Sunday, October 31, 2010


I can read and speak English.  I know a few Spanish words and have traveled in and out of Mexico several times.  Last week I managed to get to the doctor for a flu shot all by myself.  I even know a few who have written books.  So why can't I get it right when the time changes from daylight to non-daylight?

I'm 63 years old.  It can't be this difficult to set clocks backward and forward an hour. really is.  I have a terrible track record on this.

There have been those times where I did the forward when I was supposed to do the backward. who hasn't done that one?  And....yes, there was the time I set my clock up an hour; but I did it a week early. that's understandable....I think.

But this past Spring I did everything just right---on purpose and with great care no less.  Nothing could possibly go wrong....except.  Except I had purchased a new alarm.  How was I to know that it made the time changes automatically?  How come it would know when I don't?  It isn't that I'm not grateful for it and nearly relieved; but someone should have said something at Target when I bought it...don't you think?

As with all other clocks, I set my new alarm ahead an hour early.  During the night it set itself ahead yet another hour.  When I thought I was getting up at the early 5:30 a.m., I was really up at the new 4:30 a.m.!!!!

Do you have any idea how early two hours earlier are?  It's not right...that's how early it is.  It just isn't fair.  I don't recall one note in the instructions about a satellite beaming in a change of time to my bedroom. 

So now it is time to once again change the clocks next Saturday.  And really....hasn't somebody been changing the time as to when we are to change the time?  There's my case!  It can't be done and any who get it done simply luck out.  Will my clock change by itself the way it did in the Spring except the opposite...sorta?  Who knows?  I'm not touching it!

The problem with all of  this is that it always hits on my one day a week to work!  Help me!  Would somebody help me?

Saturday, October 30, 2010


I lost a special friend this week, James MacArthur of Hawaii 5-0.  I last heard from him earlier this year when he sent me a picture of his wife, son, and himself. 

Jim was God's first signal to me that celebrities needed Him and common people could reach them.

I first ran into Jim in the Denver airport.  I asked for an autograph with full intent of knocking on his door as fast as I could in this brief window of entry into his heart.  He was taken that I wanted him to sign my Bible for his dad played a significant role in Christianity.  Are you a minister?  I've never been asked to sign a Bible.  This is very special to me....really.

I asked if he had time for coffee and he brushed that knock immediately as he had to get to his plane.  Out of time and almost out of words, I asked him one last thing.  What could someone plain like myself and all these people in this airport really do for someone like you who is rich and famous and so lonely.  That last word was my sword word.  I went for the heart with that one.

He talked to me so long that I finally began saying, I'm sorry.  I must go else I will miss my plane.

He gave me a mailing address and asked if we could keep in touch.  Further, he stated he would be in Tulsa in the Fall at the Roy Clark Golf Classic and wondered if we might get together.  We did.  He came to church that Sunday in September and I remember it like yesterday.

He sat in my office.  Very humble.  Terry, you don't know how badly I need this.  I haven't been in church in years.  He loved it here.  We remained friends over the years.  Him treating us to be his family one Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City while he was performing in a stage play was a highlight for our entire family.

Jim is an icon to me of fame looking for God.  No one is exempt from needing Life in the center.  Often the most visible in fame are the most lonely and empty in heart. 

I will miss him.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Each flower petal is so magnificent in structure and elegant in beauty that if we could understand how God created such, we most likely would pass out.  So it is with people.

Don't underestimate the sheer brilliance buried within every person.  Refrain from cataloging some as valuable and others as not.  Stop the leak of lost respect for humanity.  It carries a secret--no, The Secret--within each individual.  There is no exception.

Our job, admittedly, is to find the map and dig again at times.  Nonetheless, treasure is abundant in each.  We tend to think that since we have forged our paths all others should do the same.  Yet we also tend to forget the extreme patience and abundant mercy shown us while we fumbled our way through the ditches to solid pavement.

Estimation would lead us to think humanity is on a course of increased falleness; irresponsible, hopeless, and/or difficult.  Enter Jesus' offering of resurrection power.  To the ones struggling or the ones struggling with the strugglers?  To the latter to pass on to the former.

Therefore, it is up to those who have been led to the solid road of Jesus to pass the baton of absolute hope in every neighbor, colleague, and even enemy...with extreme patience and abundant mercy.  When we catch on that we are in the presence of brilliance instead of a bum, in the presence of celebrity rather than culprit, resurrection power just might hit the streets where we live!

Thank you God that someone(s) had enough faith to believe in us.  Give us the vision to keep the new life flowing.  May we make someone's day by sending strong signals we believe hope into them.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Being converted to God in my early years was, of course, a giant leap of new direction.  I'm still thrilled.  However, involved in that step was a disastrously ungodly personality change.  I was instantly the only one right among family and friends....and not afraid to inform them of such truth.

During these wonderful years as student and minister, I have increased in being a learner and decreased in spouting off about how very right the few who get to be the only ones right are!  The two won't coexist.  Learning will not marry self-righteousness. 

