Sunday, September 29, 2013


If even you have a cursory knowledge of church history, you know there has always been what amounts to an invisible force, something akin to a gravitational pull, drawing the church back in the direction of graceless religion and legalism.
                                                                        Andy Stanley

It is a perpetual challenge in kingdom life where the flesh wants to know the rules and the spirit desires an engaging heart.  Law kills.  The Spirit gives life.  

Several have begun their second start in life--renewal or rebirth you might call it--only to gain a bit of information and momentum and then slip back into the rules mode.  Enthusiasm stalls.  The critical mind regains power.

We must be alert to the trap of the flesh which plans to take our Spirit life hostage.  Don't fall for the being in control mode.  Rather, let the Spirit bear his fruit of self-control which helps us resist being in control of people and circumstances.

God runs the show.  The flesh hasn't gotten the message.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Now I've done it!

This week I let Jason Thornton talk me into being a member of the mankindhood world of Facebook.  After consulting other staff members, I yielded against my better judgment.

They said I needed it.

They said I would like it.

I signed on not understanding ANYTHING about Facebook.

Yikes!  What kind of can of worms are these?

I'm in the office this morning and I can see I have it; but I know nothing about it.  I just sit and look at it. Am I to click something?

One son, Tim, posted, this won't turn out well, while daughter Wendy texted me; Dad is that really you?  
I'm the man who, twenty years ago, didn't want to move from keyboard to mouse.  Let me restate, I didn't want to learn to use a mouse!  Then I didn't want email....or blog....nor texting.  Now I use all of these with greatest of ease.

However, I Facebook looks like a different creature.  54 signed on within the first hour and I don't know what they signed on for.  I looked at my wall (?) or page (?) or something this morning and I understand exactly NONE of it.

I think my staff just may have tricked me.

Is there any way to get these worms back into this can?

Friday, September 27, 2013


Try to overlook my shallowness as I address an aspect of the above question.

We have a tendency to dismiss certain aspects of the gospels simply because they do not fit our natural inclinations.  Truthfully, I can't think of one religious entity that has or can duplicate the scene of Jesus encountering Peter with his big question from a boat load of colleagues.  While arguments run rampant and claims are sometimes bizarre, none seem to be able to show our stuff by walking atop water.

Yet, both the scene and the learning are applicable.

Jesus walks on top of everything which would tend to sink him.  So can we, if our eyes are fixed upon him.

We find ourselves, often with friends, in a huge fix.  Storms of finance, relationship, and addiction rage.  Can Jesus do anything about these?

He will make a path right down the center of every threat.  Furthermore, he calls us to get out of our safety zone and keep moving forward; walk on top of what tries to sink us.  It will likely be that while we take a few steps successfully, fear will do its best to intimidate.

Our call is to look away from menacing winds and focus once again to our original goal; reaching toward Jesus.  As with Peter, we have nothing in our hands to contribute to our own rescue.  Only our words, Lord, save me, will help.  At that point upon our walk in every sea of conflict and stress, Jesus reaches.

Jesus is the effective Savior.  He rescues.

Walk tall.  Walk far.  Walk in storms.  And....always call upon him to get us through every element that wishes to pull us under.

Do not buckle at threat.  Call to him.  See his reach.  Walk on water!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


We tend to be Missourians at heart when it comes to doing God's work; show me first and then I'll believe it. Each of us has a passion, at least for awhile, to see the grand and glorious take place.

However, for many such concepts fade as we resolve to believing only a few--the Jeff Wallings and the Rick Atchleys--are capable of experiencing the God-life to the fullest.

To attribute the good stuff of church potential only to a handful of faithful servants is a major and mistaken surrender of common electrifying faith.

While I am admiring both Jeff, Rick, and several others, faith is for all.  Our fall is due to our innate nature of operating according to the wisdom of the world rather than the system of God.

God-style faith believes things that aren't yet as well as carries confidence that dead issues can live...Romans 4:17.

Believers--real, authentic believers--see into the invisible.  Give II Kings 6:15ff a good look.  A servant to Elisha stepped out on the front porch to retrieve the morning paper.  When he looked up he was face to face with the Aramean army.  The servant panicked and retreated to report the surprise threat.

