Monday, March 31, 2014


The Christian path is the way of the cross; not the way of philosophical formula.  The believing world is about to offer great praise to the Master's march to the Cross and out the other side of the grave.  All who believe him are called to pick up our own crosses and imitate his walk.

The message and concept of the cross has undergone some serious polishing.  The word itself has become a symbol that we are on the right track.  However, we live in a social structure that is heavy on words and light on walk.

The Cross of Jesus is more than a good example.  It is our mentor for he is our trainer.  From such a vision you and I learn to never give up; never.  We may be thrashed; yet we will die for those who whip.  We may get punched; we will not flinch in anger at such a beating.  We will never give up.

We will never give up on our calling, our neighbors, nor our God.  We will die for our friends and we believe that if we die for our enemies that many of them will choose our friendship.

There seems to be something brewing in the philosophical world of spirituality. Specifically, the persecution of Christians is receiving increasing report.  To this point, American Christians who suffer for their faith has been seemingly minimal.

But things may be changing.

If they are, we are to be primed with the call of Jesus to follow well.  Mistreatment of believers in God has been absent in our nation.  Therefore, this will be a new territory for us.  Great are the riches in struggles.  Kingdom life is abundant due to mimicking the very trail of Jesus.

Do not whine.  Do not fear.  Encourage one another as the day approaches.  News reports may serve to intimidate.  Good News reports, however, assure us there is an open-ended grave which cannot boss nor control.  Even the strugglers are set free!

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Don't you love right now?

Oh sure, we've each got our neck braces to endure.  Yet these would hardly be classified as our way of life.

Since I was a kid I have been driven for the wonder of what could be.  But I lacked the sense to note the wonder of what is.  I liked school, teachers, and my awesome classmates.  While I liked a lot of things, there was a lack of appreciation for the now because I was looking forward to when.

So how are you doing with living larger than life?

  • How many of you are paralyzed from the neck down?
  • How many have lost limbs in war?
  • How many do not get to sit at a table three times a day and chew your food?
  • How many are able to drive down a street in America without being afraid of the police?
  • How many get to pay higher prices at the pumps because you own a car and drive yourself?
  • How many can walk into and out of churches without threat or intimidation?
  • How many have more than one friend when it has been said the average person has none?
  • How many have more than one set of clothing to wear?
  • How many have more than one pair of shoes?
  • How many have a doctor?
  • How many of us live like Kings and Queens compared to the filth and disease other countries endure; yet we hardly regard ourselves as wealthy?
  • How many of you took for granted you could read this post?
There are the first dozen random questions which could be multiplied many times. Please do not miss the abundant Life Jesus promises by whining, complaining, and arguing.

Please...may we all awaken to the wonder of you and me getting to live larger than life!  

It isn't someday.  It is don't you love it?

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I am in my fortieth year of preaching ministry; thirty-six plus a Memorial Drive.  I can hardly believe it.  While I was eager with hope in the beginning I am ecstatic with it today.  God is so much that the closer I get to Him the bigger He becomes and the obvious less I am.

My word to younger ministers, teachers, and leaders is to never give up on God...or people.  Due to the call of creative faith, it is our work to believe people and circumstances into the flow of life.  Sure there are stresses and the stressful.  And yet, there is God and His abundant mystery.

Oh, I know too well the disappointment you find in others....and yourself.  We are glitched very badly.  However, this merely substantiates our calling and clarifies our drive.  We are in this for the disgusting and the depriving.  We want to to see what will become of what isn't yet.  This is a Romans 4:17 moment.  We live to believe that even the deadening can be reversed.

Eugene Peterson puts a surprise into words as to his perspective of being in a church.

Every time I move to a new community, I find a church close by and join it---committing myself to worship and work with that company of God's people.  I've never been anything other than disappointed: every one turns out to be biblical, through and through: murmurers, complainers, the faithless, the inconstant, those plagued with doubt and riddled with sin, boring moralizers, glamorous secularizers.  

Every once in a while a shaft of blazing beauty seems to break out of nowhere and illuminate these companies, and then I see what my sin-dulled eyes had missed: word of God-shaped, Holy Spirit-created lives of sacrificial humility, incredible courage, heroic virtue, holy praise, joyful suffering, constant prayer, persevering obedience.

This would be both counts...the strugglers and the saints...all in one piece.  We are both.

Therefore, we never give up on God and we never grow cold toward others.  We are all caught in the same boat receiving the huge pelting of life's storms.  All of us.  A difference in some would be that maybe a few dare try to get out of the boat and face the winds....only to sink in our brave strategies and courageous ploys.

