Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Sorting It Out...................."

Within Pentecost (and that embraces enough variations to give different perspectives on what is about to be brought forth here) we have always believed that the Holy Ghost restored unto us via a born-again experience includes those gifts listed in the twelfth chapter of 1st Corinthians. In the early days, when I first stepped into this with my bunch, we were taught that an initial baptism into His presence would be distinguished by receiving the manifestation of “speaking in tongues” and, until one accomplished that achievement, everything else was “on hold”. Today, however, there is very little instruction concerning any of it and, within our ranks, while most occurrence of the Supernatural during our services tends to flow from the pulpit, there are those among the congregation who seems to have no problem sharing with whomsoever “authority claimed”. Boldness equates to faith. Failure to accept or receive amounts to a lack of faith on your part. Why do I remain? Because within the mess our humanity brings to such subject there is yet the reality of God’s grace alive in our midst. We quite often know the blessings of the Spirit settling over us like a thick cloud, penetrating the depths of our identity and bringing us into unity in spite of all our differences. How do I deal with the confusion, the question of what springs out of His well and what is no more than a head full of good intentions but void of His anointing? When prophecy comes forth, not only must it not contradict the Word, but it also must be verified by its being fulfilled somewhere down the road. Indeed, those terms must be met regardless of which gift is declared to be in operation. People are people; God knows the heart; and learning to wait on His “tug” is a lesson found in a stumble down the path, especially if the Church fails to disciple its own……

Monday, June 8, 2015


I sat by myself in the rear of the sanctuary this morning. Worship took me into another dimension at one point; but, after that, my mind was more on the people around me than it was on the sermon brought forth. It could have been that greeting an old friend who’s at least fifteen years younger than me had sparked the mood. Rick’s hair is gray now, what there is of it, that is. Bald, not all that tall, sporting one of those chin beards that give him the “hillbilly biker” look, and wearing a Harley vest over a white t-shirt and jeans, he resembles an animated gnome, smiling with his eyes to complete the picture. I never see him that my thoughts don’t go back, the image of him sitting on our front door steps and confessing Christ after teenage years had taken him far from the small country church known in his childhood. A preacher’s kid who now attends another assembly, but visits his widowed mother here every week and is but one of many who connect with me in memories of long ago. Four decades is no short amount of time. Rick’s faith has held him. A lot of others, wounded along the way, sit now in the shadows, some still reading their Bibles, some not. I’ve come to believe we all are God’s children, each of us under His ministry regardless of location and, in the end, judgment will be one of the heart. Community is for fellowship. A thousand can do more together in ministry, quantity-wise, not quality-wise, than merely two hundred. Nonetheless, salvation remains a one-on-one experience worked out in a man’s heart. You can be just as lost singing in the choir as anywhere else. Gathered as one in His name we are as diverse a collection of individuals as one might find at a ballgame, a concert, or even in a bar. Being born-again doesn’t eliminate our humanity. Sitting in a pew doesn’t necessarily make you born-again. I miss Roger, though, and Junior, and Becky, and at least a hundred more, their names listed in my heart and remembered in my prayers as the Spirit stirs an old man’s memories. In Him, we are not separated. The tie yet binds. Distance is no barrier…

Sunday, June 7, 2015

"Zeroed In......."

A point within a point. My mind is yet turning over the Geometry lesson utilized as a sermonette at the Detention Center a few weeks back. The illustration, it seems to me, is much closer to truth than the understanding most believers adopt within this. There may be just one Book, but theology formed from what it says is another matter; and, while orthodox Bible-based variations of the faith claim unity, nonetheless, in Christ, yet any study of individual dogma gives question as to how it all concludes on Judgment Day. Will there be segregated lines for each denomination? Will it all hinge on whether we’ve been good Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals, fill in the blank, or whether we made use of what came to us through Calvary’s Cross? Is humanity’s problem solved through a theology or a reality maintained and worked out in the trenches? Is there an assurance we might possess beyond “herd mentality”, one that doesn’t abandon the Word and, at the same time, doesn’t create a zealot lost in his own heresy? From my own perspective, born out of a journey in this for more than four decades, believers own a “trinity”: (a) Scripture as an authentic blueprint to guide us in (b) the next step, life, itself, sorting out for us our continual stagger down the path as (c) the Holy Ghost, reconnected via a born-again experience, feeds us, directs us, and secures us only in as much as we utilize such grace given us, Christ “in” me more than just a catchphrase. That third element, though, remains a mystery, Deity not mine to own nor control in any manner. He exists in another dimension, yet proves Himself unto me as I go, a dream once, a vision another, every so often an audible voice, soft, stern, always as a Father; and that much of the relationship indeed is known “mentally”, in my head, but apart from my own thoughts. Beyond that, however, there is that “belly” anchorage, that Spiritual “pipeline” by which the Holy Ghost feeds me and ministers unto me, a point of encounter whereby, as He rises out of an inner well, I surrender myself to know Him in all that He is. It is an osmosis of sorts, a merger wherein depth varies, whether determined by my willingness to continue or by His wisdom I know not, but contact is undeniable. All else is religion. It’s what we do otherwise. It all comes down to a point……

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Beth and I watched one of those Nicholas Spark’s “chick flicks” yesterday. While something like “Braveheart” tugs more at my masculinity, if the plot is emotional and pierces the heart, then it makes no difference, romance or just life in general, this old man confesses to an enjoyment of such genre. “Best of Me” revolves around two teenagers whose love for each other is physically severed for twenty-one years by unforeseen circumstances before a close friend’s death draws them back to their former childhood home. Within the story, the author poses the question as to whether or not destiny holds some sort of grip on all of us. Is humanity merely fulfilling a script written long ago before any of us were even born, our assigned role assumed upon arrival? It’s one of those mysteries beyond our ability to comprehend and to each their own opinion. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having experienced here and therein this journey, moments of what seemed to be “déjà vu”, those times where my mind has pondered the possibility if, in knowing the future before it even happens, God doesn’t determine the details of our existence. Choice is still a freedom seized back there in the Garden, fires stolen by Prometheus; but somehow little was achieved by such theft when Divinity owns eternity in either direction. My own sanity in the matter, “freedom”, if permission is granted to define it in such words, lies within my trusting Him with all my decisions, all my actions, and giving recognition to the truth that He, alone, has my back as well as the next step. In that I can rest. There is no need to worry if everything I do is in His will, for He IS His will and He abides within me. The only requirement is surrendering all of me unto Him for evaluation on a daily basis. Then, whatever tomorrow brings, pre-ordained or not, peace reigns within my soul, for if, from my perspective, things “happen”, that doesn’t change the facts: Nothing escapes His eye, His authority, and His power over all “things”…….

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Beth and I watched a Disney production yesterday, something called “Into the Woods” and more of a musical than anything else. McKenna had already seen it in the theater, loved it, and asked if we would buy the DVD for her. As it unfolded there before us in our living room, the plot quickly revealed itself to be at least four or five fairytales woven together into one story. No animation. Johnny Depp played the Big Bad Wolf and is killed within about a twenty minute segment. My oldest daughter and friends were quite disappointed with the whole thing, but this old man was rather amused with the lyrics and the genius of whoever thought to so combine Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack in the Bean Stalk. Amused, that is, until what should have been the end, everybody living happily ever after, was drawn out another thirty minutes, the situation reversed and all the characters blaming each other for the fact that life was still life and no fairytale. Yet so it is with humanity, even “in” Christ. I posted a quote on Facebook yesterday stating how “Genius and talent develop in quiet places; but character develops out in the full current of life”. Forty-three years within Pentecost has taught me that, while being “born-again” connected me internally with Deity in another dimension, any and all aspects of what that change in my existence brings to me depend on how often I “return to the well” as well as how much I “make myself a vessel permitting overflow”. In Bible class last night, our teacher pointed us to D-Day, America’s present moral state, and the pastor’s Sunday morning sermon “Making room for the Holy Spirit”. My immediate question was as to whether this nation’s condition was created by a pagan society or a Church that has failed to reach it with the reality of Christ “in” me. Have we been so busy “making war” that we have lost His heart, His vision, and His compassion in this? Do we gain any ground “swinging the sword” out of our own passion, or would we accomplish more by putting it back into His hands and walking by the inner tug on our anchor-line? Is it more about “my way or the highway”, or His way and His voice leading me in the next step? This isn’t Mother Goose. This is the beginning and the end, Alpha and Omega, our Father, Trinity within…….

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


My granddaughter turns fifteen in August. She’s been raised within Pentecost all her life, had a few Spiritual encounters in her younger years, but only in the last six months or so has stepped into being more overt with her faith. Singing in the Youth Service, involved with the drama group that every so often ministers in the adult sanctuary, and openly seeking His presence during altar calls points to a hunger never before openly expressed. Her older brother, as well, has greatly changed within that same time frame and perhaps seeing that transformation take place has birthed this in her. Does it make me happy? I rejoice! Not that either were ever anything but good kids. Just that Papaw, with over four decades in this, has long prayed for his grandchildren, not just to receive the blessing, but to know it with as much understanding as possible. I want them anchored, not merely submerged and then left to wonder where He’s at once the water has receded. Picking McKenna up at the church after practice and a prayer meeting tonight, therefore, I asked her during the drive home how she would define the word “prayer”. She looked at me quizzically and replied “conversation with God”. When I suggested that implied a need for words and, in truth, the Bible, itself, tells us linguistics aren’t really necessary, she cocked her head to listen. “While there are indeed any number of ways to approach His throne”, I said, naming praise, worship, as contemplation as examples, ”contact and interaction are found only in as much as we surrender ourselves unto His divinity, His wisdom and His judgment as they come forth to meet us out of an inner well.” I believe that. Grace is a Reality who has taken up residence within us. Heaven and earth has already been spanned; and if we, out of a hunger and thirst, humbly submit our will unto His, we CAN touch the hem of His garment. We CAN experience Him in the depths of all that He is. Capture Him? Encase Him and hold Him within the schematics of our theology? This isn’t an algebra lesson. This is life, and much more than just existing, if we visit His well on a regular basis…….

