Sunday, June 28, 2015


Conflict rages; if not outwardly then this villain will press to reign inwardly.  This is spiritual warfare that many  refuse to acknowledge or address.  Unrest, therefore, rules both our conversations by day and our pillows by night.  The result is severe vulnerability.

The battle isn't regarding others; although we surely live in self-defense by pointing to the error of their ways.  No. It's much heavier than that.  The war escalates because we each have a rule; the very same identical rule....each of us.  That rule is: it is never my fault for how things are; but rather caused by another.  Always another!

The solution isn't found in the right church.  Many of us try to build the right church. Yet we basically go nowhere different than all of the others.  The solution is found in the Builder of the church; Jesus.

Why is it that when such a statement is made in finding answers in Jesus, it is the church which is usually among the first to reject it?  Why is that?  Well, it is the very same reason the religious leaders of Jesus' day were high on themselves while insisting that Jesus be strung up.  They were self-righteous (compared to Jesus-righteous).

The lost of the world are so largely because we saved ones have substituted best show for only Rescuer.  We put on our best, attend our best...and it's all fluff...and the community knows it.  When we are given to Jesus--not our denominations, not our pet doctrines, not our favorite worship style; but to Jesus--it is then that transformation has a chance.

Those observing us see through us.  We don't think they do.  What we want to offer is our admission that we are nothing (a big zero) without Him.  We are aware more of our own sins than anyone elses.  Our adoration is vocally given to God; not to our successes.

Conflict is solved; not in a list of do-goods-we-got-done, but in knowing the only man who gave his all....and then...he beat the grave.

What shall we do?  We shall humble ourselves before the Lord.  And then we shall enjoy the work He gets done to influence others about truth and hope.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


God puts the iffiness of whether out of commission.  Happiness is not dependent upon whether things go a certain way.  Productivity isn't aborted when interference develops.  Neither is reason to hope.  Once a person believes this truth, life never looks the same.  Doubt and fear wilt as  possibility and expectation begin to govern.

Romans 5:1-5 is just one Bible text that expresses sheer hope during good days and the identical hope in the bad ones.  This is where the mind and heart make adjustments for real living.  Regardless of circumstance--positive or negative--there is always supreme reason to excel in the range of hope.

God is all about hope.  So is Jesus.  So is the Holy Spirit.  So are you and me; we are to possess this incredible, unconquerable dynamic.

Young, handsome, athletic Van Phillips was in a boating accident on a lake in Arizona. He awakened from surgery only to peek beneath the covers to find a foot missing. Where his future could have been perceived as setback, he chose to sense that he was now advantaged.

Fitted with a pink foot at the end of a tube, Phillips began to intensely study the science of prosthetics.  He wanted to make improvements.  This included not only research; but multiple failures.  That's what winners do; learn via failure.

Warren Berger wrote of Phillips, Every time a foot broke, he dissected the failure through questioning: "Why did it break? What if I change the mix of materials?  How will this new version hold up?"  Each time Phillips fell, he landed in a place that was further ahead, closer to the breakthrough.  He was failing forward the whole time.

Each time Phillips fell, he landed in a place that was further ahead. Advantaged...always advantaged.

Berger, then, reveals an amazing thing about Phillips' consistent demeanor of failing forward, as a winding road oft uphill, to success.  His Flex-Foot creation has impacted society.  An amputee climbed Mount Everest.  A double-amputee sprinter competed in NCAA track and field.  South African, runner Oscar Pistorius ran on two Cheetahs as he competed in the 2012 Olympics.

Regardless of pressure, disappointment, or sheer difficulty, we are always advantaged.  There is never the exception.  High waters?  Jesus walked atop of them. Punished upon the cruel Tree?  He advantaged his enemies with a remarkable reason to life full life eternally.  Dead in a tomb?  What a stage for an amazing exit?

Advantaged?  Oh....that would be you and me....every day!

Friday, June 26, 2015


World War I.  II.  Korea.  Vietnam.  Afghanistan.  On and on and on the list builds.


Vicious.  Ruinous.  Suffocating to the heart.

Yet, there is a bigger war; more threatening, more painful, more damaging.  It is the War of the Mind.

The War of the Mind battles people and circumstances.  Thoughts are the sneaky culprits infiltrating, even manipulating, past conversations.  This war's weapon is embellishment.  Embellishment is nuclear as it doesn't just do immediate damage.  Its residue sabotages the mind for grand lengths of time.

The Bible is not vague as to effectively countering discouragement.  It knows the battle of the mind; our minds.  It notes our vulnerability in negative chatter; whether from external critic or that dreaded internal conversation.  The Word of God understood us before we existed.

So I say to you from another angle to look again at the same place....because I'm saying that many of you need this today; like in right now.  Read Philippians 4:4-9.  Read it. Let it measure you for size.  Allow it to evaluate your mind; your thinking technique that may perpetually betray you.

