Monday, August 30, 2010


In my old life I had a knack of making life too difficult; way too difficult.  I would worry if I noticed I had nothing to worry about.  Neurosis was my sidekick; my daily companion.

Relax was something for sissies.  Peace was Relax' cousin.  Joy was a girl.  Rest seemed...well sort of lazy; undisciplined and certainly uncommitted.

Fret and concern and anxiety!  Now there was a man's mantra!

But God came into my picture and burst most of my ideals like worry...and anxiety...and busy-ness.  He had me read of His past; those moments when a widow was down to a drop of oil in a jar.  Or, how about the time the snotty-nosed kid wanted to play war-games with the Big Thug from the county next door?  And then there was that Gideon guy whose army was skinned down to silliness in both count and instruction....AND YET WON!

But God....   Yes, God ruins education, reason, and organization.  That is precisely why He is avoided or ignored or both.  He disrupts disruption and set it on its ear.  God is able...says the Word.  It never says we are.  It is firm He is.

We make faith too difficult.  The question is can He get this humanity living to breathe freely as it mobilizes from day to day and the answer is DYNAMICALLY YES!  GOD CAN!!!!!

Once I began to cease the fight for explanation and simply enjoy the truth that He is unchartably mysterious, a new world (that new creation) broke open.  I love it.  I absolutely love it.  He can do more with my weakness than I can with seven of my strengths (assuming I possess seven). 

I really like life.  It is new to me because I've learned to quit trying to run it.  God does; not time.  I once made faith just too difficult.  But now I like peace....and rest....and joy....and relax.  It turns out those aren't sissy traits.  Few men are strong enough to embrace them....until one day we wonderfully run out of our own rope.


I have been out of town for a few days. I will get back in the blog-groove before long.

First I must dig out. It apparently eSNOWED while I was out and in places it is beginning to drift.

I'm back and will be writing soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you stopped long enough to notice the high percentage of our populace that has no regard for God? Look them over. What do you see?

Here's what I see. Of that mixture there are just so many who are a decent sort; yet they give no indication of interest toward God. Why is that?

Don't you know why?

Well, let's begin with us. How many of us who know nothing about playing the banjo show up for a time of pickin' and grinnin'? None. How many who know zero about auto mechanics attend classes at night to learn? Very few.

Why, then, do we not get it that there are so many around us who do not participate with us because they simply are stumped. Out of self-preservation from embarrassment, they stay away.

It isn't that they have evil hearts. It is that they have intimidated ones. Because they fear we would call on them to respond from something they know nothing about, they retreat to safety; they do the same thing we do regarding matters where we are clueless.

They don't know such is acceptable. They don't know many of us went through torture to learn the church ropes. Upon my conversion I was asked to have the closing prayer one Sunday night....I was asked before services began. I was a sweating fool...terrified...and tortured. I could hardly breathe. His grace, I now feel confident it was the ideal prayer for the moment. But I could not see it for I didn't understand the nature of weakness.

Re-look upon your community landscape. Disinterest is likely being shown by those who feel completely cluesless as to what to do and how to act in the church arena.

If we knew this much about the self-protectionary trait among our relatives and friends, maybe we could help. Maybe we could let them know we are not professional believers. Maybe we could convey our lack, our insecurity, our fear. Maybe if we could convey we are normal by having doubts of our own then doors of hesitancy would begin to open from the other side.

Maybe we could help. I think they want it. I did.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I know the secret to life beginning to fit.  Fit?  Yes, that discovery which seems to open the door to His present wonder.  I speak of a time in our walk when the light seems to come on. 

Oh how I searched beneath several misleading rocks for His buried treasure.  Was it to be found under the rock of education?  Or, of available money?  How about ingenuity?  Creativity?  Advertising?  Try beautiful church buildings?  Maybe finely-tuned connections? 

No.  None of the above.  Not one.

I found that life began to really fit when I accepted the very one thing I had spent my entire life trying to cover over until I could rid.....weakness.  Yet, I turned the page one day in His Word and He said Power is perfected in weakness.  And I said, God can you be serious?  And He said, Yep!

So now over a lengthy period of time, I've tried it on as well as tried it out.  Guess what.  He's right!

If I want Memorial to really get what I'm trying to convey they grasp it best when I can find a way to share my weakness.  When I travel and meet a new group or a new congregation for the first time, I already know what will help them hear admission of weakness.