Monday, June 1, 2015


Facebook was avoided by me for a long time. My first visit in its initial stages discovered not much more than people announcing to others their daily routines, everything from mowing the lawn to a trip to the mall to turning out the lights and going to bed. That has changed somewhat along the way. For me it seems now like a place where whatever community you have befriended shares a bit of their identity through pictures, videos, and on-going conversation that might embrace almost anything from politics to food fantasies, from events attended to sharing one’s faith without trying to preach. It’s an on-line bulletin board that hasn’t replaced the cell-phone, but does offer one some “connection” in another form; and, when a close friend posted this morning a single sentence that read “I’m not right, but I am forgiven”, he “sparked my brain”. Shouldn’t the latter indicate that the former, at least to some degree of sanctity, has been accomplished? How many of us, I wonder, walk in this journey with our understanding shaped by what has been preached to us rather than a salvation worked out one-on-one with the Holy Ghost? That’s not to suggest the believer ought to throw away the Book and shoot his pastor. We need both solid foundation in our faith and authority with a concern for our soul; but within my own over-four-decades of knowing Christ there has, in truth, been much that came to me from the pulpit that needed re-examination in the next step and, likewise, chapter and verse addressed by so many perspectives that I long ago learned that any real understanding of it was a matter continually “under construction”. Being “right”, in the sense of me having completely conquered the enigma will never happen in this life; but, if assurance of my position in Him flows out of my “belly” rather than manufactured in my head, the above quote, it seems to me, becomes an oxymoron…….

Sunday, May 31, 2015


In ministry, I frequently point to the truth that, while those there, within the sound of my voice, will almost unanimously confess to a belief in God, no two hold exactly the same perspective of just who and what that word means to them. It would not be much different if such identity check was asked of any denominational congregation. That’s because no matter how well we think we have the Creator “in a box”, He defines us, not the other way around. It occurs to me, therefore, how, for the most part, what much of Christianity promotes is their individual theology, leaving the consumer on their own to discover whether there’s really anything inside the package; and, all too often, what fills the pews is little more than people with faith in their faith, not necessarily a solid connection with Divinity. Good people. Good intentions. The original message simply got buried under all the dogma along the way, humanity remaining humanity in spite of Christ in me. Indeed, those last three words, declared by Paul to be “the mystery of the Gospel”, yet pose an enigma beyond our ability to comprehend and, in many ways, are simply left for the believer to determine its reality on their own. Pray. Read your Bible. Good instructions; but, unless we learn the journey is changed only in as much as His tangible presence is with us in the next step, life is still life. On our own we are little more than dumb sheep. Tangible presence? What does that mean? How does one put that into any description where “one size fits all”? While it is my belief that the experience, itself, is a personal matter, one wherein, although the Holy Spirit can come to us in various manifestations, the circumstances are always orchestrated out of His wisdom, our surrender accomplishing more than any other effort we might be tempted to put into it. What is common to any and every encounter? The “point” where any real merger is ever achieved is always the same. It is out of our “belly” that living waters flow, our inner "plumbing” once again joined to the original “paternal umbilical cord” and the level of such depths merely a matter of how willing we are to be baptized into His grace…….

Friday, May 29, 2015


”"I think it is impossible to explain faith. It is like trying to explain air, which one cannot do by dividing it into its component parts and labelling them scientifically. It must be breathed to be understood" - Patrick White, Nobel Prize in Literature 1973

”For the first time in my life I understood the meaning of the word ‘never’. And it’s really awful. You say the word a hundred times a day, but you don’t really know what you’re saying until you are faced with a real ‘never again’.” – Muriel Barbery

While exploring a few previous internet encounters this morning, I found myself caught for more than just a few moments by this picture and the above quotes. The two were connected only in as much as my own mind explored potential relationship between them. The page, itself, was designed to inspire writers and, out of the variety there before me, this trio sparked something in my depths. In one sense, the memory of losing my father when I was but eighteen is yet as real as the day it happened. While a feeling of there being “a knife in my belly”, severing from me all possibility of ever again knowing his existence otherwise, may no longer seem more than my ability to bear, the words “never again” became quite clear to me long ago. How does that relate to this image of some book or manuscript destroyed by flames? For whatever reason, it spoke to me of Bible, of whether a man’s trust is anchored in a book or in the One who lives within its pages. There is, for me, a difference. With more than four decades in this now, I’ve known far too many who, out of disappointment with a doctrine taught and accepted, but didn’t hold up somewhere down the road, out of discouragement with a church whose humanity proved stronger than any manifestation of His resurrected reality, abandoned ranks and walked away. There may well have been no literal match applied to Scripture. Nonetheless, a belief once strongly confessed is reduced to ashes unless that which gave it life sprung from more than just chapter and verse. Either we know a “hook in our belly” or all we really possess is merely an illusion, a false sense of security anchored in our own stinkin’ thinkin’. Either His “paternal umbilical cord” has been reconnected to an inner point in the depths of all that we are, or our Christianity is not much more than religious ritual. If any would seek to know the difference, inhale; and if all you experience is more oxygen in your lungs, that, of itself, only serves notice of you yet being in this world…….

Thursday, May 28, 2015


”Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” – Hebrews 12:14

In 1972, the above Bible verse was but one of others strongly embraced within Pentecostal legalism, that high-lighted word, in particular, equating to most of its members as a state of existence able to be achieved if believers surrendered themselves to a dogmatic lifestyle supposedly marking a faith that was “in the world, but not of the world”. While there are probably yet those within our ranks who hold to such theology, we’ve come a long way since those days for the most part. That’s not to say, however, that all “standards” have been dismissed; and not to suggest that I, in my own journey, don’t accept a need for us to pursue whatever He might require of us as we go. What more than four decades in this has taught me, though, is that “conforming to the image of Christ” doesn’t translate to somehow changing my genetics and knowing a metamorphosis of some sort. My humanity hasn’t disappeared somewhere along the way. Any difference in me can be attributed to residual water yet left on me from my last dip in the pool. Any witness, hopefully, comes from His anointing and not my own efforts, lest it be tainted, more apt to hurt than help. Good intentions do not ensure error is not contained therein. Scripture teaches me that, not only can we yet come short of knowing God’s perfect will, we can also conclude that we, ourselves, ARE God’s perfect will; and, in doing so, can become nothing more than a garden full of weeds. The Holy Ghost, three-in-one, alone, is absolute truth, teaching me the Word again and again in the next step, pointing me to Jesus in this continual stumble down the road, and ever reassuring me that “grace” isn’t merely a religious term expressing forgiveness. Merger is a matter of surrender, not an arrogant assumption on my part; and it is to be sought in all that I am, in all that I do…….

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Life is no rollercoaster. It may well have its ups and downs, its share of unexpected curves, and a sudden stop much too soon; but reality is an illusion wherein one experiences the ride seemingly in slow motion. Only in looking back do we realize the distance covered; and finality, in terms of our existence, is a mystery yet to be determined. You can’t just purchase a ticket for another orbit. My group’s visit to the Youth Detention Center Sunday morning was special, finding an anointing that fused together the Gospel from five completely different perspectives and then drew four kids to return after the others returned to their cellblocks. Two of the boys would whole-heartedly ask Christ into their heart. The other pair sought an ability to witness of Him while there. My friends and I left the facility with our spirits rejoicing, no longer wading in the depths of His presence, but most assuredly still “wet” from the overflow. Evening church service fed me. Several hymns and a sermon on this occasion, however, while drawing some to the altar, didn’t connect with this old man’s “plumbing”, at least, for whatever reason, enough to “prime the pump”. The Holy Ghost in me was content to worship with me through an inner surrender, my gratitude and praise expressed openly, but more “one-on-one” than any fusion with the congregation. Monday, then, was a rainy day spent mostly inside with a book, some crossword puzzles, a bit of computer, and the warmth of my wife’s companionship while enjoying some television game shows. Today my Toyota needs to go out to a friend’s garage for an oil change. Nothing else is on the schedule other than perhaps taking our granddaughter to a nearby mall for a new set of earphones. It will be eight weeks before we return to the Detention Center. Circumstances are forcing me to miss the next rescue mission. I’m sitting here hungry for another “encounter” and hoping tomorrow’s Bible study class will, in some way, take us “through the veil”. Prayer, of course, isn’t penciled in on a calendar and always gives possibility of being more than “words”. In the meantime, there is a sense of knowing Him, of His resurrection waters not lying stagnant, but moving within my identity, a voice unheard and yet speaking to me in some mysterious form. ESP? Mind meld? I only know He’s there even when the thrill has dissolved into the next step, another day, nothing much going on. Faith is not in my head, but comes up out of my belly…….

Monday, May 25, 2015

"Through the Veil....."

