Friday, April 30, 2010



Mark 7:24-30

This woman does not qualify....
an unwelcomed guest,
a Gentile,
a Syrophoenician,
one who falls down,
with a daughter who is demonized.
AND.. Jesus is on a break from ministry and is not looking for guests. is your self concept and faith doing?

She is desperate...reduced to "begging."
Jesus, in one of the only "avoidance" moments of his ministry refers to what he can do as the bread for children (the Jews) served on the table, fresh and hot.
And she? well, by analogy, she is in the place of a dog, unqualified, undeserving....because dogs eat what is on the floor, not the table.


She doesn't even flinch, but from her position (at his feet, under the table?) - says, "Yes Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."


All I need is a crumb off the floor and it will be ok with my daughter.
You give me a crumb and the devil will be gone.
I call you Lord, no matter what.

We have a dust buster that I love to charge and use. Always for crumbs off the kitchen floor. Jackie cooks fast and often in a flurry!

Next time I pick up the crumbs I might find myself in prayer.

"Jesus, give us today our daily ....crumbs."

Crumbs--that's the size of my problems in the light of His power.



Saturday, April 24, 2010


April 24, 2010


(a quick review of the last two weeks on Sunday morning)

In his day (800-750BC) Assyria was the superpower....and awful in their fierceness. Artifacts remain of their terror and military might. (Nahum 3:1-4) Makers of lamps with human skin. Fierce.

So when God said he wanted Jonah to go there and minister "against" it, it was not very good news to the prophet. (In the teaching I shared my top ten reasons why Jonah did not want to comply. Can you think of some?)

So....he decided to take a prolonged vacation in sunny Tarshish on the west coast of Spain. Check it out - some 2200 miles in the wrong direction. (How do you define resistance to God's voice?! Wow!!))

The next part of the story tells what God did to press his will (and unfailing love and compassion) for the Assyrians. He sent a wind, brought mini revival to the sailors of the ship that Jonah was aboard, and then dispatched Namu to have "lunch" on a man thrown into the water...Jonah, that is.

This is a pretty free rendition of the text so I encourage you to read it freshly - Jonah 1:1-17.

From a few fathoms down, Jonah has a revival and prays earnestly. Namu develops a very sever case of indigestion and Jonah ends up on a beach - not the Tarshish kind -but the right one to get him back on track and on with God's plan.

(We are having a bit of fun with the story, but I do believe that it is entirely true. *Jesus quoted it several times.
*The "impossible" moments of it fade when the "God" references are considered.
*It has been considered to be historically reliable by both ancient Jews and Christians.
*And Jonah was an actual historical figure with other points of ancient reference. His prophetic ministry spanned right at 50 years.

Main point from chapter one - say "yes" to God. Do what he is calling you to do and live your life not running and avoiding and drafting more acceptable plans, but being strategic.
Illustrations: 1. David Wilkerson and Teen Challenge, now 50 years old.
2. Once Upon a Town:by Bob Green - sandwiches to soldiers changes the world.

Chapter 2
:1-10 - God's New Boat Ride and Jonah's New Prayer - lots of insights here

Chapter 3
:1-2 - God Just Keeps Coming and Coming
:3-4 - Jonah Gets It Right
:5-9 - Nineveh Gets It Right
:10 - God always does what is Consistent with this Character

See also a. II Peter 3:9
b. John 3:16-17
c. Matthew 18:12-14

May we do what God is calling us to do...and tell stories about our "yeses" and the immense wonder of His love and mercy.


Jackie and I leave for some days at District Council and then ministry in Cortez and I will be back on the Blog when we return.

God bless you!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Sweet 16

We awoke this morning to gently falling snow....
on the 23rd day of April.
Sighs of relief that we didn't buy those bedding plants.

Ah...a bit of hot coffee seems great. is sweet 16 today.

Can it be that many years ago that we all dressed up....all 7 of us for day one of the blending of families? Can it be that she really trusted that I would be a good dad to her three? (The greatest trust I probably will ever be given.)

She was radiant (the flowing dress was just ribbon to her countenance)...and gorgeous...and magnetic in her joy.

Still is.

