Monday, March 31, 2014

4 words say it all

Mark 12

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate.

He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked,

     "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

  29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this:

        'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.

        30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'

        31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

No other commandment is greater than these."

  32 The teacher of religious law replied,

     "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.

      33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.

      This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law."

  34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him,

        "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."

And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

So there you have it - the whole thing wrapped up in just 4 words...

Love God, love people.

Why do we make it so hard?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 batches

Here's just some verses that stuck out for me today as I was reading...

btw, if there is one thing I can completely recommend to EVERYONE, is that you read the Bible EVERY DAY...

but, if you do, you need to understand one thing...

God will MESS with you, BIG TIME!

This first batch comes from Psalm 37 - it's got a LOT of stuff in it - you should read through it sometime ;-)

vs 5 Commit everything you do to the Lord/

Trust Him, & He will help you.

vs 7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,

& wait patiently for Him to act.

(I would interpret this verse in 4 words: shut up & wait ;-)

vs 34 Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!

Travel steady along His path.

He will honor you,

     giving you the land.

This second batch is from Romans 12...

vs 2 Don't copy the behavior & customs of this world,

     but let God transform you into a new person

     by changing the way you think.

Then you will know what God want you to do,

     & you will know how good & pleasing His will really is.

vs 12a Be glad for all God is planning for you...

     (whenever this verse speaks to me, I know God's up to something, sometimes it's something I'm gonna be uncomfortable facing, but will give me a whole paradigm of new freedom.)

There's a whole lot of overarching situations that these verses speak directly to for me in my life right now.

For those of you who regularly read this blog, I'll keep you updated as tings unfold, no matter which way they go.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Mark 10

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them.

     But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

  14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples.

He said to them,

     "Let the children come to me.

     Don't stop them!

     For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.

15 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."

16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

And how do children receive the Kingdom?

Children have a "whatever" mode...

     they don't care what's going on - they have a "whatever" attitude.

     they don't care where they're going - they have a "wherever" attitude.

     They don't care when they'll get to where they're going - they have a "whenever" attitude.

    they don't care who's gonna be there when they get there - they have a "whoever" attitude.

     and they don't care how they get there - they have a "however"attitude.

they only thing they care about is that they are with someone who loves them. everything else is secondary.


Friday, March 28, 2014

self promotion

Mark 9

33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples,

     "What were you discussing out on the road?"

34 But they didn't answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.

35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said,

      "Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else."

  36 Then he put a little child among them.

Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,

     37 "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me,

     and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me."

there seems to be a lot of self promotion going on out there.

now amongst people who are not Christ followers, I guess we can kind of expect that.

But amongst believers...?

I don't know...

If we are surrendered to the "whatever" God wants & dreams for us, then is it safe to say it is His responsibility to work out details of our lives - iow, we listen out for His leading & His directing rather than pushing ourselves forward, telling people what we can do?

Jesus says here we need to move into a servant role - iow, serving others, not serving our own personal goals & dreams.

And we leave the outcome to Him?

Does our self promotion ultimately reveal a lack of trust?

Or just self absorption?

Or both?

So, what are we supposed to do? What behavior models should we follow?

If we're in ministry for Him, as His servant, to be & do in a who, what, where, when, & how ever mode, then we wait for Him to place us wherever, whenever, wherever, with whomever, however He chooses?

Are we to take on a more passive, servant mode?

Is there a fine line we must navigate, or is it straightforward?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

gain & lose

Mark 8:34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said,

"If any of you wants to be my follower,

     you must turn from your selfish ways & your selfish ambition,

     take up your cross,

     and follow me.

35 If you try to hang on to your life,

        you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News,

       you will save it.

36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world

        but lose your own soul?