The end is the same as the beginning.  Jesus is the caller and the saver.  We, then, never give up on God for He is faithful to us at every ebb and flow.  Plus, we never give up on another because we simply take turns either trying to rescue others or being rescued by the same.

It matters not how rough life has become, there is ample reason to praise God and to believe in the goodness of each other.  That's what Love does.

Friday, March 28, 2014


There is abundant criticism of churches and of ministers in our land.  Being deeply embedded into such a lifestyle, I can verify that much of the critics' chatter has been earned.  Guys like me haven't done the best job, have we?  While I would like to position myself to be some modern-day hero of sorts, such is never the case.  I am a very small, little man with great need of Someone to save me.

I offer a word of caution to the critics.  I once lived in your camp.  You are correct in noting my flaws and of others like me.  You are mistaken, however, if you believe your accurate perspective of us redeems you from loving, believing, and worshiping God.  No one goes to heaven by comparatively out-do-gooding another.

Each of us is our own despicable mess which dares not point an accusing finger in another's direction.  Our lips are to be converted to praise God rather than diminish another sinner.  Each of us is the chiefest at getting the spiritual wrong.

J. I. Packer penned an important concept.  Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has been almost a modern Bible, and a whole technique of business relations has been built up in recent years on the principle of putting the other man in a position where he could never say "no".

This has confirmed modern man in the faith which has animated pagan religion ever since there was such a thing---namely, the belief that we can repair our own relationship with God, by putting God in a position where He cannot say "no" any more. Ancient pagans thought to do this by multiplying gifts and sacrifices; modern pagans seek to do it by churchmanship and morality.

Mankind is spiritually impotent if and when we assume we can jump enough religious hoops to keep God off of our backs.  The non-interested ones feel self-justified to note the lack of spirituality among those who seem to be given to God and church.

Both are weak and feeble.

Our hope is in the Son of God.  He absorbed all of our sins upon the cross.  Do not yawn.  No religious person can muster enough Christianity to merit forgiveness of what we would regard as the tiniest of sins.  Furthermore, the irreligious will one day proclaim Jesus as Lord convinced that their accusations were a self-induced hoax.

Jesus is the Savior.  The Holy Spirit is the only power that endures the pressures and the consequences of being frail us.  We are in great need; not some of us, but all.  We are in desperate need for somebody to pay this sin-debt that is out of control.

And....He paid it all.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Some friends dropped in at our house Friday afternoon.  What a really enjoyable time we had.  Alan, Miss Kay, and Phil Robertson were so fun for Wendy, Mary, and me to be around.

When we took this picture, I was so disappointed that I had to keep this neck collar on following surgery.

But then....but then I realized....hey, I don't need to tell that discs were removed from my neck.  I can point to the obvious that I am having a beard implant!!

Yes, that will be my story.  I have had a Duck Dynasty beard implant.

A problem, however, seems to be that the graft evidently did not take.

Well....maybe I should first begin with the dark shades and go from there!

How fun!

Thanks Alan, and Miss Kay, and Phil for blessing our workshop!  We count ourselves grateful!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Where does the word new bug humanity more than in disease and church?  I can't think of a place unless it would be in the antique business.  It seems that we all cringe at learning of one who is found with a new illness.  And for this post, new in church has taken on a mistakenly negative characteristic among more than just a few.

With this concept is the idea of change.  It has been argued that one should not change things just for changes sake.

Really?  Have you ever known of a housewife who changed the furniture around simply because it gave the place a lift?  Change?  And think about the last time a husband came home with a new diamond ring for his wife?  Was her reaction, What? Why are you doing this?  I hate change!  I'd rather were this worn old thing!


Or, What?  Please don't buy me another new car!  I hate change!  

Or, What?  Oh no, please don't build me a new house.  I like being cramped in this place!

So here's something to ponder.  Regardless of church affiliation, why is it that every generation seems to battle changes from the younger one?  Why is that?  Why has not one generation escaped the church turmoil of change.  It is always the younger generation (in general terms I speak) that has to break new ground in church.  Consistently, those who push for new will one day age and then be opposing the next young concepts.

I don't know that I'm right on this; but I give you a thought.  I believe new is a perpetual challenge for the church because God is new every day and we are to experience new every day and the flesh can't grasp it.  From music style, to ministry reach, to Bible version, change is a constant concern.  This isn't because each new generation is erratic just itching to mess up the church.  No.  I believe it is the nature of God.

