Thursday, June 26, 2014


Opposing venues to God's call surely are in place for one central thing; to cause distraction from becoming deeply enmeshed in His glory.  Watch it.

Giving is a major target.  Distraction is at some of its strongest allurement when it comes to determining just how much of our income we will turn over for kingdom use.  The distraction to refrain has a mighty tug.

Yet, there is another that I believe is equal; learning to wait.  Waiting has basically been obliterated from the map of our day-in-day-out movement.  Who has time to wait?  Who finds value in wait?  Why should any waste their time doing so?

We have been so magnificently distracted from waiting that the mere concept seems too ludicrous to pose as a serious matter.  Yet, it very much is so.

This topic is too big to corner well in one dinky post.  All I can do is bring this too your attention.  The reason every family is in RUSH-mode (pun intended) is because waiting is so valuable to the God-life in us.  The reason every person awakens to off-to-the-races mentalities is because being still is a core kingdom process.

We have allowed ourselves the thought that hurry takes place because today's trend is simply very fast-paced.  While it surely is, the reason goes undetected.  It is such to distract us from having time to be with God and to discover the depth of our own souls.  Distraction is present to rob us of our own value, meaning, and purpose.

Hurried, chasing about, running hither and yon; these patterns serve to distract from the wonder and glory of life's precious moments.  We must curb this robbery to the human health.  Man isn't dying happy.  Rather he is dying tired.

Be still.  Quit talking.  Stop nervous energy and wait.  Listen for God.  See God's glory. Let delight shine.

Slow down and smell the coffee is more than an American saying.  It is holy advice.

Psalm 46:10, Be still and know that I am God.  While huffing and puffing, our lives are being wrecked and wasted (although exhaustively active) because we have allowed distraction to boss.  I have two words for all of us.

Stop it.

(Therefore, I will be away from this computer for a few days.  I'll see you later....after I rest a bit.  Do you think the world will get along without my posts?  I'm saying it just might!)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


When one steps back from perpetual activity propelled by religiosity, we may find a gap in our approach to kingdom engagement.  Especially those of us who would be regarded as fundamentalists may want to consider a lifestyle which has evolved to live out faith in the security of the center.

By center I speak of that region where we risk little, nothing is too far to the left or the right.  We conservatives find this appealing because in places we have relabeled fear to be the biblical narrow.  How we parade ourselves down that narrow road with great but mistaken pride.

Discipleship is not a topic within much of the Christian tradition for it requires much. The matter of rigidity of discipleship groups is blamed in certain corners; yet rigidity isn't what keeps the most of us at bay.  No.  Rather, it is the risk involved.  I would even propose that many of the hard-core discipleship groups among us today are more into emphatic rules than authentic threat due to what/who we believe.

If we follow the tone, temperament, and talk of the church, we will follow the circular route in the desert of ritual debating, monitoring, and deciphering just what it is we believe.  However, the trek of shadowing Jesus would take us to the brink of bravery. Jesus isn't a pale Sunday School teacher who thought up a good Scripture lesson on Saturday night to get us through Sunday's devotional themes.

Jesus was so on the edge of Kingdom living that his family, his town, and the religious power-brokers rejected him.  His own trainees were bewildered, confused, and aggravated.  Jesus lived on the edge of meaning and productivity while we focus upon the middle road of getting by while looking like we are about His business.

What I'm about to say has no factual backing; it is merely my own observation.  It seems that two things are taking place in the general church setting.  (1) In pockets there does seem to be either a numerical increase or at least as stabilizing force, while (2) there is a significant reluctance to live on the edge.  Have we developed a numbers/safety driven church?

The life-taking executionary cross of which we are to take up has, in reality, become more of a sermon and song topic.

Jesus will take us to the edge; the edge in outreach, the edge in prayer, the edge in giving, and the edge in dying to self.  I don't consider that I have done anything more than weakly dabble in any of these.  Regardless of my failure, my concern is that such a call is no longer sensed in the church.

A result is that we have become an organization which scrambles for the latest and greatest.  Our confidence is stronger in man-marketing than in the Holy Spirit of God.  The reason is that we can control one of them.  Thus, we bid on that one.

Living on the edge, I believe, is the thing the younger generation in its restlessness wants.  It is what all generations want; but we've been talked down off of that bridge. Jesus is neither a handy name for a Bible banner nor a prayer endorsement.  He is the real deal who calls fishermen and tax collectors and accountants and elementary school teachers to take a deep breath, believe in Him with all of our hearts, and jump!

If ever there was a cure for what ails us it would be preachers, elders, mommas, daddies, and neighbors who live on the edge for the sake of God's glorious kingdom. Every time our courage links with our compassion, we will move closer to doing just that.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


In case you might have forgotten, we are not here randomly.  Neither are we roaming earth vaguely.  Numerically, however, we can feel so overwhelmed that we could naturally be inclined to think our meager presence matters very little in the grand scheme of things.  An then beyond the numbers game, we find the mountain ranges full of challenges, emotions, and duties.

Life can be swallowed by a grand misinterpretation that, comparatively, we surely don't matter to much of anything.  This is mankind at its peak of being duped.

Each day we should be highly aware that we have a magnificent purpose.  We are here for a reason.  Many can't seem to connect to it, though.

We are on earth not only to worship God; but to mimic Him.  I believe we tend to identify more with the worship rather than the follow part.

As God created the world via speaking, we are called to do the same.  Our words of encouragement and hope create....encouragement and hope....of course.  People (others) are to be the target of our words because others need a transfusion of potent speech...our speech.

One of the reasons that many of you read my blogs is because you are watching for the creativity of energy they might give....I surely hope they give.  It is with that frame of mind that I face each day and I urge you to do the same.   I deeply desire to build you that you would, in turn, build others.  This is the best kind of contagion.

