise in His own sermons. I think He is more willing to speak through us if we will rid ourselves of carnal safety nets and move as partners in Spirit work.

Maybe we could go back to the days where He really does guide, guard, and direct! No, I don't think it illegal if we have notes. I do think it illegal if we try to preach the gospel of Jesus without the Spirit of Jesus. There. That's what I meant to say.


It is one thing to be dissatisfied with the way the church is. It is quite another to be impatient. All through the years I have worked with some members who live frustrated with the rest of the church for its lack of vision and weak faith. As a matter of fact, I lived there often.

There is usually a trait that goes with every such person; they are just as off base as those whom they criticize; Romans 2:1-5 says so. This is a predictable pattern and those unhappy are seldom informed of being off base; they aren’t approachable to be informed because they assume an upper faith which they deem superior. I did.

I’ve been in classes and sermons where one railed because the members aren’t in the community and they aren’t at the hospitals, etc. It seems so odd to me to hear it because when I’m in the community and in the hospitals I never run into those doing the railing. Not so oddly, I’ve been one to deliver such messages. My mistake.

Personally, I believe the church needs to improve in so many meaningful and important fields. Such does not discourage me. It gives me a job. I’m glad several are not satisfied. But I’ve been found guilty of failure too many times to live impatiently with the church. Our people are productive in a multitude of areas.

For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he out to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

We must guard against impatience. Those who are impatient surely need to improve. The rest need to avoid becoming impatient with the impatient.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Yancey Rush is my 7 year old Corgi named after none other than Philip Yancey.

Yancey's jaws have been swelling. A few days ago I took him to the vet. They gave him some antibiotics believing him to have been bitten. He was getting much better and then yesterday it was back again; only worse.

I took him this morning to a different vet to get a second opinion. The new place was very nice and very careful with Yancey. He seemed lethargically ill. The doctor concluded Yancey was quite ill with cancer. We had to put him to sleep immediately. I could hardly believe it was happening.

I stayed with him and can't believe how teary this day has been since. I walked into the veterinarian's clinic with a dog and walked out with only a leash in tow. I stayed with him while he died. His know pet eyes can haunt you sometimes? His eyes looked at me so sadly.

However, Yancey and I did one thing together on his very last day which was a valuable thing. We were able to work our conversation with the vet around to church, where it was located and what it was like. I did all of the talking as Yancey partnered silently. If it hadn't been for Yancey, I might have never met the very compassionate doctor.

Even tearful moments matter, don't you think?


The church suffers when it operates from the flesh. By that I mean when the operation and organization are based on manpower it can look good; but not be of God. I’ve worked (and fear I still do at times) from the flesh base. It is easy to organize a group of teachers, design a worship service, and promote church ministries and activities. This can all be done from brainpower. This is the lazy way out as man is in control and man loves to be in control.

Yet, when Jesus was about to send his comrades into the entire world he told them to go to Jerusalem and wait. Waiting-to-get-going isn’t a man-thing. It’s a spirit-thing. Surely someone in the group could get the ball rolling now; not needing to wait. But the Spirit needed to be involved. The man-church fights the thought of the Spirit. He would rather control than let God run the show.

The only way one can be spiritual is by the Spirit; not the brand name nor the organization. The Carnal Church of Christ is withering and its basic recourse is to begin fighting and squabbling. Would such be man’s fruit or Spirit’s fruit? Love and patience and joy; these are spirituality. Carnal leadership lives in exasperation. Spiritual leadership lives in hope.

Church of Christ isn’t to be a denominational name. It should be the signal the Spirit of Christ leads the troops. Today there continues to be a need for conversion in the church. Just as some convert their electric utilities to solar, believers need to convert from confidence in the coattails of past church practices to the fresh fire of Holy Spirit leadership.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Everywhere we turn; troubles. Our prayer lists are packed with names and needs. Boy, do we need God!