I don't mean to put us down; but to wake us up.  We talk a bigger talk about "knowing" than we have basis for our knowledge.  Let me share how off-base I was.  If anyone other than us shared a story of God working in their lives, I would feel sorry for them that they were so ignorant not to know God would not look their way for they didn't know Truth.  I did, however!  Even in my early years I would be stumped as to how God could use such poor/bad believers.

But....I have been forced to learn.  I've learned that Jesus taught one can know Bible and not know him.  I've learned that God does not work the same way in all people.  I've learned that while I have taken cheap shots at other brands, they were highly more devoted to prayer and fasting than I ever considered.  This list can be expanded.

We are right because we are right won't cut it any longer.  No one is right unless Jesus makes us right.  We don't get there because we have outsmarted others; but only because Jesus suffered the maxmimum penalty for our death-penaltied sins.

As we grow in the seriouls trek of following God a bit closer, we may need to consider the truth that we need to do a lot of undoing of that which we have notoriously undone.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


New isn't anything new to believers.  It is one of my favorite topics.  God is all about new....and He has made me a new man.

There would be several areas God has struck, but this one I now share is major.  Thomas a Kempis said, It is futile to wish for a long life, and then to give so little care to living well.  Referencing the place where God reversed my temperament I would say, Life is futile if we strain to make it work best and then fail to love each "right now" moment.

God changed my world.  He taught me to love day by day; not project by project.  When He did this for me everything changed to my advantage.  Celebration remains exciting; but even criticism counts.  Hope is no longer lived long-range only....but is a current state of the heart.

As a grown man I lived in ministry as a pouter and a loser.  God changed the map.  His directions led me to see Jesus' purest call to be one of Abundant Life and nothing short of it.  I had to make some mental transfers for I was faking life; I tried to look enthusiastic on the outside while the inside of the cup was full of resentment and dead mans bones.

Whether my team wins or loses (whether I win or lose), whether the day goes great or gnarly, whether the purchase was a bargain or a gyp, every right now is a great right now.  My days are not dependent on anything other than Jesus.  My mood is not up to how others respond to me.  Neither is it how I do on tests nor learn of severe interference.  Yes, many times I cry for I still have a tender heart.  The new is my paths are not littered with disruption for everything along the way is a kingdom opportunity.

When God causes one to be born again, He means it.  We are to be NEW.  We are neither remodeled nor refurbished.  We are brand new....every day....II Cor 4:16-18!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010


San Francisco sets the stage for game one of the World Series.  I pick Texas to win in five.  Prophetic?  No; neither in the winner nor the amount of games.  Just enjoying the guesswork!

Next Tuesday attention will be riveted upon the elections as campaigns will cease and new sound bites will pound the earwaves.  I'm interested.

While the World Series is about sports and the National Elections are about....elections, I direct your attention to an even greater matter; caring for homeless children.

Mountain States Children's Home, nestled in the foothills of the Rockies near Longmont, is celebrating 50 years of the God-heart.  Sacrifice and tears, fatigue and worry, faith and hope have bathed MSCH to become a light house for discouraged, abandoned, or abused children throughout these five decades.

Randy Schow is the Executive Director.  No one is sharper in this field.  This servant-heart drives the entire Northwest to keep the fires burning for this monumental cause.  His wife, Janice, is the Educational Director for their school.  The Family of God has built one of the cutest school houses you've ever seen!

MSCH resides on a kind of place!  Here's what I saw when I was there.  All of the adults involved in providing leadership and parenting have fulfilled an amazing feat.  They have provided a wholesome place for fragile children to discover a new normal.  How phenomenal.

God has a million pockets of WonderMystery going on all over the globe in all decades and centuries.  May we live appreciatively of the WonderWorkers who make Mountain States Children's Home a strategic footprint of a step Jesus takes.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The church is steadily making improvements and gaining momentum in serving the poor within our own community.  Mission trips to Honduras and Mexico, etc., is to be heralded as impactive and fruitful.  My observation is we have been a group more aligned to travel elsewhere or throwing money at it than (in addition to) tending with such interest in our own back yard.

But now are improving at joining our missionaries in their work by propelling ourselves into the mission of the homeland.  And the church is becoming wonderfully enthused because we about what we should be about.

The trend is growing in a good way toward home.  We are hearing His call.  One of the reasons is our nation is becoming poorer in so many communities.  It is a joy to hear testimonies from among us by those who were once homeless who are now homed.  Their inability to contain their emotions as they share what God has done for them transfers to our inability to fight the tears as we learn to be one people....linked as family.

And then there is the by-product.  As we move more to the path of Jesus' treads, we also lean in upon his abrupt distaste for the dead wood which might be found in each of us along the way.  As hearts open to compassion, the complaints and selfishness will find less attention to our childish whims.

All people are welcome; but not all dispositions.  Much of my personality has had to encounter the fires of kingdom rigors.  I feel certain it isn't over!  But a good thing about the church's communitorial outreach is it will put good pressure on our childish traits to set it aside and move into the zone he works best....there are workers needed in our

Friday, October 22, 2010


The following note is from my son who is a missionary in Guadalajara.  I know Gerardo and Carola.  They are sacrificial in all they do.  It would be just like God to find that a reader of this blog had the ideal car for this family.

