Monday, February 22, 2010

Jesus & people

Monday 2/22/10


Taught yesterday on this theme in one of my favorite studies, the relationship of Jesus with a family he hung out with quite a lot....two sisters and their brother who lived in Bethany, a few miles straight east from Jerusalem.

You can go further than I will here by looking up the passages and reading closely and perhaps even digging out a study bible or commentary.

The passages: Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-4, 6-44, 12:1-11 - lots of verses but a fascinating read.

Yesterday, I read the passages with comments (often with laughter) as we got to know these three people so much better:

1. Martha
the take-charge, no-nonsence person who has the gift of hospitality (and fretting along with it)- who deals with relationships rather indirectly (going to Jesus when she should have gone to Mary). Martha has a strong but non-emotive faith...her statement of faith as she sorts what will happen with Lazarus is a classic of strong belief. The mourners don't gather to her, but to her sister. She is first off the blocks...and has great natural leadership gifts. She makes the house tick. (Watch too how Luke and John list whose house it is...remembering that it actually all three of theirs.) Note the "Martha, Martha" - do you find yourself doing that with certain kinds of people too?

2. Mary
the contemplative, emotive, deeper-life kind of person (that leads to a lot of "sitting?":)...and often frustrations in the home. The mourners come to comfort "her" - while Martha tries once again to take care of the situation. Mary, when she finally gets up and comes to Jesus in the scene of Lazarus graveside, throws herself down before Jesus and their interaction is very strong. "Jesus wept." is in the text. What a phenomenal insight into Jesus' nature this is. (Selah.)

3. Lazarus
that he didn't make it into the first scene, though he lives there - becomes a standard. He says nothing. He finally makes the picture by getting sick. Jesus is called his friend. And he comes forth bound hand and one of the most incredible miraculous acts of Jesus. He had been in the tomb for four days. (Be sure to read the text and you will be laughing when Martha tries to keep everything proper.) But Lazarus prefigures Jesus and his witness is so strong for Jesus that He reaches almost unparalleled places in witness - see John 12:10.

And now the incredible good news from a verse that leaps to life, when the above is understood more clearly: John 11:5 - "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."

John names Martha first...and not even "Mary" - is he trying to help us see more clearly that it isn't just the super-spiritual that He loves? Is he bringing a needed balance to us? Yes, I think so.

He names Lazarus - the quiet, to himself kind of guy. He doesn't have to talk, to find himself talked about by God!

AND He includes Mary, of course.

And He loves them all...unique that they are, contributing or not - as they are...

Too often I find myself developing a model in my mind and measuring myself, and others by that model. Up for this one. Down for this one.

And meanwhile, in this text, I see a huddle, with Jesus arm-around us all drawing us close by His love and grace.

He loves us...and is making us into the unique and only servants of God we can be.
Rejoice in who you are today.
Walk Jesus and others.
We need each other.
No need to be careful not to waste energy and time on envy.

We are all called to the Kingdom for such a time as this.


Saturday, February 20, 2010


February 20, 2010

Well, that day has dawned....when the number rolls one more and I recon with time.

The day in brief review:

Slept till 7 something. A time in life when sleeping in is a thing of the past....and feeling sleepy is a thing all present.

Up and checking phones, e-mail, facebooks, blog - the mail won't arrive till this afternoon :)

Some gifts...a scarf, first knitting of Evan LaForge (Salt Lake City) - and a B&N gift card, a special espresso coffee pot, and a book on! Thanks everyone!

Then a call from grandson Carson with his own unique unaccompanied solo version of Happy Birthday. He is three. Certain phrases repeated at will. Repleat with arias. We were in fits of laughter....and I realized that is one of the best renditions ever. On facebook it would be a sensation. "Grampy" was honored indeed.

Greetings from all calling in, people sending pics, prayers, wonderful wishes..not to mention facebook.

Calls to some family including my sister in Vancouver...whose birthday is on the 17th. We compared with laughter the process of aging...and who is more challenged right now. "Tell me about it," she says, "'cause sometimes it feels like I've broken every bone in my body recently."

Underline the word "feels." That seems to be what this birthday business is about.

We laugh for way to respond to the stuff about us.

Laugh upwards too with a heart fully trusting in Jesus.


Then shovel the walk.

Get the big family dinner started - (Turkey) - Jackie doing most of it :)

Gotta preach tomorrow...if I still can after such a significant day! - want to mine it for yourself? - Luke 10:38-42 and John 11-12:8. A close look at three in a family and their relationship with Jesus and how He regarded them. It is a study with a lot of humor in it (I like that!) - a wonderful textual harmony and a knock-out conclusion. I'm going to go for do that too. Perhaps I'll put it on this site in a few days.

