Friday, November 28, 2014

Prayer Request

A number of people have donated toward the high cost of sending me to the people of Barbados, for which I am very grateful. Because of the island’s glitzy image as a tourist destination, many do not know that 20% of the Bajan people live below the poverty line. I will be meeting with them beginning tomorrow, Saturday through Friday (Nov. 29 – Dec. 5), and welcome your prayers.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

 The directions said to "let bird chill in sink for several hours before cooking." I sure hope we're doing this right. (I couldn't resist a Thanksgiving re-post from last year.)

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Good From Within

May I remind you that Paul did not write, “He who began a good work UPON you…” but “He who began at good work IN you…” The good work upon you is all done, and it was perfect. All that remains is His work from within—not to fix you, but to fascinate you with how good and faithful and capable He is with you for your days. (Philippians 1:6)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your Money & The New Covenant: LOVE WORKS

Does it seem to you that the primary motivators in life today are fear, guilt and anger?  I think that motivational trinity has crowded out what God intended—the motivation of love.

It’s happened to the church, too.

We seem ever to want to be motivated by crisis, by calamity, by a good cause and a good appeal, by a big need, or by a big kick to our backside.  I know the church doesn’t really want that, but it seems like it does.  And I sure don’t like it.  It’s not that we shouldn’t be motivated by a sudden event, it’s just that we can become addicted to the energy and appeal of the moment.  And there is something much better, something more true and constant, something given by God Himself.  The church was made for it.  You were too.

God’s love produces confidence and daring and assurance and peace and rest and hope and, well, everything we need for life.  God’s very being is love, so if we, His sons and daughters, attempt to do much of anything apart from love, we fumble and act unnatural.  We feel it, too.  Like something’s seriously out of whack in us.  And it is.  When the behavior of the Corinthian Christians went seriously crazy, the apostle Paul pointed them back to the love of God because it is the prime motivator—it rescues and refreshes and compels the people of God (2 Corinthians 5:14).

God’s love works.  That’s the New Covenant way:  God in us, and God toward people and God toward situations that would involve Him in us.

I’m reminded of what love did to the Macedonian Christians not long after God first lived in them.  God gave an amazing grace to these people who lived in “extreme poverty” such that in their joy they gave what little they had so others could hear the gospel.  The Macedonians were in love with God, having first been won-over by His love for them.  And that love “welled up in rich generosity” (2 Corinthians 8:2).  Do you get the combination?  They hit the big time!  God was in them toward some kind of brilliant display—in this case, giving.

There’s no need and there’s no room for laws about your money, because you’re ruled by the grace of God in you, not law.  Laws hijack love, stuff it in a closet and tell it to “Shut up!  You’re too sloppy and unreliable!” and instead offer you method, calculated and loveless measurement, and ultimately, condemnation.  That’s not the New Covenant way.  That is not what the Macedonians had.  They had the love of God Himself, and that, or rather, He moved them.

Paul then wrote to the Corinthians that they, too, should “excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you (I have no law!), but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others” (2 Corinthians 8:8, italics mine).  Was it a test of whether they would give or be stingy misers?  No!  It was a test of love—love was the issue—and Paul was concerned about how love was issuing forth from the Macedonians.

That’s why the Macedonians gave – they were in love!  They didn’t give motivated by an appeal to sacrifice, they didn’t give to make sure their tithe was on time, they didn’t give because others were in need, and they didn’t give because it was the right thing to do.  They gave because they were in love, and that made their giving “acceptable” (2 Corinthians 8:12).  Their gift wasn’t acceptable for any other reason but love that brought it forth. 

(By the way, God’s love might compel you to actually give nothing sometimes.  Are you okay with that?)

The foundation of the New Covenant is that you have no covenant to keep—Jesus took care of that—you have the Holy Spirit in you to notice and to follow.  And He loves you!  Love is His primary evidence in you.

And that’s what drives me bonkers for the church, frankly.  I want believers to know and be motivated out of a burgeoning love affair with God.  I don't mean that we should never give unless we're right then invigorated by a love we can feel, but I fear we've gotten used to giving without it.  We've learned to motivate and to be motivated by something else.  That's what makes pushy pastors and manipulative motivators out of our leaders.  And I don’t think they like it any more than we do.

So let me sum it up:  If we're not behaving well and doing good, it's because we're missing God’s love.  That’s it.

If your motivation is low right now, what should you do?  Go get some love.  You need it and can’t live without it—not well, anyway.  If your giving lacks, if your service is stunted or reluctant, if there is gossip in the church and “sin in the camp,” go get some of His love, because for you, love works.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “Your Money & The New Covenant:  LOVE WORKS,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or simply scroll down below.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Your Money & The New Covenant: Love Works

What makes giving or keeping our money godly?  How can we know?  Do we need standards by which to estimate the authenticity of what we do with money?  Here’s a pure and simple way to consummate God’s grace in you by following His love.  You were made for this. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Quality Struggle

There are times when I feel so weak and incapable, trapped in a body that does not function as I want it to.  Not mentally.  Not physically.  Not spiritually.  It's somewhere during these times that the fact of my new creation birth—I'm a spirit in a body—becomes terribly evident to me, and I long for my true home.  That’s a good longing, but I’m not sure I like the way it comes about.  Do you ever feel this way?  We are aliens here, but I'd rather read about it in the New Testament than actually feel it.  I like feeling the power of God, the love and life of God Himself now in me.  But feel the sufferings and the struggles that identify me as not fitting in with this world?  I’d rather pass.