Some live very empty lives; wanting more, wishing for more, and needing more. They pour their lives into their gardens or their pets which are surely valuable. However, these can serve as distractions to keep us from contacting....others.  Thus, we will likely feel alone and empty because our genuine likeness of God has been both avoided and overlooked.

We are called to be creative by our words.  Let's do it.  Let's make others' days.  Let's speak about the great qualities we see in others.  Others is who we are about...others. Self passed away.  When others are doing well, in some God-style way, we find ourselves.

So many of us are missing in inaction.  We can't get comfortable.  We can't find what makes us really tick.  The discovery is found in how deeply we focus upon the needs of others rather than the happiness of the dead self.

Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it, says the One who lost his life for us and was raised three days later.  Try the different schemes as we may, only one frame of mind will give us days of raw and robust life; to think more of others than of self.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Transitions are a part of the Divine Design.

The humanity of us likes some transitions while disdaining others.  This has been a Spring of such for many high school and college graduates.  The day I walked away from High School I walked to the edge of the sidewalk and looked back at the school. Never again, I smiled to myself.  It was a wonderful transition.

Yet, in the same life there are encounters with trauma and heartache.  Just the transitions of moving, changing jobs (even careers), standing as casket-side, etc. are truly difficult.  At these moments we sometimes don't know if we can move on through.

Both happen.

The question is not, Will they occur?  The question is, How will I respond when they take place?

The Christian walk is all about that walk being transformed to flight.  We are to grow to soar like eagles.  Transformation hits in such a way that we find ourselves perpetually advantaged regardless of the report or the score.

The word for transformed in Romans 12:2, do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, is metamorphosis; the changing of the woolly worm to the butterfly.  This is God's delightful trek for us!

Embedded within in this concept is a very simple transitional and transformational word; change.

There are those in the religious terrain who mock the need for change.  However, it is one word that will always be expected to describe those who claim to be followers of Jesus.  There is constant need in the church for change.  Elders need to become growing shepherds.  Teachers must stay current on the new revelations coming from the Word of God.  Ministers are to be in steady flux of insight and opportunity for kingdom opportunities.

Transition, transformation, and change are totally Holy Spirit values.  Everything that should be flexible is flexible when of the Holy Spirit---John 3:8.  If you intend to go through life with nothing changing, you have programmed a concept foreign to God.  Furthermore, stick with your mistaken assumption and you will likely become a crusty old sourpuss who makes life difficult for others due to your narrow views.

We have choices.  Either we roll with the fluidity of the Spirit or we stagnantly chirp at those who do.  Life is more than hunkering down within our four Sunday walls and spitting out memory verses to self-validate our faith.  Life is measured in the Divine by constant and consistent adjustment in the maturing process of the Lord.

Transitions are more than a way of life.  They are life.

Are you living?  Or, are you stuck?  The latter can be corrected so that the former can be experienced.

Friday, June 20, 2014


What I am about to tell you really wouldn't be coded as secret.  However, it tends to go so unnoticed that such a label might be earned.  I speak of a reason to possess constant drive and enthusiasm for God's system.

How do we maintain exhilaration for God's work of ministry and love?  How is it that one can actually abide by Paul's admonition that we are to be new day by day?  There is one word that explains, defines, and ignites.


The resurrection of Jesus was not only his but is ours.  Romans 4:19-24, II Corinthians 1:9, and II Corinthians 13:4 transfer the resurrected life into our courts. Something mysterious and magical happens when these and other texts are absorbed into our hearts.  An new sort of energy sets our hearts on fire for outrageous living.

I don't know that you have given this much thought; but it means so much to me. Being a Christian is the greatest means of rebellion I know.  No other protests are louder, more remarkable, and absolutely breath-taking than believing whole-heartedly that the dead do rise.

How the resurrection affects us is much more than the big boom at the cemeteries.  It profoundly influences our attitudes and lifestyles as we do our routine mobility day by day.  Resurrection power insists that regardless of what wants to intimidate or put us away has zero stronghold.  Disputes can't.  Discouragements can't.  Illnesses can't. Nothing can knock us out.

Resurrection belief is the one factor that energizes believers.  Hand us life and we win.  Hand us death and we still win.  Hand us stresses and we will find a way to be advantaged.

Resurrection confidence is the greatest form of rebellion against a bossy world system.  Just as the religious and governmental powers felt they had indeed removed the spectacle of Jesus, they went into shock three days later.  We live that pattern.

Christianity has lost its bite because believers have succumbed to whatever Not with resurrection power.  Whatever is doesn't have to remain.  We have energy to believe things that aren't can become.  We have the drive to think the absurd can happen because nothing ever hit earth so absurdly as Jesus breaking the bonds of death.

The kingdom energizing factor is the resurrection of which we are vitally and prominently affected.  We face not a threat that cannot be put in its place by such divine power....residing in us.

If not guarded, life in the church will be reduced to meeting in buildings and engaging in ministries without the ammunition of fire-power that declares we are wide-eyed and moving forward willing to defy any enemy territory.  We are not normal.  And we are not average.  And we are not merely human.

We have the Divine Agent (the Holy Spirit of God) who, just as He brought Jesus up and out of the grave, does the consistently same thing for us who have been baptized to receive Him.

Look like it!  Live like it!  Love like it!

Thursday, June 19, 2014


We are in need of a courageous generation.  Regardless of social status, education level, or economic postures, men and women are being pelted with discouragement. Let me say it one other way.  We are becoming dis-couraged.  Courage is being terrorized.

We face dis-courage on many fronts day by day.  Events intimidate.  Circumstances confuse.  Even relationships take significant hits.  There is ample reason why we should address this plague that pulls hearts of courage down, down, down.

