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Number Eight: More than Seeing

Here in the middle of Lent 2017, it’s my joy to share Ten Reminders for Laypeople…but wow they sure apply to us pastors as well. With gratitude to Linna Bradford who graciously agreed to let me share these with you, here’s number eight —

A blind person asked St. Anthony: “Can there be anything worse than losing eye sight?” He replied: “Yes, losing your vision!” 

— Let’s keep this simple, with only two things:

My dad loved to tell me that most people find what they’re looking for. So, to continue to dangle that participle, watch out for what you’re watching out for.

That’s Solomon clearing his throat over there in the corner. Yup, King Solomon from the Old Testament. Now that he has our attention, he says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” While we’re nodding in agreement, he finishes his thought; check it out at Proverbs 29:18.

See you (no pun intended) back here tomorrow.


Number Nine: Praying for Each Other

Here in the middle of Lent 2017, it’s my joy to share Ten Reminders for Laypeople…but wow they sure apply to us pastors as well. With gratitude to Linna Bradford who graciously agreed to let me share these with you, here’s number nine –

When you pray for others, God listens to you and blesses them. And sometimes, when you are safe and happy, remember that someone has prayed for you.

— Pray for each another, says James 5:16.

But there are times we do not know what we ought to pray for, admits Romans 8:26. Ain’t that the truth! That same verse goes on to remind us that when that happens, the Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans

And yes, I believe that “God listens to [us] whenever we pray,” not just when we “pray for others.” But that’s not the point here.

The point here is our connection and our mutual  support of one another. As 1st Corinthians 12 says, together we are the Body of Christ and if one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 

Two things today: pray for others specifically, and be glad someone’s prayed for you.

In fact, I just prayed for you who are reading this. Yes, for you.

And I’d be grateful if you’d pray for me right now.

See you back here tomorrow.

Number Ten: Worrying

Here in the middle of Lent 2017, it’s my joy to share Ten Reminders for Laypeople…but wow they sure apply to us pastors as well. With gratitude to Linna Bradford who graciously agreed to let me share these with you, here’s number ten —

WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES. It takes away today’s PEACE.

— I think the writer of 1st Peter 5:7 would agree, and then even give us a specific prescription: cast all your anxieties on God, because God cares for you.

Wanna try that today?

Let’s do.

So because God cares for you, what are at least three of your anxieties that you can cast on God right now?




See you back here tomorrow, and meanwhile, cast all your anxieties on God, because God cares for you.


It’s Yours

Dr. Michael Sanders is a long time, real life friend and colleague who graciously gave me permission to share this with you —

It was a church long ago and far away. During my time there, I received a series of requests from the good members on how to improve the church service. Some of the mild and polite ones are listed below:


Shorten the sermons because we’ve heard it all before.

Expand the number of fellowship meals and class parties

because that’s what church is really about.

Take the children out of the service

because they distract from the holiness of the service.

Bring the children back into the service

so they can learn how to behave in church.

More Bach on the organ.

Less Bach and more contemporary music.

Why do we sing so much?

We need to sing all the verses of all the hymns.

And, of course, turn the thermostat up,

turn it down, turn it up, turn it down!

I wonder, what kind of church would it be if we all got our way?

Prayer:  Lord, lest we forget, it is Your church.

— Amen.

What He Admits is Something We’ve All Done..Youth Workers, Pastors, Etc

Drew Cope writes with honesty, and graciously gave me permission to share this with you.

Warning: What he admits is something we’ve all done. Maybe not to this degree (but only because we didn’t think of it), but we’ve all done something like this —

8 years ago… I did an experiment in our youth ministry… We began pushing the Seven Checkpoints series from Andy Stanley, and we invested about a year fully integrating at least 1 of his 7 points into every message I spoke to the middle schoolers… When we introduced the seven checkpoints, we did one per week, and did big, over the top, illustrations to help anchor them in students minds…. For the first checkpoint, I dressed as Indiana Jones, and rappelled down into our youth meeting through the drop ceiling… It got attention… and it grew attendance the next week… but 6 years later, 8 years later… I ask our kids if they remember that message… they ALL say YES… then I ask them what the message was about… only 1 in 5 can tells us the point… and only another 2 of the 5 remember that it was part of series about things that are important in our relationship with God. Here is the video of the sermon… Pastor Mike recapped the introductoin week, then We show’d a movie clip… then I made my memorable entrance about 3m 50 seconds in… which kids totally forgot the point of… 5 years later…

We did lots of LOVING on them ministry too… but I always wanted to try a big stunt, and then see if they remembered the point… and as I suspected… they remember the stunt… fondly at that.. but don’t remember why we did it…

(Safety thoughts : we were anchored to steel beams over the ceiling, and we tested a static load 3 times my body weight, and then bounced that load several times, in the week prior to doing this in front of an audience… which is how we figured out that my downline would have to be tied out to the front of the stage so that I could stop from spinning.) There are 3 more segments on youtube if you want to see the rest of the message…. We broke into small group discussions for 3 minutes to give me time to get unharnessed.)


BONUS: Saint Patrick

Patrick of Ireland (389 – 461)

At the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped from his home by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland, where he was sold as a slave to a chieftain and forced to herd livestock.

After six years of slavery, Patrick escaped to his native Britain.

Because he believed that his captivity and deliverance were ordained by God, Patrick devoted his life to ministry.

While studying for the priesthood, he experienced recurring dreams in which he heard voices say, “O holy youth, come back to Erin and walk once more amongst us.”

He convinced his superiors to let him return to Ireland in 432, not to seek revenge for injustice but to seek reconciliation and to spread his faith.

Over the next thirty years, Patrick established churches and monastic communities across Ireland.

When he was not engaged in the work of spreading the Christian faith, Patrick spent his time praying in his favorite places of solitude and retreat.

— March 17 in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Thank You

...comprehend with all the saints

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.

Ephesians 3:18,19

How can we ever comprehend the incomprehensible?

How can we know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge?

We call it grace.

As an old hymn says, “Grace, grace, God’s grace! Grace that is greater than all our sin!” And greater than our misunderstandings and misapplications and innumerable screw ups.


We say Thank You.