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June 2023

Collected Quotes from the Last Day of June

From myself and from others:

And i quote some more

What comes out of your mouth not only reveals who you are, it shapes who you are becoming.

Everywhere I have sought rest and found it not except sitting apart in a nook with a little book - Thomas A Kempis

"Beware of the man of one book." - Isaac D'Israeli

"What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind." - T.H. Key

"It is best to rise from life as from a banquet, neither thirsty nor drunken." - Aristotle

"To live long, it is necessary to live slowly." - Cicero

Hometown prophets are without honor according to Jesus. Why such contempt for the familiar?

"The fewer the words, the better the prayer." - Luther

"Almost all quality improvement comes via simplification of design, manufacturing... layout, processes, and procedures." Tom Peters

Sometimes it just does not get done and all you can do is apologize and embrace the next challenge. It is hard for hard drivers to do, but it is where great grace meets human inadequacy and peace emerges from the dust of burnt coals.

There is sorrow here today. But we are all OK and the mood here seems calm amidst the anger on both sides. I find opinions are sometimes unhelpful in such times. Prayer and concern are always helpful. Peace begins with me as I follow the Prince of Peace into a turbulent world.

What will it take for there to be much joy in your city?
"So there was much joy in that city."
(Acts 8:8 ESV)

"Like electricity or the expanding universe, moral life is there whether or not anyone understands it. It does not go away if we have no "science" or knowledge of it." - Dallas Willard

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” –T.S. Eliot

Pillar People

Pillar of people

Pillars of the Church

And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. – Galatians 2:9

 We have all heard people described as “pillars of the church.” Paul calls the church itself a pillar and ground of truth (I Timothy 3:15) But he also calls James, Cephas, and John people who have a reputation as pillars of the church. What does it mean to be a pillar?

P – Participation in Christ.

The pillar is part of the temple and a church member is a member of Christ. What makes us part of His body and building is our participation in His life. What did these men have in common with Paul and Barnabas? It was Jesus and the life that they shared in Him.

I – Investment.

A pillar person is someone who has invested life and eternity in the Master and His message. All  of his days belong to Jesus. All of her resources are at the disposal of Christ’s kingdom. That person is thoroughly invested in Christ and His church. The men of Jerusalem were so invested in the life of the Body of Christ.

L – Living by Faith.

A pillar person is committed to the faith life. That person is an example of faith encourages faith in others. That person can perceive grace and promotes grace.

L – Loving One Another.

A church pillar promotes love and fellowship. That person is an embodiment of the love of Christ as were the pillars of the Jerusalem church as they extended the right hand of fellowship.

A – Adoration of the Lord.

The church is a worshipping community. Pillar people understand that and are worshipping people.

R – Reaching Out.

It was never a question whether the pillar-men would join Paul and Barnabas in God’s mission to preach the gospel. The only question was which direction each would go and what people each would pursue. Pillar people are personal evangelists and are fully engaged in and committed to the larger mission of the church to reach the whole world for Jesus.

S – Serving.

Church pillars are primarily servants of Jesus and one another. They cannot and do not have “king complexes.” They become great by being lowly. The pillars of Jerusalem swallowed their pride to welcome new leaders and so must we.


Pray for Your Area Code or Zip Code Today

Area code prayer
A Prayer for the Community
God, you know the heart and soul of our area code and zip code
You know the pains, the hurts, and the flaws of the people you love here.
You know us.
You know that we are among them and share their weakness.
We are as weak, hurting, and flawed as our neighbors.
We are your church, ambassadors of your Son.
We have been called out of the world and sent into the world.
You have anointed, appointed and empowered us to bear witness, to carry light and your image.
May we hesitate before we speak so that the words we do speak will be gracious, true, and loving.
May we breath deeply of the Wind of Your Presence that we may be bold enough to be prophetic, and humble enough to kind.
May we not lose heart.
May we not be sucked into a spirit of pessimism and never over-inflated with a false sense of shallow optimism.
May we experience and profess deep joy.
Break our hearts enough that we may truly love our neighbors as ourselves.
Give us eyes that see their experiences from their perspectives.
Rid us of defensiveness, divisiveness, and disdain.
Help us to think your thoughts with you and to have the clarity we need to move forward together, one church, one people, many congregations in this Fresno Area to build, with you, your Kingdom.
In the Name of the King, may we walk, talk, live, and love like Jesus.

Three Questions

Three querstions from jesus

Jesus inserts a probe into the deep places of our hearts whenever he asks searching questions. Even the most practical interrogatives cause a pause that is sharp enough to penetrate our motives, thoughts, and fears.

He asks the questions we are ultimately asking ourselves but find difficult to face.

Luke 8 records three of them:

"Where is your faith?" (v 25)

What do you really believe? How profoundly do you believe it? How does what you believe drive you, define you, and shape you? Is your faith transferable between the changing circumstances of your life? Is it immune to revision when it is challenged or stretched by hardship? Just because the boat you are in is riding the storm and death is a possibility, does not mean that any enduring and ultimate truth has changed - only your questions. His remains the same: Where is your faith?

Jesus asked this question of his friends who were suffering through storms outside of themselves.

"What is your name?" (v 30)

Is it "Legion" because you are many and are tormented by discordant and destructive voices within your soul? Do you know your name - your authentic name? Do you really know who you are - the 'you' you were meant to be, full of wonder, potential, and joyous grace? Have you come to peace with yourself as one who is beloved of God and called to a life of purpose or are you living among the tombs, flailing and beating yourself without mercy?

Jesus asked this question of a man whose storms were within him, who had not known a moment of peace for years.

"Who touched me?" (v 45) 

You cannot remain anonymous to Jesus. He wants you to hear the question and know that He knows that power has gone out of Him to you whenever you reach to touch the hem of His garment. Do you think He does not notice you, that He does not care, that you cannot reach Him? A woman whose body had failed her for a long, long time was desperate enough to hope for healing. Later a group of mourners would reach out for one last tidbit of hope for a little girl who had slipped into the grip of death.

To the woman, He would say, "Your faith has made you well."

To the little girl, He would say, "Little girl, arise."

Who touched me? That is the question of knowing of His knowledge. It is the question that opens our eyes to the reality that in our loneliest circumstances, we are never truly alone.

Some storms attack our bodies and ours alone and isolate us. Jesus see, hears, feels, and knows.

These are the questions that are posed to us today.  In some ways, they are all about the first. If we know where our faith is, we can know who we are and that we have touched Him who has the power to still the storms or see us through.

Two Eight-liners

I sure hope you do not agree with everything I say.
Think for yourself.
God gave me my brain and God gave you one that works equally well ...
Maybe better,.
But I know one thing, if one of our brains was enough,
one of us would not need to be here.
And we both are.'
So there!
Assume less than you suspect.
Inspect even what you expect.
Squint the eye examining minutia.
Ask more questions than you answer.
Preface your declarations with wiggle room for change of mind and heart.
And yet, somehow, live with confidence.
Learn trust.
Relax and believe hope.

Love Test

Test of love


“I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.”

- II Corinthians 8:8

There is something within you that is full of sincere love, something that desires to give of yourself completely to God and others. It is that new nature imparted by Jesus to you in conversion that pants for God and longs for His love to flow through you.

One of the easiest ways to create resistance is to push people to do what they don’t want to do. The Apostle Paul understood this. His method was not to badger but to help people to find that part of themselves that wanted to do what God wanted them to do.

It was that quality in the Corinthian Christians to which he appealed regarding the offering for the poor saints in Jerusalem. It is that part of ourselves to whom we must appeal as we flip the dial of our lives from the flesh to our new nature in Christ.

Real commitment cannot be coerced or manipulated. It must flow from a heart of love. It was love that compelled our Lord to take up His cross and it is love that draws us to the cross and prompts us to take up the cross and follow Him. Much has been said about sacrifice and giving. It is God's unspeakable gift in Jesus that paints the eternal masterpiece of loving sacrifice. Love and sacrifice sanctify commitment and communion.

Sometime soon, you will partake of the Lord’s Supper.

We come to the Lord's table because His love led Him to offer His body and blood as a sacrifice for our sin that we might be saved and might have the opportunity to commit our lives to something significant and eternal. In a dark world, it is His life being expressed through our lives in sacrificial love and commitment that will light the way for others to find significance and hope.

