Saturday, May 31, 2014

"Is That All There Is?"

Peggy Lee's hit, Is That All There Is? summarizes the lives of too many of us.  Hoping for more, understanding there is more, it is possible that there are several who steadily meander through routinistic motion with the circular pattern of going nowhere fast.

Why is there the apparent uncontrollable passion for mind-altering drugs and alcohol?  One reason could be the attempt to escape a pattern of boredom and frustration.  There had been hope, on occasion promise, of there being more.  This wasn't supposed to be all there is; but now we begin to wonder.

Sue Monk Kidd penned, The familiar circles of my life left me with a suffocating feeling.  My marriage suddenly seemed stale, unfulfilling; my religious structures, stifling.  Things that used to matter no longer did; things that had never mattered were paramount.  My life had curled up into the frightening mark of a question.

My life had curled up into the frightening mark of a question?  How many of us have sat alone on a sofa and pondered what in the world are we about that truly matters?

Therefore, an excitement surely overcomes us as we feed upon Isaiah 55:8-9 as the prophet of old insists that God's ways and thoughts are always higher than ours.  If this is true, and it surely is, then we can know that His call to us will always be to move by faith rather than fear into an uncharted water of new beginnings every day.

We are not called by the Lord of the living to traipse in circles in the wilderness of making no progress.  We are called to march to the beat of a Different Drummer.  It seems that God will always be about maximizing our minimalalities.  He can do more. We can do all things through Christ who is our strength supplier.

God is all about more, abundant, overwhelming, and surpassing grace.  His children are in line for daily doses of His generous supply.  Let there be, therefore, a re-igniting of His Fire within us.  May we step up the faith by shutting out the constant nagging of fear.

Is That All There Is? is has immediate response direct from heaven.


Friday, May 30, 2014


Living in the kingdom of God is exhilarating, challenging, and often quite confusing. The old-school days of my legalistic system where I believed things were black and white are fading.  While I'm sure some (even reading this post possibly) have developed simple and conclusive standards, I no longer see everything as ABC-istic.

One matter that is tearing at my heart these days is the same-sex attraction group. There are verses that clearly say that this trait is sin.  What is showing up, however, is that I am finding those in such a relationship that I really love.  Until I actually knew and then loved them, I had quick and easy answers.

To complicate matters, I watch Jesus maneuver through burgs and countryside reaching to society at the very places organized religion would consistently reject.  Not one time did he condone sin. Not one time, too, did he fail to rescue the ultra-hopeless.

So where do we act?  Clear statements in the Bible condemn the gay behavior.  It isn't vague.  Yet the religious are clearly and equally condemned for holding closer to their doctrines than to the sinners who need his abiding love.

You may have this all sorted out; but I admittedly don't.

My strong concern is that the straight church has too easily dismissed these dear and precious ones since we have no temptation to sin in that area.  To view their sin as greater than ours is absurd and...sinful.  "We" are devastated by "our" particular sins. Yet, I believe in general, we have easily walked on the other side of the street without engaging or loving this special group.

To dearly love these, however, is not leading me to conclude that this sin is not sin. It clearly is.  My quandary is that I find myself fiercely inadequate.  Maybe I will learn as I continue to have dialog with these I newly love or with you who have hearts of intense compassion.

I don't want to get this wrong.  Furthermore, I so want to get this right that I feel that if the church can approach this well, we will be blessed by a huge populace that also needs to the healing love of God.  I've read.  I've prayed.  I've discussed.  And I've reached.

To this point hate the sin and dearly, dearly love the sinner is the holy trek.  Some, possibly many, can view this issue with a shrug.  Too, I feel certain my immaturity and weakness is terribly exposed in this post.  But I'm coming out of cowering behind careful ministry which may be found more neglectful than careful.

What God thinks is not a hint.  It is supreme.

I want to help these know Him.  My criticism of them doesn't feel right.  My love, as if the sin doesn't matter, is equally mistaken.

What thinketh ye?

