Pinebrooke Community Church
Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Pinebrooke Post

The Pinebrooke Post The Pinebrooke Post

February 19, 2017

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
                                                                                         Blog for Week of February 19th
With the event of last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, we have entered what is called the cycle of life: fasting, prayer and acts of charity. This rhythm is made to challenge our natural self-centeredness in order to “prepare the way” for Jesus. John the Baptist is known for the message: confess your sins, repent and be baptized (cleansed) of the corruption that governs your life. Though we reside on the “other side of the cross,” this is a season that invites us to refresh our sensitivities. We have confession available to us every day and we do not have to make an annual trek to Solomon’s Temple for the sake of forgiveness. We can walk in forgiveness because of the daily work of the Trinity and the history of the cross, but it is for the deepening of our walk in grace that we come to this season to renew our awareness of Jesus’ path of holiness and wholeness. Fasting, prayer and acts of charity are given to us to stimulate our obedience to God’s call on our lives of justice, mercy and humility. May your fasting result in a life of justice, mercy and humility. Fasting is not meant to be a practice to “get” something from God, but it is to capture our attention on the ways of God that are of a greater substance than our usual path of comfort and convenience.

Week of Feruary 12, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018
                                                                                      Blog for Week of February 12th
Ironically, this week begins on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Conversation has raged throughout the last few decades regarding Lincoln’s spiritual life. Most of the conversations have focused on either theology or “theological jargon.” What is indispensable are his actions of justice, mercy and humility. It would seem that the prophet Micah might ring in on Lincoln’s faith (Micah 6:8). Do we expend too much effort on proper theological declarations and not enough focus on the fruit of one’s being (John 15:8)? For all the correct theology in the doctrinal statements, it seems that there is little justice, mercy and humility being lived out. Maybe correct doctrine has little power to transform; instead it seems that the fruit of truth actually lived out makes a greater impact on the darkness. On behalf of Abraham Lincoln, a life lived in justice, mercy and humility seems to bear undeniable light that lasts.

Week of February 5, 2018

Tuesday, February 06, 2018
                                                                                     Blog for Week of February 5th
The movement of season we take for granted. I dare say anything that does not grab our attention gets none of our attention. Suffice it to say, that in our natural state, a good share of life escapes us. I keep coming back to the same practices that make a difference in how we experience our days. Awareness and attentiveness are the two elements that increase the dimensions and color of each day. Henri Nowen described spiritual disciplines as simply “making space for God alone.” These disciplines of awareness and attentiveness require a degree of emptying space of its usual noise and clutter. When we engage the day with these practices there is a richness and meaningfulness that comes through brightly illuminating the day. The ordinary breathes extraordinary if we are prepared to receive it. Let the days of this winter season move deeply within.

Week of January 15, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018
                                                                                    Blog for Week of January 15th
A new calendar year often brings renewed attempts to correct old excesses or to stimulate fresh passions; so why is that the nature of our Western humanity? Is it because we are so unhappy? We make the condition of our bodies or the productivity of our work the source of our happiness, when instead God calls us to joy. I suspect that we need instead, to come to a place of peace (shalom) in Him and then what he wants for us will come into focus. Change and growth have a chance, the, to be the nature of our days. What we tend to want for ourselves is temporary and elusive. Matthew 11:28-30 outlines a much better way as we learn the “unforced rhythms of grace.” There is more fruit that hangs from the vines of grace than hang from the vines of our “best efforts.” May I encourage us to learn “his yoke” and direct our efforts toward “the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and let the fruit grow at its pace. In the kingdom of God there is no GMO.

Week of December 25, 2017

Monday, December 25, 2017
                                                                             Blog for Week of December 25th
Nothing that is rich in meaning can be raced through. Does it seem to you that we race from Halloween to Christmas and then we race through the Day and on into another year? Is that not why our lives are superficial and our joy so short-lived? I’ve been learning a lot from the Jesus Way. We have a tendency to just think about imitating the character of Jesus, but not his way about living. The Jesus Way is unhurried and full of richness. He lived a day at a time, not a week at a time, a month at a time or a year at a time. Can we just not hurry through this week following The Nativity? Can we live with the scent of the straw still strong in our noses? I’m one for rehearsing the Story over and over to notice the nuances that add color and fragrance to the Incarnation. By this time we are exhausted with the white noise of Christmas songs (not Christmas carols), but our redeeming the joys that we celebrate can bring fresh depth to our souls. I trust you were able to gather new expressions of hope, peace, joy and love during the past weeks. Now it is time to savor the rhythm in your mind or on paper. Don’t let the blessing escape you!

Week of December 18, 2017

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of December 18th
As we march through this Advent Season and the week that is set before us, we are serenaded by the clarion call of the Wilderness Voice of John who baptized. Our sweet Jesus in the manger images are thwarted by the Voice crying out, “Prepare the way!” How do we receive the innocent image of the Incarnational One, unless we have come humbled by the sheer awareness of our own unworthiness? That’s what repentance will do for you. There is a critical transaction that has taken place through John and his call to repentance. Since we have the Gospels, we have more than an inkling as to what Jesus was about. The preparation was necessary so that the inhabitants of the Land would be able to receive that Gospel Story. It is the same for us today. Our receptivity is dependent the humility that has been carved out of the stuff of our humanity. Those who could never quite grasp the preaching of the kingdom of heaven we the same one who were far more concerned with John’s authority, than they we with John’s message. Again this week is a great opportunity to prepare the way as we make space and invitation for that same Spirit of God to bring us to a fresh place of repentance. May you know the humility of heart that allows the simplicity of the Manger to once again embrace afresh the Coming of the Holy One of Israel.

Week of December 11, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
                                                                                           Blog for Week of December 11th
 In preparation for Week Three of the Advent Season, we open ourselves to the stories of Joy.  Someone, I heard it somewhere, that joy is simply peace dancing.  If that is the case then the dancing I see is rarely joy.  As we peruse the pages of scripture; it is clear that joy is high on God’s agenda for his children.  I wonder why we don’t live with more joy?        Maybe we have been deceived into thinking that we create our own joy and for the most part we are ineffective in that pursuit.  It’s not that people aren’t striving for it or trying as hard as they can.  I think joy is something that we have to receive; it comes from God and God alone.    Jesus said something about joy when he said to his disciples, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my Name, ask and you will receive that your joy may be made full." Joy is the fruit that comes from the hand of God.  Make some space in your life this week to ask Jesus for that which will make your joy complete.  The Joy of this Season is rooted in the Savior and his love for you and me. 