Come to the table of grace daily with sincerity and joy but also with reverence as you remember Him and prepare to worship.

Thoughts on Forgiveness

Forgive cost

Forgiveness is a scandal. Forgiveness is irrational. It is out of balance, disproportionate, beyond our capacity, humanly unjust, and controversial ... and very, very real, liberating, and healing. It is always premature and it is always timely.

God forgives you. He does not excuse you or your deeds. He forgives you. He does not force you to accept forgiveness, but He does not cease to offer it.

Society may not forgive. Rational people may not. History may not. The justice system may not. But God does and God's people do as they open the channel of giving and receiving it in their own hearts.

The magnitude of the offense is not nor ever is the issue. Your remorse is not the issue. Deterrence is not the issue. There is no issue. This is beyond issues.

The only issue is the issue of blood from the hands, feet, and side of Jesus.

"Father, forgive THEM..."

It cost God to forgive. It costs God to forgive. To maintain truth and justice while extending mercy can tear at the heart of humans and of God. To be angry and to sin not is tough. But bitterness and hatred are tougher and more toxic.

God invites and equips us to do the same as He does. We cannot demand it of others or of God for ourselves or anyone. But when He enables us to give it, we receive more than we give.

It also costs us to receive forgiveness because it implies that we know we need to receive it and makes us vulnerable at levels that evoke it from us. It strips us bare and hangs our lives on crosses.

Sometimes it may be too early to talk about it because one must process what it is that is being forgiven. Yet, here is the scandal. It was brought to bear upon us by the victims of a terrible atrocity recently and no one has the right to criticize them for it. What they did was because their primary identity was not their skin color that made them a target or their ideology or their victimology. They identified with the Forgiver.

A racist was confronted with a God who is no respecter of the arbitrary labels we assign to human being.

Those forgivers are first and foremost, children of God and, in forgiving, they declare that nothing can take that away from them. That is their dignity not their weakness.

I hear people marginalizing them, dismissing them, considering them weak, naïve, or unsophisticated in understanding their own emotions. How condescending!

Argue the societal implications of forgiveness all you like. Discuss who is authorized to offer forgiveness. Theorize its repercussions. It does not matter.

The voices of those who cry out, however prematurely you think it is, speak of their character before God and much more, the GRACE and power of God in their lives. His love in them is stronger than hate and it is love that shall prevail.

Nothing in forgiveness negates justice. Nothing minimizes indignation. In fact it fires up indignation at anything and everything less than God's love at work in the world and His justice lifting up every man, woman, boy, and girl.

I can only forgive the Boston Bomber or the Butcher of Charleston, or ISIS for the minimal effects of their crimes on me. Those who have suffered most and more have more to forgive and so many have. Their witness inspires me to forgive the petty little offenses I have suffered with such boisterous protest.

If God forgives those who create the most horrific, massive, and public crimes. How about you and me?

Why would we leave such a gift on the table?

Stephen, in Acts, led his accusers through long bible study and recounting of the grace of God at work in history and the response of the crowd was ...

... to pick up rocks and throw them at him until he died.

His response ... "God, don't put this on their account ..."


God forgives you and it is irrationally scandalous.

What are you going to do about it?

Another thought on personal forgiveness is that it allows us to move beyond localizing evil in one or two people so that we can fight the insidious systemic evil that gives birth to the individuals who carry it out. It is a form of corporate repentance , confession , and seeking for God. It also puts the one forgiven on notice that they have done wrong and the only way to wholeness and redemption is presented in the message of mercy, grace, and repentance.

Meaningful and Merry Monday Morning Meme Memories

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Born this day in 1892. More quotes here from Miss Buck:

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"... an empire that depended on love ... millions will die for him. " - M.L. King, "A Knock at Midnight"

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Quotes by Dag Hammarskjöld

It is easy to be nice, even to an enemy - from lack of character.

The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the indifference of others.

What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one to share my burden, but this: I have only my own burden to bear.

Forgiveness is the answer to the child's dream of a miracle by which what is broken is made whole again, what is soiled is made clean again.

In our era, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.

To forgive oneself? No, that doesn't work: we have to be forgiven. But we can only believe this is possible if we ourselves can forgive.
Your body must become familiar with its death -- in all its possible forms and degrees -- as a self-evident, imminent, and emotionally neutral step on the way towards the goal you have found worthy of your life.

Life yields only to the conqueror. Never accept what can be gained by giving in. You will be living off stolen goods, and your muscles will atrophy.

Praise those of your critics for whom nothing is up to standard.

Your cravings as a human animal do not become a prayer just because it is God whom you ask to attend to them.

Want Ads We No Longer See

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If you shy away from paradox,
You'll be left with only one doc.
Sometimes, a second opinion is in order.
Sometimes you can get both perspectives from the same Source.
God sometimes scrambles our understanding to lead us to His simplicity and clarity.
News feeds come & go.
Hot stories, hashtags, & outrages well up, & swell up.
Themes recur. The same sins take different forms & expressions.
1st, I must look in me.
"See if there be any wicked way in me ..."
& pause only briefly before breathing,
"Lead me in the way everlasting."
I lead nowhere unless I follow someone or something.
Who & what I follow determines where & how I lead.
Where I lead matters.
How I lead matters.
The choice to follow Jesus is hard.
It's not for those who wish to unburden their lives.
It's a light & easy yoke.
Real rest-not ease.
Which Kingdom is ours?
God's or Caesar's?
Not by might.
Not by power.
By the Spirit
Says YHWH.

The King Is Coming

Summer is nigh

Summer is Nigh

“… ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” -Luke 21:30-31 

Springtime is a precursor of summer. Every flower and bud encourage us to wait a little longer.

Vacation is coming. Soon there will be picnics and trips to the coast, long days by the pool, lazy nights on a hammock, and all the wonderful tastes and smells of summer.

At least that is the summer of our dreams.

We don’t think about mosquitoes and perspiration, stepping on bees and humidity. Did someone forget to tell the boss that summertime is one long vacation? Maybe this is a god time for a reality check.

Maybe it isn’t. Maybe this is a time better spent experiencing the swelling excitement of spring and the anticipation of summer fantasies because they remind us of a far more fulfilling and assured blessed hope.

Jesus used the illustration of budding spring to remind us of our future hope. It is the hope of the redemption of the whole earth, and endless summer with no humidity and no parasites. It is the hope of the end of evil and the reign of righteousness. It is the hope of his coming and his coming Kingdom of peace.

The lion will lie down with the lamb.

Swords will be beaten into plowshares.

We will sing a new song.

No eye has seen what God has prepared. Nor ear has heard it. No tongue has confessed it. The Kingdom of God is nigh at hand, and we have no concept of how wonderful it is going to be.

This is our blessed hope, beloved. Let the excitement build; let the chimes ring; let every voice be lifted in praise of Him.

He comes in glory!

He comes to reign! Hallelujah!

The King is coming!

Off the Cuff

Honesty is the antidote to all hypocrisy:
Honesty with ourselves.
Honesty with God.
Honesty with those closest to us.
Honesty with our perceived enemies.
Honesty with the world.
Honesty with our doubts, fears, and uncertainties.
Honesty that reserves possibility that we could be wrong ...
... that we might learn something.


So, allow me a few moments of honest reflection.

I really do want to be fair, so I am going to examine one or two of my assumptions - yet again. I do that every time I am challenged ...

... well, most every time.

We are not primarily critics of culture as citizens of God's Kingdom - but we are not outside of culture. We are participants and decision makers. We are the kings. We are in authority over this dominion. That brings a heavy responsibility upon us to listen, think, and speak.

I do think it is fair to let public people speak for themselves. We can read what they say in context or listen to their speeches in context. We can try to include context in our quotes and quote accurately. We should try to do that. We may come to some of the same conclusions, but at least we will do so with understanding and sometimes, we will correct ourselves.

Ultimately, it is about the idea.

For the Christian, it is about the intersection, contrast, complement, or enlightenment that is present in the space between idea and gospel. The gospel is the bigger idea for us and it includes some presumptions about a Great Commission and a Great Commandment as well as a fundamental ethic that is not shared by all in society - the ethic of the Kingdom of God.