37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days,

the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

Bill Gates

Barbara Walters

the Dali Lama

Queen Elizabeth

Vladamir Putin


Prince Harry

Kim Kardashian West

Justin Bieber


Mark Zuckerburg

Miley Cyrus

"what do you benefit if you gain the whole world  but lose your own soul?" Jesus

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Nelson Mandela

Shirley Temple

Paul Walker

Margaret Thatcher

Pete Seeger

Cory Montieth

If these people could speak to us now,

     I wonder what they would say to those people in the previous list in regards to Jesus' statement.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

just read it...

I know this is long, but just settle in & read it...

Romans 8
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

      So God did what the law could not do.

He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.

And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us,

       who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

  5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things,

        but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.

But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.

It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.

8 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

  9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.

        You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

         (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

10 And Christ lives within you,

        so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.

And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead,

     he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

  12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die.

But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.

       Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.

Now we call him, "Abba, Father.

16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs.

In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory.

But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse.

        But with eager hope,21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.

24 We were given this hope when we were saved.

(If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it.25 But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

  26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

        For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.

        But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son,

        so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.

And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.

And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?

        If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else?

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?

      No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

34 Who then will condemn us?

        No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,

        and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

  35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?

Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble

     or calamity,

     or are persecuted,

     or hungry,

     or destitute,

     or in danger,

     or threatened with death?

36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep."*)

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.

        Neither death

        nor life,

       neither angels

       nor demons,

      neither our fears for today

      nor our worries about tomorrow;

      not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below;

        indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The Lord says,

I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

I will advise you,

   & watch over you.

Psalm 32:8

That was the verse I felt like God gave me for 2013 - a verse to hold on to throughout the year.

On the face of it, it would be easy to think that 2013 will be a year of clear sailing.

If you follow my life, you know 2013 was a crazy year - & that's putting it mildly.

Some might say it was an awful year.

Early in the year, we had to face down a medical situation & deal with it.

In a panic, we sold the farmhouse & moved back to Macon.

When we got to Macon,we realized God wanted us to still be in Blairsville.

We bought a house & moved back.

    Yes, we moved twice in 6 months. I do not recommend this. ;-)

You have no idea how draining those 4 things were.


    there were some good things.

Lynn got to go back to Kenya for 2+ weeks in January.

The farmhouse did sell in just a few weeks - yes, a few weeks.

We sold the condo in Athens that Hannah lived in while she was at UGA.

We sold the fishing house at Dover's Bluff in Camden County, GA.

We were definitely led to buy a house on Owltown Rd with good neighbors around us and what some call a million dollar view.

We paid off the house n Macon.

We're attending a church, although not perfect, that has worship that is in a 21st century paradigm - rare up here. We're crazy about the worship leader & his fiance.

We found out that we had / have a lot more influence in Blairsville than we imagined.

We reconnected with a friend from LONG ago who is now an active part of our lives again.

We're developing relationships in surprising places with people we wouldn't think we'd be connected to.

We stepped back into our volunteer work at the food pantry & have been busier than a one-armed paper hanger.

I'm trying to disciple an extremely funny guy as he steps away from a life of drugs.

And the medical situation we faced down does not seem to be progressing.

Ya know, up until now, I always have thought of 2013 as pretty awful.

Even though there were some extremely difficult aspects to it, maybe it wasn't so bad after all?

The Lord says,

I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

I will advise you,

    & watch over you. Psalm 32:8

Monday, March 24, 2014


Mark 5:21 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore.22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet,23 pleading fervently with him. "My little daughter is dying," he said. "Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live."

  24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him.25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding.26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse.27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe.28 For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed."29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

  30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?"

  31 His disciples said to him, "Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, 'Who touched me?'"

  32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over."

  35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, "Your daughter is dead. There's no use troubling the Teacher now."

  36 But Jesus overheard* them and said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me."

  37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn't let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James).38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing.39 He went inside and asked, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn't dead; she's only asleep."

  40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl's father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying.41 Holding her hand, he said to her, "Talitha koum," which means "Little girl, get up!"42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed.43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

Both the woman w/ constant bleeding & Jairus were in an impossible place.

