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March 2007

February 2007

The Tomb of Jesus.

Someone is bound to ask me about "The Tomb of Jesus." Rightly so. It is in the news - even though it is very old speculative news. It deserves and demands a response.

I am going to gather some other people's responses here since they have already does some good work. From Brian D. Russell's blog -, we have a worthy analysis: The Tomb of Jesus: A Missional Opportunity.

In there, he posits:

"Frankly, I am grateful for such media blitzes that sensationalize finds such as last year’s Gospel of Judas, Dan Brown’s conspiracy claims in The DaVinci Code, or the “The Lost Tomb of Jesus”. Whenever the “buzz” offers the opportunity for conversation about Jesus, we need to learn to take advantage of such times. Rather than being defensive or quick to debunk a friend or co-worker, we should listen carefully before speaking. When we do speak, let us do it with words seasoned with salt and with an invitation to study the Bible together."

Ben Witherington is blunt from the start in his title: THE JESUS TOMB? ‘TITANIC’ TALPIOT TOMB THEORY SUNK FROM THE START

FIRST-PERSON: Serious scholarship or personal profit?
- Andreas J. Kostenberger, Baptist Press:

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)--As you’ve heard, James Cameron, director of the blockbuster movie “Titanic,” is out to sink an even bigger ship -- Christianity.

He claims that Jesus’ bones and those of His mother, brother, "wife," and a child named Jude were found in ossuaries (bone boxes) in a Jerusalem tomb. On CNN, Cameron and his collaborator Simcha Jacobovici claimed they produced the TV documentary simply in an effort to “report the news” so that people can draw their own conclusion. Yet according to New Testament scholar Ben Witherington, Jacobovici is a practicing, orthodox Jew. Are we really to believe that the “revelation” that Jesus’ bones have been found -- hence no bodily resurrection -- are of no religious concern to this man? To me, at least, this one has the almighty dollar sign written all over it.

Let me list just some of the most egregious problems with the way in which this find from the 1980s is being interpreted by Cameron and Simcha: READ THE ARTICLE HERE.

Scott McKnight, Jesus Creed, takes this track:

The news story coming out today that they have found the tomb of Jesus, that Jesus was married to a woman named Mary (presumed then to be Mary Magdalene), and that they had a son named Judah, will surely raise all kinds of questions and problems. I haven’t seen the evidence, but I will be studying what I can find. Here are my first two questions:

He brings some serious research to the table.

If you want to look at Discovery Channel's promo, it can be found here: The Lost Tomb of Jesus.

We need to take everything seriously, but this is not a serious threat. It is a nuisance and it will fool people who are inclined to pick up on the pseudo-intellectual fad of the week with regard to the "historical" Jesus. This is old stuff and rather discredited, but it is persistent.

Wouldn't it be amazing if the church rose up and made in unmistakeably evident by its lifestyle and power that Jesus Christ is alive and at work in the world? We have it within ourselves to make these attempts to sensationalize sloppy scholarship thoroughly irrelevant.

Of Fresno Interest - H.B. London

Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Forum

H.B. London

Sponsored by the Fresno-Clovis Pastor Clusters and One by One Leadership

March 13, 2007

8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Cornerstone Conference Center

                            Fulton between E. Stanislaus and Calaveras in Downtown Fresno

H.B. London is returning on March 13th at the request of many pastors following a very successful gathering last year.

London is a pastor to pastors across the nation, caring for and ministering to pastors who are facing the challenges of a changing world and church life. Last year he spoke to the heart of the pastors and their challenges in ministry; this year he will go deeper into Sustaining Pastoral Excellence. Come join Pastors and pastoral staff members from across the Valley for this outstanding opportunity to learn how to sustain pastoral excellence throughout the year.

Hblondon_1 Keynote Speaker: H.B. London, Jr.
H.B. London is the vice president of Ministry Outreach/Pastoral Ministries for Focus of the family. He has spent 31 years in the pastorate plus had his own TV and radio show during that time. He communicates with thousands of pastors and church leaders each week through “The Pastor’s Weekly Briefing” and produces a bimonthly Pastor to Pastor cassette and newsletter. He speaks to the heart and needs of the pastoral leaders. H.B. London will speak on areas that you as a pastor face everyday, including the struggle for inner balance, optimizing stress, leading a healthy lifestyle and many other critical issues.

Registration fee is $30.00 includes a continental breakfast and lunch with guest speaker

Fermin Agustin Whittaker

*There will be no additional registration taken at the door*


Reservation deadline is March 6th

Please detach the registration form and retain the above information

March 13, 2007

Special Guest Luncheon Speaker - Dr. Fermin Whitakker


Fresno, Send reservations to: One by One Leadership -

1727 L Street, Fresno, CA. 93721

For further information contact Karen at 233-2000 x103

Name _________________________________________________
Phone _______________________



City_______________ Zip ____________

Church _________________________________________________
Email _______________________

*Make checks payable to One by One Leadership

Limited number of scholarships available for pastors


Loving People

Romans 12:9 – Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

There is a prayer that has been part of my life, ministry, and business for many years. I pray it as I am preparing to speak, teach, sell, or perform in any capacity before people in large or small groups. It is the prayer for love. I ask God to help me love the people with whom I am about to work and where my love is deficient, to love them through me.

If I can have that prayer answered in and through me, everything else takes care of itself. There is no way to fake it when I do not love. There is no way to hide it when I do.

There is much in the world that disguises itself as love. Out of the noisy menagerie of voices declaring what true love is, there comes a call to sincere, undiluted, unpolluted love. The clarion cry is the music of agape love. It is God’s purist and best favor toward undeserving and non-reciprocating sons and daughters of our first parents who unceremoniously turned their backs on their Maker.

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

Two characteristics of such durable and relentless love are that it abhors what is evil and cleaves to what is good. Abhorrence of evil means that sincere love rejects every enemy of love and all that sets out to destroy the object of its love. If it is not good for us, God despises it and calls upon us to despise and reject it. Whatever destroys our potential and our intimacy with God is to be hated with extreme prejudice. In like manner, to cleave to what is good is to practice the sincerest form of love. It is to embrace everything that nurtures, challenges, encourages, and purifies the child of God. Let us encourage within ourselves that divine quality that flows from the heart of God. Let us reject all that destroys and embrace all that builds.

Is it possible for those of you whose ministry is launched from the arena of a sales profession to practice this prayer as well as those of us who are in full time church based ministries? I think so. I first learned to practice it intentionally while teaching traffic school. Love is pervasive and its value is all consuming. Loving people is the very heart of integrity and good business.

