Tuesday, May 01, 2018


Church is taking a big hit in today's societal "push 'n shove" for attention.  For a large part, this intended godly entity has been moved to the back of the bus due to both neglect and indifference.  I have no idea how I have contributed to this misalignment of spiritual significance. 

Religion is a slight-of-hand of Satan.  He doesn't care that we go through the motions.  He just doesn't want Jesus to become our conviction of Life.  He doesn't mind that we have Bibles or even believe in them.  He just doesn't want us reading them.

In my own fragment of the Christian world, we have strong emphasis on three, what we might call, vital signs; (1) Command, (2) Example, and (3) Necessary inference.  Go to the Bible and find where these three things are clearly taught, spelled out in its simplicity.  The latter of the three, necessary inference, is inserted by Restorationists to make the Word say what we couldn't get it to say otherwise. 

This three-fold, man-made, guide shoots ourselves in the foot.  The latter one permits a student to make desires of the mind or preferences of our practice to reach any conclusion for which we might inwardly yearn. 
     1.  Believe in the Bible; but seldom open it? 
     2.  Believe in prayer; but seldom practice it? 
     3.  Believe in evangelism; but seldom personally engage in it? 
     4.  Believe in giving; but seldom surrender to it?
     5.  Believe in loving one another; but seldom beyond those we already love?

Why do I think from this slant?  Granted, it is very likely that there are a hefty number of church members who would not fit the above inclinations.  Yet, I think this way....because as the preacher...I was this way.  I was a Bible-promoting, Bible-pounding, smart-mouth who was guilty of each of the above five charges.  That's....how I know. 

I had the rules down...best I could anyway...with intent of mastering them all.  My problem was that I didn't know Jesus and I didn't believe that I, personally, could make an eternal difference for people.  Welp, there went the Great Commission right out the window!  So, my alternate route was to be egotistical in what little I knew and critical of other religious people because they apparently weren't as sharp as me.

Why is it such a challenge to follow the Son of God?  Mankind (men and women) (just like you and me) have an inordinate amount of bias within our religious veins.  This leaning or preference has formed a barrier to the heart; the heart of self and the hearts of others.  It, then, keeps us from learning....learning of the perpetual, continual, vast wonders of our mighty Creator. 

May we prune away some of our own dead limbs before we approach the forest of glorious community.  Hope is for them.  They learn of it via those of us who find it ourselves.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


The Bible is simplistically clear: the foundation of authentic life is not found in the true church but in the head of it...the Savior of it.  The church that Jesus is building is a glorious entity, but itself is not our saving grace.  Jesus is.  We have long strayed from the very Truth we proclaim by substituting preferential regulation of religious habit for explorational heart connection to the  Adventurous Leader.  Jesus broke the mold and breaks the back of a system that became nothing more than same ol' same ol' deadening practices. 

The above would be a significant part of why the world rejects those among us who do what one can to display a lively faith.  Sadder, this is why communities are loaded with former church attenders.  It offered a routine that seldom pressed for individual growth.  Rather, we developed a format that kept the "church people" content without ruffling our highly touchy feathers.  This is an unwritten doctrine in many of our well-established congregations. 

Such a trail disrupts every generation when focused on tradition rather than exploration of increased faith.  To be clear from personal experience, vast amounts of Christians will assemble today to see that the order of worship doesn't include anything "out of the ordinary"; in others words, our controlling tradition of "the way we like things".  Our comfort has never been His goal.  The Cross may be key here.

The truth of the matter--or the Truth of the Matter--is that we are deeply engaged in an ongoing battle to break from personal hesitancy and hiding at the cost of risk.  Safety, once again, has been the religious mantra ever since that escapade of denial in the Garden.

The church is to be a marvel of God.  It is to be outrageous in its faith, its reach, and its remarkable distance....going into all of the world.  For we believers, there will always be the call, God's call, to abort the self-security of hiding within the framework of seeing that church is done right for sixty minutes. 

As remarkable as the true trek of Jesus is, the Word of God calls for us to duplicate it.  We are to believe deeply, serve mightily, and bravely approach unexplainable possibility.  This develops a joy and a needed excitement within the hearts of every generation for, regardless of age, we are to be new day by day.

Today there will be millions gather for "church" possibly under the guise of "doing church right".  This strain is embedded within all denominations as well as the many who broke from the tight reigns of denominationalism...only to eventually develop as very similar independent habit-forming, self-satisfying deadening doctrine.  This is the trait of routine religion of which killed the Master as he insisted that it be broken up.

The marvel of the church is that we are forever learners who hold tightly to Jesus while he takes us places we could have never imagined; in worship, in service, in vision, and in outreach.  The rejection of the true church, while so many parade such a stance with pride, is that our church habit can be found to strongly replace spiritual flexibility.

The Good News is...and there is always such a facet...that every individual can transition from rejection to marvel as quick as a heartbeat.  When we choose to enter the vast and glorious unknown of Kingdom potential by cutting the habitual ties anchored to safety, we will have entered the terrain of the working God. 

Go.  For.  It.  Best.  You.  Can.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


The world of God is beyond strange.  It is always on the grow.  How ironic that the biggest battle over new concepts comes from congregational settings.   Church after church, member after member...all battle an endless and fatiguing war of the new.  Some make the adjustment quickly while others become devoted to ending any such drive.  But these latter combatants choose not to label it as growing in the Lord.  Their/our/my cry is directed at warding off words like "new" and "change".

The Kingdom is most baffling to God's followers because these two words bring mixed reviews.  They stir enthusiasm and ambition in some; yet trouble and heartburn for others.  However, it is a clear biblical principle that each disciple is to perpetually advance (grow/increase) into the realm of the next level of followship and fellowship.  We are not to be baptized...and then fossilized.

I was reading an article today about the Chicago Cubs manager, Joe Maddon.  Maddon is the oldest manager in the Majors.  He is quite successful at his role and his team gives my Cardinals a firm challenge year after year.

At age 64, Maddon has a most intriguing insight.  "I feel like I've always remained contemporary, not by plan, but I've always been curious."  He continued, "We are all raised in different generations.  And whatever generation you come from, you're always going to have an old-school method to it.  You know, from when you grew up.  But in referencing the past, you have to stay current with what's going on now--or even what's occurring down the road."

The magic word of that interview to me is "curious".  From that comment one can determine that this manager is most exhilarated by the success of now; yet is attentive to what else can develop.  Curious.  This word inspires because, for me, it wonders what else can be.  What could become?  What would take place if?  How might we reach more, teach more, believe more, improve more?

This trait, or the lack of it, seems to consistently separate the dreamers from the regulators; the flexible from the rigid.  I've seen both, thought like both, and been both.  One lives in consistent aggravation while the other pursues yet an alternate perspective to draw more into the Kingdom Life.

How does one age new?  How is it that we can reflect the biblical truth that we really are newer day by day?  One of the ways is to grow new, think new, believe new, and...be in awe of God that such is His idea.  It is up to us to see that the concept of faith...even as some visit us on Sunday mornings...is a lively movement forward rather than a scene of taking us back in time.  With God, even churches are to age new.


When I begin a post, I try to write the final sentence first.  (It is already on the screen as I now type this comment.)  It is the goal, the message in a nutshell, of what I want you to take away.  Afterward, I write with a form of leadership to hopefully help you arrive at a practical and useful destination.

Our walk seems to be a rather simple procedure of learning, then leading, and then leaping.  Learn what's needed, lead out beyond habit-forming restrictions, and then leap into the unknown and unfathomable future is surely anything but a boring and mundane trip through the corridors of life.  I'm sympathetic to every hesitant person as this old world has a way of talking us down from taking the jump into what possibly could be the greatest move of our so-far lives.

Our God, among His many traits, is Creative.  And, He calls us to imitate His Word(s).  A threat to our Christian virtues is that we will operate on our own understanding rather than the daring trust of His unexplainable, unpredictable style.  God doesn't fit the fear-mold that tends to dominate the brain-trust of humanity.  We must be careful to refrain from believing we have a better common-sense grip on life than....than God.

Common Sense is too often the hooded villain who wishes to hold faith at gunless point.  It marches into every business meeting and stands with bold guard over nearly every decision.  Common Sense is often found to be fearful of three things: learning, leading, and leaping.  Why is that?  Trusting in ourselves?  Possibly?

Too much of the Christian field is being sabotaged; not by exterior interference but by interior hedging in three areas.  Yep, they've been named.  I go through this perpetually in my daily walk.  I'm either looking over my shoulder hoping I escaped my critics or else I'm inwardly insecure due to my own self-criticism. 

