Thursday, September 27, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 25

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Declaration of Dependence”

          John Huffman, one of America’s great pastors and personal friend of Billy Graham and President Nixon, spent time during seminary with Norman Vincent Peale whose ministry was often defined by his memorable emphasis on the power of positive thinking.

          Indeed, my wife Leslie framed a cross stitch for me that I have always kept within sight: “This Is A Positive Thinking Area.”

          Peale understood Christians are always ultimately positive because God the Father is awesome, Jesus beat death, and the Holy Spirit sustains life.

          It’s hard not to be positive once we figure out God’s undisturbed, unperturbed, and limitless love for us.

          Anyway, I’ll never forget John passing on some advice to me that Peale gave to him.

          Peale warned John as a young pastor who warned me as a young pastor with advice for anyone in any kinda job: “Some people are like fireworks.  They burn brightly but briefly.  If you’re going to last, you must
have the power of positive thinking.  That power comes supernaturally as we invite Jesus into the heart as Lord and Savior.”

          Jesus opened the greatest sermon of all time (Matthew 5-7) with eight ways to experience emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health and happiness; recalling how Robert Schuller referred to the Beatitudes as “The Be Happy Attitudes.”

          If we want to be happy for the rest of our lives as a preface to the everlasting, Jesus says, “Be poor in spirit…Mourn personal as well as corporate rejections of God’s will for your life aka sin…Be humble…Hunger and thirst to be right with God…Be merciful and gracious…Be purely motivated and wanting to give your totality to God…Bring peace into the world by pointing people to God as the only One who can overcome human instincts to divide, divorce, and destroy…and…Be willing to suffer existential persecution for being a Christian as conscious of the big picture of victory by grace through faith.”

          Read those opening verses of Matthew 5 for various translations to deepen cognizance, courage, and commitment.

          The first one – “Blessed are the poor in spirit because the kingdom of heaven is theirs” – is simple; paraphrasing, “How happy are those who know they need God and turn to God and depend upon God because God takes care of everyone/anyone who does that here and now and forever!”

          It’s reminiscent of the first half of the big ten in Exodus 20 that basically says the same thing with severe emphasis on making God the only object of absolute attention, allegiance, and affection; noting that with God as our God, we tend to treat people a lot better as He expects of believers as outlined in the second half of the big ten and throughout Holy Scripture.

          Or as we say on the corner of Lincoln and Main at the close of every worship service in summarizing how Jesus summed it up in Matthew 22:34-40, “Love God and be kind to one another…Love God by being kind to one another.”

          Again, always keep that connection in mind as Jesus explained it in Matthew 25: “As you do it to/for others, you are doing it to/for Me.  If so, so.  If not, not.”

          Psalm 25 begins with the same faith, trust, confidence, and devotion to God: “Lord, I turn my hope to You.  My God, I trust in You…I’ve thrown in my lot with You.”

          Psalm 25 is David’s declaration of dependence on God, echoed throughout Holy Scripture, and the reason why believers experience, as Oswald Chambers observed, strong calm sanity no matter who, what, where, when, or why.

          We know God will protect us: “Our enemies which are God’s enemies because God’s enemies are our enemies won’t get the best of us…Ultimately, we won’t be disgraced or embarrassed by our faith because God wins in the end…” 

          It’s like Paul predicted with absolute confidence and eager anticipation about the ultimate victory of God and the Godly, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord in the end.”

          We know God will guide us: “God makes His ways known to us…God teaches us His paths…He schools us…He takes our hands and leads us down the paths of righteousness.”

          He has given us Jesus by the book so that who He is, who we are, what He has done for us and our salvation in Jesus, and what He expects in grateful return are undeniable.

          We know God will forgive us: “God is compassionate and loves limitlessly…God does not remember the sins of our youthful immaturity and when we rebelled against Him…He shows us how to turn our lives around in humility and greater passion for being His in all things at all times in all places with all people…God forgets our wild oats…God marks us off with His love as His…God plans only the best for us…God corrects, connects, and communes…God leads us step by step into greater unity with Him and the rest of the family of faith.”

