Thursday, September 29, 2016


Today isn't just your run-o'-the-mill sort of day; that kind where you spin your wheels, finish fatigued, and wonder what meaningful may have happened.  Did you make a difference...anywhere?  For anyone?

You are not average.  You are backed by the Living God who....does stuff!  He does stuff through the stutterers, the hedgers, the doubters, and the inadequate.  We....are His forte'.  Therefore, when you hit the streets today, hit them assured that living is going on....through you....for others to find blessings.

You don't necessarily need to be pumping your fists in the air or skipping down the sidewalk as if you are truly enthused.  A light shining from your eyes as you listen well to your child or to a colleague might just give them a strong sense that Life is going on....inside of you.

Be aware.  You are on.  For Him.

May your day be strong.  May it be uplifting.  And may it be awesome because those around you get the feeling that they are more important to you than yourself.  This might change the world today!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


God made note of Satan's emphatic blunder with Adam and Eve in the Garden.  What this Disrupter didn't know was that Father already had a plan in the works to reclaim His created ones to set them free into a land of indescribable wonder.

Indescribable wonder?  That's how you see yourself?  That's how you see the day? That's how you see the church's function in your town; your country?  That's precisely how it is to be seen.  But, in places and in some hearts, the church has fundamentally fallen asleep due to it's many soft tunes like, Don't Be Out of Step (We Don't Dance), or Going Through the LocalMotions.  Another song high on the church-pop charts is, The Way We Were.  

Ours is always a spiritual call to awaken; awaken today and then again tomorrow.  Faith is drama in the highest and most meaningful form.  It believes that what isn't can become.  This is a different drummer than cowering in fear that we will lose what we found.  The Kingdom is always based on us letting go in order to receive.  Clinging to what we can manage is not His call.  Finding ourselves released right into the center of His provisional unknown is.

However, we've possibly lulled ourselves to sleep.  We pride ourselves in explanation, highly monitored direction, and, by all means, not looking foolish.  This latter point still allows us to talk about I Corinthians 1:1-3:23.  Yet, in practice, we tend to hedge. We do our best to appear anything but the text's theme of appearing foolish.

The result of such intentional disregard?  Yawning due to the boredom of ineffective doctrines and ministries.  Oh, our eyes are wide open.  But our hearts have closed the door to outlandish opportunity in order that we be sheltered from risk, engaged in self-management, and live obsessed with self-protection from failure.  We would rather not try than to try and then see that our efforts didn't fly.  Therefore, we sleep while we nod in agreement over the general concept of the Bible teaching.

Consider the theme of Giving.  Why is it that not only in the church is the theme aborted by way too many; but even in random communities the call to give to the church is a coffee-shop joke by those who aren't a part of any congregation?  Why is this...really?  Why is this theme the most touchy?  No accident.

The why is to be found in the correlation of giving away our earth power (money) in order to receive heaven power (God's grace).  The giving away of that central acquisition of which we really depend is the signal from God that we are all in.  A meager and general tossing of a ten or a twenty into the plate when we have an income much larger is a testimony to God that we don't believe Him and can't trust Him.

If this goes on (and it very much does) the body life of the church drifts into slumber. To release that which we believe we are dependent upon in favor of trusting God is a positive thrust for the awakened; not the sleeping.  To ignore giving is to ignore the potential of God's participation.  He awaits with respect toward our faith or our fear. And, He will always respond accordingly.

So what shall we do?  Here's just an idea which might cause you to develop your own plan.  I made a vow to God that I believed Him on this matter.  I couldn't explain His call.  Nor could I get it to work on paper.  So I told Him that I would increase my giving dollar by a few dollars until the money wasn't there.  I assumed that He did not expect me to give that which I did not have.  I did it slowly, but steadily, and still do.  That which He promises happens.  A grace of supply and provision move into our walk in greater proportion than what we just gave.

If you think the strong and negative emotions toward the theme of giving is just the way life works, think again.  It is a testimony of both the influence of Satan and the great call of God.  Kingdom life is much more (very much fuller) than deciding one should be a good church-goer.  It is a high risk of yielding self to the sacrificial concepts of Jesus.  Giving is not an option.  Is is one of the most major keys to unlocking the indescribable wonder of God that a one can imagine.

Increase.  Increase.  Increase.  And He makes a vow that your provision will increase, increase, increase.  The question remains, Dare we trust Him?  Excusionary talk won't cut it.  Growing to give will.  So, I offer an idea.  Increase your giving by $1 or $5 or $25 per week.  You choose.  And you watch.  Just watch.  And then keep doing it.  And watch.  His grace that cannot be understood will increase.  Good things will happen that you can't explain.  It will be God give Him praise.

Monday, September 26, 2016


I don't know that what I'm about to convey would be of much help to every reader.  But, I am believing it will be pertinent to most.  So, shall we give it a shot and see where it might land?

