Sunday, June 30, 2013

Through The Cross

Sometimes I think I’d like to mount a small cross about three inches in front of my eyes.  Then I’d have to view everyone and everything through it—even myself—and I’d see accurately for the first time. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Less Exciting

Our days would be less exciting if everyone spelled accurately.

I wonder how someone might "giggle the door knob." Would telling "knock knock" jokes do it?

History & Future

It's a good thing I've got Jesus' righteousness as my history and future, instead of something I've got to work out and achieve. The pressure's off me, so I can live by faith in Him. And that works.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Water To Wine

This is for all of the food, miracle, and Jesus lovers out there. It could have happened.  Maybe.  Not.  But I still like it.  :)

Friday, June 21, 2013

How To Get God To Be Quiet

My short message today is: “How To Get God To Be Quiet”. It’s based upon Hebrews 10:16-18 NAS:

“This is the covenant that I will make with them. After those days (the first covenant days, which came to an end at Jesus’ death), says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them,” He then says, 17 “And their sins and their lawless deedsI will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin. (Italics mine.)

That’s staggering. That’s amazing.

No more sacrificing animals for the Jews, and no need for the believing Gentiles (everybody else) to plead or to speak of their sins. They’re gone.

So here’s how to get God to be quiet: Try having a chat about your sins with Him who remembers them no more.

Crickets. Silence.

If you’ve been throwing a lot of words at God, but not hearing anything in return, watch your language. Is your attempt at conversation based upon what you’ve done, or is it based upon what He has done?

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “How To Get God To Be Quiet,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see and/or to subscribe to these videos, click, or scroll down this page.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How To Get God To Be Quiet

Have you got 2 minutes to find out why God might not be speaking to you? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pogo Stick Jesus

One of the most hurtful deceptions plaguing us is, “The Pogo Stick Jesus Syndrome.”

Are you familiar with the recreational toy?  As a boy I’d set my feet on the pedals and grab hold of the handle bars, thinking that maybe I could even spring over my dad’s car if only I could get enough bounce on my pogo.  I had a lot of fun, except when I got a little sideways and ended up in the thick (and painful) hedge along our driveway.

“Ralph, why is your shirt torn?” my mother asked.  “Ah, my pogo threw me in the hedge,” I answered.  With a nod of her wise head, my mother concluded, “Maybe you should take it easy on that thing.”  That was good advice.

In the years since, I have often found that many people think they have a sort of pogo stick relationship with God.  Make the right move, do the right thing, and God is in their life along with all of His benefits.  Do the wrong thing—pop out a swear word, raise your voice in anger, give in to lust or greed or envy—and He’s out.  Pogo stick Jesus.  However, you could get Him to pogo back in response to a proper sin confession or a heartfelt re-commitment, and, tah-dah!  God and favor restored all over again.  He had pogoed back.

Although many failed to get the hang of the pogo stick Jesus game and gave up on Christianity (or what they thought was Christianity), some people learned to live a sin-focused life of confession.  I’m not kidding.  In essence their behavior and their ability to regulate it determined God’s level of comfort and happiness with them—and His presence and blessing.  If either went missing, one had only to figure out what offense had sent Him pogoing away.  This terrible pogo stick theology made them responsible for God (they had to be entirely vigilant upon themselves) and accountable to themselves.  “Did I blow it and lose His blessing?  Has God left me?  How have I upset my very sensitive God and frustrated His plan for my life?”

I don’t mean to imply that pogo stick Christians are foolish or stupid—they’re not.  I do want to save them from a deception which denies the grandeur of the gospel and the greatness of the new covenant, and which robs them of relaxing with Jesus and resting in Him. There is no rest when one is trying to bring to pass what God already has!  Right?

To be clear, sin is no longer the defining aspect of our relationship with God—Christ is!  Grace is!  God did away with sin, yours and mine, by the sacrifice of His son.  We have been brought into union with Him and nothing, NOTHING can separate us from Him ever again.  He has already given us every good gift and perfect fullness in Christ.  What’s left out of every and fullness?  I can’t think of anything.  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—No kidding!—and even if our radiant robes should drag in the mud of this world, like the father of the prodigal, He will never lawyer-up and prosecute us for waywardness or distant country visitations. 