Week of December 4, 2017

Tuesday, December 05, 2017
                                                                                  Blog for Week of December 4th
 As confirmed disciples of Jesus peace is set before us this second week of Advent.  The clarion call is to live in the reality of repentance – repent of your sins.  We never get beyond the need for repentance as it is the way of cleansing and change.  The secret of repentance from the heart is humility.  No wonder John’s message in preparation for Jesus’ coming was repentance of sin.    In order to receive Jesus day in day out, we need the humbling of our dominating egos, for that self-centeredness is the very thing that keeps us from him.  True repentance requires a vulnerability that opens us to Jesus as Savior, Lord and Friend of our lives.  Our contending for the place of control is our great obstacle for all that he came to be to us.         I wonder if that was not the essence of the preparation message – humble yourself in the sight of the Lord.  That is the only opening for the Savior.  Otherwise, we are left with a tepid life of belief that is at best a deception.

Week of November 27, 2017

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
                                                                                 Blog for Week of November 27th
 This next Sunday begins again the rhythm of Advent, the four-week season of preparation; preparation to receive again the entry of Jesus into our world and our lives.  In the sixth century, the leaders of the church introduced this season of anticipation as a way to encourage the deepening of the experience of believers.  We often need help in slowing down, so that we can embrace these days renewing our joy in God’s great love that comes through the incarnation of the Holy One.   This is a time to celebrate the first coming of Christ into our sin-sick world, giving us hope for life lived in the Light.  The second purpose of the Advent is to celebrate the presence of Christ in our lives as we have placed our faith in his saving and kingdom bringing work.  The third purpose is to anticipate his Return when he comes to judge our world and complete his salvation story.     I want to encourage you with Sunday’s scripture that you might sit with it and let it flow over you like a fresh wind: Mark 13:24-37.  Let the certainty of God’s promise and the stimulation of his kingdom assignment fill the nooks and crannies of your soul this week.

Week of November 20, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017
                                                                             Blog for Week of November 20th
 Because of the limits that our rationalism places on us, we suffer.  Part of our suffering is then, our inability to conceive of what Jesus teaches us.  As Jesus prayed on his night of betrayal, he asked the Father that we might become one as he and the Father are one.  Those who he had been given, both then and in the generations to come were on his heart.  He desired a oneness with them and them with him that was unique in creation.          The oneness of heart and mind that comes through an ever-deepening journey was the means by which this desire was to become reality.  Our natural bent toward cognitive/behavioral interpretations of the human experience, makes the prayer of Jesus so much less that his very example.  How is our heart and mind transformed except through an ever-deepening encounter between Creator and creation?            The fellowship of heart accomplished through the Holy Spirit of God is the power that accomplishes this oneness.  The question is; do we have a hunger for this connection or are we restricted by our own need to understand the mystery or to control the truth through our own self-generated boxes.  As we enter this season of waiting, called Advent, I invite you to invite the Holy One to reach to the depths of your very being.

Week of November 13, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
                                                                                  Blog for Week of November 13th
 I’m reminded of what Dallas Willard used to say, “In the church, we tend to teach people to believe what they indeed do not believe.”  Our challenge has been that we have tended to think that to teach theological concepts is sufficient in our Christian education.  Reality is our challenge!  For the most part, these theological statements remain conceptual and never enter in the lived life of true followers of Jesus.            It is not the responsibility of the truth claims, but it has been a weakness in our whole concept of discipleship.  We have mistaken information with maturity.  But, maturity is so much more than information.  Maturity is rooted in our way of being, our being in Christ.  It addresses the issue; what kind of person have we become.  To become a disciple of Jesus is to become like him in every way that is available to us in our humanity.          As we move into the rhythm of the season that is before us – autumn turning into winter.  This is the time to take the truths that we have been blessed with and immerse ourselves in the reality of them.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would not only reveal them to you, but that he would use them to transform your life into a mature saint for Jesus’ sake.

Week of Novermber 6, 2017

Monday, November 06, 2017
                                                                                Blog for Week of November 6th
 We can’t take maturity for granted.  One of the saddest things that can happen is an aged person who is not wise.  It seems like that is simply not the way things should be, but there is just as sad a thing in the spiritual life and that is when people remain spiritual babies throughout their lives.  Sadly, it has been a common notion that maturity is measured by the amount of theological and biblical information a person has mastered, but that guarantees no real transformation.    Is that one of the problems that we face in our own culture, that Christians really don’t seem to be truly Christian?  It does seem at least that we are so much less like Jesus and more like ordinary self-referenced citizens that populate most places in our world.  Jesus Calling has become a timely source for many Christians because we do not hold the wisdom that is delivered by Sarah Young.  Do we so struggle with maturing, that Sarah’s teaching is amazing to us?       I wonder where our spiritual hunger is.  Or, are we simply satisfied with a spiritual mediocrity that is like C.S. Lewis’ statement: “How is it that we are satisfied with making mud pies in the alley, when God is offering us a holiday at the shore?”  I doubt if we will ever truly mature spiritually, unless we develop real hunger for more and more of the oneness that Jesus spoke of in his final night with the eleven.  Can we not get caught up in the “milk” that we access easily and instead pursue the “deeper journey?”

Week of October 23, 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017
                                                                                      Blog for Week of October 23rd
 The Unhurried Life by Alan Fadling is a great gift to the life of the Jesus followers.  Sometimes the gifts of God are comforting, at other times his gifts are confrontational.  That which is confrontational for the Jesus people is when we have lost our bearings and have let the common culture speak to us regarding fitting in.  I’m reminded of Dallas Willard’s commentary on Psalm 1 when he announced that “the counsel of the ungodly” as the messages we hear every day all day long in the world in which we live.           The message of the predominant culture is “fast” or “faster.”  Alan makes the point that Jesus lived an “unhurried life.”  There is no place for “faster” in the life of the Jesus follower, let alone “fast.”  I find it interesting that for all the emphasis in our discipleship of learning to be conformed to the image of Christ, we never get to the point of looking at the Way or rhythm by which he lived.  It is as though his character/moral virtues is all that we look at.  But, just maybe looking at the whole of his incarnate life is the point.            Alan makes the point that “living at the pace of grace” is the pace at which Jesus lived.  Everything about Jesus is an invitation.  It seems to me that salvation isn’t just about “later,” but it is an invitation to enter into His way of life, including the tempo at which he lived: never hurried and always “on time” with everything.  As I mentioned to a friend this week, we can easily be overwhelmed with the “not yet;” the things that need to be done but we don’t have the time or energy right now to do them.  Since “grace” is specifically “God at work,” are we willing to let go of the hurry that so plagues our lives?

