Saturday, September 29, 2012


I guess as long as we live we will be tempted to conquer life through the flesh standards of accomplishment and success.

Faith truly challenges us to move into an entirely new zone.  The leader of that territory is the Holy Spirit; invisible, flexible, and known only by faith.

It would seem that the deepest desire for most is to be a better people.  The road to this victory is not in self-improvement nor in self-maintenance; but is to be found in a Person named Jesus.  Think it not strange that such an admonition, alone, seems nebulous.  Ah, welcome to the Spirit world!

No, when it comes to faith, the flesh has a low tolerance for the vague.  We are a meat and potatoes kind of believer that wants understandable guidelines.  Yet, the Guide gave us Guidelines to lead us to the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen definition of FAITH. 

The Bible contains one story upon another of individuals too weak and sometimes too awkward for the task at hand to guide us to the God who can accomplish through us.  Abraham was assumed too old to father a child.  Joseph was betrayed and dumped in a pit only to arise as a national leader.  Moses begged off--at first--when God called him to do what could not be done (but did get done) in rescuing God's nation held captive.

The reason churches fail a community could be found by drawing people in only to admonish its members they can do better if they will just try harder.  The reason a church blesses a neighborhood is discovered when one surrenders his or her self-effort for the heroic trust in our active and invisible God. 

Faith isn't the flesh doing better.  It is the spirit of a person leaning into the Spirit of God trusting that He will do better with us than we would by our own steam.

For further evaluation of such a concept, I think you would thoroughly enjoy Sharon Hersh's The Last Addiction (Why Self-Help Is Not Enough).  You will be blessed.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Code language is an interesting concept.  Swordfish at the door.  Jasper from Saginaw.  Blue Bell.  Ah, even from our childhood codes told us who "we" were.

We use some of those in the church.  Auditorium.  Closing prayer.  Invitation song.  "We" know the exact meaning when "they" may not be able to decipher insight.

Jesus is the word  to crack the code of legalism.  He puts it away.  I doubt I'll live long enough to take in this Truth and this Glory.  After all, he is eternal in nature.

A challenge "we" face among our many codes is that we fail to move from Code to Person; Law to Jesus.  They are not the same.

If not careful we will interpret NT Law as simply a step up from OT Code.  If we fail to let the OT lead us to Jesus, both OT and NT have failed.

Carl Ketcherside wrote many decades ago, It is easy to develop a Pharisaical attitude about the New Covenant Scriptures as about the Old.  If we condition our relationship with God on the basis of knowing a compilation of sacred writings, rather than faith in Jesus, we actually make the Bible our God.  As a result, we become inconsistent and insecure.  Every interpretation, exegesis, or opinion that disagrees with our own is considered treason.  Our problem is that we make the basis of our hope an agreement with men, not a covenant with God.

The church suffers loss in areas because we have known our Bibles well without knowing our Jesus very much. 

You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you might have life...Jn. 5:39.

Jesus alone cracked the code.  May we treasure new authentic life in the Spirit of God.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Carl Jung said long ago, The central neurosis of our time is emptiness.  Could it still continue today?

Emptiness is a choker.  It lives in nursing homes.  Sadder yet, it reigns in coffee shops, classrooms, and even in church pews.  Emptiness, though, gives you and me purpose because we are fillers since we have been Filled.

Believers are a perfect match for this problem that plagues mankind.

Filled with gratitude, filled with purpose, and filled with His Holy Spirit, of all people we are the ones who have filling to offer. 

And guess who needs filling?  Millions!  Some are CEOs. Others are homeless.  Yet, others are simply prim and proper....and so very lonely.

E. Stanley Jones wrote in Conversion that it was said by a certain Christian in India regarding another, He is suffering from nothingness.  Jones points out that human nature simply can't stand emptiness and meaninglessness.  It gets jumpy, jittery, and goes to pieces.

Imagine.  If you were to discover a culture that has tried everything and basically concludes that most is in vain, what could be done for this sort?  Ah, how about inserting the church of the living God?!?

We are perfectly poised for meaning and purpose because Problems is the name of the day for lines as far as we can see.

I urge us to continue to awaken to the truth that our purpose is highlighted when problems exist; and many do.  Be encouraged.  Discouragement is nothing but a red flag of opportunity for those who believe God can do what we could never imagine...Eph. 3:20.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Something wonderfully catastrophic happens to each believer.  We can walk with the herd or we can balk in the face of strong admonition.  Neither will make us effectively Christian.