And yet, they do identify you and me in the pain and frustration as the sons and daughters of God, heaven-born citizens, foreign royalty in this world.  For real.  Knowing that, we are renewed and transformed in the understanding.  That's good.  That’s gold.  Frankly, this is why many of us love hearing how others find God in the midst of suffering.  It redeems the suffering into something more, something better than just suffering endured.

In 2 Corinthians 4, the apostle Paul kind of spilled out on paper what the Spirit was showing him in suffering, even likening himself to a fragile, clay pot with the greatest of treasure within—God Himself.  Summing up his findings, he wrote to the heavenly colony at Corinth: 

2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart.  (That doesn’t mean our hearts don’t feel challenged or hurt.) Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 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.  (Italics mine.)

Even in weakness, trapped in a sometimes rebellious and unruly, clay pot body, God is working in you.  So don’t believe the lie that your struggles identify you as a perpetual struggler only, disqualified and doomed.  They do not.  You have been qualified completely by God who is working His life within you in the struggle—the life without beginning and without end.  This is eternal life, and it takes some getting used to. 

This is the game we’re in and these are the days we’re enduring for His glory in us—the evidence of God in us.  It’s a quality struggle.

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Quality Struggle

If your struggles, sometimes ugly and unbearable, identify you as a loser, you’ll enjoy this brief, 4.5 minute, message.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Since you’ve believed God’s grace for you, you have increasingly loved what Jesus loves, cared how Jesus cares, wanted what Jesus wants, and given yourself as Jesus gives Himself. There have been fluctuations—sure—but you’re trending. How cool is that?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sermon Available

The audio of my sermon, “In Him,” from last Sunday at Real Life Church in Gilbert, AZ, is available for free! To get it, go to:…/in-him-guest-speaker-ralph-harris/.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Pause For Life

Do you ever grow weary of fumbling and knocking your way through life and wonder, “What the heck?” Give a couple of minutes to this and see if you don’t come away with hope and a greater awareness of God’s life for you. This is my favorite thing! (Written and/or video versions.)

Saturday, November 08, 2014

It's All Free

All that truly counts in your heart and then comes out of you looking really good and beautiful is produced as a grace of knowing that God in Christ has justified you, which means He has made you authentically and genuinely good, and that He has given you His righteousness, holiness, redemption, sanctification, and every blessing, because Jesus earned entirely everything for you for entirely nothing from you. In Him you have been given every blessing already for free. That’s going to affect you, and that is His plan!

Believing that fact is the challenge, earning it is not.  Anything that teaches less than that makes you crazy.  Maybe you’ve noticed.

The gospel loses its dazzle when you believe that you must work or serve or tithe in order to earn blessings from God.  Tell me that you don’t become like the elder brother of the prodigal, working in the fields to earn what you have already been given.  Now that’s crazy.

However, you live best when you live by faith in the complete sufficiency of what Christ did for you—not just forgiven, because of His perfect sin removal system, but given everything that He has.  Everything from God for you is all for free.  The earning is all done, and you can rest.

Taking dictation from God, Isaiah wrote and Jesus fulfilled centuries later, chapter 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  ("Well, if I have no money, how can I buy?"  Believe and come near in order to see that it’s all yours. . .for free.)
 Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (italics mine).

The apostle Paul, himself dazzled by “it’s all free,” wrote to the Ephesians, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."  (Ephesians 1:3)

Your life with God is not about a sacrifice you make, but a belief and a trust and a rest in a sacrifice He made.  Because of Him, it’s all free for you.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “It’s All Free,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  Too see the video, click

Friday, November 07, 2014

It's All Free

If you ever wonder why you might go a little crazy and weary in life, this short 4 minute video ought to clear your head and encourage your heart.  Seriously.  Happily.  ☺ 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day Insanity

Today is an awkward day in America, particularly for Christians. Having been brought into Christ and knowing now His life and love for us and for all, still we will make choices today that seem to divide us into groups opposed to one another. We’re voting! It’s Election Day. Frankly, we go a little crazy, and can get ugly and hurt. We might go a bit blind today and lose sight of who we are and where we are—in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit who loves and draws all, and who never ever loses sight.

After the election—tomorrow—perhaps we will begin to remember again who we are and where we are, and how the Kingdom of God in us always compels us in truth and love. Maybe some of you will do us a favor and help us regain our thinking, not by shaming the crazy Americans—that’s never the God-given way of bringing us back to our senses—but by telling us the truth of the gospel, the good news of what God has done through Christ for us. That will be the power we need to revive us.
Until tomorrow, see you later.

(This is a transcript of the video, “Election Day Insanity,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click, or scroll down.)

Election Day Insanity

Got 2 minutes? It's a crazy day in America. Maybe you can help us . . . tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Speaking In Arizona

For my friends in Arizona, I will be speaking at Real Life Christian Church during both services next Sunday, November 9. I would love to meet you! Services are held at: 4132 E Pecos Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295.  For more information, go to: