Friday, May 31, 2013


We do things better. 

We study better than others.  We believe better than others.  We win souls better than others.  We plan better than others.  We give better than others.  And we have a theology better than others.

We, also, are most ignorant.

Better insists there is comparison; one against another.  II Corinthians 10:12, though, voices clear warning against such a trap.  We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.

It is a perpetual challenge to walk in humility before the Lord.  Our pride must only reside in Him; never in ourselves.  Never are we to look with superiority comparing our work to any other.  Vanity, arrogance, and conceit plague many of our turns.  These are mistakes.

I know what I'm talking about.  I live in this wide-open field of ambition, jealousy, and ego.  Some seem to escape this treacherous plague.  I note their meekness as well as their modesty.  I am not like them.

When we grow in seeing the power of the Spirit of Christ, at these moments we tend to appropriately back-track and step down.  When with Him, our egos surely limp away in humility.  Good.

We are not better than others.  We are blessed by Another.  If not for Him, our nothingness would still try to run, rule, and reign from an assumed self-assigned self-importance....all in vain.  He, Jesus the Savior, is our hope; the one who daily shows us what and who we really are.  Nothing without him.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Repentance could be one of those hell-fire words to some of us older believers.  It could be a dull, seemingly of non-interest to the younger.  Yet, repentance is a main-stay in church theology. 

Since conversion and soon-to-be in preaching school, I have heard the explanation/definition of repentance.  As one reversing course in a marching band was one analysis.  Changing one's mind; yet another.  Discontinuing the acting out the disobedient and bad habits among us would surely fit. 

Yet, I believe it to be more.  I believe the essence of repentance is to reach some point where we quit trying to manage life, righteousness, and salvation on our own.  We finally give up self-management and yield to Jesus.

Brent Curtis and John Eldredge say in The Sacred Romance that learning to relax in confidence in who Jesus is and what he does over who we try to be and what we try to accomplish is the essence of repentance.  How we need this.

Listen in.  Resting in Jesus is not applying a spiritual formula to ourselves as a kind of fix-it.  It is the essence of repentance.  It is letting our heart tell us where we are in our own story so that Jesus can minister to us out of the Story of his love for us.  When, in a given moment, we lay down our false self and the smaller story of whatever performance has sustained us, when we give up everything else but him, we experience the freedom of knowing that he simply loves us where we are.  We begin just to "be", having our identity anchored in him.

We tend to be obsessed with fixing things or seeking help to fix things before we first settle down in repentance and look to Jesus to give us peaceful response.  We look to us for our answers.  This calls for repentance.

Before we pray, we tend to get on the phone for advice.  Before we settle to be still, we lean toward taking immature and immediate action. 

To repent is to make drastic shift from self-enamorization and self-provision to complete rest in Jesus. the essence of repentance.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My good friend Sharon Hersh, author of the powerful The Last Addiction, penned with incredible accuracy, Everyone loves something too much.  Everyone struggles with passion gone awry.....We all suffer from the same condition.  We all seek a resting place from striving and suffering, and we often cling to what promises to be a haven, only to find out that we have created our own hell.

For any who are proud that you don't suffer the addiction of being an alcoholic, may I suggest you presently suffer from something just as self-defeating.  If not addicted to sex or to drugs, it is certain you are addicted to some other overpowering vice; controlling others, being popular, spending more money than income, or complaining about how rotten your life is. 

Something owns you/us.  We are all in need of some form of AA.

The Word of God, the system of His Kingdom, and the Spirit of His Son awaits our interest.  Each has already made the first move toward us.  Each reaching for our rescue, we would do well to believe back.

However, our addictions tend to fog our brains to the extent we are foolishly proud as well as vulnerably independent.  Give us time; we will right this straying ship.  We believe we can do life's improvements by our own building technique.  Try harder and set your mind to it and just focus keeps the ball in our courts.  We know we can win if we just get one small right break.  That's all we need to be alright once again.

When we think we can save ourselves for we surely aren't THAT BAD, our ignorance continues to mislead us.  The Cross does not communicate that, with a slight correction here and there, we will be as good as new if we just DO better.  As hard as we try, effort turns to mush for only the Divine can save us from our own addictive deterioration.  We are that corroded. 

Reading our Bibles, hitting the mall on a shopping spree, or confessing determined resolutions will not improve the condition of the soul as long as we believe we are in charge of responsible restoration.  We are not.  We can't.

God is.  God can.  God did.

The church can quarrel and squabble and snip and snarl at one another and others all it wants.  All is cheap and unproductive religion.  Until we admit how terribly and embarrassing lost we would be without Jesus, we will never worship wildly our Holy Father in Spirit form. 

May we try to yield to Him.  Upon such a move, may we cut loose with praise and worship galore for He indeed is mighty, wonderful, and powerful!  He saved us from ourselves.  This we perpetually need.


Anyone who is applying himself or herself to Kingdom concepts has encountered multiple battles.  It is the war nature of the system.  Initially, society perceives church as the one parcel of supposed to be pleasantries in all communities.  Reflection of the Son upon the Cross should cause additional consideration.

The fabulous Positive Thinking Rallies of the 70s and 80s were surely a step toward improving the church's stinkin' thinkin'.  Yet, even these produced a threat to the God-call toward us.  If it is to be, it is up to me was the clarion call.  While this surely stirred action over complacency, it presented yet another stigma. 