I knew then very little about her had only been 6 months since we met....and up till this day of our first wedding (we had two one in Salt Lake and one in Lincoln)- till today, we had lived so far apart. We walk by faith...and by sight, right? :)

But she stepped into a whirlwind kind of life....and was unflappable....generous with hugs and smiles and comments that brought laughter to the surface. And she spoke better than I the first time she took the pulpit with me.

Great in the kitchen....and in other places. :)

My wife.

She's wonderful....courageous, adapatable, committed like wild to the family. (And it often is just that - wild.)

Enduring and a bright light in a very complex workplace.

And now, 16 years later, I have a lot less hair, and a lot more wisdom.
And I would choose her still.
Wouldn't take a magic time in Israel to bring that on.

Thanks, Jackie for being my wife...the mother to OUR five and glue to the family that now numbers 21 - including one in "wraps," and one in His arms.
So it is a very good day...with falling snow...and time with my very best friend.

And, just think...the best is yet to come!
Sweet 16 indeed.

Jackie...I love you -


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Astonishment and Stuff

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Well, I am back reading through the Gospels again. I got up to Joshua starting at the beginning and just suspended that read and got back to my favorite place...the Gospels. I simply cannot get enough of Jesus. Can you?

Incidentally, I have now read a lot of footnotes and studied maps and charts in the ESV...and it is evenly wonderful - like check out the maps embedded in the texts of OT history! Wow! It's like carrying a small library with you everywhere you go. If you want a Bible that I think will last you for the rest of your life, this is it. An investment well worth the making. ESV - English Standard Version - Study Bible...available online, and at Barnes and Noble too.

So I am reading about Jesus in Matthew 7 and 8.

*The crowds were "astonished" at his teaching.
*He taught as one having "authority" and not as the other teachers of the time.
*"Great crowds" followed him wherever he went.
*He healed a leprous man "immediately"...and a paralyzed man "at the very moment"
he simply said.."Go, let it be done"
*He touched Peter's mother-in-law's hand and the fever "left" her and she got up and made supper
*He "healed all who were sick and oppressed by demons."

Incredible array of amazing statements...all in just part of a chapter.

Then his statement..."foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."
IE - the holes of foxes, and little circles of nesting materials make foxes and birds better off than I.

And we have it in reverse. All the stuff...and little astonishment.

Don't think that I write this because I have it all worked out. But, for myself, I ask that God will help me truly desire HIM....and always keep heading in the direction of less of anything that limits or obscures the passion and stillness that welcomes His Presence.

More "astonishing" moments, please God....and less and less stuff.

Thy Kingdom come.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Sunday - April 18, 2010


1 1/2 great services today.

The complete first one, and half of the second.

The second one was particularly powerful in worship...there was a sense of God doing really strong stuff in so many. Spontaneous and deep responses to the presence of God.

Then a missionary took a :10 minute window to share his vision with the church....and half way through, word came to me that some could smell natural gas in a back corner of the auditorium, a call had been made to firemen, and they had said everyone must evacuate pronto.

I stopped the missionary in flight...and we all left the building in an orderly and peaceful manner....and very quickly. Into a sunny, breezy day. No mishaps.

Lots of conversations in the parking lot for a time and the arrival of a fire truck.

In all my years this is a first. Missionary said the same...800 churches and this is the first time.

So I grab my humungo concordance and check out "interrupted" and there is just one, a pagan king interrupting Paul - Acts 26:24. God does not by recorded activity interrupt? - or is that simply an application of his sovreignty? (Those in sovreign positions, are not said to interrupt?)

But there are about 50 "suddenlies." Jesus' appearances, angels, mighty winds, judgment. So when he acts, it, for us, is sudden.

Don't know about you, but in my life I would like a few more "suddenlies" and a few less "interruptions."



Friday, April 16, 2010


173rd post
6552 hits as of 8am

Friday, April 16, 2010
106th Day of the year - 259 days left


Well, here are some updates:

The book...Spirit Life
*all chapters of the book written and polished except one.
*complex charts done
*appendices to be polished - and bibliography
*then the book will be completed.
Now more and more time in prayer that it will be useful...and not "another book."

Interim pastoring - progressing well, meeting with board and top candidates in the next few days....the end of my ministry there is now coming into sight. Planning to use the final weeks to focus on preparing all for a healthy and happy welcome and adjustment with the new pastor. And perhaps intruduce a new ministry to the church.