People have bad days for various reasons.  The car won't start or the basement flooded.  Perhaps the Street Crew shut the water off without a warning; so now you have to go to work a globby, matted mess.  However, I believe that the most of us have bad days because of other people.  They bug us.  They offend us.  They sin against us.

So what shall we do with this community of they when we feel that our days would be better off without them...and their constant interference?  Such ones can become trigger points that may ruin our outlook, our other relationships; even our day.

But there is a matter that we often fail to consider.  That is that we do to some others what some others seem to do to us.  The Bible says we are all alike.  They've got attitudes?  Oh, I believe you.  And you don't?  I don't?  Um...not the case.  We are all like.

Therefore, we can have immediate better days if and when we choose to live in gratitude rather than irritation.  To see the good in others rather than the ugly is precisely (exactly) what we/how we wish all others would treat us.  If they would overlook our grumps, gripes, silliness, and sins, we would feel much, much better.  So why not give those who bug us the same Free Space to have a better day just like the one we want?

We can do this!

Saturday, September 24, 2016


Times are indeed challenging, huh?  The sentiments of suspicion, frustration, even neglect, are surely a-brew.  Division among dear neighbors and whole neighborhoods begs to reign; to boss, to push.  Such division is powerful.  It is mighty.  It is full of selfishness.

One of the pains of mankind has and is being played out on the stage in Charlotte.  The next stage is being set in my own city, Tulsa.  We are next.  And while we all understand my perspective is merely one man's, I wish to portray a continued hope for our place.

A very valuable black man has been shot by an equally very valuable white policewoman.  No one views this development with an indifferent shrug.  This is devastating.  The question isn't whether it really happened.  It surely did as grief hangs over our city's landscape.  The question is, what are we really going to do about it?  How might we help?  It is at this juncture that I wish to say something meaningful.

This moment would be measured with the highest sense of catastrophic for all involved.  By involved, I don't single out just the victim's family nor the officer's for that matter.  I regard, too, each of us as we try to perceive from the sidelines via our news reports.  What are WE going to do about this?

There will be two approaches taken; identical in nature for either group.  There will not be a third; nor will there be a bias as to whether one is more capable than the other.  Two, and only two, clusters of thought will emerge...from BOTH camps; hatred or love.  Why?

Why will this saturate the hearts in both camps? Why on both sides of being right and standing for what's right will there be found either moments of genuine hope or moments of helpless devastation?  Why?  This is answered, I believe, from the interior of a person's heart; not from the exterior of one's skin color.  Deeds of the flesh will divide.  Fruit of the Spirit will unite.  There will not be a third path to wholeness for any community.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing are to be compared immediately in Galatians 5:19-22 with, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  

The latter is what I have seen, overall, coming from our Mayor's office and on into our police force and then embedded within our Tulsa neighborhoods as there is extensive grief, anguish and pain.  The Spirit fruit is known as His because we can't get such to come out of us by our fleshly determination.  As hard as we might try, we don't have it within our brainpower nor convictions to hold up under the stress of being people.

Yet, the Holy Spirit bears this amazing and much needed fruit with in us, if we will but yield to Him.  Indeed, racial tension is real.  It is  But our community will not be divided due to color.  No, such is a falsehood in artificial disguise.  True division is never truly of racial boundaries; but between the flesh and the Spirit...of both groups.  It is within these two that there will either be lingering devastation or lasting reconciliation.

If celebrities are coming to Tulsa to help out, thank you.  Oh.  Thank.  You. Please...bring your fruit of the Spirit with you because you are so needed for such a time as this.  Too, don't bring your pet aggravations with you.  Stay home if that the best you can offer.  We already have enough selfishness of ourselves to go around without you stirring.

Our city is very wounded.  We desire to heal well.  By God's grace, it will happen. Welcome to all within our city or to those who are traveling our way who can override anger with joy, hatred with peace and divisiveness with love.  Welcome.  Bring.  It.  On.

Friday, September 23, 2016


As I looked over Henri Nouwen's The Wounded Healer this morning, I came upon a most impactive comment.  No man can stay alive when nobody is waiting for him....A man can keep his sanity and stay alive as long as there is at least one person who is waiting for him.  Simply profound.

One of God's turning points at Memorial Drive was our study of the one another verses.  Build up one another.  Love one another. Encourage one another.  On the list goes.  Power.  Meaningful.


The Creator, the Savior, the Leader, the Strengthener, of course, are found in the indescribable God-head.  Yet, the body-builder is found in the interaction of the body parts tending to one another in support; in supply of energy and assurance.

As much as there is proper and needed call for us to acknowledge the head of the church, him being Jesus, there is also deep need for the body to move from atrophy to health.  This would come about because each body part fits, belongs, and strives to participate in the body language of the whole.

We all matter.  Each is key.  Do not underestimate the supply of God flowing through you.  Someone(s) will die if they do not find that someone is waiting for them.

