Thursday, March 31, 2011


This kingdom stuff is serious case you didn't know it.  Let me verify it for you.  How many times do you find yourself on the brink of high motivation only to be cut down.  Yes.  A direct signal of kingdom labor.

I'm used to it in some ways; yet I don't think we ever grasp this truth because it continues to catch us off guard.

Don't be discouraged.  God reigns.  Your plans, plots, schemes, and grand ideas might be out of sync with the true next church move.  But God is Ruler.  We are free to move about knocking on the next great concept.  Uh, it might turn out it wasn't what God had in mind and He doesn't seem keen on endorsing our latest and greatest. 

But we keep moving. 

We do not faint.  We will not grow weary.  Nope.

The earliest disciples battled the blues.  Jesus was their hope.  He up and died.  Now what?  Fishing anyone?

But God beat death.  Jesus was back.  And because we really, truly, honestly believe this one point, nothing can shut us down; not tumors, not divorce, not insult, not slaps in the spiritual face.  Nope.  Nothing.

Do not be discouraged in doing good for God and for His people and for those about to become His people and for your enemies.  God has cleared every obstacle.  Anything that portrays itself as a major interruption is a complete fake.

Life.  Go for it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Can I tell you a secret that you already know?  I don't know near as much as I try to portray.  It isn't that I'm trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.  It is, rather, that I felt for awhile I could keep up with the big fish in the pond.  The problem with me was I just didn't realize there was an ocean.

Oceanism exasperates pondism all to pieces.  Trying to grasp the size of the Father, the depth of the Son, and the breadth of the Holy Spirit, I basically don't think we know what we are talking about.  I head that "we" list. 

Nor do I make this comment disparagingly.  I, for one, headed into the preaching ministry with great enthusiasm that I would eventually corner Truth to be personally loaded with many of my fine answers.  However, the more I learn of God the more I discover He just keeps expanding. 

I have delightfully studied His Revelation for 35 intense years now...and whereas I assumed I just about had Him surrounded....He captured me. 

Of course we can know truth.  Of course truth shall make us free.  So don't make something out of this I'm not saying.  But do make out of it what I am.  We don't know nearly as much about God and His kingdom as we let on.

This is to God's glory. 

Wouldn't it be a sad day if one had approximately 85% of God researched and concluded?  He's that discoverable?  I read one person's take on a theme..and then another.  There is a common thread; strong opinion that their view is the best and only one correct.  I get that...I've issued such intended blessings upon those who would listen.

But it isn't true.  Yes, we can and should give answers for the hope that is within us.  But we, too, should realize that precious hope is subject to God's indispensable wisdom.  If one wants to get a clear picture of this just read the unclear and puzzling parables.  They are filled with secret code deciphered only by the walk of Jesus.

Keep learning.  Keep loving learning.  My opinion is we still don't know what we are talking about in many zones for God is too deep, too far, too high, and too wide.  That, of course, simply awakens the thrill that we will always be learners!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Humanity attends a wonderful school.  Our problem is we celebrate tardiness.  We simply would rather skip class.

I speak of the negatives along life's pathways which tempt us to be bummed.  I don't like interruptions to my plans, failures from my efforts, nor antagonists to my goals....but each is most productive.  Light afflictions produce; the Word says.

I have never liked struggles.  They tend to ruin good days.  Until I met Jesus that is. 

Jesus has a way of ruining ruin.  He really can make lemonade out of lemons.  Jesus can take a man up a tree and turn him into a celebrated and eternal story.  He can take a backward situation and translate it into poetic language of hope and love.

I began life in Jesus on edge.  I was nervous and defensive.  Fortunately, I have gone to school on the things that upset me.  Jesus has taught me a valuable trait; calm.  God has shown me through His Son to be free from being rattled. 

Interruptions, failures, and antagonisms are not your enemies, my friend, they are your instructors to a life of even greater joy.  So....don't waste a good bad day (Romans 5:1-5)!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Leadership is key to church life. 

Jim McGuiggan preached today about singing in defiance.  I love the thought; have had coinciding thoughts just recently which made his message even more curious.  Leadership in the kingdom defies the threats of leadership from earthly wisdom.

Our staff enjoys an unusual freedom to serve in the vast kingdom.  The reason?  Jesus and our elders.  Really?  Really. 

First, we haven't always had the bent of following Jesus.  We were heavily devoted to traveling down the path of Church-of-Christ safety and peace.  One well-known preacher wrote me years ago to say I would be much more accepted in our brotherhood if I would walk down the middle of the road; that I would have a lot less critics.  His statement wasn't even tempting.  Mediocrity isn't the nature of the cross. 

Would Jesus have taken such advice?  Really?  Jesus would do that?  He played it safe?  His goal was to live peacefully among men?  If so, shouldn't he have been able to live to about age 54?

Second, our elders give the flock assurance we have the room to work.  We can try, and should we get it wrong, have the confidence we can correct our effort and do it better the next time.  We just concluded a major workshop.  Do you know we never had a meeting with our elders to get the approval of anything; not theme, not speakers, not budget, not date? 


We keep them informed for their pleasure and excitement.  We always accept their insight and direction.  But, we don't seek their permission.  They set us free to get on with the work.  When Jason Thornton and Shane Coffman revealed next year's workshop theme at the closing of the Saturday afternoon session, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that was the first time the elders heard of it.  They lead by freeing us to get on with our work.

Of course we make mistakes.  Of course they wish we would be more effective at times...lots of times.  But the upside to Memorial Drive is the Shepherd is active and then the shepherds are active....both the former and the latter believe in us.  This gives us the confidence to defy the world's wisdom (which can also be the church's wisdom) to just see if God might do something most amazing. 

And....often He does!  Because God is God, leadership has both its ups and its ups!



Our keynote guys kept raising the bar.  I met people who had never attended who came because of the theme.  One man from Florida pulled away from the church years ago; but came for his first time because he wanted to be a part of such a theme concept.

Classes were a hit.  We must do better at guessing the attendance to fit the classroom size.  The CD sales could not keep Dusty's keynote, Marvin Phillips' class, nor Bobby Valentine's classes in supply. 

Attendance was a bit stronger than last year...but we are not near the workshop Hay-Day in that count.  On the flip-side, leadership regarding evangelistic outreach is moving closer to the Spirit of Christ and less toward the manipulative ambition of men. 

We asked for the highest contribution in workshop history; $62,200.  With attendance on the smaller side of our history and the economy as it is, we are at $10,500 remaining and will have it before God gets done!  I don't know how He does this...but He has.

