Thursday, May 31, 2012

Alien Children

Our Christian children are aliens.  If they don’t know it, or if we only teach them techniques to be successful in this life (as though that were Christian), we’ve set them up for frustration.  When I see a trained monkey wearing children’s clothing and playing with children’s toys, I think it’s cute, but I’m not confused.  It’s not natural.  I don’t leap and exclaim, “Wow!  The monkey has become a kid!  What shall we name him?”  In the same way, as I train my children to function in this world, the fact that they are not of this world must always remain clear—to them and to me.  They’re from another.  If they don’t know it, their deluded attempt to fit with this world will make monkeys out of them.

Our Christian children are lights in this world, holy and blameless sons and daughters of God in whom lives the Holy Spirit Himself.  They’re not on a long and winding path to their destination—they’ve arrived already.

Do you see them?  Not if you’re looking at them only with the eyes in your head and not the eyes of your heart.  (Ephesians 1:17-19)

(Excerpted from my book, “God’s Astounding Opinion of You” – Understanding Your Identity Will Change Your Life.  Chapter 12, “Aliens Have Landed” – The Proper Care and Feeding of the Everyday Foreigners in Your Family. You may also find more at

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Way of Grace

My best work is often simply expressing frustration to Jesus.  He has no struggle, not with me, not with the truth, nor with things invisible and eternal.  In offering my struggles to Him, He works in me the Way that He is, and the Truth and the Life.  I'm getting better at believing that He is perfect with me. 

And that's the way of grace.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thank You, Veterans

My wife and I are here because both our fathers came home from serving in the navy in WWII. We remember those who have not come home and their families today.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Current of Ungrace

What plagues Christians and wears us out a lot? Believing that we fit in this world’s current of ungrace—and swimming as if our lives will be measured by ever improving personal bests.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Builder's Building

The church has become very difficult to see because we’re confused about the building.

I know very well what it's like to be part of church-in-the-building leadership, and the pressure to get people to come and to "engage" in some manner is high.  Whether and how people engage becomes the way by which leadership sees its effectiveness.  Poor attendance and poor engagement reflects badly, leading to assessments, strategies and pressure for improvement.  Good attendance and good engagement reflects well and becomes a template: "This is how we do ministry around here."  Either way, attendance and engagement become the measurements for leaders, and attendees are caught in the measurements. (In fact, they also often adopt them.)  

I would say that neither leaders nor attendees do well when this form of assessment is foundational.  When it is, no one will be seen for who he or she really is in Christ, magnificent and noble, since that invisible and eternal reality will have been camouflaged by another one, visible and temporary.  Our efforts and appeals will go toward the latter because that’s what we see and that’s what we can manage.  (So we think.)  Many of us attempt to live right there, in the passing away realm, contorting our true selves in the vain effort to make life happen where there is none.  And so much fails from there.

But if we see what’s true, if we believe God about what He does for and to the born again—It’s astounding!—if that’s our foundation, then we can go forward well from there.  It will look different, to be sure—especially in a building.  It must, since God is the builder and you are the building.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love Wildly

Some of my friends seem very angry at the “Institutional Church,” and not without reason. But I deeply love the church and many of them regularly collect inside a building. That's not a problem, but sometimes stuff happens to them while there that’s the problem.

I say, know who the church is and love wildly. That's going to be wonderful and that's going to hurt. But speaking the truth in love always has. So I need regular heart care from the Spirit, who reveals to me the beauty of people as well as the mud that smears them, concealing them even to themselves. The Spirit keeps my heart well and evident, both to myself and to others. . .even in the institution.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Christ In The Moment

(I think my friend, Chris Kimmell, nails this, and it's very relevant and helpful for me today. Well done, man!)

Often times we spend so much time trying to understand. We study and contemplate. We dissect situations, trying to imagine the outcome. We focus on what will be accomplished and try to look far into the future.

In our contemplation we miss the journey. In looking to the future we miss the present. In focusing on what God will do, we ignore what He is doing.

The living is now. God is in this moment. If we knew what was to come we wouldn't appreciate the journey. Embrace what is in front of you right now, this is your gift, this is your blessing.

Christ is in the living of life, not the contemplation of it. Christ is in this very moment, live it to the fullest. To Live IS Christ.

