Tuesday, December 25, 2012

2012 in Review

2012 in Review


Our hearts are grateful to God for His blessings on our lives during this past year.  Health, provision, ministry, family strengths....it is all part of our journey in these last months.

Family additions:
Jack Thomas Yeackley (third child of Micah and Sarah) snuck in before the end of last year. Neely Therese Argue (sixth child of Brad and Amy) was born in March.  We were delighted too, when 16 year old Sophie joined Cami and Paul’s family just a few months ago. (And did we tell you that Jess and JJ are expecting their third?!)  
Shayla “added” a new job this year with Delta Airlines.  She’s looking forward to traveling as she finds the time. 
It has been a year of great family life...lots of skyping, praying and celebrating.

In September Jackie and I flew west and spent seven days with Peter and Judy (Dave’s sister) Rogerson at their home in Powell River, BC, Canada. The scenic wonder is still going off in our minds.  A very special time.

Till mid-June we were at Church at Briargate in northern Colorado Springs.  Then after a break we came back to Nebraska, to help the Milford church in transition. That is where we are as I write this to you.  Things are going well, and we will be here still for a number of months.
 These opportunities to assist churches are all unique, and both Jackie and I are finding our teamwork to be a source of great encouragement.  Along with all of this, coaching and counseling have also been in place.

Oh, and did we tell you how much fun it is to be back in eastern Nebraska?...seeing friends, eating Valentino’s pizza, getting in on Big Red action, living in small town rural America.  (Oops...and here comes winter.  Stay tuned.)

We are grateful for each day of strength, health and purpose.  We thank God and acknowledge from our hearts that “every good and perfect gift” is from Him.

In the months ahead Jess and JJ and family hope to move overseas.  If you feel the nudge, please pray God’s blessing to be upon them.  Thanks!

We trust that this season finds you in His presence often and every way that you can advancing His Kingdom.  

God bless you!  We love you!

David & Jackie Argue

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

God's will and adversity

It's been a long time since I blogged.

For all of you who have checked in over and over, I apologize.  The times have been hectic...with adjusting to Milford, helping our kids, watching our grandkids, having a blizzard of hospitality in our home, traveling the 520 miles back and forth to our place of ministry and much more.  It has been and is intense, but the Lord has been helping us.  Milford is doing well, making changes, growing, adjusting. Some real victories to celebrate.

I'll try to do better on keeping you posted...and every time I enter a blog, I will as well, inform you of it by Facebook.  Your readership and comments are special.  Thanks for your understanding.

Right now, we are in day 6 of a 9-day watching of Carson and Preslie for JJ and Jess who are in Istanbul, Turkey at a conference.  We are back in Colorado this week, and will travel back to Nebraska on Saturday.

My attention caught this morning in reviewing Acts with the question: how often did God's will get tempered by resistance? - i.e. how often did refocusing get brought about by the "insurmountable?"

Answer - 12 times between Acts 8 and 20 - I won't list them all, but you might try to find them in your own reading.  Here are just a few of what I found:
     1. 8:4ff - those who were scattered (resistance produced new locations) went about preaching
     2. 9:29ff - because of threats (to stay meant probable loss of life) they sent Paul off to Tarsus
     3. 12 - after Peter's rescue from imprisonment - "he departed to another place"

They stood strong in the face of resistance, but when a line was crossed, they also knew how to readjust and go to more receptive (and safer) places.

Wish I knew how this all worked, but it does give me pause to see that it did (even for the original apostles).

Bravado is not always proof of walking in God's will.  Sometimes, prudence and shifting is too.

Selah...from someone who is lots more at ease with what seems like prudence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Terra firma - (solid earth)

Got a call from a high school friend I haven't seen or spoken to in over 40 years.  We now both live a continent away from where we did when we were high school friends.  Plus different countries, different life journeys, different ministry focuses.

But the same Lord, the same memories of the days of youth, the same life station now (stepping towards retirement) and the same spiritual passions.  And we both have Grandpa stories to share.

The call was a trip into the past....both joyful, and painful - especially when hearing about mutual buddies now gravely ill, or marriages in trouble.  It was deeply touching to have made the contact.  I could hardly express it to Jackie.  Life goes by quickly.

And then eternity.

Makes me reflect on what heaven may be like.  Some things we know for sure:"He will wipe away all tears." "We shall know as we have been known."  "We shall rule and reign with Him in the new heavens and new earth."   And "so we shall forever be with the Lord."

