Thursday, August 27, 2015


We are in constant stir over past, present, and perpetual tragedy of man destroying man with bullets.  I am sympathetic to voices who want to eradicate guns.  And should they develop a plan that succeeds, I will join with robust the applause.

But for now, would you mind if I offer an idea as to why such a thread won't be productive?  Owning guns does not seem to be the real problem.  Go ahead.  Confiscate the bullets.  Do we not think then that only the villains will be the ones who possess such?

Trying to do away with guns seems to be similar in trying to limit candles so that curtains won't catch fire and houses won't burn.  Should we end Little League because boys and girls get injured?  Shouldn't cars be suspect because of traffic deaths?  I do note that guns are a bit different as misuse is intentional whereas fire, baseball injuries, and auto accidents are....accidental.

Regarding gun control, why wouldn't there instead be a larger push to revamp the heart; that place where anger and insult resides which inspires the pulling of the trigger in the first place?  Why do we not realize (or do we) the desperation our nations have for effective spiritual development.  It seems that we still believe that if enough laws are passed we will finally eliminate painful destruction within our communities.

But such legal passages have not dented local news.  Crime steadily escalates.

Yet there is something about us.  There is something invisible; tasteless, and odorless. This would be our hearts.  At the rate we improve hearts we will see progress in transforming bitterness into love and despondency into hope.  This....this is what the Holy Spirit does for mankind.

Should you be one focused upon gun control, I say that I hope you hit what works.  My observation (which is quite limited I realize) is that if we take away the guns without transforming the heart then a new kind of weapon will be created by these whose outbursts of uncontrollable anger hunger to do damage to fellow man.

My contention is that guns are not the problem.  Those of us of faith who distance ourselves from the deprived and frustrated have much to do with it.  Guys like me have failed in carrying greater influence into our communities.  I want to get better at it.  A young man and woman dropping dead in front of our television eyes says to me that my role just must improve.  How about you?

Therefore, if this consideration is in the ballpark of potential, it is not up to Congress to clamp down on weapons.  Rather is is up to churches to become more vocal about hope and faith and love.  These three will reverse man at the heart in order to become a friend rather than an enemy to society.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


There is much going right with this world.  Too, the opposite is paramount in places. Right?

Concerns press.  Interruptions...interrupt.  It seems that darkness looms on various fronts.  And we want to see life really live.  So does God.

A distinctive move to sort through the gigantic mood maze will seem to always begin at home.  By home, I mean with self.

Changes would seem to bolster.  Improvements...would improve.  Yet, individually we have a steady knack of believing such should and would first be found in other people or other circumstances.  Not necessarily.  It is a toughy to begin our long list of wishful corrections with self.

We are in need of steady reproving and correcting.  As age factors in, we are found to still be in need of profound adjustments.  It is never ending.  Furthermore, it is exhausting. exhausting.

One of the last places we tend to look for making life better is that heart to heart talk with self about self.  We are so biased in our favor, aren't we?

Maybe days would be better served if we could truly develop a faith that understands the log of foremost concern is the one which habitates in our own eye.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Do not succumb to discouraging people or moments.  Jesus obliterated the deepest, widest, highest, and farthest threat; death.  He crushed it, smashed it, broke it.  All other stresses are but momentary interruptions as well.

You were created by the Living God for more than barely getting by.  Thoughts of agony do not belong to you.  Therefore, do not give them a home.

Rise up and live.  If you have never been baptized into Jesus, consider it for this is the picture of starting life over; born again is how I remember Jesus wording it.

Maintain your push back against the threads of thought that perpetually stab and jab at the heart.  Push back.  The day-ruiners don't belong to you.,  They merely serve you.

Believe it...because you believe Him.

Monday, August 24, 2015


I've been noticing God; His schemes, His process, His moves.  And just as the Bible stories are absurdly outrageous, so are our personal lives.  From floating ax heads to slaying giants to raising dead people, our Bible studies flourish with what "can't be" actually becoming.

And what I dearly love about God is His knack for taking the unusual and the unexpected and making both productive.  These are His stories.  This is His Life!

To grasp what I'm about to say regarding the gold mine in our midst, I remind you that God works so many things backward to our flesh-thinking.  To keep we give.  To be first we must volunteer to be last.  To be strong is to operate from our weakness.  To live we die.

