Friday, June 24, 2011

Visiting People Forgotten by Their Families/Churches

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I wanted to be famous - to do something really big for Him and share the glory.

That's why I piled up so many papers; which, gradually, separated me from Him and His by, uh, degrees.

I climbed to the top of the ecclesiastical ladder of success at a very young age - reaching all of my, uh, professional goals by 30 - and then realized, about 20 years later, that my life and ministry were leaning against the wrong building: me not Jesus.

Though most folks are too selfish like me to be sad, don't be.

God knocked me down to size via a combination of His efforts and my frailties coupled with never producing a book worthy of challenging the sales of the toothy guy in Texas or Hawaiian-shirted dude on the left coast.

It kinda generates sympathies for Calvinists.

God accomplished what I didn't want done.

Slowly, and I'm still just scratching the surface in an Arminian kinda way, He is calling/compelling me back to...


I used to have more $ and access to $ and perks and privileges than anyone who pretends to follow Jesus should have; and if I have to explain that to you,...

Now I'm a beggar.

I beg people to give, give, give their time/talents/treasures to honor Him and help His which, I think, is the best way to honor Him.

I beg help for personal/pastoral instruments to honor Him and help His which, I think, is the...

If people who have more than they should have fork over, great! If not, I just figure God has something else in mind for...

I get paid, uh, O.K., especially in this declining economy, and, except for gas $ with a few cents/sense left over, 95%+ of that goes to my wife so I don't give it all away or...

I'm not complaining.

Actually, it's kinda liberating.

I like being a beggar.

Jesus was a beggar.

His disciples, most often than not throughout history, have been beggars.

Yeah, I kinda like my formerly imposed upon now almost fully embraced poverty.

It's humbling, which is a good thing; and if I have to explain that to you,...

So I've been shedding most of the symbols and satisfactions of my imperial priesthood for something more, uh, oh, well, uh....if I have to explain that to you,...


Getting back to visiting people forgotten by their families/churches (and go to the 6/23 edition about "Trying to Remember What I Forgot" if you've forgotten already), I didn't visit many people when I was a really, really, really important pastor.

Parenthetically, I still have emotional/intellectual/Biblical/spiritual concerns for people who ask, usually on Sundays, "Have you visited ___ lately?" I've begun to respond before responding, "Have you?" I'm more saddened than ___ed by/at people, especially family members, who expect paid people to visit people who they should be visiting if they're paying any attention to the kinda directives that are in, for example, Matthew 25.

But, candidly, I didn't do much visiting when I was an important and relatively famous boy wonder pastor.

I had other associate, less important, pastors to do that.

Back then, I thought I was, you know, uh, too important to visit people in...

I spent my time in suits and ties and starched Brooks Brothers shirts; eating in luxurious restaurants and meeting with, truly, local and national and world movers and shakers and...

Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing/sensing Jesus at any of those...

Yeah, it's hard for a...

And come to think of it, I recall those lesser staff members coming back from their visits and complaining, "I just spent over an hour with ___ in the hospital and all she kept asking was when you're going to come see her."

It took a very long time for me to learn a lesson from a much more common pastor, my home pastor the Rev. Harold F. Mante who went home to Jesus before his seed rooted and grew and bore fruit in me, who counseled/cautioned, "People don't care how much you know if they don't know how much you care."

In other words, I used to wonder why people didn't really listen to the sermons that old Dr. Mac said were being graced upon them by one of the top 5 young preachers in America and I used to wonder why the poor and needy along with authentic kept hanging out with those lesser and more common pastors while guys like me were chained/subservient to those posing kinds that just toss morsels at...

I'm not saying anyone's paying any more attention to me now!

We've got plenty of room for more on Sundays; and, apparently, the ones who do show up don't think I've got much to offer 'cause they don't invite many...

I've still got people who'd like to kill me, seriously, because I would never and now really can't be an errand boy for their wandering desires (Dylan) and OCD need/lust to control people/pastors/churches according to their warped auto-suggestions of spirituality so rarely complementary to revelation in Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.

I've still got people who pay no attention to me; even when I get Him right.

That's just the way it is in an Arminian or Calvinistic kinda way.

I'm just saying I'm paying more attention to them and just trying to remember...



Well, that's it until after the 4th.

Kathie and her wonderful family will be away on vacation; and I'm too technically challenged to put out another edition without her.

Confessionally, that's cool; 'cause it reminds me that I'm not that...

If I have to explain that to you,...


BTW, take out the salt and forward this to pulpiteers and pewsitters who've fogotten...

I could use the mail while Kathie is away.

Damn logs.


Blessings and Love!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Article from the 6/22 edition of The Layman regarding KD's Church and the Joplin Relief Effort. Click here to read it.

