Thursday, December 30, 2010

Humility 2

Had lunch with my son Brad, yesterday. We talked about the last blog's focus - humility - and he shared with me a story about a man he knows in North Carolina.

Steve was for all appearances, Mr. Average - intelligence? average. Appearance? Average. Training? Average. He was in fact, trained as a computer engineer at a no-name school. He finally graduated, and landed a job at Hewlitt Packard.
Before he began, he had a very strong sense that the Lord was telling him this: "Do not seek your own advancement. Put others before yourself and help them succeed. Give others credit for success. Walk in humility."

He did that and rose higher and higher within the company until he was in a very prominent position.

And then it came time for him to step away.

A final interview with his chief was arranged. When they met, the boss said: "Before you leave us, I have a few projects that need attention. Could you pick one and give it focus before you are gone?"

Steve's response: "Yes, I will do anything that I can to help, but will you pick the project most needful?

His chief's response: "Well, I want you to know that whatever you might choose,I am comfortable with you working on anything. You see, I have watched you all along and I have learned that anything you touch here turns to gold."

Two roads: one of me,myself and I, and the other of h-you-mility.

And a reminder from scripture:"God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble." James 4:7 really is a great key to success and partnership with God.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Just got back from an appointment that never happened.

The person I was to meet with never showed up.
25-mile drive. :40 minutes waiting "just in case."
Confusion on their end about the schedule.
Profuse apologies.
Morning -possible accomplishments- shredded.

Then it hit me on the homeward drive that I just had a lab...a humility lab.
Thankfully, I can report, I am doing fine.

If I had been in a streak of pride...I probably would have returned home, fuming, ready to bark at my wife, elevated blood pressure, short-tempered, narrow-eyed.

Pride does that to you.

Humility does the opposite.

Humility lets you serve, trust the Lord with the timing of everything, and enjoy the day a whole lot more. Humility lets you replace the roll of toilet paper, pick up the scrap of paper, and make the bed even if it isn't your turn.

Humility lets you lose the argument, though in the corners of your mind there lingers one final point that could clinch it all your way.

Humility lets you be the friend of people who have been run over by life, and who really to be lifted and loved.

Humility lets you fulfill the will of God. His choice for us is that we be servants of others - loving them as we (so much more easily) love ourselves.

Humility gets so much accomplished that matters...everything necessary.

Just my thoughts? Nope:

"Don't push your way to the front.don't sweet talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside and help others get ahead.
Think of yourself the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
He set aside the privileges..
and took on the status of a slave, became human.
And having become human, he stayed human.

It was an incredibly humbling process.

He lived a selfless, obedient life, and then died a selfless, obedient death.
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him.
(And so now) we bow in worship before this Jesus Christ and call out in praise that he is the Master of all."

Philippians 2 - The Message.

The popular christmas song wishes this: "May your days be merry and bright"

I wish for us all: "May our days be humble and right"

On the journey, together...

Friday, December 24, 2010

"And all through the house..." some updates on family

It's the day before Christmas and an ideal time to give you updates on our family. It is a great way to do it...quick and easy, catches those with interest, can be interactive, and is really efficient.

It has been a most unusual year...especially with the change of jobs that left us searching and trusting, flexible, and more focused on family and personal life issues than we had been able to be. It has been a strong, joyful year, not an anxious one.

With the closing of my department, I moved my office to the home and began more focus on writing. The book SPIRIT LIFE was published this year, and hundreds of copies were sold at Chi Alpha's national leadership conference in Phoenix. I moved more strongly on writing this blog and now have done so over 250 times with a total of over 11,000 hits. It has been a great encouragement to me to be able to feel I am contributing to the lives of interested people like you. Thank you!!!

Interim pastoring (6 months) and coaching church planting pastors has also been an avenue of meaning and blessing.

Jackie and I have ministered together at marriage conferences, and church gatherings. We have been spending more time together than we ever have before...and with great joy and profit. I can't say enough how I love and appreciate this special best friend.

I think I have learned a lot more about family this year. The loss of baby Grace Abigail (Micah and Sarah's second child), the coming of Preslie (Jess and JJ's second child), and the soon arrival of Kendall (Brad and Amy's fifth) along with much more time to gather, has really made this an incredibly focused and strengthening family year.

Speaking of family....
*Cami and Paul, Rachel and Evan are in Salt Lake City...core team of a thriving church and impacting people's lives greatly. Visits with them...a short Frontier hop to SLC...have been wonderful.
*Brad and Amy, Michela, Susanna, Bennett, Jamin (and Kendall) live just 20 minutes we get to see them for food, football, sports, recitals, and more. Fun indeed! Did I mention Wi?
*Shayla (living in Minneapolis) came our way for a great visit this year. A Masters graduate, and focused on active pursuits, she is a great lady with a strong future.
*Micah and Sarah, Ella and Baby #3 are in Monterey, California...where Micah (Army) is in language training for Farsi. We marvel at his ability to read and speak the language in such a short time.
*Jess, JJ, Carson, close, and we see them often. Preslie is a doll..and I get Grampy time with her often. Jess is an RN now...and JJ an administrative pastor..busy lives.

We give God thanks for His grace to us this year. And we pray His love will surround you in this season.

Thanks for being our friends.

We love you.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Reflections 3 - Wisdom

Reading: Matthew 2:1-12 - The story of the visit of the wisemen.

Irony - the outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been expected.

Has the irony embedded in this passage hit you?

1. Irony: A sign is given pertaining to an event so cosmic that from unlimited distance, people can see the sign, and interpret it accurately....while in the spaces all around the actual occurrence of the event, the sign is hardly even noticed.

2. Irony: A journey is taken, some 1500 miles, to witness what has happened in the event, while people "next door," seem completely unaware of what is actually going on...totally taken up by "life as usual."

3. Irony: Gifts of gold and other extremely valuable, kingly stuff, are given to sustain baby and parents, because they are so dependent and unhelped by their social setting or families.

Lots of irony...and in the face of this momentous event, great wisdom too.

People so wise, they get identified by that word in every reference to them.

The wise men were bright, and trained, but that alone did not make them wise.

Their real wisdom, I think, is measured by this:

1. They were watching for the sign, cued by wisdom writings, signifying where the event was happening. That put them on the cutting edge.

2. They were able to sort out the implictions of the sign and event AND determined to do something about it. They were activists.

3. They gave prophetically and generously, even if they were the only ones doing so.

They were wise indeed
...and their actions call us to a deeper wisdom than facts and logic.


May we be wise in these ways and more....this Christmas.

Lord, in Your coming you have shown us what wisdom really is. Would you help us to be truly wise, seeing deeply, understanding the significance of the times, and being abandoned actually to obedience and generosity.
Your word promises: "if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all" - James 1:5.
And in this Christmas week, that is what I ask.
In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Reflections 2 - Angels

Angels are all over the place.

A chief one - Gabriel - appears by standing right by the altar of incense and encounters Zacharias with the news that his elderly wife, Elizabeth, is going to get pregnant....and they are going to have a wild and happy time. (Loose translation of Luke 1:14-17!!)

Six months into that, God dispatches Gabriel again to tell unmarried Mary that she is going to bear a child that will radically change the world. Gabriel speaks faith to her and then leaves.

In it all there is a great release of the Holy Spirit that goes "bless you's" and cries of excitement and worship begin to punctuate the air.

Not everyone got excited.

Joseph, Mary's promised one, found the excitement and angel stuff a bit too hard to bear, and seeking a more controlled life, decided to make a clean sweep of it all. (Matthew 1:19-21)

Time for another angelic appearance, this time to Joseph in a dream, assuring him that all was really under divine control and even giving him the name of the child: Jesus.

When the baby was angel appeared to shepherds telling them of the birth and its meaning. And that annoncement was simply too much...suddenly the curtains of heaven rolled back and the first Hallelujah Chorus in a public place occurred. It filled the shepherds with such abandoned joy that their normal amble became a scramble as they ran in a dark night to find the child.

There is a lot of excitement still in God's presence....Hebrews 12:22.

Angels...are simply servants, messengers, worshippers...people helpers (Hebrews 1:14). And there are lots of them. And they are still at work (I wonder if some of them joined in with songsters at Macy's and in the malls this Christmas. Wouldn't surprise me at all.) They like to celebrate, can talk and sing, and always focus us on the purposes and nature of God.

Angels keep appearing all through the New Testament...and wow, look at what they are doing at the end of all things. (See Revelation)

So, this Christmas...keep your heart open to a God who has infinite ways of invading our space, and lifting our hearts. Remember, that when you are following the prompts of the Spirit of God, you just might stumble into "entertaining angels without knowing it." (Hebrews 13:2)

Hark...the angels are still singing.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas reflections: 1 - People God Chooses

Today, I begin a short series of reflections on Christmas, probing for fresh meaning behind the way God sent Jesus. I will write each day until that wondrous day arrives, of celebrating His birth.

The event was His well-orchestrated plan, as to the people, and situations and challenges of those days. But it was not robotic. The responses of the people were uniquely theirs. Or not.

How incredible to think that Jesus was born rather close in proximity to lots of people who never even knew it had happened...or what this planetary invasion was all about.