Life is not up to me.  It is not up to a determined you.  It is up to God.  We are called to believe Him.  He parted the Red Sea; not Moses.  He pushed out the walls of Jericho; not Joshua.  God raised Jesus from the dead; not a self-determined, never-to-give-up Jesus. 

In actuality, If it is to be it is up to Him. 

Why do we need this reminder?

When we think church is up to us, we become overwhelmed and inwardly overwrought with exasperation because WE CAN'T DO IT.  Frustration, guilt, and bummerism subdue the spirit of each servant.

Here's what I face; where my mind races....constantly:
  1. How do we keep the members we have and draw more?
  2. How do we hold the church staff in tact?
  3. How do we keep the contributions strong?
  4. How do we create a growth spurt in the Tulsa Workshop?
  5. How do we remain meaningful in our assemblies for the various age ranges?
  6. How do we speak with clarity from the Word when we, too, are accustomed to supporting doctrines that never came from the Word?
  7. How do we refrain from giving up for we see ourselves as so terribly flawed and inadequate?
  8. How do we add new elders that will not go ego-blind the minute they become an elder?
  9. How do we determine the things we ought to keep doing versus the things we ought to let die?
  10. How do we transition me out due to age without doing so too soon...or too late?
  11. How do we hold this place together when we are basically operating on emotion more than Jesus?
  12. How do we keep the fire lit when each possesses a touchiness which could dampen in ripple effect?
On the list goes.  On it goes; ceaselessly, endlessly, infinitelessly.

Enter the Holy Spirit of God. 

I don't know the answer to one of the twelve questions.  Not one.  When I apply myself, I conclude weaker than when beginning.  Yet, the good news in all of this is the church really is Christ's; not ours.  If it is to be it really is up to Him; not us. 

We shall continue to move forward because He determines the path.  We will rest when He calls for rest without guilt of we ought to be doing something more.  We will respond when He calls for response. 

Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." how we shall keep going on.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Everything in life is about us...until...until we run into Jesus.  He alone transforms.  The transformation isn't easy because the self-ego won't melt well.  Rather it races to the front of the line for first consideration.

Women are poor at this front.  Men are worse.  All are guilty.

The Apostle Paul leads the way to the back of the bus.  He regarded himself as the chiefest of all sinners and the least in the kingdom.  No wonder God let him write more books than the other guys.  He knew God deeply.

Think about it.  Sin and weakness are THE TWO things we struggle to admit.  How we think others think we are doing is paramount.  The bottom line within the church context today remains much like that of the Creation's beginning.  It seems necessary to focus mostly on us.

Insightful Calvin Miller remarked, many of us are tied to earthly concerns while we give the appearance of spiritual freedom.  Appearance.  How am I looking?  How am I doing?  So Miller continues, How thick are the cords that bind us to Christian reputation!  Outward appearance fastens us to our own false needs for approval.

Oh, how I have positioned myself for approval.  I had nothing to bring to the table.  Therefore, due to intense self-awareness of glaring lack, I had to shine and polish what little I might have to offer just hoping it would sell in the church's market place.

The world--this sounds terribly generalized--is in need of evangelizing; yet is not hearing from God when we are desperately trying to make a trophy of our convert rather than make such a one a child of the King. 

In trying to save the world for God, we must simultaneously save it from our ego-centric, how-am-I-looking, what-do-you-think-of-me selves.

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Memorial's 50th Reunion is history.  It was remarkable.

Of course seeing many from our past is usually pleasant.  I was not disappointed.

What made the entire weekend for me was Wayne Monroe; former preacher before me.

Wayne and I co-taught the class and then co-preached.  We had very briefly been around each other some 30+ years ago and didn't know each other well.  Our tandem thoughts were seamless.  I loved watching God in him.  He was steady.  He was stable.  And Wayne was humbly on target.

My hat is off to Wayne.  He didn't quit after being treated pretty roughly.  Instead he matured.  In his closing remarks for the morning he apologized.  He sent multiple letters of apology 36 years ago and never did the elders at that time respond. 

So three and a half decades later he spells it out once again that he didn't do everything right and expressed apology.  If anyone has been unclear, the slate was cleaned today.  Wayne did a classy job of speaking from the heart without fleshly edge.

It was a remarkable weekend.  I find I have a new friend....that I really like.

God knows how to work everything out for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Rarely do I address the topic of shepherds among us.  But this weekend is Memorial Drive's 50th Anniversary.  While it is a great story of ministers and ministries, its history revolves around the make-up of the elders.

Thirty-six years ago this weekend Mary and I traveled to Tulsa to be introduced to the congregation as new preacher and wife.  For us, it was fearfully, thrillingly, nerve-racking.  I was 29 years old and had been converted seven years earlier while preaching only the last three.  It could be said that Memorial Drive was ahead of its time as it had gone green.

In the beginning, there were eight elders.  All were nice to me when I did what was expected.  Four loved me even when I couldn't keep the complainers of the church pleased (which ultimately meant I was in trouble every week...and I'm not kidding).

The church struggled at many turns.  Not until thirty-six years later have I realized these good men had a very flawed motto.  Four of the eight reminded me of it often.  We may disagree in this room, but when we go out there, we are united. 

