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……

Monday, March 23, 2015

"Trinity in Me............................"

My pastor’s morning sermon yesterday was centered on the necessity of getting God’s Word out of our head and into our heart. While such theme is certainly there within the pages of the Book, nonetheless, it seems to me that few actually grasp the “mechanics” of such process. Does the achievement involve at all the filling of our brain with chapter and verse? Reading our Bible, most assuredly, has purpose. It is vital to our walk in Him. It is Christ, Himself, however, who “seals the deal”, pronounced by John to be “the Word made flesh”; and, if scripture fails to provide similar phrase elsewhere correlating Him with “the Word made Spirit”, yet there is plenty of Bible evidence to conclude such fact. When James speaks of our receiving with meekness the “engrafted” word, that which is able to “save” our soul, the Greek roots for that term can also be translated as “implanted”; so is he referring to the printed page or an inner reconnection with the Creator? When Peter declares us born-again, “not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible”, by the Word of God which “liveth and abideth” forever, once again the same question can well be posed. When Jesus, Himself, however, gives testimony of no man coming unto Him except “the Father draw him”, and Paul adds to that witness how it is the Spirit who gives us “access” unto the Father, I have long been convinced that when we fail to see the Holy Ghost in the role mentioned above, we tend to lose understanding of just who “swings the sword”. One thing I really loved about the message was the pastor’s using a large basket of flowers positioned just in front of the pulpit, center stage, for an illustration of the truth that we are but vessels for His presence. What should happen in our walk with Him is an overflowing of His reality until others no longer see us, but only Him. Even so, it should be, I think, in our talk…….

Saturday, March 21, 2015


My Friday assignment only involved half a day monitoring the church school science class; and the first two periods merely amounted to watching a video about the human brain. Mostly, it dealt with our ability to multitask, not just in the sense of driving a car while texting or reading a book while preparing breakfast, but also seeing and hearing things at the same time in the circumstances that come to us on a daily basis. Of a truth, although some appear to be better than others, no one is adequately “wired” for the task. In fact, I found it quite interesting to discover that our cerebral package only requires about twelve watts to operate, significantly less than what that little light in the refrigerator demands in order to operate the next time you open the door. That’s as humbling as learning recently that the DNA of a bullfrog is drastically more complicated than mine. Indeed, it makes me ask myself just what is it that separates man from everything else out there; and what comes to mind is not necessarily all the details contained in my blueprint, but rather the meaning of my existence as initially purposed by my Creator. From the very beginning, man was intended to be a vessel knowing merger with God’s Spirit! We, alone, were blessed with a consciousness to know Him in all that He is in all that we do! If, almost immediately, such fellowship was rejected in the Garden, it was never taken entirely out of the picture and eventually was set before us again, through Christ, as an option. Sadly, people being people, we’ve managed extremely well to lose the fullness of such Biblical promise somewhere along the way, burying it under so much religious ritual and doctrinal dogma set in concrete that the witness of “life” beneath all our exterior claim of knowing Him in such terms, especially here in America, falls short. Christianity, by no means, is dead. It’s still here and there, more “wheat among the tares” than the other way around, tainted by the “leaven in the loaf”, but nonetheless possessing “greater is He that is in us, that he who is in the world”. What we must ask ourselves is: How much “overflow” has penetrated my children, my family, my neighbor, and all those who know me in this journey as I go? Do others just see me, or is there ever evidence made manifest of His resurrected reality abiding within me?.....

Friday, March 20, 2015


There were just two of us, Frank and I, at the rescue mission Wednesday evening, sharing with as many as twenty-five men. It seemed a younger bunch, just a few grey-headed veterans, one no stranger to singing out of a hymnal. Whatever his circumstances, whatever doctrinal point of view he held, it was obvious to me that he was well familiar with Gospel worship. Even more, there was witness of an inner faith with Christ, his spirit connecting with my spirit almost from the start. The rest of the room was a mixture of 40s, 30s, and 20s, men of different history, background, men with enough Bible encounter along the way so as to listen with apprehension toward any sermon trying to convince them other than their own personal beliefs. Frank began, nonetheless, by pointing to prayer and praise as gateways to actually “touching the hem of His garment”. His words, then, would open a door for me to share with our small congregation an old Ray Boltz tune whose own lyrics profess “the source of life is right there in your hands” and kept us “on track” with the Holy Ghost. Indeed, an anointing began to flow among us, with me abandoning my notes and just speaking from my heart. We were made one in the reality of His resurrection, His presence taking us “through the veil”. Living water flowed from His well and we talked of it in terms of it being an oasis to which a man might return again and again, MUST return again if he is to know assurance in his stagger down the path. This, for me, is the bottom line of any message preached concerning the Cross. When I look around me at America as it is today, however, I wonder how well the Church, as a whole, has delivered such theme. Take away the truth of Christ “in” me, in what I do as well as what I say, and all that’s left is religion…

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Motion Assessment................"

