Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Look, He Works

If you're God's workmanship (and, indeed, you are - Ephesians 2:10), then your part isn't to work but to relax and know Him and how He is with you.  Jesus is your focus because you’re His.  He'll take care of the building and the result, because He knows what He's doing.  You don't have to.  He’s the Expert.  That’s why you feel better after looking at Him or talking with Him. 

You look, He works.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Harris Family Reunion

Can you tell it's an annual Harris reunion?   We're in Three Arch Bay, California.

Okay, it's only a small yellowfin croaker, but still.  I'll seek out it's grandpa tomorrow.

My eldest daughter, Ellen and I wandered the beach early this morning.

Beach bums.

 Two of my brothers.  Yes, one is my identical twin.

Yes, we're a tad bit odd.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Listen For Him

If God long ago bore all of your iniquities and ransomed you from sin, if He made you His own home, secured you for heaven and rescued you from this present evil age, if that’s all done, then you’ll be able to discern the voice of the Liar whenever you hear anything different, even if it comes from someone you might otherwise believe.  That will also help you to hear the voice of truth and freedom and love and correction and direction and encouragement.  It will sound like you’d think Jesus would sound looking right at you, since He knows all that He has loved doing for you already.  He has the voice you want. 

Listen for Him. 

(Isaiah 53; Matthew 20:28; Ephesians 2:6-7; Galatians 1:4) 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mississippi Crosses

Sometimes I get to experience something that was obviously orchestrated long ago. That was the past five days in Mississippi. It was rare, it was profound, it was surprising, it was engrossing, and it was loving. Pictured here are the coaches with whom I spent three days, talking and sharing and cooking and arguing and laughing and dreaming. Seven men who know Jesus loves them, as well as the players, students, staff and families they’re deeply involved with every day. We talked about where God is, how He got there, what He’s doing there, how we can know Him and walk with Him in what He’s doing, and how we can assist others to the same in the midst of learning how to play football—and to play the game well.

The second picture is of the eighty players, coaching staff and college President, gathered for an unforgettable moment. Two men in their 80’s, each of whom allowed as how they had believed their lives were virtually over in terms of godly fruitfulness, in a moment and seemingly by coincidence, arranged for us all to gather together. One of them had recently “lost” his wife of more than sixty years, while the other had a crazy vision several years ago of erecting three large crosses on a part of his property. In the years since, he wondered why and if anyone would ever see them.

As I spoke about the cross of Christ, history’s most important moment when our sin was removed and we were made innocent, and how one covenant became the “former covenant” as the New arrived, where the pressure to keep our side of the covenant was removed from us and kept eternally by God, these two men happily and openly cried. I spoke for only sixteen minutes, but a more captivating and profound sixteen minutes I have not known. And the team members? I wish you could have seen their faces. They were beautiful as they received the truth of Christ.

Thank you for being involved with me in the grace and love of Christ. I don’t know of anything more worthwhile and satisfying.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Intimacy With God

Intimacy with God is not something you can earn or achieve. Intimacy with Him is something already achieved and given, and is something you learn to enjoy. "But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit." 1 Corinthians 6:17

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Ultimate Eureka

Sometimes a person’s quest for love is played out for all of us to see.  I don’t mean in a movie and the big screen—that’s acting—I mean most everyone is told or shown or is somehow privy to what someone is going through relative to their quest for love.  You can probably think of some of those people. . .it’s not pretty.

Jim Morrison, the amazing lead singer of The Doors, a top band in the 1960’s until his drug-overdose death in 1971, played out before us and sang of his search for authentic love.  Through endless and momentary relationships that resulted in more than 20 paternity lawsuits against him, as well as tawdry newspaper headlines, magazine exposes, and more than 20 tell-all books written about what Morrison’s search looked like, he found only fragments of love, evidence, but not the love that gave him safety and rest, freedom to be himself all the time.

He wrote, “That’s what real love amounts to—letting a person be what he really is.  Most people love you for who you pretend to be.  To keep their love, you keep pretending—performing.  You get to love your pretense.  It’s true, we’re locked in an image—an act.”

If love is the greatest treasure, the most desirable and fulfilling gold we can possess because of what it does for us and to us, then every “Eureka!” every little discovery we have with each other is a vein leading to the source and treasure Himself.

It’s all over the New Testament, and 1 John 4:8 tells us specifically that God is love—He is the treasure we seek—and He is famously described to the love-confused Corinthians, and to the love-confused Jim Morrison, as well as to the love-confused Ralph Harris, and to you.  If you wonder how God, Love Himself, is with you, this is it: 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”  (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a)
I’m thankful for the love I find in others, because it gives me a glimpse of what I’m really after.  But I no longer demand that their love equates with God’s love, nor do I confuse it as the end of my desire or the conclusion of my hunt—it isn’t the mother lode I once thought it was!  The source to which all of the little discoveries point is Jesus.  We’re entirely safe with Him, who loves us perfectly—no need to perform ever.  He is the “Ultimate Eureka” for which we search.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “The Ultimate Eureka,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or simply scroll down this page.)