However, this is clearly a spirit issue.  This means it is a Spirit opportunity.  The way to take the dis away from discourage and reclaim the courage dynamic is through compassion.

In cultivating compassion we draw from the wholeness of our experience--our suffering, our empathy, as well as our cruelty and terror.  It has to be this way. Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded.  It's a relationship between equals.  Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.  Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity, insists Pema Chodron.

The motivation to move us to walk with courage is to be driven by compassion.  We hear fantastic stories of rescues from burning cars by passers-by who risked serious injury because compassion drove them to courage.  Soldiers risk life and limb due to the same; they care deeply about those under oppressive governments.  Kidney donors move with strong courage due to compassion.

Too much of society cowers in self-protective fear.  Relationships remain wounded. Goals seem to be dismissed.  Drive yields to neutrality.   And our fire suffers from being anemic due to things that didn't pan out.

Maybe we need to recover from something more than alcoholism.  Maybe we need to a good shot of courage to blast away the dis-couraging enemy.  Maybe we will find a muscle for our task when we develop a heart for the hurting, the endangered, and those at severest risk.

We can do this.  We can overcome complacency.  We can move with bravery.  We will toss out the dis and step up with the original word...courage.  Yes...we will.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


The kingdom of God isn't built upon celebrity status.  It doesn't function because certain ones are intelligent enough to figure exactly how to get past the barriers. Neither do amounts of funds determine effectiveness.

God alone is our supply, power, and producer.  No other; not you, not me, not another.

We have such a thoughtless ability to smother gigantic possibility because we assume good things happen for others because they are who are they are.  This isn't true.  I can tell about the weirdest circumstances developing and hearers dismiss the story as that happens because he's Terry.  Not true.

Wonder happens because of God.  We are to believe in Him and His wonder.  He says that His wonder works in and through us.  When we don't believe Him, we snub His wonder residing within us.  Effectiveness isn't whether we are able; but whether we believe He is able.

In my early days of conversion I would hear fascinating stories from others of what God had done with and through them.  I immediately dismissed the information as something which happened because they were who they were...and I clearly was nothing like them.  Yet, I surely wished that I were.

It turned out that the God who worked from within them was the same God who would work within me if......if I would have the faith that He could do the job.  God operates from our faith.  He watches for the signal to move forward.  Faith is our work.

Fear tends to squash timid faith into wishful thinking.  Faith, on the other hand, decimates fear if given permission by us to take the plunge.

For so long I went through life friendly and enthused for the goings on of the wonderful church.  But I never felt a part of the happenings.  Yet, the Word promised that if we will do the simple things He asked, sow and water, indeed He will bring about the harvest.

A problem I had was that I wanted to plant today, harvest tomorrow.  Seed doesn't work that way.  Some seed sprouts in a week, some in a year, and some in a decade. When I don't see God working from me it is because I have planted nothing for Him to cause to sprout.

Yesterday a sweet 17 year old girl called me from Tennessee.  She had been struggling for years and is breaking through.  I first met her when her parents visited Memorial when she was eight years old.  I sensed her struggles even back then.  The last time I saw her was when she was 12.

I could hardly believe my ears.  It was so wonderful to hear her voice; all grown up and all.  She said she had kept the piece of paper that I gave her with my phone number on it when she was about 10 in case she ever felt discouraged.  She years later.

We snub the wonder of God in us when we sling an effort here and toss one there with expectation that we will see results at the next sunrise.  Kingdom life has much to do about farming.  It isn't just a matter that crops appear seasonally.  There is often the need to pull the stumps and clear the fields before planting even begins.

Do not be one of those who goes through life as I did; wishing I could get to do the stuff the successful Christians do.  Realize that we are all the same and it is the constant faith in God's working power that gives any of us hope.

Some will argue that we are not all the same; but that is from a base of unbelief.  Yes, while we are admittedly each unique, God operates with all in some way due to faith. Some will see 10-fold and others 5.  Yet, the message is that God will bless all efforts and He still does not want the one talent ones to bury theirs in fear that nothing much good would come about.

We must not snub the wonder of God in each of us in the name of false-humility.  We are free to imagine His working hand among us!  Let's go for it!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


If we are going to live and function in the kingdom of God, we are necessarily going to need to be on our toes.  Otherwise, we will miss it while it is taking place.

God is so big He can stay hidden.  He is fascinating and remarkable.  No one would have assumed He would go through the birth channels of a virgin to deliver salvation to all of mankind.  Human minds just aren't programmed to think this way.  God has often reversed the obvious.  And if not careful we will miss it because we tend to lean in upon the reasonable rather than the faithful.

One of my daily tasks is to cheer on a member of this congregation who has resided in prison for a few months now.  I wrote her this morning, You will always let the sentence serve you more than you serve the sentence.  Meaning?  A child of God is always advantaged by every circumstance.

This woman will not just sit and grieve.  She will not just put in her time.  That isn't her nature and it isn't God's nature in her.  She will let this sentence she endures pay dividends by awakening to the God-drive within her.  She will come out; not beaten down, but built up.

How?  Why?  This will take place because God has that genius to reverse the obvious. We are called to see it by faith.

Take a look at I Corinthians 1:26-31.  God called the plain and the rejected and the weak to baffle the wise and the mighty and the powerful.  He does it by reversing the obvious.

Awaken to life.  Awaken.  It is all around.

If you are looking for it with hopes of parading your accomplishments, you are looking in all of the wrong places.  The truth of the matter is that often the very things we wish we didn't have are those things that God chooses to use for His glory....because when we work from our weaknesses, He gets the glory.

