Thursday, October 31, 2013


I asked God earlier this week if He would mind doing something in front of me that would be a move His size and not of mine.  Christianity, my opinion, has become a consumer-based, humanistic concept, that leaves its participants dry.  The search is for something more and the more should and will be simply Jesus' engagement within our walk.

Tuesday evening I was called to the hospital because a man I met only once some fifteen years ago was desperate.  He told his ex he was afraid of dying and going to hell.  She asked if he would like for me to visit him.  He acknowledged that he would.

This man in his early sixties was awaiting release from the hospital with a target of a nursing home hospice assignment.  He had not been able to talk well for several days.

When I entered his room a frail, frightened, unshaven, broken man peered through hauntingly deep-set eyes. He did not know what to ask or say.  He was at the end of his controlling-by-nature rope.

I felt a deep love for him.  The occasion had a feel to it that I can't explain; it was just that more was going on than the three of us; him, his ex, and me.

I assured him he could just relax while I inquired of a few ideas that would help him move forward.  I asked if he had ever been buried in Jesus.  He had.

We next talked about how he was afraid because he had done so many bad things in life.  I assured him Jesus became all of his bad that he could become all of Jesus' good....II Cor. 5:21; the exchange was a success on the cross.  Assurance was given that Jesus paid for his debts completely and that he was a free man; free to die and free to believe he would always live.

My stay needed to be brief so I told him that he should pay attention to God; that God and he would work things out in his conscience.  I reiterated that I loved him dearly and that I saw him as a good, good man because of the Jesus exchange.

Before I left, I talked with his ex outside of the door pointing out that what we saw in there was no signal of what would go on after we left.  I wanted her to know that God had access to him all through the night and that there will be exchanges between the two.

The next day, yesterday, he died suddenly.  I was called to the room.  His ex was baffled and pleased and grateful.  God evidently did break in.  A nurse came by to check on him earlier in the day.  She called his ex and explained how different he seemed.

Something wonderful has happened.  Where he has worn the nurses station out by buzzing and complaining day after day, today was a total reversal.  He has a calm like he has never had. Something has changed.  He seems so different today.

God moved an intense and frustrated and scared man overnight to one of calm and peace and assurance.  I could not get over the look on his face as his body remained in the bed.  The night before it was that of 90+ year old man full of wrinkles and fret.

Now his face seemed to have every wrinkle erased. He appeared to be 50 years old. His once haggled face was smooth; not a common death-look, but of relaxed joy.  I think there was a relationship healed in that room during the night.

This experience was a wonderful God-experience.  I am blessed that I got to walk through what began as a stressful scene and concluded in a beauty not of this earth.

God works while we fumble in massive cluelessness.  May we seek more of His hand rather than our explanation and calculation.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The authentic question of whether God exists has always been a serious one--the most serious--yet, upon studying both internal and external evidences, I marvel that the question remains.  Because it is a deep and concerning proposition to so many, I wish to address a concept or two to toss into the faith mix.

I am appreciative of Christian Evidence research.  I know of scientists who transitioned from doubters to believers after attempting to use scientific research to disprove Him.  If one wants to use Rocket Science to figure Him out, that's okay with me.  Yet, I toss these ideas for consideration.

A thing about man that I find to be constant is that he is perpetually discovering. Education comes over the hill of new and more effective technique.  Gaze into the computer marvel....and then marvel some more. Medicine?  Finance?  Tools and instruments for every known occupation?  The longer life exists the more rapidly discovery is made.

That's impressive.  EVIDENCE-ly man's accumulative brain-power cannot seem to zero in on finding all there is which awaits...our discoveries!  The more we learn it seems God ups the ante of what there is to know!

Where does mankind get such intelligence to lose ground, rather than gain, on the landscape of learning, knowing, and understanding.  The longer man traipses earth the adventure of unknown frontiers increases rather than submits to man's comprehension.  We are wonderfully and excitedly losing ground in the realm of not only what is; but what is that has always been in front of man for centuries of centuries that has yet to be noticed?????

Add to the infinitivity of grasping what is still hidden, in the zone of awaiting to be discovered, the reverse truth that as much as man knows in most delicate and intricate form, he still cannot create life nor can he regain it once lost.

God....really is.  Man just cannot afford to live with the bighead that we think we run this place.  We are nothing more than a sneeze in the ocean.  It doesn't take Rocket Science to believe in God.  It takes a simple mind with clear eyes to just look around....and think.

God exists.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


As if it wasn't enough that Roman soldiers took great pride in terminating by execution the Son of God, churches have repeated the shame.  We have done so by eliminating the presence, and subsequent activity, of the Holy Spirit.  Because of the Spirit being put away from both our walk and our talk, we continue to grapple with accepting Him as well as believing Him for this current age.

Strangely and shamefully, through the years, man's balky religion has taken a great stab at killing off the Spirit of God.  What we have left is some disorder of Father and Son.  Rejection has shelved the Spirit.

At least two things have caused a segment of Christianity's misfire.  One, the Holy Spirit was argued out of our confines because we didn't care for some doctrines like speaking tongues or divine healing.  The baby and bathwater both went-a-flying.

Second, our sheer ignorance perpetuates this disastrous stance.  The Bible is wonderfully laden with Holy Spirit accounts.  From cover to cover the wild and the weird and the wowing take place because of the beyond imagination work of the Spirit of God.

Father, Son, and Spirit are so intertwined that when one is referenced it could include two or all three.

Romans 8:9-11 has interesting and inter-inclusive wording: However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.  And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.


The Spirit...the Spirit of God...the Spirit of Christ...Him...Spirit of Him....His Spirit....all of this is significant.  An amputation of a third of the god-head is both unacceptable and disastrous.

Why has this gone on?  Why has the Holy Spirit been quenched in our circles?

Control.  Man is obsessed with control; even in religion's court.  This exacerbates the problem (is that a word) in that as powerful as God is, He will not override the unbelief of the individual.  If man wants to boss and bellar about how the Holy Spirit doesn't work, God will humbly abide...and He won't work.

The Kingdom's second major death, after Jesus' upon the cross, is that of the Holy Spirit within the hearts of men.  We have killed Him off and buried Him in our tombs of organization and control.  This must halt if we are to be true disciples of the One who died that all might the same Spirit involved at the resurrection.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Call it reluctance.  Call it intimidation.  Call it pressure.  Men and women, boys and girls, live under a cloud of pressure called fear.

