Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My computer appears to have given up the ghost. I have a friend taking a look at it. It may be a few days.......

Monday, February 25, 2013

"Higher Levels..................."

Whether coincidental or not, over the weekend an email from a friend told the story of a hard-working, but happy ant whose employer decided a supervisor might be nice. A cockroach was hired to oversee things. He needed a computer, a laser printer, a spider as a secretary to help with his office management, and a fly to head the newly created IT Department, the operation now big enough to require a cicada to oversee its efficiency. That, of course, meant another computer, another assistant, and staff to prepare a Work Budget Control Statistic report that, when the lion read it, indicated a need to reduce expenditures. Yep; he fired the ant…. I went to a two-hour meeting Saturday morning over at the Youth Detention Center. After more than twelve years of taking Christ to the kids on a regular basis, they now are demanding, not just me, but everyone who participates in the program, to watch a couple of videos and reapply for such status. It seems that, a decade ago, President Bush signed new law intended to hopefully provide better protection against sexual assault for those being held within the judicial system. Sounds like a good idea. What puzzles me is why it should take Kentucky a decade to initiate it. I don’t see as it amounts to much other than more headaches for the fellow in charge of the facility, more legal responsibilities and, in the end, little changed. They’ve photographed me four or five times now for an ID badge; I actually received two; and not yet has anyone ever asked me to show one when we get there. Humanity, it seems, whether we’re talking business, government, or church, has a knack for making mountains out of mole hills. Adam surely had no idea what he was creating when he terminated his original contract with God……

Sunday, February 24, 2013


“I might say here that sometimes you are going farther when you are not going anywhere; you are moving faster when you are not moving at all; you are learning more when you think you have stopped learning”…..A.W. Tozer, “Life in the Spirit”

It’s Saturday morning here and there’s an hour or so yet before my presence is required at an annual meeting at the Youth Detention Center. This past Wednesday evening the rescue mission had me missing our Bible class, so I’m not sure if the above quote was discussed or not. The author is one of my favorite and his words here say much; but, a few more chapters into the book, he gets into a subject where they might have been better utilized. Taking those verses of Scripture in Acts dealing with the Day of Pentecost, along with John 7:38-39, he makes the statement that “Whenever Jesus is glorified, the Holy Spirit comes!” To his credit, he also notes that “Contrary to what most people unintentionally assume, the important thing here was not that the Spirit had come; the important thing was that Jesus had been exalted”; but, to me, the danger is in leaving the reader to believe if he just brings forth an abundance of praise with enough faith behind it, an encounter with the Holy Ghost will take place. There are a lot of people in our own denominational ranks, anyhow, who now preach it that way. I’m of the opinion, however, that Tozer’s declaration is better phrased in reverse: “Whenever the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus is glorified” (at least through and in us). The connection is not external, but internal, not a reach into the heavens, but a surrender into the depths of whom He is within us. Indeed, the author declares elsewhere, “The Christian Church is trying to carry on in its own power: that kind of Christianity makes God sick”; and, while his final adjective might well be a little strong, he says what he failed to make clear earlier: Jesus died and arose to re-establish within man that point where we might find the reality of all He is. His cross and His throne mark the spot and we approach it with reverence, not the clamor and bravado of the seven sons of Sciva…….

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Sour Grapes.................."

The room at the rescue mission Wednesday evening was in no way packed; but it was a good crowd, about thirty men. One fellow, though, well dressed and wearing a tag identifying him to be a worker, sat right up front and, from the start, was obviously displeased with things. It’s possible he was staff; as they do change from time to time; but more likely he was some church volunteer who had stayed for worship after dinner. It could be he took offense to something I said before we even started, asking me with obvious disdain if I was one of those Freewill Baptists and then being a bit shocked, it seemed, to learn of my roots in old-time holiness. We sang an old hymn that had been requested, only to be told afterwards that my style in leading it was “a bit Appalachian”, a slur taken by me as a compliment, my entry into this indeed a step into such company. When one of the men in the program, at my invitation, stood and testified, it was apparently all this poor guy could take. Trapped in the second row, unable to politely escape, he sat there with his head on his chest through what Dave and Tony shared, and finally walked out as I stood to take the podium for the last ten minutes. Religion in a new navy blue sweater, denim trousers, and a hardened interior, expecting a five-point sermon demanding this bunch of losers repent and mend their ways. He missed it, in my opinion. Final prayer was sweet……

