Monday, May 29, 2017

Tiger Grace

The caption atop the picture above—“DUI (Driving Under the Influence) arrest is latest in Tiger’s fall from grace”—is the epitome of how twisted our view of “grace” has become.  It’s not because we’re stupid; it’s because we’re lied to by the Chief Liar.  Satan hates God’s grace, and he enjoys making it as twisted and perverted as he can for you.  Unrecognizable.  Impossible to enjoy. 

As much as Tiger Woods clawed, fought, cheated and connived his way to “the top” of the golf, monetary and social world, he cannot now “fall from grace” because he never earned grace to begin with.  Grace is always given; grace is never earned.  Indeed, when someone falls a great distance, it can be said that he has not fallen away from grace, but fallen into grace all the more.  (See Romans 5:20-12.)

And that’s how I’m praying for Tiger Woods.  “Jesus, as ugly as these days are for Tiger Woods, would you impress upon him how perfect you are for Him?  How kind, generous, forgiving and loving you are toward him?  Would you wake him up to you?  There’s nothing better for Tiger Woods than you, and I would love for this to be his time with you.  Amen.”

A Rare Nobility

On a national scale, shared sacrifice is pretty much a nobility of the past.  During World War II, 12% of the United States population was serving in the armed forces, which meant that much of the rest of the population were thoroughly connected, as well.  The 88% knew all about the focus and sacrifice of the 12%, and did a lot to support them—to say nothing about what families of those lost in battle endured.  Though separated by oceans and thousands of miles, we were a population together in sacrifice. 

Today, less that 0.5% are serving in the armed forces, and only a small percentage of the remaining 99.5% are sharing in their sacrifice—unless you count paying taxes.  I don’t. 

Further, I know that if I were to post a picture or a meme today thanking those who served and gave their lives in the service of our country, more than a few in my audience would be disappointed by my post.  I might lose a few friends, who are anti-military, having made their thoughts known over the years.  They might be quick to say that they’re not against those serving in the military; it’s just what the military does that they’re against—a distinction lost upon an actual soldier.  (That’s like telling me that you’re not anti-pastors, you’re just anti-church.)

But I recognize a beauty in those who take up a cause for the benefit of others that costs them more than the minor discomfort of marching and holding a sign of protest.  I see a struggling nobility in those whose families lost a father, mother, son or daughter in the service of my country.  They know why they served, even if that service is not glorified by those served. 

Well, today I am glorifying you.  I cannot actually show appreciation to those who gave up their lives—which is what Memorial Day is about—but I’m standing up for them and for their families.  I see you.  What you’ve done, what you’re doing counts with me.  Your rare nobility ranks high.  Thank you. 

Start Well

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Two Big Things

Two wonderful things occurred last evening: I finished writing my next book, and my youngest daughter, Emma, got home from New Zealand! I really wanted to finish my story before she got home because she is marrying Ben Rolfe (a terrific guy) in less than a month, and I will be officiating the ceremony. What a terrific day it was, and what a terrific month this will be! (As a long-awaited family project, my wife and daughters will share in the story by reading and editing it before I send it to the publisher. It's a family thing, and we think it's pretty exciting.)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Life Is Not A Selfie

The mind set upon rule keeping and law keeping as a way of living will result in failure, sin and death.  You’re going to be a wreck.  Romans 7:8 says that sin seizes the opportunities that commandments give!  In other words, if you want to see a whole lot of sin and failure in your days, try living by some commandments—any commandments! Just cook a few up and watch what happens.  Or you could also try viewing other people by commandments, such as we do regarding our politicians.  You’ll have the same result in your life.   (Please read Romans 7 and 8.  Both are loaded with this.) 

Plus, the one making the attempt will go through his days in a perpetual selfie mode.  “Do I look good?” “Am I doing it right?” will be at the top of his self-righteous question list, the concern of most every moment.  That thinking, that mind, will keep him in failure, as it has for all who have ever attempted it.  (It’s Jewish, not Christian.)  One thing is fortunate:  he will break down.  He will weary. 