Finally, God is to be honored, thanked, admired, appreciated, and worshipped.  He did it!  We had people praying from every corner.  The Brooklyn Tabernacle's 24 hour prayer chain prays in advance for the Tulsa Workshop for 30 days....and this year 60...days straight.  Only God could give us the crowd, the facilities, the funds, the messages, and the hope that we have enjoyed.  Only God!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Frenzy!  Wonderful and blessed...frenzy!

This is too fun.  This is my favorite workshop year of all!  The theme, the spirit, the messages, and the reaction....everything drives in a run.  Jeff Walling did some of his best stuff!  Liz Pence is a home run!  Amanda Sanders broke in the crowds!

Yesterday Jason Thornton and Rick Atchley were at the top of their ability.  We are still wowed.  The new specialty classes For Preachers Only was stunning.  We set up 25 chairs in a very small room off to the side just to talk shop with a few guys who might not be going to the other six classes.  Don McLaughlin/Al Maxey teamed up for the morning session as did Rick Atchley and I.  Sardines would be the word....70 got into our session before they quit squeezing in...Welcome to the men's room!

The newly created WKPC (Workshop Kids Praise Chorus---2nd through 5th graders) was a great call; if I do say so myself.  Brenda Hughes is ideal in training these kids!  About 45 of them marched into the Pavilion in their bright colored shirts last night to sing two songs and the crowd fell in love.  Evangelism you wonder?  Ah, these are future leaders and servers in the kingdom and the will never forget the night they sang at the Tulsa Workshop.

Finally, the buzz is my son Dusty.  I know workshop buzz.  I hear it every time we have a guy on who strikes the heart chord and Dusty did it.  Jeff Walling did it 30+ years ago.  Atchley did it later.  Meade even later.  Dusty wowed us...and of course I was in the mix of being grateful to God for such a heart-felt presentation.

Other than that....not a lot happening around here.....just a lot of overjoy and bright eyes!

Friday, March 25, 2011


I am wonderfully exhausted!  The Workshop is so spectacular.  It is going very well.

I loved preaching last night and inferiority surely is my forte!  When one addresses inferiority the only way to go is up!

When at the workshop it is a challenge to remember what day it is.  All is a tremendous blur.  Exhaustion comes from being so multi-happy.  Smiling faces, meaningful hugs, and spontaneous words of cheer fill all corners. 

I am the luckiest man I ever met.  I get to be a part of His glorious work!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


We are in the midst of our Tulsa Workshop days....Thursday.  Randy Harris was fabulous last night and then this Dusty Rush boy's keynote knocked it out of the park this morning.  I am proud of both.

This theme of Let the Chains Fall Away is surely one of my favorites ever.  This is an evangelistic--soul winning--workshop......despite what our critics accuse.  Every fiber of the program is geared toward drawing all of the world to Jesus.

I heard Liz Pence this morning.  The woman is magic.  Her transition from atheism to Jesus is such a powerful testimony as I watch her speak.  I cannot help but be so wowed at God for His incredible grace.

I have heard rave reviews about so many of the speakers.  Booths are many...over 150...and full of traffic.

Our people are good to us.  They have traveled a long way.  Thanks for praying.  Thanks for believing.  Thanks for pulling for this workshop.  It surely is still fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The Tulsa Workshop begins within a couple of hours.  Whew!  We have strained and planned and prayed and then we have prayed.  I am soooo excited! 

A side note that would not be visible or even known to any is what a friend of mine does for me.  Even he doesn't know it.  His name?  Jerry Rushford.

One would think by the names we should be cousins or possibly were separated at birth.  Nothing of the sort.  Jerry, though, does put together the famous Pepperdine Lectures which are always above par.

What Jerry does for me is to show me how to move through these huge events.  I love his energy.  Each time I go to Pepperdine I cannot help but notice such rich enthusiasm that comes from this small-framed man.  He inspires me to look like I'm alive!

Jerry Rushford?  Or, is it Terry Rush? the Tulsa Workshop case it is the latter.  But I must (and gratefully) admit that with all of the pressure upon me I am not distracted from being mindful of a man who leads out so very well.

Jerry....blessings, my friend, as you make final preparation for your lectures.  We are in the final countdown...3---2---.


We have a knack of studying about Jesus.  I've learned over the years to sit and watch him.  Look at him as you read the gospels.  Imagine his pace, his grimace, or his darting eyes.  Study him.  Watch him; what distracts him and what will not.  What calls him and what is it that repulses?

Jesus is the Way.  He is also the Truth.  To the utmost, he surely is the Life.  Since we are to mimic him, we will do well to do more than read verses.  We must study him as a man filled with God's Spirit walking about the vineyards, the paths, and the fields.  Watch Jesus be God on this earth.  Watch God be clothed as a man.

William Willimon reflects upon his stark manner.  Why, Jesus?  Why do you explain God with unexplained stories, most of which lack neat endings or immediately apparent points?  It's as if Jesus says that God is not met through generalities and abstractions; God is met amid the stuff of daily life, in the tug and pull of the ordinary.  Yet God is usually encountered, if the parables have it right, in ways that are rarely self-evident, obvious, or with uncontested meaning.  In parables, the joke is on us.

When you open to the gospels, look at him.  We in the church have fought over Truth as if it could be owned, trimmed, and dispensed by one individual or a group of us.  Not so with Jesus in the picture.  When we watch Jesus we will be forced at several points to throw up our arms and declare, I don't get it.  His walk is with God.  I may not understand him...but I choose to believe him.  He is the truth whether I can explain or grasp it.  I will continue to watch God walk within the earth-feet of this Son.  For a bit I felt I could hang in there with the best of debaters.  Not true, I now see.  For with the best of us compared to Jesus....the joke is on us....when we think we have explanation of him sliced, diced, and figured.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

TULSA WORKSHOP 10---9---8---7---


The countdown is on!  Within hours the Tulsa Workshop begins!

I feel like I'm 12 or 23 or 27.  This is so exciting.  Year number 36 of Tulsa workshops.  I can't wait!

Here are some of the things that enthuse me about this year's program:
  1. The Specialty Classes of For Elders Only and For Preachers Only and For Worship Leaders Only, etc. 
  2. The WKPCs (Workshop Kids Praise Chorus) for 2nd - 5th grades.  The kids will rehearse both Wednesday and Thursday evenings during the main event and then they will sing on stage Friday night.  I think this will be the beginning of something pretty special.
  3. The keynote mentors.  Each evening keynote will be followed by a morning keynote and the morning speaker will have been mentored by the previous night keynoter.  Randy Harris mentored Dusty Rush (um, related to me!), I mentor Jason Thornton, and Rick Atchley mentored Jonathan Storment.
If you don't have your bags packed why don't you do something crazy for once....yell down the hall to your spouse and say, Honey!  Pack your bags!  We are heading to Tulsa!  Do it.  It's been too long since you've done something sporadic...and so worthwhile!  See you in a bit.....4---3---


We are big on answers.  Explanation about what God thinks is our forte.  We know things about God.  At least we are pretty certain we do.  Well...we know those in our tight inner circle really do. 