Elisha's words were from the terrain of faith, Do not fear for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.  Elisha then prayed God would open the servants eyes.  God did.  The servant gasped in wonder of the presence of the invisible army poised for God's use.

A problem which thwarts the church of God is we are too easily faked out by the visible.  We tend to possess a very anemic faith that gains confidence only if we can calculate by the natural mind how A + B = C.  Our movements are more from human effort than by God provision.

Thus, many Christians live a rather subdued life given predominantly to church attendance and wishful thinking.

To work from the invisible carries a few dynamics which will bear power and awe:

  1. We are to spend time with God through prayer.  Prayer isn't a church exercise.  It is a God/us relationship.  
  2. We are to spend time with God through praise.  Accolades and adoration are to pour from our hearts with deep thanksgiving for every moment...even when the visibles do not give normalcy a reason to gloat over God.
  3. We are to spend time with God through awe.  When we believe Jesus remains resurrected and we thrive from resurrection power, the entire scheme of kingdom life COMES ALIVE!  What else would one anticipate from a resurrected Savior?
We are called to link with the invisible world of God's activity.  He is living; not dead. He is for relationship; not rule.  Know Him.  Love Him.  Look to Him.

Watch for new life to pop right where you live!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


It was a good time for me to be away from the phones and the routine while in Colorado last week.  God helped me think about an idea that keeps tumbling through my mind and heart.    And, I love to think in regions where He seems to be thinking with me.

I speak of the struggles the church experiences due to generation gaps.

We are such a strange sort.  We have three camps trying to serve together; the young, the old, and the older.

The young want some things different from the preceding two generations.  But give these a few years and they will soon turn the things they enjoy about the church into stagnant rules which the next generation will ache to rid us of.  These young will then become the very thing they abhor; the new old.

The old (middle) generation once pressed for new when they were younger; but soon calcified in some of their desires.  Stuck, they want the new to back off a bit; but they also want the older generation to get over their rigidity so the church can breathe.

In the meantime a few in the older generation believe the church has gone to the dogs and, thus, spend their time dreaming of the old paths discovered in the good ol' days.

This cycle regenerates through each generation.  I think we are missing a solving ingredient.  I speak of the Holy Spirit.

Each is to be born again; become new.  New is key.  It is the buzz-word of each generation; some for, some against, and others shrugging their shoulders in indifference.

New is key.  We are never to grow old in the kingdom.  We are to be new day by day.  One will never meet a newer person than any person of any age living in the Spirit of Christ.  We are to think new, breathe new, walk new, talk new, and dream new.  The generations go gapless when we meet the creative and lavish-minded Spirit of God.

An element of strong joy I that find in working with Memorial Drive is that our elders are as new as our young marrieds and singles.  These guys do not live to keep the church under tradition's wraps.  Rather they wonder, discuss, and work through a variety of issues which seem to both awaken and threaten the church. They are neither gun-shy nor trigger-happy.  They simply operate as new men at a new responsibility over a new people whom God will call in new directions.

Yes, some are 19 and some 43 and others 71.  All, if to function within the family, are to be newer today than yesterday which includes our thinking, our habits, and our doctrine.  Certainly we have not arrived.  Definitely we have made enormous progress from the days of generational infighting which reflected more the Pharisees who choked life than did Jesus who provided it.

Go gapless churches!  Go gapless!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


God's system is for the ordinary.  We fit into His story with grand precision.  We matter.  Our walk and life matters.

Because of Jesus' intense love for mankind, he declared from the cross that we are so bad we are savable!

Don't miss this.

Our dilapidated failures as a people are clearly marked as sin.   Religionists, however, develop a numbness to our own sin.  Simultaneously, we find a disdain for other sinners.  Strange, don't you think?

As a church-herd we gradually take on that squint-eyed judgmentalism which condemns others for they don't compare well to us.  Our shallow self-favoritism may be showing!

