Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Believing is a most fantastic element of one's life.  It isn't religious as some would like to think.  No, to believe is a life-long wonder; a conviction by anyone about anything. One may believe they should go to the doctor.  Confidence strengthens when we believe in that physician.  Another may believe that it's time to change the oil in the car when a neighbor may believe that such isn't the time for theirs.

To believe is that natural and routine element of one's simplest convictions regarding matters everywhere from paint color to clothing preference.  No one is without it. We've all got it.

We believe.  We believe especially in the realm of the spiritual.  We believe God is while others believe He isn't.  Both cannot be correct; but the belief system is at play in this zone.  What we think is (or is not) is elementarily key to our actions, our goals, and our eventual accomplishments.  Each of us must be aware that much of our exertion is applied toward things and events which have yet to happen.  This would be called faith.

Why would this be significant; useful?  We carry the power of faith to believe (1) in what others who are struggling can become, and (2) in this very process we believe that effective change can actually come about.  Think about some who hurt.  Consider their loneliness or their depression or their neglect.  By faith, we can envision possibility; an entirely new terrain for their walk.  Our words, then, align with our vision for them. Change comes about when words of encouragement and hope are produced and then reproduced.  Through the faith process life pops open!

We believe.  This changes the lives of so many who needed someone to believe that they could succeed, could arise, could make it.  We believe.  We believe in people when they don 't believe in themselves.  We believe.  We believe that God can create something from nothing; that He can make life happen in the very core of deadness.

Believing isn't just a Sunday School coloring book to keep a child occupied.  It is to tap into a wonder that changes; changes hearts, goals, convictions and the entire course of life.  Whether we believe and what we believe are so crucial because this invisible element, as it turns out, is a dynamic rudder which gives us direction of the Spirit of God.

When we believe, life happens!

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Being from the NE corner of Missouri and then later West-central Illinois, I very much indeed understand one of the greatest rivalries in baseball; that of the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs.  I'm unique, being from that area, in that I like both teams a lot---the Cardinals first and the Cubs second.

It's a joke world-wide that the Cubs haven't won a World Series in so long that Halley's Comet has passed twice.  In 1969 the team had the standings sewn up only to crater in the last few days.  This year the team is surely on a power move.  Their victories are so many that the are perched upon the top of their division with a sizable lead with no signs of doing anything but pulling further from the pack.

But there is a strong challenge that lies in front of these Cubbies.  It's called endurance.  I'm not saying they can't make it for some team obviously will.  This might be their year.  If so I will celebrate...sorta.  Yet, the road ahead is filled with significant questions.  Will they avoid significant injuries?  Will the pitching arms fatigue?  Will the September heat become a factor?  And, what will happen if the team hits a losing streak along the way?  When this happens, will they endure or will they tank?  All of these questions will be answered and, when they are, the results will be clear.

This is the challenge of the church; endurance.  It's one thing to start off a new (season) of faith where everyone is happy, ministries cooperate, the contributions are strong, and attendance is on the increase.  It is quite another matter when hopes and dreams take a hit; when disappointment or disgust begin to be the rule of the day.

Believing God carries a hefty call to endure the hard stuff; the very difficult days.  Just as there are fly-by-night fans of baseball, the same disposition resides in the church. The challenge is, the question is, whether one will endure.  In baseball, opposition is called competition.  In the church it's called the Cross.  Both will face threat head-on.

To be clear, I am not prophesying that the Cubs will fold.  I am saying that if they are to win, and they very likely might, it will not be due to the team as it stands at the moment.  Rather it will be the result of a team that overcomes; bouncing back from injury, fatigue, and frustration over the long-haul.  Interference will happen.  Skill-set is one thing. Handling loss is quite another.  Both are significant factors in the game of life.

It is said of Jesus that he endured the cross despising the shame.  That's where our victories are experienced.  They are not about our talent only; but are very much about our determination to never give up regardless of insult or injury.  The Phillies of 1980 marched to victory because their motto of We believe! was a call to take the good with the bad by never doubting; never giving up.

Endurance will always be the challenge for the Church and the...Chicago Cubs.

Friday, May 27, 2016


What would need to happen to cause you to believe that this is your best day ever? Multiple answers could be offered; each being worthy of comment.  For some a response of a bigger house might be given while another would be an increase in income.  Yet others could desire improved health.  Mine would be to win big on the Wheel of Fortune!