Get it?  Then consider.

The gold mine in our midst is our depression.  Our bad days are pure gold.  These are primed for a profound discovery that will set our days ablaze with wonder and meaning.  We will do well to awaken to such treasure.

"Where's the gold in this, Terry."

Suffering from the blues tends to sink our ship; at least they surely give it a mighty try. Yet, before you buy into their selling you down the river, reconsider.  What value would God have in these dark moments?  Why would I dare thank Him for such misery? There are two reasons.

First, it is often at our loneliest times that we tend to give God greater notice.  We find that we may have given it our all and such wasn't enough.  Perplexed and down, we can/should turn to Him for rescue and relief.

Second, the gold mine is also that these drastic moments of depression are valuable reminders of how others are feeling.  When we awaken to the fact that we are to live to encourage others, it is from this foundational doctrine that our gold mine begins to thrive.  Our misery is transformed into understanding how and where others ail.

When we believe this about our struggles, we are suddenly awakened to a new world of meaning and productivity.  Our troubles aren't present to make us miserable.  No, we shall use them as beneficial in that we have a deep compassion for those who struggle in similar fashion.  Our empathy becomes assistance for our neighbors.

Good for us.  Good for them.  The Gold Mine in our midst is useful, meaningful, and necessary.  Discouragement then takes a back seat to the profound opportunities of our every day.  They no longer are allowed to take the wheel....but we will allow them to energize us.

Sunday, August 23, 2015


We live in a perpetual zone of misunderstanding.  We seem to be reflective of others' weak spots; their negativity, their lack, their sins.  Simultaneously, we seem to be deflective of our own.  II Corinthians 10:12 assures us that when we live comparing ourselves by ourselves (and we usually come out on top doing so) that we are simply without understanding.

Our big mistake is that even if we do dare take the log out of our own eye, we still believe that a log is in theirs.  It's one thing for us to admit the crisis (log) of our quint-eyed judgment.  But to believe their sins are merely specks?  We, basically, won't stand for it.

Our big mistake is that we quickly see the futility of the lousy others.  Our bigger solution is to give absolute concentration upon our own.  At this very point the solution--the bigger solution--is that we admittedly have to drop the stones of which we were just about ready to toss at another (sinner) in anger.

The bigger solution is to back down to our narrow-minded criticism of others (while very likely they, too, are sinful) as we have bigger fish to fry over contemplation of our own sin.

The Cross remains the standard.  It has a clear message.  None were exempt.  Jesus paid for our sins; not just theirs.  That's why Jesus is the bigger solution to our mistakes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015


An old song of a half a century ago was worded something like, You gotta have heart...miles and miles and miles of heart.  As it turns out this idea of having heart is indispensably ultra-necessary.  We've just got to have heart.

Wars are won and lost on the turf of hearts; either believing or unbelieving.  Naysayers with obviously weak hearts pick at the successes of the brave hearts offering excuses as to why it worked for THEM; but not for ME.  From the heart one believes...or chooses not to.

There is power in a believing heart.  For one, if matters are stressful at the moment, there remains a perpetual confidence that wonder will definitely break in.  The believing heart....believes.  It has a faith that what isn't yet can be; what looks bad is pregnant with good possibilities.

The power of a believing heart is invisible, available, and certain.  Unbelievers only have good days on the good days.  Believers see all days, even with their ups and downs,as filled with potential.

The power of the believing heart always has hope.  We have permission to readily and easily accept the promise of what can be due to the startling resurrection of Jesus.  He calls us to enter into the most power-packed, power-backed wonder of the living fabulous lives embedded within his resurrection power.

Believe it.  It is quite true.  Our hearts carry explosive life which causes others to want to believe as well.

Friday, August 21, 2015


Your last failure may be a part of your next success.
                                                             Debra Kaye

Sometimes we tend to fight the thing that is poised to bless us most.  Mommas monitor this as infants wrestle with trying to go to sleep.  A child learning to swim can discover that one toe seems to be weighted--somehow magnetized--to the bottom of the pool. My guess is that with regularity adults withhold personal adventure and fulfillment while hiding beneath the covers of intimidation.