Thursday, February 21, 2013


”She is more precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her”…..Proverbs 3:15

The Earth may indeed be tilted on its axis; but I’m beginning to think it has picked up a wobble along the way. How else does one explain the temperature being in the mid-thirties Sunday, all the way up to over sixty Monday, and today plunging to twenty-one with a mean arctic breeze that just cuts right through you? The world, in general, is screaming for solutions, chaos in just about any direction one might look, more and more it appearing as if we’re sitting on a powder keg, the fuse lit and ready to blow. I don’t mean to sound like Chicken Little. I’m not running around with a “Repent or Burn” slogan on my t-shirt. In truth, there is peace in my soul about it all, my girls and my grandkids all anchored in Him, all things in His hands.

Caleb just won the Best Offensive Player trophy in the final JV tournament, a game that was lost by a last second buzzer beater. As a Ninth Grader also much utilized by the Varsity team, he’s facing that time in his life where peer pressure is always part of the picture; but I see his heart and the birthing he has known in Christ. McKenna is a Seventh Grader about to step into her teens this summer. Beth and I replaced a worn-out Bible for her this past weekend, the above verse inscribed just inside the front cover as I had originally penned it on the initial gift. We told her that it speaks about God’s wisdom, but felt He wouldn’t mind if we applied it to her. There are no guarantees in this. The future is always a mystery in front of us. His promise, though, is more than words in a Book; it is an assurance found within, an anchor-line connection in my belly. In Him, I can rest and find peace……

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Sunday morning here, midpoint of a three-day weekend, the old man up early enough to go to church, but not sure my body has yet adjusted to its normal schedule being changed last night. My youngest daughter’s oldest boy was playing in the final JV tournament the last two days, about four hours from here, mom and dad there supporting both him and the team, the two youngest grandchildren staying with us. It was nearly two when I carried Noah out to Melissa, a bit later than my usual time to crawl under the covers. Don’t know about other people, but, around here, life has a way of hindering any sort of scheduled prayer closet. Shoot; in truth, it is difficult to find some secluded uninterrupted spot, period. One learns, instead, to “maintain as you go”. In Luke’s Gospel, he has the disciples asking Jesus “Teach us to pray”, the Master responding with the Lord’s Prayer followed by vocal pictures of how a man’s knocking at the door with a request is answered by both a friend and a father. Matthew, however, places such example of petition within the Sermon on the Mount where, between it and the latter, several prerequisites (harboring un-forgiveness, hypocrisy in approaching the throne, the surrendered condition of our heart, unbelief, and judgment of others) are shared as detriments in so far as “making contact”. If we return, then, to the initial address of that prayer as given, we realize that it begins with “Our Father which art in heaven”, thus setting before us a great gulf to be spanned by (a) recognition of His holiness; and (b) a desire for His kingdom to come and His will to be done; and, while, to each their own, with Christ “in my belly”, that equates to me as, if all else is clear, merely surrendering myself to His wisdom, His authority, His presence as “it” comes forth from within me. If my mind is continually set on Him, if He is invited into all the details of my existence, then He can be found near at any time, indeed His reality never far from me, a companion with me in all that I do……

Friday, February 15, 2013


I’m about half-way through a biography of Jim Elliot’s life. He was the 28 year-old missionary killed, along with four other men, in Ecuador back in 1956 by the very people they were trying to win for Christ. It’s a hard read for me, his faith, as represented here by his wife, the author, a bit too “holier-than-thou” in his younger days, a condition perhaps due to a very strict up-bringing by his parents, members of something called the Plymouth Brethren. He would outgrow some of that during college while, at the same time, evolving into a feeling of having failed, himself, to achieve a certain level of “righteousness”. Hopefully that, too, changed at least somewhat before his death. On the other hand, while I want to believe that A.W. Tozer held no misconception that it’s possible for any of us to obtain such actual state of perfection, in this book of his that we’re reading for class, he talks of “levels of spirituality” one can know if we are willing to just be “possessed” by the Holy Ghost. He puts that in terms of the Spirit not permitting us any sins of “self”-ishness and makes it sound as if Christians can gradually climb to a place where humanity is completely lost along the way. If that be true, I’ve not yet met such a person in my journey of four decades. The Apostle Paul said that he had to “die daily”; and that seems to suggest there is no complete transformation, not in this life, anyway, the journey a matter of learning to put it all, stumbles, bad decisions, sin, our mess, into His hands and, with Him, take the next step.....

