Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Christian hearts live under heavy attack by dark forces.  Every four seconds someone finds terror hitting his or her heart.  Okay, I made up the four seconds part.  My guess it would be every second and multiple hearts per.

We are trying to endure constant and stressful intimidation.  Questions of doubt are relentless.

What if I get this wrong?  What if I am wrong?  What if the church doesn't have enough money to cover its bills?  What if we don't get some new members?  What if we don't put in the right elders?  What if our plans aren't popular among the church members?  What if we accept too many or reject the wrong ones?

Incoming mortar fire!!!

Jesus is our death, our burial, and our resurrection.  We have experienced this in order to stand anew.  We have new roles, new models, new missions, new hope. Darkness does not boss us.  Freedom in the resurrected Jesus opens us to an entirely new world of possibility and potential.

Anybody can point out another's lack.  But the Spirit should be given our permission to point out our direction.  We are not dependent on others nor ourselves.  We are dependent on the One who single-handedly beat death at its own game on its own court.

That championship match was held as an away game for God.  He sent His Son....emphasis sent. It was on the enemy's turf.  But Jesus made the trip anyway. Not without bruising and battering, Jesus was pronounced victor.  But first he had to die.

Charles Swindoll sent me a note of encouragement years ago that said, Do not flinch, Terry.  Those words still ring as key and important.  And I pass them on to you.  Do not flinch.  We are targeted to buckle under life's pressures.  I urge you to stand in confidence of the Holy Spirit.

It is not up to man to will or to run, but up to God who has mercy!  Breathe deeply. Dream wildly.  Live confidently.  Do not flinch.  God specializes in taking care of the tough stuff.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


I live charged!

Riddled with insecurity and, therefore, filled with hesitation, God has broken open an entirely new kind of world for me.  The transition from fear to faith is, indeed, driven by His majestic move.

I love God.  I love to think about Him, wonder about Him, and imagine Him.  He can do anything He wishes.  He calls all of us to leap into His context for He is able.  He is able!

Ability is to be treasured.  God has ability to boost us.  As a result we can do more than we can do.  This is not true because we train exceptionally well; but because we believe He is exceptional.

Each week proves what I'm not.  Yet, each week also verifies that the ability lies upon God's shoulders.  And...He has welcomed us to join Him in His mission.

We get to be more than we can be.  We get to do more than we can do.  We get to participate in the wonder of God because He loves to display His handiwork!

Therefore, whatever storm is tossed our way, we are assured God has never met His match.  We need not fear.  We will want to keep our eyes wide open because He can do things we have yet to dream.

We can do more than we can do because God is our Father.

Ephesians 3:20-21 will always make one's day.  Let it frame yours!

Friday, September 26, 2014


  • Every innovation has an expiration date.
  • Everything that is currently in place began as a challenge to the status quo in a previous generation.
  • What's ugly now was beautiful then.  
  • What feels irrelevant now was cutting edge once upon a time.
  • We are foolish to assume our ideas are transgenerational.
  • We are equally foolish to assume that we will intuitively be able to sniff out the need for change in our own organizations.
  • Any system will unconsciously conspire to maintain the status quo and prevent change.
  • The problem is much deeper and more complex than inflexibility or stubbornness.
  • It's a systems problem.
  • Consequently, change is rarely perceived as a solution.
  • In most cases it feels like an interruption.
  • So yeah, just about everything in your current "system" is conspiring against you.
Each of the above statements is from the mega-effective church builder Andy Stanley.  

We want the church to go well.  God wants it to go far.  At a very key--the key--point in history of all of God's immeasurable work, He came through the back door of success.  He took out "the" key player in His outreach plans.  

His Son was executed.  

The Pure Hope of the world was taken out.  

The darkness in mid-day was stark and shocking.

Eternity gasped.

God was more than living on the cutting edge.  He framed a rescue model on the dying edge.

It matters not how old we are nor how long we have served, God will lead us day by day into the ever and always new.  Brave and bold ideas will one day be just like the man-process of aging; old, weary, and very tired.

The lost of this enormous creation cannot afford for us to live lethargicly  rather than largely.  We must have soldiers willing to risk life and link to our shining past to the most current and brighter presence.  What we speak of today as new in the church will one day be hampering the same church due to age.  