Christmas is a profound, timeless revelation of God: how He works, and what our responses to His innitiatives can be. So join me in reflection and response, and may it be for each of us in this final week of Christmas...Immanuel...God with us. (Matthew 1:23)


Background readings: Luke 1, Matthew 1

I am struck from the start by the primary people that God chooses to use in bringing Himself onto this earth. Not the proven, protected, attractive, wealthy, bright, networked kind of people, but the young, the risk-takers, the strugglers, the internal processors, the dependent, the awkward, but, the "yes" speakers, with not a clear understanding of what that "yes" might fully mean.

Mary, a teenager, lots of questions, unmarried and yet pregnant, called to bear a once-only-in-the-history-of mankind child, uncertain of almost everything. But focused on God, interactive when she senses His presence, and willing for whatever is clearly His doing and will. Available, with no "ifs."

Joseph, unfit for the ministry, quiet, a worker with hands, rather than ideas and words and people....ready "to get married to a nice young woman, settle down, raise a family, and live a good life"...and then God, seeing that his match with Mary is perfect - they are both "yes" people - calls him to a costly, risky, sexually suspending, life-threatening obedience, (and an early death).

Against all odds of person, their "yes" hearts brought them to the front of the line in God's choosing. Your "yes" heart will do that for you too.

May their lives and responses be to us a strong reminder. It is that response that God values very highly.

And so a prayer:
My Father in heaven, I want to be continually one who brings forth Your plan and purpose. I easily say "later - well, I'll pray about that - well, I just don't know, I think someone else could do it - don't think I qualify too well."
But in these days may the deepest place of my soul be echoing with "yes." "Yes" to whatever you call me to do. No holding back...just "yes." And may You come - Immanuel - on the breezes of "yes" inside of me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tomorrow: reflection 2 - Angels.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Up on one of the Palmer Park lookout places take some pics for Christmas. A brisk but beautiful morning with light diffusing well...perfect for taking pictures.

One hundred or so yards away, a barking two. The hillside is covered with scrub oak and desert like vegetation. Squatty coverage all browned out in the impending wintery weather. All quiet and still till then..lifeless.

Suddenly...out of the scrub a doe jumps...and then her mate sporting a fine rack. They bound because of the bark and within seconds they are gone and all is quiet again.

There are lots of suddenlies in life. Perhaps you too will face one today.

The bark, the suprise appearance. The sudden arrest of attention.

And perhaps it will be a menacing not beauty that appears.

And we did not know it was even near...until the moment of surprise.

Today...remember that "Satan himself it is not surprising if his servants masquerade." II Corinthians 11:13-15

And the moment of true revelation can come as a great surprise.

If you are near or in such a moment...stand firm, don't let the surprise divert you from the call you have from the Lord...and don't be discouraged. This kind of surprise, has been a part of life on the plant since the first pages of record - see Genesis 3.

May we be strong in the time of surprise.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Jesus Style

We arrived at 5:30...minutes before the doors were to open. We got in because we were workers, passing a long line cued up for the opening.

The opening? The evening of Restoration Church's weekly food pantry distribution.

Inside, the volunteers (all of them) were scurring over last minute preparations for the distribution....registration table, counseling prep, box pick up and weighing. All very focused...and no one cranky.

Soon the doors were opened and the space on the west side of the church suddenly became way too small...crowded with people coming to get assistance. Parents and children, people with walkers and canes, some on arm, some in uniforms.

There was no impatience, no akwardness. Instead, many of the longer term volunteers were calling the people coming to get food by name and joking with them.

A tall,handsome man stood at one of the tables and recited a portion of scripture while his daughter gazed on him in joyful expectation. His wife helped when he got stalled and he finished to the cheers of most in the room, as a worker disappeared and then reappeared with a quart of fancy ice cream - his reward for his memory work.

Before moving on he asked: "And what is the verse for next time?"

I sat with several counselors as they ministered to a woman, troubled by her home situation. Their wisdom, love and prayer, led to a visible transformation of her countenance. Seemed to me like Jesus had begun a work in her.

And so this continued, a literal beehive of energy and love...until everyone was fed and the parking lot was mostly empty in the darkness of the night. Close to 80 families ministered the three hours of distribution.

And now the building looked and smelled like it had been well used. And the workers remaining were already focusing on next week's distribution..."probably biggest of the year," with over 300 families coming and in need.

"Now the day began to wear away (and the crowd was in great need). "You give them something to eat...Have them sit down in groups of about 50 each...and Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them...and they all ate and were satisfied." Luke 9:12-17

Monday, December 6, 2010

Doing good

One of the things that I love about this season is that there is a lot of public focus on showing kindness to others....Scrooges have to duck for cover and wise men are the people who give gifts.

It seems that what is often a push in our culture to the romantic, is replaced for a time by the actions that make a difference in the lives of others. I like that shift. Super.

I love the summation that Luke gives of Jesus life and ministry: "He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed..." Acts 10:38

His doing good involved lots of things...visiting people at length and listeing to their stories, taking long hikes with others, speaking wisdom into people's lives or asking them questions to cause deep thought, making sure they had something to eat, speaking forgiveness into their lives, warning them of things that destroy life, and healing them both of physical ailment and spiritual.

In each case, those looking on could say: "Wow, that was good!"

Sometimes, with our limited resources and energy, we get stuck trying to figure out what to do in situations of need. Well, this thought suggests a simple approach: at least do something, and make sure that that something is "good."

Just go around in this very busy season, doing good.

Or, to stretch a carol a bit..."so do good, for goodness sake."

Yours, for a meaning-full is the Jesus way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Seems to me that in our exchanges with one another, being able to say "I'm really busy" is more important than describing what you are even doing. Being "busy" is a sign of success, importance, demand. Ever had a conversation with someone who said - "I really am not doing much of anything lately?" Not me. Got to be "busy"...even if that busy is seeming non-essential stuff.

So, we just finished a rather endless series of commitments and projects and now the calendar is rather empty...December and January, not the season for traveling and guest appearances...and who knows what comes after that? So, I am going through a process of assessing this all and reaching out for a better sense of my own self worth.

Here's where I am landing so far.

1. If I am committed from the inside to a journey of ministry and involvement with God and others, then I am in gear. Paul knew what it was to sit for months waiting for a boat, waiting for others to arrive, waiting for the courts to act. Waiting. I wonder if the "those who wait on the Lord" verse doesn't apply a bit more to this demension than just purely praying? Paul, was just as integrated into ministry at those moments as when he was teaching, writing, or discipling. In fact it was the "out of touch" times that led to the stuff we are still getting in touch with today...all those New Testament letters.

2. If I am taking care of the essentials of life: home, family, physical person, then I am integrated into ministry. Jesus is our model here, who lived a very hidden, and quiet life for about 90% of it. This morning I learned to set aside what I had planned to do to do something to serve someone else, and I recon that service is precious to the Lord as well...and will actually go on in its impact for a generation. Really.

3. I have been impressed that as I am giving energy to grow spiritually, to read and soak in the word, to pray, to meditate, to listen, to grow inside, I am preparing for the future, and that is a grand prospect indeed, oh not just whatever God might give us to do next in some church setting, but to "rule and reign with Him" in heaven forever.

4. The little things, done in His name, produce the crop, the abundance, the rich reward at His hand. Seems like a lot of the big stuff just might have gotten it's reward down here.

So I am pretty busy really, but in a new and deeper way.

Journeying with you....

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Last night.

The hugs and good-byes came finally at about 10pm...long-term friends departing after a time together that for all was a special gift. We had not been with them for years, and had not really stayed in touch too well, but they had called and said they would put us into their trip south. Could we share a meal?

We fact two meals. And our time together was one of deep inner streams of life and love...with many moments of watery eyes and life-giving thoughts.

Times like this are special. Friends are a God-designed gift,adding dimensions to life that are irreplaceable.

So this morning, I reflect on some components that were in place yesterday, that opened wide doors for a wonderful time. Perhaps at this season you can plan for a time with some you are close to (or want to be close to) that might turn into one of the best moments of the season.

Component 1 - Time.
It is hard to build anything of quality on the fly. Friendship takes time, wonderful, generous chunks of time. Yesterday turned into 8 hours...not by plan, but because all were flexible about when it would end...and it just didn't seem to come to an end till then. 2 hours might have worked. But 30-60 minutes probably would not have. Quality interaction takes time.

Component 2 - Environment.
We met in our home, a quiet place of focus and privacy. A place where no one could invade in any way. Where we could all hear well...and linger as long as the Lord gave us leave. We sat in various places in the house, but always in a way that included everyone...close, often circled.

Component 3 - Questions.
We all had moments of asking and answering questions...but not a rote thing, a Spirit-led thing: how is your health? tell me how the children are really doing. are you doing ok with life-purpose? and how are you doing financially? What is God saying to you now? These questions elicited very thoughtful open-hearted responses, and replies with wisdom from those who listened.

Component 4 - Food.
We were scheduled to eat a great meal at the start - thanks Jackie!! - but our time lingered on to the point where we scrambled and ate again (thanks Jackie!!). In this we walked in the steps of our Lord, who ate with people all the time, and who instited a "meal" to be had with frequency as we gather. Eating brings us to one level, slows us down, and brings a delight to all. Eating is just plain neat!

Component 5 - Renewal.
As we talked, many spiritually enriching themes developed. At one point we put on a CD that got us powerfully into the presence of God, and the testimonies of others and their music swept us rather deeply into His presence. (First Love - available at - worth the investment!)

Component 6 - Prayer.
Before our time ended we prayed for one another in the context of what we now understood better about one another.