There is a new world out there for each of us.  It is loaded with mines of gold.  The discovery is not found in the location of the fields.  Rather it is first found within the regions of how we choose to think. is always a choice.

Everyone faces the great war.  There is no exception.  The good news is that everyone faces renewed potential and victory.  Every one!

Thursday, June 25, 2015



Everywhere we go there are people.

THEY are a mess.  THEY do the weird, the obscene, the irresponsible.'s always a THEY because we ignore the words WE and ME.  Conservative churches develop the THEY chatter as much as the liberal ones do; possibly more so.

I've hit upon an area where we (conservative) are extremely liberal.  (By liberal I mean the act of ignoring what the Word of God says to satisfy our own whims and bias.)  We are quite liberal when it comes to the call of God to be evangelistic.  Conservatives wither in fear over this and, therefore, refuse to be responsible in reaching to our neighbors with the great news Jesus intends.

Sticky, sensitive, and intentional, conservative members monitor closely that everything called for in the Bible is to be fulfilled individually...except...evangelism.  It is at this juncture that conservative churches become excessively liberal by dismissing a very clear and Christ-centered will of God.

Conservatives don't care about this one.  We can find other things to do in the church. Mission isn't one of them regardless of who extended it.  Our glib reaction to the command to love our neighbors would incense and infuriate us if we were to give such non-regard, say, to communion or to baptism.  Yet, we somehow have developed a disregard which is sheer liberalism to the max.

ISIS isn't to be single-handedly blamed for its successful aggression.  The silent liberal church could also share responsibility. Washington appears to be a mess in multiple zones; but it's the church which hides publicly in her various buildings and has significantly lost her voice; hoarse from yelling at that other church across the street.

Admittedly, it's one thing to point out our dirty laundry of liberalism among ourselves. So may we move forward by wishing, praying, reaching to our neighbors.  May we find that we are faithful in receiving/welcoming the grand charge God has given us.  Let there be voices heard, attention given, and neighbors noticed for the love of God is desperately needed within every home on every street; no exception.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I think about the incredible, wonderful, very good people who aren't too sold on the church idea.  Oddly, I probably get some of their griefs about us maybe even better than they do.  If you think church has its ugly spots as you look don't know the real story.  We needed Jesus more than we realized.

And...that's the whole point of church.  We can't save ourselves.  Believe me we tried. We continue to try.  And then after another while, Jesus has to rescue because we ran out of our ability quite a ways back.

So let me guess.  Some of you aren't necessarily against church.  You just don't see its value.  Would you mind if I took a look at some of your objections hoping that you might be a smidge more open to the concept?

What are some obvious objections?
  1. It is dull.
  2. It is full of hypocrites.
  3. It seems to have no purpose.
  4. It takes up valuable time.
  5. It intimidates (If I went, I wouldn't know what to do.  Sit?  Stand?)
  6. Add your clues.
Where would you guess I got #s 1-5?  Quick guess.  These were my objections.  I tried church; but I didn't like it.  I certainly never intended to be a faithful attender once adulthood arrived.  And I certainly, certainly never intended to be in ministry.  But #s 1-5 faded when I discovered that God is devoted to the people who hurt.  

Faith is perceived as at least a weak, if not useless, church term.  It isn't.  It is a thrilling fact that allows average people to engage in bringing about changes that others wouldn't deem possible.  Faith crosses intimidating barricades, advances strong hope for the hopeless, and lifts attitudes which could surely use a refreshing remodel.

Faith believes that things that don't exist can become and that dead things can come alive.  That's faith.  Believe me there is a market for this!  This is the factor, faith, which transforms boredom into mission.  Of course church is dull if you merely sit to look at your belly button.  It comes alive when you/me/we realize we can actually help another arise to a new kind of absolute hope.

For those not so hot on church, rethink, re-imagine potential and possibility which would not only bring happiness, but genuine thrill.  That's what I find.  That's what others encounter.  That's what I want you to consider.  

Church isn't about we snobs who scurry to care for ourselves.  No.  Church is the ideal group who care for others who have hit a momentary limp.  We believe we are not much.  Too, we believe God uses the very plain and excessively ordinary to lift others who live with fear and doubt.

Together.  That's the key.  We become a new kind of nation when we believe in others because we learned it from God.  Look at Jesus' walk.  He helps us help others.  That's church.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Everyone wants to know God.

Everyone wants to abide in Heaven forevermore.

Everyone, sometime(s) along the way, has deep desires to learn about the true reality of our spiritual nature.

Just as there were those who reached to me, and as there were those who reached to you, we must never forget to carry the torch of God to others.  This is more than a life/and/death issue.  It is a matter of eternal reality.