I have no basis for arguing Kingdom ethics with those who do not share that presumption. I do not require or expect people to buy into my assumptions without that presumption in place.

I am not a big fan of exploiting momentary Fruedian slips or fleeting hashtags as the sole basis for criticism of public policy, but sometimes people really do say what they mean in a few sentences - maybe within 280 characters ... at least what they mean in the moment.

How does that translate into policy and what is my responsibility as a citizen two kingdoms?

I think we might also want to pay attention to the relationship between words and actions. In the final analysis, most ideas and prevailing narratives are much bigger than a few individuals, no matter how high profile they may be.

So, I find that going from specific to general and then, back to specific is often necessary to insure that the magnetic north pole is tuning my compass.

I will be working this out for quite some time.

When I stop, please do not send flowers to my grave, but make a memorial gift to some worthy cause.


Civility is important to me because of who I am-not because of who anyone else is.
I can't force it on anyone.
It doesn't mean I don't tell the truth or believe lies.
It doesn't mean I approve or pretend to approve.
It doesn't mean I stop resisting wrong.
It's my choice
So, I'll continue to try and be civil because my basic conviction about the dignity of every human cannot change just because I find it hard to respect their choices or views. That is a predetermined conviction and if it does not work out, oh well.
There will always be a way for me to express my feelings of repulsion or resistance to a tide of culture that offends my sensibilities. But I choose to treat people as kindly as I can without criticizing those who find that difficult or impossible.
And ... I will choose my indignation toward what might be uncivil very carefully, in context, and with a sense of balance... respectfully.
Specific situations may prompt me to think generally.
Generalized thinking prompted by specific stimuli is still general.
When I comment generally, the application is left to the reader.
My intent is irrelevant because I am trying to think more deeply than the moment or context.
When one is convinced that one is speaking truth because one has sought earnestly to process truth, one does not need to join the hypocrisy police force. Hypocrisy usually reveals itself without any outside assistance. If something is true in one context, it is true in the next.
So ... I really do not have time, energy, nor inclination to be a full-time hypocrisy cop.
But, if I were a cop, I might continue writing very objective tickets, one at a time, for running red lights.
I'd write the ticket and not make a speech about it.
Tell it to the judge.
In a general way, I will say that there is plenty of hypocrisy in the world and it is a sin ... maybe one of the biggest sins ... because it is rooted in the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves ... especially when we tell ourselves that we have no hypocrisy in us.
If Solomon could declare that everything he thought and lived amounted to vanity along the way of his pilgrimage toward ultimate truth, surely I can admit a little vanity and striving after wind in my own life. Humility before God and mankind is part of the soil of wisdom.

The Fine Art of a Realistic Self-Assessment


Laughing at self

I found myself really enjoying a chuckle. I completely disagreed with the political premise, but the humor was brilliant.

Hopefully we can get back to laughing at ourselves someday.

"It is so easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements compared with what we owe to the help of others.” --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here is a way to measure your self-control:

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I need folks in my life who can put me in my place. Here is a journal entry from about five tears ago:

"It turns out I was sporting a bad attitude about the backpack at Grocery Outlet yesterday. My wife set me straight. She is wise and good about that. I apologize. In the future, I will check it in, buy my water, and smile. Well, I did smile, but I also had an attitude. Apologies."
Psalm 90:17 - May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork.
" But Jesus called them to him and said, /You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” -Matthew 20:25-28 ESV
"Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away." - James 1:9 ESV

What Do You See?

Matter of perspective

It Is a Matter of Perspective!
Someone might easily say, "But all I want is God's perspective."
But God sees the all from every perspective and has a higher perspective than the cumulative perspectives of all ... AND ... interprets ours with clarity and cohesiveness ....
AND gives glimpses to each of us to share and to receive from others.

"When conflicting viewpoints arise in a circle of trust, we arrive at a critical moment. Now we can easily slip back into business as usual ... trying to talk each other into, or out of, some opinion. Now we may forget why we are here: ... to help each person listen to his or her inner teacher." Parker Palmer

It is not what I say or teach that matters. I am a prompter. I present the scriptures, as they are, with suggested applications and clarifying illustrations, but I have no power over what goes on inside the listener/hearer/disciple of Jesus.

That Voice inside of them is their true Teacher. That is the promise and that is the deal.

Eli sent Samuel back to his room to listen. His direction to little Sammy was to say, "Speak, LORD, your servant is listening."

As it turned out, it wasn't very good news for Eli, but oh well ... Eli's task was to make space for Samuel to hear. Elijah needed that space many, many years later. Jesus required that space often.

"I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." -CS Lewis


Yes; You Matter

Do I Matter?


Life matters

You may be asking that whenever you hear me or others say something like "Black lives matter" with passion, conviction, and tears.

Of course you do.

You matter to God.

You matter to me.

Yes, I can affirm that all lives matter, but the God who sees us as He saw Hagar and Ishmael tends to be both specific and general in His declarations of love.

You matter ..

Your life, your pain, your history, your dreams.


Indigenous lives matter.
"White" lives matter.
Lonely lives matter.
Broken lives matter.
Criminal lives matter.
Police lives matter.
John's life matters as do the lives of Mary, Sal, Jim, and . Letisha.

I missed many. But God misses none.

He calls them out in groups and individually as needed and whenever there is a loss of balance or need of emphasis or any hint that those lives might not matter as much as others.

And, when that happens, someone, somewhere is going to feel insecure, forgotten, or marginalized.

God has not forgotten you.

God loves you.

I love you.

I have some very strong views and plan to express them in ways that may seem very opinionated. I filter them through a long and devoted commitment to hearing the voice of God in scripture while reading the past and the present.

It does not make me always right, but it tends to make me feel I am more right than wrong about some things ... My perspective.

But that does not mean I can build a curtain around myself, my views, and those who share them, excluding all others and saying, "only our lives, perspectives, and words matter."

You matter.

I just wanted to say that today, because I have been struggling with it, leaning into the pain of the moment, how I sense God speaking, calling, and inviting in the moment.

I do not want to live deeply troubled over the fact that I strongly disagree with someone or they with me. Nor do I want to be intimidated by that or obligated to defend every point or convince every person in order for me or they to be ok.

Our "OK"ness comes from God.

Jesus spoke in capital letters when he emphasized that love for God and neighbor sum up all the law and prophets.

That has never been repealed and ...

... you matter.

 “Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”  - John Donne

Extra Daylight - A Compedium

There is beauty everywhere.
Some years ago, I found it on a tomato plant and journaled:
I found this beauty in my tomato plant yesterday and had to take a picture before I release him/her.
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Continuing Father's Day Reflection
Dad taught respect. We don't give it because people earn it, but because of who we are & who God made them to be.
Dad taught be to be honest and to work hard and that customers were always right - no matter how wrong they were.
Dad had this sentimental side that could not be hidden by his sometimes gruff exterior. You are what you are.
Dad was a salesman, could sell anything and sold many different things. He could talk to anyone. I thought he knew everyone and almost did.

Just what have I done?
Just what have I risked?
What have I laid on the line?
How much of my self have I been willing to give?
What have i sacrificed?
What difference have I made.
This puts things in perspective.
This motivates me for more.

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Is this fellow aLert?
No, he is a blobfish.
Lerts need homes. Keep a Lert!
- Homeless Lert Society of America
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.  This image, which was originally posted to Flickr, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 21 June 2009, 15:51 by Ragesoss. On that date, it was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the license indicated.
Some live with addition.
Some live with subtraction.
Division is a societal curse.
Multiplication can be positive,
But negatives are negated in the process.
Or so I hear?
Addiction is an entirely different matter.


Lose yourself peale

"The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have." - Norman Vincent Peale

Candle loses nothing

No matter how long a day may be,

No matter how long we live,

It's not enough time to say with glee,

"It's mind forever." So, give.

So, what is the big deal about proper punctuation?

Punctuation is a form of rest.

Neglect it, and you will start making about as much sense as this sign.

Remember your sabbath and keep it holy.

Punctuate your life!

May be an image of dog

Actually, since everything is flawed somehow or another, breaking "tgrough" might work instead of breaking "through."