Something wonderfully catastrophic happens to each believer for when it happens it hurts our hearts terribly.  One can never quite reach a pivotal point in life--regardless of energy and effort--until we move to the bottom by realizing we (me) (truly I) are disastrous sinners.

A lot of Sunday School talk has gone on for centuries under the guise that we talk about God, the world's condition, and what might be done to lead people to Jesus.  A considerable amount of lip-service and foot- power will surely be given to both organization and projects. 

But the bottom line changes....everything.

The bottom line is that we are wretched sinners at the bottom of the line.  Preaching changes, reading the Word opens, criticism begins to melt, and attitude is significantly adjusted when one thing occurs; realization that we each are the chiefest of sinners. 

When this truth strikes us we begin to feel....we begin to be emotionally connected.  The difference is moving from a state of reading a book about being imprisoned for a week to being imprisoned for a week.  Understanding abruptly increases because we shift from theory to experience.

The bottom line is that we are at the bottom of the line 'til Jesus becomes our Savior; not in theory but in experience.  When this happens.....when we realize the enemy to God really was us--Romans 5:8-12--not only are we wonderfully blessed; but those who experience the new attitudinal us will be blessed as well.


We--theologically speaking--are both consumed and enamored with God's handiwork, mission, and commands.  We study, dissect, and then announce to the world our latest findings.  Such issuance brings delight to some and conflict to others.  A new debate ensues which is as old as the hills; old versus new.

A perpetual challenge breeds in the church; How shall we deal with new?

When we enter the kingdom zone we tend to forget that paradoxes abound.  To keep one's life one must die.  Giving causes keeping; but refraining from giving away will result in loss of that which was kept.  The only strong ones are those who lean into their weaknesses.

The kingdom is wired to befuddle the rational and the logical.  This will always be a perpetual challenge.

New is always the challenge.  Why is that?

God is the Creator.  He continues such a prolific style.  He makes all things new.  We are to be a new creation.  His very nature is newer than the newest.  Should we kick against His style, the church will fade into relicism.

Margaret Wheatly voices, To be responsible inventors and discoverers, we need the courage to let go of the old world, to relinquish most of what we have cherished, to abandon our interpretations about what does and doesn't work.  We must learn to see the world anew.  As Einstein is often quoted as saying: No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it...We inhabit a world that co-evolves as we interact with it.  This world is impossible to pin down, constantly changing, and infinitely more interesting than anything we ever imagined.

Yes, in Christendom there is a Rock; his name is Jesus.  He is firm, solid, and sturdy.  Our perpetual challenge is identical to the religious leaders of his day; to develop an ability to be sure of him while remaining with flexible stance upon those truths which must evolve as we study our Bibles and experience the Creative God they reveal...John 3:8.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The Word speaks of mystery.

My earlier years didn't include mystery.

They included many answers, explanations, and facts.  But mysteries were avoided because these didn't contain touchable/tangible rationalization.

Yet as we grow to accept mystery in this vast kingdom called God's, there seems to be a surprising peace which had yet been experienced.  That seems odd to the control freak; me.

John Eldredge wrote, The more comfortable we are with mystery in our journey, the more rest we will know along the way.  He continues with attention toward life's paradoxes that Paul pointed to in II Corinthians 6:10, Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 

Eldredge, then, follows with a tremendous shot, And if we are willing to let go, we'll discover something most surprising--that all is ours.  That is why reaching to possess is one danger of which the heart alive must stay wary.  Those who have given up caring aren't tempted by this.  But once we know what we want, we must learn the grace of release.

To learn the grace of release.....yes, a most surprising life will follow.  The mystery....will always remain mysterious...and we are glad.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


I am afraid of Sundays.

I never gave a thought to preaching for I never gave a thought as a kid to even going to church.  Church was not high on my bucket list.

Now I am one. 

This is one of the most bizarre lives any man ever encountered.  I still cannot get used to what I get to do.  But especially Saturday nights scare me.

Several things bring this inner dis-ease about:
  • Wondering if God will leave me in the pulpit by myself.
  • Doubting I have a message that will give outrageous life to hearers.
  • Fearing I won't be enough.
Oh, on the list goes.  There's surely much more.