Therefore, should you be somewhat like me, I cheer you on.  We can be wonderfully grateful for the faith(ful) of our past.  Do hear the calling.  No believer is along for the ride.  It is not our goal (first) to go to Heaven.  It is our call to step up to the incredible dynamics of faith.  May we dare walk out into uncharted waters of opportunity...just as Jesus once walked out onto the threatening waves only to use them as the new highway of world impact.

(And here it comes...my final sentence...written at the beginning.)
Learn from your past!  Lead from that learning into the now!  Leap by the learning and then leading...into the future!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


The longer I experience ministry the more I note how similar we all are.  Talents vary.  Missions are surely versatile.  Personalities are indeed different.  Yet, one thing is a plague to each.  It's a Devil tactic.  Fear.  I was a student in the Fear 101 course for far too long.  I learned how to negotiate threatening circumstances and avoid all potential interactions among those other than the closest of friends. 

My goal was to protect myself from looking badly.  I had two self-satisfying mottos.  "Try Not To Mess It Up."  My second motto was similar, "If It Needs To Be Done, Someone Else Can Do It Better".  I lived, as a minister, under the umbrella of these two doctrines.

Outgoing?  Oh, I really was....toward those within my relaxed friendship borders.  But beyond was not even a question in my mind.  I.  Wasn't.  Going.  There.

Going into all of the world doesn't necessarily mean we go on a mission trip to Alabama or to Nigeria.  It means we are on call to see others, reach to others, engage with others day by day.  To be frank....I just couldn't do it.  I carried a Bible in my hand and the denial in my heart.

Of course, now I am able.  But it took years of overcoming hesitancy.  Where I now marvel is how convincing I was to myself and to others regarding my excusivity.  I could explain my cowardice away in a heartbeat because I couldn't do one main thing...engage with strangers. 

Truthfully, however, I had no legitimate excuse.  I didn't know that such a trip could be learned.  I didn't want to know it. 

So I cheer you on to have the confidence to see strangers; even colleagues of whom you fear interaction.  Relax.  Know this.  Everyone is alike.  We all have our fears, our torments, our insecurities.  I know of not one--not one--exception.  We can learn--that's the good news--to reach out, reach toward, without one exception.

The call to go into all of the world, I felt, was always for others.  I liked the idea.  My intention was to be a contributor toward it.  But I didn't believe that God could do for me what I saw Him doing for others.  Yet, He will, He can, and He does....for every one of us.  I don't blame you for holding back or holding out.  But I encourage you to want to learn how to develop His personality within yours that such a tandem might go all over the place...into all of the world.

Afraid?  Oh yeah, I lived there for decades as the preacher.  Guilty?  Oh, certainly.  Resentful of hearing such messages?  You know it.  Able to learn to do it?  I'm still the student.  Progress is in motion.  How about you?

Monday, April 23, 2018


Faith is a major entity of the human course.  Temptation to move along by our own wisdom or our insecurities is strong; very, very strong.  Faith sees where eyes can't.  Faith takes us where hesitation won't.  To walk by faith is to possess an inner determination which defies all odds, all uncertainties, and all opponents.

We must possess the strength to push back against our own fleshly nature; our nature toward safety as well as our tendency to see that we are in control.  The fearful often seem to have the loudest voices of "legitimate concern".  Oddly, these cowardly present themselves as the saving grace of the group.  However, the minority of the courageous, the bold, and the brave lean upon Jesus much more than one's understanding.

Faith isn't necessarily a walk in the church park.  It is the most defiant inner directive of mankind.  It believes when there is currently no reason to do so.  As blank as the future appeared to be, when Jesus was placed in the tomb, the potential grandeur is so staggering that God tries to train us to believe when hope seems to have fizzled.

Keep the pushback going.  Overwhelmed?  Buried in stress?  Oh...most certainly...and quite often I might add.  Yet, our muscle and our insight aren't the keys to escape these torturers of our walk.  The reality of the risen Saviour is.  We keep the pushback going with daring strides because we are more tightly linked to positive, lively Jesus than to any negative, draining circumstance.

Friday, April 20, 2018


Today, April 20, Mary and I celebrate 50 years of God's amazing wonder as we learned to try to walk in His Garden.  Being the creative person that I like to think that I am, it was in my heart to do something special for this benchmark occasion.  "What could I get Mary to honor her?" was my mission.

I've hit upon the perfect, practical, creative and extraordinarily unusual gift that should put me in good standing for at least the next week.  She will be so surprised.  So Mary...get ready.  This may just blow your mind.  On the other hand, it may just be more of the amazing same!

If you'll look out your kitchen window in about an hour you will note quite a sight upon our driveway.  Try to imagine...no really...what might I have done to bring you tremendous joy.  It's something you've wanted for a long time.

So...in the voice of the guy who announces for the Price Is Right as the showcase is revealed, MARY RUSH...LOOK OUT YOUR KITCHEN WINDOW....IT'S YOUR BRAND NEW DRIVEWAY!  (And you didn't think I could out-do my creativity!  Well, what're ya thinkin' now?)


Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I cheer you on!  No, really.  You have so much wonder behind you, currently with you, and far ahead of you.  Oh, don't think that I deny your heartache nor break.  No.  No.  Such takes its toll...or at least takes a stab at it.  Each of us could trump the next person's heartbreak rehearsings.  I've got a few packed away myself.

The profoundly good news is that no one has to live...nor re-live... those moments for each of us has a gift handed to us by the Creator.  He has given us minds which are capable of making decisions.  How life is going for us cannot always be chosen.  How we react to it is always up for grabs...our reach.

I'm not trying to be PaulAnna here.  My walk is not one of pretense when it comes to the subject of rejection, discouragement, nor disappointment.  But stronger and truer (and much more funner to experience) is the glory of God; the wonder of possibility which accompanies each and every terribly bad moment.  Hope...biblical, spiritual hope...is not a slight "give it a shrug and wish for the best" nod from Heaven's Board Room.

So guess what.  There isn't a reader among us who doesn't have voice of desperation and frustration when it comes to a few things having gone/are going wrong.  No exception exists.  Yet, some choose to win while others choose to shrink back.  It isn't what has gone wrong that determines our day.  It's what we decide about the entire scope of our walk.

Our thinking sets the stage, dresses the players, and enacts the roles.  Therefore, think...really ponder...about the potential of being thrilled with life.  Such.  Possibility.  Is.  Only.  A.  Thought.  Away.


Monday, April 16, 2018


So much of the Kingdom life is upside down and backwards.  To live, one must die.  To gain, one must lose.  To keep, one must give.  This surely remains a most baffling thread to the hoarding mind of always being in control.  It remains true that effective leadership will always (and only) be found in release; not in tight grip of inner security.

God is the Master Builder of Leadership.  His Son is the epitome of world-wide Impactor.  His trump card was to die for the enemies so that they should/could/would encounter triumphant experiences.  His leadership increases to this day simply because he dared risk losing it.  Brilliant.  Only by faith will one submit to its mystery.

For each of us in church leadership, we are most challenged to loosen our grip.  Our insecurities, even our selfishness, must not drive any of us to build impenetrable borders of impasse.  Openness to the Spirit will always find good leaders positioned high upon the ledge with the call to jump.  Decreasing control is the only effective way to slip into the Jesus-mode of driving a nation of believers into the wonder of it all. 

The church is remarkable.  It's potential is perpetually promising.  Leadership--true leadership--will leap into the waters of hope and joy without one whit of understanding as to how or when or where or why or who will be added or extracted to get His job done. 

One of the great needs in the church is to break the bonds of tradition.  Such has always been the case.  And why is that?  This format tends to rule because leadership (I was a part of it) becomes protective of what little it knows.  Jesus' call, however, is quite strange to the spirit of man for He lives a resurrected sort of life and He expects us to follow.  One of those traditions that balks the loudest is my/our insistent security in leading the best way that would subtly keep me/us in control.

One of my greatest challenges that pressed me day by day as a lead minister in a wonderful place was the biblical need to let go and let God.  I didn't like trying without proof that such would make a difference.  Hesitation, even debate, would arise from within because I lived in a mode of holy defense rather than of Spirit surrender. 

To decrease control by trusting that God awaits to take all of us into a new horizon of wonder and awe will, in effect, increase our leadership skills.  When a few in America dared cross the mighty Mississippi and head for the West they had no concept of Rocky Mountains, Arizona Desert, nor the eventual downtown Los Angeles.  So it is in the church.  Each day we stand at the Mississippi of spiritual potential with a call from the Spirit to cross it.

