KDs are designed/developed/inspired/mused/auto-suggested/indigested to make folks think; an especially uncommon experience among Democrats, Republicans, and jingoistic mainline denominationalists who continue to discourage dissent with their ever-threatening thought police.
inspiration/indigestion while Kopper took me for a walk.
He seems to want
to walk with me forever.
I keep looking
forward to when it's over.
That's gotta mean
Be that as it may be, the
parable of the runaway follows...
I never really
liked him...until now.
It was a forced
He was a rich
member of the church, inheriting all of his wealth from his entrepreneurial
daddy and feeling entitled to more than others in every way so reminiscent of
Jesus' verdict, and I was a boy wonder ably gifted for pulpiteering
wizardry without the necessary emotional or spiritual prerequisites.
We were the same
in all emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical forms and I felt
entitled to them more than others in every way because I was ably gifted for
pulpiteering wizardry without the necessary emotional or spiritual
wasn't the only one who God could use to tell the truth, he confronted me,
"You will never come close to what He has for you until you face your
Or as a street
preacher once explained, "You can't fix what you won't face."
When problems or
tight spots or annoyances or miscues or irregulars or irascibles or irreconcilables
or sins closed in, I ran away to the next church that always called because I
was ably gifted for pulpiteering wizardry without the necessary emotional or
Not as familiar
with the Psalmist or garden story or anything Biblical as I pretended
to be, spending most of my "educational" time reading books
about the book, I thought I could run away from whomever or whatever
or wherever or whyever whenever that feeling of closing in began
how the past is reincarnated unless the counsel of the rich contemporary
and street preacher is absorbed into the deepest recesses of mind and
to outrun what's deeply embedded.
It must be faced
before what He has for you can
or restoration is a choice no matter what hyper-predestinarians pretend.
Yes, we are
predestined in every way according
to the Bible.
Yes, we have
volition in every way according
to the Bible.
It's better to
spend time in what/whom is within your reach.
That happens over
time for many.
That happens on
Damascus Road for others.
different ways for different people who truly want it/Him to happen to them...or not.
It's a choice.
There's not a
word that's strong enough to...
I never really
liked him...until now.
He seems to want
to walk with me forever.
When I stopped
wanting it to be over, the relationship began to...
Since our renovation/expansion,
can't locate the boxes of God's
Top Ten List and Don't
Forget This! So, uh, maybe later...
1. Matthew 6:19-21
2. Lawrence, Francis, Mother...
3. While our church is recovering
from a little recklessness during our expansion/renovation with increased sacrificial
giving and we are paying our bills and expanding our missions again as His Holy
Spirit is working so many miracles of increased intimacy with Him and adoptions
into the family, we are not providing Christmas bonuses to staff this year and
there's not a lotta discretionary funds for folks who need some extra help
right now and...so I'm going to use 75% of what comes in for those bonuses to
our staff members, 15% for discretionary use for the poor, and 10% to modify my
pony now that the Lord has cured that covetousness.
4. Besides, I'm deep into my last
book - about a year from completion - and need shelf space.
These two books
continue a dominant theme throughout Holy Scripture.
God is the King of kings.
Prosperity is the
experience and inheritance of people who esteem Him as Source, Starter,
Sovereign, and Savior; conversely, poverty is the experience and inheritance of
those who do not: "If you follow this path, you will be successful in everything
you do no matter where you are."
last words was this consistently conclusive promise from God: "For as long
as your sons are devoted to Me and live by My truth and embrace it with all
their being, your offspring will always sit upon Israel's throne."
We might say,
"As long as we remain one nation under
God, we will continue in His favor."
Or as we'll read
in the next two books chronicling the axiom of our relationship with God:
"If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and
pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
epitomized this deference when God asked what he wanted most as the crown
passed from his father David to him: "You have allowed me to serve as my
father David served, but I am still young and inexperienced. I don't know
much about anything, yet I am supposed to lead...Please give Your servant a
listening heart for judging Your people and for knowing the difference between
what is good and what is evil."
"delighted" in Solomon's request: "Since you have asked for
wisdom and not for an extended lifetime or for personal wealth or for the
annihilation of your enemies, since you have instead asked for the ability to
understand justice, I will honor your request."
Solomon taught us
how to pray effectively; begging God's enabling for service above self.
Like David before
him, Solomon had a heart for God.
He wanted to
honor God through his kingship under His Kingship: or as he's quoted in the
book containing all of his wise proverbial counsel: "People go about
making their plans, but God has the final word...He knows your heart...your
real motives...Whatever you do, do it as service to Him, and He will guarantee
Paul put it this
way: "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God!"
behave like they believe in God; and that includes service above self.
was effective because he wanted to help people to honor God - selflessly not
That's a main
ingredient in effective prayer.
