Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Moving Slowly

Sorry for the rarity of posts lately.

With the publication of my book, I've had to learn a lot about the new things that means--like visiting book stores and shipping--SHIPPING! My goodness, that's a whole new world.

I have books going to Australia and Chile and Croatia, for example, and man, is that expensive!

But I'm happy to meet the requests, and my book is doing very well. The owners of the local Christian bookstore (The Lord's Walk) absolutely love it and have put it on their main counter next to the cash register--the position of prominence. And they're planning an event at which I will be speaking and signing books, etc. They're truly wonderful people, and it has been terrific getting to know them.

I am also speaking for several days to a leadership group at a nearby YWAM base. You can easily imagine what my topic is..."Putting AMAZING Back Into Grace."

It's all pretty exciting.

Anyway, I'll be back at more consistent blogging by the end of this week.

Would you pray for me?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Tad Confusing

This is one of those confusing messages often sent to the church--particularly on Sunday. That's why I post it today.

I like John Piper, and especially the first edition of his book, Desiring God. For me it was a homerun. However, this video raises big questions.

I will have more to say on this, but for now, have a look at this humorous video--you'll like it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Too Good To Be True

I love this passage:

14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:14-20)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A 911 Moment?

It's the weekend, and you know what that means...

Here's Jay Leno with some silly and unnecessary 911 calls. I think you will enjoy it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Dracula Days

Sometimes after a bunch of good days in row, days of Spirit-filled love and effectiveness around people, it can seem like someone pulled the plug on them and drained the life all away…slowly. The fun begins to slip, and the mundane, life-as-it-has-to-be takes its place. Pretty soon your days are all about going through the motions, while adding the proper amounts of postured zeal. But on those days you know you really don’t have it anymore. I don’t like those days.

I call them Dracula Days.

If you’re under thirty years old, you may not be real familiar with him, but you’ve probably heard of the famous bloodsucker. In the films of many years ago, Count Dracula would seem to be a fine, up-standing citizen, someone you’d like knowing. Coming from the fictitious Transylvania, he had a magnificent accent, and I nearly always think well of those who do, even if it isn’t warranted. “Vonderful to meet choo—I am Coun Drah-koo-lah.”

Unfortunately, he could turn into a nasty, hairy bat, and swoop in through the always-open window of the unsuspecting beautiful woman. And then he’d suck the life out of her.

Not nice.

For the longest time, Dracula would escape suspicion because he was so, well, nice. Only after he had punctured and drained almost every vivacious and gorgeous girl would anyone finally figure it out. And when he was dragged, hissing and growling, into the sunlight, his life of taking life came to an end.

I’ve got lots of hidden Dracula’s in my days, sneaky ways by which the life I’ve been given in Christ is drained away. Do you? They’re not always easy to identify, either, because I may have grown used to them. Maybe I’ve even accepted them.

I like to watch movies at home with my daughters. But while we enjoy watching, what actually happens between us? What heart value is exchanged? We may laugh or make comments together, but what did it actually draw out of us? What did I really give my girls from me? How did we share in the hope and love and grace of God, or in the things that build us up in Christ, or how did we grow in life by the Spirit? I’m not saying that movie watching together as a family is bad or to be avoided if you’re really a Christian. I am saying that it isn’t life giving or life stimulating. Not really. In fact, it sometimes becomes a default way of entertainment, which distracts me from what really satisfies.

Or maybe it’s reading the newspaper, or going through the mail while someone is with me, or watching the news while one of my daughters sits in the chair next to me. Why not drag her onto my lap and talk or pray with her? That’s sure to stimulate life. Or maybe it’s letting Sarah do the kitchen stuff while I’m parked in front of the computer screen. Why not go out there and empty the dishwasher together? Why not ask a life-provoking question (“What does God think of you, Sarah?”), or offer something that caught my attention today about a lie of the devil I’ve been deceived into believing?

Any of these things (and simpler ones, too) are about sewing to the Spirit with other people. And what happens when you sew to the Spirit, giving Him your attention?