Thursday, February 14, 2013


“Many of us have grown up on the theology that accepts the Holy Spirit as a Person, and even as a divine Person, but for some reason it never did us any good. We are as empty as ever; we are as joyless as ever; we are as far from peace as ever; we are as weak as ever.”…A.W.Tozer

There were about twenty of us last night to begin our ten-week study of the Holy Ghost. While we discussed several points of interest utilizing the Bible, the above author’s “Life in the Spirit”, and quotes from other fairly well-known “old-time” preachers, it was the statement shared here, given to us as a question, that remained unanswered until the last few minutes of class. The teacher had referred to me in jest as he brought it forth, declaring he had almost audibly heard my “amen!” in reading it the first time. I laughed with the rest, admitting that particular paragraph had resonated with me; but, with no response from others, I simply allowed Steve to continue. When we came to the end of the lesson, however, this old man ventured to state his opinion. Realizing that most who read this are probably familiar with Pentecost, if at all, merely through some sort of encounter with either the “legalistic” bunch or the “misinformed” masse we’ve acquired through tele-evangelism, let me apologize if my sentiments should surprise or confuse you in any way. Over four decades within this group, though, has convinced me that our problem is not in recognizing the reality of a risen Savior having resurrected in us via the Third Person of the Trinity, but in having had no good instruction along the way as to “who” and “what” He is in such form! We well know what it is to rejoice in His presence, to sing and preach under an anointing; but, when life comes along and we actually have to walk through the storm, when the day comes to a close and prayer doesn’t bring the immediate expected results, suddenly all the books and sermons on “faith” and “authority” do not add up. That, as much as anything else, is why we have people going out the back door as fast as they come through the front one, why our teenagers eventually leave Youth Fellowship and look for “freedom” elsewhere. Christianity is a connected walk with Him, not some transformation into Super Saint…….

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Everybody’s journey in Christ should change along the way. We are anchored in Him. The Bible remains our foundational checkpoint. Life, however, is a teacher and, even if the Holy Ghost is the one who administers the lessons, the stumble down the path can get to be a bit tricky, especially when the church, itself, evolves in the example it sets before us. On the other hand, it seems to me that, when the above is not recognized, a man usually sits self-secured in his own little view of the kingdom, salvation a doctrinal totem erected in his own mind. It may well get him into heaven one day; but how much “resurrection” is in it is between him and his maker; and that last statement was meant only to suggest Christ’s “knock at the door” doesn’t cease upon entry. We all are individuals. We step into this via different cultures, different time slots, different people. Just saying. I’ve been fighting a sinus infection the last few days and whether the ingestion of Dayquil mixed with a single Advil PM at night accounts for the dreams encountered recently, I don’t know; but at least two times now sleep has been filled with “losing my way”, turning around and suddenly being unable to find people and places familiar to me. Is God trying to tell me something? Could be. That’s why it’s important to keep returning to the well, to seek His rod and His staff, to know His presence in a way that confirms the covenant. Pilgrims we are. For now……

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Selfish though it may seem, maintaining this site has never been about my becoming a writer, accruing a list of followers and perhaps someday publishing a book. This old man has always known he’s not an author and his opinions don’t float with most people out there. Still, there are those few who continue to visit and, in realizing that my thoughts tend to be repetitive, rehashing old matters, I often struggle here with “keeping it fresh”. During school, my mind is occupied on a daily basis, little time available to sort things out paper-wise. Evenings often get swallowed up by church, basketball games, and just keeping my wife from becoming a “computer widow”, this, to me, not Facebook, a running monologue of every move I make. This is, in some ways, “prayer time”, a place where life gets sorted out, maybe not so much in a one-on-one manner with Him, but most certainly in a relationship shared with Him… That said, knowing that this subject matter might be “stale”, I apologize; but, since Saturday afternoon, my mind has been occupied with “The Parables of Peanuts”. An elder gentleman brought forth a short ten minute message on Tim Tebow and John 3:16 during Upward’s interval between halves, his theme not much more than, when the verse is severed into six segments and properly stacked atop each other, it is possible to vertically obtain the word “Gospel” within its content. Personally, I thought it lacking of any real substance; but, then, I once addressed a similar crowd years ago, building my own point on a Charlie Brown cartoon within the pages of the book mentioned above. No doubt there are those who might question that approach as well; but someone once quoted Christ declaring how “no one puts new wine into old wineskins” and then quickly added: “No one, that is, except the Church, the very people who should know better.”…..