For me the proverbial "cut and dried" views pale beside the need to care.  How can we effectively reach to a very dear and valuable segment of our community that has been to easily disregarded; even ignored?  I am terribly torn and burdened for I desire to do this as Jesus would have it.

Honestly?  I'm fearful to hit "post".  But, I shall because I am terribly burdened for a segment of our society I have so easily dismissed in the past.  Maybe you can shed helpful light.  Certainly, the kingdom life isn't one of easy street as I had surmised in my earlier days.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


I sit at this computer with a blank stare this morning.  I'm just telling you how it is.  I don't want to type.  I don't want to think.  I don't want to be in the office today.

The reason is that I am quite burdened over our role as believers.

Faith isn't for the weak nor the lazy.  Faith is basically a church word (Bible word) that has suffered disrespect over time.  It has been reduced to formulas or steps or definitions.  Faith is the break-out word from the imprisonment of being a normally restricted earth-centered person.

I'm overwhelmed with the deep desire to help the one or the masses shift to the faith terrain.  Today it feels so heavy as there is such grave need for mankind to be lifted into the realm of our active God.

Is faith--seeing the unseen with certain conviction--being reduced to we really like our church mentality of belonging for gatherings with a touch of mission trip?  Are we training our old and our young to possess a sight into the mysterious power-plant of our Lord?  Or, do we high-tail it at moment's notice of struggle over matters that don't go our way?

Faith is weighty.  It believes in what isn't yet; but can be.  It moves mountainous problems and treads slushy obstacles.  Faith isn't church lingo.  It is the dynamic of one who knows God knows....and wills...and does.

We as church members and a few of us leaders must not let the calendar be found to have eaten our days and nights with inactivity of spirit faith.  Believing is man's push back against a rude and rugged world.  Naming an address of a building where we sit in a pew on Sundays is not faith.  That is routine; valuable routine...but to many it may possibly be their meager self-verification that they believe in God without a sense of kingdom engagement and service.

We face pressures and battles day in and day out.  These are both heavy as well as important.  We cannot survive with the mentality that an hour of sit-down on Sunday morning equals the totality of faithfulness.  The world will die alongside of us.

We must press our faith against bully obstacles.  We shall believe, when few would, that God can deliver goodness into the corridors of darkness.  We shall push back by thinking that God can make something out of nothing.  Our faith will go so far to watch for life to arise from the dead.

Whether your family, your work, or your church; with all of the arrows pointed against any of them, dare to lean into the realm of faith.  It carries an invisible and immeasurable weight which is ours for...the believing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We are an industrious sort.  Furthermore, we place strong emphasis upon education. I balk at neither.  There isn't a stray day that passes by that I personally couldn't use more of both.

There is, however, a need to serve warning to the possessors of these traits.  We must not let our brain-power go to our heads as if we are the owners and operators of such an intricate fleshly mechanism.  Many with brain and brawn have ventured into lands trying to save ourselves for ourselves by ourselves.

This is futile.

We are to use the brains God gave us is a double-edged sword of sorts.  Yes, we are to be grand thinkers for God surely has dubbed us as special above all other animals. No, we are not to take our ability to reason and make an idol out of it.

God gave us brains to function in elite worship of service to Him.  With these interactive waves of thought, plan, and dream, we are to shift from earthly wisdom to heavenly.  We are to use our brains alright; but in a way that would respond to faith and not to sight.

Man has become enamored with ourselves; our talents, our skills, and our ability to reason.  When this happens self-impressiveness moves from the shadows and begins to demand recognition.  At such moments, God's supply and energy take a back-seat to our infatuation with our infatuation.

Man collectively at our smartest moments over the centuries is never as smart as God.  We learn constantly and the more we do, the larger and more expansive He is. We will not corner God with arms of strength or brains of power.  No, only God has the way.  He sent Jesus to earth to baffle all of our self-charms.