Much disagreement went on in the elders' meetings; much serious contention.  The flaw was the visionary four had to continually dumb down because of the negative four.  Ultimately, in each matter, stubbornness ruled.  Regardless of talk, we were stifled and stagnant.  Our goal was so see there was no trouble. 

Cemeteries have no trouble and Jesus refused to stay an entire week in one.

Through the next several years elders were replaced on occasion with new ones.  Two more sets gave us the same story; frustration and division.

Finally, God blessed us with shepherd hearts which included one of the original eight.  These developed a new model; stay out of the way.  These were neither naive nor wimpy.  They simply had vision.  They believed each member had a calling and a vision which the elders didn't possess.  These guys are genius at giving the flock room to try, to succeed or fail, and try again. 

Memorial today is robust with energy, joy, and profound productivity.  It can be heard on occasion what do the elders do?  What they do is live ultra-attentively to the flock.  They minister behind and in front of the scenes.  Our men intentionally seek the Spirit's input. 

As a result, we have more ministries going than shepherds or staff can know about.  We have 95% of the church doing 100% of the work. 

They added a full-time worship leader when there were no funds. 

We had slumped in attendance so badly our children's halls were dark; no children.  Our elders added one of our intensely compassionate-for-children women to the staff part-time.  There was no money.  Later, Linda Scott was so effective we had to add Stacey Kendall to the payroll as another part-timer.

They added a summer youth intern to full-time status when there were no funds. 

Our youth man trained him to be a youth minister and after a year, he was our youth guy.  His trainer shifted to Minister of Involvement.  Over the next four years, I trained him to preach.  Today Bobby Smith preaches in Mt. Carmel, IL.

Our elders bought into the idea of adding yet another man as Community Outreach director.  There were no funds; but they brought him on board anyway.  What a blessing David Combs is today.

While none of us are perfect, we are wowed day by day at the harmony between elders, staff, and members.  None of this would work if the elders had wanted to shut us down in the name of logic and reason and bank accounts.

I believe many churches suffer today in trying to find the right preacher.  That isn't the first place to look.  Checking to see if all of the shepherds are Holy Spirit led would be my first assessment.  Memorial Drive is highly blessed by our present four and have been over the past 18 years by a rotation of very Jesus-attentive, sensitive-to-the-Spirit men. 

If congregations keep changing preachers over the years, yet remain the same size I would point out the men overseeing the congregation may be a significant factor.

Friday, May 24, 2013


I live wowed!  Sure, my role would necessitate hardship and sadness; moments of strong grief.  But working in God's system is simply above and beyond imaginatory parameters. 

One thing I do on occasion is ask Him to teach me what He wishes we would consider.  He responded one time with a new teaching and vision regarding the Holy Spirit among and within us.

Recently, I have been making the same call.

Forgetting such prayers, a book was handed me that is another you gotta be kidding.  It is that good; that revealing.

God's Promises and the Future of Israel by Don Finto is both inspiring as well as informative.  The book is another answer to my prayers.  It thrills with in depth ideas regarding our connection to the Jewish root. 

I'm not trying to persuade readers to obtain the book as much as I wish to prod you to pray for Kingdom things.  Imagine.  Wonder.  Seek.  The Holy Spirit of God seems to lavishly stretch across a broad range of religious beliefs.  He is drawing a surprisingly great many to Jesus.

Before I was called to preach at Memorial Drive, I was praying in my late 20s for God to help me reach the "whole world".  He has given me such fascinating and unexplainable doors and windows of opportunity. 

I don't know how this happened but a couple of years ago a woman from India began to ask for my sermons on DVD.  We mail them still once a month.  Just this week I received an email from a preacher in India seeking input to questions about ministry/theology.  The sister and the brother in Christ are from the same city in India; but they do not know one another. 

Be encouraged.  While the world news reveals much of the bad and the ugly, the Spirit of God is raising crops for harvest.  We want in on the latter to bless God and to redeem people.  He places us in perfect harmony with His actions. 

Keep the faith moving forward.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


by Tim Rush (Terry’s youngest and probably favoritist child)
By the way, this blog is being hacked… well, sort of. 

Dad came to Guadalajara last week for a short visit.  While here, he wrote a couple of blog posts from my computer and forgot to sign out.  Thus, when I went to check his blog this morning I realized I am now able to “put some words on it”, to steal his line. 

Instead of having all the fun myself, I want to invite you to put some words on dad’s blog too.  (I thought about waiting for dad’s 66th birthday which is coming next month, or for his 36th anniversary at Memorial which takes place in July… but being a Rush, I just can’t wait that long.)

So here’s your invitation:  How has dad impacted, your kingdom walk? 
I’ll start with one of the things dad continually teaches… and lives:  Replace worry with thankfulness (Philippians 4:6-7).    

I’m a worrier by nature.  I hate it, but it’s true.  After struggling to find peace amidst the chaos around us, I’ll remember dad’s constant example of thankfulness.  It takes effort, but my reality changes as I give in to this kingdom truth.  It usually starts like this:  “God, thank you.  We both know I don’t feel thankful, but I’ll be thankful out of obedience.”  Perhaps I have to confess this a few times, before I start giving thanks with feeling.  And God is true to his word.  The peace cannot be described.  My heart is reframed through thanksgiving.  Instead of worrying about the situation, I begin to anticipate God’s movement.  Stress is replaced with the anticipation of what God might do.   I’m thankful for a dad who lives this kingdom secret out loud. 