I use a bright orange (Berol Prismacolor pencil #917 - "streets of gold...:) - to mark verses in the Bible that speak of heaven, the future of those who have been faithful during this time on earth,  the blessings that await us.  There are vast numbers of verses....in most of the Bible.

This dimension of reality is as solid as the earth under our feet.

So....May each of us keep the big - the really BIG picture in focus.  May the things of earth "grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."


The next time I write, it will be from our 7th location of transitional  ministry, Milford, Nebraska.  Join me in praying for a wonderful outpouring of His presence and will.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Still reading - and enjoying - MacCulloch's huge work: Christianity...the first 3000 years. (Penguin)

Fascinating snapshots of the development of faith and practice in the church.

For instance...on page 555 he links assumptions that, at the time (1200-1300), seemed to fit well:
      1. God demands action from a sinner to prove he has repented
      2. Christ's merits are infinite since he is part of the Godhead...and there are merits from the saints, and Mary that together, form a "treasury of merit."
      3. The pope would be criminal not to provide for the dispensing of those merits to those in need.
      4. Merits can be granted to the faithful (even the departed ones) to shorten their time in purgatory.
      5. That grant is an indulgence.  (The "earliest dated piece of English printing" is an indulgence -1476.)
      6. Lots of money was involved..."indulgences were as ubiquitous as the modern lottery ticket."

All of that changes when you see that assumption #1 is in itself wrong...along with lots of the others in this list.

God's demands for action have nothing to do with us proving we have repented....but we are called to a new life that demonstrates that we indeed have become new creatures in Christ.

We are forgiven freely by the sufficient work of Christ in death and resurrection, and on the basis of faith alone. That is the clear reading of His Word.  (Indeed, it was the practice of indulgences that put much fuel on Martin Luther's fire and brought on the Reformation and protestantism.)

Indulgences....are they still around? Yes.  In different form, yes.  In more primitive cultures, yes.  In our  "Christian" culture?  Yes.

It can happen when the Bible (in our daily, actual living) is less than the sufficient guide to faith and practice.

May we stand in faith entirely....and turn from that which lessens Christ's call to action in our lives.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Salt and light.

Jesus said:
"You are salt...you are light...so..shine before others, so they may see..."
  Matthew 5:13-16.

One of my grandsons is getting pretty salty...and pretty full of light.

His name, Carson.
Age 6.
First grade in a public school class of 25.
Teacher: Mrs.V.

Yesterday, Mrs. V phoned our daughter, Jess, at the end of the school day saying, "I need to let you know what happened today."

  With that, this story unfolded.

Mrs. V has a friend whose daughter was taken to a Denver hospital, and Mrs. V was asking the class to make greeting cards for her.

She gave them two requests:
 1. put your name on the card and
 2. put a "happy thought" on the card.

Before they did this work she asked them to share with everyone their happy thought.

And so, happy thoughts tumbled out into the room...trips to Disneyland, toys, and more....till they got to Carson.

He paused in thought, putting his fingers over his lips and then said: "My happy thought is I pray that she gets better."

When the happy thoughts were all shared,  Mrs. V then asked the children to go ahead and make their cards.  She then collected them and read them herself when the day was over...and discovered that all the children had written Carson's happy thought as theirs.

And so it was time to call Jess.  "Carson gets it." she said.  "And he is having a great impact on my class."

Salt and light.  Everyone needs it.  Even a six-year-old can be it.

Thanks Carson.  You've shown us how.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


We flew one week ago to the great NorthWest...Seattle, in specific.

 My sister Judy and her husband Peter met us at the airport and we began a most delightful week with them, returning late last night to Colorado Springs.

We drove south by Tacoma and then headed north up the peninsula, overnighting in Sequim.

Multiple ferry rides, boat rides and trips along forrest roads.  Fish and chips, blueberries and blackberries...and a rather indulgent amount of ice cream marked the fine food we ate.  Walks along beaches, and among the immense firs of Cathedral Grove and many docks in awe of the boats moored there. Seals, gulls, jays and jelly fish.  And fun exploring the many faces of Powell River - north up the coast from Vancouver - and the place of Peter and Judy's residence.

And Mts. Ranier, Baker and more were at their snowy best.

