Friday, April 30, 2010


I leave Tuesday for the Pepperdine Lectures. 

I look forward to soaking in Jerry Rushford's labors.  So many think I (Terry Rush) am him and he is me.  Because of that I promise a lot of strangers they can be on the Pepperdine program next year.

The Tulsa Workshop aftermath continues to experience good feedback.  See the note below.

The first year I attended the Tulsa Workshop was in March of 2003. I will never forget that weekend for so many reasons. It was a week where political, personal and spiritual factors all came together at the same time. That was the weekend the U.S. military invaded Iraq. I remember that because my brother was on the front lines. That all added up to make for a very emotional and vulnerable week for me. It also meant I was in a lot more prayer than usual. I think God really used that backdrop to open up my ears, my heart and my soul to the events of that weekend. I am indebted spiritually to the Tulsa workshop, Terry Rush, and the dozens (probably hundreds, really) of people who were a blessing to me in Tulsa.

I would highly recommend the Tulsa workshop as a place to get equipped, encouraged, re-tooled, and ready to both be more who God wants you to be and better know how to do what He wants you to do. I hope that each and every one of you will make it a part of your schedule to be in Tulsa in 2011. Bring someone with you. There is nothing like traveling to something like this with people you know and having others to discuss the classes and keynotes with on the ride back home. If the depictions of heaven in the book of Revelation only had book vendors, I would say Tulsa comes as close as it gets this side of heaven. Thanks to Terry and Shane for putting on such a quality event.

                                                                                                Matt Dabbs

These represent only two of our wonderful events across this nation.  Add to that Elder-Link, Quest, Stream in the Desert, Lipscomb, ACU, the Northwest Workshop....on and on the list of top-level kingdom expansion continues.  God has much going on!

Tell me of some of the great events in your zone.  We should be amazed at the intensity of improved discipleship training among us.

If the Tulsa Workshop only had an ocean! Oh well, Pepperdine doesn't have the Driller statue!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I really enjoy what little I see of the kingdom. I think I see more than I realize for I feel certain that while I am looking right at kingdom action, most likely I'm not recognizing it.

Philip asked Jesus when he had ever seen the Father. Jesus told him he had been looking at him for several years now.

Martha was in a scurry to do kingdom stuff that mattered and Jesus responded with a compliment toward the other sister for catching on.

Rhoda was aware of prayers being offered for imprisoned Peter; yet, never recognized it was him at the gate awaiting entry.

I believe God's people get more done than they realize because the very small matters count. If God notices each sparrow, do you think He doesn't catch it when you are courteous? Merciful? Generous? Attentive?

Yes, there was a long period in my life where I wanted to be like the big people. I strove to accomplish the big stuff. Big stuff is good for the big people, but it was out of my range and I spent too many years in envy; maybe jealousy.

When it registered that God was letting me in on a huge secret that power is perfected in weakness, I began to see the entire kingdom landscape shift. I was in. Furthermore, I was enough. I wasn't everything, understand. But I was acceptably....enough to be used by God.

I believe it today; but I fear some of you don't. Start. The small stuff in the corner of servanthood counts. Notice it. Capitalize on it.

Does a child ever approach you to buy a product for their school or their pack? Do you not realize the purchase of that candy or that popcorn (because you are in the kingdom) is a kingdom moment? That it counts?

Has a person ever responded to the invitation song and you went down front to hug them? Do you not realize this is an essential moment of kingdom expression?

At our place we have members who bake communion bread while others fill the trays. Others carry out trash while, yet others, clean out closets. Some host showers and others have babies. All of this combined activity coupled with hundreds of other casual events make up who we are....a people highly engaged in kingdom life.

It may be unnoticed by some....but not by Him. He sees the sparrows, the hairs, and the stuff we do over in the corner which goes unnoticed!

WHY OFFENSIVE ELDERS WORK WELL does the title strike you?  Offensively?  Ah, but read the rest of the story.

I watched our four shepherds lead a class last night as they fielded questions and made remarks about the work within the flock.  I enjoy watching them work.

Something occurred to me that really makes them wonderfully who they are.  In turn, this trait is reflected upon the entire staff and flock.  Our guys operate from offense, not defense.  These guys are learners; not defenders.  They are tryers; risk-takers.  They are promoters; visionaries.  They are empowerers; not territorialists.

I saw something definitive about them as they spoke.  These four in complete unison are like children in their interest and hunger for the Word.  They want to know what else!  What else does God think?  What else does He want?  What else does He have to say?  Our shepherds live wide opened to taking in God's direction.  They don't live defensively afraid of what the church might think....locally or area-wide.  They aren't smug, understand, but their faith is not based on what they fear.  Their leadership isn't expressed with hints of trepidation.