Spring Time in Fresno

I moved to Fresno in 1996. For years I had nurtured a bad attitude about the city and the entire Central Valley. I had openly and blatantly declared that I would never move here. As a man of God, I go where God sends me - anywhere but Fresno. Then, it happened. I was contacted by a church in

As life sometimes happens - and life does happen - I could not avoid considering the "call." So, I packed up the family and we drove to Fresno one Sunday afternoon in January.


We assumed we'd be able to ascertain the will of God with a drive-by look-see. But it was January. In January it is easy to mistake a bad disposition for the voice of God.

January has to be the bleakest, most depressingly dismal month to be in Fresno. December is cold and dreary, but at least there are Christmas lights to disguise the obvious.

At least, that is how I used to think - and I am a "bloom where you are planted" sort of guy.

Leave it to reality to expose deep  bigotry.

Anyway, that was our experience. We drove to the church that was considering me and there were bars on the windows and doors. The paint was faded. There was a parking lot full of cars and they were behind a closed and locked gate. Since then, the bars have since been removed, but they sort of set the tone for me and reinforced my prejudices.

There is a long and personal story of my journey to a changed heart and mind - and it is a good one -  but the point of the story today is that I made up my mind to come, accepted the church's call, and drove down in March from the Bay Area to make arrangements for my April move.

March - comes right after February. March in Fresnowas created to convince people to live here. I started smelling honey suckle everywhere and later found out it was the scent of orange blossoms. Everything was starting to bloom. You could see the majestic mountains. The weather was delightful. I was profoundly grateful that I had been able to overcome my anti-Fresno bias just to experience Spring in the Central Valley.

And I have been grateful ever since.

God is pretty smart. He has a way of directing our lives in spite of ourselves sometimes. I cringe to think of the arbitrary limits I sometimes impose upon Him and upon myself.

Someone once told me that God made babies cute so that you would still love them when they became teenagers. I don't know about that, but I do love Fresno.

I love so much about it and the people. There is very little that I do not love. Maybe it is about being at home. Maybe it is about something else. But whatever it is about, I see the first signs of Spring and I love it.

Losing Heart Is Not an Option

Broken hearts can be mended. In fact, they can be made stronger in the broken places. Broken-heartedness is actually seen, at times, in a positive light in the scriptures.

Psalm 51:7 says that the sacrifices of God are a broken heart along with a broken and contrite spirit.

There are many good reasons for having a broken heart. Show me your broken heart and I can tell what drives you and impassions you. it is only normal to have a broken heart for injustice in the world, for poverty of soul and life, and for suffering that we can prevent or alleviate. That kind of brokenness energizes us.

It is also normal to be broken within over the pain that we cause others and God through our own negative  choices. That sort of brokenness leads to and predicts the possibility for change in our lives. Without it, we lost some of our own humanity and pliability.

What we cannot afford is loss of heart. II Corinthians 4;1 says that we do not lose heart even when our outer man is perishing. Hebrews 12:3  reminds us not to lose heart when we face opposition and Hebrews 12:5 makes the same demand on us when we face correction by God.

So, the things that most commonly cause us discouragement are (a) our own human frailty and limitations as expressed especially in aging, (b) opposition from people, (c) and God's correction in our lives.

Returning to II Corinthians 4:1, Paul gives us one rationale for maintaining heart - our ministry. Because we have purpose and calling in our lives, we keep on keeping on. The broken heart of calling becomes the heart that beats on when we might too easily become disheartened.

Furthermore, Hebrews expands on that rationale with two admonitions: that we remember the example of Jesus and that we remember the love of God.

Losing heart is simply not an option - even when we know that the heart that can be warmed by a loving embrace can be broken by pain. No walls are allowed here. All protective devices are disabled. We must be vulnerable and valiant and that is the path of joyful calling.

Keep on keeping on!


Office Depot, Inc

God, the Entrepreneur

Is God the first and greatest entrepreneur?

Here is a list of some of the definitions and links from Google:

  • Innovator. One who recognizes opportunities and organizes resources to take advantage of the opportunity.
  • One who assumes the financial risk of the initiation, operation, and management of a given business or undertaking.
  • A person who takes the risk of organizing and operating a new business venture. (This is an attitude that can be of value in more traditional employment as well.)
  • Someone who attempts to profit by risk and initiative.
  • An innovator of business enterprise who recognizes opportunities to introduce a new product, a new process or an improved organization, and who raises the necessary money, assembles the factors for production and organizes an operation to exploit the opportunity.
  • French word which translates roughly as "enterpriser." In capitalism, a speculator who invests capital in stocks, land and machinery, as well as the exploitation of wage labor, in the pursuit of profits.
  • A French term for a person who undertakes and develops a new enterprise at some risk (or failure or loss). Although the words innovator, proprietor, and capitalist are used in the same sense, there are subtle differences that make the term " entrepreneur " preferable.
  • An entrepreneur is someone who assumes the financial risk of beginning and managing a new venture. The venture can be based on a totally new idea, a new way of doing something, a new location, or attempting something no one else has done before.
  • Individual who starts an enterprise with its associated risks and responsibilities.
  • someone who organizes a business venture and assumes the risk for it
  • An entrepreneur -derived from the French words 'entre' (ie: enter) and 'prendre'(ie: take)- is, in its most general sense, a person who creates or starts a new project, opportunity, or venture.

  • Of all these, I like the last best because it does not impose the artificial qualifier that an entrepreneur must be involved in a for-profit business, or any business for that matter.

    God is  an entrepreneur and is the model for launching bold new initiatives.

    Two key scriptures inform my thinking here:

    Isaiah 43:19 (New International Version)

    19 See, I am doing a new thing!
           Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

    Suze Orman on Self Employment

    Yahoo is featuring an article by the first lady of money, Suze Orman today. She cautions against many mistakes I have already made and a few I have not tried.

    Because I love my primary calling/work as a pastor, I am never tempted to take an early retirement to follow my business sub-passions. However, I know many who have traveled that path. To them, the old adage, "Don't give up your day job" is not meant as a discouraging word - They are seldom heard at this home on the range.

    Back to Suze on self-employment reminded.

    Not to be a disputer, but I  do prefer Robert Kyosaki's distinction between self-empoyed persons and business owners when categorizing the four quadrants of income generation. Having said that, I think Suzie Ormand presents some extremely valuable information for those whom the government considers, "self-employed" for income tax purposes:

    Suze Orman Money Matters                              

              Suze Orman, Money Matters

    Protecting Yourself When You're Self-Employed

    by Suze Orman

    Especially helpful, is Suze's advice on Planning for Entrepreneurship:

    • Figure out the replacement cost of lost benefits.

    • Don't access retirement savings.

    • Keep the home-equity tap turned off.

    • Don't rely on credit.

    Good advice all around from America's premier financial advisor.           