Week of October 16, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
                                                                                   Blog for Week of October 16th
 The wisdom of the ancients – or at least people from the past – has deeply impacted me in the midst of my own journey.  I have wondered aloud why them seem to have a grasp on life that is rare in our day.  My wondering has led me to the conclusion that they grasped the unhurried life of Jesus far better than we do.  For all the resources at our disposal, the piece that is most often missing for us is making “empty space” for the whispering Voice of the Holy One.     It seems like the further I go, the more I recognize that part of the battle with “the principalities and powers” is in our seeing.  It seems like we are blind to what is swirling around us that we can separate ourselves from.  The separateness that I grew up with was really pretty superficial.  I never learned that the first step in separation was in what we separate ourselves to before we really know what to be separate from.          When we separate ourselves unto the presence and fellowship of the Trinity first and foremost, then we can see what it is that we need to let go of that takes Life away from us.  I think it has always been God’s concern that we not lose the Life that he intended for us.  Wisdom enters the conversation when it brings us the perspective that reveals reality and what is eternally important.  Frankly, we waste an awful lot of Life for the sake of the life we are enticed to embrace.  The ancients seem to have a discernment that we make no space for.  Making “empty space” is a necessity for wisdom to be formed.

Week of October 9, 2017

Monday, October 09, 2017
                                                                                   Blog for Week of October 9th
 Jesus does not mince words, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”  Our world is at war with hostility on every front.  The perception is that one cannot work for peace and justice without anger, hostility and human destruction of one another.  The rhetoric seems to have little patience, kindness or compassion.  It feels like the culture has devolved into power against power.             It is at moments like this that the wisdom of the Savior was meant to mount up guard in our hearts and minds.  What if we were to take Jesus’ words and Jesus’ Way to heart.  If he indeed, is the Prince of Peace, ought we engage our world differently?  Peace and justice go hand in hand, but because of the way we carry our anger over injustice, no one can hear our words.    I think if we were to work for peace through the Way of Jesus, we would find that justice would break out all around us.  To work for justice without peace, the injustice is simply sublimated and we find that people have not really changed.  The injustice eventually shows its greedy face and we are right back where we started.  Let me suggest that we learn to embrace for ourselves all that Jesus has taught us. 

Week of September 25, 2017

Monday, October 09, 2017
                                                                            Blog for Week of September 25th
 The Season of Autumn is upon us and historically its richness lies in our agricultural background.  Autumn follows the growing season and it is time for harvest.  In this season, we gather the fruit of our sowing and cultivating, the harvesting of the growth within our spirits.     In the midst of growth, God has been at work producing his fruit in us as we have drawn our life from our connectedness to Him, John 15:5.  As you enter this harvest time, this is a time of reaping and storing that fruit for the seasons ahead.        Harvesting is a matter of reflecting, counting, giving thanks and storing up for the days ahead in which we will need the spiritual nutrition from the harvest.  We reflect of God’s beauty, his goodness, and his truth; all of which we need and will need for the days ahead.  Faith is built on a day by day foundation of awareness and attentiveness to the rhythms of God.     This is a great time to give oneself to capturing and storing his works, not because there is a shortage, but because we so easily forget.

Week of September 18, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017
                                                                     Blog for Week of September 18th 
Waiting is an interesting phenomenon!  I think it is radically different than we usually think.  We are usually waiting for something to occur, but I think God has a very different purpose.  When we are faced with waiting on God our instinct is to think that we are waiting for God to act.  But, I think waiting is so we can see God at work in the subtleties of daily activity.  Faith then is built not so much on the action we are looking for, but faith is built on God’s faithful daily expressions of beauty, goodness, and truth.  The “big” answer to prayer is about joy.  When and if God acts in line with what we are asking, then that is about “completing our joy” (John 16:24).The trustworthiness of God is established every day through beauty, goodness and truth.  The problem is our awareness.  When we do not have eyes to see and ears to hear, we miss most of what God is doing and what God is about.  It behooves us to give ourselves to learning God’s ways.  Moses seemed to have a “leg up” on us when David said, “Moses knew the ways of God, Israel knew the deeds of God.” (Psa. 103:7

Week of September 10, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017
                                                                     Blog for Week of September 11th 
On one of the news reports of this last week, I saw graffiti on a boarded-up building in Florida as people were escaping Hurricane Irma, “In God We Trust.”  I suppose I should be encouraged with that, but I wonder is that only when we are faced with something over which we know we cannot control?  Otherwise, would we just trust ourselves?  God is there for the “big” stuff, but normally we can just “take it from there?”I confess that I dismiss most epithets of faith that I hear, because I have learned to spot them as superficial.  I don’t think we are generally genuine in living by faith.  Choosing not to hold tightly to the things that can become a tool of security takes a real faith in God.  I suppose that is one of my core convictions, that when God gave us dominion, we turned it into control and lost all sense of stewardship which is the true meaning of dominion.I suppose that it is also my sense that we are to hold our lives much more loosely than we do.  It seems like we live as though gravity doesn’t exist.  But we have been placed here at the will and intention of Almighty God and we will be here as long as we can fulfill his purposes.  Why else would we even be here?  Can we make it our intention that “In God We Trust” every day in every way?

Weekof September 4, 2017

Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Blog for Week of September 4th The immutability of the world seems like the prevalent idea that dominates much of our Western thinking. The existence of this planet seems inevitable in the way it has been to many. Things have gone on as they are going as long as anyone can remember. As a consequence, a form of cynicism and self-indulgence grows. A fresh read of Peter?s second letter might be helpful as we enter the autumn season of 2017. When we lose sight of the ?Day of the Lord,? it is to our detriment. In Michael Green?s words, ?The expectation of the Lord?s return always inspires Christians to a holy life.? However, true that is, I?m not sure that is a response that brings God his greatest pleasure. It seems to me that if we learn to see him as he is and we see ourselves for who we are; our seeking him is not about avoiding, but rather, about embracing. If we truly see him for who he is we will find ourselves wanting more of him. Pulling us into his Presence, rather than simply pushing ourselves away from the table of the ?Way of Destruction.? There will be a Day of Judgment, for sure, but how much more is the joy of liberation from darkness and the blessing of the new heavens and the new earth that we will dwell on forever.