Has it struck you that the prodigal’s father never even asked a question of his returning pig crap encrusted son?  Not one!  There was no interrogation.  Nothing had changed about his father and what he knew to be true of his son.  He had the truth in his mind all the time.  The only thing different was that the son was home where dad could again lavish himself upon him.

While the son might have believed the lie that his terrible behavior and return home would change the way his father treated him, would throw the farm into shocked chaos and force his father to make a harsh and disciplined example of him (early pogo stick theology), his dad was unaffected—except for the party!  In my view, the only protestor of such unparalleled largesse was the elder brother religionist.  “He can have his hollow party.  I’m going to earn mine.”

The lie of religion (which is what that is) suggests that while God has already given us everything in Christ, we might have lost a little of the all we never earned—here’s how to get it back.  Slaves are made in the here’s how.  So evil and destructive is this suggestion that the apostle Paul made a wish for those who spread the lie (Galatians 5:12).

The lie says, “Well, yes, grace is great, but it doesn’t come with an unlimited warranty.  Here’s what you’ve got to do to keep up your end of the deal.”  Do you recognize it?  In two words, that’s pig crap.

Our Father tore up the records and every regulation!  No debt remains.  We cannot pay Him back, neither does He want it.  That would be insulting to Him and the staggering display of His love and grace, which He still likes displaying.  Have you noticed?  It’s His thing!  It’s the new covenant.  (And our Father asks no questions.)  At the risk of adding to the story, the prodigal’s father threw a parade in front of the nasty neighbors as if to say, “He’s MY son!  He is for me, and I’ll give him all that I want no matter how scandalous it seems to you!” 

(Colossians 2:13-15, italics mine.)
“He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  That’s the parade!

Essentially, the good news is this:  He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25).  If you believe that by bringing your sins before God you’ll get Him to pay great attention to them, think again, pogo stick breath.  He already did.  And He’s pretty satisfied and happy with what He has done about sin.  If you believe that behaving perfectly will earn favor with God that would otherwise be threatened, think again.  You’ve got Jesus on a pogo stick.

He’s not there.  He’s settled and happily at home in a perfect and lavish environment.  He’s at home in you.

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "Pogo Stick Jesus," and is for those who might rather read than watch.  You can see the video by scrolling down this page, or by clicking,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pogo Stick Jesus

One of the most hurtful deceptions that I have seen plaguing us is “The Pogo Stick Jesus Syndrome.”  Do you suffer from it?  Take a few minutes and find out.  It will help you and those you know who suffer without cause.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Accountable To Grace

I don’t know what you’re doing with your life as it involves others, but for the rest of my days I promise to keep everyone accountable to the grace of God.  It’s for life—the length of it and the enjoyment of it.  Romans 6:14 reads, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

I know that the word “accountable” might be an odd word to put together with “grace,” but it comes as something of a response to the legalistic “accountability police,” who seem always to be prosecuting people with the word.  “You’ll be held accountable,” they might say.  That always makes me shudder. . .and maybe want to vomit. . .on them.  Is that wrong? 

“Grace” doesn’t mean that nothing matters; grace means that Jesus matters.  He’s got us, and He’s given us all of His righteousness and holiness.  Believing that, over and over again, is how you live by grace.  It will have an effect!  You’ll like it, and Christ in you will be in evidence.  You’ll like that, and so will others.

But keeping yourself in the crosshairs of your own gun—“I’ll be held accountable”—and turning it on others—“You’ll be held accountable”—is not Christian living.  It may seem to help people, but it actually hurts them and pushes them toward fleshly living.  And I don’t like that at all.  That’s why I don’t like those who do it to them.

However, if grace is grace, then it’s for them, too.  So I’m going to hold them accountable to God’s grace. 

(This is a transcript of an earlier video, “Accountable To Grace,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the 3 minute video, click:, or simply scroll down below.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Accountable To Grace

Have you met God’s vigilantes?  Well, they’re not actually His vigilantes, but they think they are.  They’re targeting life under grace and those who live by faith in Christ, and making a mess of things.  Be wary of them, but keep this in mind.  It's about three minutes.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Move On

Over the years of my life, I've noticed that sometimes the friends you make are not the friends you keep. You may mean well, but they're looking for an advantage instead. Turn your back, turn your cheek, and they've got you. You can't always figure this out, either, even though your intention is to love.