    Nutritional  - Natural from Nutrilite

    Give the Perfect Gift - Let Them Choose

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    Health and Wellness Site

    I have been updating my two main health and wellness sites with information primarily from governement sources.

    • The Wellness Revoultion - A Yahoo discussion group are cordially invited to join and begin posting.
    • Drink Mangosteen - my blog on Mangosteen and other health and wellness issues - much broader than just mangosteen. See the recent article on exercise.

    Here is some interesting information on clinical research related to xanthones and mangosteen.
    Download Clinical_Compendium.pdf

    3 Hour Diet at Home/Purfoods

    From "The Shoestring Conspiracy"

    I borrowed this from myself - posting originally to "The Shoestring Conspiracy."

    Shoestrings Are Cheap    

    I wrote a while back about broken shoestrings.

    Now, I must confess something. I seldom replace them. I tie frayed ends together and make do. I have several pair of really nice shoes with broken strings that I could easily replace.

    Why don't I?

    It is picky, tedious work. It requires going to the store for a nickle and dime item (I actually don't know what they cost), coming home, untying the old, and replacing it - sometimes with small finger movements.

    "Poor baby," you must be saying. "It is soooo haaaaard being you."

    I know - and I could argue that time is money or ministry and you could argue about how much more effective I would be if I would just invest a little bit of time, effort, and coin in some little things - a little effort with a big return.

    And you would be right.

    I told you that you were smart. Do you get the point?

    Let's give a Little attention to detail and benefit greatly.      

    posted by Tom Sims at 2:19 PM                 0 comments        links to this post  

    New Friends

    My young friend, one of the most competent, intelligent, and enthusiastic young ladies I know, told me that she could not sell. My first thought was, "Fooey! You could sell pain in a surgical ward."

    My next thought was "Good! You are exactly what most sales organizations need."

    You see, it is not that she could not sell. It is that she is unwilling to convince people to buy something they do not need or want - and that is a good thing - a very good thing.

    She is willing to make friends, however. Everyone wants friends. Not everyone knows how to make friends. Once they have made friends, those are the people they are most likely to want to do business with once they have a need or a want.

    Guy_2 This is the best model for evangelism and for business. I suspected that Guy Kawasaki was a believer when I first encountered his work for Apple Computer and his book on business "evangelism" years ago. His blog makes it clear where his commitments lie and he is unambiguous about his faith and its integration into his business life.

    The truth of evangelism and sales is that if it is not good news, it isn't worth telling. And if you cannot first make a friend and demonstrate genuine caring for the person not as a "prospect," but as an individual made in the image of God, you have not earned the right to tell anything.

    So, I find my friend's perspective refreshing and will continue to try and recruit her for business and for ministry - but only at her own pace and as she responds to God's calling in her life. She does occasion some meditation on my part about making friends for Jesus and for business (not that they are qualitatively the same - but strategically similar, principles being what they are).

    Desire is the first key to making friends. We must desire to widen our sphere of influence and resources. If we can cultivate the desire to know people, we will be automatically motivated to make new friends. We must come to the place where we can say, "I'd really like to know you - not because I want to use you or sell something to you, but because just knowing you will add value to my life and give me the opportunity to do the same for you."

    That kind of desire is pure and authentic. It is also based on reality.

    Dignity is the underlying attitude we have toward people we meet. Their dignity is not dependent upon us giving it to them, but upon their essential natures as people made in the image of God, capable of responding to God by grace, through faith, and as the Holy Spirit draws them. We can make friends without ulterior motives if we determine that we are about to meet someone who can show us a dimension of God's character and love we have never noticed before. This will evoke extraordinary respect which cannot be manufactured or imitated.

    Desperation is what we want to avoid at all cost. It is transparent and ugly. People can see through a frenzy of friend-making because there is a deadline coming. Relax. Enjoy this. Have a back-up plan. Replace desperation with diligence and make friends as a matter of course every day. Let your efforts be cumulative and natural. You are building a network of friends, not a file of prospects. Besides that, people don't want to be rushed to meet your goals and deadlines.

    Define yourself. Do it loosely and tentatively. Make sure you put all the important things ahead of the temporal identities of the product or cause you are currently touting, but have that definition in place to. Be ready to answer the question, "What do you sell?" Be ready as well to answer, "What do you do for a living?" Reinforce  your friendship agenda by not dwelling on  your self-definition. Your new friend will either not forget or will ask you again if the need arises. You may go through many changes in your life, but friendships can endure through all of them if properly nurtured.

    As part of this definition, are you convinced of the integrity and truthfulness of what you have to offer in business and ministry? Do you believe that your message will stand on its own? In  Christian evangelism, it goes without saying and it is God's ability to convince hearts that makes "soul-winning" a lot easier than selling widgets sometimes. However, people know they need widgets and want to know that the widget and the "widgeter" are of high quality. That goes beyond self-definition to the definition of your product, message, or cause.

    Be a friend and be a good one.

    I have a friend who comes to my office every time he changes sales organizations or has a cause. I always welcome him because he is first and foremost, a friend and loosely defined as everything else - and yes, I have tried to recruit him too - so far, unsuccessfully.

    Do it! Make a new friend today and cultivate that friendship. Get Bob Burg's material and learn to use it.

    There is more to this subject than you have time to read or I to write, but hopefully, this will give you a start.

    As for the young friend who inspired this article, she is really too busy and I love what she is already doing. If something in my briefcase makes sense for her, fine, but what I desire most for her is God's best.

    And that is what friendship is all about.

    More from Guy Kawasaki:

    Evangelism: Eternal Life, Forgiveness, and Operating Systems

    A little known story: When I was writing Selling the Dream—How to Promote Your Product, Company, or Idea—and Make a Difference Using Everyday Evangelism, I attended the Billy Graham School of Evangelism to learn from the best. It was a very interesting experience. Some of the finest speakers that I’ve seen (and tried to copy) were on a pulpit—not an operating system or music-player pulpit—but a church pulpit. MORE

    Fair Shakes and Residuals

    Last night, at an unnamed restaraunt named for some guy named Benny or Lenny or Kenny - something like that, I had a very disappointing experience. Know this: I am a D****'s fan and this group I was with has been going to that same spot at the same time for eight years. We know the people - most of them - at least until recently.

    Recently, they got a new manager and the first order of business was to require our favorite waitress to stop wearing her signature flower in her hair. How do you spell "rinky-dink?" This woman is one of the reasons we keep going. She is D's for us and that flower is her identity. It is her smile. It her way of describing her sunny outlook on life. That was disappointing.

    Then, we were served by a very sweet, enthusiastic waitress last night who bounced in once or twice and had to receive some very distressing news of our unhappiness with one issue: we only received half of a milkshake!

    Apparently, this is the training that the new, "progressive" management has initiated - no individual expression, standardization of everything, and half a milkshake for the same price as the old product where we received "seconds" in the metal container.