Uh, not so fast.

Terry, are you about to say that one can't know the Truth; that Truth that would set us free?  Are you saying we can't give an answer for the hope that is in us?  Are you going there, Terry?

I'm going farther.  I think we claim to know "truths" which didn't come from God and I believe we give "answers" which are errant. 

The Truth is that Jesus worked intimately with the twelve for thirty-six months, day in and day out, going over and over and over the finer details of the kingdom process.  At his death they blew apart.  In his fleshly presence coupled with Jesus' deep spiritual leadership, they so missed it!  And we think we are nothing of their sort?  I wonder if we are not many times more their caliber.

With the New Testament in hand, we shop the Gospels to disassemble and then restructure the parables which continue to evolve in a beautiful display of the uncornerable God.  These riddles still baffle.

Therefore the "Truth" is that Jesus is the Truth and we are experiencing perpetual growth toward and in him.  We have not, as some would profess, grasped his complete garb but rather only the hem one more time.  The "answer" we are to give is regarding the slightest understanding we have absorbed along with the "Truth" that the kingdom remains a huge and gigantic mystery that even our best scholarship cannot solve.

When you think you've got the Truth, you just might not.  And, when you don't think you have a clue, you just might be closer than you would realize.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Variation is always a good thing, my opinion, as long as each variance is aligned with me.  Ironic?  Paradoxical?  Of course. Stringent strongholds of immature faith insist on "my way or the highway" when God never built such a road.  Why is it that so much God-pleasing difference can be firmly ignored in the name of the right way to operate? 

My nearby waitress just returned from a cruise to Cozumel.  No interest on my part.  If Mary and I go somewhere, our preference is always St. Louis.  Yet, I doubt one from New Mexico would feel that would be much of a trek.

We are different.  God endorses difference.  God created such.

I have struggled all through the years to accept His creative design.  True, I didn't struggle with His creativity when it came to flower assortments...or candy!  But from the beginning of ministry I have allowed little room for variety of biblical understanding. 

Worship gatherings?  Local outreach?  Church organization?  Doctrinal conviction?  All needed to be funnelled, my estimation, through a very slim proof-text; so narrow it eliminated the "abundant" life Jesus insists we possess. 

If mankind is to be blessed by God it could be that all church systems would do well to narrow the number of things we label fundamentals of our faith in order expand the Truth of His heart's desire.  We are capable of developing much more restriction than God ever intended.  The Pharisees had a problem of broadening the narrow so that judgment and violation were abundant.  The reverse is needed; narrow the expansion of man-made regulations that the simplicity of Christ may finally show its awesome fruit.

That believers have the room to be different from me is a given....except I couldn't get it.  Jesus is the the narrow road....which leads to spectacular and unrestricted room to vary in our opinions, insights, and kingdom concepts.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


It's bigger than the Olympics!  It's one of the most impacting events of the kingdom!  It's the Tulsa Workshop!

Wednesday night Kip Long and the praise team will lead those gathered at the Tulsa Fairgrounds Pavilion in one terrific time of praise to God.  And (I'm predicting dressed in black) Randy Harris will preach on, Let the Chains of Indifference Fall Away.

I share a bit of what it is like behind the scenes.  It takes me 18 months to put together this four day event.  My thought is one: winning souls to Jesus.  Prayer up to, during, and through the workshop is essential.  It is too big; we are far too small.

There is great fun...great fun.  Who wouldn't love to walk in my shoes to meet thousands?  The gathering is an out-of-this-world thrill of reunion, testimony, message, and worship!

It isn't all fun; but it is all meaningful.  A hand full arise year after year to scold, complain, and rebuke.  This part is very difficult for me.  The squint-eyed have a knack of inopportune timing.  They intend to slice and slay with their words.  I am an easy target; a professional wimp.

Yet, God is so marvelous that even the very area I dread the most turns into His promising "Yes"...II Cor. 1:18-20.  The "yes" is that I need the criticism.  It is important that it happen to me.  Paul tried to pray it away...three times.  Me, too.  But no, God wouldn't hear of it. 

To keep from exalting ourselves, we must have the critics oppose us.  This is a must.  When we work in tandem with God, impossible and wonderful things happen.  As with Paul is so for me, if I don't get clobbered here and there I am egotistical enough to actually begin to think I am as great as others tell me I am.

But not so.  Ironically, I don't seem to volunteer for humility.  It remains necessary for me to get bonked over the head to remind me who runs this show...and it isn't me!  It is always and only God!

There is a plus to criticism.  I'll most likely catch this week in stern and large doses.  One piece already came in the mail.  That's okay.  I is a blessing.  More will come.  It will hurt.  I will not pretend it doesn't.  But neither will I waste its value.  I must not rob the critics of their purpose.  Such will probably cause me to shed a tear in private; but I will know why such an element; it is the plus side of criticism.

Keep smiling!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Will God grant us an avalanche of mercy?  I will need it.  I've learned from God that I haven't learned from God.

My beginning days of preaching were filled with authentic terror, What will I preach this week?  Sermon security blankets are beautiful for the handicapped as myself.  If J. W. McGarvey and R. L. Whiteside or the Adam Clarke commentaries believed it....I believed it.  When not sure where we stood I would check with respectable authors to find out where we stood.  I stood with the popular; not necessarily the accurate.

A strange thing happened a long the way.  I began to believe the Bible over the good and famous authors.  This caused immediate and threatening times for the church largely had believed what others had believed that others, still, had believed.  When the loud majority believes something, this is known as Truth.

Therefore, Truth was not according to Jesus but according to those who held the mic best and longest in their debates.  We were expert at following...and we always knew where we stood when we once checked to see where the respected were anchored.

What we have in every denomination is a stifling glut of copy-ism.  Doctrines and unwritten codes have been passed down the pike for such a long time that many do not know how such things were ever concluded.  The Word is still the Word but it has little chance in the American church because it competes with tradition, culture, and economy.

To the staunchest of believers, I would ask how much time you spend in prayer, in fasting, in study of the Bible, and in sacrifice.  Dabbling in these disciplines will possibly detect whether we are true to the Christ or merely operating from a stiff-arming, smug-mannered copycat religion.

Friday, March 18, 2011

ELEVATORS: PEOPLE OR CEILINGS? wasn't a bad awful day.

I went to see Ethelen Magnusson at St. Francis Hospital.  As I waited with others for the elevators, I don't understand what came over me.  I dont' mind silence.  But I just have this inner urge at times that some want to talk.  We usually stand in silence and stare at the floor.