If you have questions you can email Tim at

Would you spread this word...and see what God does with it?

Hey, this is an odd question... One of our coworkers, I guess our only current coworker family, Gerardo and Carola, are in need of a new vehicle. They are a super sweet/cool family that keeps losing support little by little. And as they never travel to the states, they are a bit hampered in raising new funds. That's a huge understatement. They've needed a new vehicle for awhile now as their mini van is old and broken down. Then this last weekend, on their way to a retreat where they help families dealing with children's diabetes they were hit by a drunk driver. Though most in the family are now wearing neck braces, I think they are going to be fine. ...except for the van. (There car was actually struck by the car that was struck by the drunk/drugged driver. Does that make sense?)

I don't expect for any of you to get back to me on this, but at the same time I wouldn't be surprised if each of you knew someone that would love to give an old van, or other largish type vehicle away. I'd love to find them a suburban as they are constantly giving many people rides, while loaded down with portable tables and chairs. The catch is that even the new vehicle has to be kind of old. I think for them to take it across the boarder, it has to be a 2000 or 2001 or older car. Thus, it might be hard to find a car that age, that someone is willing to donate, that could be trusted driving across Mexico. If someone wants to give a newer vehicle, we could check on the legality of getting it across the border.

Again, just throwing this out there to see what pops up.

Well, thanks for the help.


Search committees have their hands full.  Only by the grace of God do any bless the church...and the man they bring on board.  Searching for a preacher is reflective of picking up a hitch-hiker.  Is there imminent danger and from whom; the driver or the hitch-hiker?

Because I am in discussions of both the searchers and the seekers, I have pondered my ideas of what ought to be asked in interviews.  Some are:
  1. Tell what you have seen God do that couldn't get done by any other means.
  2. What was it God taught you that freed you from your inadequacies?
  3. Share with us your roughest time in kingdom work and what God did to help you survive.
  4. Do you believe the Holy Spirit is active, sort of active, not active among us today...and what verses back your position?
  5. What good is prayer?
  6. When you see members who seems dead or ministries that seem dead, what hope do you have to offer?
  7. Why do you think critics are important in your ministry?
  8. Why do you think the real work is to believe Jesus (Jn. 6:29)?

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Understand this up front; I do not regard myself as a church growth expert.  I am one who has both enjoyed and endured the church experience.  Because of this, possibly some stages I have encountered might be valuable to those of you who find yourself in a leadership capacity.  Wish me luck!
  1. Don't be afraid to be wrong.  Be afraid when you are wrong and can't admit it.
  2. Believe in two things; God and your church family.
  3. Grasp the truth that your cross is a daily matter and the headlines over it are "REJECTION!!!".
  4. Admit that much of our doctrine has left us believing we are the only ones doing church right.
  5. The latter will necessarily call for humility in reaching a point we--as a church--don't know what to do next in order to prove to us we "also" didn't know how to do church right.
  6. (Do you mean we can have more than five steps to something?  Is there really a sixth and beyond?)
  7. Learn to rejoice in the very center of struggle.  Until you do, the prison doors will not fall open.
  8. Replace your organizational confidence with Holy Spirit dependence.
  9. Realize you are the very least in your congregation....and don't be bummed by it.
  10. Be sure that you believe God can create something from nothing and give life to the dead.
  11. Build a Kingdom Kontagion by speaking openly about the good things you see in your shepherds, your ministers, your congregation....and above all...YOUR GOD.
  12. Put in perspective that you are about many little specks of work; it is God who is about the Mountain Moves!
  13. Keep it in front of you; you are the least of all your friends, all your co-leaders....truly.
  14. With God, nothing is hopeless nor impossible.  Lean with confidence upon His nature!
  15. Regardless of visual discouragement, dare to believe God can resurrect hope in the center of all cemeterial (feels like death) ministry.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I think one reason we like the kingdom of God so much is its high energy, great activity, permissive rest dimensions.  All fit.  Fired up and fueled or drained and in need of a break, nothing is static with God at the Top.  All is working for good; ups and downs, highs and lows..

The apostles did outstanding work.  They began by doing nothing notable other than waiting around in the upper room.  Waiting is a fascination to me for such is usually key to making the most urgent progress.  The magic to their waiting was they had what I would label construction faith.  They really believed stuff would happen although they were absolutely clueless as to what stuff might look like.

Enter Jesus.

When Jesus enters the picture we can start the movie!  Not until.

When Jesus enters the picture we can walk with him dodging flaming missiles and even being hit by a few.  But we keep believing with construction faith; that trust that we don't know what we are doing, Jesus is the director, and it's up to him to see the story-line unfold.

Construction faith is what you and I have in our slim tool kit.  We don't have hammers and saws and wouldn't know how to drive a bulldozer.  But we have what we need; Jesus the carpenter.  He builds.  He remodels.  He overhauls. 

Because we know the Carpenter we can know for sure renovation...wonderful church always a strong possibility!


Jesus.  There's just something about that name. He does something to us....marvelously so.

As many of you, I have experienced pivotal points in my walk with him.  But I doubt I have yet to encounter the deep end of the faith/doctrine pool.  So far, at age 63, I remain in the wading pool where I am still able to breathe safely and still talk the talk while I'm all wet. 