“For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:8 NASB)

Sowing to the flesh essentially means living through your days without the life of God—the life Jesus gave you and which the Holy Spirit now produces. I think it’s the familiar things that drain the life out of us, the mundane stuff we have to do, so we do it without thinking through it. We don’t recognize that those are puncture points.


Next time you have to do the laundry, or clear the table, or when you feel fatigued after a full day of work, resist the familiar impulse to plop down in front of the TV, or pick up a newspaper, or surf the web, and go for life—real life. It may feel awkward at first, but you’ll soon notice you’ve got more vitality, you’re more alert and with it. Not only will those Dracula Days be at an end, but you’ll also be dragging his sorry carcass into the light, there to sizzle and fry.

And that’s nice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Letter To My Daughter

(The following is a letter that I gave to my daughter, Emma. She read it alone this morning, and then sat on my lap while we read through it together. Emma is as alien in this world as I am, and is not at all spared from its’ attempt to deceive her into thinking she is far less than what God has made of her. It throws mud at her, so to speak, and it happens a lot at school. For once, she did poorly on a test, and it really stunned her—she wept and cried, “I stink!” I share this with you in the hope it will assist you in your day-to-day life. This world is not worthy of you, but perhaps the image you have of yourself has been muddied. – Ralph)

To my Emma:

You had a difficult day yesterday, and I wanted to write you a note about it.

I have two thoughts: I was sad—I hurt with you. I know what it feels like to be measured or challenged, and to not do well. It feels like somebody just pointed out that you’re dumb or not talented enough or not as good as you should be, and that’s painful.

But it’s a lie. And it’s a really bad lie, too.

Emma, my Beauty, God has made you spot-on perfect—just right. He has made you exactly the way He has planned for the life He has planned for you—no mistakes. You match up perfectly. However, neither the tests at school, nor the tests of relationships, or of sports will always show you how perfectly designed and made you are. Sometimes they will, but sometimes they won’t. Yesterday they didn’t. But nothing has really changed—you’re still just right. Ask God—He’ll tell you.

The lie the devil works with and wants us to believe, Emma, is that how we do in life is how we are—even who we are. So, if most everyone likes us and we get good grades and we do well in sports, well, then, we must be good. How wonderful. But, if there are people who actually dislike us, if we occasionally get bad grades, and if we’re not good at every sport, well, then, we must be bad. But is that true? No. Neither example is true.

None of that stuff has anything to do with who we really are. But, if the devil is successful in getting us to believe the lie that how we do reveals who we are, then we will live and strive to be good and do good in the eyes of people as our highest goal. That will make us slaves to what people think, and we’ll have to always perform just right for them. And that will prevent us from ever knowing who we really are according to God, because we’ll be busy being somebody we think is good.

Satan’s lie will own us.

But not you. What God thinks about you is accurate. Remember what He thinks? You have become His daughter in the deepest sense—He has even made you like Himself. You feel His feelings, you have His thoughts, you know His desires. Incredible! You are a holy girl, a royal daughter of His—no one in this world is actually any better than you, Emma.

I know that you have confusing thoughts and experiences and feelings about who you are. Nuts! That happens a lot to me, too, and I don’t like it. But that’s why you and I go back to the Truth—and that’s Jesus. What He did for you and me on the cross, what He did for us in His resurrection, and what He did for you and me in choosing us(!) makes us incredible. No kidding!

So when we don’t do well in some sort of worldly test, it does not tell us who we are. We get who we are from God. Now, if you believe God made you to be a mathematician or a baseball player, there’s some work you can do. But you don’t do the work so you can become either of those things, you would do it because you believe that’s who you are and what you’re to do. If God convinces you that you’re going to be a rancher(!), then believe it and work at it with all your heart! And you can figure that baseball won’t be very important to a rancher. You might play at it, but you might not be the best at it. Would that matter? No. Not if God made you a rancher. Might people laugh at the way you throw a ball or swing a bat? Yeah, maybe. But that’s okay, since you’re not a baseball player. See? You know God, and He tells you who you are.