Oh, I'm not implying whining or pouting or bemoaning.  No.  None of those.  I'm talking about vocalizing my delight in my sheer non-ability, non-talent, and non-skill.  I'm loaded with it!  God calls it bragging about the right thing...the thing I really weakness. 

Doubt it?  Well...listen to His insightful plea; Learn to brag about your weaknesses, your hardships, and your persecutions that you may be powerful...II Cor. 12:10.  The NIV says to delight in these while the NASB says to boast in them.

When I brag to my colleagues that I am clueless and enjoy being there, sometimes they smile and other time they might laugh....but they know my secret.  Cluelessness is my major ploy of attack. 

I am the chiefest of weakness.  I have not the looks, nor the charm, nor the education, nor the political pull.  God says I am free to brag away because His power is perfected in my weakness. 

I am a powerful man because I know I am not a powerful man....only God would come up with that truth which is very biblically true! 

You are free to be likewise.  You are urged by the Word to be likewise.  And here's my opinion.  When you boast where you are weak instead of trying to fool everyone of your strengths, you will be wonderfully shocked at what God lets you see.  It will bring you to your knees....that finally....after all of these struggling begins to really fit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


There is an area of my work I sense such a difference from my earlier days.  I feel a strong sense of a shepherd's heart.

The difference?  I once was a performer delivering mightily the Word of God with no reserves of who didn't like it or what might cause offense.  It was the Word and tough if they couldn't take it.  But things are different today; much different.  Ashamedly, one of the factors is I care.

I really care for all those taking the time to listen.  I know they have been beaten---perhaps at times by one another.  I know they have stresses at work, at home, and at the bank.  I can't imagine the rigors they endure nor the deep pits they tearfully wish to escape. 

So now when I step to the mic I am so much more aware of the flock's absolute frailty.  I'm no longer out to win a battle or to impress the self-assumed stronger brother.  I am out to touch each lamb God will allow by the healing ointment of His most hopeful Word.

It seems that most likely I should be stronger in my delivery.  I wish I were.  Yet, somehow I pray God will bless this congregation albeit withstanding my weakness.  This is not the greatest of churches; I wouldn't know which He believes would be labeled as such.  But it is a wonderful, happy, sensitive, developing congregation of which I dearly.....dearly love.

I'm sure the gospel trigger needs to be pulled better and more often.  Without regret, I am grateful the tender Father would train me in caring rather than verbally beating.  I did the later for too many years and did a sorry job at that.  We have light years to go; I'm included in the we. 

While it is not my goal to build a facade of a feel good church which would deny His presence and His call, it is my great delight to see an assembly of hurting ones hear about the anointing of God.....and leave feeling good about it.

There is a Shepherd in me.  I'm still in kindergarten learning.  But....that Shepherd in me is always Jesus.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


The gamut of people in our lives is one long series of individuals in desperate need of the grace and energy of God.  Here's the church.  Here's the steeple.  Open the doors and see all of the people.  That was a fascination back when I was six.  Real people still fascinate.

Yesterday included a call from a stranger pleading for money.  I could not turn him away.  What he really uses it for, I can't verify.  But he was important to someone for sure.  In the afternoon I performed a brief wedding ceremony for a couple down on their luck; yet intensely in love.  Strangers to me and treasures to God.

Last night a young waiter with an earring in each ear handled our Applebee's table.  As soon as I saw him I knew there was a man God adores.  I asked if he was having a good day.  Yep, I got new carpet in my house and I'm having a good day.  Ah, where's your house located?  It turns out it is in the neighborhood of our building and I told him about us.  That's weird.  My wife just said this week that since we are new in town, we've got to find a church.  Ah....that's not so weird!

And this morning I was filing papers and ran across a folder labeled "Celebs".  I hadn't wandered through it in several years so I took a gander.  Um-um.  Fascination opened from yet another angle; the rich in need.  I found thank you notes from Elizabeth Taylor's publicist for a book I sent her.  There was a note from Michael Landon's receptionist regarding our efforts to cheer him while he was dying. 

A long note from my hero, Curt Flood, told me what to say to those around about him as knew he would die in a matter of days.  So dear to my heart....still.

People----all kinds of people are everywhere.  We can't go anywhere or turn on the TV without seeing people.  Some are rich and well-known while others are poor and long-forgotten.  Both are in need to someones eyes to see them---to notice them in our midst. 