The woman was sick, had seen countless doctors, spent all her money, & still was getting worse.

Jairus' daughter was sick, nigh unto death.

Back then, if you got sick, usually that meant death.

The woman thought if she could just connect with Jesus, she would be healed.

     She obviously had a pretty strong belief in Jesus' ability to heal.

     Plus, what did she have to lose?

She was in an impossible place. She knew that Jesus' ability & willingness to heal her were probably her only chance, her last chance. If He didn't heal her, she'd just probably go off somewhere & die.

But she was healed.

I think He knew who it was (I mean, He IS God, ya know!). He was just waiting for her to admit it, to take one more step of courage & admit she's reached out in faith.

Jairus was in an incredibly impossible place - his servants had come & told him to never mind - his daughter was dead.

I wonder what it was like when Jairus looked into the face of Jesus with this horrible news, & Jesus looked into Jairus' eyes and said, "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."?

Think about that for a minute....

And then Jesus went to Jairus' house & brought the daughter back to life.

All of us either are, have been, or will be in an impossible place.

We may need healing - whatever kind you can think of - and like the woman, all we have to do is connect with Jesus & the healing will happen.

And like Jairus, we may have something(s) in our life that are dead. We think it's over. There's nothing that can be done. Never mind.

And Jesus looks us in the face & says, "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

And then brings it back to life.

I've got some impossible places in my life right now. Maybe you do too.

In the past 3 1/2 years, every time I've read this account in one of the Gospels, God speaks those 6 words to me - Don't be afraid. Just trust Me.

And I've got some big impossibles right now.

I keep putting 1 foot in front of another. I keep on keeping on. I continue to walk by faith & not by sight.

I don't know when the healing will come.

 I don't know when the dead thing will come back to life.

I just know that Jesus continues to whisper to me, "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Mark 4:24 Then Jesus added,

"Pay close attention to what you hear.

The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given;

     and you will receive even more.

25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."

I have a Life Application Bible -  a good investment.

It has commentary at the bottom of the pages about various selected verses on the page. It's a really good tool when reading the Bible.

I used it for many years until my copy literally fell apart. It took me a while to find another one in the first addition of the NLT. It's print is a bit small, making it hard to read. But that's okay - I now read out of a giant print copy of the NLT.


Anyway... here's what it says especially about verse 25...

"This verse simply means that we are responsible to use well what we have. How much we have is not nearly as important as what we do with it."

So, it's not so much about what talents, strengths, giftings, etc that we have that is crucial.

It's what we let God do with those talents, strengths, & giftings that's pivotal.

Most of my life, I've felt kinda like I've been operating out of my depth. So much of the things I've been able to be & do haven't been so much that I've so stupendously talented, but because for some reason God has given me favor - and sometimes pulled a rabbit out of a hat!

I remember in June of 2009 (was that REALLY 5 years ago?!!!) we were enjoying good crowds at House of Grace (a 20something ministry I was leading at the time) when one night that month our attendance spiked almost 100%!!!

And it held for the rest of the year!!!

I remember walking around that night in a room bursting with people and a Holy Spirit vibe, asking God "what in the world?!" ( yeah, I have DEEP thoughts all the time ;-) LOL )

Clear as a bell, this still, small voice dropped this thought into my head...

"This isn't you, this is Me."

I said all that to say this...

It's all about the favor of God.

We can be brilliantly talented, with a glittering personality, planning out the wazoo, & enough people working with us that we could charge Hell with water pistols - but if we don't have His favor behind us,we don't have a chance.

At the same time, not matter our gifting, great or small, if we have the His favor backing us up, what we are or are doing is unstoppable.

I've seen it way too many times in my own life, & in the lives of others.


You may be someone who feels insignificant, ill equipped, dull, slow, boring, or just incapable. (I've felt that way more than once!)

God delights in using someone who feels like that - because the world says only those who are glitteringly glamorous will be successful.

Those who have impact & significance are people who are surrendered to Him, available for His use, in whatever ways He sees fit. The outcome is ALWAYS determined by Him.