The last few days have had me hopping in one way or another. As I was about to step out the front door Sunday morning, headed for the Youth Detention Center, Beth spoke of being dizzy and, when we took her blood pressure, it was fairly high. A phone call to the others cancelled my participation in that ministry. Toward evening she was feeling much better and opted to visit the night service with me; but, not twenty minutes into worship, she needed to escape to the foyer. Some women gathered round her and entered into prayer. Peace returned and we came home. We’re thinking this mixture of medicine presently assigned her is the culprit, are not simply rejecting doctors’ counsel, but are most certainly not “swallowing” everything they suggest. In middle of such concern, life, of course, keeps us busy with family, grandkids, and commitments otherwise. The church school has me working at least a couple days a week now, most of it voluntary tutoring of younger students, but a few times in the last months substituting for teachers on all levels. Monday afternoon was a last minute request for me to fill in for three classes: Art, Geometry, and a study hall. My last encounter with that particular segment of mathematics was Tenth Grade, if memory doesn’t fail me; but I managed to get the kids through their assignment without appearing too “lost in the woods”. The lesson involved determining the median and altitude of a triangle, repeating the process for all three sides in order to pin-point the exact center of the polygon, and then using a bit of Algebra to assign value of all the intersecting lines created. Fun for a nerd like me! On the wall of the room was an Ernest Hemmingway quote declaring: “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self”, though, and it’s had me pondering its message ever since. What, exactly, was the author really trying to say here? Striving to improve ourselves as we go might well be a worthy endeavor to try and instill into our youth; but “nobility” suggests to me, somehow, someone’s nose in the air over a self-professed value on ether end of the statement. I like the idea of “purpose”, of making an attempt to maintain direction while going somewhere. Mostly, however, it seems to me that what we usually get is “this moment” and it all comes down to giving it your best with all you got. Other than that, prayer (and a nap when you can get it) does wonders to keep it all in balance…..

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Our church school varsity boys’ basketball team lost the second round in the state tournament last week by two points. Last night junior varsity went down in their first game by the same amount. Previous success at the event for the last several years has brought home a number of trophies, so I know hearts are heavy this morning. My grandson plays this evening in the All-Star edition, but all these kids special to me. This old man is always concerned about their inner existence, that part of them being shaped every day by the world around them, life as it comes to them. Disappointments and achievements are part of it. The human soul is a precious commodity, a mystery in a myriad of forces acting upon it as we go. Each step brings to us multiple choices, paths to take, each leading to who knows where. Without an anchor-line providing us direction in our stumble forward, there is no meaning to it at all. Our mind can’t comprehend the magnitude. The numbers are beyond us. I read somewhere that there are nine galaxies for every person alive, each with at least one hundred billion suns. Consider, then, that Hitler’s Holocaust, approximately eleven million people were eliminated, one million of them young children. Stalin, about the same time of WWII, massacred more than ten million peasants. Pol Pot, during the sixties and seventies, wiped out a couple million within Cambodia; and, in China, Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward” beginning in the late fifties would reduce that nation’s population by an estimated forty-five million. Numbers. Is really no more than a matter of numbers? I sat in a Science class Friday morning and watched a video with my students, one where a Christian scientist discussed DNA and RNA in terms of it having God’s thumb print there in the details. Each and every one of us know a different combination of what makes us who we are, but the schematics, in general, hold about three and a half billion specifics inserted into that microscopic piece of our identity. Does that make us “special” among everything else in God’s creation? A frog is put together in accordance with thirty-eight billion directional instructions; and a common fern requires much more than that! That which separates us from all else is not that which perishes, but that which is eternal; and, while it does not “elevate” us in any manner, it does “distinguish” us. We are made in His image, stamped with His signature; but, beyond that, we were created to know Him within our existence. In America, more and more, the next generation faces a struggle to retain that truth. They need more than our denominational statement of faith. Somehow Christ “in” me must be a reality that overflows into their vessel, not merely a message I preach, a demand for them to conform unto my thinking……