Might you be one of those who sees all kinds of people everywhere....and reaches with at least a slight effort just to see of God's door might open?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


This is a photo of Andre Dawson; recently inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame.  Look at his picture. 
This is how he looks all of the time.  Intimidating?  Mean?  Both?  What is this about?

This is his look; The Look. 

In 1987 I was speaking in chapel at Busch Stadium one Sunday.  I was to first speak to the Cubs and next to the Cardinals.  About 20 Cub players entered the room where we were to gather.  To speak of Jesus in such a setting is like a triple thrill to me.

Andre Dawson entered the room in uniform with "The Look".  He glared at me the entire time I spoke.  I kept wondering what it was I was saying that disturbed him.  I had never been around him; so I didn't know what might be ruffling his feathers.  Furthermore, I wasn't too keen on finding out.  He never adjusted "The Look".  The entire time I wondered what I was saying wrong for he surely didn't appear to agree.

When the chapel service was over, Andre made his way toward me.  Shoot.  I had seen that look a hundred times at the Tuesday noon Preachers Luncheons.  It wasn't a good thing. 

As he made his way toward me he reached for me.  He shook my hand and clasped my hand with both of his---huge, gigantic hands.  He sternly looked down at me, peered into my eyes with his eyes like flames, and said, "" 

He liked it!  I didn't die!  I wasn't thrown to the floor and stomped!  He liked it!  I like it that he liked it!  We finished chapel in a tie!  I'll accept a tie!  I lived!

So here's something I learned.  Andre is one of the kindest, sweetest individuals one can meet. But his look would not lead you to conclude such at first glance....or second.

My estimation of what people are thinking because they have "The Look"---whatever it is---is shallow, weak, and most likely way off-base.  I met Andre later at another event.  A charming man.  I told a Cardinal pitcher about how afraid of Andre I was and the pitcher said he was scared of him when facing him from the pitcher's mound. 

So watch your estimates of "The Look".  You may decide they aren't interested in God or don't like you or would not care to be befriended....and you just might be misreading.  Look past "The Look" and into the heart.


One of my favorite traits of the New Testament is the call to attend to one another; love one another, encourage one another, etc.

Embedded in this concept is what our culture has come to know as presence.  When we reference one who is present, we are indicating they seem to be "with us". 

Presence is a very valuable and important characteristic.  We need it.  It another.

What is meant by being present?  Have you ever visited with someone who, while carrying on a conversation with you, is reading a paper or looking about the surroundings?  That person is there but is not present.  Their mind is elsewhere.

To be present is to focus upon whoever happens to be addressing you at the moment with great attentiveness to what they are saying.  This is so important because presence is so encouraging.  It communicates without a word spoken that the one talking is quite valuable. 

The conversation isn't about us.  It is about them.  If it turns to us, we want to respond but turn it back to them soon.  In this move we are present.  We are in sync with the one in our midst and our minds are not out at the lake fishing.

Do well today.  Bless someone by being present when they speak.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Encouragement is like a windshield wiper on slow speed.  As it sweeps over our rainy days, vision of life is restored.  That would make you and me most valuable as windshield wipers! 

Jesus is our hope.  Due to the brightness of such light we must believe the darkness from which he spares us is terribly dark.

I think a cloud is hovering over America.  Yes, it is easy to try to ignore but I believe the day is coming when we are going to regret our patience with our blurred vision.  I speak of raging Islam.

We were personally warned maybe twelve years ago when a Jewish Rabbi spoke to us at Memorial on a Sunday night about radical Islam.  Of course we were so indifferent---possibly immune---that his message basically was greeted with a shrug except for the trouble I got in for letting a Jewish Rabbi be in our pulpit as a family was angered and never came back.

This mosque thing at ground zero is no joke.  Radical Islam intends to win the world and this appears to be a key move.  Most of us can give this a shrug as well while noting it is clear back in New York.  But I'm saying darkness is getting darker.

The good side to this is as the cloud gets thicker the need for the light will get brighter.  Do not be dismayed when news begins to alarm....for I believe it surely will.  Instead, use such information to drive you a deeper faith in the Light of the World! 

He alone will save!


Okay, all of you approval-seeking hounds, gather round.  I am your leader.  I spent most of my life with the singular vision of pleasing everyone on earth.  It was an unnoticed obsession; unnoticed by myself.

To escalate the problem I became a minister....for a church....rutted in the fact that its people are cantankerous and....very difficult to please.  Paranoia increased and my desire to please all heightened.  I am your leader!