It is so weird being a preacher.  I can't wait to get there to hear what I've got to say; yet my mind goes nutso scrambling for word formation while my heart fights for air.

I love the church and believe deeply in the people in front of me.  They are so very much more than they believe themselves to be.  My job is to keep their fire lit by exposing them to the Hero named Jesus.

I fight tearful collapse Sunday after Sunday by covering with goofy humor.  Ah, they are good to laugh.  We even have groomed professional laughers.  But the tension....oh it exhausts me.

So I say this to those of you who are not Memorialites.  Be good to your preacher tomorrow morning.  If he acts weird it could be he feels to pressure so strongly he's trying to keep from passing out.

The Saturday night jitters....well, they are valuable and important and I hope they never go away....but I always root for me the next morning!


eBay had a radical idea.  It allowed plain people to sell and trade with no inventory.  Today the world shops eBay.  In general there was never a need to control the shoppers or the sellers.


One fundamental notion became their model; We believe people are basically good.  We believe everyone has something to contribute.  We believe that an honest and open environment can bring out the best in people.

When I read this quote my thoughts went immediately to Memorial's elders.  This is more than their motto; it is their shepherding philosophy.  When this is practiced--and it does work--one can understand their motto of stay out of the way.  When the elders' role is to stay out of the way of the people, weird and wonderful things happen.

People become creative.  Members seem to lose their fear factor of not doing things good enough.  The results have been our people find reluctance replaced by willing effort.

Long ago Ethel Maynard, Tommie Weaver, and Virginia Cameron thought it necessary to provide food for funeral families.  They have been at this special service for a looong time now.

Norm and Merilyn Herron had an idea.  They began a Food Pantry years ago.  It flourishes involving a host of Memorial's members plus volunteers from the community who want to pitch in.  We didn't see the latter coming.

Michelle Bowers had an idea of beginning a clothing drive once a month for those standing in line to get food.  Success.  Success.  I doubt the elders made a decision on this.  Rather, they were as encouraged as anyone that this work would begin!

Ethelen Magnusson and Ellie Miller directed our Resource Room for teachers for decades.  Today Trish Jones and JoDelene Hutchison have taken the organizing baton and run with it.  I'm sure the elders learned of this responsible and productive transition the way the rest of us did.  They saw them working.

And then there're Eric and Jenny Connel who began Project Tulsa to take food and water to the homeless.  Aaron and Lea Henley, simultaneously, started Imgonna which reaches to a nearby apartment complex filled with kids. 

Pam White and Mindy Willman recently designed a new Prayer Room of meditation and prayer.

Memorial Drive is made up of people who believe in people.  It is a robust place.  We inherit this ability to serve from our elders.  These guys are not permission givers and would be irritated if they thought we thought so.  Rather, these four are just as eager and just as enthused as the rest of us to find out new ways the team is approaching the Tulsa community and the whole world.

I doubt Clint Davis and Janyt May sought the elders' permission before they each tackled Uganda.  It isn't that our shepherds are against being in on exciting plans, etc.  And, they are surely interested when guidance would be sought.  It is just that they believe in the flock.  They behave as if they think we can get stuff done.

AA meets here Tuesdays and Fridays.  It was the calendar that allowed that to happen.

Oh yes, this week we learned the Cubs Scouts are using our building on Monday nights beginning in October.  There's more.  We are grateful.

This eBay concept of believing in people originated with God's call to each of us.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Complication is a stressful matter.  It could be used to hone our skills.  Yet, too much of it can bury a person while he or she lives.  Repeated multiplication of complication chokes, smothers, suffocates and kills.

This why the clear call of Jesus when he levied that thieves come to steal and destroy while he arrives to offer abundant life; the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

Life is God's goal for us.  Death is the Thief's concept.  Complication sets in when laws multiply.  In the medical arena it is said of one dying, Complications have set in.

There seems to be growing concern about America's government.  Reflection upon all parties is that a gigantic shift has taken place from simplicity to complication.  Regulations keep order for a good while.  Yet, when these begin to multiply, the opposite gradually moves in; congestive disorder.

If not given honest care, the multiplication complication of government will choke, smother, suffocate, and eventually kill a once young and vibrant nation.