I'm too old to be behaving in hesitancy as if it is my first day at school.  We are too old to be so childish in our devotion that we hold back so that we may come out looking good.  By the empowerment of the resurrected Jesus, we should be well down the road of launching into the deep processes of Kingdom risk.  

Yet, we would rather make safety respectable to the point we even jeer at those who move about as Abraham's faith model; going, but not knowing where.  Our mockery of these has been galore!

We are afraid.

We are afraid that if we place expectations upon some/us, there will be an exodus.  Could it be that we have needed an exodus?  Could it be that in pacifying us for fear of what this or that might lead to that we have arrested ourselves and thrown away our own keys?

I want to be a part of the risk-takers; a part of the launchers into zones where we are clueless.  This would be where Jesus does his best stuff.  Our needy communities await our moves.  May we move out of our self-protectionery shells in order to unlatch the hell where so many around us dwell.

Our submission to fear is stopping the show and shutting down Kingdom hope.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


I did not know when converted in 1970 that the Kingdom of God would become new day by day.  I didn't see it coming.  Neither did I see ministry staying fresh; I assumed one had to work at it.  Yet, engaging in God's labors is perpetually fascinating.

The church, though, struggles with finding the fascination.  Some walk in it.  Others are either oblivious to it...or fight it.  A challenge today was the same as all yesterdays; will we allow God to express His creativity among us, within us, and for us?

I was in the ranks of obliviousicity.  So strongly was I unaware that I assume today I remain very much unaware of God's deep desire to intercede with His kind, style, and dimension of work.  Churches have shut off the flow of God within all communities.

This must halt.

Should I be accidentally misunderstood (compared to being intentionally), I want to point out that God loves the church concept so much that such is His design to reach the entire scope of humanity.  Too, He also spoke through prophets and writers warning of man's ability to take His creation of community hostage for self-indulgent purposes.

Today, October 26, 2013, I am stirred--wonderfully, gratefully stirred--by the potential and possibility of how we could and should be church.  Church isn't less needed; but rather more so.  At the moment it seems we are struggling to make impact.  There seems that there are reasons for this as God is surely about making life pop!

For one, there has always been consistent tension between what the church could do to reach the needy and what the church members want to maintain for Brother Status and Sister Quo.  This couple has been recognized for so long as serving in our midst that even their very names are greeted with nonchalance for we mistakenly believe we have sufficiently dealt with them.  We have not.

A thing that excites me--still--is the nature of Jesus.  Where there were the poor and the blind-sided there was Jesus.  His presence was never with high church but with low life.  What will lift a church?  Reaching out to the needy that they might be lifted up.  Guess what is happening in America?  Increasing numbers of poor.

Brother Status and Sister Quo have held the church of God in bondage throughout all centuries of her existence.  We must awaken day by day to the risky possibilities and the unexpected potential of doing things for God which may be brand new to the earthy church mind.  And once noticed, there will need to be some very bold and risk-taking leaders to see that such hope is offered to a valuable world growing darker by the day.

Friday, October 25, 2013


The following article is written by one of the very special people in my life; my daughter-in-law, Kim.  She and Tim and their three recently moved from Guadalajara to the Mexico City area to begin a new work.

Priming the Pump--- 

We moved into this quirky place two months ago.   Among its funnies is a pump that has to be primed most days before it can send water from the underground cistern up to our roof, to fall through the pipes in the house.   This is a common thing in Mexico but for whatever reason (you’d have some guesses if you saw the set-up) air gets in this line and you have to pour water into the vertical pipe by the pump to bring the bubbles up and out the top.  It is one of those activities that has frustrated me when I’ve run out of water with a sink full of dishes or (worse) in the shower!  It stands in the way-- taking my time and energy--just another step between myself and accomplishment of the daily (even urgent) tasks.  But, as He does with all things, God has been using it for His good purposes. 
Priming the pump provides both the time for (forced) reflection and the demonstration of why I need this contemplative space on a regular basis.  All the good that could come from this water source is inaccessible until I allow the emptiness to be brought out from above.  The phrasing in Spanish for the process is “purging” the pump—which is how God brought these fun thoughts about.  Without the “purging” or removal of my empty-self practices, I am not able to bring forth the good things God has placed within me.  It is not something the pump can do for itself; it would finally burn up in the effort. 
Consider it all joy, dear family, when you encounter various trials—but this isn’t the testing of my faith—or is it? –-Because the testing of your faith produces endurance.  Are all these minor set-backs (no oven, crazy water and electric problems, phone? internet? yes, no, yes, no? rabid dogs, horse apples and flies under the clothes line, puppy poop, people with sick poop,  cinder block and concrete) meant to serve some greater purpose in me?  Are You trying to get the empty space out of the way so that You can bring the good up and put it to use? But come on, ALL joy?
And now for the darker difficulties we have had lately.  Harassment from dirty cops.  James detained and truly behind bars overnight.  Car impounded.  I don’t see You behind those things.  Those are deeds of darkness.  Least I forget: Gethsemane, agony, Calvary—but that’s the thing, I do forget.  You want us prepared to truly shine like stars holding out the word of LIFE before a crooked and perverse generation.  I have to say that all this preparation puts the fear in me.  At the same time, I do want be ready…for whatever You know is coming.  And I hear You say “Right, that is my main plan.  This is the miracle that will get people’s attention.  It is Me, working the good in you—to will and to act according to My good purpose.”  How could I say we don’t want any?
I only just realized today Paul’s fear as he wrote Philippians: He did not know what was coming—life or death.  I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  (Phil 1:20) Be with me Lord I cannot live without You, times of trial, lashing seas, the works.  Paul also points to the prayers of his friends and the help of the Spirit of Jesus.  Emphatic yes!  Thank You for those things.
Can we consider it pure joy for the sake of the greater…considering Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, even as he despised the shame?  I had missed that, He despised the shame!  But even then His joy was not altered by it.  Help us.  Take out what is in the way of Your fountain of life, that living water that is supposed to flow from within us.  Purge us, with our joy intact, so that we don’t burn up when the going gets tough. 
Maker of miracles, keep us primed and ready. 


We have a problem and a solution.  The problem is the flesh.  The solution is new life in the spirit.  Jesus moved into problem and out that he might demonstrate the solution.  What I seem to be unable to get through my thick head is that the flesh--my flesh--opposes the spirit--my spirit and God's Spirit.

Folks...the battle still rages.

When Mr. Flesh goes to church, a spiritual juxtaposition occurs.  Mr. Flesh wants to run the show intended for the Spirit flow.  Mr. Flesh grapples with the story-line of the Son of God because he cannot understand nor explain the marvelous moves of Jesus.  Mr. Flesh is not equipped to know things beyond knowing as is pointed out in Ephesians 3:19-21.