          People who love God by loving like God don’t bring up our dating habits from high school if we’ve repented from the bad ones along with our bad habits ever since if we’ve repented from the bad ones; for as long we have a heart for God like David – not meaning pure and perfect in every way but trying/wanting/praying to be better than worse and confessing rather than rationalizing old, current, and future sins – we’re on the same page with Him in time and in the end.

          We know our most grateful response to God’s existential and eternal graces is worship: “Our eyes are always on the Lord…With our eyes on God, focusing on Him and filtering our lives through Him, we won’t trip up as often as before.”

          As Samuel delivered the promise confirmed throughout history, “God honors everyone/anyone who honors Him.”

          A friend told me about a boy named after the psalmist.

          David grew up in a Christian home.

          His parents kept their baptismal promises and David went to worship, Sunday School, youth group, and confirmation class.

          So when the rains fell in his life, David was prepared.

          Before the rains, David was a star athlete.

          6’2” and over 200 ripped pounds.

          He was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was preparing for full-time Christian ministry in/through whatever job would be his.

          Get it?

          But at the age of 27 when young folks like David are thinking about the endless possibilities and opportunities before them, David was diagnosed with a rapidly progressing cancer.

          It wasn’t long before the previously tall and strong athlete was reduced to a weak 80 pounds of flesh and bones.

          Before going home to Jesus, he had one final moment with his dad.

          He said, “Dad, do you remember when I was a little boy and how you used to hold me in your arms?  Do you think you can do that one more time?”

          The father bent down, picked up his son, and cradled him.

          With face pressed to face, David said to his daddy, “Thank you for building the kind of character into my life that can enable me to face even a moment like this.  Thank you for telling me about Jesus and making sure I was always connected to Him.”

          Now go back to Peale’s advice to John that he passed on to me.

          Like the old campfire song goes, pass it on.

          Pass Him on.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Thursday, September 20, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 24

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“He Rules!”

I really liked Colin Kaepernick.

Do you remember November 26, 2010?

He led the University of Nevada to a 34-31 W over extremely overrated Boise State – Talk about fake news! – to knock the Broncos out of national championship contention despite coming into the game with a 24 game-winning streak over nobody.

After one really exciting season with the 49ers under the new gridiron guru aka current head coach of Michigan, he hit the pines.

His fifteen minutes of fame as a player ended.

He does not have whatever a quarterback needs to start in the NFL.

He is a back-up.

Nothing against back-ups but everybody knows who starts and nobody in the stands or media seem to care who sits; except, of course, for kin.

Even more spoiled than most Americans, Colin instigated another fifteen minutes of fame by taking a knee during the national anthem of the country that made him into a millionaire for playing a game.

He has bitten the hand that has fed him and wants us to believe Gandhi has been reincarnated as he hawks Nikes.

Parenthetically, this is not a good time to buy Nike stock.

Before dusting off that Nobel Peace Prize for the latest poster boy for people who hate America, a question begs to be asked.

Does anyone really believe Colin and his swoosh buddies really care about socioeconomic justice when that greedy giant of label idolatry exploits women, children, and men in Asia at slave wages to sell sneakers to other spoiled Americans at prices that must make MJ blush?

The hypocrisy may only be rivaled by that hysterical gender politician from Cape Codville who can’t figure out her ethnicity while hallucinating about the 25th for the 45th.

Actually, I like the mantra that Nike’s PR gals/guys wrote for him: “Believe in something.  Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

That sounds like something that Luther or Bonhoeffer or Gandhi or King or, uh, Jesus might say.

Just the wrong messenger.

Sometimes we get confused about who’s really in charge.

That’s what Psalm 24 is all about; heralding God’s categorical sovereignty over everyone and everything in the first verse: “The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.”

While it may come as a shock to Colin, Nike, Amazon, Facebook, and the rest of the greedy corporate globalists, God rules!

Speculation is David wrote this psalm to celebrate establishing a home for the Ark of the Covenant; but nobody really knows and the psalm’s message about God’s sovereign propriety over creation is infinitely more important than particulars fixed in time.