And....we are still baffled.  May our brain-power enjoy such a treasured and honorable truth that we will never calculate the intricacies of an average day....for God has tediously designed them all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Today is a different sort.  At 2:00 this afternoon I am to stand before a Momma and a Daddy and two of their daughters as we have the funeral of their only son; a 22 year old veteran who once served our nation.

This young man was necessarily shot by the police last week during one of his traumatic flashbacks.  Believing he was under fire, he began shooting from his second-story apartment window.  His injuries were fatal.

This is one of the saddest circumstances; a family saying farewell to their son/brother/grandson due to the aftermath of being wounded in the Afghan war.

While the setting is over-the-top heart-breaking, it is the very place we children of God should be; serving the intensely distressed.  There is no better news than His. There is no better reach....than His.  There is no better Rescuer...than Him.

Toward the end of the memorial I am going to ask them if they have wondered, Where was God?  With great hope I will be able to share with them that where He was is where they are.  He was watching unfair matters play out on the cross as Jesus volunteered to be beaten to death for all of us.  Our burdens are momentary because He was where we are....2000 years ago.

Father knows the ropes of deep sadness and no one else could understand.

God was a great planner.  He is the best at thinking ahead.  His preparation is of saving power.

Thank God for the stresses of today.  In these moments we have reason to share His work of love.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I urge you today to live your endless new creation as if you are endless and new.  Life has a way of routining us into boredom and eventual death.

Not to be so for His kids!

Today is full of wonder.  Choose to see it.  It is a choice.  We don't always get to choose what happens to us.  We do get to choose what we do with what happens.

Nothing goes on in our walk that does not advantage us.  Romans 8:38-39 insists that it just doesn't matter.  Death? Life?  You name it; we are advantaged.

So live like

Don't you love right now?

Friday, May 23, 2014


No one will walk toward and with God frivolously.  From experience, it seems that to step into the kingdom zone requires that we be intentionally devoted.  It isn't enough that we were attentive yesterday to His wonder.  We must be so as well today else we will lose our vision for this Most Current God.

Society, and even the church part of it, has such a tendency to go through life with God thoughtlessly.  Give us a main doctrine or our place to serve and we are off and running.  Yet, there is more to God.  He is fascinating to behold, dynamic to follow, and outrageous to love.  We must be on our toes in both insight and flexibility or we will be found shifting to idols of man's religious whim.

We are called to develop the mind of Christ.  It becomes a challenge for us, being human, to wade through the spirit/flesh combinational complexities.  Is it one or the other?  Or, could it be both?  After all, we in the flesh are being asked by God to accept things of the Spirit.

Thus, we must be on our toes; meaning we must never let our guard down regarding learning, obeying, and following.

William Temple makes a simple, yet deep, observation.  The spiritually minded person does not differ from the materially minded person chiefly in thinking about different things, but in thinking about the same things differently.  It is possible to think materially about God, and spiritually about food.

One can think materially about God and spiritually about food?  This alters the religion of many.  Maybe us as well.  Therefore, we must be on our toes.  Otherwise, we will make idols out of our beliefs and practices while missing the call of the Lord of all.

Add to this thought Kenneth E. Bailey's observation that Jesus had more to say about money than he did about prayer.  Money is for the believer to use wisely (stay on our toes) just as prayer has warnings of abusiveness if expressed self-centeredly (stay on our toes).

Matter is good; but can be used as evil.  Spiritual is good; but can be used as life-robbing law.  We see the righteousness of both in the simplicity of spirit coming to Jesus.  As we are on our toes, may our walk duplicate the true nature of the One who was both.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


I love the thought of imagination.  It thrusts every individual, who is willing to believe, into the very artistic nature of God.  Genesis is quick to state we are created in Their (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) image(ination).

No facet of measurement nor limit can fathom the expansive glory of the very world we live in.  Ephesians 3:20-21 assures readers that God will always have capacity to provide above and beyond what we might ask or think.  Isaiah 55:8-9 declares God's thoughts are higher than ours; just as are His ways.

These two texts never expire!  They are always applicable to the best of!