Life breaks through

Six Cures for Madness

Beth moor on madness

History text books are written by conquerors, victors, and dominant cultures and few question them. But the broader and deeper histories are being written, even if they do not become the text books. They are written, documented, and sometimes oral.

At any given time and from any given vantage point, we will only have part of the story. If we read a lot, ask a lot of questions, and do some of our own work, we can broaden our perspective significantly. Just because some history is not known, does not mean that it is not powerful and driving many things in the present.

Cure Number 1 for Madness: Study history.


Sometimes we speak. Sometimes we shake our Heads.
But sometimes ...
We are at loss for words, speechless and our heads already hurt to much to rattle our brains.
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"Never write a line you'd be ashamed to read at your own funeral." - L.M. Montgomery
Cure Number 2 for Madness: Choose your words carefully.
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Do not confuse what we may define as nonsense as madness.
Be very selective with your harshest criticism and intolerance.
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Number 3 Cure for Madness: Critical thinking.
Number 4 Cure for Madness: Do what is right.
Do it for no other reason than this: It is right.
Isaiah 1:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
"Learn to do good.
Seek justice.
Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans.
Fight for the rights of widows."
Psalm 10:18 Common English Bible (CEB)
"to establish justice
for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that people of the land
will never again be terrified."
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Number 5 Cure for Madness: Think. Rethink. Think some more.
Reassess, reconsider. Change your mind when necessity and truth call for it.
Number 6 Cure for Madness: Remember the significance of everything and everyone.
No matter how insignificant you may feel or how small you may feel your contribution is, do not be shamed and do not feel small. Jesus notices:
Luke 21:2 " [Jesus] also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins."


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This was my father in his Navy uniform.
He never got on a ship.
He flew to San Diego.
He flew to Morocco where he occupied a listening outpost and decoded whatever was coded.
That's all I could know without him having to kill me.
He took pictures all over that country and seemed to have a great time.
But those were tough times and everyone who enlisted was in harm's way.
I don't think any sailor ever wrote as many letters home to his parents and sister as Jack Sims did.

The BIG Deal About Fatherhood

It is a BIG deal.

B - We recognize the BEST of manhood in a good father.

It is the best of manhood because it is an expression of the image of God in Him where he exercises the gifts that flow from the Fatherhood of God through his life and into the lives of his children. When a man is connected to the best God has to offer, he can give his best to others. Men were built for fatherhood and challenged in that role.

I - We celebrate INTEGRITY.

My father taught it to me and I have tried to teach it to my children. I try to pass it on to my grandsons and the young men and women I mentor. Integrity is who you are when there is no payoff for doing the right thing, when no one is looking, keeping score, or rewarding your efforts. Integrity is being fully integrated in what we profess, possess, and practice.

G - The big deal about fatherhood is that it is a GOOD thing because it is a GOD thing.

It is such a GIANT task that we need God's guidance, strength, and love to fulfill the role. It is such a GRAND thing that when your children have children, you become a GRAND-father. Our model for fatherhood is a Heavenly Father who loves us sacrificially and unconditionally and who holds us to a higher standard than we even imagine for ourselves, shaping us, encouraging us, and training us for GREATNESS.





The Hour of Belief








A Free P.A.S.S.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” – Romans 5:1-2, NIV

Peace -         The well-being factor

Access –      The welcome factor

Standing -     The well-put factor

Shouting -     The well-spring factor


The Hour I First Believed

“I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted” – Psalm 116:10 

“ We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” – II Corinthians 4:13

When did believing begin for you? Can you trace its progression through the stages of development? Can you identify a moment or an hour when all came to fruition and declare that as the hour you first believed?

For most of us the progression is a series of disjointed memories, but we can go back to a time when we made a statement of faith, a profession of our belief. That was, for us, the hour we first believed, and in that hour, grace was most precious.

Let us return to that hour and renew our faith. Let us return to that moment and reaffirm our commitments.

Let us return to that time and recommit our lives to Jesus Christ. Let us go back and remember how precious that grace appeared.

Let us gaze upon the beauty of grace as we once beheld it.

Let us receive grace anew with joyful hearts.

Let us be thankful again, as we once were, for the marvel of it all. Undeserving, unlovely, unrepentant, unbelieving as we were, grace invaded our lives. Everywhere we turned, we encountered grace. We sought to flee from its pursuit only to be hunted down at every turn by the Hound of Heaven.

And then we stopped running. That was we hour we first believed. And as Francis Thompson testified, we heard His voice:


"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am He Whom thou seekest!

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me."


And we joined in the song of Charles H. Gabriel,

How marvelous, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be.

How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love to me.”



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As we are drowning in rough waters of danger, uncertain waters of doubt, and  inevitable waters of death,  JC  says, "Peace, be still."

At some point, you may discover that your life's work is not the work for which you get a paycheck.
Others Said
"Make a difference about something other than yourselves." ~Toni Morrison
@lensweet: 3 of the most important words in the universe (after "God loves you" and "I love you"): "I don't know."

"Integrity is the cornerstone of trust." - Rabbi Shai Specht

Thoughts from another year:

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Why should we criticize and scrutinize our government?
Because we are set up that way.
We are all responsible for whatever our government does.
That is because we are not ruled.
Our hands are clean if we give oversight.
They are dirty if we do not.
We must be hard on ourselves -even our own parties.
We must be especially hard on our own.
That is where we have the most influence.
That is where we have the most responsibility.
This will get us through divisive times.
This will help define our common ground.

It Is History and It Will Not Go Away - But we do not have to repeat it if we remember.

On the Lighter Side

Not withstanding the positive theme of the great spiritual classic, in the real world, there are things we cannot "unknow" that thrust upon us a higher level of responsibility and calling.

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Why am I so preoccupied with the injustices I see?

Blame it on the stories I've deeply heard.

1st, the big story/stories in the Bible.

Then the stories you have told me & I have heard, received, & lived with you in the telling.

God & you and God in you passed on the pain.

Once we have heard, seen, or felt something through the eyes, ears, perspective, & pain of another, we cannot return to our own, old biased perspective. We cannot unknow what we have come to know.

The gift of empathy is something of a curse, but the curse is a great gift.

I would rather live under the burden of the curse than reject the gift and the promise ...

A better day is coming.

I believe that some day, God will open all blind eyes and reveal all of our blind spots ... not just those of all who see things differently than I do, but also, mine.

In the end, we shall see things simpler than we had dared to hope and more complex than we had dared to dream.

At some point, you may even discover that your life's work is not the work for which you got a paycheck.


Examine Yourselves


The Importance of Self-Examination

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you …” -II Corinthians 13:5. 

“… Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.…  -Psalm 26:2

When we were children and we went to the doctor, we could be comforted by the words, “Don’t worry; it’s just an examination.

As we grew older, we came to understand that such examinations could be quite uncomfortable.

Furthermore, we began to express concern over what the examiner might find and what the course of treatment might be. We have even deceived ourselves into thinking that if we could ignore a problem, it might go away. That does not work in the physical realm or the spiritual.

The tragedy of avoidance is that in trying not to hear the bad news, we miss the good news as well. 

Let God do the examination and show you what He wants you to know.  He has some things to say to you today about you and one is how much He loves you. He may also wish to show you some areas where He wants to work in your life to help you grow, to overcome some obstacles, and to exercise faith at a new level. 

Nothing is too frightening.  He loves you and can transform even the darkest places with His light of truth and love.

Listen, seek, and wait on Him.

Our task is to examine ourselves.

The ultimate question for us to ask is the question of faith. Are we in THE faith and are we acting and living in faith? If the answer is affirmative, there is no limit to what God can do in and through us.

Let God search your heart and life today and reveal Himself and yourself to you. Then, commit to taking whatever step of faith that He leads you to take with His help and in His strength.


Search me, O God, and know my heart today,

Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray;

See if there be some wicked way in me;

Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;

Fulfill Thy word and make me pure within;

Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;

Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;

Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine;

Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;

I now surrender, Lord, in me abide.

O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;

Send a revival, start the work in me;

Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;

For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

  • J Edwin Orr

copyright status is Public Domain



2 Corinthians  13:1-14

This is the third time I am coming to you. "Any charge must be sustained by the evidence of two or three witnesses." I warned those who sinned previously and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again, I will not be lenient-- since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me.