Sunday, February 10, 2013


Noah, my youngest grandson, played his first game of basketball with Upward yesterday. He’s in Third Grade, the program merely an introduction to the sport, teaching them the basics with no real emphasis on the rules. The hoops are lowered. They play across the width of the court, rather than the length. Everybody gets to participate, regular periods set where the whole bench is swapped with those who are on the floor. Years ago no one kept score; but that had changed somewhere along the way, his team right in it until the last few minutes and then losing
by ten points. No damage down to his ego, though, the idea of winning, to him, not yet a vital part of what it’s all about. He had been “in the action”. Mom and dad, siblings, grandparents, two of his aunts and all his cousins had come to see him do this. Life was good. Not all the boys were as blessed, however. A young mother was sitting with two small children on the top tier of the bleachers, an older son a part of the competition. Beside her, propped against the wall, was a three foot cardboard cut-out picture of her husband who is currently serving in Afghanistan. It helped, she said, to maintain at least some sense of their daddy’s presence, both at home and on occasions like this. I shook her hand and expressed my gratitude for her sacrifice. So many give so much. God help me to never take my liberty for granted…..

Saturday, February 9, 2013


I was driving to school Friday morning, fully aware of all the road conditions around me (no stop signs missed; no pedestrians injured); but my mind, as usual, was occupied with a whole lot more than the journey. In that first chapter of our reading assignment, A.W. Tozer offered, as definition for “what” the Holy Ghost is, the idea that He is a Spiritual “being” capable of “penetrating” our own spirit in such a way as to get into our thoughts and, in some ways, even change our personality. He is one of my favorite authors; but his use of that word “penetrate” was giving me pause. For whatever reason, it just sounded invasive to me, as if God moves in from some outer position and possesses us. Better, or so it seemed to me, the term “osmosis”, as the title of this site was meant to suggest, His presence tends to come forth from some re-established well within us to become one with us, a merger freely given only in as much as we are willing to receive it. I so phrase that last portion because, even as I pondered such grace as offered us in that package purchased for us at Calvary, tears began to run down my face, His bond with me being made manifest. No tongues. No voice, audible or otherwise. Just a sudden sense of His divinity blending with my humanity, a few moments of knowing He was there, and a phrase, a “light-bulb in my brain”, realizing even as I continued driving down the road in a state of gratitude and worship: “Yeah; sometimes He just shows up”……

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Filet Mignon........................."

There were nearly twenty of us in the Wednesday evening Bible study. Next week we will start a new series of ten classes that will utilize an A.W. Tozer work “Life in the Spirit” for a path that we intend to follow, the Bible, itself, remaining the one foundational truth in so far as any and all discussion generated. Tonight, though, we went to the ninth chapter of Hebrews as a springboard and examined what it really means to be “saved by the blood”. That’s “deep water” and, for a few minutes, I really thought perhaps we would do no more than simply review the subject, quoting Scripture without getting into the meat of things. People, after all, only know what they have been served down through the years; and, mostly, believers possess but a collection of phrases, terminology they can quote, but cannot give meaningful definition to it. As it turned out, on this occasion, our teacher issued “scuba gear” and down we went. Did we walk out later with the question conquered? No; but at least we were better equipped for the journey. Here at home, then, toward the end of our first reading assignment, I smiled when the above author inquired as to how many truths have gotten “snowed under”, so many within the faith trusting in them, but having received no real educational substance concerning them. Truth, of course, will always be bigger than any of us; yet the One who proclaimed Himself to embody such word did command us to pick up our cross and pursue……