Beth and I went to a wedding this weekend. It was one of three all scheduled for the same day, those “tying the knot” all associated with our church family; but, for us, this particular one special for us. The bride was my buddy Tony’s oldest daughter. I liked the simplicity of it: the groom and his bunch of “merry men” wearing no jackets, grey suspenders holding up their trousers and a bow tie giving it an air of formality; bridesmaids were dressed in purple, the bride in white, of course, but no one nor no thing so fancy as to suggest being in competition with others. The ceremony was short and those in attendance were already seated at tables in a reception hall. My kind of gathering; but to each their own. The one sadness to the whole affair was the groom’s father whose back pain was diagnosed just diagnosed a few months ago as terminal cancer. In his mid-fifties, he refused to dismiss the occasion, arriving in a wheelchair with his once large frame drastically reduced to almost beyond recognition. It was, for me, just one more evidence of theology preached to me over the last forty-three years that falls short of truth, the reason why Bible study and the next step is the recipe for following Him, not merely a sermon half-consumed and then abandoned, Christ no more than a mental image created out of our own reasoning and sealed in concrete. Whatever the future holds for each of us, our journey is not secured out of a faith anchored in “our faith”. Health, wealth, and prosperity are not conditions we can arrogantly claim through some confession of chapter and verse. What IS gained through our conversion is a connection, an inner well where we can know assurance of His grace, His wisdom, and His peace, His resurrected reality enabling us to meet and survive whatever tomorrow brings to us. We do not conquer “all things” out of our own strength other than investing it in a surrender unto He who holds it all in His hands. The Word does inform us that “hope” is an integral part of salvation as we go; but, always, it needs to rest in “Thy will, not mine be done”……….

Friday, May 22, 2015

"Instant in Season................"

Just before Tony closed in final prayer at the rescue mission Wednesday evening, I encouraged the men to learn that such petition was better accomplished in their belly, not their head. Christ emphasized the need for us to be “born-again”, declaring it impossible for us to “see” (understand) or even “enter into” the “kingdom of God” without such event, that latter destination of which He spoke not referring to heaven, but this present relationship we might know with our Creator right now. “Living water” is a promise purchased through Calvary’s redemption and confirmed by a resurrection restoring a life-line within the innermost depths of those who take their thirst unto Him. We do not teach this truth enough, in my opinion, the Church at large still trying to span a gulf reconnected by Jesus over two thousand years ago. Indeed, as we were helping clear the room of chairs and tables afterwards, one young fellow approached me with a question. “How do I do that?” he inquired, patting the hair on his head with one hand and rubbing stomach with another; “How do I get it from here to there?” Now “the shoe was on the other foot”. How do I explain to him in a few minutes the simplicity of “surrender”? Fancy words are not demanded in approaching Divinity. One need only be honest and speak with the heart. We are not in control. He is; and “stepping through the veil” has to be with His permission, not an act of our own arrogance. It is, in fact, much like the old iced-tea commercial where the man, having sipped such refreshment, simply falls backwards into the pool. There is a “fear” the first time, for relinquishing all that we are, trusting Him to catch us, is just part of the journey; but, once encountered, assurance for the next visit is gained, a door opened unto us whenever we humble ourselves to know His presence. Whether we swim in the deep or the shallow end is an individual experience depending on His wisdom and our humanity. Nonetheless, it is the Covenant as extended unto us and far too few, it seems to me, take advantage of its benefits. It is what separates us from all else out there, marking Christianity a reality, not a religion. It establishes faith in Him, saving us from possessing nothing more than faith in faith…….

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


”Science has discovered that, like any work of literature, the human genome is a text in need of commentary, for what Eliot said of poetry is also true of DNA: ‘all meanings depend on the key of interpretation.’ What makes us human, and what makes each of us his or her own human, is not just the genes we have buried into our base pairs, but how our cells, in dialogue with our environment, feed back to our DNA, changing the way we read ourselves. Life is a dialectic.” – Jonah Lehrer, and borrowed from “Whiskey River”

When I first stepped into “Old-time Holiness” and Christ stepped into me, experiencing the sense of God’s presence was expressed in the same manner as observed in others who attended our church meetings. Freedom was permitted for “howsoever the Spirit moved an individual”. Humanity still being humanity, what occurred there within the sanctuary was definitely “encounter”, but not always met with wisdom. Life is a lesson to be learned. Being “born-again”, in many ways, means starting all over; and the “classroom” is bigger than any denominational attachment we make in following Him. Then, again, so is a man’s ego anywhere it is found within the process. Thus, for me at least, while the exterior has changed over these more than four decades since my original entry point, the interior, that connection wherein “two are made one”, remains the same and is vital to my salvation. This is a work yet “under construction”. My participation within the Body no longer involves any title. My attendance is not as enthusiastic as it once was. Four day “revivals” do not get my attention no matter what celebrity speaker fills the pulpit. In the middle of all the mystery, however, all of the evolution that finds me now sitting on the sidelines, observing from afar, what continues to keep me here is the witness of His Holy Ghost moving in its midst. Watching five of my six grandchildren swimming in His anointing feeds my soul. If their individual theology is being shaped by a modern version of the Gospel rejected by this old man, it is that which overflows their vessel which gives me assurance that He has their anchor-line. The definition of “dialectic”, by the way, is: “a process of reasoning based on a clash of one idea with its opposite leading to a resolution of these ideas in the form of a truer or more comprehensive concept”. If God has their heart and they give Him their reins, divine tutoring never ceases and I can surrender to that all my hopes for their future…….

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Visiting “Whiskey River” this morning, I stepped into one of those deep wells of thought so often entertained any more. My days, for the most part, are my own. The clock doesn’t hold me with too many obligations. The subject matter under observation has held me captive in one way or another for over seventy-three years and, under another name, equates to no more than my own existence. Time. There are those who have likened it unto a river, assigning it flow and asserting it impossible for us, therefore, to step into its depths in the same place twice. If that’s true, however, it seems to me only logical to question in which direction is it going? The analogy, as stated, would appear to have us moving upstream, heading somewhere, paddling against the onrush, destination eternity. Then, again, why not the reverse of that scenario, some of us simply drifting with its force, letting each day take us where it will, some of us trying to resist by any means whatsoever, and others in an attempt to at least extract some meaning to the journey. My own conclusion to the whole matter long ago dismissed all external velocity. Infinity, from any perspective, just “is”. It is man, himself, who passes through it within his own allotted segment, his path determined as he so chooses, the tick of the clock his own invention. The real mystery is: Having eyes to see, why do we miss what is right before us? Having ears to hear, why do we ignore so much of what is spoken unto us? We blink. We sort out the noise. We create life on our own terms until reality hits us right in the face. The world around us is factual, but what we possess of it is only this moment, this breath; and any “gears” orchestrating movement, physical, spiritual, or otherwise, are within us. All that changes in the end is dimensional location, mortality swapped for immortality, time no longer dictating an aging process to a body now free from its tenacious grip…….

Monday, May 18, 2015


Point: Take a sharp pencil and reach out anywhere to touch any one of infinitesimal lines invisibly running to and fro, here and there, north and south, east and west, and wherever you “mark the spot”, you have a “point”. Not a dot, or at least not speaking in correct mathematical terms. Not a decimal. That requires numbers on either side to give it such identity. Insignificant? Perhaps; unless you, or I, or anyone else, for that matter, happens to be that particular introduction of existing in this life. Then, suddenly, it depends upon perspective. The further one moves away from it, its reality disappears. The closer one delves into its depths, it’s also easy to drown in the totality of what we failed to know at first glance. Continue to place other points around it, elbow-to-elbow, armpit-to-armpit, and before too long its meaning has been absorbed by all else that’s out there. Does it have meaning? Purpose? Whatever attachment it holds with others, whatever self-satisfaction is found within its own existence, if there is no “point within the point” where definition is established by a higher Source, a person is left with nothing more than their own reasoning, their own defense, their own humanity as it has come to them down through the years. We need “connection”; we need “anchorage”; and, in achieving it, we are told in Scripture that we must to surrender unto it all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, putting all our strength into such effort, for even in knowing Him, we remain wobbly in our walk. A point. Not in our head, but in our “belly”. Out of it flows living water, life for those who thirst, manna for those who are hungry, assurance for those who seek an answer to the enigma…….

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I drove about seventy-five miles yesterday afternoon to meet my grandson, the one whose whole life has held such distance between us that, while my heart is no less connected with him, knowing him in who and what he is has been a whole different relationship than what’s been possible with the five who all have grown up “in my back yard”. With two years of college now behind him, questions about his faith are surfacing and his mother suggested a talk with me. We met at Walmart, grabbed a couple of sandwiches from Subway, and motored together to a nearby church where an outdoor pavilion gave us quiet space. I expected “Why not Buddha?” He gave me merely interrogatives (and some good thinking of his own) about fundamentals, inquiries about the Cross, what made us “sinners”, and a concern about his own stumble down the path, healthy investigation every believer ought to make somewhere along the way. Truthfully, in my own opinion, that latter is an exercise that needs to remain “open discussion” in a prayer closet on a regular basis. Just north of us, Cincinnati not only boasts of its own amusement park, but positioned there, in the same neighborhood, is an “auto-mall”, a huge section of ground home to multiple new car businesses, any and every brand all in one place competing for your dollar. It came to me the other day, one of those mental images that frequently pass through this old man’s mind, that today’s Church is much the same. In our area, at least, within a ten-mile radius Christianity gives choice in so far as style of worship, dogmatic beliefs, congregational fellowship and outreach, the only thing commonly claimed being “the product they are trying to sell”. How many people, though, “thump the tires”, read the manual, and check out the consumer reports before signing on the dotted line? Most are content with a salvation validated by the membership contract and are willing to let eternity determine truth at a later date. I want confirmation now, in my “belly”, not my head. I want that for my family. I want that for whosoever has ears to hear. Not forced. Not demanded by thumping my Bible. Either this is real or it is no more than religious ritual. Either His “flow”, or “no go”. He “sells” Himself if this old flawed vessel will but remember that fact…….