Discovering what doesn't work increases the percentage of coming upon what does. Failure is only failure if we spell it Q U I T.  To be shut down or shut out has not the final say.  No, we will go to school on the failures quite determined to unearth the potential of successes.

I spent too many years agonizing over my deficits.  Yet within them unfolded a gradual awareness of life-giving blessings; not in spite of them, but because of them.  I must endure my begrudged and personal lack in so many areas so that I may possess an understanding sensitivity toward the masses who also strain from beneath the load of identical burdens.

Failure advantages us.  We will not waste one crumb of disappointment for we will turn frustration into the blessing of better understanding our friends and neighbors.  I wish I were more.  Would maybe 90% of society struggle with similar concerns about themselves that I also face?

The things which choose to disturb us are our magic wands to give hope to a similarly hurting community.  We will not waste our pains; but we will grow from them in order to cheer like-minded people on to victory.

Isn't this why God sent His Son to earth?  To learn what it was like being us?  And didn't Jesus become the perfect Savior because he understands us?  He walked in our sandals before we had feet.  Our calling is to follow him.  To follow him is to do for others what he did for us....understand.

We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Thursday, August 20, 2015


The flesh and the spirit collide day by day.  There is perpetual conflict.

Ultimately the spirit will live forever.  The flesh?  Definite and certain decay await.

Do your best to believe from the spirit framework.  At the resurrection the spirit will be given a new body; a new carrier for the real, genuine, authentic us...our inner spirit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


We are dependent upon the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in all things.  We've heard it.  We've read it.  We've believed it.  We've voiced it.

Yet we Americans pride ourselves of freely living under the mantra of independence.  This is our theme, our code, our great gratitude.

These two very strong factors struggle to find a cohesive pathway.  Independence from systems of tyranny is one thing.  To pursue life for a pure version of pleasing self is in great conflict with the Jesus nature.  Thus, we struggle to get our hearts on board with the spiritual side of existence.

However, there clearly seems to be conciliation for a cohesive walk.  As the flesh carries our spirit, the tandem are to be persuaded to obey the vocal call from the heavenly territory.

We are individuals who are to possess/do possess a personal relationship with the Trinity.  We are individually independent; free from rules and regulatory governments in order to express our heart's full conviction regarding faith.

Personally, however, we are to yield our freedom of living for self so that others can be reached, built up, and blessed.  This is a stretch for many who pride ourselves of being servants of God.  Yet this expansion is precisely what is needed, and expected, from each believer.  We are called to die to ourselves and to live for others.  This is the clarion call of the Cross.

Vulnerability.  Inconvenience.  Imprisonment.  Death.  This is what soldiers of nations fighting for freedom offer/endure.  It is this very freedom that finds the Word of God calling each of us into the battle for the souls of men and women and children.

This heavenly calling will take no less commitment.  Vulnerability.  Inconvenience.  Imprisonment.  Death.  If not attentive, living in a free country will birth a religion which forms its doctrine around personal preferences, convenience, and dismissive commitment.  While we are free to believe, we are not free to deny others the good news because it makes us feel awkward.

No.  We find ourselves back at the soldier frontier striving to set the captives free that they may taste of the Divine Glory.  Dying to self is awkward.... every time...and we are called to do it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Mankind must push back if we are going to inhabit the territory of faith.  Believing has been stricken by opposing forces; reduced to a mere step in a legalistic religious system.  It is more.  It is much more.  It is the positive explosion of possibility.

Across the Christian board, leadership and followship have been lured into a "No Try" zone.  Fearful of looking foolish, believing has become a careful process of expressing faith concepts without believing them or walking them.  Safety has become ruler.  Our fundamental goal is to not look bad.  Thus, we refrain from stepping beyond the average norm of the church.

When this happens we find ourselves in step with so many others who are also out of step.

Begin in Genesis and read through Jude.  Note the bizarre stories of God's common children.  These are not presented as VBS themes.  No.  This is a long string of historical wow-factors intended for our inspiration to beat the dull routine of church-not-on-the-move.  And then, just for fun, read Revelation and tell me how you find that book?  Ho-hum?  Monotonous?