Week of August 28, 2017

Monday, August 28, 2017
                                                                                    Blog for Week of August 28th
 How do we dealt with the hostility that seems rampant in our culture today?  I was speaking with a friend recently and her sense is that our planet and its inhabitants have been so radically traumatized and have been made aware of the surrounding trauma outside themselves (read the news/internet) that there is no place where a soul can find the shalom that it desperately needs.  Psychologists have explained to us for some time that anger is a secondary emotion.  At the root of the human experience is fear, pain, and guilt.  It seems to me that the scriptures have been telling us God’s story with us around these themes: “fear not, come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, forgive us our trespasses….”           We have a great opportunity as apprentices of Jesus to be the peacemakers that our society is so desperate for.  Today is the day to stand up as a person of peace and walk in the way of the Prince of Peace as we cross paths with the desperation that treks to and fro across our way. 

Week of August 21, 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017
                                                                                        Blog for Week of August 21st
The solar eclipse has captured the imagination of the population of planet earth. In a way, that is nothing new; humanity has always been in amazement at the phenomenon over which they do not have control. It was the same in Jesus? day. Though the miracles at the hand of Jesus were deeply meaningful for the direct recipients; it was also stunning for the observers viewed as a phenomenon. I suspect that it was God?s intention that we would be shocked out of our rather myopic, narcissistic orientation. The self-referenced life has always been a problem and it continues to be. So much of the activities of God in the Old Testament were so ?that they would know that I am the Lord.? In a way, the miracles of Jesus were so ?that we would know that he is the Lord.? If we can come to grips with the fact that Jesus came, lived, and died so that we can leave this ?self-referenced? life and embrace the ?Christ-referenced? life, then the amazement will be about the richness of God?s love working its way in and through us instead of natural phenomena. The hand of God working within us is transformation and transformation is eternal, where an eclipse is entertainment.

Week of August 14, 2017

Sunday, August 13, 2017
                                                                                      Blog for Week of August 14th
We have all heard numerous humorous stories of the importance of fundamentals to any particular endeavor, but the point is well taken. The fundamentals are not usually complicated, but are actually rather simple. I?m not sure why it is such a difficult thing for us to remember and practice the fundamentals in any worthwhile endeavor, but it is. Maybe it is because the fundamentals are not very creative or ego-stroking; they are repetitive and humbling. Yet, when someone has embraced the fundamentals to something to the point that they become ?second-nature,? then the potential is expanded exponentially. Fundamentals require great patience and diligence. Maybe that is why there is often such a gap whether one is talking about the spiritual life, playing a musical instrument, or playing a sport. A commitment to the fundamentals is what separates people. I suppose that often fundamentals require certain character qualities. If roots of our lives do not go deep in the soil of character, we are easily tossed about with boredom and displeasure. I wonder if it isn?t true that fundamentals are a necessary part of fulfillment. Fulfillment is one of those words that is often used, but the depth of it remains a mystery to us. What is truly fulfilling? I think true fulfillment has a spirit of solidarity in it and the solid cannot hold court without sufficient fundamentals. So, give it some thought this week. Think about the fundamentals that characterize your living well.

Week of August 7, 2017

Tuesday, August 08, 2017
                                                                                          Blog for Week of August 7th
 Whether one reads the gospels or the epistles the kingdom of heaven constantly stands directly the kingdom of man.  Therefore, as true disciples of Jesus we stand in the atmosphere that is meant to reverse gravity and pull us up into another sphere.  The path before us is the movement toward the City of God.  In that we are always on the move – upward.        I’ve been moved lately as we rehearse once again the prayer that we have been given that is meant to connect heaven and earth.  It is familiar to our ears and because of that familiarity, it can go in one ear and out the other, not ever finding itself rooted in our souls.      Dallas Willard offers a very meaningful rendition that may help us enter into the Spirit of the prayer more meaningfully, “Our Father, always near us, always present to us.  May Your name be cherished and loved, may your rule be completed in us.  May Your will be done all around us, just like it is done in heaven.  Give us today the things we need for today, and forgive our impositions on You, just as we are forgiving anyone who imposes on us.  Please don’t lead us into troubles, but deliver us from everything bad.  For You’re the one in charge, and the power is all Yours, and the glory too, forever.”

Week of July 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 01, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of July 31st
 In many of the conversations I experience these days a common issue I find is that we are often disappointed with ourselves in that we are frustrated that we don’t do the things we think we should do or sometimes actually want to do.  For you golfers out there you will understand why that concern brings me to golf.  Golf is a game of recovery.  Those that most consistently succeed are the ones who do the best job of recovery.  No one wants to hit the ball into the rough or into the water or out of bounds, but the ones who are best at keeping their focus and recovering well are the ones that tend to win most often.            No one hits the ball straight down the fairway all the time.  And no one avoids the bunkers strewn along the fairways or guarding the greens.  We all disappoint ourselves with what is done or what is left undone.  But our willingness at regathering ourselves, keeping our eyes on the Great Restorer, and accept that tomorrow is another day is the path that leads home by another way.   In the spiritual life, it is not a matter of trying harder, but ironically “seeking the face of the Holy One.”  Usually in the road before us is different than we think it is.  Our power does not come from simply trying harder; it comes from the indirect process of focusing the concerns we have at the feet of Jesus.  He is the one who able to do in us what we have been unable to do for ourselves.  I must confess that I have wasted a lot of time and effort in my life simply berating myself for what I haven’t done.  Cracking the whip so to speak rarely accomplishes anything valuable!

Week of July 24, 2017

Monday, July 24, 2017
                                                                                         Blog for Week of July 24th
 Back in freshman psychology there was a popular book we all had to read, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.  Not that I remember everything the author told us, but the title itself is a world today for serious discipleship.  In casual conversation with any observer of culture it becomes clear that at least most young people and maybe most people expect life to be their Rose Garden.    I dare say most of us didn’t realize what we signed on for when we signed up with Jesus.  I do think many of us that the life in Christ would indeed be a Rose Garden, but we discovered it was more a cross than a garden.  Adam and Eve we the only ones who got the Garden, and look what they did with it.             The suffering of Christ that we join in is the path that leads to the deep joy of God’s glory.  Jesus seemed to know that joy that was “set before him.”  I wonder how it might help us if our vision included that “joy that was set before him.”?        