God reverses the obvious....and it takes a thoughtful eye to notice.  He calls it faith.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


How easy it is to miss meaningful life for we thoughtlessly traipse the same paths as those around us took.  Without giving thought, we are quite liable to miss some of the grandest direction in life because we bought into costly mistake.  Taking the high road is not the only road to success.

God has always stymied the minds of men and women.  Always.

Consider His assurance that the way to keep is to give away.  The route to life is to die to self.  The clear direction to power is through weakness.  The Bible is threaded with such backward wonder.

While I hold no animosity toward any who have made in life by taking the high road, I find significant value in the low road.  It is here that those of us who aren't much find that we also have a pace that is to be valued.

Something has happened to me over time that I would hope encourage many of you who might feel slighted, neglected, or even bummed about your clear lack of ability. For the longest time I wished I could be somebody else.  These, of course, were highly successful, visible, and influential.

Personal inventory vouched I was right about me; no money, no degrees, no pull, and I was short.  So I lived much of my life in two strong emotions; wishful and pouting.  I would like to say that wasn't the case for on the exterior I was the life of the parties.  But the alone times were....excessively lonely.

Not much goes by my days but what I so wish I were more.  But I live very much alive.  The reason?  I found that in the divine kingdom there is much value and promise in taking the low road.  The very place I tried to avoid is the same place I found God has work for me to do.

Discouragement.  Disfunction.  Dullness.  Dreary.  Dread.  These are the low road. Yet, this is where God has ample room to show His stuff.  It is this very pace where most would try to escape that we find His assignments for giving Him glory.

The low road is where words nobody, weakness, and least are both spoken as well as quite obvious to any who give a serious eye.  The low road has been marked by the goal-setters and the dream-watchers as villainous; you might not want to go there. This advice could have been given to the Good Samaritan.

The low road is the divine one.  Bothered.  Betrayed.  Battered.  Beaten.  Bashed. Bludgeoned.  Buried.  Not one of these descriptions would seem to fit the idealistic mindset.  Yet, it was the perfect style of Jesus.  It isn't necessarily the road of the popular; but it surely is of the meaningful winner.

We are called to avail ourselves to His majestic and outrageous life-style.  A glut of money and power aren't the starter kits.  Humility and lack; something magnificent develops from this stage.

Be encouraged.  God can use the CEOs of this world...and does.  And He also can use those of us who realize more day by day how much we are not enough.  It is the latter that charges me for I am deeply committed to find effectiveness upon the divine low road that I travel daily.

How about you?

Saturday, June 14, 2014


You know, I think that sometimes it just isn't very easy to be a human.  We are a mixture of love and bias, wishes and fears, and then there's that insecure part that seems to chip away at even our best moments.  It isn't easy being us.

It would seem that most often we compensate our failing moments with blame.  She didn't treat me right.  He didn't even speak.  The door was left open.  Taxes are too high.  Oh, we have our lists of excuses ready to cover our inadequacies.

One of the greatest disasters to self is the personal backing down just as we are about to make a breakthrough.  Sometimes it isn't easy to step into effectiveness or success.  We find ourselves, at times, betrayed by our own fears.  This is what I would call the IWTBIDWT syndrome.

I Want To But I Don't Want To.

I do; but I don't.  Yes; but no.  Sure; yet not that sure.  Most likely; but probably not. Decisive; yet, with a tad bit of questioning.  Ready; but not so fast.  Absolutely will; most likely.

A study of caterpillars shows that some of them resist becoming butterflies by clinging longer than necessary to their larvae life. Some will put off their transformation for a year or more.  Sue Monk Kidd says of this, It seems that at the moment of our greatest possibility, a desperate clinging rises up in us.  We make valiant attempts to "save" our old life.


This syndrome show up routinely.  Making big decisions which seem to be properly enticing can be abruptly halted by the IWTBIDWT complex.  We want to leave our old life for the glory of the new; but what if?  I want to sign my commitment on the dotted line....but I just can't.  I want to take such a needed course; but I also don't want to.  I want to fast and pray; but I don't want to go without food.

Our own reluctance does more damage than any other enemy we could target for causes of failure.  Life isn't meant to be rattlingly empty.  It is to be charged with creativity from God.  Of course it will take our breath away; that's what roller coasters and the Grand Canyon do.

One of the highest hurdles for me to clear was this one; IWTBIDWT.  Sometimes we have to take a deep breath and take the plunge.  Not everything we attempt pans out. What I believe is worse than things not panning out is to see breath-taking opportunity and not even try.

Don't let fear manipulate your present moment.  Give God room to exercise in your gym of conditioning.  You'll go farther, last longer, and be exceptionally happier.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Days of peace are offered from God.  Peace isn't naive as to the true turbulence of life.  It is the ability to live unturbulentized.  Peace is that uncanny and unfleshly ability to live in complete calm while discouraging-to-the-attitude mortars are incoming from many directions.

We are always in need of calm before, during, and after the storms which perpetually brew.

Peace is a part of the Holy Spirit fruit dimension (Gal. 5:22-23).  It is no accident that churches and their leaders who refuse to acknowledge the activity of the Spirit are among the most abusive when it comes to dissension and upset.  It can be no other way if the Spirit is rejected then we are simply on our own to work it out....and it will not go well.

This element of the Holy Spirit must be practiced.  Practice means training and rehearsal.  Peace is a workout; not that we improve according to our skills.  It is a matter beyond us.  We are to practice yielding to the Spirit's talent and eventual display.

We try.  We succeed sometimes; and we fail at other times.  We practice again...and again.  The determining factor is not found in our self-determination that we can do it.  No, it is found in a faith that believes that the Holy Spirit can bear such fruit in us.