So it is in the church.  From Bible versions, to women's dress code, to whether hands can clap, to legalizing opening and closing prayers, the church took on the multiplication complication long before America existed as nation.  The MC factor was alive in Jesus day and he died to get us out of it.

We have much growing to do.  I'm excited to be in the loop on such a direction.  We must be aware that it is too easy to slip into a regulatory atmosphere that becomes dependent upon what we allow and don't over the breath-taking awareness of a Holy and Living God abiding within each of us.

May the simplicity of Jesus renew every aspect of our existence.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


We must be sober about the present condition of the church.  People cannot afford for us to be whimsical nor moody.  Youngsters will not endure a stalemate of middle-of-the-road practices which give much more lip service than heart service.

There remains a void in the human heart which can only be filled by the perfect fitting of the Spirit of Christ.  We must see that the two are introduced to one another.

Will God be found in His church?


This completion of relationship, however, will not happen due to safe and normal habit.  Rather is will begin to arise when assortment and broken and weak and different are allowed to come together as one.  Every generation hungers for Life...authentic, real, sensitive, and tangible Life. 

This life is found in relationship to the Holy Spirit.  Doctrines may mask; but will not supply the heart's hunger for relationship with he Divine.  Dos and Don'ts may be clearly heard; but rules will never replace the Son and his remarkable, immeasurable life to be encountered within.

Will God be found in His church?  Absolutely!  It is our faith-work to believe Him in all settings.  People are everywhere.  He will be found in people; not in performance.  He will be found in the downtrodden; not in the trim and proper.  God will be found in the the very ones we might tend to dismiss should they not fit our standards of uprightness.

A famous author wrote, Every age has its own characteristics.  Right now we are in an age of religious complexity.  The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us.  In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart.  The shallowness of our worship, and that servile imitation of the world which marks our promotional methods all testify that we, in this day, know God only imperfectly, and the peace of God scarcely at all.

A. W. Tozer wrote this in 1948.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Power is fascinating.  Horsepower, political power, God-power....on the list grows.  Power is a powerful tool for every one of us.

The secret to kingdom power is not the accumulating; but rather the giving.  Power is perfected in weakness is stamped in gold on the front of my Bible.  It tells the truth.  We are never strong because of our strength; only due to our weakness...for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Cor. 12:9-10).

Empowering others is my drive.  I want to see individuals succeed.  Such a process will often require I take a backseat in my leadership role.  In the kingdom we often lead by urging others to be the leaders.  Our role is to give them the nudge that they, too, can be effective because of their inherent weaknesses. 

John Maxwell wrote, Many people neglect to empower others because they are insecure.  They are afraid of losing their jobs to the people they mentor.  They don't want to be replaced or displaced, even if it means that they would be able to move up to a higher position and leave their current one to be filled by the person they mentor.  They're afraid of change.  But change is part of empowerment---for the people you empower and for yourself.  If you want to go up, there are things you have to be willing to give up.

I relate.

When I was nervous about my image, there was a slight competition in my mind toward the other staff partners.  It hurt me to see them be credited when such seemed to say I wasn't enough.  How silly.  Yet, welcome to the reality of the inferior.

The Good News is that The Art of Empowerment is a glorious relief.  For the past six or seven years I probably give myself to mentoring more than any other ministry commitment.  I love, love, love the preaching role.  Yet, the building men and women's confidence is a seven-day-a-week assignment from God that flows from a heart no longer protecting its self-image.  I basically have no image other than silly and foolish weakness.

Everybody knows it.  The best part is that I know it.

The Art of Empowerment is a most delightful arena.  I believe my posts empower you.  I believe in people; especially the insecure, the inferior, and the weak ones.  Why?  Because I want to do for others what patient and gracious others did for me.

The Art of Empowerment is a productive way to live.  Don't cast your frailties aside as if they are in your way.  They are your secret to The Art of Empowerment.  Use them.

Monday, September 17, 2012


We are new!

Life isn't found in putting our hands to the Bible and looking back to see where the church has been, what it did, or who it knew.  No, we are on a mission to know God; to be led by Him into regions few have yet found.

Life is a gift from God!

It is full of hope.  The wonder we find in walking with Jesus is thrilling upon thrilling.  We are not just bankers or teachers or secretaries or shop hands.  We are Jesus in the flesh moving about under the arm of the living God.

We see things, do things, live for things that unbelievers do not sense.  They are naive to such values and powers.

We are filled!