My hope, in writing this piece this morning, is that you might find ways in these days to welcome the friendship that sustains and enriches life.

Blessed by friends...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SL Thanksgiving

In these days of giving thanks, I want to thank God for the privilege of teaching SL (Spirit Life) at Restoration Church. Over four weeks, we took 75-90 minutes each week to open up concepts from the book and go live with applications.

The class ended today, but will go on in my heart for a long time.

In specific, I want thank God for the following:

1. For people who, at the end of the class, came up and with tears in their eyes expressed their gratefulness for the sessions...often with a strong embrace.

2. For Debbie who prepared a video presentation linking the Hallelujah chorus with Hubbel deep space shots. After we saw this, many of us wanted just to sit in silence for a long was moving to the core.

3. For the streams of questions today that were among the most pentrating that I have ever tried to field...and the nodds that followed as lights turned on with discovery.

4. For the eagerness each week and the sense of strategic development that was taking place.

5. For one third of the class that responded last week to the opportunity to receive ministry that they might recieve more of the Holy Spirit.

6. For the wonderful brother that paid enough so that everyone who could not really afford a book, could simply take one.

7. For Jesus, Who through His ministry, death, resurrection and the sending of His Spirit, opened up for all of us the most exciting vistas of life ever imagined.

Can you tell I am truly grateful?!


Thursday, November 25, 2010


Not a cloud in the sky...blazing sunshine...crisp morning air. Fat newspaper on the driveway...sleepy neighborhood.
Aromas of a feast beginning to permeate the air. Telephone connections warming up. Lots of greetings on fb.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've thought of making a long list of things I am thankful for but know I would fall far short of completion. I sense there are so many things in my life that I take for granted, but are truly incredible blessings from safety, law and order, health, freedom. Remove just one of these things and this would become instead, a very challenging day.

In all our giving of thanks may we be truly deeply humble...for so many today are in fear (Korea) or under great constraints (China) living in plastic huts (Haiti). Big picture in the paper today of people getting boxes of food given in our city so they can have a celebrative time today. Horrific statistical reports of crime rampant in this community.

So, I will not make a list, but I will be deeply thankful...and recon that somehow the grace of God has intervened in my life. His kindness is unfathomable. And I will continue a process begun very early of expressing my thankfulness to HIM for His kindnesses.

Early this morning little sounds from the other side of the best friend up and at it in the still shaddowyness of early morning. Mixing this, pouring that, prepping for the wonderful meal we will share.

Jackie is incredible...a tireless champion for family and a partner extraordinaire...if you know what I mean! I salute her and realize that among the very best things God has ever brought into my life, she ranks at the top. The amount of positive change, focus and energy she has brought is unmeasureable. Oh, and did I mention laughter?!

So, today, may we give thanks, genuinely, humbly and with focus...before, during, after the big meal...why not be a leader and help those around you take up the focus of affirmation and thanksgiving to God for His great grace. Have a time when you give people the chance to simply say.."Thanks."

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Jesus' less quoted words.

Struck today by these words of our Lord from Luke's gospel (chapter 11-12):

"Woe to you" - many times

"Woe to you lawyers" - 2 times

"You are full of greed and wickedness."

"You fools"

I love the gentle words of Jesus.
These words, however, are also His.

The fact that He frequently spoke both kinds, authenticates all his words to be that of truthfulness.

He is not to be seen as a benevolent mystic...but one who can hug as well as pierce with His words. He is the truth.

He who only speaks one or the other has either gone soft mentally, or become caustic emotionally.

We need the balance of truth and love, grace and consequences, friend and fool.

Help us Lord, to recieve the truth, all of it
....and to be passionate and authentic enough to speak the truth to others.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Kids talk

This morning, with the house filling up with guests, I took a turn downstairs in the play area with several grandkids.

Lots of energy, and some competition, squeels and showing off.

I finally perched in one of two bean bags and just watched.

With that Ella, at almost three, did the same.

"Gramps, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Hatching beans" I replied.

"Me too" she said, flashing her big smile at me.

"How are yours coming?" I asked.

But it was too late...her attention was on something else and she was up and running to another part of the play area.

"Gramps - watch!" she called out.

And when my attention towards her was certain, it was like the starting gun.

She took off in a ten yard sprint to the wall...giggling as she went, and looking to see that I was still focused.

I was.

Children the world over are pretty similar - spontaneous, inventive, needing love and attention, playful, boundless in bounding.

Was this a little of what Jesus had in mind when he said - "become as a child,
and you will see the Kingdom of God...the presence and activity of God" (see Luke 18:15-17)

Well, I'd better see there is this neat pony waiting patiently in our basement play area and I've already been instructed on how to ride.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Upside Down

Reading in Luke today (chapter 8 ff) and noted the radical senses - the upside down directions - of Jesus' teachings.

Culture says: Your neighbor is one who lives close, acts like you.
Jesus says: Your neighbor is one you help when you see their need. (10:25-37)

Culture says: Guests coming? Go to great lengths to prepare.
Jesus says: Don't fuss and fume, simplicity. "Only one thing is necessary." (10:42)

Culture says: Your family heritage makes you great. (11:27)
Jesus says: Blessed are those who hear the word of God and do it.

Culture says: There's lots to be worried about out there...prepare, prepare.
Jesus says: You are valuable to the Father...don't worry. (12:29)

Culture says: The greatest among you is the one just voted into office.
Jesus says: The greatest among you is the least. (9:46-48)

Religious culture says: Do your thing, and frown on others.
Jesus says: Accept others, "the one who is not against you is for you." (9:49-50)

Jesus, your truth is what sets us free. Our culture works in the now, but brings with it all the ego stuff and frenzy stuff, and in eternity, loss, great loss. Would you help us to keep moving in the direction of YOU?..even if at times it feels very upside down? Amen.

Monday, November 15, 2010


The weather is changing...the trip down the driveway each morning for the paper is getting a bit quicker all the time, the bathrobe tassel tied tighter...the hold-your-breath-while-you-do-this reflex less optional...and the get-dressed-before-you-do- this moments are coming soon. It is all about the seasons...and winter is on its way. Pike's Peak is looking a bit more ashen each day.

I find it fascinating to reflect on this, the way God made things.

Seasons to mark the years...light and dark to mark the days...young and old to mark life. The Master stroke of a Genius bent on keeping us from boredom. Everything - seems to be in seasons...except for God who "changes not."

Seasons come and go. Some cycle around and around, and some cycle forward only.

Seasons do not last worry, your favorite will return.

Seasons have advantages and disadvantages, all of them. Youth: energy but inexperience. And the opposite way down line, in the greying years.

Seasons provide for options that are unique, if taken advantage of.

So, the worst thing I could do about a season is resist it, complain about it - stand on my driveway and curse the cold.

No, better by far to move a little faster, embrace the change, and make the best of it... oh, and put on warmer clothes. Millions will skate and ski and make snowmen, and drink hot chocolate.

So, no scrooges here. Let's celebrate and thank God for His incredible design and sovreign purposes in our lives.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Following - Jesus' style

Reading this morning in Mark 1 and drawn to a paragraph (:16-20) where Jesus is innitiating discipleship among the first of the twelve.

Immediately struck by thinking about how he discipled and how I/we have done so.

1. He went to where they were living/working - alongside the Sea, at the docks, and as they were working among family and friends, mid-day. I/we tend to mostly invite people to a gathering place, with big numbers, safe controls. And I even hear of some who have given up visiting people in their homes etc. entirely and seemingly retreating to a safe and predictable non-relational professionalism where the real-person indexes are hidden under many layers. (Is it ok to be this direct?)

2. He spoke to them and called them in their language, using terms clear to them - fishing for people. Fishing terms were rather gauche in that day...this was not just cultural sensitivity, but social inclusivism, a priority of speaking clearly to all people. (Consider for instance his language among temple people.) He talked in their language. Often I/we have tended to obscure the clear "follows" with elevated, mysterious words.

3. He asked for immediate and costly commitment - "follow me," ie get up now and let's go together - and "immediately" becomes the modus operandi twice - leaving the closest people behind. (It has often cost people relationships with nuclear family to be followers. It did on day one, in this text.) We tend to play down the costs (by demurring the discussion or underlining the "later" factors like heaven) and delay the responses that will produce life and leadership growth. Remember too, that this "follow me" invitation occurred when Jesus was not famous, or followed by anyone else. He was fresh from commissioning and that is all. There was no followership of a great and rising star at hand, just a woodworker who knew his real identity and purpose and would dare to speak from that platform, calling for commitment. He was exercising faith in this...great faith.

4. He told them why he was asking them to "follow" - setting the vision of people clearly before them: you will "fish for" and catch people. I note too that He had just spent forty days alone, in prayer and dependence on the Father, making sure His life merited any followership...that his words would be backed with integrity and Presence. It is a very serious thing to call people to follow. We often are fuzzy and soft in this department (in fact almost at times operating in reverse - letting their sensitivities "call" us) and demurring about/ or neglecting our own personal examples. Let us get bold, my friend, Jesus.

5. He took responsibility for what their development would lead to - "I will make you become." I will be involved all the way with you. You will turn from a static citizen to a becomer. I will partner with you. I guarantee that you will be effective, changed, pleasing to God, difference maker. He started with a small number of hand-picked followers. The numbers would come until whole communities were clamoring after Him...but it was anchored in the few that learned from day one the dynamics of real followership.