Thanks, dad, for reminding me that God can bring good from any situation.  I think your life is so fun because the hassles remind you to watch for God, instead of slowing you down.       


We speak about faith things as if we are insane.  Paul surely felt this to be true.

Kingdom life and church action are not conducive to the business mind.  It's nuts, really.  II Cor. 2:14 insists that natural minds cannot grasp the things of God.  Rather, they assume them to be foolish.

The church struggles in large part today because we are trying to walk with one foot in heaven and one on earth.  We like the promises while disdaining the disciplines.  The old rugged cross for most is a song; not a march.

Jesus did not first call us to go to heaven.  Rather he first brought heaven to earth and said, take a look.  He defied natural thinking to the extent mankind remains perplexed and baffled.  We still see as in a mirror dimly.

It was when Jesus died on the cross that the curtain was split in the temple.  That very curtain had kept heaven at bay...or us depending on how you look at it.  Only the high priest dared enter.  None other.  When the curtain ripped, heaven came out.  It wasn't torn that man could enter; but rather that God could exit.  God could now interact with us in Spirit as heaven was moving in.

With the Spirit of God being poured out at Pentecost, the heaven and earth traffic really picked up.  We co-labor with God, worship Him, and perpetually ask Him to send in wisdom from above.  The heaven and earth interaction is fascinating. 

To the unbeliever this is simply a figment of the imagination; seemingly without ever considering where in the world they got an imagination in the first place.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


All readers who are former MD members are invited to a wonderful reunion this weekend. 

I am very enthused.

While I dearly love people, this event is going to be monumental for a few....maybe more.

MD has an injurious history.  Typical church squabbles were both epidemic and explosive here.  From what I can tell as well as experienced, emotions often ran over understanding.  Blame is never a good thing for such is usually blind to self and accentuated upon others...those we don't like.

I am especially happy that Wayne and Carol Monroe (predecessors to Mary and me) are coming.  I don't know them well.  But their ministry tells me a lot about them...a lot of good.  For one, life in the church can be rugged.  Most quit.  They didn't.

I believe there will be a healthy segment gathering who were caught in the cross-fires of when Wayne was here and then after I got here.  Confusion, irritation, and disruption ran rampant throughout the church. 

Some limped away.  Others ran.  Several held on.

We now know God works directly in our lives through His Holy Spirit.  He has the ability to do for us what we cannot/will not do for ourselves.  Because of His mercy and grace, I anticipate wounds being healed and hearts getting well.

Reunions, to me, are often a seeming dime a dozen.  Not this one.  It will be a work of our God to draw us even closer to Him and to one another.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Most of us are thinkers.  Few would be so indifferent.  Thinking, admittedly, often causes bias.  If we actually thought something else was right rather than what we already think, we would have thought it instead.

Therefore what we think is not only right from our perspective; it becomes an unwritten law where we strongly anticipate others must ultimately abide.

While insecurity has been one of my more major blemishes, this did not interfere with the process where I believed that whatever I thought seemed natural that all others should think as well.  I believed my approach was the right one.  Otherwise, I would have thought differently.

This is a problem.  When disagreements arose I just assumed all other parties to be obviously WRONG. 

This would explain why I have had to learn so much.  It turns out, to everyone's shock, that I'm not always right.

I first learned this assumed absolute-ism from my dad.  He was a good man and daily informed us in many ways that what he thought was the only way to go.  For years I believed that whatever dad believed was complete truth; no need to question, doubt, or wonder.  He thought so, too, and I followed in step.  I wanted to be just like him....and for many years....was.

If school friends played a game in their home differently than the rules for the same game in our home, I sneered.  They had never had the honor of meeting the Rushes who knew everything and thought everything right.  We couldn't help it if our family knew things that others didn't.  We were sorta graced I assumed.

Our family was just blessed with knowing things the right way because we thought well.  We just couldn't help it if we were always right.  Other kids weren't as blessed as my brother and me!!!!

Eventually we mature and move away from childish things.  We discover others' opinions and insights are worth our attention.  In disagreeable matters they might be right.  Or, we might be right. 

As old as many of us are, we must still be reminded that the other person isn't "always" wrong.  They may be right more than we would like to admit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Some enter the church with a hope that, once in, nothing goes wrong again. 

Bad entrance.

Mistaken entrance.

These soon leave for their root is shallow.

Others become a part of a church because they do not want to go to hell.

Another bad entrance.

Mistaken entrance.

This kind of mind-set is not discipleship; rather it is merely a weak membership.

We are called to follow the One who was always suspect, continually scrutinized, and perpetually misunderstood.  His final robe was a crown and a cross.  That's how Jesus' walk ended...sorta.

We, on the other hand, seem to think that we can skip the tough stuff.  We view the fact that if we are going to "go" to church, we are owed special exemption from stresses and difficulties.  When some find this to not be the case, they check out with great cynicism and pouting....and vocal disappointment.

One of the things I like about the Kingdom system is that even the bitter herbs of the walk contain promise, hope, and value.  Sudden death of one always awakens ten or a hundred who had been asleep to spiritual need.  Tragedy drives the uninterested to pray.  Devastation opens quiet lips to speak of the need for God's intervention.

God will not waste a single crumb of life.  Even the dogs feed off of them.  It is always time for us to awaken to the sheer wonder of God in each moment; good or bad. 