I don't know who this epistle is for  - maybe it was just for me. I hope if it was for you, you will hitch up your drawers & walk toward & walk in what you know He's wanting you to be &/or do.

With His favor behind you, you're unstoppable.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Jesus in me

When Jesus returned to the house where he was staying, the crowds began to gather again,

     & soon He & his disciples couldn't even find time to eat.

(Mark 3:20)

It seems that wherever Jesus was, He drew a crowd.

We all might reply, "But He was the Son of God - of course He would draw a crowd."

As followers of Jesus, don't we all believe that Jesus lives inside of each of us?

And if we spend time with this Person who is so intimately connected with us, then some of Himself in us should start to become obvious to those around us?

Is it safe to say that if we are in Jesus & He is in us, then the love, compassion, strength, courage, humility, gentleness, kindness, & joy that is Jesus should not only so permeate us but unconsciously should overflow to those around us?

And if these identities & characteristics of Jesus flow from us, wouldn't it also follow that people will want to be around us to around those facets of Jesus, just like they did when He was physically here on earth?

Friday, March 21, 2014

who wants to be around us?

Mark 2:13 Then Jesus went out to the lake shore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him.

14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth.

        "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.

So Levi got up and followed him.

  15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

         along with many tax collectors and other disreputable, notorious sinners.

         (There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.)

16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples,

       "Why does he eat with such scum?"

  17 When Jesus heard this, he told them,

"Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do.

I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

There was something in this incident that struck me this morning...

Jesus, the perfect, holy Son of God, attracted "sinners" - Mark says there were "many" who followed Him around.

And I wondered...

Do "sinners" want to be around us ?

     (you know what I mean by the term, "sinners" ;-) )

Do people who don't do the God thing want to be around you & me, individually?

What was Jesus like that people who certainly weren't holy people wanted to be around the holiest person who ever lived?

What was there about Jesus that sinful people felt that way about Him.

You can probably answer that question as well as I can - there were lots of obvious reasons why.

So now comes the kicker.

If we are followers of Jesus....

And He lives in us...

And the same Holy Spirit that lives in Him lives in us...

why don't we have those same kinds of people wanting to be around us?

I think we both know the answer to that - don't we?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

a word for me, & maybe you?

There's stuff in here I really needed to hear this morning, especially verse 14.

Feel like there's people out there today who needed some of what's in this psalm.

Let me know if you're one of them.

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation

  so why should I be afraid?

The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

  so why should I tremble?

2 When evil people come to devour me,

  when my enemies and foes attack me,

  they will stumble and fall.

3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,

  my heart will not be afraid.

Even if I am attacked,

  I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the LORD

  the thing I seek most

is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

  delighting in the LORD's perfections

  and meditating in his Temple.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;

  he will hide me in his sanctuary.

  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

6 Then I will hold my head high

  above my enemies who surround me.

At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,

  singing and praising the LORD with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O LORD.

  Be merciful and answer me!

8 My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."

  And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."

9 Do not turn your back on me.

  Do not reject your servant in anger.

  You have always been my helper.

Don't leave me now; don't abandon me,

  O God of my salvation!

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,

  the LORD will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O LORD.

  Lead me along the right path,

  for my enemies are waiting for me.

12 Do not let me fall into their hands.

  For they accuse me of things I've never done;

  with every breath they threaten me with violence.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness

  while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the LORD.

  Be brave and courageous.

  Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Matthew 28:16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him;

        but some of them doubted!

  18 Jesus came and told his disciples,

"I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,

        baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

And be sure of this:

     I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

"but some of them doubted."

trust me, if I'd walked would Jesus for 3 years, seen Him killed, then see Him alive again, I think I'd be believing who He says He is.

But then, I think about the countless times He's come through for me over the years, & I still doubt He'll come through sometimes.

So, I guess I'm no better than those stupid disciples who still doubted Jesus was the Messiah, right before He ascended back to heaven.