Jesus hung upon the cross is the doormat to the kingdom of heaven.  He welcomes us with open arms.  It is not unusual that he asks us to enter where he is headed; at the grave.  Buried with him in baptism we have resurrected life.  Abundant life.  Whole life.

Yogi Berra didn't quite have it correct when he famously declared, It isn't over 'til it's over!  Jesus said it more accurately, It isn't over.

The strong message from the Cross is that, regardless of pains and agonies, life isn't over.  As a matter of truth, it is always just beginning (II Cor. 4:16-18).

Saturday, September 21, 2013


When you read that title, did you think first of baptism?  Some did.  In a way, it fits this post.

The Christian Plunge, though, is a thought I have about walking by faith.

At least three great examples of what I have in mind are Moses, Jesus, and Peter.  All three had marvelous experiences of plunging into the waters at some level and experiencing God.  Moses stepped into the Red Sea.  Jesus walked on top of the water.  Peter did both; walked on and then slipped into.  Three for three survived.

Not one of those demonstrations was to teach the doctrine of Water Walking.  Each was to lead us to the system of faith; going places a human can't go but actually did because of the partnership of God nearby.

Each of the three provides awe-inspiring stories.  They seem radical to us.  Yet, today the word faith doesn't seem so radical.  Could this be so because we have domesticated and tamed that word within our religiosity?

It would seem we Christians need to gain the courage to take the Plunge.  Move into areas where most would sink and others would drown.  Do things beyond human instinct and ability.  We have become consumed with self-preservation and a self-preservationist is scared of risk.

Take the Christian Plunge.  In Moses' and Peter's cases, neither of them had the ability to do it.  Moses tried his best to beg off.  Yet, by the grace of God, their stories remain remarkable.

You and me....we wish not to live a life that seems a dime a dozen.  We want to see the God-stuff.  It is available for us to both engage and enjoy.  But it won't come from wishful thinking.  It will be a result of taking the Christian Plunge!!

Friday, September 20, 2013


While I found great thrill in learning about the Restoration Movement when converted to Churches of Christ, it seems clear this movement has also gone about to set many traps.  The very idea of restoration is to keep, preserve, and repeat with habit forming motion those ideals reclaimed.  The trap is that man loves to hold to the old and God loves to provide the new.

His call is constantly toward the new bent.  Man loves the new so well that if not careful he will fossilize it into habit which will eventually grow counter to the newness of God's day by day refreshment.

God is a regenerationalist.

At my tenure and age I marvel at how much we have shut God out from His own kingdom by our stubborn preservative mindset.  Yet, take a good look at the struggles to find a significant number of people in their 20s in most of our churches.

Next, quit blaming their disinterest.

These are alive and ambitious of heart.  It is our stale and lethargic rote styles which keep them at bay.

The Spirit of God regenerates which causes me to wonder, as well as seek out, if the solution to blending all levels of generations into ideal harmony is for all to be born of the Spirit and then be led by the Spirit.  While we charge that we are to be born again through baptism, it seems we soon calcify by preserving that which we once found new because we want to keep it in that form....yet it soon grows....old.

God is a regenerationalist.  We are alive when abiding in His and by His and with His Spirit.  We are dull, lethargic and unproductive when we set out to keep the new at bay.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


If we could know the size of God's kingdom on earth and its incredible mobility right now, we would be in awe.  The cells of the body of Christ are numerous.  He is everywhere!

I spoke last night near Denver.  I was at a church where I basically knew three people.  The life that I saw (that I experienced) was brimming with Something beyond us; the Spirit of God.

When we gather in routine at our home bases, it is easy to become blinded to the size and range of the body of Christ.  Yet we are activated and His Force is going noticed.  We are connected to the Head.

Live like, look like, and love like you know there is many more to us than us!  Together we are in on the Force at work!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


So last night in Denver was just so exciting for I got to attend a Cardinal/Rockies game.  It was awesome!

First I would want you to know that two weeks ago an elder at a congregation near Longmont announced I would be speaking there a week from Wednesday night (which is tonight).  A lady happened to be visiting that morning and walked up to the elder.  She said she had heard of me but had not met me.