Unbelievers don't see it. 

We can't miss it!

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Something is going on.

I believe it is God.

Something is very different about today's today. 

Spiritual hunger, hope, and effectiveness is brewing.

Present unity driven by the Spirit feels different than past efforts to unite orchestrated by men.

Things have gotten so bad that things are getting better.

Things will get worse so that things can reach best.

News coming out of Asia and Africa is raging with accomplishment of and for God.

Signs of imminent world-wide collapse merely ignites the fires of His impending return.

The darker the bad news the brighter the Good News; not spoken as cliche, but as reason to awaken to marvel and awe of now and the immediate future of the next now.

From what I am hearing, the world is on fire for God.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


I don't know about you.  I've always had a need to be big.  If I could have figured a way to be a Super-Star at something, I would have hurried.  It isn't that I didn't try.  I just couldn't reach the level of Rock Star at anything.

Still, I tend to think I am so important.  I should be heard.  Notice and accolades coming my way would seem fitting, I believe. 


However, in God's scheme of things I find myself a bit overshadowed.  For one, how many millions drive down any major highway of any major city when I'm driving down the same lane, and few realize I AM THE ONE DRIVING MY CAR?  Hey you!  It's me.  Terry Rush.  Over here behind the wheel.  See me?


Snubbed once again by other big-shot people who think their business, their family, and their time is more important. 

In the scheme of God's Kingdom Life, I'm pretty specky in importance.  Swat me like a gnat and the bulk of millions wouldn't miss me because they never knew I existed. 

So what shall I do?  Feel sorry for myself that fans aren't at every airport calling for a picture or an autograph? 


I'm to give God incredible glory for all of Life centers upon Him.  Removed from our own centering, God claims more and more of our hearts.  And we love Him for it.  Worship is totally about and for Him and not our long-sought good pleasure.  He often notes life in terms of centuries as well as  months and years.  Jesus is our heartbeat and his Spirit is our power. 

Just how big of a deal are we?  Paul marked himself as least.  He wasn't being pseudo-humble.  He was being theologically and accurately......and honestly so. 

And every bit like Paul, we matter.  We count.  We are important to God.  But He is the BIG DEAL in life.  Not us.  When such begins to truly dawn upon our hearts, we find life beginning to finally flourish.  And because of God, it will.


I will never be anything more than a funny little man trying to catch on to what so many have known all along.  Yet, I don't mind being behind.  The more I see of God the more I conclude I will always be wonderfully behind!

Steven Furtick speaks a language I like.  He penned, Every big dream has a small beginning.  No exceptions.  Every tree was a seed once upon a time.  The people who do big things for God are the ones who have the perspective to see the potential in these small beginnings. 

Furtick goes on in reference to the one praying for rain, Elijah didn't waver in faith because of limited visibility. 

Faith is a new kind of sight.  It sees through the blockades and the hindrances to human estimation as well as calculation.  Faith already perceives what visibility always refuses to show. 

When there is nothing to see but invisible hope (and you go ahead an exert such hope), you are a wonderful, cheerful blessing to your family and your community.  Hear God...and then believe Him when there are no markers along the way to verify your thrilling vision. 

Faith thrills the world!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Fortunately, most of my acquaintances have something in common; ambition.  I don't seem to associate with those who don't.  I like to hang with those of drive and determination.  Truthfully, I had in mind when in high school that I wanted to grow up to be somebody.

I thought influence and prestige made us who we are and I wanted to be at a high level.  I didn't need to be President, understand, or to own my own company.  But I did want to be important.  I wanted to be big.

But life doesn't work that way.  Yes, a few get to be important in a big sort of way.  I still admire them; those who work in special ways or have degrees (I have none), etc.  But life doesn't work for all of us on the Big-Deal plane.

This is one factor that enamors me with the Kingdom.  Weakness is central.  I have much centrality to offer.  Really, I think God uses me as an example of not much to inspire the rest of the many not muchers who feel stranded and hopeless.

What makes us who we are?  It isn't a what.  It is a person.  Jesus is the who makes us who we are.  He isn't a Sunday School icon.  He is our reality.  We are highly acceptable because Brother makes us somebody; even in our nobodyness.

Jesus is the best news for all of us wimps and fools.  He empowers us with God's Holy Spirit because we can't make life click otherwise. He moves us from frustrated helplessnesses to satisfied hopefuls.

Jesus makes us who we are; powerful, influential, and effective.  Don't ever take credit for accomplishing anything because we who are buried in him don't...on our own.  He alone is the accomplisher.  He has simply rented out our carcasses so that he can work from our shop.

Be a builder! Rent out well!  Jesus alone makes us who we are!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Jesus must be our Lord for we are too foolish to get this spiritual stuff right.  It remains true, our righteousness is in Him.

From kids' interests to doctorate degrees, man faces profound challenges as we wade through the beauty God labels as Kingdom Life.  The Glory remains enthusiastically, eternally explorable.

Man has studied and restudied God's Word to the extent we may have more than dotted every I.  We may have begun to dot some of the Ds and a few of the Qs.  In other words, our devotion at times has led us to conclude ideas and details God may have never intended. 

We must be on guard against our own delving and digging.