Man has a steady problem.  We want to control matters; nearly all matters.  God's new and God's change disrupts our ability to control.

The annoying "new" creates a generation gap because as we age we seem to settle upon standards that please us when new pleases God.  I'm sixty-six years old...and I want to get newer day by day....II Cor. 4:16-18.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The Kingdom of God is the most exciting venture...ever!  There is nothing like it.  No other system can present both the thrill and the intrigue.  Yet, those of us in church leadership have seen this slip.  Too, to many in the random community, there is nothing more deadening than church.  This latter view must change.

We are ultra-blessed by those men and women and children who ooze forth kingdom life onto our paths. We read.  We hear.  We see. We learn.  Simultaneously, there is a growing hunger for a renewed spirituality for parts of our present system are weakening; even dying.

The appetite grows for actual engagement with the Living God.  Henri Nouwen makes a simple and yet profound observation.  There is today a great hunger for a new spirituality that is a new experience of God in our own lives....Prayer is not a preparation for work or an indispensable condition for ministry.  Prayer is life; prayer and ministry are the same and can never be divorced.  If they are, the minister becomes like an electrician or plumber and the priesthood nothing more than another way to soften the many pains of life.

There is a hunger for renewed spirituality.  We are to always have such an appetite.  I am one that simply needs to be reminded of this for others as well as myself.  We are engaged in kingdom activity.  Sometimes that exertion can eat the prayer time and the careful time spent with Father.  At this juncture our spirituality begins to limp.

Many parents want their kids in church.  But do these parents want them engaged in prayer?  I merely mean to nudge us toward an increasing relationship with Jesus in Spirit form.  There is nothing on earth more exciting than inhabiting the works out of heaven.

Whether our kids or ourselves, dissatisfaction will increase if spirituality is not perpetually renewed.  There is a hunger for it.  Everyone has this appetite.  We will do well to acknowledge the hunger pangs of our own souls...and feed from the Lamb of God.

Prayer is the renewing power of God among us.  It is here that He and we meet to ponder that which stands before us.

Monday, March 24, 2014


I am at my computer very little.  Therefore, I send this message just to let you know that I know you are out there.  Thank you for the prayers and notes and texts that fill my heart with gladness.

We just completed a wonderful workshop of which I got to attend oh so briefly.  So many people from so many states filled the Pavilion at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds.  The event was evidently a home run!

Thanks to Shane Coffman for enduring the load he carried to see that this year was profoundly awesome!

I will be in touch gradually as able.  I'm not in pain; just very slow going as my neck and spine heal.

Blessings and confidence are ours to behold day after day....regardless of circumstances!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


There is much information afloat that sends chills of dismal days as well as quiet quandaries.  Local news has disruption and World news searches for a missing plane and its passengers.

For us?  We wait and watch.

But I say to you that it is of utmost importance that you note the blessings of your rich life.  Do not go down with the winds of cynicism and sarcasm.  Let these gales, instead, lift you like a kite to fly high in the terrain of God's magnificence.  Do not be distracted by howling storms.  Their rage is intentional; designed to throw us off track.

We, however, will note that Jesus is no longer in the tomb.  We, then, are no longer of the doom.

Arise!  Be glad for right now.  If there are two things that could get you down, there are 200,000 things that can build you up.

Start counting!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


A week that this church dreams about is here!  Thousands will descend upon the Tulsa State Fairgrounds for the 39th Annual Tulsa Workshop!

Sharon Hersh, Phil Robertson, and Landon Saunders are three of three dozen or so speakers who will encourage and inspire.

The director (and my office colleague), Shane Coffman, has put in months and months for this long-awaited program assembled to promote world evangelism.  He has done a fabulous job of drawing talent from across America.

Get ready!  One more sleep!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Hey readers, this post is to let you know I will have surgery tomorrow; two discs removed by invading my throat.

Therefore, future posts will be a bit down the road.

Thank you for the prayers and the notes and the cash.

Maybe I will get to be a small part of the workshop and see a few of you there!


Saturday, March 08, 2014


Okay, so I need you to know that I have a major matter before me that will challenge me greatly.

No....the challenge is not that one of my crowns fell out last night and now I have a hole in my mouth the size of a city intersection.  I'm to get that fixed in just a few minutes.

No...the challenge is not that I am to have neck surgery Tuesday where the doctors will invade my esophagus and vocal chords to get to the spinal column.  Their intent is to remove herniated discs and my intent is for them to replace them with Legos which would make me 3/4" taller!

No... the challenge is not that the workshop is coming and my health leaves my schedule in question.