Trying to Remember What I Forgot

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



It took almost two years to break my addiction to caffeine; enduring headaches not too dissimilar to migraines except for blindness as well as having nothing in my system not to mention spirit to keep me awake/alert during clergy meetings to get down from 7-8 daily doses to one small cup during my 4:30 - 5:00 a.m. walk with Kopper.

Caffeine is bad for you/me/everyone.

That's what they say; or, rather, what they used to say.

Thanks to Paul who paid for it, Dennis, Wayne, and I weren't the backbone of his foursome who played in Rockford's annual Alzheimer's Association Golf Play Day.

Before dinner, auction, prizes, and awards, an expert presented "10 Simple Ways to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss."

Because I've got a relative who's always looking for signs of that in everyone but her/himself including moi, I paid attention.

While you can google the complete list, the #1 strategy really caught my attention: "3-5 cups of coffee daily cuts risk of memory loss by 65%...Dark chocolate is also a source of caffeine."

So I've decided to increase my risk for a stroke and nausea at clergy meetings, drink up, and confound my relative who's always looking for...

Amazing how easy it is to resume addictions.


Before I forget, I got three calls on Tuesday to visit two folks in local hospitals and another in a nursing home who've been forgotten by their pastors.

All, the physically sick ones, face significant challenges to their health.

The pastors, the spiritually sick ones, face significant challenges to their...

One pastor fashions himself as an administrator, one concentrates on homiletics, and the other is just too busy doing really important stuff like picking out the hymns for Sunday, making sure there are enough napkins for the donuts during fellowship hour, keeping "office hours" for the multitudes who never show up, designing "his" church's new stationary, checking the net for good buys on new stoles, reading (nota bene, reading) about what it means to follow Jesus, and...

I was called because I don't have anything to do that's really that important juxtaposed to the aforementioned pastors' time management/priorities.

Actually, I was called because word has gotten out that I've gotta be in the local hospitals just about every day anyway.


But there's more to it than that.

Like, uh, Matthew 25.

Also, as I've been leaving the imperial priesthood to follow Jesus again, I've been spending more time in reading/meditating/praying with saints like Francis, Clare, Mother Teresa, and the like; and trying to remember what I forgot about really following Jesus: knowing Him, making Him known, and loving Him by loving like Him.

They were bored with academic, ideological, philosophical, theological, doctrinal, ecclesiastical, and denominational debates.

They understood His Church ain't built on broken pickle jars.

They just wanted to know Him, make Him known, and love Him by loving like Him.

They concentrated on what we can find for ourselves in those red-letter edition Bibles and just did it/Him.

They did not, as Brother Lawrence confessed, differentiate where, what, and with whom from why for Who: "The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament."

Or as Paul wrote about the true enfleshment of Christianity, "It is no longer I who live, but Jesus who lives in/through me."

That's holy communion without ceasing.

Simply, I think Jesus would spend more time on immediate needs of flesh and spirit than on, uh, churchy kinda, uh, stuff.



I haven't been as big on nursing homes as I've been on hospitals; for the former seem more immediate than the latter.

But then I missed a member's 100th birthday party because I didn't get an invitation and didn't remember it offhand; which maybe indicates the veracity of my relative who keeps checking to see if...

When I was confronted about it, I said, "I don't feel guilty about not going because I didn't get an invitation. If I did and didn't, then I'd feel guilty."

But I felt badly; and so I went to see her the next day; and the smile after I kissed her hand in celebration reminded me of something else that I often forget: "It is more blessed to give than receive."

Then I went to see the other woman whose pastor is sooooooo/tooooooo busy for nursing homes and had an experience akin to what I once saw in a black-and-white film of Mother Teresa. She came across a dying man lying in a Calcutta gutter. His face betrayed pain, fear, terror, and horror. Then the old nun bent over, stroked his face, looked deeply into his eyes, and talked/prayed of how much Jesus loved him; and, simultaneously/miraculously, I watched as the man's face relaxed, regained hope, and began to radiate nascent personal peace and calm.

Then it hit me.

A true undershepherd really, really, really cares for the sheep - personally with touch and holy kiss and talk/prayer of how much Jesus loves...

I decided to spend more time with people and less time on stuff removed from people.

Yeah, I'll be in the hospitals almost every day; and I'm gonna hit nursing homes more regularly.

I won't be checking membership records.

I'm just gonna try to love 'em like Jesus loves 'em/me.

Would Jesus feel more comfortable in outrageously expensive clothing/vestments or in Ts, jeans, and those suffocating plastic gowns that some hospitals and nursing homes insist upon for visitors?

Would Jesus park Himself behind a desk or go out into the...?

Would Jesus spend His time rapping about churchy stuff or would He be in the hospitals, soup kitchens, nursing homes, and wherever real people had real rather than imagined...?