Besides, as one of my seminary professors said, “You can’t build theology on broken pickle jars.”

The message of Psalm 24 is huge.

God rules!

God saves!

The Godly esteem Him as Sovereign and Savior!

Again, the psalm begins with the acknowledgment of God’s absolute sovereignty.

No rivals.

The Decalogue begins, “Do not have other gods.”

The first verse of Psalm 24 explains, in effect, there are no other gods but God.

God rules!

David continued, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?  Who may stand in His holy place?  The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not set his mind on what is false…He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

God saves!

We live confidently in the assurance of living forever in heaven by grace through faith in Jesus.

Knowing we move from this life to eternal life – called “paradise” by Jesus – we live with the calm anticipation of the heavenly after the earthly.

While this life is “good” if we don’t mess it up by creative design, it ends for everybody as a preface to the “best” to come in heaven that Jesus described while on the cross as “paradise” and as the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no pain or suffering or anything negative as risen Lord in Revelation 21.

Just like Psalm 15 as later confirmed by Paul, Luther, Calvin, and all believers who understand saving belief is confirmed by behavior indicating/confirming saving belief, Psalm 24 says people who are going to heaven have “clean hands and a pure heart…[and do not]…set their minds on what is false.”

Simply, remembering no one is pure and perfect in every way which is why God came in Jesus to save us from our impurities and imperfections by grace through faith, David is pointing to a believer’s prayer and passion for outward obedience motivated by inward fidelity - more than less and increasingly “more better” than “more worse.”

Believers want to be pure and perfect in every way while knowing Jesus came to make up the difference between His purity and perfection and our impurities and imperfections by grace through faith.

Practically, as Don Skaar likes to say, it means we are not and can never be sinless pero we can pray and labor to sin less which proves we have been saved from here to eternity.

God rules!

God saves!

That’s why the Godly esteem, thank, and praise Him as Sovereign and Savior: “Lift up your heads!  Wake up and praise God!”

I’ll never forget Louie Evans telling me how he overcame terrible headaches.

During an especially awful headache, Louie heard the voice of God saying, “Praise Me!”

So Louie started praising the Lord and his headache vanished.

Louie said, “From that day on, I just started praising the Lord whenever I had a headache and it went away; and I realized all of our headaches go away when we’re praising the Lord.”

Did you catch that?

All of our headaches go away when we’re praising the Lord!

That’s why we include this witness at the end of every worship service on the corner of Lincoln and Main: “Remember, the answer to every question is Jesus!”

Focusing on Jesus and filtering every thought and word and action through Jesus is the only way to overcoming the challenges of life and living through it all with strong calm sanity punctuated by peace, joy, and happiness.

Hebrews 12:2 is right: “Keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith…let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and run with endurance the race that lies before us.”

When our eyes are on Jesus, we stay on the road of righteousness.

When our eyes are on Jesus, we don’t fall into dark ditches.

Psalm 24 highlights the three most undeniable, gracious, glorious, and buoying truths of life and eternity.

God rules!

God saves!

The Godly esteem Him as Sovereign and Savior!


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Friday, September 14, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 23

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms



If I were a betting man which I am not, I would wager Psalm 23 and John 3:16 are the most memorized verses of the Bible.

Both generate calm certainty about God’s existential and eternal care; or as Eugene Peterson wrote, “The sooner we get the message, the better off we’ll be, for the message is good: God is here, and He’s on our side…God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we most need help…God is passionate to save us.”

John 3:16 is a concise summary of God’s love in Jesus that guarantees the eternal after the existential by grace through faith; and whoever embraces Him experiences confident living in knowing the heavenly follows the last breath in time.

Psalm 23 spells out His existential and eternal care.

“The Lord is my shepherd.”

God’s love for us is compared to a shepherd’s care for sheep.

Sheep are notoriously – and please remember I don’t write ‘em; just read ‘em – stupid.  They wander off from what’s good for ‘em and always get into trouble when apart from the shepherd’s guidance and protection.  

Shepherds – and keep in mind that God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the Good Shepherd and all who love Him by loving like Him are His undershepherds – live to guide, provide, and protect the sheep.  