Lots to think about here...and pray about...and figure out for today.

Sure it is "only one paragraph." But it IS one paragraph.

Sure it is "Jesus"...but He is the benchmark we are to follow. (I Corinthians 11:1)

Just think: these approaches led to the development of world-changing leaders in just a few years.



Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tongue control

Working on an article in these days about Godly patterns of speech and was led to review all of the book of Proverbs on its wisdom in this area.

A vast number of references to the subject.

From that research comes these interesting verses, with a focus that caught my attention.

10:19 - When words are many, sin is not absent.

11:13 - A gossip betrays a confidence but a trusted man keeps a secret

12:18 - reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of a wise man brings healing

13:3 - He who guards his lips guards his life -
he who speaks rashly will come to ruin

16:9 - He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

16:14 - Starting a quarrel is like breaking a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out

17:28 - Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent (why am I smiling?)

20:19 - Avoid a man who talks too much

25:15 - A gentle tongue can break a bone.
In cultural context it means, persistence in gentleness can break down the hardest of objects, the nastiest of spirits, the most rigid of defenses.

Well, that is a partial listing of what I found. I note that I need to keep learning to weigh what I say before I speak. Too often I have spoken much to fill the air with myself...striving for affirmation or control.

Let's work on this: NOT responding with our ideas quickly, but asking a question or just listening. Often when I have done this I have discovered an early response would have been one that led in the wrong direction.

May we be wise today...


Friday, November 5, 2010


An account of God's people in a steep learning curve is found in I Samuel 4-7. If the Lord sparks it in you, get a Bible and read those chapters along with these brief remarks.

As I did so this morning (thanks to Jackie's prompt) I was struck by the contemporary voice in these chapters.

Simply -

#1 - the Israelites go to battle, pull in the ark of God to seal what they hope will be a victory - Presumption: the presence of the ark will force God to act on our behalf. Wrong. The ark is lost to the Philistines. And key leaders begin to die for their part in it all.

#2 - The Philistines take it home - thinking it will be a "blessing" and guarantee of success. Presumption: the presence of this object will gain us favor. Wrong. They are struck with tumors, panic and more. Their chief god oject keeps doing obeisance to the ark...and the cry of a whole city begins to go up to heaven.

#3 - Get rid of the ark becomes their intense focus...and so it is returned to Israel with offerings (golden mice and tumors!! - extemely costly and in focus gifts)

#4 - Their presumption (and ours too) the right things and all will quickly be restored. Wrong. For twenty years "the house of Israel lamented after the Lord."

Before this episode resolves, there is an intense crying out to the Lord that must occur, a thundering from heaven from a God who is not captured or manipulated by our golden objects. What he is responsive to is the integrity of our hearts, our humility, our prostration before him...our total submission to him. He looks always on the heart.

Oh, and the two milking cows, yoked together and sent on a fifteen mile journey the dstiny of which the people will accept as God's work? Is this not one of the most extremely non-presumptive, hands-off moments in history? (Jackie: "milking cows?!")

Lots to think about in these chapters. May God give us heart-shaped altars...and remove presumption further from us today.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I had an early meeting today with a friend in a coffee shop. Great talk, great mutual encouragement. Time flying by.

As this time ended, we were rising to depart our separate ways, and I noticed, a few tables away, a man with Bible opened. Sitting by himself.

Quickly into my mind came this prompt...say "Hello." And after a bit of resistance, I stepped towards the table and as I did, this intro came to my mind: "Understandest thou what thou readest?" An ancient translation of Acts 8:30. The ancient words I understood immediately to be a way to include a modicum of humor, friendliness...and engagement.

After a bit of a suprised look, a smile broke across his face and he replied..."I sure hope so."

With that we began a conversation that was mutually uplifting...great similarities and interesting differences.
Both pastors
Both teachers
Both Kingdom of God questers
Both with challenging journies.
Both with a current same good friend!
Both writers and recent publishers.
Both disciplers in similar directions.
Both risk-takers and open-hearted.
Family situations.
Spiritual roots.
Current challenges.

It was a great conversation out of which we exchanged ideas, and contact info...and perhaps started a friendship.

Did we meet by chance?

Don't think so.
What I really believe is that the Spirit of God has all kinds of agendas for us that are useful in His hands and make our journeys so much more lively and exciting.

"Chance"'s part of Kingdom life...where it seems more and more that a lot less stuff "just happens."

On the journey, with you...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Preslie Shay

We got up very early and drove all day. Jackie and I, putting a two-day "travel to" into one day "coming back." And the trip went quickly...our hearts focused on what would happen when we got "there."

What would happen had actually happened big time, the night before...Friday, about 6:30 Texas time, just before going into the Teen Challenge service. She was born and we were greeted via cell phone in the cooling evening air with the wondrous cry of a newborn. Greeting the world after a rapid entry into it, Preslie Shay was saying hello to us from the delivery room.

And so we traveled fast. And by early evening, we were advancing to the door, and peering in, saw her sound asleep, swaddled in pink, angelic in sweetness. I got to hold her for many moments and as she slept Jackie and I examined her closely. Ears, eyes, hair (rumpled still)...ah the smell... "Johnson and Johnson?", I asked, as I nuzzled her neck.

"No", I was told, "that is just the smell of a newborn." Amazing.

Occasionally she would move her eyes behind those tight lids, as though she was dreaming something special...and ever so rarely she would peer out to see who was holding her now. At an awkward movement, she seemed to flinch and show concern, but at the sound of her mother's voice, she was immediately calm again.

Long fingers, tiny feet, dainty nose, perfect lips, chubby cheeks. are a beauty. One of God's finest.

Welcome to the world. May you make a great difference in it.

I love you.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

The fit

I suppose you are beginning to read with a few, does this mean that someone in his circle got really mad lately?, or does it indicate that the exercise program finally took hold?..and some pride is beginning to surface?

Nope...the title has to do with an experience I had yesterday.

In the morning we (Jackie and I) went to Waterford School in Salt Lake City...that is where two of our grandchildren (Rachel and Evan) are enrolled and our oldest daughter (Cami) teaches. It is a sprawling one-level campus that spreads across acres in east Salt Lake. Its very appearance says, "we care". And they do - seemingly about every student that goes through those doors.

Dress codes for the students...attractive sweaters and dresses. A buzz of focused activity. Teachers greeting one another warmly. Palpable joy and excitement.

Very little corraling of anyone...lots of purposeful, understood direction. Children arriving in classes and opening books immediately and beginning work rather excitedly. Talking with each other with maturity and interest. No acting out.

"The fit" came into view when we got to sit in the second grade math class - Cami's home room. Their love for her and hers for them...the thoroughness and creativity of their approach to learning...their readiness to interact, question and challenge, made the time fly by. Learning. Laughter. Love.

I sat there and backed up into a world of larger proportions, seeing a daughter who is now a leader, a teacher who is now inspiring another generation, and one who is so at ease doing so excellently in her calling. She fits. This is what she was made for. I could see shimmers of her birth mom shining through and thought how wonderful it is--this generational thing. Wet eyes. Expanding chest. Grateful heart.

May we each shine in the place that we fit...and may we work with excellence, investing well in the generations to come.

With a grateful heart...for the fit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bits and pieces

Just returned from a wonderful marriage-focus weekend in Springfield, Colorado. People from various churches. Eager responses. A weekend we will long remember.

Tomorrow we leave for a short trip to Salt Lake to be a part of Grandparents Day at Waterford School...where two grandchildren attend and their mother (Cami) is a teacher.

Then we come back, repack and head to Texas for a special time with old friends.

And all the while we have been holding our breath, 'cause Jess is very great with that could well change everything and add incredible wonder to all the other things going on.

I'll return to the blog on Sunday...probably with a whole lot of news and ideas to bring a Jesus spark to your life.

Friday, October 22, 2010


People who live life on a rather feelings basis, often have a very hard time with forgiveness. Someone wrongs them - could be a little or big thing. They smart and fuss and get upset....and because they are used to living a lot by how they feel, they either don't forgive (just try to forget it) or live in some form of alienation and broken relationship. Families are shredded over this. Churches divided.

The way of Jesus is amazingly different. It takes only one person to forgive is a unilateral act not a bilateral one (bilateralism has to do with a step after forgiveness, reconciliation.)

Jesus not only taught a lot about this suject, but on the cross gave the most profound model of forgiveness ever: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

The people "doing" it were standing there, still doing it. There was no remorse, only spitting and taunts. Little did they know that their action towards Him and His to them would still be the model of this grace-filled dynamic 2000 years later. By this act of Christ, grace not vengeance was placed in motion and their lives were changed. And Jesus went into "paradise" whole and pure.

Peter was standing there that day and was a candidate for Jesus forgiveness, for he had repeatedly denied being his follower with an oath, with cursing and swearing. He knew the transforming power of forgiveness both from the cross and later with a resurrected Christ. And his letter (I Peter) is filled with this sure to read it if this blog is just too short.

We simply choose to forgive...expressing in some form to the other person that we do so and want them to know it. In this, we encourage the action of God's Spirit in both of our lives, we get a better night's rest and provide a great model to those around us. And we frustrate the plans of the enemy to take us out of action.

Louis Smeedes, who has written a lot about forgiveness said this: "To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that prisoner was you."



Wednesday, October 20, 2010


At noon today we crossed the threshold.

My entry to check on the number registered 10,001.

