Saturday, January 31, 2015


Life in Jesus is neither hokey, sheer formality, nor even religious.  Did Jesus say that he came that we might have religion in abundance (Jn. 10:10)?  Or, was it life in abundance?

It was LIFE!

It's interesting that in that John chapter Jesus was stating that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. This is consistent with II Corinthians 3:6 informing us that the law kills; but the Spirit gives life.

Why is religion a problem?  If a congregation is who it is based upon control (the only right way to do church) by the more powerful members, rather than the Spirit of God, the spirits of the members will wither while they repeat their Sunday treks.  The thief robs by leading us to become enamored with rules and regulations which tends to develop the mean-spirited, impatient, and grumpy.

Just how strong is this negative influence?  Count the masses who give us a disinterested nod as they cannot take seriously a group that they note as similar to themselves; moody, rude at times, and occasionally insulting.

What would change things?  That they see that we are really alive; even on rough days.

We want them to see the Light in us.

It should be said that not all in the church are this way; quite the reverse, fortunately. However, just as the squeaky wheel gets the grease, the onlookers with a negative slant about us find ample proof that they should keep their distance.

As Christians, what shall we do about this torrent of disbelief which is global?  Can we do anything?  Should we?

We say we believe in the most impossible thing imagined; death transformed into eternal life.  I think it would help the questioners if they could see in us our happy faces and hear from us our confidence-in-God words.  Never do we have the posture that we are better because we believe.  Not ever.

Jesus, the perfect one, humbled himself even to the point of death on the cross.  He did not come to earth to argue.  He came to earth to show all that he could break the barriers of threatening death by causing death to yield to life.  We are not in the church to debate who is right and who isn't.  We are in the church because we desire to follow Jesus.  That's it.

As we develop in following him we will find that we dearly love the unlovable.  Too, we will go to great "pains", as did Jesus, to love our enemies.  This is very different than the competitive Bible battles which tend to cloud God's message of restorative hope for every soul.

Too much of Christianity appears moody.  If we are having a good day, good for us and, therefore, blessed are others.  Yet, if not so good, you better not get in range of our squint-eyed judgmental ire.  This is not only really wrong; it is sinking the ship which carries God's intended message to all of the world.

We can do this!  We can be fantastic encouragers in our communities!  Our sheer hope in this process is to let the light of Jesus shine through.  Lights shines best in darkness; so let not our dark experiences cause us to falter.  Even our struggles are mere stages for show time.

May He find mercy to help us shine even our very best when crushing kinds of days pester our hearts.

Life is abundant.  It is found in Jesus.  He breaks depression.  He offers reason to believe.  Too, Jesus assures us of hope in the very center of every distracting tactic thrown at us...Romans 5:1-5.  May we do our best to believe it.  If we will, maybe others will also.

Friday, January 30, 2015


There is this thing that goes on perpetually which stymies progress.  I believe that there is a culprit in our camp that shuts us down.  It's strong.  It's influential.  And, it's mean.

For years I submitted to this rude intruder.  I was found to be invisibly shackled by his clear voice that rang out with clarity in my head.  Hesitation would be one fruit.  Fear would be the strongest and most potent.

I speak of a very nasty human doctrine; comparison.  Comparison is complexity in the simplest of forms.  Complex because we strain to sort through the maze he offers. Simple in that He works undercover within our heads; going completely without notice.

This undercover agent thrashes our hearts as we compare how others are better; work, sports, intelligence, speaking ability, or social technique. Others always seem to be healthier, wealthier, wiser...on and on our lists give assumed proof...which causes a noticeble limp in spirit confidence.

Comparison is a thief with no gun.

Neither does he have a code to gain entry which signals his strength.  He simply roams the terrain of our spirits as a normal friend who issues perpetual caution.  While he poses as our friend to keep us from making mistakes, this villain hold us hostage with no weapons.  We permit him to exploit our mind-set, ravage our intentions, and rearrange our thought dynamics.

When one lives by comparison, the understanding of any given situation is clearly not understood.  This is the enemy's goal.  Shut us down!

Mr. Comparison works by means of innocent distraction.  Measurements are warped. Truth is fractured.  Conclusions are erroneous.  Yet, this invisible bully assures us that he is very much on our side to the extent that he whispers, I would like to spare you from embarrassment.  If you try, you may fail.  Wouldn't it be better to play it safe?

So what happens is we tend to move through life looking over our shoulders for who might be among us that would do a better job.  Better...comparison.  Another's better? An excuse for us to cling while we await someone more qualified to carry out the mission. More....qualified = Comparison.

We are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves to themselves, they are without understanding (II Cor. 10:12).

This explains why so many won't give ear to God's call.  They know little about God (as was my case).  To venture out into this deep could be seen as those who can now roam the Bible with somewhat clarity.