Consider Philippians 4:4-9.  Verse 9 wraps up a call by urging us to PRACTICE these things.  What kind of things?

  • :4  Be devoted to rejoicing.
  • :5  You can hold up under the pressure for the Lord is close at hand.
  • :6  No need to be anxious.  Instead be thankful.
The text states that when we practice being happy, trusting He is near, and replacing fear with thanksgiving, that peace will be the result.  A question could remain as to how it is when under pressure we dare find ability to practice such a seemingly Pollyanna-type walk?

God does not leave us in the dark on this.  Verse 8 requires that we focus on whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good, excellent, and worthy of praise.  These are to be our responsibility.  Our thinking sets the stage for the Spirit's release.

Have you difficult people or circumstances pulling you down?  What God would have us do is to think about those that/who pull us up.  This is a kingdom secret that works.  When we practice what He says, something of the Spirit begins to form.  It is called the peace of God; verse 7.

Whine. Complain.  Grouch.  Accuse.  Crab.  All you want; have at it.  Go ahead.  Be miserable.  But if you want to possess such a lifestyle you will need to do it with someone else for we have a clear and successful option.  Peace is for any who choose to retrain their thinking and their believing.  

Peace is available for all through the Holy Spirit of God.  And honestly, we don't always succeed.  But we can always practice.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Don't ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you feel alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
                                                                                                           Gil Bailie


This is what ours families need, our churches need, our professions need, and we need.  We have perpetual need to be perpetually alive.

This is surely the robust message of the slaughter at the Cross and out the other side of the grave!  Come alive!

We all have the ability to find ourselves stuck.  We need something.  Often we find it in addiction because we crave to be unstuck.  In general it would seem many are living a script someone else told them to live.  Eventually, we reach a point where life has become so dull we simply look to others; someone tell me who I am supposed to be.

If there was a law in our land that said we are to all dress in the same color, as in some private schools and that we were all to drive four-door sedans, we would protest. Life would be dumbed-down, rote, and dull.

Why, then, do we not pick up on the killing of the spirits of our people when we develop routine patterns in life with expectation that what was good enough for us is good enough for them?

We are especially experiencing this in churches.

I want for all of you what God has given me.  I was a young man treacherously stuck. I was meek, wimpy, hesitant, and devoted to getting by.  My ambition was limited by safety.  My goals were to avoid risk.  I copied the routine of normalcy and resented the feeling that there was more and I had missed out on it.

The more is to come alive!  I found it in Jesus!

Therefore, I will say that even in the church I find that more is to come alive is desperately needed.  One of our doctrines has shut us down.  We didn't intend for it to happen this way but it has.  There is a difference in being a part of the church so that we can be assured heaven WHEN we die versus being alive in the church believing God will take us places exciting and productive NOW!

One of the keynoters for next year's Tulsa Workshop will be Bob Goff; author of Love Does.  One of the major tenets that he will bring to the table is his drive to be alive in the kingdom!  Those who hear will be encouraged and motivated to let go and let God.

We are called to be buried into Jesus that our sins would be washed away and that the Holy Spirit would enter.  We are to be alive; just as the Spirit brought Jesus out of the grave.

Live today, my friend.  Live from your present citizenship of heaven....RIGHT NOW!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Today I write to the one or the fourteen who feel (drawn from within) a desire to know God; but don't quite know how to go about it.  This is not a rare thought for the many are having similar deliberations.  However, for those like I was, we may not know where to start.

An important factor is to find a place that is safe to inquire.  Good people wonder about the God-concepts; yet these often don't feel free to just go anywhere.  There is hesitation, understandably, because we aren't even certain of what questions to ask nor are we clear on whether such questions might appear foolish.  Because of this, I fear the masses simply keep such a serious consideration to themselves.

About 30 years ago Memorial Drive bought ads in Hollywood newspapers offering correspondence courses for Bible study.  One of the responses was from a woman who called my office.  She explained she was from Hollywood and could not give me her name for I would know her.  She wanted to know about God and His direction.

This woman did a right thing.  She inquired.  There is a true story in John chapter 3 about such a person who might be as some of you.  It is specific that he went by night to inquire of Jesus.  His approach seemed to be in secrecy.  He had questions.

Some of you reading this are famous.  Others are more common.  Some are very successful and others find themselves in a bit of a slump.  From all zones are very good people who wonder about God; yet, so many are intimidated by the fear of looking or sounding foolish.  Thus noisy silence fills our hearts.  We want to know; yet have no script as to how to find the simplicity of God.

What if I ask a dumb question?  What if I go quietly to inquire and the one whom I asked tells others it was me?  What if I am unsure about how I really feel about the spiritual.  Will I know how to work through deep questions?  Is there a legitimate corner of religion and a hoax side?  How will I make unique discovery while I try to avoid appearing silly?

I personally have been through all of this searching process and more.  Therefore, I extend an offer.  Here's my email address:  You may inquire privately and no one will know.  Too, 918-519-7474 is my cell.  You may call or text.  No one will know.

But please....please don't hide from the persistent questions of your heart.  God calls every person.  Your inner spirit is real and it wants answers.  There is a way to start life over; literally.  There is a way to know that this life is not all that there is; literally.  And, there is hope....always reason to hope....literally.

If you are in serious search for God, He might have used this post to send you a signal out of heaven as to one person who could help you a bit.  There are many, though, that you may have confident approach.  The important thing is that you read this inner search as a divine moment.

God is searching for you....seriously.  In your search, let Him find you.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


One of the greatest and strongest breakthroughs that we face is found in our opportunities to bring cheer to others.  His greatest commands are to love God and others.  Focus upon these two will be forever front-burner concepts.....and necessary actions.