However, there is a more subtle factor that has me quite curious.  What would our days be like if we could become anxious-free?  What if we could drop the worry over the present (and the future)?  Would life be any different if we could quit keeping score regarding personal injuries received from another?  Could hard feelings be, shall we say, dropped?  Might family tension be an underlying dis-ease in your house?

Conflict is a war-zone within itself.  From disagreement to disapproval, blood pressure can escalate.  Freely liking and disliking another is our choice.  But hating or despising another is as addictive as alcohol or drugs...and likely much more costly.

To have your best day ever is not for you to win that out-of-reach lottery.  It is much simpler and much closer at hand.  To have your best day ever...day after day...just may be found in your heart.  Dare you unlock it?  What if we stop our hate which runs rampant out on our streets and in our homes' hallways?  What if we could heal broken hearts by healing relationships?

Nothing is impossible with God.  Just as the Cross of Jesus reconciled us (as enemies of God) to Father, we carry within us the dynamic of doing the same for others.  Taking up our crosses daily isn't a church ritual.  It is the secret power that causes all of us to have our best days ever.

If you want to march for something, hit the streets protesting the shame that we can carry in our own hearts by resisting the call of Father to drop our anger.  Then, let us move about in the love of the Spirit of Christ.  This move will change the world where we live.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


The admonition to refrain from being a big baby begins with me and then proceeds on toward you.  Not only do we all have this as a possibility, each of us has our moments when others see it of us; even if we don't.

Yes we know a few things.  Compared to all that is known and all that is yet to be known, that which we individually know is quite micro in proportion.  So I know three things or forty-eight things that you don't?  Three people or forty-eight know tons of facts and figures that I didn't even know existed.

Just because I know that Stan Musial's bat handle was 15/16ths of an inch in diameter and was the smallest bat handle in the Major Leagues during his career does not make me king of knowing stuff (although I do have moments where knowing this fact causes me to feel a bit cool).

My point is that we are all very small compared to the empowering and towering large world of knowledge.  So let us not have the big-head...ever.  We are not sharper than one other person.  Yes, we might know a detail here and there of which others around us know nothing.  To be reminded that these also have abundant awareness of definitions and attributions of matters that we are purely clueless should cause us to park the high-horse and dismount.

You are not smarter than another.  Maybe in a few things, yes, but when realizing that few is so key, we may also admit that every one who receives my criticism is much more informed in other zones.  Our expertise, as we call it, is to be valued; but never as defining us as above another.  We never are.

I believe we live in a 1/1,000,000 ratio.  If I know one thing that others don't (and I do know some things that some others don't), I can be assured that others combined know one million facts or truths that never occurred to me.  This escalates the joy of life; not the ego of it.

So yes, each of us has a significant grasp of information valuable to the populace around.  But never let it be thought that because we are in on a very few of these markings that we are smarter, better, or more significant than another.  Don't be a big baby acting like we above others.  We are not....ever.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


I'm one guilty of being deeply involved in the church setting while being negligent in relating to God.   Loaded with ministry assignments, proof texts, and doctrinal ammunition, I set out to make people into miniature me.  Believe as me.  Talk as me. Prove as me.  Even sound like me.

What a missing of the Jesus target.  How sinful.

I had all of these religious ideas I was trying to keep afloat.  I would even take a stab at beefing up my prayer life.  To take a stab at writing a book or increasing my giving...why not?  But there was a major glitch in every bit of the above.  I wasn't connecting with God.  It felt very much that I was on my own.

Do you have any idea what it's like to begrudge the time spent in prayer while not believing it made any difference anyway?  Yet, churchers watching me expected it...so I prayed.  The same with ministry in general; keep up the appearance.  But I wasn't catching something...something big...so personal puzzlement followed.

My problem was that I didn't know God as Father.  I knew Him as Boss.  I knew Him as Office Manager; but not as Friend.  It might help for me to tell you that for some reason as a new convert I understood by comments made in Bible classes, etc., that God was not on our side.  Now that's absurd, but it seemed that God was more of a Spy with a Fly-swatter than a Father with a Son.

What I like about God is that He out-thinks the sharpest of minds, out-works the hardest of laborers, and out-smarts the wisest of teachers.  Mankind has read about and experienced the brilliance of God and, yet, we have hardly scratched the surface of His talent, skill, and certainly His graceful love.  This doesn't bum me that I'm so far behind.  Rather, it frees me to imagine....Him.

