Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Better Than Advertized

Last night I went to the Bo's Cafe release Party with about 500 other people. Paul Youngs, the author of The Shack was the key note speaker and he was definitely better than advertised. I was really impressed by the lives that authored these books. John, Paul and Brian of Bo's were not only very likable, but committed to be what they describe in their book. I have a new Discussion Guide ready for Bo's Cafe, but my Computer is on the blink so I can't post it yet. (I am using Dee's now). Even if you don't like to read, get a copy of both books. I haven't seen if Bo's is on audio yet. I suppose it will be. It would be great if they could record it they way it was done last night. It will support the Grace Cause! Grace really is greater than all the problems that can over power every one of us. the shack discussion guide

Monday, October 19, 2009

Will it Heal?

My computer caught a virus last week and is in Dr. Tom's hospital for computers. I guess I should feel like I won the lotto. The virus is so new Microsoft wanted to take a look at it. I think they may want to make a vaccine or whatever it is they do with a computer virus. I don't really want it named after me! Apparently it's pretty tricky because Tom says until some anti-virus recognizes it, it will keep reinfecting the computer. Anyway, it's quarantined until it gets a clear bill of health. That reminds me of how we treat relationships that are less than healthy. What do you do with people that are, for whatever reason, harmful and hurtful? Sometimes they have to be guaranteed for the sake of everyone why I am using Dee's computer for all my email and stuff right now....How do you know when you have to walk/run away from a relationship? Look at it this way. If the injury is like a broken ankle, it can be healed good as new with the right protections and time. If it is like putting your hand on a hot stove, then the only thing that can be done is to get least till the stove cools down. It is never healthy to keep putting your hand back on a hot stove and no, you won't get used to it. Sado-masochism is not a spiritual gift. Hopefully, my computer and your relationships will all find the grace of healing in the hands of a master.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize?

Cuz Ray posed an interesting observation and put up a pretty funny SNL clip on his Blog. To see it click on his blog to the right. Personally giving Al the prize for global warming awareness told me all I needed to know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Thirteen years ago I assembled this windmill and stuck it temporarily just off my lawn. It is not level...which used to bug me...but it has been that way so long that it is just part of the landscape now. Every once in a while I will get the urge to level it, but if I ignore the urge, it quickly goes away and another year passes. I would level it but it is always: to hot, to windy, I'm to busy, I will do it after I....You get the idea. I look at this every day from the window and every time I step out the door but the urge to fix it is less than it was so I don't. Who knows? I may never level it or it might get leveled this I have a Dr. appointment, so maybe Saturday, no, I am going to a meeting with Daniel. I can live with it, but I wonder if it might somehow be better if it was level? I could go fix it right now...but it's almost lunch time. I wonder if it is like my back. For MANY years I could not lay on my stomach without my back hurting. It was that way so long I could not remember ever laying on my stomach. One day I tripped over something and threw my knee out. I went to a chiropractor to get some therapy for it and during his exam he asked how long my back had been out. I told him it wasn't out, it was always that way, but he worked on it anyway. After a couple of sessions it popped back into place and my back felt right for the first time in years. I no longer let it get to that place because I don't like living with the pain. That makes me wonder. Is there something out of level or out of place in my relationship with God that I have just gotten used to? What would it be like if I were to fix it? I wonder how often I actually put up with a spiritual crick in my back. the shack study guide,

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is it the camera?

Braxton and I had our own photo shoot last week. We opted for the beautiful country girl look.

Braxton's beautiful long hair

The season is not the only thing that's changing

When I started in ministry in 1968 it was a completely different world, but even then people were struggling with the institutional side of Christianity. Some great ministries came out of those struggles. On my college campus the “anti-church” crowd met in a near by park. As attendance swelled into the hundreds and the Southern California winter rains began to fall they had to move indoors. Which meant they had to gather funds, rent a building and organize who did what so they could continue their “anti-church” sentiment….in a building! Another group used a drive in theater to hold services without getting out of your car and another catered to the barefoot beach crowd! Today those groups of change ARE the institutional church and the barefoot beach boys are a huge denomination. (Calvary Chapel if you’re wondering). Anyway the winds of change are beginning to howl again, but this time it is NOT anti institutional church. It is more fundamental than that. It is anti-Christian-life-style-as-commonly-practiced-today. The Christian life style as painted in the scriptures is not the loosey-goosey anything goes radical grace NOR is it the Lethal-Legal tow the line painted on Mask either. Jesus saw his followers as flawed people who lived in relationship, first with Him and then with each other. His single command was to Love one another as HE loved us. That’s what this new wind of change is trying to accomplish. There is a million ways to do it, inside of a church, alongside of a church and even outside of a church. The ways are so varied they cannot be (and really should not be) defined or copied but to some degree they can be described. At least we can get an idea of what it would FEEL LIKE if as we approach this new kind of Christian Life style that actually delivers what Jesus promised. That’s what I like about the new book, Bo’s Café. It is not a recipe for a new kind of church, it is a description of how the Christian live can be lived. ANYONE can do it, within or without a local church. I think it is a great step in the right direction. The Shack woke millions of people up to the fact that God really loves them. Bo’s Café creates the setting for how we can/should/must live together in that love. You can pick up a copy at Walmart or Barns and Nobel or get it on line. Just click here> and I will take you there myself. (and in the intrest of the new internet rules imposed by congress, NO I am not being paid in any way, shape or form for this referal, it is from my heart. It seems to me after 40+ years of ministery, this is the movement of the winds of the Spirit)
Bo's Cafe, The shack study guide