    I am not a complainer and I left the sweet girl (who didn't refill the all-you-can-drink driinks or bring us our bill) a nice tip. It is not her fault. It may not even be this manager's fault. It may be no one's fault - but it does make a pretty good subject for a blog on how not to succeed in business over the long haul.

    We will go back - a time or two, to give it a fair shake (and hopefully I can get a fair shake). However, I cannot promise anything indefinite. There are too many places that bend over backwards to make the customer feel happy and part of the community (How to you spell STARBUCKS?).

    Now, you are probably asking - "Didn't Tom say he was on a diet?"

    You caught me! Half a shake was enough for me -- but bad for business.

    Here is the question: Are you in whatever you are in for the long haul? If so, you are interested in happy people who keep coming back ... and in residual income. Whether you represent a church, a network marketing system, a brick and mortar business, or some other endeavor, the secret to customer satisfaction is first, giving your customer a fair shake and then, going well beyond that to the point of surprise and delight.

    Here is a new program I have come across. Let me know what you think.

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    Triple Threat

    Romans 12:12 has a devastating affect on discouragement by wielding a weapon I call "The Triple Threat." It is a formula and I am generally suspicious of formulas. However, this one is built upon core realities and it not only works, but it propels us to the next level of maturity, preparing us for challenges yet to come:

    Rejoice in hope;
    Be patient in affliction;
    Be persistent in prayer. (Holman CSB)

    I will tackle the on verse this morning as I continue preaching my series from Romans 12, "Lessons for Living in Community."

    In these three statements, our brother, Paul summarizes the essentials for overcoming obstacles that are ever-present in our lives by taking three views of reality: the forward view, the inward view, and the upward view.

    The forward view defies stagnation in the bleak present of immediate circumstances. "Be joyful in hope," is the rallying cry of the Christian optimist. We gravitate toward poles like the twins in Ronald Reagan's favorite joke. The pessimistic brother was despondent as he gazed upon the multiple gifts he received for his birthday, prophesying that they would all soon be broken. The optimistic twin, however, was exhilarated by a room full of manure, exclaiming to his friends that there must be a pony in there.

    Two components of this forward view are that we see everything through the eyes of hope and that we process everything we see in the spirit of joy.

    Hope is always unrealized potential. It is always visualized with something other than physical eyes and it is always a matter of choice. Hope can be unrequited, but the hopeful person is never bereft of all benefit because hope is its own reward. It wakes us up in the morning and gets us on our way. It is futuristic and positive.

    The spirit of joy is rooted in the essential nature of its linguistic cousin, grace. The gracious giddiness of a hopeful soul is contagious and compelling. Because we have no need to engage in a grand cover-up of our foibles and failures, because God loves and accepts us with our warts and widgets, we can chuckle at the prospects of whatever lies ahead. We're moving on and the destination is wonderful!

    The inward view is our companion through the common experience of pain and hardship. No human being is exempt from affliction. One day, one of those afflictions will escort us from this waiting room we call life into a wider place of grace we call eternity. Then eternity will redefine life. Until then, we suffer - some more, some less, all some. Patience is our guide through this process. It is the little voice that reminds us that we are people of hope and that we can face this trial with God's help.

    We are not blind to the trouble. As we practice patience, two truths balance our inward view to create a whole picture. First, we are aware of the realities that surround us. Second, we are stabilized by the roots that ground us.

    The realities that surround us are what they are. What is ... is. We are not Pollyanna imitators - although, I must admit that a fresh look at the much maligned little girl's character in film left me more on her side than on that of her critics. Pollyanna was on to something. She wasn't oblivious to the pain; she transcended it. Nor are we, as Christians, called to an opaque window through which we might gaze upon a glossed over concept of all that is. We see the tribulation around us, acknowledge it, engage with those caught in it, and seek to make a difference.

    At the same time, we balance it all with the roots that ground us. Because we believe in purpose through divine providence, we know that "it doth not yet appear what we shall be." We likewise know that faith is substance and evidence and that the evidence points to an unseen reality that is as real and far more substantive than what we can quantify in the world around us. We are grounded by revealed truth and heavenly hope. Patience build upon hope, the inward view upon the forward view.

    We come, then, to the upward view. It is the energizing and guiding force behind the first two. It is prayer. E.M. Bounds said, of preachers, but it is equally true for all, that "we need real, live, heart praying by the power of the Spirit."

    He went on to describe that needed prayer as direct, specific, ardent, and simple. Two observations that reflect an overcomer's prayer, powerful enough to fuel the weapons of our arsenal battling discouragement are that true prayer is a partnership and that it is expressed in persistence. Paul says that we are to persist in prayer.

    That prayer is partnership is a matter of definition. A wide angle view of prayer in the scripture will unveil a tapestry of dialog between man and God where each opens his heart to the other and where silence is often as powerful as words. Romans 8 teaches us about groanings that cannot be uttered which are sung by the Holy Spirit within us. Prayer brings us into a life long partnership with God where we can begin to breath together in an ever deepening love relationship in which no subject is off limits and no time is the wrong time to pray.

    It is, therefore, persistent. We don't stop. Quitting is not an option. There will be ebbs and flows as the tides of our lives and moods mingle with the challenges of our times, but we keep praying and we do not lose heart. we pray as individuals and as a community. It is the strength of our praying that will inform our hope and infuse our joy. It is the persistence of our prayer lives that will bolster our patience in the inevitable struggles of our lives.

    Discouragement has met the triple threat of three broader views of life. It has no hope. We do.

    Pray for Mikey

    For all of you who pray, lift up my friend Mike Lenhof  before the Lord. Mikey  is in a unconscious at St Agnes Hospital in Fresno after choking on some food Sunday morning.
    At the moment, there is no clear prognosis. We are praying for him to wake up. Mikey is the driving force behind Road to Success Ministries.

    Mikey's vision is to help other people with disabilities become overcomers and entrepreneurs as they grow in their faith in Christ. Pray for him as he faces this challenge.

    Yes, the Sky Is Falling & It's OK

    Leadershift From "The Sky is Falling"  by Alan J Roxbourgh, a comparison is offered between the skills necessary to function is the 20th century church and those for missional churches. The first set are technical skills and the second are adaptive.

    The chart comes from Next Reformation which offers an excellent review  and expansion of the ideas here.

    Following through with Roxbourgh's notion that we must be empowering, nurturing, inviting and cultivating rather than managing, optimizing, and controlling, the greatest challenge to leaders is to allow their own thinking to change.

    Drastic changes in thought processes are never easy. The defy our training and trigger involuntary looping of old tapes at maximum mental volume. Because our self-judgmental criteria for success and faithfulness is married to the old job descriptions, we must resist every negative  emotion that can positively be associated with the label, "loser."