What a wonderful week! We have been greatly blessed!

Peter and Judy....among the finest hosts we know.

Tender, long hugs as we said farewell.

Thoughts already of how we could do this again.

Hospitality...one of God's most gracious gifts.

"Offer hospitality to one another....(it is) grace in one of its various forms."  I Peter 4:9-10

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"If.." and the turmoil around us

Just read another piece on the web....citing facts and numbers to show that Michelle Obama was greatly misleading in her speech last night.  Portraying themselves as living near the edge, while all the time having great finances, privilege and in recent years, huge political incomes and benefits.

Not sure I have ever sensed the political scene to be so full of unfounded, undefended, polarizing and defaming material.  Both sides.

And the moral/religious issues are huge....Islam, the debt, same sex "marriage," Israel, big government, Obamacare, Mormonism....and more.  Not sure I have ever seen this much on the table at once.

Where is the voice that with God's endorsement, calls a nation to God?  Where is a Billy Graham?

Where is the unified action that galvanizes the church to respond spiritually?

Where is the leadership that rises up and says, "no" to the moral decay all around us?

And at times I wonder....is that what the hurricanes, and fires, and weather change is all about?

Am I just a bit too Old Testament?  or old time?  or inflexible?"

Whatever....at least this is all getting to me.

 Last night I wrote down this short list of what I (as I am) can do....

  1. Pray -  the "if" in the blog title today is from II Chron 7:14 - and it is just as true right now as it ever has been....and perhaps more needed now than ever in time.
    Are there watches being called for....seasons of fasting, repenting, and prayer?
    Is it not true that what we need is God.....not Obama or Romney or anyone else?
  Pray for voices of justice and truth to rise.  Pray for righteousness to exalt this nation. Pray for those in high places who fear God, to be equipped and empowered to be like a Daniel.
  Pray for pastors and those who lead fellowships to be given wisdom and courage to act.

 2. Vote - and urge others to do so.  Never been more critical in my sense than right now.

 3. Do what the Spirit gives you to do...through alerts, things you see and hear, that call you to some form of action - like I have, as stated at the start of this blog.

 4. Do not be afraid to stand for truth....and do so in love.  Truth as defined by scripture. "Your word is truth." Speak the truth, and be led by the Spirit to discern what isn't so.

This is truly a critical hour.

Only by responding to the
 "if My people humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked way"
....can we hope to bring forth the "then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."

God, send your Spirit in power upon us all.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Here we are in a cabin in the mountains...about two hours into the rockies from the Springs.

These few days, a gift of some dear friends who said....you must go and stay in our cabin.

What a wonderful thing these several days have been.


* Quietness...so quiet you can hear your ears hearing and the wing action of small birds flying by.  It lets me know how noisy our regular world is.  "Be still" is a rather timely call and offers wonder to the racing heart.

* So still...that you tiptoe on the deck so as to not disturb, and hold your sniffles for indoors.

*This morning I stood on the deck and watched for birds....and there are a lot of them.

*One, a junko, caught my eye as he landed vertically on a long grass stem.  His weight was just enough to send the seed bearing top of the long stem gently to the ground and that seed became his breakfast. Whole grain cereal.

* Out of the quiet I heard an irregular falling of something to the ground....morning dew in large drops?  some loose foliage?  Nope....VERY high in the tree a squirrel grooming the tree, and probably getting rewarded with food to store for the winter.  His sudden movement from branch to branch and upside down antics challenge olympic class gymnastics.

So "sing to God a brand new song.  He's made a world of wonders."  Psalm 98:1 - The Message

In these days of political and social turmoil, may you and I stay close from the inside out,  to a God who is in control.  May our lives be filled with wonder....it is all around us.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012


He had been away from his parents and 22-month-old sister Presley, for two weeks.
Long time for someone just six.

They - off in Idaho for intense training involving the future.
He - Carson - staying with us...and getting back into school.

We had had a memory-making time.

And now the day for their return had come.

Their vehicle pulled into the driveway at long last
A shout went out signaling "they are here."
     and Carson raced to the driveway to be the first to meet them.

Hugs, dancing, laughter.

And then it was time for Carson to show off....
"I learned to tie my shoes"...and a careful demonstration with the two-colored teaching laces in Grampy's shoe ensued while we all gathered around...with oohs and ahhs.

"And I have learned to remember to turn lights off."

