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August 2017

The Power of a Positive Intention


Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psalm 119:9

By living according to God’s Word a young man can keep himself pure. That is no small thing. If there is any creature on earth prone to impurity, it is a young man. For that reason, Solomon spends no small amount of energy and no few words in the Proverbs instructing young men on this very matter.

The psalmist asks the question with the intention of learning and complying with the answer and God inspires the answers that flow in the verses that follow. All revolve around the one great call to live according to God’s Word.

By seeking God wholeheartedly, verse 10 assures us, we will avoid straying from His commands.

By hiding God’s Word in our hearts, verse 11 promises, we will not be as likely to sin.

By asking for guidance with praise, according to verse 12, we will have God Himself as our teacher.

By speaking the Words of God, according to verse 13, we will be voicing what He has first voices.

By rejoicing in God’s statutes, as stated in verse 14, we shall be adopting a positive attitude which will recognize the immense treasures of His truth.

By meditating on God’s precepts, as commended in verse 15, we will be considering His ways.

By delighting in what He has said by decree, verse 16 suggests that we will not neglect His Word.

It is really a rather simple matter. We can pursue purity in our lives by living according to the Bible, seeking God in it, absorbing it into our hearts and minds, asking God’s guidance through it, speaking it with our lips, rejoicing in each new nugget of truth, meditating deeply upon it, and delighting in everything it says.

Temptations abound, but God’s Word is always available to purify our hearts as we seek Him with all that we have and all that we are. If it is a young man’s or young woman’s intention to live a holy and pure life, they way is provided.


“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
― William James


Psalm 119:1-16 (KJV)

Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.

They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.

Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.

I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.

With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.

I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.

I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.



Why I Appreciate the Press

I am grateful for the press. Without them, we cannot have a democratic republic that functions and without people reading the press in-depth and doing their own homework and due-diligence with the skepticism of the press, democracy also ceases to function.
Our press is not perfect. I do not need for them to be perfect.
I do need them to be on the job and somewhat transparent.
They do a pretty good job of getting facts, digging, and quoting people directly. Sometimes, they paraphrase, but not when they quote what is in print or on the net.
They are gatekeepers for news. That is why I do not settle for one outlet. For instance, Hurricane Harvey has gotten a lot of attention and I saw nothing about the floods and loss of life in South Asia until it was called to my attention. So I started browsing the foreign press and there was plenty of news from credible sources.
I think the press gatekeepers are often driven by what is popular, interesting to the masses, and attractive to their corporate sponsors. That is a problem, but it can be overcome by intelligent and skeptical people who do a little digging. The news is out there --- and not just commentary and infotainment news.
They counterbalance government and are absolutely necessary for accountability and the government's tendency to say, "Trust us." They do not intrinsically trust government and that is good.
They are biased, but not the way we tend to think. Everyone is biased. Of course we are biased. We cannot be unbiased. We can admit our biases and let me know them. I know the bias of every major news outlet I read and I check them against each other. That is my job. Americans are smart enough to do their own work.
One area of bias is that what will sell gets the biggest attention. That, by the way, is neither liberal nor conservative by our faulty definitions of those terms. In the case of the rise of Trump, the media gave him more attention in the early days because he sent up ratings. They contributed to creating him as a credible contender. It was a business decision.
That being said, they have, for a hundred years, given status quo candidates of both parties the most attention. They make educated guesses on where voters are most likely to gravitate and where news is most likely to accumulate and they follow it. This has been a very conservative approach.
We can overcome our distaste of what we perceive as bias, I think, by doing more reading than viewing. My news choices are in this order:
1. Primary sources when possible - The actual words of people. For all those who tweet, blog, make statements, and issue position papers, their words are fair game for quoting and critiquing,
2. Print media and its counterparts on the internet - READING material with footnotes and the ability to fact check.
3. Non-commercial radio (and podcast) news that interviews people and covers stories in-depth - not the "infortaining news talk" that is so popular.
4. If necessary, television, but PBS and good documentaries that really dig in and give me sources I can check for myself... which I do. I rarely get enough information on the things that really interest me. So I dig more.
A good press does not assume that both sides of every issue are equally valid in their viewpoint. If one side consistently misrepresents truth, is sloppy with facts, or takes a morally dubious position, they do not deserve the presumption of equal credibility. For instance, if two sides are arguing about whether genocide is moral, I do not expect the press to say that both sides have good points.
There are two roles in the press. One is the one who gathers, digests, and presents the news. The other is the one who consumes it, weighs it, evaluates it, responds to it, and dialogues with the first. Without both, there is no real press.
If we just write them off, we are surrendering our destinies to whoever happens to be in office at any given time.
Remember that God sent the thorn in Paul's flesh and God really liked Paul and wanted to make him more effective. Our leaders should be thankful for their thorns too. Properly appreciate, they can make them more effective.
The press is like the fourth branch of any government with democratic values that values freedom.

I Will Be King

A man stands before his supporters and declares, "I shall be king," and they cheer.
He relishes the applause and is emboldened by it.
Samuel, on the other hand, stood before David and declared, "You shall be king."
David's response is more like, "Who? Me?"
No one applauds.
But the Spirit emboldens him ... by steps.
The wise ones go back to King David.
Who shall be king?
He says that the one whom God has chosen shall be king.
Spiral the years. We have one king, only one king. All others, like Adonijah, are pretenders to the throne.
Who and what stirs up cheers in your heart and life?
To whom or what will you give your loyalty?
From whom or what are you demanding loyalty?
Will you anoint a false king over your life or would you strive to be king?
Are these your words, "I shall be king?"
What shall embolden you - the cheers of the masses or the anointing of God?
1 Kings 1:5-31
Now Adonijah son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king" he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him. His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man, and he was born next after Absalom. He conferred with Joab son of Zeruiah and with the priest Abiathar, and they supported Adonijah. But the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and the prophet Nathan, and Shimei, and Rei, and David's own warriors did not side with Adonijah. Adonijah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatted cattle by the stone Zoheleth, which is beside En-rogel, and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah, but he did not invite the prophet Nathan or Benaiah or the warriors or his brother Solomon. Then Nathan said to Bathsheba, Solomon's mother, "Have you not heard that Adonijah son of Haggith has become king and our lord David does not know it? Now therefore come, let me give you advice, so that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in at once to King David, and say to him, 'Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your servant, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne? Why then is Adonijah king?' Then while you are still there speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words." So Bathsheba went to the king in his room. The king was very old; Abishag the Shunammite was attending the king. Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, "What do you wish?" She said to him, "My lord, you swore to your servant by the LORD your God, saying: Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne. But now suddenly Adonijah has become king, though you, my lord the king, do not know it. He has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the children of the king, the priest Abiathar, and Joab the commander of the army; but your servant Solomon he has not invited. But you, my lord the king-- the eyes of all Israel are on you to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him. Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his ancestors, that my son Solomon and I will be counted offenders." While she was still speaking with the king, the prophet Nathan came in. The king was told, "Here is the prophet Nathan." When he came in before the king, he did obeisance to the king, with his face to the ground. Nathan said, "My lord the king, have you said, 'Adonijah shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne'? For today he has gone down and has sacrificed oxen, fatted cattle, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's children, Joab the commander of the army, and the priest Abiathar, who are now eating and drinking before him, and saying, 'Long live King Adonijah!' But he did not invite me, your servant, and the priest Zadok, and Benaiah son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon. Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not let your servants know who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?" King David answered, "Summon Bathsheba to me." So she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king. The king swore, saying, "As the LORD lives, who has saved my life from every adversity, as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Your son Solomon shall succeed me as king, and he shall sit on my throne in my place,' so will I do this day." Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, "May my lord King David live forever!"

Rapid Rise, Slow Rise, or No Rise - CHOOSE!


"Men think highly of those who rise rapidly in the world; whereas nothing rises quicker than dust, straw, and feathers."  - attributed to Augustus Hare and to Lord Byron

There is a slow rise and a rapid rise. To these we must add, there may be no rise.

Fluff floats and then gloats in its meteoric success, but may not sustain under stress and testing.

Fame can make its name through crisis, accident, or blame when opportunities are seized.

But it is the long haul, the consistent call, the persistent hope and labor languishing in the heat of many days that produces steady growth in character and success.

Those who stay and stabilize their work for others to continue, stand and climb.

Those who rise quickly, must quickly act to build a foundation in the empty space beneath their feet, lest their decent be as rapid as their rise.

With far less fanfare and flair, others build their foundations step by step and step on the next step as they move toward their objectives.

As their circumstances change, they may not be aware that the greatest changes are within them. As they grow, their work grows.