Our elders lead out offensively.  We are blessed because of it.  We are really blessed.  To them...they regard themselves as mere men.  To us, we see them as great leaders who fear God more than our quirky comments or momentary whims.

We have very offensive elders...and we love it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Witnessing was a central part of the New Testament church.  Believers traveled about giving testimony to the working of the Living God.  It was a powerful trait.  It is needed today.

When one, anyone, shares how God has and is working, faith is built.  We should encourage all of our people to give repetitive testimony as God works in our lives day by day. 

If the church could hear of the wonder He commits among us, I believe we will be destined to only hear more of the glorious works He performs.  Life is about God; not us.  When we rehearse how He has blessed, confidence builds.

I urge you to start the ball rolling.  Build the faith of others.  Provide time in classes, sermons, small groups, etc. for believers to testify as to how amazing God is.  May this begin a fire that consumes a doubting land as well as dying churches.  May both be refreshed to the dew of His marvelous touch!


If you are anything like me, you hunger to do more, be more, and accomplish more than possible.  I want to impact the world for good for generations to come.

Such desires can cause one to feel to be merely the size of a pinhead.  The world is too large.  Time is too far. And, personal skill is too lacking.

Enter the Spirit of Jesus.

Read again Eph. 3:14-21.  Note the lavish exaggeration of God's emphasis of His Spirit working in completely plain us.  Notice His daring challenge that He can trump anything we can imagine.  Because of God's wonderful involvement with simple us, we can expect marvel and mystery from our shoes.

With all you have on your plate, don't forget to believe God.  The Spirit of Jesus fills his present and highly functioning body.  We are a part of the plan...the big picture. 

Live like it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today I am reminded of the importance of operating around the person, the presence and the name of Jesus.  He is our life....our hope....our model....and our Savior.

I was reading a very upscale brotherhood magazine this morning with article after article emphasizing the church; its pattern and its evangelistic call.  Jesus---his story and his pattern---are missing.  It made/makes me sad.  At first it made me sad for the effort which this magazine surely multiplies without firm reference to him.  And then it made me sad at wondering just how much of my life and ministry revolve around the minors instead of the majors; the ministry gnats instead of the life-giving Christ.

We are so prone to serve from the flesh.  The church leans toward being its most intensely attentive during a church fight than over drawing the poor to the Master.  The Bible and the Pattern and the "way to do church" has long overridden the essential basic of loving the Son of God.  He has become a mere passenger in our great cargo of Bible knowledge and doctrinal core which we both promote and protect.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Not the church's organization.  Not the church's leaders.  Not the depth of knowing Greek meanings.  Jesus the man; he is the way, the truth, and the life. 

For me, I will do well to continue to reach for him more than I reach for approval among men.  He knows stuff.  He does stuff.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  While we tend to be a people committed to the right church I would encourage us that in order to truly be right we must be a people growing in love with Jesus who is building his church.

In all we do...Jesus must be in the mix for he is the main thing.


I know how it is trying to make the month and the money match; especially if you have children still at home.  I developed a simple idea when my kids were small.  It occurs to me some of you might like the idea.

Let's say for easy calculation's sake you give $100 per week to the church.  The annual amount would then come to $5200.  I determined I needed to hit seven weeks where I didn't give a check to the church.  Seven from fifty-two leaves forty-five weeks of check writing.  But I still want to remain faithful to the $5200 commitment.  I divided $5200 by 45 (weeks) and the amount I would write my check for each of those weeks would be $115.55. 

By raising my contribution $15.55 each of those forty-five weeks I would have seven FREE SPACE weeks.  Four of those would be applied to the four times car insurance came due.  The other three would be applied family vacations.

I've done this now for about 30 years and all I can say works for me!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Ambition runs high among many of us for life in the church.  We yearn to see it grow.  Marvelous ideals bid for the "main thing" in the work of the Lord.  We want in on it....and we often believe if others could only see church life the way we see it, the church would be far better off.

That would be one of our first mistakes.

The longer I am in the body of Christ the more I believe we strand ourselves on the island of independence and self-provision.  Our understanding is terribly and radically disoriented.  We have made effort to reduce the Living God to a Manageable Manager.  Too, a Golden Calf of pet doctrines has submarined our effectiveness by trusting our heritage more than our Bibles.

I don't speak in terms of you or they....but of we.  I'm one of the major violators of good church approach.  Yet, I am highly encouraged at what I get to experience among so many.  The kingdom is properly expanding and growing.  As usual, such is because of the working of God.  Our work is to believe Him (John 6:29). 