There is great and abundant need in today's culture.  Social angst is rampant.  The Spirit of God would lead us to serve and minister to those in need.  But Mr. Flesh raises doubts as to what good it would do and whether those in need are deserving.

Mr. Flesh has unfortunately, may conveniently, forgotten his own fumbling and cruddy failures.

Brandon Hatmaker charges that even those well-intended to pitch in to make our communities a better place to live because of the promises of God are quickly distracted as deadlines are approaching, bills have to be paid, and school projects that require your help are waiting on the kitchen counter top.

Why do we fail, or at least operate in so much hesitation mode when it comes to ministering to the needy? How is it we can move through our days as if these people don't exist?  Why do our eyes not see them?

Mr. Flesh strongly opposes them.  That's why.  And we follow Mr. Flesh without giving it much thought.

Hatmaker went on to state, We have some deeper issues, too.  Beyond being selfish, unmotivated, and unconvinced, the big issue is that our flesh literally opposes it.  In other words without a transformed heart, we simply won't want to serve.

God not only knew that, He clearly pointed it out.  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

When Mr. Flesh goes to church there is constant effort to build respectable image in grand effort to convince all on-lookers that all is good.  However, even the whitewashed tombs are full of dead men's bones.  When our hearts are transferred to the Spirit life, at this time the Spirit within us goes to church.

Ah, authentic, meaningful, useful life at last!

Thursday, October 24, 2013


There is some good news and some bad news.  The good news is the bad news can be corrected by the good news.

Churches of Christ do not carry a general consensus in several communities of being lighthouses.  The reason is many congregations long lost their calling.  Rather than becoming seriously engaged in community needs, there has been a steady theme of preservation; holding on to the old ways (not truths; but style).  

This obsession has choked what should have been the radiance of Jesus.  One does not have to look far to find Churches of Christ are stuck while, simultaneously, being quite arrogant and proud to carry a torch saying we are the only ones saved.  This is worse than bad; it is sinful.

The good news is we are learning; some at a faster pace than others.  Personally, I would regard myself as an individual who is so far behind I will never catch up.  This is not discouraging for I would rather be in Kindergarten learning His ways anew than to be a Senior carrying a whistle and a badge trying to keep everyone preserved.

Many congregations are vibrant; very alive!  We are learning to worship, to pray, to engage with, in, and for community. The important shift from DER (Doing Everything Right) is fortunately being transferred to the righteousness of Jesus instead of self.  

Life is happening!

We are gaining momentum because we are shelving our own momentum for His.

Our self-righteousness has served as a wet blanket tossed upon the embers of Holy Spirit fire.  Accordingly, we suffer stagnancy with the eventual loss of our children.  

This must stop.  In many places is has.

Brandon Hatmaker directs us to watch for the blessing of crisis.  Our problem is most exposed when we do not see the need.

But there is crisis in America.  There's a void of Spirit.  There's a lack of powerful transformation. And studies show that people are leaving the church.  Scripture says that we're to be a city on a hill that cannot be hidden.  Like it or not, that's not the reputation of the Western church.  Not only are we hidden in our culture as something that is supposed to be good news, we are losing ground.

The solution to losing ground is to be steadily reminded and refreshed to look for the crises where Jesus would walk.  Preserving our past is not a calling of God.  Noticing the need of today is.  

We live in comfort. We are in desperate need of desperation.  Persecution always drives the church to her knees seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit for, in such time, we are in hunger and thirst need. The fog of arrogance lifts and God becomes centered once again.

We are very stuck in too many places.  The good news is there is a remedy.  We are called to be a light to the world.  Crisis welcomes light.  Complacency complains about it.  The cure for sluggish formation in mere religion is to note and engage in the desperate needs of community everywhere we live; everywhere we turn.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


The word faith is tossed about by we churchers as if everyone gets it; especially us. We can recite verses that include it, name the one known as the father of it, and we have made sure it found notoriety in the steps of salvation.

However, it seems in general to be more of a word than a walk.  II Corinthians 5:7 easily rolls off of our tongues; walk BY faith and NOT BY sight.  This is the great secret of the Spirit.  And may I remind you of what this writer Paul stated in his first letter to the Corinthians, a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Jesus leveled a huge charge toward we disciples when he had been asked what kind of work, exactly, were followers of God to engage.  They said therefore to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"

This, my friend, is what I would wish all would ask.  What would it look like if we were to enter into the kind of work where we could see Spirit results and not merely wearying human exertion?  And, Jesus lays it out there for all to know, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.

Faith, authentic Bible believing, is more than a Christian giving something a shot and it randomly happens. We aren't gamblers who throw the dice and sometimes we hit the jackpot and most of the time we lose. Faith is embedded in Jesus.  We watch him.

We are to walk by watching Jesus, (see yesterday's post regarding Peter walking on water); not by man's earthy schemes and plots to try to get religious movement.

The hope is found that we will experience the very nature of effective faith by planting and sowing.  I know many who want.  They want results.  They want stories of God's involvement.  Yet, there is simply a fundamental lack; no sowing and no watering because their sight eyes can't calculate possibility.

Nothing comes about by the Spirit zone except through the avenue of eyes on the resurrected Jesus. Nothing.

Our call will always be to enter faith by living in a vein of life full of mystery and unexplanation.  When that happens....enter the wonder of God.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Life isn't as hard as most make it out to be.  All struggle.  Few succeed.  I speak such from the perspective that many are called; few are chosen.

Blame and anger and frustration, etc, fills the speech of mankind.  Defensive explanation distorts an underlying truth that few want to accept; poor decisions of where we focus our eyes cause failure.  Success has nothing to do with social level or skill.  Further, it has nothing to do with economics, race, nor education. It has everything to do with where one puts his or her eyes.

The story of Peter walking on the water (and sinking in the very same water he once traipsed) is a perfect picture of one's life-walk.  We don't sink or swim.  We sink or walk.

The winds were strong.  Jesus was not disturbed.  Peter did what man thought couldn't happen; he actually walked on top of what had been assumed would pull a guy under.  The secret was not in his EEEE sandals. It was his eyes were upon one; Jesus.

Everyone has the same call; look at Jesus and use matters that would sink most people as merely stepping stones.  Otherwise, look at the threatening winds and go under. Winds are everywhere. Jesus is everywhere. Choose your eye-target.  We have a choice.