    We have quite a few check-lists to throw away. We must do, as Paul suggests, "count all things as loss."

    I suspect that a winner in the new arena of leadership must go through a loser phase on the road to breakthrough. This is a potentially demoralizing period of time where he/she may even find it difficult to know what to put on his/her business card. It may be difficult to explain one's job description and self image may be a blur. The alternative to utter despair is rejection of all external and internal  tentative evaluations as well as the desire for short term recognition and affirmation. The missional leader must have the courage to step into an entirely new reality where his or her own importance is minimal and the mission is truly the center of attention.

    In some ways, the church is ahead of the business world in this shift and in other ways behind. The question is whether leadership is going to catch up with the vast human potential of the 21st century world in the Kingdom of God as well as in the business world.

    This goes beyond mere servant leadership to co-servant leadership where "we are laborers together with God" in every field of endeavor.

    A Little Comic Relief for a Saturday

    Just for fun, here is some material from my favorite funny man, Red Skelton, reposted from ...

    Thanks to Clown Ministry for these quotes. I am not sure who compiled all of these, but thanks!!! Their site is wonderful. Visit it!!!!!

    Red Skelton's Funny Faces

    Red Skelton was one of my favorite funny men of all time. He was always clean and always funny. This is a tribute to him, but also a source of some good sermon and teaching material:

    Quotes from Red Skelton on clowns, laughter, children, and other topics. Some quotes from Red Skelton's TV show, others from interviews with Red

    "God's children and their happiness are my reasons for being"   

    "I don't want to be called 'the greatest' or 'one of the greatest'; let other guys claim to be the best. I just want to be known as a clown because to me that's the height of my profession. It means you can do everything-sing, dance, and above all, make people laugh."

    "Today's comics use four-letter words as a shortcut to thinking. They're shooting for that big laugh and it becomes a panic thing, using four-letter words to shock people." 

    "Mom used to say I didn't run away from home my destiny just caught up with me at an early age."   

    Reflecting on his life: "I'd have avoided some of the pain if I could. Anyone would. But I wouldn't have missed knowing any of the people -- even the ones whose leaving hurt most. In fact, the only thing I'm sorry about is that I didn't meet one particular guy, a clown named Joe Skelton. You know, he sure picked the right profession. I mean, a clown's got it all. He never has to hold back: He can do as he pleases. The mouth and the eyes are painted on. So if you wanta cry, you can go right ahead. The make up won't smear. You'll still be smiling. . . ." 

    "All men make mistakes, but married men find out about them sooner. " (from "1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said," )   

    About Freddy the Freeloader: “I get asked all the time; Where did you get the idea for Freddie the Freeloader, and who is Freddie really?

    Well, I guess you might say that Freddie the Freeloader is a little bit of you, and a little bit of me, a little bit of all of us, you know.

    He’s found out what love means. He knows the value of time. He knows that time is a glutton. We say we don't have time to do this or do that. There's plenty of time. The trick is to apply it. The greatest disease in the world today is procrastination.

    And Freddie knows about all these things. And so do you.

    He doesn't ask anybody to provide for him, because it would be taken away from you. He doesn't ask for equal rights if it’s going to give up some of yours.

    And he knows one thing ... that patriotism is more powerful than guns.

    He’s nice to everybody because he was taught that man is made in God’s image. He’s never met God in person and the next fella just might be him.

    I would say that Freddie is a little bit of all of us.” (from Red Skelton's Funny Faces video)   

    "I only come to life when there are people watching." 

    "I'm nuts and I know it. But so long as I make 'em laugh, they ain't going to lock me up. "   

    "Our principles are the springs of our actions. Our actions, the springs of our happiness or misery. Too much care, therefore, cannot be taken in forming our principles."   

    "His death was the first time that Ed Wynn ever made anyone sad."   

    "No matter what your heartache may be, laughing helps you forget it for a few seconds."   

    "I personally believe that each of us was put here for a purpose -- to build not to destroy. If I can make people smile, then I have served my purpose for God."   

    "Live by this credo: have a little laugh at life and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations."

    Locals of Note

    Phil Brewer has said it for me in his article on St Arbucks ministry:

    "The coffeeshop atmosphere often feels like a sanctuary to me in which there is a real sense of koinonia (fellowship and friendship). Matthew, a twenty-four year-old Starbucks barrista, asked me, "Are you the priest for our Starbucks here..?" I replied, "Yes, this is my parish and my ministry is called, "St.Arbucks." "

    David Wainscot issued me a challenge to handle what he does so much better in Self-Disclosure with Sun Glasses On.  The challenge comes in the note, but the reflections on the interview with Bono are worth a visit. I can only cry, "UNCLE!"  to the challenge. Go for it, Dave! I could neither beat him to it nor do any better than I anticipate him doing. I am ready for a good read.

    Here is a quote:

    Paul Tournier ("Nothing makes us so lonely as our secrets') suggests that we cannot know who we are except through the lens of...even asking questions of one another...and of God. "Known as we are known."

    Note to self: explore intereelationships of Johari window/Myers-Briggs related to self-disclosure (as individuals and as community...Mark Artist speaks of "the interior like of a community'). I assume Len (fellow Myers-Briggs INFP) or Dream Factory TomMoltmann is helpful on God's self-disclosure... Of course, in the meantime there is inevitably the Bono  ... will beat me to the topic, but that's good.. I need to learn. And I know Moltmann is helpful on God's self-disclosure... Of course, in the meantime there is inevitably the Bono connection ...

    Now that I have already thrown in the towel, there is something about the challenge that stimulates me. We shall see.

    The smart money is always on reading Wainscot and Brewer.

    My apologies to Dave for the scrambled sentences in the first posting. I think its fixed now.

    Bob Burg on Winning Without Intimidation

    Bob Burg is the real deal. He practices what he preaches. Some years ago, at a convention, I bought his whole packet on networking - CDs, tapes, books, and video and immersed myself in his methodologies.  I did this for two reasons. First, I had heard the man speak on tape and in person. Second, I met him and watched him in action. His CD series, "How to Cultivate a Network of Endless Referrals" was fleshed out in his own practice. As I listened to audio program, the rationale  made a great deal of sense to me.  As I came to understood his strategy it become clear that it was even more so, a  philosophy of life. Bob believes what he is saying. He sincerely believes that people are worth knowing and not just as means to some sales, or in the case of those of us in ministry, as means to an evangelistic end.

    This sincerity and authenticity is what he advocates and practices with an accompanying warning: People can see through us. Whether we attempt to be or not, we are transparent in our motives. We cannot fake real interest in other people.