God's process for life will always baffle the best minds in leadership.  

Yippee!  We will, therefore, never exhaust the Creator's brilliance.  Our job is to stay tuned!

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Stumped.  So much of my earlier days were spent shut down.  I did not know how to proceed when faced with opposing circumstances or people.  I lived too much of my life both negative and feeling defeated.  I did not know these moments were for my advantage.  No one had told me or if they did I didn't believe them.

E. Stanley Jones' The Divine Yes turned my insecure world toward a new home-front of managing conflict; mostly within myself.  II Corinthians 1:18-20 is The Divine Yes. Therefore, Jones' words resonate.

I have learned that if you are blocked on one road in life, you can always find another that will open up to you.  If you can't go here, you can go there.  We don't have to be afraid for if we can't do this, we can do that.  They blocked Jesus by not receiving him for his face was set to go to Jerusalem.  

The disciples wanted to call down fire, but Jesus just went to another village.  We can always go to another village.  Don't bear your oppositions; use them.  There may be a pause in my program, but a pause in music is music in the making.  So every pause can make us tougher and more mature.

We can learn to take the initiative, like the airplane that goes up against the wind, using the wind to lift it off the ground.  "If life throws a dagger at you, take hold of it by the handle and cut your way through opposition."  This is the secret.

Breakthrough!  Breakthrough!

Some thirty years later I continue to find extreme and productive delight in actual factual hope in all things.  I had never dreamed this possible.  It is more than possible; it is reality.  Learn to be advantaged by difficulty.  Jesus blazed the trail.  Walk on it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


While the church of the Bible is often seen as a work in the wild, the church this current age develops seems to be more like a cool walk in the park.  Two different ages reveal very different results; each claiming to fit the Word of God.

There are certainly many things going right in the church.  Too, a very exciting element is that regardless of tenure even the most proficient and the most devoted are found to be lacking compared to the stature of Jesus.

I find this to be an exhilarating in challenge.  The longer we are in the church the more excited we find ourselves as our concept of God increases as our faith grows.  We must be alert to His cutting-edge call for possibly our ears have grown dull from repetitive church-life.

Howard Snyder is credited as saying, Church growth is a matter of removing the hindrances to growth.  The church will naturally grow if not limited by unbiblical barriers.

Organized or organic?  This seems to be a puzzling matter which might flush out some of the unbiblical barriers which have caused the church to become actively stagnant. We make renewed efforts to be better organized.  Organic?  When was the last time you heard it said in any meeting, We just must get better organicized?

So what would this look like?  Organized we get.  Whether we succeed at it, we get it. Move pieces to the puzzle here and rearrange personnel there.  Reorganization is an effort to pump new blood into an established system.

Organic, on the other hand, would seem to be a natural-according-to-the-Spirit process.  Prayer, mystery, anticipationary faith, linked with ultra-confidence in Spirit activity would seem to fit the parameters of organic.  We participate (walk by faith) while expecting Him to take surprise routes to effective results.

Organization can become, to some, merely one more god; even a more see-able god. Organic in style is an inward ability to go with the flow of God; we plant, we water, yet only God on His terms gives the increase.  His giving will often be from the strangest of reservoirs that man's organizational approach would have never deemed probable.

The former tries to give assurance to each step in the process.  The latter goes out not knowing where we are going.  The latter is the full force of faith.

Finally, organization has an ability to take the man-fear away.  Organic procedures embedded in the Spirit tend to lead us to put  God-trust in motion.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Of course we draw with admiration to those among us who have great zeal for life. And, too, those of aggressive nature who dream big seem to be some of my more glorious heroes.  These elements, however, can become a serious distraction if not aware of subtle pitfalls.

On the run is more than Mobil oil's slogan.  It is society.  While we often voice complaint, the moving pace of our days and nights is what we enjoy.  We are about the addiction of perpetual movement.  We are about activity.  We equate mobility with success.

Stillness, on the other hand, can be assumed blatant laziness if not irresponsible indifference.

God's children must balk at our busy lifestyles.  We must stop the Ferris Wheel and settle down.  To be still seems foreign to any who are bent on serving God.  The massive world has deep need and we each feel quite puny in our approach to bring relief.  Due to our compassionate hearts we tend to step up the pace over first sitting alone with Father to absorb the divine from a pure spiritual base.