He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God.

For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith.

Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?-- unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed.

But we pray to God that you may not do anything wrong-- not that we may appear to have met the test, but that you may do what is right, though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we are weak and you are strong. This is what we pray for, that you may become perfect.

So I write these things while I am away from you, so that when I come, I may not have to be severe in using the authority that the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down. Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell.

Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Pentecost Season Continues

"All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?'" - Acts 2:12

The context is Pentecost.

The convulsion of paradox is the confusion of languages coalescing into the continuity of one message.

It is a convolution of the lingering dispersion of Babel and the babbling echoes of divisions and strife.

In conclusion, the posed the right question that all such phenomena raise: What does this mean?

The "religious" and "spiritual" questions are about meaning. In this case, it was God reaching, God seeking, God speaking and the human instruments and the extra-human manifestations were the means to the meaning - Gospel! Good News!

"Teach me to pray," is also a prayer.

"Teach me to pray," is also a prayer.

The longer I live, the more, not less, I make the same request to the Master, "Teach me to pray," sometimes realizing that such a request is also a prayer. If I can pray no other in the moment, for ignorance or willfulness, it is a place of meeting and if a place of meeting, a place of instruction, and if a place of instruction, a time of listening and increasing.

This year, as I intentionally pray this prayer, the Master is teaching me the prayer He gave His disciples in response.

He is teaching me daily.

I am the guy who squeezed 4 years of college into 6 and 3 years of seminary into 5 and a half. I need a lot of schooling and am like Andrew Murray, "With Christ in the School of Prayer."

No need to graduate until I stand in His unfiltered presence.

Said or Read on the Internet on This Day and Remembered Tooday

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“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
― Albert Einstein  
A man's life is what his thoughts make it. ~ Marcus Aurelius
(Sounds kind-a like Proverbs 23:7)
Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. - George Patton
There is power, process, purpose, protection, profit, and perspective in self-examination (1 Cor 11)
No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens. - Abraham Lincoln
Those who consistently comment on social media headlines and summaries without reading the linked articles remind me of students who show up for class discussions without doing the reading homework. They usually get the whole class off topic.
"It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes. " - Douglas Adams Words to live by
"Always verify information you read on the internet with reputable sources." - Thomas Jefferson
"Don't believe everything you read on the internet." - George Washington
May be an image of 1 person and text that says '"Not everyone on the internet is who they claim to be." -Booker T. Washington Togue-in-CPost'
When religious gatherings turn into patriotic rallies, one remembers when Christians were called upon to choose between the "Reich Church" & the "Confessing Church" led by Dietrich Bonhoeffer & Pastor Martin Niemöller. Gospel integrity will always conflict with nationalism.
This is not to say that patriotic rallies are bad. Just do not confuse them with religious gatherings or confuse religion with patriotism.
If you scatter thorns, don't go barefoot. - Italian Proverb
"Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, Let God be magnified! " -Psalm 70:4 
"Fly buzzing around.
Flyswatter in hand.
Fly lands on open Bible.
Well played, fly, well played."
- @ParsonPeeves 

Love More; Love Less

You do not have to love anyone less in order to love others more.

You do not have to give up your own story in order to hear and embrace the story of another.

You do not have to convince everyone in your tribe of the righteousness of the truth you are finding in order to keep hammering away at it.

This season of conversation is going to be a lot about exposure, relentless exposure to buried truths.

There will be a great deal of monologue and listening.

There will be talk of dismantling and fearful resistance, but everyone knows that dismantling comes before rebuilding and restoration.

Just watch “This Old House.”

There will be ignoring of criticism to be done.

You will have to repeat yourself many times.

You will have to accept that your good arguments will fall on deaf ears for the most part ... but you do not have to win every argument.

You must be true to what God is showing you.

You must participate.

“Send word to my brothers,” cried the rich man to Father Abraham.”

“They already know and have already heard,” replied Father Abraham. They will not believe, my son,” he said, “even if one comes back from the dead.”

Do not love less, those with deaf ears and hard hearts, but neither wait for them to understand and a agree.

Broaden your heart of love and sharpen your focus for what God is doing in this hour.

He has set a national table of conversation and invites all who will come.


WhatIDontNeedIn5Words to complain about my life.

WhatIDontNeedIn5Words - a calculator to do this.

Let's just wait and see how things pan out. #ThingsNeverSaidInIndianaJones

"But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay." - from Psalm 70

Word limits can either dumb down arguments or force us to choose words carefully and sparingly while introducing and pointing to bigger ideas and longer arguments. Thoughtful souls will engage their minds at deeper levels.

Social media is, in part, a library of classics & current literature for me . I cannot learn everything from the titles, but I can make notes for future reading & build a bibliography.


You Are the Flavor!

Midnight snack

Life is a feast and you bring so much of the flavor to the table.
Your big ideas!
Your energy!
Your vision!
Your enthusiasm.
Your willingness to serve people through your business and work!
Your passion to change the world!
You are the flavor.
What differentiates what you bring to the table is the passion with which you season the ordinary.

Come Down from that Tree, Zacchaeus

"I'm eating at your house today!"


Seeking Savior

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10

This simple word from the Master answers the criticism of stale religionists that He was spending too much time with sinners.

“Of course I am” is His implied reply.

“That is why I came!”

The news is good for sinners and bad for those who fancy themselves above such a call.

First, for the sinner, touched by God’s grace, it is the assurance that something better awaits our lives, that we are not beyond the reach of the gospel, and that we can change. The Lord is entirely ready to remove our defects of character when we are entirely ready to have Him do so.

He comes to our table as the friend of sinners and waits for our agreement with Him in prayer and for our humility in the asking. He is our friend, but He wants to make us His friends through conversion.

He is patient and compassionate and understands the frailty of our faith and commitment. He does not demand a great eruption of energy or resolve from us, but the humble act of petition through surrender. If we will present our lives to Him where we are and as we are, He can work a miracle of grace.

Are you ready to ask?

Second, it’s bad news if we are complacent and self-assured, if we feel we are better than everyone else, or if we sense no responsibility for bearing the cross of a witness. He has sent us as the Father sent Him. That means that our hearts must beat as His beat – for the lost.

It also means that when He sits at our table, it is not because we are worthy; it is because we too are needy and He came to seek and to save us as well.

Humbling thought, sin’s it?

The Thin Line of Remembering

Remembered and forgotten
There are days we remember along with their thoughts, impressions, and readings.
We are inclined to forget.
The line between remembering and forgetting recording, rereading, curating, aggregating, and repurposing.
Born this day in 1572 – Ben Jonson, English poet, playwright, and critic (d. 1637).
Ben Jonson's Works at 400 | The Huntington
"Truth is the trial of itself
And needs no other touch,
And purer than the purest gold,
Refine it ne'er so much."
- The Touchstone of Truth

On this day in 1963

June 11 on this day 1963


  • American Civil Rights Movement: Governor of Alabama George Wallace defiantly stands at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.


  • Viet Nam - Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Đức burns himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.


  • John F. Kennedy addresses Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which would revolutionize American society by guaranteeing equal access to public facilities, ending segregation in education, and guaranteeing federal protection for voting rights.

Warren harding


On this day in 1920 – During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading the Associated Press to coin the political phrase "smoke-filled room".

Warren Gamaliel Harding (November 2, 1865 – August 2, 1923) was nominated and elected the 29th president of the United States, serving from 1921 until his death in 1923. After his death, a number of scandals were exposed resulting in him being generally regarded as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.


On this day in 1776 – The Continental Congress appoints Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
On this day in 2022, I quoted Gerald May, M.D.