This also exposes why the church is stuck.  The individual call of God to serve others took a seat (a comfortable one) in the name of someone we know could do it better. How many times I hear that an effort worked because I'm Terry.

That is not true.  I'm chicken.  I'm a coward.  I'm fiercely inadequate.  But, I have utmost confidence in the Spirit of God.  He does the resulting; not ever me.  And so it is with all of us.  Really.

We have allowed (permitted) a thief to enter the compounds of our minds and hold us at bay from abundant life.  I urge you to drive this culprit out.  Mr. Comparison puts the clamps on us which leads to neutralizing mediocrity.

If you want to do something meaningful for God and for others, lean into the Power. The secret (which Comparison tries his best to abolish) is always and only found in our weaknesses (II Cor. 12:9).  The Power is always and only of God.

Set the excuses aside.  We are armed with the qualifications to make us effective.

Holy Spirit prop us up!  Comparison, get out of our way!

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Are we hurrying past ourselves to where we not only do not know our neighbors; we don't know our spouses, our kids, ourselves. We have given in to a demanding bossy lifestyle, given out by lack of will, and eventually given up.

Enter our friend, Happy Medium.  That term solicits a hearer's need to fight off extreme action.  Fanaticism is booed by Happy and his sort.

Truthfully, however, we find ourselves often caught between pressures of over-extension of our time to get things done versus bored because there is little to do and we don't like time on our hands.  Whoever is in one of these categories would love to meet the ones in the other with the question, How can I live in your shoes for just a few minutes?

Yet, I find Happy Medium to be both an illusion and a cop-out.  He is a figment of one's wishful imagination.  Middle life will lead, maybe, to neutral life.  Nothing productive; but neither bothered nor pressed while occasionally engaged and active; that's what we think we want.

Our thoughts about life could and should be directed toward the Ultimate Life-Giver; Jesus.

What made him tick?  Why could he be so productive within the boundaries of extreme simplicity?

Well, let's observe him a bit.

Jesus was in constant alone-time with God.  This is an immediate red-flag for our pace. Extreme busyness, or opposing indifference, sways us to avoid time with God.  This should change...quickly.  If we are too busy (or lazy) to pray, to study the Word, and to ponder our co-existence with Him, we are setting ourselves up for the hunt for Mr. Happy Medium...and we will not find him.

To implement this one action alone would have powerful impact upon our stressed-out and fractured lives.  (I just have to laugh right here.  Do you have any idea how many interruptions have passed my way while trying to get this message proofed.  If you see mistakes in this surely was someone else's fault!)

Too, Jesus was seldom courting Happy Medium.  Rather his life was on the edge.  Martha tells him he has got to hurry.  Lazarus is dead!  Jesus compassionately waits two days before responding.  Evidently he has spent such quality time with Father that he is not disturbed by wondering how Martha feels (or will feel) about him.

On the other side of the Christ is the cutting edge of being way ahead of God's troops. His vision and imaginational awareness is unmatched.  Jesus was walking on the water, successfully, when his gang could only give a best guess that he was some sort of ghost.  He blew their minds.

It seems that Jesus was everywhere but in the middle.  He could relax when those who loved him pressed in.  Too, he could think of Father when suffering extreme pain upon the cross where he was not only in tune with God; but was loving others strung up beside him.

Life in Jesus is not Happy Medium's region.  Commitment.  Prayer.  Compassion. Connection.  Christianity is extravagant effort.  We look for what we call balance.  He calls us to much more than getting by.  He calls us to Life!  Life isn't balance.  It is hearing His call when to say Yes and when to say No.  That doesn't take balance.  That takes faith and courage.

If you often have days where you feel you are merely spinning your wheels, I'm one who will stand by you in sympathy.  The exciting news is that these matters can experience seismical shift when curbing the winds of business or the slumber of laziness.

To truly spend time with the Creator, the Life-Provider, we will have abundant life...He promises....John 10:10.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


About 35 years ago I designed a one-time-to-be-shown television program to encourage the down-and-out.  Shall We Hope or Shall We Die? was filmed and shown as a 30-minute special locally on Tulsa's CBS-6 station at 6:30 p.m.  It was good. (Well, at least my mom thought so.)

Even today in the common walks we have we still ask, Shall we hope or shall we die?

That question is always fitting for any culture on any day.  The why of it fitting is key to our life in Christ.

No one is exempt from good days nor bad ones.  This is what makes us both strong and weak.  The secret isn't in living only for the good days.  No, the secret is in noting how the bad days also bless.

I don't like hard times.  I do not prefer lean times.  Yet, because we follow a guy who caused a grave to wonder, What in the world just happened here?, we get to participate in a new caliber of hope.  Regardless of the challenge(s), we are able to tell God thank you even at our lowest points.