Truth be told, ambition is often a distraction which keeps us out of deeper relationship with God.  We don't/won't take the time to be quiet so that He can get a word in edge-wise.  We are on the run.  Devotion to helping others is the name of our game while often we have failed to be filled with His Spirit.  We are found to be running....on empty.

Michael Wells makes a statement which seems...well...wrong.  Here is a great secret: when we are in the perfect will of God, we hear and feel nothing.  Yet, this comment is important.  Stillness is His focus.  We are simply His.  There is no stimulation nor is there need for it.  We are simply wonderfully in God's presence.

Psalm 46:10's Be still and know that I am God seems to feel weird.  That's it? Shouldn't I be moving; roaming the earth as a representation of His Son?  Of course. And when we evaluate His Son's walk it is not obscure teaching that Jesus spent very much time alone, immobile, being near Father.

There is dire need for us to develop restful relationship with our Father.  He yearns for us to be present in mind, heart, and soul.  We struggle to take a break from the phones, emails, demands, and schedules.  Rest isn't rest for often it is bombarded with things waiting for us to get done.  

With a church-world full of whistles, bells, missions, and programs, it is up to each of us to hear His call for personal relationship over our bent on keeping the plates-a-spinning.

So how do we stop it?  How to we get off of this non-stop cycle?  Do it.  Let the phone ring.  Let the FB world go on without our watchful eyes.  Let the church do its bountiful labors at times without you.  You rest.  You'll be back.  You'll be serving so that others can rest.

Ambition can be a distraction.  No.  It IS a distraction for far too many when we trust our efforts more than we trust His presence.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


I surely understand any who just can't take churches and church people.  We are simply weird, even mean, in places.  The one thing we seem most consistent in is probably our inconsistency.  Therefore, due to the latter, the multitude feels they deserve a pass.

Not so.

Have you ever heard of car wrecks?  Any resulting in death?  Everyday?  So may I inquire, did that stop you from learning to drive?  And did you approach such with great enthusiasm?

Again, did you ever hear of a school teacher who was rude, unfair, and biased?  Did you ever take a class from him or her and leave discouraged?  And, did you believe that because this person was ridiculous that Math or Economics or Social Studies was also just as absurd?  Do people gauge the validity/accuracy of a subject by poor instruction?

Regarding the medical field, would you know of the term Quack?  When stricken with an ache or an illness, does society avoid the medical field at large because of the many Quack-a-holics posing as reputable physicians?

No.  A thinking people does not avoid the subject in any field; even when one may target those in the field who are dismal failures.  We seem not to behave this way with one exception; religion.  In this zone we easily become uneducated, even whimsical, experts.

Referencing automobiles, education, and the medical system, we do our homework. We train to drive knowing that we must be alert to potential accidents.  Never do we bail from learning because of an inadequate instructor by concluding all education is both delinquent and stupid. In the medical profession, we inquire who's good; who isn't.

We face each of these potential challenges with brain and heart.  We have an innate capacity to sort the good from the bad and the ugly.  We then walk away from the slackers and move toward the informed.  Never do we dismiss a topic because of the silliness of the representative.

Why cannot society do the same with faith?  Why the dismissal with a shrug because we find easy excuse to claim fraud or quack?  Why do so many feel this one area can be given no attention, no study, no research?  Each individual deserves better responsibility from him/herself.  Death, dying, and eternal life is worth research before we just irresponsibly reject with smug or snarky indifference.

I work in ministry.  I grasp the bombardment of negative accusations toward religion. I agree with many of them.  We are a people of faith who are stuck, strangled, and stranded by things we claim as coming from God that He never said.  Guys like me have made faith way too hard.  We deserve being questioned.

However, God is not a fraud.  Jesus did die for every individual; history alone supports this as truth.  Calendars are based upon his birth.  The Holy Spirit is our divine supportive Friend.  These are not fake.  These, though, go without serious study by the masses.

Please, I can't think of anything more devastating than one who would waste their very own soul simply by ignoring the subject.  Devoted to risking to drive?  Yes.  To getting an education?  Yes. To being medically treated?  Yes.  Yet no backbone to research the one zone (the only zone) which will affect them for eternity?  Grave mistake.