"Willingness implies a surrendering of one’s self-separateness, an entering into, an immersion in the deepest processes of life itself. It is a realization that one already is a part of some ultimate cosmic process and it is a commitment to participation in that process. In contrast, willfulness is the setting of oneself apart from the fundamental essence of life in an attempt to master, direct, control, or otherwise manipulate existence. More simply, willingness is saying yes to the mystery of being alive in each moment. Willfulness is saying no, or perhaps more commonly, ‘yes, but…’"
"But willingness and willfulness do not apply to specific things or situations. They reflect instead the underlying attitude one has toward the wonder of life itself. Willingness notices this wonder and bows in some kind of reverence to it. Willfulness forgets it, ignores it, or at its worse, actively tries to destroy it. Thus willingness can sometimes seem very active and assertive, even aggressive. And willfulness can appear in the guise of passivity. Political revolution is a good example." — Gerald May

Dumber than dirt
For some folks to feeler better about their own ideas and capacity for having them, they will need to reinforce their belief that you are dumber than dirt. Do not sweat it. You have time on your side.
Given time, lots of great things grow out of dirt.
That is why I am repurposing so much old material here,
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As Sheep Among Wolves

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"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." - Matthew 10:16

They were sent on a rapid, intense, mission.

They were told to go, with good news on their lips and in their deeds of kindness, deliverance, and healing.

They were not told to be sheep, but that they were sheep and that wolves lurked all around.

Expect it even now, for their urgent temporary mission has overlaps to ours.

Expect the dangers.

But go, nevertheless.

We are told to go in faith, trusting, accepting hospitality, and leaving the outcomes to God ... to stay when we are welcome and to move on when we are unwelcome, leaving the outcomes to God.

We are told to be wise, but also, to be harmless.

Such is the mission.

It is a great honor and privilege.

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Staying the Course of Faith

Stay the COURSE of Faith

The long and live version of this message:

God interrupts Abraham’s life as Abraham is living it and invites him to take a faith-walk for the rest of his life in:

Genesis 12:1-9

God alters the course of Abraham’s life dramatically. Let’s examine this word COURSE as an acronym for walking a life of faith.

First notice, that God and Abraham were on speaking terms.

12:1 Now the Lord said to Abram,

  • So the first requirement of this COURSE is in the C – CONVERSATION.

"Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you.

The next thing that happens is that God, in changing Abraham’s course, and in the course of the conversation, calls Abraham O-OUT of his comfort zone, OVERRIDING his plans and OBLITERATING his comfort zone without a road map. “Go from …” shakes us from our assumptions and patterns.

  • O-OUT

12:2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Then, God calls Abraham into a covenant. God makes a string of promises and offers blessings to Abraham and his descendants, but, it is at the end of this call to covenant is the clue to blessings, promises, destiny, and the whole faith journey. It was a journey to:


Our job is to the useful to God and a blessing to others because God’s purpose in calling and election and the exercise of our faith is UNIVERSAL.

Walk in faith so that God can use you for God’s own purposes universally to bless the world.

This all called for a life of responsiveness to God that started Abraham on his course and led him to continue that course to the end.

12:4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. op12:5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother's son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, 12:6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

Abraham had to make a choice that would inform all of his choices for the rest of his life. The choice was to obey God and follow God’s course for his life.

  • The R is for

Bit by bit, step by step, God revealed the path for Abraham and Abraham followed. This required submission to God’s plan and direction.

  • The S is for SUBMISSION

But we also need encouragement which brings up several e-words.

12:7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, "To your offspring I will give this land." So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 12:8 From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and invoked the name of the Lord.

  • E is for ENCOURAGEMENT. We are emotionally ENCOURAGED to continue on this course as God shows us a vision through a faith EYESIGHT to ENTER the EXPERIENCE of faith walking over a lifetime.

Sometimes to get to catch a vision of the Promised land that EVOKES our faith and E-MOTES our motion forward. WE do like Abraham; we build an altar there; we worship God; we call on the name of the Lord; we keep moving forward.

12:9 And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.

I am out of letters for the word course, but this is rather obvious: Any journey of faith as we follow the course set before us, happens in STAGES. So, our COURSE (singular) is made up of COURSES that may seem like separate journeys, but are all a part of one big journey.

Here how Paul describes Abraham’s journey in Romans 4:13-25

4:13 For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 4:14 If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 4:15 For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation.

4:16 For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, 4:17 as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations") --in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

4:18 Hoping against hope, he believed that he would become "the father of many nations," according to what was said, "So numerous shall your descendants be."

4:19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was already as good as dead (for he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 4:20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 4:21 being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

4:22 Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness."

4:23 Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone, 4:24 but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, 4:25 who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Dop the COURES template here and see, through Paul’s reflection, God’s CONVERSATION with us, how we come OUT of old attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and comfort zones into a new calling to USEFULNESS through faith that is counted as righteousness (ie … the right path where we are in right relationship with God.) Further, God REVEALS what we need to know to follow the course and ENCOURAGES us along the way as we pass through the STAGES of our lives.

I have left the illustrations for the end, and they all come from the ministry of Jesus, a tapestry of faith-stories that show us four people on their own courses of faith, exercising faith, and living it out in the critical moments of their lives:

Matthew 9:9-13, 18-26
First, Matthew shares his own story of how Jesus changed the COURSE of his life:

9:9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him. 9:10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"

9:12 But when he heard this, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 9:13 Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners."

Apply the COURSE to Matthew’s life:

C- He had a COURSE-Correction that grew out of an unexpected CONVERSATION with Jesus.

O – He was called OUT of one lifestyle into another.

U – He was called into a new life of USEFULNESS as a disciple apostle, and author of one of the 4 gospels and the Gospel makes Matthew’s experience UNIVERSAL in scope

R – Jesus REVEALS, to and through Matthew, to all, his own COURSE and purpose to call sinners.

S – Matthew, as we understand the backstory, SUBMITS to Jesus’ call and begins to follow in faith.

E – Jesus ENCOURAGES s all the people to begin their own course, to go, and to learn mercy.

S – The course, of course, is always in STAGES and there are  three more stage, implications, and implications in this drama around Matthew’s call to a new course, showing us that one person’s calling by  God, entangles all of us:

Thus, all the families of the earth are blessed:

A Synagogue Leader:

9:18 While he was saying these things to them, suddenly a leader of the synagogue came in and knelt before him, saying, "My daughter has just died; but come and lay your hand on her, and she will live."

9:19 And Jesus got up and followed him, with his disciples.

Notice how this man is already exercising faith and how it is changing everything about the course of his life in his moment of deepest crisis, sorrow, and anxiety.

A Woman with a Hemorrhage:

9:20 Then suddenly a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his cloak,

9:21 for she said to herself, "If I only touch his cloak, I will be made well."

9:22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, "Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well." and instantly the woman was made well.

Jesus commends this woman, with her quiet, unassuming faith-walk, whose course of life has brought her through profound pain and into contact with Jesus.

Back to the Synagogue Leader:

9:23 When Jesus came to the leader's house and saw the flute players and the crowd making a commotion,

9:24 he said, "Go away; for the girl is not dead but sleeping." And they laughed at him.

9:25 But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl got up.

The third illustration involved the Masses.

9:26 And the report of this spread throughout that district.

How many people’s life-courses were changed that day?

How many entered into a new CONVERSATION with God?

How many were shaken OUT of old assumptions and complacency?

How many would be USEFUL in proclaiming the UNIVERSAL call of God?

How many would receive a REVELATION of the expansion of the Kingdom of God?

How many would SUBMIT to the message of God in Jesus to learn the meaning of God’s mercy and grace to all?

How many would be ENCOURAGED in their own journey as they saw with their EYES what God can do? They were set in MOTION by the E-MOTION of God EVOKING their faith.


9:26 And the report of this spread throughout that district.

The report continues to spread.

The Abrahamic covenant and blessing continue through Abraham’s lineage, Jesus.

The report is being spread, even this morning, in Clovis, simulcast around the world, literally, and landing on our ears.

All the families of the earth are being blessed.

How does this alter the COURSE you will take.

This morning, you are being invited into a CONVERSATION with God and God is shaking your comfort zone, calling you OUT of uselessness and into UNVIERSAL USEFUNESS through faith. God is REVEALING something to your heart and mind that will change the course of your life forever. God is calling you to begin a new journey, a lifetime walk of faith. Will you reject the call or SUBMIT to it? God is ENCOURAGING you right now to submit and follow, STAGE by STAGE and STEP by STEP.

What will your response be?

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This is Sunday Morning's presentation:

From Weakness to Strength

Stand out as strong

Real Strength

… I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – II Corinthians 12:9

Whatever the thorn in Paul’s flesh was, we have all gained from it. That is because, whether we admit it or not, we are all rather thorny people. We could spend our days and nights picking at the thorns and begging for their removal, or we could move forward in grace.