What I really like about God is that He cares more about the rejects than anyone can grasp.  We study the Word.  We read of His sacrificial willingness to be tortured in order to save His creation.  And then guys like me come along implying that we have mastered God's trek.  Just.  Not.  So.  To follow in the steps of Jesus is simply one constant transference; our preferences shifting to His.

What I really, really like about God is that He will not be boxed in by man's understanding.  All through Scripture He broke the rules in order to communicate this very fact; He won't be told by any system order how He will work.  He can part a sea to save His people or close it up moments later to extract His enemies.  God can cause night to restrain for a fighting soldier or bring about food from a boy's meager lunch for an entire crowd of say 4000....or 5000.

What I like about God is that He is God....and I am not.  Therefore, it is my job to let go of my calculating, manipulating, extremely puny ways, and let Him run this show.  We will all be better off, don't you think?

Monday, May 23, 2016


A man I never met turned my world around to the point I've never gotten over it.  God places people and/or their works in our paths along the way and such is the case for me.  E. Stanley Jones wrote a very small book which continues to provide quite large blessings.  I've never forgotten my being stricken with absolute possibility embedded within every negative situation.

The Divine Yes impacted me like no other book.  Everything is a Yes.  Jones based his work on the dynamic words of II Corinthians 1:20: For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.

Having served decades in a foreign territory spreading the Word of God in a fantastic ministry, Jones suffered a paralyzing stroke while visiting America.  One half of his body no longer functioned.  His family pleaded that he retire at his age and stay home. But he refused.  And while his body was now a source of daily struggle, slurred speech and all, he returned to his beloved adopted country.

E. Stanley Jones drug his half-dead body for the next fourteen months until his death to show that everything is a yes regardless of interruption or interference.  The promises of God are a yes.  He wanted his colleagues to see that even drastic discouragement would not cause anyone to call it quits.  He would not let such an obstruction of body stop him from ministering to a people dearly loved by God.

This is the spirit of Jesus.  Love the people.  Care for the broken.  Stand by the public rejects.  Cover for the enemy.  And, count on Father to bring one back from the grave. We are called to do more than go to church.  We are called to be an obsessed kind of populace which lives in certainty of wonder; even when the circumstances prove to be less than ideal.

So here's the magic of it all.  Our depression, our rejection, our insults, and our failures are not signals of pulling out; but rather, of lighting up.  Even in the very center of loss and distress we are learning how others feel who are suffering loss and distress. Nothing is a waste.  Nothing.  This strong attitude of faith reverses most lives.

The Apostle Paul urged that even tribulation leads us to endurance.  Endurance leads to proven character.  And proven character?  Leads us to hope.  Romans 5:5 reveals that such a hope is not fake due to the Holy Spirit of God given to us.  We can count on wonder...even in the very center of those things/those people who threaten to shut us down.

This....is the wonder of being a regular person living on a regular road wishing to turn the world upside down!

Sunday, May 22, 2016


Mankind is infected.  Adam and Eve thrust us into an unscheduled, unintended raging battle that leaves families and neighbors strewn from here to yonder.  Their failure has massive impact.  Life is broken; very broken.

The lesson we must remember is that this is a matter of we; not they.  We are in the mix.  We are to be blamed for injury to others; daily, weekly insulting and harmful injuries.  It is not that some can't seem to get a grip on life; we are in the mix.

Yet, there is a counter lesson of which we must not stop learning.  Just as each carries enough soreness and baggage, Jesus died to take the blame.  That's what he did on the Cross.  Why do you think it turned dark that day in mid-afternoon.  All of man's darkness--every hurtful word and deed--had been removed from man's worst behavior and dumped upon his head.  He paid for our stupid, selfish, injurious ways.

It is his righteousness that he handed to us.  We received not a grade card of earned approval; but a Pass.  He went to Hell for us.  We go to Heaven.  Get it?  We must not stop learning this lesson.  For as we do--when we remember--our hearts leap within us. Our eyes brighten.  Our hopes lift.  Our confidence soars.  Our interest in our enemies escalates.  Purpose takes form.  Meaning arises.

Life isn't good because we manage it well.  No, life is great because it was handed to us upon a rugged wooden platter.  Feast away!

Saturday, May 21, 2016


Could I ask just how many hats Discouragement has?  This is incredible.  I mean, everywhere we turn and everyone we know battles what we call "staying up".  It's epidemic in persistence and substantial in proportion to the rest of our day. Discouragement isn't necessarily the same as depression; although it could be regarded as a close cousin.  Whatever....it bugs us....each of us....without exception.