So as we waited I said to one of the men as I intimated that I was psychic, I believe door number 2 will open for us.  Naw, I don't think so.  I pick door number 4.  The three or four women around began to smile as we anticipated and competed for the door's ding.

Door 4 was the was going down.  The  man (the winner) got on board and went down.  The four women and I had outsmarted him as he was going the wrong way (ha-ha-ha)!  So I said to the four, I sure hope another door opens in a hurry.  I don't want to have to ride his elevator. 

Ding!  Door 4 opened again (!)...and there he was.  He went the wrong way and won anyway....two times.

Well, although I wasn't a very good guesstimator as to which door would open, by the time we loaded all of the crowd that had gathered we had a pretty lively discussion riding in the winning elevator.  We didn't exactly draw names for Christmas, mind you, but we did share pleasantries which, to me, is better than staring at the ceiling.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Success and failure appear to be distinctly definable until one meets God.  When He is present both melt.

Success is nothing.  Isaiah 6 must have ventured he was a noble sort until he stood in the presence of God.  Then his first word was Woe followed by is me....I am ruined. 

Failure melts as well.  The immoral woman had intentionally moved to the well in the noonday heat when others wouldn't be around.  In the presence of God in Jesus her worst melted at his word.

Neither success nor failure leave us with bragging rights.  Both are to be submitted to the indescribable and immeasurable heart of God.  We are so off in both our errors and our efforts to correct our errors that God had to become ERROR/SIN/FAILURE that we could become the correctness God insists we possess....II Cor. 5:21.

When both our successes and failures melt in complete disarray, we then are better equipped to say My Lord and My God!  Until then we tend to say My car.  My house.  My moneyMy life.  My needs.  But when we get it that we, too, are ruined as Isaiah a new creation seems to come about from within. 

And as Isaiah we say to God, I'll try.  Send me.


There is an unusual thread running through churches these days.  All are clamoring to know more about God. 

Mental assent coupled with obedient effort has always been our way of giving God attention.  Yet the absolute head-over-heels in love with Him has not been a priority or even a thought for many of us.  Love God and keep His commandments has usually drawn commandments emphasis.

A sway has developed away from man's rules and regulations which kill the hearts of the innocent.  Writers as Beth Moore, Henry Blackaby, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning and Philip Yancey did not discard the biblical call for obedience.  What they have done is introduce us to relationship; that significant element the Pharisees ridiculed as liberal.

The reason praise and worship has become so much more prominent in our assemblies is due to the hunger of the soul which desires to connect to the Creator of it.  From my earlier perspective I hated to let earth go in exchange for heaven for I felt heaven would be nothing but enlarged and ever-so-mundane church....which, by the way, came only in various shades of floatatious gray.  It seemed to me there would be no color in heaven for nothing this boring could dare have color.

Too spend time here and timelessness there praising and blessing the living God will smack of heavenly reward because we actually and simply love God.  We don't love Him for what He can do and where He can go or how He thinks.  We just love Him!

For man so loved God that He would give His only begotten Son for us that we will hunger and thirst to be in His presence that none of us should perish from getting to simply look at Him in complete awe and wonder!

May we be more about God in the days ahead.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Larry Crabb's new book, Shattered Dreams, appears to be a very useful tool.  Once again we are given direction to the value of being interrupted and distracted from our human plans which can be so unaware of God's walk among us.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


 I submitted J's request for what you might recommend as actual studies in my last post.  So comments coming in. 

Therefore, I will share actual verse-to-verse concepts I use.  The following is only a concept as I will not go directly down this line each time.
  1. Hebrews 2:14-18 is clear that Jesus came to help descendants of Abraham...not angels.  We are no angels....he came to help us...and that's exactly what he does.
  2. Jesus came that we might have life....NOW....which will go for eternity.  We want that life!
  3. Mt. 28:18-20  The last thing Jesus told his disciples to do was to go tell the whole world to be baptized.  When the church began in Acts he first told them to wait in Jerusalem to get their instructions.  Their instructions all through Acts was to tell them Jesus' closing baptized. 
  4. Romans 6:3-5 insists that one is buried with Christ in baptism.  This clearly supports his direction in Mt. 28 as well as the early church's action throughout Acts.  Meeting Jesus in his death to be raised anew is the picture of the watery grave...see Act 8 where the Eunuch was being taught Jesus, saw water and said, Hey, here is water....why couldn't I be baptized?
  5. Acts 2:38 sins are washed away and the Spirit moves in.  The Spirit moved in upon Jesus when he was baptized.  Ponder the correlation.
  6. Galatians 3:1-3 our life is hidden in Christ because we were buried in him at baptism.  The only safe place to be on this very threatening earth is to hide in Jesus.  Jesus is the saving point of all life.  He broke the bonds of death and we hide in that very place because in Jesus death cannot contain us (keep us).
  7. II Cor. 5:21...we do not get ourselves right with God.  Jesus does; he became all of our wrongs so we could become all of his rights.  We are saved, not on the basis of how right we get but how wrong Jesus became. 
These are just a very few ideas...and if they should help....then awesome!

Monday, March 14, 2011


Thank you, J, for your comment and question which you left regarding "Breathe Evangelism".

Which book? I relate to Tina and your advice about “baby steps” and agree. When it gets to the point of study though, I have trouble. Sometimes when I get their attention in learning more or accept something to read, they may be uncomfortable about following me to a preacher’s office for further help or to call one over (I feel like we’re ganging up on them). I believe when the “rubber meets the road,” they don’t believe the messenger, me, that I am qualified to study with them. Is there a book (easy for dummies) you recommend to guide you through scripture or to give to someone that encourages the student? I have looked at some things (either they are not me, not my style or too time consuming in the recipient’s mind). j

First, I throw the good question to the readers.  What book would you recommend J?

So many books will do.  I like to recommend books that speak of Jesus. 

Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal as well as The Wounded Healer do a terrific job of portraying our Savior.  Yancey's newest, What Good Is God? is a wonderful heart opener for doubters.  My new MVP! book is specifically written for those who feel inadequate; like they would never be good enough to be accepted by God.

I am not fond of "steps books" for they tend to lead one to develop a nature to follow rules rather than the Person.  However, different strokes for different folks surely is in play here.  Having just concluded an actual class series I did for seekers leading toward Baptism Sunday is study I ponder about placing in book form.

I believe a great variation of books which open the mind and heart to God are most useful in growing one's spirit toward the Son. 

Second, I mention all us this to other readers for any to comment.  What books have you found effective?  What would you offer as effective direction for J?

Sunday, March 13, 2011


When one is born again, what are the new and significant traits?  Go to church now?  Own a Bible now?  Learn more about God?  Each of these are pertinent.  However, I wish to share a part of kingdom life which very much affects my walk.