Reject God if you will; but please do so because you have studied to find Him incomplete.  Do not waste your inner-most truest being.  The Jesus-life isn't a racket as many would parade it to be.  He is the true hope of authentic life; not just for later, but for now.

Personally, I work in a zone that connects with wonderful people who had neither interest nor time for the God-show.  Until....until they lay on their deathbeds.  Then things change.  Criticism, anger, need for getting ahead, worry over things that didn't matter seem to melt out of existence.

In her finals days, a lady asked me, Why would I wait so long to think about God? Facing one's death knocks the props of rejection out from under everyone.  Love fills their speech.  Compassion resonates. Belief arises.

I cheer you on.  Experience this God-dimensioned life for the rest of your life; not just when you are dying and conclude then that there is no one you can turn to except the One you make have either mocked or ignored.  God loves every person.  Believe Him. He is always waiting and welcoming.

Friday, September 19, 2014


I read these words this morning and feel certain they would bless you.

We poor human creatures are constantly being frustrated by limitations imposed upon us from without and within....Life is a short and fevered rehearsal for a concert we cannot stay to give.  Just when we appear to have attained some proficiency we are forced to lay our instruments down.  There is simply not enough time to think, to become, to perform what the constitution of our natures indicate we are capable of.

....How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none.  Eternal years lie in His heart.  For Him time does not pass, it remains; and those who are in Christ share with Him all the riches of limitless time and endless years.  God never hurries....Only to know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves.  For those out of Christ, time is a devouring beast.

Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.

A. W. Tozer

Thursday, September 18, 2014


I do not mean to be an alarmist.  The Bible directs us away from making ignorant speculations. However, I am alarmed.  America is facing a brutal enemy in ISIS.  They are here.

We have this grand knack of telling ourselves that threat from enemy powers is always over there or at least wherever we are not.  Such days are fading.  Catastrophic days will not come with slow warning.  Terrorists strikes will be sudden...and devastating.  Our current conditions are all of the warnings that we will most likely receive.

Therefore, I wish to give direction and support as to how we win with these conditions.  For the hopeful, there are two births as well as two deaths.  The first birth is earthy; the second of heaven.  The first death is of heaven; the second earthy.  We are born and then born again.  We die in baptism in Jesus.  Later we die to be buried in the local cemetery.

Just as seedlings die only to bear a new standard of life (bulb to flower), nature assures us that we are not foolish to believe that there is life after death.  Each person is to be born a second time (Jn. 3:3-5) to become a new creation (II Cor. 5:17); as the old things pass away.  Second birth by first death; born again by being baptized (buried) into Jesus.

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death?  Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection (Romans 6:3-5).

Man is born once of flesh and is to be born a second time of the Spirit.  In the rebirth process, one dies a first death to self.  A second death will occur where breath leaves the body and burial into the ground is the final state of the flesh.  At the first death; sin leaves the body.  In the second, breath exits.

Two births.  Two deaths.  No one wants to be found with only one birth and one death.

Every person has the option to win over this temporary life of mere decades in count.  Even facing the strongest of attacks, we are free to choose a perfect hiding place; that of Jesus, buried in him at baptism and riding out all of life within him.  For you have died and you life is hidden with Christ in God ( Col. 3:3) is the perfect plot to escape a final earthy death.

While this is a rather simple process (born over and pre-die in a watery grave), it is equally intimidating.  There is resistance from many sides.  Some don't want to appear religious.  Others are simply timid.  Yet, others will find excuse by delay with intent on someday; maybe.  This, however, is an urgent matter for each of us personally.  There are no barriers to our acceptance of this process except for the ones we conjure ourselves.

Whether terrorism hits our countryside, death lurks in the meantime for every person.  At that window, we will not be concerned about what others think.  Our stubborn resistance will melt into love for the One who created us, died for us, and was resurrected to show us the eternal living hope.

I do offer caution.  Baptism is not our god.  God is.  This burial in a watery grave symbolizes we are to enter the tomb of Jesus.  It was there from where he arose.  As we immediately arise from that grave of which God speaks, sins are removed (all forevermore) and the Holy Spirit of God enters us (Acts 2:38).  It is the entrance into and the exit out of a God-designed grave; an exit strategy by God Himself.

The Bible is not vague.  God is real.  He signals us each Spring in the vineyards, timbers, and cornfields that life emerges from dead appearances.  He has been consistent to bring on the Sun following every dark night; without exception.