Increasing leadership by decreasing control is one mighty step for all of us. 
"Let go."  Discover.  This.  Has.  Always.  Been.  God's.  Theme.

Friday, April 13, 2018


The sheer glory of God is often distorted by man's obsession to get himself straightened out.  This ploy is the grand scream of unbelievers toward the church.  Plus, it is the strong call of the legalistic do-gooder who never sees his/her own disastrous flaws.  God is the true glory; our behavior (as hard as one may try) is not...ever.

Being a follower of God's call is not intended to be a statement that one has arrived.  It's quite the opposite.  It is a public declaration that we found ourselves too far gone to get ourselves right with God...although we did give such repeated efforts to do so.  In the end, we kept coming up short.

Critics, however, spend minute time on self-evaluation.  No, when we criticize another (and I'm guilty of this very practice), we speak from a base of blatant blindness to the self.  This practice is a desperate move to make self-justification by living in comparison to others.  And, of course, such evaluation mistakenly leads the evaluator to be sure to come out better than the evalued one(s). 

Admission of our own personal lack, violation, and habit-formed sin is the gateway to the Savior.  Otherwise, we find no need for a Savior; we merely wanted a weekend Advisor.

Salvation doesn't ignore our sin.  It sees it, addresses it, admits it, and allows Jesus to destroy it.  The Cross remains the most powerful hope for every individual.  Every one we know has been shut up in disobedience.  Why do we clamor as if such doesn't really mean "me"?

For God has shut up all into disobedience that He might show mercy to all.  Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  Romans 11:32-33

Thursday, April 12, 2018


Each believer is gifted by God.  Each has strengths that serve the flock well.  It may be organizational tactics or your gift might be found in serving others.  There are many variationalistic traits of leadership skills among us.  Our call is to exercise our gifts with great joy as well as gratitude to God for His reach to us via the Holy Spirit economy of talent.

We must be cautioned to maintain awareness to the truth that, while each of us is gifted in one area, we are lacking in many areas.  The foot cannot say to the hand, "Why don't you approach Kingdom life the way I do...the right way?"  The eye is not like the ear.  Yet all four are significant components of the body-life.

The eye is not to live in quiet, self-satisfied arrogance that it is pleased to no end that it was chosen by God to be the seer rather than the hearer.  It is the ear that often warns to the eye to look toward safety.  It is the hand that opens the door in order for the foot to walk one into the house.

One's bent toward personal giftedness must never be inwardly framed as superiority over another person.  We are not better than others.  No one ever is.

Be thankful for your blessings from God.  Pool such treasures with others who have different gifts than yours.  Without the Spirit operating from within, each of us is a glob of self-serving nothing.  With Him, however, we find ourselves able to participate in this wonderful arena called successful society of God-followers.

May we shed the temptation to thank God that we are not like others.
Luke 18:9-14

Thursday, April 05, 2018


It wasn't yet 7:00 this morning as I was getting my coffee at Quik-Trip when the customer ahead of me handed the clerk $2 for gasoline.  Two.  Dollars.

This one, maybe in his mid-50s, was dressed for labor it appeared.  Two dollars would not even purchase a whole gallon.

I paid for my coffee and headed directly out to pump #9.  I carefully approached the man as it was just hinting that daylight was in the mix.  I handed him a five dollar bill and encouraged him to get just a bit more fuel.  He was humbly gracious.

I am so much more blessed than so many.  I'm pumped the first thing this morning, of all places, at gas pump #9 at Quik-Trip!  The whole world needs our encouragement.

What I like about so many of you is that you do similar things repeatedly day after day.  May we be a nation of God that lives this glorious day....pumped!

May.  We.  See.  The.  People.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


Let there be incredible wonder take place within your very personal reach.  Change the world from pessimism to optimism.  Challenge the status quo.  Arise to the resurrection power of Jesus by carrying the surging dynamic of hope everywhere your foot treads.

People don't want to know how much we know.  They really can't take in how much we care until a certain communication exudes from our very being; hope.  In the political realm, bemoan all you want.  Or...hope.  In the religious realm, quarrel and fret til the cows come home.  Or...hope.

How is it that hope can be so transformative?  It dares to balk at believing that the negative issues in our lives are permanent.  Hope lifts the face-look from scowl to smile.  Too, it even reverses sad eyes to sparkle.  His grave is empty and hope endures.

Hope in your heart is a legitimate and quite obtainable factor.  In the very center of where the majority sit in frustration and aggravation at this very moment, there are a random few who have the guts to dare hope.  It will be the latter who encounter victory.

Carry hope in your heart.  Of course there are discouraging factors...everywhere we turn...for all of us.  It isn't that some have stress while others don't.  The good news is that these intended distractions are very capable of producing...of producing the wonder-power of God's inclusive hand when we...carry hope in our hearts.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


I was caught way off guard yesterday and it sent my mind reeling.  Having been asked by
Grady King to speak at a Leadership Conference at Oklahoma Christian University was a big deal to me.  To say the least, I was pumped simply at the invitation.  I was hyper (surprise) to be a part of their two-day event.

There were approximately 60 Christian servants gathered (I'm telling, however, that there were somewhere under 500) to hear from a few ministry leaders regarding the wonderful opportunities which await.  The challenges were welcomed as was, indeed, the inspiration which accompanied.

But a thing happened as I was invited to the stage to speak that still blows me away.  The President of OC, John deSteiguer, presented with me with the Christian Service Award.  I so didn't see this coming that I didn't know what to say.  Well, more accurately, I was so stunned I didn't say anything.  My mind couldn't take it in.  I'm not in the habit of being honored with such an award and it rattled me. 

Seldom am I so speechless.  But what a very nice speechlessness to encounter.  Thank you, Grady King, John deSteiguer, and OC for the awesome presentation and the huge plaque.  My head is still trying to get a grasp on what I think happened yesterday.

Friday, March 30, 2018


The table is set and one of the guests knocks over a glass of tea.  A puddle remains atop of the dining table.  You need a tool to clean up the mess.  Shall you reach for a squeegee or a towel?  If you grab the former, you will clear the table of the mess only to have shifted such to the seat of a chair below.  And then, with same said instrument you clean the chair, the liquid simply drips off onto the floor. 

What you have is endless frustration.

But what if you first reached for a towel?  What if, rather than a hard instrument that only shifted the tea from one place to another, you were able to succeed by using an item that would absorb the mess rather than transfer it?  Ah!  Marvelous idea!

So what shall we do with the spilled tea (sin) of others in our midst?  Shall we use our squeegees of blame, irritation, and disgust?  Or, shall we use our own hearts...to absorb the sins of another?  Weird you claim?  Dismissive you jeer?  Yet, isn't the Cross the absorbent from God?  Isn't that what Jesus did on That Day?  And didn't he offer a preview of the of this glorious scene when he bent with a towel to wipe the dirt...the ugly grime...from the disciples feet?

Have we gotten the picture that we are followers of the Savior as we carry huge towels to wipe up the messes that our enemies present?  Or, have we succumbed to religious practice of "talking about" the process; yet, denying its deep and matchless power?

Before you head out the door today, perhaps you might rethink exactly what tool you have packed in your heart?  A religious squeegee which only has the capacity to spread another person's sin?  Or, a spiritual towel which absorbs offences and failures of others.

One is needed to save the world around us.

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I like big calendaristic days!  Memorial Day!  Fourth of July!  Thanksgiving!  And Christmas (!) to name a few.  And--oh yeah--OPENING DAY for the St. Louis Cardinals!!!

There's one day, especially, that seems to resonate more than any other with the heart of all men and women for basic reality.  That one, I believe, is Easter.  On this day, it seems, the masses really do offer serious pause and intentional recognition to the one who gave his life and beat the grave...Jesus.

We.  Believe.  He.  Did.  It.

With such credit to the one Son of God/Son of man, a significant factor may present itself to the inner conscience of many.  Therefore, I wish to supply a boost to those who might fit this scenario.  I believe it to be on the hearts of so many who are very dear people; but not certain what to do.  I speak of surrendering your life by being baptized into Jesus...our Savior.

Being baptized by being lowered into a grave of water is the pre-requisite of being raised from the tomb; your grave.  It is the very fore-glimpse of your next big day...that final breakthrough into non-interrupted and eternal reality in the Heavenly housing development.

Consider Jesus' call of Mt. 28:18-20.  Reflect on Paul's charge in Romans 6:1-11.  These are helpful texts as to the significance of our being buried in baptism.  And then Peter's supportive words correlate with his earlier admonition of Act 2:38-41 when he later wrote, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

Baptism isn't a big bath as unbelievers tend to mock.  Rather is the cleansing--the washing away--of our sins forevermore.