But here are a few things I have learned.  Jesus said not everyone will like us.  Boo.  He didn't stop there.  He said if we were to follow him we must be concerned if everyone does like us.  Boo Hoo.

He put me in a real bind.  Everyone has to like me else I won't be....liked!  Terror hits those nerves.

But Jesus is right.  To take our stance for him, for his Father, for his Spirit, we will have to choose whom we will confess as true.....the Trinity or some of our social popularity. 

I have learned through him to let things go.  Just let them go.  If people are upset...and some always are...I cannot fret or worry over this.  They have problems and it sometimes comes out against me.  They don't mean it and I can't fix it.

I have learned from Jesus to obsess over the things going right.  Right now is a wonderful moment.  Once I could not enjoy right nows because I was busy arranging and manipulating people to like me....then I would be all right.  Not so.  I am all right now. 

So, little group of wannabeliked, get over it.  If you are liked by all; Jesus doesn't want you to be.  He cautioned us against it; but we think we know better.  Some won't like you.  That is totally up to them.  You have flaws.  They can choose to like you if they want.  Jesus will empower them to do so if they will yield. 

Your roll is to love your them....and such is your choice.  It isn't a matter of everyone liking you because that isn't going to happen.  Life is a matter of noting the wonder of God all around and then walking through those gardens filled with inner awe of the abundant Life He affords.

Approval hounds, we must realize not everyone will like us and it doesn't mean days and nights of depression.  It means earth life is going on.  Be lifted to the kingdom life of God...where soft mattresses of acceptance and rest are not the norm; but where nails and scars from the cross are.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I am known for making up new words.  It isn't a game or a hobby.  I make them up when nothing else deems to be adequate.  Thus....a brand new, off-the-shelf, word describing a most important occupation.

Just how many theolobtetricians do we have out there?  I think several!

"Theolobstetrician" is a newly created term I'm tossing your way as I think it goes better than something like "Pulpit Minister".  Who ministers to pulpits?  But Theolostetrician?  Now that we should be!

A Theolobstetrician is one who delivers newborns at rebirth.  That's it.  We are theology gurus who deliver the babies!

How are any to be born again if they do not have a theolobstetrician near?

Now you know....a title much more fitting!  Watch the letterheads be radically adjusted for this will become a most popular concept!

Monday, August 16, 2010


I'm realizing what is causing a great divide among and within all churches.  It's taken me a bit; but I believe something very simple has developed over the centuries which is going unnoticed because its damage has been so acceptable.  Believers are under threat when we make the church King rather than Christ.

All would agree yet all do not practice; I have not practiced.  Jesus is a tough name to say...for the church people....have you noticed?  Listen in on the speech of your congregation; especially your leaders.  Is the church discussed or Jesus?  Still....this can seem rather to be tedium except for its tremendous cost.

Jesus will lead us to be his church.  But churches will not necessarily lead us to Jesus.  He said as much in John 5:39-40.  It is that text that declares the faithful-efforted would spend their time in the Word while failing to come to know him.

Listen to us talk.  Do we try to lead people to Jesus...or to the church?  Do we talk about being members of Christ or of the church?  Do we make grand effort to urge neighbors to know the grace of Jesus or the pattern of the church?  Are we wishing to convert them to Jesus....or the church of Christ?

I believe the Baptists, the Catholics, and the other denominations have the same flaw as we.....if they try to lead people to their church rather than their Savior.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; but if not careful we will begin to believe and behave as if our set of rituals and rigors are precisely what every individual needs to know before they die. 

Not true. 

They must know Jesus before they die.  They must confess Jesus; not the true church before they die.  They must be baptized in to Christ; not into the true church before they die.  They will be thrilled over their discovery of abundant life when Jesus is the master.  If church rule is the actual goal then we have converted our communities to a body without a head. 

Bad picture. 

Catastrophic path. 

Dark ending. 

No Jesus?  No or later.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I know several experience burn-out.  I don't think I did....but I might have at times and didn't recognize it.  Regardless, I share this article to encourage you to continue your calling with the highest level of enthusiasm.  We are still called to make a difference!

Congregations Gone Wild


Published: August 7, 2010

THE American clergy is suffering from burnout, several new studies show. And part of the problem, as researchers have observed, is that pastors work too much. Many of them need vacations, it’s true. But there’s a more fundamental problem that no amount of rest and relaxation can help solve: congregational pressure to forsake one’s highest calling.

