Saturday, August 27, 2016

Norby, Pearl, and Feeling Comfortable with Yourself

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)

Norby, Pearl, and Feeling Comfortable with Yourself

            Amplifying a tad, Paul wrote, “As long as Jesus is the focus and filter, there are different ways of honoring and serving Him; and when we honor and serve Him, we will help others in their relationships with Him and each other…We each have different work to do.  We belong to each other.  Each needs all the others.”

            While I don’t think that needs much exposition, it means we are interdependent in our dependence upon Him. 

            Humanity is like a puzzle.

            God makes the pieces.

            When we recognize how we fit in with each other and how we must fit in with each other to complete the puzzle, we are corporately as well as individually satisfied.

            Back to Paul, “Every one has at least one gift to share with others for the common good…There are different gifts, but it is the same God who is the source of them all.  There are different kinds of service in the Church, but it is the same Lord who is being served.  There are different ways God works in our lives, but it is the same God who does the work through all of us.  Everybody can do something and the entire Church is helped when everybody weaves their different gifts together into the fabric of the Church to honor Him which always helps everybody else…Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body.  We are all parts of His one body, and each of us has different work to do.  God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.  We need each other.  That’s how He made us.”

            Again, we are interdependent in our dependence upon Him.

            The Church is at His best when we recognize that interdependence and incarnate it.

            Norby brought that to my attention during the first worship service on August 21.

            Mona had just finished one of her masterpieces; and as I was getting ready to do my singing nun bit, he said just loud enough for everybody to hear, “Now follow that!”

            Norby is my friend; and it was more about him thanking God for Mona than reminding me that I had a tough act to follow.

            But it provided one of those special kairos moments and we went with it/Him.

            Feeling the Spirit, I said, “You know, friends, I’ve never felt in competition with anybody else; and I’ve always felt that it sounds kinda silly and spiritually vacuous when one speaker or musician following another speaker or musician says/asks, ‘How can I follow that?’”


            Everybody is unique and excellent in His own way!

            I quoted those verses from Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 and then said, “We’re like snowflakes.  We’re all individuals.  We’re all beautiful individually by His design.  When we’re together and recognize that, it’s really something beautiful for Him and each other.”

            As Fred would often say from his neighborhood, “I like you just the way you are!”

            I’ve often felt God saying to us, “I like you just the way you are!  I made you your way!”

            I thank God…and Norby…and those present for that service on August 21 for a very, very, very special kairos moment to be reminded that everyone is special in His sight by design; which means we can thank Him for each other and that we’re all special in each other’s sight.

            Of course, there will always be people from the dark side who try to put us down for our individuality and want to redesign us as if they are…


            Pearl comes to mind.

            Over three decades ago, she made an appointment to see me to tell me how much she hated my beard.


            Some people think they are…

            You know what I mean.

            Anyway, I found out she didn’t like my beard because her son had a beard and she didn’t have a good relationship with her son and when she saw me…

            Get the picture?

            I shaved it off.

            The very next week after worship when I expected her to show some sugar, she said, “Now about your moustache…”

            So don’t bother to mess with my Duck Dynasty look!

            Some people like to mess with God’s design; and when we do that, the Church – the body of Christ – just doesn’t work righteously.

            When we’re wrong, nothing works right.

            When I figured out what Paul was trying to tell us about God’s design of interdependence so we would depend upon Him to get along and get ahead and live with personal as well as corporate satisfaction, I stopped criticizing how other people dressed and cut and colored their hair if they have it or combed correctively if they didn’t have it or inked or…

            You know what I mean.

            But just in case you don’t know what I mean, let me put it as simply as I can.

            God made you.

            God loves you.

            God sent His Son to save you.

            You are His now and forever.

            Only He designed you and only He defines you.

            Everybody else who thinks they have the right to say and do what only He has the sovereignty and saving power to say and do can go to…


Blessings and Love!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

15 Minutes

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



15 Minutes


“All men complain that they haven’t enough time.  They look
at their lives from too human a point of view.  There is
always time to do what God wants us to do, but we
must put ourselves completely into each
moment that He offers us…

Time is a gift,
a perishable gift,
a gift that does not keep…

I am not asking You tonight, Lord, for time to do this and then that,
but Your grace to do conscientiously, in the time that
You give me, what You want me to do.”