Week of July 17, 2017

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
                                                                                         Blog for Week of July 17th
 Sabbath as a practice seems like it has gone “out of style” for the most part.  I guess my thoughts regarding this gift from God are from a different time.  In some ways, Sabbath was my favorite day of the week, though I don’t think we were giving it much thought except that there was a Sabbath history in our Bible Belt culture in those days.         Most stores were closed, except restaurants, one quick stop gas station, and Dairy Queen.  It seemed like everyone went to a church, unless you were fishing or boating at an area lake.  Most of the time, we had Sunday dinner at home with friends or relatives, a short rest, a rousing game of volleyball, another short rest, an evening shower, then evening church and finally, a trip to Dairy Queen after church in the seasons that were not winter.  What a spectacular day!      Only recently have I been reintroduced to a life-giving Sabbath that has a great intentionality.  I owe much to Dan Allander’s book simply entitled: Sabbath.  The “four pillars” of Sabbath continue to speak clearly, sensual glory or expressions of beauty, communal feast, holy time, and playing with God.  As we keep those practices in mind Sabbath begins to be the glorious weekly gift God took great delight in giving to us.  May I encourage you to make space each week to celebrate Sabbath.  

Week of July 10, 2017

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
                                                                                        Blog for Week of July 10th
 I’ve been provoked lately by the question, “Have we accepted Jesus as Savior” and not “as Teacher?”  In our tradition, we have been champions of salvation, but didn’t Jesus spend most of his life teaching us how to live out the kingdom of God?  We have made the gospel of Christ something other than his gospel.  In the four gospels, telling his story among us, he always stated over and over, “Repent, the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matt. 4:17).        Aren’t most of Jesus’ parables about the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 13)?  Didn’t he tell us that the essence of our prayer is to be to pray to earth the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:9-13)?  I think most of us would have agreed that Jesus is the greatest Teacher that ever lived, but I also don’t think we take what he said seriously, thinking that it is impractical in our day.  Yet, I don’t think he ever said that circumstances are the main modifier in how we live.        A wiser man than I said, “A spiritual formed person is one who actively arranges the affairs of one’s life in light of the teachings of Jesus.”  It would be hard to state the reality any clearer than that.  Maybe that is the fresh challenge for us in this season of life – may you and I rearrange the affairs of our lives in a genuine manner to reflect the way of the true believer and not just as an admirer of Jesus.

Week of July 3, 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of July 3rd
 For all the conversation this week about freedom and independence, one would think nationalism is equivalent to Christianity as in, we are a Christian country.  Personally, it seems to me that we have accepted such a tepid definition of The Faith that it is almost an insult to Jesus, though he has dealt with our kind for a very long time.  Someone said it back in the late 60s, we have exchanged any sense of discipleship for simple admiration.  Have we simply become “Jesus admirers” rather than genuine disciples?            In many ways, I think we have become soft in our apprenticeship with Jesus.  We no longer are willing to “pay the price” that our forefathers in the faith were faced with.  At the beginning our brothers and sisters in the faith never expected the society to embrace them and, in fact, they were clear about being the salt and light in a dark and perverse world.     This is a perfect week to stretch your spiritual muscles and step up your commitment.  Recently, I saw the 2016 Oscar nominated film, “Hacksaw Ridge”.  It was a character study of a man of a particular Christian conviction.  It was inspiring and convicting at the same time.  We have been given a vocational holiness in our being called out from the world by God and then sent into the world with a new reality to bring about in the culture called, the kingdom of God.  So, in the midst of fireworks and celebration, let’s remember who we really are.        

Week of June 26, 2017

Wednesday, June 28, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of June 26th 
 The pursuit of identity is one of the strongest forces in the universe.  It is one of the deep movements within the human person, that is rarely addressed directly, but is an unmistakable force.  It belies behavior and the individual movements in humankind.  “Who am I” is the pervasive presence that dictates the satisfaction of the human experience.         The question reminds me of the poem that Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote while in Tegal Prison.  One would think that he would have resolved the question years before.  But, just maybe though we can know the roots of our being ensconced in the pages of the Scriptures, that identity evolves in meaning.  Identity without meaning is no identity at all.         One dimension of our identity is encased in significance or value.  What then is my value among creation?  Do I have an eternal individuality, or am I just one among many?  It would seem that if we are made in God’s image and that is both individual and relational, then the glory of God is shown in both: who I am and who I am among others.          Peter offered a blessed word when he said, “You are chosen by God, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.”  We have been identified, selected, given an eternal role, and made a part of those who are set apart for reigning with Him.”  Any pedestrian sense of identity has just flown out the window.  God’s great grace toward us who believe is deeply humbling. 

Week of June 19, 2017

Monday, June 19, 2017
                                                                                    Blog for Week of June 19th 
 Holiness has gotten bad press for the last few generations.  However, rather than a reflection on holiness I think rather it is a reflection on contemporary culture.  The core idea of holiness is “separateness” and in the biblical context, “being separated unto God.”      Separateness is offensive in our world.  For all the tolerance that has been hyped, separateness unto God offends the common cultural milieu of political correctness.  When our sensibilities are not swayed by any visible influence, we become a threat to the culture around us.     Living in a “separated unto God” way becomes convicting presence.  The image of God conscience within each person can sense holiness and holiness is naturally convicting to sinfulness.  The spirit of holiness encased in love is what light looks and feels like.  It can be both attractive and intimidating at the same time.  Old Testament or New Testament, the appeal is the same, “Be holy as I am holy.”  So, the dilemma is set and we need to live freely within it.

Week of June 12, 2017

Monday, June 12, 2017
                                                                              Blog for Week of June 12th  
“Knowledge of” provides the substance for living life with integrity.  Jesus spoke of the wise man and the foolish man as to what the foundation is made of upon which the structure of life is built.  The question that we face is, what “knowledge of” do I lay my foundation upon.  What is the rock versus what is the sand?  “Knowledge of” is the truth, the certainty that I carry within myself.The writers of the New Testament were all people who had “knowledge of” what they were saying.  Peter makes an opening statement to his readers in his first letter that exposes what he knows to be true about them and about himself.  With that substance in hand, followers of Jesus can move forward with a solid core that allows them to encounter all kinds of circumstances with an inner solidarity that allows them to penetrate a difficult world.It is easy to lose sight of things that we have a “knowledge about” in the midst of the dailyness of life, but when we truly know something we have a reality to draw upon.  Summertime is a great time to refresh your “knowledge of” the core of your being.  Making space for God alone is a great secret that really isn’t a secret at all.  Think about it!  If ever there was a time for that practice, this is the time.