Sing Them Over Again to Me


I am every man.
I embody every extreme.
I am the plundered poor.
I am the plunderer.
I am he who treasures and keeps the Word.
I am he who wanders.
I am guarded.
I am he, from whom the guarded must be protected.
I am pure and I am vile.
I am all in one - a complete package.
I am beloved ...
I am grateful.
I need and receive grace.
At every punctuation mark of this precious Word, 
I see myself.
I identify.
I do so, reluctantly.

God, you have done so, in Jesus, intentionally and redemptively.
Today, I shall rather be plundered than plunder.
I shall prefer to be defrauded than to defraud.
Let me not exalt vileness.
Let me not wander.

May I cherish that which is precious and ...
May I live in the grace that is freely given.
Thank you for another day to learn to learn ...
To embrace your truth and to be transformed by it.

Of all the people I know,
I desperately need it.


" The words of the LORD are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times."

"You, O LORD, will keep them;
you will guard us from this generation forever.
On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man."

(Psalm 12:6-8 ESV)


“Wonderful Words of Life” (“Sing them over again to me”)
 by Philip P. Bliss
The United Methodist Hymnal, 600

Philip P. Bliss

Philip P. Bliss

Sing them over again to me,
Wonderful words of life;
Let me more of their beauty see,
Wonderful words of life;
Words of life and beauty
Teach me faith and duty.
Beautiful words, wonderful words,
Wonderful words of life.

Carve It Out

Blank life


The epitaph is yet to be written.
The requiem is yet to be composed.
The stone is yet to be carved.
For so many, the life is yet to be lived
And judgment yet to be pronounced
For we are in progress
And in process.

Let our days be full.
Let our dreams be larger than our reality.
Let our reality be larger than our vision
And our vision larger than our reality.

Let us live and daily carve out the words
That shall describe our days.
Let us daily compose the symphony of our lives.
Let us daily inscribe the epitaph of our moments.

Let us live.
Let us flourish.
Let us leave our impressions
In our expressions
Of our living
And the living out of our reasons
For being.

God grant that God's purpose
May graciously flower within us
And burst forth into seeds
Scattered to in-forest and
Color the world
With grace and joy and peace
And love!



Today's Blessing

A blessing
Blessing for Today. If you have read it before, receive it again.

Be Blessed
Times are tough.
You are tougher. Face the times.

Life is hard.
You are resilient. Keep moving forward.

The future is uncertain.
God is already there. Do not be afraid.

Hope is a rare commodity.
Hope is within the grasp of your imagination. Let it soar.

Money is scarce.
You have all you need in a seed. Plant it and watch it grow.

You are discouraged.
There is a great dream within you. Feed it, follow it, fulfill it.

You deeply desire a blessing.
Be a blessing.

You lack courage.
Encourage someone else.

You have nothing left to give.
Give what only God can supply.

You are frightened of failure.
Risk everything to be all you can be.

These are not idle words. This is how you must live if you will live above your circumstances. Weighing all possible outcomes of the choices you can make right now, to do nothing, risk nothing, and give nothing will insure that nothing will come back to you. You will be a success in the art of failure by default.

However, if you risk extending yourself, you may also fail, but you will fail with the satisfaction of trying and with all the lessons you can only learn by climbing out on a limb.

But you might also succeed. Out on that limb, when circumstances cut it from under you, you may discover that you can fly.

You'll never find out without taking the big risk.


The Long Road

Life is a long, long road.
It ends at the beginning.
It unfolds into the great mystery.
Its exclamation, a question,
It question, a great answer.
Life carries us and we carry life.
We go; we come; we seek; we find.
We flow from the Source Who flows through us.
We long for home and home longs for us.
The Father we fled flees not.
The fast, the feast, and the least of these are places and faces
Along the way ... the way ... the way.
The why of the way and the way of the why
And we sigh; we sigh; we sigh, cry, fly ...
And thunk!

Back we are on the rocky, solid, winding path,
The road.
Long, long, long it goes toward its own beginning.
We can but travel and so we traverse, trudging ...
Trials and triumphs step by step and half steps and baby crawls,
Groping and hoping.
Love leads.
Grace gives permission.
Mercy lubricates.
Purpose energizes.
God guides.
Walk with me Jesus that I might walk with Thee ...

To Weep Without Words Is Sometimes the True Word

Someone died today.

A mother, a father, a brother, a sister, a child, and a friend mourned.

A victim of violence died, an innocent on the streets of a major city.

Someone wept.

A perpetrator of crime died in the midst of committing a crime.

Someone wept.

A persecuted soul died for an unpopular religion or idea.

Someone wept.

A terrorist died and a victim of terrorism died.

Someone wept.

Someone died because they were hated for their race, ethnicity, or other identity.

Someone wept.

In recent days, cops have died.

Someone wept.

Sailors died in the last week.

Someone wept.

Innocent victims of over zealous police have died - too many.

Someone wept.

Innocent victims of "just wars" are dying every day.

Someone wept.

For every death, there are mourners who need no justification to mourn other than the pain of their loss and the tragedy of death that has come too soon.

There are moments when we simply stand in silence with those who mourn as Job's friends did and recognize that many mourn for so many reasons that so many cannot fully understand.

We can listen and learn if we lay aside our own agendas.
We can weep with them and with God who weeps with us.
We can recommit our lives to loving God and our neighbors.
We MUST live out the potential that the fallen would have lived out. They have left a gap.
We must pray for a communities that are broken and people who feel powerless.
We must pray for truth and justice with mercy to prevail.
We must be willing to risk identifying with everyone who is marginalized.
We must be the voices for all who have no voice as they find their voice.
To say more or less in hours of sorrow is not possible.

People died today.

God wept and weeps.

"Jesus wept." - John 11:35



Weary with Moaning

I know this describes where some of you are today, weariness, tears, weeping, groaning, and weakness.

Know this from the psalm, that it is OK to tell God. Know this also, that God knows, understands, cares, and enters into your experience.

Know even more that there is a parallel story being written about your journey. It is a story that is far more accurate because it is wrapped up in the final paragraphs, more accurate because it knows and tells the unseen and unperceived realities that are active all around you.

It is more complete because God wins and you win.

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

(Psalm 6:6-7 ESV)

In the Presence of a King

In the presence of a king, don't ask for small gifts!

"The golfer Arnold Palmer once played a series of exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. The king was so impressed that he proposed to give Palmer a gift. Palmer demurred: 'it really isn't necessary, Your Highness. I'm honored to have been invited.'"

"'I would be deeply upset,'" replied the king, 'if you would not allow me to give you a gift.'"

Palmer thought for a moment and said: 'All right. How about a golf club? That would be a beautiful memento of my visit to your country.'"

"The next day, delivered to Palmer's hotel was the title to a golf club. Thousands of acres, trees, lakes, clubhouse and so forth... The moral of the story is: In the presence of a king, don't ask for small gifts!"

- From Brennan Manning book The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus

It is a great story, but might be an urban legend - with truth!


Let life surprise you.

Don't be surprised when life surprises you.

God is not your enemy.

God enjoys giving you good gifts.

Don't settle for the same stuff for which humanity lusts.

Go for the gold.

Live as if you are the King's kid.

When you don't get all the junk you ask for, remember that you have inherited the whole factory.

Live in the abundance of kingdom awareness.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6, NIV



To Be Unforgotten


"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

I would not mind doing both.

However, it is always for someone else to evaluate - especially the actions, but also the words.

We either overestimate or underestimate either the significance of our deeds or the profundity of our words. Seldom are we on target.

So we strive. We invest ourselves in what is true and right and noble.

And we leave it to others to decide whether or not to remember confident that the One who counts will.

Having and Applying Wisdom

Having wisdom and sharing wisdom is sometimes different from having to apply it to your own life.

We may have helped others but, in our own time of crisis, discover that our words to them are inadequate to our own suffering.

In fact, all words are inadequate. they may be good words, but they do not sink in. If we were to replay our own speeches, they would be resisted. It may be good advice, but we are not ready to receive it.

The book of Job has some pretty good insights for both the care giver and the care receiver - how we give and how we receive help.

"Behold, you have instructed many,
and you have strengthened the weak hands.
Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,
and you have made firm the feeble knees.
But now it has come to you, and you are impatient;
it touches you, and you are dismayed.
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?"
(Job 4:3-6 ESV)

Hometown Jesus


We place limits on the work of Jesus among us, but when you look at the last line of the scripture below, you see that those are not limits on his outreach.

He will find belief and He will enter an arena of reception because people are "buying" what He is offering. Our streets are filled with people waiting to see and hear an authentic representation of Jesus, His Kingdom call, and His love.

The question is whether our home-town churches will be willing to embrace Him and get in His program or if He will have to look and work elsewhere.

" He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. "
"And he went about among the villages teaching."
(Mark 6:1-6 ESV)




The Moral Fool

We love to take scripture out of context to proof-text our own points, make us feel better about ourselves, and assert out own superiority.