The challenge is more subtle than any of the above.  This should not be a problem; but for some reason I seem like a complete idiot.  Tonight........tonight....well in the early morning....we go on Daylight Savings Time!!!  My hope is to go with you.  Many years I have failed.

This has always been a contest to me as to which way the clock goes.  And don't give me the Spring Forward/Fall Backward lecture.  For some reason, it is just too detailed.  I'm just not tech savvy.

This week I have been practicing knowing which way the light/darkness will go.  One day I had it figured that it will be lighter earlier and lighter later.  I'm not kidding.  Changing my clocks for one hour on two different occasions during the year is a true contest for me.

My worst experience was when I had bought a new alarm clock during the year.  I sat it to go on DST.  I thought I had it down pat.  So when I'm to be up at 5:00, Mary came wandering out to the door saying, Mr. Rush, ("Mr. Rush" is a term never used around the house unless I am in trouble) do you have any idea what time it is?  Yes, I recalled.  It is 5:00.  No, she mumbled, it is 4:00 a.m.

My new clock could do and did something I had never heard before.  It changed times on its own.

G-O  F-I-G-U-R-E!

The good news that I just must brag about this time around is that....I do know which weekend this occurs....this time.  I am right.  Right?

Friday, March 07, 2014


How long is it going to take us before we realize that we tend to try to escape the very territory which intends to bless us the most?  I speak of suffering.

At first sign, we flee.  Life has grown to include the phrase, If it doesn't make us happy, we are outta here.  So we flit from one routine to another with growing dissatisfaction. There is a general reason.  We do not understand nor do we want to understand the monumental gift of life's struggles.  We believe them to be of the enemy and, therefore, we talk in that rut.

Suffering and distraction and disappointment are not our enemies.  They are our disciplinary instructors coaching us to become the Olympians of general life practices.  We must have these elements if we are to experience a rate of success.

Sharon Hersh (who will be speaking at the Tulsa Workshop in a few days) comes out of the shoot in her book, The Last Addiction, with a profound quote.  Without suffering, happiness cannot be understood.  The ideal passes through suffering like gold through fire (Fyodor Dostoevsky).

Clip a cocoon so the butterfly can be birthed without the struggle process and it will not be able to fly.  Many children become the age of adults and yet can't fly because of helicopter parents who would never allow their child to suffer, struggle, and be disappointed.

Dostoevsky is on target, without suffering, happiness cannot be understood.  It can't be reached.

A vital element to every one's success rate is for us to not get our way on several matters so that we may be left to simmer....and to learn.  Labor and strain and disappointment and distress and setback are not our enemies.  They are our coaches. Go uncoached in these matters and one will live a life of perpetual roaming and wandering from one dissatisfying base to another.

Jesus is the Greatest helper and understander ever!  Why?  He suffered the most traumatic death absorbing all of our injuries and guilt.  The Story of Life is that the Savior Suffered.  And soon the Christians will observe the day set aside to honor that Sunday in history when he bounced back!  He possesses the greatest grasp of life because he died in the worst case of abuse.

We haven't failed in life because we have been dealt a bad hand.  Where we fail is when dealt the bad hand we won't play it.  If you want to know some really good and authentic news; the things which wish to chip away at your happiness are there only to take you to higher plains of success.

Thursday, March 06, 2014


Prayer seems to be one of the last things we church people like....and one of the last things we do.

When I began in ministry I could not stand the praying part unless it was at a gathering where somebody needed to open the event...or close it out.  But I was bored with a capital B at the thought of prayer.  It seemed to me that prayer was an assignment of punishment; a go sit in the corner and think about your behavior for awhile.

After a bit I discovered why this venture had little adventure.  It was a one-way-Jose concept.  We prayed upwardly and then................

...that was it.



Time put in.

Didn't feel a lot better; but somewhat satisfied I served time.

Prayer, I have discovered, comes alive when we couple it with a faith that this process is precisely a two-way street.  We talk and God listens.  God talks and we listen.

Listen to God?

Yes, this is the missing ingredient.  Until this happens, we merely approach God with our wish-list.  God I want to order up some feeling better, I would like to place an order for an ill neighbor, and while we are at it, do You think You could do something about that husband of mine?

But when prayer opens us wide, we learn to pour out our praises of Him and our concerns to Him.  As with any father, ours loves to hear us go on and on about how much we love and need Him.  And then, be still.

Let Him get in a few words.