Friday, May 15, 2015


In the course of our Wednesday evening Bible study, for whatever reason, our teacher asked ME to define “absolute truth” for him. My immediate response was to suggest someone else might be a better choice for such task. No; the die had been cast. “Black and white!” I blurted, trying to comply without taking the class into my own theology and, at the same time, knowing such answer would be utilized to emphasize that which I don’t believe. It was; and yet, void of any Spiritual anointing to debate such issue, this old man saw no point in forcing my opinion upon the others. People have to take their own journey in this, learn their own lesson in a stumble down the path. For me, though, there is only one correct definition for “absolute truth”. Christ claimed that label long ago and, for much too long, the Church has tried to replace Him with the Book! That’s not to say one can’t find Him within chapter and verse; but it does demand that, in confessing their faith in the word, Christian must also admit to the possibility of error since, if for no other reason, our humanity is involved in processing that which is written therein; and that, alone, ought to make it always a work “under construction”. Our understanding ought to be continually re-examined in both a prayer closet and the next step. It is He whom I follow, a resurrected reality who always allows me freedom in this, final accountability more a matter of how I lived my faith, not so much how well I managed to reduce it to an Algebraic formula: baptism by immersion plus attending and tithing equals entrance through the Pearly Gates. Scripture reminds me of my own individual sins, points me to Christ, and tells me to make myself a vessel through which He might reach others. It’s that simple…….

Thursday, May 14, 2015


In the original “Alice in Wonderland”, the main character encounters Humpty Dumpty who, in conversation with her, uses the word “glory”. When she informs him that she doesn’t understand its meaning, he scornfully replies “Of course you don’t, not until I tell you, for every word I speak means exactly what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less!” She observes that “The question is whether you can make words mean different things”; and he, unhindered in his vanity, simply states that “The question is only who is to be master. That’s all.”… I’m about halfway through my perusal of Alan E. Lewis’s “Between Cross and Resurrection”. Thus far it has mostly been like a “schematic” of historical Christianity’s putting divinity under a microscope and dissecting Trinity in an attempt to dissolve all the mystery. Not yet expressing his own personal theology, the author quotes Barth, Moltmann, Hegel, Jensen, Rahner, and Martin Luther, just to name a few prestigious names of those who, from the very beginning of this, have forged various images out of chapter and verse. They frame God in terms that suggest Him possessing an “eternal longing to become a man and to make of every man a god out of grace.” They describe Him as “being in becoming”, a deity experiencing metamorphosis, passing through eternity with us and evolving as He goes. Like the Jews, who took the Law and turned it into religion, so too has the Church complicated “Christ in me”, debating its simplicity until Christianity now comes in seventeen flavors, including several counterfeit imitations. While I applaud a need for believers to study their Bible, to investigate their salvation as they go, yet wisdom dictates our goal be forged out of a recognition of our humanity being part of the process. There is no doctrinal box of dogma big enough, strong enough correct enough, to completely hold Him captive; and pursuit ought to be more about a thirst to know His reality in our life than about some desire to label His parts…….

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Life: the honking of two wild geese flying overhead; the red-leafed branches of a small tree dancing in the cool breeze before me; the warm sun feeding substance into everything, including me as I wait outside the doctor’s office for Beth to return. People come and go, humanity defensive in its denial, comical in its character, all of us, for the most part, incognito, our real identity hidden, at least to some extent, and just going through the motions. We are a strange creation in the midst of all else that’s out there, yet singular in possessing ability to contemplate the mystery around us. “Being”, however, gets lost in the shuffle, swallowed up in the everyday events that define our existence. One breath turns into another. The calendar clicks. One day, two months, ten years. Where did it go? For that matter, what was it all about? I’m not so sure it would be any different looking back, though, should we have laid out some structured schedule to achieve and then achieved it. Things happen. The “in-between” is an Algebraic unknown depending on right time, right place, circumstance, and the individual who happens to catch the event. For me, therefore, the essential is in knowing “anchorage”, not so much in the temporal, but in He who transcends beginning and the end. When Eternity is a well within you, each pause that comes your way finds your mind “returning to the ark”, each person that you meet is one of His “works in progress”, and all things have “purpose”. The past is a memory, the future is in His hands, and this moment is a gift given. Here comes my wife. She’ll be ready for breakfast…….

Monday, May 11, 2015


Mother’s Day was a “divided affair” for me and Beth. With my group scheduled for services with the kids at the Youth Detention Center, she attended early morning church by herself. We came together, afterwards, for dinner with family and friends. Entertainment was watching the “grandchildren”, two of them now of legal age to go with me in ministering at the above facility, laughing and giggling at old photographs my daughter has stored in two huge containers. Sunday evening worship was a solo. Four fractures in her back makes it hard for her to endure the seating for any long period of time. For me, therefore, it’s not unusual, any more, to soak up as much of His presence as possible before just coming home to catch the sermon later on my computer. On this occasion, however, the young man appointed to the pulpit in our pastor’s absence caught my curiosity. Raised in our ranks, his early call to such ministry was strongly rooted in “old-time holiness”, not so much all the legalism that we once endorsed, but definitely a lot of “holier than thou” staining his witness, at least in this old man’s eyes. Marriage and three or four years away elsewhere, though, seems to have softened it somewhat, his last message unto us clearly with God’s anointing, judgment balanced with grace. Now he took us to Jeremiah, the pagan idol, Moloch, and the practice of sacrificing babies in exchange for chasing one’s own desires. My reasoning that he was about to address this nation’s liberty with abortion was slowly enlightened otherwise as he pointed to a Church, deafened by the world’s drumbeat so that it doesn’t hear death’s agony, giving up that which has been divinely implanted within her, while entertaining her own heart rather than hungering for His. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;” Paul wrote unto the Corinthians. “Prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” Each man, each woman, it seems to me, must frequently take that statement into a prayer closet…….

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Soul Music....."

After awakening about six-thirty this morning, it took about an hour to just find sanity. Whether just the usual allergies that plague one in this section of the country as spring breaks into bloom or maybe part of what comes with the package at reaching seventy-three years of age, my brain felt trapped in a balloon and thinking took effort. A couple of aspirins. A hot cup of coffee. Pressure eased and it occurred to me that the book I’ve been reading was left in the car yesterday afternoon. I donned an old hoodie, stepped out into the coolness of a world still in the process of escaping darkness and, having retrieved my study of “Between Cross and Resurrection”, I sat down on a backyard bench hoping to catch the sun as it rose above the hills to the east. The ground was wet with dew. Squirrels and birds were already about their business. The sound of traffic on the main highway, muffled by the distance between us, was suddenly lost in several drawn-out, almost connected warning blares of a train approaching on the steep, wooded slope a few hundred yards behind me. Such intrusion might well have startled others. For me, it was merely part of life as it has come to me for more than two decades now. My son-in-law has known this area as “home” for all his life. Beth and I stepped into it when the oldest grandson was born and the soft clickety-clack of the rail cars passing through long ago became a familiar melody. Indeed, for this old man, it takes me back to growing up in the inner city, my parent’s house but a half block down from an underpass; and, with air-conditioning not yet invented, our windows were open most summer evenings. The L&N and the C&O lullabied me to sleep quite often. How easy, it seems to me, for us to adapt. Physically. Spiritually. If we’re not careful, we simply accept our circumstances, follow what is fed us, and think ourselves holding the fullness of all that there is. That said, it might be well to admit it possible to be so impassioned about what we don’t possess that we lose sight of the treasure we already own. Balance, in all things, came to me March 27th, 1972, at one-thirty in the afternoon, when Christ restored anchorage within this old man’s soul. Dawn broke forth in the middle of my nightmare. Peace became a promise confirmed again and again no matter what the day, itself, would bring…….

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


This morning, while waiting to drive McKenna to school, I watched as Fox News broadcast the story of a female Army officer who managed to complete some sort of twelve mile endurance trek carrying her rifle and a thirty-five pound backpack. Small in stature, she stumbled twice and fell as she neared the finish line; but, encouraged by comrades, she utilized that weapon as support to arise and complete the assigned course. It was an accomplishment worthy of recognition. Yet, if, in hearing that eighty percent of those who start that hike fall by the wayside somewhere along the way, my respect for her success increased, my heart also knew compassion for those unable to conquer the mission for whatever reason. In all my seventy-three years, there’s never been a single incident that marked me a “winner”. No athletic skills. No academic awards. The only certificate on my wall is one Beth discovered at my mother’s declaring me a graduate of a kindergarten class at Grace Evangelical Reformed Lutheran assembly. Still, I don’t think I’m alone. Most of humanity is like me. Few of us are anybody “special”. All of us, even those who do “ring the bell” and win a prize, are flawed. None are without error in this journey and life is a stagger down the path where what counts is just giving it the best you can. You run out of wind on the fourth lap? Sit down, get your breath, and try it again tomorrow. You flunk Algebra? Sign up for shop. Maybe carpentry is your niche. And if the world fails to give credit for stamina, there is One who is willing to go with you regardless of your track record, eager to coach you in the next step, and always a friend even if you’re continually the last horse in the race. Blue ribbons and awards may be nice; but I’d rather know His grace in a prayer closet at the end of each day. He makes me…. and you.... a winner.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Beth and I both attended the evening service Sunday. The music can get a little too loud for old ears at times, especially when you’re seated but a few rows from the front; but McKenna and Noah, our two youngest grandchildren, were participating in a drama skit and we wanted to be close enough to be “one with them” in its unfolding. There must have been twenty, at least, on that stage, ranging in age from eleven to maybe eighteen. They were all dressed in black, more so to establish one’s focus on the lyrics of the song they brought forth than anything else, the words lip-synced by an older girl in front and slowly embracing the whole group in the message it proclaimed. Along the way it all fell into God’s anointing, the Holy Spirit overflowing, spilling out to connect with the congregation as a whole; and, in the final moments, skit turned into Pentecost, people coming forth to join with them in tears and tongues for about fifteen or twenty minutes that “weren’t in the program”. Eventually, with our pastor out of town, his son would speak to us on “prayer”, on his belief that we’ve failed to teach each other, not just the importance of such union with Christ, but the essential elements that create it in so far as it being more than a few words thrown toward heaven in petition. In truth, his theme was merely an explanation of what had just happened in our midst. If faith is only held in our heads, what do we really possess? It must come up “out of our belly”, a gift of God that, while securing us in the next step, yet knows anchorage down deep in the depths of all that we are; and such relationship must be maintained in a sense of never being “conquered”, but always a lesson being learned…….