If you meet someone who has wearied of “Selfie Christianity” (“Do I look good?” “Am I doing it right?”), do not condemn him for being messy, inactive, uninvolved, disconnected or passionless.  DO NOT. 

The Spirit is seeing to it that the one born of Him is abandoning the false and futile focus, and is beginning to look to Jesus as His representative and life—if only a peek to begin with.  You and I can assist him with that little look.  His hope is actually beginning to grow because it has been exhausted in a false attempt, and must be reborn where it belongs—on Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to produce the life that is His to produce.

His hope is that nothing is demanded of him!  All is provided!  He lives by faith that Someone Else has done it all!  He was crucified with Jesus, and no longer lives—that’s actually true, he just doesn’t know it.  (See Galatians 2:20.)  The life he has been attempting—“Selfie Christianity”—is not life, but death!  He has unintentionally been bringing a false self to life, if you will allow me that.  That cannot work.

The way of life for him—his true hope—is to believe into Jesus, who gave himself for him, and who lives now on the inside. 

How active, how involved, connected and passionate is Jesus?  Plenty!  And that’s what he will discover.

The mind set upon Him is life and peace—Romans 8 says so!  But it’s His life and His peace, not your life made better so that your selfies look better.  In other words, the mind set upon Jesus is going to find out what life is really like!  That’s the hope.

The mind attracted and given to Jesus actually works, which is why you and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ so much—giving it and receiving it.  Because Life is an inside production, and not an outside parade captured by endless selfies, you’ve got to get off of the Selfie Christianity mode, and get into Jesus and how He is with you.

I hope this helps.  Pass it on, if you like.

(This is a transcript of the video, “Life Is Not A Selfie,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or simply scroll down this blog page.)

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Life Is Not A Selfie

Got 5 minutes?  Selfie Christianity is a form of living that actually prevents life.  If you’ve been caught up in it, here’s how God is replacing your image and getting you out of it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You're Not Tourist Trap Trash

God knows that you’ve been buried with Christ and raised with and in Him, which means you’re in a very Good Place.  How you feel about where you are might depend upon where you’re looking—at the visible and passing away, or at the invisible and eternal.  One is a comparative tourist trap; the other is home.  One will make you feel like rejected trash; one will make you feel like desirable gold.  One will confuse you; one will revive you.

I hope you have a good look around home today.  You’ll like what you know.  (The following will help.)

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

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-3).

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Life & Grace In Us

This was my prayer this morning, as Sarah and I woke and began to feel the weight and coming crush of responsibilities. This was no “silver bullet” prayer (“Everything will now be perfect!”), since, short of instant healing, Sarah will go through the day with a sore throat while living by faith in Jesus. This was a prayer of belief and renewal: I said what we knew to be true about Jesus and us, and our minds were cleared, our spirit’s encouraged as a result of the Spirit’s work of grace in us.

Living by faith in Jesus is how life works out.  Life is within—what happens outside of that is what goes on elsewhere.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Children of the King

It’s available!  Andrew Nelson’s new book has just been released, and I want you to know all about it. I wrote the foreword to the book (see below), which is also highly recommended by Andrew Farley and Tracy Levinson, whose comments I have included.  You can get it in regular format and on kindle, so click on the link and check it out!

Foreword:  Andrew has a fantastic story to tell, and you and your family are going to love it.

As parents of two daughters, my wife and I searched during their early years for beautiful and captivating stories that we could read together, all the while confident that we would be stimulating their desire to know God, The King.  Our joy was full as we talked about Him through the pages of the books we found and shared, and our daughters, now grown, look upon those stories as heart-forming treasures they will one day share with their own families. 

Children of the King will be one of those books.

With a style conducive to reading aloud with family and friends, or in private contemplation, Andrew has put together an extraordinary allegorical tale that will intrigue and deepen the faith of all who read it. The many adventurous situations our imaginative characters encounter in the spectacular land of Amoria will make you laugh out loud, worry and tear-up in relief and gratitude, and maybe even induce you to verbalize the accents of Balderdash (the kindly gnome) and Wilbur (the minstrel)—it’s that kind of great.  My daughters were delighted when I attempted the noises and sounds of our stories, and ask me to make them even today.  This remarkable book begs for that kind of involvement. 