It doesn't matter how attentive we are to Christian programming, agendas, or doctrines, there seems to be a perpetual need which should precede each of these. We need to be aware of the looks on our faces.  Before you pooh-pooh this statement, try to give thoughtful consideration.

Facial expressions are seldom neutral.  They convey love, disdain, joy, irritation, hope, or disinterest.  Our faces are lawn signs atop arms and legs.

Why is this an important discussion?  For this post's purpose, members on the edge feeling they are looking in as well as visitors might get the messages that our body billboards send.  Welcome or Don't bother; either can be so easily communicated to those who look our way.

This is a deeply serious matter.

For those who easily dismiss this need with an indifferent shrug, it would seem that these wish to be a part of a church without connecting to those they do not know. This incubates cliques.  Intimate friendship is one of our goals; yet, we must be reminded that there are many others who want in.

What spurs this topic on is a note I found waiting for me on my phone which was a second volley at 6:00 this morning.  Yesterday a family had notified me they would no longer be attending Memorial.  I inquired; specifically if it was my preaching that caused them to feel they needed to look elsewhere.

The response was that there were several things at Memorial the family appreciated. However, they felt they could not break in to the many circles of relationships already established.  And then this comment, P.S. Could you please do a little something for me?  In some way, work into a sermon the reality that a person's attitude toward others will be seen on their face.  Our faces are telling, whether a loving smile, a glance away to avoid eye contact, or a smirk of disapproval.  Thank you.

One could defensively raise many questions or pass judgment about such a statement.  The truth is that congregations struggle due to the direction to which this friend points.  Is Memorial friendly?  Yes, to one another in most places...where people are tied in.  No, not to those as this couple who sat with us and found some speaking while others intentionally avoided.

I could offer all kinds of excuses, defenses, and justifications as to why we are a people who reach to others.  Yet, this note is accurate.  I observe the same.  For many of our members it seems there is intentional effort to hide by avoiding eye-contact. There seems to be an underlying fear of greeting others.  While this is natural for some, it is not excusable.

The church is to be all about loving God and loving others.  If we think that because we pass communion trays every week and sing without a piano makes us the true church, we are very far from it.  Worshiping God and ministering to people; these are the issues which are before us and always will be for we simply need to be reminded. God and people deserve our obedient attention.

Try to link to others.  It is a very needed ministry.

We will always need to bring a face-lift to every gathering.  We can do this....and it will bring light to others.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


As strange as this may sound, I believe many possessors of Bibles don't read them. Furthermore, they don't know how.

Stranger yet, I don't blame them.

I didn't care much for church as a kid.  I tried.  I surely wanted one of those attendance pins that some of the other kids got.  But there was a definite catch.  I had to attend so many Sundays in a row to get one.  Never did I get a pin.

I had a Bible or two by the time I was in High School.  It didn't mean much to me. The kiddie stories were fun; Jonah and the Whale, Jesus walking on water, etc.  I thought they were fun to hear about.  But, I didn't really read my Bible.

When in college it seemed important that I know God.  I would sit in my one-room apartment and try to read it.  Beginning each time at Genesis 1:1, I would read maybe three verses a night.  That's not really helpful.  Months later I would restart my Genesis 1:1.

A few years later I began to study more seriously.  Reading the Gospels and the New Testament seemed to very slowly and tediously grip my heartstrings.  Yet, what I want you to get it was not easy.  From then until now I feel that if I learned one tidbit of God, I stepped backward because He is so immeasurable in size.

Oddly, that is the way it should be.  Those who have taken on the Word with plans of cornering its market on truthful information will always be proven to be losing ground.  It isn't just that the human mind can't take it all in; but it also insists that the Living God will not be totally understood and filed as if we have wrapped up knowing all about God.  He will always enlarge at a more rapid rate than the information about Him we gather.  He is God.

If you have a Bible, I would encourage you to read it.  When you look at Matthew, for instance, try not to just note rows of words.  Try to notice Jesus as a person; how he seemed relaxed, how he noticed the rejected ones, and how he didn't walk in fear.  Let the Bible speak to you.

I've been at this awhile.  I can tell you that God is faithful and honest.  His Word is so eternal it keeps producing as an oil well.  Huge sprays of wonder splash upon us as we continue to discover this very thin volume cannot be limited nor contained.  It very much lives.

Be encouraged to read your Bibles.  See what He says that you just never realized.  Be very patient with yourself and with others who read theirs.  We won't always agree. We will always learn.  And, we will be very blessed.  It is stunning to realize that one of the greatest gifts in our homes have yet to be truly opened.

If you have a Bible, try to read it.

Saturday, June 07, 2014


Isn't life exhaustingly wonderful?  I love right now!  There are a lot of prisoners who would like to have my worst days and I would like to have a lot of lottery winners' best days!  There it!

Today I encourage you to take personal inventory.  Like who you are, where you are, what you face, and God's gentle leading hand as you experience the wonder of confusion as well as clarity.  Sometimes our best days and our worst days are the same days.

This morning I was reading a simply divine book that gives me great energy.  Of course it reflects my constant nature to want to uncover the hope in a stressful circumstance.  While these exact words weren't in print, I noted on my phone the comment, Don't ever be afraid to hope.

Why would anyone be afraid to hope?  Well, I know the answer because I've toyed with such fear.  I have been afraid to hope because maybe that hope wouldn't come about.  The result would be that I falsely built up a possibility only to be let down.  If I wouldn't hope then I wouldn't be disappointed was my rationale.

Yet hope is that mysterious element of the God-encounter.  As long as there is God, there will always be hope.  Fact.  Period.  The Bible's cover to cover exposure reveals that this is His story.

Normal days.  Impossible trouble.  Unexplainable deliverance.  This is a constant thread of the God-message.