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Religion is surely a challenge to those connected as well as those disconnected.  It's slippery.  It's awesome.  It's most challenging.  I want to be included in God's scheme of faith; but not in the rote and thoughtless rituals that habitize so many followers.  We do yearn to experience God alive!

There's that thing about God that remains fascinating.  We can know Him while never figuring Him out.  We can experience Him with zero ability to explain Him.  God works from the invisibles toward mankind which is incredibly, if not desperately, limited to the visual. That's the thing about God that throws people off-track.  He will not be pigeon-holed to fit our meager spiritual assumptions.

Serious students of the Bible are quite capable of dismissing Father's strong call.  We have the ability to look at the many stories of biblical grandeur and dismiss them as the God of then; but certainly not the God of now.  This is a catastrophic mistake.  No wonder so many walk away disinterested.  We have inadvertently tamed the Living God.

That thing about God, to which I dearly cling, is the genuine fabric of faith where things that just can't happen...can.  That's His historic message; what can't can be.  We read it in the Bible; but I cheer us on to see it unfold in the now.  Let us be open to God accomplishing things that have no confirmation of possibility other than that our faith believes that He can.

This is the thing about God...that keeps us new day by day....II Corinthians 4:16...He can...when we can't!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Tulsa is poised city-wide for significant difficulty due to the white police officer shooting and killing the unarmed black man last weekend.  Tension is so high that I hesitate to even address the matter.  However, I note something within this situation which causes me to dare go public with my thoughts because the topic is so huge I feel definite inward frailty.

I had the great fortune to be close to St. Louis Cardinal hero, Curt Flood.  He and I became like brothers.  Through him I realized concepts of racial tension of which I had little awareness.  His words and actions continue to bless me.  Curt, a black leader and friend to Martin Luther King, possessed a humility that would allow me to ponder concerns he held.  He opened me to another side of racial thought that had never occurred to me.

Building relationships with other black Cardinal players brought about consistent new awareness of our community stresses.  Much inequality and unfairness goes on.  Sure, I knew that.  But I didn't grasp the concern personally for the issues were always "out there" on the "other side" of town.  Yet, within the framework of noting the divide, I see a thread that debilitates all sides and I mean all sides.  In racial tension the stage is set as if it is color against color.  This isn't the only opposition.  Whites oppose (rob and murder) whites.  Blacks shoot blacks.  Hispanics rob Hispanics.

So why does a riot approach as if we are not all guilty of the very thing we stand against?  I've listened to blacks make fun of those they deem too black solely due to a much darker skin color.  Surprised me.  And how many whites have mocked others within their own race for being too heavy, too ignorant, too lazy, or too ugly?  Racial tension is insincere for within the respected races there is quantitative and absolute bias against their own ranks.  Yet, this insincerity seems to be dismissed by all who wish to be vocally stirred about racial matters.  Why the bias regarding which areas we will label as biased?

So, to my question, how might the racial tension be solved?  To begin, we might do well to realize that we are guilty of the very things of which we gripe and fume and complain...Romans 2:1-5.

  • It would be a good start to clean up our own slip-shod attitudes if we evaluate that we have indeed been neglectful in weighing our own personal and unfair strokes of favoritism. 
  • We might be reminded that while outspoken bias gets the headlines, interracial community has long been around with intentional support because loving all and caring for all is who many are.  Churches, organizations, and clubs experience a unity that is...well...unity.
  • Jesus is always the answer.  Why?  He cares about the other person.  We do fairly well with this concept until we reach enemy level and then faith can be found to be tossed overboard.  It is here that the love for all people will bring about a life of harmony.  It is here, each of us carrying a cross rather than burning one, that our assumed opponents have a legitimate shot at renewal and reconciliation.  
Jesus is the solution.  We are to have been buried into him that we might walk like, talk like, be like him.  His central expertise?  Love the hateful.  Reach to the reject.  Care for the neglected.  Die (the reason for the cross in the first place) for those who despise us.  As did Jesus, may we die well that others might find a profound, remarkable, new life order where we drop the accusation and join the community in gratitude that God would engineer yet one more day for us to breathe deeply from the fruit of His Spirit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


I'm struggling significantly with what to say and how to say it.  My mind goes to those among us who are contemplating parting from the church because something isn't right; but they aren't quite sure what.  Many (masses) have opted out.  They attend other churches or simply fade into the would-work of the God-life if they only knew better how to fit our earthiness with His Spirit.

We have no light task in front of us.  Distraction fills the air.  From illness to injury to hurt feelings to indifference about God or people, mankind is in a slump.  We have been called from darkness into light for a reason...and we just must increase at making the move.  Hearts want to know if there is a God and, if so, how to know Him.

The Spirit of Jesus is fighting for entrance into His own Kingdom.  I do not consider myself as exempt from resisting Him.  I wonder day by day whether I've got what it takes to be a fortunate part of this amazing system.  Frankly, I do; but only because of His righteousness and never due to my own skill set.