If you’re intrigued and enamored by the King and enjoy helping others to the same, Andrew’s book is for you.

" inspiring allegory that will both entertain and encourage readers of all ages." Andrew Farley, bestselling author of "The Naked Gospel"
"...a timeless adventure that is crafted to touch the hearts and minds of readers at any age. A classic parable by all counts." Tracy Levinson, bestselling author of "Unashamed"

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Update: My Next Book

How is my next book coming along?  I am happy to tell you that I have completed 20 chapters of a 23-chapter book, and am very excited about it.  This is an allegorical book themed by Colossians 1:27—"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."  In essence, I mean to help people to know and rely upon Jesus in them, the greatest, most enjoyable relationship ever conceived, which beautifully influences every other relationship they might have.  I will then produce a children’s book so parents, grandparents, relatives and children can together share the truth with each other of “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

There is still a lot of work to be done, including editing and publishers, etc., so I ask for your prayers.  Thank you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Life Happens on the Inside

Whenever and however my life appears to not be working—my involvement with people isn’t smooth, my writing isn’t flowing easily, I don’t have enough speaking gigs, my financial future is insecure—it’s then I am often induced to barricade my heart from all who would know me and assist me.  I begin considering what work to do about myself and what image to project that offers hope of getting what I want . . . which circles back to the same problem:  “My life isn’t working!”

Nevertheless, I think:  “I’ll be more disciplined.”  “I’ll be more creative.”  “I’ll be more caring.”  “I’ll be more capable.”  All of the “more's” that I’m going to be reveal that I’ve fallen under the judgment of being “less” than I think I am supposed to be—if I’m going to be any good, that is.  And no one can stand that judgment.  Except One.

When I remember that Christ in me is my life—Him—I begin to look inside, where His kingdom reigns in perfect capability.  He is the “more” I want.  Mercifully, I become more attracted to that kingdom—the one on the inside—than the one outside of me.  Peace and hope flow and surge again, and how I am in my days becomes more His concern than mine.  He is much better at “concern” and “how I am” than I am.  Have you found that to be true for you, too?

It’s through this kind of messy stuff that what the apostle Paul wrote takes on worthy meaning:  “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).  As Paul wrote to the Galatian believers,  “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).  The life I live, I live not by talent, not by effort, not by managing myself and what goes on around me.  The life I live in the body—what I do is—I work toward believing and knowing Him in me, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

He’s here.  He’s on the inside.  And that’s where more goes on than anywhere else, because real life happens not so much around us as it does within us.

(This is a transcript of the video, “Life Happens On The Inside,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or scroll down this blog page.)

Life Happens On The Inside

Got 3.5 minutes? Sometimes my attempts to be more than I am and to do better than I have been, become ugly and revealing . . . in a good way.  What feels awful at first then turns to my good, and I discover life all over again.  See if you don’t, too.  “How Inside Reality Becomes More Attractive Than Outside Chaos” might be the subtitle for this video.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Enjoying Blessing

If you believe that God is waiting to bless you based upon your obedience, you will be caught up in a self-righteousness crusade. You will try to hear just right, speak just right, move just right, behave just right, and give just right. You will have your self-righteousness at the controls of blessing. That is a terrible false burden because any vestige of a quid-pro-quo relationship with God—if you do it right, He’ll do it right—has forever been removed by the free gift of Jesus’ righteousness, making you exactly right in Him and having all things already. Because you believe Jesus, He has become everything for you, and in Him, you are well and thoroughly blessed. Think that through. We don’t live by or for the benefits of our righteousness; we live in His.

Sunday, May 07, 2017


I believe that Christian growth is not change in the sense of becoming something you are not, but of growing into what and who you already are. A baby does not become more human as he reaches adulthood; a Christian does not become more Christian as his years increase. Through faith in Christ, he was reborn a perfect Christian and is growing into what and who he is, increasingly becoming "established in the faith."