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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I need your help

I need help!

Over the years I have been involved with different churches. I know that some people call this by derogatory names, like ‘church hopping’ and they may be correct. Just the other day someone told me I was confused, and he may be correct.

However, as I have traveled around and heard several ideas about what this or that scripture means. Here and there I have been able to hear and read things I never could have understood on my own…valuable things.

There are several people who read my blog and I cannot imagine that you all agree with everything I say. Not even my wife does that, but that is another discussion. I do believe however, that if you have read more than a couple of my articles, you have a desire to follow Jesus more closely.

The fact that we don’t understand everything in the same way is exactly why I need your help.

Several years ago, I read more carefully the passage in Matthew 28:18-20. These words were spoken after Jesus was raised from the dead. For me this makes his claim of All Authority, absolute. Therefore, the command that follows is not optional.

If we are following Jesus we must take this command seriously. When I realized this, I began to look for ways to do what Jesus is saying.

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.

With that in mind I set about to find a systematic discipleship program. There are several of these. I could not afford to get very many of these but I did look at a few. Without exception, these all started with church doctrine from the various groups where they originated. Not one began with instruction concerning the commands of Jesus.

Since I could not find any program which started with Jesus and His commands, I wrote one. This took a few years to get through the first 16 verses of Matthew 5. This study program is made up of 12 lessons, which are mostly scripture references and questions to promote thought and discussion. A couple of friends have used this and found it helpful.

I need your help in two ways.

First: I would really appreciate having other followers of Jesus take a serious look at what I have and make suggestions to improve the scope and benefit for others.

Second: I would appreciate any help in promoting this program. I am simply looking for ways to be obedient to Jesus’ command.

I am happy to share this program with any who request it. I have the program with and without daily devotions. I will be glad to email you a PDF file for you your consideration and comments.

There is no charge for this program. I created it as a matter of obedience to what I saw and understand. I can distribute it this way with very minimal cost and never understood it as a way to make money.

If you are willing to assist or share this program, please send your request to

Thank you
Be Faithful!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Angry and want to Smash Something

This is a letter to the children that I love. You may not even know who you are but you are probably under 50 years old. And some of you are just teen agers. You are my friends on Facebook, my friends from churches and the children of friends.

You are the ones who are fed up with Christianity. You are angry about all the hate and anger, the racism, sexism and injustice. The mass shootings and the reactions on both sides make you crazy in one way or another. The political officials all seem to you to be stupid or immoral or just plain horrible.

You are angry and you want to smash something. You want to yell and scream and you do. You want to curse all that you see that is wrong in the world, in this country, in religion.

I think I understand. I feel the same way. Really, I do. You are frustrated because for all your yelling no one is listening, certainly no one is doing anything.

Please take a moment to look at one lone nun in India who stepped out and fed the poor and dying. She could only help one or two, so that’s what she did. And she kept doing it over and over again until thousands and maybe millions were given dignity and love. Mother Theresa’s heart was broken by the disenfranchised. She and all of the Sisters of Charity together could not end all of the hunger and suffering in the world, but they made a difference to thousands and they continue to do that.
They do not scream and shout and curse the ones who do not help. They just continue to feed the hungry and give love and care to the dying.

Being angry and pointing fingers at the guilty ones, screaming, cursing and marching will not help. I am sorry it just won’t change anything. Maybe you or I cannot make a big difference in the world. Probably we can’t. But we can make a difference by doing the thing that we can to make a bad situation better where we can.

Please my precious friends, the anger and cursing is hurting yourself and not the ones that you are against. Find the way you can help make the situation better and do what you can with all of that energy.

Become the best person you can become! Do as much good as you possibly are able to do.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Gospel of Peace

Recently I have been hearing a lot about being a peacemaker and about finding ways to share the Gospel message. Often when I see and hear others trying share the Gospel, it seems that it has little to do with peace. It seems to have more to do with convincing others, overwhelming them, to change their mind with clever and irresistible arguments.

I long to be able to share the wonderful good news that I am experiencing as one who has received and is receiving the new life that our Father pours out on those who come to Jesus for a new birth. I regularly see new areas to grow and change to become more like Jesus. This is an exciting life, a wonderful life.

As I look around myself I see people everywhere who are satisfied with seeking earthly pleasures or seem content with a religion that is little more than a get out of Hell card and some good works.

Earthly pleasures are expensive and the toys depreciate faster than you can pay them off. In the end you are left with a shiny trinket that no longer gives you any pleasure but you have to maintain it to get anything out of it. Religion for religion’s sake works the same way, sort of. The longer you work it the more meaningless it becomes and then it is drudgery that you must continue because you don’t want to go to Hell.