I'm noticing a pattern among us.  Oddly, it is that the effectivity of God has no pattern.  We, on the other hand, prefer markers.  We want humanistic road signs that assure us with cross-reference and rock-solid information.  Have we not discussed faith in God as if this is an element which can be mastered if sufficient application is given?  Have we not believed that it is within man--certainly in our leaders--that if we were to try wise enough, long enough, and hard enough that we will accomplish Christianity a step ahead of the insincere?

What I see about me (and us) is that I have grown satisfied with the explainable.  I question my ability to walk out on the faith limb and saw it off behind me.  Rather, security seems to reside within the realm of figuring, planning, arranging.  It seems that if I can just figure how to approach an opportunity, and calculate how it will go, then somehow I'm going to get the task at hand handled.

What bugs me about me is that such isn't the trademark of faith.  It's His talent; not ours.  It's to be His strength; not my own.  Yet, my confidence seems to be tempted to take up space in the known; the very opposite of Romans 4:17 or Hebrews 11:1.

May we continue to work on believing God over trusting in our own spiritual habits which require little risk.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Right now is filled with everything.  It has such a vast array of favorites and disappointments; courage and fear.  Focus on the good stuff; the life stuff that truly exists squarely upon your path.

Anybody can have a flat tire; but not everybody gets to have a car.  Anyone can experience a tooth-ache; yet some children never lived long enough to have teeth.  To get right down to the nitty and the gritty, there needs to be a whole lot more Thank You God going on rather than Why Me God?  

So yes, I would not be surprised that you have a lot going on.  You must be in demand.  I would not be surprised that you experience very much pressure.  You must be a very capable functioning adult.

Therefore, I cheer you on!  Don't let the negatives run your show.  Neither let them be invited into your day.  We've got living to do....lots of it!  When we turn our eyes upon Jesus, we see that even suffering and death made him advantaged.  We be noticed doing the same.  Even in our darkest moments the light of God shines through us even brighter.

Right now is in your favor.  You know people who are lovely and just wonderful to think about.  You have blessings galore to the point you get tired of dusting and mopping and washing and drying and mowing and trimming them.  So try to avoid speaking into the air with a complaining voice.  Millions of homeless souls would treasure my bad day...and most likely yours as well.

This morning be sure the let the smile in your heart show up on your face.  Others will be blessed because you choose to be the blessee.

Saturday, September 17, 2016


We have been in the choir far too long to need this sermon preached to us.  But you need it.  I need it.  All God's chil'uns need it.

We are fools to think that we can compare ourselves to others and that such comparison puts us on top.  We are missing the point of the Cross if we believe that there are those who sin who should know better; but we somehow escape the accusation personally.  Far from the truth is that there is another sinner worse than the person making the evaluation.

The Apostle's words got by me for years; no, decades.  I didn't believe him when he spoke of himself as wretched, least, and weak.  Not the Apostle Paul!  Today I know he believed it of himself and that we are to believe the same of ourselves....devastated over our coveting sin, least in the room, and weakest in the ministry,  Not one voice has clearance from above to insult or blame another from the perspective that they are bad and that we are not like them.

We.  Are.  All.  Alike.

This is why the solution is the same for all.  Sin destroys.  Our self-righteous efforts are failing cover-ups.  The work of Jesus upon the Cross delivers.

So while each of us really do many things that probably annoy, injure, or hurt you, try to remember that you do the very same things to others.  Argue why you are different if you like; but you will not be speaking from the trek of truth.  You will be soaking in your own self-satisfying words which make you somehow feel justified that you can degrade, even damn, another while you, simultaneously, deflect the dying love of Jesus who suffered for you as well as the rest of us.

A huge error coming from each of us is seen in the commentary of Luke 18:9-14 where the religious leader spouted off to God that he was just so grateful that he wasn't like the trash across the room.  And Jesus concluded that the one wrong was justified; while the one assuming self-rightness was all wrong.  This thinking is one error we just must try to get stopped.

Friday, September 16, 2016


From the title, one may get the picture that this post is about Jesus' call to deny the self.  Ah, I knew you to be quick like that!

Day in and day out it is quite usual to find ourselves in conflict.  The war can go on in two fronts; (1) either we are frustrated with others as they seem to ignore our wishes, or (2) we are irritated with ourselves for selfish.  A bad day would be when both (1) and (2) weave their way rather begrudging-like as if one alone would be enough to handle.

So what shall we do?  Such strain has become typical; expected by anyone at any level of society.  How could we go about making effective adjustment?  I think God has spoken with clarity as well as simplicity.  We are to take up our crosses and move through life as he did.

From the cross, Jesus covered the sins of others.  Isn't this why we carry crosses?  So that we can love offenders as if we have paid their debt and they are free to move on in life?  Would this move make any difference for someone, say, down the hall where your work...or maybe for one who sits at your kitchen table?