The actual Holy Spirit of the Trinity sits within.  We encase a true bit of heaven.  Glory thrives in us.  Hope radiates.  Bad news withers faint under the Son of Light and Grace. 

We are alive!

So think like it.  Act like it.  Talk like it.  Believe like it.

We are not normal.  We are new normal. 

The world needs a dose of heaven.  Give it to 'em.

The awe of life in the who we are!


Day by day reports sting, press, and/or knock our socks off.  Communication is at a rate so fast if not careful it will actually pass at such speed that time might go backwards.  Well...not really...but a lot comes our way.

Living is a tedious matter.  We can become swallowed by its rigors or we can be buried into Life (Jesus' Life) and find ourselves consumed in either course.  We say the latter!

God is right.  We will either serve God or mammon.  Serve we will.  Shelter ourselves we won't. 

Life is one gigantic expenditure of the self.  The Jesus route is worthy.  The other lacks way too much.

Drop the shyness.  Release the protective gear.  Leap--be buried--into the Life of Christ.  Be absorbed by it and get lost in it.

There is nothing so demanding nor so rewarding. is the only one which satisfies the hungry soul famished for meaning of life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Day by day life is even more exciting.  Yes, circumstances and people can surely put the challenge to us.  However, we are risen in Jesus; not just buried.  And that rising is extremely special.

We are raised to walk a new life....Romans 6:3-5

New life!

Not remodeled.

Not refurbished.


I believe the years of Christian accumulation have not revealed but a smidgen of the true life available to us.  I speak not in criticism of anyone but in compliment to our immeasurable Father.  So much is yet to be discovered.  Just as gold remains buried, as well as gas and oil are yet to be unearthed, there is much new undiscovered life in Christ yet to be unheavened.

We mill around on earth carrying our Bibles and entering good deeds.  Both are prudent and important.  Yet, I think there is more....more that has yet to be discussed, yet to be imagined, and yet to be obtained about the Spirit walk with God.

May our prayers be full of gratitude and anticipation.  May our hearts beat a new cadence of imagination and hope.  May we enter the realm of God that only our forefathers wished they could see; but failed to enter.

The church of the future: I hope we are filled with gratitude for all blessings of our past and gripped with hunger to enter the zones no one thought yet to seek.  The realm of God is not to be captured so we must not life believing most of it has been.

Saturday, September 15, 2012



Translation for us? 

We are right.

Our views, our take, our extracted 10% of the Bible's verses? 

Hmmm, how about that!  We are right!

Truth was not the sledge hammer used against the world.  It was the axe laid at religion's root.  It is to hit us between the eyes in order that we open them to see the world.  Fundamentally, a huge percentage of the church does it's battle within our four walls.  We accomplish this without really touching the world we verbalize as to what should be our mission.

The religious mocked John the Baptist because he dressed weird and his diet matched his dress.  On the other hand they didn't like Jesus either claiming he ate and drank the wrong things....a drunkard and a glutton.

Truth is assumed by all to be the defining code of accurate spirituality.  A struggle develops immediately when those of us who parade it most fail to recognize a pattern set in the early church of legalistic Pharisee-typical behavior has rotted our roots. 

The world knows this about us; but we don't.

They said John the Baptist had a demon and that Jesus chummed with sinners.  Neither pleased the establishment.  Both were of truth.  Jesus is the truth.


It is not our stance that makes it so.  Neither it is our deep hunger for any God-facet.  It is the mysterious call of Jesus to go where the Truth-Keepers refuse to go; to the tax-gatherers and sinners of our communities. 


It isn't all the self-preserving church has cracked it up to be.  It is, though, the hope of every soul if we will have the courage to aggressively move into our regions with the charming and compassionate nature of the real truthful Jesus embedded within each.

Friday, September 14, 2012


A moment set in time for every individual is that of our Earth Window.  We are born.  We live.  And, we die.  Within this frame, we take our Earth Tour only to fade out in order to phase in to the next Tour.

I recently spent hours visiting my mom in the nursing home.  Nothing sharpens the brevity of the Earth Window of time for me like the nursing home lens.  Dreary.  Sad.  Terribly depressing.

Yet, against this backdrop of dim lighting, strewn wheel chairs with bibbed patrons, plus the disruptive noise of TVs booming from a couple of nearby rooms (and not on the same channel), there is comfort in knowing the One who declares that this is NOT THE END.