And all the while, Presley, munching on a calzone, and looking on with squeals of delight.

And a big chase through the house with peals of laughter.

Reunions - this one was something quite special.

Together....it is worth a big celebration.

Reminds me a lot of a big one coming -
  "And I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
     'Hallelujah!  For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
      Let us rejoice and exult.....'"   Rev.19:6-7

The door closes and Grammy and I realize we don't get to end the day with a six-year-old asking us questions and tossing on his bed...while we try to make sure we end the day with prayer!!

Thanks,  Carson,  you have taught us a lot....and reminded us of what is to come.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This is a special season indeed.

Carson (our 6-year-old grandson) has been staying with us for over a week now and his presence has been wonderful.  Lots of different questions as we eat.  Lots of cartoons on the TV.  Lots of legos on the floor.  A nightly treasure of reading all together, and praying and Jackie or I lying with him until he is asleep.....usually measurable in seconds.  He is a bright, happy, well-adjusted young man and we are proud and grateful to have these days with him.

Family has been huge....visits to, visits from....meals infinitum and treasured times around table.  Jackie and I have looked at each other and said..."so what in the world would we be doing if we had an outside job?"....it has been a busy time and wonderful.

Projects around the house...weeding, trimming, organizing, freezing peaches, decorating....lots of changes in the look.

Reading and soaking in the word and prayer.....Bonhoeffer by Metaxas,  Christianity, the first 3000 years - MacCulloch,  The Jesus Life - Smith,  The Bible...ESV.  It has been special to soak.

Getting more regular exercise as well...though not doing as well as my mind constructs...or my body wishes.

The days ahead.....a trip to the NW,  and the SE?....then time helping another church transition (still in the talking stages).

Changing pace so often in these years is a special challenge.  It has helped me greatly to know that each day as I do whatever God gives me to do, I am functioning in His will, and living in a state of preparation for whatever might be around the corner.  It is not "when I do X....then..." but today, do what stokes life and prepares the spirit and you will be ready.

God is the master of the "go"
         ....I need to be fully engaged in the now.

Friday, August 17, 2012


It's not till tomorrow, but it started today....
Birthday celebrations for Jackie.

Carson, our 6-year-old grandson who is staying with us while his folks are away in missions training, began it all very early:  "Grammy, I made a gift for your birthday."

With that, the gift was handed to her and she eagerly opened it.

It was a necklace,  a loop of knitting yarn and held in place for bold display - an "E" made of multi-colored legos.

When asked why it was an "E" - the reply:  For your name, "GrammEE."

Profuse words of thanks.....and then getting it fastened around her neck.

Spelling is still something Carson is working on....but he has the meaning and how-to love and be creative well in hand.

It is not the cost of things that make them special, but the love behind it all.

So Jackie, on this day before the day, Carson and I salute you.  Superb friend, faithful partner, spiritual journeyman, great cook, wonderful host, creative homemaker, family builder and so much more.

We love you - GrammEE.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Speaking with God

Reading slowly through the Psalms in these days.  Up to #56.

This morning Psalm 55 particularly spoke to me to adjust some operational processes.

1. Sometimes I think: If I am really walking close, everything should be going just fine.

  Instead: the Psalmist's words - King David, by the way:
     :2 - restless, moaning
     :3 - oppressed, deeply troubled, grudge-bearing
     :4 - anguish within, terrors of death, fear and trembling, horror
     :12 - taunts, insolence
     :13 - friends who now bear me evil...and memories that deepen pain

2. Lots of times I act like: Prayers need to be polite, reverent, carefully expressed.

  The Psalmist's prayer focuses:
     :1 - give ear, God
     :2 - I have a complaint
     :17 - continually I complain and moan
     :15 - let death steal over my enemies, humble them
     :9 - destroy, O Lord, divide their tongues

3. By my actual praying, I often bely that: I am not sure that prayer is efffective.

     :16 - the Lord ill save me
     :17-18 - He hears and He redeems

4. Not sure what to do now about all of this?
     :22 - Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.
     :16 - call out to the Lord and He will save you
     :23 - trust entirely in God

Enough then of our pious, controlled, and abbreviated praying...especially when we are in a valley.

Oh God, you can handle our deep emotions and doubts.
  May we truly cast our burdens on You, calling out fervently to You and trusting entirely in You.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Garage Sale Theology

Our first garage sale here.