Why do I have hard times?  Well one, because I'm often an idiot.  And two, because I'm a regular person. And three, I need gasping-for-hope moments so that I can be reminded of how others around me hurt...and hurt deeply.

Pain is never about us.  We usually think the opposite.  Pain is not a villain because it has been converted in Jesus.  Now, we find it to be our tool to reach others.  If we have no desire to reach others, then we will hover over our ache and utter whining, moaning words of the self-induced doctrine of poor-me-ism.

I do not like the concept of hurt.  I don't like me hurting and I don't like hurting others. Yet, the kingdom will transform the stings we endure into deeper understanding of the hurting souls around us.  The marvel of Jesus is that he could not rescue and redeem if he refused the hurting process.  That was what his key prayer time in the Garden was all about.

Shall we hope or shall we die?  For me?  Well, at times I just want to throw up my hands in give-upness.  I get weary of the incoming and outgoing injuries which abound in both directions. However, the resurrected Jesus insists that we all keep going.

As were his, our wounds are valuable blessings to others in some strange spiritual form.  When we feel insulted or neglected or betrayed, we must try to thank God for such pain.  Jesus did it.  We claim to follow him.  The rugged cross...our rugged crosses...confirm we are on the right path.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Mankind is in a definite and certain kind of war for its life.  No generation is ever exempt.  Individuals of every economic, social, political, and religious inclination do battle over one major tenet; personal image.  How do we look to others?  How do we sound?  How are we judged?  How are we doing?

The pressure to live the image embedded within our own heads can be a monstrous dictator.  Appearance (or lack of) is a rigid ruler.  How often we try to bow to the Kings and Queens of latest trend and/or current fashion.

This reality gives me insight into every one's life.  I know this truth; every person lives with huge personal question marks about himself or herself. It doesn't matter how we dress of a morning or look in the afternoon, we wonder if we are doing all right.  Many of us are fairly sure we are not.

This is not an occasional battle for a handful of us.  Oh sure, some have no trouble with this because they simply don't care what anyone thinks about them.  (Well....they should!)

So what shall those three (or three billion), who are just as I am, do?  We shall learn to relax.  We shall learn that, even with all of our public warts, we are valuable and needed and useful because God doesn't create junk.

We shall learn to be thankful.  He is amazing and we are His!

Life isn't a matter of, Are we enough?  Life is a matter of us focusing on two powerful reservoirs; giving great attention to God and giving great encouragement to others. What about us?  We will receive the security we need when we give ourselves away to His cause and their well-being.

The image war is ruthless.  It is also a conquerable war.  We win such a fierce battle by being attentive outwardly toward God and others.  The most miserable among us are consistently the selfish.  The enthused are steadily the sacrificial.  Life a life....where you win!

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I study constantly.  I love it.  I need it.  Put me in the room with most preachers and I assume to be among the least equipped as well as least informed.  There is so much to know.  Oddly, with God the more we learn the more we find there remains to learn.  He keeps expanding on us.

This would be one reason the legalistic side of the church is so vocal.  It does not want to be bothered by facts.  Neither does it want to be pressed to learn new ways that would actually come from God.  Personal growth seems to carry acute discomfort.

We are not to be a people who are only on the go (for Him); but on the grow.

The growing of faith takes us places.  It will not allow us to sit in pews to participate in belly-button religion.  Growing faith will call us, challenge us, and convert us again and again.

I've said all of this to get us to awaken to something that, at least for me, I had never given thought.  The Muslim faith is full of individuals who are as lazy and indifferent in their religion as some are in ours; not more so than us, but just like us.  This means an open door for the name of Jesus.

When we hear of any of an entirely different faith perspective, we tend to see them as devout, strong, aggressive in/for their belief system.  But this isn't the case.  They have the very same indifference levels that we in the Christian circle note.  They have their legalists, their liberals, their moderates, and their "in name only".

Many of these, therefore, are open doors to the message of Jesus.

When encountering any of a completely different faith base, do not assume they would have no interest in Christianity.  They not only would, many already have.

May we broaden our reach by opening our minds of what can be.  Let others be the judge of whether they accept the nature and message of Jesus.  May we not pre-judge causing millions to never get to hear of the God of the Resurrected Jesus and His Holy Spirit.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I don't know if I'm weird or if I'm normal (no voting please).

I hit occasional down-spots where I feel discouraged and simply haven't a clue as to why.  It's one thing to feel empty because of conflict with a person(s) or an event(s). Yet, to come over the horizon of a moment in time and sense depression for no clear reason seems...really weird.

For one, working with God seems to be somewhat of a conflict.  I must continually remind myself to believe in His ability; not in mine.  Inadequacy has always been my strong suit so that part is most natural.