Be encouraged that Moses hiding and thought forgotten on the backside of a mountain is one of God’s most wonderful stories. Be encouraged that young Joseph believed doomed and forgotten in a remote pit due to hateful brothers was simply in the waiting room of God’s preposterous blessings. Be encouraged that humble Esther assumed relegated to wall-flower position was found to be God’s lone tool in order to avoid a national crisis.

What did Moses, Joseph, and Esther have in common? For one, they had their share of moments when things were quite perplexing; things just didn’t look a bit good. Secondly, Holy Spirit eventuality struck all three. So it is with us. Be not surprised to discover the road to good results is filled with necessary interruptions feeling more like potholes.

In visiting with Craig Hicks this morning, he was sharing how his seven years away from ministry felt so long. Now that he is back in it? That time feels like only a blink. Be encouraged. When we are stuck in the dark moments of bad days, God is working His scheme to prepare us for the good news blink. The bad days we encounter belong to God, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Ah, yet another mistake I made in my earlier years of ministry! How many were there? Countless!

Today's topic revolves around my lack of vision. I thought the only work going on in the church was the work I knew about. Ignorant? maybe a lot?

The reason I bring it up is such an attitude is easy to accept still today. However the body is comprised of a lot of cells (believers) in many places.....globally. Right now millions of orphans have homes because faithful Christians have provided shelter. Much is going on. Right now teens, and convicts, and husbands and wives, and homeless, and military personnel are studying about life in Christ and are about to be baptized. Hundreds; maybe thousands.

I can't imagine the amount of money given by the total body in one week's time. Over a year? It must blow imagination's gasket. How many missionaries are supported? How many does God have? How many retired make transcontinental trips to offer medical treatment or hold an abandoned child in their arms?

The size of the body of Christ is more the size of God than our puny measurement. When I thought the only thing getting done in the church was the stuff I knew about? Well, I was simply living quite vainly one more time.

What a God! If we could know of 10% of His work going on about us every day, we would probably pass out in amazement. Live big! Love big! God is at His!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Frederick Buechner said, “People are prepared for everything except for the fact that beyond the darkness of their blindness there is a great light.” And Philip Yancey followed close to Buechner’s heels with, “They are prepared for a God who strikes hard bargains but not for a God who gives as much for an hour’s work as for a day’s.”

It is a huge challenge for unbelievers to accept the marvels of God. I think, however, it is equally challenging for believers to believe the God beyond hard bargains. Faith isn’t a step in a religious series or a salvation plan. It is the eyesight of the spiritual. No darkness is dark enough to take light captive. No situation is so stark in its impossibility hold to thwart possibility’s strength from piercing through.

May we arise to the practical perception that it is not our organizational skills which lead to productivity. Rather, it is our Experiential God who shocks even the best of believers at His latest move to shake the world. Need a charge for your routine or mundane day? Step aside. See past the darkness of blindness to make way for the great light! God works!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This morning I went to vote at 6:40. The line was long and the wait would be longer. Since my schedule is flexible, I returned mid morning only to find yet longer lines. Young and old stood in line which took an elbow to accommodate the number stretching down the pathway.

Maybe it took forty minutes. I doubt much more. Reports of such lines are all over Tulsa.

I wonder if the men and women who received fatal shots or maiming shrapnel during any of our wars imagined their valiant maneuvers would lead to such expression of freedom. I wonder as thousands rocked by the intruding waves of bays, gulfs, and oceans if these soldiers imagined the pride millions would one day feel as we stand in line to carry out their orders. I wonder if the troops being greeted by shores' mists soaking their faces as they dismounted from ships....I wonder if it crossed their minds that America would be excited to join in on the contest of a black man versus a white woman reaching for the White House.

I voted today. While those on the ticket are surely important factors; my vote counts for those I never met yet likely imagined America might one day take in such an event. To those who suffered and yours are receiving applause today; not by hands clapping but by votes being what promises to be record number.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Are Christians willing to join in on the blame game by pointing to the pitiful government leaders as the cause for the nation's struggles? To hear us talk, the election--who wins and who loses--has everything to do with the state of the nation. I don't think so. I think the condition of the church has everything to do with the state of the nation.