    The bottom line for Bob Burg is in a matter of adjusting our own motives and tuning our mental engines to the goal of adding value to other people's lives. The concomitant of this is that we will become valuable to many people.

    Bob is a genuinely nice guy who looks at you when he is talking to you, communicates a sense that he values you, shows appreciation, and recognizes you later as an old friend when he sees you in the hall.

    From an article posted on

    Develop profitable, win/win relationships with practically every new person you meet - whether one on one or in a social setting.

    How? Ask questions. Specifically, "feel-good" questions. These are questions designed to put your conversation partner at ease, and begin the rapport-building process. These are not intrusive, invasive, or in anyway resembling those of the stereotypical salesperson. Feel-good questions are simply questions that make your new prospect/potential referral-source feel good; about themselves, about the conversation, and about you. Vital, because "all things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust." Asking feel-good questions is the first step to accomplishing that goal.

    I have recommended Bob Burg to many sales people and pastors along the way. I commend him to anyone who needs to work with people in order to maximize performance and reach full potential.  The key predictor of success in almost any profession or business that is not practiced in utter isolation is the level of people skills.

    Burg comes at people skills from two different need driven questions in his work on referrals and his book on winning. In the first, he is anticipating a pleasant and non-confrontational setting where positive results are expected. In teaching on winning he places us in situations where we tend to be confrontational, direct, and demanding and often culminate our interactions with mutual frustration.

    For Burg, the same underlying philosophy applies to both settings; People are valuable and deserve  respect. For instance, instead of intimidating people, he suggests that the eight key words that will get us what we want are, " If you can't do it, I will certainly understand."

    It works like relational judo... and it is utterly sincere.

    In "Winning Without Intimidation," Burg quotes from the Talmud, "Who is a mighty person? One who can control his emotions and make, of an enemy, a friend."

    It doesn't matter what your business, profession, or ministry might be, Bob Burg can help you.

    The "Winning Without Intimidation" Mission Statement is as follows: "To raise the consciousness level of the world in the arena of human interactions. To show people how to get what they want while helping others to feel good about  themselves."

    Ignac Semmelwies, in 1837, discovered germ theory   and listening to him would have empowered the medical profession to save thousands of lives. However, because he was so obnoxious and combative, no one listened to him. Only in 1867 would they listen to a man with people skills, Joseph Lister.

    I owe this timely reminder to my new friend, Rebecca Starr, an instructor at Fresno City College who is sitting at the table next to me at Starbucks and who proves to me that networking teaches us how to network.

    Check out Bob's free weekly Ezine.

    Thanks to Sherwin Nuland, "The Man or the Moment"  in "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2005 : The Best American Series 2005" for the reference to Semmelweis

    Good Word for a Project Guy

    I thrive on "busy." I move amongst projects and big ideas and run on full steam until something intervenes. I love solitude and I love crowds. Go figure. Starbucks is my office. I like some people around me while I am working, but not too many.

    I am a dreamer. There are so many big pictures in my mind and heart that I must frequently stretch the canvass. I know about strategies and appreciate them. without strategies, nothing will materialize from the vague to the concrete.

    As the somewhat dubious Father Divine said, "The problem with most metaphysicians is that they don't know how to tangibilitate."

    I am working on this. However, todays lesson is also centering for me as well as sobering. Psalm 127 is my bookmark in  the Psalms for today and it is very specific about the spiritual dimension of our planning:

    1 - Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

    Getting lost and discouraged in the vanity of a thing is an occupational hazard for dreamers and
    schemers. Futility is the fate of those who run on spiritual empty without regular infusions of divine direction, inspiration, and hope.

    2 - I t is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

    Work ethic will not substitute for God's energy and purpose. It is the essence of working "smart" that we conserve energy and maximize effort when our hearts are beating with the heart of God.

    3 - Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

    For instance, here are children. Who could think that miracle up or bring it to pass with human effort?

    4 - As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

    5 - Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

    Surprisingly, our greatest accomplishments are those that God has more to do with than us.

    Also posted at Pastor Tom's Journal and


    Wendy Says You Need a PHD!

    In an article entitled "What It Takes to Be a Successful Entrepreneur," Wendy Kwek says (among other things:

    YOU NEED P.H.D.!!

    "I believe that everyone can be successful in business if you set your heart, mind and soul to becoming an accomplished entrepreneur. It takes PHD to succeed in business. That is Passion, Hunger and Drive! (sorry, I do not mean the academic PHD “doctorate”). So, ask yourself this question, do you have the passion to lead an exciting and rewarding life, do you have the hunger for success and do you have the drive and determination to conquer obstables that may come your way. Every time I look for business partners for the various businesses I am in, I look at the PHD level they have."

    My word for that, as unveiled in my sermon Sunday is "pyrocardia," a heart on fire.

    Romans 12:11 lays it out:

    "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." (NIV)

    Lacking in zeal is literally getting a case of the "slows." Spiritual fervor is "heat." Serving the Lord has textual variations and is sometimes found as serving the time. While the best texts have serving the Lord, it is also true that this service of God is in time and space and requires seizing opportunities.

    As we come to the entrepreneur's table to collaborate and encourage one another in spiritual, social, and business endeavors, let us earn PhDs in passion and catch a good case of pyrocardia.

    "Direct Selling Success in 2007" from"Direct Selling News"

    First w turn to Tony Jeary in his article: Communicating Your Opportunity: Clarity, Focus, and Execution. Jeary, one of the top trainers in America, answers the question, "How do direct selling executives achieve success in 2007?"

    "People usually come to this industry because they have a dream, or are trying to find an opportunity that can become their dream. The dream has many pieces. One piece may be a desire for financial success. Another piece might be independence and the hope of being able to build a successful business. Another piece might involve helping others in a wide variety of ways. There is no one piece that is more important than another. The point is that when a person with a dream is making that initial decision about becoming a part of your team, the decision is made against the backdrop of perceived opportunity. I believe the key to success for any direct selling firm hinges on how well they communicate their ability to help new prospects recognize the opportunity they offer. There must be a communication strategy to make that work. The question is: What are the elements your communication strategy must embrace? I think it boils down to three distinct points: Clarity, Focus and Execution."

    Clarity, focus, and execution. Jeary elaborates on each utilizing his own advice. His style is clear, focused, and executable.

    "The absence of clarity drains energy. Lack of focus produces indecisiveness and excessive preparation. Poor execution degrades effectiveness, limits results and restricts growth. So, for opportunity to be maximized, the issues of clarity, focus and execution become the most significant."

    Clarity is present when there is a sense of purpose As I like to say, "A way without a why (Y) is a WA." In other words, it it meaningless and undefinable. It is also found in the communication of value as the benefits of the product, vision, or project are communicated. The third area where clarity is essential is in the communication of objectives.