It is no different with the equation of the fool and the man who says in his heart there is no God.

We assume the psalmist is referring to intellectual fools who struggle with issues of faith.

Rather, he is talking about moral fools, people of power who plunder the poor and helpless as if there were no God of justice and truth to whom they must give account.

The proof of reverence for God is, in this context, dealing justly, fairly, and righteously with people - especially, the poor.

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds;
there is none who does good."
"The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God."
"They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one."
"Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the LORD?"
"There they are in great terror,
for God is with the generation of the righteous.
You would shame the plans of the poor,
but the LORD is his refuge."
"Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad."
(Psalm 14 ESV)




Reporting for Duty


Duty report

A Morning Prayer

Father, I am reporting for duty. It is a joy to do so. Just the idea of being chosen for anything thrills and humbles me. Unworthy as I am, you see something in me that you can use because you put it there.

Ignite it, God. Fan the flame and let it burn ... that it ... that something ... that investment you made in me by your grace.

I am here. I have some things to do, but that is all I know about the agenda for the day ... dates, times, places, tasks. These are important, I know, but they are not the real agenda. You know that. You know why I got up this morning and why I am praying this prayer.

Frankly, I wear a bit of confusion and uncertainty about today and tomorrow and the next day. Sometimes that feels like adventure. Sometimes that feels like being a bit unfocused or vulnerable. But that is OK. I have learned by faith and experience that you are guiding me in ways that I can only perceive through reflection and observation in the moment. I trust you.

I want to truly love you today and serve you and I sense that I must do that by loving the ones you love so much. Love them through me. I expect to encounter some difficult people, some folks for whom love will not flow naturally for and from me. It will just have to come from you through me and, for that, I am available. In that process, change my heart. Make me more loving in a spontaneous way.

I want to follow Jesus today. I want to keep in step with Him and see things the way He does. I have opinions, preconceptions, biases, and more than a couple pet peeves. But I sense that He walks right through these leading me in unexpected ways. When I follow Him ... when I follow you, I end up in some very strange situations, sometime caught off-guard, surprising places where I discover that He is already working and I am at home. I can't explain this life, but I embrace it.

Enter into my tasks, dear God. Enter and transform so that everything mundane job becomes worship of you.

Take my mood swings, my crusty gruffness, my irritability, my selfish desires, and my quirky quips and nail them to the cross. Once they and I have died, re-resurrect them and me into something usable for you.

Thank you for forgiving me at my worst and loving me there,. Thank you for this new life and for all the precious companions you have brought my way to share my journey. Bless them. Some of them are going through very hard times, times and challenges that I cannot even sort out, pain I cannot imagine. Love them, Lord. I know you do. Love them through me. Meet them in their trials and lead them through.

Bless your church and your churches, those that I am honored to serve and those that my friends serve. As we serve them, may we and I see your bride, Jesus, a people for who you gave all of yourself in sacrifice. May I discern your body, flawed on earth and perfected in eternity. May I learn to love your bride here especially in light of what she is becoming in you.

It is a great mystery and I only perceive it in small doses.

But I am praying that the body of Christ will somehow recenter, refocus, and realign itself with you and your purposes. In any way that I may be an influence in that direction, make me available to you.

I also am flawed, very flawed, very vulnerable, imperfect, and needy. I limp to your altar. I am unkempt, unshaven, a bit battered, and joyfully expectant. Clean me up, Lord and send me out. Grace - I drink it and it rolls down my lips. I take it from your well and pour it all over me. Grace!!!!

Gracious God! Thank you. What a mighty, awesome, fearful God you are. You are like the lion Aslan to me. Something says "stay away" as you roar. My natural man fears your power and worships you in your glory. But you draw me in mercy and love and I cannot stay away. What I fear calls me to come. What I dread compels me. What shocks me, creates in me a wondrous curiosity to love you and know you and the more I know, the more I love and the less I know and the more I know and the more I want to know and the more I know that I do not want to spend one second away from you or outside of this glorious calling.

I don't have to figure it all out. If I follow, I will get it little by little and I will be where you want me to be because I will be with you and find you in the oddest places and circumstances.

Keep my eyes open today for that sort of thing.

There are many I desire to bring along on this journey and I have named there names before you. Others are in my heart and I bring them to you. Some are broken on the wheel of life and need mending. Some are deeply troubled and need peace. Some need healing in their bodies. Some are right here, reading this prayer, praying it with me, and are included in the circle of love that is ever-expanding,. This prayer is for them as while ... my beloved .... Your beloved.

Abba, Father, Dad. I did not really know how to pray today. You know me. You know I have days like that. Far from being a spiritual giant, I am a spiritual child, but you accept me and allow me to pray as I will and you meet me there and teach me there. This is private prayer in a quasi-public "place and there is much more within that is very private that I expose to you and you know and you meet me there. It is a Romans 8 sort of thing. But I sense that I am ready now, readier than I was a few moments ago. You have a word for me and I am going to read it, digest it, and get going.

Please go with me as I go with you. In Your Son, Jesus' Name, my Lord, I pray. Amen.



Who Cares?

Psalm 142 3

If it seems that no one cares, you might be right.

Sometimes it is relatively true. No one cares or shows care to the extent that we perceive we need.

We look around and all are about their own concerns.

We speak and no one hears.

It is like being in a room complaining to the person who is giving us their undivided attention that no one is listening ... to the ONE who is giving us undivided attention!!!!!

Yes --- to the right and left, no one is listening ...

But, in our faces .... ONE hears and cares.

On a side note, God grant that I might also be a listener today with Your eyes and ears, hearing and caring for those who feel they are alone and abandoned.





To be appalled is to turn ashen gray.

It comes upon us suddenly in response to something so shocking that it effects the supply of blood to our brains.

A pall is a a cloak that often covers a person who is so "appalled" that they are no longer alive.

A pall to cover the permanently pale.

Ironically, it seems to take energy to be appalled, even though it is something of a dead state.

It happens to the psalmist when his spirit faints.

It is that last and final burst of life before life expires.

What has the capacity to place you in a pall?

Would you say, today, "I am all in a pall?"

It is, perhaps, a good place to be for a moment as we regroup and seek new strength and power, but it is no place to live.

Therefore, my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled." - Psalm 143:4



What did this imply?



Have You Considered My Servant, Job?

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? - Job 1:8

This was a defining moment for Job and he was not even aware of it at the time. Something was happening in the spiritual realm that would translate to the world of time and space and he was about to be tested.

There are such times in our lives that are defining. Often we are tempted to believe that God is giving Satan a free hand to harass us. When we peek into this heavenly transaction, it would appear at first sight that God is doing business with Satan, dealing with him and inviting him before his court of justice as if he had the right to appear.

This is not the whole story. Satan's name means adversary and is the same word that can be used for "prosecutor." He is always accusing and his case is always before the bar of God. God, the judge, is defending His chosen servant, Job as well as weighing the evidence.

God knows how Job will emerge from this trial because He is his helper and advocate. God knows that Job is about to enter a deeper dimension in his fellowship with Him and that through a series of questions, Job's wisdom is going to grow dramatically.

God is both defending you and weighing you even now. He is your best advocate as well as your judge. In the same way that He believed in Job, He believes in you because He sees you through His Son. When trials come, He is in your corner taunting Satan. "Have you considered my servant, (your name)?"

"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. " - James 5:11



Sometimes You've Gotta Run

"Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself." - John 6:15, NIV

You're no Jesus, but if you follow Him, He will work through you at times in such a way that people will start looking at you as something pretty special.

While you really are special and made for a purpose, that purpose is not for you to rule over people as an earthly king with the kind of power that people tend to perceive as valid and valuable.

If Jesus resisted being taken by force to be the wrong kind of king and receive premature adulation, we should certainly run from it as fast as we can.

That kind of "power" can destroy us and everyone under our influence.




We too often despise the little we have available, but time and experience have often taught us that multiplication and leverage have been built into the fabric of God's universe by God Himself and that when Jesus and His words activate those laws, miracles are on the horizon.

Ours is to stop despising, hoarding, and fearfully withholding and release what is in our hands and under our control for the good of the hungry masses and the glory of a sufficient God.

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” - John 6:9


How Much for a Some of that Power?


Twain's point was whatever it was, but he was on to something. To the extent that God, or our view of God, or even our retelling of God's story is useful to our personal ambitions, we are all in.

We want the power that comes from having God on our side.

If that is not readily available, we will find a God that will be or we will create one.

We've been resisting the same sucking vacuum since the first century. It is shaping the gospel of the kingdom into the framework of our old thinking and commercial/political/cultural (whatever) interests rather than allowing it to shape us into a new way of thinking, living, and relating.

We are predisposed through our old nature to accumulate and celebrate our own power and wield it over others. It may be the power of position, money, influence, or control. It may be spiritual power that we want for our own purposes.