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


The young Third Grade student was sorting ten different animals into their correct classification and, in identifying the snake as a reptile, assigned it, for a trait, the fact of having scales all over its body. Then he looked at me quizzically, wanting to know why that was so; and, me being wise in my seventy-three years of existence, I answered “because that’s the way God created it”. Enough said; or so I thought. A few seconds later when he tried to assign a whale the label of “fish”, my informing him that, because it needed oxygen to live and was actually coming to the surface to breathe air, it was a mammal, brought me another look. “Well,” he almost snorted at me; “God certainly messed that one up, didn’t He!”…. Amusing; but the story is, it seems to me, representative of all of us when it comes to whatever mental image we hold of this One who is said to have, in the beginning, formed this whole scenario out of nothing. We possess only the Word and the journey in as much as we have known it. The initial item gets filtered through our individual brains in as much as we choose to think for ourselves; and that process, then, tends to be influenced to some degree by the second, life giving us lessons that test what our church and our favorite celebrity preacher has stuffed into our reasoning. Questions? There will always be questions since the subject matter cannot be contained by any inclusive definition we attempt to give it. In truth, whatever form we presently maintain for our Maker must always be one under construction in as much each and every day is another step through the veil. We learn as we go if we remain open to His tug on our reins. This is as much a part of “encounter” as anything else! It speaks to us of “life” in our vessel beyond just “me, myself, and I”; and when circumstances beg for explanation, it is assurance that, whether or not I understand all that is going on around me, what is going on within me is a security unto my soul. This is what the old need to teach the young, not by thumping the Book, but by living the lesson before them. If I fail in that, math and science and all else falls short of giving them what they’ll need in the road before them…..

Saturday, March 7, 2015


My substitute teaching at the church school has finally began to be a reality. They’ve scheduled me for next Wednesday in the upper level (Science and Bible), and then again the following week on Thursday and Friday, Ninth Grade and up (English). Yesterday was the biggest challenge, not for me, but most men would probably find it so: six hours with more than a dozen kindergartners. Talk about an old man stepping into a room full of energy! Even with a late start because of snow delay, for six hours there was little space where one child or another wasn’t either voicing opinion or asking a question, more often than not, the room erupting into community discussion. Chaos, it was not. We managed orderly studies with a gentle hand on the reins; but complete silence was a rare commodity along the way. I loved it. Navy. Railroad. Those were jobs. This is fun. My only stumble was after rehearsing the story of Jesus feeding the multitude, me asking them to draw and color that Biblical miracle and then, while monitoring their progress, discovering one boy, instead, having captured a remarkable likeness of someone’s stuffed animal there on their table. Gently (or so it seemed to me) I reminded him of the original assignment, examined other’s work, and found him, next time around, diligently trying to erase his crayon Rembrandt with an eraser. My inquiry as to why prompted him to lower his head and it was evident he thought me displeased with him; so Mr. Jim poured on the praise while suggesting a restoration of the original creation along with two fish and some loaves of bread. The two things that tickled me the most about being with them, though, was (1) one little girl’s loud, immediate response to the very first verse of the old “Hole in the Ground” song, a nonsensical lyric often adapted and utilized by me more than three decades ago with children’s ministries. An ugly black flea wearing Batman underwear was on a feather, on a bird, on an egg, in a nest, on a leaf, on a twig, on a branch, on a limb, on a tree, on a root, in the dirt; but before we even got past what was in the hole, she jumped up and enthusiastically donned that first item with the super-hero’s tighty-whities. Of all the seed I’ve tried to sow, this, it seems, is what managed to bloom where it was planted. Number (2) Was something learned today, one child, while visiting with grandma afterwards, recounted how much fun she had with the man who taught them, finishing her praise with the truth that the only trouble was, because he was old, he was also slow…….

Thursday, March 5, 2015

"Temperature Check..................."