We will always be challenged to yield, to listen, to plan to grow in Christ and his church for we are but very small humanilistically as well as visionally.  When I take the back seat in kingdom ventures, it seems the church vehicle travels farther.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I've now written three blog posts this morning with nothing to show for it.  I wrote one at the office only to have it melt away when I hit "publish post".  I wrote a second...different topic....hit "publish post" and it too melted before my eyes. 

I dropped the effort.

Later I came home to try from this computer and had a terrific post going about God being the Holy Houdini.  I could hardly believe it, but as I was wrapping it up a window popped up to tell me windows would be shutting down and restarting...without my permission.

Sooooo....this post says nothing.  NOTHING!  I merely want to see if it will make it as a survivor when I hit "you-know-what".

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have had a few ask about what to say when with one near death.  This is an interesting moment that I have too often let slip by without attention.  I have wondered, though, if our combined efforts to keep everything "light" among those of us visiting simultaneously in the room of the patient has left them rather "stranded" from the real matters at hand. 

By that I mean I have wondered if the dying wish we would address this topic in order to help them make the transition; but instead we avoid the subject fearing they will pick up we will think they are dying.  They might know they are approaching the end and may need us to drop the small-talk.  What do you think?

With my friend last week, here's what I gaged.  I thought he was near death.  I wanted to approach the subject.  I simply ask him if he was dying.  His response would either cause me to laugh off such a silly question (should he laugh at me) if he didn't think he was or I would know to follow the theme. 

His response was an immediate "yes".  I asked if he was afraid.  "No."  Then I shared with him how this process would probably go down.

I reminded him of the 23rd Psalm where the victim was sitting at a picnic table highly and comfortably enjoying a feast spread before him.  Threats from enemies were all around and yet the one feasting was oblivious to all.  He simply was having a picnic.

That's the way it is for a believer's death.  The Shepherd is so aware of us that perfect security shields us at death.  We can be at extreme peace as if at a banquet; oblivious to all threats and fears.  His provision is so exacting in comfort that death does not have the fangs to wage war.  It will not distract us from continual living!  We simply slip through without concern how to work it, how to manage it, or how to approach it.  The Shepherd deals with all of it and ours is wonderfully a role of enjoyment.

When you don't know what to say to a dear one dying, maybe this will give you a concept to develop.

Blessings as you encounter these very precious moments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Let me set the stage.  I don't mean to sound critical for I really don't feel such.  I do want to point out that it is possible we are missing the point in living.  We are not aware of the wonder of each other.

How strange to live in a world that picks at us day in and day out.  How much can one take of being informed of our most minute failures?  Yet, this is what neighbor to neighbor tends to a way of life.

In the church it is often the same.  The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. 

We are forming our own suffocation of life by failing to build upon the wonder of each other.  Yes, we are all freaky and flawed to some degree.  But have you ever noticed all of the goodness in all of the people?  It is a remarkable, and often untold, story.

This is our calling.  Awaken to your calling.  We must learn to verbalize the good stuff about us.  We all have it.  We appear prideful to point out our own good qualities.  But we are so appropriately acceptable to point out the greatness of others.  That's our job.  Give our lives for others....and life will come back to us!

Awaken to the wonder of you by pouring out your applause to others.  And when you encounter one not so applaudable?  Look deeper.  Look deeply into their world for applause-worthiness is surely it is about yourself.  May others have the motivation to look deeper into you and the wonder in you.

Do you know why?  Because you really are wonder-full!

Monday, April 19, 2010


I am experiencing that terrible and wonderful mixture humans possess in enduring the death of a friend.  My closest friend in roommate who shared outrageous laughter...died of cancer Sunday.  He had been battling this disease since Thanksgiving and was scheduled to return to Mayo's last Friday.  However, he became ill a few days back resulting in being admitted to a local Quincy, IL hospital.  The doctor's goal was to get him well enough to make his Mayo appointment.

He didn't get well and for some unknown reason, he was sent instead to Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.  Ah...the city of which I was headed at the same time to attend a couple of Cardinal games with one of my sons. 

So I went to see my friend.  He had that look that he had received a memo that none of his family or friends fathomed.  I've seen that look before.  He was more than ill...I could tell.  I asked if the family minded if I could speak to him alone.  They obliged.

My dear friend of 44 years very weakly reached for my hand and said Talk to me.  We both broke out crying; neither able to speak.  Then I asked if he was dying.  He said he was.  I asked if he was afraid.  He wasn't.  Then I shared with him how I thought his death would go down. 