I face this Mob Boss all of the time.  Of the hundreds of things that go right in my life, just let two things (well, okay, just one) go wrong and I'm tempted to curl up in despair. Frustration hits.  Aggravation seems to want to cuff me and jail me.  Yet, I have learned a thing from God that is mind-saving and heart-building.  I have learned to focus on the stuff of life that's going right.  He promised peace would come quickly.

Two things wear me down.  People.

The people of they and then the person of me.  Disappointingly I have turned out to be like them in identical ways that I was just hoping wouldn't be true.  We push, pull, shove, and neglect all in one big ball of selfish, injurious, wasteful living.  We get upset over how someone treats us and then turn around and treat another the very same way.  Romans 2;1-5 speaks a bit about this.  None of us are exempt from dishing out insult or neglect; but resent it--oh so very much--when it is dished out to us.

Two things wear me down.  People.

Just this morning I had to give myself a talking-to and tell myself to sit down and stop the inner dialog of being bummed.  I had to lecture me against brooding, pouting, and well...pouting that I was brooding.  But, just as promised, when I shifted my thoughts away from the discouraging and upon the wonders already in my world, on my path, what God said came upon me.  Peace, an unexplainable calm, rolled in as the sun peeking along a shoreline.

How shall we overcome invisible nagging discouragement?  I would offer the following advice:
  1. Quit courting it.
  2. Quit taking it out for a Coke.
  3. Quit playing its recordings in your mind.
  4. Quit giving it permission to stay overnight.
Two things wear me down.  People.  Two things build me up.  God and patient people.

Friday, May 20, 2016


Dare I approach the sacred god of the land known as Reason?  Could it be that a hefty part of church struggle is due to the accepted terrain of believing that reason is wisdom?  Before you reason that I must be unaware that the Bible uses this word 129 times, I am quite aware.  Therefore, the word itself is not taboo.  The building a god from its timbers is.

Reason is a a double-edged sword.  It can accelerate progress or it can stifle it.  The beholder is the one on the bubble.  Faith or fear sit at opposing ends of the religious teeter-tooter.  I reference this matter because I believe we are stuck in some of the simplest matters because reason becomes the very excuse one needs to hedge on stepping out by faith.

The Father of faith (Abraham) went out toward God's call not knowing where he was going.  Human reason would have plenty to say about such an irresponsible move, wouldn't you think?  Jesus had a faith where he believed that even if he were to die that he would soon be back.  Do you really think the cautious side of reason wants any part of such an extreme presupposition?  I don't think so.  I believe controlling reason would balk just before it mocked.

It is this side of reason that I bring to your table.  And I bring it because it negatively chips and nips at our faith.  It pushes, it threatens, it bullies the tendency to try to walk by the unseen into the unknown.  I believe that in general the masses don't pray because reason explains to our interiors that there is no way it will make a difference. But, faith insists that it absolutely will.

Very bold arguers among churches bellow their controlling opinions about doctrinal matters.  Yet, when it comes to the matter of giving of their dollars, some of these hedge in the name of being reasonable; not faithful.  Bible study attendees who seldom read the Word in search of anything other than proof of what they already believe seem to major in reason while being steady in walking by a religious nervousness that they might get it wrong; a lack of trust that God can do well in both supply and provision.

We do want to participate in reason when it comes to determining whether to believe in the Invisible God or the vocal doubters.  We do use reason to sort the spiritual from the carnal.  It isn't that reason, therefore, is a villain but it very much can be if such is used as a wedge to barter against vibrant unexplainable faith.

Reason does not of itself provide a guide to truth, says Dr. David Hawkins.  It produces massive amounts of information and documentation, but lacks the capability to resolve discrepancies in data and conclusions.  Reason itself, paradoxically, is the major block to reaching higher levels of consciousness.  

While being reasonable can seem so....reasonable...it can, in fact, be used as a misguiding tool to distract one from concluding the very amazing activities of God.  Not only are human reason and faith not twins; they at times aren't even relatives.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


How is it that an average person goes through a day with the dynamic of confidence and insecurity?  Just the wording of the sentence is a challenge to me for I am one example of this apparent poles-far-apart conflict...that isn't.  It isn't conflict because the two seem to bond which, on the surface, would seem contradictory.