As someone who expresses his personal perspectives here on various matters, I freely admit to having, at least a few times along the way, gotten “over emotional” concerning the subject in question. More than once, after investing much time into an attempt to speak without anger owning the finished product, my conscience still wasn’t happy with the final results and peace required dismissing it all via the “delete” option. There’s a thin line there somewhere when it becomes much too emotional, one’s head holding no reins over their heart, and their heart in a heated separation from His wisdom. It’s called “being human”. Then, again, what about the displeasure unleashed by Jesus on the moneychangers in the temple? The whole dogma of His having been “100% God; 100% man” rests on the claim of His having never dismissed the Father’s will to chase the earthly side of such merger. Surely there is a “righteous wrath” and more so than just Paul’s admonition in Ephesians for us to not “let the sun go down” on where our inability to stay calm has taken us. As believers, we need a better answer to the problem than relying on His grace to forgive us again and again once we’ve abandoned all restraint and ran amok; and, beyond the sad state of “taking God’s mercy for granted”, it yet should be said, as well, that when we show ourselves to be no more than the fellow yelling at us on the other side of any disagreement, we just become what they are. All of our demands for submission unto “our” Gospel is merely one more religious hypocrite attempting to force all others to adopt his point of view, void of the Holy Ghost and all witness of “Christ in me”. Being “soldiers of the Cross” doesn’t equate to our arrogantly charging the world around us, but to standing our ground against a demonic enemy opposing His having already conquered the grave. Victory is not in me “thumping the Book”, but in me being a surrendered vessel through which He might come forth, a “light in the darkness”, a fountain of “living water” that brings assurance of His promise unto all…..

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


“The appropriate response to the Gospel proclamation is to rethink everything in the light of the risen and ascended Christ and live accordingly” – Brian Zahnd

After discovering last week that the goal of our Wednesday night class goal is actually reading through the entire Bible in 120 days, not 90, I recomputed my pace to have me about a month ahead of schedule. If that sounds like boasting, let me confess to speed-eating much of it thus far, as the Old Testament, in particular, is filled with repeated genealogies, endless legalities regarding early Jewish rituals, and account after account of backslidden kings assassinated by someone looking to inherit the throne. In my opinion, every believer needs to take the journey at a slow pace a few times; but the Book, in its entirety, was never meant to hold us prisoner by some requirement to memorize all the history therein. That’s not to say, having accomplished a perusal of it pages, one can let it gather dust on the coffee table. Assignment completed. The Word is a vital part of authoritative truth, human error on our part corrected by the Spirit as we go if we keep ourselves open to His reins on our heart. It’s like finding buried treasure in your own backyard, not so much like a bag of gold able to be instantly converted to financial asset, but more like truth that yet needs the next step down the path to determine just how much your thinking has distorted the picture. It’s like reading in Zechariah and one minute he is prophesying unto those of his own generation and, the next, his words reach far into the future, speaking to me of a day to come. Scripture is able to penetrate a man’s heart as well as his head, stir the waters and heal the soul. It is a medicine that, once received, continues to minister to us beyond a physical connection if the Great Physician is known through a personal, inner connected restored in Christ. Holiness isn’t the “old, old story” inked on paper pages. He is a Reality who abides within me……

Monday, March 2, 2015


Our visit to the Youth Detention Center Sunday morning found just Tony and me risking the weather to make the trip. Reports of snow and icy roads discouraged the ladies; and I can’t say I blame them. A drive around my immediate area convinced me it was safe, at least at the moment; but, depending on what television station one chose, conflicting reports made it appear possible that returning home might not be under similar conditions. As it turned out, we ministered to about twenty young adults and, while the temperatures never did give us much relief, the sun at least supplied us enough warmth to avoid all else. In truth, for an old man who retired last June for the third time, neither winter nor much of anything else has slowed this old man down for too long. The church school is beginning to utilize me more, the possibility there for a potential vacancy lasting several weeks. The rescue mission is just a monthly event, but part of my schedule. Watching my grandsons play basketball has another week or so chalked out on my calendar; and, with our granddaughter being a regular overnight guest, she keeps me busy with hunger runs to White Castle’s or Wendy’s, drama practice or shopping with her grandmother. Fill in any gaps with a good book, a crossword puzzle, or merely my thoughts set loose on paper. Henri Nouwen, in “Reaching Out”, speaks of prayer as a gift, describing it as “God’s breathing in us, by which we become part of the intimacy of His inner life and, by which, we are born anew.” He goes on to say that “We cannot plan, organize, or manipulate God; but without a careful discipline, we cannot receive Him either.” I believe such premise. “Merger” is a matter accomplished at that point when the heart is first surrendered to Christ. An inner well is restored to which we may return again and again. Communion, though, is not a sacrament we dictate, but an affair maintained in our daily existence, one wherein our thirst and hunger to know Him keeps encounter just around the corner where all we need do is surrender ourselves unto His grace. In the middle of “life”, there can His peace, His promise, and His presence waiting for us in the next step……