How will that go?  From experience all I can say is that words and ideas will flow from above and into your heart that did not come from you.  This morning at 4:00 I could not sleep.  I've learned that these times may be His exercise of trying to share with me.  I have practiced listening.

Hear is what He shared in my heart.  At the workshop on your class on creativity I want you to tell them that we are mistakenly building a karaoke church where we sing the words of someone else's song.  I want My people to move away from the security of following everyone else's hesitancy and begin to dream, imagine, and risk for I still have higher and greater ways that have yet to be discovered.

Just so you know, years ago I found such talk to be laughable.  But while I was arrogantly full of laughter I was equally empty of a relationship with God.  So mock if you like; and if you like, my guess is that you, too, do not pray.

God is our Father; not our Army Sergeant.  I believe He has big dreams for His kids; big, big dreams.  But some of His kids (like me) would rather squander our opportunistic future to do mighty things for society by merely hanging out with friends and hitting all the Sunday morning parties.

We have a Father with an enormous appetite for the fascinating and a wallet to match.  Prayer is not punishment for believing in God.  It is the communication system that allows us to be the privileged few who dare to imagine....Eph. 3:20-21.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


The Tulsa Workshop begins Wednesday evening, March 19, at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds.  This event is a mighty blend of church ministry information, interaction, and intensity. Thousands travel thousands of miles and spend  thousands of dollars to get to be a part of this annual pick me up of the Spirit of God.

The Tulsa Workshop is about one main thing; leading others to Jesus.  The focus never veers.  Whether children, small groups, world missions, local food pantries, or motivational studies, every speaker and every class is targeting one thing; moving the church as a whole, with our various parts, to reach to the millions who are in search of life eternal.

The Tulsa Workshop is in its Jack Benny year.  Some of us have been with it from the inception while most joined in along the way.  In 1976 I rode a Joy Bus with about a dozen others through the night hours after we ran the bus route in Quincy, IL. the Wednesday night before.

We arrived at 6:00 a.m.

And then I moved to Tulsa in 1977 and became a part of this wild and daring event! How fun!

Worth the Cost theme will be launched by a young man who is the epitome of hope. Chet McDoniel will absolutely wow and thrill with his keynote at 7:00 Wednesday evening.  All attendees will not want to miss this man for he is a living sermon.

The Duck Dynasty phenomena will stun all for I don't believe we will have seen such a crowd in a decade.  Phil and his son, Al, will put a charge in our hearts and a perk in our pace.  The Robertsons live to lead people to Jesus.  That's all they've ever done and that's all they ever intend.

By the time you add Patrick Mead, Randy Harris, Sharon Hersh, Josh Ross, Rick Atchley, Ida Bazonoona, and many others to a packed program, batteries will be charged for kingdom energy!

While the entire program that Shane Coffman has assembled is fabulous, one of my favorite segments will be the new traditional WKPC (Workshop Kids Praise Chorus) that will sing before a packed house on Friday night.  This chorus is a combination of children of workshop attenders from all over the states whose voices will melt us. Brenda Hughes is the ideal director for these amazing kids.

You may think you want to be there Friday night to hear Phil. Ummm, partly right. You will want to get there, too, to see a younger order of praisers of God coming down the pike.

Come early and leave late.  Sunday morning Memorial Drive will have a special 9:00 a.m. assembly time to assist the travelers who need to get on the road.

Tulsa Workshop......bring it on!!!!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


Thirdsday isn't a misprint.  It is a new word that fell out of the air as I sat to ponder what goes onto this screen that might encourage a despondent reader.


Thirdsday is that very famous day three when You-Know-Who broke the bonds of the grave.  There is nothing like it.  Nothing.  And the good news is that we have such a day in every one of our weeks.

You and me, with all of our angst, live for our best weekday; Thirdsday.  Better yet, every day of the week is Thirdsday.

We are called to follow Jesus which is neither theory nor is it silly imagination.  It is actual.  We take our hits in life as did he.  We find our moments of meaningful assistance to others as did he.  And we take steady, painful, and discouraging hits day in and day out if he is in us.

And just as Jesus arose on Thirdsday, we take up our crosses day by day knowing Thirdsday is our day!!!

Live like it!!!

Somebody ought to write a song about this.  Thirdsay isn't coming; it is here!!!

Monday, March 03, 2014


Have you ever noticed that some people are just odd?  And then others are a huge pain in the neck?  And then others are just despicable?

Well I have.  I sorta developed a handy way of figuring just who I wanted in my circle versus those who didn't belong.  What's worse is that I am not referencing judgments when being a kid.  I speak as being a minister.