- Chris Kimmell

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Unintended Consequences

In man’s never ending crusade to enhance health and prolong his days upon the earth, there could be some drawbacks. Right?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Looking At Home

God knows that you’ve been buried with Christ and raised with and in Him, which means you’re in a very Good Place.  How you feel about where you are might depend upon where you’re looking—at the visible and passing away, or at the invisible and eternal.  One is a tourist trap, the other is home.  One will confuse you, one will revive you.

I hope you have a good look around home this weekend.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:1-3)

Thursday, May 17, 2012


God has made His home in you and in me, and He will never, NEVER withdraw Himself or forsake us. He has made us righteous royalty in His family. Like the father of the prodigal, even if our radiant robes should drag in the mud of this world, He will never lawyer-up and prosecute us for waywardness or distant country visitations.  Always we are His. Always He gushes love for us.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What If?

If He loved you before you loved Him, if He delighted to choose you and bless you with every good gift before you woke up and stretched a single muscle, if all of His actions toward you brought and continue to bring Him great praise and glory throughout the heavens though you fail to pull off one decent thing in response, still He loves you with abandon and holds nothing back.  That’s who He is.  And that changes a thing or two.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's A Done Deal

Our heavenly Father is not dealing with us or relating to us based upon our sins.  Think again about how God, in His great wisdom and grace, dealt with our sins in the first place.  Did He deal directly with us and punish us for our sins?  No, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, and He made us righteous! Once was completely sufficient for all our sins. 

If our individual sins still needed to be dealt with by God today, Christ would have to come as a man and go upon the cross time and time again!

- Joel Brueseke

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Mothers?  May I remind you that God has made you holy, faultless and free from accusation.  That's the gospel, so if you've been hearing anything else, it's not from God.  There are a lot of lies that Satan directs at you and at the amazing grace God has given you, so use the skill you've developed over the years of working on butts(!), and get rid of the crap!  (Col 1:21-23)  That's what my mother did. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Memories In The Making

That moment when one of the many memories of a lifetime is about to happen. . .for both.

Friday, May 11, 2012

What Isn't Secure?

What do you have to earn that God has not already given?  What can the devil take from you that isn’t secure in Christ, who earned and keeps it all?  We’re sons and daughters of the New Covenant that He made and keeps for us—Yea, Dad!—not orphans of a Covenant that we have to make and keep and hope He’ll accept.  He is happy with what He has done!  We might as well be too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Can You Relate?

He Has The Rest

Here's the news: The Holy Spirit doesn't need any help from you trying to figure out the flesh. The struggle you feel within is His fight with the flesh, not yours. All the Spirit wants is your attention on Him—that’s it. He’ll take care of the rest.

Should He want to convey something to you about it, you know it will be comforting and wonderful because He knows you really well and is very good at reviving the real you, even after a fleshly moment covered you over or beat you up. And I think there’s something in the Bible about the Spirit being rather good at counseling and comforting. Right?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Power & Pain of Authenticity

If I’m going to be authentic with people—who I am with nothing added to improve a result—I will likely feel a fleshly urge to add some pizzazz or extra personality or something really good to say in order to enhance the result. Refraining from that urge can seem like I’m causing or ignoring a void of opportunity that really ought to be filled. I was once very good at filling voids with additional information, jokes, sarcasm, nervous laughter, or witticisms. But choosing now to be authentic means I’m resting and trusting in Christ and choosing life by the Spirit. And that’s different.

When we’re born again, we are no longer of the flesh nor in the flesh, and life is by the Spirit. That means our primary awareness becomes God—with us and in us—and not our previous fascination with how to be or what to do in our days. Life navigation used to be outward oriented; now it is inward. Our greatest prize and joy becomes knowing God—even when we’re with people—and trusting Him to produce in us and through us what He wants and would be to the people and situations around us.

Really, most of us are used to dressing up our behaviors and interactions with people. The flesh sends us the message that we should enhance it all, which will give us better odds of getting what we want. And it might, actually, so that can become our goal in life. Control yourself = Get what you want. In fact, if you do not enhance your interactions with people in the ways that others do and expect, they might view you as different or odd. Not with the program. But you’ll know better.

In addition, Christian authenticity does not simply mean honesty, which can be brutal and harsh. Christian authenticity is living in and trusting in our union with Christ, who manifests whatever fruit He wants for a given situation. Life by the Spirit for us means love from God and love for others. If we're "cracking the whip" on people or "just being honest," that's not Spirit-led, that's fleshly.