There is this consistent feeling within the church in general that the conservatives need to loosen up and be a bit more liberal.  In the meantime the liberals, it is thought, should tighten up and become a wiser bit more conservative.  I believe both are mistaken.

God's Truth truly is the answer and it will unravel both us Libs and us Conservs.  When Jesus strikes the heart of the church, wonderful and productive ruination (as in Isaiah 6:1-6) pulverizes our once-proud stances and images.  At this point Jesus finally has a role in building his true church instead of man building a religious organization....which is really man's concepts brushed with strong religious overtones.

What Jesus does to the Church of Christ is twist our arms up behind our backs until we say Uncle.  He will not let up.  Haven't you read the Gospels?  Not one self-assumed and proud-of-his-stance leader of a religious group escaped the pulverizing slaying of Jesus' stinging rebuke.  Jesus' might was in his words and he used them to break down one barrier after another that would keep any from knowing God.

He is still at work today.  The Ls (libs) can abuse the Cs while the Cs condemn the Ls.  If Jesus isn't our focus, blindness is our dis-ease.  Our chatter is never-ending.  Until we run into Jesus instead of our sub-doctrines, we have not yet reached the deep end of the faith/doctrine pool.  But....we keep wading....and talking....without realizing we are all wet.

What Jesus does to the Church of Christ is move us from our image to his.  At this point the rocks of criticism are released from our tense hands.  Anger, as well as suspicion, subsides.  Our heads become bowed.  Our minds finally open to His call for Divine relationship.  Fear breaks down as compassion and love build.  And then we become servants to honor the Father in great gratitude. 

That's what Jesus does to the church.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Narrow has always been a conservative church word.  It is also a biblical word; For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life.  Sure, I'll toss my interpretation into the mix.  I think the narrow way is the one called Jesus.  All of life blooms through him; he said so.  Go for money, fame, or famous money and one will miss life.  Jesus is the doorway to fullness.

But in my circle of believers, narrow has come to mean no garage sales, no dancing, no drinking, no Christmas trees (or gifts), no Bible classes, no orphans homes, no Bible versions other than KJV....the list is endless.  Oddly, such narrowism produces consistently meager life.

I have an estranged preacher friend who will not read any books who were not written by Church of Christ authors; and even that selection is narrowed.  Not surprisingly this man is ultra unhappy.  Yet, this isn't the saddest trait.  He is mega-unproductive.  His fruit is narrow and withered.

The reason I write this is because I once lived pounding out that Matthew 7:14 verse as loudly as any of my pulpititious cohorts.  I was a puplit pounder and a red-faced deliverer of the Almighty Word; but my harvest....well, there wasn't any.  It too was narrow.

So what say ye to the biblical narrow viewpoint?  Jesus said it/he would lead to life.  John 10:10 is where he states it is abundant life.  Biblical narrow leads to abundant life.  What I enjoy about the church, and my participation in it, is the abundance of life we encounter at every turn.  Some of it---no, much of it---is found in books and works and even doctrines that are not about nor from us!

The world of God is wider than our conservative perception and mistaken view of narrow. 

From which end of the telescope shall we peer?

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Shade-tree parent; I know how to handle a few things from on-the-job training by having three children of my own and working with 100s of other families over the years.  Professional?  No.  Experiential? Yes.

What I'm about to tell you is just in case you might be going through some of this and it would be God's timing. 

A neighbor stopped by my house this week as I was watering the lawn.  Her family goes to a nearby church.  I have a question for you, she quipped.  What do you do when your daughter is dating someone you don't approve of? 

Ah, not an unusual question.  Times are tough when parent/child perspectives are out of sync.  Yet, it is an opportune time if managed well by the leader; the parent.

Kids need to know the parent trusts them and believes in them.  Write this down....They will make mistakes.....just as you did.  We grimace when any mistakes are costly; yet maturity gains its greatest momentum in precisely those situations.

My advice to my neighbor:
  • Don't create any division while she is 20 that you are going to grievingly regret at 30.
  • Communicate your caution and concern and then move on to assurances of the strengths you see in your child.  Speak up; but do it with respect.  You do know things she doesn't.
  • Realize they must be free to live their own lives.  If you press her into dating another and the marriage doesn't work out....she will blame you and you will carry guilt the rest of your life. 
  • If your child blows it in any form, be prepared as the Prodigal Mother to receive the daughter with celebration; not condemnation of I told you so.
All through the years I've wanted to say to my kids along the way....Oh you don't want to move there, you don't want to live there, you don't want to......etc.  But I refrained for in each case they did want to do exactly as they were doing....and one of the things I like about all of my kids is they follow their heart's lead for God.

I hesitate to hit "publish" on this one for the sheer truth that some who are reading this need exactly the opposite, by chance.  Yet...I will send it forth for that one who could use a part of these ideas.  Just keep in mind...they are shade-tree concepts and not professional.  Dig?

Friday, October 15, 2010


I am being challenged in my spirit lately. Envy, jealousy, radicalism, nor ulterior motives have anything to do with it. The Standard of Jesus does.

