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 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 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. 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  Go.  For.  It.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


Faith in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit and Their/our mission is a sobering 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) 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' 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. 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.