I’d like you to meet a friend of mine. His name is John.

John is a hard worker, and an image conscious man. He wears thumb rings, earrings, and has the “right” tattoos in the “right” places. He says all the right things, will do anything for anyone so he won’t be seen as selfish, and seems to be rigidly aware of how he “appears” at any moment in time.

John was living with an ex-girlfriend named Sheryl who has some problems; the biggest problem being that every time she breaks up with him, her problem is that he isn’t “with” her. She doesn’t seem to understand that when a woman breaks up with a man, naturally, the man is no longer “with” her.

One night, John brought home a new girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend went ballistic, and decided to move upstairs, into an empty apartment she can’t afford on her own. John hadn’t planned on sleeping with this new girlfriend, he was only stopping at home to pick up a few things for a brief stay at his new squeeze’s house. His new girlfriend had to listen to the shouting and insults flying everywhere; I cannot imagine this made a real big impression on her.

John decided it was finally over between he and Sheryl. Several times now, she had broken up with him, only to get back together with him after a period of time away. This most recent time, he had actually moved all the way from Illinois to Wisconsin, at the request of his now ex-girlfriend. It worked no better this time than it had the previous times, all occurring over a period of eight years.

Johnfeels lost without her, even with a new girlfriend, and even as he knows he can never go back to Sheryl.

John doesn’t know Jesus, he can’t, because he is too busy trying to look good. Every moment is a chance to impress, and he rarely misses out on an opportunity to look like an all-around nice guy. He is very agreeable, and will discuss anything with anyone who talks with him. He is a well-rounded individual, exactly the kind of person I would expect America to produce.

But there is this place inside of John that once revealed itself to me. It is the questioning place, the crying place, the lonely place, the place John lets no one see, if he can help it. It is the place John has very rarely seen himself. It is the empty place, the place where fear reigns, and loneliness lives. Going through what he is going through, John cannot hide from this place, or in this place anymore.

He bared his soul to me, and I listened. As I listened, I could easily pick and choose what to change about his life that would ease the pain, and remove the fear. But that isn’t what I was there for. I was there to listen, and so I did.

John isn’t a rare guy. Do you know anyone like John? Of course you do. You probably know hundreds of people just like him.

John doesn’t know Jesus, and it’s not because no one ever told him about Jesus. It’s because the "Johns" of this world have never, ever seen Jesus in us.

Lord, I cannot do this on my own, You know it. I cannot shine Jesus through this flesh by human willpower. I can put on a show, but somehow, I don’t think that’s what is best for this situation. I don’t have time to “fix” John’s sins. He doesn’t have time, he’s losing hope, and if his hope finally depends on how I act, then he has no hope whatsoever.

So I’m asking You to do something. I don’t know what, I just know You have to do something, or John is sunk. If You have to use me, then make Your power to live in my veins, and make Your wisdom to be self-controlling, with a mind of its own, so that I do not try to control it myself. I am at the end of myself with John, it’s up to You now.

I don’t know how to do anything but hear with my ears, and what I hear is hopelessness. This nation breeds hopelessness, Lord, in quantities the likes of which are impossible to measure, and hard to match from any other time. John is hopeless. Can’t you give him a little, despite what he does “wrong”? For me? Your beloved child? Abba? You do it for me every day. For even one day, let him have my share. I know what it is I am asking, and although I am frightened to ask it, I am asking it anyway. Please Abba, give Him mine, because I have nothing else to give.



Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."

I was reading this the other day, and for the first time, I was struck by a realization of something really odd.

“From any tree of the garden you may eat”

“But from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat”

Want to know what I wondered about?

Why didn’t Adam and Eve eat from the tree of life? I don’t get it. They were told, by God, that from any tree in the garden they could eat, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

That would have made the tree of life fair game, as I read this account. In fact, that makes eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil really, really stupid, in my opinion. Of course, I have the benefit of hindsight with all of this. I wonder, would any of us have eaten from the tree of life?

That poses the next question. Just what is this tree of life? Or is this tree of life a who?

Jesus mentioned something about being the bread of life, and those who eat of the bread of life having eternal life. And here we see the tree of life, smack in the middle of the garden, and God, saying to Himself, “We better remove the people from the garden, otherwise they might eat from the tree of life, and live forever.”

Why didn’t they eat from the tree of life?