If their intention is strategic, and not to love, there's no happy ending to be had. Move on.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Here's something I like very much from my friend, Andrew Farley: 

POSITIONAL FORGIVENESS? Some say that we Christians are totally forgiven "positionally" but not "relationally" until we confess each sin. Here are some thoughts on the so-called difference between "positional forgiveness" and "relational forgiveness":

It's all make believe. It's literally fabricated terminology that turns the work of the Cross into something less powerful than the blood of bulls and goats in the Old Testament.

In the Old Testament, Jews felt better (yes, in the real world, even "relationally"!) when the blood of bulls and goats was shed. Why? Because another year's worth of sins was covered. This wasn't "positional forgiveness" achieved by animal blood. It was actual, experienced relief for the Jews! And blood caused it.

How much more should we "feel better" in the here and now because the Lamb of God has taken away our sins, once and for all, through His blood?!?

Those who fabricate two "types" of forgiveness, and say that Christ's blood achieved one but not the other, insult the Son of God.

They essentially believe that the way to motivate Christians is to hijack their forgiveness and hold it hostage. Then Christians will behave, they think, and will admit wrongdoing in order to get forgiven "relationally" through confession.

Here's the simple truth: Only blood (not words!) achieves forgiveness, and Jesus will never die again. It's finished - both positionally, and relationally, and in any other silly way we want to invent.

Imagine sitting at the foot of the Cross, looking up at Jesus Christ with blood all over him and then asking Him: "Jesus, is this positional?" I'm afraid He might just vomit all over you for that one. If not, then Peter might lop your ear off!

The whole thing is absurd. Let's motivate Christians by reminding them that they are dead to sin, alive to God, and made for so much more. Let's even tell them that, when they sin, they are quenching (not expressing) God's Spirit. But let's not try to motivate them by hijacking the true effects of the Cross and acting as if the blood of Jesus didn't fully work for the here and now.

That's just lame.

Christians are forgiven people, period. There are many reasons to turn from sin and live uprightly. There are many reasons to admit our wrongdoing, to regret sin. But getting more forgiveness is not one of those reasons. Jesus already gave us all the forgiveness we will ever need.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


 Don't you think it's time? 
(This is a test of how thoroughly we pay attention and how quickly we respond as a result.  We might do well to slow down, breathe, and look and listen deeply to one another.)

To Know God

Don’t get so caught up in debate, even over important things (maybe especially over important things), that knowing and enjoying Jesus in you, with you and for you, becomes and remains less of an anticipated thrill and solution and hope and joy than those other things. 

We write and talk about the gospel, which is the very power of God, not simply so people can be smarter and well armed in a debate.  We, who love the gospel, offer it to people because it enables and promotes in them what it does in us:  the knowing and the loving of God Himself.  That’s the prize and that’s the point.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Speaking In Georgia

I will be flying to Atlanta tonight, where I will be speaking throughout the week. I'm seriously looking forward to getting together with some ridiculously wonderful people while there.

The church and ministry group sponsoring me is inviting everyone to a cookout on Friday night at 6:30. The address is: Grace Life Church, 655 Molly Lane, Woodstock, GA, 30189. Their web site is:

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Rejoice IN

“Rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 4:4) does not mean to rejoice “at” the Lord, as if He requires dancing and happy words, but to make much of being IN Him.  It’s another way of reminding yourself of where you are (in Christ), of what’s become of you there (you’ve been made a perfect new creation, and have been brought into forever union with Him), of all that you have (everything Jesus has, you do too), and the prospects for your future.  The Great Security Expert has taken care of you and your inheritance already by putting you into The Promise Himself.  That might make for some rejoicing, don’t you think?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Speaking Today

I will be speaking this morning at 9:00, and it will be streamed live at:  Click on the "WATCH LIVE" tab.

Close Your Eyes

In order to be renewed and refreshed, and in order to renew and refresh others, you may need to close your eyes to what you can see, and open the eyes of your heart to what you know is true. That's the accurate view, and from there you can see clearly. 

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

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Attracted To Jesus

Why were people so attracted to Jesus?  Because they saw in Him the truth about themselves – that they were loved, that they were desired, and that they were better and had more hope than they knew.  It’s no different today, and I suspect tomorrow will be the same.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Where Are You From?

Here's a little bit of (meaningful) fun for a Saturday afternoon.