Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

May 31, 2010


They came quietly forward.

In ones and twos..some holding hands.

Eyes cast down.

And the line of them standing tearful and side-by-side grew at the front until it spanned a long distance...almost the entirety of the large auditorium.

Over thirty.

As they came forward they were handed a long-stemmed rose...yellow for those rembered who are currently serving in a combat zone, and a red rose representing one who had given their lives already in the service of freedom. A family member, husband, father, close friend, sister.

The deep quietness settled down tighter and tighter upon us, until the hundreds gathered became entirely still. And the one in charge stuggled to speak at all...and finally softly led us in prayer.

We were remembering.
We were memorializing the fallen and those risking everything.

We were being moved deeply with sorrow for the loss, love for those who remain and great thankfulness for the freedom that even allows this expression.

We were gathered at the presence of our Lord.

We had become one again. We had not forgotten. We had honored.

The worship leader took the red rose he had been given and taped it to the mike from which he led us all.

Even today, it still moves me deeply.

Thank you to the men and women and families who have given so much and are doing that even today. You are depositing the costly commitments so that freedom can reign.

Thank you.



Saturday, May 29, 2010


Saturday, May 29, 2010


Tomorrow will be my last time to speak as interim pastor at Restoration Church.

Next Sunday Pastor Paul will speak and we will be honored for our service to the church during these last many months.

So what shall I say tomorrow?

Key: what can I say that will make the way better for the new pastor? What can I say that he might find less comfort in saying, especially early in his ministry at the church? How can I continue the role clearly set before me? See John 3:30?


The points may shift some...but here is the main thrust of it:

1. Give them your love
....really love them from the very start.
Don't play the toleration game, or the comparison game, or the wait-and-see game, or the what's-in it-for-me game....simply love them from the start.

a. Be takes a long time to feel like you are "home."

b. For a long time, always give them your first name - "Greet," the NT way.
(Don't play the "I told you last week" game. Keep loving and reaching.

c. Be generous - Psalm 112:5, I Timothy 5:17 - a pie, a steak, a bit of shared
produce, and a large offering...make for really great encouragement and faith.

2. Accept your pastor for who he is and who he isn't
a. The Jesus model: John 1:10,14a
b. The US model
c. The reality

4. Pray for he and his family frequently - I Thessalonians 1:2
The challenges of ministry are great - II Corinthians 11:28, Phil.1:19

5. Allow your pastor to pastor you - Hebrews 13:17
I Corinthians 13:4-8.

In the healthy churches in our fellowship, I have witnessed a great love affair going on between the people and the Lord Jesus AND between the people and their Pastor.

Let it be so here...and watch what the Lord will do!



Wednesday, May 26, 2010



This blog will have special application to you if...
you have moved
you have changed jobs
you have just graduated
you have found a life partner
you have faced a major health adjustment
you have aged
you have embarked on a new phase of career
you have a new family member
you have an economic challenge before you
you are breathing as you read these words.

Transitions...we all face them.

Sunday will complete 5 months of interim pastoring at Restoration Church. Last Sunday a new pastor was overwhelmingly chosen...and now transition is happening...for everyone. Not bad at all...just happening and often challenging.

Jackie left for work again this morning at 7:30 - after I got her her favorite cup of coffee...and later did the dishes and picked up the house...and stayed home! And just might cook our supper tonight.

Big role reversal for us right now. Wild!

Now common..I am writing, coaching, speaking, mentoring and pastoring. But most of it is home-based. So the roles have shifted.

Makes one want to sing the line of a great a more changeless time...."Oh Thou Who changest not, abide with me."

Well, actually, that is a great place to begin, in facing transition.
Surrounded by it all, and in a full scramble...the best thing we can do is to draw closer to the Rock..the one Who is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." Who "changes not."

Not time to do that? Proof that more than ever you must carve out time (figure implies cutting out of some intensity-producing stuff :))- make time to do that. (Like right after reading this short piece, why not stay right where you are and just sit before the Lord and talk some stuff out with Him?)

Don't spend time muttering about change. Life is full of fact it is the essence of life itself. (Ever watch the transformations and incredible changes that come to the butterfly before it has flight? It really is all about change.
Better to spend time in thought and prayer about how to best respond to change and take it head the surfer does the big one.

If you feel like you are "all in a dither" might be time to talk it through with someone who can be a bit more objective and speak calming and motivating words to you as to how to deal better with it. (If you need this you'll easily spot moments of anger, and stuff left undone that is really critical to your your health.)

So, carpe diem..sieze the moment...and keep running (albeit with patience) the race that is set before you... (See Hebrews 12)

"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in."

Puffing a bit as I run...with you.


Friday, May 21, 2010


Friday, May 21, 2010


Reading Matthew this morning and finding some interesting fresh insights about Jesus.

I will list the location so you can read the passage and see what you think.

1. We tend to call the righteous to follow, get saved and join us. Jesus called the sinners to follow...and hung out with them copiously. Hmm.. (Matthew 9:9-13)

2. Jesus way of healing was a bit different than ours. In Matthew 9:18-26 he gets petitioned publicly to "come" and as he does, gets interrupted by a long-term unclean sufferer. The need is coming after him from every side as he is going along through life. Both women in this case - way to break social barriers down. Hmm..

3. Soft clothing, the preference of prophets currently. The mark of prophets then, rough clothing. Hm. Matthew 11:7-9.

4. Jesus let his "deeds" overcome an obvious challenge he faced coming from his living on the edge. Matthew 11:18-19 Lots to think about here..about both our edges and our deeds.

5. Jesus was a tonic to be with...gentle, restful, lowly...and at the same time fully committed to the purposes of the Father, truth, confrontation of evil. Wow, what balance. Matthew 11:28-30. For a passage in which he uses extremely strong language see Matthew 12:33-37.