Truly, as Jesus
said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and
the door will be opened."
Yet the motive in
asking, seeking, and knocking must be to honor God; or as Jesus explained,
"Seek first the
Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all these things will be given
to you too."
effective prayer: "When you ask, you do not get because your motives are
wrong. You focus on self-indulgence...Come close to God and He will come
close to You...Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous
That's why people
who truly love God cannot separate devotion to the Kingdom of God from lesser
Indeed, the big
ten like all of Holy Scripture insists there are no gods before God; meaning no
one nor no thing deserves the allegiance and affection due Him alone.
So if a choice
must be made, God must always prevail in our deeds as well as creeds.
When tested to
forsake His Kingdom for a lesser kingdom, the apostles got it/Him right:
"We must obey God not man."
And whenever the
lesser kingdom is chosen over the greater Kingdom, prayer becomes ineffective
along with the experience and inheritance of prosperity being forfeited.
personal empathies, these two books contain a story highlighting the
consequences of choosing the lesser over the greater: "Elisha traveled to
Bethel...On his way there, a large group of young boys came out of the city and
began making fun of him: 'Keep going, baldy! Keep going, baldy!'
When Elisha looked back at them, he spoke against them with the authority of
God. Almost immediately, two female bears walked out of the forest and
ripped up forty-two of the young boys."
God never looks
kindly upon anyone or any nation assaulting those anointed to call everyone to
honor Him: "From your first breath to the last one, God will keep you safe
from evil...All who have faith in God will stand as Mount Zion: unmoved,
enduring, eternal...God will send all the wicked away along with those who
pervert what's good and twist it in their own crooked way."
I'm reminded of
how Martin Luther King, Jr. warned America of the consequences of becoming less
than one nation under God:
"God has a way of...putting nations in their place. The God that I
worship has a way of saying,...'Don't play with Me, Israel. Don't play
with Me, Babylon. Be still and know that I'm God...And if you don't stop
your reckless course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power."
Anointed and wise
kings like David and Solomon understood and heeded that/Him.
Anointed and wise
prophets like Elijah and Elisha understood and heeded that/Him.
their experience and inheritance.
History - His story - has a way of
I don't always
agree with him; but that's never been a prerequisite for me liking
Jesus; but don't always agree with Him in my depraved human kinda way if you know what I mean.
Steve makes me think; and as you may
know, that's a big part of what KD is
While it's still
legal, it's important to think about what's going on and then decide
how/if we're gonna...
For folks who
dare to refer to themselves as Christians, it's imperative to think how to
honor Him in an increasingly hostile-to-Him/His culture.
Anyway, Steve is
always saying, "You better listen!"
It's his way of
encouraging us to listen and think and then decide how/if we're gonna...
He's got that
prophetic edge: "You better listen...or..."
about her before.
lady-in-Carolina-blue-crushed-velvet who hated my beard because she had a bad
relationship with her son who had a beard and transferred...
Well, you may
recall I shaved it off to satiate her pathology, expected kudos, and got this
as she greeted me after worship the very next Sunday: "Now about your
It's been about 25
years since that happened; but
I've never told anybody the other side of that story with metaphors/meanings
I'm not sure why
I'm telling it now - it probably has something to do with the confession in the
next section - but I am scratching
the surface of my relationship with Jesus and
lots of stuff's coming up as...
You may think
it's/I'm silly; but I, uh, think
it means something as part of my scratching and
desire/prayer/passion to encourage others to...
I had an
associate pastor back then - one of the best three to ever try to serve avec
moi - who wept when seeing my clean-shaven face and then blasted me for
The verdict was
While studying in
Europe in the mid-70s, I took a truncated Nazirite vow to experience/express my
devotion to Him.
My associate knew
that; so when I...
Truth is I broke
that vow - symptomatic of me breaking many...
That was about 25
Just to let you know (Psst.
Go to the right column and click on...).
Now that I'm scratching the surface of my relationship with Him and listening/thinking a tad more than before,
I've renewed that vow; and whenever I even trim..., I think about how I too
often trim my relationship with...
You better listen!
comes to mind.
corporate optimism included in "Election 2012 Reality Check" (go to
the right column and click it on if you need a refresher), I was
inspired/indigested about my need to confess personal sin in how I voted - trimmed - on November 6
while Kopper took me for a walk on November 9.
Parenthetically, while I hope you'll
think a tad yourself, I'm just talking about my vote and my relationship with
Him and not suggesting I know more than anyone about anything related to
Election 2012 and not implying anything about your vote or... Catch the
drift? I may be wrong about what follows; but this is how I feel about my
vote after being inspired/indigested on November 9. It's hard enough for
me to work out my own salvation; so I'm not about to tell you how to work out
yours apart from urging all of us to listen, think, and then...