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Shack Ch. 13


183 Do you have any idea what God is doing right now? Could you make an educated guess? What does your answer suggest?
How long does it take for God to put our sins in the past?
A From His perspective of eternity, they are always in the past. From our perspective according to 1jo 1:9 it happens upon confession.
Why did Papa say she did not even want Mack’s sorrow for his judgmental attitude?
A Our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west, buried in the sea, remembered no more, made white as snow. They were paid for and the power of sin was broken on the Cross.
Have you ever heard someone try to explain a tragedy like Mack did? “Did Missy have to die for you to change me”.
Why do people think that way?
Have you ever seen God work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies?
Why doesn’t grace have to depend on suffering to exist?
A Grace is a part of the very nature of God. It exists because He exists. Evils just make it more apparent.
186 What did Papa mean: “She was not your sacrifice Mack. She is and always will be your joy”?
A 2Ti 2:5 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
How does ceasing to be a judge make a person’s burden lighter?
A Judging brings with it the requisite assessment. When we judge someone as guilty we feel the burden of assessing a penalty or some form of consequences to correct and or prevent possible future breaches. Even if we have correctly judged, we have no inherent ability to assess any consequence or penalty. Typically any attempt will only serve to create a festering wound in the relationship making any meaningful progress impossible. Since we have plainly violated scripture about judging we now have our own problem to deal with. When we allow the Holy Spirit to be the judge, jury and administrator of consequences we are free to carry out the most basic of Christ’s commands, to Love one another. Personally, as a pastor I am tired of seeing my joy robbed by other’s sins that I can realistically do nothing about. By loving the sinner I am not condoning the sin any more than Jesus did when he ate with Zaccheus or accepted Mary’s perfume or shared the secrets of water with the woman at the well. I can live free and light trusting God to protect his own name and draw others to himself. Perhaps my love will do that. Judging surly will not.
Why do people see God as Mean and Jesus as nice?
A They do not understand the significance of the cross or God’s role in it. Wayne Jacobsen explains this in detail in HE LOVES ME, ch 14-16.
Why is that impossible to be true?
A In the paradox of the three in one and the one in three, it is impossible to separate Christ and the Father in nature or essence even though they have different functions. Jesus is a mirror reflection of the attitudes and actions of the father.
How literal is it when Papa said “we are all in him”?
A Totally literal. Any good theology of the trinity has contradictions and no doubt some inaccuracy. The concept is one that is incomprehensible this side of Glory. It works perfectly, exactly how is part of the Mystery of God.
Why did God chose to love Mack? You?
A God loves and is especially fond of all mankind. Unfortunately not all mankind is especially fond of God.
187 Why doesn’t God get exasperated with our continual failures?
A According to Romans 8 28ff, the ultimate fate of all God’s children who come to him is inseparable Love and being conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Each failure is viewed in the light of the eventual eternal success. In scientific testing, each failed attempt brings the scientist one step closer to the final accomplishment. God can glory in the process (v28) be it failure or success knowing the final outcome is eternally secure. There is nothing to get exasperated about.
What is Guilt good for? (hint, it’s the same as the 60’s war song, WAR, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! HUH!)
A Don’t be shy, sing it with me!
Why will guilt prevent us from finding freedom in Christ?
A Guilt focuses on external performance. Freedom is found in internal relationships. Guilt makes us work harder to get what cannot be earned, only received.
What does it mean to “hide in lies”?
A The chief lie is “my way”. The lie that we can somehow manage life independent of the only source. The lie that we know what is best for ourselves. The lie that God is anything but what he claims to be, Our loving father. The lie that I can make it on my own. Lies are any ideology, plan, practice, method, path, direction that does not have God’s love and relationship with me at its core.
What lies do people typically hide in?
Hide from who for what?
A Mostly we lie to ourselves because we want to pretend we have a security/power that does not exist. The truth is we are sinners, failures, completely and undeniably incompetent to live this life alone. We want the security and approval of others around us to leave our inner lies unchallenged, so we all agree to the same lies that no one really believes, but most readily accept.
In what way is a lie a “little fortress”?
A It provides a safe place of retreat from the probing spirit. We justify our actions with a noble sounding purpose that is really another brick in our fortress of lies.
How was Mack lying about not telling Nan about the note?
Do you ever lie to yourself just to feel better or avoid some internal pain or conflict? How’s that working for you?
What was Papa’s cure for lies?
A Tell the truth, unvarnished, plain as simple.
How is Papa bigger than lies? What does that mean?
A Although lies hurt people, Papa is still in absolute charge and will weave any fractal into a beautiful scene.
189 Why will faith not “grow in the house of uncertainty”?
A Faith is a risk, what if God fails? It is a key ingredient in pleasing God according to Heb 11. To tell the truth, Mack must believe God will work it all out in spite of or because of anyone’s reactions.
Papa said: “my life inside of you / will appropriate risk and uncertainty / to transform you / by your own choices / into a truth teller”. Break the meaning and process of this down section by section.
A My life: The miracle of the new birth. Colossians 1: 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. COL 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Will appropriate: Phil 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Transform you: RO 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
By your own choices: Matt. 4: 19 "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
MT 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." MT 19:22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Into a truth teller: RO 9:1 I speak the truth in Christ--I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit-
Mack asked for forgiveness, Papa said “did that a long time ago…..ask Jesus, he was there.
What is our imaginary independence?
A The deep seated conviction that I have or soon will have everything under control.
How is Love a lot bigger than stupidity?
A Romans 8:28
If you have been really stupid, does that mean you are really, really loved?
A Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little." Compare question with Jesus statement about the woman who anointed him with oil.