Abbe Michel Quoist


“If you’re having problems with your watch,
don’t look at the hands.  Look deeper!”



“What’s deep in the well comes up in the bucket.”



            Using the technical language of America’s devolving culture, my schedule sucks.

            Parenthetically, there are those who are more concerned about me using the word sucks than they are concerned that America’s psychospiritualsociopoliticoeconomics increasingly suck.

            Freudian…as well as pathetically proprietary.

            There doesn’t seem to be enough time to satisfy the insatiable demands for pounds of my flesh.

            Don’t get me wrong.

            I’m not that hot; just available…unlike young’uns or geezers who confuse Beruf with job and think a call to undershepherding is a neat 40-hour workweek with multiple days off.


            Anyway, not too long ago, I was completing rounds in a nursing home; and as I was about to hit the exit, I was asked if I would “give communion” to someone who was dying.

            Providentially, I had one handy-dandy-pre-filled-communion-bread-and-cup left.

            So I did.

            It took 15 minutes.

            He died not long after that.

            Knowing the sacrament is a mystery and miracle exceeding the intentions of the messenger to increase intimacy yielding increasing strength, safety, security, and serenity, I wasn’t surprised to hear, despite those mere 15 minutes, of the salvific feelings and confidence that overcame the inevitabilities for the fellah and his family.

            From that time on, I’ve paid more attention to making time when asked; even when I’m, uh, busy with my schedule that…

            As I reflect on those 15 minutes, it never dawned on me to ask if the guy was a member of my church or a connected church or a recognized church or a…

            I know there are denominationally jingoistic pastors who will not “give communion” to anyone who ain’t a member of their church.

            I just can’t imagine Jesus asking those kinda questions and putting up those kinda fences.

            I get mad and sad and mad and sad and mad and sad when I think of churches that won’t “give communion” to people who ain’t members of their religious clubs; convinced Jesus would never say, “You may be dying…or really hungry and thirsty for a relationship with Me…or ready to receive Me into your heart…or whatever,…but, I can’t/won’t welcome you to the table because you’re just not a member of…Sorry, you read wrong in John 3 and elsewhere.  I don’t…”

            I think back over 35 years ago when I was called to a hospital in Edison, New Jersey not long after midnight because a baby died in the womb after strangling on the umbilical cord.

            I was asked if I would baptize the baby.

            I did.

            When I shared that with some franchise pastors, I was lectured on all kinds of extra-Biblical esoteric ideology masquerading as theology and told I could be brought up on charges if the wrong people aka denominational jingoists heard about it.

            I said, “Go for it.”

            BTW, those same pastors lectured and ridiculed and threatened me when I said I baptize anybody who wants to be baptized as long as they say they’re ready to invite Jesus into their hearts as Lord and Savior and pray and try to follow Him by the book. 

            No, I don’t ask if they were baptized as babies or if they were ever dipped, dripped, dabbed, or dunked in some other religious club.

            From my understanding of the Greek word for baptism, the most important thing about it is to be dyed for Him or marked off for Him or changing the colors of allegiance/affection for Him or…

            Something like that.

            Again, I can’t imagine Jesus saying, “Nope!  Can’t do it!  I know you’re ready to receive Me into your heart as Lord and Savior and pray and try to follow Me, but, nope, not sorry, can’t do it…You’re not a member of the right religious club and…”

            Luther taught me to say authentically, “If you can show me how I’m wrong by Jesus, Holy Scripture, and common sense, I will confess, repent, and beg forgiveness.  But if you can’t do that, don’t bother me with your auto-suggested ideology masquerading as theology.  If He didn’t say it and it’s not in the book, your guess is as good as mine; and knowing He always acted more like an agape lover than Pharisee, I’ll roll the dice with what I know about Him rather than what you make up about Him.”

            I’ve made lots of mistakes in my ministry.

            Still do.


            But I don’t think it’s been because I’m trying to insult God or injure people.

            I’m not trying to keep anyone out that He says over and over and over that He wants in.

            I’m trying to love Him and love others to love Him with the divine revelation of Jesus by the book as my only absolutely authoritative guide.

            Usually, when I hurt Him and His, it’s because I don’t take those 15 minutes that last a…


Blessings and Love!



Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!
Salt! Shine! Leavenate!