Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sacramento Area

For everyone in the Sacramento, California, area, I will be speaking at Free Ride, Inc., on Saturday, November 9, at 7:00pm.  I’d love to meet you.  For more information, call (916) 259-1904.  Free Ride is located at: 4041 Alvis Ct. #B, Rocklin, CA, 95677.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Waking A Knucklehead

Do you have knucklehead moments? I do. Maybe more than my share.

During a sleepless hour last night it dawned on me that I was working really hard at getting life right, mostly because I was thinking that I wasn’t. You know, I wasn’t praying enough, reading my Bible enough, walking in the Spirit enough, supporting people enough, making enough money—you know, ENOUGH!

And what plagued me was that, after all this time and education, whether scholastic or life education, shouldn’t I be doing better than I am? I mean, I know what to do by now—shouldn’t I simply do it?! Isn’t how you do the ultimate measure? The ultimate estimate?

And this answer popped into my mind: “No, it isn’t. How Jesus did when He lived as a man is the ultimate measure of me.” Think about it.

I forget that the ongoing measurement of my life, the way I am seen, the way I am estimated and the way I am judged by others is not singularly dependent upon me—Jesus became the measurement of me. Everyday and all day I am living with His righteousness, His holiness, and His redemption. All that He accomplished has been given to me as my own. And that’s stunning. Shouldn’t it be?

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 “It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God (in other words, this is the great thinking of God for what would be perfect for us)—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (Parenthesis mine.)

Well, yeah! Let the bragging on God begin because that’s overwhelming. And shouldn’t it be? Yes! The gospel is crazy-good, and I forget sometimes. . .maybe you do too. But believing that He has given me His righteousness and holiness and redemption invigorates the new me, and propels me into the day—everyday. Now that I’m new, this is how to live new. Believing the truth equals receiving, and something great happens to me.

What bothered me in the night was the accumulated stress of not counting on Jesus’ righteousness and holiness and redemption to do anything for me, other than secure my standing and destination. What a knucklehead! When I remember what He did and gave me, my faith rises and my strength increases. All that ugly judgment I sometimes endure from the evil one and from the flesh vanishes. Hooray! I can live again. And I’m reminded that faith isn’t just a bunch of important stuff that I’ve studied and I believe, but a way by which life and strength and the Holy Spirit work in me, a son of God.

That’s my day and that’s my night. Jesus for me and Jesus in me – my hope of great things. And for this knucklehead, and maybe for you, knucklehead, that’s the way to live.

“. . . God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Waking A Knucklehead,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Waking A Knucklehead

I’ve had more than my share of “knucklehead moments,” so I’m sure glad that God seems particularly kind to the sometimes dense, dull, and deceived. . .I could be the poster boy if there was a group. Take 5 minutes and see if you qualify to join us. (And pass it on.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

He's Always Home

When you receive Jesus, He brings all that He is to you—perfect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—not eventually, not occasionally, not fractionally (“Sorry, but I’m holding a little bit of myself back because I have trust issues and don’t want to commit too soon.”), but all the way, at all times, at every moment, in every situation. Right now. He is the Treasure you’ve been looking for, He is the Reward for which you long, He is the Performer you’d like to be. And He is in you. Jesus is the Favor you want, the Success you were made for, and the Glory now in you.

If just now you’re suffering or enduring hardship, avoid the temptation to work up more fleshly strength (you’re already exhausted), and beware the thoughts that assign you to the failed scrapheap of humanity. That’s a lie. You were made for Jesus, and for Him with you. His glory, the incredible evidence that He lives within you, is best seen through suffering, most obvious in calamity, and most triumphant in hardship. I know.

So I talk with Him—sometimes I talk at Him more than I talk with Him—and He doesn’t mind! He knows that He’s my best friend, and He’s not threatened by my struggles. Right? I tell Him of my troubles, I talk with Him about my longings—even the fleshly, ugly ones—and the crazy things that go on in me—the struggle I feel between the Spirit and flesh, confusing me as to what to do.

And because I’m chatting at Him, whether silently or audibly, it equals what the Bible calls “offering myself to God.” The offering to God is not to “God out there,” or to “God, who will meet me over there,” when I finally make it or when I finally arrive. No. My offering is to “God in here” now, to God who has arrived in me.

The old way of offering our self to God, the Former Covenant way, was to think of yourself as separate from God, who would lead you because He was ahead of you or “over there.” He had to induce you to come after Him. The pressure was on you to follow, and to keep offering to follow. The New Covenant way of offering our self to God is to believe what God knows is true: “Jesus, you and I are together now; you’re in me. I don’t have to look for you over there, or just up ahead, because now you’re in here all the time. You don’t take vacations, you don’t run off or find a better place to live. You’re being yourself with me in here, all the time. You and I are at home together.” How good is that?

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (Those desires are not like you. They’re not your desires.) 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Parenthesis mine.)

And where is that grace centered? Where is that at home? In you and in me.

So offer yourself to Jesus. And where is He? That’s where you make the offering—to the inside, to Jesus who has made you His home. Listen for Him and look for Him there.