But power exists as an outflow of God's nature and for His purposes and He entrusts it to us freely to serve Him and to serve people.

Simeon's money was doomed to perish with his thinking and his very life if not transformed. He needed and, after rebuke, sought a new way of thinking that started with humility.

We are not safe people with power short of humility and an understanding that the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity are wicked and signs of a heart condition.

Gall poisons us. Iniquity binds us. When we want, want, want what we want and lust for power over people, we poison and enslave ourselves.

Like so many bad examples, Simeon provides a very useful mirror to our own souls about what we need to ask God to forgive and to change in us.

"Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” And Simon answered, 'Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.'"

(Acts 8:14-24 ESV)




You Have Seen, But You Do Not Believe

In John 6, Jesus has been asked for big signs, bigger than the mass feedings, bigger than walking on water, bigger than calming the sea, more like daily food for the rest of everyone's life.

"Lord, always give us this bread," they say after asking "What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe?"

Without exasperation, but with some penetrating insight, Jesus declares in verse 36, "But I said to you that you also have seen me and do not believe"In John 6, Jesus has been asked for big signs, bigger than the mass feedings, bigger than walking on water, bigger than calming the sea, more like daily food for the rest of everyone's life. "Lord, always give us this bread," they say after asking "What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe?"

he indictment here is not on those who have not seen. It is not on those who are seeking truth with all their hearts. It is not on those who are struggling. Folks who struggle with faith issues get a lot of slack from Jesus. Remember the guys who said, "Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief?" He had no problem with that man.

Jesus is slamming the guys with an agenda who have to work hard not to believe.

I have read some interesting observations about the demographics and characteristics of atheists. Several of us who spend time building communication bridges between ourselves as people of faith and those who are at other places on the faith realize that our friends are not statistics, but people.

You won't catch me maligning, ridiculing, or stereotyping you as evil if you are an honest atheist or agnostic. That is not what Jesus is doing either.

Imagine someone being presented with all the evidence anyone would ever need to receive a truth as truth. Imagine that the truth was clearly embodied in a person and that person was standing before you. Imagine that you know that he is true, but you refuse to believe. That is what Jesus is criticizing.

When the psalmist says that the fool has said in his heart that there is no God, he is referring the the decision making capacity of a person. The heart is the control room of ones life in ancient usage of the word. It is where we decide and commit. We know things with our minds and then, experientially. We can even start the process of believing with our minds. However, if it does not reach our hearts where we commit to it and begin to internalize it, it is the kind of faith without works that James says is dead.

There are many who profess belief in God, even in Jesus, who are "fools" by this definition. They are not honest intellectual atheists. They are practical atheists. The men who were grilling Jesus for more proof already believed more than they were willing to commit to in faith. They were just resisting.

When not believing starts to take more effort than believing, then it becomes stubbornness. That, then, is what Jesus means when He says, "You have seen and do not believe."

"They Say So ..."


image from

It was Thomas Fuller who penned, ""They say so is half a lie."

Fuller was a year younger than I am now when he died in 1661, but he lived long enough to grasp this reality.

I have as well. I have sensed it for some time.

Those who say, "they say," are really saying, "I think, but I don't want to say that I say.'

In the first place, "they say" is deceptive because it implies that there is a large body of agreement among the masses. If that were true, THEY would have spoken with a louder voice.

In the second place, "they say" is deceptive because it insinuates that "they" have appointed "you" as "their" spokesperson. That is seldom the case.

In the third place, it is deceptive because the speaker is masking his or her own opinion as that of others and taking no responsibility for it or ownership of it. There is a suggestion of neutrality that does not exist.

"They say" is essentially dishonest, divisive, disruptive, and intentionally discouraging to the person being addressed. It is manipulative and passive aggressive in its content and delivery.

So, how does one respond to the "theysayers" and "naysayers?"

One response would be, and courtesy is recommended, "Thank you alerting me to this, but I would like them to tell me what they think. What I am interested in now is what do you think?"

Another would be, "Before you tell me more, can you tell me who they are? It is only fair that I speak with them personally about this since this is their opinion and I cannot ask you to convey my answer to them. I am sure you would agree that would not be an honest way for me to deal with them."

What we must never do is give prolonged audience to this form of gossip and thinly disguised criticism. 

Fuller lived with controversy and was, himself, controversial. Controversy is not a bad thing. It can be very beneficial. Neither is conflict negative. But dishonest communication, murmuring, negative whispers, and third party communication are never productive and never solve problems.

Just as authentic theology is about meeting face to face, so is all human communication.

"They say," is, in fact, a very big lie.

It was Thomas Fuller who penned, ""They say so is half a lie."

Fuller was a year younger than I am now when he died in 1661, but he lived long enough to grasp this reality.

I have as well. I have sensed it for some time.

Those who say, "they say," are really saying, "I think, but I don't want to say that I say.'

In the first place, "they say" is deceptive because it implies that there is a large body of agreement among the masses. If that were true, THEY would have spoken with a louder voice.

In the second place, "they say" is deceptive because it insinuates that "they" have appointed "you" as "their" spokesperson. That is seldom the case.

In the third place, it is deceptive because the speaker is masking his or her own opinion as that of others and taking no responsibility for it or ownership of it. There is a suggestion of neutrality that does not exist.

"They say" is essentially dishonest, divisive, disruptive, and intentionally discouraging to the person being addressed. It is manipulative and passive aggressive in its content and delivery.

So, how does one respond to the "theysayers" and "naysayers?"

One response would be, and courtesy is recommended, "Thank you alerting me to this, but I would like them to tell me what they think. What I am interested in now is what do you think?"

Another would be, "Before you tell me more, can you tell me who they are? It is only fair that I speak with them personally about this since this is their opinion and I cannot ask you to convey my answer to them. I am sure you would agree that would not be an honest way for me to deal with them."

What we must never do is give prolonged audience to this form of gossip and thinly disguised criticism. 

Fuller lived with controversy and was, himself, controversial. Controversy is not a bad thing. It can be very beneficial. Neither is conflict negative. But dishonest communication, murmuring, negative whispers, and third party communication are never productive and never solve problems.

Just as authentic theology is about meeting face to face, so is all human communication.

"They say," is, in fact, a very big lie..

Science Is

I am no scientist. One might argue whether or not I am a philosopher. I am more of a philosopher than a scientist at any rate, sometimes one who enjoys philosophical inquiry about the nature of science.

I have studies the scientific method. It facilitates its own kind of inquiry into questions of "how," "when," and especially, "what."

Yet, the question, "Is it scientific?" is no more ultimate than ...

Is it legal?

Is it feasible?

Is it popular?

A better question at any crossroads would be, "Is it true?"

Scientific inquiry can point us to one dimension of truth, but it alone cannot tell us the whole truth about anything. Science itself has deep appreciation for the notions of "unknowns" in the universe. Truth encompasses the universe and goes beyond.

Nevertheless, in collecting some definitions of science, I found this interesting. Without evaluating them, I simply post them. Others can be found at: Science Quotes and at Quote Garden.

"In essence, science is a perpetual search for an intelligent and integrated comprehension of the world we live in." Cornelius Bernardus Van Neil (1897- ) U. S. microbiologist.

"Science is organized knowledge." - Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher. Education.

"Science is simply common sense at its best that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic." Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) English biologist.

"Science is nothing but developed perception, interpreted intent, common sense rounded out and minutely articulated." George Santayana (1863-1952) U. S. philosopher and writer. The Life of Reason.

"Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science." Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) French mathematician.

"Science is nothing but trained and organized common sense differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only as far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a savage wields his club." Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-95) English biologist. "The Method of Zadig" in Collected Essays IV.

"Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition." Adam Smith (1723-90) Scottish economist. The Wealth of Nations, 1776.

"Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don't know." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English philosopher, mathematician.

"Science is the systematic classification of experience." George Henry Lewes (1817-78) English writer and critic.

"Science is a cometary of dead ideas." - Miguel de Unamuno

In the Land of the Living


My prayer today for those who are teetering on hope, who are longing for hope, who are hopeless, hopeful, or hope-deficient is an infusion of this experience of the psalmist's reality with God:

"I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!"

There is a land of living beyond this space, place, and face of time, but there is also a land of living here ... may you find it today and gaze upon the goodness of the LORD and find hope.



My People



Who are MY people? Jesus defines that for us. Who is my neighbor? He speaks clearly to that question.

I stand with them because I am one of a company of people of faith who believe that faith in God will transform our communities, transform lives, and transform hate into love, suspicion into trust, corruption into justice, despair into hope, and darkness into light. We take the Light of the world into those places that are dark and prayerfully witness for peace, justice, truth, and grace.

We stand in grief for lost life and potential, for hopelessness on the streets, for the atmospheres that create travesty and tragedy, for the pervasiveness of a mood that makes one group suspicious of another.