Terry Douglass is the assistant to the owner/CEO of the Rockies!  What an interesting development.  She told John to have me contact her and she would see that I got down on the field before the game. 

So a group of us went last night!  Terry escorted four of us down onto the field during batting practice....and I had a very good time!

What fun!

I met with Al Hrabosky, Mike Matheny, Rick Horton, John Mabry and Chris Conroy.  Later, Tulsan Pete Kozma, Cardinal shortstop, came over to autograph the KOZMA shirt I was wearing. 

Other than that it was just a routine walk to the park.  Oh yeah, Shelley Crews asked me at the start of the game what I thought the score would be.  I said 10-3 Cardinals win.

The score was 11-4...Cardinals win.  I hate it when I miss like that!!

All I did was go to the game.  Sure was fun!

Monday, September 16, 2013


For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.
                                                                                                                       II Cor. 13:4

We live in the mold of resurrection power.

So what does that mean to us as we go through life

Resurrection blasts away at the dead.  When we are perplexed and sunk, we are not. We will never be put away as long as resurrection from deadness is present.

Feeling stumped?  A bit wobbly?  Uncertain?

Breathe deeply and take in the wonder of the Spirit within and among us.  We possess a power to defy the worst culprit of all; death.

Never...........never give up!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


What shall we preachers step up and say today?  What hasn't been said a hundred times?  A thousand?  Ten thousand?

What hasn't been said is life for the moment; Jesus the perpetually resurrected Lamb.

Ears will never tire of hearing the message of success found in failure, endurance found in struggle and, most of all, life found in death.  As much as we have heard this about Jesus it is still new-s.

What shall we preach again today?  The Word of God in all of is backward accuracy and its upside down fascination.  We will learn again to give in order to keep and to die in order to live.

My friends, when we step into that pulpit today, I don't know about you; but I will be afraid.  I can't wait to get there and fear getting there.  I'm given grace when I hear Paul reference that he was with them in much fear and trembling.

Afraid of God?

Afraid of the people?

Afraid of the message?

I think he was afraid of himself.  He knew himself to be far to weak for the task. Surely God would chose someone better equipped.

But not the case.

Not the case with Paul and not the case with me....and not the case with you.  If we are in sync with the Spirit of God, we are filled with delight and fear.  Enthusiasm and intimidation are worn on our sleeves.   We are thrilled we get to be the preacher and scared we will miss the connection between Him and them.

What shall we preach again today?  Vibrant hope in Jesus who once was deader than a door-nail and now lives so that we too might see His glory day by day.

Don't hold back!

Saturday, September 14, 2013


We are to be put to death; dead to our sins and dead to our flesh.  But we are to live; robustly and wonderfully!

The "ourselves" are to be alive...very much alive in Christ!

Our lives are to be exaggerated in wonder, in sacrifice, in beauty, in persecution, in celebration for we live a resurrected life!  Love right now; every right now that is right now.  Let nothing set you back but what isn't beneficial to the kingdom when enduring setback.

How many times one can look across the faces of the gathered and there is not a showing of we just won the lottery!!!!  Sometimes it appears more like oh I just hate it when we sing this song.

Every day is a new Today and every one of those new todays is loaded with the fullness of God...Eph. 3:19.

I visited with a brother this week whose feet hurt and his shoulder is separated and on the dismality went. He is always down and out; poor me-ism has him by the throat.  Yet a lot of people have feet which hurt; some have no feet at all.  Others have shoulders separated while children have parents separated.

Ours is surely not to deny our stresses; but to give them to God's care.  Whether Paul was in prison or a free man, he was still singing.

Keep singing!  Keep smiling!  Keep believing!  God makes a difference.  May our hearts burst in wonder at every occasion for God is aware of a tomb with His own Son while also aware the third day was coming!

The ourselves of us is bravely and courageously alive!  May we notify our faces!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Let me guess.  Lately you seem to have more days where you are worn down and out than up and in? Ummm, I wondered.  Me, too.

Why do things seem to go so wrong when our only intent is to get so many things done right?  What's up with disappointment, with discouragement, and with failure?

Is there hope of breaking this mold?