When I finished he said, Thanks.  I needed someone to tell me that.  Then we cried, held each other, cried much more as we shared how much we meant to the other one.  It was such a heart-wrenching and moving moment.  We cried so hard we were both shaking as our tears mixed while I hugged his neck.  I loved my friend.

But he had the memo and he read it correctly.  Unexpectedly, he turned for the exit ramp suddenly Saturday evening and passed from this life into the next early Sunday morning.  I'll attend his funeral and feel sure I'll shed a few more tears.  But I'll always celebrate the wonderful gift God gave us both when the doctors sent my friend south to St. Louis instead of north to Mayo's. 

It was perfect timing.  It was one more time just like God.  He has so many ways of fascinating us.  While I will miss my friend, I will never forget the day we saw God work through the telescope of our own tears.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I'm crazy about road construction!  If ever passing through Tulsa, welcome to the land of orange barrels!  We've got 'em and we're obviously proud of 'em! 

Yes, I know road construction is a hassle, interruption, and a pain.  But what hope!

Other than city streets being torn up en route to whatever part of Tulsa you would wish to travel, the I-44 centerpiece is in huge disarray as it is being widened from 41st St. to the river.  Yippee!

You should see the mess.  Bridges are going down that bridges can go up.  Buildings are coming down right, left, and center.  Temporary roads divert irritable drivers (that would me many of us) while big machinery crawls up one hill and down another slope.  How fabulous!

Why the sheer enthusiasm?  For what all of this will one day be.....brand new and beautiful!

So don't get discouraged with all of your orange barrel friends or your orange barrel life.  It is under huge construction for God is building something new.  He isn't adding a skill or taking away a flaw.  He is starting over and widening your capacity to live brand new and beautiful! 

Don't be discouraged.  The street that passes by our church is full of ragged potholes and deep ruts.  If I'm sad about that street it is because it has been left to deteriorate without attention.  The day the orange barrels go up will be the day I will shout with joy.  Finally orange barrel life will come to my street!

You have an orange barrel moment?  Don't fight it.  Don't wait until the project is completed to get happy.  Love it right now!  New life is definitely in the process.  You are one of the lucky ones!

Friday, April 16, 2010


The movement from power through strength to power through powerlessness is our call.

                                                                                                Henri Nouwen

No matter how much we consider this truth, we tend to first assume the opposite is what will work.  It won't.  The great secret of getting to work with God in His lush vineyard is to keep hammering away at the fact our call is gaining momentum when our calculation and organization dips in understanding.

I spent some time with one of my best friends ever yesterday in a St. Louis hospital.  He is dying of cancer unless God should reverse the trend.  We sat alone and cried like children over our deep friendship of 46 years.  We talked openly about the walk through death.  I left exhausted and privileged.  What a conversation...a rich moment with one so dear.

Our call is powerlessness.  Exhaustion would fit such a scheme.  Perplexity would, too.  Yet, there is something God has always told us in both Old and New Testaments; He will do the work if we will trust Him.  Ask fatherless Abram, dinky David, or troops director Gideon.  Their call was powerlessness. 

Don't give up on God.  I believe many of you get bumped, attacked, and injured.  The world of darkness beats upon you.  Insults are a vital part of our walk.  If not for the negatives we might begin to believe we run the schemes of the vineyard....not.

Hold on.  You are enough.  Your work is glorious....because your God is chomping at the bit to be called upon for action!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We are in Workshop 2011 mode! I have been working on it since the conclusion of the March 2009 event. I love it. I love thinking about it, dreaming about it, wondering about it, and planning it. But I could use some help and you just might have some innovative ideas.

One of the things I believe needs attention is its PR. We aren't getting the word out. I've already begun to pick the brains of John Dobbs, Trey Morgan, and Matt Dabbs regarding this need.

What do you believe would be good move as far as promoting/advertising the Tulsa Workshop? We put ads in the Christian Chronicle, send out several email blasts to those who have registered, and a blog (mine and some of yours) here and there will discuss it. What great ideas might you possess that would go beyond that small box?

I believe some of you are promotional gurus. I don't want to waste your brain-power by letting it sit idle when it could put out incredible new concepts. Let's hear them. Would you email me at with your ideas? I think we can do a better job than we have been doing; but I think it will begin by hearing from some of you.


Could I share something with you which seems to be important to each reader's heart?  Could we talk about the church for a bit?  I don't wish to raise the ire of any.  I do hope to share an idea which would continue fervent hope in the Church of Christ for it is His glory.

When I began my journey with us I was completely enthralled with the Restoration Movement concepts.  What a grand move to take all who would follow back to the words of the Word.  Too simple.