All are dealt the hand of opportunity to step across the very things that tend to trip most.  All can take every disadvantage and turn it into advantageous moments. There are no exceptions.

Look at Jesus in the center of every storm and come out on top.  And when you have moments of weakness and you look away; know that he has a reach toward rather than a backhand in disgust.

We are all dealt the same hand.  Some just play their cards differently.

Monday, October 21, 2013


ANNOUNCEMENT: By October 1, 2017 all thing will have been invented, discovered, or created.

Of course such a statement is bizarre!

By that date it appears man's ingenuity will just be getting started.    How can this be?  How long have people--creatively--moved about earth?  And we are still developing new.

Of course such a statement is factual!

It looks like new is here to stay!

Where do men, women, and children get this trait of creativity?  From the Creator.  This is one of the most powerful, yet rarely mentioned, Christian evidences.  The reason so much new everything is due to the Creator of marvel and wonder and awe.

Why is it that in the fields of industry, education, and science the world is moving at a clip that intelligence cannot fathom and yet in the church we believe we are able to get by with routine, repetition, and ritual. Which is more astonishing?  The flesh or the spirit?

We can walk into a tech store--or a fabric one for that matter--and be wowed by nothing less than exciting creativity.  Why would we settle for less in the the part of mankind that is eternal; the spirit part?

We need to take a hint from the physical.  There is more...much be experienced right where we live right when we  Yet, we have buried our heads in our Bible and missed its message.  Wonder and awe was a common experience among his followers.

May we get to be a part of the wow of God!!!

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Today is S-U-N-D-A-Y!!!!

I love Sundays!

These are the days--mornings of course--when the most of us gather in one place; more than any other time of the week.  I've been at this for over four decades and it feels like today is my first day; it is so fun!!

Two groups assemble where I get to go to church; the wide-eyed waiting for wonder and the squint-eyed sitting with checklist upon knee.  I have dwelt with, among, and as both.  The former is much more alive.

So badly I want to get to live life alive!  I resent those days that I endured by not being really alive; but going through the motions.  Yes, I could always find others to blame for my church blues.  Yet, I later found I had developed a checklist of worship duties that needed to be fulfilled....and they certainly needed to be done right.

What was happening is the lists were completed week after week; but I wasn't experiencing life.

I eventually discovered that others and myself, who operated by the official Church of Christ checklist manual, were successful at many things except knowing God.  I/we knew singing, communion, preaching from the Word, praying, passing the collection plates, and the invitation song.  But seriously knowing Jesus was not in the mix and it didn't bother me.

With my clipboard, however, I checked everything off including those who were naughty or nice.

Checklist church is old school church.  It is old law church.  The law kills and the Spirit gives life.

But the new side is alive and I so can't wait to see what He will provide in our gathering.  Sometimes we will have a special song sung by our fantastic worship team.  We might have someone other than me preach. The elders may receive prayer requests in stations around the sanctuary (did I really use that s word?).  Or, our worship minister my decide not to offer an invitation song at all.

This uncertainty drives the checklist worshiper up the wall.  It did me.  Well it should.  Ours is not abundant life because we have obeyed any number of steps on a church decent and in order checklist.  No, its awesome life is found in the Son and we are gathering again today to send another signal to Father that we are grateful.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Churches need help.  We have a lot to overcome and a lot to move toward.  Some of our labors are like the squirrel-in-the-cage activity.  Yet, darkness seems to be gaining while light is on some sort of holding pattern.

What's going on?

For certain, I wouldn't know the complete answer to any question; let alone this one.  I do note a mistake in and from my past that may give partial clue.  I'm one of those who have walked on two different roads in the same congregation.  I necessarily shifted from Bible-pounding to Bible-believing.  There is a difference.

When I operated with sermons of Bible-pounding, great threat to the hearers was issued.  Spewing and snorting Bible passages, I held hell over their heads and on occasion there would be tens--a couple of times over a hundred--responses at the end of the sermon.  Those were some of our good days, except....

...except scaring hell out of people doesn't put them any closer to heaven.

We presently have churches with the following traits:
  1. The members' greatest fears are they will die and find out they are lost.
  2. The members basically have no relationship with God, only to monitor faithfulness by church attendance.
  3. The members develop a critical and judgmental eye for any who don't adhere to the Bible in the formation they do.
  4. The attendance is in severe decline.
When hell is scared out of people in church, and that is the basic call of their belief system, this leaves one merely in neutral.  Empty and prideful, these move throughout their spiritual journey just wishing and hoping they don't do anything wrong.  And...they feel sure most others are doing many things wrong.

Ah, this was me at so many intersections of ministry operation.  I believed that I was right on everything, proud of it, and rolling my eyes at the shallowness of others whom I regarded as weak and unserious about God.

The church is not hell insurance.  Jesus is heaven assurance.  We are in need of Jesus, not so we can overlook our sins; but so that He will.  We are in need of Jesus; not because we are good enough; but because we are not.  We are in need of Jesus because he alone is Life and we are dead in our tracks without him.

The lack of hell, even if it is scared out of us, is no sign of Life.  Jesus is.  He is the only sign.

Friday, October 18, 2013


As a kid I wasn't much for church and was far less for preachers.  To me, both represented top-o-the-line boredom.  I wasn't sure about me as to what exactly life would unfold; but I knew boredom was not on my Bucket List.

So now I try to fill the very role I once despised.  And isn't that just like God?  Moses didn't want to go and Saul of Tarsus never dreamed he would one day go to prison in honor of the very name he once hated; Jesus.

So having been at this work now nearly forty years, I reach to young ministers with words of hopeful insight and support.

  • IN THE BEGINNING do not be surprised that you haven't a clue who you are, what you are doing, or what you should be doing.  This is just all so weird.  Our deepest desire is to say all the right things to signal the church we are certainly their guy.  Yet, it is His guy that we are supposed to be and you must know that if you are going to stick with this the two will not always be seamless.
  • IN THE BEGINNING you will tend to skip prayer to God for spending time cultivating praise for self.  Um...not good.  I dabbled in prayer and have grown in it a smidge.  Basically, we try to create life and harmony and success; all are God's role, not ours.
  • IN THE BEGINNING you will gradually build in obligatory prayer time and still lack interactional prayer where you speak to God and He speaks to you.  Grow to anticipate a relationship with Him.
  • IN THE BEGINNING you may encounter crud and crap thrown at you for men will despise you. Try as we may, we cannot please all men.  We have all of this coming.  We are supposed to be rejected. We are in ministry to follow Jesus, not Success Seminar speakers.  
  • IN THE BEGINNING you will gradually discover that you are the least in the church.  You had hoped for better; but you are not.  We will hit our effective calling when we finally admit we are lost without Him.  Things, at that very point, change.  Weariness is transferred into wonder. Frustration and emptiness are translated into complete over-joy at what He is doing; not what you are doing.
  • IN THE will want to know that forty years down the road IT IS STILL THE BEGINNING!!!!
Don't quit.  Don't give up.  No preacher you admire just happened to get the breaks you feel you never had. No.  The preachers you admire had all the right breaks--called brokenness--to learn to have a message that inspires you. Jesus go do....I Peter 2:21-25.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I admire and deeply appreciate my friend Sharon Hersh.  Her book, The Last Addiction, as our youth minister recently said, is rich rich rich!   I share a few quotes from the book:

  • "The land is full of idols (Isa.2:8)".  After all, that's what addiction really is---it is worship.
  • Addiction is from the Latin word "addictus", which means "to surrender to the gods."
  • Addiction goes deeper than obsession and compulsion.  It is worship.
  • Desire is intended to be the fuel of human relationships.  It propels us to want to engage with others and with God.  God made us to hunger for relationships.  Addicts are ensnared when they believe that they can completely and continually satisfy that hunger with something that ultimately devours them.
I don't mean to imply I have never or don't ever worship God.  However, I will say it is turning out to be a much bigger deal than first assumed.

When first converted I thought true worship was because of two facts: we did church right and we didn't do it wrong.  That seemed to be both the message and the conclusion.  And all 50 of us agreed.

I wasn't a praiser of God in church or out.  I was a visible leader who had drive, and enthusiasm, and courage.  I didn't praise God for I was devoted to doing so well the church would praise me.

I wasn't a prayer to God.  I had work to do.  Strangely, I couldn't figure why He had chosen me to possess such grand insight to spiritual matters that all these people before me had obviously failed to note.  So once again, I was on a roll in the realm of being impressive.

But it was a lie.  I was a liar.  I wasn't worshiping God.  I was worshiping my (very little) knowledge and my (very inadequate) talent.  Although I knew I hadn't arrived it felt to me like I was surely ahead of so many who had surely been blindly trained.

I worshiped my own image; young, brave, outspoken, and well-liked by those I esteemed important in the church.

Sharon Hersh is telling us something ultra-important.  We are addictively distracted.

Our worship has failed to reach God for so many moments because we have stopped to worship the created rather than the Creator.


Addiction is a cultural beast...for every culture.  Its ruin is strewn across the multifaceted landscape of humanity.  Yet, lest one begin to entertain the idea that God has no effective counter, I beg you to think again.  

Addictions bound by earth have met their Conqueror.  He is God.  Surely we remember the devil's approach is to counterfeit God's style.  Knowing he has done so in this scenario should give us pause to reclaim the healthy addictions God always desired for us.

Morgan Bennett's post, The New Narcotic, reveals the expanding pathway regarding addictive behavior.  

       Think of the brain as a forest where trails are worn down 
       by hikers who walk along the same path over and over again, 
       day after day. The exposure to pornographic images creates 
       similar neural pathways that, over time, become more and 
       more “well-paved” as they are repeatedly traveled with each 
       exposure to pornography. Those neurological pathways 
       eventually become the trail in the brain’s forest by which 
       sexual interactions are routed. Thus, a pornography user has   
      “unknowingly created a neurological circuit” that makes his or 
       her default perspective toward sexual matters ruled by the 
       norms and expectations of pornography.

Addictions take residence in the brain.  God would be fully aware of this truth.  Therefore, it should not surprise us to find He is absolute about where He wants our minds to trek.  The Phillipians 4:8 verse gives admonition to healthy brain patterns, think about the excellent, the lovely, the worthy of praise, etc.  Each of these thought processes is addictive.

Once one begins to pray, prayer becomes a deeper need as the trail is worn down by the hiker; just as Bennett points to the dark addictions.  As one ponders the goodness in others, she sees more people with more goodness; addiction to wonder and beauty.  

This is the truth of additions as I see it thus far; the more you are drawn to anything habitually, and you like it, the more you want it.  To conquer a bad want to is not to focus on refrain only, but to engage in a healthy want to.

The more one gives praise to God and people the more the pathway is expanded in the heart and mind.  Praise and honor begins to gush for we have become addicted to the holy and righteous walk of God.

Proverbs 23:7 is a masterful nugget; for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

We must give a good look at the addiction processes for there are not only answers; there are breakthrough solutions.  One's thinking mechanism can, should, and will be adjusted in transition from bad addiction to good.  

It is possible.  Whether alcohol, pornography, gossip, or spending, all addictions have been defeated in One known as Jesus....really.  Even the Addiction Dilemma has a Yes.  It is called the Addiction Solution!!!

Let your mind dwell on the things of Life and you will find an entirely new world buried within the very center of your own heart.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


For the longest time I missed out on my own life.  While I had an address, I lived in the dumps.  Any of you know what I mean?

There were always people and circumstances that gave me, I assumed, reason to fret.  Fret isn't a good thing and God said, Stop it!!

So I took several courses.  Stop It 101, Stop It 201, and Quit It!!!

I no longer live in the dumps even though I have more reasons to fret.  I've learned to see the truth of life; I am surrounded by wonder!!

Life isn't a matter of good breaks vs bad ones.  Life is a matter of what one chooses to focus upon.  One can either think about the things going right or the things going wrong.  Both happen all the time every day to all people.  But only one way of thinking brings peace.

Everyone can  choose to think right regardless of circumstance....Phil. 4:4-8.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Religious talk wants.  Faith expects.

Religious prattle speaks of prayer.  Faith prays.

Christians want many things.  Yet, a believer anticipates God's supply and provision.

I have walked both paths.  Oh how I have wanted God to do this and show me that.  Yet, believing God is the provider, my role is to plant and water.

Wanters don't plant.  Neither do they water.  They just live in desire with no trust.

Believers express by planting and watering while convinced God will give increase.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen.  Want merely resides within  talkers who major in wish rather than believe.

Believers are constantly moving with great expectation of God showing up.

Each of us either talks the empty lingo or keenly anticipates another great God-move.


The target of this post is anyone in a leadership role.  Life has a way of building us up or wearing us down. The natural gravity of being a person is to walk being steadily pulled down.  The reverse gravity of resurrection power is to be wonderfully lifted up.

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 shall live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.  

Jesus was weak enough, human enough, to die; but yet he still lives because he was resurrected.  You and me, says the passage, are also weak like human Jesus was. However, we are able to really live because of God's resurrection power DIRECTED toward us.  A very WoW verse!

We must, must lean into the upward gravitational pull of God via His resurrection power.  It had nothing to do with Jesus' exertion from the grave.  He lay there dead. When death falls into the gravitational drift of God one arises where earth's (earthy) gravitation falls.

We need to know this!

Earth pulls at our ministerial/leadership roles.  We may begin new and wide-eyed; yet that pull finds us looking at the very same work later very tired, frustrated, and weary.  It may even be true that a once vibrant ambition has now settled into a dull routine of contentment; even indifference.

I urge preachers and elders and teachers to shove out the earth pull and lean in upon the heaven pull.  If you are tired, rest.  If you are bewildered, lay dead.  Let God have a chance to do his resurrection power stuff. We keep trying to do our own raising which only leaves us with more dead efforts.

I started out crazy about preaching; wild about church.  Today is more so and not because I have this magic formula where everything I try works.  Such has been the reverse.  I've had more failures than most.  The hope is in God.  That statement is neither dishonest nor is it meagerly humble.

Too many of us are maturing toward earth rather than toward heaven.  We slip into self-effort instead of resting in God's power.  We become fixed on fixing things.  Blind willingness to trust has transferred to a mistaken professionalism as to how we go about our kingdom engagement.

I say awaken to a new sort of day where problems and struggles are our fuel; not our demise.  I'm not just saying we ought to think about it.  No. We need to do more.  We need to LET IT happen.  The LET IT is God's resurrection power which defies human logic.

Kingdom gravity pulls us up.  Let go of your obsession to make things work and LET IT happen!

Friday, October 11, 2013


My enemies will run with this title.  That's alright.  The message of this post is important.

We leaders and followers in religious formations must stay on our toes in alertness to the Spirit of God.  We cannot tolerate the human erosion of Holy Spirit input and outflow.  Yet, truthfully, I am so susceptible to coasting day in and day out with a dab of spiritual engagement.

The churchy response that we go by the Bible borders on being obnoxious and insincere.  True, we go by some of the Bible. Indeed, it is important, honorable, and responsible to go by it.  However, when such a comment is made it usually has another unmentioned connotation: we go by everything the Bible teaches.  

I say, not hardly.

The Word of God is both holy and eternal.  It truly is the well which rushes new life into the veins of the body of Christ.  Its glory cannot be measured.  Its depth will never be fully explored.  And its extensive Truth will never be completely fathomed.

Our time will come to an end on earth before the Word of God is fully embedded and completely known by us individually.

Consider three of the biggies in God's earthling tenure: Moses, Paul, and John.

Moses was not allowed to look at God else he would be fried on the spot.  Evidently sheer sight of God is something man cannot handle.  Walking with God is more than referencing Acts 2:38 and pointing to the silence of scriptures.

Paul was caught up into the third heaven and didn't know if it was himself or another; he just couldn't tell. Paul didn't know who he was, where he was, nor if he was.  Does that sound like this man had a complete grasp on kingdom essentials?

John was on an island and when he saw God he slumped as dead.  The size, the power, the presence of the One; who can take it all in?

I love the Bible, learn from the Bible, and am all for increasingly learning Bible things.  One of the major tenets of our faith is to have a relationship with the Living God.

Therefore, I want to point out that we in the church are far too inclined to smugly sit in pews during Bible classes and compare ourselves with other studiers as if we are the ones who truly go by the Bible.

We, ourselves, have just begun.  May we be thrilled that we, too, have a great deal to learn.  No one and no group has wrapped up, conclusively, all the Word has to say.

Enjoy it; but don't go through life bragging about the very few things of God we have thus far learned.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This bent stop sign sits at the corner of our church lawn.

After heavy construction this week, it has taken an obvious hit.

Me being me, of course I see the irony.

Evidently somebody didn't get stopped!!!


That crazy kingdom pendulum; it just keeps swinging folks in the church.  I mean folks just like you and me. I mean you and me.

I was trained to be right.  In that process I misunderstood by developing a strong and mean spirit.  I was bold and proud of it.  I was indifferent to what anyone thought and didn't care who wanted to disagree. Truth is truth, after all.  Therefore, I was a hideously obnoxious pulpiteer out to hammer the ignorant.

But a more open study of the Holy Spirit began to melt my imposing stances.  And, they needed melting. Similar to Jesus, I wanted to gather everyone I could under my wings.  My heart's deep desire was to see that all knew there was room for them at the Eternal Inn.

Basically, I believe my first position was flat wrong and my present one is correct. Yet, there is something gone astray as I try to be open to my new spiritual inclusiveness.  I can't quite nail what it is.

Do we not require enough?  Are we afraid to make expectations of His/our people?  Is the church suffering because we have become a card-carrying people rather than cross-carrying disciples?

As in all things, I remain in kindergarten.  But I care to learn.

Have we possibly traded discipleship in for happiness?  I wonder.  Kingdom life is thrilling, wild, and rough in many places.  Our culture is mundane, tame, and soft; no surprises please.  We want applause and trophies for all, whether earned or not.  We pride ourselves in being sensitive.

Again, I remind you that I'm not certain of my inquiries.  I do believe it is good to evaluate how it is we have gotten into a rut of trying to fill pews with bodies rather than hearts who will not be intimidated by any one or group from praising God robustly in our assemblies and on our streets.

Churches seem to be built for taste rather than for mission.  Preferences of the sitters in general may have taken the lead rather than the sheer call of a very risky God.

The solution is not fuzzy.  It is Jesus.  Some pride themselves in being ecumenical while others are glad they are not as them; rather they are out baptizing.  Yet, others are lectureship/workshop junkies and others church planters and builders.

It seems to be few there are who are centering on Jesus.  He is yet to be known by and in the Churches of Christ even though his name is on our lawn signs and also used to endorse every prayer.  The knowing of Jesus is not abundant among us; my opinion.

I must learn more of him and as I do, he will be the one that interprets the correct way to move about day by day.

We can expect many things out of our people.  Until it is knowing Jesus intimately, we are just like all other religions and denominations; self-serving.

Not sure; but surely wondering....are we expecting enough out of us?

Wednesday, October 09, 2013


Is everything going to turn out to be backwards?  To live we die?  To keep we give? To hold we release?

We strain to grow from child to adult to finally become big enough to take on big-people matters only to learn that true victory comes through surrender.  How many times am I expected to undo my training and relearn my learning?

John said he needed to decrease that Jesus might increase.  A mature adult becoming less is backward to my assumed gaining momentum by stronger and more productive self-assertion.  A leader in God's venue leads down regarding self.  He or she points upwardly, though, not to self but to Jesus.  This keeps us from getting in His way.

Maturity will not find us on the rise.  It will find us embedded in the glorious fade that Jesus may become the headliner of our personal walk.

We will never really grow up until we hit that mysterious kingdom zone where yielding, surrendering, and forfeiting become a way of life via relinquishing rather than retaining.

We seem to find ourselves often in defensive and protectionistic modes.  Our hearts wish to think of others first; yet self keeps jumping to the head of the line.

This is an ongoing battle for me.  I want to be noticed; yet when I am, I distract from Him.  My position is not to be as the Sun; but rather as the moon reflective of the Son.  Mine is not to be center stage; yet as a sign in the foyer pointing others to the One on center stage.

Growing up means growing down.  This....I going to be life-long work for I am very slow, indeed.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Life seems to be a bowl full of cherries or else the pits.  Didn't some funny woman write a book like that once?  Well, whatever, the statement resonates.

I am in over my head and I'm glad.  Those years when I wasn't now seem pretty vain. I thought I knew stuff and handled it better than others.  I esteemed my perspectives highly and felt sorry for you dopes who couldn't see life from my branch of the tree.

However, God has changed the rules and I somehow don't seem to be in charge of nor on top of matters the way I once assumed.  My loftiness transformed in to left-me-ness.

Truthfully, the more I learn the less I know.  Jesus is my rock and he will not be given away as other sands appropriately shift.

How many times does one have to conclude he or she or we are wrong?

How many times do I have to learn this lesson again?

The Word keep pecking away at my self-indulgent stances.  Alluring culture keeps caving in as unstable.  And, the days' harshnesses continue to slap me around as if to say I'm not the one running this show.  Really?  I sorta assumed I was to at least try.

So it turns out I didn't want to take many leaps of faith so God had to ramp up the pressure to get me to begin to learn to walk a life with Him when it means I am in over my head.  A few of the things I don't know are:

  • How to be a good husband and dad
  • How to be a good friend
  • How to be an effective preacher
  • How to be a good giver in the church
  • How to be a good student of the Word
  • How to manage an office crew
  • How to grow in prayer
  • How to ......(fill in the blank)
I'm not worthless.  I have, however, been steadily reduced in position and posture to a kindergarten level with no hopes of getting to first grade.  I'm not overwhelmed with troubles.  I'm in over my head concerning the concepts of God which are thrillingly full of wonder and awe.  

I hope I lose ground (Terry-tory) day by day because living in over my head with God is far more meaningful than keeping my head above water and trying to manage routine life on my own.  It doesn't matter how tall any of us are, God is always taller.  

Ah, good.

Monday, October 07, 2013


 Life...authentic life...with God is just plain strange.

Odder yet, we spend much of our time converting the strange into normal.  Rather than me becoming like God, I labor to get God to become more like me.

One of the more bizarre truths that God approaches man with is that we are called to be saved.

That seems simple enough.  Yet, included within that summons is that we return to a lost condition.  Does anyone recall Jesus insisting his followers are to lose their lives that they may find them?

In losing our saved lives that others may find life, we regain it again.  The kingdom is a consistent two-sided coin.  We are saved from being lost on the condition we will lose our new life that those lost may find new life.  As Peter Sellers would say in his inspector voice, That's velly strenge.  Yes, velly strenge indeed.

The church is blessed by those who have been won when they, in turn, lose their new lives that others can be reached.  The church is hindered when any are won who will not give their lives away for others.

We begin as a lost people who find ourselves saved by the blood of Jesus.  We are given definition and meaning when we are to return the favor by taking up our crosses and losing ourselves in the elaborate saving scheme of God as He reaches to others through us.

We are saved to become lost....that's sorta weird....but don't forget the plan.

Sunday, October 06, 2013


America is in an uproar over legislation and health care.  Insurance coverage right now seems to be fighting words.  All need health insurance.  It will work out; we think, we wish, we hope.

But what about Health Assurance?

God is people-aware.

We tend to be so in moderation.

I surely once lived intimidated and restricted by people.  I could be very outgoing among my friends, but I was a failure at strangers in places.  For instance, I failed as a door to door salesman for an insurance company.  I was afraid of people.

But I learned something just a few months before I was converted.  I've told the story, so won't repeat it.

Yet my eyes were opened to the one common denominator everyone holds; loneliness.

Whether another is loud or quiet, attractive or plain, thin or heavy, and educated or not, loneliness swarms like gnats at a cookout.  I know something about everyone who exists; each has his or her moments of discouragement which transfers into loneliness.

My word to you is to not be faked out by anyone.  Don't buy into the loud lawyer who seems to be on top of the world.  He may be drowning his pain in alcohol.  Don't ignore the beauty queen or the homeless man; both may be trying to find some sort of escape in porn.

People of every age, size, nationality, and political bias suffer extremely deeply.

Reach, my friend.  Reach.  Encourage through greetings, generosities, personal calls, texts, and notes.  Sow the seed of uplifting words.  Love people.  Do more than hurt for them.  Reach with life-words.

Last night, while watching baseball, I texted a woman who is struggling in Florida, a man doing the same in Owasso, a lady in LA, and another in Colorado, and a guy in Arizona, and another in Iowa.  I spent the evening cheering on the hurting, the unhurting, the happy, and the terribly concerned.

Everyone needs good Health Assurance Coverage.  Open your hearts and lift your voices to cheer relatives, neighbors, and strangers with words and deeds which would bring about wonderful assurance for the inadequate soul who struggles to make it day by day.

There is abundant need.  Too, there is abundant deed opportunity.  Don't miss the moment.

Saturday, October 05, 2013


Uzzah, the man of God who was only trying to save the Ark from God for steadying the ark as it was being transported.  Whether a bump in the road or an indifferent ox, the load was about to take tumble.  See II Samuel 6.

Uzzah was merely helping....he thought.

This story is a struggle for my Western mind to grasp.  Yet, it finds its place in scripture because God surely wanted it known by all readers.  So what shall we note? Mine would be surface observations; but consider them if you like.

It would seem that a clear matter is that man, from his good intentions, wants to help God out when He is in a bind.  The problem with that is God isn't in a bind.  He knows how to carry out His procedures.