Rosamund Stone Zander and husband, Benjamin, wrote The Art of Possibility fourteen years ago.  The books continues to thrill my heart.  One of the multitude of powerful comments is the following:

Let us suppose, now, that a universe of possibility stretches beyond the world of measurement to include all worlds; infinite, generative, and abundant. Unimpeded on a daily basis by the concern for survival, free from the generalized assumption of scarcity, a person stands in the great space of possibility in a posture of openness, with an unfettered imagination for what can be.

Imagination changes everything when possibility carries just a hint of hope. Mankind is perpetually tempted and influenced to operate by the seen so much more than the unseen. Yet, what is faith anyway?  Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).  We are to walk by faith and not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).

I've heard it stated that we are to walk by a practical faith.  Faith isn't practical to the earth-based mind.  It is sheer folly to the earth-system.  Minds and hearts have been corralled and imprisoned by the lure of definition, explanation, and expectation. When/if preachers preach a dumbed-down version of faith then churches will tend to look no different than the best social networks of our communities.  I include me in that limited mix.

But earth was hit, and hit hard, by a new way, a new world, a new creation when God came down in flesh-form to put on a demonstration of possibility.  The church must do more than make the stories fit for the kiddies at VBS.  These packets of truth are for we adults; oh ever-so-much and we would do well to absorb them every bit as much as the children do.

We must grow together to apply hearts of faith toward the risky, the unsearchable, and unfathomable.

We are called into a brave new creation of impossible possibility.  Let us talk like it and walk like it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I have learned to like right now.  When I once discovered that I was wasting my life some two decades ago by wishing and wanting more, a totally new world unfolded. Gratitude for the now is surely a treasureable moment.

Strangely, it seems that complaint can partner and then disrupt any decent day. There doesn't seem to be enough skill, or time, or money.  Focus upon lack robs the joy of the sufficient.

One can think of such unfairness in one area without noticing that both arms work...until the stroke.  And then...and then the unfairness matter loses immediate attention as we are now so wishing the arm would come back as it was.  We become bugged by ten things in our day that didn't pan out as we had wished without noticing we were able, still, to swallow our food, drive our cars, read the paper, hear the radio, and go to the bathroom.

Cherish the ordinary.

Brene' Brown calls to our attention this important facet of our ordinary days.  In many instances, we equate ordinary with boring or, even more dangerous, ordinary has become synonymous with meaningless.

I think I learned the most about the value of ordinary from interviewing men and women who have experienced tremendous loss such as the loss of a child, violence, genocide, and trauma.  The memories that they held most sacred were the ordinary, everyday moments.

When we fail to cherish the ordinary we begin to waste our lives.  Attention to our aging face, our over-weight, our limited range of influence, and perpetual need for money are at least four thieves; each screaming from sunrise to sunset about lack.

These and others succeed only because we give them permission to abuse us at will. The solution is to be attentive to the power of the grateful moment.

We are not to be bugged because so many calls come in.  We are to be thrilled we can still hear the phone ring.

We are not to fret because the kids eat us out of house and home.  Overjoy hits because our kids are growing and normal.

We are not to be dismayed because prices rise.  We are to be grateful we have abundant selection.

We are not to be frustrated by the discovery of illness.  We are to lavish in the truth that the medical field did not shut down exploration twenty years ago.

We are not to be whining that there are not enough hours in the day.  Rather, we are to praise God that we can drive the car all those places, pay the bills for all those in the family, and still find ourselves upright and energetic.

Decide.  Decide to cherish the ordinary.  Men, women, and children are suffering from a terrible (yet acceptable and unnoticed by the masses) disease called ingratitude for the simplest of gigantic blessings.  Stop complaining, whining, and/or sighing.

Treasure right now.

Don't you love it?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I don't know if you have picked up on it; but we live among the wounded.  Oh, so many really deeply hurt. Not only do we live among them, but often we are them.

When we watch Jesus among people in his day, who were oft found to be just like us, we learn how to treat one another.  Jesus seemed to have only one bark and that was toward the religiously smug.  All others he seemed to honor and adore; especially the dirty, the debilitated, and the down-trodden.