Buried.  Raised.  So that, when at the cemetery we are buried, such will not be that final say.  The dupilicational resurrection will soon follow.  We want to be found at our final earth-breath to have been pre-buried, pre-cemeteried, that the arising from the grave of water may be matched by the arising from the grave of dirt.  What.  A.  Hope.

Might you be encouraged by Easter to give appreciative thought to not only just what happened to Jesus; but also his anticipation that you will copy his move?  Might any resistance you may have offered in the past take a back seat?  Could it be that this Sunday would be the ideal day for you to be buried ahead of time so that the next grave will not be able to contain you for long?

It's.  Your.  Call.  God paved the way via His own Son.  He went first.  We have the opportunity to follow.  Many of us have already been baptized.  Many more are to follow.  Might you be one of them?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018


The first four words of the Bible impact our inner being day by day.  It's one of the grand perks of following God, believing God, loving God.  Every day is a new day.

Every.  Day.  Is.  A.  New.  Day.

God is always in and about the new beginning.  His message is replete with such a strong strategy.  New life!  Renewal!  Start life over!  New beginnings!  His list impacts the very center of our most contagious struggle...weariness of man's sinful contamination which began in the Garden.

Know this about you...about me...every day is created by God to offer what He offered on day one...a new beginning.  Let.  It.  Happen.  Today, therefore, is day one.

Sunday, March 25, 2018


Proverbs 29:25 issues a bold statement, "The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted."  Each of us could use daily recall of this composition.  The latter half of that statement, in others versions, I believe is better stated.  "Whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe."

The Bible is quite clear in its call for us to avoid the tragic invisible rule of fear.  It disheartens plans as well as dismantles productivity.  Being critical of others is a snare; a very accommodating snare.  It falsely builds up self because its goal is never to evaluate self; but rather, to decompose anothers' position of influence.

What's strange about such a process is that the critic is usually the most scared in the meeting.  Fearful of where projected ideas might lead.  Afraid of what other critics will think.  Shuddering at the thought of what might go wrong, the snared and scared ones raise both the volume and the intensity of their threatening voices.  These do their best to do so with a sounding of wisdom when, in reality, it is insecurity marching down main street of the church business meeting.

Our consistent call from Jesus is reversed of the one above.  We are to try to live free and brave.  How strange that we Americans love such a call nationally; yet may become the very same ones who cannot muster such boldness kingdomly.

Living in the church requires an over-the-top courage.  Such is demonstrated by Jesus and his disciples throughout.  Yet equally significant is that this intended platform for our walk has encountered identical roadblocks to theirs.  Fear has such a strong voice indeed for it is always presented with both passion as well as superior awareness.  But when all is said and done, it is cowardice in leadership garb.  I know...as I'm guilty of both.

May our efforts within the Kingdom borders be bold and strong.  Too, may we have the awareness that what we at times call wisdom is possibly the "snare of scare" tactics.  Never would we intentionally practice the latter.  However, it is a clear trademark of church as usual.  May we help each other move forward with the grace and truth of Jesus...which by the way...was so on target that it got him crucified.

The only way to avoid the snare and the scare is to live from the cross one is carrying.

Friday, March 23, 2018


I've been noticing significant pain on the left side of my head in recent days.  Upon reflection, I realize that there is good reason.

On my 18th birthday, while mowing for the Missouri Highway Department during a summer job, my tractor ran over me while I was working to repair the mower.  It did significant damage to my body; one part being that a 1050 pound weighted rear wheel ran over the left side of my head fracturing the right side.  My skull popped like a watermelon.

A year later, while playing softball with friends in Quincy, the shortstop and I (at second base) collided head on.  I took the hit on the left side of my head.  The collision broke my cheek bone.  Bruising was severe and to this day the left side of my face remains numb.

Years later, during a church softball game in Tulsa, Doug Ferguson (in left field) and I (at shortstop) both approached a short fly ball that dropped.  He retrieved it first and came up a-gunning to throw the runner out at second.  He didn't see me standing ten feet in front of him.  Yes, his throw struck me on the left side of my head and flattened me.

On still another occasion, I was playing a game at Busch Stadium in one of the many Fantasy Camp experiences.  Bob Gibson was batting.  I was catching.  Gibson has an unusually big arc to his swing; of which, of course, I knew nothing about it.  The fastball approached.  Bob swung and missed.  His bat came around, hit me on the left side of my head and...although I was wearing a mask and skull cap...knocked me unconscious.

As of late, I have been experiencing a bit more pain on the left side of my head.  When I began to replay these historic moments, I began to note a possibility as to why.  No wonder my head hurts. Too, I have a fairly good excuse as to why I'm a tad bit coo-coo.  But give me credit that I can remember any of these experiences!

Thursday, March 22, 2018


So often we just don't understand.  It isn't that we can't interpret the language for we basically know the ins and outs of such.  It's the meaning of what we are hearing, seeing, realizing that interpretation is quite often needed.

So often we just don't understand.  What's the stress all about?  Why the insults?  Where's the relief from agitation; others or my own?  When will worry ever come to an end?  Left to ourselves, we have a great deal of difficulty deciphering exactly what's going on with me, with us, with them.  We surely struggle to interpret the ongoings of our normal and routine existence.

So often we just don't understand.  We need an interpreter.  We are vulnerable to miscalculation if not severe misreading of the issues at hand.  Therefore, I encourage you that Jesus' role is to not only make sense of the confusing lingo going on upon our paths day in and day out, but he is able to bring purpose and meaning to it. 

Jesus understands.  He's been among friends; even among enemies.  Ah, sound familiar?  Jesus knows life...and death.  He experienced heartbreak and ache.  In other words, he gets us.  But more than that, he knows how to interpret the language of life which tends to baffle us.

When things go wrong, when offense flies your direction, and when the maze is beyond sorting, lean upon the interpreter of the human language.  Jesus knows people.  He was one.  He serves us by explaining to Father precisely what it's like being a you and a me.

Let Jesus be your translator for too often we just can't seem to comprehend what it is that's going on all around us.  God sent him in to sort it all out for us.  Let.  Him.


The Kingdom of God's realm has no match.  It is unique, unusual, and quite distinct.  The form of it is such a challenge because it goes against the grain of humanistic, control-obsessed thinking.  God's system won't work under the old guise of man's best accumulation of contributions.  It is our endless task to keep up with Him.

So shall we never learn?  Is such merely a waste of time?  No.  No.  We are to ever learn and never leave such a ball field.  We are to be new day by day by day by....  Does this, then, imply that we are to cast away all previous learnings?  Well...when you learned Subtraction at school's beginnings, did you negate Addition?  Subtraction merely coordinated alongside the truth of Addition.

We, regarding Kingdom essentialities, are to ever be learners at every age at every turn.  This isn't to be interpreted as hopeless; but rather, to be absorbed as inspiring.  Just as the scientists cannot reach the ultimate end to space, believers cannot accumulate completion of the knowledge of God and His extensive realm.

Our job, our work therefore, is one of learning, gaining, growing, and maturing.  As soon as we learn one new truth we probably have to take it and make adjustments to one hundred truths we learned in days gone by.

Keeping up with the Kingdom is neither exhausting nor is it discouraging.  It is excitingly filled with adventuristic claim.  Kingdom information is not accumulation of knowledge simply to be stored; but is, rather, life to be explored.

Monday, March 19, 2018


Life is a massive works of successes and failures, activities and rests, dreams and nightmares.  Maneuverability is a daily requirement.  Challenges faced are sobering if not often insurmountable.  We are sorely tempted to give up on people, on plans, and even on God.  Yet, we must continue pursuit of the life God intentionally unfolds before us.  We must not be talked out of imagining what can be.

In order to effectively reside in forward progress, we must determine to live from the greatest extreme.  We must actually absorb as fact that there is life after death.  Jesus makes this promise a reality.  It is totally up to our belief-system as to whether we accept or deny such.  Therefore, we decide regarding the greatest extreme.

When we know via faith that Jesus broke the bonds of death, an entirely new world explodes upon our scene.  We are free to be heartbroken over loss, injury, and even death.  Yet, we are not distracted from praising God while we offer consistent words of hope to all neighbors. 

If you are going to practice any sort of faith, I encourage you to place it in the one who walked our trails, died our deaths, and arose to shout from the mountaintops that we are free to like right now and every right now that follows...including the reality of breaking lose from the cemetery.

That's...called living from the greatest extreme.  And...we do!