It is time for each of us to get serious.  For certain we have already experienced the first birth; the natural one.  And the final death approaches.  What can one do to avoid the crushing blow of the latter?  Enter the second birth which is the first death (to ourselves).  Hidden in Jesus, we have life abundant from here on out.

If you have yet to be baptized into Christ, it is time for you to seriously ponder a second birth/first death.

(If you would find this post helpful, please forward as there are many who would ponder these thoughts and find them useful.  Thank you.)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Times are very challenging in today's world.  Terrorism, poverty, and broken relationships headline the media.  Stern news breaks daily with signals of wreck and ruin.

And us?  We as believers?  Are we walking side-by-side with those who have zero confidence in the reality and the effectiveness of the kingdom of God; yet we head for church once a week and sometimes twice?  Are we found to have any element about us that is more than religiosity (devoted to our own religion, but makes us still no different)?

Are we living among the dead as more dead than alive ourselves?

Or, are we a called-out group of whom it can be said that there is surely something special about these who go through the same church motions; yet these seem to be alive in some unique and mysterious way?  Are we activated by God or are we just active in church?

The difference could/should/would be in the power source.  Ritually dull or responsively driven? Are we operating on our own understanding and steam?  Or, are we directly connected to the power of God in Spirit energy?

If the latter, we are found with a confidence that comes not from our strongest positioning for accomplishment; but rather it is completely found in the Holy Spirit who is the adequate one.  Nothing comes from us (our own brain and brawn), but it comes from the Living God around and through us if we are found to be of any valuable effect (II Cor. 3:4-5).

II Timothy 3 warns that there are those (often us) who have a form of godliness; yet have denied His power.

Churches today are much about form.  High church.  Low church.  Outreach church. One can be formal while another is casual.  Some forms draw.  Others wain.  Both can be found to have centered upon form.  The kingdom question is whether there is any power from above to be found among the gatherers, believers, servers, and defenders.

Formation is both biblical and valuable.  It is also deceitful if church time is spent organizing and plotting without the impactive presence of the Holy Spirit of God. Churches are in danger of becoming a Word Society where our talk is technical, resourceful, and contemplative without a trace of unusual energy from above.

Our dynamics have rescinded from effectivity among our communities to rigorous dialog of explanation, or definition, with very little difference-making power.  I (we) are to be different from our God-denying world in a Jesus sort of way.  Our walk is to be backed by the Holy Spirit similarly to the way America's economy is to be backed by Fort Knox.

Jesus expressed clearly that apart from the Father he could do nothing.  We must find our devotion is seeking connection with the Father that we get anything done. Churches vary; styles, missions, and locations; even languages.  Yet, there is to be something central in every one; the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

We are to be different in this Jesus sort of way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Faith isn't for sissies.  It is that deep inner conviction that things we cannot see are actually in existence.  Faith is assurance.  Assurance would be the force of our need to know for sure when there seems to be nothing physical nor rational to verify.

Humanity is challenged at our deepest senses over this matter of faith.  It isn't logical.  It won't bow to one's strongest calculations.  Faith defies the god of human reason.  It is mystery in it's fullest term.

Brene' Brown agrees.  Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.  

She follows quickly, I also learned that it's not always the scientists who struggle with faith and the religious who fully embrace uncertainty.  Many forms of fundamentalism and extremism are about choosing certainty over faith.

Fundamentalism and extremism are always roaming the halls of our camps.  These two have the loudest bark and impose the strongest threat.  They are church bullies.  These two culprits live to intimidate tender believers who would otherwise break free into a zone of brave devotion to the wild call of God.

Faith isn't black and white.  It comes with uncertain and even blurred lines.  Mystery is....mystery.  It isn't charted.  Neither is it explained, tested, nor provable.  In the territory of faith we are often called by God to simply believe because He said so.  (Hmmm...brings back the frequent words of my mother when I was a child.)

Faith is all around.  We all have it.  Regarding God, one either has the faith He exists or else the faith that He doesn't.  Believers' conclusions are based on search of the Word of God.  In that sentence alone is surely long-range mystery.  Doubters don't buy into such silliness (to them).  Yet, I believe, these do so without realizing they have no evidence, proof, nor verification for their stance.