Today's emphasis in this writing is EVERYONE.  We are to be reachers toward our friends; even our enemies.  We are to be merciful to these as God has been/is to us. EVERYONE needs our love and kindness/His love and kindness.

They don't need our criticism.  Neither do these need our religious snobbery.  Very good people, adored by many, are worthy of patience and long-suffering on our part. Others extended grace to us and we are to, therefore, share in like manner.  We love to get such opportunities.

There is not the exception nor the exemption.  EVERYONE hits those moments when they (even in their most private moments) wonder if this God-stuff could be real.  It is. These are valuable, wonderful, and highly important.  So it is our role to believe that EVERYONE wants to know God.

May we help one another find Him!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Consistently our world is one huge battleground over something.  Property lines. Order of business.  Timetables. Whose turn it is.  The company's best direction. Church emphasis.  And then there is that all-encompassing "etc".

It seems the reason for persistent adjustments required is because God is real; so real that His creativity continues.  The business world sees it.  The church world fights it. The former races for the current marketing edge while the latter often sits argumentatively against change and, therefore, is quite stuck.

Sebastion Thrun, the engineer/inventor of Googles' self-driving X-car, tosses a significant question before us.  Now that we know what we know now, what's possible now?  This question answers my question.  There must be constant change because we are ever learning.

After forty-three years in ministry, I can't learn fast enough. The more I learn the behinder I become.  Once again...that's the signal of a Creator.

I am very challenged (being a newly 68 years old).  The Trinity won't change.  The call from above won't change.  But it will necessarily take us further than our advancement to this date.  While the Word of God won't change, it will demand that we do.

Because of the creative nature of our Living God, I cheer you on to be open as well as sensitive to make profound adjustments to your belief patterns and your life habits. Just as some who have given God little attention will be continually approached in some unforeseeable form, those of us who claim to follow Him must also remain on high alert.

We do not know it all.  For me, I don't even know it slightly.  But it surely is fun!

God is wild.  The Kingdom is awake.  Potential x Possible = A new kind of Productivity.

Why must there be constant change?  The answer is simple.  God is living and so are those who stretch to follow Him.  Stagnant; that's a term that might be reserved for some ponds, but never for His church.

Friday, June 19, 2015


For the second time I watched Saving Mr. Banks.  For the second time, I cried during its final scenes.  The movie is based upon the true story of Walt Disney's enduring efforts to make the darling of a movie, Mary Poppins.

Saving Mr. Banks portrays two opposing (while imposing) figures; stuffy Mrs. Travers (who wrote Mary Poppins) and child-like-in-heart Walt Disney.  Enthusiastically, he set out to delight the children.  Rigidly she, on the other hand, was increasingly perturbed by his happy-go-lucky spirit.  Maybe annoyed might be a better term for her.

When the two are at production impasse, he flies off to Australia to meet with his persnickety counter-part.  It is here that emotional chords begin to unfold into a music too deep for expression.  Walt Disney has figured out why she is hiding within her controlled atmosphere.  She is a little girl hiding in a grown woman's body.

Disney saw past her crusty veneer.  It dawned on him that she was locked in deep pain. She had the identical past as he; a troubled father.  When he knew the problem, he then knew the solution.

It is here, as well, that the secret to Mr. Disney---the secret of his outlandish success---is shared for all of the world to see.  He was beaten as a little boy.  Thus his obsession with building a kingdom to bless little children.

Do not miss this.  His success was prompted by his abundantly terribly bad days of anguish back home.  Rather than suffocate in the mire of resentment, Walt Disney did something about it.  He used these very horrible-bad-ugly days to launch the greatest funtastic playground the world has ever known.

It is this world of hurt...that I know many adults have suffered injury and setback due to having a Walt Disney-like father.  It is, also as Disney found, the motive to push forward and upward to find very rich blessings.

It is often the case that the things which could stifle our life-trek have within them a buried secret of outlandish hope.  Disney World, Disney Land, Disney Cartoons; these came from the mind of a man who resented his beating from the belt and buckle of his dad.  These treacherous moments hurt him; they injured him deeply.

Yet, Walt took these pains and transformed them into world-famous relief centers for children.  What if this man from Missouri had not hurt so badly, so deeply, and so many times?  What if he had but didn't see any value to them or in them?  The world of children--and adults with child-like hearts--would not have the World of Walt Disney to bring them their most extreme family vacation delight.

Never give up.  Never give up.  When you hurt, use your tears as a telescope to see the far away riches of blessings for others.

Nothing is a waste.  Nothing is a waste.  Not even the most painful things that happen to us.  We are living in a world of hurt.  Explore those mountainsides.  Dig for the rich blessings.  And, find that others can have even a better day!

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Today is my 68th birthday!  Therefore, I'll need to type rather quickly or else I might lose interest and dose off.