Monday, May 4, 2015


“It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing – they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them, I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter, and all the mad intensities that made me and unmade me.” – Stephen Fry, borrowed from “Whiskey River”

The author of the above quote is an English writer/comedian, described as being “ninety percent gay, ten percent other”. If such analysis plays any role in my discourse here, it is only meant to suggest that we, as a society, hold some guilt in its creation. We who, ourselves, are so involved with our own insecurities, all of us trying to make some sense out of our own existence, all too often fail to minister to those around us. In managing to “straddle the stream”, ourselves, we abandon, reject, and ridicule the weakest among us for their inability to blend in with the crowd. People hurt people. Christ “in” me ought to change that, at least somewhat. Conversion doesn’t turn us into “Super Saint”. We still have to deal with our own warts, wrinkles, and wobble down the road; but if Calvary’s reconnection is more than just head knowledge, if indeed we now possess an inner well out of which his resurrection is made manifest in our walk, our stagger should bear evidence of Him in more ways than one. That grace given us, if not allowed to stagnate through infrequent visits to the pool, should not influence more than change in our own identity, but overflow into the lives of those around us. His compassion, His wisdom, His healing, operating through us, ought to be witness of our claim to know Him. The Holy Ghost, as someone preached to me long ago, convicts, but doesn’t condemn. The world doesn’t need our theology. It needs Christ; and perhaps the best place to start is in our own back yard. What’s in your wallet? I’ve always hated that commercial…….

Friday, May 1, 2015


Walking out of church last Sunday, my niece, for whatever reason, asked my opinion about Bruce Jenner’s recent decision. When I replied that it was his choice, his life, not mine, my reasoning was held out of a strong belief that none of us ever really know the depths of the other person’s identity. She reminded me that his actions involved hurting his family. True; but the reality of this journey is in loving each other enough to weather our differences, to surrender our soul even when our spirit fails to understand. Whether the above is accountable for what has occupied my mind lately or not, it does seem to me depths that are beyond our ability to conquer, interesting enough perhaps for a dive into such waters, but greater than our condemning it with chapter and verse. Is there any of us who can give concrete definition to those two elements of humanity? Where do they originate? It is written that the one is “the candle of the Lord” and that God “lights every man that cometh into the world”; but does that conclude the matter? Is the spirit divinely inserted at birth, an angel appointed to install this critical part of our schematics, or is its creation simply programmed into the original blueprint along with the soul, its Siamese twin? Whichever way it works, I’m inclined to believe it (or should I say they) possess no individuality there in the beginning. Who and what they are will be determined by the package assigned, the environment through which it passes, and the history of its own choices, its own stagger down the path. Male? Female? Mathematically inclined? Animal lover? Psychologically challenged? For me it all comes down to our discovering the most vital piece of our existence was lost in the Garden, learning reconnection was made available unto us through what was accomplished at Calvary, and then accepting the gift as given. Do questions remain? Oh, yes; but I’d rather take my interrogatives unto Him than think, because I’ve read the Book, I have all the answers…….

Thursday, April 30, 2015

"A Square plus B Square....."

With only three weeks of school left, yesterday may have been my last opportunity to substitute at the church school until it all starts over again in August. Eight days since the first of the year isn’t a whole lot of anything; but there’s been some tutoring beyond that and enough encounter with the kids that, for the most part, they all know me and vice-versa. Names take a while, especially when it’s an every other week, one day here and there affair. My elementary introduction involved only the Fifth Grade and the Kindergarten “l’il diddles”. The upper learning center was more a continual recycling of faces. The human element, however, is the same on both sides of how our educational system divides the journey. Every class has its clown, its beauty queen, its jock, and a few who are actually there to learn. Cliques form. The future is being shaped here in more ways than one. If maturity is defined by one’s engagement with the world around us and not just a growth in stature, then this arena provides ample witness to just how diverse that product is achieved in such short space as that between enrollment and graduation a little more than a decade later. Then, again, I wonder how any of us look to God, in that department, after another such milepost, then another, and another, has been reached. What does “full development” or, as my dictionary expresses it in other terms, “the date when an obligation becomes due” really mean in terms of Judgment Day? For this old man it all comes down to this: There’s a whole lot more to us than merely the exterior veneer we present unto others in the unfolding of this story. Who we are and what we are evolves out of our roots and life as it comes to us. My approach, therefore, to this privilege granted me, is more than making scholars out of students. I want to see deeper than just the individual seated at a table before me. My prayer is to find His flow and His wisdom that somehow much more than solving an Algebra problem takes place. It looks good at the moment for a full six week sometime in September, maybe earlier, filling in for an expectant mother who teaches Chemistry. Summer is welcomed in all that it brings; but, already, I’m anxious for the next bunch…….

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


This past Sunday Beth went with me to the evening service. Her attendance anymore is sparse. Sitting that long in that type of chair isn’t easy when you have four fractures in your spine and are suffering with osteoporosis. We position ourselves near the rear of the sanctuary for two reasons: (1) if it should become necessary to leave, we are not disturbing others; and (2) the worship music anymore, at our age, is a little too loud at times. On this occasion, however, the flow of His Spirit overcame all other distractions and at the end, as the altar area filled with people going forward to pray, she, too, made her way down the aisle expecting to bond with our granddaughter in seeking the hem of His garment. At the outer edge of such mass, however, two or three women took her into their own circle. Almost immediately she stepped into the flow of the Holy Ghost, tears and tongues spanning the gap between heaven and earth, the world around her lost in an assurance of His presence…. My wife is no Bible scholar. She yet wrestles with much change that has come to Pentecost over the last few decades, not so much in recognizing Old-time Holiness legalism held some error within it, but in questioning how theology can evolve. To her, truth is truth. Separating humanity from the message is “confusing” to her. Surrendering herself unto the simple assurance of His reality is not. She was born into this. I was not. My own faith came to me via a “leap” in my living room at the age of thirty, was secured, then, by several other encounters along the way which serve as “anchorage”, points that hold no explanation other than “God”, and continued returns to that fountain of living water such as Beth experienced on this above occasion. The Book is a foundation, a stabilizer, an oasis where He meets me as I go; but it has never held some state of “divinity”. It is infallible only in as much as His honesty sorts out my humanity, a task that has remained, from the beginning, “under construction”. The two of us, it might be said, therefore, are one in Him at that undeniable point of connection. If she doesn’t understand my need to read, to purge religion from where two thousand years has taken the Church, it’s just as much the same where I sit, wondering how anyone can simply “believe” without investigating their propensity to follow Jim Jones down to Guyana. To each their own. He “seals the deal” and is never far from those who would seek His promise manifested and confirmed…….

Monday, April 27, 2015


I sat down with some good people for a few moments yesterday afternoon, church “family” who were gathered to celebrate a special event and the conversation turning to such that I finally just arose and strolled elsewhere. Politics and current news events had brought forth discussion that disregarded the character of others; and, while this old man certainly can’t claim complete victory over such charges as addressed here, on this occasion he did opt for another table, another topic to share. People tend to ridicule what they don’t understand and all too often condemn what they, themselves, carry within their own identity. Humanity as it exists: a condition common to all of us. My granddaughter turns fifteen in August and is “her own person” in terms of holding no desire to be but one more of the “socially accepted” among her peers. No tattoos. No piercings. Beautiful auburn hair and a smile that owns my heart. Yet if I point her attention toward some individual at the mall sporting a Mohawk, wearing green lipstick, and adorned with a studded dog-collar around their neck, she always calmly replies that she sees nothing wrong with such style statement. To me there’s room for debate; but maybe the two of us are merely expressing the same observation from different perspectives. Inside, underneath all that exterior, is someone who is searching for meaning, an answer to those questions that come to us all in this stumble down the path, even if some of us have our insecurities well hidden behind a false exterior not quite so “in your face”. In that sense, for me it all comes down to attitude on both sides of whatever is being criticized. When anger and “I’m right!” are the main ingredients fueling the disagreement, whether from the point of judgment or from the position of rebellion, little is accomplished; and, while Bible chapter and verse may serve one well as checkpoints for their own life, using the Word to stone others never knows an anointing to bring light into darkness. Grace is not just a blessing received. It is also a divine force meant to flow through us unto the world around us…….