While the concepts remained as powerful as ever, it wasn't long until it became apparent the Restoration Movement had become footings of sand.  Yet, the Word insists we build upon the rock.  There is an immediate glitch in the RM system.  Do we believe Jesus is still building his church or do we believe he built it, completed it, it was lost, and now we are restoring it?  One goes forward.  The other looks back.  One is built on the rock; the other on sand.

The Restoration Movement began with great hope.  But as anything with the hands of man involved in formation, it became the goal of many to keep the Golden Calf of the Church of Christ living by restoring the Restoration Movement.  At that point we slipped.  The Word was overridden by hammerings of the loudest debaters. 

Soon the efforts to restore the New Testament church were side-swiped by the sandy footings of personality agendas.  Clarions imposed the message to look back as in putting our hands to the plow.  Wrong direction says the builder of the New Testament church.  He would have us lift our eyes to mystery and possibility...all based on the teachings of the rock-solid Word.

The church has suffered over time for many reasons.  Guys like me do a lot of damage in the process of growing up.  Strong signals of hope are arising day by day and year by year.  Those marks will always be when believers untangle themselves from a movement and grow closer to the Man. 

There is a lot of good about us and with us.  None of it can be credited to what we have organized or structured.  Our entire hope remains in the remaining builder of the church....Jesus the Lamb.

If your commitment is to restore the Restoration Movement then at a least three things might be present:
  • You find yourself easily irritated ( I did).
  • You can't prove your faith from the Bible nearly as well as you have convinced yourself you can ( I couldn't).
  • You don't pray much (I didn't).
If your commitment is to grow in Jesus then at least these three things might be present:
  • You love people better than you once did.
  • You see your own flaws as more glaring than anyone else because you compare yourself to Jesus.
  • You no longer live in constant fear and resentment.
Be encouraged.  The invitation always remains to build upon the Rock.  That is our future.  The Restoration Movement is valuable only if it causes us to look to Jesus.  Restoring the Restoration Movement itself requires a blurred and distracted vision. 

One is Rock.  The other is sand.

Monday, April 12, 2010


We have to be careful that we not get distracted from the Red Sea moments of God going on about us day after day.  Marvel and mystery move among us like air waves.  Wonder and awe are vital mainstays of the church today; so much so we can't begin to notice but only a small part of them.

Are you aware of blood cells oxygenating while corpuscles expand or contract?  Do you sense the cleansing power of atoms and molecules racing through your body and equilibrium partners with muscle tissue; all assisting in making your maneuvers for lunch schedules more accommodating?  I didn't think so.

So it is in the body of Christ.  Much is going on while we see a few of the external moments.  By faith we believe the massive cooperation of body elements which pull off amazing works of wonder.

Sunday morning our David Combs (new Community Outreach Minister) did his solo flight as he preached his first sermon since being added to our staff.  Yahoo!  What a terrific...stupendous...magnificent message he delivered!  It was thrilling.

All he did was tell about God working in so many people at Memorial.  He filled his delivery with testimony of God working in so many places in so many people with so many servants.  The good news is that when he got done he had only begun to tell about our God among us.

That is precisely the way it is where you live.  You think you see what's going on because you can add the number attending or count the dollars in the plate.  But oh how far that misses the mark. 

The casual greetings of acceptance, the dollars handed to the needy day after day, the deliveries of furniture to others, the food distributed...hasn't even approached the notes written and the phone calls made....hasn't begun to take into the consideration the laundry done for others and the rides to the doctors...hasn't yet noticed the time spent by hundreds in prayer who've never met one another...and on and on the stories go of God working.

Good news is all around us....God is alive, active, and sharp as ever!  Take it in....and then rejoice a lot!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


If you had three wishes from the Magic Genie...well let's say just one big one...and you could change one person in your congregation, who would it be?  Would it be the preacher?  One elder?  Two?  A song leader?  An old bitty whose pointy finger delightfully wags in your face?  You have one moment of magic to spend.  Who would you change for the good of the church?

I have good news for you.  You have that power.  I have bad news for you.  There isn't anyone to be on your list higher than you. 

Ah, say it ain't so!

Ah, it is.

Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.  And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things.  And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?  Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?  (Romans 2:1-4)

God sees something flawed about each of us that we don't.  Others do.  It is clear to all.  But never to self.  We just can't see it. 

When we complain we are guilty of that which we some form.  How many of the shepherds believe their problem is the preacher?  How many preachers believe it is an elder? How many members believe it is both?

We just don't get it.  No one in our circle misses the mark of the principles of God like self does.  Period. 

Congregations will begin to shift for the healthier once the blame-game closes its casino.  The world keeps driving by us and they don't care about our miffs and beefs.  And we.....we have majored in minors for so long we have renamed minors as majors.  No to be.

I know.  I lived as the preacher for years believing it was others who needed to make severe adjustment.  While I may have been on target that some needed to change, I was clueless as to my own frailty as well as failing grades.  No one needed to grow up as badly as me.  No one. 

I now believe a secret to Paul's effectiveness was he continually worked from the premise that he was the chiefest of sinners.  Paul never met me.  I'm a chiefer sinner than Paul.  From this base we have the gratitude of goodness and the thrill of glory for we see ourselves as nothing.  This truth forces us to look for Him to be all.  And....He surely is.

If you are set on believing life would be better when another improves, you are beside me in just beginning the maturity in Christ process.  Welcome to the surprising world of change that needs to take place in the church...and no greater location is mandatory than the blind region of self.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Bitterness is a bitter root.  Frustration over people can be a daily irritant.  Do your best to bypass these detrimental routes.

Living is for the living.  Much of our living is lost in mentally rehearsing personal injuries and attacks.  Haven't we all seen or been involved in ugly relationships?  A real killer is that most get over it at the funeral.

If we can get over it at the funeral, why can't we get over it at the kitchen table?  Why can't we get over it driving down the highway?  Why must we waste our lives wasting our lives?

Do what you can to forgive.  Mercy is a marvelous kingdom secret.  It forgives when forgiveness has not been sought.  We can be merciful anytime and anywhere we want.  So do it.

Try not to waste your life in anger and misery.  This is a self-imposed cancer to your own spirit.  You don't like it.  You don't need it. what you can to cure yourself from such ailment.  Forgive with lavish mercy.  Live again!

Friday, April 09, 2010


As creation danced upon its newly decorated stage in the beginning of time, those who study their Bibles are pretty aware that original sin stained the spell-binding tapestry. The recipe for essential joy was shattered like a broken mirror tossing humanity into 7 trillion (eternal) years of bad luck. Such seems now to be the destiny of every individual; religious or not. Beginning in a mess, we press against the day's window to see if good fortune might be making a delivery on our street; perhaps at our door?

Hold up!

News better than winning the lottery is here! Mankind did not begin with original sin but with original glory. We were created in, with, and for extravagant beauty. All were ideal.

John Eldredge wrote, I daresay we've heard a bit about original sin, but not nearly enough about original glory, which comes before sin and is deeper to our nature. We were crowned with glory and honor. Why does a woman long to be beautiful? Why does a man hope to be found brave? Because we remember, if only faintly, that we were once more than we are now. The reason you doubt there could be a glory to your life is because that glory has been the object of a long and brutal war.

You need to be informed there is something directly wonderful about you....really. It may be buried deeply within; but it is present. There is a major power to your character (when too often we obsess over a major flaw). You possess a strength inbred from original glory. Jesus knows exactly how to shine the light on your light.

You are an original in glory. Begin to think like it, talk like it, and walk like it. You are a winner!


I guess there will always be continual debate as to church style.  Conservatives and liberals, in the name of our viewpoint is most accurate, gee and haw over how the church should be and what it should believe.  Meanwhile the communities continue to drive by us unaware of our existence.

After a few years on the stages and in the trenches, I toss in my opinion as to what helps us be the church Jesus is building.  We must leave our padded pews and our diner lunches for the messy world of the broken-hearted....and touch them. 

This is as clear and discernible distinction.  Many claim to "go by the Bible".  Far fewer dare traipse out into the corners of delinquency and danger to bandage the shattered hearts and minds of the neighborhood.  Enemies of Jesus sit upon their pious conviction that this congregation is the best one and that one is the worst one while their best kingdom motion is to sit, sip, and contribute when the plates pass by. 

Comments and opinions are abundant.  Going by the Bible is forte.  Yet, to actually wade into the world of a homeless person, put them into one's car (stink and all), and drive them for a meal is.....well it hasn't happened for some in the church for 40 or 50 years.  There just wasn't anyone in need.  But give us that sermon on the Good Samaritan and we have heard the Bible preached one more time!

Jesus isn't establishing a whitey-tidy church.  All congregations and all believers will find the real world of God's kingdom open when our comparative evaluation of religion diminishes and exercise of feeding, clothing, and housing the poor escalates. 

Wanna see a church come alive?  Invite the poor.  Sit with the poor.  Love the poor.  There one will find the Spirit of Christ....right where he has always been.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Not only can leaders be loners....we must be.

This is a stunning revelation to me; one who felt compelled to always be with people.  Once again, God had to remodel my approach.  Loneliness just feels so....lonely.  But....