Among the highlights:
People tracking from many different countries in the world.
The ten-state faithful spread of people who seem to drop in all the time.
The people stumbling onto the blog doing research on one of the words in title
...the comments, "I began to tear up," "this answered a need I have felt for a very long time." Like Like Like
...and the book orders..ones, and twos, and twenty-fives.
and the many times I have sat at this console not knowing what to write, and suddenly an idea comes, and a way to start, and a scripture, a title, and a strong sense of movement inside. It continues to feel to me like God likes this.

So, my 232nd blog-entry friend...let's keep going, you and me - writing, reading, thinking and listening for the "blog" His Spirit is writing in all of us.

God bless you!



Life in the Kingdom (where God's Spirit is present and at work) is about flexibility.


Moving in other directions than the plans...and perhaps suddenly.
Going where it seems God will have to "show up" to make it happen.
Doing the water walking, manna munching, giving life in lifeless places.


Stepping out of the controlable into the trusting.
Casting seed (that disappears) into the soil for the impact of much later.
Doing what even seems foolish to gain a later magnificence.

Flexibility tends to purify the soul, increase dependence and welcome God's Spirit.

And on the other side of the spectrum it works just the opposite.
The "got it all figured out," tends to extinguish the listening ear.
The inflexibility of the plan can tend to reduce the best energy from our hearts.
The "have it under control" tends to dampen heart fervency.

Jackie and I lived in this first realm this past weekend. Doing a marriage weekend with folks from Timberline Church - Fort Collins - we prepared very hard...days of thought and prayer and writing and re-writing until a 30 page "script" emerged for the five sessions we would lead. We would do the weekend in tandem.

One hour before it was to begin we both knew suddenly that this was not the way to go. Hard moments, panic...then the decision to trust, to go very flexibly, openly, listening as best as possible to the Spirit.

We went to the first gathering feeling totally dependent on God. In most of the sessions this was the strategy that prevailed...and it was an incredible weekend. Riveted attention, tears, open hearts, reality, growth, friendship, love.

Some points of our reflection:
1. Thanks be to God that we heard His voice and changed gears.
2. Thanks be to God that we prepared so hard, because it made flexibility more substantive.
3. Thanks be to God for His evident purposes far beyond our words and plans.

May you and I walk today in the flexibility of His Spirit...preparing for the tasks at hand, and then heeding well to His texts and twitters.

It is truly an upside down kingdom.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Did a grocery run today. King Supers.

Got the handful of things that we just had to have before our company came tonight and then went and got in line.

The line that says: "Express Lane - 15 items or less."

The line was backed up. To join it I had to stand half in the main flow of traffic.

I looked up and saw why express had gone to depress.

The person in the front had a lot more than 15 items and had decided to push the store's courtesy policy.

I (and others) eyed the cashier who was caught between enforcing the rules and facing probable conflict.

She chose no conflict...and just kept smiling while eyeing us nervously.

We all stood and waited.

What really caught my eye were the eyes of the lady's two daughters.

Fully sensitive to the situation, they were glancing nervously at their mother and then at us.

Finally she was done, grabbed her sacks of stuff and motioned for her girls to follow.

And I wondered about how far they will follow...oh, not just out this door, but will they follow their mother into a lifestyle of me first, the rules can be cheated on, presume on others goodness of heart.

And I thought about Jesus words: "whoever causes one of the least of these to sin..."

It's a lot of little things in life that add up to character...a lot of little things that etch out the true character that is us.

May our littlest actions come together, like the tapping of a chisel on stone, and may what is seen be the face of Christ in the world.



Friday, October 15, 2010


This morning Jackie and I are packing to leave and do a Marriage Enrichment conference with couples from Timberline Church. The conference is being held in Vail....sigh! We will do 5 sessions in 36 hours and have prepared intensely and prayed much about this time. Jackie and I will do all the sessions in tandem/together...hoping to present a model along with information. If you think of us, would you pray for us?

We'll be back on Sunday night and after a few days will drive to Springfield, Colorado to do a Marriage Enrichment weekend with them. This is a small church that is stepping out into new territory...advertizing in the paper, inviting people across spectrum to come.

Then we will have a few days home and then drive to Midland, Texas to do a special service celebrating Norene Gion, a marvellous lady and servant of the Lord. She is on staff at the Teen Challenge Center. That center is using the Spirit Life book as a core discipleship piece - for women, and perhaps for men. It will be exciting to see what is happening there and to be with some terrific people for a short season.

Then, we will return to the city and begin a 4-Sunday Spirit Life series at Restoration their Restoration University. About 30 key leaders will probably attend. I am very excited to be able to present and do labs with Spirit Life.

First Edition is about sold out, but you can still get a copy easily by going to Pay Pal on this site. Spirit Life is being used as a personal devotional, a couples enrichment, church core material, discipleship enhancement...lots of ideas as people see it.

And really huge news for our family...Amy and Jess are great with child and we will have wonderful times of celebrating the arrival of two more grandchildren in the weeks ahead. Family are coming in to encourage and rejoice with us our house will see a lot of of the things that greatly attracts God's Presence. Should be memorable days indeed.

It is a busy time...a blessed time...and a faith time. Thanks for your prayers and support in various ways. Our continuing prayer is "Your will be done" in our lives.

Your friends, always...
Dave and Jackie

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Jackie and I went to bed last night praying for Chile.

We had stayed up late watching the first miners get rescued and be greeted by children and spouses. We had watched the flywheel stop, signaling that the rescue module had reached the 2000+ foot depth and we had seen it go into reverse hauling its precious cargo of heroic human beings to the surface. And we were filled with awe at the resuer who put his life on the line to go down and be with the trapped miners. An epic story of endurance, commitment and the preciousness of life.

And we were noted with joy the references of various of the freed miners to "God"...God was with us, there was one more than all of us down there. And we speculated a bit about the seeming wellbeing of the miner and what incredible difference the God presence made. (And this morning I heard that along with the supplies sent down to sustain life were guitars....hmm, to help them sing what songs?)

And so we prayed this way: God, raise up these miners who have stories to tell of Your faithful presence, even in the heart of the earth. And would you use this amazing story to bring a major revival to Chile and to the Americas? Let their words and simple faith bring release and spiritual rescue to many all across the world.

Let's watch this and keep in prayer.

For a Biblical parallel read Jonah chapter 2.



It is truly a day of joy and promise.


Monday, October 11, 2010


Carson is 4.
Jess and JJ's firstborn. #2 is due in just weeks!

About 4feet tall...and full of energy unleashed to figure out his world.

His language has gone towards logic and reasoning....and recently towards sensitivity and humor. Super fun to be around. In moments really amazing.

Several days ago he came through the door fresh from a soccer "game." Don't you love that age dressed for soccer...fancy shoes, shin pads, shiney shorts, big name jersey and a face of sheer determination. And a trail of dust wherever the teams are in action.

Back to Carson.

Just inside the door he said he had a whisper for Grammy.

She squatted down and offered her ear. And profering his hand to make the moment strictly personal he whispered something to her.

Then it was my turn to squat and listen.
Here is what he was conveying...
"I scored a goal."

He had broken from the pack and was the only one on the field who knew what to do next. He scored.

Then he stood back while we offered our excited "yays" and "way to go's."

And suddenly it became a Jesus moment.

"Unless you become like children you will not see the Kingdom of God."

Rightully proud, while being tempered with humility.
And a dash of fun for good measure.

Jesus, help us to be like children today.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Final Exam

I'm back at reading through the Bible - using my ESV study bible and enjoying it greatly. (Absolutely amazing maps, charts and notes.)

Using coded colors to highlight the most important expressions. (Ask me?)

What happens when I do this is that the big themes stand out clearly - against the backdrop of names and places and intricate stuff.

Often a whole king's life and reign is summed up by either one of these two phrases:
1. Manasseh: "and he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord." - I Kings 21:2
2. Josiah: "and he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord." - I Kings 22:2

It's not just a few times but dozens of times either of these summary statements are pronounced over the lives of people of mention. A whole life summed up in a moral evaluation of behavior.

Thousands of years later it is still in the record, "he did what was good" or "he did what was evil." There seems to be no escaping from this final exam.

Both of these expressions have this in common:
1. it is what we "did" that will be measured - not what we wished, hoped or believed...but what we "did."
2. the "eyes of the Lord" which see it all unfold now, will provide the video reruns that will be the up or down factors that will be determinative. He sees it all, and His determination will be final.
3. we will all have this moment in the end...the New Testament reflects this very clearly.

Looked at my old transcripts a few days ago...the grades are still there, the "with Honor" attached, the degrees awarded, the class dropped, the course not taken for credit...all there. Still having an impact on the present.

One day.
One final exam.
One "grade"...a pronouncement from He Who sees it all.

May we live today, that it may be "well done, good and faithful servant."


Monday, October 4, 2010


Last week there was an article in the morning paper about a teenager who had just completed climbing the last of the 14ers...the tallest mountains in the region. I think he was sixteen!
And as I marvelled at his achievement, I grimmaced at my own. This week I will probably make it up my first vehicle. Hmm.

And I checked out facebook and saw the bylines of an old friend who is pastoring on the west coast and doing well...and I wondered, am I doing as well? Do I look as young? And I carried that process with me a few times as the week unfolded.

And I could go on...the achievements of others can lead us to self-analysis that is healthy - and push us to improvement, or can cause us to self-depricate, and stall us out emotionally, choking off our energy.