Years ago God changed my world.  He transformed it, remodeled it, and still supplies it.  One of His greatest impacts upon me is when I began to absorb Philippians 4:4-9.

My earlier years were filled with two main threads; excitement and depression. Although wide-eyed about life, I found much discouragement.  Bummer days seemed to come from two main sources; what others said to me that were negative and then what I said to myself that was equally pessimistic.

It's weird really.  We do not like others criticizing us; but we seem to have a heyday at chastising ourselves for our failures.

Finding God entailed much, much more than going to church, participating in church, and eventually engaging in the leadership of the church.  He taught me the way of escape from depression that harangued me day and night.

That Philippians passage calls for us to make a significantly major change; the direction upon which we choose to concentrate.  Think on these things we are told. This was my downfall.

Blame for others.  Disappointment in others.  Frustration with my own inadequacy. These three and a multitude of others were pulling me under.  My mind needed a kick-start in the direction and the Bible gave it to me.  An authentic upbeat life comes about; not by getting the good breaks but by thinking favorable thoughts.

Yes, it is that simple.  And the passage promises that the peace of God which surpasses understanding shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

An upbeat life is not about others getting open doors while we drew the short straws. No.  Such a life is base on no one else and no circumstance.  It is based upon how we think.  Do we think about the good, the excellent, the lovely?  Are we filling our minds with the people who support us or those who discourage us?

The good news about all of this is we have a choice.  Romans 5:1-5 might encourage you...about you, your days, your colleagues, and your opportunities.

Knowing God makes a difference because He reprograms us to think in entirely different ways.  Should you be having a frustrating time in your life, I speak with complete sympathy.  Be definitely encouraged.  Life changes when we change our thinking.

As a side note, you might find Ryan Holiday's The Obstacle is the Way to be very valuable in gaining momentum in this powerful and transforming zone.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Breaking news reported yesterday that the FBI is investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for violations of hacking the Internet systems of the Houston Astros.  Long on questions and short on answers, the baseball world is in a coffee-shop clamor this morning.  Pros and cons are offered with a bit of dependency as to which team is your team.

Could it be?  Are such allegations warranted?  Time will tell.

For now we can know that it is no time for the birds to fly off of the bat handle.  One would trust that the FBI does not toy with menial disturbances.  Likely a breach is believed serious enough to demand thorough investigation.  The next few weeks will tell if this story has merit.

This looks so much like church.  Many are mere fans as long as the church is winning. Let there be disruption and some will be quick to shift allegiance to another congregation.  What I like about it, admire about it, is that I have found church not to be about smooth sailing as much as it is meaningfully about walking atop the rough seas as the winds of threat gain force.

Who doesn't prefer trouble-less life?  Who has such?  Name me one.

Life is full of ups and downs.  True, Jesus extended his hand toward Peter who had successfully negotiated walking on water for just a few moments.  Too, He lives to pull us from the depths of our ultimate and sinking failures.

So the breaking news in the baseball world today is the chatter of many including several who aren't sports fans.  It's serious.  It could be devastating.  But in the midst of this I would join the voices of faith who believe that even in the treacherous times it is such a moment as this where one can believe the best in people and determine to stand beside those who may be in their worst of moments.

If innocent, apology will need to be offered by those who jumped to very vocal and judgmental conclusions.  If guilty, we will extend our hands in supportive rescue because we love people over performance.

At the end of the game, because of the drastic nature of our powerful God, blessings will arise from the ashes of suspicion...or even guilt.  Due to the Cross....victory targets us.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Do you ever feel just about yo-yoed out?

I mean do you ever get weary of feeling at times that you are better than others while, simultaneously, feeling worse than others day in and day out?


Words come at us and cause us to soar or to be sore.  This upsy/downsy routine keeps one astir.  Fluctuating between what feels like good days and bad days, we find the oddest of scenarios.  For one, our downer days can still offer assurance that hope is around the corner.  Too, on our upper days, the uneasiness that pins might puncture our balloons seem to always be lurking.

How shall we approach such moody extremes?  Is there a solution?

Jesus is our righteousness.

Jesus is who makes any person right in the sight of God.  We don't have such a capacity.  We are devastated, weak, and a mess.  There is one hope that we would be enough.  Jesus is that hope.

He took our sins (past, present, future) on at the Cross.  He hit them head on.  He was neither vague nor passive.  As nails held him tightly, he nailed our deepest need; the Yuck of us was absorbed into his shell, his soul.  Darkness was so thick that it blocked out the sun in mid-afternoon.

Will we ever get it through our thin heads that we are okay in the sight of God due to how un-okay  Jesus became (taking our place) on that hill?  Will we ever dismantle our egos so that we can admit we need a Savior?  And will we ever escape our depression because those same egos take such big hits from our obsessive failings?