I used to get sooooooo/tooooooo mad about pulpiteers/pewsitters who play church.

I think I was just mad at myself for playing with 'em.

Now I feel badly for 'em.

I feel sorry for 'em.

They're missing it/Him.

Like me.



I remember praying during the Cuban missile crisis: "Oh, God, please don't let an A-bomb drop on my head until I get my driver's license, have sex, and don't need permission from mom and dad to order off the adult menu."

Now I pray more like this, "Lord, You are so merciful and kind. When I think of how much people hate each other in our world, I'm just thankful that You haven't let us blow the whole world apart yet. Come, Lord Jesus!"

Brother Lawrence: "That as for the miseries and sins he heard of daily in the world, he was so far from wondering at them that, on the contrary, he was surprised that there were not more, considering the malice sinners were capable of; that, for his part, he prayed for them."

I just don't want to add to the problems.

I just want to point to the answer.



I don't know if any of the preceding makes sense to you.

It hardly makes sense to me.

I'm just trying to follow Jesus as Jesus presented Himself as attested in Holy Scripture.

I'm not trying to reinvent or reimagine Him by auto-suggestion.

I'm just trying to remember what I forgot/forget.

Brother Lawrence: "That we ought to quicken - enliven - our faith."

In short, it's time to walk the talk.

That's something new/renewed/remembered for imperial priests like me trying to follow Jesus again.

Really, Jesus, help me to be addicted to You alone.

God knows I've been too full of myself.

I need/want to be full of Him.



Blessings and Love!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Forget You!? Learning from My "Challenged" Friends

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I use a Tear Drop putter cover for my Titleist Standard Bulls Eye stick.

It fits - literally and metaphorically - if you know what I mean.

Lots of tears.

I'm reminded of a round with my dad.

Though I play right-handed, I putt left-handed.

When my dad asked why I putt left-handed when I play right-handed, I said, "Because I can't putt right-handed."

My dad observed, "Well, I've got news for you, son. You can't putt left-handed either."


Staying with tears in my life, I found a confessional note in an outrageously expensive premium leather-covered Bible that I gave to a street preacher on Wednesday because I've been stockpiling stuff for too long that He has called/compelled me to give away before it's too late for me to...

Parenthetically, do you think Jesus ever expected the Bible to cost so much?

Yeah, the Bible doesn't come cheap these days; again, literally and metaphorically if you know what I mean.

Anyway, that's another reason why I like the Gideons. They give away what we're not supposed to keep just for ourselves.

The note: "A recurring problem in my life - keeping souvenirs of hell. Can't I get by with a little sin? It's a good thing our Lord is more forgiving than most people."


Cliff is right: "We sin! God saves! What a great deal!"



Once a week, I play nine with Billy.

He's a Special Olympics golf champion and good friend who has become a part of our family by call/compelling/decision.

He's taught me so much about confession, repentance, restoration, and hope.

I'll never forget our first round together.

I started with a birdie, par, and assumed I was about to make a startling impression on him.

Then came the third hole.

As we approached the fourth hole, Billy asked, "What did you have?"

I said, "Five."

"I don't think so," he corrected, "I counted six swings."

BTW, that's why I warn anyone who plays with us to...

"I'm sorry," I said, "I was wrong. You're right. Thank you for correcting me. Six."

Then I heard the voice of Jesus, "It's O.K., Pastor Bob, we all make mistakes. We're supposed to help each other get better. You help me and I'll help you, O.K.?"




I used to play with Fred.

I was told he is "challenged" like Billy.

Then one day on a busy course, some folks behind started yelling/complaining that we were taking too long to play.

Fred has the shakes; and, uh, takes a little longer than...

I burned, "Fred, I'm going to go back there right now and..."

He interrupted, "Forget about it. They're just unhappy people."

He was/remains right.

I remember thinking, "Just who is really challenged in our twosome?"


So many tears because of so little forgiveness.

That's why Jesus was so big on forgiveness as a realized hope through Him and very, very, very real concern/caution without...

Read Matthew 6:12, 14.

So who's challenged?



Blessings and Love

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Vote for Cliff Mansley!

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



We met many years ago.

I was consulting with a church near Pittsburgh in their search for a mainline pastor who still believed in Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.

From my first conversation and then prayer with Cliff, I knew he was...

While there are many things that distinguish Cliff from other mainliners apart from enthusiasm for Jesus as Lord and Savior without equivocation, two quotes stay with me in a governoring kinda way if you know what I mean.

When I asked him to summarize Christianity, he said, "We sin! God saves! What a great deal!"

Annnnnnnd I'll never forget when he stood up at a presbytery meeting during a fierce debate between evangelicals and apostates and yelled, "Vote for Jesus!"