Referring to Himself as the Good Shepherd and undershepherds who love Him by loving like Him, read John 10:1-18 to flesh out undershepherding as patterned perfectly by Jesus.

“I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul.”

God provides as well as guides and protects.  Green pastures represent places of rest, renewal, and nourishment.  Still waters connote unhurried satiating contentment.  Depleted by the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of living in a fallen world, God regenerates our emotional, intellectual, and spiritual wholeness, happiness, joy, safety, and security.

“He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

Jesus provides the perfect pattern – way and truth leading to abundant life in time and forever – for a right relationship with God.  His example and instructions are intended to inspire us into greater intimacy with God and His will; resulting, as Don Skarr likes to say, in a life that sins less.  Though we can never be pure and perfect in every way or sinless, always needing Lord Jesus as Savior, we can be more better and sin less; resulting in an undeniable equation: more holy = more happy.

God does this “for His name’s sake” because His reputation is at risk juxtaposed to the existential and eternal welfare of people who trust Him from here to eternity; which is why I often pray, “Lord, bless Your people so those who are not Your people take notice of how You bless Your people and then turn to You!  As Your people live triumphantly with strong calm sanity no matter who, what, where, when, or why, Your reputation as true God in Jesus to save increases!  So bless, bless, bless for Your glory, laud, and honor to hasten the day when every tongue confesses Jesus is Lord and Savior and every knee bows before Him as One with Father and Spirit.”

“Though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.  You are with me.  Your rod and staff comfort me.”

While the world is filled with dangerous “shadows” and dark conspiracies to hinder and hurt God’s flock, He is with us and provides the weapons for combat – rod and staff – to keep count so none are lost, guide so none lose their way, rescue those so prone to wander off into the pits of life, and protect us from predators.  

With God’s promises like Joshua 1:9, Psalm 62, Matthew 10, John 10, Ephesians 6:10-20, and countless complementary quoted assurances from Father, Son, and Holy Spirit throughout Holy Scripture, believers know the truth of Matthew 7:24-27 in a 1 John 4:18 kinda way.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil.  My cup overflows.”

Even when surrounded by enemies of God who are enemies of anyone related to Him by grace through faith in Jesus, God’s family feels/is safe, sane, strong, and secure; or as Betsy said to sister Corrie ten Boom while dying in a concentration camp, “We must go everywhere and tell everyone that no pit is so deep that God is not deeper still!”  

Anointing oil has always been a symbol of rejoicing related to feeling/being esteemed, guided, and protected.  Intimate with God, we feel/are blessed existentially and eternally beyond expectations: “My cup overflows.”

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow all the days of my life.  I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Summarizing the preceding verses, anyone intimate with God knows His guidance and protection “on earth as it is in heaven” with irrepressible confident living in the assurance of eternal life.

Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, a movie about legendary Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, includes one of the best expositions of Matthew 10:16 within the context of Psalm 23 and John 3:16.  Wayne Kyle says to his sons, “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs.  Some people prefer to believe that evil doesn’t exist in the world…they…[don’t]…know how to protect themselves.  Those are the sheep….Then you’ve got the predators who use violence to prey on the weak…wolves…and then there are those blessed…with an overpowering need to protect the flock…who live to confront the wolf…sheepdogs.”

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who guides, provides, and protects the flock; and women and men who love Him by loving like Him – undershepherds – model their guiding and providing and protecting lives and ministries after Him.  

It’s not enough to heal wounds.  
Godly people prevent wounds.

That’s good undershepherding as perfectly pattern by the Good Shepherd Jesus.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Sunday, September 9, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 22

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Crossing Over”

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

Let’s put it another way.

Tough times don’t build character.

Tough times reveal character.

That’s especially true for folks knocking on heaven’s door.

People tend to say what they really mean when they don’t have much time left to say it.

It’s very, very, very sad to see people who do not believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior in their last breaths filled with inconsolable fear about what happens the first nano-second after the last inhale and exhale.