Faith is a bold and dramatic walk.  It is not a whim or a mood of taking a stab at it. Faith thinks that what isn't can be.  Furthermore, it refuses to bow to the news of hopelessness.

Because God blew death's cover we are set free (even called) to conquer those gnarly passages of life that tend to shut us down.  We have a living God and we breathe faith from Him.  Let the world know by first notifying your heart that this is not a mundane and average day.  This one is God-backed, God-led, and God-supplied.

Now....go out among the crowds looking like you are one happy camper!

Sunday, August 09, 2015


Ted and Fred were twin frogs who just loved to play.  Both in third grade these two found delight in many of the games at recess.  Of course they were most fond of Leap-Frog.  But they didn't only play games, they loved duck hunting and swimming.

One day they were diving from the edge of a cream can into a deep pond of milk.  They swam about and suddenly Ted went under....and drowned.

Fred was feeling the tug as well.  But threatened by that sinking feeling, he began to kick.  He kicked and he swam.  He swam and he kicked.

Before long, Fred stepped out to safety as he found himself atop a cream can full of butter.

Ever have that sinking feeling?  Ever find yourself in circumstances that could place you in over your head?  I say keep kicking.  Keep swimming.  Before long you, too, may find yourself set free as you use the very thing that threatened to sink you to become your very stepping-stone into greater possibility.

Saturday, August 08, 2015


Well...maybe it should be spelled THE FAILURE FENOMENA.

As robust as mankind can be, it appears that a great percentage of us are persistently frozen in fear.  Why?  Because when fear is in the lead our try factor suffers, in turn, wilting our goals by invisible intimidation.  How many brilliant inventions provide us luxury because men and women dared to experiment with possibility?

Wright Brothers?  Oprah?  And do we believe these and others simply lived lives of Midas Touch?  No stress like ours?  No fears?  No fretting at their kitchen tables? These, plus thousands of others, kept probing.  They would not give in, give up, nor give out.

I like how Jonas Salk frames the necessity of potential through endurance.  I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams. Failure is not man's opponent.  It is not villainous.

No.  Failure is the rake that separates the dead leaves from the living lawn.  Think with me on this.  Dead leaves left to themselves will smothers our green grass.  Or....or....when mulched will become fertilizer to enhance the very thing it was intending to choke.

Failure is always on the side of the visionary.  It simply extracts those elements that hinder progress from those which promise wonder.  By its very move of dividing, failure is by nature one of our richest blessings. It is always on the side of success.

Weird, huh?

If not alert to nasty threat embedded in failure, one is likely to find potential smothered; choked out. Rather, what we want to do is reverse the negatives; not by eliminating them, but by using them as stepping stones to accomplishment.

The great philosopher Dr. Seuss once said, Don't cry because it's over.  Smile because it happened.  This is the attitude of gratitude.  This perpetuates our discovery that thankfulness transforms imposing forces.

Phailure?  The Phenomena of our day!  Don't just go through life.  Remember to live it!

Friday, August 07, 2015


There seems to be a robust economy of worry throughout much of life.  Just like vices of over-spending or over-eating, I encourage you to tackle the monster of over-worrying.  This has been a significant challenge to me.

Worry is a natural to those of us who feel ill-equipped, under-educated, and out-classed.  Those who don't ponder what is lacking or could go wrong just don't understand how exhausting it is to live inside of our heads.  Our expertise, at times, is that we can take good news and crush it to death.

Worry started for me early in life.  Every last day of grade school I feared I would not be promoted to the next grade.  Getting all As, Bs, and Cs, somehow I felt I could soon discover that the others would move ahead without me.  Worry.  What would mom say?  What would it be like being in my younger brother's class?

I carried on like this for years.  I was a healthy man crippled in my mind.  When anything went wrong, I had already concluded it probably would.  I had a reverse sort of vision in that I could imagine what most likely wouldn't work.

But God changed this dilemma.  He told me not to worry.  What's weird is that I began to believe Him.  He knows how to take care of our day.  He runs the show.  I don't.  He is the Expert provider.  I am not.  God is the Professional supplier.  I am not.  My job is to believe Him.

Soon I am to go to a special event in St. Louis to honor a dear Cardinal friend of mine. I'm the luckiest person just to be invited by the family.  Yet, I can't get information as to where I'm to be and when I'm to be there.