A serious challenge for all is that, whatever the topic, humility must be in the lead.  Strangely, ever since the Adamic centering of the self, this is surely more difficult than the most innocent of we egotists can grasp.  And, each of us has significant Adam-ego pouring forth in abundance.  This mistakenly thrusts one into the self-limelight of appearing spiritual when the truth is we have become blindly enamored with where we stand.

We, therefore, must be aware that our conclusions are a result of genuine revelation from God rather than flattery for our own perceptive research.  Calvin Miller addressed this need when he wrote, Outwardness is good but easily spoiled.  A few pats on the back can wean it from its first love and draw it toward self-interest.  Soon outwardness, which first served Christ alone, finds ways to serve itself while it serves Christ.  At last it moves away from Christ altogether and finds a godlike glory in its own interests.

If our positions are God delivered, great is the future to behold.  If, on the other hand, our drive is due to man's burr under his own preferential saddle, we once again swallowed yet another camel while unaware of the gnatism embedded in our own muddled version of spiritual accuracy.

Monday, May 13, 2013


...a deeper reality seems all but forgotten: The main point of our spirituality, according to the Bible, is the furthering of God's glory, not the fixing of our lives.  In other words, "God does not exist for us; we exist for Him."

So the question isn't whether God is on our side, responsive to our call, but whether we are genuinely on His side, responsive to His call.  It isn't how God fits into what we're doing, but how we fit into what He is doing.  He is the Creator, we are the creatures.  He is the Sovereign, we are the subjects.  He is the Master, we are the slaves.  He runs the universe, we fit in.

Sin, however, has introduced the insane proposition that we can alter or even reverse these roles.  If God cannot be dismissed, at least He can be utilized.  The bumper-sticker slogan speaks for many: "God Is My Copilot."  We supposedly honor God by extending to Him a place in the cockpit of our lives, inviting His input on how we can fly smoothly and successfully through life, and of course turning to Him in any emergency cases.  But the true and living God is no one's copilot.  He's in absolute and sole control of where we're headed and solicits no one's advice on how to get there.  In each of our lives, He relentlessly pushes forward His own kingdom agenda to its inevitable, glorious conclusion.

                                  Dwight Edwards

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Self-conscience is usually a game-stopper.  Being aware of self can sometimes serve as a bandit holding up a stagecoach.  It is most sensitive to the loud perspective of others.

I would know.

I'm a champion of worry and an expert at being intimidated.  Just this week a friend back home said, I remember the days you were so timid.  I lived a self-imposed inner prison sentence due to fear of what others thought. 

Of course, a major problem linked with this dis-ease is that once stricken, hesitancy becomes the norm.  Restriction is practiced.  And then criticism of others becomes prominent because we are limited in our space with little to do but bark at others.

Is there any chance of breakthrough?  Absolutely.

Jesus sets us free.  He really does.  Life isn't about our perspective of another's perspective.  Such is not our boss.  It seems at every turn Jesus was accepting the put-down and the insecure ones.  He associated with....those exactly like us!

How, then, do we enter the workings of the Kingdom?  We relax.  We lean into him.  He makes us good enough.  We are hidden in him, remember?  We can actually enjoy.

Whether in leadership meetings, or church gatherings, or at baseball camp, or in the local cafe, one thing consistently lets me engage with confidence.  I am ever-aware of my complete nothingness coupled with the same alertness to the fact Jesus uses me from that very same setting.  I live coming through the back door.  Whether through inquiry of needing information or making fun of myself, I enter through the back because that's the most I have to offer...and most of the time it works.

Jesus never called an expert on board for anything.  He consistently employed the weak, the goofy, and the clumsy.  That would include me. 

We are free to imagine and to roar because God is the one doing the work; not me...not any of us.  The person who has made it big is the same person who has no audience for he is the only one convinced of his greatness. 

We are to make it little! 

We are to marvel at our failure.  We are not to die because we discover our lack.  We are to arise with him in resurrection power because we have successfully attached ourselves to the mighty arm of God.


Friday, May 10, 2013


As I ponder what to post this morning, I sit in awe of God; how good He is, how amazing He is, etc.  My mind slipped off to a number of friends I have throughout Tulsa and the world whose hearts are not filled with gratitudinal joy.  Their walk is more one of rote reluctance.

What has caused the latter?

A doctrine has slipped into the church system which was never intended.  It has fermented into its own sub-glory.  The doctrine of we are the only ones right continues to play havoc with a treasured people.  When we begin to walk to such a tune, several things (several mistaken things) must immediately and continually accompany.
  1. Pride is immediate; although unfounded and therefore gravest of errors.  To believe we are the only ones that know right things or that we are the only ones who have grasp the entirety of God's Truth is most foolish if not senselessly egotistical.
  2. Such a bent freezes the heart and the mind.  The potential student within us shifts dramatically to the court lawyer who lives in perpetual defense.  Unopen to learn, grow, and mature, church doctrine cannot do anything but go stale.  It is the vibrant Word of God that is living, active, and sharp so that the learner might always develop into the framework of Jesus.
  3. Because we have grown cold to learning, a character of sitting on our hands in pews has left a broad spectrum of potential believers living as fraidy-cat unbelievers.  Their new role seems to try to prove through doubt.  Guarding the Truth (translated means to protect the twelve or fifteen things we believe and don't intend to budge) has left a high percentage of church members living in unadmitted fear.  There is tremendous reluctance to study and pray, should one do that, for God might actually require one learn something additional. 
  4. The Holy Spirit is blocked because he isn't needed.  Why would we need his participation when we have been groomed to be in control of our five-step theology that needs know research or discussion.  We believe such a blind system has merit for if God had wanted it differently He would have said so.  The problem is God has wanted many things differently and is still saying so.  One of the things He warned against was ears that would not/could not/will not hear.
The Church of Christ is in danger of telling itself it is the true church because of its lawn sign and letterhead.  The doctrinal error that will kill off the Church of Christ is the error at present; we believe we are the only ones right.  With such in place, even as we are dying we will go down with the mistaken pointing to Matthew 7 of at least we remained faithful to being narrow....of which is another abuse of scripture to keep pumping some sort of pseudo-life into a group not blessed by God.