Today as I think about the people who are trapped in this labyrinth of despair I think of the Jesus words in Matthew 9:36

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd.
I have found a life that is full and rich with joy and peace. I long to share it but it seems no one is interested. In my heart I am reminded of what Jesus is saying in Matthew 5:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
I am praying for that pure heart that can see the image of the living God in each individual, so that I can speak to that image, or touch that image in some way and draw them to where they can see a better life; a wonderful life.

Monday, February 26, 2018

71 Circuits

On March 1, 2018 I will complete my seventy-first orbit around the sun. It is not nearly as notable an accomplishment as I might have thought. There is some word of a cake and probably some very pleasant wishes for many happy returns and a few cards. But I don’t expect a very big show, and that’s as it should be. However, in 71 circuits I have gathered a few things that I believe are significant and beneficial that I would like to offer as my gift to any who are interested.

Just in the last several days, I have discovered or realized something that I had not until that time seen as clearly or dramatically before. For a long time, I have said that the resurrection of Jesus was the most significant event in the history of the world. Without the resurrection the crucifixion would have been unimportant. Recently I have seen another exciting result of the resurrection. In Acts 2:36 I read;

  Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified.

God has made him both Lord and Christ. I had always thought that I needed to acknowledge Jesus Lord and Christ for it to be so. Nope! God has made it so. It is established as surely as gravity. The resurrection of Jesus is God’s signature. This is why, after he was resurrected, he could say with full assurance.

“All authority has been given unto me…” (Matthew 28:18)

This authority is not dependent on anything you or I say, think or do. Jesus authority is absolute.
When Jesus was asked when the kingdom of God would appear, (Luke 17:20 and following) he replied “…behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” He did not say “it shall be” or some time in the future. The kingdom of God is within you, Now!

I often like to ask the question, “What does that mean?”

God made Jesus both Lord and Christ. Jesus says “All authority has been given to me.” The Kingdom of God is within you (now).

Putting these things together, it seems to me that the kingdom of God is here in our midst now. I live in the kingdom of God to the degree that I submit to the rule of the king. It has little to do with saying the prayers, doing the liturgy, or having the correct doctrine. All of those things and many others may be correct and helpful. Living in the Kingdom of God is still simply living under the authority of the King.

I lived for over 50 years as a frustrated “Christian”. Jesus words, “Come unto me and I will give you rest”, were a torment to my heart. I had come to Jesus and I had done all the things that I was told to do to the best of my ability and still I could not find rest. Things continue to happen that get me upset; things that cause me to sin with my mouth. Murder, hatred, adultery, and anger were easily stirred up in my inner man and often came out in words and actions.

A few years ago, I began to find the rest that Jesus promises to those who come unto him, who learn of and from him. I gave some insight into how this happened in a couple of articles in 2009 ( and ). The longer I meditate on the words of Jesus, the more they become part of how I think and respond. This has been and continues to be key.

Just recently I saw a clear illustration of what is going on and the huge problem that causes most “Christians” to live in that frustration zone.

Imagine a sheet of paper turned sideways. On the left side of the paper draw a line 1/3 of the way in, top to bottom. Label this section “The Way of the World”. Then fill the rest of the section with words like, hatred, strife, anger, envy, murder, immorality, war. This section represents the natural inclinations of man without God. Make this section very dark.

Next, on the right side of the paper draw a line top to bottom about 2 inches from the right edge. In this much smaller space write, “The Kingdom of Heaven; learning to obey all that Jesus commanded.” (Matthew 28:20) Also write things like, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

Now in the center write “Human Goodness and Corrupted Christianity”. In this section write, “(Matt 5:22) If you call your brother a worthless fool you will be in danger of going to the fire of hell.” Now draw a line through that. Next write “(Matt 5:27-28) anyone who looks at a woman and wants to possess her is guilty of committing adultery with her in his heart.” Now draw a line through that and write “Just because a man is on a diet doesn’t mean he can’t look at the menu.” Finally write “ "You have heard, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. But I say to you, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.” Now cross out everything after “but I say”.  These examples should give you an idea of where this is going.

This center section is where most people who call themselves “Christians” live. This is where I lived for way too long. Living here in the center is frustrating. Living here you do not have peace. Living here you constantly see the disparity between how things are and how they should be, but you are powerless to change them, and so you are frustrated. Living here you see how you should be living and despair because you can’t see how to change.

The answer that I have found is in Matthew 28:18-20:

And Jesus came to them and spake unto them, saying, “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

The only problem to seeing the full impact of this statement is that I must realize who Jesus is speaking to. In verse 16 it says his disciples went to Galilee. Jesus was speaking to his disciples.
This is a command for those who are Disciples, learning to observe (obey) all the things that Jesus has commanded. In order to participate in this life changing way, I must become Jesus disciple. As I am doing this I become more able to offer hope to those who are trapped in the cycle of sin and repent, sin and repent. Because I am finding victory, and I have great hope along this way.