Well, gotta go and make sure none of my tv antena errant hairs are sticking out before the family gets know the ones that come out the end of your nose and off the edges of your ears. Didn't God have a great sense of all falls out of the top and then grows horizontal.

Have a great I am!

And thanks for being my friend!


Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Yes that's it.

My head is aswim with the writing project. What a challenging yet wonderful thing this is proving to be.

Four chapters down....and 10 appendices...and a solid outline has me moving a bit quicker than I had thought possible.

SPIRIT LIFE - is the probable name...the things I have learned in so many years of ministry relative to the working of the Holy Spirit will be included...with a special focus on a collegiate reading audience.

Wrote a chapter yesterday called ADVANTAGE NOW. Summarizing the words of Jesus in the later part of John (chapter 16 and following) where He said He was about to leave them (oh no!!) and it was to their advantage that He do so. Really?

How so??...

Well here are a few of the things I mined from the passage:

1. Now the powerful presence of God can be everywhere and not just geographically located.

2. Now "greater things" can the church becoming a change-the-world enterprize.

3. Now the gifts and ministries of the Spirit can spread out to all who would receive and follow His leading.

4. Now the final operation of Jesus in heaven can proceed so that when He knows it is time, it will be and He will return.

5. And one advantage I think of a living for Jesus is everywhere, all the time a grand adventure. Now an invisible Being, with unlimited power, benevolent purpose, and limitless grace to bestow on people says to you and I:
"As you go, listen to Me, do what I prompt, and watch what I will do!"

Ah yes....lots of advantages

"Power" up and let's go!


Living the adventure with Him and you!


Monday, February 15, 2010




Had a wonderful time at Restoration Church yesterday.

Jackie and I shared together talking about contrasts and communication.

Here is the essence of what we shared.

Dave Jackie
Male Female
It's clean - wear it Does it match? Accessorize
Urban Rural
Three colleges High School
Planner, charter Spontaneous, "get er done"
Indirect Direct
Use lots of words.. Talk with force

...well after we got through this and more we were all laughing a lot.

We all have lots of contrasts to deal with in our significant relationships. And the Bible reminds us:

Romans 12:16 instructs this way:
Live in harmony with each other. Do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded), but readily adjust yourselves to people and things and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits."

So, when we have conflicts, often we need help to make the talk-through constructive. Without that we can so easily hurt each other, say things we later deeply regret and make very little progress on fact deepen the rift.

What are some real keys to good communication?

#1 - A time to communicate.

When we have energy, mental focus and readiness (that means heart preparation and spiritual strength) - we are obviously here dealing with tough times in communication, when the issue is complex or the emotional reammifications are pretty big. The time to communicate is NOT when you get home from work, when you are tired at the end of the day, when you are on your way to church, when you are under a lot of other stressor pressures. Choose the opposites of those just named, to pick up a good time to communicate - like when you have had a good rest, when you are off for the day, when heading home from church and have been built up and encouraged..etc. And allow for an amount of time that will let you talk at length if you sense that is needed.
We have found it is really good to deal with a complex, emotionally-laden subject by setting up an appointment to talk...that gives each other a chance to think and pray and sort out stuff prior.

#2 - A place to communicate.

Not in front of the family...even the toddler. Not where others can overhear you. Not where you can be disturbed suddenly.....but choose a "private" place where people are close enough to put a bit of control on your manner of conversation, but not close enough to overhear anything you are saying. Like Paneras, or Famous Dave's ...or...

#3 - A way to communicate.

Here is a simple method that can be available at any time to use:
a. Use an object that you can imagine doubles as a a pen - but anything will work.
b. whoever is holding the object has the floor...they (alone) can speak and be heard - in fact, they must not be interrupted.
c. begin by determining who will start and pass the object to them.
d. the person holding the object talks without being interrupted and continues till they are done (signified by their saying so and handing the "mike" object to the person who has been really listening)
e. the person who has just received the "mike" object begins by summarizing what they think they just heard
f. the first speaker affirms what was just said, and offers any correction if that is really needed (keep using the "mike" object through this phase)
g. then the first listener gets a turn holding the "mike" object and speaking what they have to say about the matter in discussion
as this proceeds there is always a speaker who can speak at the pace and length they feel comfortable with, a listener who summarizes for clarity, and a safe process that can go on until the communication process is felt by both to be complete or at least complete for this time.

This method might be needed to be worked a number of times before sufficient resolve is achieved, but almost always even from the start, it controls negative outbursts, words said that really hurt deeply and it offers a guarantee that both parties will be careful in speech, be heard when they do speak and progress will be made in communicating well.