6. Matthew 12:1-9 - Jesus was extremely well-versed in scripture - and expected that from those who would follow him closely. This had to mean a great deal of scripture committed to memory and easily brought to mind. (No Study Bibles then...Hmm)

How is our followership going today?

Hmm ing with you.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010




I tend to be show preferences for some more than others.

Happens in lots of areas of choices...but it can be especially ugly when we allow partiality to appear in our relationships with people. Between race, gender, age, styles, giftings - divorced? impaired? less-privileged? elderly? poor? wealthy? crazily clothed? hairdos? teeth problems? size or heavyness? partiality can appear and cause us to go backwards and miss out on the God adventures.

I was helped on the journey early in this regard
by Stanly Kido and Charlie Greenaway = aisian and black - both wonderful high school friends and fellow scouts
and by Joe Orduna and Wesley Mabin - black athletes with the Nebraska Cornhuskers
and by Andre Crouch and the Disciples - best musicians I have ever been around
and by Barry McGuire - a guy who seemed to have no partiality at all.

God doesn't have partiality.

Came across this statement today: - "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (Acts 10:34)

Ah, but that means partiality towards those that do not fear him and do not do right? Nope..."he is not willing that any should perish" - God loves the world so much that he sent his son, that whoever...."

So, today the largest church in the world is Chinese. The most powerful evangelists are probably in South America.

The picture in heaven: And they sang a new song, saying.
"Worthy are you...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." Rev.5:9

So, may we today love as Jesus does...and may our love break down walls, heal hurts and welcome the peace of Christ among us.

Hug someone "different" today...


Thursday, May 13, 2010


May 13, 2010


Don't like it.


Something that pushes in the opposite way.
Disagreements. Contrariness. Resistance.
Stress producer. Challenger.


I have this idea of the perfect today...and something (someone?) messes it up.
I have this idyllic way of viewing a good life...and mine goes south.
I have a plan that will make everyone happy...and everyone else has a different idea.

I want everyone to like me...and instead...

Jesus faced a lot of opposition:
*They "hated him.
*They "accused him of leading the people astray.
*They "were angry with him
*They "were seeking to kill him.
*The "crowd was muttering things about him
*The "authorities sent officers to arrest him
*There "was a division of the people over him.

Is the above 7 a summation of the total of the opposition he faced?

Nope is a listing of some of the lowlights of the opposition he faced in just one chapter of John
- an early one at that -chapter 7.

Opposition - feels very yuck...but it can lead us into accurate reflection of our Lord.

In many cases (like with Jesus) it is tangible evidence we are heading the right way and speaking and living with strength.

So how do we endure in the face of opposition??...
How do we keep a right spirit and the gladness of God in our souls?

"1. Run with endurance the race that is set before (you,
2. Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith,
3. Reach for "the joy set before (as you) endure this cross,
4. Despise the shame
5. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." Hebrews 12:1-3

"For the joy set before...endure the cross." Jesus could see past the temporalness of opposition to the lasting rewards of eternity.

If we can see further down line it will help us as well.

Opposition. We all face it.

Let's stand with Jesus as we do.

The best is yet to come.



Monday, May 10, 2010


Monday, May 10, 2010

Jesus...insights from His life.

Luke 10:29-37.

Jesus was asked the question directly:

Who is my neighbor?

Our answer to that is most often - "the one who lives fairly near me."

Jesus answer to that question is - your neighbor is the one who you draw near too.

Big contrast here.

He tells as story to show what he means...about a man, Jewish, involved in a travel incident where (at a rest stop?) he is stripped, beaten and left half dead.

Lost identity, lost cash, lost life?

A priest happens by and avoids involvement - ouch.

A Levite, (assistant to priests - elders,deacons,society "good person") - also does nothing - ouch.

A Samaritan, a culturally "outside" person (to a Jew) does the following:
a. comes close to where he is lying - gets involved
b. binds up his wounds - does what he can
c. pours cleansing and healing oil on him - gives what will heal
d. puts him in his "car" and brings him to a Holiday Inn, giving the front desk sufficient guarantee of payment for them to care for him until he returns - to take care of him further! (His objective is "get him well" not do the quick fix and disappear)

Jesus question:
Which of these three persons "proved to be a neighbor to the man in need?"

The correct answer:
"The one who showed mercy to him."
Mercy is to show compassion, even towards one non-connected to my life - to express love, costly love, love that makes a difference

So being a neighbor has very little to do with land proximity and everything to do with our hearts pulling close to a person on our journey that we discover is in need. Then, being a neighbor is doing something to show them God loves them, and we do too.

Got some neighbors?...per Jesus definition.

Oh yes, they could be sitting close, or working close, or living close.

But being a neighbor is about what we do, not they.

And what God does through us in consequence.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Tuesday, May 4

Back from a weekend in Cortez yesterday evening.

A wonderful time with some hungry folks.

Sunday morning and evening (!) services.

In the evening I was given a long time to teach (:90) and felt a real annointing as I did so across several key notes, and only a tiny white board to use as illustration.

As I did, I watched people transform...faces from weary to fresh, countenances from tired to "more"...and when the opportunity came, questions and insights. And I realized too that at the end of the day I was not spent either....but energized.

What a wonderful time.

Reminded me of Ezekiel 3 - "Then he said to me, 'Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.' So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth."

Ah, God's spun honey...the elixir of Life...the living word of God.

The entry of the word of God into us, brings such life, and purpose and even energy. Ah, not too much happens when we read just to "get er done for the day" - but when we read with aha in our hearts, wow, what happens then!

May your path in the word be rich and real. May your heart be on a ceaseless treasure quest....and may your discoveries in it be like the glow of fireflies on a dark night.