Week of June 5, 2017

Tuesday, June 06, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of June 5th 
 Like every aspect of life and the things that we do, everything is built on the strength and importance of fundamentals.  I have been working on the notion of rhythm as an important aspect of my life and even in that, to establish and maintain a rhythm of life there are fundamentals that are true and essential that remain.           Consider the role of fundamentals in all that you are and all that you do.  What is truly essential?  Rhythm is built on the essential of quiet reflection and thinking before doing.  In a sense, rhythm is a reflection on our way of being.          Every area of life thrives on the foundation of fundamentals.  Consider your relationships for a moment.  What are the basics for living in your relationships?  Whatever those basics are and whatever else you do in that relationship; those fundamentals are necessary – the relationship cannot survive the complexities of life without the assurance of those fundamentals.      Life is dynamic and its fundamentals are dynamic, therefore they continually need cultivation.  So, for example, in my relationship with my wife the aspects of our relationship that are based on solid fundamentals require my consistent cultivation of them because they are vital to life and living.  The only way for the relationship to thrive is when those “fundamentals” become the way I am – my very being.  It is impossible to sustain the foundation if it is merely a behavior that has to be practiced.  I can’t always remember to listen, but if I become a listener, then I don’t have to remember to listen.

Week of May 22, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017
                                                                                         Blog for Week of May 22nd 
 The notion of a sacrifice of praise seems from another world to our modern minds, but not only the poets the writers of scripture understood what most of us don’t.  The sacrifice of praises often takes real sacrifice; something has to be lain on the altar in the midst of hardship of one kind or another.  Sometimes praise requires that we look beyond ourselves to see the good that remains.  We can be very quick with platitudes, but they are empty.  Real sacrifice requires us to walk through and not around or over.  Brining the sacrifice of praise to God is not some little ditty, but is often something that we fight through to come to.
 The sacrifice of praise means that a price has been paid to come to the place of praise.  This a praise that comes from the heart.  The Lord is familiar with words without heart, but when they come from our hearts they strike a different chord.  From one perspective, God has always been looking for genuine praise and thanksgiving.  Sometimes thanksgiving is comfortable, while at other times the nakedness of vulnerability make thanksgiving the catharsis that sets creatures apart from one another.  That vulnerability can shape and form us in humility as nothing else can do.  May our sacrifice of praise be a path of transformation in our deepest selves.

Week of May 15, 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017
                                                                                   Blog for Week of May 15th 
 Some truth is easy for us to quote, but quite another thing to live.  I’ve been thinking about something John wrote in his first epistle, “There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment… (1 John 4:18).”  Consider the fear that we carry within ourselves.  It seems that our world is saturated with fear.  Obviously, we are in desperate need of God’s love.  This is not that sticky sentimentality that is pasted over harshness of today’s human experience, but the love that is rooted and grounded in a Person.  Jesus is the one who came to show us the way of perfect love.             The challenge before us is to enter into that Perfect Love.  The path is an unsuspecting way.  We enter the richness of God’s love by simply surrendering to it; giving up our willfulness to embrace willingness.  Jesus said it best, “…not my will, but thine be done.”  There is a great vulnerability in the road to Perfect Love.  In some ways, it is a matter of space.  Love and fear cannot fill the same space; we either embrace the love or the fear.         It makes sense, then, that opening ourselves to God’s perfect love is an important stream that waters the ground of our being.  In His grace and mercy, He has given us his story to read and meditate on so as to be filled and formed by its eternal truth regarding his great love for us.  I would encourage you to absorb all that you can, so that fear can be expulsed from the pores of your heart.  That way we reclaim our identity in Him and Him alone.

Week of May 8, 2017

Monday, May 08, 2017
                                                                                        Blog for Week of May 8th  
Like most things with God there are almost infinite dimensions to everything he teaches us.  I’ve been reflecting on trust lately.  We often respond to the question, “What is God teaching you” with the answer: trust, but there is trust and then there is what Brennan Manning called, Ruthless Trust None of us likes ruthless trust.  We want the journey to trust to be comfortable and convenient.  We can tolerate a little discomfort or inconvenience, but life shouldn’t ask too much from us.  Obviously, trust is a response to life, but sometimes we can trust because our feet are firmly planted on the ground of easy experience.  However, there are times when our feet do not “touch bottom.”It’s not unlike swimming; as long as we are wading simply walking along the bottom of the pool our trust is more like “sight.”  But, when we can no longer touch bottom, that is another thing.  In our inexperience, we often initially face that experience with fear.  When we move out of the pool and enter the ocean with it “bottomless” nature and know that there are all kinds of predators swimming in the “deep,” it is a whole other story so to speak.  Now the question of trust sharpens and deepens.In a way, the answer remains the same, but the circumstance adds meaning to the term.  Remember though that the answer is the answer.  Truth is truth, no matter what it feels like.  Our growth is a matter of living into the truth that starts outside ourselves, but is intended to become part of our DNA.  This kind of growth is never ending, but progressively meaningful.  Much as Pilgrim had to face in his Progress, stay on the path and don’t quit. 

Week of April 24, 2017

Monday, April 24, 2017
                                                                                      Blog for Week of April 24th 
The Jesus’ Way is not what most people think.  What most people think is a caricature of the real thing.  We tend to take one experience in Jesus’ life and blow it up into a poster and make it into an icon for life.  The reality is quite different.  Like most of us, to get a real feel of who we are you would have to take snap shots of all our experiences and statements and make them into a video.The Jesus Way comes from everything Jesus said and did.  As we sort through that we can find what it is to be at home with him.  Not only the Sermon on the Mount, but all the parables must be taken into consideration.  Sometimes his way is a little too narrow for our post-modern ears.  Sometimes his way is too deeply convicting to our personal lifestyle.  Usually his way puts us in the margins of life at best. At the core our bent is to shape the gospel of Jesus to fit our self-directed sensibilities.  We don’t like to live under the authority of Someone outside ourselves.  But, the risks are too high to do otherwise than surrender to the Way, the Truth, the Life.  May you walk this week in the light as He is in the Light!