I have friends galore in every brand of Christian branches. Matching the political scene, we have representatives of liberal and conservative persuasions. Bitterness and joy, struggle and peace; each has elements of momentum in all camps.

I believe churches of every brand are dying because we have become unfaithful to the Word of God. While nearly all sects use it as a guide, it's riches come under the scrutiny of leaders who find it more important to continue the heritage of their particular view than to study openly for the Word to reveal its freshness, its newness, its revealing mind. We are in desperate need of the winds of freedom to believe to criss-cross our land.

American churches aren't as interested in uncovering the buried treasures of the Bible as they are at placing steady guards at the front doors of churches slowly becoming tombs so no one will mess with what's going on inside. What has happened is God's method of learning men and women has been replaced by "standard keepers". The problem is that many of the Standards were never of God; but highly preferred by some evidently influential and persuasive in our past.

How many times have we heard of those who go by the Bible, that don't study it or grow from it? This isn't going by the Bible. This is refusing to open up to its beautiful teachings. Too many churches are dying because the very Word each treasures is beginning to die within their own walls due to suffocation and ultimate stagnation.

Let the Word breathe among all our churches. May Christ have the freedom to build His church His way according to His plans without our interference.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


The grass is always greener applies to preaching as well. Tonight I heard Judge Morris, Daryl Hayes, and Charlie Kymes speak at an area-wide church gathering at the Union PAC. I love preaching and preachers.

Here's what I thought when I heard them: These guys are really good! We have some really good speakers in our area. I saw traits in each that I don't see in me. For one, they seem very knowledgeable. I get by, but those guys have a background of study under their belts that I envy. I'm advantaged in ways by not being raised in church. Yet those who have been can speak from the top of their hearts about things I may not pick up on. I thought they did a good job. And, it's tough speaking in front of a special group like this one. As the speaker so much is needed and because we are human we can never deliver as strongly as the occasion requires. So while there is a great chance that none of the three feel they did what they wish they had done, we received great blessings by hearing their hearts speak to us.

There must have been maybe 1200 in attendance? It was a packed house. Those who participated in the presentations; emceeing, speaking, reading and leading singing, didn't disappoint. It was a special evening. But I especially was proud of my co-laborers in the pulpit. They are exceptional and I'm proud to be their friend.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


(A good friend passed this my way this week. I pass it on to you.)

Breaking Through the Sound Barrier by Rick Warren

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 (NLT)
*** *** *** ***
Poor communication is the most frequently mentioned problem in marriage counseling. To really communicate, you must give up three things.

You must give up your assumptions. We get into trouble when we start assuming we understand the meaning of what people say to us. The truth is everything you hear goes through a filter. Your filter is determined by your past experiences and your unique personality.
You may not be hearing what the other person is really saying. Therefore, it’s smart (and safe) to ask for clarification. There are six possible messages every time you speak:

· What you mean to say and what you actually said.
· What they heard and what they think they heard.
· What they say about it and what you think they said about it.

Proverbs 18:13 (NLT) says, “What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts!”

You must give up your accusations. You never get your point across by being cross. Anger and sarcasm only make people defensive and that kills communication.
Here are four common forms of accusation:

· Exaggerating – Making sweeping generalities like “You never” or “You always.”
· Labeling or derogatory name calling – Labeling never changes anyone. It only reinforces the negative behavior.
· Playing historian – Bringing up past failures, mistakes, and broken promises.
· Asking loaded questions which really can’t be answered, like “Can’t you do anything right?”

You must give up your apprehensions. Fear prevents honest communication. It causes us to conceal our true feelings and fail to confront the real issues. The two most common apprehensions are the fear of failure and the fear of rejection.
But real communication can happen when you face your fear and risk being honest. Freedom is the result of openness. Jesus said, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NLT).