From the cross, we survey those who are desperate for rescue for apparently none of their self-efforts hold water.  This is our all of life; die for those who oppose.

So what are we to do when someone at church gets under our skin?  We are to realize they may be a source of frustration, not because they need to mature; but because we need to grow up.  A lot of childishness goes on in the kingdom of hurt feelings.  But what we find in the cross is injury, deeper hurt, but with definitive, practical meaning.

Offenders don't need our correction first.  They need our love by our own death.  They need someone to pay the price that they know for certain they owe.  List those who have deeply hurt you over the years.  Apologies are what are expected.  Yet, in the Kingdom of God, this isn't the case at all.  Your dying for them, absorbing their senseless injuries toward you, is the call of the Savior that we keep the cross in continuum.  Now there is a pattern worth pushing.

People can't get well (wrong, evil, silly, foolish people) because they have found that Christians go to church fairly regularly; but what they need is our forgiveness because there is no way that these could pay back the debt.  Our job is to die....knowing with assurance that hundreds are dying simultaneously for us due to our own ignorant defiance for we, too, offend, hurt, and injure.

Die for those who oppose you as there are man who die for you...for me.  This will, indeed, become a new creation of community.

Thursday, September 15, 2016


Dear Readers,

I've written you two articles today and deleted both.  The reason?  I try to think of that ideal message to convince you that you are more than you believe yourselves to be.

However, I am not able to word it good enough.  The reason?  You are more amazing than any combination of words and sentences that I might create.

So this is what you get.  Just this note.  Know that you are valued and loved; first from Above and then from many of us along your path.

Just sayin',

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I really like being a part of the church.  It still fascinates me.  I eat, drink, and sleep enthusiasm for the life of God in us, with us, among us.  I'm among the ones who would be noted as least or lacking or even ignorant of His incredible scheme.  Yet, hunger continues to seek what He's thinking, what He's doing, what He's all about. Kindergarten in church is all the farther I have advanced with no hope of getting to first grade.  And still, even this level is just so breath-taking.

Admitting my personal lack, I dare ask a question of us and among us in general.  Have we traded the mystery of God for the plain and the practical?  Have we opted for the "no surprises" guardianship that demands constant explanation which satisfies the human side of us?

Could this be why some of our people are faithful in attendance while non-functional in prayer?  Did mystery mysteriously disappear?  Did something along the way develop us to be a people long on proof texts and yet quite short on faith?

I surely think it has.  I believe that we have opted for a visible sort of faith where we can track, measure and even systemize our religious practices.  These have evolved into laws....and these laws kill....and then enthusiasm for the God-stuff is at extreme risk.  Bent on doing the practical and the explainable and the acceptable is costing us our children while we spend mega-dollars on how to engage (and keep) our children in the church.

So what I wish to do is to continue the cheering for all of us to never give up the hope within us to believe that God can do things which man has never considered; let alone examined.  May we rebuild a faith that dares to challenge the status quo of restrictive human assumption.  God is not a practical God who hangs around to see that we succeed.  He is the Creator God who makes something from nothing and calls into being things which have not yet existed....for us, with us, and through us.

Do I have all of the answers?  Oh, I don't even know all of the questions.  But I do know that God is a most challenging Father because He can do well beyond what we can imagine or think.  I simply remind us of that which we already know.  So may we step out the best we can by a faith that cannot be charted in a God that will not be limited for a world that just must be reached.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Okay.  How long have we been us?  Well, the most of our lives.  Right?  And just how long have we carried, within our hearts, this strong vibe that we are lesser than others?  Many others?  Most others?  Well, most of our lives.  Right?

So when do you think it would be a good time to awaken, even admit, that we are all the same?  Like maybe now?

Every person, regardless of stature or position, carries within a very dominant "inadequacy factor".  It is quite strong; overpoweringly so.  And we need to be reminded that God saw this frustration coming.  He gives us His Spirit because ours is too acclimated to weakness and failure.  On our own, we will eventually become irritated with ourselves (or others) and quit; give up.

That some of us are awesome and some of us missed out is a lie.  Yet, the tendency is so strong we can hardly believe that it is a lie.  We think that lack isn't true for others; but it is for me.  God says differently.  We are adequate because He rents out our space.  He does life in magnitude from within plain, normal, unassuming...people.

Everywhere one turns in the Bible, God is there saying, You can't do life on your own; but together we can make it.  And We won't just barely make it, either.  We are going to make a significant difference because We are going to give people Life!

I love that about Him!  I love that about Us!  Opposing forces whisper a lie to us that we can hardly overcome; that we aren't enough.  But by His grace....we can be useful tools in His Kingdom!  Yay for all of us!!!


Okay.  How long have we been us?  Well, the most of our lives.  Right?  And just how long have we carried within this strong vibe that we are lesser than others?  Many others?  Most others?  Well, most of our lives.  Right?