While only God judges in the end, some folks look and talk and act so desperately; betraying no calm or confidence or certainty in eternal life.

They remind me of Elizabeth I: “All of my possessions for one more moment of time.”

Conversely, people who know they are destined to paradise by grace through faith in Jesus are as unafraid of that last breath as President Andrew Jackson who said just before traveling home, “Please don’t cry for me or yourselves, dear children, for we will all meet in heaven.”

Or as my grandfather Hayden assured not long before his journey back to Jesus when I said I would fly home to be with him in his last days, “That’s not necessary.  When I die, you will come and preside at the service; and then I’ll see you later.”

Jesus, of course, is the perfect model of seeing through the cross of existential death to the crown of eternal life.

After betrayal and torture, he was nailed to a cross and hung out to die.

Traditionally based on Holy Scripture, we often refer to His seven last words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise…Woman, behold your son!  Behold your mother!…I thirst…Father, I commit My spirit into Your hands…It is finished.”

Those six words speak of His unconditional love and forgiveness, eternal salvation, reunion, and triumph.

There is, however, one word that is so often so misinterpreted so grossly: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

It sounds like Jesus felt abandoned on the cross.

It sounds like the last yelps of infidelity and uncertainty and resignation to becoming nothing more than worm food after the last breath.

Pero, in fact, Jesus was reciting Psalm 22 that is one of the greatest witnesses to crossing over from suffering to triumph.

The psalm acknowledges existential pain as the preface to heavenly gain that Jesus described as paradise.

Psalm 22 is often referred to as a messianic prophecy because it forecasted the betrayal, torturing, suffering, and crucifixion of Jesus.

David predicted the suffering of Jesus: “Everyone who sees Me mocks Me…They sneer…Bulls surround Me…mauling and roaring…I am poured out like water…My bones are disjointed…My strength is dried up…They pierced My hands and feet…”

Psalm 22, however, ends in victory not defeat: “I will proclaim Your name…I will praise You…You hear our cries…You do not hide Your face from us…You satisfy…You take care of those who seek You…You rule…You are righteous and save…”

Just as David prayed this as a witness to the crossing over from suffering to salvation for all believers sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end, every Biblically literate person who heard Jesus utter these words from the cross knew He was acknowledging pain and rejoicing in the paradise that is the ultimate destination of the faithful.

That’s the end game.

Stick with Jesus in time and be saved for all time.

In short, Jesus saves.

I believe Jesus repeated Psalm 22 because it is so true to life and eternity.

He acknowledged that we will suffer.

There’s no way of getting around that.

That’s the bad news.

Pero nota bene!

We cross over from temporary pain to everlasting gain by grace through faith in Jesus.

That’s/He’s the gospel.

David guaranteed crossing over in Psalm 22 for the Messiah and anyone trusting Him in time and forever.

The agony of the first half of the psalm is but a temporary transition to the ecstasy of the second half.

Jesus enfleshed crossing over; and promised, in effect, “Anyone who stays with Me through the crosses of life will be with Me in the pure and perfect place of personal peace where there is no more pain or suffering or tears or anything less than My best forever!”

Let me be really personal.

Not too long ago, I looked deeply into the eyes of a woman who had many disappointments in life.  She had only hours left in time.  As she renewed her relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior, inviting Him again into her heart, she became so soft, warm, certain, confident, peaceful, and

It happens whenever we travel with Jesus through time to eternity.

We feel/are delivered from suffering to salvation.

Do you feel/have that assurance?

If so, praise God!

If not, go to the table of Holy Communion, invite Him into your heart as personal Lord and Savior for the first or second or third or…time and know as you experience the pleasures of John 3:16-17.

Look it up.

Look Him up.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Scratching the Surface of the Psalms - 21

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)


Scratching the Surface of the Psalms


“Among the Biggest Reasons for Low Church Attendance”

Among the biggest reasons for low church attendance are pulpiteers and pewsitters.

If you didn’t know that, it’s because you haven’t been listening to children.

Ask most children why they don’t like to go to worship services, they’ll say, “It’s B-O-R-I-N-G!”

It’s true.

Too many churches are boring.

It’s been said, “If churches were dynamite, they wouldn’t have enough to blow their noses.”

I think of little Dougie Watson, sitting in the first pew of Clark, New Jersey’s Osceola Presbyterian Church, nudging his mom and whispering in desperation after I announced the closing hymn so many years ago, “Just my luck.  Six verses.”

Then there was the rather enthusiastic fellah who visited a church like some on most Main Streets in mainline America by mistake and really got into it.  He started waving his hands and shouting out hallelujahs. 

An usher rushed over to him and scolded, “I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t do that here!”

The man protested, “But I got religion!”

The usher snorted, “Well, you didn’t get it here!”

O.K., enough of the…reality…of too many very religiously rote and boring churches that are about as related to Jesus as socialists to our Constitution.

Why are they like that?

Donald Grey Barnhouse, the firebrand preacher of Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church, wrote in The Love Life, “If you aren’t joyful, I mean radiantly and abundantly joyful, you don’t know what God has done for you.”

That’s David’s message in Palms 21.

Verses 1-6 esteem God not himself or others or circumstances or anything or anyone else as generating his irrepressible joy no matter who, what, where, when, or why: “Lord, the king finds joy in Your strength!  How greatly he rejoices in Your victory!…You!…You!…You!…For the king relies on the Lord!  Because of faith in the Most High, he is not shaken!”

Verses 7-12 emphasize the victory of God and the Godly over all enemies sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end: “God’s hand will capture all your enemies…God will make them burn like a fiery furnace…The Lord will engulf them in His wrath…Fire will devour them…Though the enemies of God and the Godly intend harm and devise wicked plans, they will not prevail…”

Verse 13 is the end game exclamation point: “Be exalted, Lord, in Your strength.  We will sing and praise Your might.”

David and every other true believer know God wins sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end…and look like winners!

Believers don’t walk around like dogs with tails between their legs.

Believers don’t look like losers.

Just like the entire tone of Psalm 12 echoed throughout Holy Scripture and in the true Church that knows and follows Jesus by the book, believers know the existential assurances and joyous buoyancy of victory, deliverance, and salvation.

Believers knew about the power of positive thinking long before Peale coined the phrase.

Surely, David wasn’t suggesting a mindless singing of This is the Day as if every day were a hot fudge sundae and believing in God is immunity to the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life.

David knew the sufferings attached to betrayal and war.

Saul, Absalom, Philistines, Ammonites, Sheba, Adonijah, and so many other enemies of Israel’s greatest king come to mind.

Pero he also knew, as Charles Spurgeon noted, “A holy confidence in Jehovah is the true mother of all victories.”

Sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end, God wins and God’s people win with Him.

That’s the irrepressible joy that overcomes all of life’s challenges.

That’s what compels us to sing, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’”

So here’s the truth.

Barnhouse remains right.

If we aren’t joyful, radiantly abundantly joyful no matter who, what, where, when, or why, it means we have no idea of who God is and what He has done for us and our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.

Let me put that concisely.

If we aren’t joyful, we aren’t close to Jesus.

It is impossible to be close to Jesus and be a crank; though some churches should be renamed Cranks for Christ.


Joy, as Francis Schaeffer suggested, may be the most distinctive mark of a Christian.

Joy is listed by Paul in Galatians 5 as proof/evidence/fruit of intimacy with Jesus.

In short, joy is what is missing in boring pulpiteers, pewsitters, and churches; and when joy is missing, Jesus is missing.

That doesn’t sound right.

Let me try again.

If joy is missing, the doors of the church and hearts of the people inside have been closed to Him.

The only One missing in boring churches with low attendance is Jesus.

Don’t lock Him out!

Let Him in!

Make room for Him!

Get it?

Open up your heads and hearts and guts; and let Him in!

You’ll be glad you did and the church will become as He intended by incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, and everlasting reign.



That’s the Church that knows Him and makes Him known.


Blessings and Love!


Shatter the sound of silence!

Wake up!  Look up!  Stand up!  Speak up!  Act up for Jesus!

Salt!  Shine!  Leavenate!