Thursday, September 29, 2011


They called him "Uncle Charlie."

A very special person....radical for Jesus. Generous - like the time he opened his home to take in children. "I'll take them all," he said to the judge and the five orphaned children became his.

A preacher, a man of God, a person who walked out an entirely dependent life on the provision of God.

Late in his life his habit was to leave the house and walk in the city and find a place to preach. "I have to preach," he would say, and be gone.

This day it was the same...only the time away began to lengthen and the family became concerned. Joe (the one who told me this story) finally felt a prompt to go and try to find him and began to drive his vehicle, looking for him. Finally came upon him sitting on a park bench.

When Joe approached him his first words were: "Where have you been? You're late!"

"Why do you say that?" Joe remonstrated. "Where have YOU been."

"Well," Charlie replied, "I prayed that you would come and pick me up about an hour ago and expected you to be here much sooner."

Not an isolated story about Charlie. Occasions of storms turned back, wheat de-blighted, people healed and transformed.

A man who walked in certainty.....about God, and faith, and following Him.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for...."

Certainty...may we walk in this path today.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Presence

Almost 300 of us gathered yesterday.

A day of heading towards the conclusion of our time of transition here and the coming of a new pastor to Canyon Road.

Lots of busyness in the air.

As we worshipped we began to encounter The Presence of God.

A genuineness came upon us...and began to be energized.

We were beginning to worship from deep within.....and then a word came, spoken clearly into a microphone: God is marked with this description "steadfast love" over and over in scripture. He has that love for matter your ups and downs...He remains steadfast in His love for you.

And we worshipped.

As we did, someone came forward to the pastors, with a bible open to Isaiah 43 - and a passage about God bringing children back that have strayed from Him. And someone confirmed that as a word they too had....and shared it with the church.

I then clarified what I sensed was happening and invited people to stand if this word was speaking strongly to them.

Many did.....and we prayed. We had suddenly become "a house of prayer."

With enlivened faith and expectant hearts we prayed.

And we worshipped further.

Afterwards, to make sure that everyone could track with us clearly, I asked people to indicate if they felt they had especially been touched by God in what had happened. I urged them not to respond unless it was truly something special.

Around 20% of those present raised their hands to indicate that it had been indeed very special for them.

The offering was still received. The word was taught....and we filled the corridors and auditorium with the usual time of departure.

The Presence....not confusing, not sensational, not manipulated, not disruptive.

The, faith-stirring, ministry-releasing, love-enhancing.

Oh, and "in Your presence, there is fulness of joy."

Happy today too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Table

We had been invited to "come over and join us for tacos."

We went early and stayed late.

Ten of us around table...dishes of homemade food sitting before us.

Families and friends.
And one person only known by two at the table, and that just hours ago.
A "complete" stranger invited to join us. "Come and join our family."

We ate and talked freely.
And then some turned on the others reminding them of embarrassing situations.
And they offering feeble rejoinders, to peals of laughter.
And there were the best jokes, told again.
And discussions about life.
Smiles continually present...and an atmosphere of festivity and love.
And Tommy, breaking into it all at random moments, with the gift of short phrases of song about Jesus.
Real, Life-giving.
Barriers down, watches disregarded, hearts moved deeply.

And I thought about Jesus and The Table of his daily discipling.

Was this what it was like to walk with Him?
Was there laughter like this, and some embarrassment?
Was there lingering and strangers invited, welcomed to easily break into the circle of love?

And I was deeply moved to remember that an invitation to this kind of fellowship might just be the entree to an altar call.

"We proclaim what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, Jesus Christ." I John 1:3

Be present at our tables Lord.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ancient Rome

Picked up a copy of extremely well-written history some days ago....and now I am 300 pages into the 418 pages of its story. Written by Simon Baker it is subtitled, "The rise and fall of an empire." (BBC Books - 2006)

What caught my attention is that it is a gripping view of the culture that St. Paul ministered in and gives some space to detailing both Christian and Jewish issues in the Roman empire.

Among some early lessons:

1. Our culture, compared to this one, is gentle, peaceful, wealthy, free and civil.

2. The cruelty and slaughter in war after war are staggering. "One million Gauls were killed and another million were enslaved." And that on just one stage.

3. The fall of Jerusalem 70AD is told in rather unforgettably. Their heroism in the face of the ever-advancing and punishing Roman war machine is breathtaking. Here is heroism.

4. The corruption and intrigue of the emperors and government - Nero, Caligula, the Caesars and clan make me very thankful for the Republicans, the Democrats, the independents, the Tea Party, CNN - need I go on?

Perspective...lots here.

A great the real world of yesterday.

(I got my copy at Barnes & Noble)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Incline

It's called that because it leans....up.

An incline, by definition is neither horizontal or vertical...but it leans in some direction.

The Incline I am referring to provides a long, and ardous climb up the side of a mountain.

Doing the incline makes for sweat, deep breathing, rubbery legs...and a stronger heart. It keeps a lot of people in better shape.

To incline is to be predisposed to have a mental tendency or preference towards something.

So, I am reading in scripture today and come across this verse: "Put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel." Joshua 24:23

Put away the junk.

Lean towards the Lord.

Not just make a decision in time...but lean that way all through time.

Marks of being on His incline?

Pictures on the walls...that speak of Christ-qualities. Crosses worn. Scriptures stored in memory. Prayer punctuating everything that, sleep, friends. T-shirts. Bumper stickers. Music. Frequented web sites. the direction of godliness.

None of these things will transform by themselves, but all of these things and more help us lean.

Lean on my friend.

Incline your heart to the Lord.

It is the way to top spiritual shape...and the blessings of God.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The bucks stop here

Sitting in my office in Ogden, Utah.

Midafternoon and a bright, warm day.

Across a busy street, the neighborhood after house, and a high chain-link fence guards the first one...the kind with metal webbing going into the air.

Mature trees on the grounds and one of them punctuated by the orange ovals of ripe ripe they are dropping from the tree, to the grass below.

And that's when I noticed them, the two bucks. Both with fine antler racks, and lots of energy to spar with one another every few minutes. And in between, to recharge their cells with some fresh apricot preserves.

Cars went by and they barely seemed to notice. They feasted for a very long time, long enough for me to have to turn away from the amazing afternoon interlude.

What a symphony of life is going on all around. Under the logs, in the trees, high in the air above. May we take time to see it...and time to worship.

"Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made.

How great Thou art."