My second thought: I was very proud of you yesterday—even more today. Here’s why: you went through something like what Jesus went through, and you’re okay. When Jesus was nailed to the cross and then hung up for all to see, you know that He was dying for our sins. But something else was happening too, and it was awful—terrible. Jesus was being misidentified and rejected by a lot of people all around Him, people He really loved. Some of those people thought He was a deceiver, a liar, and others thought He was misguided or stupid to do what He was doing. “What an idiot!” they might have said. And yet He willingly did it for them, too.

Imagine the pressure Jesus must have faced from all those people. “Just tell us you’re not the Messiah, and we’ll let you go!” “We’ll stop hurting you if you’ll simply say you’re only a man, and not God!” “Think of your parents and the embarrassment and pain you’re putting them through—give up this foolishness!” But Jesus knew who He was. Because He did, He went willingly to the cross. He wanted to! He endured that pain because He knew who He was, and what would happen after the cross! Lots of people misidentified Him and pleaded with Him to be someone else, someone different, but He couldn’t do it because He knew.

He knew about you too, Emma.

Before either of us was born, He chose us, knowing that would mean that we would have incredible gifts and talents and thoughts and feelings and joys because we would be sons and daughters of God. And he knew that we would sometimes be terribly misidentified and mistreated. In fact, Jesus told us to figure that sometimes our life would be like being nailed to a cross and rejected, just as He was. Might as well expect it. If the world mistook and mistreated Jesus, it will do the same to us. Yesterday, it did it to you. I hope you can understand why—it’s not your fault—you’re being identified with Jesus.

I am your very pleased dad, Emma. I see you! I know who you are. It pains me, but sort of reassures me when I see the world misidentify and then mistreat you. Even in that way, you really are a lot like Jesus. It angers me when I see the devil throwing his lie at you, and I want to beat him up. The best way for me to do that is to pray for you (and I do), and to tell you who you really already are, so you can withstand the misidentification and mistreatment you will go through.

When I look at you, I am proud of God! He has made you brilliantly and brilliant. You’re obviously His, even while you’re mine.

I’m yours, too.


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Dancing with Basketballs & Knives

My family and I saw STOMP when it was here in Denver. The four of us were completely engrossed and involved during the entire performance. It was absolutely fantastic!

If you get the chance to go, do it.

Until then, take a look at this and you'll get a taste of what it's like. (About 5 mins.)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Remembering To Rest

“So, what do you suppose the ‘throne of grace’ looks like?” I asked. (We’re reading through Hebrews together after dinner. Rather than get up and move elsewhere, we stay at the table, and any one of us might do the reading.)

Emma, ever the imaginative one, offered, “I picture a big, beautiful, golden throne with God on it, and this long, long line of people snaking along toward it. That’s what I imagine. Just because I imagine it, doesn’t mean that will make it happen, you know. It’s just the way I see it.” She was sure we needed to be clear on this whole imagination thing.

“Alright—I like that, Emma. Now, how are people talking to God, what are they saying to Him who is seated on the throne of grace?” I asked. Sarah gave me an “I know what you’re getting at” kind of look. Ellen and Emma sort of defaulted to the television portrayal of Pharoah-on-the-throne idea, and said, “Oh, please, God! Give me what I need! Answer ‘Yes’ to my requests…please, God!” I loved their dramatics, but not their picture. I wondered how many of us default to the idea, too.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s pretend that it’s me on the throne—your daddy. How would you approach me?” Emma got out of her chair, cut to the front of the imaginary line, crawled up on my lap and said, “I love you, daddy! Can I have a gerbil? Can I have my own computer? Can I? Can I?” Sarah and Ellen laughed, and Ellen said, “We don’t have to beg with you…and we don’t have to beg with God, either. That would be silly!” Sarah asked, “And why don’t we have to beg God? Why don’t we have to plead with Him who sits on the throne of grace?”

And together Ellen and Emma said something like, “Because it’s the throne of grace, not the throne of begging! We already have everything with God because of Jesus. We’re in Him, so God gives us everything because of that…Did you forget, daddy?”

We love this.