....when you watch Jesus one can't help but note the amount of time he spent alone with the Father.  In the wilderness, on the sea, at the garden; time after time Jesus was alone.  Why?  In that zone leadership is constructed, fueled, and launched.

Calvin Miller makes an astute observation referencing leaders often are recluses.  Are they not slow social mixers?  Yes, all too often leaders are loners.  Lincoln, it is said, walked at midnight and in his loneliness grieved American division and plotted reunion.  We can see in the life of Jesus that Gethsemane was more than the garden of his passion.  It was a daily principle.  Jesus Himself withdrew because only as He created loneliness did His life among people have any content.

Must it always be this way?  I think so.  A friend of mine once said that you cannot help people if you're always with people.

Once again God strikes the reality chord which sounds out of tune to the flesh ear.  Glad-handers and pep- talkers aren't leaders unless each has first spent time...significant time....alone in Spirit listening to the Father.  Shallowness plagues all of us who desire to lead if our emphasis is upon popularity of the people rather than a pension for His insight.

Can leaders be loners?  From experience as well as study I am convinced we can't be an effective leader without it.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


“Hi, my name is Trey, and I’m addicted to the Tulsa Workshop.” Wow, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

I’ve been attending the Tulsa Workshop since I was a teen, and I find it amazing that it only gets better every year. The Workshop is one of the “don’t miss” highlights of my year and here are a few reasons why …

* The speakers are top-notch. There are such a wide variety of speakers who come to challenge me, encourage me and point me in the direction of the cross. When it comes to choosing a class, there is always something for everyone. In fact, the hard part is trying to choose between 4 or 5 really good classes and speakers that are all going on at the same time. The lessons that the speakers provide give me the spiritual feast and encouragement I need.

* The worship is heavenly. Wow, it’s hard for words to describe the worship that takes place during evening sessions in the Pavilion. I love hearing thousands of people lifting their voices in praise to their Father in heaven. I often think to myself during this worship time, “Wow, if our worship can be this amazing on earth, just think how amazing it’s going to be in heaven.” I love our worship at the Workshop, and I love being led to the Father during this powerful worship.

* The fellowship is priceless. I’m amazed every year at the Workshop just how many of my old friends show up. I know that I’m going to get to spend four days hugging necks, visiting and rekindling old friendships with people that I only get to see in Tulsa. It seems that the workshop has become “the place” to gather from all over the planet for a week of fellowship with old friends, and I wouldn’t miss that for the world.

If you haven’t been to the workshop in a while, I suggest adding it to your calendar for next year. Once you do, it will quickly become a “don’t miss” highlight of your year too. Before you know it, you’ll also be confessing, “Hi, my name is ____________, and I’m addicted to the Tulsa Workshop.”

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Have you ever wondered how Lazarus felt upon his grand return? Fearful? Choking on words so fast he could not get his thoughts out? Did he talk incessantly about his experience or was he more mellow with few chosen expressions?

I think we know how he felt. We feel the same way when we get to start life over day by day. That "day by day" thing of being renewed isn't a slogan for children. It is for His grown up children.

How many times I sit with colleagues stumped by the day's stresses among us. Not only is it difficult; sometimes it seems impossible. Enter resurrection power...ours....II Cor.13:4.

Why would we need resurrection power directed toward us? Would it be because we live among the deadest and deadness of effort and exertion? Could it be we far too often run out of our own steam?

Hold on. Hang in there. Life isn't up to us. It is up to Him...Romans 9:16. The brother on the back porch was stumped by the move of the Father toward the Prodigal. No one (on the back porch) would have figured. But the Father knew about something we back porch people don't yet fathom; resurrection power.

Be highly encouraged; especially when you can't figure. God can do for us, to us, and with us what we would never dream of on our own. You are not finished...regardless of how stymied you feel about the church. Resurrection power....something we sometimes forget is at our disposal.


Tulsa Workshop is epic in my spiritual journey. For over twenty years I have made my way to Tulsa for spiritual renewal, inspiration, and fellowship. Each of these years I have encouraged others to participate in this event so that they could experience what I have been enjoying for so long now.

I am certain that there so many things happening behind the scenes that I will never know. My appreciation for the workshop remains immense. It takes a financial commitment that would make the faithless shake in their boots! I do not take the Tulsa Workshop for granted.

There were some logistical changes this year that I thought were an improvement. Beginning the workshop on Wednesday and letting Friday night be the final evening assembly were great changes. The schedule was filled with godly men and women sharing great information. The worship times were energetic and uplifting. I enjoyed hearing some new voices this year. There is a generation of young intelligent articulate speakers that God is growing, and that encourages me. Those who have a little more grey in their hair (or a little less hair) are reminding me that age does not wither faith - it can make it vibrant.