    Focus, according to Jeary, "is achieved when the critical success factors needed to propel us across the gap are identified and understood."

    Without focus, we become disorganized, indecisive, and caught up in excessive preparation according to Jeary. In my own life, lack of focus often leads to a constant state of getting ready to be ready, of movement from one pet project to another, and inertia. Focus is the remedy and necessity in selling the one big idea entrusted to us. Jeary refers to three areas where he stategizes with CEOs to help them create proper focus:

    1. Mandating the correct action items
    2. Creating the appropriate amount of detail to support action mandates        
    3. Creating benchmarks that can measure results

    Execution is the final step and build upon the firs two with the anticipation of expected results. Execution requires a mastery of communication, performance benchmarks, impact measurement, and sustainability.

    "Many people flounder as they try to fulfill their vision and their dreams because they lack a methodology to execute their objectives and strategies. Marginal results degrade overall effectiveness across extended periods, which retards or stops growth. When growth is in jeopardy, we stand on shaky ground."

    Jeary is worth reading and hearing. Four other stories in the New Perspectives section are:

    Communicating Your Opportunity: Clarity, Focus, and Execution
    Academic Forum: Leading and Manging in the Millennial Generation
    Top Desk: The Elements of Greatness
    What's In It For Me?

    More from Previous New Perspective articles:


       Academic Forum: Embracing Diversity in Direct Selling
       Top Desk: The Power of One Man's Dreams
       Setting the Record Straight  

    I also recommend:
    Growing Your Business Organically: The Rule of 350

    Entrepreneur's Table on Wall Street Seeing the Value of Direct Selling

    Mangosteen Journal on Sipping Supplements

    The World of Liquid Supplements

    For 2006 statistics on stock prices of Direct Selling companies,Download 1206_stock.pdf 




    The Secret

    My friend Gary Allen alerted me to "The Secret" about a month ago and I ordered it and watched it. He has asked me on several occasions to formulate an evaluation  and comment from a Christian perspective. I am finally getting to that. Gary, a Christian himself, has some good applications on his blog, specifically  Things I Try to Do Each Day.

    "The Secret" is the product of the folks (at least one of them) that brought you Chicken Soup for the Soul and is based upon the Law of Attraction.

    Wikipedia says:

    "The Law of Attraction" is an idea that is widespread in New Age and New Thought
    philosophy. It posits to never dwell on the negative, as the metaphysical principle of life is embodied in a "law of attraction': "you get what you think about, your thoughts determine your destiny.""

    That the Law of Attraction is rooted in  "New Thought" and "New Age" thinking and will find comfort there cannot be disputed. It presupposes an impersonal god called, "The Universe" without specific  will or personality that is more like "The Force" than God.

    There are forces in the universe that God created and set into motion. I am reluctant to employ them without first acknowledging their/my Creator and understanding His will. They can make me effective and successful without being centered in His purposes. I don't want that.

    James Allen wrote about the principles that The Law of Attraction identifies in As A Man Thinketh based upon Proverbs 23:7 ( For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:)

    “Dream lofty dreams.
    And as you dream, so shall you become.
    Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.
    Your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.
    The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream.
    The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg; and in the highest
    vision of the soul, a waking angel stirs.
    Dreams are the seedlings of realities”
    James Allen

    More than that, the Apostle Paul expounded on them:

    Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9, (New International Version (NIV)Copyright ©  1973, 1978, 1984  by International Bible Society)

    The speakers in "The Secret" assume a neutrality from God with regard to direction and intentionality. This brings the philosophy into conflict with biblical Christianity. God has purposes and designs and invites us to join Him in those purposes in ways that He intends for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28)

    Having said that, babies and bathwater are worth separating before the discard process begins. Positive thinking is a biblical principle and should not be relegated to the realm of philosophical anachronism. It is taught throughout the scriptures, especially in Proverbs and is tempered by a hearty Christian understanding of sin, the fall, and the need of redemption. It is also a strong Christian principle that God has both permissive and perfect will for the universe.

    Now, that being the case, the universe does exist and certain spiritual laws are in  place that are available for everyone to plug into. That does not negate the need of reconciliation with God through the act of redemption in Christ. Nor does it prove that life can be lived to the fullest outside of a connection with God through faith and commitment.

    But this stuff works and it works better when it is defined by faith and grounded in truth.

    The universe is not God, but it points to the God who created it.

    A lesser quality version of the film can be viewed at Google Videos by the discerning. I was inspired and encouraged by it, but I had to do a lot of translating from its context into my faith. I recommend it with a word of caution. These teachings work because the God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ has ordained that they should work.

    I offer this hermeneutic for understanding the power of thinking positive thoughts to attract positive things:

    • Not everything good and positive is best. You can get the good and the goods by thinking better thoughts, but Christians must never settle for what is good at the expense of God's best. Our vision of the best is wrapped up in God's will.
    • To implement practices that produce results without grounding in relationship with God is equivalent to usurping God's power for our own ends. It is possible, in fact, to do that, but to do so is sorcery rather than Christianity.
    • The Law of Attraction is an overlap between science and spirituality. It exists within the created realm and is activated by forces that are created rather than supernatural. Thank God for the reality and don't leave Him out of the process of implementation.
    • Truth is truth no matter who is communicating it or what hermeneutic or philosophical system has led them to that truth. When you receive an insight, as a Christian, thank God for it and realize that it is inevitable that these insights will be in broader circulation.
    • Be careful about confusing "how' with "why." The message of "The Secret" is about how things work. Only revelation tells us why we are here and what the meaning of life is.
    • Center your life in Jesus Christ and learn even more secrets to successful and purposeful living.

    I recommend, "Hearing God" by Dallas Willard and "Experiencing God" by Henry Blackaby as a balance here.

    Friendship: The Laws of Attraction
    The Law of Attraction and Christianity 

    Another quote from Gerald May

    Here is another quote from Gerald May found on the Aninam Recro blog.

    Willingness implies a surrendering of one’s self-separateness, an entering into, an immersion in the deepest processes of life itself. It is a realization that one already is a part of some ultimate cosmic process and it is a commitment to participation in that process. In contrast, willfulness is the setting of oneself apart from the fundamental essence of life in an attempt to master, direct, control, or otherwise manipulate existence. More simply, willingness is saying yes to the mystery of being alive in each moment. Willfulness is saying no, or perhaps more commonly, ‘yes, but…’

    But willingness and willfulness do not apply to specific things or situations. They reflect instead the underlying attitude one has toward the wonder of life itself. Willingness notices this wonder and bows in some kind of reverence to it. Willfulness forgets it, ignores it, or at its worse, actively tries to destroy it. Thus willingness can sometimes seem very active and assertive, even aggressive. And willfulness can appear in the guise of passivity. Political revolution is a good example. — Gerald May

    Gerald May 1940-2005

    I was looking for Gerald May online since it had been some time since we had  corresponded and I was no longer receiving the newsletter from Shalem.