He’s great company, and He’s always home.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “He’s Always Home,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click You may also subscribe to these regular videos at that link.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

He's Always Home

If you’d like a big reminder of where God is and how He is toward you and with you, give 6 minutes and see if this doesn’t make a big difference. And pass it on.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Makes A Difference

If being in the right place is important, and realtors have had it right all these years—“Location. Location. Location.”—then consider the following verses and cartoon as you go about your day:

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms IN CHRIST JESUS, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus." 
Ephesians 2:4-7 (Caps mine)

Doesn’t where you are make a big difference?  God sure thinks so.  What do you think—because that makes a difference.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hot Lovers

“Hot Lovers” – Those invaluable and heroic people who, out of a genuine and burning love of the truth, persistently annoy us to the message of the cross and the anti-slavery message it insists.  “Christ set you free to live by His grace,” they might say, “and I will not be silent when someone suggests even a subtle return to the prison of the law.”  I am deeply thankful for them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Intimacy With God

Intimacy with God is not something you can earn or achieve.  Intimacy with Him is something He already achieved and gave you, and is something you learn to enjoy. 

"But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit."  1 Corinthians 6:17

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Coming Up. . .

I will be speaking for a retreat and some small groups in North Carolina and Georgia over the next week or so. I will be doing much the same in California next month. If you’d like to have me speak with your church or group, even the group you’ve been thinking of putting together, simply ask. I’ll do my best to get to you.

Naked Gospel Conference

Here's an event that will be fantastic, and which I fully, with nearly ridiculous enthusiasm, endorse! Drew is a brilliant and captivating teacher, a good friend, and one of my heroes.   Click on the link below for more information.

NEXT WEEK! The Naked Gospel Conference in Dallas starts in 9 Days -- October 18-20. Join us for a weekend of teaching on forgiveness-freedom-identity-life in Christ and awesome fellowship together!

Order Today

If you’ve been meaning to order a copy of my book, now’s the time to do it. I will be traveling and speaking for the next couple of weeks, and won’t be able to fill book orders during that time. So if you want one, I can send it out only if you order today. Otherwise, it’s the waiting game for you. Click on the link for more information and to order.

P.S. You can always get a copy through your local bookstore, via,, etc., but I'm more fun.  My book is available for e-readers, but you'll need to get that through the online retailers.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Monday, October 07, 2013

He Gives You You

Why is your opinion of yourself so important?  To the degree it is inaccurate is the extent you’ll be living a lie, and no one does that well.  However, when a person gets the idea that God’s opinion can be known and that it is both excellent and accurate, his wrestling with himself and with this world diminishes because he no longer needs it to find himself.  What a good thing that is.  Rest and love and ease around other people are found.  So if you’ve got some inner wrestling going on today, consider where you’re looking:  in the mirrors of this world, or at Jesus, who gives you. . .well, He gives you you.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Love & A Stumbling Son

I don’t like walking into a room without any light.  You know, pitch black.  I’ll carefully and fully caress the walls around my entry point, searching for the light switch that makes navigating the room possible.  And if children have been in the room before me, I know there are toys and kid-built structures lurking that either I will break or which will hurt me when I step on them.

If I have to go forward without light because I can’t find the switch, then I take on the “I am a shuffling ninja!” posture.  I slide my feet as if ice-skating on the floor, wary of damaging plastic toys and little cars, and extend my arms as if Kato from the Pink Panther movies was about to attack.  I go all kinds of crazy.

Yes, I am Peter Sellers—Inspector Clouseau—when the lights are out.  Frankly, even when they’re on.

The truth is that everyday is like walking into a dark room of unknown danger, and there’s never enough light, never enough understanding or ninja skill to avoid pain.   However, there is one thing, one amazing, better-than-anything-ever-invented piece of reality that you and I do get:  God’s love.  That keeps and enables us through it all.

In the last 24 hours here’s what I have encountered:  a woman who is enduring the pain of having recently lost a twin in childbirth.  She wonders, “Why me?”  On the way home from a church gathering I passed by a five car accident, and saw the pain of a woman holding her face with blood-stained hands.  And she wonders, “Why me?”  And just now I saw on the news that an amazing, one of a kind, rookie baseball pitcher, who came to the team right out of high school, has just torn the muscles and ligaments of his shoulder and will require immediate surgery.  He will be kept out of baseball for 12-18 months, and it may well be that his career is over before it began.  You know he has to wonder, “Why me?”

We know that we will all meet with pain and stunned questioning throughout our days—there is no escaping it.  Work as hard as we can, pray as hard as we might, and “Why me?” events will break through anyway.  What will get you and me through is God’s love.  While a good attitude, a solid support group, and decent health care help in times of trouble, it has been and always will be knowing God’s love that makes noble conquerors out of victims.

Love is famously described in 1 Corinthians 13: love is patient and kind, it doesn’t envy or boast, it isn’t proud or rude, it isn’t self-seeking or easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth, and it always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres—it never fails. 