It takes a great deal of faith to let God.  We can actually stifle His Spirit.  We are that strong (and weak). God knows how to keep the Ark from falling.  We are called to abide by His Word and His Promises.  He can do this!

It has been human nature, in the name of efficient responsibility, to pitch in.  We criticize those who seem indifferent or even lazy for just standing by.  Yet in the kingdom, we must leave the God-matters to God.

Uzzah had lost confidence in God.  It doesn't seem he thought he was the big-shot.  He just didn't think the Ark was going to survive and his input was emergencially needed.  It wasn't.  God was still able.

Francis Schaeffer referenced, This danger often comes in organizational and financial emergencies, when it would seem for a moment that the glory of God is jeopardized.  He continues with a remarkable observation which we still need as we do our best--from a mistaken natural man perspective--to set things in working motion.

We tend to think of Christ building his invisible Church, and our building the visible Church.  We tend to think in this kind of dichotomy.  So our building the visible Church becomes like any natural business function, using natural means and natural moves.

I believe as long as we are us we will be in need of perpetual reminder to restrain our senses of what will work and what won't.  There will of necessity always be the challenge to lead by the Spirit and not by man's self-assumed better judgment.

Friday, October 04, 2013


Sadly, much of humanity has a beef with God.

They can't find Him.

It seems He didn't show up in time to spare them from significant stresses.  For certain these had received information and invitations throughout their lives about God.  Yet, convenience found a way to ignore His calls.

But now there are troubles galore and surely, they insist, God is to blame for He didn't show up when they could have used a Hand.

Where is God, anyway?

God is highly aware and intensely alert to both our major and our minuscule needs.  He goes not ignorant to note our deep need for aid.  He saw it coming and, you might be happy to know, did something about it.

God first sent His prophets.  Then His Son, Jesus.  Next, He sent His Spirit.  Not so oddly, mankind has basically snubbed its nose at these gigantic and incomprehensible exercises of God intended to help His valued creation.

This reminds me a bit of the person perched upon his roof during treacherous floods.  "Where is the help when you need it?", remarked the stranded.  A voice responds, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter.  What more do you need?"

The answer to "Where is God, anyway?" is that He sent us His prophets, His Son nailed upon the Cross, and then His Spirit.  It might be a good time to ponder those whom He has sent rather than speak in oblivious frustration as if He doesn't care.

"Come unto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest", pleads God through Jesus.  At your elbow, that's where God is today.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


When I was a kid I could not wait for the County Fair to roll into town.  The buzz of excitement was everywhere.  Events, food, animals, races, and....rides!  Lots of rides!

I would take my hard-earned mowing money and head for the Highway 15/136 Junction.  Listen for the music, look for the crowds...and look at those rides.  Wow!

I spent money for the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Ferris Wheel, and other high-powered machines.  Bounced to the right and jerked to the left, all equilibrium became immediately unequal.  I loved the rides that took my breath away.  Some had such centrifugal force downward that it would move my lunch upward.

While all of this torture cost me much of my treasured funds, it was worth it.

But let me tell you what I have learned that Senior Citizens aren't telling you.  We have a secret that very few of the younger know about.  We have all of these rides.

Everyone of them; the slamming, the thrusting, the upchucking, the zigging and zagging, the dipping, and the diving.

It is called Vertigo.

The best part is that it is FREE.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


As God is the God of all nations so is He of all teams.

I am the 26th man on the St. Louis Cardinals' roster; my team. We are now headed into the National League playoffs.

My role is not as a fielder or a hitter.  No, mine is to pray.  I guess one could surmise there might be around 10,000 other 26th men and women on this roster.

Our role is not to pray for the Cardinals to win; although we do celebrate when such occurs.  No, our role is to pray for God to be glorified through their roles during and around the game.

These men have stresses at home, problems with finance, and questions of concern just as the rest of us do.  The first 25 on the roster and their coaches and manager live regular lives where families have needs and bills have deadlines.

Because the Cardinals are my team and because I know a few of them personally, I pray for them regularly. That's the one meaningful thing I can do.

So it is with you.

You can be the assistant to your bank manager, the co-pilot for your favorite airlines, or a teacher for a 5th grader next door who is having trouble praying for these in your small terrain of this vast world.

You can be on the roster of another major league team or an assistant to surgeons at a major hospital because you can enter their world through the invisible (yet welcomed by most) door of prayer.

Mike Matheny, Cardinals' manager, has been a good friend for the last five years.  I was praying for him during the managerial selection process for the Cards a couple of years back and continue to do so in season and out.  I have been in prayer for him these past few days because this tender-hearted Christian has to make wise decisions regarding the playoffs.

This is a stressful load.

My role as the 26th man on the roster is to pray.  No, I don't get paid.  No, I don't get a championship ring. But, yes, I get to do something important for people and that is pray.

You are the same when you pray for leaders of nations, teachers in classrooms, and the homeless beneath the bridges.  We may not have our own uniforms; but we each have our own duties.  Pray with confidence. All need it.

You are also on the roster of any group you wish.  Pray without ceasing.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013


For me as a newly converted Preaching School student, prayer was a class topic; not a way of life.  I didn't mind that we opened class or closed church services with a prayer.  They seemed both quaint and appropriate.

Overall, however, prayer was nothing more than a time-waster; a dead-end alley of sorts.  It meant little and took us nowhere.

When new as the preacher at Memorial Drive we even brought in my friend, Albert Lemmons, to conduct a Prayer Seminar.  Oh the agony of me putting on a happy face while inwardly begging for these torturous evenings to end.  To top it off friend Albert had us fast for three days.

Oh brother!!  Now a waste of time plus a sacrifice of food!!  The first is tough enough with me surely having ADDDDDDDDD.  But missing!!!!

Well...I did it.  I prayed and fasted.  I prayed the fasting would soon end.  I'll never forget going out as a group to break the fast at a restaurant.  That prayer over the food meant soooo much to me!!!

I set this stage to tell you that, for me, I learned I didn't need to first learn to pray.  No.  My first lesson needed to be to learn to believe.  I didn't believe God was active.  Through the many classes and writings on so many things that had ceased, I had mistakenly picked up that God's work had ceased.

The work was now up to us!

So why pray?

When I began to read from scripture that God was active in His Spirit for, I entered a new world of wonder that perpetually increases.  It appears I needed to have a relationship with God.  My understanding had stalled at believe everything right.  I knew Bible but I didn't know God.

Learning to relate to God changes everything; how one reads the Word, how one relates to others, and whether one prays.

When we learn to believe bigger we will want to pray more...and like it.