Sunday, March 18, 2018


Today believers are to be found obsessed with giving praise and glory to God.  This is not the time to be stricken with touchy worship preferences nor stern self-pleasing styles.  Yes, this day is about us...only in that the we are to be driven to acknowledging our wonderful Master.  Therefore, let us be on our toes as to being certain that we are worshipping Him and not our fav traditions.

Live this day--vocally, servingly, attitudinally--crediting God for His unique dynamic of being able to create something from nothing.  Thank Him that He defeated defeat.  Circumstance nor development are never a blockade to progress and wonder.  The Bible is packed with such illustrations to assure us that whatever the moment, "He's got this!"  If true, and it is, then..."He's got us!"

If temptation should pass by your heart and mind today to be Mr. Grumpy or Ms. Sourjudge, STOP IT!  This day is only about you being gigantically and wonderfully focused with great gratitude upon Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  May the Three reap mighty praise from you and me today for we get to live the rare and powerful life of Wow!

Be.  Wonderfully.  Mightily.  Magnificently.  Generously.  Wowed.

Friday, March 16, 2018


Keep speaking life-words.  Refrain from the death ones.  Talk gratitude.  Talk hope.  Talk adventure.

"Saying power" is such a unique God-sort of dynamic that follows true to the language purpose.  Speaking creates.  That's how the wonder of our existence ever came about.  Creation didn't arise from hours of equational effort from Heaven's lab.  Neither was is due to extensive research.  Creation happens simply and uniquely because God "said so".

He has made it ultra-clear that our talk sets the stage for our day.  No one carries more significant power than verbalization.  It.  Creates.

Therefore, don't talk a bad game.  Don't talk defeat.  Don't talk being perplexed or stumped.  Talk faith.  Speak power.  Say words of unusual hope.

This concept of how we go about commenting is not from the land of Pretentiousville.  It is from the realm of Heavenly Glory.  The way we casually speak forms the design of ourselves...moment by moment.  So...talk a "good" game.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Urrggh!  People!  Ever feel frustrated with "them"?  And, why is that?  Because they are stupid, sinful, dopes, or just plain annoying?  Could be.  But, I wish to bend your justifiable (?) irritation toward a correcting possibility.

I experience incredible frustration with people.  I have for years...well, decades.  Yet, it's not from a thread of criticism.  No.  Mine is due to the truth that everyone is more amazing than they believe.  However, too many live in a much lesser life than has been the plan all along.

Our prisons are full of wonderful individuals who possibly never got the reinforcement as to their deep and personal wonder.  But it's not just prisoners.  Far too many are reporting to work today as boss or supervisor or employee with the feeling of drudgery; a feeling that they aren't all that important.

My great frustration with people is not in blame nor is it in any form of criticism.  Mine is a matter against me....I don't know how to reverse their insecurities and senses of sheer inadequacies.  My great frustration is that these wonderful individuals have bought into a lie somewhere along the way that they don't count.  The result is a lifestyle of just getting by.

My hope for people is that each can move past the past.  Those who have hurt you, injured you, neglected you?  So have you to others.  Our hopes are strong and embedded within the same dimension; believing that the resurrection power of God can lift us into a steady walk of happiness, productivity, and beautiful difference-making! 

We are limited, never by another person, only by our broken ability to focus on the wonder of now.  Egotism is not our destiny so don't go there.  Confidence is.  Jesus is our confidence.  Mine (and yours) alone without Him is destined to repeated misery warmed over. 

So in our frustration, may we become a determined lot to build others; not tear down, lift others; not sink, and cheer others; not discourage.  We all need this...every...day.  Go.  For.  It.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Faith in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit and Their/our mission is a sobering one...to say the least.  It's challenging.  It's life-providing.  It's loaded with incredible news.

Think about Jesus' call for us to take up our crosses and follow him.  The cross results in what?  Our death.  Not just our death; but our punishing suffering misery.  The Cross isn't a topic for a snappy tune.  It's a torture.  We are to each live from and die on...our individual crosses.

We each submitted to Jesus from various times ago.  Our relinquishment of our own lives yielded to His life; His walk.  Such a commitment is for the same purpose: that others might live.  These "others" that get to live are then called to die for the next "other" and then the next, etc.  The Cross permeates life via human carriers (human diers)....like you....and me.


Misery.  Punishment.  Suffering.  Unattractive.  Rejected.  Snubbed.  Mockery.  Struggle.  Death. 

Christians are to have signed up for this.  Would we rather bail?  Ease and acceptance and popularity; for these we often thrive just assuming that this is what life is really all about.  Yet, the cross that we carry is serious for in our living/dying from such, others truly have a shot at finding hope, beauty, and life.

Jesus' call...to take up our cross...isn't mere Sunday School chatter.  No.  Living from a cross means we will be insulted, mocked, slandered, gossiped, and belittled.  Such kills our hearts.  Yet, this must be done for even our enemies may reach a point where they cross the center line and wonder if there could be/would be authentic hope beyond the grave.

Taking up our crosses is a reality.  It is a must.  We must be careful for too much of the believing world has simply opted for the easier route; church attendance.  Faith will cost your life...and replenish you with a new one.

Thursday, March 08, 2018


Jesus is the very essence of life.  As a matter of fact, the Bible says that he is Life!  And within those dimensions is what seems to be a public secret.  Powerful and productive life is known, for certain, but the getting there seems to be a daily hurdle.

Here's the take.  Jesus hates, hates, hates sin; yet he loves, loves, loves the sinner.  A perplexing factor is that, with him, there is absolutely no middle ground for either.  Moodiness?  Bias?  Self-promotion?  Comparative goodness?  No.  Middle.  Ground.

For us, it is too often a completely different story.  When we hate the sin, we tend to despise the one who commits it.  We hardly like them; let alone dare to die for them.  (Of course, the exception is always our ability to overlook our own sin.)

Jesus sets the rules for the stage; hate sin and love the sinner.  Wouldn't we transform the church if we were to lay down our accusations, admit that we are in the much needed forgiveness-mix ourselves, and learn to take seriously his admonition...his style?  Wouldn't it be amazing what might be done if we who parade his name and his teaching could practice the very core of his earth-walk message? 

When it does happen...and it does on occasion...stunning new hope arises for both the issuer and receiver of God's unimaginable grace.  There.  Is.  Nothing.  Like.  It.

Monday, March 05, 2018


So I made my daily trek to my favorite Lowe's in search of...well...of something I might need.  It is so easy to find something that I need at my store.  I tell the clerks, who know me as a regular, that my maiden name was Lowe.  And...they always laugh.

This morning was sorta fun.  As I was checking on a clerk at the register as to how her knee surgery recovery was going, she sheepishly asked me if I would do her a favor.  My response was affirmative and I inquired what it might be that I could do for her.

She rehearsed that she really likes my book, You Can't Make This Stuff Up!, and wondered if I would mind doing something else for her.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a baseball with these profound words, "Would you mind signing this baseball for me that I might put it alongside of my book"?

I sorta, mighta, maybe kinda, smiled.  Big!

I looked around to see if maybe others possibly had overheard this conversation as it was just a normal, average stop at the store.  Of course, I signed it...and may have made a big deal out of it.  So far at Lowe's the most they had ever asked of me regarding my signature was on a check.

Another average day of signing baseballs!

Thursday, March 01, 2018


For any who take our faith seriously, immediate threat lingers in the wings.  That intimidation would be known as ego; it awaits to surge forward into control, into action, into self-desiring.  Yet, we are very much required/expected by God to move beneath the courageous banner of faith.

We have a God to be believed and served.  Too, we have a desperate world of hurting and anxious people who need even the slightest whisper of hope.  Ours is the task to present really good news to those who have seldom or rarely heard if there is such a thing.

Because of our broken system, mankind lives in one basic thread; intimidation.  We are afraid to speak, afraid to go against the establishment, and afraid to act.  Rescuing others will require all three.

It will not be our boisterous egos that will blaze the accomplishment trail.  Neither will it be the outspoken nor the rampaging drive of living on mission to put everyone in their places.  No, it will be the reverse.  It will be the style...the life-supplying course...demonstrated by Jesus.

It will not be bold arrogance that will bring true hope.  No, it will be brave humility.  That trait of taking the backseat, finishing in last place, that others might be recognized for their value first is the call of the church.  Humility; the life-style of caring for others first and self last is the effective calculation from above.

This...will demand prayer.  This...however...is where the adamant churchers often wish to opt out.  Prayer is time...much time...spent with God in expression as well as listening.  Prayer doesn't receive a parade of approval from public square.  It is lonely and so often heart-breaking.  Prayer is the final hill to take in the war of defeating human rationale in favor of God provisionale.

