Sunday, June 24, 2007

Aint Nobody Home

I am just now on a long-overdue, three week break with my family. While I will be speaking a time or two along the way, having tons of fun with my three girls (including my wife) is the simplest of goals.

In other words, I won’t be blogging much.

My book, Better Off Than You Think, is doing very well, and I have been delighted by the many terrific comments and reviews. You may purchase it at your local bookstore, at all the usual online locations, and at my ministry website—

And thank you for your encouragement!

Monday, June 18, 2007

If My Nose Was Runnin' Money

I know, I know—it's not the weekend anymore. But I simply couldn't resist posting this 4.5 minute video—it's hilarious.

See if you don't think so, too.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

It's the weekend...

Some of my humor comes out on the weekend. It can be a tad bit twisted, but I do hope I don't offend you.

Some of the stranger things we see and do are mirrored in cartoons like this one.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Butterfly Breath

(In my desire to assist you in your life with God, I occasionally send out an oldie but goodie LifeNote. One from three years ago follows…)

Yesterday I saw the first butterfly of spring. (It had a sign on it, so I knew…) To see it wandering about my backyard was exhilarating. Right about now I’m tired of winter brown and love seeing emerging natural beauty.

I was reminded of another butterfly experience of last summer when I saw a beauty crawling around on the ground; it really looked out of place.

I figured it was slightly injured and confused, and so carefully picked it up and placed it on a flower, hoping it would come to its senses. “This is where you belong, butterfly breath,” I said, “Now, start living the way you really are…off you go.” After some recuperative stretching, it flew off, looking normal and healthy again. I felt I had done something particularly great by assisting Mr. Butterfly. But if it had the capacity, I bet it would have thought, “Whew! That giant almost killed me, squeezing my wings the way it did. I’m sure glad I escaped…”

I suspect I don’t always recognize God’s assistance when it comes. Even though I often think about how He promises to orchestrate the steps of my life, I don’t always believe He’s doing it; I mean, come on! Surely I’ve messed up His plan.

Like that butterfly, I get confused about who I am and where I belong, and maybe I fall down. Fortunately, there’s Someone who is never confused and who has all the power and ability to pick me up and get me flying again. And He’s sure to do it.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
(2 Cor 1:8-11 NIV)

If just now you find yourself down in the dirt, you must know you’ll not always be there. He will pick you, put you in place, and bring the breeze that will lift you once again. He’s pretty good with His favorite handiwork.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Clever Commercial

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

My family and I like well done commercials. Whenever we see one worthy enough, we record it and then watch them all together, debating and discussing and picking the winner.

Here's one we liked--

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Fired-Up For Life

“I can do all things through Christ, all things!” the fiery young man at the pulpit yelled. “I can have life the way it ought to be!” He was really worked up, and so was the congregation. And why not? He was preaching from the Bible, and he was preaching good news.

Then, listening to him, why was I slightly disturbed? I wanted him to say more…and then get fiery.

The passage loosely quoted is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, who had received reports that Paul’s life wasn’t looking so good lately…jail time, floggings, shipwrecks, riots and fights, struggles with fear, worry and lust, and on top of that, he wasn’t sleeping or eating enough. I’ll bet he wasn’t taking his vitamins, either. What had gone wrong?

Jesus had lovingly interrupted Paul’s zealous lifestyle and given him a new life, one born and fit right with heaven, but one at odds with the world. From that day forward, Paul abandoned his lifestyle to the pursuit of knowing Christ Jesus, His new life, who then led Paul on the adventure of a lifetime.

Would it surprise you to know that a most delicious effort on the part of the devil is to confuse us about life?

As a little FYI, the Greek word for life used most often in the New Covenant is ZOE. Before we received Jesus (who is ZOE), we didn’t even have life—at least not the life that God thinks about. Remember what Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden? Cut off from God, they lost life. While they must have been haunted by what they lost for the rest of their earthly lives, we don’t even know the haunting. We’ve been mustering up fleshly existence and calling it life ever since—but Adam and Eve would know better. All we’ve had is a lifestyle—ZAO—a going through the motions without real ZOE.