We will.

Because....we believe Jesus did what we cannot do from our very best efforts.  He gave us his "good enough"...II Corinthians 5:21.

Sunday, June 14, 2015


No one longs for love or feels more loveless than an addict.  Wanting to stay in control can keep us human beings from knowing---experiencing---God as desperate lover.  As Robert Bly explained in his book Iron John: A Book About Men, "Some women want a passive man if they want a man at all; the church wants a tamed man--they are called priests; the university wants a domesticated man--they are called tenure track people; the corporation wants a...sanitized, hairless, shallow man."

But we addicts know that we need a wild man.  A man who will love us when we wander, when we drink too much, eat too much, spend too much...or try to drink our own urine.  The God-man who has gone to the absolute extreme for us.
                                                           Sharon A. Hersh

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Children are the fascination of the world.  Indeed, they also seem to be the most fascinated.  One easily finds Jesus in their corner when he spoke, Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.


What is this mystique about a child that seems to draw even Jesus' defense?

There is a valuable characteristic of a child that increasing age seems to unintentionally sand off the effective edges.  Think about it with me.  What is one of the earlier-year trademarks of Johnny or Samantha?  They ask questions!  Often, momma feels, too many questions.

Herein lies a possible treasure that our maturing process lets slip away; the ability (even hunger) to inquire.  In Warren Berger's A More Beautiful Question, a staggering note from the publisher is logged within the inside cover flap.

Berger's surprising findings reveal that even though children start out asking hundreds of questions a day, questioning "falls off the cliff" as kids enter school.  In an education and business culture devised to reward rote answers over challenging inquiry, questioning isn't encouraged--and is, in fact, sometimes barely tolerated.

Questioning falls of the cliff as they enter the education process and then more so entering the business world?  Does this not strike you as profoundly backwards?

God is constantly pulling us to the new.  We are called to be born again.  We are to be found new day by day.  The call is consistent.  The call cannot be ignored for this newness is to be framed within the flexible, questioning mindset...of a child.  Again Jesus remarks, Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Berger's findings offer a very strange and perplexing matter.  At the point of education the information mind increases as the imaginative mind decreases.  This is disturbing. When we quit asking, we decrease our interaction with as well as dependence upon God. Over time we gradually begin to develop understanding over mystery, control over the unknown, and a building of ego over an exploration of what has yet to be discovered.

The wide-eyed imagination of a child goes on in some laboratories and research centers.  It does not seem to be as welcomed in the very place where it should be the trademark; the church.

Our beloved Restoration Movement was hijacked decades ago.  While it began as a restoration of the things of God centered upon the thrill of the Word of God, it soon sank into an anemic Preservation Movement where sluggish traditions and mortal fears increasing hover to this day.

No, I'm not pushing for entry of more aggressive women's roles, different kinds of music, improved views of gays (which will always call for our loving consideration). These are not in the ballpark of my immediate concerns.  I'm talking about becoming more of a church that is what God has in mind than what history has handed down.

And what are we expected to do with this information?  It might be a blessing to the world and to ourselves if we increasingly become as children in the church Jesus is building by asking a lot more questions about why we believe what we believe where we believe.

I'm crazy about being in the church.  I love it.  I eat, drink, sleep it.  It is within this outlandishly wonderful entity that I still find the call of God to be what it has always been; the impossibles becoming possibles.  The only way we are going to hit upon these next to have the wide-eyed imagination of a it seems that Jesus clearly asserts.

Friday, June 12, 2015


For every ten people who bug the tar out of us, there are ten who are equally bugged by us.  We have such a knack to turn a blind eye to our own offenses.  This allows us, of course, to operate with a more critical eye toward the errors of "their" ways.

When we begin a committed walk with God, one of the first assignments He issues is that we receive individual crosses to carry.  This is not a suggestion.  It is a requirement.

The church's reputation today sags because we outspokenly have powerful convictions; but we do not have the endurance power to take offenses while deeply loving the offenders.  Thus, our crosses aren't real; but are mere themes from which church hymns are developed.

Humanity is equipped to never give up on anyone.  There is an inbuilt free-space afforded each of us that is designed to believe that even the edgiest of acquaintances can find our acceptance.  We surely need it from them.  It is called forgiveness.

Sneerers and jeerers of Jesus day pleaded for him to come down off of his cross and duke it out with them.  He refused because he was on mission to die for them.  They had no hope without him.  They needed him.  But they didn't need him to write them off.  They needed him to be maturer than they.

Jesus is different.  He would not give up the hope that even his enemies would one day pick up their crosses in His name as converted disciples.  These would be found to have new mission.  Even rigid and rebellious Saul of Tarsus is now known as the infamous Apostle Paul.  Never give up on anyone.

Never give up on anyone...especially yourself.