That's His boy!


I was Cliff's mentor through the maze of mainline politics, proprieties, and posturing; for I had prostituted myself to get ahead in the culture.

Cliff became my mentor when I decided to leave the imperial priesthood to follow Jesus; and as I loved him through an unGodly betrayal, he did the same for me.

We even survived a major moment of misinterpretation with each other; which real friends and covenant brothers who love Jesus by praying/trying to love like Jesus always do.

In a mainline ecclesiastical culture dominated by posers (upokrisis), Cliff is the real deal - an authentic who never makes deals with the devil to get ahead.

So if you're a pewsitter or even pulpiteer in one of those posing mainline cages, I've got a suggestion that will change you and maybe even your church forever; especially if you can swing with this deal.

Call him (417-396-6175) or write him (1831 South Connor Avenue, Joplin, Missouri 64804) or check out the website for the church that is so blessed to call him pastor:; and ask him how you can be blessed by blessing the people of Joplin as they continue to recover from the horrific tornado that tore through the city like a one mile wide rusty old razor for six miles.

Annnnnnnd if you dare - a big risk for pulpiteers who have fudged on Jesus at the expense of eternal life and abundant living in order to get along with mainliners who aren't that into the Jesus of the Bible because Cliff will inspire those thirsting for authenticity while exposing the posers for who they ain't - invite him to your church to preach at Sunday services or even lead a few days of what is certain to spark revival among those who need to be renewed or even "newed" if you catch the drift.

My recent trip to Joplin as part of our First Response Team sealed the deal for me.

It's been germinating for almost 12, uh, 13, uh, uh, uh,...59 years.

I will never be able to return to the imperial priesthood; and my hands are getting dirtier and dirtier and dirtier for Jesus as He cleans my heart.

I thank Him through Cliff for my, uh, rebirth.

I've got such a long way to go; but, at least, I've started/returned.


If you'd like to know more, go to the archives of and click on the 6/14 show of Kopp Disclosure that featured a live interview with Cliff or just listen into for the next week or so as the show is replayed over and over and...

Or go to or look to the right column of this website and click on "What Joplin Means to..." for an original video by Kathie demanding attention.

Or call our family of faith at 815-544-6402 and ask for Pastor Jeremy; inquiring how you can be a part of the 30+ folks who are leaving from Belvidere on 6/26 to lead a week of VBS in Joplin.

Or make out a check to First Presbyterian Church (221 N. Main Street, Belvidere, Illinois 61008) with "New Creation Joplin Relief" in the note/memo for designating, recording, and receipting. Every penny goes to the relief effort with nothing held back for handling or administration.

Or e-mail me at and ask how you can be a part of our continuing relief to Joplin through Cliff and New Creation Church and support our fledgling First Response Team and get your hands dirty for Jesus to clean up your heart.


For God's sake and the sake of His children in Joplin and wherever authentics who just want to follow Jesus are needed/expected, do something!

Pledge your prayers, muscles, materials, and/and/no/or money!

Leave the mainline which has become the sideline!

Get in the game!

Get out of your monastery, museum, or mausoleum; and do more than talk about mission!

You will be glad you did/do!

People will be blessed!

He will be blessed ("As you do it...")!

Annnnnnnd just wait to see...


Vote for Cliff!

No, that's not right.

Cliff got it/Him long ago.

Vote for Jesus!



Blessings and Love!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dave Ramsey, Lois, Pearl, and Francis

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Financial Peace University Preview: part 1


Lois moderated "Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University" for our family of faith avec friends from the community.

That was several months ago; which I'll get to in a succeeding section of this edition.

If you've just watched the preceding video, you'll notice DR's blue shirt which ain't a Brooks Brothers no-such-thing-as-special; which I'll get to in a succeeding section of this edition.

It brought Pearl and Francis to mind; which I'll get to in a...


If you've never taken DR's FPU course and want to know how to make the most out of your finances during these tough times, you've gotta take it.

If you're like me and want to learn how to control $, stop struggling to make ends meet, and not let finances ruin relationships, you've gotta take it.

Annnnnnnd if you're within driving distance of our family of faith, be sure to sign-up to take it with us when next offered because Lois is a superb teacher/moderator of the course as well as one of the most humble, selfless, and sacrificial saints to ever cross my path in nearly four decades of ordained pastoral ministry.

I learned sooooooo much.

It cured my addiction to plastic and taught me how to use $ for the glory of God rather than allowing $ to use me for...

It taught me how to model Someone better in personal stewardship.


As I took the course, I was struck by how many of us noticed he wore the same blue shirt for every session.

I figured he either didn't care what we thought of what he wore or filmed the whole course in one day; but realizing that would have meant non-stop filming for over 24 hours, I continue to assume the former.