So when do you think it would be a good time to awaken, even admit, that we are all the same?  Like maybe now?

Every person, regardless of stature or position, carries within a very dominant "inadequacy factor".  It is quite strong; overpoweringly so.  And we need to be reminded that God saw this frustration coming.  He gives us His Spirit because ours is too acclimated to weakness and failure.  On our own, we will eventually quit; give up.

That some of us are awesome and some of us missed out is a lie.  Yet, the tendency is so strong we can hardly believe that it is a lie.  We think that such isn't true for others; but it is for me.  God says differently.  We are adequate because He rents out our space.  He does life in magnitude from within plain, normal, unassuming...people.

Everywhere one turns in the Bible, God is there saying, You can't do life on your own; but together we can make it.  And We won't just barely make it, either.  We are going to make a significant difference because We are going to give people Life!

I love that about Him!  I love that about Us!  Opposing forces whisper a lie to us that we can hardly overcome; that we aren't enough.  But by His grace....we can be useful tools in His Kingdom!  Yay for all of us!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016


...with what's wrong with yourself.

Be obsessed with what's right with others.

(A note from me to me.  If you need it as charge.)

Saturday, September 10, 2016


I enjoy great tenure in the church.  Feeling to be the luckiest man I ever met, I've been around awhile in a vast range of Kingdom reaches.  While there have already been special moments of surprise and wonder, I remain deeply (wildly) anticipatory as to what is still available for us to imagine or think.  My trek has but been a weak sneeze compared to the magnitude of potential that Father has awaiting His children like me.

I'm expecially noting that my criticism of some is transforming into sympathy.  We have before us a host of church members who do not envision themselves as anything remarkable.  Of these, I once griped.  However, I'm changing my mind.  What if we as leaders could bring about assurance that these are necessary; that these carry enormous potential.  I realize that I don't believe that they have been informed of their dynamics.  If some have and remain disinterested, so be it.  But my curiosity is awakened toward those who carry embedded dynamics for God; but have never been challenged to open to His Spirit to make such a delightful discovery.

I just had breakfast with such a couple.  They are adorable; but have no awareness of such to the extent they miss our assemblies more times than they make them because they regard themselves as insignificant to the rest of the flock.  These two just wish to be noticed.  They want to matter.  They do matter; but their hearts have not been informed of such.

Could it be that a hefty percentage of our attenders do not believe that it matters to us whether they are with us?  I believe this to be true.  So here's a thing that I question.  It doesn't make it true; but I still question.  Have we created an organizational system rather than a body of believer connections?   Have we replaced a people to meet with an alternative of a place to serve?  Does a large percentage of us focus on carrying out our ministries (seeing that supplies are current, dates of engagement are aligned, clearly stating our many programs) that we have failed to connect people to people?  Do we see the scope of the church to be a people who need to encourage people or do we see a people who need a job description as to where to serve in the church.

Of course.  Yes, I know that one of the very powerful tools of connecting people is found in forming service groups.  My angst is when these very same service projects become a place for our members to hide from caring about people....and this does go on.  Actively busy isn't the mark of faithful servant hood.

For me?  I'm still learning the ABC's of seeing and connecting with the people rather than trying to satisfy myself that I apply myself to ministry here and there.  My point is that our work will always be challenged by the leadership of Jesus.  As he moved about any community his striking power was that he noticed the valued one who went unnoticed by the cutting-edge religious leaders.

The reason that I believe this is significant is that no one can effectively minister to people without the patient and enduring fruit of the Holy Spirit.  It is with Him that we can do more than we can do, reach farther than we can reach, while refraining from giving up on our magnificent inadequacies.

And, yes, I misspelled especially.

Friday, September 09, 2016


Taking up our crosses daily means that each believer is pulled in by the most challenging voice of God to go where it is not easy.  This is always a challenge to even the bravest of hearts.  The church is full of we good people who so often believe that someone else would better handle the task at hand.

How would I know?  I lived there...even as the preacher.  And may I share that being around successful people doesn't help.  Observing the successes of others did not loosen me from my self-created, tied-down, firmly anchored excuses as to why I couldn't.  No, their many reports of success confirmed in my heart that I wasn't good enough after all.

In my early days, to hear Marvin Phillips (now my hero and dear friend) tell the crowds how we could do this was translated by me, I'll never be able to do anything as good as Marvin.  He doesn't get it.  I'm not like him.

But then I learned something from the Bible.  I learned that power is perfected in weakness (which included my weakness).  My friend, weakness is not an excusing verification permitting us to withdraw, to hedge, or to hide.  It is the gun powder that shoots us into varying settings when we are shaking in our boots....but....believing God will keep His vow to use us anyway.