The pastoral vocation is to help people grow spiritually, resist their lowest impulses and adopt higher, more compassionate ways. But churchgoers increasingly want pastors to soothe and entertain them. It’s apparent in the theater-style seating and giant projection screens in churches and in mission trips that involve more sightseeing than listening to the local people.

As a result, pastors are constantly forced to choose, as they work through congregants’ daily wish lists in their e-mail and voice mail, between paths of personal integrity and those that portend greater job security. As religion becomes a consumer experience, the clergy become more unhappy and unhealthy.

The trend toward consumer-driven religion has been gaining momentum for half a century. Consider that in 1955 only 15 percent of Americans said they no longer adhered to the faith of their childhood, according to a Gallup poll. By 2008, 44 percent had switched their religious affiliation at least once, or dropped it altogether, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found. Americans now sample, dabble and move on when a religious leader fails to satisfy for any reason.

In this transformation, clergy have seen their job descriptions rewritten. They’re no longer expected to offer moral counsel in pastoral care sessions or to deliver sermons that make the comfortable uneasy. Church leaders who continue such ministerial traditions pay dearly. A few years ago, thousands of parishioners quit Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., when their respective preachers refused to bless the congregations’ preferred political agendas and consumerist lifestyles.

I have faced similar pressures myself. In the early 2000s, the advisory committee of my small congregation in Massachusetts told me to keep my sermons to 10 minutes, tell funny stories and leave people feeling great about themselves. The unspoken message in such instructions is clear: give us the comforting, amusing fare we want or we’ll get our spiritual leadership from someone else.

Congregations that make such demands seem not to realize that most clergy don’t sign up to be soothsayers or entertainers. Pastors believe they’re called to shape lives for the better, and that involves helping people learn to do what’s right in life, even when what’s right is also difficult. When they’re being true to their calling, pastors urge Christians to do the hard work of reconciliation with one another before receiving communion. They lead people to share in the suffering of others, including people they would rather ignore, by experiencing tough circumstances — say, in a shelter, a prison or a nursing home — and seeking relief together with those in need. At their courageous best, clergy lead where people aren’t asking to go, because that’s how the range of issues that concern them expands, and how a holy community gets formed.

Ministry is a profession in which the greatest rewards include meaningfulness and integrity. When those fade under pressure from churchgoers who don’t want to be challenged or edified, pastors become candidates for stress and depression.

Clergy need parishioners who understand that the church exists, as it always has, to save souls by elevating people’s values and desires. They need churchgoers to ask for personal challenges, in areas like daily devotions and outreach ministries.

When such an ethic takes root, as it has in generations past, then pastors will cease to feel like the spiritual equivalents of concierges. They’ll again know joy in ministering among people who share their sense of purpose. They might even be on fire again for their calling, rather than on a path to premature burnout.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I attended Crosstown's Evangelism Seminar with Stafford North this morning.  I had enough other things to do and wasn't enthused about the short trip across town. 

The morning was highly encouraging.  While the speaker is 80 years old and a group of area leaders averaging maybe 68 years in age, I was impressed that 125 or so would continue their interest in reaching our communities.  Granted the young ones were elsewhere and may God bless them in their pursuit of what works in church growth.

I am proud of Stafford for being 80 and remaining afire for God's cause.  His wife was scheduled to make the trip with him but cancelled as four ladies in her prison ministry were being baptized this morning in Oklahoma City.

There were possibly fifteen congregations represented.  That amount and the actual attendance figure are rather moot points.  But the interest in our a beautiful trait among us.

I salute Charlie Kymes and the Crosstown congregation for making yet another key move to keep us motivated.  We have good news to share; good and news and share are operative keys to God's seeing that His light shines through us!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Kingdom life is a serious experience.  No one should take it for granted.  It is the most beautiful and awesome system which leads to a most fulfilling life.  Jesus is the heartbeat and the Spirit is the energetic skill.  The Father creates and sustains resulting in unchartable productivity.  I want in on all of that!

A basic launching pad into this wonder-world of His is the mind; whether we are willing to open it.  To open it means we are vulnerable to learning.  Too many in the church---especially those of us who claim to be some sort of leader---are no longer in pursuit of God.  Rather the course of action is preservative.

A false assumption that the New Testament church has been restored has culled teachings from our walk and left us with defendings.  What has to happen as a result of this mistaken cadence is we naturally slip into law...however new we want to mark is still law.  Law won't fellowship Spirit for it understands none of its lingo.