Earth Window is not all there is to life; it is simply a window of time.

This truth needs to awaken us to focus upon things during our Earth Window that matter. 

I encountered old friends throughout this facility.  One is one year older than me, partially paralyzed, and stuck within a few square feet for the duration of her Earth Window.  And I want to complain about how long it takes to drive somewhere?

I greeted the town millionaire who owns a thriving production company with employees, trucks, vans, and buildings.  Today his Earth Window is restricted to where his newest set of wheels--a chair--will take him through a choice of three dimly lit hallways.

Yes, sitting in a nursing home for four days was a unique seminar held for one; me.  I must capitalize on my Earth Window.  At the same time I must remember it is merely a window and not the circumference of existence.  There is more to come.....much more.

The Earth Window is only a fraction of eternity.  May we live like it.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


There's Cairo in our news this week.  Libya is there as well.  Yemen now arises giving us more concern.

Trouble.  Rough stuff.  Stress.  Fear.  Anxiety.  The whole nine yards of problems face us.

In all this the Bible appears to be read best through His children being read by the world.  You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men....II Cor. 3:2.

So what are our headlines? 
  • Boo Hoo
  • YIKES!
  • We've Had It!
  • I'm Mad.  I'm Angered. I'm Annoyed.
I don't think so!  Because of the grace of God, we children can be read with stunning headlines. 
  • We Have Already Won
  • We Will Not Be Taken Out
  • We Will Minister to Our Enemies
  • We Will Salute God with Great Glory
Stress is our stage.  Troubling times serve us.  We know it well because we have studied the Master Teacher's slant on life.  He lay dead.  Jesus never complained as he strode for the tomb.  He never complained.

And then the Third Day, stress and disappointment showed reverse fortune.  Death, it turned out, was the sucker in the story.  God used it only to get His point through: Don't worry child.  I will be there.

So it is with, to, and for us.  We are read best when our headlines declare; Dark Days Prove Advantages for God's Children!

I say....another good post, Terry!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Sorry readers, I have been away from the blog world since last weekend.  I am in NE Missouri tending to my ailing mother.  I hope to be back at this blog region soon.

In the meantime, practice thanking God for all things.  Our faith is not to be in our works, our heritage, nor in our possibilities.  It is to always be in the glory of God.

He alone is fascinating.

See Him in all things.

Do not restrict Him to the church stuff.  See Him in the pain stuff, the disappointment stuff, the aggravating stuff, and the disorienting stuff.

Whether good day or bad, His Spirit gives hope....Romans 5:1-5.

Whether positive circumstance or negative, we keep moving with confidence....Philippians 4:11.

Believe God.  This is our every day, every moment, every breath work.  We will notice God in all the life-stuff.

Friday, September 07, 2012


Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, "I don't divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures....I divide them into the learners and nonlearners."

What on earth, Carol Dweck asks in her book Mindset, would make someone a nonlearner?  Everyone is born with an intensive drive to learn.  Infants stretch their skills daily.  Not just their ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk.  They never decide it's too hard or not worth the effort.  Babies don't worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves.  They walk, they fall, they get up.  They just barge forward.

What could put an end to exuberant learning?  The fixed mindset.  As soon as children become able to evaluate themselves, some of them become afraid of challenges.  They become afraid of not being smart.  I have studied thousands of people from preschoolers on, and it's breathtaking how many reject opportunity to learn. 

We in the church are faced with extreme and sober challenges in this arena of learning.  Mindsets become locked; not because of truth but because of fear of it.  I find the church in many pockets---both educated and un---smug and rigid in the name of well-versed when in reality such a behavior is more likely due to few-versed.

As the social culture swings from harsh and exacting discipline to handing out trophies of some size to every participant so no one would feel rejected, learning has slipped.  The reason?  Learning includes and requires correction.  Society has moved from possible over-correction in the 40s/50s/60 to under-correction in these modern times. 

Non-learners are afraid.  I am a professional fraidy cat.  I know all too well where to dart, where to hide, where to avoid.  I have had to learn to fail and get back up.  This is hard stuff to do when a mind is programmed for assumed and repeated failure.  Surprisingly, our failures offer some of our most valuable training.