Thirty-seven years ago this month, Mary and I were in some of our worst days.  We had agreed to move from our beloved congregation in Quincy, IL (that had converted us and then eventually made me their preacher for two wonderfully profound years) to a church in Tulsa where we knew not one individual.  Those were stark and dark days.

After we limped into Tulsa with our three littles and a U-Haul full of junk furniture, Mary and I cried for six solid weeks.  For 40 days we suffered anguish, disappointment, resentment, and incredibly deep disjointed questions as to what in the world had God done to us.  Those were some of the worst days of our lives.

Furthermore, it was a very painful next 18 years.  Church legalism, my own narrowness, brotherhood criticism; all and more led me to hours in my office or stretched across my bed in tears.  Maybe we should have returned Quincy where I would try to get a job as a shoe salesman.  I desperately considered it.

But I must rush to say that the next 19 years have been remarkably the opposite. God seemed to have known what He was doing.  Surprise!  He endured with us.  A few in the church endured with us while the vast majority fled my inept and shallow ways.  And I'm grateful for all of it.

Now I can look back with clarity of hindsight and vouch for you in your many serious struggles that for certain sometimes our best days and worst days are the same days.  I needed the rugged terrain of my first 18 years at Memorial Drive to deeply marvel at the last 19 years.

God always has a grip on our moments.  He is never done turning the water into wine. So wherever you are, drink up!  Don't let the cup of sorrow pass without assurance God can shock the world with what He chooses to do with you.  The empty tomb is our signal to break into huge smiles.

Whether is looks like a good day or a bad kingdom is a YES!

Friday, June 06, 2014


Life is many things.  One of the more fascinating is that it is a constant riddle.  Day by day we are approached with a set of gnarly circumstances.  Our assignment is to decipher information and then negotiate the twists and curves these sets of challenges present.

Life is a full-time job.

From teachers announcing pop quiz to being questioned as to whether one is good enough to make the soccer team to seeking a mate and then an occupation....well, life is surely found to be brimmed with opportunity for the mind-maneuvers.  To exacerbate matters, interruptions of the deepest kind may be found to throw our synchronized world off of its axis.

Jesus knew a secret.  Although he spelled it out, we are to often found to be blind to it.  The way to win is to lose.  Whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it, comes right from the lips of the One who mastered life.  He is life.

There seems to be two sorts; those who want life to be alive while struggling to reach it and those who enjoy life to the max because they encounter it day by day.  The former believe they simply drew the short straw.  The latter know a secret; the underlying hope of dailiness is found in giving one's life away to others.  These win by losing.  The former lose by self-focus.

The apostle Paul said it another way; He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly.  He who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully.  

Here's the truth about us.  We get what we plant.

If we plant self-centered attention, we get self at the center; plus excessive misery. However, if we plant attention to others then the love we have sown will come back to us because we lost ourselves in giving so that others could be blessed.  We, then, find ourselves targeted by others who enrich our walk.  Life is simple.

We get what we plant.

Find the person obsessed with how bad off they are and I'll show you a very lonely person because they are all about winning...for themselves.  Consistently they are dying in their misery.

Reverse the course, however, and watch the truth of God unfold.  Note the one who is happy and reaching for the welfare of others.  What do you find?  One who is upbeat and moving with a smile.  Why?  These know a secret.

We get what we plant.

Now here is a thing the self-absorbed don't get.  Everyone has their bucket full of misery and disappointment.  The selfish don't believe it.  They think they are the rare few who ache in heart.  Absolutely a self-centered conclusion.

Some of the happiest people I know are so burdened they can hardly get out of the house.  Yet, they do and they do it with a snap to their step and a huge smile on their face.  Why?  They have planted so much joy in others that their harvest is a constant supply of joy in return.

Life just works that way.  Go ahead and whine if you like.  Each of us has our times of hot tears.  All of us hit brick walls where we don't know what to do.  There are no exceptions.  The difference is found in whether we choose to win or lose.  Mark it down....we do choose.  Happiness is a choice...not an inheritance.

Winners win because they give away words of cheer and these words come back. Losers lose because these speak incessantly about how bad life is going.  No words of support return for they didn't sow any.

Don't blame circumstances or people...and certainly not God...because you are pent up in blatant agony.  Every person has a choice.  Everyone has a short straw or two nipping at their heels.  The good news is that, if we believe we get what we plant, we are free to determine what kind of crops we would like.

May joy fill our hearts because we give joy away.

We get what we plant.

Thursday, June 05, 2014


God gave me an idea recently that seems to be promising as far as making a connection with our community.

When our hearts are forged with desire to connect others to God, there are still rampant hesitations at so many intersections.  How do we reach without feeling awkward?  And, my serious concern is how may I reach to them without causing them to feel uneasy.

By knowing that every person I would/could ever meet surely has pockets of insecurity coupled with concerns, I find it easier to befriend so many in my path because I simply care about how they are doing.  I intentionally plant and water seed of the good kingdom by my words of outreach.

People matter.  When in need, often they don't know how (or what) to say to another that would bring accurate relief.  It is often that we must offer the introductory words for conversation with our community.

Yet there are those masses that we brush against throughout each day that give us pause as to what we might do to break into their world.  What can be done to build them, encourage them, reach them with God's mercy and grace?  How may we approach without being out of balance with the moment's rhythm of social skill?

I'm always on the hunt for the way to best interject a God-moment; even to complete strangers. I think about it non-stop.  Occasionally, I will find the words for wise approach.  Many times, though, I walk away talking to myself about how I coulda/shoulda/woulda reached.  For me, it usually isn't a matter of uneasiness for myself as it is for them.

Yesterday it seemed like I hit the a winner.