The willing mind is essential because Truth has not been completely restored; as the closed mind would have us believe.  If so why have churches bought more and more land instead of selling off our property as is exemplified in our claimed charter book, Acts?  If we have why are so many congregations---including the one I'm in at times---so non-productive?  If Truth has been restored why does the divisive nature of Satan rule among us stronger than the unifying Spirit of Jesus?

The willing mind must be just that; willing.  We must be willing to look at the word.  Liberalism doesn't disregard the Word.  It disregards conservative fear of study.  New isn't a liberal word.  It is a New Testament word; new birth, new creation, new life.

We are a blessed, graced, clueless people who are grateful to learn just an nth of God's glory.  There's more.  May we be thrilled over learning it day by day....that we may conclude Him!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Encouragement is one of the most valuable commodities in any one's day.  Whether President of a nation or instructor of a flight crew or hanger of wallpaper, everyone needs the cheering process.  I am an encourager and for good reason.  I began adulthood highly disappointed and discouraged.

But do you know....are you aware of the principle of encouragement?  It's so simple that it is far too often completely missed.  How would you guess encouragement comes?  Sow it.  Sow encouragement.

How many I know who want encouragement; yet complain because they don't have it.  I believe them.  They are not lying.  They don't have encouraging things come their way.  But there is a reason; they do not sow encouragement.

Begin with one phone call or one note or three.  Tell someone what it is you like about them; what you appreciate about their work habits or life skills.  Say so.  Many of us wish....but we fail to say.  Should we fail to plant by saying.....a harvest of being said back to us is not coming for we never planted it.

We reap what we sow.  Sow complaint; you draw complainers but not encouragers.  Sow appreciation and the same will return.  Set out to build a garden of encouragement and then expand into farms.  I experience a rich life of encouragement.  Yet, you might want to know that years ago there wasn't much of a crop coming in.  The change didn't come about because "they" did; but rather because I did.

Sow lots.  Believe in people and tell them so.  God will grow substantial crops.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I had an experience of failure yesterday and I think it important to say so.

Here's what I think about.  Every encounter with a breathing person includes awareness they may be searching for God.  I do what I can to knock on that heart-door to see if one might answer.

Yesterday I stopped by a machine shop to have a part made for my tractor.  I had never been in this business before and did not know any of the staff.  This is how I go in.  I am there for the tractor part second and for His opportunity first.  That's the way I do all business.

So I'm watching for my spiritual entry which did not show up in my initial visit.  I had to return home to retrieve another part for their evaluation.  Upon my second entry....nothing.  No door.  No signal.  No discussion other than about the piece in question.

In the afternoon I got a call that the work was done and I could pick up the part.  This time I took my business card and gave it to the owner of the shop.  Hey, I want you to have my business card.  I'm a minister around the corner and I appreciate how you all have helped me today.  What would you guess was his response?

Barely a grunt of Uh-huh.

A weak grunt!  That's what I got.  A weak grunt?

And then I realized what had happened was a kingdom opportunity for I bet some of you think I go through life with complete strangers bowing as they ask if they could be baptized immediately.  Not so.

Mission failed.....except.  Here's what I did that will possibly change your world of evangelism.  I am content with a low-grade grunt.  Do you know why?  The man handed the card "might" keep the card off in some far-away drawer and if/when the tumor is found or the stroke hits....maybe he will remember me.

This does go on; you need to know.  People don't respond to our evangelistic time-tables.  They respond to God's nudge and what you and I do is sow seed for the God-Nudge moment.  Maybe one will call on us and maybe not.  For certain, people are looking for God somewhere, somehow, someday. 

Plant seed everywhere just in case yours is specifically needed for the person in your presence!

See?  Even failure has benefits!

Monday, August 09, 2010


We work for God for heaven's sake!  So we want to realize way up front that we are not going to reach a point where we have His ministry mastered. isn't going to happen.

This is why we will always be in kindergarten doing His work.  God isn't a slave driver.  He is an adventurer, creator, and backer of His own us!

Therefore, little ones, don't get discouraged when you had hoped to be farther down the road than you are.  Your calling isn't to accomplish all you had planned; but to be lured by His call into all He has planned.

Behind at the end of the day or the week....or the year?  Be not discouraged.  His kind of labor is of the magnificent kind.  There will always be more to think about than we've ever thought, learn about than we've learned to this point, and more work to do than we've ever gotten done.  Why?  God. 