During this last year 3 books have been a tremendous encouragement to me and so I pass the titles along to you for your consideration.
1.    “The End of Religion” Encountering the subversive spirituality of Jesus by: Bruxy Cavey.
2.    “(re)union” The Good News of Jesus for Seekers, Saints, and Sinners, also by: Bruxy Cavey.
3.    “Beauty Will Save the World”, Rediscovering the Allure & Mystery of Christianity, by Brian Zahnd.

This is my birthday gift to you. I hope you find it encouraging.

Always, Be Faithful!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

WARNING, there is a fire

The tongue also is a fire, a world evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell. (James 3:6)
This verse is one of those warnings that needs to be taken seriously, extremely seriously. Lives are truly in jeopardy, the lives those who are very dear to you and me.

My Dad owned what was called a machine shop. He produced small parts used in refrigerators, automobiles and other larger manufactured products. It was a small shop and sometimes demanded a lot of Dad’s time. On one weekend, the family was scheduled to do something that was pretty important, I guess. Dad was working to get something done and Mom and us kids were waiting in the car. Mom was getting pretty upset and actually crying. She very rarely cried. I got impatient and went up to get Dad. His shop was on the 5th floor of a building that rented him the space. When I got there, I told Dad that he was making My Mom cry. He came down pretty quickly.

A few years later, I was married and we were visiting from out of state. Dad had sold his shop and was teaching vocational school. They had a convertible that they enjoyed, very much. One evening Jeannie and I were borrowing it to go out to some entertainment. As we were leaving Mom said, “Don’t put the top down, in the garage.” I laughed and said, “How stupid do you think I am?” and we went outside. Dad followed me out. It turns out that Mom had tried to put the top down in the garage and done quite a bit of damage that had to be repaired. Dad repeated my words back to me, “You have made your mother cry.”

He loved my Mom, and my words had hurt him pretty deeply many years before. I loved my Mom and I had hurt my Mom, with my words just then.

Nearly 50 years later I remember those words and the pain that I caused with proud and careless words. Since then I have hurt others and some others have hurt me with hasty or proud words.

Emotional and verbal abuse may be the worst kind of abuse. There are no visible wounds or scars. The wounds are very real and the scars remain tender for many years. You can be truly sorry. But, you can never take those words back.

Please take these things to your heart. I am.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pointing My Little Fat Finger

The world is full of problems. Many of them seem extremely important. I naturally want to look at the problems, especially the big ones and find out who is to blame. Then boldly and loudly point my little fat finger and accuse who ever I feel is at fault. Is this what I am supposed to be doing?

Is this making a positive difference, or am I just being one more shrieking voice in the cacophony of complainers? It seems that when I do this I am not helping with a solution. Instead I am just adding to the confusion.

I began this by thinking about all of the social problems round about. I tend to accept these as the natural consequence of unredeemed mankind killing one another by benign malicious neglect.

But then! I see myself pointing my little fat finger at organized religion, adding my shriek to the cacophony of those who have been offended for one reason or another. I suspect that this is not helping. What should I be doing?

As I am writing this, one verse comes to my mind. Ezekiel 22:30 says:

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap, on behalf of the land, so that I would not have to destroy it. But I found none.
It is easier to look at the big social problems and point and shriek.

Can I find a single instance of that problem, that I can affect in a positive way? Can I find a group that is adding to the solution to one of those problems and support them in whatever way that I can?

Mother Theresa is someone who found a place she could help and began there. Her little mission to the poor grew to a worldwide mission serving millions.

Jesus commended someone who would give a cup of water. (Matthew 9:41) I should be doing the thing that I can to reduce the suffering of one. Then just keep doing that.

How about you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I Am Thankful for You

I am truly thankful for each of you who have come to read this blog, especially those of you who have visited two or more times. I believe we are all brothers and sisters. There are many things, important to each of us, that we don’t see or say just the same way. But then, we each one come from different places and our journey to where we are, has been unique. So, we each are in unique places with different reference points.

If you have come to this blog more than a couple of times you have seen something in the things that I say, that seem something like (though not the same) the things that you see.

As I have traveled around, I have met folks from a lot of different viewpoints: Some are quiet, some are loud; some are pushy and others are not; some are very interested in deep theology, others just want to see what will work. Most of us are some crazy mixture of different degrees of each of these characteristics and a few more.

I believe God has made each of us to be His children, And, I believe that following Jesus is the way to completely accomplish that. I have tried to keep that obvious in all that I write.

All of that being said, all of this somehow makes us family. And, I want you to know that I am thankful for each of you, sister and brother. I would love to sit down with each of you and a pot of coffee or some other beverage and talk about how we disagree and agree, maybe look at why. Talk about how our path has led to happiness and sorrow failure and success. And before we part we could embrace as family. And when we are apart we can think of one another with a thankful heart.