Am I as smart as she?
Am I as attractive as he?
Am I as successful as they are?
Had I done that much by that age?
Am I as young-looking as that picture in the paper?
Bigger, better, richer, happier, influential?

It comes at us all the opportunities to compare.

Have you lost some ground today because of comparing?

Here is some sage advice:
"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves they are not wise." St. Paul

It is the wisdom of the Bible - II Corinthians 10:12ff

And the helps Paul lists in this passge?

1. Be who you are wherever you are - :11

2. Do not get into any boasting - it is a product of comparing

3. Make sure you are doing what "God has assigned" for you to do

4. Know your "limits" - and pull back if you sense you are moving beyond them.

5. Remember often..."it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends." :18



Thursday, September 30, 2010


I'm an allum of Wheaton College,
so I get their periodic magazine of news and events.

One arrived a few days ago, with a feature article "How then should we worship?" - the thinking of Dr. Daniel Block, long-time (35 years) professor - author of a book to be released very soon - Biblical Theology of Worship (Baker). He has spent the last ten years immersed in the subject. And he is not an old fogey that does't like loud music or contemporary idiom.

Here is some of his thought:

Three ways that current worship practices depart from biblical models:
1. The worship has become too casual - "good times with a Friend," not encountering the God of unfathomable knowledge and might.
2. Worship has become equated with music - in the scriptures more often, worship was associated with prayers, laments, silence....and songs.
3. Worship has become too associated with evangelism - we worship trying to attract the unbeliever, and that is leading us to an anemic and illiterate church.

His definition of biblical worship:
"True worship involves reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign in response to His gracious revelation of Himself and in accordance with His will." (See Deuteronomy 10:12)

"Salvation is unconditional but the Psalms teach that worship is not open to everybody."

May all the worship wars cease.

It is not about length of time, up tempo or down, or cluster of instruments and voices. Nor is it about contemporary or ancient. It is about God - and our hearts -and the prostration ("falling down before someone greater than we are" - is the actual meaning of "worship") of our lives before accordance with His word.

So may we all fall down....and may it be not the playful actions of children, but the awe of those fully mature enough to tremble in the presence of God.

Deeply moved by these thoughts.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


PREVAILING succeed, to win against the enemy, to convince.

Reading today in II Chronicles 13...a period of internal strife in Israel.
A land divided...Israel and Judah.
Two kings: Jeroboam and Abijah evil and one good
....the former with 800,000 seasoned soldiers, and the latter with half that number.
The former having forsaken the Lord and gone into idolatry,
....the latter with active ministry to the Lord and heart to follow Him.

And the day of open conflict came.

On that day, Jeroboam (the wicked one), with his far superior army, used his cunning and attacked both frontally and from the rear.

It would be a done deal very soon. A crushing defeat for the God-followers.

Or would it?

The key will prove to be not human odds and expertise, but whose side is God on? Who does God choose to fight for?

That is always the key determiner of outcome.

Abijah, the righteous one, sensing the desperation of the moment, leads the people in cying out to the Lord, blowing the trumpets that call for His intervention, shouting in faith and moving headlong into the battle.

They did what they could against all odds.

And then these words rise above the dust clouds and confusion of battle:
"the men of Judah PREVAILED, because they relied on the Lord."

Against incredible odds, they were NOT overcome.

And sprinkled into the text are these expressions:
"the Lord struck"
"God defeated (them)" and
"God gave them (the enemy) into their hand."

So, whatever the odds seem like today,
whatever the malice that is coming against us,
whatever the shocking manoevers of the enemy....
Let's not loose faith.
but let's call out, and do the next thing God gives us to do.

And as we do, let us watch for His Presence with us.

Abijah and us....different generation, different contexts....
same God.



Friday, September 24, 2010


We finally got our piano into our it tuned....and now every day, Jackie opens a hymnal and plays...and as today, I sometimes pick up my trombone and softly follow her lead.

It is like honey to the soul...remembrances, old memories, fresh worship in old patterns. With it too are coming rather amazing realizations that in current times often our focuses on worship are so laden with "He loves and and I love Him..and doesn't this feel good" that we have neglected the fuller orb of truth.

Consider for instance the following:
Right now (no kidding) she is playing an old hymn - "Like a River Glorious." Let me simply put the words of it before you and then a portion of Isaiah out of which this hymn was inspired. As you read, let your mind supply a photo op of a vast river - like the Flathead, or the Missippi or the Arkansas...which flows along powerfully, and peacefully and seemingly endlessly.

And listen beyond the words to His voice.

The hymn:
Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace,
Over all victorious in its bright increase;
Perfect, yet it floweth fuller ev'ry day,
Perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way.

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,
Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,
Not a blast of hurry, touch the spirit there.

Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the sun of love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do
They who trust Him wholly, find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest -
Finding as He promised perfect peace and rest.

And the words of Isaiah: (48:17-18)
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit.
who leads you in the way you should go.
Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea."

May you and I live in the river of His peace today.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010


"He changed his behavior
..made marks on the doors and let his spittle run down his beard."
Classed as a "madman," it was perhaps the lowest, most desperate point of his life.

He had hunted often, and now he was the hunted.

In the wild, he found a cave, and people came to join him - the kind of people who, too were looking for a cave: "everyone in distress, eveyone who was in debt, everyone who was bitter in soul" - a fine group of uplift experts indeed.

No Kum bah yahs around those fires.

It had to be an incredibly bleak time. Chaos. Hopelessness.

And yet, we sing songs shaped by the words that he wrote in his journal in those days.

Songs like "My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!"
"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great - it reaches to the heavens
- your faithfulness to the clouds."

The journal pages?
Psalm 57.

The author?
King David, on the run from Saul. (I Samuel 21-22)


Spittle might not be on your face now, but perhaps you would like to spit at what is going on.

They might not call you "mad" but perhaps "strange, out of sorts."

Go for sanity.

Keep the songs going inside...the ones about God's stability, and compassion and control of every event in the lives of those whose faces are set towards him. The songs about His bigness and creative genius. The songs about how it all will end.

And if the crowd in the cave with you is a bit like David's...push them in the upward, God-ward direction. They are in your life for a purpose.

Look up. And mark it down for the next generation.

It's all about God, and stability, and an unswerving trust in His providential oversight of our lives. It's been the sanity focus for thousands of years, and it won't change its effective remedy for the crazies while we are all alive. is His gift to us in every situation of our lives.


Friday, September 17, 2010


Prepping for a marriage conference, I came across some notes with a brief listing of words that describe the typical three stages of marriage.

The words in the lists hightlight some contrasts.

Want a quick relationship check-up? Circle the words that describe your relationship right now and see what you learn

Phase One. Phase Two. Phase Three.
On Cloud Nine. Upset a lot. Steady and at peace.
I idolize you. We fight/compete. I need you/serve you.
We're right. You're wrong. How do you see this?.
Can't get enough. I quit. Let's work it out.
Fascinated. Irritated. Refreshed.
Charmed. Upset. Thankful.
Newness. Legalism, and self. Grace and patience.
Self energy. Mutual conflict. Mature teamwork.
Unreal. Uncomfortable. Real and comforting.
Over-focused. Under-focused. Growing and pacing.
Idyllic. Fighters, refs. Teamed with purpose.
We've arrived. We're stuck. Together, with God, we can.

Did you circle the words that apply to you at this time? (The blog pushed all the words together. They started out in three neat columns...but each comparative word idea listing is in each new row. Periods separate within the rows. Can you unscramble? Have fun. :)

How are you doing?

Enchantment - fueled by sexuality and youthful energies, lasts about 1-2 years.

Disenchantment - fueled by realities and the wrong responses, can go on and on into real tragedy, even total disintegration.

Maturity - fueled by wisdom, commitment and God's help, can last a lifetime - even be the stuff of heaven itself.

Join me in pressing on to maturity.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On the Road

Two books I am reading and finding very good:

1. Beyond Megachurch Thumma and Travis - Josey Bass.
This is a work based on good research and fair thinking. It doesn't grind on one side or the other of the mega-church assessment but finds a very informative middle ground, out of which I am developing a new appreciation for what the Lord is doing in the mega church movement. A good read.

2. Augustine of Hippo a biography - Peter Brown, U Cal Press. Probably still in print though first edition was 1967. Found mine in a used book store. A masterful treatment of an epic church leader of the fourth century, whose gifts and ministry are still impacting lots of stuff around us. I got into it wanting to see his journey up see what he did at what age...:) So far (143 pages - of 400+) a great read. (After his retirement in his late 30's!! - go firgure - the best things began to happen - and he went on for about 40 years!) Reading about stuff like this has a wonderful way of sizing up our faith, our commitments, our sense of "it's all about me" and our trust in God. Be sure to read biographies.

3. In a season of less pressure and calendar, it is helping me to jot down significant contacts, ideas etc. as they happen so that at the end of a day I can see that it was really rather significant. God really is at work...something is happening in my life.
I jot down grandkids time too...what a joy to finally be more focused in this area. (Carson - age 4 - came into my den this morning as I was reading the word...and said, "Grampy, I have to go to preschool soon, but could we play for the next five minutes?" We did and it sent us both off into our days with a love boost.
Make sure you get a lift from play today.

Join me in living where you are...dipping into the past to get better perspective, and engaging the present...and especially not spending valuable time and energy on regretting the past or wishing about the future.