I think that all of the stuff in the kingdom that gives us life has a long trail of both the rugged and the uncomfortable.  If we develop a faith without this in mind, we may be short-sheeting the Cross for it is from this pertinent stage that we all make our presentations.  This is anything but easy; anything but comfortable.  This often scares me for I live thinking that I am not enough.  But it is Him who is enough.

Chuck Swindoll gave me two words about thirty years ago when I was crying on his shoulder about my struggle in dealing with multiple factions within one congregation.  I was confused and stumped.  He said, Don't flinch.  I say to you when you are not sure of the last comment received or the next step you take, Don't flinch.  God knows how to run this work.  One of our tasks is the measure of the call of the Cross....and then pick it up...and then begin to follow.

It may not be easy; but it will work.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016


Stability is quite a respected word among us.  Yet, it's strength can almost be anti-progress for a congregation because solid footing by man's measurement isn't the nature of the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, conflict may be inadvertently imposed within the very center of our activities for we are, of many things, craving for better organization.  Going where one doesn't know where he or she is going appears to be very questionable leadership logic.  It is the format, though, of faith.  So often it would rather seem that to go where we don't know where we are going would seem more likely to fit the path of a fool; not the attentive process of one bent upon sturdy information.

It is at this juncture that the church must decide whether to be aligned to the quite risky Word of the Lord or to the assumed understandable words on the street.  Shall we enter the absurd or the sensible?Not so strangely, even the church tends to opt for what we can measure in our own understanding.

In the fascinating chapter of the book of Hebrews, a very strange comment is made regarding God's famous leader of all faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  For me, this truth will never lose its edge.  To move out in clueless fashion has to be anything but reasonable.  Senseless?  Yes.  Ignorant?  Feels that way.  True faith?  Seems unlikely.

Christians live in the midst of the bizarre.  Singing songs into the air, expressing words that we believe are to make a difference through a thing called prayer, or to truly accept the story of a man dying on the Cross and returning three days later is anything but sensible.  To believe that placing money into a passing plate actually anticipates a response from our Invisible God, to much of the world, is one of the dumbest things of which they may have ever heard.

So be reminded my friend that the Bible isn't just another book of creative bedtime stories.  It is the fervent call of God for our hearts to go into an actual zone of deep uncertainty.  Granted, repeating the absurd stories like seas parting or food multiplying can eventually take on a theme of fantasy; not reality.  Yet, reality is absolutely God's quest for each of us.  And this strange activity is where...precisely the and I experience Divine movement.

We are called to go out on mission for God when we don't have the capacity to foresee, foreknow, or fore-conclude.  We.  Don't.  Know.  We simply go watching for His provision and supply.  This, my friend, leaves us quite vulnerable day by day.  We can't measure how we are doing.  We can't even know where we are going.  God knows.  We want to make effort to follow.  When it comes to Kingdom matters, calculation of the how is rarely the starting point.

Monday, September 05, 2016


Labor Day!  Yay for Labor Day!

This day of recognition noted upon our calendars has always meant a lot to me.  Of all of the big holidays America possesses, this one right now is quite a key and major player.

You see, we've experienced eight months now of 2016 mixed with celebratorialistic moments.  Groundhog Day, Memorial Day, my birthday, Fourth of July; each of these, in my still-child-like mind, carry their own weight of recognition as well as importance. But still, these all point toward our one great big day...that one big day that all of us kids anticipate...the star that tops all holiday cakes....Christmas!

So while Labor Day owns, indeed, sizable attention, I find it to be the launching pad for the Big One.  Halloween?  Creeps us further into the zone.  Thanksgiving?  Working us closer to the Big Hurrah!  And then it becomes lost sleep time just imagining what Christmas will be like this year!

So Happy Labor Day!  Enjoy your rafting, your shopping, your cranking homemade ice cream!  The topping to the day is knowing that you-know-what is inching its way closer day by day, week by week.  Too, it also means you-know-who will be examining the chimneys of all of us boys and girls...and some old men!

What is so special about Labor Day?  Christmas is coming!  I've already begun my shopping...really.

Sunday, September 04, 2016


I am so crazy about church; its wonders, its beauty, its reach!  By the elaborate patience of Father, He lets me get to be a part of the most exhilarating system in all of planetary estimationalism.  In other words, He keeps His promise of functioning within us beyond our imagination...which is within us.

Too, I say to this fascinating cluster of believers, Please...come alive!  Discouraged hearts are counting on someone among them to look like we are alive!

Incredible, even devastating, slumber has crept upon the religious scene.  Habitualism has grown wild.  And while we hear the warnings of Jesus against blatant traditionalism; we, instead, become proud (even defensive) of ours.  Two things are happening with this avoidance to Jesus' call; (1) we are growing grayer, and (2) the world is growing darker.  How long will we perpetuate the church as if it is a one-hour booster shot for the week?

We are getting grayer while the world is growing darker.