I believe our faith is far more shallow than assumed. I say this not with intended cynic view; but rather from a tender heart toward the awe of God. What we are calling faith is usually a casual attempt at living beyond the explainable with subtle hope that this mystery results in blessings toward us in some way.

If you have ever experienced God where you had times of Him fitting several pieces together in your personal walk that you could not help but notice they were beyond your manipulative talents, I am in that zone at the moment. I’m not looking for what I’m about to say. It just keeps becoming apparent.

Could it be possible faith has become a mere doctrinal step—one of five—rather than a lifestyle? Could it be that after years of study, research, and field tests, we have missed the mark of living by faith in the Grand and Glorious God?

Does my life look like Jesus walking on this earth? Does my life not identify and reflect more with impulsive Peter and that apostle from Missouri, Thomas? Did Jesus not reveal that followers would do greater works than he did? And in the early church didn’t they?

Surely we have all had our fill (of others as well as ourselves) regarding stern moves of the church which ultimately relied on manpower rather than Spirit power.  Have we not experienced agitation over door knocking and bus work where some of the workers paraded their wares?

Yet, I speak of increased surrender to God.  We/I have become casual by our assertive Christian labor being mixed with our love for this world.  There is now a trend--a great trend or movement--at present which is calling believers to believe deeper and higher. 

As our nation's populace becomes poorer, believers are sensing the call to release more of our money and our things and our time into the rising ocean of need.  Christ-believers are not waiting on nor looking to a government to fulfill the needs of these hungry.  God's kingdom ones are arising to the call.

For this to happen I believe we will notice a significant decrease in confidence of our own possessions as they will dwindle to the righteous point that if God doesn't provide....there will be nothing....for those we wish to strengthen or ourselves.  When we hit these standards of God (Deliverance can only happen due to His provision for we find ourselves with bare cabinets and bank accounts) I think we will swim in the glory of God as never before.

This is coming (my opinion).  We will do well to grow together in harmony for the days ahead are surely going to be bleak if continually trying to handle life by a casual faith which has the appearance of surrender but is based on wobbly confidence in self provision.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


As you know Philip Yancey is a good friend.  He helped me with the concept of mercy when I was writing The Miracle of Mercy.  I'm appreciative of his insight to the kingdom and his kindness in my direction.

Philip always sends me an autographed copy of his newest book.  When my MVP! (Why We Are Most Valuable in God's Eyes) finally came into print I sent him a copy AS I JUST KNEW HE WOULD REALLY WANT ONE!

Today's mail brought me his newest, What Good Is God?  He wrote this note, 

For Terry,

This provides the flip side answer to MVP: why God is valuable in our eyes!

                                                                          Philip Yancey

Can you believe it?  We both wrote not the same the same time! 


Have you ever noticed you can be happy and yet dissatisfied all at the same time?

My life is one of both thrill and reach.  I am thrilled over the abundance of right now while I am driven to reach for more of what God addresses as valuable....for I have surely not arrived.  God is so big and His work so demanding I will always be in kindergarten.  First grade, for me, is out of reach.  Kindergarten II and III?  Possibly.

My heart struggles with this Kingdom System of His because I know to do things which will bless God and those He would call through my faith.  Yet, I don't do them.  I believe them....but just don't fulfill them.

For example, I am learning daily the increasing truth that to be effective we must release more and more of us.  We sing none of self and all of Thee, but seldom have I heard it in actualization.  I believe we basically sing such as an ideal goal.

Oh I've had spurts of giving it all.  Leaving my frail security to go to preaching school was truly cutting the limb off behind me.  This was terrifying.  Moving to Memorial Drive in 1977 caused me extreme anguish.  The only reason I did it is because I was convinced God wanted it so.  I reached a point I felt I had no choice.

Today?  Well today is more of the same....heart struggles.  Our world still desperately needs our help, our compassion...our dying to self.  It needs it badly.  I think Jesus has made it clear.  The world cannot come to life in Him unless someone dies to self.  The more death...the more hope of massive life.  The more we save ourselves hiding behind the names of good ministries, the deader earth becomes.

This creates a giant struggle of the heart.  The true church--the one Jesus is continuing to build--is not the one with the correct shingle over the door nor the correct "decent and orderly" worship assembly.  It is to find some living immune to the ridicule, hardship, and luring call of the world while tenderly caring for the poor, the lame, the blind in the name of Jesus-the-Healer.

I don't believe this post makes one's struggle easier.  But maybe it might pull a few hearts together in the bond-awareness that we are not alone in this turmoil.  Same Kind of Different As Me, Rees Howells Intercessor, The Hole in Our Gospel, Radical, and A Framework for Understanding Poverty clears our Christian sinuses. 

Thanks be to God for His favor to never pull back His persistent call to lose ourselves by helping others that we....might really find ourselves to be who we hunger to be.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


I'm rooting for the Texas Rangers tonight against Tampa Bay!


Look at him.  Study his moves.  See anything unique about his leadership?  Patient, you say?  Loving?

I think there is a reason for Jesus' spectacular leadership; he walked with those on the bottom rung of life.  He didn't attend seminars about them.  He didn't give lip-service to them.  He supped with them.  Jesus traded places with them.