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Speaking In Mississippi

I’ll be heading to Jackson, Mississippi, early in the morning on Friday (July 19), to spend the weekend speaking at a retreat with college football coaches, and then with the team on Monday. We would appreciate your prayers.

The Ultimate Eureka

Is there something that makes navigating the dangers and confusion of love worth it?  Give 5 minutes, and see if your heart doesn’t recognize the destination we’re seeking.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Context & Punctuation

Americans (and those hungry Canadians) get blamed for a lot already, but really?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Power of Sin

This from my friend, Joel Brueseke, is beautifully clear: 

Paul didn't say, "By the law is the knowledge of righteousness." He said, "By the law is the knowledge of sin." (Romans 3:20)

Paul didn't say, "The law was added so that righteousness might increase." He said, "The law was added so that sin might increase." (Romans 5:20)

Paul didn't say, "When the commandment came, righteousness sprang to life and I became alive." He said, "When the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died." (Romans 7:9).

There's a big difference between what Paul said and what is taught in many churches these days.

I would add that Paul didn’t write, “The power of sin is not knowing the law.” He wrote, “The power of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:56)

If you're struggling with sin, consider whether you're attempting to live by "straightening yourself up," by keeping good rules and appearances, or by looking to Jesus, who made us free and who makes us His workmanship.

Slang's Beginnings

An example of how slang gets started.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

That's You

If God is working for change, then perhaps the greatest change He’s bringing about is for you to identify yourself, to think of yourself more as He does than you otherwise might by looking only at your reflection in the mirrors of this world — A true son or daughter, the place where He lives happily, a noble ambassador in this world, perfectly compatible with Him, now fit for heaven.

That’s you.  He has seen to it.  What do you think?

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "That's You," and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click on, or just scroll down this page.)

Friday, July 12, 2013

That's You

Got 1 minute?  If God is working for change, what do you think the biggest one is? 

A God-Given Unveiling

One of my favorite events is God’s unveiling of me to me.  He unclutters my thinking, He detoxes my mind, particularly regarding how He and I are doing together.  And I’m amazed by God.

If that seems selfish, bear with me.  Oftentimes the pressures and strategies of this world result in a virtual blindness of ourselves to ourselves.  This is not pleasing to God, who has made an incredible change to us through Jesus’ cross and resurrection.  He wants everyone to know!  To the extent that we remain unseeing, unconvinced is the degree to which we are hindered in our love affair with God and in our approach to people.  What’s the cure?  A proper view of His mercy and grace that pulls the cloak off of our minds, revealing the transformation. 

We who write and announce The Good News do it in order to assist people—you—with the view that awakens, unveiling you to you, and forever attracting you to the One who made it happen through Christ. 

To that end, I wrote a book.  You’ll find lots of books that I highly recommend on the “Recommends” page at, and I think you’d enjoy them all.  But this one’s mine—“God’s Astounding Opinion Of You”—and you can even get it or give it for free if that’s the way you need it. 

If you’ve already read it, then consider sharing this post on your web site or home page, and spread the news of God’s grace to us in Christ.  It will help people with their own God-given unveiling, and that’s what we want.  Right?

For more, Click on Ralph’s Book at:

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “A God-Given Unveiling,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or scroll down this page.)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A God-Given Unveiling

Oftentimes the pressures and strategies of this world result in a virtual blindness of ourselves to ourselves.  It's a killer.  What’s the cure?  Give 3 minutes to this video and see what you think.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Never Beggars

Some time ago my family and I were reading through the book of Hebrews together after dinner. It wasn’t an every dinner ritual; we did it about every other night. Rather than get up and move elsewhere, we’d stay at the table, and any one of us might do the reading.

I asked, “So, what do you suppose the ‘throne of grace’ looks like?” Ever the imaginative one, Emma 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,” I said. “Now, how are people talking to God, what are they saying to Him who is seated on the throne of grace?” I asked. My wife, Sarah, gave me one of those, “I know what you’re getting at” kind of looks. Ellen and Emma pretty much defaulted to the television portrayal of Pharoah-on-the-throne, 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.

And I wondered how many of us default to that picture of God on throne, too.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s pretend that it’s me on the throne—your daddy. How would you approach me?” Emma instantly got out of her chair, cut to the front of the imaginary line (“Excuse me. Pardon me,” she said), crawled upon my lap and said, “I love you, daddy! I love you. 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, “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.” With grins bursting upon their faces, they asked, “Did you forget that, daddy?”

We all love this.

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

And we were done. If I had had a football, I would have spiked it and done one of those silly, swivel-butt dances football players do in the end zone. (It’s probably good that I didn’t have a ball.) I loved what my daughters were understanding and that they we’re having fun with it. That’s very important to us.