Adjustment  and correction are needed; especially within myself.  Yet, there's the problem.  As we age we tend to be less flexible.  If the Holy Spirit is anything, He is flexible; John 3:8.  Checklist Church wasn't the skeleton in Acts 2 and it has never been the benchmark of God's assembly requirements for any age since.  We are most challenged to grow younger day by day...II Cor. 4:16.  Because of this wonder, the church is poised for incredible renewal.

A dark and deeply wounded world is looking for heartfelt hope.  We have their Savior (our Savior) to present in all of his glory.  We have the Savior's Story.  We have the brokenness of our personal and individual past which is our base in order speak volumes of possibility to the down-and-out.  We are renewed by His grace and so can they be.

Momentum is a deep desperation in the realm of Kingdom life these days.  Patterns and traditions create lethargy; not faithfulness.  I offer an idea.  What if we were to gain momentum in taking up our crosses and dying to what it is we prefer in church while deciding to pursue others to be in the church with us?  What if we were to authentically love God more than we love 10:30 to 11:45 on our Sunday routine?  What if we were to meet those we don't know...while at church...and possibly supply eye contact synchronized with a friendly voice that says something like: You really are special?

We have been assigned to go into all of the world.  Some go to India.  Others go to China.  Most of us would be effective missionaries if we would but walk into our classrooms with eyes for those around us.  Church is outreach.  Let's do it and be it at every corner we turn.  People need our happy hearts!

Friday, September 02, 2016


I think, I believe, that fundamentally the entire world populace is stuck.  From the powerful to the influential to the casual to the neglected, it seems to me that the fascination of personal value has been lost in the grand sea of trying to get ahead while we become further behind.  In a blink one can become egotistical in self-praising assessment or depressed in self-loathing failure. Both are dead-end alleys.

Full and profound satisfaction in getting to be us is noted within the setting of being attentive to others.  When in a group around coffee, are we truly interested in the one talking?  Or, are we wishing they'd finish their story so you might inject yours?  I think one of the coolest things about the Coffee Shop experience is simply the gathering of any who note the others as significant and valued.

Be encouraged to lift your eyes to see the entire world.  Life isn't about self.  Life is about self learning to die so that it can return to a new kind of living....which is absolutely outward and necessarily not inward.  We can make a difference and this is God's call to each of us.

So how do we recover from what ails us?  Jesus is very frank.  As we take care of others, we find ourselves healed.  This isn't churchy.  This is life.

Man continues to shoot himself in the foot by living most waking moments discerning whether he is noticed; loved, appreciated, respected.  Misery is galore due to such persistent threads of concentration.  The truly happy in any community are those who want to lift the spirits of others.

And just who would fit the latter category?  The.  Entire.  World.  So the good news is that we have great work to do.  Last night, in the simplicity of watching television I was exchanging texts with a U.S. Congressman, a prisoner, and a missionary in Korea.  All three have the very same need; they are frail people who doubt themselves at oh-so-many turns.  Ours is the calling to reach to the whole world and shout to the mountains how special they are.

Whether appearing at the top or the bottom of the accomplishment scale, man is all the same.....insecure.  I ought to know.  Insecurity is my stage.  But God said this thing in II Corinthians 12:9 regarding power is perfected in weeknesss.  You, my friend, have the power to reach the whole world due to your lack; not because of your accomplishments.

And, yes, you probably noted that I misspelled weaknesss.  I just wanted to.  And, yes, I ended the last sentence with a preposition.  That was to irritate the grammar teachers.

Hey....reach farther.  Good people are waiting to find someone....just one someone...that notices just how special they are.  The whole world needs our cheerful voices of hope.  We.  Can.  Do.  This.

Thursday, September 01, 2016


Ah, that's a bit of a weak title, I'll admit.  However, I've long been fascinated by a simple "thread" in the Bible regarding clothing. goes.

The sin issue in the beginning of Genesis with the early couple, Adam and Eve, was revealing.  I mean, really in naked *%#!.  They ate from the fruit in the Garden and...well, you gotta be kidding me.  The first cover-up was immediate as they scrambled from stunning embarrassment.

This eventually led to the likes of J.C. Penney and Polo clothing lines which were developed since those initial days of fig leavery.

When God timed it just right, He approached a place of His Son volunteering to lose his life--on purpose--that we might be saved.  It was on the Cross that the Son of God hung clotheless.  The reason this vision is significant is that Jesus is a picture of each of us; hung out to dry for our sins unless our Savior goes public in his dying to self.

So what's also impressive, I believe, is to read Scripture like Galatians 3:27; For all of you who were baptized into Christ were clothed with Christ.  Baptism isn't a matter of water-wetness.  It is a matter of clothing-witness.  We shed the nakedness of sin and walk in the effective covering robes of Jesus.

This is a clothing perspective that sort of "buttons" down a new understanding for the whole lot of us.  The blood of Jesus cleanses us.  Clothed with Jesus....He's got us covered!