America is suffering because her leaders can't find the key to effective leadership.  We hear very well about the need to sacrifice.  The new conferences are abundant regarding gaining support from both parties for more stability.  But one thing seems to be lacking from all political schemes; there are no leaders like Jesus.

And what should those leaders do?

Look at Jesus.  He crossed the tracks from heaven's supra-throne to earth's lowest bassinette.  What might work for America to begin a rally back is to see the suit-n-tie leaders making a shift from what we perceive as extravagant living to more humble means.  The Washington Image does not align with its Vocal Concern about our land.

Jesus is the example.  He became poor that God's nation might become rich.  And what did those rich do?  Became poor in turn for others to become rich. 

This hope is not relegated to Washington only.  It fits preachers and elders and Bible students of every brand.  An exciting thing the church is experiencing is the more we labor and identify with the poor, the more we seem to notice God's presence.

Jesus was a prominent leader because he operated from basement headquarters.  We will do well to ponder such leadership tactics.  Maybe then we will notice we have actual followers.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This comments was left on my last blog; Of course God does not answer all prayers.  You pray for one team. Someone else prays for the other. Someone's prayer doesn't get answered.  I pray for a job. You pray for the same job.

Anonymous, you may be absolutely correct on this, but I wish to shed a possible different light. 

First, I think God does answer all prayers.  He answers them all with a "Yes"...II Cor. 1:18-20.  You get the job and I don't when we have been praying for the same job?  A yes happened to you and a yes happened to me for He has other options for me.

Second, I wasn't praying for Rick Ankiel's team.  I was praying for him.  By way of further explanation, I wasn't praying that he win.  I was seeking God's grace to build him up. 

Third, for you to imply God doesn't favor teams is to imply God doesn't favor believing corporations or companies or CEO's, etc.  I think He does.

Finally, just from the few words you expressed, is there a spirit of doubt regarding prayer?  As I just did, you surely have "further explanation".  Yet on the surface it seems you would not bother to pray for a job or blessings or grace, etc. for whatever will be will be.  Correct or not?

The reason I inquire is the church in places is stuck dead in its tracks for lack of prayer due to a humanistic approach to the workings of God.  Some have faith in God and other have faith in doubt. 

If I've misunderstood you, my error.  Your response seems to say....things went well for Rick because things went well and there was no need to pray.  I'm not feeling defensive for me; but I am for prayer.  Did I misunderstand?

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Baseball is submerged in it annual Division Series playoffs with the goal of placing the top two teams in the cherished World Series.

Rick Ankiel is a friend whom I pray for every week.  He left the Cardinals last year and was signed by the Royals only to be traded late in the summer to Atlanta.  Atlanta is playing the Giants for the Division Championship.

Thursday night's first game was not a good one for my friend.  He went hitless and had an error.  The Giants won 1-0.

I felt badly for Rick so throughout the day Friday I would pray for him; not necessarily his skill but for his confidence.  Last night the Braves overcame a 4-0 deficit and it was Rick Ankiel who hit the game-winning home run into the Bay in the 11th inning.

I sent word to the him this morning of my pride in and for him.  While this all sounds like it's about baseball, it is about much more.

Friday, October 08, 2010


I like life.  I like the church.  I like hope.

Recently I had a conversation with a man from a war-torn country.  He now lives in Tulsa by way of first a refugee camp in the Philippines to Canada to America.  He said America is a hard place to live.

He owns his own business, so I inquired further.  His response was that when in Nam or the refugee camp he had nothing but the focus of getting enough food for his family day by day.  He walked two miles one way for water for cooking and laundry.  Here, he said, one has to really work hard to keep up with so many things; possessions.

And then he made a drastic statement.  He declared that his days of just trying to get enough food were much happier ones than living in America.  Why?  Because it takes so much stress to keep all the things running or painted or paid.

I immediately wondered about Jesus' teaching about prayer; Give us this day our daily bread.

I'm not off on a tirade about possessions.  I can't.  I own too many.  But I do reflect on this little man's surprising statement.  I wonder how difficult it is for us to truly abide in the life of Christ while we carry our "many things" into each day's discussion and mission.  I wonder how much of our kingdom impact is diminished because we seem to have little need to depend on God day by day for our next meal.

I'm ahead of no one in this discussion, understand.  However, I do think there is a correlation between seeking His daily provision and our fundamental joy.


This statement taken from II Corinthians 3:6 was recently questioned in a comment from another post.  The question is a good one.  Because it is a life/death issue (scripturally speaking), let's wrestle with it a bit.

The law or the letter or the letter of the law kills; important principle at work here.  Especially law in religion kills.  The questioner asks the obvious; are we not to obey God's commandments?  Any other answer than yes would be foolish. 

So how does this work if we aren't to operate by law so the Spirit can work.  First, enter the mystery of God for He isn't lying to us.  Second, I remind you I am a mere man trying to awaken us to this mystery via explanation I am incapable of giving.  Dig?