So will I go to St. Louis and ever find these people?  Will I arrive only to find zero communication from those in the know?  At this moment, all I've got to work from is the schedule of events...with no location nor time.  Really?  And...I can't seem to get answers.

But...I'm not going to worry.  If I find the information, and I'm guessing I will but they are going to surprise me with it, I'll be there ready to go.  What, though, if the family doesn't remember to share these significant details?  I fully intend to not sweat the small stuff.

Days are brimming with delight.  My eyes see wonder.  My ears hear conversations. The left side of my body AND my right side still coordinate.  Plus...I did get an invitation to this event which is just a pretty big deal!

I hope it goes well.  It will.  Most likely it will go even better than I had ever imagined....for it usually does.  God's call for us to quit worrying?  Great, meaningful, lavish advice for the heart.

Everything is a YES...II Corinthians 1:18-20.

Thursday, August 06, 2015


People keep score.  We note when blessed.  We can note when insulted.  There is but one route to take in order to maintain happiness.  This would be to walk the street of gratitude.

Thankfulness could be regarded by some to be a weak, flowery rather no-spine kind of word.  Silly old men and Sunday School women would use this term to give a puny word of greeting...sorta.  Yet, being thankful is a monster of power to reverse the lives of...well...the lives of each of us.

Gratitude sees possibility when threat approaches.  It senses the yes of an incoming no.  A thankful person has a relaxed face while the gripey one has the look of a bulldog scowl.  Joy changes sour dispositions.  Not pills first.  Not assignments first.  Not running away and hiding first.  The sheer self-starting act of determining to be happy in each and every circumstance makes one new day by day.

Many dispositions should and can and will be adjusted by a simple switch in the mind; that one unit we control.  Others never make us unhappy.  Oh, how it does seem at times that they try.  But, we decide whether to move forward or melt.  We carry the power to endure or else give up.  Others have no military arsenal to force us to regard each kind of moment as anything other than one of mighty happiness.

Filmmaker Roco Belic believes that the shortcut to happiness is gratitude.

At age eighteen he was a part of a group raising funds for war-torn Mozambique.  He marveled that the refugees who had lost everything were neither miserable nor angry. Instead they were just beaming with life, ecstatic at the smallest and tiniest things: seeing a ballpoint pen, looking at a magic trick, seeing us run around carrying each other on our shoulders.  They had a genuine spark of joy that seemed to be missing in a lot of my friends back home.

Contrastingly, Belic later noted that by living in Hollywood he experienced quite the opposite.  Surrounded by talented and very good-looking, healthy movie stars there seemed to be a stark absence of happiness.  His conclusion is that these had forgotten the joy value of connection with those around them.

When one walks the streets of gratitude, life unfolds in a most wonderful way. Tensions ease.  Hope evolves.  Life seems to really live.  We get this by having the mind of Christ....I Corinthians 2:14-16.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


Echoes pass through the church corridors.  We have heard it; always heard it said.  The church no longer stands for anything anymore.  

I found that constant assertion to be backed by more bellar than truth.  Interpreted, I quickly learned, such a call is not honestly regarding the Word of God.  Rather, it is dead-centered upon the preferences of man. many it surely sounded bold, courageous, and necessarily sober.

Today's church landscape is suffering greatly from it's unbiblical inheritance of rigidity.  Such didn't come from God; therefore, it cannot bear godly, productive fruit. Barking never stops a passing car.

The place we should be looking is the very place the barking gets the loudest.  Anytime the barking decibels increase, there is a good chance we are on to something holy. Change in the church isn't optional.  The born-again text of John 3 assures believers that if the Holy Spirit is about anything, He is about the disciples being flexible.

What happens, when a group realizes the need to change, is that the first tendency is to evaluate what needs to be added.  A Youth Minister?  A remodeled kitchen? Relocation?

Now this is purely my opinion; but since it's my article I give myself the floor.

It seems to me that the change that might help the most churches the quickest would be to eliminate some key works of the church which have become more church-habit rather than Spirit-led.  Church leadership is in a glorious fight for progress.  I'm sympathetic for I am one.  Tradition has always been a church killer.  Jesus said as much in Matthew 15:8-9.