Saturday, April 25, 2015


We took our granddaughter to a dermatologist Thursday. McKenna’s not so much into the “girly” aspects of her gender, a Ninth Grader and going solo to the church school prom last night, opting for the customary dress that goes with the event, but choosing a small Tin Burton adorned clutch purse that looked, to me, more like she was carrying a canteen. She and her cousin Cody are their own person. The office visit, though, was a matter of having a large wart on her elbow removed, whether requested out of “beauty” concerns or it just being annoying, I know not. Beth, however, in conversation with me, recalled waking one day with the above-mentioned grandson years ago and him showing her several of such growths across his knuckles. The solution on that particular occasion? – She prayed with him, then and there, and later that week he would show her his hand now completely void of offense…
Nearly a hundred pages into “Between Cross and Resurrection”, the author speaks of God in terms of His identity being a “unity of opposites”; and, while I can agree to the truth of our experiencing His reality through multiple contrasting characteristics, that doesn’t extend to us any freedom to assign Him concrete definition out of our own choosing. To say that He is “balanced” in judgment by His grace is to suggest that He must also be evenly proportioned to do evil as He is to perform goodness. Better to confess His omniscience, in a belief that, whatever He does, it is accomplished out of His wisdom (“All things work together for good”) and we are safely held in the palm of His hands whatever the situation around us. To say that Calvary’s Gospel, once secured by Christ, somehow changed the Father to the point that we can now simply ignore all that we read of Him in the Old Testament only speaks to me of humanity as sit exists, indeed, as it always has been, attempting to create our own deity, rather than submit ourselves unto the One who is. Can we “know” the Creator? Yes; in an on-going relationship where we continue to be shaped by Him, not the other way around. I know He heals, because He HAS healed; but that doesn’t always make tomorrow’s event mine to command. He is – who I find Him to be in a prayer closet. He meets me as I go. My faith is in who I have found Him to be in the past and it does not diminish any if, for some reason, the next problem in my path is solved in a different manner. He is a “knot inside” that He, Himself, has tied; and I am the only one who can undo the connection. Why would I do that?.......

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


”Hearing the (Easter) story the second time around, and every time thereafter, we encounter a grave standing on the boundary where defeat and victory are intimately juxtaposed. This time, on the second day, we are privileged to know already that after yesterday’s defeat, victory tomorrow is secure. Yet we are compelled to know, too, that it is the finally victorious one who even now lies decaying in defeat; and we must face the shocking truth that the seeds of victory lie in both the grave’s defeat and nowhere else, that the only flower of victory is one which germinates and grows in the darkness of a tomb.” – Alan E. Lewis, “Between Cross and Resurrection”

I’m but a few chapters into the above author’s book and, while already questioning his perspective thoughts in at least one paragraph, find myself nonetheless enjoying this plunge into the depths of the Christian narrative. For me, the Gospel has never been “settled”, in so far as my initial point of entry providing all the answers to this mystery of life, and in the truth that the journey since, at any point along the way, has yet to capture God “in a box”. That which continues to draw me into pursuit, however, was never born out of any wish of ever being able conquer all knowledge of who and what He is, but out of a hunger and thirst to experience Him in all that His resurrection extends unto me. Maybe such desired can be better explained by referring to a couple of terms utilized by Lewis to emphasize the importance of that day dividing the securing of our salvation. In speaking of a “theology of the Cross”, he assigns it “abundant social and political consequences through its iconoclasm (attack against) all (other) human concepts” of religion. Nonetheless, in crossing the gap to discuss a “theology of glory”, he requires a “pneumatology” of Calvary subjecting “all the gifts of the Spirit and their application to a radical critique of Christ’s own experience of suffering, weakness, and crucifixion.” If I’m with him thus far, though, he has me wondering if that middle section he is about to explore with me, that time between where Jesus, far from held prisoner in a tomb, is putting His signature on a New Testament covenant in the depths of hell, doesn’t relate to another theology, one yet under construction. In 1st John, the apostle brings forth a “triangulation” connecting heaven and earth, Trinity somehow more than simply “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. If Paul’s proclamation of the mystery of the “Good News” is Christ “in” me, do I blaspheme if I suggest that me “in” Christ is no less an enigma that each of us must entertain and explore daily? Is there any credence to the possibility that, even if the stone has been rolled away from our heart, in the commandment for us to pick up our own cross and follow Him there is a space wherein each of us “conquer the grave” through a continued surrender unto the tug on our anchor-line……

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


”A writer stops writing the moment he or she puts the last full stop to their text, and at that point the book is in limbo and doesn't come to life until the reader picks it up and the reader flips the pages.” – Alberto Manguel

Beyond its assigned definition applied by the Roman Catholic Church, limbo is “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition”. I’ve often utilized it to speak of that yearly pause between Christmas and January 1st. It occurs to me, however, that we often step into such an existence from time to time, much as if our journey loses meaning, as if all the everyday events that beset us suddenly become a noise in the background. The river, itself, still holds us; the clock yet ticks; but the point to everything, the “why”, suddenly holds us in its grip and it takes a bit of effort to break free of the logjam. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian professor of psychology who immigrated to this country in the fifties, speaks of a state of consciousness called “flow” wherein people are completely absorbed in an activity. The “key to happiness”, supposedly, is in our ability to control that portion of our identity by not allowing external forces to interrupt it. It is up to each of us to prepare for such attack by cultivating challenges that are neither too demanding nor too simple to achieve. I’ve another suggestion: When our story comes to such a dullness, when, in looking back, we wonder if there’s any real sense to our stagger down this path, try turning inward to another God-given “flow”, to a stream in whose depths we might discover refreshing, renewal, and a redefining of our worth in the middle of this whole mystery called life. Whether just a drink from His well or a dip in the pool, ankle-deep, knee-deep, or totally submerged, His “flow” reinforces us for the other flow and “life” begins again…….

Monday, April 20, 2015


My church seats close to a thousand three times on Sunday, with the evening service and the eleven a.m. not necessarily the same crowd, but both probably a few more than the early morning congregation. My wife and I “left” it twice, the first time for five years to help plant an inner city outreach in Cincinnati, the second occasion for about a decade and for no other reason than this old man needed “space”. Birthed in a tent meeting, moved to a chicken coop, then a barn before Beth’s parents were part of that bunch who built that original small facility that housed us back in ’72 when I started taking my kids there for Sunday school, it is a part of her “history” and my “roots”. At no time in either separation was it completely abandoned. While anymore we number more than my ability to contain everyone’s identity, some are part of those who have known me from the beginning and, among the rest, are a significant few whose contribution to the package as a whole gives me witness enough to retain their names. At one time this was “family”, not so much in the truth that many within the sanctuary were indeed related to one another, more so in the sense that the seventy some people usually present were bound together not just in Christ, but in the work, itself. Now we are “mass” and broken into our individual commitment to the whole. There is a widow who wears a new hat each time she comes, who sits in front and rises to greet visitors with a pre-assembled welcome packet when directed. There is another woman, small in stature, whose perpetual smile helps finds seating for late arrivals. We have people who operate cameras for the broadcast, regulate sound and computer screens, not to mention a vast multitude of singers and musicians; and all this merely constitutes worship. Multiple ministries, directed toward both outreach and within our own ranks, are available for any who feel led to volunteer. Still, the pastor’s son, in his father’s absence yesterday, pleaded for more members to tithe, since our own eighteen percent is but six points higher than the national twelve percent. The wallet, it seems to me, is attached to the heart. Just sayin……..

Thursday, April 16, 2015


”Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat. Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there. Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there and shouting ‘I found it!’ Science is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat using a flashlight.” – ranked as the most popular post on Google’s social network

Yancey begins his ninth chapter in the book, entitled “Is There Anyone Else? The God Question”, with the above quote. Obviously written by someone who holds no faith at all in a divine Creator, the paragraph may well give one pause with its analogies, but fails in providing any of the basics upon which the scientific community works in seeking truth. From what I remember of the process, they begin with a question, form a hypothesis, experiment, and state results, which, if one cares to look up the definition of that second term, means that the final product is something not proven to be fact, but only left open for further exploration. In truth, Christianity is not searching for some black cat, but that “Light” which is “Life”; and that is not accomplished with a couple of double A batteries, but a willingness to accept that its “darkness” will always be in need of His penetration if it is to begin to understand anything at all… I was privileged to substitute teach the upper level kids at the church school yesterday. Two of the classes dealt with Bible, specifically the Book of Jonah, and two with civics (one American politics and the other world history); and all somehow “fit” together in a discussion of how God’s will in our life is a matter knowing Him in our “belly”, not just our head. Indeed, what “spilled over” there in an attempt to define “love” as “a knot inside that God, Himself, has tied” went with me last night to the men at the rescue mission. How is it possible to combine political affairs with our possessing assurance of our redemption? When men profess God out of no more than a expressed commitment to the Bible, their reasoning going no deeper than what rattles around in their cranial cavity, their affairs remain under the domination of their own humanity and, always, a mess is created somewhere down the path. It’s a stumble, enough, even with our reins held by the Holy Ghost in an inner reconnection with the Father. Spelunking this present “womb”, however, will eternally be an easier undertaking when men recognize their limitations and surrender the journey unto His wisdom…….