My firm convictions of good attitude and higher goals are not the solution.  Self-doubt, even frustration, sabotages those two in a heartbeat.  When I mention insecurity, I mean it!  The Solver to this dilemma is Jesus...in Spirit form.  Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God (II Corinthians 3:5).  Our confidence (previous verse) is found in Jesus pointing us toward God.

My problem is that I was studying, practicing, (and at least wishing) that I would become inwardly confident.  Yet, confidence in myself continued to be undermined by myself.  When I was a teen I bought a pair of socks at Goodells.  As I prepared to put them on, I noticed a wandering thread at the opening so I pulled it so as to remove this vagrant sleeper that was hitching a ride on my new sock.

When I pulled that villain of a thread the entire sock unraveled all of the way to the end of the toe.  It was like I had just done a most amazing magic trick.  Nothing was left but one long useless brown thread.  At this point I had a serious quandary.  Now my socks really didn't match!

When we make genuine effort to be self-aggressive and self-assertive there will always be someone or some thing which will pull our chains and we will unravel....often all of the way to our toes.  But life isn't up to us.  We don't have the knack to make it click. Life is up to Jesus within us.  He knows the directions and the dimensions because he personally knows the Creator of even our socks.

When Jesus teaches that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, a powerful secret is sneaking upon us from the front.  We are being hit with a validity which is truly community-disorienting; even earth-shaking.  The very place NO ONE WANTS TO BE is in last place.  No one brags about the team that finished last; nor the horse, nor the beauty contestant.

No, first is what we want.  In this zone are the bragging rights.  It's what we envision for our kids, for our efforts, for our dreams, and for ourselves.  God, in His wisdom, knows we want to be first.  Thrillingly, He wants us to experience being first.  He isn't against us; rather for us.  But to be authentic in finishing at the top we must strive for last place.

And this bugs us.  It feels like some sort of bad day like when our socks don't match....but much worse.  In our finishing last in accomplishment, in argument, in effectiveness, be not discouraged.  The fascinating work of God is at hand.  It was at the Cross...even when it didn't look like it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


The sturdiness of a believer is not to be gauged by whether we attend a church. Authentic strength is found in whether our lives are marked by a determined endurance; a power-wash love for all people around us.  I speak not of an overmydeadbody bullishness, either.  Rather, the question revolves around the strategy of Jesus in that he would not give up his plan to win the whole world.

Jesus presented an entirely off-the-wall religion; one that believed that what wasn't yet could become and even possessed a certainty that the dead could again live.  The goal of Jesus was to see that he paid the price for our delinquency.  His resurrection says that all is well in the Home Office.

Because he never gave up on us, we are to follow pattern and never give up on others. This would change the church if we will grow to be more like him.  And if such would change the church we, in turn, would change the world.  Churches complain that the world is a mess.  Yes it is.  And much of it may be because churches have grown to become self-serving rather than self-dying that others could live.

Everyone is looking for hope.  It is found in a people who never give up.  Might we overcome being so touchy about personal injury and insult?  Might we believe in the value of people...including any who might sarcastically or ignorantly or intentionally give us a hard time?  We have been called to do for even our enemies what Jesus did for us when we were regarded as his enemies.

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).

Maybe, just maybe, the people who bug us the most are in our midst to test (and increase) our endurance factor.  I know this is true for where we live today because such has always been the mark of the godly since that big day on Calvary.  May we be focused to encourage the whole world.  Never give up...on anyone.  He didn't....and aren't we glad about that?

Sunday, May 15, 2016


When he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd...Mt. 9:36.

Jesus had such a tender knack to notice...people.  This is what the church is called to do.  This tells, as it did of Jesus, how we care about the masses.  He knew and we know that earth is crowded with those of us who look for love in the wrong places and seek happiness in pursuit of pleasing self.  That self has become such a strong god that has been factual since the days of Adam and Eve.

The New Birth of which God calls us to experience is for a quite simple reason.  It has within its scope the refreshing ability for one who has been born in the earthly sense already to be born one more time.  To start life over is a gift for the heart of every man and woman which can hardly be fathomed.  Well....can't be fathomed; but simply believed.

You and I are to take on the heart of Jesus.  His Spirit resides in the born-again-ones for a reason.  Others need help.  They need encouragement, direction, and new life. What could be more fascinating than going through the earth-walk with eyes for the crowds knowing that they are harassed and dejected and, yet, we know the way of escape from such daily treachery because that's precisely what we found.