We harbor delusions of self-sufficiency and adequacy because we simply do not understand the real source of real strength. Pride, ego, and self-centeredness blind us to our needy state. We deny the thorns if they don’t go away on their own and cover them with layers of hypocrisy.

Get real!

Worship is not an illusion. Nor is a time of glorified denial as we display the selves we wish to project to our brothers and sisters. We don’t come to church to parade our perfection. Worship is about getting real with God and one another so that God can become real to us.

In worship, we acknowledge real strength – that it is God’s and not ours.

We are commanded to be strong in the Lord – not in the flesh, not in our strength, not in our own will power. As we come, we bow before the Lord – and that is with humility and recognition of our own weakness. It is Christ’s power and not our own, we need to overcome that over which we are powerless. When we are weak, then we are strong because we rely upon the God of strength. When we come to that realization, we can truly worship.

Riches will fail.

We've lived long enough to know that power can be stripped bare and become as lowly as the fleeting breath of the ordinary soul.
Power, wealth, position, and prestige are rather frail.
The ability to buy favor will fade.
Riches do not last. Major companies, power-brokers of influence, and empires turn to dust daily and file papers declaring themselves bankrupt.
Trust in the power to extort will disappoint.
Vain hope will devastate.
Riches will fail.
Set not you hearts on them.
" Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them."
- Psalm 62:9-10 ESV

The 8th Day - Season of Pentecost

Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.
No photo description available.

The longest season of the Christian year is Pentecost and we are in it.

In some ways, we are never not in it.

We are living in the 8th day of creation.

Pentecost is the longest of seasons in the Christian calendar because it marks the ongoing activity of God's dynamic Holy Spirit in the world from the day of Pentecost till the 2nd Coming of Christ.

A wind, a flame of fire, a tongue,
And then, a new song to be sung.
It sounded forth and never ceased
Love expounded, grace increased.
The mystery found flesh once more
And deeper mysteries to explore.
One people once dispersed at Babel
Heard clarity amidst the rabble.
The Spirit came and ne'er departed
A life force we call church had started.
The distance from Genesis 11, Babel, to the birth of the church is Acts 2 is spanned by the one single event of Pentecost. The Spirit was poured out on each and every believer and a new day was begun. Where there was confusion, there is now clarity. At least seven matters were clarified that day:
1. The Meaning of Baptism – The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the spiritual reality behind baptism in water: identification with Jesus.
2. The Mystery of the Body – His presence creates unity out of diversity.
3. The Mystical life of the Believer – We can touch the “Holy Other.”
4. The Means for Broadcasting the Message to the Masses. Our immediate application is the
5. The Meaning of Brokenness – He takes that which is broken and transforms it, but only through the brokenness.
6. The Manifestation of Boldness – They preached with courage and confidence. These are the “greater works” Jesus spoke of.
7. The Mastery of Babel – What was lost is reversed from confusion to clarity. We can communicate the mystery in one voice.
No photo description available.
The Holy Spirit comes and brings together what has been disbursed. All nations are God's called and chosen.
No photo description available.
Kraut, Ronald. Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 9, 2019].
Original source:
One great message of Pentecost is the manifestation of God's presence contextualized in every culture and language.
And if the Spirit first descended in Cameroon, Pentecost might have looked like this:
No photo description available.
JESUS MAFA. Pentecost, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

Out of the Pit


Out of the pit safe


He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. – Psalm 40:2

Safety is not an ultimate value, but a temporal one.

Often, it is the most prudent and responsible thing to make choices that are safe and promote the physical security of those in our care, including our own bodies.

It cannot, however, be the driving force of our lives. If it is, it raises the question, “What am I keeping myself safe for?”

Safety is often misunderstood as the absence of danger or trouble or even risk.

That is not the characteristic of the life of a disciple of Jesus.

Rather, Christianity promises ultimate safety and the safety of ultimate things. God has brought us, by grace, “through dangers, toils, and snares” – not around them. These we have experienced fully and yet, safely, unscathed spiritually by external circumstances and with the confidence that grace will lead us home to eternal safety.

And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. - Ezekiel 34:27

There is a time and a place for being safe without ‘playing it safe” throughout life. It is grace, God’s grace that brings us to the safe place for God is the rock of safety for our lives.

The struggles are present to teach us the source of our strength.

The hardships train us to know that our Master is the LORD. We have come this far to realize that we must trust God for our deliverance.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.- Psalm 4:8

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. – Proverbs 21:31

While we look for false and temporal assurances, we miss the full impact of what peace, sleep, and safety in God really are. When we trust in what we can control, we falter.

Grace has “brought us safe, thus far.”

Nothing else could.

We neither earned grace, nor deserved it. It was simply grace, unmerited favor toward unworthy human beings whom God happens to love passionately and unconditionally.

What a blessing to be counted among them.

Tears in a Bottle

Flask tears

I have lost track of my tossings.
I have tossed; I have turned; I have shuffled the pages of my life; I have scuffled with the sages of my mind.
But, in all my hurry, worry, and flurry, God has kept track of my fleeting, bleating, self-defeating thoughts and often baseless concerns.
It is a lot of tossing to keep up with sometimes, but not a moment is lost.
" You have kept count of my tossings;
put my tears in your bottle.
Are they not in your book?" -Psalm 56:8 ESV

Principles Transcend Labels


I tried for years to practice these principles. It has become increasingly difficult due to outside pressures:

I always make it a point to forget what red & blue are as designations for political persuasions & states. I am always successful at that forgetfulness & have no need or desire to correct that deficiency. Seriously, I can't keep track & don't wish to.

Principles transcend labels.

I don't care what the branding is on a good idea.

If it is a good idea, it is a good idea -- same with a bad idea. The camp from which it comes is less important than where we can go with it and whether or not it propels truth or truth-seeking.

That being said - If I know where something is coming from, I might detect the attachment of an unspoken or unwritten agenda and I might keep my eyes open and my nose clear to sniff out the peculiar smells of being led in the direction of a sewer -yet with an open but aware mind.

I have found myself agreeing with someone and nodding enthusiastically many times and then realizing that I have wandered into a position I do not hold -- by accident (or manipulation).

So ... while I cannot afford to dismiss and idea, I can examine it carefully.

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." ~Mark Twain

"I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." ~~Socrates

"I trust him wholly, trust him only, trust him simply, trust him now, and trust him ever ..." - Charles Spurgeon

And here is another perspective.

Forgetting and Pressing


Four years ago, I asked this question and received 41 comments.

"If you could forget one thing, what would it be?"

Four years later, I still have two answers.

One is mine and it is contextual.

I really do not want to forget anything. I do want to process it, recycle it, interpret in the light of grace. Filter it through a mesh of forgiveness and acceptance, keep it in perspective, and utilize the knowledge to grow more myself and be more compassionate with others.

On the other hand, I hear the voice of Paul, speaking spiritually and relatively about another dimension of forgetfulness, the kind that moves both nagging knowledge and bragging achievements off the center mantlepiece of our visual focus and into our filing cabinets.

"Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 3:13-14, New International Version

Let us engage in that sort of forgetfulness that we may always press on.,

Let us press on.

Is any nagging or bragging memory preventing you from pressing on?

For Lack of a Unifying Theme - A Day in a Life

No photo description available.

Always, Never, and Forever

Apparently, it rained 14 years ago when I wrote this:

Change is constant ... one of the few constants. If we choose to be adaptable from the strong point of unalterable centers, we will stand the test of time.

It never rains in California in June ... yet ... it is wet.
We don't get thunder storms ... violates the norms.
Nevertheless, it is wet.
Nevertheless, the sky roared and exploded with light.
They must not be right ...
They who say never ...
For never is a long forever.

I have lived long enough to know that we can't afford to get used to anything or settled on any hard and fast norms or expectations that how things were is how they will always be.

May your day be filled with unexpected surprises of the wonderful kind and may every challenge be met with grace and confidence.

No photo description available.

Life in the Spirit

“… he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” From John 14:17

God is whispering in our ears, “Give me your hands and let me move them in my rhythm.”