But in my case, and I wonder about yours, the process doesn't seem to take Easy Street the way I had it figured in my mind.

Why things go wrong is to break us from our stubborn and self-sufficient independence.  The most of us reading this are steeped in American culture which can include a pride in independence.  We are movers and shakers.  We expect to get results.

Yet the kingdom lifestyle is dependent upon a King.  He requests and requires our submission.  We don't do submission well.  It bugs us.  Give us enough time and we can accomplish most anything.

So God gives us time; time to fail, time to try again, time to whine and complain, time to blame, and time to finally reach the end of our ropes.  At last we get it; our righteousness is not a self one but a Saviored one.

I get very discouraged with me.  I feel younger; not older.  I like my church role better; not less.  But I get so frustrated that I am this age and so useless, ignorant, and disoriented.  The more I read about God from His Word or from words of other authors, the more I realize how less I am....which is precisely His pattern.  But I don't enjoy the feeling of realizing how little I am.

I had hoped that by this time I would have become rather big!

When things don't go right, stop.  Observe.  Detect.  Most likely great lessons of the King are within reach. See them.  Accept them.  Use them.  And then be a blessing to Him and others because you have learned again the value of decreasing that He might increase.

Why do things go so wrong?  We are slow learners.  We require repeat frustrations because we tend to not learn the first or second time around.  He alone can give us an abundant life which would be much more than the one we would have provided from our own intellect and skill.

Try to relax.  Turn the stresses of life into classrooms on how to depend on God more.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


There is a sin which quietly moves with great strength among us while remaining hidden throughout its term.  I speak of doing God's work according to the natural.  This is a very slippery topic because once we are embedded into the spiritual this becomes a new line of natural as well.

The problem is that if locked into the fleshly, the flesh regards and promotes those as spiritual when they are not. They are man-made rules simply called spiritual.

Thus, the great strain as well as the greater heist of faith.

Being aware of my own severe inadequacies, may I run ideas by you which might awaken to permit the hand of God to become freer in and for our own walk?

The flesh is bossy.  It insists it is right and it is the only one right.  Therefore, the flesh makes up rules (laws) as to how things will go and what combination will produce.

On the other hand, the spirit is willing to yield to the bossiness of the flesh.  Like God, it will wait in the wings ready to break in when given permission.

By the flesh, we constantly block the hand of God.  The flesh prays little because it believes in its own ability. The flesh makes meager financial contribution because is has high regard for its economical astuteness.  The flesh reads very little of the Word because it gets that do this to go to heaven stuff; but has bigger fish to fry for now; like raising kids and holding down a job.

When one opens to the provision of God, the flesh yields to the spirit world and the hand of God then opens to display incredible opportunity.  One becomes open to prayer, to giving, to study and an assortment of new avenues because there is confidence in the Holy Spirit rather than man's controlling rules.

May we unlock the closed hand of God.  May we dare walk into the spiritual arena which holds no explanation; only mystery.

The WOW factor of God is always, everyday, and constant.  Let us live there!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Whether we have grown to overlook sin would possibly depend on a couple of elements: (1) is it a personal sin with us, and (2) do I sense the personal guilt?

(1)  We have a knack of discounting our own sinfulness while elevating one's sin which we would never find the slightest temptation.

(2)  We also can develop inclination to dismiss my personal sin as rather average or low-grade of which we intend to get a handle on it sometime in the future.  Efforts for self-correction are accepted because relapses just happen to the sincere like myself.

Simultaneously, we tend to elevate the sin of another which is different than ours.  The church has practiced this for as long as I have been around.  Sighs of disbelief over another's sin often come from the smug and the proud who would never commit such an atrocity; yet the smug and the proud is found rejectable by Jesus.

Have we grown to overlook sin?  Yes and no.  We still see another's sin as blatant.  Our own, however, we tend to discount as not trying hard enough.  We vow to do better.

Could it be the deepest sin is to fail at both of the above?  To be filled with scorn toward another for their failure and yet excuse our own horrible missteps surely is to have participated in a miscarriage of the Good News.