Jesus would compliment those who felt ugly and commune with others who deemed themselves rejected.  As Master, Jesus shows us to this day how to make someone else's day.  Be attentive and loving....and by all means be merciful.

It may be human nature to judge others while we simultaneously spare ourselves of equal criticism.  But such irritation doesn't go far in the kingdom...Romans 2:1-5.  It is (to be our) divine nature to be merciful to others as we wish to receive such from God.

Jesus heals the wounded.

A difficulty arises when unaware we wounded perpetually pass along our woundedness.  When we are hurt it seems that others will catch it because we are injured so deeply.  This, though, must and can change.  We, by His grace, are able to arise above personal punctures and the lashes.  We are enabled by His Spirit to step it up in life; not be escaping our tortures, but by using them to serve others.

We can actually use our wounds as information bases to understand better the spirits of our neighbors who are hurting so badly.  I Peter 2:24 gives us an amazing truth....that we wounded are healed by Jesus' wounds.

The healing nature of Jesus is he used his stripes and lashes to bring healing to our lost souls.  That text speaks of our purpose.  If you want to follow in his steps, then set aside your awards and your certificates of accomplishment.  Bring to the meeting your wounded days and nights and transfer them into the power of God.

These very things are your keys to effective community outreach.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Since the days of our initial introduction to Jesus, we have been groomed to make a difference.  From our own neighborhoods to foreign fields of opportunity and even poverty, we have been handed a divine mission.

From seminars to prayer closets, our hearts' deepest desires are to light up the world for the urgent cause of Christ as well as the definitive hope of man.

Let us continue.  It doesn't take rocket science to figure how.  Thus, this post merely serves as a reminder to what many already know....and do.

Believers are created in the image of God.  Therefore, we have characteristics like His.  Ah, how amazing this is for the human to absorb.  We are actually like Him in so many ways.  One of the strongest is found in the simplicity of our speech.  What we say produces because what He said came into being.

If we are going to light up a discouraged and dim world, it will be through our words before anything else.  We have embedded within us the dynamic of bringing things into existence that aren't yet.  It was Father who was first recorded as saying, Let there be light.  And....there was.

An undeniable pattern follows these centuries later.  What one speaks becomes.  If we speak hope, we live in it.  If we speak complaint, such is the bed we make for our discouraging self-pity.  Life adheres to how the tongue expresses.

Because creative speech is of God...and now of us...we are free to become ultra-enthused over possibility and potential.  We (I mean you and I mean me) can light up the world by encouraging words.  We have the ability to cause others to arise from their pits by proclaiming the good qualities they possess.

When we speak words of hope, life arises.  Remember Ephesians 4:29?  We are to watch our words?  The negative ones discourage and the grace-filled ones edify? This is a call to use our speech to turn on the lights.

You and me: we have the talent, the calling, and the responsibility to speak light into the dark caverns of the depressed, the lonely, and the forgotten souls.  We aren't called to glad-hand or  to be vain gabbers.  We are called to light up the world the same way God did...we speak life as our words inspire.

What could be more powerful and more exciting?  Bless others.  Tell them how special they are, how important they are, how terrific they are.  Do it.

Go make someone's day!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


My nature is depressionistic.  It began as a kid becoming highly aware that I wasn't good enough and it escalated into debilitating manhood.  Depression is more than a mood.  It is a full-out raging war.

Well into my preaching ministry I fought this nagging villain.  I soaked many days and nights with my own tears.

Now, why would you need to know this?

First, you need to know I understand many of you.  And second, it might help you to know that someone else fights the very same war many of you encounter.  I give you not professional input.  Mine is experiential; yet, worthy of consideration as to the way of escape from this self-imposed prison.

Depression is a selfie gone mental.

No one arrests us; regardless of how we wish to accuse another.  Depression is a buried mind-field warfare and we must be careful not to step on them.  We can blame others; yet I believe such charges are weak excuses.  We are the ones who decide whether to let circumstances and comments take us down.  We have the choice to resist.