Personally, I have to guard against non-learning for I am 65 years old.  Learning doesn't mean accepting every idea; but it may well include weighing foreign ones to see if there is yet another facet of truth I might need to weigh....or re-weigh.

For those groomed as me, I encourage you to reject fear and barge into opportunity.  Don't be stupid in your move.  Be a learner.  After all, isn't that what disciples are to do?

Thursday, September 06, 2012


I have watched the political conventions with enormous interest.  A politician, I'm not.  But I love to study the dynamics of reason, vision, and speech delivery; both the poor as well as the profound.

I continue to keep my eyes most upon the path of Jesus; his speech and his work. 

Jesus is leadership at its perfection.

Glimpses of him show up in men and women on these stages I have recently viewed. 

What is it that makes a leader a leader?  Surely shelves cannot contain the books written over time nor banks the royalties gleaned from latest leadership fad.

But I love to learn.  I am to be a leader and I want to note how it's done and track how it isn't done.  I want to accomplish the former and avoid the latter.  The truth is I'm more of a wannabe leader than a real one.

But when I study Jesus I hear his words, watch his movement, and imagine both his eyes and his facial expression. 

Jesus is the leader's leader. 

He caught it.  Knew it.  Was it.  Is it.

Here's what I see about him that we in leadership positions and political stages still need to practice.  Jesus had a knack for being sacrificial toward his enemies and responsive to the neglected.  He was a powerful man.

In watching Jesus, I find the might of leadership to be found in both humility and courage.  It takes great strength to yield--even if appearing as a loser for a time--that God might have a shot at offering His resurrection power.

It takes great courage to be humble....but I think it is THE trait of heaven's leaders.



Take a good look at now.

Aches and pains.



Intense concern.

Each day is shot through with holes due to sin-damage.  In order to combat we cling to victories, good reports, recoveries, and successes.  Yet each provides moments which fade with the next phone call or ring of the door bell.

What's going on?

Each of these dilemmas are our advantage as they direct us to the real us---our spirits--which thirsts for relief.  That relief is not temporary; it is God.

Pain, anguish, and frustration merely point us to deep need for our thirst-quenching God.

John Eldredge gives us liberating insight for possessing fullness of life--now. 

Drawing our attention to Jesus being the light and full life for us, he wrote, Common folk tear the roofs off houses to get to him.  They literally trample each other in order to get closer to this man.....

....The Pharisees miss the boat entirely.  Their hearts are hardened by the very law they claimed would bring them life.  They put their hope in rules and regulations, in knowing and doing things perfectly.  Having killed their soul's thirst with duty, they went on to kill their soul's only Hope, thinking they were doing their duty.

As in that roof, troubles are not to shut the believer out.  They are present to show us our thirst for Him.  Each question has the same answer; fellowship with Jesus.  Where he is, we are all right. 

Our thirst is quenched. 

Our lives are full.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Baptism has been near and dear to the hearts of we Bible students.

Could our treasured platform be possessed by other brands as well?  The subject of baptism is showing up on stages throughout the religious world. 

A YouTube blurb of well-known community church leader, Francis Chan, is quite pointed.  It is his testimony that genuine hearts continue to seek God's salvationistic direction.  Chan's comments of his not finding the sinner's prayer in the Word followed with discovery of the clear call to be baptized for the forgiveness sins surely speeds the heart rate of those in the Churches of Christ.

And then add what I recently read of Presbyterian Sharon Hersh's words, The very next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and yelled out, "Here he is, God's Passover Lamb!  He forgives the sins of the world!.....this is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God"....

....Our pastor talked to our group of approximately forty adults about water and its connection to death, surrender, and resurrection.  He had several of us read out loud from the Scriptures.  One passage caught me by surprise.  The apostle Paul was writing to the church at Rome: "That is what happened in baptism.  When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace---a new life in a new land."

Other Christian groups are studying the baptism theme (in God's words) more than we can imagine.

Malcolm Smith is a charismatic who leads the well-known Unconditional Love Ministries.  Consider his admonition in The Power of the Blood Covenant:

Many object to this, but I ask you to bear with me and see that baptism was unquestionably part of the salvation process in the New Testament.....baptism was given a place of great importance in the infant church.  With everyone in the house filled with the Spirit and praising God, one would think that the subject of baptism could be left for another day; but obviously it could not wait, and Peter commanded that it take place at once...