Faith isn't spelled B-L-A-C-K-A-N-D-W-H-I-T-E.  It is spelled M-Y-S-T-E-R-Y.  Each is free to choose.  Fundamentalism and extremism, one must be warned, are mere church tyrants who live to distract us from freely experiencing the mystery of God by faith in the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, September 11, 2014



We either have it or else we possess its dread.

Chuck Swindoll says that we men are so self-conscious that we constantly check the fly of our pants.  I've heard of two occasions where one lady walked up to another and whispered, Excuse me, but you have toilet paper hanging over your belt in the back.

Say it ain't so!

May I take the reverse approach here?  It would be good for all if each of us could realize there are things about us personally that are embarrassing?  Mankind needs a constant supply of humility tablets.

The older we get it seems there remains a terrible glare from all as we regard ourselves a bit higher and mightier than a few others.  This is a grand violation of the heart that God wishes we possessed.  Arrogance plagues all of us; and it seems to be very equal among us.  Selfishness is prominent in all; not just a select few.  To look down at our noses to any other is a sinful posture.

I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Rom. 12:3).  A measure of faith; not the whole load.  No one possesses the complete package.  Enter the need for the church body to work in harmony.

Everyone has a speck of faith; maybe two or even three specks.  And the same individuals possess unzipped pants and toilet paper hanging out.  It shows.  In every one of us, it shows.  You can run but you cannot hide.  In everyone of us our great lack in major areas shows.

This is why we need one another.  To pool our gifts from God, the few which each possesses, makes for a wonderful, graceful, and powerful body of believers. Superstars and shy servants; all are only gifted in a few areas and are visibly deficient in many more areas.

Sound judgment isn't about information stored in a mind nor is it vast experiences one encountered.  Sound judgment only comes from humility.  One can be gifted in outreach, wisdom, compassion and/or management.  Not one of we gifted possesses sound judgment if believing we have the upper hand on another.  Not ever.

Especially in church leadership, must we temper our roles with the necessity of regarding others as more important than ourselves.  Arrogance warps our service.  We then cause the light from God to begin to glare.  Glare causes onlookers to look away rather than toward.

Regardless of what we have to offer, who we know, or what God has let us do, it would serve us to remember that every day of our lives finds us with either our pants unzipped or toilet paper hanging out the back of our slacks.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


Each of us turns a corner or comes over a horizon to be hit with distraction; even severe troubles at times.  In each occasion, we need the reminder that God's got it.  He does.

This thought goes over well when commenting in Sunday morning Bible class.  We are all in.  Need provision?  God's got it.  Need deliverance?  God's got it.  He can do anything.  Count us in.

And, these Sunday morning comments are true.  A confusion arises when Monday and Tuesday mornings encounter stressful circumstances which cause our Sunday affirmations to wither in doubt.

Here's what the Word insists.  In every circumstance, God's got us covered.  He puts the confidence in us to regard nothing as coming from us; but sufficiency coming from His Spirit (Cor. 3:4-5).  In heaviest of threat, our Lord knows full-well what, how, when, where, and why His perfect timing will bless.

We have every reason to live in His confidence.  From the cross to the empty grave, Jesus experienced the ultimate crisis....and now lives forever.  Troubles?  We are advantaged by watching for God to provide.  Celebrations?  We are once again positioned to honor Him for He supplies the moment.

This doesn't mean we never shed tears.  We may weep with those who weep.  It does mean we do not melt when days or wishes are obstructed by surprise disappointment. God's got it.  He knew how to handle the torture of His innocent Son on the Cross and He knows how to handle our skirmishes with frustration; both with people and with routine.

We must shift a significant thought.  We seem to believe we deserve better.  For some reason believers have developed an expectation of FREE SPACE when it comes to troubling upset.  We beg immunity.  For these folks, to say God's got it adds to the frustration because we just don't want disturbance hanging around.  Further, it is rationalized, if we didn't have these conflicts in the first place there would be no reason for God to step in.

That is not reality.  We may be hit.  We may suffer.  We may encounter stark betrayal. But we are allowed to never flinch.  God's got it.  Some of our brightest testimonies come from those who could have ample reason to whine and complain.  Yet, their faith in God is so strong that even during intense duress they believe God's got it.