  With Jess and family - in preparation for their moving overseas.

  Lots of stuff, the garage full and the driveway too.  Not junk...but good stuff, freshly cleaned and working.

This morning it began...the steady trickle of customers purchasing a few to a lot of stuff.  Helped one lady load the back of a pickup full.

  a. the way the neighbors responded and relationships were stoked.
  b. the way people just kept coming...hardly a down moment.
  c. the fun engendered working together as a family
  d. the friends who came and lingered....what a joy

Theologically -
  a. it is better to give than to receive - the prices are ridiculous, and we dropped many still lower
  b. less is really more -  more space, but also, more simplicity, more time, more freedom
  c. the opportunity to really help some people in need - and their thankfulness in receiving
  d. the neighborhood...a chance to show love, joy, and to engender mission - met a man who has been hoping for a neighborhood group to form....across the street and down four houses.

Traveling a little lighter, and very blessed.

Theological sense regarding Garage sales: it's another way to seek first the Kingdom and watch what God might do.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Kingdom encounter

They just left...driving off in an aging vehicle.

Packed full of most of the stuff of their lives.

Today they will seek to develop a potential in another community: to cast Jesus' vision into the lives of the next generation.

They were involved in a safe, traditional place of  ministry and doing just fine.

But it kept eating at them....that they were not walking out the real reason for their lives.

In fact, doing so much stuff that the realities of the Kingdom were being missed.

So they "left their nets"....and are following.

Stories now of surprising demonstrations of God's presence.

Public conversations leading to prayer....and generosity.

Provision out of nowhere.

Risky, faith-charged management of resources.

Deep commitment to raising up the next generation for Jesus.


Statements of abandonment to The Cause.

Living the prayer: "Your Kingdom COME."

A reflection of Jesus just drove off in an aging vehicle.

Be relentless with us Lord...stirring us to do the stuff of the Kingdom.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic potentials

What a start to the Olympics.

Watched last night.  Amazed by the creativity, multi-dimensionality, generation-inclusivism, historical sensitivities, and....the Queen!  Even the touches of faith. (a hymn sung by children.)

Amazed, as always, by the nations in parade....the world is at this event, and the world (2 billion) is watching!  Astounding.

In my quiet time this morning I found myself drawn to some thoughts that seemed to come together as if orchestrated:
  *the female athlete reflecting on the truly wild and uninhibited behaviors that can occur after hours in the Olympic Village.
  *the reflections of some athletes as to their God-gratefulness, and sense of destiny in being able to participate in the games...seems like God has done some strategic placement.

And I found myself drawn to pray for the Olympics...that God will use it to show up in the lives of people, establishing His Kingdom presence in their lives and doing a transforming work, rather than the possibility of promiscuity and evil taking place.  "Impenetrable" countries with heroes returning home with new sensitivities to Christ.

I reflected too, on the ways I have often thought, in a limiting way, about prayer.  Like, if I was present,  would I be more effective?   Does praying for the Olympics from the other side of the globe really affect anything?

And in the words of Jesus I found ample answers:
  "Pray this way...Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Mt 6:10
  Prayer is a key element in the release of laborers - Mt 9:36-38
  "Have faith...whatever you ask in prayer (including moving mountains) will be done."  Mt 21:20ff
  It is God we petition, and He knows no limitations.

So, as we watch an amazing gathering and all the competitions - let us all participate through prayer.

Together, let's make a difference.  Shapers of the events...not just spectators.

Prayer - the great determiner of outcomes.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Self Talk

I've discovered and practiced this a bunch and found that it really helps.

Self talk.

Self coaching.

Muttering and mumbling to myself.

I can be anywhere doing it...for it is mostly interior.

Stuff like:
 "This is really not that important.
     "Won't matter in a  month.
       "Not a biggie..
         "Cool your jets...humility is big in the Kingdom.
Too often I have found myself prone to make a quick and thoughtless defense of whatever I just quickly think or feel, to based on my ego, my own values, my own sense of what's worth it, my own shortness of patience or energy.

Self talk lets me slow down, think twice and most often, make a better conclusion.

I tend to be careful, thoughtful and conservative.  Notice my self talk tends to be calming, generous, faith-filled.

Maybe your self talk needs to be something like...
   Oh, just do it
   Now, friend, not later
   Serve, don't wait to be served.
   Hold it...better think about that one.