Grief! Sadness! Indignation! Hope!

We stand for hope.

We stand for broken communities because they are "next door" to ours in so many ways and because we are all one people. We are humans and we are Americans and we all have skin and bones and God loves each of us and we desire transformation!

I stand for many things - for people persecuted for their faith around the world, for Jews and Muslims in the Middle East, for people whose personal sadness is surfacing because of a notable suicide, for our service people and first providers in harm's way, and for leaders who have to make decisions from all parts of the political spectrum who just can't win because they will always be maligned and suspected of wrong motives.

I stand against racism, class-ism, nationalism, chauvinism, and every other ism ought to be a wasm that isn't yet.

I believe in a great God who made us all and knows that inside our deepest souls we shed our outer labels. That God values us, loves us, and has a purpose for every life and can zero in on one representative life to teach us to value all life.

We must step out of our cocoons of familiarity, clan, and family to join the larger family.

We must recognize the anger, pain, and suffering that boils in the hearts of people who we may not think of, yet, as our people. We don't have to completely understand or agree with it in order to acknowledge it, but we must acknowledge it and try to understand as best we can, limited by the filter of our own life experiences.

We must learn to stand on whatever common ground God provides and, if that is prayer, let us pray for people and not against them, pray with an open heart and no agenda of our own, and pray for the things that God gives us to pray for.

Who are my people? Jesus was interrupted with the word that His family had come to see Him and He pointed to all the people around Him doing the will of God by listening to His words and seeking to apply them to their lives. He said,"They are my family."My family? The people of God!

They are everywhere and they are cross-cultural and I stand with them as they stand with their communities knowing that doing so will strengthen our solidarity and God's people in our own community.

Who are my people?

When the saints come marching in, you'll shocked at the diversity of the parade!




Doubts Deepening Faith


"Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth into the regions where He would have us walk. Doubts are the only means through which He can enlarge our spiritual selves." -George MacDonald

Doubts giving birth to deeper faith.

This is the ministry of perplexity.

This is the simplicity of complexity and the complexity of simplicity.

This is the resolution of struggle in the quest for that rest that will not rest in easy answers or shallow understanding.

Gravity is drawn toward the pebbles on the surface, but truth calls to the deeper rocks hidden beneath that surface.

Faithquakes come and that which is anchored endures, but that anchoring has come through some Peniel nights where we wrestle for the blessing.

Salvation is free, by grace, through faith, but growth in faith is a pricey proposition. It stretches us and then, settles us till the next quake and opportunity to dig deeper.



Keep Training



Severe discipline is a way of describing tough, hard, strenuous training.

If you get it, it is because God considers you qualified for it. It means He has confidence in you, in His ability to qualify you more deeply through that training for the purposes He wishes to realize through you.

Embrace it.

He does not abandon you in the process of working the kinks out of your life.



Collective/Generational Sin +Collective/Generational Repentance = Freedom


Laying the American ideal of rugged individualism and strictly personal sin and forgiveness aside for a moment, let us revisit the concept of collective sin, repentance, and piety that walks alongside the personal

When we say we have no need to confess and repent of the sins of our fathers of former generations from which we have or have not "benefited," we are at odds with numerous scriptures that lay the foundation for such repentance and show the benefits of of it.

And since it was a standard hymn, one can surmise that being done once was not enough.

The memory of our failings and the grace we have received steadies and readies us for a future of righteous choices.

" Both we and our fathers have sinned;
we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness."

(Psalm 106:6 ESV)

" Then they believed his words;
they sang his praise."

(Psalm 106:12 ESV)

" But they soon forgot his works;
they did not wait for his counsel."

(Psalm 106:13 ESV)

" They made a calf in Horeb
and worshiped a metal image.
They exchanged the glory of God
for the image of an ox that eats grass.
They forgot God, their Savior,
who had done great things in Egypt,"

(Psalm 106:19-21 ESV)

" Many times he delivered them,
but they were rebellious in their purposes
and were brought low through their iniquity."

(Psalm 106:43 ESV)

" Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress,
when he heard their cry.
For their sake he remembered his covenant,
and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
He caused them to be pitied
by all those who held them captive."

"Save us, O LORD our God,
and gather us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise."

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!”
Praise the LORD!"

(Psalm 106:44-48 ESV)

There is liberation in remembering God's grace to us and the sins in which we have collectively and historically participated - that we might live in obedience and victory. God is gracious, just, and merciful.

Collective repentance as a lifestyle and element of corporate worship is liberating, healing, and renewing.

Why do we resist it so?

"Forgive US OUR trespasses ..."



Wake Walking

Wake walk


I am wake-walking through a garden of dreams, eyes open, heart pounding, life-affirming.

I am dreaming within a dream of dreams yet to be.

My heart is full of emptiness being filled and refilled.

My life is an adventure where impossibilities unfold into realities.

I am wake-walking. Nothing is asleep within me.

Wake-walking and wondering what the next unfolding will bring.

Wake walking and willing to awaken anew to a deeper dream.


Moral Equivalence

I am thinking a lot about "moral equivalence"and I wish I did not have to do so. If you have heard too much of this, please feel free not to read further. Just let it scroll. If you are willing to stay with me on it, read the article.
"Moral equivalence is a term used in political debate, usually to criticize any denial that a moral hierarchy can be assessed of two sides in a conflict, or in the actions or tactics of two sides."
I hear things that sound so ridiculous to me and contradict all the core teachings of my faith that have been with me since childhood.
I am gathering my thoughts to write about it.This is a work in progress. Part of the background emerged from my theological conviction that sin is sin in terms of its corrosive power to sever me from fellowship with God.
On the other hand, in time and space, it is not so. Motive, perspective, history, circumstance, severity of outcome, effect on others, and so many factors determine the seriousness and consequences of crimes and attitudes.
A person who grabs a stick to ward off someone coming at him or her with a gun, a sword, a torch, or a car is in one category while the one seeking to intimidate is in another.
The one who is propagating a message of hate is not the same as the one who is standing and declaring that a marginalized group is made up of lives that matter.
Both may create inconvenience and both may gather angry and undisciplined followers. One will try to understand and manage them and the other will congratulate them. That is not equivalent.
I hear and translate voices of power saying, "All opinions are of equal value and worthy of defense" and I paraphrase, "Your right to hate and spread hate is as valuable as a person's right to advocate for justice and love."
It just is not so.
History is cumulative. There is historic repression, oppression, and suppression that have left indelible marks and perpetrated ongoing disadvantages for people who have been born and raised on the outside margins of privilege. You can't just declare that to be over, pass a few laws, create a few opportunities, and distance yourself because of your own personal good will to your fellow man.
You have to do the hard work and sometimes you have to be obnoxious and get in the face of power.
And you cannot ignore a growing movement of bigotry, racism, false nationalism, hatred, or oppressiveness and declare it equal to any other point of view --- or that the reactive misbehavior of a few of the resisters is equally repugnant as the premeditated, organized, and sanctioned intimidation and violence of the hate movements.
We must not speak one word or give one gesture to suggest normalization of white nationalism. We cannot and must not ignore them in the hopes that they will go away. We cannot and must not let the indignation die down.
They must know that they are not normal, their opinions, even if legal, are not welcome, supported, or embraced as equal. And we will not fall for the lie that a few people among a well-ordered and organized protest chose to pick up some sticks and start some fights are as frightening as the well-organized effort to suppress the rights of historically oppressed people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
People who hate are in bondage. They do not need me to defend or normalize their hate. They need the same liberating gospel that those hated need. The gospel can liberate all. But sometimes the path to sharing the gospel is holding up the mirror on the collective, historical, and persistent sin that has perpetuated the bondage until everyone gets squirmy and tired of hearing about it.

What Your Soul Magnifies

“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord …” – Luke 1:46

The Magnificat remains one of the most glorious expressions of praise in all of musical literature. Perhaps, someday, in Heaven, God will allow us to hear a replay of the day Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth or the day the angel visited Mary and announced God’s intentions to her. We would hear that conversation that altered history and sweet sound of her acceptance of God’s great gift of His Son to and through her. The music of absolute surrender would call us to worship and we would join her in exclaiming,

“My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior!”

No less significant was the day your heart responded to God’s grace and declared,

“be it unto me according to thy word.”

That God would regard the low estate of His handmaiden and plant the seed of redemption within her womb is a magnificent thing indeed. That God would regard our low estates that Christ might be conceived and born in our hearts by faith is astounding!

We cannot help but sing His praise. We cannot resist the call the worship. We cannot feign to exalt His Name and rejoice in the miracle of His coming. As Mary conceived without human agency, so, that which is born in us of God is without human effort.

Welcome Him to your life anew today and join in chorus:

Prophets foretold Him,

Infant of wonder;

Angels behold Him

On the throne;

Worthy our Savior

Of all our praises;

Happy forever are His own.