What did Papa do with Mack’s choices? What does he do with yours? All of them?
A Romans 8:28
Does Papa use pain to force people back to himself?
A True love never, ever, not even once for a really good reason forces. It always offers, the choice is ours.
190 How many people do you know are “lost in your perceptions of reality and yet so sure of your own judgments”?
A Every last person who is not living loved in a personal relationship with Jesus.
What does true love never do? Why not?
A never forces because then it would not be love. Love offers itself up to and including the cross.
Where is the flaw in Mack’s logic for God’s permitting evil to continue: “the consequences of our selfishness are part of the process that brings us to the end of our delusions, and helps us find you?
Make a list of all the evils and tragedies God has prevented in the last 6 months.
Where does evil find its source?
What would happen if God divinely eliminated the source?
“If I take away the consequences of peoples choices, what is destroyed? Why?
A Love, forced love is no love at all
Why does man have a small view of what it means to be human. What does it mean to be human? Is that a big deal?
A Man is the pinnacle of creation and regardless of the depth of the fall, man is still loved .
What are the possibilities for man in Papa’s view of being human?
191 You demand your independence, but then you complain when I actually love you enough to give it to you.
How does Papa define his purposes?
A An expression of His love. All things must unfold.
Why must all things be permitted to unfold?
A Bring life out of death, order out of chaos, freedom from bondage
What did Jesus accomplish in dying? (Wayne Jacobsen’s He Loves Me; Learning to Live in the Father’s Affection is a MUST READ follow-up to the Shack. Ch. 14-16 takes a deeper look into exactly what happened on the cross. The official Shack Study guide will expand on this subject.)
What links our purpose and your destiny forever? Why? How?
A Jesus is the link, everything is about him. How? The cross made it possible to restore the original order of things.
What is God’s plan B?
What did Jesus dying on the cross accomplish? For WHO?
A Reconciliation to the whole world. Some have suggested that The Shack argues for universal salvation of all mankind here, but that is NOT what it says. It is a two way street, man must come to God freely of his own volition.
How big a risk did God take in the offer?
According to Papa, The nature of love is to do what? Do you agree or disagree, why?
A Open the door.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

BO'S CAFE comes to Phoenix

If I got a ride like Andy, would I be like Andy?

I always feel a little let down after I finish reading a book that I really liked because the story ends and it usually takes years for a sequel. I felt that way when I finished Bo’s Café. I got drawn in to the story and characters…yes I know they are “pretend”, but they still spoke to me. Now I find that the book is not over and what is even more fun is that I can enter into the story and conversation! I know it sounds kind of crazy, but in this virtual world, who cares? Bo’s Café set up shop at (click it and see what I mean). The conversation from the book continues and I can join if I want. It is only the second week so it will be easy to catch up. I especially like what they had to say this week.
They answered the question I started with. So click on it already...