Monday, September 30, 2013

Let's Have A Drink

Have you got 6 minutes to find a new source of fun and vitality?  It’s probably something you already know about—maybe even something you don’t like anymore—but I’d like to put it in a new and easier light.  See if this doesn’t revive an ancient recipe for wonder.

Good Morning!

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Psalm 143:8

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Faithfulness of Frustrated Longing

Have you found that much of this world's pressure and torment ends up serving your desire for Jesus? Has that happened for you?

God has made us to have deep yearnings for love and life and satisfaction, and if we are finding this world as it is—faulty and frustrating—then it's likely that we'll find Him as the contrasting and constant treasure He is. That’s something of the plan.

It's difficult, I know! But if our “citizenship is in heaven,” and we are just now a sort of loosely assembled, heavenly colony, then doesn’t it figure that you and I already find most enjoyable the truth and sustenance which one day will be ours without measure? He is Jesus. Fortunately, we’re already listed in the logbook and scheduled for the coming rescue flight and home-going party.

Until that day, we’ve got what the apostle Paul wrote about in Philippians 1—the longing to depart this world and to be with Christ, which is the greatest thing, and the attendant knowledge that we’re likely going to be here a fruitful while longer.

Hang in there, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of God. Jesus really is faithful and capable with you. It’s Him you want, and it’s Him you have.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “The Faithfulness of Frustrated Longing,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click, or scroll down this page. You may also subscribe to these regular videos by clicking the red “Subscribe” button while there.)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Faithfulness of Frustrated Longing

Have you got 2 minutes for something that will help make sense out of the tension between longing and frustration?  See if this latest video doesn’t help you take advantage of what God is doing about the whole thing — with you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Seems Like A Plan

If, according to the apostle Paul, a routine of rule keeping and law living familiarizes us with sin and all of its misery (Romans 7:7-13), then it’s no wonder that people are running to grace and to grace teachers and grace books.  Shouldn’t they?  A life by grace in Christ is the only way to know that we are, indeed, dead to sin and alive to God, now in us (Romans 6:13-14).  What’s not to like about that?  And the point of it all?  We get to know the mystery—Christ in us—and He gets to impress us and those around us with how good He actually is.  Seems like a plan to me.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hello, Gong Man!

With on-going and fiery debates about gun control, morality, immigration, healthcare, and more filling our days, our televisions, our newspapers, our conversations, and our computer screens, I find it difficult to trust that Truth is first a Person—Jesus—and not a position. It’s difficult and it takes time.

However, I'm getting help by paying attention to the stark difference between those of us who have been induced to build our position (with supporting facts and statistics) and to strongly prosecute by it, from those who remain at rest in Christ, content for Him to be for others what He is for themselves—the way, the truth, and the life.

Perhaps the first sign that I’ve moved to prosecuting by a position rather than trusting Jesus is that love—knowing it for myself and for others—is replaced by surrogate passions. Do you know about those? I can grow accustomed to living by zeal, anger at sin, frustration at religious or political knuckleheads, and more. But if I have not love, then kindly whack me awake because I’ve taken on the form of a good-for-nothing noisemaker. And that does not work, it doesn’t fit with who and what God has made me. Struggle and strive to convince you of my point or opinion, even if I think it’s for your own good, there will be no fruit. Not really.

So call me on the phone or come visit me, and call me “Gong Man” or “Cymbal Breath.” I might not like it at first, I might turn some of my surrogate passion upon you(!), but your words to me will waken me and save me.

And I will thank you.

1 Corinthians 13:1 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

Those are strong words.

I don’t mean that we can never debate—there are many issues worthy of it. But the One Who is the Truth, the One who is the Way and the Life, is Himself Love. Love is HOW He is because love is WHO He is. We do well to remind each other and to remember. Otherwise, you might start carrying around a musical mallet; for yourself—“Whack”—and for others like me—“Whack. Hello, Gong Man! Where’s the Ralph who loves? I know you’re in there, Ralph! Come on out to love.”

Maybe we could start a new ministry: “Mallet Masters.” Maybe not.

(This post is a transcript from yesterday’s video, “Hello, Gong Man!” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see this and other videos of mine, go to my YouTube channel at:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hello, Gong Man!

Are you worked up by the issues of gun control, morality, healthcare, and more?  Then give 4 minutes to this video as a precautionary reminder of what really works for you—by design.

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Best Self-Improvement Course

Are you looking for a great self-improvement course?  You know, a really effective workout with terrific results?  Here’s the best one that I know of:  “Consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11).

And here’s the follow-up question:  How often is that my consideration? 

There is no need to wrestle with self.  There is no prosecution and painful crucifixion of an evil you that is yet to be accomplished.  There is no work of fashioning a you that stands against sin FINALLY, and there is no need of a better you or of getting rid of a badder you

There is no self-improvement course needed.  You can give up on all that effort.

Jesus took care of all that because He took care of you when He died—He took you with Him on the cross.  All that remains is to consider what He did in making you dead to sin through the cross, and alive to God through the resurrection.  That’s where you’ll find yourself.  That’s where your life is.  That is the work out that works, because that’s how life for you works. 

You and I live by faith in Jesus.  We live by faith that Someone Else’s workout worked—that it was perfect and that it was for me and for you; the old you that’s gone, and the new you that has arrived.

Consider that.  Again and again and again.  There’s your workout. 

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

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The Best Self-Improvement Course

Got 2 minutes?  What’s the workout that really works for my life, and that takes advantage of what God did for me?  Watch this little video and see what you think.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Antidote

Jesus is the antidote for weakness because He takes the hate out of it, He takes the poison and uselessness out of it because He shows up in it.  He jumps on the stage inside of you and says, “Here I am!  I am the one for this, and I am with you. I find no fault with you!  Have you forgotten that I am easy to be with and gentle with you? I’m not here to ever put burdens upon you, I’m here to remove them!  I am and will always be all about rest with you.  You can count on it.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Sunday, September 01, 2013

The Difference Between Black Church & White Church

I have never forgotten my first experience in a black church. After that day, I never again thought only one person should talk during church. But I wondered if anyone would ever yell "Shut up!" at me as a way of motivating me to keep going, 'cause I was bringin' it.