While I've always
said I kinda like both of 'em in a personal way and would like to have lunch or
a Yuengling with 'em, I only voted for one of 'em even though I live near
Chicago and could have voted for both of 'em if
you know what I mean.
I could not vote
for the guy who's an accomplice to mass murder. I know partial birth
murder is only one issue; but, for me, and I may be wrong, it's a really,
really, really big issue and... I've been to Yad Vashem many times.
I've read Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller who read Jesus and...
Instead, I voted
for someone whose personal religion includes blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit. That was the inspiration/indigestion on November 9. I voted for someone whose personal
religion includes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit! I have
begged forgiveness ever since that early morning walk with Kopper.
Voting for the
lesser of two evils means still voting for...
I haven't read
anything in His book about embracing or voting for the lesser of...
Then He reminded
me of Gideon...and I thought again about trimming...
I don't know
about you; but I've trimmed so much over the years.
"Jesus' whole life was one unbroken act of self-consecration to the glory
of God and the eternal welfare of His fellow-men...The better and holier a man
is, the more he feels his need of pardon, and how far he falls short of his own
imperfect standard of excellence" (Apostolic
King, Jr.: "God has a way of saying, 'Don't play with Me, Babylon.
Be still and know that I'm God. And if you don't stop your reckless
course, I'll rise up and break the backbone of your power.' And that can
happen to America. Every now and then I go back and read Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire. And when I come and look at America, I say to myself,
the parallels are frightening" (The
Drum Major Instinct, 1968).
to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and
light for darkness" (inspired long enough ago that we should know better).
As I've been scratching the surface of my relationship with Jesus since October 2011, my
cowardly infidelities as well as disobedient thoughts, words, and actions
have driven me to confession and, inchingly, repentance in gratitude for His
graces sealed in Jesus.
While I am determined to be
chastened by the Godly as exemplified in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture,
I can no longer be "lukewarm" for Jesus and just sit/stand by as His
name is insulted and His people are injured. When I am wrong as noted, I
will confess and repent publicly. Otherwise, I will look up, stand up,
speak up, and act up for Jesus until He calls me home.
I will no longer play footsies with
the enemy and its accomplices for personal securities, perks,
political/ecclesiastical correctness, or to placate/pacify the posers
plaguing/polluting pews, pulpits, presbytery, and...
Always open to Godly chastening, I
will no longer shut up or look away when sisters/brothers are being brutalized
by process over professed and practical intimacy with Jesus.
I pray to speak/act the truth
according to Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture with gentleness, respect for
Him/His above all, and in the recognition that there is no fellowship between
darkness and Light.
I will salt.
I will pray to reflect His light.
I expect criticism, demonizing, condemnation,
poverty, and more...as He promised.
While all of Holy Scripture will be
my guide more than before, John 3:19-21 and John 17 have seized my soul in the
professed/practical applications of discipleship.
As Kopper took me for a walk on
11/9/12, I recalled a few sentences from Tozer's The Price of Neglect and was driven to my
knees in shame, then confession, then repentance, and now
calm restored resolve: "The way to escape this double snare is
simple. Make a complete surrender to God; love Him with all your heart
and love every person for His sake. Determine to obey your own
convictions as they crystallize within you as a result of prayer and constant
study of the Scriptures. After that you may safely ignore the
expectations of your friends as well as the criticisms of your enemies.
You will experience first the shocked surprise of the regimented army of
lock-step believers, then their grudging admiration, and if you continue to
walk the way of love and courage they will take heart from your example, throw
off the bondage of fear, and go forth as ransomed men and women to walk in the
sweet liberty wherewith Christ has made them free."
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while
knowing my sins before, now, and to come, I devote myself to You from this moment
like never before. With Your help, I will cleanse my thoughts, tongue,
travels, and wholeness to be holy for You alone. This is my pledge,
desire, and passion for all that You have done for me through Jesus in whose
name I pray. Amen.
East, Asia, Africa, and...are about to blow; drawing the rest of us
Our country is
Republicans are more partisan than ever and neither of 'em provided a Moses,
Joshua, or even FDR or RR for November 6, 2012.
disgraces of irregularity, irascibility, and irreconcilable behaviors;
insulting Jesus who came for peace, unity, and purity not separation,
segregation, and schism.
With everyone needing the buoyancy of knowing there is paradise after the
last breath while depending upon people who really get it/Him to provide for
the poor's welfare in time as Jesus expected/commanded of those who
really, really, really get it/Him - redundantly reinforced because of posers
polluting pews and pulpits rationalizing their defiance of servant/sacrificial
leadership/discipleship - too many of today's churches are
selfishly/pathetically pre-occupied with their worthless, inefficacious, and
bordering on blasphemous idolatries of ideology masquerading as theology,
vestments, furniture, carpet color, liturgy, music, denominationalism,
pettiness, hyper-sensitivities, and so on.
increases, "The sky is falling!...All is lost!...Woe is me!"