Failure can either sink us or build our determination.  We can pout in frustration or learn in incremental steps toward the endurability as found in Jesus.  Never give up on anyone including yourself.

One of the things I treasure most about knowing God is His remarkable "Start Over" policy.  We are called to begin life again day by day.  We can and we get to.

We never give up on anyone, including ourselves, because forgiveness which flows from the cross is now the identical process which flows from the crosses we carry. These crosses are not jewelry around a neck.  They are sufferings, deeply wounding injuries, so that those of us who don't deserve a second chance get that one and sixty-nine more...endlessly.

Jesus' bold and daring rescue of us, very personally, is why we will never give up one another.  Jesus absorbed the guilt...of each of us.  We will never give up....on anyone.

Sunday, June 07, 2015


Reality doors:
  1. Many believe that God truly is.
  2. Many feel convinced of just the opposite.
  3. Many others don't know quite yet what they think.
So I'm going to go with door numbers two and three for now.  I accept the reality that you either don't believe there is a living God or that you are just not sure, yet.  I get it.  I lived parts of that.  And, I'm sympathetic to your convictions.

I encourage you to watch for future occasion to change your mind whether you are blatantly opposed to God/church stuff or you simply have no leanings.  Pay attention to life, your life, as it is rolled out before you.  It is very possible that you will volunteer in the days ahead to give serious consideration to the spiritual side of....yourself.

Don't tell me.  You are an eye-witness to  Christian jerkism.  You know of testimonies of hundreds who carry the Christian banner with behavior as if their underwear is too tight.  I get it.  Oh, how I've heard it.  Uh-huh.  I bet you can be just as spiritual sitting on your back deck with a cup of coffee on Sunday morning as you could with all those many hypocrites who go to church.

Well, maybe you can't.

Christianity is about many things.  Faith in things not seen.  Forgiveness of enemies and of self.  Dying to self.  And, not getting your way to where you always come off feeling good about things.  Its trademark is the Cross and an empty grave; two things humans are too small to handle.

Hear me well.  I'm not saying that believers like me are squeaky clean.  Of course not. We were baptized for such a reason; we cannot save ourselves.  Even our do-good efforts failed us..and some of you.  Believe me, we know failure.  Enter Jesus, the one who is known as Savior.

He is the only one good enough.  He is the only who can/would/did pay the price of my sins/yours as well.  Jesus is the name above all names because he is the only religious leader who died and rose from the dead.  This documentation is embossed into every gravestone testifying that the deceased were born and then died x-amount of years from Jesus' birth.

Go ahead.  Hang out the church-goers' dirty laundry all you want.  Brag.  Sneer.  Joke. Have a big time.  I'm just saying there's more to you than this.  I'm saying you have an inner awareness that maybe--just maybe--there really is a God and you could humble yourself a bit just to consider that these thoughts you are experiencing may be His call.

I believe that so many who regard God as a silly figment of church imagination will one day reverse these thoughts.  People are good.  Every person is valued; by God and by neighbor.  Whims and attitudes; yes they may rule for a term or two.  But after awhile it finally occurs to us that we can't do life, let alone death, on our own steam.

Blessings to you even if you simply begin to begin to wonder about the reality of God. Of course I'm biased.  You get that.  But I'm biased as well toward those who don't quite know how to assess the spirit life; is it real/is it not?  My main thing is to encourage you not to dismiss the possibility even if you don't understand it.

Many don't understand why a key would cause an engine to start, but we drive cars anyway.  We actually believe that turning a key forward causes something to make something else do something.  Hmmm...I wonder why some are so willing to go by faith each morning as we open the car door, engage in a process that most of us have extremely little grasp of understanding, and, yet, believe that people who believe in God are ridiculous?

Doesn't quite square up, does it?

Saturday, June 06, 2015


I make myself very vulnerable to criticism in this post.  I feel, though, that some will be touched by His call as we all make effort to develop as believers in and for God.

I am convinced that there is a secret code which unlocks beautiful, wonderful mysteries to life.  It is so secret that the mere mention of the topic causes bells, whistles, and alarms to go off.  One can't approach the subject without immediate and impulsive rejection....just at the name of the topic.

Why is that?  Why has this door to impossible-wonder-becoming-possible so ultra-intimidating.  How can those who fail to abide by it feel such confidence that they are an authority on it?  Why?

The answer, I believe, is that because it actually cracks the code of flesh control there are mighty opponents against the hearts of mankind to keep us from knowing about such a power.  God teaches us to trust it.  He emphasizes its technique.  Yet, we have a way of ignoring it without disturbance of conscience.

And what is this matter?  Our giving.  (Did someone just now set off an alarm?)

The spirit wants to give.  The flesh wants to keep.  The Bible says to sow.  The fearful want to store.  God calls for us to trust Him for provision.  We, on the other hand, are sucked into the temptation of believing from our own understanding.