Ephesians 4:29-32 says..
"Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps...each word a gifts.
Don't grieve God. Don't break His heart...His Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life and He's making you fit for Himself.
So make a clean break with all cutting and backbiting and profane talk. Be gentle and sensitive with one another. Forgive one another as quickly and as thoroughly as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Jackie then told a story about she and Jess...when Jess came home all excited about being invited to the prom and all Jackie could think about were the costs, and process and dress-up and more....and she became quickly negative. It led to ill-will and hurt, until there was confession and a request by Mom to "have a do over."
With that Jess went back outside and came back in with the same bubbling words about the prom. They literally began again. They are best friends to this day.

So..."work at getting along with each other and with God." Hebrews 12:5

A final thought...studies at the University of Chicago uncovered a "negativity bias" that is part of most of is that our brains are actually more sensitive and responsive to unpleasant news than pleasant news. That is why criticisms and unpleasant news hits us harder and stays with us longer than good news.
In fact they have discovered that while working relationships can do ok with a 2/1 ratio of encouragement to correction and negatives....intimate and family relationships require much more, even a 5 to 1 ratio of kindness and love to correction and concern. We are called to be a people that bless and speak kindness and love with frequency.

And we ended with this blessing:

May you be patient with one another, kind, constructive, attentive to the needs of those who are around you.
May your affirmations far outweigh your instructions and especially your criticisms.
May you be skillful in looking for the best and always doing your best to bring it out in others.
May your homes be safe places, filled with encouragement, and aswim with forgiveness and grace.
The Lord bless you and give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times in all ways.
And may the Master be truly among you.


God be with us all today.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


February 10, 2010 (just had to write a blog on this day)


"Considering his other activities, his output during those remaining 4 war years was astonishing. Six books, letters on important subjects (published), scholarly papers, as well as letters to many individuals. Additionally he wrote and preached a few magnificent sermons.

He played his part, in household duties, and entertaining evacuated children, and he spent many hours trying to teach a mentally retarded boy to read and write. He was also working full-time as a tutor and lecturer (at Oxford)."

His books?...published into the millions and still hot sellers all over the world 60 years later.

His name?...Jack.

That was actually his nickname.

We know him as C.S. Lewis.

He kept a focus, not that limited him, but that balanced him, and maintained a steady aim on what really mattered.

And, in my opinion, all of the above listed mattered.

His influence goes on as I write this....because he kept the focus.

May our focus be clear in these days!



*Information from the book JACK by George Sayer.

Monday, February 8, 2010

On Speaking in Tongues

Monday, February 8, 2010

ON SPEAKING IN TONGUES...How to gain an advantage in your own "super bowl" contest.

Yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday, I addressed the richness of Speaking in Tongues (ie how to gain an advantage in your own super bowl) And the saints did win...more than the New Orleans kind...if you know what I mean. :)

What a day!

The second service turned into a lab and was truly special indeed.

As promised here are some things shared and especially the references from scripture that will help you study it further.

An anchor: Jude 20 - "Build yourselves up in faith...pray in the Spirit"

A biblically applicable sense of praying in the Spirit, is praying in tongues, an inner spirit expression to God, that is abundantly available to believers in the pages of the New Testament. (Acts 2:4, see also the specifics and implications of Paul's words in I Corinthians 12-14)

To define briefly: speaking in tongues occurs when we have been filled to overflow with the Spirit of God and our spirit seeks expression beyond what is naturally available - ie our language and our ideas. In speaking in tongues we are simply no longer confined to the limitations of our rationality...."our spirit prays."

The exciting sense of the language of the New Testament is that this is an offering of God to demark the fullness of the Spirit in our lives.

Speaking in tongues can be understood in at least three dimensions:

One - tongues spoken in a public situation, not understood by the speaker/s but understood by hearers without any interpretation. This a a special sign of God's presence and power...and while occuring still, is relatively unusual. See Acts 2:4,6,8,11
*My sister spoke Chinese when the overflow of the Spirit came and it was understood by the chinese lady near her and was of high impact in her life and ministry.

Two - tongues are spoken in a public situation, not understood by the speaker/s nor by the hearers and because of that, need to be interpreted so that people can be edified. (Interpreted is not to be equated with word-for-word translation.) See I Corinthians 14:27-28 - and in fact, the entire chapter. In my experience, there are a number of possible combinations here: the interpreter is quickened by the Spirit to know that what is sensed prior, during, or after, that what that person is sensing is indeed what the Spirit is expressing when the tongues is spoken. Note: it seems most accurate to see tongues spoken as an ascending speech - people to God: ie "God we magnify you and love you." And prophecy as a descending speech - God to people: the Lord's concerns for us, the Lord's heart and directions to us.