I asked, “So what do you suppose is most important and most honoring to God as we approach Him, seated on the throne of grace?” And Ellen laughed, “That we believe we’re always welcome and always wanted and will always get what’s right from God because of His grace to us. Not because we beg just right, but because we believe and ask Him. That’s how it works.”

And we were done. If I had had a football, I would have spiked it and done one of those little swivel-butt dances…probably good I didn’t have a ball. But I loved what my daughters were getting and that they we’re having fun with it.

That’s what I think the fourth chapter of Hebrews is about. Believe God is who He says He is, believe we are who He says we are, believe our relationship is as excellent as He says it is because of Jesus, and, hanging onto that, hang out at the throne! Put your confidence in Him and in what He says is true of you. It often takes some work to hang onto your faith in Him, but you really will find rest.

That's how it works...Did you forget?


Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[e] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

It's Available!

My book is here!

And I want you to have a copy--really, I'm thrilled with how it turned out. I'm certain you will really enjoy it.

To find out more, go to, and click on Ralph's Book.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

A Worthwhile Scream

What's the first thing we do when coming into the world? Okay, some might say we cry, but my experience is that the first thing we do immediately after birth is scream. And I think we're right about it—smartest thing we can do.

Doesn't that explain why we sometimes still feel like cranking up and letting go a really great one, a real ripper? You know, one that really says how we feel and makes us feel better? "Ahhhh. I'm glad I got that out."'

Well, here's one from a guy named Wilhelm that really nails it—for him and for us. Maybe it will be a surrogate for you. It's so good that his recorded scream has been used over and over again in movie after movie. Here's a video compilation of his scream...see if it doesn't make you feel better.

Works for me.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Just Feels Good

One of the best feel-good stories I have seen in quite a while. It's worth your time--you won't regret it.

A Good Look Behind

A while back I was driving on the freeway when my rearview mirror decided to commit suicide. In an instant, it leaped away from its secure and beneficial position, crashed on the dash and rolled onto the floor, there to lie in state. I couldn’t believe it.

Grief over the untimely and unnatural death of the mirror swept over me, and I became vividly aware of how instantly insecure I felt.

I couldn’t see behind.

Until replacing it about a week later, each time I drove somewhere I felt little security about what was before me because I had become insecure about what was behind. I drove around always on edge and with virtually no confidence. For a while I forced myself to drive without a look behind, but until I replaced the mirror, I never felt right.

I do that sometimes in life, as well, and it’s terribly dangerous because I don’t do good without a good look behind. My going forward first requires a look back at what has been done for me by Jesus. If I forget to take a look, or if I can’t see behind, I’ll be out of sorts wherever I go.

I must know and have settled in my heart the momentous occasion of my past crucifixion and resurrection with Christ Jesus. If I don’t, I’ll bash around in my day like a bumper car at Disneyland; fun for a while, but getting nowhere. When Jesus died, in Him the guy I used to be died, too. When Jesus rose from the dead, the new me did, too.

My look behind at what Jesus did for me and to me means I can go forward, knowing the truth about how to live and look at what’s ahead. And everything’s different. From then on I regard nothing and no one from a worldly viewpoint (2 Cor 5:16). Instead, I listen and look for the Spirit’s involvement with me and figure He knows about everything and everyone else. It’s then I’m led by the Spirit, which has become my new normal way to live. Knowing what’s gone on behind me allows me to look forward with confidence because I know that I’m really living. I need that! And it’s then I live for what’s eternally true, not for what’s temporarily before me.

In view of the past, I can see ahead; and it doesn’t look so bad from there.

First Post

Well, I'm an author. The former non-author has gone (his final post was last Thursday), and the new has emerged. Can you tell?

I received a few books with my name on them late last week. My first book--in my hands. Dang, it was good!

I was at a terrific conference for Dawn Ministries, here in Denver. What wonderful people! So many strong and intriguing opinions, but not one person sought the lime light or elbowed his was to the front of the crowd. Everybody was a nobody, and nobody cared. Delightful. And those who saw my book had a terrific response to it. I was elated by their covetousness...or something like that.

I'll be posting more information in a day or two about how you can order it. For more information until then, go to, and click on Ralph's Book.