Article - Is Hell for Real? - submitted to Evangel - requested by them....and early word is that it is fine and will work. Feedback yesterday from someone who read my most recent piece in the Evangel and was helped by it. The one on Stress Busters.

Coaching 4 guys each month...that is really going well. All are pastors of start-up churches...a great inspiration to work with them.

Reading through the word - The ESV Study Bible continues to be amazing. Best dollars you probably can spend. Great balance and condenced scholarship, wonderful maps and charts (got to have these!:)..and a bunch of timely articles. A library under one cover...and heavy enough that it has aerobic value!! Wonderful.
(Confession - I read some of Leviticus really fast.)

Family has never been better...the time with so many last weekend was off the charts. And this weekend we will interface with some Nebraska family as well. Family is truly the greatest gift...and the Bible calls us one big "family":Galatians 6:10, Ephesians 3:15, Hebrews 2:11, I Peter 4:17. Hey family....I love you!!

And a final thought. If your assessment of things TODAY is a bit blah...stop and add it up. In even writing this note I have been lifted.

Psst...TODAY "is the day the Lord has made....rejoice and be glad in it." Lots better than spending your time in the grumps about parts of it. (Psalm 118:24)

Living today...and in touch with you



Monday, April 12, 2010

They left a few hours ago....Ella and her parents.

What a weekend.

Ella is holding the weasel...the object that made it into the sermon yesterday. Inside the orange ball is a battery run motor that makes the ball move on the floor. The weasel is tied to the ball and so the motion is rather continual, and random...and looks quite like the weasel is in the chase.

We used it yesterday as a way to describe how life was for the disciples in the week following the resurrection and how it often is for us.

The title: Saints in a Scramble

1. There was public rumor to deal with - see Matthew 28:11-13
2. They had all, at one point, "fled."
3. Judas, one of the insiders, turned traitor publicly
4. They had heard/see/hid from a violent public outburst against Jesus
5. Some had endured the spectacle of crucifixion..horrible to behold
6. It had come to locking the doors and living in considerable fear
7. It had all produced in them a "hardness of heart"
8. Thomas: "I will not believe, unless...." faith with conditions
9. Jesus classified them as "troubled, letting doubts arise"

Instead of the great confidence of post resurrection days, they were saints in a scramble...indeed.

Three things emerge in the text that offer help to them...and us.

1. Help #1 The Peace of Christ
Three times Jesus speaks peace over them in this account. And in other passages as well, we see it repeated:

*Mark 4:37-41 - "peace be still" - to a storm on the lake
*John 14:27 - "Peace I leave with you...not as the world gives..let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid"
*Philippians 4:6-7 - "do not let your hearts be troubled about anything but in everything, by prayer present your concerns to the Lord...and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

We then talked about what can tear at our peace...and put a weasel in our lives...
health issues, job security, financial stresses, relational challenges, vocational direction and more....

What we need is to daily spend time in quiet before Jesus, receiving His peace and focusing our hearts, not on the wind and waves (see Mark 4)but on the power and love of our Lord. Nothing is too hard for him. He has complete ability. Our times are in His hands. It is never too late to trust in Him.

We then stopped and spent time in prayer together.

Help #2 - The Blessing...presence, comfort of the Holy Spirit
John 20:21, 29, 31

We were reminded to focus on believing and not fearing or doubting.
Verses to assist us:
1. Romans 10:17
2. I John 5:4-5

Help #3 - Do what gives life...and watch for the Lord.

John 21:1-14 - they fished all night...caught nothing
-they were now tired, hungry, and angry?
Jesus appears:
and with a simple direction (the right side of the boat)..there are so many fish in the net that they have to haul the net to shore with the fish in it - 153 in all!

Amazing...Jesus ability to transform a hopeless situation into triumph
Jesus attention to the normal patterns of our lives - breakfast!
Jesus desire to show up and give us wisdom that releases supply.

So, in the scramble of our lives...
1. We have the peace of Christ to renew our hearts
2. We have faith in the triumph of Christ and presence of His Spirit to energize our lives
3. We have the potential of the presence of Christ in the normal patterns of life that sustain.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Thursday, April 8, 2010


His task was overwhelming. Lead a million people, all of them homeless...with a lurking enemy off the horizon. No conveniences/human services of any kind...sanitary, medical, law and roads, no communication helps, no educational system, nothing....
The Q and A lines were endless..."morning till evening" - day after day.
And he was trying to "do it alone." (Like some pastors/church leaders I know.)
And over it all was this public assessment - "not good."
You are going to "wear yourself out."