Something tells me, though, that this is not the real heart of the workshop. The workshop needs those things. It's hard to talk about the workshop without talking about these elements. But there is something else that brings it all together.

There is a synergy about the collective of people brought together by such an event. Every person there wants to be there. Every Christian is on a mission to learn more about THE mission! We embrace those we know and love to see them. In unexpected conversations with 'strangers' we share ideas and information around a booth in the Expo. We end up at the dinner table with people we've just met, but with whom we will live forever. Friends introduce us to other friends. Folks we have only known in FaceBook land and Blog world are now flesh and blood! We remember those who are no longer with us. And we leave knowing that our part of God's kingdom is vibrant, alive, interested, smart, and meaningful.

Forget all this talk about the church being irrelevant. Sorry. I just spent a week with some enormously bright people on fire for God. These are the people who make good things happen in their home congregations. These are the people we wish would move to our town and populate our own congregations! These are the people who will sacrifice and give and sweat to see others come to know the Lord.

The Church of Christ is made up of some awesome people!

The surroundings, lessons, worship were great... but the people... wow. You can count on me, Lord willing, to be at Tulsa Workshop in 2011! That's a group of people with whom I always want to be associated.

John Dobbs
Monroe, LA

Sunday, April 04, 2010


I wanted to hear from two kinds of readers; those who could read the print and those who couldn't.  At this writing the score is 14 to ?.   The score isn't 14-0.  It is 14-?.  If a person can't read the blog they can't read my question to answer it.

So....I feel pretty good that 14 can read it.  I am an amazing fact finder.  I could take political polls, don't you think?  Ah, I move ahead.

Why will so many go to church today that don't much throughout the year?  I think it is a sign of the magnetism of God.  Embedded in mankind is a deep faith that Jesus was and is.  But why display it basically once a year?

Could it be that churches in general have veered from the Jesus path of commitment, sacrifice, and service?  Have we become more of a club to see who fits and who doesn't?  Could it be that those who attend irregularly don't realize it; but their spirits were built for more than attendance and they never got the message of God's real call?

While I (and a religious world of others) have been critical of the two-time-a-year attenders, it could be that our programs as well as ritualism have dulled their good senses.  I just might be that the reason these masses aren't with us Sunday after Sunday is their spirits crave a deeper relationship than what churches offer.  Maybe, too, they just don't know what ought to be....but feel church isn't it.

For certain, believers will come out of the woodwork this morning and I, for one, am thrilled.  May they serve as a reminder that there is much faith upon our land.  May we awaken to a new sobriety as to how to connect these believing hearts to authentic kingdom activity.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010


Dear reader,

I have heard from one that this new blog design leaves the article itself unreadable.

Would you do me a favor? Click on "comment" and tell me if you can or can't read the script clearly.

Thanks much,

Friday, April 02, 2010


We have a very big problem. It is us!

While ambitions run high and desire to do well runs deep, we constantly bump and bruise one another.

Disappointing others, to me, is much tougher than being disappointed. Ah, and I've had so much practice.

My old life was one of pouting, not speaking, or maybe both. I was my own ferocious and unforgiving enemy. I could not drop it...I would not drop it. The rewind button was forever at my disposal so "Play the sorry tape again, Terry" would be obliged.

But forgiveness came along. Forgiveness, just in case you wondered, is an ideal fit for failure; yours, mine, and ours. It has an elasticity which is remarkably ideal. Marriages are saved by it. Churches recover with it. And, friendships survive because of it.

Forgiveness is the Jesus-word that sabatoges failure. It sinks the titanical press to refuse to drop all charges; yours, mine, and ours.

The next time you catch yourself enraptured in the process of worshipping God, be sure to thank Him for that replacement word....for you, me, and us.


I once worked from my Terry-island. My world was small; I'm speaking as a minister in the church. Operations consisted upon what I could see and what I had the energy to exert.

But Jesus has radically upset that old world. I've learned the hard way that others know much more than I. It has been clear that God is quite capable of working without my assistance; but I have no effort that will stand the stress of effectiveness unless He opts to be involved.

As Jesus said, so am I....without the Father I can do nothing.

The new world is so much more exciting because God can/is doing what I don't have the capacity to acknowledge. This truth has helped me to relax. I can be at ease with my own failures by stepping up with confidence for the next project without beating myself down. God runs the show. I only thought I did...and I was wrong.

We are a part of an enormous team. God calls it His body. Works go on throughout all seven continents by His mercy and grace. I am wowed...simply wowed...that I get to be a part of the body that radiates light to all the world!

Good for us! Good for God! Partners...just like He said...II Corinthians 6:1.