Not one thing will go on in our walk today that does not include the potential of God being glorified in either the actions or at least the results.  We don't have it.  That's why God's got it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


Jesus has to be the most perplexing man to have ever roamed earth.  Name the great names of human history.  No one compares.  No one.

I know.  I know.  You expect me to target the resurrection for no other has encountered such.  Well, Lazarus did...but then he died again.  But there is yet another trait that is equally impressive.

Jesus loved his enemies to the point of death.  Yes, his resurrection is beyond impressive.  But the reason he was executed in the first place is stunning.  He was killed because it was the only route he knew to take to save his enemies from going to Hell.

When Jesus, who knew Father and Spirit intimately, submitted to slander and misrepresentation and public beatings and obscene ridicule so that those who mocked could have a shot at living forever in the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom, one surely should take notice.  Jesus wasn't your average hero, national leader, or military conqueror.

Jesus was like no other.  He stood firm against the bully church and her leaders.  He stood strong for humanity's fringe citizens.  And, he lived to eventually take on every wrong all men and women commit.

This last one is what I want to strike upon mostly.  It is one thing that a man or woman would reject Jesus simply because they choose not to.  However, it is quite another to fail to understand that no one follows Jesus because one is found good enough.

No one is good enough.  Not one.  Therefore, this is not sufficient excuse.  Not one pastor, nor saintliest of any community, nor most humble.  Every person is guilty of enough sin to be cast from God's presence.  Yet, Jesus disrupts the standard.  He upends the world system of getting what one deserves.

Those of us who follow Jesus do so because we deserved Hell but won't get it.  He didn't deserve it; but got it.  He traded places by taking on our guilt and shame.

If you didn't know this, it is high time you do.

Furthermore, if you have friends who don't know it, pass this on.  Jesus upends our discouraging, depressing, barking world system that keeps reminding us of how shallow we are.  He, instead, lived to take on all of our discouragement, depression, and nagging voices in order to set us free.

May we learn to soar!

Friday, September 05, 2014


Do not give up.  Do not be sucked into the demisery (demise/misery) of the pounding of catastrophic world news.  Yes, turbulence abounds.  But don't you think this is always an occasion for faith to abound all the more?

God's light always subdues the darkest of darkness.  Hold on to this.  Recall it in temptation to back down or to back off from believing the spiritual war can be won.  It has been won!  Remember?

God volunteered to confront humanity at its deepest starkest darkness.  The end-of-all-endings; the black hole called the grave was His clarion call to never flinch.  God went there to snub His nose at its assumed potential.  The grave couldn't keep Him there a whole week (shoot, it's grasp couldn't go a half of a week without getting tired and letting go) let alone eternity!

So you and me....we walk about being owned by this kind of Light.  Therefore, talk like it and walk like it.  Think like it.  Dream like it.  Plan like it.  Act like it.  Be it.

Threats to safety and life abound, it seems, increasing day by day.  These, however, are serious times of opportunity for us to arise in faith.

Should ISIS hit America hard, I can already tell you what will happen.  The mediocre believers will awaken as a Sleeping Giant.  We will come out stronger; not weaker.  We will move forward; not cower.  Enemies of the kingdom will be sorry they approached.

Light dispels darkness.  You are of the Light, in the Light, and with the Light.

Live today like you believe it!

Thursday, September 04, 2014


He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38)."  Jesus is referencing the flow of the Holy Spirit coming forth from within believers.  That would include us.

We are to be a people who are overflowing our banks in life.  We are flooding our communities with hope, joy, and encouragement.  We are not the sour.  We are not to be whiners.  God has implanted His Spirit within us that we can move like rivers; constantly flowing with Spirit nature.

Watchman Nee offers a sobering comment.  He insists that we must be sure that those who are around us do not leave our presence thirsty for life.  Their parched hearts should have been satisfied by drinking in our overflow words and hopeful dispositions.  Our conversations, our facial expressions, and our actions are to be contrary to the natural drain of tedium.  River flows with rebound and rebounce!

We need to inquire of ourselves, do people have no more thirst once they have had contact with us?  Or do they continue to feel thirsty after they have been with us?  If when people say their life is miserable, sad and undone, we in response acknowledge the same thing, then this shows we are not rivers of living water but are barren deserts which dry up the moisture and deaden the plants.