But that’s not what we’re supposed to do; it’s not an assignment—here’s how Christians should behave.  This is a description of what love is.  Love is wonderful!  And love, God’s love, is best seen and known in Romans 8.  That’s the passage which describes what keeps us and makes us spectacular during the “Why me?” events of our days.

The apostle Paul writes, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:  "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:35-39)

Look, there’s a lot about sorrow and suffering in the New Testament, some of which comes with the specific purpose that Jesus’ life—His loves and desires and feelings and abilities—may be revealed in us and through us (see 2 Corinthians 4:7-12).  That’s an amazing reality and an incredibly honorable fact of our days in this age.  Really!  Christ in us.  And much of the life that goes on around us is getting at Him in us.  But what keeps us secure and noble as we face death and are considered by some as “sheep to be slaughtered,” is knowing and trusting God’s love for us—and knowing it for yourself. 

Wanting to know His love is the best desire and prize of my life.  It shapes my days, channels my efforts and focuses my hopes in the midst of uncertain, dangerous and ugly times.  God’s love—for me and for you—is my favorite effect of having Him living in me now.  Frankly, I wish that after God first made His home in me in 1980 that His entrance meant I could figure out and avoid all of the ugly and painful pitfalls of life.  I have even attempted to employ angels and God Himself toward making my days painless and free of “Why me?” events, worthy of a video memorial—“Ralph Harris:  A Man Admired By God.” 

That’s not happening.

What is happening, however, is that I am growing in the joy and grace and purpose of God’s love for me.  And God’s love always affects the people who know it best.  It won’t be hidden, it won’t be denied, and it won’t fail. 

And for this shuffling ninja, this stumbling man who is so loved, God’s love is the way forward.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Love & A Stumbling Son,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, scroll down to yesterday’s post, or click 

Friday, October 04, 2013

Love & A Stumbling Son

Do you go through life trying to avoid problems and pitfalls that, nevertheless, happen anyway? If stuff happens to you that makes you wonder, “Why me?”, then give 8 minutes to this video and see if God doesn’t give you something good, something worthwhile, something that makes sense of it all as a result.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Let's Have A Drink

If I asked a room full of people what they would rather talk about, prayer or tooth decay, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the winning majority chose to talk about the benefits of regular flossing.

For many of us, prayer was something we were taught to do in order to get something else. Right? That something else might have included a better day, a better job, a better outcome, a better future, a better wife or a better husband, but in any case, praying wasn’t THE THING, getting something because of it was the thing. Prayer was a little like calling heavenly room service. That’s cool.

However, lots of us have virtually stopped praying because we’ve found that prayer doesn’t often give us the something else we wanted. It’s not reliable. Prayer has become more about disappointment than fulfillment, so how many of us who have been around awhile really want to do it anymore? I mean, c’mon—if a strategy doesn’t work, why would you keep doing it?

But before I was taught how to strategize my life by praying the "right way," I accidentally got to know God in prayer. I found that God was like my own personal fountain of youth—Ponce de Leon was on the right track, he just looked in the wrong place. God showed Himself to be like a spring of water that I could visit anytime simply by taking a few steps away from the dry flatlands of the visible and temporary world, toward the peaks of the invisible and eternal. My best expression before prayer was, “I simply want to be with you!” In other words, “I thirst.”

Prayer is more about jumping into the pool of the Spirit, and less about directing the water. If prayer is going to be satisfying, let alone inviting, it must provide revival and deliverance for the one making the jump. It must be more like a homecoming than a going to work.

If God is, in fact, like a spring of life, a fountain of revival—and He says He is—then all I have to offer Him is my thirst. I can do that. The best way to glorify my Mountain Spring is to get to it as often as I need or want and to drink to satisfaction. And once I arrive at the Spring, I’m not going to try to dazzle the water with praise and thanksgiving, as if the Water doesn’t know how good it is and that it’s just what I need, or as if it will remove itself or dry up if don’t.

Drink the water! It’s made for us.

It would be foolish to drag water from the desert flatlands up to the spring, there to pour it in, hoping to make something more of it, hoping to make it go somewhere else or look different.

Prayer is bringing to God my thirst for Him. The way to please the Mountain Spring, the way to please God is to come to Him to get and not to give, to drink and not to water. Every time I approach the Spring it is because I have found its water to be everything I need—that’s how God is glorified by me.

I believe He is who He says He is, and my efforts related to wanting Him and finding Him is how the spring of living water now in me bubbles up as His satisfying life. He has planned for that.

So whatever it is that makes me thirsty—frustration, chaos, futility, lust, covetousness, hopelessness, envy, weakness, arrogance, pride, anger, unbelief, the government or gas prices—I want to be quicker to head for water. And since He now lives in me, since the Spring of water is so close, I can silently turn my thoughts toward Him in the confident hope that satisfaction and water wait for me. Anything(!) that surfaces my need is the avenue toward the Spring. It’s an opportunity to drink. My satisfaction and His glory through meeting the need are the result. You and I are set up for this.

So if prayer is about drinking, have one on me. Make it a big one.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Let’s Have A Drink,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video and to subscribe to them if you want, click