The context is law versus liberty (:17).  Liberty doesn't fit our heritage well.  We've relied upon rules of performance rather than faith of Spirit.  Therefore, this discussion is quite difficult for our particular ears to hear.  The truth is law kills and Spirit gives life.  God said such.

And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me (Rom. 7:9-11).

For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would have indeed have been based on law.  But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.  Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we  may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, are no longer under the tutor (Galatians 3:21-25).

Freedom is a Christ element.  We are expected to partake of the perfect law of liberty (Jas. 1:25).  Yet, we don't because we have viewed our present condition as having moved from one law to a new one; from one tutor to a new one while we tend to miss the freedom and liberty in Jesus.  The pull is so strong we feel the need to explain away our freedom for we wouldn't want our people to believe we could just be free to do anything we believe in possibility and hope and wonder and awe. 

No, we are careful to abide by rules; yet the Rule Giver says rules kill.  The rules (laws) weren't the problem.  Inadequate flesh was.  The rules of God---His commandments---which call us to go into all the world, to love one another, etc.---are hampered by our "laws" of why we can't, shouldn't, and couldn't when He has freed us to go for it!

In my very frail way I have made an effort to point out that the statement in that the law (in general) kills and the Spirit gives life is in fact a God-given statement.  Liberty is a biblical calling; yet it makes us so uneasy we feel the need to explain exactly what we mean for we are barely free to accept it.  Thus, the church is quite hampered (killed and dead) because we have focused on obeying rules of restriction instead of laws of liberty.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


I had one of my typical moments Monday when I just up and decided to replace the storm door on the front porch.  I've never hung a door before and I'd heard it wasn't easy. 

I called Gerald Lovett to report my intent asking if he thought I could do this.  He told me...Yes, you can do it.  Read the instructions all the way through.  Call if you need help.

So I drove over to Lowe's and picked out a really nice door with full glass from top to bottom.  Once it was depackaged, I read the instructions.  There were 35 steps (really) to hanging the door.  Another package would direct me to installing the handles.

Oh boy.

I waded in.

The door was slightly narrower than the door frame.  One step discussed shims and so I took care of that.  Then the door was too short leaving a two inch gap at the top or the bottom.  I hadn't really counted on that; yet assumed I was free to choose.  Wind and rain from the top or mice from the bottom?  Which would Mary prefer?  I opted for the gap at the bottom.

There was a 36" L shaped piece that might fit down there....but I couldn't see how.  I still haven't figured what that was about.  I'm sure it was supposed to go with the door....but it didn't....ever.

Once the door was hung, I tackled the brass handles.  More instructions to read which included another brass thing that could go on the bottom of the door to fill in that gap....and it did!  Yippee!

The hardware came in large hunks and dinky pieces and somehow the owner of this was to assemble it in such a way the door would open/close/and latch.  Ummm....shall we pray miracles HAVE NOT really ceased?

To my amazement I put the handles together and it worked.  Not to my amazement something didn't look right as I had the handles on the wrong sides of the door....and upside down.  So....I had to dismantle EVERYTHING and start over. 

It was a tedious process.  Starting at noon it was now after dark--past 7:00--and I willing to bend the rules to get this job over.  I took the handles apart, switched sides of the door, and reinstalled.  When I got done I stepped back for evaluation.  The inside door handle was on properly but the outside one was off 90 degrees.  Thus, I approached another dismantling/remantling.

Done.  No....I mean really done.

How's it look?  Great.  There seems to be one slight problem....but I think it will work out in time.  The door doesn't open or close.  It is stationary.  The door stands still....but the house swings out and back. 

I think I better call Gerald.

FOR SALE:  An unused white L shaped piece of metal 36" long.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Change is a hotbed of controversy.  We often don't want it.  Simultaneously, we clamor for it.  For certain, we must have it.

Change has been President Obama's platform.  The nation is draped in bitterness due to apparent selfishness of both parties.  Those who want his administration's style of change are angered at the Republicans who don't.  The ship floats the other direction for the other party.  A probable mistake in politics is that each party behaves as if they have cornered the market on Truth while the others are (denominational) dummies....either party.

Change is very much needed in both parties.  Wrong change isn't good for either.  But change is certainly always a signal of better economic and social health if approached properly.  George Washington did it. Abraham Lincoln did it.  John Kennedy did it.  And, Ronald Reagan did it.  Each with significant flaws offered strong leadership.

Change in the church is laced with similar stresses.  I learned immediately upon my conversion that this word was taboo among us.  Yet, I had just changed over to us!

As in politics, positive change requires godly analysis.  Change can lead a train into new territory or run from the tracks to cause an injurious wreck.  It is not a move one tosses about freely to get the latest whim nominated.

The Restoration Movement's origin was a promotion of change as it called all back to the Bible.  Apparently it lost its elasticity over the decades to the point that some scream at change as if it comes from the devil himself.

The beauty of the RM is the persistent faith in the Message which will call every reader to what?  Adjust and change.  The beast of the RM is that somewhere it assumed it had discovered all of the Truth.  A sudden shift of hungering for righteousness moved to stiff-necked defense.  Learning went out the front door as preservavtion moved in through the back door.  The church shifted from a living organism to a rote museum of "how to do church right".