I think the operative word in this passage is "go"

God tell ALL OF US to go...

Now this is a section we've all had used as a hammer by preachers, missionaries, & other speakers to hit us over the head & get us to go overseas a s missionaries.

And I think that there is a valid point that God may want some of us to do just that - go overseas as missionaries.

And usually the people He uses in ministry in that way are usually not the people we would pick to do that.

But God says go to all of us...

     that could mean going to the people we know at work, in the neighborhood, or in the places we shop, eat, or trade, & be who we are, & love them as followers of Jesus.

     that could mean that God may want us to move to another place - across town, or up the road, or somewhere else in the state, or in another locale in the USA.

And He may simply want us to move there & be who we are, love people as He loves them, & let our love for Him & from Him infect & influence their lives.

We so often forget that by just being who we are & letting God love people through us, we are fulfilling much of what Jesus was telling His disci0ples to be & do.

And what about the teaching part?

Well, most of what I've learned from people I didn't get from a teaching environment - I got it by watching their lives & being in relationship with them.

And what about the baptizing part?

Well, I believe in the priesthood of believers, so if someone decides to become a follower of Jesus because of your influence & life & want you to baptize them, well, why not?!

The big question, of course, in this passage is simple - are we willing to "go" - no matter what "go" may mean for us, individually.

The where of it, the being & doing part of it, the who part of it, the when, who, & how part of it will take care of itself.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

a good word

Sometimes I just wanna share one of the psalms. It's a rich book that I get soemthing different from each time I read it.

Psalm 25

 O LORD, I give my life to you.

   I trust in you, my God!

Do not let me be disgraced,

  or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.

 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,

  but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

4 Show me the right path, O LORD;

  point out the road for me to follow.

 Lead me by your truth and teach me,

  for you are the God who saves me.

  All day long I put my hope in you.

 Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love,

  which you have shown from long ages past.

 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.

  Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,

  for you are merciful, O LORD.

8 The LORD is good and does what is right;

  he shows the proper path to those who go astray.

 He leads the humble in doing right,

  teaching them his way.

 The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness

  all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

11 For the honor of your name, O LORD,

  forgive my many, many sins.

 Who are those who fear the LORD?

  He will show them the path they should choose.

 They will live in prosperity,

  and their children will inherit the land.

 The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.

  He teaches them his covenant.

 My eyes are always on the LORD,

  for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

16 Turn to me and have mercy,

  for I am alone and in deep distress.

 My problems go from bad to worse.

  Oh, save me from them all!

 Feel my pain and see my trouble.

  Forgive all my sins.

 See how many enemies I have

  and how viciously they hate me!

 Protect me! Rescue my life from them!

  Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.

 May integrity and honesty protect me,

  for I put my hope in you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

if we follow

blessed are those who trust in the Lord

     & have made the Lord their hope & confidence.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

     with roots that reach down into the water.

Such trees are not bothered by the heat

     or worried by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,

     & they go right on producing delicious fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7 - 8 (NLT)

There is a n uncanny peaceful, chill quality of life in those who have realistic faith in the Lord.

They are people who have tapped into a force, a power, a something that is unshakeable,

     a something that is lodged DEEP into the very core of their being, at the very base of who & what they are.

They are people who don't come apart at the seams when things get tough.

They have an uncanny sense of assurance that comes from both within themselves but whose origins are outside them.

It doesn't matter if their world falls apart, or at least seems to, or if everything & everyone in their life seems to be crazy.

They just keep on keeping on, with an inner strength that isn't overwhelming, but is constant & rock solid.

And no matter what happens, they exhibit a Christ-like attitude & love that is a positive influence & and a source of quiet inspiration to everyone.

Jeremiah 17:7 - 8 (the dan waits 21st century revised reversed wordy overkill version)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

just sayin'

Matthew 25

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory,

        and all the angels with him,

    then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence,

       and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  34 "Then the King will say to those on his right,

             'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.

I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing.