Here was God's way out....and it worked incredibly well.

Endurance....God's way.

1. Redefine who you are - "represent the people to God."

2. Redefine your tasks - the big stuff only.

3. Get tougher as you instruct - "warn them"

4. Choose people to help you, carefully, by measurable traits: - able, fearing God, trustworthy, not able to be bribed...and place these men over manageable groups of people

5. Let the people you've chosen really "bear the burdens with you"

6. You take a shot at stuff only after others have already tried

7. You keep the path "going up to God" warm...and people "will believe you"

And he got it....and did it.

And they all ended up arriving at a home.

And they all won battles over their enemies...and pleased the Lord.

And their leader did not expire, but lived to 120.

So these 7 pointers are effective, and timeless for leaders who would endure.

Want the details?
Moses is the leader. It's the front page story of Exodus 18-19.

May you lead well...and live long...and endure as a leader.



Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Don't you love this day?!!
*Children hunting eggs
*Bright clothing and dressed up men!
*Trees budding...bulbs bursting
*Wintry winds losing their grip...and sunshine warming
*Good food...ham, right?
*Basketball madness
Yes...these are things we love...and well we should.

But happiness?
That comes at a far deeper level...not from great things outside, but from things right inside....and a deep knowledge that all is really well and our future is sure.

And our text today shows the way to a truly happy easter.

Matthew 28:1-10

the resurrection of Jesus shows us what really makes for HAPPY.

Resurrection is an unveiling of a new state of being.
Jesus is often called - the "firstborn from the dead" because He is the prototype of a whole new "gettin' up morning" race of people.
We're the resurrection bunch.

And his "getting up" from the dead is not to resuccitate and then eventually expire...but "he ever lives to interceed for us" - Hebrews 7:23-25

His gettin' up means that we don't ever really have to get down.

I don't write poetry...but at easter I get happy enough that I try a limerick...

Here's one...
There once was a young kid called Larry.
Next o' kin to Jesus' mom Mary.
When the sun came up fast...
He was jogging right past garden tomb...
And KABOOOM!!!.........

Now everything's new....very, very.

So we get happy this Easter remembering that because he lives (again, after death) we shall live also. It's the dawning of a new race of the redeemed.

#2 -
The state of death has changed forever for those who have walked in this life, with God. It has gone from being the shaddowy end, the gathering to the fathers,
TO being present with the Lord and awaiting the final resurrection and the reassembling of our mortality into immortality.
Kind of like, from the end of the play and lights the end of act one and intermission until the final triumphant scene.

#3 -
And because death has now been shown to NOT be the end of our existence, Jesus, through the cross and resurrection has disarmed the evil empire by rendering its primo weapon insipid. "Death, where is your sting?"
The stealth weapon has been exposed and grounded.
"He has disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public spectacle of them" - no those aren't my words because I am getting a bit too happy. They are Paul's words to the Colossian church, taken from the parades in Rome when a conquoring general returned and paraded the vanquished foe in the street behind him.

The cross settled the cosmic legal issues...the resurrection was the celebration.

#4 -
And because death is not the end, resurrection puts meaning into everything we do in this life.
Heaven is for real.
Everything will work out in the end.
There will be justice and reward.
The temporal will put on the eternal.
What is sown in tears will be reaped in joy!
This is not "the peak time of western civilization" but the final throws of the night...and daylight is about to dawn.

II Cor.4:14-18 - He who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence...therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them we fix our eyes on what is eternal.

Resurrection says, Celebrate! the way home is clear!
What Jesus came to do, he did fully!
He is the Lord, the sovreign one, the guarantor of every promise that he made.

Check out the text for today...and look at all the running, and high energy verbs in it. really is HAPPY EASTER!

And Jesus stuck around for 40 more days of life...and Kingdom instruction.

Our faith is on solid ground.

Because he lives...we really can face tomorrow.



Friday, April 2, 2010

G race: greater than all
O verpowered: evil by God
O bedience: wins again
D eliverance: from the wages of sin

GOOD Friday.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.


Moved deeply today....