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! It’s that good. Put your confidence in Him and in what He says is true of you and how He is toward you. He’s the one who made it happen, He’s the one who secured you, and He’s the one who has given you all things because of His goodness and love for us.

I know it often takes some work to hang onto faith in Him rather than faith in you, but you really will find rest when your faith and believing come to rest and satisfaction in Him, who made it all happen.

And that’s how it works. Or, as my daughters asked me, “did you forget?”

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, 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)

(This is a transcript of an earlier video, “Never Beggars,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click, or simply scroll down this page.)

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Never Beggars

If you ever fall prey to thinking that you’ve got to get yourself together in order to receive something from God (as I sometimes do), then this video is for you.  Give 6.5 minutes to find out what God likes, and why that makes life a lot easier and better for you.

You'll see my daughters at the end of this video at about the age that I reference. They're simply wonderful. . .and beautiful.

Jesus & Real Estate

Location. Location. Location. Jesus is the ultimate relocation real estate agent. He takes you from a dark and perilous neighborhood, and moves you to a neighborhood that is forever secure and out of this world.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Fourth To All My American Family!

Beware The "Other" Ten Commandments

This is from my friend (and author), Andrew Farley.  You can find more from him beginning at:

The Other Ten Commandments:

Watch out for the *other* Ten Commandments!

1. Thou shalt abide in Christ.
2. Thou shalt let Christ live through you.
3. Thou shalt feel "it" when it is "happening."
4. Thou shalt live the victorious life.
5. Thou shalt walk by the Spirit.
6. Thou shalt rest in Christ.
7. Thou shalt have the right motivation for everything.
8. Thou shalt never move without first feeling directed.
9. Thou shalt examine thyself daily, hourly, moment-by-moment.
10. Thou shalt discern flesh from Spirit and be certain every time.

These can lead to more bondage than the original Ten! The answer is remembering forgiveness, freedom, and grace. So what if I don't know all my motives! So what if a motivation turns out later to be imperfect! Let go of all that self-evaluation. Live in the liberty of God's grace, and the paradox is that "wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty!"

This is the difference between grasping one part of the new covenant message (Christ in you, only) versus taking hold of your freedom through the fullness of new covenant grace.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Life By Jesus

For many years, most of my Christian friends thought I had changed if I acted like it:  they placed their faith about me in their view of me, in their assessment of me and how I seemed, rather than in how God had changed me.  In other words, I held their view and He did not.  Have you ever done that?  Has that ever happened to you?  What they saw determined their interaction with me, rather than what they knew about me—about me and God, and how we’d gotten together and were really close.  Unfortunately, I believed they were right and that I hadn’t really been changed—changed by God—so we were all deceived.  And that meant that all of us were hurt because of it.  But not anymore. 

Today we see by faith in Christ, not by faith in appearances.  Faith in Christ and in the profound changes He has made to us invigorates and fits us and leads us into the day—the sons of God.  The other faith, assessing people and situations by appearances, confuses us and wears us out.  It’s the only possible result.  Christianity then seems to become impractical to us when we’re focused upon appearances, and we’ll say things like, “Well, I have to live in the real world; you know, in reality,” we’ll say.  And that’s where the confusion takes hold of us, aliens in this world, and shakes us to misery.  Even though we cannot live as this world does, we’re duped into believing we should make the attempt.

If you and I are going to enjoy eternal life—not life made longer, but the real life of God given to us in Christ—then we will want to accept the Spirit’s leading to view our days (and the people in our days) from our true vantage place—in Christ.  It will be invigorating and adventurous for us, because we’ll be living by faith in Christ, which is normal for us now.  And it will be encouraging to others, who will see upon our faces at least occasional glimpses of the hope of life by Jesus.  We’ll know what’s actually going on—and that’s tremendous—and they’ll have the hope of something better than what they see alone.

That will open a whole new way of life to us.  And that’s the life that counts—life by Jesus.

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "Life By Jesus," and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or just scroll down this page.)

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Life By Jesus

Have you wondered what might be keeping you from enjoying life as a Christian?  Give 3 minutes to this video and see if it doesn’t boost your, “I actually like being a Christian” factor way up.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Established In Grace

The fear of being known kept me in hiding for years.  Even amongst Christians, I put on an act I thought would keep me safe, isolated by my own performance. . .and unloved.  Jesus, my faithful and true friend, encouraged me away from that captivity, and love, deep and satisfying, has been the result.  Maybe for you, too.  

(This is a message I recently gave at the “2013 Word of Grace Conference.”  You may download the video or audio for free at:

Screaming Funny

A little Monday humor. . .


I am deeply saddened at the loss of some 19 firefighters in Arizona today. I'm grieved for their families, and my conversation with God concerning them is mostly groaning, and hardly articulate. But He knows all about groaning.  My hope is with Him.