I was sick, and you cared for me.

I was in prison, and you visited me.'

  37 "Then these righteous ones will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?

Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality?

Or naked and give you clothing?

39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

  40 "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

  41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say,

            'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me.

I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home.

I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing.

I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

  44 "Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'

  45 "And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

  46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment,

            but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Friday, March 14, 2014


Get ready...

John really lays it out here...

there's no wiggle room in what he's saying here...

no way to apply current political, cultural, or social rationalizations here...

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another,

     for love comes from God.

Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

8 But anyone who does not love does not know God,

      for God is love.

  9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.

10 This is real love - not that we loved God,

         but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

  11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much,

         we surely ought to love each other.

12 No one has ever seen God.

But if we love each other,

       God lives in us,

       and his love is brought to full expression in us.

  13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them,

        and they live in God.

16 We know how much God loves us,

      and we have put our trust in his love.

  God is love,

     and all who live in love live in God,

     and God lives in them.

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.

So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

  18 Such love has no fear,

          because perfect love expels all fear.

If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment,

     and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

19 We love each other because he loved us first.

  20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar;

         for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

21 And he has given us this command:

        Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

And how many of us REALLY do love people like John says to?

How many of us have accepted the prevailing attitude that we should only love those who deserve it,

     & we must condemn those who don't?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

in need

Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.

35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:

        36 "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"

  37 Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'

        38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 A second is equally important:

        'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

So, there you have it - the whole of what it's all about...

Love God.

Love people.

So... read this...

1 John 3:11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning:

        We should love one another.

 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother.

       And why did he kill him?

       Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.

13 So don't be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

  14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life.

        But a person who has no love is still dead.

 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.

       And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.

  16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.

          So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person?

  18 Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other;

          let us show the truth by our actions.

19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

  21 Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.

 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

  23 And this is his commandment:

          We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,

          and love one another,

      just as he commanded us.

24 Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them.

And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

"If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion - how can God's love be in that person?"

We seem to be in short supply of that kind of compassion these days for "a brother or sister in need".

When saying to whom we need to extend compassion, John, the disciple who wrote this epistle, doesn't use any other words to qualify or quantify these brothers & sisters except "in need".

I checked other translations - it doesn't say anything about how they got into a position of being "in need".

It doesn't say anything about how much responsibility they bear in getting themselves into a condition of being "in need".

It doesn't mention anything about whether they are choosing to stay in this situation or not.

Nor does it say anything about whether they deserve our compassion or not.

All it says is if we see someone "in need" & don't show them some compassion - iow, help them out - then the love of God is not in us.

Think about that...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3 sections

How would our lives be different if we REALLY believed this?

Matthew 21:18 In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry,

     19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road.

      He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves.

      Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!"

      And immediately the fig tree withered up.

  20 The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked,

          "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?"

 21 Then Jesus told them,

          "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more.

          You can even say to this mountain, 'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' and it will happen.

22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it."


We are no longer "lost in our sin".

I thought of a number of celebrities who do a lot of God talk, but don't live lives that show behavior consistent with His identity.

I thought of a number of people who do a lot of God talk, but don't live lives that show behavior consistent with His identity.

I thought of a number of times I do a lot of God talk, but don't live a life that show behavior consistent with His identity.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father.

     He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

     2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

  3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.

4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.

5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him.

     That is how we know we are living in him.

6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.


And this section just cuts too close to the bone...

1 John 2:15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you,

for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure,

        a craving for everything we see,

        and pride in our achievements and possessions.

These are not from the Father, but are from this world.

17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.

But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

living in the light

John was a disciple of Jesus from the very beginning of Jesus' ministry.

John saw it all, from beginning to end.

He describes himself as the disciple who Jesus loved, making him a part of the inner circle - one of the guys that saw & heard things with Jesus that even most of the disciples didn't see or hear.

So,I figure if he write stuff about Jesus, he ought to know

1 John 1

1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning,

     whom we have heard and seen.