Praise to God.

Rick Atchley shared with me that he was not always a worshipper of God.  He admitted something to the affect that he believed communion time was a point to go over his sermon notes.  I was like that.  I didn't worship God; but rather I fulfilled the five steps....all God's steps seemed to now come in five since I had been converted.

The thing which seems to cause all other moves toward or with God to click is to praise Him constantly.  I thank Him while I'm driving.  I will be having coffee in a cafe while reading from a good book and simply have to stop to say, God, that was just awesome.  I never knew that before.  God, thank you for my eyes that can see print....or something to that effect.

Praise gets God's attention.  When we are glorifying Him, we are in His zone.  Wonderful things are at that very moment because we are in tune with the only Creator. 

If you want to see a remarkable change in a dull life, begin to fervently express gratitude and thanksgiving to God.  You will be handed more things to marvel over....for God isn't out of creative ideas.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Life is evangelism for the disciple.  I love the concept.  But I didn't in my formative years as a minister. 

When the church of Christ was robust in evangelism back in the inaugural workshop days of the '70s, a misnomer was planted.  Evangelism was when a believer could reach to an unbeliever, set up a study (cottage meeting) and baptize that person.  That was evangelism.

What that insufficient concept did was shut down 95% of the disciples....including this new upstart of a preacher.  I was a miserable, and a miserable failure at that, because preaching school buddies were reporting successes here and there while I never stood in a baptistery one time. 

But God taught me something.  Evangelism may come for some in the form of meet, greet, study and immerse, but not with the most of us.  It comes in insignificant baby steps often directed by God in such a way we don't notice.  We have nothing major to report if we believe baptizing is the only report.

I've learned that God works....often out of sight.  Our job according to scripture is to plant and water.  God, it says, will give the increase.  I began to hear of some being converted because they read one of my books while I was at home asleep and totally unaware.  I was involved in other conversions because I had encouraged the seed-sower.

God reaches people through hundreds and thousands of "believer encounters".  Courtesy to a waitress by behaving like Jesus is evangelism.  Patience at the cash register, when aware of God working, is evangelism.  Playing golf on purpose for sowing new seed or watering someone else's is teamwork evangelism.

Jesus didn't send his corp out to fish for men with a rod and reel seeking a personal trophy.  No, he sent them out with a net that we---including those now in the grave---continue to draw the net for a catch of many.

When I first began to practice this I was caught off guard by the 5% who meet, greet, study, and baptize.  They spread the word that I had gone weak and no longer cared about souls.  The rumor really and deeply hurt me.  I hadn't retracted evangelistic efforts.  I had moved more completely into a realm which bears much more kingdom fruit and brings about countless new births. 

There are those who say the Tulsa Workshop is no longer evangelistic.  Ah, how errantly they speak.  Do you really think that when we have a children's chorus or a Christian concert or a class without the words "evangelism" or "winning souls" in them that these have left the faith and specifically the mission of soul winning?  Hardly.  They are intentionally set in place to thrill the those in attendance regarding the Abundant Life in Jesus...and that they will spread the word!!! happens!

Evangelism isn't just a Tuesday evening outreach.  Rather, it is a 24/7 awareness of needy souls and we contribute to the Jesus Influence by pondering how we might cheer on such a neighbor.  My word to you is not to schedule evangelism.....but to breathe it.

Friday, March 11, 2011


God gave me a stunning idea early this morning.  How many stand at the Grand Canyon or along the Pacific Coast or upon the top of Pikes Peak, turn to a colleague, and say things like:
  • Do you think I should paint my front porch dark gray or light gray?
  • I can't believe the tests Dr. Johns handed out in class!
  • Have you noticed the price of Band-Aids lately?

Why?  Because of the brilliant and thrilling landscape (or waterscape), one's heart is miles from complaint and worry.  Our souls soak in the wonder of God.

So where will this mood be all of the time?  Heaven.  Don't we imagine heaven in such splendorous array that we will spend eternity shopping it?  Touring it?  And don't we know who else will be there?  The unfair.  The cheaters. The adulterers.  The gangsters.  The Thieves.  Us. 

Yet, in our heart of hearts we fully expect to live there in tropical splendor.  What and who all have been in the past will make no difference; heaven will cancel every negative.

So would it be possible to live this way now?  Could we live on earth as it is in heaven?  Isn't the Lord's Prayer calling for a response to this?  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  Isn't this precisely God's call today?

If we live on earth as we will when in heaven...yes, I adjusted it to get you to think...why don't we begin again today?   What we seem to take on as to what heaven will be like is the fact we will no longer be distracted or ever shed a tear about another thing.  It will be heaven and we will be awe-struck at its God's radiant presence.

So how about now?  Do you want to look at the awe of God or at $3.50 per gallon gasoline prices?  Do you want to get lost in noticing the beauty of God right now?  Or, shall you just wait to get to heaven before you begin?  Shall we forgive as He insists or hold our grudges in the name of legitimacy?

On earth as it is in heaven....could just shift some major attitudes.  It helps me.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


The turbulence of the mid-East is disconcerting.  The increased division in America is bordering on hostility.  Not all is well in the land of the brave and the home of the free. 

I believe it will not be long until we begin to hear reports of violence as chasms build.  Again, this is just my opinion.  At least two things might be considered as we approach the coming days: (1) the churches may need to take partial responsibility for neutering the spiritual atmosphere of America by our opposition to one another rather than to dark forces, and (2) it will be important for us to determine our posture should society turn against itself.

(1) We can perceive any great struggles coming upon the church as a cleansing blessing.  We may need to be rocked from our rocking chair faith.  Let us not discard the strain we might encounter should unrest intensify.

(2) Our role will be as it always has; carry about the nature of Jesus.  Love each other and love enemies.  Bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Fight fire with hope.  Battle neighbor with kindness.

Our world is experiencing dangerous division.  We might be most effective if we can remember that we are to take up our crosses daily...and the cross means we die to ourselves that those for whom we die may live for Him. 

What thinketh ye?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


This morning at dawn I was perched at McDonalds.  I could not help but notice what appeared to be a homeless and very old man treasuring a cup of coffee with his dirty and weathered hands.  The clothing was tattered and filthy.  Unshaven for weeks his hair was a greasy gray, matted, and very long.  His eyes---oh his eyes---were noticeably puffy with deep creases surrounding. 

As I babysat my Egg McMuffin and coffee, I watched him fumble for every crumb...wrap and unwrap, fold and crease the wrappings...while he enjoyed each morsel. 

I watched intently...for my reaction.  How often and how easy is it for me to dismiss such a person as if he does not exist?  I intentionally looked "at" this creature of God instead of looking "away".  I told myself to look at him and try to see what Jesus would see. 