His admonition will forever ring with precision.  Once we remove the log from our own eyes we will see the specks in others.  The Cross always has a message.  Excruciatingly, the Son of God bled for all sins for there was not one sin that was not devastating.

May we each keep our own forgiveness from destructive sinfulness in the forefront and then gather as many as we can---sinner after obnoxious sinner---at the foot of His 70 x 7 Cross.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Preachers are just a most unique and unusual sort.  One of the reasons I vowed as a kid growing up in my little Presbyterian church that I would never be a preacher is our guy seemed so dull.  To me he caused church to follow those boring steps.  I had two main questions when it came to Sunday mornings; Do I have to go? and How soon will it all be over?

However, now that I am one, nothing has changed as far as sensing the importance of biblical presentations.  Guys in my shoes are constantly called to look and be alive because we are ambassadors for the Great Liver!  We must not communicate that God is irrelevant and the Word is much to do about nothing.

Jesus offers us ABUNDANT LIFE.  I say let's dig in!

Watch Jesus.  Ponder him.  Study his moves.

Jesus cut against the grain of everything including dull and deadening religion.  Truthfully, he gave church leaders the most trouble.  Sinners, he loved.  Leaders who seemed to have forgotten they were too sinners, he baffled.

Jesus led a life of risk, loneliness, and danger.  He keeps us on the edge of our seats because he seems to never function according to assumed reasonable script.

Communities don't want to know churches who are keeping house.  They want to know if anyone can break the cemetery code.  One can.  One did.  One does.  One will.

I live in the church on the edge of my seat just wondering what he might be doing next.  Try to chart God and you'll fail.  Seek to explain Jesus and you'll turn onto an avenue of complete surprise.  Take a stab at putting Holy Spirit lingo into English concepts and you'll wonderfully throw up your hands in frustration.

Preachers, we might out to let God keep us on the edge of our seats so that those who listen might remain on the edge of theirs.

Monday, September 09, 2013


When one becomes fatigued, it is both a threat as well as hindrance to try to keep moving forward.  Should the weariness continue even danger may lurk.

Within the church borders familiarity can cause a slumber to develop.  Similar danger is poised.

We must awaken!

Routine and tradition can become so normal that we can walk the walk and talk the talk in our sleep....without even thinking about where we are going, what we are saying, or what we are doing.

The danger?

We grow numb to the Wonder of it all!

Wake up!

Smell more than the coffee and the roses.  Realize.  Realize the thrill of eyes that see color and ears which hear pitch.  Celebrate the steadiness of friends and the purpose of living.

Don't dare go through your marvelous day without telling God a hearty thank you for letting you get to be you!

We are miracles living in the land of miracles.  Think like it, act like it, and smile like it!

Friday, September 06, 2013


You know what I mean, don't you, when I reference those we know as big?  These, in our estimation, have made it to the top.  From Max Lucado to Beth Moore to Ricks Atchley and Warren to Andy Stanley, we perceive these as nearly unreachable both in relationship as well as talent.

These seem to be the cream-of-the-crop with God-blessed destiny.  We treasure their teachings, their walks, and their well-known successes.  Off in a private corner we somehow believe if we had the breaks these did, we too would be somebodies.

Yet, there is a huge God-secret about each.  Power is perfected in weakness.  If any of these five (and you have your own list) were trying to do their work from political schemery, we would smell it out.  The authentic always have one thing in common--the God-secret--each is nothing but sheer and unglorified weakness.

Not that we are adequate in ourselves for our adequacy is from God, insisted Paul, is the God-secret about them.....and you....and me!  Nothing more!  Our problem, as was expressed to young Timothy, is that we have tried for formulate what will work but have denied His power; the Holy Spirit.

Power is perfected in weakness, speaks consistent Paul,  for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Weird aren't we?  Weakness is the last thing we want and is the only thing that leads to the strength we wish we possessed.  God.  God is up to His usual baffleistic moves that one will either enter by faith or will not enter at all.  No one would believe this theme from education nor from robust research.

The bulb only works if the power is on.  The believer's only effectivity is truly the same.  We have spent far too much time trying to make our churches, our ministries, and ourselves powerful.  Yet, we continually seek such in the latest publication or hottest DVD.