We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands.

He is the Word of life.

2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us,

     and we have seen him.

And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life.

He was with the Father,

     and then he was revealed to us.

3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us.

     And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you:

God is light,

     and there is no darkness in him at all.

6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness;

     we are not practicing the truth.

7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other,

     and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

  8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

Monday, March 10, 2014

what I need to hear

Psalm 16:7 I will bless the Lord who guides me;

     even at night my heart instructs me.

8 I know the Lord is always with me.

I will not be shaken,

      for He is right beside me.

vs 11a You will show me the way of life,

     granting me the joy of Your presence.

Matthew 19:26b ...with God, everything is possible.

vs 29 Everyone who has given up houses

     or brothers

     or sisters

     or father

     or mother

     or children

     or property,

   for my sake,

will receive a hundred times as much in return,

& will have eternal life.

vs 30 But many who seem to be important now

     will be the least important then,

& those who are considered least here

     will be the greatest then.

Anybody besides me need to hear these assurances & promises this morning besides me?

Sunday, March 9, 2014


1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries & cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.

all of them...


every one of them...

each & every one...







...all... your worries


     HE cares about what happens to you.

     He CARES about what happens to you.

     He cares about what happens to YOU.

     He cares about WHAT HAPPENS to YOU.

We don't believe this, do we...

     because we don't do it.

Because if we did...

   it would show.

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. (NIV)

Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (The Message)

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you (ETRV)

You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern. (J B Phillips)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. (The Voice)


Saturday, March 8, 2014

this leads to that, & that leads to

Some mornings, I get the feeling that something I'm reading needs to be put in my blog for someone(s) out there that read each morning.

This is one of those mornings.

Don't know who this is for, but I feel like God wants to speak to you through it.

This letter written by Peter was probably his last.

He references that he feels that God has told him his time is up here on earth.

So, for me, his words carry a little more weight because he knew he would die soon, probably making him speak more plainly.

2 Peter 1

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.

We have received all of this by coming to know him,

     the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises.

      These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature

      and escape the world's corruption caused by human desires.

  5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises.

Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence,

     and moral excellence with knowledge,

     6 and knowledge with self-control,

     and self-control with patient endurance,

     and patient endurance with godliness,

     7 and godliness with brotherly affection,

     and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

  8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind,

     forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

Friday, March 7, 2014

making it happen

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples,

"If any of you wants to be my follower,

     you must lay aside your selfish ambition,

     shoulder your cross,

     and follow me.

25 If you try to keep your life for yourself (dan note: like, try to hang on to it),

        you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake,

     you will find true life.

26 And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?

       Is anything worth more than your soul?

When I read these verses, I think of these people, or people like them...

     Steve Jobs

     Margaret Thatcher

     Cory Monteith

     Whitney Houston

     Nelson Mandela

     Paul Walker

     Amy Winehouse

     Phillip Seymour Hoffman

     James Gandolfini

     Hugo Chavez

People who "had it all".

I wonder what they would say to us now,if they could speak to us?

Would they tell us that trying to make our lives happen, at any cost, proves to be just the wrong direction, the wrong thinking, & the wrong use of our energies?

And yet, we do that all the time - make our life happen.

I have someone in my life who is just turning himself inside out trying to make his life happen.

And all he has to do is let go of his life, & wait for his life to unfold in God's timing, EVERYTHING that he wants & dreams will come to him.

What does Jesus say to us here?

Could it be something simple...? like...?

     "Let go of what you want, & let Me give you the life you've always wanted"

SO why don't we do it?

Because we want what we want, & we want it NOW! (or, more like we want it yesterday!)

The longer I live, & the more I experience following Jesus, and more importantly, as I watch the lives of those around me, the more I believe if we just chill, & follow His lead, the life He will bring to us is & will be infinitely more than we ever imagined

Thursday, March 6, 2014


1 Peter 4:7 The end of the world is coming soon.

Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers.