Dr. Dean Harvey,
the faithful President of Rockford, Illinois' Evangelical Ministers Fellowship
for many years, once chastened me for being so pessimistic about America's
listening to my complaints that would have made the prophets blush, he asked,
"Aren't you familiar with the Biblical truth of remnant - that there is a
remnant still devoted to honoring God? Doesn't America still have a very
large remnant of faithful people? Don't you remember how God promised to
use the remnant to rebuild the nation?"
There is a large
remnant in America; increasingly looking up, standing up, speaking up, and
acting up for Jesus as attested in Holy Scripture.
In other words,
there's still hope for America.
A friend likes to
say, "I can't do everything; but I can do something! And by God's
grace, I will!"
It's time for an
Election 2012 reality check.
There is hope for
our world, America, and churches.
A man who was traveling came upon a farmer working
in his field and asked him what the people in the next
village were like.
The farmer asked, "What were the people like in the
last village you visited?"
The man responded, "They were kind, friendly,
generous, great people."
"You'll find the people in the next village are the
same," said the farmer.
Another man who was traveling to the same
village came upon the same farmer somewhat
later and asked him what the people in the next
village were like.
Again, the farmer asked, "What were the people
like in the last village you visited?"
The second man responded, "They were rude,
unfriendly, dishonest people."
"You'll find the people in the next village are
the same," said the farmer.
It's the same
with poems, books, movies, sermons, and every other form of verbal and
experience, and report what they see and experience differently.
The same things
are seen, experienced, and reported through different lenses.
contradiction doesn't seem consistent with truth, people often confuse truth
I'm reminded of
the woman who always complained to me about negativity in the church while
being the poster child of negativity in the church, the couple who always
complained about not having enough young people in the church but left the
church when we changed our order of worship and music to attract more young
countless illustrations of humanity's paradoxical nature.
When it comes to
God, there is God as revealed in Jesus and Holy Scripture and God as reflected in the mirror:
"So man created God in his image. In the image of man,
man created God."
There is truth
and what we sometimes pretend, pass on, or pose as truth that often is only coincidental
to truth as revealed in Jesus and Holy Scripture.
1 & 2 Samuel
illustrate how the paradox can be crippling if not corrected.
credentials, David had stones, and both were sooooooo
In one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for-because-you-may-get-it
things, God's people wanted a king so they could be like other
people; forgetting, ignoring, and defying the truth that God's people were
"created in His image" to be counter-popular-culture or God's people no matter
who, what, where, when, or why. Or as Paul explained the distinguishable
character of God's people from others, "Do not allow this world to mold
you in its image. Instead, be transformed...discern what God
warned about wanting kings who take from us more than worshipping, obeying, and
relying upon God who gives to us, they got what they wished for in a king who
became an early example of Paul's understanding of the paradoxical nature of
humanity: "I do not do the good that I want to do. I do the bad that
I do not want to do. That's why I need a Savior."
Saul looked sooooooo good and had sooooooo many human
credentials to lead as a king; but he was still sooooooo human and often confused God with
the reflection in the mirror: "I took matters into my own
hands." The verdict from God through Samuel was not paradoxical
because God is not: "That was a foolish thing."
David had stones
- rock solid faith. That's how he became a giant slayer and the greatest
king in Israel's history. He wrote songs/psalms about his deference to
God in all things. Yet he shared paradoxical humanity with Saul, Paul,
you, me, and everybody else who has ever breathed: "I was guilty from the
day I was born."
Though he had a
heart for God and really, really, really wanted to honor God, he did terribly
dishonorable things as a peeping Tom, adulterer, murderer, and...
The good news in
the bad news is David knew he had sinned, was sinning, and would sin. He
was an early example of the formula for seeing, experiencing, and reporting
God's forgiveness: "If we confess our sins, God will forgive us."
That's why anyone
who says grace isn't a part of the Hebrew Scriptures has not read the Hebrew
David was faithful within the realities of humanity's paradoxical nature; and
he was forgiven and served God as the most distinguished king in His story.
Anyone who has scratched the surface of Holy Scripture to scratch the surface of an authentic
relationship with Jesus knows God's formula for faithfulness, forgiveness, and
a blessed future with Him in Samuel is consistent throughout the Bible:
"Those who honor Me, I will honor; but people who choose to despise Me, I,
in turn, will consider contemptible...Devote yourselves to God alone, and He
will save you."
nature of humanity brings a few lyrics from Bob Dylan to mind: "You gotta
serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you're
King of kings?
It's the most
important decision of all in