(Mary Macdonald, 1888)



Weeping and Well

"But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. - 2 Samuel 15:30 ESV

It was more than just a blip in his life. It was a grand betrayal. It looked like the end. He still had faith, but it was tentative. He knew God would prevail, but he was unsure of His place in the plan. David knew the power and presence of tears and weeping.

We know so much more of his story than we do. It was a hard moment in his life.

We do not know the unwritten future, but we can know that which is written.

In the dark place, some had deserted David, but others chose to stand with him and David knew that the ark of the covenant was secure with Zadok the priest.

Peace is not dependent upon our circumstances and is not negated by our sorrows and turmoil. Faith is deeper than anything we are experiencing.

David was weeping, but it was well with his soul.



Preaching an Expository Message from the Lectionary to the Issue of White Supremacy (or any news) - Rough Notes


Long title ...

More in the sub-title. How can you be prophetic in the moment and on-topic without reverting to topical messages? 

You are feeling overwhelmed, beleaguered, and conflicted.

If you are called to receive a message and deliver it, you will either do so or not. If you do, you cannot calculate the outcome of your delivery ahead of time. The message may or may not be received. The pro-claimer will look around and ask, "How does this apply to the world I am in and the sin that prevails?"

It seems so obvious that Alt-Right is All-Wrong, but what does that have to do with the text?


God’s messages through the prophets were rooted in eternal truth and were timely. They addressed the specific needs and evils of the times. They were also timeless and addressed the eternal goodness, holiness, love, and grace of God with the gospel.

This is the balance we find as we remain faithful to preaching scripture systematically rather than pulling topics out of the current news. The chosen scriptures will always speak to the times and there will always be an application to the times.

This is so obviously true of the topic of racism and the exposition of the lectionary scriptures of today.

Today, the pressing issue in the news is white supremacy, racism, and bigotry. It must be named, but it must be named in context of scripture, of sin, and of redemption.

God has a message for all times, but that needs to be brought home since God is a God in the present. He appoints messengers like Joseph, like Elijah, like Paul, and like you and me to deliver His message. That message must be conveyed. Then, it must be heard. It must be believed and then, it must lead to a moment of confession of who is truly Lord, followed by a change of lifestyle.

Because God is love, He despises hate in all of its manifestations.

Someone has to say that out loud.

That is the essential outline of the passage from Romans 10 that we will come to.

In the meantime, we have three stories.

Joseph falls victim to hate, bigotry, and treachery. But he has unwavering trust in God and maintains his integrity. He comes to a place where he is able to speak truth to power and to empower a broken people who are in grave danger

Elijah stands up to the prophets of Baal who are oppressing people in the name of a false family of gods. He does so in such a way as to place his own life in danger. He wonders about his calling and despairs of life. God meets and renews him.

Jesus comes to the disciples on the water, above the waves, in the night, surrounded by winds. His word. His word is firm and gentle, “Peace, be still.” And faith is restored for those whom His is calling and sending to bring the gospel to the world.

Then, Paul tries to define the process of the sending and proclaiming all the way down to the “end-user” of the message who confesses Jesus as Lord and commits to follow Him.

He declares that there must be a witness. Someone must tell. Someone must stand. Someone needs to be visible, to march, to speak, to resist, to be attacked, to shout, to serve, to make a difference – to proclaim the good news that people lost in the darkness of sin, of oppression, of racism, nationalism, self-ism, and all the other isms of our world, can be saved.

 The Text - Romans 10:5-15

Moses writes this about the righteousness that is by the law: “The person who does these things will live by them.” But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

 Let us work backwards.

 I. There must be a SENDER. This is the originator of the message. It is the one who wants us to know the truth, embrace the truth, and live the truth.

The sender is God and God uses others to send in subordination to His will, purpose, and calling.

What do we know of this SENDING GOD?

  1. We know that He is the LORD manifested in Jesus Christ.
  2. We know that He has come to us and brought the word near to our hearts.
  3. We know that He expects us to receive that word and to live by it. His call to believe is part and is the beginning of the process. Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly and demanding. We are called to a new humanity where justice, compassion, love, mercy, peace, and truth are elevated and all people are valued.
  4. We know that He is a God who does not tolerate arbitrary divisions among people based on race, class, economics, nationality, or gender. On this tragic weekend, the scripture reminds us that all racism is evil. It is sinful. It is unrighteous. It is an affront to the very character of God. Alt-Right is ALL-Wrong!

II. Then there must be the ONE WHO IS SENT. This is the one who goes. It is the MESSENGER. The messenger does not deliver his or her own message, but the message of the sender.

That is you and it is me.

  1. Consider Joseph

Genesis 37:12-28

 Now his brothers had gone to graze their father’s flocks near Shechem, and Israel said to Joseph, “As you know, your brothers are grazing the flocks near Shechem. Come, I am going to send you to them.”

 “Very well,” he replied.

 So he said to him, “Go and see if all is well with your brothers and with the flocks, and bring word back to me.” Then he sent him off from the Valley of Hebron.

 When Joseph arrived at Shechem, a man found him wandering around in the fields and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

 He replied, “I’m looking for my brothers. Can you tell me where they are grazing their flocks?”

 “They have moved on from here,” the man answered. “I heard them say, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’”

 So Joseph went after his brothers and found them near Dothan. But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.

 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”

 When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and take him back to his father.

 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.

 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.

 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.

 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

 Joseph was a messenger. His sending was through treachery, tragedy, and trial, but truth prevailed. He was dealt with in an evil manner by brothers who forgot what it meant to be brothers.

But God prevailed.

God has positioned you as He positioned Joseph, to be used to communicate His prophetic word in your times.

 BConsider Elijah. 

1 Kings 19:9-18 

There he went into a cave and spent the night.

 And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 

The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”


Elijah got discouraged in all of this, but God met him, reassured him, recommissioned him, and sent him back to the danger zone to stand for righteousness, to be unpopular and misunderstood, and to bear witness.

III. There is the message. It is really quite simple. No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.The world robs people of their dignity. Sin brings shame. Racism, sexism, elitism, nationalism, sin – all inflict shame. All marginalize and categorize people, all put people into boxes and sort them out, grab for power, oppress for wealth, and bombasticize for dominance. The priests of Baal were an elite shaming and oppressing the people with a religion of fear. Pharaoh was focused on his own self-interest and ruthless in the pursuit, but he was shamed and terrified of what would come upon him. The disciples were shamed and terrified by fear of the unknown.

The gospel came in the person of Jesus who declared Himself Lord and invited rich and poor of all backgrounds to follow Him as equal partners with each other in His kingdom. His call brought people dignity.

Paul defies all racial categorizations when he declares that there is no difference between Jew and gentile. The same God blesses richly blesses ALL who call on Him.

O the message says:

  1. God is generous, a God who richly blesses all who call.
  2. The God desires to save, reconcile, and redeem broken humanity.
  3. All people are equal in the eyes of God.
  4. We all need to turn from serving self to serving God by declaring that Jesus is Lord.

IV. Finally, there is the one who receives the message, hears the message, believes the message, and confesses Jesus as Lord.

This is also us.

  1. We must receive the message from someone.
  2. We must hear the message.
  3. We must believe the message.
  4. We must confess that Jesus is Lord.
  5. We must commit to follow Him and then, follow Him.
  6. We must be ready to be sent, to stand, to proclaim.

I never promised to completely flesh this out for you, supply the illustrations, of finish the message - just give you some notes and encouragement.

Call out the evil by name today. It is White Supremacy. You can do it and remain expository and, if it is your practice, stay with the lectionary.

 I do not recommend floating around from topic to topic with the winds of current events --- but  do not ignore them. This one is not just current. It is long standing, systemic, and ignored. Let the scriptures inform you and let them challenge the hearers to a new level of hearing, believing, and repentance.



On the Line

Few of us experience such a dramatic choice or challenge - the face almost certain death for an ideal, a dream, or the call to take a stand ...

... or for glory!

Consider if you are prepared to die.

From the 1989 film, Glory starring Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman, we see a prayer meeting. They all participated as if everything depended on what happened there and then.

It did.

The next day, they charged a hill and died.

They sought to take the fort, but failed.

They died as many have before and since in the heat of battle.

They died and their courage is remembered, but here it is their faith that shines as the source of that courage. It is their faith the gives them strength to face whatever lies ahead.

Today, we are called upon to take risks.

It may be to place ourselves on the hill of vulnerability where the attacks may be personal. emotional, or physical.

We do it for truth, for justice, for those who cannot stand for themselves or for those who need us to stand with them so they can keep standing.

We cannot expect everyone to support us or understand.

But we must stand and sometimes march forward.

What is your hill to charge? What is your fortress to capture? What is your resolve? What if you fail? What if you don't? Will you charge the hill?