Power, however, is only found in the Holy Spirit and the Word insists we have denied Him.

Terry, we have heard you say this before.  And, I intend to continue to say it for the global church is effective when connected to the power and exhausted when not.  Regardless of knowing this truth, ministry is just too tempting to take the bull by the horns and throw in our muscle; more form and no power.

The God-secret about those we call big?  They are big and honorable because through their availed weaknesses they allow the Spirit of God to shine....very brightly!

May you and I have the humility to do the same!!

Thursday, September 05, 2013


Kiddie cars are cute.  Ballerina outfits are the theme for many little girls.  Somewhere along the way both are discarded for bigger cars and cuter dresses.  Maturity happens.

There may be a maturity factor lacking in the church which simply needs a bit of attention.  I speak of the story of God and where we fit in.

Faith is the most exciting element of any walk.  It puts the motion to meaning and purpose.  While it can't see with eyes of the head; it has even better vision due to eyes of the heart.  The believing system isn't available so that one can go to heaven when he or she dies.  It is to maneuver through a treacherous obstacle course called life.

I don't think we get it.  We live in God's story which actually includes great danger.  Why, then, do we raise our kiddie car/ballerina children with very little preparation for significant the an adult?  God's story is a most dangerous one.

God's dangerous story is one that is trying to awaken us from slumber of the routine.  John Eldredge abruptly points out, Notice that those who have tried to wake us up to this reality were usually killed for it: the prophets, Jesus, Stephen, Paul, most of the disciples, in fact.  Has it ever occurred to you that someone was trying to shut them up?

God's call is for our hearts to enter a very dangerous story.  The Cross isn't just an inspiration for a song.  It is a means of death to ourselves.  The Word issues the concept of dailiness attached.

Safety at all costs in the church is anti-scriptural.  Risk.  Bravery.  Endurance.  Death with confidence in His resurrection power is what we are about.

You and me....we live in a very dangerous story.  Think on these things.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Fifty-three year old Ariel Castro had been convicted of severely abusing three women as hostages for over a decade.  Found guilty and to serve the rest of his life in prison, Castro took his own life overnight.

His crimes are atrocious to the extent that much of society will breathe a sigh of good riddance.

But, not so fast.

We have such a knack of underlooking (thoroughly inspecting as a car upon a rack) another's blatant sins while overlooking our own.  We seem to look at another with the comment of how awful.  

If I understand Hebrews 2:14-18 correctly, Jesus was devotedly attentive to Ariel Castro to the extent he would be pre-executed for his sins.  I believe the Word says (Hebrews 4:14-16) that Jesus was sympathetic. Such perspective does not condone sin.  Rather, it empathizes with the sinner.

Jesus saves is not a banner for church lawns.  It is the hope of the lost; Ariel Castro and me.

In no way am I supportive of Castro's sinful actions.  Excuses don't belong.

Yet, I must ask us to probe important matters.  Who neglected him in school?  A teacher in third grade?  A volunteer coach?  A bus driver?  An Aunt?  Dad?

This man arose from the dust of handed-down-since-Adam sin.  On his own he chose to be the man he was; but he also had incredible and distinctive influence which abounded from The Garden.  We must, I believe, drop our churchy inclination to bemoan such a behavior when we unconsciously dismiss our own neglectfulness.

It is very possible we may be neglecting the little boy who lives across the street.   I would remind us to see him as more than a little one who pedals his tricycle up and down our sidewalks.  He will grow up to partake in a future community.  We can make a difference today for his neighborhood of tomorrow.

I desire to awaken us to the active world around us.  Before Ariel Castro reached the sad fate of last evening, he was once a toddler and then a little boy, and then a young man.  It matters that people like him (us) be noticed and drawn into the loveliness of Jesus.

Reach, my friends.  Reach now.  Attendance drives, VBSs, Back to School Blasts; all have the potential of taking future Ariel Castro's into an entirely rerouted direction.

Everybody counts.  Everyone matters.  There are no exceptions.