God thinks of everything. His purposes are complex, but not complicated. His plan is to work in and through believers to accomplish what He desires in the world. To do this, He intends to inhabit us.

The Holy Spirit is the very presence of Jesus among us today. It is by the Holy Spirit that we become the Body of Christ in the world and that the world is convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment and hears the message of God’s love, grace, and forgiveness.

Jesus breathed on the disciples and said,’ Receive the Holy Spirit.” Knowing that they might consider that a once and for all filling and forget the need for constant refreshment and refilling, he told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. As we celebrate Pentecost this year, let us focus on the necessity of the Spirit-filled life if we are to see God accomplish great things in and through us.

When Jesus called Paul, He had a plan for Him. But Paul needed the power of the Holy Spirit in his life to realize his calling and act upon it. When Jesus restored Peter after breathing the Spirit into him, He questioned him about his love. Three times, He commissioned Peter to feed His sheep knowing that if Peter were to act upon his love and follow Him, he would need the power of the Holy Spirit in his life.

By faith, allow the Spirit of God who dwells in you to overflow within you and spill out His blessings to the world. Today, God is calling us to reach our friends, neighbors, families, and communities for Christ. We need the power of the Holy Spirit. We have no choice but to rely on Him.

Dove 3

Willie's D-Day

I sat with Willie as he was in the last days of his life at the V.A. hospital about 25 years ago.

He told me about his experience at D-Day.

He was an underwater demolition diver and he was in a boat just off the shore of German-held ground, floating without an oar in the night.

He could hear the Germans talking.

He and his comrades managed to survive, silent all night.

So many stories.

My hat is off to Willie who did that and so much more 79 years ago today.

D-Day: What happened during the landings of 1944? - BBC News



Fix It

I've been noticing that if I am alone and I spill something, break something, cut myself, do something stupid or have something stupid happen to me, my reaction is .... {drum roll} ... SILENCE ... loud, audacious silence I say nothing, grunt nothing, shout nothing. That tree fell in the forest and no one heard a thing because there was nothing to be heard.

Which means ...

I guess when I grunt and shout over such things, I must be playing to the audience and there must be a reason I do.

When I am alone, I just stop and clean it, fix it, or bandage it.

If You Had a Little Faith

Mustard Faith

Luke 17:5-6 New Living Translation (NLT)

The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.”

The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you!"

Consider Me Stoned

Stoned inner false prophet
On Stoning My Inner False Prophet 
So, what do we do with the violence, retribution, subjective judgment, and pitiless punishment described and mandated here? It sounds like something lifted out of context from the scriptures of other religions that we criticize for this.
Americans and Christians (not that they are the same) would never tolerate a summary judgment or capital punishment for apostasy!
Jesus rejected it for adultery.
What do we do with it? How do we embrace it as part of the history, the story, the living parable of truth that has, after hundreds of years of revealing itself/Himself, come to us in a person - God among us?
We embrace it and we take the essential lesson from it.
Love and serve God radically, ruthlessly, and exclusively no matter what other influences come. Shake them off. Spiritually execute those voices even if they come from the mouths of those most precious to you. Let nothing dissuade you from your love for and service to God.
"The second (commandment - in order of importance) is this," Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Jesus taught in context, historical and contemporary, with an understanding of the intent of the law to bring humanity back to that intent.
It was communicated effectively in its original context and comes to us as core truth in every time of history and cultural context.
We do not put the false prophets to death, whatever they say. We have more scripture that informs us of that. We do "put to death" the "straw man" that influences us away from fidelity. There are hardly enough rocks to stone that voice inside of me that persistently cries ...
"Worship this ..." or "serve that ... It will really pay off for you."
Hand me a stone!
I need to purge some evil from me. I have a plank in my eye and cannot see the stone in your eye.
Those dreams sound attractive.
Help me yank this plank out!
That prophet sounds credible and the promises sound sweet.
Where is that rock?!?
I am not going to lay a hand on anyone or throw a rock at anyone's direction because I am not in the desert anymore trying to get a society organized in a violent world. We are hundreds and thousands of years past those days and that theocratic government of governments.
But we still have the voices and the temptation.
It is daily and it is loud.
How do we execute those inner voices and expel those influences from outside that would turn us away?
That is what I am working on in me at this very moment,
"“If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst."
“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you." - Deuteronomy 13:1-11 ESV

Make Room

Make room


"Make room in your hearts for us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one. I do not say this to condemn you, for I said before that you are in our hearts, to die together and to live together. I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy." - from  II Corinthians 7:2-5

He is saying, "I was sorry that what I said when I told you hard truth made you grieve ... a little sorry, but ultimately glad, because you got yourself straightened out and you ended up with some real comfort."

Real comfort sometimes only comes through soul-grieving and spiritual introspection that cuts away at us and stones the mixed voices or dissent within our hearts.

The phony, temporary, temporal comforts to which we flea in avoidance and denial wear off like an aspirin. God's comfort is deep. It sometimes hurts going in, but it heals us in the process.

That is my personal take-away from this scripture this morning.:

"For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it—though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us."

"For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter. So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong, nor for the sake of the one who suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. Therefore we are comforted."

"And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all. For whatever boasts I made to him about you, I was not put to shame. But just as everything we said to you was true, so also our boasting before Titus has proved true. And his affection for you is even greater, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling. I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you."

(2 Corinthians 7:2-16 ESV)

Hashtags R Us

Why don't you cuss more often, Tom?
Well, I try to save it for the most shocking situations where I need to shock people with how shocking things are.
Beside, I have found some fun and creative alternatives - not to be judgmental; they just work better for me:
Oh Smiddleebopper!
Oh slush!
Son of a biscuit eating Baptist (or Son of a Baptist).
What in the name of Orville Redenbacher!
What in the name of Richard C. Hottelet.
Good gravy!
Mercy sakes!
Sakes alive!
No photo description available.
It was just fun to say and he was a great journalist.
When I sneeze, it is,
"Hah-chewy, louie, dooey, pewy, and foowy!"
The Godfather (2006 video game) - Wikipedia
"To err is human; to forgive divine."
In deep yogurt . #AmericaIn3Words
E pluribus unum, #AmericaIn3Words
Longing for truth. #AmericaIn3Words
Time to reflect. #AmericaIn3Words
Reaping what's sown. #AmericaIn3Words
Seeking her center. #AmericaIn3Words
Justice for all. #AmericaIn3Words
More for Some. #AmericaIn3Words
Crying for justice. #AmericaIn3Words
Nation of Immigrants. #AmericaIn3Words
Sisters and Brothers. #AmericaIn3Words
Neighbors and Friends. #AmericaIn3Words
People We Love. #AmericaIn3Words
We the people. #AmericaIn3Words
Not there yet. #AmericaIn3Words
Still has hope. #AmericaIn3Words
All We've Got.

Summer is Nigh


“… ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise, ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.” – Luke 21:30-31 

Springtime is a precursor of summer. Every flower and bud encourage us to wait a little longer.

Vacation is coming. Soon there will be picnics and trips to the coast, long days by the pool, lazy nights on a hammock, and all the wonderful tastes and smells of summer.

At least that is the summer of our dreams.

We don’t think about mosquitoes and perspiration, stepping on bees and humidity. Did someone forget to tell the boss that summertime is one long vacation? Maybe this is a god time for a reality check.

Maybe it isn’t. Maybe this is a time better spent experiencing the swelling excitement of spring and the anticipation of summer fantasies inasmuch as they remind us of a far more fulfilling and assured blessed hope.

Jesus used the illustration of budding spring to remind us of our future hope. It is the hope of the redemption of the whole earth, and endless summer with no humidity and no parasites. It is the hope of the end of evil and the reign of righteousness. It is the hope of His coming and His coming Kingdom of peace.

The lion will lie down with the lamb.

Swords will be beaten into plowshares.

We will sing a new song.

No eye has seen what God has prepared. Nor ear has heard it. No tongue has confessed it. The Kingdom of God is nigh at hand and we have no concept of how wonderful it is going to be. This is our blessed hope, beloved. Let the excitement build; let the chimes ring; let every voice be lifted in praise to Him. He comes in glory! He comes to reign! Hallelujah! The King is coming!