If and when we humble ourselves in dependency upon God, we will be more inclined to pray with thanksgiving as well as on true meaningful mission.  Our families will be blessed.  Our colleagues will be blessed.  Our churches will be blessed.  Our communities will be blessed.  Even our enemies will be blessed all because the route of Jesus for each of these was through the devoted freeway of prayer.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


Being buried in Jesus in baptism is not a one time event that merely serves as yet another marked accomplishment listed on our activity calendars.  To enter into Jesus and Jesus into us is to transform our "personal world" order.  We are to be new...every...day!

The old you strongly wishes to suck the vibrancy out of the new you.  There becomes an actual inner tug o' war over which unit you will choose to reside.  It is not slight; but is a major inward battle for each of us.  The old wants very much to control you as the old you very much needs to control others.  The new, however, finds restoration, and joy, and dependency (upon God and others), and energy, and hope! 

The new you experiences new starts, new beginnings, new life because that's the element of new!

Living in the past is not life.  It contains contamination of indecency that gets all over us and flows from us.  Jesus' blood washes us daily.  We are to be new creatures of new habits that will be new even again tomorrow.

None of this makes sense.  Exactly.  We have a core non-sensical doctrine; namely, Jesus was dead and now lives.  Bizarre to the unbeliever.  Even more breathtaking and wonderfully bizarre to the believer...yet, we believe it happened!  Live in the what can't be...but truly is.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Humanity has a consistent problem due to sin.  Such strain was introduced in the famous Garden of yesteryear.  Awareness of self's lack was immediately replaced by blame toward the other one in the picture. Adam, without question, knew with all of his heart that Eve was the cause of the rip.  This very same "blame strategy" was mine for a very long time.  I had a pretty hard-core rule that need not be questioned: it's always the other person's fault.

In 1999 I came across something in the Bible that caused me to step back for I, simultaneously, came across a painful truth about myself.  I subsequently wrote The Miracle of Mercy.  I'd heard of mercy; but my strong tendency was to be critical of others for "they" knew better...or should.  My core belief was that if "they would" straighten up, then all would be okay.

There was a gigantic flaw in me.  My struggles were not a "they" matter; but were a "me" one.  I was at the center of my stresses, my judgmentalistic traits, and my living in resentment.  It was always another or others that seemed to be why I couldn't move on.  Yet, the study of mercy opened the eyes of my heart to the truth....that it was me who stood in my own way to happiness and productivity.

This study broke me.  God was insistently clear that if I would not forgive others He would not forgive me.  He had handed me to rules to life: if I forgive others, He will forgive me.  If I don't, He won't.  Mercy is miraculous because it remains one of the most gigantic and powerful tools of our time.

I have always struggled with avoiding looking at myself.  It was a much easier route to cast blame...in any direction but my own.  But I learned...a hard lesson...watching Jesus endure, absorb, and pay debts...our debts...my debts. 

This changed my world.  I had not realized how sinful I was.  I thought it was "they"; never "me".  I could blame them and excuse me.  How thoughtlessly defensive I was in order that I could come out looking good.  Since I wasn't good enough, the only course I thought I had was to tear others down.  And...they surely, truthfully had enough wrong about them that such was an easy target.  But when God started getting personal about my sins and my lack/indifference to mercy, the pressure became rather, shall we say, forceful?

Sin is not to be denied.  Salvation isn't either.  If God can forgive mine, then I can forgive others.  He did.  I will.  Sin, to be certain, is strong.  His rescuing Salvation is the stronger.  Believe it.

Sunday, February 25, 2018


At first glance, the idea of Heaven's Silence could lead one to believe that this is a subject about "not speaking up" when such should have happened....would have been expected.  Yet, the theme is the opposite; that of the necessary silence that was doing the grandest work for humanity.

When Jesus lay in the grave, the Son of God was assumed dead; permanently so.  Hope seemed to have taken a massive blow to the imagination.  There was no voice from the sky.  Mountains and oceans remained intact.  Galaxies did not flail in suffocating disorientation.  All appeared to be silent as if nothing should, could, or would be done with this utmost of all atrocities.  Didn't anything or anyone or The One....care?

Why the silence?  Why?

God had this.  He was calm and the plan--His intention--was not being disrupted in the least.  Rather, it was being fulfilled.  When that Third Day came, society quit holding it's breath.  God, in His glorious silence, was demonstrating for His created humanity, forevermore, to be still, let go, and relax.  He's.  Got.  This.

Of course, during those three days, one could understand the disciples being both a bit edgy and bewildered.  Their understanding of future Kingdom had just encountered the most drastic hit possible.  Heaven's CEO of life was dead, buried, and gone.  Done.  Over.  Say it ain't so!

This is how we get at times, huh?  When conversations don't slant in our favor, when dealings take a right turn rather than a left, or when matters just don't work out, we are tempted to ask, "Where is this God of ours?"  "Why the silence?"  "Doesn't He care?"

The answer for us is the same as it was for James, John, and Peter during their darkest three days.  Heaven's silence contains an astonishing gifted truth.  God is not dead.  Within the harshest of situations, Father is working the course just as He has planned all along.  It is never that He is absent.  It is that our understanding of His empowering rescue is ultra-limited.

Heaven's silence?  It carries that perpetual message from dilemma to next dilemma.  "Be still...and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

Heaven's Silence is simply in the process of setting up the grand display.  We set the stage on July 4th by tediously obtaining and arranging unique hope for that awe-packed moment when we light the fuses and the fireworks overwhelm our eyes and hearts.  That's...what God did with the grave of Jesus.  He was setting the stage.

Heaven's Silence was, in reality, enmeshed with incredible intensity of hope.  In perfect timing, God's eternally-intended thrill overwhelmed...all of us!  God lit the fuse to life!  His Silence was most effective, don't you think?

Friday, February 16, 2018


We perpetually arrive at conclusions; often new ones and sometimes reinforcement of old ones.  Because we are frail humanity, ours is the task of ever gaining information about our indiscoverable creation in which we walk.  By indiscoverable, I mean that regardless of how much we learn, we will never exhaust the planet and solar system of faith Truth.  We are to always be learners.

We religious folks are challenged at this mark.  For research in medicine or in relationships or in science or in history to have ended, we would be a most stunted clan.  Advancement in exercise, in education, to name a couple, is critical to our overall advancement into progressively awaiting reality.

So why would we not think it true of faith as well?  Why stop learning with a defensive shift to protecting what wonder we have already accumulated in holy information?  We will do well to continue the power-thread of godly information toward us for we are to grow in Spirit and in Truth. 

As long as we live, there will be new contours of God's will awaiting implant into our hearts.  That's why we should study all of the time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Might we have things at bit backwards at times?  Do we practice prayer sporadically and, when we do, it's the process of us sitting at the table (or pew) and placing our orders?  God, we'd like two days unscrambled so that by 8:00 p.m. we could note that they were over easy.  Too, would you keep others from disturbing us for You know we've got enough troubles of our own.  And, oh yes God, would you see to it that my tomorrow is carefree for I'm in need of a break from those pestering distruptors who seem to cut in line to my having a good day?  Huh, God?  Could ya?  Amen.

When our prayers are laced with the I wants coupled with incredible absent gaps of Thank Yous we are likely approaching God as our Waiter and not our relational Father.  Indeed, He is most interested in our needs and called for us to call on Him.  This thread is true.  Yet, to relate to Him as only one who takes our orders with little relationship misses the point of being His child.

How do I know this?  That's the way I once approached prayer.  I want.  I need.  I'd like.  Why haven't You...?  It took me decades to unlock the mystery of giving God vocal prayerful praise.  And, such a transition changed both my prayer life and my interaction with Him and others. 

Doors opened.  Effectiveness flowed.  His work flourished.  It seemed we finally partnered.

My concern is that when God is merely our Waiter (as was the case with me), that we will be sluggish in prayer while, simultaneously, bugged because He seems to be absent from our needs.  We need Him.  He wants us.  Maybe if we would make a transition from the I wants over to the Thank Yous we would find a Father/child relationship unfolding...that very thing that our inner being hungers for most.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Don't give up.  We have very much work to do.  That thing Jesus did, he wishes to do through us via his Spirit.  We have much believing to do.

Do not be discouraged at those matters which didn't work out...yet.  The close disciples clearly thought that when Jesus died the Kingdom was over.  They didn't have the muster to muster alone.  But they weren't ever to be left alone.  God would move into all of His people the way He had moved into His Son.