As if a window shade had been lifted, I actually began to love the man.  I began to wonder what he might need.  Two things; I concluded.  He needed money as well as recognition. 

So I went over to this mess of a lonely looking man who sat for the longest time with sad eyes drooping.  Good morning young man!  How's it going this morning?  Fine, he graciously responded as if slightly caught off guard that a person was addressing him. 

I've been watching you, young man, and I think you must be important.  Really?  How's that?  I've watched you.  You seem to notice people and care about them.  Oh, thank you sir.  You are welcome....and listen, I've got some extra money here that I'm not using today.  Why don't you use it?  Oh, thank you sir.  That's all right, young man.  You have a good day.

Would Jesus have done that?  Yes, and more.  But when I got in my car to drive away, I pondered to myself, Hmmm, I wonder if that was a homeless man....or was it Jesus?


(Vasca...would you email me?)

Jesus ruins human reason.  He teaches that to keep then one must give away.  To really live, he insists we really die.  To keep in perpetual memory Jesus established a memorial which is consumed.  His backward style is our best forward motion.

So do you see it in the news of today?  Protests in Wisconsin and Ohio are threatening to spread elsewhere.  Who is going to pay for all of these contracts signed years ago to pay best wages plus strong retirement?  States are going broke because at the moment of bargaining---way back when---the deal was far enough down the road all involved lived without concern. 

Today?  Huge trouble because someone somewhere has got to figure a way to pay for it all....and there's no way to figure it.  Trouble lurks. 

Not so with the backward forward motion of Jesus.  In the beginning God had a retirement plan for man.  He could see the ruin far ahead.  God had the vision that we would reach a point where we would not know how to begin to pay the debt.  He would not be caught asking, Who's going to pay for this?  He would pay for it. 

God wrote into the contract a backward way of keeping mankind from insurmountable debt.  Jesus would pay it.  He did.  There is no clamor for relief from overwhelming debt.  Jesus paid it all. 

We are believe how great is our God that He could operate so forward in our backward world.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Don't you love God?  I'm not asking if you love His commands or if you get the top ten right most of the time.  I'm not leading you to ponder how much you love the church or if you enjoy serving in it.  I am asking about your personal and deeply rooted fascination with God.

God is the ultimate unbelievable-to-be-believed story.  He insists we not only believe it, but join it.  Nothing is as radical as the God-us-story.  Let me say it again; nothing is as wonderfully and beautifully radical.

To slip into carnal religious habit is not loving God.  To merely mouth words or disengage in the work of the kingdom are irksome tragedies.  To find the checklist complete because we have developed a three-times-a-week faithfulness still begs the question, Are you crazy about God?

Ponder what lights your fire.  A famous concert?  A championship game?  A meaningful relationship?   What is it that captures your mind when it is off-duty?  Whatever you would note, does God do the same thing for you?  Is it true you can't quit thinking of God and how He pulls off such wonderful, beautiful, thrilling work?  How talented can He be? 

I am wowed by Him.  I can't imagine what size and sort can whisper to cause the Rockies to stretch out.  What sort of voice must He possess which can pronounce, You are now water and, land, set up bravely in its midst only to have India and Africa arise from the ocean?  Wow power!

When we are touched by anything enormous, we can't help but join in unrestrictive celebration.  We can't be shut up.  Spread the word.  God is to be emphatically and enormously and gloriously worshipped.  The more we get close to Him the larger He becomes and the smaller we realize ourselves to be. 

However small we discover we are....nothing will shut us up in declaring our God is alive!

Monday, March 07, 2011


Which walk are we following in the church?  It would be assumed Christ gets the vocal nod.  Yet, his Spirit is fundamentally missing among those most outraged about any name other than Christ.  Without the Holy Spirit this would hardly qualify any group to be the true church.

In truth the Restoration Movement has developed a strong contingent of Churches of the Pharisees.  As much personality and doctrine have been sifted from the Saul of Tarsus as the Paul of Ephesus.  Rules, regulations, and mean-spirited dialog are hammered out in classrooms and on lecture trails.  Love and grace and good fruit are relished as we labor to mature over our own short-comings and even our sins.

Wasn't Jesus' encounter with the critics similar to our clash with our own brotherhood?  You can't heal on the Sabbath.  You can't have a garage sale in the true church.  You can't eat with sinners.  You can't have women pray in the company of a man.  You can't touch a leper.  You can't hum to a religious song on the radio that has instrumental music.

This doesn't reflect the church of Christ.  Rather it resembles the church of Pharisees. 

Why is it we have the ugliest of reputations from town to city?  Why is that?  Could it be because the Restoration Movement's trail is strewn with legalities and not heart issues?  Could it be we have worn ourselves ragged shining the exterior of church protocol while ignoring the deterioration of the inside of the cup?

It is an exciting day for all who hunger for less of self and more of Jesus to realize we actually see greater hope on the horizon.  We are not the denominational church of the Pharisees.  A new creation is developing among us--toward which we grow day by day and inch by inch--from the standard of persecuting and arresting legalism into the freedom for which Jesus and Paul and Titus, etc., called.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


Here's the church.  Here's the steeple.  Open the doors and see all the people.  This is from my Presbyterian days in VBS when using interlocking hands to form the three.  The idea I want to convey is that whatever our role in God's expansive mystery, be sure to see the people. 

Especially when we are meeting for class or assembly....see the people.  How wrong to see the lesson outline, but not the people.  How mistaken to see the task or service before us...and not see the people.

You know...the people?  They are the visitors standing with a bit of an uncertain gawk as to what or where they should make their next move.  They are the new members unclear about congregational protocol and just hoping someone rescues without great attention to their befuzzlement.

One of the things I like about the church is that it really is about people.  Yes, it is about praising God.  Yes, it is about serving community.  But one of the things that makes every congregation rich is to be very social in connecting to as many faces as one can.  This causes people to feel they are important and useful.

Good for you young woman and old man for leaving your comfort zone to notice a stranger in our midst.  Good for you young man and old woman for extending words of satisfaction and joy over meeting a newbie.   People are what God created for fellowship to Himself.  We are to recharge those people's batteries in order that they might have both the energy and interest to pursue our Living Lord.

Good for you....for being so good.  Everything we do counts.  Everybody counts.  May we never let one person leave our midst wondering if their existence matters.


Terry, personal question here, when you don't receive comments on your posts...does it ever 'bother' you? I have a blog, and I read many others...I always check to see if I have any comments...I think others must too. Is that a positive or a negative...or a 'not to even think about'?

A dear friend whom I've never met in person, Vasca, left this comment on my last post. 