Our present days are a gift from God...He is intimately acquainted with all of our ways. He loves the details.

On the road...with you


Friday, September 10, 2010


In my father's study at church, there hung a framed saying from scripture: "To obey is better than sacrifice and to listen than the fat of rams." Artful calligraphy, gold frame, central place in the room.

I can remember looking at it and wondering what its full meaning might be...and why so important to my father.

And today, I reached that place again in my devotional reading of scripture.

It is I Samuel 15.

A quick summary:
1. The Lord had given his directions to King Saul to deal entirely and finally with the wickedness that was represented by Amalek. Because of their evil before the Lord, they were entirely "devoted to destruction."

So a battle was joined, Saul leading 210,000 soldiers. And they won the battle - and then dealt with the spoils. In doing that, they disobeyed the specific instructions God had given.

They made a decision to utterly destroy the despised and worthless things, but to keep the best of their conquest, including the king, for their own purposes.

Why this disobedience? In this chapter, some things stand out.
1. Self concept:
Saul "was little in his own eyes" - our sense of littleness, can make us squirm in disobedience, especially when God calls for valiant faith.
2. Focus:
not thinking clearly about who he was - the king, the leader - can make us think, what we do will not affect that many
3. Specifics:
Saul did not keep the specifics of God's voice to him in clear focus -the dazzle of success can make us rethink the "fairness" of God's will
4. Logic:
Saul traded off "what makes sense" obedience, for true and entire obedience
5. Popularity:
Saul "feared the people and obeyed their voice"

When the prophet Samuel heard what Saul had done and not done - both forms of disobedience: "he was angry and cried to the Lord all night."

It was to be the end of a lot of things for Saul:
his visits with Samuel the prophet,
the favor of the Lord
instead: "the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king...and rejected him from being king."

Is there an obedience that the Lord is calling for in our lives?
Are we fudging on the edges?
Are we covering up? Are we bowing to the pressures around us?
Is the favor of the Lord on us? Is the prophetic alive and positive around us?

To obey - is better than sacrifice.
To listen (to God) - than to try to make up for not doing so, with religious observance.

May we listen well, and do entirely what God is calling for us to do.

Oh God, strengthen us and have mercy upon us in the doing of Your will.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Got up today and was much encouraged by reflecting on the weekend just past and signs of the blessing of the Lord and His presence. I jotted stuff down for record.
A very good weekend. I realize over and over how easy it is to not remember and yield to the other voices.

(Hope your weekend was good you need to spend a bit of time journaling as well?)

Then I went back to continuing my read through the Old Testament...and read in early Judges today...about Gideon - you might grab your bible and read Judges 6.

Things that struck me:

1. He was living in a challenging time...not much support around him, in fact all negative stuff, so much so that the whole nation could be characterized as doing "evil in the sight of the Lord."..and being "laid waste" because of the Lord's withdrawal of protection. Over and over the news in the morning paper was bad.

2. Gideon is feeling the effects of the culture...doing the normal stuff (wheat processing in abnormal places...the as to hide), doing the day stuff at night - an abnormal time (so as to escape notice.) He is living with fear...and his behavioral patterns are being affected. (And there is no melatonin.)

Then I love what God does with people like this...or should I say, like you and me? :)

1. He calls him by the name He sees describing his potential and future - "mighty man of valor." :12 Does your story include an incident of a wounding name called over you...or internal names you call yourself? ("Weakest, least" - :15)

2. He sends an angel (in disguise) to show Gideon that the Lord is present and at work - and that He is very creative in the ways He can intervene. And I love this: it takes Gideon a long time to finally recognize that it is an "angel of the Lord." :22 (I think that too is still our challenge.)

3. God gives him a preliminary assignment - to grow him in boldness and conviction - cut down the Asherah, tear down the Baal altar. The word comes to Gideon at night - and he obeys at night. (Sometimes the night offers a quiet cover. It is not always a hard time and can become even a place of prayer, thought and more. Rather than stewing when awake at night, how about trying: "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening."?

4. He sends His Spirit to clothe Gideon with new authority, good ideas and resultant effectiveness.

5. He is ok with Gideon's journey about "is this really God?" - even after all of this. And lots of us are so into this need that "putting out a fleece" can often be understood in conversation with no other explanations.

Isn't this revelation of God wonderful and timely still? Wow! He is great, gracious, and will accomplish his not-so-fragile (:) purposes through us...good news when it sometimes feels a bit like a Gideon day.

And now, the words of a song that come to mind...perhaps a word from the Lord for you right now:
"I will change your name.
You shall no longer be called: "wounded, outcast, lonely, or afraid."
I will change your name.
Your new name shall be "confidence, joyfulness, overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God, one who seeks My face."

Lord, today I accept your names for me, your tasks for me, and the presence of Your Spirit to make me able for it all. Amen.


Monday, September 6, 2010


It is the season of my life...labor has changed shape.

I used to work rather endlessly, 60 hours per week was average...and there were some 70's. Somehow with a little smarts, and a great amount of grace, the family endured my craziness. So, on this labor day, I say "whew, we made it," we all love the Lord and one another. Thanks be to God.

Labor used to pretty much define me - a growing church, for 25 straight years, an endless appointment schedule, a very multifaceted portfolio, national responsibilities....on and on and on. Never ending To-Do lists only decreased slightly on the very best days, to become bigger yet on the next.

And now it is a season of change...and the change is often very challenging. I coach five pastors, assess churches, speak rather frequently, speak into the lives of church leaders, write articles and a book (and still have a TO DO list...however much smaller). And I sometimes nap - at least I know I can!, and take long evenings without much pressure and sleep 8-9 hours per night. Coffee and newspaper in the morning, and long stretches of time in the word and prayer...and so much joined life with my friend and partner, Jackie. And wonderful availability to the family...and frequent meals together and lots of phone time.

And it is still a very challenging change - from endless pressure to a more self-starting creative pace. From more people who "need you now" than I can respond to, to am I needed at all? From endless much more infrequent ones. From purpose, chasing you down from early morning to late evening (and sometimes through the night.)

And now these thoughts - on this Labor Day:

1. If I had to do it again...I would go at a slower pace, and not put the family at such risk. I would try to play more and share life together more endlessly...than put them into a schedule. I would more constantly evaluate my actual state, by seeking their counsel and open feedback. I would consciously drive towards the less polished, so the moments of life corporate and personal could be more filled with reality and love...not push and performance.

2. I would thank God for giving me his work to do...not endlessly create more and then be driven by it. "Six days shall you labor" I now see as a gift, not a law. From a God who appears on the stage of human history as at work..Genesis 2:2...and then is full of celebration, even play, at the work of his hands.

3. I would seek to savor much more, the progress in people and work to delimit the endless thirst for "more and better." More times to relish the present, hug and dance...and water the good crops growing already in people. More cards, notes, surprizes and parties.

4. I would try to choose a simpler life...with less pressure to accumulate stuff, move fast, and get er done. Overwhelmed by the Jesus model, who did all this best. Pouring more into less...discipleship.

Well, may each of us be good at what we do...working as for the Lord...causing those around us to look forward to the product of our hands and minds. And may we walk through all the seasons of our lives thankful for the strength and opportunity to labor.



Thursday, September 2, 2010


I have begun reading a book I have had on my shelves for years: THE SPREADING FLAME -by FF Bruce, lifetime New Testament scholar and author of a huge bevy of wonderful faith-building, articulate books. As I read I am putting little * in the margins as so I can easily revisit this and that great insights.

Here is one example - on the uniqueness of Jesus death:

"Jesus was not the first or the last to die because his death seemed expedient to certain highly placed interests. Of all the parallels which history offers to his death, perhaps that of Socrates comes nearest. And yet there is a gulf between the two, the contrast which the grisly narrative of the crucifixion forms to the peaceful scene where the old philosopher (Socrates) talks with his friends until the hour comes to drink the hemlock, and then dies quietly and painlessly.

And....For Jesus Himself...the role he was to fulfil was that of the suffering Servant, obedient to God even unto death and by His death bearing the sin of many and achieving deliverance and victory for them." p.56

So - a man who is well-acquainted with the sweep of history says, his death is utterly unique.

And the same man, a man of faith who understands the true activity and meaning of his death says, his death (and resurrection) stands alone in space and time.

How wondrous our Lord.

How staggering what He has done for us by way of His death.

What a mind-boggling gift, this gift of His forgiveness and our salvation.

Live in the joy of grace sufficient, all day.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I was greeted on Facebook this morning, first thing, by Fred.

He asked me (about my picture posted) if I was 65 yet?
And then: can you still walk on your hands?

My answers:
I only walk on my hands at the end of a very long wearisome day. (Get it?)

Two rather remarkable questions:
one about my age - you are not supposed to ask that.
one about my craziness - you are supposed to have forgotten old querques.

But I am all smiles and answer him chuckling.

Fred is a friend.

He appeared in my life when he moved from Saskatchewan to Montreal to take advantage of his full scholarship to McGill University. I was in High School struggling with the death of my mother and the reshaping of our family.

His distance from home and our families great loss, put us together often and we became friends...over pizza, clowning, and seeking God about what we were to do with our lives. (We both became pastors...and still are.)

Age differences, country differences (for the rest of our lives), seeing each other only on very rare occasions.

Still friends.

So as I walk this morning, after his greeting, my mind is exercising too, and joyfully thinking about Fred and friendships that last.