Pray for the strength to face whatever you must face tomorrow. It will be available to you when you need it.



Let's Grow Old

"At twenty a man is full of fight and hope. He wants to reform the world. When he's seventy he still wants to reform the world, but he knows he can't." - Clarence S. Darrow

I guess I'll have to wait 16 years to find out, but I do not believe that is true in all cases.

I know people who have truly awakened for the first time at 70.

Nelson Mandela was nearly 72 when he was released from prison and began to reshape South Africa. At 91, he is still reforming the world.

Harlan Sanders did not start Kentucky Fried Children until he was 65 and invested his Social Security check. Sanders allegedly had 1,009 rejections when trying to establish his franchise.

Others remained active well into their golden years.

Big dreamers never stop dreaming and hoping. They do so because they believe they can make a difference.

Darrow may have been right about a couple of things:

1. We learn we cannot change the world all by ourselves. It takes teamwork, community, and cooperation.

2. We learn that it can't be done overnight and we may not live to see all the changes we desire. The writer of Hebrews says that the heroes of old days died in faith embracing a promise that would only be fulfilled in later generations.

However, that is no reason for discouragement because real dreamers have visions that extend beyond themselves and their lifespans.

Growing old is and can be a wonderful thing.

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"
- Robert Browning 



Keep Going On


You've got to keep going on, my friend.
Somebody is in a storm today. I just know it is true.
In my spirit, His Spirit is praying for you.
I don't have to know ... but if you want to tell me, you can and I will pray more.
I just know that this is for someone. There is a stirring in my soul as I invite you ...
... to keep going on ... with me ... with Him.
You are not alone. Nor are you abandoned.
Today is an unexpected opportunity to keep going on.


Write It Down


I have boxes of notes. Some are disorganized, mis-categorized, and undated, but they have had and may continue to have a function in my life.

You see, somewhere in the maze of thinking that occupies the landscape of my muddled mind is some machinery that operates only in response to what I commit to paper. If I don't write down a goal, objective, intention, thought, or strategy, it almost doesn't count. Is that just me, or do you have such a mechanism?

I think most of us do and that for many it is in mothballs waiting to be reactivated into the service of our dreams.

You may ask what good are notes that cannot be found?

Good question. When you "make a note of it," something happens in your brain and a corresponding note is made and filed and that machinery goes into operation to bring other mental, physical, and spiritual resources to the aid of your stated intention.

When you make the note, you are sending out a memo to your entire internal "staff" to get busy on today's project. Consciously, you are reminding yourself. Subconsciously, you are activating an army of support and guidance.

If it is the intent of your heart and the direction of your thinking, you are also praying and rallying the forces of Heaven.

Of course, it is always best to have a good filing system, but until that comes into play, keep writing down your thoughts. Keep making "to-do" lists. Write down your dreams, goals, objectives, action plans, deadlines, and strategies. Use symbols, shorthand, words, and misspelled words. Write all over the paper or napkin. Stuff it in your shirt pocket. Look at it if you have a chance. Lose it if you must, but start by writing things down.

I have said it before and will say it many times again: Goals that have not been written are not worth the paper they are written (or not written) on.

It is an exercise with verified results. Practice the discipline of making notes to yourself and see what a difference it makes in what you accomplish.

Here is to your success

When We've Been There Ten Thousand Years

No less days

"For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night." - Psalm 90:4

" But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." - II Peter 3:8

 Where will you be a thousand years from now? Ten thousand? A million? A billion?

We live in time and space and are subjects to the limitations of such. Time is depleted and never regained. Not so in our Father’s house. There will be no wasted moments or years. There will be no waiting, no boredom, and no hurry.

Time will be turned upside down, inside out, and all around. It will be but a faded memory. Eternity, of which we are now at least somewhat ignorant, will be as real as the second hand is today. What is incomprehensible will be comprehended. What is vast will remain vast, but our capacity to experience it will be transformed.

We may not comprehend it, but we don’t have to be ignorant of it either. We can at the very least, know this: There is so much that we do not know now, but someday will know fully even as we are now fully known.

It is about becoming eternally minded, living every day with eternity in our focus, in our hopes, and in our hearts. We are called to live on a different plane with a an attitude of amazement.

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…” is how Paul put it in II Corinthians 4:18. It is a matter of choosing our view and sticking with it.

Can you imagine bright shining as the sun for eternity? I can’t either, but I can wait a little longer for it with the wonderment with which a child waits for Christmas. Now is the time to make decisions for eternity, because this is all the time anyone will ever get.

This is all the time that ever will be. We are about the step out of this realm into the timeless expanse of eternal glory. We are about to leap into God’s everlasting day.

Download When We've Been There




"O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." - Psalm 95:6

 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.-Luke 2:15


So, will Heaven be an eternal choir rehearsal? I doubt it, but if it is, we’ll love it – because we’ll be singing God’s praise and we won’t be bored, tired, or fidgety. We know that because once a thousand years have passed it will seem like we just started and the praise will be real and from a joyful heart.

Impatient folks will be focused and engaged; the lethargic will be energized; overachievers will be relaxed. All ears will be tuned and all voices will harmonize. There will be no frustration and no straining to hear or be heard.

Everything we do and everything we say will give praise to God.

When we play, it will be a symphony. When we walk, it will be a ballet of praise. When we converse with one another, it will be sacred opera.  There will be one great song where every breath will be a celebration of the glory of God.

Words cannot describe it; no thought can contain it; no description can ever be adequate.

There will be no less days to sing God’s praise and no less praise to fill the days than at the beginning. Everything will always be fresh and new. The seven step scale will be obsolete as new tonalities emerge.

It is going to be exciting!

Are you going to be there? There is only one way. It is the way of grace – amazing grace that saved a wretch like me and every other soul that has taken the journey to Heaven.

What are you going to do about God’s grace in your life? Receive it today from the hand that was pierced by nails for your salvation. Accept the gift and begin the journey.



The View from the Seeking Eye

Popular television shows aside, we are all looking for a view, viewpoint, or overview that begets perspective on lives that are otherwise, quite confusing.

What do we do? What do we think? How do we filter in the essential and out the extraneous?

If everything matters, does nothing truly matter? If nothing matters, why bother?

Well, everything does matter and some things matter more in the moment and the secret is to discern the moment and to be in it.

Then, other moments will gather around the appropriate poles like magnetic dust and form a picture. And wherever you are, the view will be clear.

Jesus said, "Seek and ye shall find."

Your task is to find the moments to abandon all tasks and seek.

Just seek. Seekers find. Non-seekers stumble. Grace often intervenes and surprises them - probably because there is something inside all of us that is always seeking. But folks with their eyes and hearts open stand a better chance than the rest of grasping the view at the right moment.

S - Some seek secretly -- and that is OK. Deuteronomy 29;29 says that "the scecret things belong to the Lord, our God. but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law." Psalm 44:21 says that God knows the secrets of the heart. Jesus instructs us to pray in secret. it is there that we can be totally open, honest, and free. No one judges us there and God has no reason to judge us when we are seeking Him.

E - Embrace the essential eagerness of expectancy. Live on tiptoes. In I Corinthians 12:31, Paul admonished his friends to eagerly seek the greater gifts, but to go beyond even that and seek love. It is love that we seek most earnestly and desperately. It is the source of love for which our hearts long. Embrace that eagerness because it is essential to who you are. In other words, that eagerness to love and be loved is the essence of who you are as a child of God.

E - Entertain everyone and everything without expectations. As you take in ideas, thoughts, people, and events, don't hold anything too tightly and do not be bound by what you expect them to "say" to you. God has surpises for you in life as you seek. Seek in and through whatever comes your way, but without prejudice. Like the psalmist in Psalm 27;4, desire most to seek and gaze. Keep your gaze loose. You will not grow weary or lack good things according to Psalm 34:10.

K - Knock. That is part of the "seek and find' promise. Along with it comes asking. If something seems resistant to giving up its hidden knowledge, persist, wait, tap on the door, ask questions, and keep probing. Sometimes you are closer to the unfolding of a mystery than you can imagine, but you grow impatient and move on. If you must move on, keep one eyeball on the prize. You have more than two seeking eyes. You have as many as you need. And you have knuckles enough to nag the nobs off of any closed door. Keep seeking.

What is the view from your vantage? It is the advantage of being wherever you are, acknowledging your presence in that place and moment, and availing yourself of the opportunity to seek - then and there in the here and now.

Don't fret over what you do not, as yet, understand. Let some sunshine in and enjoy the view.



Have You Considered My Servant, Job? The Question Is the Answer

Have You Considered My Servant, Job?

Here is the deal. God, on speaking terms if not friendly terms, asks the adversary (His, ours, everyone's) if he has thought about Job.