Vasca and others,

It doesn't bother me when there are no comments.  Very few are ever left.  The counter tells me this blog gets about 1400+ hits a week. I receive about one comment for every 700 hits.

Does it bother me that I receive very few comments in return?  I don't think about it.  My whole emphasis is I pretend I have a cluster of students out there globally and they check in for their morning devotional or whatever and move on.  I pretend my blog is like a daily calendar for one's get go and if my words would cheer, applaud, and direct....yippee! and others who write blogs do the same thing.  The volume of readers is never the issue.  The words of hope which speak volumes is.

Much love to a wonderful Vasca!  You are treasured in my heart!

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Gerald Lovett is one of Memorial's really delightful members.  He, as a little boy, and his mother were among the founders of the Memorial congregation.  Gerald, and occasionally his wife, will make their way through Florida to my annual Cardinals baseball camp.

This year Gerald asked if I would get an autographed baseball for a contractor with whom he does business.  I was glad to pick off a baseball signed by Ozzie Smith.

Gerald told me today the friend was so impressed with the ball.  When he realized it was a gift from Gerald, the friend could hardly believe it was his.

Nations war.  People are on edge for many reasons.  A baseball handed off to an unsuspecting friend just seems to be a most valuable morsel of goodness.


Do you fellowship the Spirit? 

Would you be surprised or even ashamed of me if I told you that I spent years in ministry with zero thought to the possibility?

Why would I seek connection with the Spirit when I stood with those who believed He was shelved?  Oh, I retorted that indeed He indwelt us.  He just didn't do anything while present.  That was the teaching I received and believed.  He sorta sealed us--put His stamp of approval on us--but was not engaged in anything I was engaged in.

We are to fellowship the Spirit...Phil. 2:1.  How?  What does it look like?

First, the Spirit is God.  God is only in spirit form.  God is Holy and His Spirit is Holy.  You and I are to carry on a relationship with the Holy Spirit God.  What I didn't know for many years, after realizing the Spirit does operate directly in our lives, that such action is a two-way street.  We are to talk with God and He talks with us.

Our songs have testified of this all along.  And He walked with me and talked with me and He told me.....  Or what about the song, We walk the fields together.  We walk and talk as good friends should and do?  Many sang this truth before they/we ever believed it.

I always heard about listening for God; but didn't know what it meant.  But He wishes to walk with us and talk with us as good friends should and do.  He gives us ideas.  We can create our own ideas, of course.  

This does not discriminate against the truth that God loves to fellowship His people and His people Him.

Talk with Him.  Pray.  Applaud.  Praise.  And be still to listen for His voice; those things which occur to you which did not come from flesh and blood.

Eerie?  Spooky?  Pentecostal?  Nope.  Just a common people communicating with the Holy Lord as if an authentic relationship was being experienced.  Father and child...on speaking terms.

Friday, March 04, 2011


Due to the mystery of God, I lack the capacity to address this idea well.  Be merciful while I stumble about.  However, it is important to weigh what it is we pulpiteers are preaching.  Are we delivering sermon outlines or messages from God?  If the former, we are merely taking up the time.  And, that really was my goal in my formidable years.  The latter would be our foremost goal.

I have experienced both.  I've done both.  There is a difference.

We are called to preach the Word.  It alone is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.  Consider the following ideas regarding our preaching:
  • We are to have a reverent view of the inspired Word.  Nothing equals it.
  • We are to carry on a relationship with the Living God.  This means we will talk to Him and He to us.  We must hear from Him the thoughts of His great heart about the coordination of His Word with His people.  He calls this exchange "wisdom from above"....Jas. 3:13-18.
  • We must grieve--possess a holy ache--for skill from above to make such a presentation that directly connects the Loving God with a hungry people....Isa. 6:1-6.
  • We cannot speak our best and our truest until we experience a similarity to Isaiah 6:1-6 where we admit we are nothing on earth but ruined in His presence.  Until then, we will preach sermon outlines.
  • We must speak where the Bible speaks and discontinue the insanity of speaking where it doesn't.  I saw a bit of a forum this week where it was questioned as to whether it was all right to have a worship service in a nursing home.  Look up worship service and nursing home in the Bible and then one should have the correct answer.  And if it isn't there, we should have no comment.
God is all in all.  We are individual vessels used by God as the Spirit wills.  Live with Him.  Listen to Him.  Everything you and He discuss will never be contrary to the Word; but rather will fit like a glove.  Be more confident in God than in yourself.  Love Him and love the people.  And pray like crazy that He will form a communication skill in you that ears will understand as if God had spoken.

Blessings to all who strive to preach with kingdom-sized effectiveness.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I'm not a historian; but I like history.  Nor am I intelligent; yet I enjoy thinking about life.  I am interested in the welfare of mankind and the Holy God who created it.

The world-wide unrest is breath-taking.  Who can grasp it?  Who can understand its hopes or its sorrows?

Protests are causing a domino effect from nation to nation; even continent to continent.  War ships mix and maneuver as in a real-to-life board game.  Rising oil prices ripple from east to west.  The costs of commodities escalate which causes the price of services to increase.  The poor are getting poorer and we rich are in the beginning pangs of concern.

What are we to do about what I believe to be an approaching tsunami of alarm? 

I would not be one to know many of the answers.  Live backwards.  God's ways never line up with man's; He said in Isaiah.  Two ideas come to mind: (1) continue to hide in Jesus and (2) continue to give money away.  Both defy human logic of survival.  Human estimation would be to shore up for survival by hiding in a cave and hoard money for our own needs. 

Not so with God running the ship.  And....He is running it.  Therefore my proposal is to gain security by upping our trust in God.  I love living life in defiance of what earthly wisdom says.  With the economy looking unstable, this is the perfect time to increase our giving. 

Could it be that American Christians have coasted for several generations on acknowledging the Living God while sustaining themselves rather independently in and from a land of abundance? 

But right now, our greed and our high standard of living is (my opinion) approaching significant threat.  What will be our response?  We will become even better believers.  We will increase in our Christianity.

Let not one of us bury our head in fear.  Let not one man, woman, or child take a step backward.  Let us be reminded we stand on the Rock; not on yielding sand.  Let us believe in deed what we have said be believed in word. 

The back of humanity is carrying a heavy load.  It is significant and it is real.  And while we distract not from this truth we mostly remember His words; Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.

News will spread and rumors will intimidate.  Jesus has taken care of all of our concerns and dealt with all of our enemies and promised us a continuation of eternal life.

Don't forget it.


The Word is the sword of the Spirit.  The Spirit is not the sword of the Word.  The Word does not weild the Holy Spirit.  The reverse is true.

The Holy Spirit reveals himself through the Word.  The Word is mighty as no other book form because of the Spirit's endorsement.