You won't get ahead in ministry.  But others will because of your efforts...for they will come to know Jesus!

Saturday, August 07, 2010


I've been watching the Hallmark Movie Channel with Marion Ross as one of the stars.  Recall Ms. Ross was the mom on Happy Days twenty some years ago?

Seeing her took me back a few years as our family had been invited by Hawaii 5-0's James MacArthur to be his guest in Oklahoma City on Thanksgiving Day.  A crew was in the city doing a stage play.  He asked us to drive over and spend the day with him and be his family on that holiday. 

Our kids were in Jr. High.  We sat in a hotel lobby most of that Thursday afternoon visiting with James and two of his co-stars; Larry Storch and Marion Ross.  Mary and I were pleased; but I must say our kids were especially enamoured by Ms. Ross as she made over them. 

All three stars treated us as their honorary family as they were a long way from home on such a family kind of day.  After the play was over the three walked us back to the hotel parking lot.  They were delightful.

A few years later I wrote Marion to ask if she would encourage a special young acting talent at Wright Christian Academy.  That she did....and wrote me a kind note as well.

Our paths cross interesting people from time to time.  It is fun to see some of them show back up on the screen.  Our lives.....have so much wonder in them, don't they?


Unexpectedly a visitor walked into our office yesterday morning.  He just popped in to see if those of us around would have insight or questions for his boss.  Lita Blevins and I obliged.

Dan was surely delightful to visit.  Lita and I responded according to his request for ideas we might have as he is the field representative for Senator Tom Coburn.  Lita brought out concern about support for schools while I countered with concern over the seeming gap between Washington and America.

But then Lita and I turned the tables.  I asked him what we could do to really, genuinely encourage the Senator and himself.  I don't think he had encountered that position.  He looked surprised and pleased.  From then on the ball was in our court and we had a most beneficial discussion.

I shared with Lita after Dan left that the part that excites me about the entire volley of ideas is that this seed will crop up down the road in some beneficial way to the kingdom.  I don't know how.  Nor do I know when.  I just know it will.

When we turn the tables and care for those on the other side, God's magic seems to proceed.  How fun to visit this young man....and how fun to wait with exact anticipation as to something coming from this moment.

Friday, August 06, 2010


That the Dark Forces are profoundly devious can be found no clearer than in the aggression of dismantling the truth of God for a lie.  It should be no surprise such a lie is labeled....truth.

My heart is quite saddened over the arrogance of us.  We are steeped in exposing the Code of God's glorious system to the point that unless all others are like us, they simply missed out on the true truth.

A problem with this arrival is which ones of us shall we believe?  The one-cuppers or multiple?  The instrumental or the non?  The liberal or the conservative?  The lectureship speakers or the gospel meeting kind?  The singular song leader or the worship team?

I don't think any of us in the brotherhood know enough about God to be the authorities we deem deserving.  Yet, we know just enough to be evilly divided in the name of truth.  Division comes from Darkness; not Light.  Jesus prayed we be one and we have taken up that cause; but the result is hideous division.

Overall what has happened is the roosters and the hens have gathered in the hen house three times a week for so long that the Word has lost its salt.  Yes we are the very ones the salt sermon fits.  We are the ones who dearly love to have our ears tickled to the point truth is no longer sought; but rather favorite passages serve as refuge for faux-security.

We will need to continue a rightful probe of the Word of God.  We must be tediously careful that we do not dismantle the truth in the name of truth.  May its power be free to speak to our own ears.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


The kingdom of God is too huge, too important, and too majestic for us to waste our days being peeved, rattled, or just plain upset.  Ah, I spent my fair share in that soup.  It isn't fun.  But from its pain I learned something greater.  It isn't necessary.

I found myself being a better Martha than a Mary.  I was a busy sort moving and shaking the troops to get the work underway.  But I wasn't still.  I wasn't in last place; but rather moving my way up to first.  And you know where first place finishes in the kingdom.

It isn't that I've grown not to care.  I still do.  However, I have learned a bit better to let God be God and I would be me.  Whew!  Such a load off of my plate.

Of course I want the church to do well.  Of course I want the members to hit on all eight.  But I'm increasingly finding myself in last place instead of the head of the pack.  The good news is that in my losing ground I am gaining confidence for I see Him working.

Agitation, aggravation, and sheer anger are not as necessary as I once believed.  The truth is I had not yet been convinced I wasn't the savior of the brotherhood so I had a lot of worrying and controlling and manipulating to do. 