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


In Yancey’s book, he speaks of people in history who have served to witness for Christ, some who were utilized by God to merely prod a nation’s moral existence at the time and others whose legacy, for whatever reason, more resembles that nail Martin Luther drove into the wooden door, changing the Church thereafter. In suggesting that while there is a prophetic moment when God may, indeed, call any of us to fulfill either analogy, the author declares that, for most of us, divine appointment will amount to something like “scribbling in the sand”. There should be no “tinge of shame” in knowing such assignment, he says, for it equates to Christ ministering individually to that woman brought before Him, taken in adultery. Around us, daily, are those who are crying “Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?” Not audibly, but out of an inner void needing to be filled. Most are so busy and burdened with surviving that their own knowledge of such pleas, if realized at all, comes only in the middle of a crisis too big to face, or at night as they lay there in the darkness unable to sleep. Is heaven beyond hearing their petitions? In my own opinion, the problem is not that God is deaf, or that God doesn’t care, but in the truth that humanity is unaware that there is possibility of “contact” available unto them via Calvary and the resurrection. The problem is in the Church, not the world around it, who for the most part has failed to bring forth evidence of the very doctrinal foundations that form the very basis of their faith. When we reduce the Gospel to theology, to not much more than just another religion, or when we, on the other side of that coin, claim for ourselves the identity of the Holy Ghost as if we control Him instead of the other way around, unbelievers see only our “flesh” and judge us therein. Honesty helps. Convincing others of His reality, however, can only come through a “drawing” of His Spirit; and that means we must be vessels surrendered unto Him. Flow comes from our “belly”, not our head. Witness entails a whole lot more than knocking on doors with a verbal reference to chapter and verse. The event is not always appointed unto us to address the mass. Most of us will not become martyred for such cause. Each of us, however, if we will receive it, will know many one-on-one opportunities where all that is required of us is a few words spoken under His anointing……….

Friday, April 10, 2015

"Dry Wells......................"

Philip Yancey’s latest book, “Vanishing Grace: Whatever Happened to the Good News?” opens with a verse out of Hebrews either misquoted or taken from a Bible translation unfamiliar to me. Having never a “King James or the highway” kind of believer, such initial rearrangement of the Word does not bother me. For me, the subject in question equates to Christ “in” me; and, if such possession isn’t “fresh” and “alive” in my own life, then there’s no great mystery as to why it isn’t flowing out of me unto others. For the author, there is query concerning a Church that appears more enflamed about its own demands being enforced on the world around it than it is about sharing the Holy Ghost it claims to know abiding within its framework. That’s not a blanket indictment, of course, but there is enough evidence in abundance to warrant an investigation; and the first place to examine, it seems to me, is our replication of what the Pharisees did with the Old Testament portion of the Book. When religion is no more than a theology set in concrete, not much more than a doctrinal idol we, ourselves, have created to assure ourselves of salvation, a blunt weapon in our hands with which we arrogantly utilize to convince others that we, alone, possess “truth, do we not resemble those “whited sepulchers” whom Jesus labelled “hypocrites? As a friend recently posted on Facebook, “You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” Preceding such thought was a suggestion that two lies adopted by our culture are (1) disagreeing with someone else’s lifestyle means we must fear or hate them; and (2) to love someone requires agreeing with them about everything they believe or do. I would only add that, as Christians, we need “reprogramming” as to the reality of His resurrection within us being the source of anything good we accomplish in this. If who we are and what we are doesn’t flow out of His Spirit, then guess who yet has the helm and is undoubtedly operating out of “self”…..

Thursday, April 9, 2015


In cleaning out my closet the other day, in response to a request brought forth from my wife, I discovered both an old journal kept through the entire twelve months of the year 2000 and some old blog entries saved from 2003. The latter was various initial literary efforts logged by me in Diaryland, a site introduced to me by a friend who also enjoyed this sort of activity. His passion with it languished along the way when his readers dwindled. My own pleasure therein has always been a matter of sorting out whatever’s on my mind, whether that be Bible or merely the day’s events as they come to me; and it amuses me, as well, to every so often be able to go back in time via this means. Grandchildren were just that a little over a decade ago. Births, deaths, major changes in my life and the world around me are all recorded from whatever perspective I knew in those moments. These are sacred events for me, in the sense that they are no longer able to be known via some physical connection and, yet, in my mind and in my heart they are still spiritually a part of who I am. God’s Word expresses me in terms of my being akin to a flower, a blade of grass in His garden that is here but a little while and then gone in so far as reality as we know it within this life. Nothing remains the same within its span. Change is just part of the journey. The only item of solid security given unto us as believers is an inner anchor-line, a paternal umbilical cord reattached through Christ in our “belly”. With it, I hold hope for whatever lies ahead. Our past may well hold its share of regrets, but visiting it in some manner also reminds us that such distance covered knew its share of manna and that, in Him, whatever the future holds, there is no reason for fear…….

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The world around me was grey and drizzly early this morning as I returned home from driving my granddaughter to school. Most cars still had their headlights giving better evidence of their approach and, inside mine, there was just me and the Holy Ghost. In Isaiah, it is written how God will “keep in peace him whose mind is stayed on you”, such verse coming to me after an old song sprung up in me as I motored down the road. Its lyrics were not remembered in their entirety, but that meant little to this old man. The melody came up out of my inner depths and, if only for a few moments, His Spirit and my spirit were one as whatever words were temporarily lost merely found themselves replaced by a worship that didn’t need “exactness” in its offering. “Why”, I wondered afterwards, “is it so with me?” My prayer-life is more known in “encounters” than in some attempt to find “contact” through some sort of scheduled position appointed to such purpose. While there is no doubt much reason to defend oneself against being lax in our relationship with Christ, with our possessing an “internal hook-up”, spanning the gulf between heaven and earth ought not be reduced to an assigned point in time where it seems like success depends on me overcoming my humanity in whatever manner it tends to hinder me in the process. If one’s thoughts are always, for the most part, like the dove released from Noah’s ark, continually returning to “home base”, to that One who knows us in an inner reconnection established through Calvary’s Cross as well as an Easter resurrection, then He is never very far from any of us; and finding Him here and there along the way in our daily life is but a matter of surrendering ourselves unto His presence as He so determines the when and where of its occurrence. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t those times when we need to seek His face concerning some cause or even to just express gratitude for all that He is unto us in this life; but to limit such blessing unto occasions we set aside for petition is to miss much in the merger we now possess……

Monday, April 6, 2015


Both Easter services yesterday ministered to me. The early morning crowd was, as expected, a bit more populated than usual. Our pastor’s message was nothing deep, taken from that passage in the Bible where Mary, outside the empty tomb, sees Him, but doesn’t know Him until He speaks her name. Attending and seated three rows back, center-sanctuary, was a close friend diagnosed with fourth-stage cancer. At least twenty-five years younger than me, with a wife and four sons, two of them yet in school, he has already lost much of his normal muscular appearance; but, nonetheless, was able to access the altar area for prayer. Miracle? We who gathered around him certainly asked for one. Hope and faith, though, remains in that which made us all one as tears and tongues came forth out of a small group of men seeking to touch the hem of His garment…. The evening sermon became more of a sermonette, born out of worship wherein several youth, ranging in age from my seventeen year-old grandson to his twenty-something year-old basketball coach who teaches for us at the church school, all gave testimony as to Christ resurrecting them. Pointing us to those few verses in Scripture speaking of Jesus looking upon the multitude with compassion, our shepherd spoke of how one never knows everything the other fellow is holding inside him, all the feelings of knowing no self-worth, all the insecurities, defensive attitudes, and shame rooted in, not just the wounds inflicted by others along the way, but personal mistakes that each of us regret making in our stumble down the path. Without the stone being rolled away, we live in a tomb. Believers, he said, must never forget, in our humanity, to see through His eyes “the harvest that is ripe before us”, to realize there is a story within every individual we encounter that goes much deeper than an outward identity we often don’t understand…. This, for me, is the Gospel. While I openly admit to a need of continually being reminded of its theme, it is the glue that holds me together as I go. His grace was never meant to be preserved. Sealed within the vessel, without flow, it eventually begins to stink, stagnant in its own sense of self-righteousness…….

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"Identity Check................"

My pastor singled me out in part of his message last Sunday, pointing to my coming to Christ in my living room, not the church, and being unaware of all the dogmatic theologies stipulating what made me “saved”. In truth, I explain my own faith in terms of being anchored in the reality of that initial encounter, as well as others known along the way in the course of these last forty-three years. While Bible has been a working manual, a source of study, and revelation, it is an inner re-connection with an Easter resurrection down in the depths of what used to be no more than a tomb, turning it into an oasis to which I return again and again that has kept me from the beginning. There I continue to find confirmation, not of any loss of faith in Him, but of my faith in me, my stagger down the road sure not close to being anything to brag about. In finishing my January commitment to read the Book completely through once again, I found myself this week in revelation, closing in on such goal, when a verse just “jumped out at me”. As the Apostle John fell at the feet of some fellow pronouncing himself not worthy of such worship, being one of those who possess “the testimony of Jesus”, he then adds that this same “testimony of Jesus” is “the spirit of prophecy”. Whether Moses, or Elijah, or but one of many martyred saints, however, he need not have stopped there with his analogy. Why not go farther and also declare it to be “the spirit of prayer, the spirit of witness, the spirit of whatsoever we might do to know Him and to share Him with others”? In the 2nd chapter of John’s gospel, Christ is quoted as saying He “needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.” That could be taken a couple of ways, but I’ve always seen it in terms of a man’s heart being “deceitful above all things”. Even with good intentions, we fall short of what He is able to do within us. In such perspective, then, my point is: the focus of our journey with Him, no matter what the event or the task before us, should be on, not just knowing Him in the middle of it, but success in surrendering what we bring to the table unto that which abides within us because of Calvary and His subsequent victory over death via the Resurrection. Holy Ghost “in” me ought to be more than a Scriptural statement we hold in our head. He, alone, is a force consummating our claim of knowing Him in all that He is…..