So, that's just not so neat, huh?

God showed me a better way.  He just wouldn't quit chipping at my arrogant self-assumption of how special I was compared to some.  First, Romans 2:1-5 says that I am as guilty as any I would judge.  And then II Cor. 10:12 is clear that I must not compare myself to others for when such is the case, I don't have a grasp of the way things really are.

How we eliminate those who bug us is to take on a tenderness of heart understanding that such ones may have been injured in the past (even abused and neglected) and we are no different.   When a man berates society and all of its leadership, I have learned not to dismiss him; but to wonder who cheated his spirit in days past. When I look into the eyes of every homeless person, I wonder who wasn't there for them when they were hurt as a kid. Who put them down?  Who didn't help them learn to read or write or interact?

Henri Nouwen speaks to each of us as we deal with those who bug us.  Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate.  Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken.  But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering.  What we desire is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.  As busy, active, relevant ministers, we want to earn our bread by making a real contribution.  This means first and foremost doing something to show that our presence makes a difference.  And so we ignore our greatest gift, which is our ability to enter into solidarity with those who suffer.

None of us are better than the next guy.  None of us are immune to pain passed from generation to generation.  The way to eliminate those who bug us is to enter through two progressive channels; first, realize that every individual we believe to be a problem may have been severely neglected in earlier years, and second, that we have traits ourselves that drive other people nuts.  We can count on it.

Compassion like Jesus will eliminate our obsession with being disgusted with others.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


It is likely our heads-in-the-sand days of living, while fantasizing that all is well in America, are fading in the sunset.  I don't mean to be out of line in saying so, but one of the things 9/11 did to (for) Americans is to alert us for another future round of calamity.  From politics, to Putin, to world persecution, it feels like there is possibly another shoe about to drop.

What are people really to do about this?  I surely could be mistaken, but it seems that the days of pretending that the world of conflict is not all that bad is merely a matter of self-deceit.  What is one to do?  More, what is a Christian to do?  The answer seems to be the same for both.

The only safe place on earth is to hide in Jesus.  God has sent a clarion call for centuries pleading with the populace to hide in His Son; the very one who died for all of us for He surely knew the unfathomable messes we were to face.  We can't do this on our own.  Social pressures increasingly make this point.

We must have more than assistance.  We must have a plan of rescue.  Jesus is God's Plan.

Maybe we could lay down our resistance of ego and bias against faith in God and admit that this world is in a peck of trouble.  We are apparently stranded.  Yet, God has offered every person a way of escape by calling on us to make pre-cemetery arrangements.  We are to be baptism; sins will be washed out and the Holy Spirit will rush in.

He is our shield.  Our brain-power and our muscle have no bearing against such a gigantic opponent.  We must own the real hope for dismal possibilities.  The battle for man's eternity was slugged out at Calvary.  The WAR IS OVER.  We won....only in Him.

You and me?  We want to run to the one individual who beat death, absorbed our sins, and paid top price.  We were not redeemed at discount terms.  All other religious gurus have followers as well as their version of a holy book.  What all should seek is the one Person who beat death by beating the cemetery.  That is the signal from God.

Real hope is in the resurrected Jesus; not any one nor any thing else.  Our good deeds, our grand successes, and our self-interests sheepishly wither before the mighty opponents in this world.  Ours is the role, though, to hide in Jesus Christ.  This isn't dainty Sunday School chatter.  It is where the soul has a twinge of reality and hits the road toward God.

Yes, we feel the threat of world conflict coupled with fertile rumors.  These are causing me to realize how short we have come in living out the Word.  We have rehearsed and re-chatted endlessly about the cross, everybody taking up one, Paul's being thrashed for his faith (repeatedly abused) and Peter's shameful public denials as if a special church drama group performance were being played out in these lives.


To follow Jesus is to die to the whims and the protection of self.  So far this concept of personal engagement in the tough stuff of the church has been fairy-tale on one hand and foreign missionary report on the other for the most of us.  Real hope for dismal possibilities is now.  Jesus has always had these sort of days within his sight....with us in mind.  He has pre-handled all days of trial with precise effectiveness.

If you are not buried by being baptized into Jesus, I would urge you to get sober about sober matters.  These rough and painful ways of other nations are moving our direction.  We do clearly know what to do about it.  Stay put and join the ranks of the invisible kingdom of God which will never, never go out of style.

The darker this world gets; the brighter the other one becomes.

Where is there real hope for dismal possibilities?

It is only found in one Person; Jesus the Lamb.