Little children grow up to be big people who suffer from the quagmire of sin.  They need not our criticism; but our sympathy.  And like Jesus, sympathy has an outstretched arm.

Jesus saves.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Oh to be like him....we often sang.

Uh, I don't know that for sure about me...about us.  To be like him from our phraseology tends to run up beside handy and useful as if we are on an early morning jog.  To be like Jesus must become more of a walk along Calvary's path.

Ministry is a contest.  It isn't a matter of winning; but a matter of finishing...who will finish?

Suffering and struggle are to be dominant.  Joy and celebration are to be worshipfully engaging as well.  To be like him, oh to be like him, will always be a new way for a new day.

Let's look at Jesus again:

  1. He began ministry quite lonely in the woods to fast and pray.
  2. He was targeted by the legalists.
  3. He was intentionally trapped by the opposition.
  4. He was disrespected.
  5. He was doubted.
  6. He was despised.
  7. He was rejected.
  8. He was betrayed.
  9. He was misrepresented.
  10. He was often alone.
  11. His colleagues didn't understand him.
  12. He was publicly challenged, beaten, and executed.
  13. One of the twelve turned him in.
  14. The remaining ones scattered at his death bewildered and stumped....and disappointed.
Jesus didn't seem to be the Rock Star I wished to be when entering ministry.  Yet, I will encourage the young just getting started....hang in there and let the tar be beaten out of you....and you will love ministry!  

Rock Stars we are not called to be.  

Following the Rock?  Absolutely!


Tiny Israel is poised once again by extreme threat.  The Middle East in upheaval within country after country continues to surround this small land once inhabited by Jesus.

The news from the East flows as well toward our land.  Trouble.  Confusion.  Tactical approach is up for grabs.  Syria demands this week's headlines.  Distress times mess looms large for both the Mid-East and America.

As little as Israel is, we might do well to speak Syria-ously about another region in this great big world.  I reference the territory known as the individual created and loved by God.

Individuals are under tremendous threat.

There is valiant need for ministry by each of us to both protect and defend others.  People are targeted by more than nerve gas.  We are targeted by discouraging words, disappointing news, and dilapidated circumstances.  We are as Israel surrounded by ego-maniacs and erratic missiles intending to do damage to the person.

Heavy artillery is incoming in places while strongly rumored in others.

As nations bully other nations; individuals oppress individuals.  The threat of war is great.  The approach to handle such danger is a front-burner agenda....everyday.

If we are going to speak Syria-ously about the day's routine, our speech must communicate personal support, leadership, sensitivity, and intense love for these potential victims.  The enemy is poised to strike. We must be alert to defend.

May we be equipped for the daily battle of preserving life in the hearts of men, women, and children.  Some have been hit.  We must Syria-ously help as well as defend.

Sunday, September 01, 2013


My experience in Kingdom Life is we each lean toward a certain facet of church productivity.  It may mean teaching a Ladies Class on Tuesday mornings or directing a Food Pantry or teaching one-on-one Bible studies in the neighborhood.  All are noble.

Simultaneously, there seems to be a consistent trend that while one is engaged in his or her forte', there seems to be a natural criticism flow toward others who are not as intrigued by "our" sense of gifted direction.

Among us are the Big Dogs, the Driven Dogs, the What's Happening Now Dogs, and the What? Dogs.

My observation is that most of us are merely swimming at the shallow end of the ministry pool regardless of which sled we pull.

  • Those devoted to doctrinal purity tend to become self-righteous.
  • Those devoted to educational intricacies must be careful not to miss Jesus during personal infatuation.
  • Those devoted to winning souls one on one may be operating more toward a sales percentage of cold calls than with the partnership of the Holy Spirit.
  • Those devoted to the latest and greatest worship fad may have made an idol rather than loving God.
  • Those devoted to writing blog posts....well, I didn't need to get personal...may be wanting recognition more than wishing to inspire a hurting sort.
How would one know if we are serving from the shallow end of the ministry pool?  One way we can tell is if we spend much of our time critical of another's devotion more than giving attention to our own development in the Holy Spirit work of God.