I am not charging you.  Rather, I'm revealing my struggles in this matter.  I've been convinced; yet afraid.  I read that His grace is sufficient.  Too, the Word says that when we give that this grace of His is the big supplying element.

There hasn't been a time that Mary and I have increased our contribution that I haven't wondered if we could complete the financial year at such a pace.  The last time we raised our giving my words to her were, Let's try this until the money just isn't there and then we will know we can't do it at this level.  Yet, weeks and months have passed and we seem to be ahead.

However, the threat still looms.  It pulls at me; tempting me to doubt and making me wonder if I really believe this stuff.  And then, after doing battle in my mind, it seems that I really do.

I have put a bit aside for retirement.  It's very meager for I have always felt my giving was my retirement investment (and I still believe it on my faith days).  This week I learned that the income from this little amount set aside (due to kick in at 70) will be immediately swallowed by an increase in my life insurance at age....70.

This was one of those knock the wind out of me moments.

And it's been very good for me.  The question is whether I believe God can handle retirement days.  He has handled my non-retirement ones with much higher provision than I could have ever afforded on my own.  I live an amazing life.

So now I face yet another test.  Does God know how to do retirement years as well as He did working ones?  I'm saying He surely does.  His grace does not wilt at age 70 (I'm 68 next month by the way).  And I share this personal trek with you because I believe many of you face moments where you question God, your faith, even yourself.

Our greatest threat, I am convinced, is our very greatest opportunity.  I want to see God do more with my money than I could do on my own.  I simply wish at the moment to encourage you in your struggle.  Giving is not about building the church banking business.  It is about trusting God's talent over ours.  We actually believe that the giving away of what we need the most will show up in the strangest and most mysterious ways.

Together may we not fear what we cannot fathom nor calculate.  Instead, may we trust the Creator to do His stuff for God still has this creative knack of making something out of nothing.  We love to experience Him working...and it does seem that each new day He surely must just be getting started.

Friday, June 05, 2015


Churches want people to join us.  We yearn for others to know Father the way we believe we know Him.  Fortunately, many walk toward us and eventually with us. Unfortunately, too many never look our way.  And more unfortunately, some among us take the same trek....away.

We aren't in the business of personal force toward anyone.  There is genuine love and interest for all.  Each individual is and should remain free to make individual choices from personal preferences.  So let's talk about those who never give a glance in our direction.

One of the whys may be that Christianity has dumbed down.  In places we have fought off the ridiculous look because we so yearn for society to accept us.  This has resulted in congregations focusing on organizational technique from man's best knowledge.  And this is killing us.

When I moved out of religious indifference at age 20 into Christian commitment, I quickly learned why several things of the Bible had ceased.  I was given proof-texts and bought into the lingo.  And yes, I do believe that there are certain things of the beginning church that are not effective today.

However, we threw the Spirit out in the baptism water.

Boldly standing against miracle, we settled for information management.  If we couldn't explain it, we didn't believe it.  Yet the virgin birth can't be explained.  Jesus taking on mankind's sins can't be explained.  How he was raised from the dead...cannot be explained.  These, my friend, are the basics to faith and yet we somehow accepted the decent without the wowing mystery of the very church we entered.

We have become a people long on answers and short on Spirit confidence.  The effective debater became the congregational hero when those who believed that God could do the impossible were regarded as fanatical.

Religion, true religion, moves by faith.  Faith is convinced that what doesn't appear to be anything is just the opposite.  Faith is the miracle.  Yet, for many churchers, faith is an initial step for some doctrine or formula.

I've been very discouraged lately.  Yesterday I reached a point where I told Him I that I was at the end of my productive rope and that I needed to see Him in movement. Twice, at the end of my ability, God showed up with testimony from others that was relievingly affirming.

Our lives get bogged down with our responsibility combined with our talent.  After a bit or a long-haul, we eventually wear thin.  This is life on the non-miracle side.  Quite mistakenly we buy into the idea that if it is to be it is up to me; my stance, my understanding, my skill.

This approach has led me to believe that faith is all about my control; not about God's intervening  and active grace.  We have tried to tie His hand behind His back and replaced it with two of ours.

I encourage you that to live by faith is something more than an occasional good deed here and a smattering of forgiveness there.  It is a real person walking a real road believing our real God can do things we can't imagine nor muster. the miracle for modern day.  Control less.  Believe bigger.  Watch more happen.

Thursday, June 04, 2015


A sure-fire way to miss the wonder and glory in life is to live by comparing ourselves to others.  Yet, this is an ongoing process that goes fundamentally unnoticed.  We will make personal progress if we can lean into the understanding that goes with this seems-to-be a secret walk.