Change can make a mess of things for it could be the wrong change.  Correct change is from God.  His is a theme of persuasion to change; to repent.  A call to faith is a call to believe He can still change things.  A call to prayer is to possess the faith He can still change things.

Change will not necessarily win the Tidy Award.  If it is correct, it can be messy.  The cross would be a good place to observe. 

For me one of the biggest changes that must take place among us is to leave the Law and live by the Spirit.  One will kill.  The other will give Life.  How can we continue to hide from this truth and continue to believe that living by the Law will grow churches?  It kills them....God says.

Change to please the fickleness of religious man is a grand mistake.  However, spiritual change is will always be is called growing in the Lord.  Change is like setting off fireworks.  We don't want to avoid it; but we do want to handle it well.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Ministry is wonderful!  I thought it would be.  I was so right.  Who wouldn't want to get to be a part of His work; whether preacher or elder or teacher or worshipper...we get to do the best life available; God's!

I wish I could have caught on faster.  Yet, such wonderful lessons are buried within the failures of others and myself.  And I guess the thing I can say today is I've finally caught on to the truth I haven't caught on.

Ah, but not to be done in!

As the work gets bigger and I get smaller, my dependence upon God is properly more needier.

As the world tosses more questions and my answers seem outdated, my dependence on God gets surer.

As ministries develop and their continuity appears to be a hair from oblivion, my thirst for His provision becomes clearer in focus.

As relationships increase in number causing my time for each  to wane, my gratitude for those who will not let me go gains respectful appreciation.

As God willfully shows His handiwork in my path I find I don't become more cocky; but rather more tearful for I know which one of us caused the results...and which one of us didn't.

I wish I had been able to take it in at the beginning that God will be just fine and do just fine without my creating a place for Him to abide.  I could have been much more at ease if I could have grasped the raw truth that what little I knew wasn't enough to fret over.  All of my jealousy and all of my envy and all of my "what ifs" and "why nots"....ah, what a waste of mind time. 

I battled enemies that never came about.  I fought for attention I never needed.  And I pressed for results that weren't of God's development.

Today?  Oh, my goal is to never arrive.  I just want to keep on doing something I've finally begun to learn in the later years of ministry.....just be fascinated over right now. 

These are the good ol' don't miss 'em!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Be still.  Know I am God.  The Psalmist penned those thoughts in an age long ago.  We will do well to heed his call. 

I live where you live.  My world for just today has involved a deep discussion of what to do for and how to help the elderly in crisis, visiting with a daughter-in-law about her very ill father, whether to respond to a critic who thrives in writing against me in his brotherhood paper, and the assignment of delivering a message tomorrow morning which will bless the church budget which affects every church ministry...and then that workshop thing I'm working on.  No pressure.

I take it back.  Valuable Pressure.

But here's what I've learned about Jesus that I didn't see coming in the beginning.  While enemies try to thrive on him, he is the one who thrives.  Jesus ran from nothing.  He wasn't worried.  How could this be?  I think it is because he trusted his Father much more than he trusted personal skills of rescue and delivery.

So it is with all of us.  We don't run the show; God does.  It isn't up to us to will or to run it; God will....Romans 9:16.  We....can be still and know that He is God.  Enough pressure finally assures us that we aren't....God.  Good for us!

Live with no complaint.  Live with much gratitude.  Pressures?  Galore and often....really daily.  But we flinch not.  We fret not.  We scold not.  We lose it....not. 

Jesus shows us pressure and what to do with it.  Thrive on it.  All of the incidents which seem to bombard our days are mere maps to show us precisely where we need God to do His thing at the moment.  If God can take a dead Son and hit him with resurrection that we can walk in that resurrection power...don't you think it's time we admit that worry is over?

Friday, October 01, 2010


Will we ever gain significant momentum in believing God is with us...actively with us?  Well, we surely do make plans and even strides at growth in this marvelous arena.

When we actively believe God is actively among us, that faith gives us pushability power.  We gain the strength to push back against dark discouragement.  We are freed to break into wonder in the very center of "grave" settings.

Trent Taylor and I were discussing an idea I have for Sunday morning's sermon regarding the opportunity of God's children to actively believe there was a Promised Land.  Trent pointed out that he heard recently a point that of the 1.5 million which fled Egypt only two believed God's promise.  Only 2.

Where two or three are gathered....He will still work.

When it seems to you the congregation doesn't get something, be confident that God can and will still work.  When you notice the numbers increasing with indifferent commitment, be confident that God can and will still work.  When you sense that what you once believed to be solid hope is unravelling, think again.  This is just another opportunity to gain confidence that God can and will work.

One of the moods I really love about being a Christian is potential is not found in what the masses believe.  It can be found in just a slim few.  Don't be discouraged about anything.  God has always valiantly used those who didn't believe in themselves (cowardly/shy Moses) or others didn't believe in (boy David) or those who, at first sight, were assumed to be villainous (Saul of Tarsus) or those just plain dead (Jesus). 

God is not stumped except in one place....where He just can't find believers.  Moses became a believer as did Saul.  David already was one and so was Jesus. matters....but it doesn't operate off of a recent poll or trend.