We know the One...lots of people do.  But just as I didn't always, there are many others who have yet to run into him.  Some are suspicious while others aren't buying it.  I was both.  But this idea of a Living God truly rescuing the strugglers has certainly given me the impulse to minister.  Maybe you could encourage those crowded around your path.  They too are often harassed and dejected.  These might just be more open to pondering the possibility of starting life over.

That's what I did.  That's what we do because we treasure--absolutely love--the people along our paths.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Don't you just love right now?  When we ponder all that man has accumulated in knowledge and then position such a gathering toward the more profound mountain of what is yet to be known, one should become overwhelmed at such a realization.  Just how many more glues and cleaners is that guy on the TV commercial going to create for $19.95...but wait order now and I get a second for free?  Creation is pregnant with yet-to-be-imagined discovery x endlessness!

Two classical writers, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, were good friends who spent a lot of time volleying philosophical what ifs and just might be as professors at Oxford University.  Tolkien had a deep belief in something else; Lewis did not.  One thought that this world was not all there is while the other felt that it was.  Late one night on a dark wooded path Tolkien asked Lewis to consider whether myth had coincided with history--whether one time eternity might have broken through into real time.  Tolkien believed it had.

As much as I am an enthusiast for learning about God, for I firmly believe that He is, I remain fascinated at the endless angles of stories of any who come upon Him...like...eternity entering time.  Too, it's encouraging to note others who struggle toward a conclusion that God exists.  Eric Metaxas ponders that Tolkein suggested that the myth of  the god who had died and come to life was an echo of a greater story---perhaps the greatest story ever told---and that one time in history this eternal story bloomed into reality, had broken through history and time as a crocus breaks through the snow.

Don't you find it intriguing that as much as we read our Bibles and then gather over the years in our congregations that we still learn of the new and unique ways His truths affect us, include us, and simply fascinate us?  The very fact that some spend time trying to prove that God doesn't exist seems to me to verify that He does.

May we band together to do an even stronger, more powerful, work of letting the Light really, truly, honestly, profoundly, admirably shine from our hearts into others who stand along the crooked paths of daily living.  These we encounter are precisely as many of us once were; wondering if this God-stuff just might in fact be true.


I'm curious as to what the next few months will bring to America as the political ovens begin to heat up.  The vitriol (yes mom, I use a big word for me) seems to have only begun.  Likely, our land will be scorched from both indignation and revelation.  Shall we turn the tide?

My reason for referencing the current Presidential race is that it has caused me to wonder.  Are the politicians playing out on their stages what society has become; including you....okay, and me?  Have we become obsessed with the bad to the point we wish to deny any portion of good in another even if such were to be true?  Very possibly so.

Father had this figured out ancient days ago.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God may have slipped into a sort of religious slogan instead of the potential damning of the soul.  Unless there is Jesus, my friend, we are sunk.  Period.

We spiritual people have developed a culture that might breeze right on past our own dramatic flaws while freely speaking disparagingly of others who appear to us to be dismal representatives of the human race...like...politicians who run for President.  For such judgment, as if they but not we, we are mistaken.

Yet, a person who reads the GOOD-NEWSpaper runs into personal facts which will not let us go.  We (meaning each me) were so broken that Jesus was strung up on the Cross to take on our sins; our ugly, embarrassing, wretched, self-centered sins.  No, not the sins of whispered rumors nor accidental slipping of the tongue in cursing.  We are talking about you and me here.  Us.  The ones who either commit horrendous sins or at least think about committing them.  Sinner is never a they proposition.  We...we are front and center.

So what shall we do when a mudslide is all around?  We do as the Pharisees did when they were just about to stone the disgusting adulteress woman.  They dropped the stones in the dust when Jesus inquired as to exactly which one of them might be innocent?

Not.  A.  One.  There was no stoning that day.  For some weird reason their bravery melted.  They were found to be just like her.  The accusers were as guilty as the one they wise-crackingly accused.  Sound familiar anybody?

The solution, therefore, is clear.  We are to speak words.  We speak words of defense for another; not accusation.  We speak Life.  The Christian movement of today: Words Matter.  We are not to sling words of mud; but rather of encouragement and strength and vision and hope.  Mud slinging must stop.  America would be advantaged if the media, the political opposition, and the Christians would point out the good in one another (including presidential candidates) rather than reaching for one more fist full of mud.  Don't ya think?

Words Matter.

Thursday, May 12, 2016


We.  Are.  So.  Weird.