The friction may be that I'm trying to constantly yield my inadequate self of me to the quite adequate Holy Spirit...within me.  I don't know if you all find this to be a snap. Me?  Not so easy.

So you say, Terry, what seems to spark this struggle?

I say, There is so much to be done and so many who are better equipped than me to do it.

You say, Don't you remember your Philippians 4:4-9 teaching of shift our minds to think on the right, excellent, trustworthy, and then the peace of God will guard your heart and your mind?

Then I say, Oh yeah.  I forgot that part.  I will choose to think on what is going right more than what coulda/shoulda/woulda.

Then you say, You know, Terry, we are all so much alike.  We struggle with the desire to be more than we are.  But we are more than we are through the Spirit of Jesus.  He indwells to take us places we could never go on our own.  You must remember that if it is to be, it is up to Him to work it out.  You, Terry, are to be inclined to wait for Him and then move for Him that He might be glorified.  

My response is, But I'm this age and still so nothing.  

Your response to my response insists, Yes, but being nothing means there is great room for Him to fill you with His presence.  

Me.  Good point.  I get discouraged with my lack...but He seems willing to use me anyway.

Oh.  I feel better now.  Thanks for the talk.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Have you ever preached for a rigid legalistic church?  Do you know what it's like to try to survive in this when the Bible says that the Law will kill; but the Spirit will give life? Few realize the killing fields of Law.  The weight of legalism is threatening and staggering.  Good people wither and die under such regime.

Yet, God calls us to survive; even learn in the center of it.  Don't be oblivious to hope.

For those who feel they are about to die; I encourage you that due to the resurrected Jesus you have reason to live right in the center of anything that wishes to entomb you. Breathe.  Relax.  Believe.  Admire.  Focus.  Dream.  Wait.  Where you live in this invisible prison of yours has kingdom keys which can unlock the sturdiest of prison cells.

Just how green must be the grass where we live?

Very!  Certainly!  Absolutely!  Unequivocally!

Regardless of pressures, frustrations, and deep troubles, the grass which we tread is fundamentally quite green.

Bring your issues to the table of distress.  Hold them.  Stroke them as you absorb the difficulty of your particular demise.

Reflect upon the pre-teen slave boys, pried from their Mommas and Daddies, in the Middle East who are awakened at 4:00 a.m. daily to hit the fishing waters to make money for the Power Agents of the region.  Some will die again today because they are so young and cannot withstand the duties assigned.  Others among them will wish they were so fortunate to die.

Ponder the young and beautiful teen girls who are made sex slaves of Drug Lords; once again extracted from their parents and siblings.  These of hopeful future, today, are drugged into submissive stupor.  They are real, authentic, wonderful girls whose lives are trashed by senseless egotists who care for no one other but themselves.

Sit for a moment at the kitchen table with the couple who discovered it was their son in the fatal wreck at 2:00 this morning.  What would they give to have your worries? What would they trade to study his handsome face while listening to the utmost privilege of him telling of his plans for college?

Try to sense the sheer stun of the family of seven as we hear the news this morning that their trailer home--and everything in it--was destroyed by fire last night. Everything is gone.  It's just stuff we point out; yet our stuff seems to carry immeasurable value.

Finally, as one account after another of actual horrid living conditions could be expressed, consider the multitudes who hear from the doctors this morning of their beloved, Hopeless, Malignant, Brain-dead, or Will be as a vegetable.  

Are these what you are facing?  Would you trade your stress for any of the above?  It's doubtful.  Please be encouraged.  I am not naive to radical difficulty.  Neither am I naive to the fact that much of what fills our minds is a thief with designing tactics to rob us of gratitude from the green grass of right now.

While we all hurt....while we each take our turn in varying levels of direct pain....we must not live oblivious to the sweetness that also fills our days.  Regardless of those serious troubles which take our breath away, there are deeper and darker conditions that would cause us to volunteer to keep the ones we have.

Thank you, God, for my right now.  Please, please reach into the many camps of torture, homelessness, and lonely...and give them the joys like I have.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I sit at this computer day in and day out.  My first agenda is to post something real for where you live; for who you are.  That's an exciting challenge in itself as numbers say there are over 1600 of you out there reading these words.  What an exciting and wide array of personalities and prejudices.

So I often sit, as in this morning, just staring at a blank screen.  I wonder two things: what does God want you to consider and how do I communicate it in such a way that the message will resonate with the multitude.  Every post has the two of you in mind; God and you.

Church has been sideswiped by an innocent mislabel.  Church is not a framed building with stained-glass architecture where people flow in and out on schedule.  Rather, the real meaning of church is the people.  Church isn't a lecture hall.  It is a systematic arrangement of God-people who live bigger than they can imagine because He is.