Week of April 17, 2017

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
                                                                              Blog for Week of April 17th 
It is too easy for us to live “out of sight, out of mind”.  However, the truth of God and His kingdom continues as vividly in the invisible realms as it is when we acknowledge and celebrate it.  We have just celebrated the great “Passover” day of Easter and it is easy to move on from, yet it remains as stalwart as it did on Sunday.  The point of the “Day” was that final victory and Freedom were achieved and now we walk in the shadow of that great truth.How then are we going to live in “on-going freedom?”  What limits our freedom?  Does not our false narratives and our self-referenced lives grab the headlines in our daily lives.  Easter remains the true truth and we are now invited to live into it day by day.The gift of Easter was to set our lives on a completely different track.  This is the time now to live out what you “know” to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Jesus is on his way, so don’t waste a day.

Week of April 10, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of April 10th
 This is the “high” season in the Church’s year.  For our purpose “high” describes what is most important.  Our culture embraces Christmas because the Incarnate One lying in a manger is no threat, but Maundy Thursday (humility), Good Friday (sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins), and Easter (resurrection from the dead) are harder to embrace.  They require moving from the self-referenced life to a Christ-referenced life if even for a week, it is not business as usual.  Slowing down in order to hold the days in the hands of our hearts one by one this week is our great privilege.  Easter is minimized by furry bunnies, baby chicks, and little girls’ dresses because we find facing the realities of sin in the face of a holy God almost too much to take in.  In a world in which we want to think the best about ourselves, we are unprepared for the truth.  Yet, in Jesus’ own words his is the Way, the Truth, the Life.  Following Jesus through the week ahead illumines the Way to Life.  This is a time to step up to the reality of the Cross and the revolution it began.  If we are willing to step up, we step up to the calling to become men and women of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

Week of April 3, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017
                                                                                        Blog for Week of April 3rd
 Trevor Hudson shared an insightful perspective in his book, The Holy Spirit, Here and Now.  I don’t remember the page, so you will have to look it up.  The point was profoundly simple.  In God’s ways with us, we prepare ourselves “off point” to be ready to act “on point.”  Over the last few months I have been working with the word “rhythm” and I have found that preparation is the key to keeping rhythm.  As we enter into Holy Week next weekend, it behooves us to prepare “off point” in order to maximize our participation with Jesus’ walk to the cross.                In the first few centuries of the Christian church when within it there was a genuine shared culture that was recognized as not the prevailing culture surrounding them, the seasons of the church including Lent and then Holy Week, they were distinguishing movements reserved for those who were true believers.  The cost of discipleship was sufficient to keep the practices from mediocrity.            May I encourage you to take these two seasons seriously and prepare yourself to walk through the biblical history of these next two weeks.  In John’s Gospel, the last six days of Jesus’ pre-resurrection earthly life is encapsulated in John’s gospel, chapters 12-20.  You would do well to immerse yourself in the familiar story.  Maybe God has something unexpected in it for you, or maybe you can just prepare yourself to enter Holy Week to be “on point.”

Week of March 27, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017
                                                                                    Blog for Week of March 27th
 Part of the rhythm of Lent is a devotion to prayer, but the Lenten prayer is a little different that we usually think of when we come to prayer.  The prayer of Lent is simple and sometimes simple is most powerful.  It is to ask God to show us what he wants us to see in ourselves.  No wonder there is the spirit of solemnity in this season.  It is serious work to see ourselves the way we are.  This prayer is not only a prayer of “seeing,” but also an invitation to Jesus to bring about the changes in us that bring him glory.      The cross’ basic message is the forgiveness of sins, so when we enter the season of the cross, we are inviting God to bring us out of the exile that sin creates in us.  As sins are forgiven there is a deeper sense of life that is now available to us.  We have often confused the abundance that Jesus spoke of (Jn. 10:10) with a trial-less life, but as we join Jesus, it is anything but that.  How else would God transform our character except through trial?    As you enter into this week, I invite you to take the risk of asking the Spirit to show you, yourself.  As he/she does that make this a week that you surrender to God’s Perfect Love, so you can find the abundance of soul that Jesus has come to give us. 

Week of March 20, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
                                                                                    Blog for Week of March 20th
 Another expression of the Lenten journey is the practice of “alms-giving.”  This is not a common practice in our common culture, but is a part of religious life in many of the world’s other religions.  Why should it be a natural part of following Jesus too?  In the Way that Jesus set before us is the way of sacrifice, which is a giving of ourselves.  What “self” do we hold onto most forcefully?  It is the “self” of time and treasure.        For the sake of honest discipleship this time would be a time when we pay attention to the needs of the immediate world around us.  Alms-giving is simply getting past the grip we have on ourselves.  “Looking out for the interest of others above our own” seems to be primary in our path.  Every day of our lives we have the opportunity to bless another with the means we have been given.            This Lenten practice should ignite a way of life that will bring us the abundance that Jesus spoke of in John’s Gospel, 10:10.  How we have gotten to the place where giving produces absence instead of abundance is a spiritual mystery.  Maybe it is another reality distortion of the Great Deceiver. 

Week of March 13, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017
                                                                                Blog for Week of March 13th 
The Spirit of Christ that led to the cross was motivated by blessing.  In former generations blessing was seen as that which sets a person apart for the continual expressed goodness of God.  There is both a vision and a destiny in blessing.In some mysterious way blessing carries the power of life in its words, whether casual or formal.  We have been called out by God from among humanity to be the bearers of blessing.  We are given the vocational covenant to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  We are meant to walk into this world every day as the bearers of blessing.The focus of blessing is on who God is.  The world around us does not know who he is.  To the extent that we choose not to carry the blessing us, God remains hidden and unknown.  God has done the work in creation to reveal his existence, but his nature in the human story comes through our mouths, hand and feet.Therefore, if we pay attention to the encounters we have with our fellow men, wh have every opportunity to lift the heart of the other. 

Week of February 27, 2017

Wednesday, March 01, 2017
                                                                                     Blog for Week of February 27th 
Forgiveness is the rebar of the concrete pillars of our spiritual life.  For some reason known to God, forgiveness is the essential practice if we are to walk in the freedom that Jesus came to give us (Gal. 5:1).  Without the atmosphere of forgiveness, we will choke on our own “air.”  Repeatedly, forgiveness is essential in the equation of life in the Spirit.In his Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, Jesus makes the point that to not show mercy and to not forgive the offense of the “other” is pure wickedness.  That may not fit in our box of mature spirituality, so Jesus is saying to us the problem is with our “boxes.”  When you reflect on your definition or description of wickedness, rarely do we see life as Jesus does, and that is what continues to make his Way so radical.When we pray as he taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…,” we are invoking the Way that is designed to be a lasting Way.  The kingdom is characterized with mercy and forgiveness.  The challenge we have before us is to practice the kingdom every day in showing mercy and forgiveness.  It is relevant activity for every day. 