It is up to us to abide refreshed in the Spirit of God; anointed and flexible.  As a result we may freely offer hope to thirsty, crusty, hurting neighbors.  We must not forget that we are wells dug by God to quench the thirst of every passerby.  If we join others in sighing as to how pitiful our days are, we offer not the Spirit flow but the desert heat which bums those near who were needing just a sip of relief.

Our joining in on distraught conversations offers no water to the comrade.  Our frustrations are not with us to bemoan.  Rather, they are useful tools to share with others how God overcomes.

No.  We do not deny stresses in our own lives.  But these do not serve to define who we are .  We are real individuals who live an overflowing, overcoming, overwhelmingly wonderful kind of life.  Our ability to arise, when those who do not buy into this God-thing wither, makes the point.  Only those who have the empowering Holy Spirit of God could dare approach life with overflowing enthusiasm when we, too, are riddled day by day with legitimate excuse to throw up our hands in frustration.

River walk people always know why the blessing is in the center of each distraction. Life in Christ is an overflowing one.  We are up!  We are grateful!  We not indifferent to troubles.  But, we know how to transform them from intended discouragement to intentional encouragement.

This is a secret of moving from a desert-to-river kind of walk.  May we do well as we take our daily walk along the River.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014


Every church wants to draw more people.  These wishes may be sabotaged by our neglect to the facilities where we gather.  Due to sheer lack of property attention, it is possible we send negative messages to our visitors before they enter a class or a worship assembly.  They see significant factors immediately which we have long ago begun to let fade.

The longer a leader is at a church the greater is the threat that this person will not notice the slide caused by indifference that might develop within a congregation. This is why we must stay on our toes by observing, learning, and listening.

Andy Stanley's Deep and Wide volume is one of the best books on church leadership that I have ever seen.  His work is surely to be respected back home at the local church he serves.  His influence reaches magnanimously throughout the world.  I share a portion of his comment regarding the importance of a church environment.

Before we jump into the details of what makes a great ministry environment, I need to warn you about one thing.  The longer you've served where you are and the longer you've done what you are currently doing, the more difficult it will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity needed to make the changes that need to be made.  The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.

The longer you serve in a particular ministry environment, the less aware of it you become.  This is why adults, many of whom pay to have their houses cleaned, can walk into the Sunday school assembly room I described in the section introduction and not be distressed by what they see.  They don't see it.  The mess is invisible to them.  Time in erodes awareness of.

If there are things in your current ministry environments that are offensive to outsiders, you probably don't know what they are.

Erosion of awareness is a most serious matter.  This is why tradition is such a threat. We who practice rote religion are tempted to fall asleep to its numbing rhythm. Truthfully, we want bigger, better, and greater things for the kingdom; we are not in a coma.  Yet, we are likely tempted to walk through our ministries blinded by what we are seeing as if it isn't seen at all because we have looked at it so long.

We live in extremely vulnerable times.  Every person in our community possesses an inner sensitivity toward the spiritual.  We must restore our awareness of those things about our gathering places which are of clutter, age, and even smell which would offend a visitor; things we no longer notice because we have grown blind to some important things which turn seekers away.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Life.  Approach to life varies according to the liver....or should that be livee?  Some are charged while others feel subdued.  Celebration or frustration or both are always within our grasp.  I wish to awaken you to the value of your dark days.

I am preparing to teach a new class this quarter called BREAKTHROUGH.  The thrust of it will be to encourage us regarding the dark times that tend to shut us down. I especially like how Sue Monk Kidd puts it out for all to ponder:

Whenever new life grows and emerges, darkness is crucial to the process.  Whether it's the caterpillar in the chrysalis, the seed in the ground, or the child in the womb, or the True self in the soul, there's always a time of waiting in the dark.

Always....a time of waiting in the dark.  Darkness is crucial, Kidd insists.

Darkness isn't the stage for depression.  Neither is it the banner for misery.  No, not at all.  Darkness is the incubation of wonder, of glory....of truest life!

Certainly, many things don't go our way.  Each time we experience this, if we aren't keen to the Spirit, we will believe that one more life-candle is being snuffed.  But, not true.  Each dark setback is preparatory significance to the continual new birth process which is very real; very perpetually real.

Be encouraged.  Even discouragement bows to the Life of Jesus born in us.