We are a vibrant combination of where we have been, who we are, and what we will become.  All three ingredients formulate a fantastic combustible combination of vision and hope.  To focus on one or only two of the three will leave us deformed....or possibly unformed.

The church isn't a lecture hall where good people file in, sit still, look at their watches and file out in relief that it's finally over.  Church is life with meaning and purpose. Believers don't just acknowledge doctrinal codes with a shrug of indifference.  No.  We believe...we believe God will do amazing things through us that will glorify Him and bless so many others.

The church isn't a lecture hall.  It is a great gathering of people who finally find that illusive, What is life all about?, answered.  Pills and addictions are mere signals that the spirit of man is authentic as well as in the hunt for a satisfaction that is bigger than one can construct on his own.

The church isn't a lecture hall.  It is a wild life of what's happening now.  Yet, to be honest, this is not the vision communities have of churches.  Strong (but sad) impressions have been left that we are narrow, edgy, and highly squint-eyed in our judgment.  Our judgment isn't necessarily wrong; but we have failed to include ourselves in the mix of much needed improvement.

I would want every person who has found it very handy to dismiss church to rethink your conclusion.  Open up the religious can of worms you once set aside because you could see the holes in guys like me.  Look for a people who love God and who love others.  These will be alive; not just when they die and go to heaven....BUT RIGHT NOW.

The church isn't a lecture hall.  When you come across such, freely dismiss.  Yet, look for the church; the real one where a people sacrificially adore God and believe in what people can become.  I want in on that one.  How about you?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


The religiously bent have a challenge; a very big one.  We are called to follow the Spirit of God.  This is not a suggestion from heaven.  It is the core response of a following humanity toward a leading Creator; be led by the Holy Spirit.

Even for those steeped in the theological course, this is no easy task.

The reason following God seems difficult is that once man reaches for a territory or characteristic beyond the norm--and get there--we try to preserve our arrival for the rest of our days.  Following God is journey.  Once climbing a mountain in God's kingdom, we will find that there are more peaks awaiting.

Younger generational mankind seems to have a drive of exploration.  As the younger age, exploration shifts to preservation; an adamant one at that.  Because God is big (immeasurable) and because man is small (measurable), we must consistently strive to quench our efforts to make a kingdom take-over.  To yield and submit to Him will be our call in every age we experience.

Following the Spirit of God is life-giving.  It is risky, unsettling, and wild.  These factors pose threat because we like being in control; running our own show.  The kingdom of God will not work that way for any.  To follow His Spirit will of necessity mean we must shift often in direction and mission.

Man tends to not do this well.  However, when we can make the transition, there is nothing like it.  I encourage you to live daringly on the edge of God's wonder.  It may scare you.  It most likely will take your breath away.  But it will lead you to a Promise Land of life experience you would have deemed likely impossible.

Our God is not tired in His creativity.  Neither is He out of ideas.  It is up to man to yield.  It is up to us to say to God, Show me what you are thinking for who I am and where I live.  You will enter into an entirely new kind of

Blessings as you search.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I get to live the oddest life.  I'm surely not alone in it; but my walk is not according to the do this equation that would make life tick.

My life is weird because of our immeasurable God.

You see, I always thought God was about ritual.  That's what made church so boring.  And church, in my mind, was because of God.  He came in neutral colors with nothing to do but sit in a tall armed chair and looks down over Scotland County Missouri where I grew up as a kid.

He didn't seem to do much except crack some sort of spiritual whip when I/we got out of line.  Life in God was basically about right and wrong.  He wasn't much of a help, I figured.  God for sure was not into fun.

But, I've learned. I've learned over the years that man's mind can't take in the wonder and the beauty of God.  He is exciting, creative, imaginative...and very much rooting for me/us.

God and His system isn't just about what we do know so that we are supposed to do the best we can with it.  No.  The kingdom of God is also very much about what we don't know; what we can't explain, what we can't define.  His blessings and riches for us are, in His words, beyond our imagination.

So?  Go for it!!!!

Life with God in Christ is the most amazing concept to try to behold; yet it is so huge we just can't get our minds around it.  If we could, it wouldn't be of God, would it?

Saturday, January 17, 2015


You are what you eat is a statement slung here and there; I guess intended to urge hearers to better health.  I would assume there is much truth to be evaluated about this.  I do know that there is yet another factor that is absolutely the truth of how we become who we are.

You are what you think.

Sure.  Even this statement requires monitoring.  A person can think they will get a part in a play and find that another received the assignment.  One can think a vacation will go without a hitch, only to find out differently.

But we are what we think when it comes to the spiritual side of our walk.  Our moods.  Our attitudes.  Our dispositions.  These are quite often subject to what we decide to ponder.