But! When we receive Jesus we receive life for the first time. And ZOE explains why you and I have those marvelous new urges and desires; like wanting to know God, wondering about worship and scripture and holiness and service. The day before we received ZOE, we didn’t care! But everything is different now. One might say that until you get a good ZOE, your ZAO is sure to stink. Or, if, having received the heavenly ZOE, your ZAO has gone stinky, see to your ZOE.

Isn’t that fun?

Paul’s love for real life (ZOE) meant a lot about his life (ZAO). If you’ve ever read the eleventh chapter of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, you know how his life looked…and have probably hoped yours wouldn’t look the same!

The point is this: because he had Christ and because he had been changed into someone fit with heaven, Paul let go of his career path as life, and instead chose life (ZOE) as the path for his career. Whether Paul’s pursuit of Jesus (and the life He is) meant lack or lots, nice style or bad, Paul knew he could, indeed, do it all in the One providing life for life. ZOE for ZAO.

How’s your life feeling and looking just now? Struggling with inner riots? Afraid of wrecking on the rocks straight ahead? Fighting with worry and lust? Upset with what the mirror reports? Not too crazy about what people are saying about you and your life?

The style of your life is not worthy of your greatest fight; the fight you’re in is a great fight for life. When you’re having that, when you’re doing whatever you like in order to know Him and have His life, then whatever the day brings, you can live in it through Christ. And maybe have a bit of that “more than conqueror” thing goin’ on. And that’s worth getting fired up about.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Bye Bye, Paganomics

Do you remember what it was like when God rescued you from paganometry? Was there a season when you noticed you no longer completely enjoyed romping and mixing with the things and ways of this world?

I don’t mean to say that you never sinned again, or never had some dark days where your behavior didn’t match up with your new birth. I mean that because something real had happened between God and you, it was just no longer possible to easily and fully enjoy what you might have back in the days when you were still a pagan. What was it like?

It had to be a shocker for the apostle Paul. He was such a nasty man—an aggressive, brutish, bull of a human, who chased down the sons of God and sometimes handed them over to death. It was his particular brand of paganomics—what fun. And then he became a son of God—how ironic. Imagine the change.

He describes some of that change in his letter to the Galatians:

“For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles,…” (Galatians 1:13-16)

I love that! Paul didn’t wake up one day and choose Christ, he woke up one day and knew God chose him! That changed everything. One moment Paul is an empty hellion on his way to hell, and the next he’s a modern day holy of holies, the dwelling place of God. What a shocker for Paul to realize! I wonder if he ever thought, “What happened?! What about my business of capturing Christians? Can I still do it? Maybe if I treat them a little nicer…” I don’t think so.

I believe that Paul was so transfixed by what had happened to him and by who did it—God—that he didn’t have to think much about what he could and couldn’t do anymore. The presence and influence of God in the formerly pagan Paul made life as it had been impossible. Even if one of his former partners in crime had offered an excellent opportunity to indulge in paganometry, Paul had only to think about what God had done to him, and where He now lived. Sorry, Charlie—Buh bye. Adios.

And I suggest that’s how it is for you and me. If you’ve grown weary in well-doing, how about taking a look at your beginning with God? I bet it will revive you. Reviewing how God came after you will help you see how He is still doing it today. If He is active concerning you, wouldn’t you like to know how? That kind of interest in God is healthy! That’s how Paul helps the Galatians in asking them:

“I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” (Galatians 3:2-5)

In other words, wasn’t your beginning with God because He began with you? You didn’t start anything—He planned for you a long time ago (before He made the earth), woke you up to His plan, and hopped aboard. He still enjoys revealing His plans for people, and knowing what’s up with God is invigorating!

Your beginning was like Paul’s—what a shocker. And it was the beginning of the end of your pagan days.

Bye bye, paganomics.