Monday, May 07, 2012


The illusion of control—of posturing myself to get what I want—is threatened by authenticity, mine and yours. But in the seeming vacuum of authenticity I find rest and the grace of life by the Spirit. And that’s worth it.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Maybe Ignorance Is Bliss Is Better

Sometimes “. . .you have not because you ask not,” is better.  Right?  Ha!

Does God Work With A Baseball Bat?

Imagine God working on you.  How’s His expression?  Is He holding a chisel?  A scalpel?  An eraser?  A hammer?  A baseball bat?  A stick of dynamite?

To be clear, I don’t mean that God is working on us, as if we were hard-packed ground requiring Supreme effort to make anything useful out of us.  Some of us think so, and pray, “Dear GOD!  If you can do ANYTHING with me, your NUMBER ONE SOB, then good luck!”  Come on, that’s not true at all.  God, who began with a perfect work in us, isn’t working ON us—“What a tough nut to crack Ralph is!”—but IN us (Phil 1:6).  That’s where He is!  He’s at home.  Paid off the mortgage and everything.  He’s very happy to be living in us, which makes the whole thing an inside job after all.

That’s why finding Jesus in us is such a wonderful thing, and worthy of listening and feeling and perceiving Him inside.  He’s planning on doing great things from there, things that are just like Him, exactly like He would be in the situations we face.  Now that God’s been God for more than a few years(!), He’s pretty good at knowing what to do, what to say and when to say it.  And now that He’s got all the experience of, like, forever, He never lacks understanding or care or love or any of that other God stuff.  Right?

What’s the point?  Good God, (wo)man, God’s in you!  Locked and loaded, ready to go, press start!

So if things have gotten confusing and fuzzy and exhausting lately, if you’re pretty much just going through the motions because you’ve got stuff to do, then hey.  First, God’s not mad at you.  God is not wringing His gargantuan hands over you, and He’s not reaching for his #548 Louisville Slugger baseball bat, and getting into His batting stance while keeping His eyes on the ball—you.  He’s not planning to get your attention by giving you a good whacking.  He loves you!  He’s totally convinced about you, and that’s a good thing. A really good thing.  He thinks that He’s made you spot-on perfect.  What if He’s right?

Maybe get a little quiet this weekend.  Maybe turn off the tube or the tunes, and listen for God.  Look for Him a little, maybe in a book, maybe outside, maybe in a sudden knowing of something great about you and God.  Pay attention to that.  He’s working with you.  You’re close, you’re tight—He made it happen.  Maybe pop THE BIG QUESTION:  “Father, what do you think of me?”  And be prepared to hear good news—gospel stuff, like, “I find no fault with you,” or “I love you perfectly,” or “I’m not worried about you,” or “My son, you should see what I see. It’s perfect.”

God works.

“For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”  (Ephesians 2:10).

That’s it.  Have a good weekend.  Ralph out.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Visible Fake-Outs

We’re looking at the wrong place.

Although we are to no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view (2 Corinthians 5:16), we still fall prey to the temporary temptation—even with ourselves. When we see our failures, struggles, and shortcomings, we begin to believe we are truly a mess in need of a lot of changes. What’s wrong with that? Soon we’ll become fascinated and fixated with ourselves instead of God. And that’s tragic. Preoccupation with ourselves is on the way in, and the awe of God, who lives within us, is on the way out.

Transfixed by the visible, the practical relevance of the invisible will slip away, and eternal truth will begin to miss the mark of the heart. We’ll begin to implore God to work on us, our misplaced faith missing the fact that He already has.

(From my book, "God's Astounding Opinion of You," Chapter 1.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Just Sayin'

Click on the cartoon to enlarge it--and actually be able to read it!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Free eBook Today!

Here’s the best deal I’ve seen in quite a while!  Get the eBook version of “HEAVEN IS NOW,” Andrew Farley’s new book, for FREE today and today ONLY!  It’s one of my favorite books and highest recommendations.  Click on the link below to go get it. 

If you've ever wondered what Jesus might say specifically to you, this is your book and you're going to love it! Andrew Farley presents the magnificent truth of the gospel in the form of a conversation—as though Jesus were talking directly to you, and you to Jesus. Your heart will open wide to your Savior as you marvel at his love for you. And there's nothing more life-changing than that!

Someone Else

The worst thing that could ever happen to me already has.  My sin and shame and failure and guilt were found out, put on open display, and Someone Else claimed responsibility.  It was a terrible and wonderful day, and I’m still getting used to it.