If we think happy, this doesn't mean sadness will never appear.  Yet, to think happy will find ways to see joy in the very difficult moments.  To think success doesn't promise that everything will go as we had planned.  It does, though, cause us to see hope; even in the trying times which would ordinarily pull a negative thinker down.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!  Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things--Philippians 4:4-8.

This text has moved me from fierce insecurity to a new level of confidence.  Tough stuff still goes on.  But God has taught me to see value; even in moments where matters don't seem to be going well.  

God isn't fooling us.  The way we think about anything determines whether we have peace or whether we shuffle through life frustrated, whining, and blaming others for our seeming demise.  The way we always a choice.

Friday, January 16, 2015


March 18-21


               Wednesday PM    John Alan Turner         Speak Life From His Wild Frontier
               Thursday  AM      Jason Thornton            Speak Life From His Wild Creation
               Thursday  PM      Brandon Hatmaker*     Speak Life From His Wild Imagination
               Friday  AM          Rick Atchley                Speak Life From His Wild Heart
               Friday  PM           Kent Brantly**            Speak Life From His Wild Action
               Saturday  AM      Terry Rush                    Speak Life From His Wild Adventure
               Saturday  4:00     Jeff Walling                  Speak Life From His Wild Possibilities

               *    Author of The Barefoot Church
               **  Doctor who survived the Ebola outbreak

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Maneuvering through this complex humanity maze is of utmost challenge.  Bumping into each other we have a tendency to wish to rid our circles of some of our acquaintances.  We have good days, better days, best days....and then....not-so-much days.  The latter can be filled with aggravationists as well as violationtionists....against us personally.

So how shall we handle those who rattle our cages by disturbing our moods?

The answer is not of rocket-science level.  It is quite simple.  Forgive.  Forgive the intentional offender as well as the innocent (didn't mean to) party who hurts our feelings.  This is not only possible; it is expected.  It is not only expected; it is very, very necessary.

Being offended will always play into our being the victim role until...until we awaken to a very stark truth.  Each of us also offends.  Often.  Both casually and intentionally.  We are never better at doing life than the one who offends us.  Not ever.

So how do we deal this those who offend us?

We find we can give them mercy and forgiveness at the drop of a hat because we do the very same thing; if not to them, then certainly to someone else.

We are never personally outdone by another in ability to injure and hurt other people. Each of us is very capable of ruining another's day.  This is why mercy is vital.  Mercy forgives offenders without their asking for forgiveness.  Mercy is forgiveness activated with immediacy because we are never more aware of any sins more than our own.

So speak and so act, as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.  For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:12-13).

So you are a minister and the church is rough on you?  Deal with it from the awareness that you are also rough on them.  You are in church leadership and you can't get others to operate according to your vision?  Be assured you fail to function in ways.  Irritated with some?  Consider those who are frustrated with you...and then maybe you can back your anger down a notch.

We are in this together.  The bottom line is that each of us has enough crud of our own to keep us from blaming another for lack of progress.  Jesus taught it.  We believe it. Together we are able to dismiss the stinging arrows from one another because we launch a few of our own.

Of necessity, it will always be important that we first be attentive to our own flaws for they are many and they are perpetual.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I see three things that the local church either faces now or will ultimately confront in the immediate future:

   (1)  People are becoming less likely to be drawn to our buildings for Sunday mornings.
   (2)  Radical Islam may bring massive disruption.
   (3)  There is immense need to frame our faith in Jesus; not our man-biased doctrines.

First, it seems that the idea that community will be drawn to us for Sunday School and Church is waning.  Not all, but many congregations are withering.  Of course reasons vary.  Yet, there is a clear trend that this younger generation is looking for experiences to serve others and not simply a gathering time for observation from the pew.

Second, America has been hit as in 9/11.  This week it was Paris.  The threat of Radical Islam is fierce as well as intentional.  While we must not be led to panic, we must lift our heads from the sleepy sands of indifference.

Third, Jesus must become a greater reality in our personal lives; while simultaneously, we adapt to becoming lesser.  Faith's stage is not that we be front and center; but it is for Him.  We must decrease that He might increase.

So what shall we do?

   (1)  We must humble ourselves.  We have such inclination to believe what we want to believe.  Not so oddly, this posture is both self-serving and handy.  We must care for the needs of others over our own preferences.  It seems each generation, as it ages, takes strong stands to preserve church they way we like it.

Only humility will allow us to remain open to the Spirit's leading of any age.  God has been creative from the get-go and it is often the churches that do not like it when it comes to the way they go about ministries.

   (2)  Should there be massive attack upon any soil where Christians are serving, we should be prepared to receive injury and be ready to minister.  This will include much spiritual determination for the flesh will want to hide in self-preservation.

What is one to do if all communication systems are rocketed?  From Christian perspective, any massive disruption should already be programmed into our belief system that we are immediately called to engage in outreach to help the surrounding community.