Comparing to another is an odd issue.  One will tend to compare himself to another and find opposing results.  Compared to one we elevate our stock by feeling superior.  Yet, to another we are likely to find discouragement because we don't meet UP to their performance or their looks or their education.

God makes it clear.  When we compare ourselves to ourselves we are without understanding; II Cor. 10:12.  For certain, we are often without understanding.

Our tendency is to feel better about ourselves or worse by looking at someone else and noticing their success or failure.  James, however, slays us by making this charge: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in point, he has become guilty of all. Sin by gossip?  Same guilt as stealing.  Sin by laziness?  Equal to adultery.  When we sin in one place we are guilty of all sins because....all sin is devastating.

Comparatively speaking, we don't know what we are talking about.  We have a way of condemning others for their awful sin while we explain ours away as something we are working on....or it's not that bad...or everybody struggles with it.

We tend to be critical of sinners who commit acts which give us absolutely no temptation.  It's easy to be vocal about those involved in same-sex attraction when I have never had such an inclination.  It's quite another to dismiss jealousy because...well...that's rather an ordinary dilemma.  Yet, jealousy isn't a problem to those who are never tempted by it.

When we melt away our trait of comparing ourselves to others we begin to find a new kind of mental/emotional health.  First we realize we are all crummy without exception.  Second we find the grace of God found in Jesus to be fascinating because it was not longer they who need it...but myself as well.

When we move through life aware of our own sins first we become sympathetic to everyone around us.  We may not struggle with the same things; but our battles are similar.  I'm at some of my worst days when I comparatively find myself better or worse than another.

The best days, the strongest days, the most encouragingly truthful days are to realize my nothingness.  His everythingness is a gift for each of us plagued by our own clear weaknesses as He has given His all to all of us in order to make us into some kind of brand new wonder of a person.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


I have no desire to overstate this.  It seems, however, we are a people (America) in trouble.  While many of us can sneer at those "others" who clearly want to live on Easy Street, we surely want to be a significant part of the neighborhood.  We can see the slothfulness in others while explaining those traits in ourselves as deserving for we have worked hard to get where we are.

Have we grown to a willingness to serve others as long as we are cared for first?  Is our benevolence springing from selfish abundance?  Are we semi-engaging in a sacrificial comfort zone where it at least looks like we are doing something for others?

Understand, I really do believe that many have abundance because these have trusted God in His call; give and it shall be given to you without measure.  I speak, however, of our touchiness where we insist that things be done our way (always the right way, by the way).  Our sacrifice tends to be in hand-outs but no so much in endurance of others' weighty opinions.

We tend to want what

The days of exorbitant need by others is not diminishing.  We are called to give our lives away.  This would include our time, our money, as well as our pet peeves and our most feared threats.  The Cross of Jesus is to be carried; not just remembered at the communion table.  When we sing Soldiers of Christ Arise do we really mean Picnickers of Christ Arise?  

The church is under great persecution; not from the without, but from within.  We tend to want what we want and if we don't get what we want, we have options.  Other congregations await our very presence which might offer just the mediocrity which would satisfy the heart.  Do we recall that strain is very much a kingdom style as is endurance?

Consumeristic religion is a sham.  Many of us labor desperately as to whether we do the things which truly lead people to Jesus or are we doing what we can to keep the attendance count up.  This consumerism can often be found to keep the present consumers coming back without realizing there is a great failure to present the hope of Jesus to a dreary and seeking community.

I don't mean to be sounding as an expert.  I'm not.  Neither do I wish to badmouth us. I've proven that I'm not running.  Yet, I do wish to bring to our attention that we continue to be much more touchy about trying to improve and increase than we are about blatant neglect of personal responsibility to reach and teach the lost.

We talk big; even spout in bold statements of where we do and don't stand.  But lack of prayer along with habitual refusal to personally carry out the Great Commission is a testimony against our basic stance of we want what we want....with God's endorsement of course.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015


It is such a challenge being a person.  Have you ever noticed?

One of the strongest difficulties is a family who seems to live on every one's street.

Meet the Ruption twins, Dis and Inter.

These two are not easy to handle.  They are truly a hand full.  Their cousins are of the Un family; Ruly and Grateful.  What a mess!

Just about the time we think we've got them groomed, Dis will jump from a tall building and then Inter screams for assistance from a totally unforeseen circumstance.  Their stresses are constant. Their challenges?  Relentless.

We are forever on our toes, so it seems because these two don't seem to understand the rules.

Yet, God has the solution.  Philippians 4:4-9 is a mind-saving text.  Thanksgiving is the process and peace is the result.

I encourage you that every person is directly related to the Ruption twins.  If Dis is here on Monday, we can watch for Inter to show some other day.  We must not believe that these two run the show.  They don't.

The Spirit of God does.

Give thanks.  Live in peace.  God knows how to provide the abundant life He has promised each of us.