There are no mountains too high nor rivers too wide which can shut down the people of faith.  Isn't that the Bible story?  The Bible way?

Don't let anything or anyone pull you down.  Every dark moment is pregnant with aspiring light ready to be birthed at any moment.  That moment arrives when we determine the struggle is a Yes!

Live like you believe He is where you are!

Sunday, February 11, 2018


I'm not sure this is true.  It may be simply me and what makes me tick.  But I have to wonder about the rest of you as well.  Therefore, I share these thoughts should any of the rest of you feel similarly.

I have one main drive in life.  I want to make a difference.  While I've never wanted to be different (being included in the circle was always paramount to my confidence factor), my heart goes out to those countless numbers of dear individuals who suffer.  Some are ill, others are neglected, others are confused, and yet, others are stumped as to what to do about themselves, others, and life overall.

If it would be a boost to you, allow me to point out that your power resides within your ability to care about God and about others.  Jesus spoke such in his earlier days and the theme remains significantly amazing.  We are not to be the first consideration of our walk; God is and others are.  When this transition from self to Him and others develops, fulfillment immediately follows.  Every.  Time.

Yes, I know a few successful people who are in my world.  My admiration for them grows.  Too, I know a lot of failures who don't yet realize the true wonder of themselves.  Our goal is to inspire the world as the grace of God allows to be within our range.  Great and lonely people need words of hope, of love, of life.  We want to practice issuing those very empowering, inspiring, enriching words.

Nobody is a goner.  No one is doomed to be a useless failure.  What we do is cheer others on day in and day out.  As we plant seeds of cheer, take a good guess as to what we reap?  A harvest of the very thing we had sown.  It is not our job to take care of self first.  No, we are third in line.  God is first.  Others are second.

I know this to be true.  It isn't Rocket Science.  Rather, it is the very thread of Holy Spirit happiness and contentment.  One can have dollars and big business and still be very empty.  God and people fill a void unique to them as they are programmed for our very needy hearts.

Having a rough day?  Tell someone else what they mean to you?  Feeling useless and forgotten?  Be vocal to God about how you admire Him.  Watch your rough day scram.  When you want to make a difference, don't rehearse your wounds; but rather become vocal as to how God and others bless you richly.

Friday, February 09, 2018


There seems to be no equal to the dynamic and daring activation of believing that something can become when there is no sign, physically at the moment, of such unique possibility.  This is the intrigue of believing into a sphere of darkness; knowing all along that light will become alive in full demonstration.

The fault of religion is its subtle sloppiness of allowing the genuine article of faith to slip into an unconscious practice of nothing more than habitualistic dead performance.  When this happens we tend to give the best grades to the best performers.  Well...on occasion we even offer applause.

I'm guessing that you are much like me; you walk down both rows.  Your inclination, similar to mine, may be more about repetitive ritualism with occasional successful bursts of belief.  If not attentive, we will build churches on nothing less than past tradition coupled with current "I like very much" preferences.

When Jesus hit the scene, community had never seen anything like him; religious or non.  There was something bright, unassuming, daring, and fiercely humble about him.  He lived on mission to not get his way so that others could get theirs.  He died so that nations of individuals could live.

I'll never fathom the full measurement of his glory.  However, I will do my best to conscientiously be alert to the "what can be" of even the most routine situations...and people.  God fits our world; not by fitting in, but by purging the superficial ordinary from it.  He purifies; not by squeaky-cleaning our language and behavior, but by transforming average into sheer wowsville.

Yes, many are committed (and deeply involved) in church(es).  Yet, the call to connect to the driving force of the Spirit is the power connection for each of us.  I know many who know book, chapter, and verse.  That's most valuable.  The ability to transform fear into faith and blockades into entry ways into people's hearts is the real deal.

My guess is that you are much like me.  You will accept intimidation as something that can't be helped.  But I urge you to watch.  Watch for God to do things with you, for you, and through you that you would never have imagined...and then...don't look back....Ephesians 3:20-21.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018


Every person of every age of every generation of every tribe faces what seem to be two realities; Life...and Death.  But, the truth is there is only one reality for the believer in, of, and with God.  That one reality would be Life.  The other seeming-reality will fade one day and be gone...forever.

The work Jesus did while on earth is the utmost of grand signals that, through him, Death met its maker.  And Death...died.  

Yes, Death suffered a horrible blow when, for three days, it surely sighed in a false glory that it had defeated yet another one in his early thirties who rested in his own grave.  How many millions of times over the years had Death strutted its stuff at such repeated scenes.  How many tears of heartbreak had been shed...oceans of accumulation.

Fortunately, the time came and Jesus got the Word from Father that it was time to break Death's back.  Hanging on the Cross, giving testimony to Father, Jesus entered through Death's front door brave and confident.  He submitted himself in all of his glory so that each of us could experience, personally forevermore, the breaking of the one who had hoped to breathe constant misery upon us all...Death.

It's okay!  Go ahead!  Believe it!  It's true!

deathwhere is your victory deathwhere is your  sting?  I Cor. 15:55...and verses 56-58 provides the answer.

Death.  Met.  Its.  Maker.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


My upper eyelids have become puffy which is causing significant loss of vision.  I'm soon headed off to surgery for this eye trimmery. 

My surgeon has been given instructions that, since this is basically cosmetic, I would like to come out looking like Brad Pitt.  I'm so often approached by strangers, anyway, asking for my autograph as they believe me to be...him.  I just go along with it as I don't want to disappoint.

That is my hope....that I will come out looking even more like Brad Pitt.

Here is my fear.

What if I awaken from surgery and I don't look like Brad.  What if the doctor makes a mistake and I look exactly like Tom Selleck.  You tell me....what am I going to do with that dilemma?  Uh oh?

Sunday, February 04, 2018


America's spiritual fiber is suffering.  It isn't a matter of the pro or con of church attendance.  Neither is it due to a lack of Bible promoters and quoters.  No, our struggle for relief in this smothering religiosity of ours is that we have failed to find the Truth.

Now...before the religious want to gather 'round that word--Truth--and begin to charge toward all neighbors, might we pause a moment?  Truth isn't just quoting nor is it just knowing scriptures.  It isn't about one being well-versed.  America is full of such dynamics; yet remains quite sluggish in our effectivity to make any impact along the way.

What will seriously turn America back to God?  It isn't what I would have ever assumed in my younger years.  I believe the answer is to be found within an experiential brokenness known as the humility-factor.  Communities have grown cold to our obnoxious strutting of, "We've got life figured out.  Why don't you?"  Of course the bigger problem is, that for many like myself, we glare in our faith rather than shine.

I'm finding that our own good news resides within a zone that I would never have guessed way back when.  Our secret isn't in how much Bible we know, how many converts we gather, nor how many mission trips we take.  No...our impact is buried within the raw fact that we are each the greater sinner of any other neighbor...churched or un.

Consider Romans 7:24, "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" This apostolic world leader for God and His Kingdom knew a thing or two.  Foremost was his truthful awareness of how much he wasn't.  Paul knew what it was that made himself effectively tick.  He was wretched.  Odd, don't your think?

"WRETCHED: Deeply afflicted, miserable, despicable, dejected, distressed, poor in quality or ability, inferior, contemptible."  Yes!  This rare servant of God was amazing because he fundamentally knew two prominent factors: (1) God is the power and the hope, and (2) Paul was riddled with weakness and unimpressive ability.  Astonishing Truth.

What will turn America back to God...seriously?  When we refrain from parading our withering accomplishments and admit that without the Spirit of Jesus we are sunk, a new Christian attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving will begin to permeate society at large.  We are not the know-it-alls about Truth that many of us wish to promote.

No, we are worthy of God's rejection if it weren't that He practices His own call for mercy and forgiveness.  God's call that we take up our crosses and follow His Son is a far cry from our coming out looking good or getting our own impressive way as we seem to so strongly desire.

Saturday, February 03, 2018


Anyone can criticize.  It takes little faith to join the ranks of the harping and habitual complainers.  Yet, what we find most fascination is that, indeed, much improvement it needed in others...and within ourselves.  Jesus has always been keen on each of us removing the beam from our own eye first before assisting the neighbor.

Do things need to change?  Improve?  Advance? 

Most certainly.  Activation is needed; our activation.  Self-evaluation will often lead to the root problem among us.  Are we accusatory?  Self-indulging?  Ignorantly judgmental?  Have we slipped into a form of godliness while denying it's intended power...just as Bible expresses that such will happen?