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Hulk Hogan Christianity........

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment.”…. Mark 12:30

The above verse, in some ways, is very much akin to Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in as much as what we are bade to accomplish is an almost impossible task to achieve on a daily basis. If we, as believers, are not “of the world”, it nonetheless remains that we are stuck within it; and by that very fact we find ourselves limited by our state of humanity. It is a condition wherein we all too often lose focus in any attempt we make to juggle life as it comes against us. Some preach of our “walking on the water” with Christ, but few ever address the truth that walking through the mud every day inevitably leaves us each evening with muddy feet that need to be washed. As Thomas Merton has well documented in his literary efforts, secluding ourselves in a monastery somewhere will not cure the problem to any great degree either, for while we may thus achieve a bit of victory with what our heart and soul soak up during any twenty-four hour period, the mind is a perpetual “jibber-jabber” almost impossible to stifle for any length of time. Thus. It seems to me, that Jesus, in listing the above tetrad and including the one not yet dealt with here in so far as any examination of its meaning, was not suggesting that we need our own power in order to accomplish any sort of success in loving God via the other three items. He does not imply that we must groan and grunt until our spiritual muscles expand into twelve inch biceps capable of bringing all else under control. Indeed, I find it to be exactly the precise opposite concept. Making time for solitude, for a one-on-one encounter with Him in the Holy Ghost, is not an easy task. To be “still”, mentally and physically, is a labor worthy of Hercules; and it is best achieved, not out of our own determination, but through an act of surrender on our part wherein we, more or less, allow His presence to envelop us as it comes forth, out of His own volition, from that inner well within us. This holds true for almost any area in which we might be used as a vessel to witness of the reality of His resurrection……

Monday, March 30, 2015


My wife was raised within Pentecost. Her parents came north from the hills of southern Kentucky and were part of the original group who birthed the church we attend, from a tent to an abandoned chicken coop, to a barn and then a small church built on a steep slope allowing rain to often flood the few classrooms on the lower level. The altar area in our present sanctuary would hold what we knew for worship space in those days. This past Friday marked the 43rd anniversary of my coming to Christ. The 27th of March fell on Monday that year and the following Sunday was Easter when Beth surrendered herself to Him, handing the baby, our youngest girl, to someone else as she went forward. It saved our marriage. It changed our life. Two of our daughters yet attend with us, both involved in various parts of its ministries. Jamie, the middle blessing, lives in Lexington, about an hour away, but keeps her faith with another congregation there. There are theological points where we all see things differently, yet I am thankful “in my belly” for the reality of what His Spirit does in them and through them in their daily walk. What always gives me concern is, knowing within my own walk how easy it is to get side-tracked, to operate on “auto-pilot” and lose close contact with the true source of our existence, how do I, as their father, maintain some sort of vigil over the state of their salvation? Prayer helps, of course; and maybe that’s the limit of my responsibilities. With five of the six grandchildren, along with their parents, sitting there in the pews around me, with my being able to witness Spiritual encounters as they happen, Papaw feels fortunate indeed, especially since the older boys are now young men and could well be elsewhere. Yet it remains a question for me as to why it is that believers seldom are willing to discuss their walk with Christ in any manner? Not so much in terms of theology. There’s always those who are ready to pound the Book, to defend their dogma, to rally around the flag and attack with the Gospel. I’m talking about simply being honest about being human in a stumble down the path. I’m promoting sharing His presence in everyday conversation, not arrogantly pushing the other fellow to convert to your way of thinking. Two or three, gathered together in His name, doesn’t have to mean three hymns and a Sunday morning sermon; nor does “religious” mean the Holy Ghost had to dominate every second of our relationships with each other. It does seem to me, though, that, if we know Him in that innermost depths of who we are, such love and grace ought to spill over into more areas of our life than just a Bible study…….

Sunday, March 29, 2015


For the last three evenings, our church has sponsored a yearly Youth Conference, ending with everyone congregating at a local Sports Center after Friday’s service and then a final sermon preached to them Saturday morning just before visitors depart for home. They got a late start for the festivities at the gym last night, however, the guest speaker under an anointing that took them into deep worship at the end of his message. The altar area was over-packed with kids praying for one another and anyone, with no familiarity to Pentecostal praise, observing what was being broadcast might well think it mass hysteria rather than the Spirit having His way in our midst. Does a move of God require such exuberance, such extreme manifestation of His presence in the form of tears, tongues, and total loss of serenity within the sanctuary? Nope; but neither is there a demand that all verification of “contact” be restricted to a personal inner experience hidden from all others around you. To each their own, in my opinion; and where we all seem to “miss it” is, not in the manner it happens, rather in our failure to explain it unto those who have been so blessed as to encounter it. By “it”, I mean stepping into a place where Christ “in” me becomes a reality, not just a phrase learned along the way…. I’ve often wondered why Jesus, in listing those four things with which we are to give all to our Creator, omitted spirit, but included soul. The latter, in my opinion, merely is that living, emotional part of us out of which flows our heart in all that we are; but the former is that which staggers down the path influenced by all else. It’s why we can, at times, find ourselves swimming in the depths of all that He is, the reality of His promise bringing assurance of His great patience with us in spite of the mess that we remain; and then, when the waters recede, once again re-TURN to the mess that we are. Our thinking directs us in the next step; and even with the “anchor-line” secured, the Holy Ghost “in” us, reconnected via the work of the Cross, “my way or the highway” always gets us into trouble sooner or later. How good, therefore, to surrender it all and just “know” Him in an “osmosis”, however briefly, through a merger than can be “felt” if not completely “telt” in so far as capturing it in any measure. This morning in worship, when as a body we sang “Hosanna” unto a Reality filling more than just the space we occupied, I poured out my soul unto the lyrics and what kept running through my mind was “Occupy the throne in THIS temple, Lord; occupy the throne of my heart.”…………

Friday, March 27, 2015


If our heart will indeed be that which God sifts for worth in the finality of our Earthly journey, then how does our mind, another member of a tetrad assigned us by Christ to be fully surrendered in loving Him, fit into this picture? I’m inclined to “think” that particular part of our identity is what got Adam in trouble back there in the beginning and that with which we all yet struggle the most in this stagger down the path. All four elements that Jesus set before us no doubt hold some responsibility as to who and what we are in our everyday existence, each contributing to the product as it exists; but how many of us examine them with any frequency other than, from time to time, catching ourselves in front of a mirror and briefly questioning who it really is that’s staring back at us? A friend commented on my previous musings, recalling an old admonition for us to “guard our hearts for they are the well spring of life”; and then adding, out of his own depths, as follows: “Solomon knew that our hearts long for good, but our mind tries to blur the line. This allows us to try to reason or use logic to justify thoughts and actions. The person with virtue is the one who can listen to the Spirit guard their heart from their mind.” The key word here is “Spirit”, for the human counterpart of that term was omitted from that above mentioned tetrad and I’m inclined to believe there is reason for its absence. Our spirit works in a relationship with the foursome assigned to the divine commandment and it is desperately in need of His guidance if we are to know any success at all in achieving the goal set before us. “Mind” merely refers to that continual activity within the cerebral cavity, not to the brain, alone, separate in its ability to maintain control of all our body functions, but to that which occurs when our spirit sits down at the computer and “reasons” by means of all the information stored therein. Is it infallible? Not to any real degree of “truth and nothing but the whole truth”. Much of our “intelligence” is distorted, gained from our own perspective as circumstances along the way were “recorded” at the time; and, therefore, the need for us to totally surrender all of that operation unto His wisdom, His tug on our anchor-line. That doesn’t mean loss of free will, but it does suggest that we might well benefit from seeking His voice in the next step….

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"Coronary Connection..............."

The human heart: Jeremiah wrote that it is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Yet this element of who we are as an individual is repeatedly, throughout the Bible, determined to be that which God will one day examine in the finality of our existence here on Earth. The mind, which seems to equate to whatever elements of our identity are involved with thinking, reasoning, finding logic somewhere within the puzzle before us, also appears to be recognized as the main culprit in our stagger down the path. The Creator, apparently, is not so concerned about how well we solve the mystery. Rather He looks at the cry of our soul, stoops down to write with His finger in the sand, and pronounces mercy upon us if we are but willing to connect with Him in taking the next step…. Our church school bi-weekly chapel service was yesterday morning. The thirty year-old fellow who teaches Health and coaches those boys on our basketball team delivered the sermon, pointing to the woman taken in adultery and stressing the need in all our lives for something he called a “do-over”. Speaking of his own childhood years and the feelings of inner insecurity we’ve all wrestled with in this journey from time to time, he drew the kids into a prayer service that not only kept us in the sanctuary for nearly two hours, but followed us, then, back to our classrooms. Teenagers “confessed” emotional, hidden pieces of their relationships with each other. Tears flowed in abundance. “Lockers” were emptied and much was accomplished in so far as our being a “community under the covenant of His promise”. Today the waters will have, no doubt, have receded a bit. The well within, however, remains. We, in our busy-ness, in our lack of wisdom, do not always stop to drink, to swim, to know Him in its depths as often as we should. Nonetheless He holds us in HIS heart in as much as we have surrendered ours unto Him, the anchor-line, on His end, secured……