I was notoriously weak at resistance.  For one, I didn't know how.  However, Philippians 4:4-9 urged me to practice thinking about the many things going right, with the promise that if I would, then the peace of God would persist.  When I began to obey this divine charge, a new and surprising life arose.  I'd never seen this side of the thought terrain.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

I have not encountered the full-blown blues for years.  Until this weekend.  The past two days have shoved me backward into that deep dark pit.  I felt depleted and defeated.  It doesn't matter why.

What matters is how I will deal with it since it has reared its ugly head.  How I let this happen is that I forgot God's rules of how to think upon the excellent, the lovely, and the worthy of praise.  Thus, I had no peace.

A positive thing is that while I felt wounded--and still do--I knew not to let that injury be my master.  I knew I needed help because the self of me was not sufficient.  I contacted an elder.  We met.  We talked.

I can't explain release from depression.  I know it cannot survive in exposure. Depression is the worst-case selfie.  It yanks us by the nose to rehearse in our minds why we are so awful, no good, idiots.  If we choose to live there, we will crater.  It is a choice.  For the longest time I didn't believe that.

So I was doing so much better until I looked at the Sports section today.  The last-place Cubs beat my Cardinals last night 17-5.

Better call that elder back.

Monday, May 12, 2014


In Jesus we possess new life, abundant life, resurrected life.

For so many years as a man I lived frustrated that life didn't seem to unfold.  It felt stuck.  The same ol' same ol' placed me on a treadmill that caused me to be aware I was certainly moving.  Yet, there was that feeling in the back of my mind that I wasn't making much progress.

After awhile of consistently passing familiar markers with little to show for it, both boredom and little accomplishment began to burden.  An oldie song began to ring in my mind, Is That All There Is?

I think I'm speaking the language of many at this moment.  Trained with strain to pass tests and meet demands, it seems that by Monday morning we can be back at square one to approach a very familiar, and repetitive, checklist.

I urge all to move forward; increase, improve, grow.  God is not done taking us places; places that threat, places that feel foreign, and places that leave us beyond our checklist of comfort.  But be ready.  Be ready for doors to open which will bring great satisfaction to your yearning heart.

God is the author of life and life abundant.  Believe it into existence on your street.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


One of the traits of a stifling life in the Spirit is to balk at change.  Jesus changes things.  He changes our drive as well as our destination.  He changes our perspective and brings us unique peace.  Jesus did not die on a cross and arise from the grave to give the world status quo.

No.  Jesus came that we might have life and have it abundantly.

What Jesus does for us is to set us free from self-imposed as well as other-imposed prison sentences.  We are no longer locked up by incoming threats nor are we locked down by our own interior doubts.

I like Henry Blackaby's words: Perhaps the greatest change caused by the resurrection was in the character of the disciples.  They had previously been timid, afraid, and depressed after witnessing the arrest and suffering of Jesus.  But after His resurrection they became aggressive, bold, and full of joy.  

Peter is a prime example.  He was the one who had earlier denied the Lord to a lowly servant girl.  But after the resurrection, he stood in the temple courts defying the very men who put Jesus on the cross.

There is such a new message needed in even our religious world that promotes more than knowing God so one can go to heaven.  We are to know God so that we can arise to walk a new sort of life while still upon earth.  Jesus changes who we are from the interior that we might take the very things that once imprisoned us and convert them into positive forces for a new kind of kingdom adventure.

What Jesus does for us is hand us heaven's power while walking in earth's sandals.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014


It is no secret that it takes a strong mental/spiritual will to hang in there on some days.  But we can do it.  Ah, we do it!

Some of our days really take us to task.  They can get really difficult to the point we begin to drag a bit.  After awhile it feels tempting to submit to its misery.  I want to tell you that I know that about you.  Too, because of that, I want to urge you to keep pressing forward.