We find ourselves in perpetual struggle; whether interpersonal relationship, opposing inner thoughts, or divergent opportunities.  Living on the bubble of could, should, might, and maybe weary the soul.  Why does this non-patternistic confusion seem to be such an embedded....pattern?

David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. has a bit of insight.  He points to one's inner battle to learn how to be more than we are while, simultaneously, living with the brakes on so that our minds don't slip into some rationale beyond our fear-based need to control.

Rationality, the great liberator that has freed us from the demands of our lower natures, is also a stern warden, denying our escape to the planes above and beyond intellect.  It is at this latter juncture that we must be on alert.  There is much more to living than what our cowardly hesitancy wishes us to experience.  In so very many instances the flesh will insist that we play it safe.

Being rational has become a most respectable god among some (this is certainly so with me).  Never looking out of step with the middle of the road, we find (as Hawkins points out) that the freedom of learning, of wondering, and of imagining is curbed by the stern warden of seeing that we never leave the ruts where we generally find community acceptance.  We find a bit of pseudo-pride that we are neither ignorant nor are we radical.  We so basically hunger to fit in that one of man's basic rules-of-thumb is don't rock the boat.

Thus, we experience inner conflict because we are constructed by the Creator to function beyond our imagination; Ephesians 3:19-20.  We are called to a higher thread of consciousness called the spiritual.  The spirit and the flesh are often in powerful conflict.  Thus we find ourselves doing what we know we shouldn't and not doing what we know we should.  (I just described some facet of every reader.)

Dr. Hawkins continued, then, to declare a most meaningful warning regarding the battle to experience freedom for the inner man over the ruling of the outer flesh.  It is a final sticking point, and enormous barrier; the fight to overcome it is the most common, and frequently the lengthiest, of spiritual struggles.

So how do we approach the striving to learn of intended freedom with an opposing inner warden of playing life safe?  We yield to the Spirit of God.  Consider the Bible.  Story after story after story of the impossible became reality.  One's lower nature pooh-poohs the very thought of this being legit.  Yet, another's higher nature not only believes it....but experiences it.

To win the war of inner conflict there will be required a courageous "letting go" of one's appetite for both control and explanation.  No one can explain the resurrection of Jesus.  Nor can one investigate in a clinic how baptism works.  To allow faith the room to advance beyond all human explanation is strategic in winning the war over strong inner conflict.  To do so will necessarily require us to remove our toes from the bottom of the religious swimming pool.

Let go....and let God.  This is the what the skirmish is about.  May we find victory.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Romans 5:1-5 is a goldmine of emotional wealth.
  • :2  We possess hope in the glory of God
  • :3-5 We even possess hope in the very center of struggles
If we have hope in our good days and then have hope in our bad days....there are no other kinds of days...and we always have the capacity to hope in each.

Yay God!  Yay us!  There are two kinds of good days!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


How would you assess a broad improvement for the world order?  Let me take a stab at your guestimation.  No.  Let me tell you mine and see if yours lines up.  I don't intend to go through life being so obnoxious, but I have this corner of my heart that believes that if everyone would/could/should operate as I then everyone would be much better off.

There...I came right out and said it.  I can count your many blessings!  Wouldn't the world be better off if...it could evaluate and execute in step with the way I think?  Or, maybe the way you think?

I don't know if you've noticed.  We aren't alike.  A few similarities prevail.  Vast differences clearly exist.

Here's a problem with this truth about us if we don't guard our operating mindset.  We will desire that all people--admittedly different in vast array--are to do life on our scale of understanding; even interest.  And, dear friend, this...won't...work.  It hasn't.  It doesn't.  It won't.  It.  Isn't.  Supposed.  To.

Just as a hand isn't a foot and an eye isn't a mouth, all of us fit in life when we determine to work as a body.  I am advantaged by those who do not think as I, judge as I, walk as I.  These, too, are equally advantaged by those like me for each of us fits in the body of life.

Struggles are prominent when feet want hands to function as feet; when mouths want eyes to smack rather than blink.  We are not the same...on God's purpose.  We are a body.

When I'm set free to practice my gifts from the Spirit I seem to soar.  But when I'm pressed into being what others not like me want me to be as they think and do, suffocation of my imaginative and exploring heart tends to build.  This doesn't mean that there is to be no cooperation.  But what it does mean is that we each must recall that our strengths are possibly not even of the remotest interest to others.

We are a team; not look-alike, walk-alike, talk-alike robots.  Here's a good idea we might try to remember; concepts which make you perk may make another puke (sorry, but it started with p).  If your trend lights up your heart unto ambition; might I suggest you enjoy it, but try not to impose it.