How to make adjustment would be simple in nature.  Realizing the Word of God is always His Truth, we must forever be student learners who are hungry to discover the wild life God would wish for His beloved. If your walk should be one of rote reluctance, I am sympathetic.  I lived there beside you. 

Maybe together we can spur one another on to love and good deeds embedded in the Dreamer.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


Due to decades of repetition, I sense that the spectacularicities of the Word have become yawners.  Yeah, we've heard that before. 

When granddaughter Emma was five, I took her through the booths at the Tulsa Workshop to do a bit of shopping.  We came to stacks of coloring books; maybe ten variations in all.  Don't want that one.  Don't want that one.  Nope, don't want that one.  Hmmm, these are all about God.  I already know all about God, she said with stern frustration.

Thus, to the word salvation.  We don't know all about it.  Furthermore, as we learn or are reminded of what we already know, sheer elation sharpens the edge to our fascinating life in Jesus.  Salvation is so huge I believe it to be immeasurable and ungraspable.

Michael Horton said it this way, As important as it is that Christ bore the penalty of our sins on the cross, it is just as important that he triumphed over the powers of evil and recapitulated the history of fallen humanity and Israel.  Adam was commanded to obey God's law and failed, Israel was commanded to obey God's law and failed, but Christ came into this world and completed a life of perfect obedience to the law of his Father.  Christ the righteous One was indeed the Last Adam, the True Israel....We have not only been forgiven on the basis of Christ's curse-bearing death, but justified on the basis of his probation-fulfilling life.

And then Tullian Tchividjian responds with a harmonic, He lived the life we couldn't live and died the death we should have died.  And this happens all of grace.

Salvation is not a grumpy conservation word; nor is it a dull word which lost its luster.  It is a glory word which blasts away at the numbing crud which cakes our eardrums.  We hear once again, in Jesus we really are right now SAVED!

Sunday, May 05, 2013


The church struggles to reach effectiveness.  We seem to have to fight for it.  Distraction is a satanic maneuver and we are often systematically caught in the snare.

From day one in the church, for me, there has been an edge among us.  We have been pressed to determine where we stand.  This was especially true in preaching school.  The legalists thrived on issues.  I wanted to thrive there; but could not get a hang of the rules.  It was both bewildering and bizarre to me to go figure.

One such case was the campaign regarding Mothers Day Out programs.  The legalists were against them because they weren't in the Bible.  Being a new convert I wanted to get that one right; would review scripture and then felt guilty for not being able to be stand worthy as seemed my very vocal classmates.  I was an obvious church dud.

A decade, since, does not go by without issues.  Championing goes on both for as well as against.  The division often is not a line; but rather a chasm.

Here's what I think I've learned over these four decades of preaching.  The success/failure, truth/falsehood of any matter is solved when determining one important question; is this issue being championed for a cause or for Christ?  If Jesus is in the conversation, this tells us something important.  If he is not, this is a powerful signal.

Championing major and minor issues is nothing new.  We must sort between the call of God and the pleasure of the culture.  These are serious agendas and one is right and the other is destined for another way to experience injurious division of the body.

Championing new church causes is often Pharisaism in reverse; the desire to press the church into a new standard of a man's selfish desires.  Championing Christ, on the other hand, will bear a strong and faithful kind of fruit day by day.

So how are we to know?  Hear what God says in the Word.  Keep all eyes on Jesus.  Move accordingly.  That's not just ideal.  It is Life in the Kingdom.  Be it.  See it.  Do it.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


The maze of communication formats is staggering. 

Do you do Facebook?

Do you do email?

Do you do cell phone?

Do you do FaceTime?

Do you do longhand letters?

Do you do blogs?

Do you do Twitter?

Do you do prayer?

Granted I have drug my feet at every tech advancement.  I didn't want a computer; then I didn't want a mouse.  Yes, in the earlier stages we did not have a mouse.  When I got a cell phone I wouldn't give my number out at first.  The only reason I have this blog is because I accidentally set my own up thinking I was merely commenting on Tim's.  I had 211 hits the first day and there were no words....I didn't even know I had a blog.

Yet, in spite of my reluctance to enter our tech-speed world, I point out a legitimate warning.  If we continue to increase our intake and involvement with the latest and greatest machinery of this culture and do not give the same interest and attention to communicating with God, our church efforts and arguments are simply hollow.

I'm not doctrinally against Twitter or Facebook.  I don't want them for now.  I pray little enough as it is.

It has always been the case and still is.  America and the rest of the world is in grave need of all who profess to live an entirely new standard of hope to spend time with the Creator of all.  Not only are we to say words to Him.  We are sit still; be still and listen to him.