There's a lot wrong with the church.  At the very same time, there is very much right about it.  One of the latter truths is that we are becoming more confessional about our own personal weakness.  Problems are not a "they" issue.  It is a "we" reduced more pertinently to "me".  Until we hang our hats and our hopes on the literal activity of Jesus in today's experience, we will find ourselves striving without effectivity.

If we could apply ourselves to improvement, progress has a spiritual chance.  Wagging tongues will lose their strength.  Personal evaluation will shut our mouths.  Faith in God will become prominent.  Thanksgiving will flood the community rather than selective gripes.

If we apply ourselves to improvement, others will have more room to be encouraged to do the same.

Saturday, January 27, 2018


Jesus isn't just the friend, the therapist, the CEO, neighbor, and the superintendent of people.  He is also the Savior.  This is one gigantic term.  We are all in this lostness together and it is in the Son of God that we can experience our foundness.  Never is it our accomplishment.  Neither is it our social goodness.  No.  Jesus paid a price...one heavy fee...to rescue us from ourselves.

I continually read of those who have or are failing in life.  Too many reference such a category of individuals as "they"; they need, they should, they seem, and they ought.  The accusation may be dead on.  Yet, the frailty of such is that every time that there is a "they", there is also factually a "me" that carries the same fallen nature.

We can't do good life on our own, regardless of strong effort.  We are far too weak to pull it off.  Yet we do try.  When the battle is found to be of our self-effort, we leap immediately into the false zone of living by comparison.  This is always a dead-end alley...so the Word says.

So, know that there is gigantic hope for the severely flawed...and we are all in that mix.  I am the chiefest of failure. Jesus lives to save!  He alone is our hope...but what a solid, true, real, authentic, lasting hope!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


Shall we take this tiny portion of a time-slot in which we live and be builders of community and people?  Or, shall we spend our slim amount of days on earth barking in disapproval of the passers-by?  It is a choice, you know.  Much of the negative speaking is merely done so unconsciously that one might hardly catch his or her complaining language.  We seem to believe that we are just who we are and that's all we can do about it.

Yet, I say that one of the blessings of learning from God is that He transforms us into a new sort.  And, within that transformational expanse is the truth that we clean up our language; our negative, bummeristic, sloppy speech that tears down with little effectivity toward building up.  Barking has become an accepted trait of routine living.

In order to become a builder, we will want to subdue our barking inclinations.  But how?  What will help us clean up critical wordage?   Consider the following as a means of helpful improvement:

    1.  Realize our own sins.  The Bible makes this very clear that when we berate another, we are guilty of the very same things ourselves.  Until we get over this, we will merely resent such a statement.  Yet, when we realize that we are all alike, there seems to be a breeze of hope sweep through the room.

People all around us, very ordinary and good people, are in dire trouble due to their own unwise actions.  We do not dismiss such actions.  What we do, however, to keep from barking at them is to realize we are sinful, just as they.  Otherwise, if not true of our own sins, why is Jesus' blood cleansing us day by day?

    2.  Realize the depths of others' struggles.  No one needs our critical glare.  Everyone needs our heartfelt compassion coupled with genuine understanding.  There are, oh so, many who left church long ago because they inwardly determined that they weren't good enough.  Good enough?  Who sitting in church row is?  Not one.

We are drawn to live in a self-absorbed fallen society.  It got so bad years ago that Father sent Son down here on a mission.  It was a bad as had been assumed.  Jesus was executed.  Barking was to have ended because there was no exception as to who was guilty among us.  He died for all.

May we live in such appreciation and thankfulness that our first move each morning and last one each evening is spent calculating just how we my be better builders.  Society needs our voices to do just that.

Monday, January 22, 2018


An inner war takes place within each of us.  For some it is occasional.  Yet for others, it's a nearly a daily grind.  Whether educated or un, employer or ee, or even a Demo-publican, one thing tends to rule every heart...living by comparison.

I'm a champion knower of this curse.  Others...somebody somewhere...are always sharper, smarter, handsomer, richer, and more influential than me.  Oh...how about every person out there?  So what happens to one so insecure?  We tend to live defeated simply by one rule of thumb...judging and comparing self to others.  Whether we judge ourselves better than others or inferior to others, we are always on the wrong track....always.

When God calls for the end to living in comparison, He isn't promoting a selfish ego.  Nothing of the kind.  Rather, He is quickening the gift (His embedded gift) within each of us to arise to a fruitful and productive life.  God empowers and we must not stand in His way nor in our own way by the mistaken lie of comparison.

This goes on day in and day out.  I watch the most aggressive personalities scramble to keep the conversations within the narrow court of their expertise.  The most outgoing of us must note that our tendency to control the topics of our confident zone as the primary focus is a costly mistake.  It is here that we tend to hide so that we may be appear to be well-informed, simultaneously, avoiding advancing in our own understanding.  Could it be that we are failing to learn because we insist that all others must only be about those things which we feel we have some leverage?

I applaud those who are educated in some portion of information who can risk appearing with lack of substance in the many other fields of knowledge.  I thank those many who are terrific in only one dimension of Kingdom life who, simultaneously, live fully aware of their own personal ignorance in a multiplicity of other venues.

What happens when we humble ourselves, open ourselves, to confessing that we are not the expert...even in our unique field of interest?  We let people in.  We let God in.  We discover that we are all alike.  Some are brilliant in one tiny speck of a zone while others are clueless.  And then, when the topic of discussion changes, we seem to advantageously trade places.

Therefore I say to us, as we tend to hide in what we perceive to be some element of our strengths, to drop the appearance that we are sharp.  We are not.  Yes, we know some stuff.  But every person in the room understands valuable details of which the rest of us know nothing...like in No Thing.

When we quietly, inwardly, believe that we are better than another or lesser, we simply don't get it.  Curb the self-elevation or the self-devaluation.  Refrain from living by comparison.  You are awesome.  But remember...so is everyone around you.  If we pool our outstandingnesses without the public veil of arrogance, we will become a society that can advance in drastic and effective measure.

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

Saturday, January 20, 2018


The tactic of dark forces against every person alive is to beat us down.  The strain is to convince each of us that our hopes were fake, that our intentions were wobbly, and that our energy was certainly weak.  You...my friend...are targeted with all of the rest of us to hit moments of having your confidence depleted and your ambition sabotadged.

Yet, it is most certainly upon the turf of significant stress and interference that faith carries its "blow trouble of the water" force.  Faith moves mountains; mountains of intimidation and mountains of threat.  We are believers--not in just Bible facts, but--in God (which is a Bible fact).  Be encouraged.  Let your accumulation of Truth be permitted to be confidently acted out in your daring and unfathomable walk.

I cheer you on to unleash the most powerful dynamic from the human system...faith in God.  We believe that what isn't yet can become.  We believe that what appears dead can be revived.  We believe that emptiness can be made full and that darkness can be transformed to light.

The way to whip defeat is to defeat it.  Let's be about this fantastic mission!

(And, yes, I intentionally misspelled sabotaged in the first paragraph just to perplex some readers!)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


God handed mankind an amazing guide for our journey; the Bible.  It, fortunately, has been consumed by the masses since it's completion.  It's complexity is matched by simplicity.  The foolish mind can grasp it while the intelligent one can't.  God said so.

Now that's sorta weird.  It doesn't mean that our intelligent brothers and sisters can't get it; but they'll never grasp it from anything but the surprising rigors of God's style.  And...His style isn't normal.

This is quite the challenge as we so want to uncover the glories of God's Truth.  He expects us to find them, to know them, to believe them, and even to be them.  The contest for us is magnified by the brilliance of His bent on keeping faith simple.  I, for one, am always challenged by this fundamental reality.  Reading our Bibles is one thing.  Accepting them is yet another because faith is more about believing than it is explanational defining.  

Our call is ever toward humility that He might be permitted to do His thing with, through, and among us.  God has the skill-set.  It is up to us to step aside as He steps in.  

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 outnot knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)  This isn't normal, folks.  Yet, it is the thread to faith.  To head out on a journey and not know what the journey is would defy logic...and that's exactly what God does with us.

Faith doesn't make sense.  When we try to arrange it to be such, we dumb down what God planted which was intended to bring love and life to mankind in a/from a Heavenly dimension.  Let Him describe it...

...because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  (I Corinthians 1:25-29)
Faith....it will cause one to go out not knowing where he is going.  Furthermore, it will appear to be sheer foolishness.  A problem with today's faith efforts is that we live in perpetual restraint for we don't want to be labeled radical, absurd, nor ridiculous.  The glory of today's faith is that our world is hungry for any who would have the courage to believe what isn't yet; but are certain God's rescue can come!!