Self talk...

Read Psalm 23 this morning....and writing this on the heels of that, makes me wonder how much of this   Psalm and perhaps so many of them, was self talk....while out on the hills swatting flies and tending sheep.

I think so...maybe the whole thing.

Self talk...a way to better focus on what is really of value.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Traveled to Nebraska in these last two weeks.  A terrific time with so many people...fine food...fun events.  Wonderful!

Events to be savored and treasured for a very long time.

One encounter:  Jackie talking to a cherished friend....telling her about the stresses being experienced by some of our new friends.  And as she was talking, the friend, took out her checkbook and began writing....a very large check to a person she had never met.

  "Give this to them....and tell them that God has prompted me and wants them to know He loves them."

A very large check.

So we came home excited at the  moment that would come when we would be able to give this gift to our Colorado friends.

That time came soon...and with the explanation above, the gift was placed in their hands.

Opened, it brought deep emotions to the surface and joy on the faces of the children.  And expressions of faith about how God cares and moves in unusual ways to provide.

As well....a quick idea of how this gift was in time to meet a need that had arisen from the blind side just days ago.

I stood there with tears....and and in waves of joy.  Celebration.  Hugs.

It is more blessed to give than to receive....living proof.

Are your hands closed to the needs around you?

Take this note as a nudge and pass on the blessings in your life....even to total strangers.

"It is in giving that we receive".....words from a treasured and much proven prayer.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Two Coaches - Two Outcomes

Two football articles in the sports section of this morning's JOURNAL STAR - Lincoln.

One about Penn State and icon coach Joe Paterno....and the continuing debacle over the Sandusky horrors and the impact on everyone in "Happy Valley."  The embarrassment and lingering shadow over Paterno's career.

And the other, as former star NU fullback, Ricky Simmons, tells his story.

After a championship run at NU he went into pro ball....but fell into a cocaine habit.
  Finally, he ended up in jail.
    Forgotten.  Ruined.  Alone.

And then one day, a letter arrived from Tom Osborne, icon coach at Nebraska.
With these words:
 "Dear Ricky, I know your parents believed in you. I believe in you. Upon your release, if there's anything I can do to help you, feel free to contact me.  Tom Osborne."

Ricky's words about what happened in that moment:
 "I fell to my knees right there in my prison cell and turned my life over to Christ."

It was a God event, and his life began to change dramatically.

Today, his smile in the picture posted with the story is one of peace and confidence. He is standing by a life-size bronze statue of Tom Osborne coaching a young and ready player.

And now Ricky is a licensed drug and alcohol counselor in practice in Lincoln.

Two coaches.  Two responses.  Two results.

It's really true....you do reap what you sow.  There is no really hidden stuff.

The influence of one can make a huge difference.

The smallest acts of kindness can be the trigger of so much.

Christ, invited to be Lord, brings pivotal change to life.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


"Come and die..."

"When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow him, or it may be a death like Luther's, who had to leave the  monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time - death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.
 Jesus' summons to the rich young man was calling him to die, because only the man who is dead to his own will can follow Christ.
  In fact every command of Jesus is a call to die,  with all our affections and lusts.....Every day (we) encounter new temptations, and every day (we) must suffer anew for Jesus Christ's sake."
   Bonhoeffer, THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP - p99.

Bonhoeffer was on that road....death to his own freedoms, death to a hoped-for marriage, death to family times, death itself.  It was for him a gradual diminishing of everything around him...and a great amplifying of the presence of God in his life.

Actual death before 40 - at the hands of a firing squad.  Nazi mop-up operations at the end of a lost war.

BUT  today his writings and biographies are devoured by people hungry for a deep authenticity with Christ.  In extreme times he found the way.  In our comparatively "easy" times we can learn much from his life.

Good spiritual food for our souls this day.

The best biography: BONHOEFFER - Eric Metaxas - Thomas Nelson - 2010
Other important reads:  THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP - ETHICS - LETTERS AND PAPERS FROM PRISON - LIFE TOGETHER.....all in print and easily available in any comprehensive book store.


Monday, July 9, 2012


Savoring today the special moments of yesterday.

Last night, for instance, after a wonderful meal and table fellowship with good friends, the idea was struck: how about if we went downstairs and sang a few hymns?