My SS Malibu is now probably rust. My "dream home" is left behind. The Senior Pastor role is gone. My fathering is giving way to grandfathering.

Everything changes...some things disappear.

Friends have a way of remaining.

Fred and I exchanged words about getting together again...and I assure you if we do it will be memorable. Friendships resume often if given even the slightest chance.

So make sure a lot of your energy and resources are given to friendship.

Especially too with Jesus. Best friend ever.

Thanks Fred.



Monday, August 30, 2010


First, an update on the book Spirit Life.

Last Thursday we had 50 copies of the book delivered to our door. Immediately we sent out about 20 that had been preordered...and yesterday at Restoration Church we sold out...with verbal requests for at least 12 more. So just a few minutes ago I contacted Chi Alpha with another order of 50. It is thrilling to sense the interest and timeliness of the book...teachers, small group leaders, pastors with keen interest. Some who have now worked through the book like it a lot. Discussions about this being core material for all believers. PTL!

If you want a copy, send us $20 and enclose a self-addressed card or label and we will turn your order around in quick fashion. Our address: 3989 Pronghorn Meadows Circle, Colorado Springs, Colo 80922.

Within the week we will probably have a Pay Pal site opened on this blog that will let most of the transaction go quickly and efficiently.


I carry a moleskine, ruled journal, with me everywhere. Fits a shirt pocket..or jeans pocket...and that way, I am never without the ability to keep brief track of of what I sense the Lord might be prompting to me. (I got my Moleskine at Barnes and Noble - pack of three)

Yesterday, in the midst of a great service, I penned this thought..."Think of what maturity it took for Jesus to minister in the temple."

Jesus, knew very early, that he would face enough opposition and reaction by the people who dominated that place (the temple) that it would lead to his death..and a horrid form of death at that. There has never been a rejection of someone good any more profound and painful. There has rarely been as much clear awareness that it was impending.

And yet, Jesus was often in the temple area teaching at his best, loving people and helping so many find the pathway to life and health. He did not withdraw for safety sake. He did not rage for emotions sake. He did not limit his speech for avoidance sake. He spoke the truth where he was...He continued the course. He entrusted himself to the Father and showed us what maturity really is all about.

I tend to be one who avoids the negative situations, withdraws to the company of friends, and limits my words. It comes naturally to do that. Produced by self-preservation, fear...and more.

And that pattern to temper my stance is underlined in me by the times that I have faced that kind of response from people after the fact, and for somewhat trivial things...and with very little consequence of suffering for me. Immaturity is easy. Maturity is costly and self-sacrificial.

Jesus had the huge and intense picture in view early, and he continued the course, to speak truth, to love people and to run the whole race, trusting the Father.

May we "run the race set before us" today...and provide a reliable and even strength to those who follow, and perhaps even resist.



Thursday, August 26, 2010


There are times in our understanding of the word, when it is the understanding of the big, long words that we must master....propitiation, atonement, reconciliation, preeminence...are but a few examples.

Today, in my reading of scripture, I came to a fresh understanding of how important the little words are to the infusion of our souls with light...
I will quote the passage and in each little-HUGE-word case put it in caps.

"He is THE image of THE invisible God,
THE firstborn of ALL creation.
For by him ALL things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities
- ALL things were created through him and for him.
And he is before ALL things,
and in him ALL things hold together.
And he is THE head of THE body THE church.
He is THE beginning, THE firstborn from the dead,
that in EVERYthing he might be preeminent.
For in him ALL the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself ALL things,
whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." Colossians 1:15-20

Jesus is unique and entire...THE only one who is as He is...for everyone and every situation we face.

May you have a powerful HUGE-word day.

Jesus..He is more than enough.


Friday, August 20, 2010


Reading today in II Corinthians 10-11 I was struck by the incredible contrast between our view of strength and God's....between what success looks like to us and God...between the "followable" people of the world...and the truly followable.

It all began to hit me when I pondered Paul's words in II Corinthians 10:1 - "I entreat you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ - I who am humble when face to face with you....I beg you"

And then the similarly zoned words began to stack up: Paul, describing his style uses these expressions: "weak, speech of no account, do not boast, do not commend myself, sincere, pure (in) devotion, unskilled in speaking, humble, serving, too weak - and perhaps you can spot more. And his point of departure to living at peace with this style, this description of himself in actuality, is Jesus Himself...whose meekness and gentleness sets the primary example.

Meek people are the opposite of pushy, irritated, mad, loud, centered-on-self people. Gentle people are soft, tender, listening, emoting with, safe, even playful people.

And that is our model..the meekness and gentleness of Christ.

So, how do we get there...just a bit more today?

A few ideas...

1. Take this blog focus as a cue from the Lord and as you need to, talk out whatever has been in your life recently that is in the wrong direction. Ask forgiveness and tell Jesus that you want to be more like Him. (The forgiveness tends to run very deep when we actually go to a person we have been harsh with and ask for forgiveness.)

2. And if anger, and wrong words, and selfishness surface in the hours just ahead, (and they can so unexpectedly), repent quickly and get back on the Jesus' track of gentle attitude and self-control.

3. Celebrate Christ characteristics wherever you spot them. Prize the gentle...and commend the weak.

4. it with thought and purpose and love.

It really is an upsidedown kingdom (from that of the world)
but...this is truly the Jesus model.

There will be lots of time to "rule and reign with Him"
...that comes later
and forever.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spirit Life

Spirit Life.

Two nights ago I simply could not go to sleep....for joy and anticipation. It was set off by checking my e-mail just before bed and receiving a word from a good friend that he passed his copy of Spirit Life to his mother and she began reading it and got so into it that she read it all night. She is a very mature and godly person so that was an especially wonderful comment. And he continued that he wanted me to send him 10 copies right away...and that perhaps they would be using it in a Texas Teen Challenge center.

So I went to bed rather overcome with the sense that God is in this...and it is going to be used by Him to advance the Kingdom. Both Jackie and I got caught up for a very long time in His presence.

Yesterday I presented Spirit Life to a gathering of pastors and immediately after sold out of the copies I had...with orders I will fill when more arrive. (Should be in a few days.) In introducing me to the pastors, the District Superintendent said he had read this book and recommended it to them as an important help for ministry.

And that is what this blog is about. Some of you have requested a copy of Spirit Life and now I can tell you how to get one.

1. Send a check and your address on a piece of paper - that we can easily attach to a mailing container for return mail. After we get your check and mailing address we will send the book to you. Indicate if you want it signed. Our address is - 3989 Pronghorn Meadows Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80922

2. The check should be made out to "David Argue" - for $20 - this covers the book, handling and mail costs. And we will be very prompt in getting it to you.

3. If you want multiple copies, we can fill that request as $20 per book.

There are about 300 copies of Spirit Life not sold at present, and shortly Chi Alpha will probably commence putting together a second edition. So this is your chance to get the first edition.

I hope that this explanation reaches all of those who have indicated an interest in getting a copy of the book. Another opportunity to watch the Lord tap people on the shoulder...and make up for our limitations. We hope to be up on a Pay Pal site soon.

God bless you!


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Finishing my reading of the Book of Acts today and I noticed a great principle embedded in chapter 27.

It is interesting that this wrap-up account of Paul's life is given great attention...more so than most other major events in the book.

Here is what I noticed:

1. Paul has important insight that the weather is turning bad and if they proceed it will result in injury and much loss (:10-11). They, however, pay no attention to him and instead, they "put out to sea." All 276 of them sail into the teeth of disaster...and Paul must go with them!

2. Paul is right in his sense of things, and the counsel they follow is wrong.

3. For days the ship is beaten up by the weather...stuff is thrown overboard to lighten the ship, no one has eaten for days...and now Paul gets another word: from an angel - that no life will be lost, but that the ship will run aground. His declaration: "I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told."

And that is exactly what does happen.
For the second time Paul is right...but with their actions, his prayers (?) and the angel's appearance, the word he has been given now, changes greatly.

It's all there in the 27th chapter of Acts...fascinating reading. (I wonder if the chapter has any rival in detailing maritime travel in the 1st century?..and what it also does to reinforce the confidence we can have in the inspiration of scripture?)

But, to the point I see and the idea: REBOUND.

What so often happens in our walk with Jesus follows somewhat along these lines:
1. We get a word, a prompt, a direction that affects others....and we share it.
2. It is not followed or attended to...or perhaps even affirmed.
3. Unlike Paul, we get hurt and pull back...taking up an offense.
4. We close down and "I won't try that again" becomes an operational inside read.

Instead, Paul is showing us a new way:
1. Share what you sense God has given you
...serve humbly, leaving the results to God.

2. Stay "on the boat" no matter what they do or don't do with it.
(Paul didn't have an option in this matter....but we often do.)

3. Keep listening to God and sharing what He keeps giving you.
I think Paul must have been much in prayer as the storm worsened.
He kept opening his heart up, not closing it down
...until, in the midst of craziness, he can recieve an angel.

4. Focus on people who need God contact...not on yourself
Always needing validation, affirmation? or is it only me? :)

5. The "ride" can have some shipwrecks in it, and some sopping wet moments
...but even then, the hand of God can be mightily at work.

6. Don't shipwreck yourself, when the "boat" you are all in is in tough water.
You might be the only stability, God-antenna, true north person on board.

Let's keep rebounding
...letting the unaffirmed moments get transformed into new strengths.