   (3)  Just as our nation is getting by (financially) on borrowed time, so is the church. We have all but demolished the good name of Jesus with our competitive doctrinal debates.  It is a stark wonder that we have not been called into account.  Wonderful people have gone deaf to the strong call of God due to our clamoring voices of religious division.

We are the problem; not those who dismiss us.  Jesus is the Savior of this limping, dimming world.  All churches will do well to know more and more and more of Him so that communities may note we ourselves are transformed before we ask them to be.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015


What we don't know won't hurt us is an age-old quip meant to give our shoulders permission to shrug.  We don't know.  We don't care.  None the worse off is indifferent posture.

Yet, this isn't a true stance.  If you don't know that the eggs are contaminated, will that not hurt your child?  If you don't know the highway is closed due to construction, will this not interfere with your trip?  If you don't know that you are to have documents filed by a specific date or be penalized, will the $250 late fee be of no concern?

What we don't know will hurt us if such knowledge carries importance and impact.

I have a holy ache in my heart for every person to know the love of God through the resurrected Jesus.  Yes, I hesitate on many fronts to bring this up.  I don't want to offend.  I don't want to appear cheesy.  Too, I don't want to drive anyone farther away because they just can't take religious discussion.

Truth be told, everyone is headed for the grave.  For some it will be a sudden moment of surprise at an early age while others will have had much time to fathom such an event.  We must know about the rescue of Jesus for if we don't know it, this will hurt us.

It is completely unnecessary that any miss the luxury of heaven.

I plead, beg, and urge those who value their own lives to give this matter attention. The flesh part of us is not eternal; but temporary.  Cemeteries back my claim.  The spirit part of man is eternal.  It is this eternal fact of us that we must give supreme focus.

Earth isn't the real and heaven the blurred.  Earth doesn't come in oceans and mountains while heaven is a non-formed, gray, hazy, floatatious, and meaningless mist.  No.  Heaven is earth exaggerated.  Everything is purer, brighter, more glamorous, and of greater value.  The streets of gold language is to help us to imagine the stronger value of gold over earth's asphalt.

Yes, I agree that learning about God doesn't seem simple.  Sorting through what is truly of God and what is the figment of man's interpretation takes initiative and discernment.  It it a lifetime effort.  Yet, we must do this.

It will not do to dismiss the call of God.  No sinner is exempt from the need to be born again.  Not one.  No one is too far gone but what God will not rescue by His unbiased love.  The person of Jesus is foremost and center.  He really died on a real cross in a real country for real people who take our turns roaming earth.  We must get to know him.

If we don't know Jesus, this will hurt us in the end.  To know him is to know the most important fact available to the heart of mankind.

Sunday, January 04, 2015


Regardless of how much we talk the talk, for a person to operate at high efficiency in the kingdom, great and costly strain will be factored.  The only winners in God's system are those who can lose well.

Climbing the ladder may be for corporations, but not for churches.  God sent His Son....downward.  We are to follow.  God's Son suffered.  We are to follow.  God's Son died.  We are to die to ourselves.  God raised His Son.  We are to be raised in similar fashion.

Resurrection life means more than there must have been a burial; it means that there was first a death.

Everyone I know lives beneath the umbrella of strain, stress, and struggle. Unbelievers spend their time trying to escape such days.  Believers, on the other hand, know something about the kingdom life; it flourishes when under fire.

The church was never stronger and more productive in Acts than when persecution hit. This is an amazing equation; death to the disciple means life to others.  Our problem is we program our every waking hour to see that we live in such safety that we push back the imposition of death.

One will only really live by dying; dying to self, dying for others.

The happiest upon earth tend to be those who have given themselves away.

Strains in life?  Simply authentic blessings.  Treasure them.

Saturday, January 03, 2015


There is robust debate as to the exact truth regarding the global climate. Protests abound only to be dismissed by the rolling of the eyes.  The effects or non keep the present culture engaged in discussions; each group believing they wield the stronger argument.

There seems to be (admittedly my personal view) a climate shift from the spiritual life found in Bible revelation compared to the climate of the church today.

The beginning of the church in the book of Acts was vibrant with community.  Sacrifice and surrender overrode self.  Devotion to the certainty that Jesus was not only God's Son; but had resurrected from the dead as well, was a stunning doctrine that changed the climate of religionists.

What is known by historians as the Age of Enlightenment sprouted in the 1700s. Knowledge and reason become both prominent and dominant.  From noting key developments from this field, it seems that the church, simultaneously and unknowingly, enter an Age of Endarkment.

Faith was continued to be called faith.  But it seems it was interpreted in the church to mean logic; human logic.  Journeys became steps.  Community was reduced to fundamental individualism.  The fruit of that age may be more than we can overcome.