    I was very sad to learn that Jerry died in 2005.

    Shalem Institute's tribute to him includes a link to some of his writings.

    While he was on staff in our former sister forum, Religious Issues, many of us became friends with Jerry. It was during that time that he battled with prostate cancer. I remember his courage and grace during that time.

    More than anything, I have been enriched by Jerry's writing - especially " Addiction and Grace." Writing from the perspective of a psychiatrist and a man of deep faith, Jerry grasps the dynamics of addiction in all its dimensions with rare insight.

    Dave Kelly offers a fitting tribute in his blog as well.

    Jerry's own words are summarized as Meditations.

    His friend, Bill Dietrich eulogized him and said, " He was a spiritual director, companion and friend to countless spiritual seekers over the years, including many of us here, and some whom he knew only through email and the Internet." Some of us would include ourselves in that number.

    Though a Christian, Jerry appreciated the wsdom in other religious traditions as reflected in this quote:

    " I believe I have seen the inner transformation from selfishness to compassion happening to many people, and I believe I have tasted it within myself. I am convinced that although it is difficult as the Dalai Lama said, it is a very real and practical possibility. And I am ready to agree that it is the only way, our only hope. "
    -- Fall 2002, "The Only Way: From Cruelty to Compassion Through Personal Transformation"

    What saddens me is that, having neglected correpsondence with this great man, it is no longer possible to renew it. That being said, there is a sense of exhilaration in offering Jerry's memory belated con gratulations at his graduation. I will continue to revisit his books and be nurtured by them.

    I agree with Jerry so much about grace and prayer and possibility of constancy in our communion with God:

    " I know now that it is possible to pray in action instead of alternating prayer and action. It is even possible to think analytically or add a column of numbers in one's mind without closing off one's immediate openness to other sights, sounds, thoughts ... and prayer. With grace, one can indeed flow wholly in participation with God's presence in any given moment of life, moving through both pleasant and unpleasant undertakings inspired by rightness instead of driven by will. And what's even better ... one can immediately appreciate and enjoy that it's happening that way."

    "One pays a price, of course, when one's willful habits of consciousness begin to change. Controlling things is out of the question. And intentionality must become increasingly delicate, the thinnest veil between desire and action. I suspect that what we know as intentionality eventually disappears entirely, leaving only sheer desire as the empty content of wordless prayer. This requires the simultaneous full-feeling of desire and relaxing our ego-grip on all our agendas, even those that are most spiritual. It means a continually deepening discovery that the fullness of selfhood lies not in claiming autonomy, dedication, or commitment-finally in not claiming anything-but rather in the magnifi-cent being of who we authentically are in God, with God, loved and ... embraced and infused by God, and as living manifestations of God's very Self. "
    -- Fall 1997, "The Shadow Side of Intention"

    Thank you, Jerry. Happy journey!

    Posted at The Religion Forum and Christian Fellowship Forum

    Other Important Links for Gerald May"

    On Contemplative Spirituality
    Addiction and Idolatry - an assessment of Gerald May's "Addiction and Grace" in relation to personality types.


    Pastoral Retrospective


    Good words from a blogger I just discovered.

    Here is a powerful quote from the author Dr. Larry Taylor:

    "Nothing in God’s plan is dependant on you. Everything God wants to accomplish will be done. Besides, He’s more interested in you as a person than in what you can do for Him. He created and redeemed you primarily to have a relationship with you, to love you, to spend time with you – not to get a bunch of work out of you."

    Keep them coming, Larry. That was helpful to me.

    Well Intentioned Dragons

    JimKang offers a good review of a wonderful book whose title is propelling enough to keep me busy for a while.

    Well Intentioned Dragons reminds us that our greatest struggles are not necessarily with people who desire to be evil and hurtful. Some of them actually have good intentions.

    "Every church has them sincere, well-meaning Christians who leave ulcers, strained relationships, and hard feelings in their wake. They don't intend to be difficult; they don't consciously plot destruction or breed discontent among the members. But they often do undermine the ministry of the church and make pastors question their calling."

    "Well-Intentioned Dragons guides those on church staffs in facing the strenuous task of dealing with difficult people even ministering while under attack. Based on real-life stories of battle-scarred veterans, Marshall Shelley presents a clear picture of God's love for those on both sides of the problem. He describes tested strategies to communicate that love and turn dissidents into disciples."

    Perhaps the greatest lesson we need to learn is not to write off problem people by marginalizing or villainizing them.  Applying the love of Jesus in the midst of tension is the true test of His love at work in and through us. it is also our deepest witness to the world.

    Two New Blogs

    I have just started two new blogs.

    Affliliate Buzz is designed to filter and disseminate information from the growing arena of affliate marketing. I hope to learn and apply as much as or more than  I teach.

    Protect Your Identity addresses the growing problem of identity theft and offers solutions.

    Others on Blogger are Are listed below. Some have n ot been updated for a while.

     View this  Blog            Pastor Tom's Garden of Sermon Seeds & Sprouts     
     View this  Blog            Drink XanGo™  - Mangosteen Journal     
     View this  Blog            Fashion Fair Pastor's Cluster     
     View this  Blog            Pastor Tom's Look at Luke     
     View this  Blog            Pastor Tom's Roman Road     
     View this  Blog            The Clogger Blogger     
     View this  Blog            Transformational Communities     
     View this  Blog            Mid Valley Children's Camp     
     View this  Blog            Protect Your Identity     
     View this  Blog            Road to Success Ministries     
     View this  Blog            Adventures in Polecat Hollow     
     View this  Blog            Pastor Tom's Journal     
     View this  Blog            Pastor Tom's Comments on Proverbs     
     View this  Blog            Entrepreneur's Table     
     View this  Blog            The Shoestring Conspiracy     
     View this  Blog            VAST Possibilities     
     View this  Blog            News from the Fellowship of Joy     
     View this  Blog            Affilate Buzz

    Free Lunches and Networking

    Those who are convinced that I attend all these meetings around town for the free food will have to rethink things now that I am on this high metabolism diet with my spousal unit. I brought my own trail mix to the round table and availed myself of the salad and water, but that would not have made it worth my while.

    We meet to network and collaborate. No amount of solitary thinking, unilateral strategy planning, and personal research could have moved one of my pet projects forward as much as one contact from today's lunch meeting did.

    In fact, it may get an organization on whose board I sit off a very large dime.

    I joke about meetings, fuss about them, and resist them, but in the end, attend because they work. I look forward to the day when I can start eating the free lunches again too.

    And ... I really do enjoy the company.