That reminded me of how Jesus felt about, uh, superficial things like clothes (see Matthew 6:19ff.).

The continued observation of DR wearing the same blue shirt for every session also brought Pearl to mind (RIP).

As only a "church lady" can, she made an appointment with me to say how much she hated my beard.

To make a longer story shorter, it was the typical parishioner pathological transference.

Her son had a beard and her son hated her and my beard reminded her of that and...

Younger and much more naive, I said I would shave it off if it would make her feel better about, uh, me along with...

The next Sunday as I saw her approaching me after worship, I expected appreciation and affection for my clean-shavedness.

Instead, she shook my hand, then held my hand between hers, tilted her head in a sickening kinda condescending way, and said, "Now about your moustache!"



I've been giving away as many symbols of imperial priesthood as I can to follow Jesus.

Yeah, I know I've been kinda OCD about it in the last several editions; but He's rebirthing me and I feel increasingly/!

Now I'm struggling with whether I'm more blessed by giving away than...

Oh, uh, yeah, He said something about that too.

Be that as it/He is, now I'm selling really prized symbols/stuff or just giving 'em away if someone's tight or strapped in order to get an instrument or two to build upon this latest call to serve rather than be...

Cliff and Joplin accelerated that.

For the last eight or nine months, I've been starting almost every day with Francis' prayer; and more often by compulsion than choice if you know what I mean.

You can google it or just listen to the next video.

In short, I have no clue where all of this is headed but I'm pretty sure of the Head.

I have never felt in less control of my life and ministry.

I have never felt as clueless as I am right now.

I keep learning from folks like DR, Lois, Pearl, Francis, and...

I'm more excited about worship and homiletics and care and, for the first time in a long time, dirty service for Jesus than ever before.

I'm more in love with the family of faith entrusted to me and others than ever before.

The Lord has even healed by heart for those who've really hated me and been nasty to me in a Christian kinda way over the years; and tenderized my heart for more personal confession and repentance for how I have...

Nothing has changed in my passion/prayer for knowing Jesus, making Him known, and trying to love Him by loving like Him; but everything has changed about my sense of enfleshment.

ONJ, to quote somebody out of context, was right: "Let's get physical!"

Again, I'm leaving the imperial priesthood to get dirty for Jesus.

That prayer of Francis is like contacts on my soul.

I can't stop saying it and praying it and wanting to live it for Jesus.

I feel like I've just grabbed onto the coattail of the Holy Spirit for a ride to...

I feel, uh, great in a very undershepherding kinda way.



Blessings and Love!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Joplin Means to...

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



When we got back from Joplin, Harlan asked if it was a life-changing experience.

"Yes," I said, "for many...and for me, it was the renewing of an old call and compelling to a new one."

Hence, this KD.


As you can see in the preceding original video by Kathie with footage help from Don, Jeff, and Tim, it was/remains a disaster of Biblical proportions.

What you see is a glimpse of one mile wide and six miles long jaw-dropping/tear-drenching/overwhelming/numbing/gut-wrenching/drop-to-your-knees-begging...

Really, I cannot begin to describe the human suffering concomitant to destruction often likened to the dropping of a nuclear bomb.

Pictures of the aftermath of Truman's decision on how to end WWII immediately came to mind moments after arriving on the scene.

Despite Kathie's best efforts along with all of those pictures and reports in the media, there is no way to capture the whole picture in framed, uh, pictures, videos, commentary, and...

But I try because people ask; and an old call has been renewed while a new one is compelling.

Anyway, I liken what I saw to a one mile wide old and rusty razor that scrapped for six miles to carve a swath of suffering in the heart of Joplin.


The old call has been renewing within moi for quite a while; as I've been leaving the imperial priesthood to follow Jesus again.

Metaphorically, I think of it as shedding outrageously expensive vestments like winged-tips, button-downed Brooks Brothers shirts, Cokesbury cuties, and fancy stoles that redirect money from the poor to clergy who should know better to jeans, Ts, and steel-tipped...

Seriously, what kind of attire do you think Jesus would wear if He showed up for Sunday services?

If you read the Clergy Meology series in April or the edition on "Getting Dirty for Jesus" (just click on the archives in the right column if you've forgotten 'em or blew 'em off when first offered), I've talked a lot about returning to my Beruf.

Simply, I got into this gig to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, make Him known as Lord and Savior, and try to love Him by loving like Him because He is Lord and Savior.

Or something like that.

The problem has been getting caught up in that imperial priesthood hypocrisy/posing of, uh, not practicing what we...

Actually, the old call started coming back to me through my youngest Matthew about two years ago.

I was faced with an opportunity to get somebody else to sacrifice and serve so I wouldn't have to do it.

There were no takers.