We are privileged to believe from the Holy Spirit inspired Word that the Holy Spirit strengthens the inner the Word reveals....Ephesians 3:14-21.

And then in Ephesians 1:18-21:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know
  • what is the hope of His calling
  • what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
  • and what is the suprassing greatness of power
toward us who believe.

These (hope, riches, power directed toward us...directly) are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised him from the dead.

We have coming at us the identical power as used at Jesus's tomb that one morning.  My friend, may we awaken to the intricate co-existence with God's Spirit.  May we yield that we might grow in Him.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


I am encouraged by Jeff Gary's comment on the last post regarding his interest in reaching Charlie Sheen.  I am always proud of all like Jeff who truly do have hearts to reach in various directions.

Jeff, I have not reached to him.  I hadn't thought of it, yet, so good for you. 

Years ago Art Linkletter told me how to contact the celebs and Charlton Heston later confirmed it.  If you will Google the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles, you will most likely find an address.  Send your note to Charlie c/o SAG.  They will see that all mail is moved to them.

Jeff, I encourage you to follow through.  I'm proud of you for thinking of this.  I missed it.  All of our efforts carry the hope of Jesus.  And Jesus is the very author of hope for a very dark and discouraged society.

May God richly bless each of us as we imagine ways to win some!


It is important that young leaders learn to accept criticism.  It is most valuable; a central part of kingdom life, II Cor 12:5-11.  We must have opposition if we are going to serve in the church.  No one helped me handle attacks.  No one taught me their value.  Thus, this post to awaken young leaders to the necessity of personal criticism and how to use it as fuel rather than letting it drain us of energy.  Otherwise, you will run scared and eventually toss in the white flag.

Yesterday I watched a video of a man speak negatively about my little book, The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly Sense (which has since been rewritten under the title, Empowering the Ordinary).  It surely was an interesting experience.  I don't like criticism.  But it goes with following Jesus.  Yet, we can relax and learn.  We don't always get things correct; neither do our accusers.

Mr. Brown boxed my ears a few times.  In places I had it coming.  My writing skills are riddled with inadequacy so I get how he could question some of my language.  An author always wishes he or she could have stated things a bit more concise and clearly once things are in print.  However, when it came to the part about the Holy Spirit working in our lives (which is why he opposes my book), he could not get the plane to leave the runway.  He taxied his entire speech.

Mr. Brown expressed such a difficult time as to how I dare admit that I tried to teach a Holy Spirit class three times and messed it up every time.  How could Rush be a gospel preacher and mess it up?, he railed.  Well....the book gives the answer. And, if he really wanted to know he could have called me.  You need to know that is just the way it goes.  Don't react and don't give up.  Conflict doesn't mean your are bad or good.  It simply is an important element of maturing in the nature of Jesus.

While this book (written 24 years ago) is immature for I wrote it, it does lead one to consider multiple passages supporting the idea of the Holy Spirit's activity.  Mr. Brown, didn't have time to cover these as he was more about mocking and jeering me.  Again, this man has the right to challenge.  He is a good man who holds strong convictions.  However, don't assume you must yield to anything but the Word; even if another is outspoken against you.  Let their words serve you rather than scare you. 

Do not be ruffled by critics.  Go to school on them.  They serve a wonderful purpose in the kingdom nature.  We must always go back to the Word to see if we are in error for we are very likely to be mistaken.  What disciple doesn't?  Critics assist us in digging deeply into whether we really believe what we say.  This is true of all of us students including Mr. Brown.  If we are to mature, we will have to learn of errant ways and adjust. 

Romans 5:1-5 insists that we be ultra-careful in our judging of others because in doing so we ridicule our very own actions...because God says we are guilty of the same things.  I am just as guilty as David Brown about unfairly judging others..God says. 

Next, I want to assure you that boisterous voices and hammering claims against you are to be expected from Pharisees.  It goes on.  At first it can put the scare into you.  What these do to you is precisely what they did to Jesus.  In their eyes Jesus never understood the Word correctly.  They hammered but he would not fluster.  It just isn't his nature...and neither is it to be yours.  Yet, you have to learn this through...being hammered.  You are often called to live on the anvil while God tempers you through the blessed means of accusers.  Didn't Jesus show us this over and over?

An odd thing I noticed in the link I give to you (the man --I don't know him-- introducing Mr. Brown and initial comments by Mr. Brown) was the gloating of being hated.  I am very surprised at this.  How can that be?  I hadn't seen that before.  One has to be known before one can be hated.  I barely know the names of two on the program, Mr. Brown and Cal McLish.  I've never heard of the others.  I feel badly that they think they are hated.  Maybe I misunderstood that it was a joke.  Could be, I guess.

Criticism will hurt your feelings until your realize it is useful in God's scheme of things.  While I would prefer not to be ridiculed publicly, the "yes" (II Cor. 1:9-20) in this is that when men such as these assail our works, they unintentionally endorse our walk with God.  For that....I am grateful.  In Mr. Brown's rebuke, he makes my point.  My early efforts in teaching about the Holy Spirit were a mess because in those days I had his view of the topic....and it really is a mess.

Rough days?  Big clouds?  Feel attacked?  Don't flinch.  It isn't a storm.  It is Jesus at work in us.  Attacks on Jesus led him to resurrection experience.  Hold on.  The same is for you.  You will not escape criticism.  You need it.  Learn from it.  Use it as a blessed tool.  Opposition is our friend because it helps us grow.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


A trait I carried into the kingdom which turns many against me is I am so rough around the edges.  I was trained as a Pharisee and my pliable heart welcomed the rigid instruction.  After all, this merely continued my strict upbringing.

A huge problem with this is obvious.  I didn't possess the Shepherd's heart.  I was equipped with forceful ways of standing for Truth by trying to sound the part.  I was big on image....although, at the time, I had it wrong.  My goal was not people; it was sermon preparation and delivery.  Whether it hurt or helped was of little concern.  I was a gospel preacher!

But the Chief Shepherd would not let me remain in such a trench.  He won't go there we me...or with us.  Right standing with God may be our motto; yet the problem is He isn't standing there with us in such poses.  Jesus breaks the pompousity of us.  For me it is an ongoing process.

I saw this correct heart in others and regarded them as cowardly and weak; as having left the True faith.  I was mistaken.  My last few sets of elders (shepherds) have helped me as much as anything or anyone.  I see in them an incredible non-judgmental style which is foreign to my loud and lording personality.  I think I have learned over the past several years from some of the best.

The question for each of us is do we care about God and care about people?  I am learning to speak, to preach, with greater compassion for I want the hearers to get a better shot at actually hearing the heart of God. 

Sensitivity is all over Jesus.  That is who he is; his trek and his message.  It was not who I was....but who I fully intend to become.