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Monday morning I went out to warm up the old Toyota, not much more than a dusting still on the ground, the temperature cold, but not feeling all that bad with no wind to enforce it. When a fat robin suddenly appeared on the rock wall beside me, it had no idea how much it perked up my day, a second one later sighted at school re-enforcing hope in that old wives’ tale about it being a sign of early Spring. Just outside my front door, in a small enclosed flower bed, I had noticed the day before two or three green shoots having broken through the earth, surely a few of those “bare-naked ladies” bulbs buried there this last fall. Whether or not such emergence is normal in February is beyond my knowledge of such matters; but, in seeing them, this old man smiled. That same afternoon, however, snow flurries became a mini-blizzard so fast that rush hour traffic was reduced to a snarl, as if to notify me that Mother Nature was in no hurry at all to turn the corner… We live in a great mystery, each day usually through familiar surroundings and yet each step taken with no real assurance that the next hour is ours. We grab our anchors where we can find them and, realizing the inevitable, push on through the fog trusting in not a whole lot more than the security our own mind has devised for us thus far. To each his own, of course; but, as for me, I’ll take the Bible, opened unto me by the Holy Ghost, along with a good healthy dose of discipline via His rod and His staff to readjust my faulty thinking. Indeed, my greatest teacher is life as it comes to me……

Saturday, February 2, 2013


“Prepare the heart, not the sermon… Preaching is not the performance of the hour. It is the outflow of a life. It takes 20 years to make a sermon. It is a thing of live and grows because the man grows, forceful because the man is forceful, holy because the man is holy, full of unction because the man is full of the divine unction”…..E.M. Bounds

My snow day yesterday, even with nothing more than a dusting that soon disappeared once the sun made it way over the hills to the east of us, was spent here in the house. The granddaughter has been battling a sore throat, so we elected to skip the usual breakfast at Bob’s. I actually slept until ten and Beth served up biscuits and scrambled eggs. From there, for me at least, it was a constant change of position in an attempt to escape “cabin fever”, computer to television to crossword puzzles and the second of four books recently loaned me by the Catholic fellow at school. This particular one was written by an old-time Methodist preacher and can be summed up by his words above, the message merely a continual declaration of the importance of prayer without ever really getting into the depth of what prayer really is. In truth, though, other than a few excursions into the example Jesus shared with the disciple when they asked Him how to accomplish it, in forty-one years I’ve heard only one man come close to my own theology on the matter; and, while we are in agreement concerning the experience, we part company when he explains the benefits gained from entering into such place of being one with Christ in the Holy Ghost. Maybe it’s no more than this old man wanting what’s said to be clearly defined, or at least left open for discussion, the initial quote offered here allowing me to at least better express my dissent. As stated, Pastor Bounds speaks volumes in terms of our faith being a journey; but he comes up short, in my opinion, when he leaves one with the impression that a man might possibly be transformed into “holy” because of the indwelling. He does correct himself with the last condition, declaring the vessel to be anointed only because, at the time, the Spirit has revealed Himself; but, if we are not careful, men being yet men, the seed sown is corrupted. This is, and always has been, a pilgrimage, not an immediate metamorphosis……

Friday, February 1, 2013


“Merely because we are busy, or even skilled, doing something doesn’t necessarily mean that we are getting anything accomplished. These questions must be asked: Is it worth doing? Does it get the job done? Are our efforts to keep things going fulfilling the great commission of Christ?.... Most of the evangelistic efforts of the Church begin with the multitudes under the assumption that the Church is qualified to preserve what good is done. The result is our emphasis on numbers of converts, candidates for baptism, and more members, little or no concern manifested toward establishing these souls in the love and power of God, let alone the preservation of the work.”..R.E. Coleman

For the second time this school year, what appears to be not much more than a dusting has given me a day off. Beth awoke me at a little after five o’clock with the Board’s telephone declaration. I grunted, turned over, and went back to sleep. Bad decision. The last two hours (or at least some small portion of it) has involved a dream wherein this old man was seated with my wife inside a church sanctuary, one that at least seemed to be the facility we attend; yet, having gotten to my feet and walked outside such space for some reason, I suddenly found myself in another assembly altogether. They were teaching a class in the foyer. I recognized no one. Re-entry proved to be just as disturbing: Beth was no longer in there, everything was different, and from there it got worse, driving and not being able to find my way home…. Just a dream? Maybe; but, in writing this, it comes back to me that my initial departure from the service was due to discovering a different shoe on each of my feet. Then, at one point in this mental drama, I remember a man providing me with a new pair, making me think of that verse in Ephesians where Paul speaks of our being “shod with the preparation of the Gospel”. There is no inner witness of the experience equating to “divine revelation”, no “inner tug on the anchor-line”, merely my thoughts considering the above quote and how much the Christian Faith, at large, has evolved in the last forty years, forget the last two thousand. What we wear reflects who we are; we are what we eat; and I’m particular about both……