By 8:00 this morning, I had communicated to a heartsick friend whose brother-in-law was found dead at age 39.  The grief is thick.  And by that same time, I had communicated to one in prison whose little boy has been hospitalized and is very ill.  She, too, is in heart-sick and desperate agony.

And you...I'm saying you just got out of, or are in the midst of, or will soon face very dark, frustrating, and burdening days.  Whether we hold up or fall apart will be the result of a choice we make.  We may faint in exasperation or press forward in hope.  Ours is the vote that counts.

Do the latter.  Press forward.  Decide to never give up.

The power of God is ever-present.  Yes, Jesus was in the grave....and then God came along.  Yes, Paul and Silas were in a depressing and extremely unfair prison situation.  Yet, when their singing began the walls fell over as if dead.  You and I live in this very same kingdom.

Whatever is trying to hurt you is useless in the presence of God's resurrection power.  U-S-E-L-E-S-S !  Our role is not to harbor irritation over matters which seem against us; but rather it is to convert it by faith for our benefit.

As ugly as the cross was, its beauty remains set upon the hill of hope!  God's people are always advantaged.
...that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings....forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...I press on...(excerpts from Philippians 3:10-14).

Never give up!  Never give in!  Never give out!  Give over to the wonder of God!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


When our Sunday evening Small Group completed its prayer time, we went out to eat.  Ten of us were seated by a young college-age waitress.  She took delightful care of us.

Appearance said she was on top of the world.  She was sharp, attractive, energetic, and surely out-going. I could not help but wonder about her moments of potential discouragement.  

After awhile, I stood up and called her aside.  I gave her by bubble-gum card and pointed to the email address on the back.  Friend, I want you to keep this card. When those days hit where discouragement runs in, I want you to email me.  This group is a group that prays and we will certainly pray for you.

With tears in her eyes, she hugged me and said she would be right back.  Disappearing to a back room she was gone for a few minutes.  When she returned she called me over to where we had earlier stood.  Once again with tears in her eyes, she handed me the note below.  

I encourage you that all around us are very dear, wonderful, special ones who carry invisible burdens.  Some are struggling while others are damaged.  We, by His grace, can make a difference if nothing more than offering them our card coupled with opportunity to pray. 

Reach.  Some many need you.

For our group, while we usually would hit a different eatery next Sunday night, we will be returning to check on our new friend.

Push back with hope!  Romans 4:18

Sunday, May 04, 2014


Man will always explore faith as if no one has yet visited such a continent.  It isn't that we don't know about it.  It is, however, an element of and for mankind far too large to be managed, filed, and manipulated.  Faith changes all of the control freak's rules.

So God calls us to enter in.  We are to walk by faith and not by sight.

Not sight?  Right.  Sight sums.  Sight determines logical signals.  Sight believes it knows the course.  Faith isn't religious sight.  It is wild, without explanation, and is highly perplexing to the human mind.

Faith doesn't believe in self-skills.  Therefore, it is not up to us to suck it up and dare give an idea a good shot.  No, faith believes in God; His talents, His presence, and His marvelous creativity.

Why faith?

It is the only route man can travel and be connected with God.  We surely can't explain Him.  Neither can we formulate His patterns of productivity.  All we can do---what we can do---what we are called by Him to do is to believe Him.

Sight can lose courage at the vision of threat.  Faith knows God is not scared.  Sight monitors steps.  Faith believes God is multi-directionally skilled to handle any Red Sea occasion.

Why faith?  No one can maneuver through the bushy terrain of distraction and interference except upon that flying carpet of faith.  It transforms threat into peace, exclusion into inclusion, and dilemma into advantage.

Don't leave home without it!

Saturday, May 03, 2014


I think it time I write each of you a personal note.

Good morning!

I want you to know how/what/why I think to write what I do each day.

I merely think about you.  Really.

I wonder how you are holding up.  I wonder if you are celebrating or feeling lousy, if you are brimming or beaten, and if you are gaining momentum or flirting with giving up.  I think about you.  You are worth caring for.