The world is better off because....not everyone is like me.  And the whole world just now said...Oh thank you, God!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


Do any of you ever feel like you are drowning in the very work you love?  Do you notice, increasingly so, that there are not enough days in your hour?  I am there and I share openly for those who are also there...and for those who are going to hit such moments.

I'm losing ground.  I don't speak with complaint.  Is it about over-commitment?  Age? Lack of discipline by taking on too many projects?  I share this simply to say where we live is very real and sometimes we struggle to do what we are supposed to do coupled with what others expect us to do.

I wish to be careful about the age we live in--2016--but I do believe God's wonderful creation of individuals has encountered a pace far more intense than what I think I recall in the 50s and 60s.  Just now my phone bing-bonged me with a message from a preacher in Arkansas so I had to interrupt these thoughts.

Turn your phone off, you say?  I can't.  I'm addicted.  I'm addicted to muchness, I now believe.

So may we take a look at Jesus; always in demand, always in the center, always facing opposition.  He had such a knack of walking through the crowds and then entering the confines of seclusion.  I admire him for this.  And, he made absolutely profound moves to win the whole world.

I speak to you mommas and daddys and bosses and employees and coaches and parents and teachers and students and drivers and riders, try not to live so hard so far so much that you forget to live.  We function in a society that may be over-yesed.  We say yes to ministry, t-ball, sewing club, golf tournament, and weekend trips when what we may need most is to sit down and simply relax.

You know I'm not promoting laziness.  I am pushing for effectivity while we breathe. You are a person of incredible God-gifted value.  You are destined to change the world. Try to be careful not to let the unconscious and demanding calendar waste you.

You are seriously important.  You have differences to make.  Do it...intentionally.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


I wonder if life is generally experienced in stages.  These are usually to be noted in ordinary age patterns; but even that cannot be taken as a rule for there are exceptions...always because some younger think older and some aged have minds of youth.

Generally speaking though, in the Teens and Twenties, one might note how the much the older people (like in their 30s-50s) seem to think archaic.  Their dress, their mannerisms, their lingo (the younger believe) are surely outdated.

The mid-range--30s, 40s, 50s, early 60s--see the obvious (to them).  The Teens and Twenty-Somethings live in a fantasy of sorts while the late 60s+ are apparently notoriously stuck.  If these younger and older could possess the get-up-and-go with the wisdom garnered in this bracket, these believe the world would be much better off.

Each age range seems to be consistent; looking back with rolling of the eyes and looking forward with...rolling of the eyes.

I wonder if the stages might signify that none ever really have a strong grasp of what might be needed for the large spectrum called life.  Maybe this would be why we must shift to the style of Jesus in order to gain a better dimension of this matter that we each deem most important.

God spells it out both simply and clearly; we are inadequate and the Spirit is the reason (the only reason) adequacy is ever experienced...II Corinthians 3:4-6.  Only when we admit our lack, while simultaneously realizing the confidence we have in the Spirit therein, will we have accurate grasp of exciting reality.

Doing Kingdom life from our own talent and will-power is not doing Kingdom life.  It is another mere effort to push our agenda under the guise of being positive on the exterior while being fearful on the interior.  Trusting God to do much with our very vague littleness?  This sets the STAGE for all of robust life.

Sunday, May 01, 2016


Do think it possible that we live from an inner compelling calculation?  The kind where we can't dare give God room to surprise, honor, or endorse our wild ideas because reason and stability tossed wild out the window many insecure moons ago?  I don't just think so, I know so for myself.

Kingdom traits like grace, mercy, and love cannot be restricted to man's best minds.  We even have a slight tendency to mock those who would push such an agenda.  Regarding each of these three, it is not unusual for a few in Bible classes to caution just why it is that these (grace/mercy/love) must be guarded in practice else we become abusive, negligent, and....liberal.

Therefore, I simply remind us to evaluate our reach to others, our generous surrendering of our money to God, and our time spent in relationship with God through prayer.  In these three (and there are a host of others), we find that we are robust in daring faith or else restrictive by our self-defending humanistic wisdom.  The former brings an abundant experience of joy.  The latter causes us to be squint-eyed and suspicious....and usually afraid.

We are....one or the other.  If we are going to live in calculation, how about deciding to calculate that we can't calculate if we are going to walk the magnificent path of Jesus?