When I was ___ing and ___ing about it, Matthew said, "Dad, you're always talking about not waiting for others to do what Jesus expects you to do. So why don't you do it and be a model of Someone better?"

Uh, out of the mouths of...


That's how we got to Joplin.

While it's hard for a guy with a Calvinist bent to admit, I've been humbled by the generosity of our family of faith at First in Belvidere mirrored by seven other churches that have partnered with Pastor Cliff Mansley of Joplin's New Creation Church to provide relief; emphasizing PM/NC were already providing relief to the neediest of the needy in Joplin before things got indescribably worse.

If you'd like to know more about the first delivery, you can click on this Sunday at 10:00 a.m. for a live broadcast of our worship service that will include a report from our partnership's first trip to Joplin; or if you're doing your own liturgical thing on Sunday, just click on when moved to do it and click on the archives for the service. You can also click on the radio version of KD via and check out the archived 6/7 show with some commentary by yours truly not many hours after returning from Joplin.

Annnnnnnd if you'd like to get involved with our partnership through PM/NC, you can send $; making out your check to First Presbyterian Church, Belvidere with "New Creation Joplin Relief" in the memo/note for designation, recording, and receipting. There are no administrative or handling costs and every penny that you send will get to PM/NC to help the neediest of the needy in Joplin.

Annnnnnnd if you want to go to Joplin to help rebuild hearts and homes, our pastor Jeremy is right now coordinating mission relief trips to Joplin to get dirty for Jesus! The first trip will be on June 26 - July 2; and, of course, he will be working closely in planning with PM/NC to determine the particulars. If you're interested in going or know someone who is or want to be a sponsor or know someone who wants to be a sponsor, contact me via this site,, or call 815-544-6402 and you'll be connected to PM/NC and Jeremy even quicker than Republicans are dropping out of the race for...

If you can't decide if you wanna, should, or can, read Matthew 25.


The renewing of an old call birthed/compelled a new one.

A little background.

First, go back to Matthew's charge.

Second, while I ain't no Harold Camping and have no aspirations in that, uh, direction (go to archived edition on that one), God knows even the slightly Biblically literate know we're indisputably moving closer and closer and closer to the eschaton.

Yes, there have always been earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and other "natural" disasters; but the Bible's witness includes the forecasting of more and more and more of 'em with increasing frequency and intensity akin to the increasingly frequent and more intense birthpangs before, uh, birth.

Whether that's a year from now or a hundred years from now, only the unconscious or doped deny the increasing frequency and intensity of...

With that in mind coupled with Matthew's witness and the renewal of an old call compelling a new one, I've decided to, gulp, geez, sigh, uh, whoa, form a First Response Team in our family of faith to provide immediate 24-48 hour relief (water, food, first-aid, toiletries, muscle, prayer) to anyone suffering this kinda stuff.

There are other aspects of such a call that are very raw - PM/NC explained them to me - and you'll have to ask me in private to articulate 'em for ya. Let's just say it's a very, very, very dirty job; and now would be a good time to click on the archived editions about...

I'm going to start stocking the stuff in the new magnormous closet being built in my study to replace the bookshelves that were just for show anyway, get some real vestments and tools for ministry if you know what I mean, and trust God to exchange my brown beater for a...

If you're in our neighborhood, just let me know if you want to be a part of our First Response Team; and if you're not, God will tell you right now if you ask how you can...

Of course, if you dare to ask how, be prepared for a direct response requiring...


If you listen in on Sunday to our first delivery team's report, you'll discover the small stuff just ain't that, uh, big anymore for folks who...

BTW, for anal ecclesiastical sorts in our reading audience, yeah, I checked with some elders and members and staff on this; and they're all for it in a no-brainer kinda way. Yeah, they're enough votes. So I'm not holding a special meeting to get approval. Geez. Besides, if I had to get approval for something like this, I wouldn't wanna be... It's important for all of us to remember there is a higher authority than you, me, or them on all issues of faith and morality.



In short, I refuse to wait anymore to do what God wants done now.

I'm not gonna ask anyone else to do what God wants me to do.

I'm gonna welcome and include anyone who wants to be a part of His salvation army.


That rings a bell.

Moretheless, while returning from Joplin, several personal/corporate questions kept me awake/alert while driving Kaye and Carl's truck:

I know that's what you think, but what does Jesus think?

I know that's what you wanna do, but what does Jesus want you do to?

I know that's not what you wanna do, but what does Jesus expect?

I know you like..., but what does Jesus like?

I know you don't like..., but what does Jesus like?

I know you..., but what about Jesus?

Catch the drift?

Now, a confession.

I'm a really lousy person, parent, partner, pastor, and presbyter; and anything else that begins with the letter...