Week of February 20, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017
                                                                                Blog for Week of February 20th 
Persistent is a missing virtue in our modern world, especially in the realm of spirituality.  Jesus made it a priority for all who would call themselves disciples of his.  In his parable to the company of the committed he tells the story of a widow and an unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) he tells the story to teach his apprentices that they “ought not lose heart.”A familiar statement by C. S. Lewis describes modern disciples all too well when he says, “The think the Lord finds our desires are not too great, but far too weak.”  Are we hungry enough to storm the Lord of Glory with persistence?  Doesn’t it seem to you that we have settled for a rather anemic spirit a heart too easily satisfied?  Jesus seems to think so.In the end it is an issue of faith, laying oneself “out on the line.”  That persistence is what Jesus called faith and in this story whether when he returns will he find faith on earth.  As we approach the season of Lent, would you be willing to lay a kingdom of heaven need before Him for the next 50 or so days? 

Week of February 13, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017
                                                                              Blog for Week of February 13th
 Our journey is a constant process of values clarification, moving from the values we may have been trained in to “get along in life” to the values that are rooted in the kingdom of heaven which are given through the transaction of Jesus’ Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).  Jesus’ call on our lives involves living out the values of the kingdom (light) in the context of the values of our world (darkness).  Maturity, among many things spiritually, is the matter of values.   Jesus portrays the values through his parable of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price.  When we truly understand the value of living in and possessing the kingdom of heaven, we will do anything to enter into it.  All other value is set aside for that which has an eternal weight to it.            This is a perfect time in culture (in a unique time of social and ethical chaos) to “march to a different Drummer’, to “walk in the Light as He is in the Light” and to bring peace in the midst of anger, resentment and division.  May Jesus shine among us!

Week of February 6, 2017

Monday, February 06, 2017
                                                                               Blog for Week of February 6th
 One of the down sides of our culture is that we are blind to the dark side of success as we term success in our culture.  The dark side is that we are unaware of the horrible ethic that causes us to use whatever we are faced with to satisfy the emptiness that drives the human ego.  Jesus offers us an alternative when he tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like the mustard seed.  The smallest of seeds (known to his audience) when planted in the soil of God’s kingdom grows up to become a large beautiful garden tree.  The movement from small to large is the spirit of the kingdom.  The mustard seed has within it all the characteristics that provide the garden tree.           It’s the content of the seed that contains its true beauty.  That is the way it is in God’s kingdom.  We each have the ability to “plant seeds” every day and thus fill the garden of God’s kingdom with his glory.  So, be a mustard seed planter with every one that God puts before you!

week of January 30, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017
                                                                                Blog for Week of January 30th 
Most of the negative history of the church lies in our rejection of Jesus’ teaching in the Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.  When the leadership of the church (the popes) decided that they needed to “pull out the weeds” before the harvest, they often pulled up wheat along with the weeds.  Sometimes it is a matter of misplaced authority.  Doing God a favor by doing his work for him usually leads to horrible outcomes.  We usually error when we take on the role of judgment.Can we trust God to do his work in his time?  That may be our problem, if we think God doesn’t act fast enough our actions are off-target.  The further we go with God, the more we have to get in step with him and understand chronosis not Kairos.  The clock is not how we tell time in the kingdom of heaven.It is a sobering reality that when the fullness of time comes and harvest is upon us, there will be no turning back.  It would appear that giving ourselves to being wheat and growing as fruitfully as we can is enough.  We don’t have the role of harvesting anyway.  Keeping the weeds down is God’s realm anyway. 

Week of January 23, 2016

Monday, January 23, 2017
                                                                             Blog for Week of January 23rd 
Someone said that “politics are downstream from society.”  Whatever condition we are in is a reflection of us, the people.  It seems to me that if ever the circumstance makes clear to us that we are strangers and aliens in a foreign land.  Our mandate is to be ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven.  Some think that government is the key into the ways of the kingdom, but the truth is the kingdom of heaven has to take root in our souls so that whatever the direction the government takes, God is still the only source for transformation. 
Whichever “side of the aisle” you find yourself on, the Voice is not necessarily resident on either side.  That is what it means to be strangers and aliens in a foreign land.  It seems that when we take our definition of things from any other source than the Word of the Eternal One, we are likely operating in a shadow world.  Our first task is to grow in the way of the Holy One.  Everything else is secondary to that vocation. 
Gordon Smith, practical theologian, describes this as “vocational holiness.”  If we live any differently, we succumb to the temporal pursuit of power and are divested of our identity.  We certainly can participate in social interests, but our way is to be set apart from the common clutching for power.  Jesus Way was a continual  emptying rather than a continual grasping.

Week of January 16, 2017

Monday, January 16, 2017
                                                                                Blog for Week of January 16th 
All change in the world around us begins with change within us.  The world we live in is chafing as it struggles with the need for change and yet experiences great frustration with its inability to bring about change in the soul of humanity which is the reason that people do what they do to one another.  The world’s best attempt is to create a “political correctness” which is thought to create enough social pressure to control the actions of people.  However, an “outside/in” dynamic seems only to suppress the reality. 
Jesus gave us a parable that describes the reality and the need for internal transformation in the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 13 beginning with verse 1.  The issue is the condition of the human heart in relationship to the message of the kingdom of heaven found in the Bible.  Until we come to grips with the authority of the gospel and the transformation of the human heart being the work of God, the dynamic of our human experience will only be disappointing.  Without the work of God in our hearts, no real change will be forthcoming.  The altruism of human effort will eventually fail because the soul has not been changed. 
Come and join the movements of God for the sake of true change. 

Week of January 9, 2017

Monday, January 09, 2017
                                                                           Blog for Week of January 9th 
As the New Year opens up before us we can approach the season in a variety of ways.  The common culture tells us this is a time to make changes in the form of resolutions, which we have all attempted but rarely with raving success.  I think it makes more sense to turn to the uncommon culture of the scriptures, for these words carry the weight of eternity.No matter the conditions in which we live there is great wisdom for those who apprentice with Jesus.  The words utter to the Church gathered in Ephesus is particularly poignant in the season in which we live, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  All days since the Garden have not been what they were to be, but we have a role to play as those who apprentice with Jesus.The message is clear: Redeem the time; Invest in the good; Be a contributor rather than a consumer!