I'm far too frail to grasp even this which I write.  So know that while you endure this or any discussion of mine.  Yet, it seems that Individualism cuts against the grain of the Community church because the Age of Enlightenment brought about a sense of individual power which meant a new kind of aggressive climbing of the ladder.

Our doctrinal challenges of this present climate have as much to do with our view of power as much as His revelation in Scripture.  Devoted Individualism keeps us on the hunt for the church that pleases me when the Scriptures call us to be on the hunt for those many in number who know not the name of Jesus.

Will we be able to survive us?  Will communities of seekers be able to survive us as well?

There has been a strong climate change in the church; one of commitment to self.  This must be reversed; yet, I have no idea how far gone I am in this swirl of humanistic spirituality.

What are we to do?  My estimation is that we become aware that God created us lest we serve a god that we have created.  Bending the Bible to fit our pet slants is nothing new.  Yielding to its call is, also, what men and women have tried to do for centuries.

We want to be in on the latter.  And if we are to be, the challenge will be steep and costly.  Dying that others might live is always the pattern of the Jesus format.  That others get what they need over what I prefer is easily typed onto a blog post.  It is also easily read.  But, it contains a risky depth that will surely, but very necessarily, press us.

Climate change is very needed in the church.  Pray for our ability to have the courage, the faith, and the stamina to do this well that others may come to believe that God is not just a Higher Power; but is a personal living Father.

Friday, January 02, 2015


Years ago our church took out ads in two Hollywood papers offering contact information for any in the celebrity industry who might be seeking God.  One call came in from a very kind woman who said that she could not tell me her name; but she wanted to visit with me about finding peace in God.

Everyone is on the same level when it comes to the question of whether the spiritual is a reality.

Life is a swirl of success and failure; conquering and faltering.  Our spirits lift only to sink while searching for recovery of the lift experience...repeatedly.  What will it take to help us realize this life is temporary; yet there is the true eternal aspect of each which begs for our attention?

I want you to know that I seem addicted to loving/caring/reaching out to people.  I believe every person is treasured by God for each is His personal design.  He is crazy about us...about you...about each.  Our problem is that we sense our own worthlessness and assume God feels the same.

Some don't believe God exists.  Others think He might; but the way to Him seems blurred with confusion; religious distractions and infractions.  Still others would like to know Him but feel they are too far gone, sin-wise, to be redeemed.  My heart goes out to all with the deepest sympathy.  I understand our hesitation.

I'm far too inadequate to do a very good job of communicating God's absolute desire to care for every one of us.  Yet, I will continue to try.  There has yet to be a day without a new listing in the obituary columns.  None are immune to physical death.  We must get serious about plans for the Future!

The afterlife life is a true...very true...reality.  One can see it in small seedlings that die in order to become some living entity much brighter, more alive than it was before succumbing to its garden grave.  A next life after first life is factual.  It isn't guess-work nor is it hope-so-ness.

And just as the seed is buried in the ground in order to come to (new) life, Jesus calls us to be buried (in a watery grave of baptism) in order to be raised up into an entirely new order.  I was.  I did.  And the new life I have found is remarkable...stunningly, surprisingly remarkable!

So why do very good people hesitate; even hesitate with seeming good excuses?  Well, thoughts would vary.  Some balk from injury by we God-professers who discourage them by our in-your-face evangelism tactics.  Others from self-protection due to not sure what to ask, what to do, nor how to do it.  Add to this list several more legitimate reasons of restraint.

Therefore, I want to be one of those who extends an understanding hand.  I want to talk with you, if you wouldn't mind, about what it means to reconnect with God via the new birth.  We are all alike.  There is no other kind of person in the church other than a redeemed sinner who gets a second chance at by day.

Jesus really is a Place to Start Life Over.  Do-overs; yes!

We each battle the pull to do life the best we can on our own.  Eventually (I hope), we will run out of gas.  We will reach a point that our self-assertive efforts just can't cut it any longer.  We are sunk unless this thing about true.

I want you to say to me (or any like me), Hey, I wonder if you could carefully and patiently give me spiritual direction because my self-made efforts seem to fade far too quickly.  Go easy for I don't know what I'm asking; but I am beginning to believe there is more to life than chasing after this earthly stuff that seems to atrophy in remarkable illusion.

I don't have all of the answers.  But I know Who does.  Together, maybe we can help each other move into a new sort of life that will never fade.  I had to do it (with hesitation I might add) and I'm stunned at the new world I be true as promised.

Contact me privately at,  or call 918-519-7474, or see me.  I know how to listen in complete confidence.  Others won't know of your inquiry.  I and others are safe places for you to privately inquire as to the hope that is to be yours.

Ponder seriously that you might want to approach the new year with a new you.