I've got plenty of help from the past/present/future on realizing this fact of my life and ministry; especially former members who wanted a personal hero or lover to champion their agenda not to mention my 10th grade Latin teacher who...

Annnnnnnd my mirror doesn't lie and I stopped smoking weed after my freshman year in college until Bruce succeeded in tempting me before a Greek exam in my first year at...

I'm only scratching the surface of who I can be through Him as a...

Yet I've gotta admit the dirtier I get for Jesus, the cleaner I feel on the inside.

Hey, anybody want the last few stoles in my closet?

Please come and take...everything you want/covet!

I need more room for Matthew 25 kinda stuff!

I'm called/compelled.

I can't do anything else anymore.


That rings a bell too.

Actually, it's more of an alarm/heralding.



Blessings and Love!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Hurting

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



I'm hurting.

A couple left the church because we added "contemporary" music to her-not-really-their-because-she-really-calls-the-shots service.


Have you noticed who is really wearing the pants in most American households?

"Her" service?

Help me, Jesus!

I'm hurting because I've been "there" for them through every crisis, hospitalization, emotional/intellectual/spiritual burp, and...

It brought others to mind who always seem to find/invent an excuse/lie to break fellowship.

How "Christian" is that?

Yeah, God enfleshed in Jesus, suffered miserably on the cross, rose, and reigns to encourage the dividing up of His, uh, body.



While I may be wrong on this, I'm starting to think people who separate themselves from other Christians - emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, or institutionally - just may be guilty of blasphemy against the...


Does anyone out there really think Jesus is into all of this jingoistic, denominational, sectarian, segregated, condescending, arrogant, holier-than-thou, my-way-or-the-highway, uh, uh, uh, looking for an appropriate word, uh, uh, uh,...crap?

I've seen it all since making the mistake of being obedient to my Beruf so long ago: people on pastor search committees leaving because they were looking for a best friend or even lover or someone to carry "their" agenda at minimum, saying they're not being "fed" and then slithering off to a Christian-liter because they didn't really want meat but rather pabulum to suckle their bigotries that rarely and usually only coincidentally match up with His, protesting efforts to make Jesus the only focus and filter of life and ministry because they don't want to be "that" Christian and forfeit relationships with those not as "into" Him, and auto-suggesting spiritualistic rationalizations to exit.

I'm hurting because no matter what I've done for 'em or would do for 'em if asked, it's what I didn't do for 'em or can't do for 'em that...

Lloyd was right.

Not long before leaving Hollywood for the US Senate, he counseled/cautioned me, "If you want people to bleed, you must hemorrhage."



Don't get me wrong.

I'm feeling quite well in the family of faith entrusted to me as undershepherd.

Please don't let the word out, but I know I'm appreciated for, uh, trying to be a faithful undershepherd.

While there's always 1, the 99 are moving ahead in, through, and for Him with His avec moi quite nicely.

I'm more excited than ever before to do all of the stuff that's part of my Beruf.

Unless I'm assassinated or knocked off by somebody distracted by a cellular or make-up behind the wheel of some cage, retirement ain't on the radar; and God knows because He made me that I'd never make it in one of those retirement states of...

Uh, I'm not the, uh, retiring kinda guy.

Yeah, Chuck and Brian and Jeff/Jeff and Ken, I need to be more obedient to sabbat; but it's hard when you're a lover and workaholic all wrapped up into...

I'd not only die for the family of faith entrusted to me as obedience to Jesus, I would do it willingly more than by any sense of compulsion.

In short, I'm psyched about/for Jesus; knowing Him as Lord and Savior and praying/trying to make Him known as Lord and Savior.

And yet when something happens like what's recounted in the second sentence of this KD, I can get a little...

I'm only human; just like everybody but Jesus and just like everybody who never ever doesn't need Him as personal Lord and Savior.



Sure, I can't understand why that really rich dudette/dude won't help to...

She/he never even asked if...

Yeah, it's hard being a lover in a world of...

God knows I'm frustrated by what I see in myself as well as peers when reading Hosea 4; especially verses 4-10 which could serve as a short etiological essay on the decline/demise of the mainline.

Certainly, I...

Then I read Hebrews 12.

Then I look at the cross.

Then I hear Him hurting: "How often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her chicks; but you were/remain unwilling."

Then I feel so ashamed because I haven't loved as He loved even those who hurt Him most badly: "Father, forgive them. They're ignorant."

And I remember what my late and first mentor Pastor Harold Mante said not long after I was first installed as a pastor: "Nobody's that strange. Some people just need a little more understanding than others."

I guess that's why He died.

He decided to hemorrhage for people who were hurting Him and His.

He decided to die to Himself for the salvation of everyone else; and when my hurts even remotely approach His, then, maybe, I'll get it/Him for once and for all: "If anyone really wants to be Mine, that person must deny self, take up the cross, and follow..."

About 25 years before going home to Jesus, Ted put it this way when I complained to him like I did earlier in this KD, "Compared to Jesus, that's not so bad."


And when I/we know/assimilate that truth into the deepest recesses of my/our...



Blessings and Love!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Getting Dirty for Jesus

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Father's Day is approaching (viz., 6/19).

Comparing it to Mother's Day is like comparing Rachel Maddow to Sarah Palin.

One is hot and one is not.

Parenthetically, I've been saying SP has no chance of winning the big political prize. Of course, I said that about the current resident on Pennsylvania Avenue. On the other backhand of American poles/polls, the established jackasses, pachyderms, and pundits are OCDing in ganging up to scorn, slander, and savage her; which has gotta mean she must have a chance.

Be that as it may not be, Father's Day is approaching and worship attendance won't rival the stats for Mother's Day and I'll probably get a comb or some after shave if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I'm thinking about my father/Father.

He has always been my model of fidelity to God, family, and country.

Just like my sons, I've been slow to receive his/His counsel; and that has been, like my sons, to my disadvantage.

Lately, I've been thinking about two things that he said - one not long after I was ordained and one about a decade ago.

Not long after being ordained which was not long after being trained for the imperial priesthood by one of the world's best seminaries for doing that with explicit rubrics on being button-downed, wing-tipped, and Brooksed, he scoffed, "I'll bet you think manual labor is the new second baseman for the Yankees."

About a decade ago when he struggled with attending a wedding because he wasn't sure how the couple and the groom's mom felt about him which has so sadly proven pejorative since, he announced, "If people don't really want me around, I don't need to be around and put on some phony-baloney show when something comes up when my presence is pretended to be necessary."

My father got it from our Father.



Jesus talked a lot about service; precisely, serving rather than being served.

Francis' famous prayer comes to mind; and if you don't know it, google Prayer of Saint Francis.

It captures the essence of the kinda love that Jesus modeled for people daring to claim Him as Lord.

I lost sight of that for so long; despite my father's/Father's example/exhortation.

I was trained to think undershepherding means getting other people to do the dirty work.

Again, I was trained to keep my hands clean without calluses, wear outrageously expensive vestments, receive vocational discounts, and get preferred parking at hospitals and church parking lots to symbolize my commitment to humble servanthood in the name of Jesus.

You know what I mean; and if you don't, trying to explain it to you is as useless as trying to explain why I ride Return as much as I can.

BTW, I was thinking of letting you know how I've been called to get dirty for Jesus; but realized part of serving is not needing respect, response, regard, or reward.

I was also thinking of asking some of KD's more financially blessed to fork over for some tools to...; but I realized part of serving is trusting our Father to provide without asking those who should already know they've been blessed to...

Disciples don't have to be asked because they're so eager to serve.

I've gone back to Brother Lawrence: "Do everything for the love of God...doing them with a desire to please Him...All consists in one hearty renunciation of everything which we are sensible enough to know does not lead to God...Our sanctification does not depend upon changing our works, but in doing that for God's sake which we commonly do for our own...The most excellent method of going to God is doing our common business without any view of pleasing men and - as far as we are capable - purely for the love of God."

In other words, we are at our/His best when we practice the presence of God in all we think, say, and do; remembering belief is confirmed by behavior.

One of Brother Lawrence's biographers used a metaphor to capture the call/command/compelling to walk the talk of service: "I once saw a heavily-loaded truck stuck in an underpass. There could be no getting through short of unloading. I was reminded that the way is still narrow and the gate is still straight that leads into life...Brother Lawrence invites us to unload and to come on through."

Increasingly, for me, that means shedding imperial priesthood and joining true servants in dirty ministries.



Jesus talked about shaking off the dust when not invited, welcomed, included, and loved.

I've always been humbled by my father's/Father's focus.

While loving fools which means praying/laboring for their best, he/He never suffered them gladly.

My father/Father never strayed from his/His purpose; often moving ahead without those who tried to discourage, detour, or deter him/Him.

Always prepared to reconcile, he/He never played games with his/His time or energies; teaching creative neglect at his/His best to me.

Not always getting him/Him right, I was taught simply not to respond to people who showed a consistency of selfish, irascible, and irreconcilable countenance as well as deportment.

Getting dirty for Jesus doesn't mean bathing in the slop of total depravity - ours or theirs.

It means lowering ourselves after his/His example in order to elevate others.

It means no one is too big or important not to do dishes, take out the trash, clean toilets, sweep floors, wash windows, and...

Even graduates of...

Again, it's a waste of time trying to explain that to...

Such knowledge/wisdom requires being born anothen - washing up to get dirty for Jesus.



Blessings and Love!