.....I have taken this amount of time to show that very obviously baptism was not an afterthought to the early church, not something that took place once or twice a year, but was the rite of initiation into the new covenant.....The Message paraphrase of this verse puts it very plainly: going under water was a burial of your old life; coming up out of it was a resurrection, God raising you from the dead as he did Christ.

The subject of baptism may have been lost by some in the religious shuffle; apparently not totally. 

Be encouraged.  The Word continues to be sought from every corner of the globe.  If ever a neighbor or a nation is to start life over, it will be when we bring the broken-hearted to Jesus and die with him in baptism that we might be raised to walk a new sort of life.

Monday, September 03, 2012


Jesus was different. 

He let the unacceptable in....always.  And, he rejected the self-righteous...always.

The church has suffered perpetual setback because--in a general sense--we have performed under the reversal of Jesus.  We have catered to the self-righteous and neglected the broken.

I'm not saying always nor never. 

I am saying the church in general is stuck because of this mistaken behavior.

I lived under both umbrellas.  They are not the same. 

We have accepted the wrong umbrella under the assumption we were doing the right thing.  As much as we have heard it said, We go by the Bible, isn't it remarkable we are guilty of functioning under Pharisaical rule?

We go by the Bible is surely to be our clarion call.  But we must ever be self-sensitive to our own missing the mark. 

We shall not live depressed over our lack.  Rather, we shall eagerly hunger and thirst for his righteousness for our own is still despicable to Him and to us.

We shall live upset.  We will not be disturbed because we legalists are rattled (even offended); but rather we will be of great sadness that we have failed to see the rejects as essential and treasured in His sight.

The church is living in still a very exciting time.  A strong stance is increasing as we shed our selfish and whiny silly arguments while we take on the serious mission of reaching everyone we can while we live in this earth-window called life.

We are only given so many days to serve.  May we spend them wisely upset over the things that perturbed our Master as well.

Because Jesus is eternally the nature he is and because the flesh adamantly insists upon being the boss and in control, the things that Jesus faced in his day will be the same believers face in our day.  A strong stance will ever be necessary to move as did Jesus; toward accepting the suspects.

Sunday, September 02, 2012


I'm a new person...again.  I'm not reformed nor am I improved or more determined.

I am a new person....again.

Jesus makes me new day by day.  Enter the new me...and the new you.

Jesus was guilty of my sins and provides blemish cleanser to wash and wipe and dry.

We will eat a meal together this morning contemplating an oath God made with man...and Jesus being the ruin death by never holding our sins against us.

In our distant past a few of our Restoration debaters tangled with the Baptists about their once saved always saved claims to the extent that we may have thought we won the debate; but our fruit has been a sheepish people fearful of not possessing personal salvation. 

We are new.  Security is because of Christ; we are embedded into him.  Where he goes we go.

We are new.  And not just new for a bit; but brand new day by day.


Live like it.  Love like it.  Look like it.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I don't know how to write this post well and I don't think we will know how to read it once written.  That's how illusive I believe the gift of salvation is to us.

Most of we readers are from America.  We have honed skills and ambitious drive about us.  Our parents picked themselves up by their bootstraps and urged us to be of like nature.  We can handle things and if we find we can't, we will buy a Help for Dummies to figure a way. 

Baling wire, chewing gum and duct tape are miracle workers during the broken and difficult days.

Because of our hard work, gut it out nature, I believe we are naive when it comes to the work Christ has and is doing for us.  We carry our burdens upon our shoulders when he pleaded we turn them over to him.  To the responsible citizen this can seem like charity or entitlement.

It isn't.

It is Jesus doing a work that we could never do.  If we could have, he would not have encountered the excruciating pain upon the cross for our sakes.  He would have sent us to a spiritual gym and told us not to come out until we could flex our newly formed muscles.

Our sins validate God's knowledge.  We don't have it in us to save ourselves.  How we try.  How we vow.  How we promise.  How we consistently and repeatedly fail.  None get a passing grade. 

Jesus took on our uglies, our deceits, our hopeless and vain efforts to self-improve.  He took them on and gave us a new kind of life.  It isn't an improved life; but a new one. 

We cannot save ourselves.  Surely our efforts convince us.  God is the One--THE ONLY ONE--who can rescue and He did it through Jesus the sacrificial lamb.

Our work?  To believe Him.  John 6:29.