There is such a communication glut in our world.  Do not let it distract from engaging in the talk that changes that very world....prayer.

Friday, May 03, 2013


Just as we are one breath away from death, a prominent thought among Christians is that each is one sin away from hell.  I believe there are those (as I would have thought as well in my past) who would pounce on that observation with fire-breathing charge of a liberal who no longer recognizes that sin is sin.

I understand the charge leveled.  The church understands it so well that the most don't understand that saved is saved.  I speak from experience; many faithful believers feel their salvation is both suspect and border-line.  This masks the saving power of God to iffy.

I like how Malcolm Smith puts it; Most of us define our Christian experience in terms of being forgiven, while the New Testament speaks of a forgiveness that cannot be separated from our being made one with Him......So Christ has died and in death has overcome sin, death, and the devil and now lives in the power of endless life.  We are literally joined to Him, and His history becomes our history.  His death is ours, so that Paul could say that he was crucified with Christ, even as His resurrection is ours and we walk in the power of that resurrection.

The Church of Christ battled and debated the once saved always saved doctrine to the extent our people have been brain-washed into living a life of once saved barely saved as well as once saved doesn't mean you are truly saved.  At best it is felt that we will all find the outcome when we get there.

Once again we revert to our egotistical performance (did we do enough) rather than the performance of God through the Son.  Our salvation is based upon Jesus.  We are right with God because Jesus became wrong (crushed by our sins heaped upon him) with God on the cross....II Cor. 5:21.  We are baptized into his historical death claiming the rinsing from all sins as he bore them on the cross. 

Our salvation isn't borderline.  It is secured because at baptism we joined Jesus in his historical rising.  May we grow to accept His grace and mercy.  Sin is major.  It is not to be taken lightly.  Jesus paying for that sin is, also, not to be taken lightly.

And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from the one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.

None buried in Jesus (historically with him when he was buried) should forget that as he was raised so are we.  We are not borderline saved and lost.  Salvation is for those who believe him. 

Thursday, May 02, 2013


Does anyone else think it's weird being us? 

There are oh so many challenges to faith.  Every time we think we have a divisive matter solved another breaks out.  What's with that?  At one time the issue was whether women could wear pantsuits to church and now it is whether they can pass communion trays while standing.

I don't mean to mock.  I am simply repeating actual rules which have been and are being discussed. 

James W. McCarty III recently posted a blog, One Voice for Change is for our Daughters (And Our Sons) read it with almost polar assimilation; could be true and maybe not. 

I speak only as a weathered man among a starry host of authentic and maturing believers.  How do we do change?  How do we determine if such is a call from God or a whim of irritation from men like me who has a pulpit?

In Mr. McCarty's case, the challenge for me is his The time is now calling.  Is it?  How does he determine this?  Me?  I think he may be correct or he may be mistaken.  We should all pay attention.

Kingdom life is weird.  For one thing, God makes rock-solid rules and then sometimes changes the markers.  Our flexibility is always in question.  How do we sort patience from lethargy?  How do we sort bold courage from bullyism?  Do we suffer from distinguishing using His Sword from grinding our axes?

I don't know.  I don't know.  And, yes.

In the mid-80s I felt we were off about the Holy Spirit.  I felt guilty for believing differently about what my respected peers had vocalized as pure liberal error.  Once I was sure it was of God that the Spirit worked directly in our lives, I preached for a year about the Spirit of God before I would come out with the actual term Holy Spirit.

I don't know the answers to so many of our issues.  I believe that once we take our sides and move on, there will be newer issues arise.  We haven't had a decade without many yet.  What I do know is there are many who have profound opinions and concepts who appear to have little interest or knowledge of Jesus.  This concerns me about me.

Mr. McCarty's voice, I believe, is accurate about several things.  One thing in particular is that if we think we would lose members for advancing a practice, we just as well admit we are already losing members by denying the same.

The more I learn about God the less I know about God.  I would simply urge each of us to make sure our campaign is, as best we can figure, always about what burdens God rather than what gripes our souls.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


How many times have I read Ephesians 1:22, And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, and never thought until today a most simple implication.

The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. (Psa. 110:1)"  Four times in the NT this passage is referenced.  James was sensitive to insult of some when he pointed out, you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool (James 2:3)”

The idea of being at the feet was extremely offensive to society at the time of its writing.  What makes the story of the woman wiping Jesus' feet with her hair as she cried (Lk. 7:36-50), is that the religious upper-crust in the story wouldn't go there while the shamed and broken woman did.  The former was chastised and the later praised.

Kenneth Bailey penned, In the Old Testament the ultimate triumph for the victor and the insult to the vanquished was to make the enemy a footstool.  Bitterly hated Edom is told, "On Edom I cast my shoe.  Moses is obliged to take off his unclean shoes at the burning bush because of the holiness of the ground. 

The footstool isn't just a casual piece of household furniture.  From scriptures, it signifies the low rank from which we all live.  And just as the woman of Luke 7, when we see Jesus intercepting our lives, we are filled with gratitude. 

Ungrateful people tend to live atop a self-assumed perch similar to the smug religious leader of Lk. 7.  The thankful ones, however, are so because they are always looking up; not from resentment of low position, but in gratitude for the gift of being accepted.