I can't speak for other generations trying to serve God in their social climates.  This one, however, deeply challenges us.  The Word will always remain dominantly current. Our congregational habits, though, may be stuck in a combination of the 50s and the 80s policies.

Some of these were quite bold and cutting-edge in those distant decades.  But some of their strategies have faded simply due to a new horizon of both needs and challenges. We would not have a physician nor medical team who stopped learning past those same decades.  Truthfully, none of us would stand for it.

The answer would seem to be to possess the bravery of the Spirit to ask Him what needs to change about us?  Not only what could we/should we add; but what needs to be stopped?

In our bold stances toward the kingdom system one of the most elementary truths is the urgent and perpetual need for elasticity in the church.  It is not uncommon for those of us who want to see the church grow are often the ones who stand in the way.

As I approach this important topic I will be most challenged to watch the beam in my own eye.  How about you?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


Oooh!  The darts that fly toward us!

Do this.  Try that.  Quit those.  Stop.  Adjust.  Think.  Leap.  Refrain.   Decisions, whether presented or pushed, press in upon us perpetually.  It is a wonder one can ever relax due to the hard-hitting demands barking at our heels.

It seems that the only time we are permitted to feel good about our day is if it contains victories.  Yet, such isn't an accurate assessment.  That we learn from our failures is the secret code to success.  A pattern of incremental failures is often (if not always) backing the success acquisition.

Do not get discouraged when great intentions flip upside down.  Refrain from pity-parties.  These tend to be very lonely as well as misguided.  If we are going to experience failures --and we will and do--then what we must and can do is transform them into productive energy.

Problems come equipped with secret codes of solution.  They always come with a teaching manual.  We must learn to stop long enough to read it.  What is in this for me to learn?  How am I being built for advantage?  What might I gain from disruption that will bless a host of others?

Life is full; full of ups and downs.  Be challenged.  Don't dismiss the negatives for they are packed with rich minerals of potential.  You are not in stagnant state; but rather one of flexibility as you mature.  Stuff goes wrong for everyone.  Yet, we are different when we regard such momentary hiccups in life as blessings.

All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose...Romans 8:28.

We must never waste a good failure.

Saturday, August 01, 2015


A thing I dearly treasure about the kingdom of God system is that it works upside down and backward to most conventional wisdom.  To keep you give away is but one of many of His drastic measures.  Another is that to really live one must die to self.  Try that one on as well.

If ever a person was found to be defiant in disposition, the kingdom of God is a perfect fit.  It dares to break the code of routine and thoughtless dailiness.  And don't you know God seems to enjoy it as well.  What He calls faith in Hebrews 11 we seem to have possibly undermined that very word for our walk.  No.  We don't call those moves faith. We call them miracles.

Within that faith chapter story-lines are built on a consistent thread of premise.  A person is faced with a problem and believes God not only has the solution; but believes God will provide it as well.  In this entire glorious chapter, not one believer wasted a good problem.

If we believers in God are found to be whiners, moaners, and complainers, no wonder the community brushes us off as fake.  Our problem is not that Jesus has no affect on our neighbors.  Our problem is that we waste good problems by failing to see that God works precisely in these conditions to show His valiant skills.

So what do we do with legitimate problems (for they do exist in abundance among us)? How do we not waste them?

We faithfully move about believing everything is working for good (Romans 5:1-5, 8:28).  We are not on earth to build personal empires.  We are here to love God and others.  Our authentic world is about those two entities.  What happens to us, then, has two-fold meaning; (1) what a stage to praise God and (2) what a moment to learn how others hurt so that we can better serve them in their stresses.

Some of the harshest and most disastrous moments in my history have proven to give me deeper and more sensitive understanding toward those who sit in my office overwhelmed by stresses.  We are advantaged by struggles to be more effective in assisting the next oncoming struggler.

Pain and suffering and perplexity are not about us.  They are always about lessons to be learned in order to help our neighbor.  So, dear and kind friend, don't waste a good problem.  But go to school on it.

Learn.  Adjust.  Before long, one may ring your doorbell with their new problem.  And you will be able to coach them to take a look at such from the hillside of being blessed in order to help their neighbors as well.