With that we did - the six of us - took up some hymnals and began paging through to find some that we all could sing.  Some sat down on the carpet, others stood together, hymnbooks opened and ready.

We began, albeit a bit scratchy, but punctuated between songs by - "wow, it has been a long time....."I still remember...."amazing words....and more.  Laughter as we broke into parts, and held certain notes out - as we remember doing on songs like - "You ask me how I know He lives..."

We sang for a long time.

Along the way, some of us dropped out for a time, to manage the depth of spiritual response that this was eliciting.

"We must do this again..." was the conclusion of it all.  Great joy.  Enriched fellowship with one another and our Lord.

Driving back home, I reflected on the strengths of what we had experienced.
*The memories stirred by the experience were very strong.
*The common ground revisited with delight.
*Singing together in parts and through much content was bracing.
*Covering such theological diversity - the cross, eternity, the blood, the call of Christ on our lives, His matchless grace, His great victory over sin and death - stirred us deeply.
*The continuing call to faith, and to personal commitment pushed us forward.

Hymns....a storehouse of treasure worth rediscovering.



Friday, July 6, 2012


Today I return to blogging. After a long break, I am stirring again within and sense that I would be faithful to the Spirit within by resuming writing these pieces. I have been prone to try to outline the way ahead, but instead sense that I should come at this as I did prior, with simple trust that the journey, and present sense of God at work will be enough to guide a process that is helpful to all.

 So, welcome back. I look forward to our journey together in the days ahead.

Since completing our assignment at Church at Briargate, a great feast of time has resulted in wonderful family gatherings, great nights of hospitality and a chance to read at length.

 The quest for what I should read (along with the scripture) seemed addressed by the strong urgings of others to read BONHOEFFER - by Eric Metaxas -Thomas Nelson-2010. I resisted for a time, in that I have read other accounts of his life, but finally picked up a copy at Barnes and Noble and began anew.

It is a remarkable biography.

The writing seems so matched to the quality of his life and I found myself underlining a lot of thoughts and insights that the book contains. At the end of the book I sat quietly, very moved within and praying earnestly that God would get beyond the me factors and bring honor to His name through my life at whatever cost.

So moved in fact that I got my dog-eared copy of his, THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP and have begun to reread it with renewed hunger.

 From the early pages of that book, this quote: "Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price...the kingly rule of Christ, for which a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him." p.47

 I commend to you Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who stood against the Nazi regime, and stood with Christ, and spoke truth easily misplaced, and paid for it with his life. See you again, soon.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


So we prayed and fasted last week....

Here is the report.

On Friday, a group of us gathered to pray. No words of intro or mini-teaching to inspire, except pre-recorded music over the sound system to provide encouragement and privacy.

As we prayed, "suddenly" the air became charged with the presence of God. People began to pray with heightened fervency, now-audible words, and passion. Tears began to flow. And the clock disappeared. The oft work of prayer had been transformed into a caught up time in the Spirit. The auditorium was awash in God.

When the Spirit came to partner permanently with the forming church it was a case of "suddenly." (Acts 2)

When the Apostle Paul was being called and shaped for ministry it was an experience of "caught up." (II Cor. 12)

If our church is not alive it can be marked by yawns, the predictable and the unmoved.

May His suddenly-s and surprises mark the pathways of our lives.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I am focusing on fasting, in preparation to do some of it....and to lead others to as well.

The legacy of fasting in scripture is long and wonderful....
The whole nation of Israel was called to fast with some frequency,
John the Baptist fasted,
Jesus and His disciples did as well.
The early church did
And throughout history, the accounts of fasting are abundant: The Didache, Clement, Hermas, Luther, Wesley, Finney, Calvin, Edwards, Knox, Brainerd and a rather endless list.

Along the way I have been so amazed by discovering afresh the power and privilege of fasting.

A lady named Anna stands out. These words attached to her: prophetess, advanced in years, widow, and "worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day." (Luke 2:36-38)

And at the very time Jesus is being presented in the temple, for purification and blessing, she is there to fill God's house with prophetic thanksgiving for what He will in fact accomplish.

Fasting and prayer appoints us for the intersections of the Kingdom, and fills our lives with His presence and insight.

We get to live ahead of things and speak in faith.

So as we start this new year, I plan to bring fasting with prayer into the mix of everyday living.

And may the Kingdom of God advance through us all in this manner.

A Kingdom New Year to us all.