And then I think about what creative, life-giving words God would want you to have on that particular day to give you a necessary boost of energy.  So I think about you and what God would say to you.  And...I love it!

Surely I am aware that each of you is different in personality, position, and place. Yet, the Good News has a way of filtering in to where we abide in some form day after day.  This is a sign of both His presence and our receptivity to Him.  We are on the same wave length; the Holy Spirit of God.

I write my blog with you in mind assuming you know many good and fruitful kingdom things; but sometimes you just need to be reminded about your value.  You feel like family to me; church family.  We have our own little Blog Church where we receive messages from the Blog Pulpit in order to be built up to face our Blog Neighbors with words of hope and life!

It seems definite to me that you are one of God's special children with great secrets for the rest of us buried deep within your heart.  Therefore, I urge you to share them. Help us.  Work with us.  Lean into to us so that we can hear even your gentlest whispers of hope.

I am blessed by you.  By faith I know you are there.  The computer calculator says so.  So welcome to the team...this Internet team of reach, of behold, of share, of treasure and of extreme life.  We make a difference only because He so liberally chooses to bless through us.

I write my blog with you in mind because the recipients of this post are dynamic in heart and visionary in drive.  Good for you!  I am proud of who you are!

Friday, May 02, 2014


A strange title, don't you think?  Existent Prayer.  Yet, its intent is to move us from the opposite of non-existent prayer.

Prayer is an odd sort.  It has no weight; so carrying it around is no problem.  I has no size; so storage isn't an issue.  It has no order; so learning the routine is nothing but flexible.

Prayer is as easy as breathing and just as meaningful.  So why do so few of us pray?

Shamefully, I will admit that as a minister, praying has been a challenge.  It takes up time; time no one else sees.  Plus, that time could be used working.  So it is not natural to take the time to move off to the side of a day and spend time speaking words into the air.

However, by faith we are called into such a spiritual exercise.  So....those like me enter into this discipline with overpowering reluctance.  We begrudge the time.  And then the breakthrough.  Something changes.  And we begin to begin to get it.

Effective prayer takes a dramatic move toward the meaningful when we shed the assumed concept that prayer is a grocery list of what I want, what I would like, and what I need.  The transitioning mechanism in this is one thing; His will.

When we pray, as did Jesus in the Garden, that His will be done (and we become okay with His will even if it goes contrary to ours), new life hits the prayer stage.  No longer do we hunt and peck for blessings for ourselves.  We engage in an outlandish and invisible theme of seeing God's hand moving upon earth.

We believe He is working, moving, and shaking.  Excitement builds.

We tend to pray when we are in trouble or at least facing threat.  God, help me pass this test.  Lord, don't let it be malignant.  We certainly are permitted to pray in this way.  But Jesus shows us an additional position by shifting from Father, let this cup pass from me to the more brave, But mainly let Your will be done.  

We tend to short-sheet His will.  We want our will and if we don't get our will we then declare prayer isn't what it was cut out to be.  Oh, but it is.

We are called to seek His will with the expectation that we will walk through His provision giving Him glory regardless.  Moodiness (getting our way or not) affects most prayers.  It is our responsibility to awaken to the truth that God does not exist for man and but man lives to demonstrate God's existence.

When we pray seeking His will, everything turns into a Yes.  Everything.  Benign or not.  Made the sale or didn't.  Improved the relationship or couldn't.  God gets the glory; for even in our failing to get what we wished, others will be blessed.

So it was with Jesus not getting his way.  He suffered and died....and we are blessed.  I urge you toward existent prayer.  Pray.  The outcome may not be what you wanted; and again it may be.  But you can be assured there will be outcome and it will be on His basis of how to bless the most.

Prayer.  May it be existent.

Thursday, May 01, 2014


We can either speak someones day into depression or speak it into celebration.

I say we speak people into enormous thanksgiving for the abundance He has afforded each.

When you walk into a room, the light either comes on or it goes off.  What you say is the switch.

You and me....we will be among those who turn the lights on...not out.