8 Most important of all,

     continue to show deep love for each other,

     for love covers a multitude of sins.

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

  10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.

Use them well to serve one another.

11 Do you have the gift of speaking?

        Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

        Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Matthew 14:22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.

23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

  24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

25 About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.

In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!"

  27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!*"

  28 Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."

  29 "Yes, come," Jesus said.

  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.

       "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.

  31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.

         "You have so little faith," Jesus said.

         "Why did you doubt me?"

  32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

33 Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.

Ok, think about this...

For the rest of the boat ride, there's Peter, soaking wet, sitting amongst the other disciples.

I wonder what Peter was thinking?

I wonder what the other disciples were thinking?

I wonder what the disciples asked Peter? (you KNOW they did!!! ;-) )

I wonder what Peter said to them?

I wonder what they said to Jesus? (I think I woulda asked, "How'd you do that?!)

And I wonder what Jesus was thinking?

What in the world would it have been like in that boat after Jesus & Peter got back into it & the storm quieted?



Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. 1 Peter 2:12

All too often these days it's hard to tell who is a Christ follower.

Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold,

     but let God re-mold your minds from within,

     so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good,

     meets all his demands

     and moves towards the goal of true maturity. (Romans 12:2, J. B. Phillips)

I like the way J. B. Phillips translates that last passage....

"Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold..."

Anybody ever feel "squeezed"?


We live in a world that's dying to see people who have some sort of principle,

     people with some sort of moral center,

     people with something bigger than themselves within their psyche that defines them, inspires them, & completes them.

Let's not allow ourselves to be squeezed today - let's be who we are in Him, living a life through which we love others well.

Monday, March 3, 2014


So be truly glad!

There is wonderful joy ahead,

     even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.

These trials are only to test your faith,

     to show that it is strong & pure.

It is being tested as fire tests & purifies gold;

     & your faith is far more precious to God than gold.

(1 Peter 1:6b, 7)

I don't pretend to understand what's going on what tough stuff hits our lives.

Maybe this helps understand it a little better.

Refining is a process when HIGH heat is applied to a metal,

    thus burning off the impurities,

    and in the end making the metal more pure,

    & far more beautiful.

See the parallels that can be drawn to our own situations?

And like I said, maybe that helps explain where you & I are at right now?

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Then Jesus said,

     Come to Me...

        all of you who are weary

        & carry heavy burdens,

     & I will give you rest.

Take My yoke upon you.

Let Me teach you,

     because I am humble & gentle,

        & you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke fits perfectly, & the burden I give you is light. (NLT)

Matthew 11:28, 29

I think the most important word in these 2 verses is the word, "come."

We could talk & talk & talk about the overarching meaning(s) that reside in these 2 verses - far too many theologians have already done that!

It's important to realize who is saying come.

Jesus, being God, says God wants us to come to Him.

Not sure if that's the case in any other religion...

Jesus says that in our concept of who God is, we must include the idea that He is a God who says to us,

     come here,

     come closer,

     let's not have any distance between us,

     I want you close to Me.

The high, holy, all powerful, all knowing, all everything, perfect, eternal One says to each one of us...


Think about that today...

     and do what He wants...

Come to Him.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


If you cling to your life, you will lose it;

But if you give it up for Me; you will find it. (NLT)

If you don't go all the way with Me, through thick & thin, you don't deserve Me.

If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself.

But if you forget about yourself & look to Me, you'll find both yourself & Me. (The Message)

Both of these quotes are Matthew 10:39

Since especially 2008, God has been whispering to me over & over & over...

"...don't cling to your life..."

Iow, let go of your life & trust Me.

It's been crazy.

No, really... it's been crazy ever since.

But the craziest thing is that the more I let go of every thing I hold dear, the more it feels like my life is in sync with His.

That doesn't mean it's easy.

It doesn't mean it always makes sense.

But I'd rather be living a life where it seems I spend a awful lot of time letting go of the totality of my life than the life I've lived spending so much energy & time holding on to it.