Job is a good guy, one of the original good guys. God is asking as if He wonders if the Satan is impressed.

He is not.

Nor is The One surprised.

Satan has a question of his own.

Does job serve God for no pay? After all, he is pretty well off, protected, and blessed. Is that why He has reverence for His Creator, for what he can get out of it?

Most of us, in our most honest moments of self-examination, would admit that we expect something from the deal. Job is plunged into such a season of introspection that he wonders about it himself.

Stripped bare, he has no "fall-back" except to somehow understand himself in terms of His relation to The Eternal.

Personally, I would be happy to think that the accuser/prosecutor/adversary never considered me ... but I know better. If he didn't exist to mess with me, something inside me would probably create him ... but he does and I don't have to. I would be equally satisfied never to confront the question of why I reverence God - just to do it ... but that is not possible either.

It all happens in spasm, tension, and apparent chaos out of which emerges unexplained and explainable shalom (I thought about saying, "order," but it is really shalom.).

Is the BIG question ever answered?

In the end, Job finds peace, not in knowing the answers to his questions, but in encounter with The One who keeps bringing them up to us and plunging us into existential reflection.

In the end, it is all about relationship, encounter, love, and even questions ... but very little about answers.

With all affection for Andre Crouch, and with heart agreement regarding his musical pronouncement that "Jesus is the Answer," I am more impressed this day with the troubling and peace-provoking reality that He is also the Question.






I was lifting weights. 

I suppose I lifted a bit too much -- or for too long --- or on top of an injury --- or something.

No pain, no gain. I know and embrace that. I also know that I can overdo it. There is a balance to it all and sometimes I don't know where the edge is until I've gone over it.

All is well. We break down tissue and the healing brings development, strength, and a host of benefits.

None of those dead weights achieved any benefit from being lifted by me. I received them all. It is different with lifting people. Then, the person lifting and and the person being lifted are both blessed.

So, I thought I'd see what we could do for an acronym on "lift."

L - Love - No to be trite, but if what we do to lift another is not moved by love and enfused with love, nothing positive has happened. It is always about the other person and never about ourselves. When I lift weights, it is about God and me. When I lift people, it is about God and them and I get benefits in a peripheral way.

I - Intuition - How do you know when to encourage, edify, or lend a hand to help? You learn to feel your way through it. You do that by developing the vulnerable art of sensitivity. For some, it comes easy. For others, it is counter-intuitive to be intuitive. However, by slowing down and using all of our senses, we will know when we are needed.

F - Fight - When we lift a weight, we are fighting resistance. The resistance is the weight, but the greater resistance is within us. We press against what seems to be an unmovable force with strength we do not know we possess. And that force retreats. We are lending our shoulders to a soul who does not know he or she can move upward. We are not fighting their battles for them, but with them. We become a team and rejoice with them when they overcome their resistance. In the process, we realize that we have overcome much as well.

T - Today - The question is, and always is, "Who can I lift today?" We make ourselves available and stay available. If we are willing, the one who needs a lift will cross our paths. If will happen because the world is full of people who are struggling. Some are discouraged. Others just need a hand. God will bring you into contact with people who need a lift and with others who will lift you. After all, it is also His work:

"He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the 
ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of 
honor. "For the foundations of the earth are the LORD's; upon them he 
has set the world." I Samuel 2:8 (NIV)

Day Is Dying and So Are We ... But Not Just Yet


image from
I took one of those online tests of life expectancy a few years ago. Since it was produced by the insurance industry which invests in guessing these things, I give it some credibility. At the time, they said my life expectancy, given m lifestyle and general health was about 89.

I either inflated or deflated by report of general health this time and came up with 86.

I assume I will need to work most of those years -- so that may extend things a bit ... or shorten them.

But I will die some time in the next 30-45 years give or take.

 That is fine. We will all die. "Fine" comes from the same root at "finite" and "finish."

Life is only fine, as is death, if there is an inevitable conclusion to wrap things up here and move on to what is next.

It is 12:49 PM,

There is so little time to get everything done ... tomorrow ... and the rest of my life.

And I  I am sure I have wasted so much of it today.

I cannot do that tomorrow nor the rest of this day. I cannot. I will not.

But how do I judge waste or wise use of time?

There will come a time this evening when this will be true in order to insure a good start on "tomorrow" I have to close out "today," which will then be "yesterday."

I must create a boundary between the two, a buffer that is sleep. Every finish is a refining for a fine new day to come.

I have "wastes" some of today and I have learned a few things in the process. I cannot tell you what it is at the moment, but it is there.

In the meantime, I am not going to call it quits. I cannot improve on what is past, but I can surely embrace now.


The Journey is the Destination

image from

" ... I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God. " - "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers.

We are all at sea. We are all vulnerable to waves and apparent chaos. He comes walking toward us and we ask, "Where are we going if we follow you?"

It is, perhaps, the wrong question.

"God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now."

So, we walk on it with Him ... and the journey is the destination.

Three Things to Do in a Hurry


I am in a hurry.

I do not like wasting time.

I have some time ... but not much.

I can either do something or write about doing something.

That gave me a title and a premise. What are three things a person can do in a hurry that are valuable in their own right and not just killing time?

THINK - That is one thing. A person can take a moment and reflect, retrospect, or connect the dots on multiple strands of thought. Not usually thought of as something we 'do," thinking actually takes some time, but can be accomplished in small bytes of time.

BLINK - That is another thing. One can close one's eyes and rest a moment. In that resting, one can meditate, cogitate, and integrate one's thinking and experiences. What is wrong with just interjecting and inflicting some margins here and there. If margins give you migraines, then migrate to the third thing you can "do."

WINK - Find someone in proximity to you and engage in a short conversation. If you must consider it networking, exchange business cards. Whatever you do, ask questions, listen, and mentally record what you learn. Talking to people is not just a space filling activity; it is life-enhancing.

If you don't care for those three suggestions, you can always just raise a STINK about how much time you are killing. I don't recommend it. I would prefer to use time to give birth to new and living ideas and relationships.

That is how I just spent the last ten minutes of my life since I started this entry. Now, I must leave for a meeting.


Maybe we have to move ourselves.


It is time to get going
We sit ... and wait for something to move us.

But nothing does.

We wait some more.


Then it occurs to us that maybe, just maybe, we have to move ourselves.

Then, in moving, we figure out what we are doing and where we are going.

It is really hard to move anything with the brakes on.

It is time to get up and get going.

"The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!" Proverbs 19:20



Getting Organized

If you think there will be some good advice or helpful tips here, you might want to click on. Getting organized is one of the hardest things I do. Staying organized is harder.

And that is what I am doing this morning with my home office, my papers, my email, my computer files, and whatever else seems to need drastic attention.

And that is why I am taking the time to blog. I also went to my garden and did some weeding. Do you have any idea how much I hate weeding?

However, I need to do at least some of this so I can move on to a multitude of projects.

Did you know that the word, "organize" cannot be found in the Bible? Not in the KJV, the NIV, nor the NASB. However, it is in The Message 19 times.

The first is Joseph advising Pharaoh on how to cope with the coming famine and plan ahead for seven years of want. It will involve delegation and organization of a network of leaders who will implement a plan that gathers around a central theme.

In the NIV, the word, "order" appears frequently. Once it refers to a life that is swept clean of an evil spirit, well ordered, and yet, empty of real substance. The enemy returns and brings back a van load of compatriots to reoccupy the house. One moral is that organization is not always enough. There must be something to organize and it must be integrated around something or Someone worthy of being the Central Idea (Logos-Word).

I received a distracting phone call as I was writing this about a matter of real urgency. Is it a distraction or is it part of the unifying theme (as I hope taking a break to write this is)?

I don't really know. I told you that I was really bad at this.

However, i do get the point about central, big, unifying ideas.

And I am working on that.

Now, where did I put my to-do list?

The Dangers of Experience

If an email has the word "Mr" in the "from" box, I always assume it is related to the "Nigerian" spam-scam. The same is true if the opening line is "Dear Beloved in Christ."



Experience can be a great sorting tool. It can be a great wisdom enhancer. It can also be a deadly "limiter."

We have to strike a balance between trusting the lessons learned from experience and being blinded by them.

What if someone really does use the term "Mr" for reasons of their own? What if a person really does consider me to be "beloved in Christ" and chooses to address me that way with sincerity and grace?

90% of the time, my hunches are correct ... but I must be cautious not to miss something importance in the quest for efficiency an safety.

Wisdom is one of the great biblical values, but it is also one of the first great temptations. As I sometimes feel smug about those few areas where I feel wise, I am reminded of our common experience with Miss Eve:

 "When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." - Genesis 3:6

It was just a little voice I heard in the back of my head as I was "sorting" and deleting my email one morning.

"Not so smug, Tom. Your experience does not encompass the entire universe of possibilities!"