But now...but now I realize my flaws more than wishing for strengths.  God is the will and the way.  My job is to stay out of the way.  When I do I find I am less rattled and more content.

Hmmm....wish I would have seen Philippians 4:11 sooner than I did. 


I love positive life.  But guys like me can present a misconception regarding our approach.  Life is what Jesus promises.  We want to remember that even car batteries have both positive and negative posts in order that power thrive.

Discipleship calls for a hairline separation between being positive and being alive.  Not everything alive looks positive; the Flood, Joseph's Pit, and the Cross would serve as examples.  Not everything goes right on the surface.  The difference is in the Divine Yes.  For as many as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes. 

Our calling in the church is not necessarily to be positive; but is to be so alive that even in negative situations God will ultimately provide the positive side.  For instance, it is said at times God just wants me to be happy.  I can't think of such a biblical revelation; but I can think of a place where He wants us to be all circumstances; positive or negative.

The parable of the talents concluded with two rewarded and one rejected.  There are not three positive developments.  We are not called to view all three as positive moves for they are not; one is not.  We are to reject the pattern of the third talent one in our own walk.  We are not called to be positive.  We are called to shift and adjust and even repent of our misfirings that life would avail.

In the church, granted, we could use a stronger dose of positivity.  However, to lean toward everything must be positive in order to be kingdom connected is to miss a very positive point; the value of negative challenge which will positively make us stronger.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


I am proud to announce that after seven years of labor I have finally given birth to my newest book!  Weighing in at 185 pages and 9" long, MVP has arrived after a most difficult delivery! 
Father and book are happy! 

Quotes from the newborn:

Unintentionally, we tend to think our way into disgruntled living. MVP will help you think your way out.

Opportunity and potential are not dependent on someone else.

The world must be liberated from the cold and lonely prison of self-condemnation.

Life isn’t a climbing up. It’s a surrendering… God.

Success isn’t up to us. Surrender is. Our life is up to God.

What we want to practice is living in gratitude for those things that would have ordinarily irritated us.

Fear freezes ordinarily good people only because they are noting the obvious without contemplation of invisible realities found in the faith realm.

Sin brought mankind down when it brought its sight down.

Jesus leads us not to the doctrine of rebirth; but to the experience of it.

How long will we cut ourselves out of God’s will by refusing to see that everything is working together for good?

I’d rather fail at brave trying than succeed at fearful passivity.

Christianity is not for the weak of heart and lazy of mind.

God can undo everything undone.

We can be certain every dark moment contains such strong life elements that fireworks from heaven will eventually be enjoyed.

If you would like to hold the baby (Hardback or paperback) you can order at Kelly Press 1-800-365-5212.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


We want to keep tabs on what our congregations are like.  Do we remember that this is to be one group on earth alive?  Do we recall that much of society lives in darkness, distress, and destruction?

Therefore, we cannot afford to have any in the community pass by our assemblies or our works and find us in neutral...or less.  We are to be alive!  We are the reflection of the Risen One!  We are alive!

Every encounter of His children should have one message...the resurrection happened and we believe it!  However, the body of Christ in pockets has dumbed down from awe to right; doing things right.  If there is no awe something isn't right.

Sing with no instruments?  Communion every Sunday?  Have the Word preached?  Yet no life?  What's wrong with this picture?  Dead hearts.  Dead hearts keep gathering to declare we didn't do worship or work wrong when the very deadness of it is all wrong.

Of all people, the church should reflect a major tenet among us....we are alive!  Live like it.  Write like it.  Order meals like it.  Pay bills like it.  Be it!  BE ALIVE!

Sunday, August 01, 2010


This one is for preachers and teachers.  I know how some may struggle to make responsible and effective sermon or class preparation.  All of us want to do a good job of communication. 

I simply wish to encourage you to let the Word have a chance to meet the ears of those who hear.  Nothing replaces the power of the Word....nothing.

This is my outline for this morning:

Zech. 4:4-7

Three Graces:
• II Cor. 9:6-11
• I Pet. 5:5-7
• II Cor. 12:7-10

II Cor. 1:1-12

Whether some use more notes and others less is not the point.  What I want you to see is the confidence we all can possess regarding the Word and the people who hear.  The Bible is still the message to be preached and Jesus is the topic.

Our illustrations are key as they can become the windows for hearers to see into the Word.  But verses and more verses carry the power.  Try not to lose confidence in this fact.