When at lunch I was reading a book while eating at a fast food place.  A woman with two preschool daughters came along to sit in the booth one over.  Both of the littles wore thick-lensed glasses; one had a hearing-aid.  They were cute, cute, cute.  I pondered, Is there anything to say?  Should anything be said that would give them grace for the moment?  

And it hit me.

As I was leaving I stepped up the their booth and complimented the momma on her sweet kids.  She was, of course, happy to hear my positive remark.  And then I told her I was a minister and handed her my business (which is a bubble-gum) card.  I told her about Memorial Drive and how we cared about children.

And then I pointed to my email listed on the back.  Anytime your family hits a rough spot and would need a group to pray, we are ones who will.  Email me if you ever need a group to pray for your family.  The momma lit up with abundant expressions of gratitude.

Will I hear from her again?  Who would know?  It is God who takes our efforts and blends them with 10,000 other efforts to connect with one more special creature of His.

Later I was at the doctor's office.  As I was leaving I mentioned to the nurse what a great job she has done all these years.  I gave her my latest card with special note to the email address should her family ever need prayers.  Tears arose.

She said, I have one now.  My daughter is very ill, and she continued her explanation.  She gave me her email address to check in on things.

Offering to pray for either those we routinely encounter or for complete strangers may just be that avenue you could use to overcome ministry awkwardicity.  I think we all enjoy learning of ways to reach a bit farther into our community of extraordinary friends and neighbors.

Believe it.  Many people want God's help and don't know how to make that connection.  Might you be that one in your territory who could give others that assistance?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

WHAT IF.....

What if there really is life after death?  How many times does God need to give us assuring signals?  No apple tree ever arose without the seed dying.  No flower.  No tomato.

What if faith is legitimate?  How long have we believed many things to be true which we never tasted, touched, handled?  Historicity pummels us with facts of which we experienced not once.  Yet they are true.

What if the spiritual is real?  One cannot measure all of reality by eyesight.  Consider gravity.  Never is it placed in a container to be marketed; but it surely is verifiable.

What if there really is a true God?  This is THE major of all questions.  I believe He is.

It is incredibly disturbing to me that masses deny there is a God without search or study.  For individuals to honestly seek and conclude He doesn't exist would be one thing.  But, numbers in society meet this topic with a slight shrug of indifference.

This is not only foolish; it is risky.  Does one really believe that as a seed falls to the ground and dies that there is no sprouting?  Do we really want to trust our closing minutes of passing off into eternity to our friends' words who loved to mock religion and God and all who go with it?

Is that what we think of our own souls?  That we would rather not appear spiritually inclined because some would criticize us; or worse yet, poke fun of us for yielding to our Creator?  Just how selfishly dumb have we become to remain faithful to the herd of unbelievers without giving serious research for the benefit of the deepest part of our reality...our own eternal souls?

I understand peer pressure.  And, boy, do I get the hypocrisy of those of us who advocate belief in God.  We are such a mess that Jesus didn't throw down a $100 bill for each of us.  He suffered on the cross as full and final payment.  Does anyone really believe he will enjoy hell simply because he was so intelligent he could detect the many flaws of those who worshiped God?

What if there really is a true God?  What if the calendars of the world really do reflect the years since Jesus' birth?  What if there is something to this; but many resisted it out of ignorance?

Will individuals who are not inclined to believe God give the concept honest evaluation?  Will we take the chance to discern or will we indifferently yield to the naysayers who have not spent any time researching this theme of utmost importance?

What if the things we have mocked while gathered with our cronies turn out to have been a major factor in who we really are and who we can become and where we will live for all of eternity?  Do we have the courage to find out for ourselves or will we walk off into darkness without serious reflection?

If one should feel it a smart and even responsible move to select the right doctor or get the best loan rate, why would we think less of our souls?

What if....this idea of God and church and kingdom really is true?  Do you really want to close your eyes for the last time having ignored Him because that's what others in your circle believed?  Do you trust their investigation?  I don't think you really want that to be the case.  God is too important...and so are you.

This isn't a message to scare anyone.  I simply ask you to think.  It is a message that many have lived drunk on self-provision and independence.  The day is coming when that lifestyle will abruptly halt.  It is simply a wise move for all of us that we seek the truth of God's reality.

When we do, it is a very odd thing indeed, He will find us.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014


For those unaware, Tim is our son and Kim our daughter-in-law.  They are missionaries of eleven years in Mexico.  The times are very rough.  

Yesterday they found that their car, which was impounded months ago due to the police taking illegal advantage, will include at $15,000 fine plus the surrender of the car.  They won't get their car back.

However, today is one where they are scheduled to meet over another matter that is making life miserable for them.  In their words, today's confrontation is much heavier than the ordeal with the car.

I wrote them a note of support this morning.  I would ask that you pray for them today; especially telling God thank you for His devotion toward this couple and their family and those with whom they are in conflict.

Tim and Kim,

I write to encourage you to relax.  Today’s is God’s day to show His stuff.  Let Him.

Let Him show you delivery or persecution.  Whatever, it is His special design for you.  Let Him.

I encourage you to yield your bias by blending into His will.  Jesus faced similar dilemma.  And all through the anguish He leaned toward the resurrection days.  Your resurrection days are coming.  While on your crosses be sure to have breath for the criminals on your right and on your left.

I believe you are in very treacherous territory; the kind I could not endure.  So you have my applause.  Yet, we know the same God and I merely remind you that oft times His ways are so backward to ours.  So whatever goes down today, prep yourself as did Paul and Silas.  Sing your way into the center of the rugged stuff and then be on watch.  God has wonder up His sleeve!

Today is one more time He will be an absolute, undeniable Y-E-S!

Love muchly,