Three - tongues spoken privately (when alone, or non-distractingly, softly, when in public). This tongue speaking needs no interpretation to be orderly, although I Cor. 14:13 seems to hint that even in private we may ask God to help us understand.

Special note: I Cor.14 must be understood in the light of tongues spoken in church and in that church apparently often and without interpretation. This is disorderly and does not edify. But note what Paul says I Cor 14:18-19. Wow!

To speak in tongues so others can hear ie in public requires a special annointing and an interpretive understanding, otherwise, our speaking in tongues should be most entirely in private. Why speak in tongues privately?
1. It is a special road to intimacy with God - I Cor. 14:2
2. It is an additional way to pray with strength - Ephesians 6:18
3. It brings personal refreshing and encourages faith -Jude 20, Eph 6:10-18
5. It is a means of enliving not only prayer but also song - I Cor. 14:15

We all need to be refilled rather regularly...because most of us spring leaks and become empty pretty regularly.

So let us live full of the Spirit each day - Ephesians 5:18
let us speak in tongues as the Bible instructs
and win the life advantages it is meant to bring.

Matthew 7:7-11
Matthew 14:29
II Timothy 1:6


Saturday, February 6, 2010


February 5 2010


We returned some days ago from ministry in the Montana District - a district of about 80 churches, scatttered across wild and beautiful country and led by a wonderful team. In our meetings, there was an unusual sense of unity and cross-generational working together. I have tried to think about what we experienced there that contributed to that very special, and often unusual feature.

1. They structured the sessions so that all were multi-phased. Involving question and answer times, dialog, and especially round table times. There was something in both content and style for everyone.

2. In setting up the round table groups they purposely mixed up the generations so that they in fact had to mix it up together. That greatly enriched the dialog and built relationally across generations.

3. A young woman - a church planter - led the group times....forcefully, happily and cleverly.

4. The Superintendent set the tone by his openness and willingness to follow the lead of others.

5. They spoke candidly and with feeling about how they valued unity and love in the context of strong relationships.

If we want to keep from being "the good old boys" clubs....we must think in these ways and more.

Jesus...was surrounded by children, called the young and adults to leadership, and included everyone in the sphere of His healing and teaching ministries. "This is how they will know that you are My disciples," He said, "if you love one another." He built relationships with men and women (radical indeed for His day) and, walking everywhere He went, He built relationships with so many that in just two years, they could be trusted with the human workings of the building of His church.

May we be like, everywhere we go, and in all that we are doing.



Tuesday, February 2, 2010


February 2 2010


We are in a cosmic warfare...unseen most of the time...but experienced frequently.

One bit of evidence is the battle so many face for health. On one side, an enemy inflicts - seeking to "kill and destroy."

While, on the other side, Jesus, offers "life" and the consequent health that often ensues with it.

One of the most common signs of the warfare when Jesus was on the earth was the continual crying out of people, in a rage or desperation....and the continual work of Him to bring them health. In some cases all who came to Him were healed.

He dispatched those who followed Him closely to heal and speak the truth - the gospel - to people everywhere. And James, one of His chief leaders, simply said, "lay hands one the sick and they will recover."

In many churches, that truth is being rediscovered.

For instance, this last Sunday, someone came bringing a written testimony in hand.

Here it is, in their own words.

"I was born breached and was not expected to live, as my oxygen had been cut off. I didn't start walking until I was about 18 months old and have always walked with a limp. My mother never took me to a doctor until I was 16, when I couldn't move my legs and get out of bed.
I have been in pain all my life and the doctors said I would be on a pain pump the rest of my life. I have had a morphine pain pump for 10 years and have taken morphine orally for approximately 10 years which makes it 20 years of morphine.
On Saturday, January 24, I went to church to attend the First Love worship time.
I heard the Lord talking to me.
He told me to get down on my knees and I haven't done that in a long time.
I worshipped and praised the Lord but never on my knees.
I wasn't able to get on my knees as when I did I wouldn't be able to get up and also had a lot of pain to go along with it.
I resisted doing it and the Lord told me once again to get on my knees.
I got down on my knees and started listening to God and then I saw Jesus in all his majesty.
He was standing there with His hands outstreched to me and I entered into his presence. And He simply held me.
Nothing was said between us but I could feel His warmth coming into me.
When I started to get up, I felt a grinding in my knee and didn't think much of it. I was able to stand up alone.
There wasn't anyone helping me.
The first thing I noticed is I was standing straight, my knee was not bent like it always was before.
The Lord has taken away all my pain and I no longer need the medication.
This is the first time in my life I have been without pain.
Praise God for what He has done for me.
The doctors have turned off the pain pump completely and I am completely pain free."
--Ingrid Duran

May each of us recognize the war....and be on Jesus side daily.