I don’t get it. Why does man choose to die? Was it a choice? To read the biblical account, it certainly seemed like a choice. God said, “you may eat from any tree in the garden, except one”. That leaves a choice, in my opinion. So were Adam and Eve free agents? Somehow, through all the theological garbage we have been saddled with, we would almost have to say, “no”, because God planned it this way. And maybe He did.

But this story certainly gives rise to a lot of questions, doesn’t it? Such as, if God really wanted Adam and Eve to live forever, don’t you think He might have done a better job of encouraging them to eat from the tree of life?

The point is, He didn’t. He left them to do according to their desire, as far as I can figure. If God really is unchanging, what does that say about the gift of redemption. Is that a new tree of life?



Is this Kingdom of God real?

No, this is not part of the series I have been writing about Jesus. I’ll return to that very shortly.

When I ask about the Kingdom of God being “real”, I don’t mean, “is it real through mystic faith”? I don’t mean to ask whether or not it is like the boogeyman, only real if we believe in it. I mean, does it exist physically?

There seems to be an awful lot of preaching out there in bloggyland about mysticism, and things being done which clearly aren’t. There is an awful lot of spiritualization going on, and I am left wondering, what happened to the REALITY of the Kingdom? Since when does the reality of this world look anything like the Kingdom of God?

In truth, this world looks nothing like the Kingdom of God, which if a man found in a field, he’d go and sell everything he has, and then come back and buy the field. I don’t see much in this world worth selling everything I have for, save for the reality of Jesus Christ. Him, and people.

But this world? No, it’s not the kingdom, and everything is not finished, otherwise we might as well believe that the Kingdom’s influence is very distant, and very, very, very weak. For what we see in this world is the same thing we have always seen. We see selfishness, we see instant gratification, we see murder, and all manner of people being taken advantage of by other people who don’t consider them as valuable. In essence, we still see what we have seen since the time of Jesus, and before. Pardon me, but isn’t the Kingdom of God something more?

Paul, John, and Peter all told us we wait for something that has not yet been fully revealed, and that reality still exists in this world today. If it did not, things in this world would be a lot different.

I see love in this world, and I see hate right alongside of it. If Jesus had set up His government, I don’t think we’d see much of the hate thing. I see murder, and I see people helping each other. If Jesus’ government were set up right now, I can safely believe we would not see the murder thing.

Between the Kingdom of God, and the government of this world, there can be no comparison. The Kingdom of God exists in power and not in words, and in this world, the governments we see are pretty much all talk, and no do. Oh yeah, they do a pretty good job of spending money too.

But to say that everything is complete, to me, is to say that the Kingdom of God looks no different than the world has always looked. Check back into the things Jesus said about the Kingdom, and see if that is what He described. Paul talked about things being changed in an instant, and Peter described it in such a way as to use fire as a description of how things will change so rapidly, as if the world is burned by fire, and remade in an instant.

The difference between the Kingdom of God, and this world will be greater than night and day, when it has been fully manifested and revealed. We haven’t seen it fully revealed yet, we wait for it. Otherwise, what’s been revealed looks weak, impotent, and pretty much the same old same old. No one is going to sell everything they have for that.

I understand that we live by faith and not by sight, but I don’t think that verse has anything to do with the reality of the Kingdom. I think it has everything to do with doing just as Abraham did; waiting.

Faith being what it is, we look forward to what we hope for but cannot see. If it is already here, what in the world do we need faith for? We haven’t seen it yet, but when we do, we’ll know what it is, because it will look completely, totally, and in all other ways, different from what we see today.



The third part of this series, where I am writing my wonderful opinions about Jesus, and you all are very busy agreeing with me about everything I say, is also one of my favorites. Now, about the agreeing with me part, honestly, it’s okay if you don’t agree with me at all. This isn’t a theological discussion going on here, it’s an intimate portrait of Jesus, according to my palette of colors, but please feel free to share your portrait of Jesus as well.

Jesus was, and still is, a magnet. He drew, and still draws many of this world’s most leaderless people. Searching for any evidence as to whether Jesus was a magnet to the intellectuals, and to the leaders of His day, I found none. Let me rephrase that; I found absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

What makes Jesus so attractive to the hopeless, and so unattractive to the smart and powerful, the people who “fit in”? As best as I can tell, it’s His honesty. This honesty unfolds in several different ways. The most striking is the power thing, again. Jesus is one of those people who backs up what He says, all of the time. For someone who is hopeless, to find that sort of a leader is a priceless treasure. But for someone who relies upon their own instincts and leadership, Jesus is a repelling force. He speaks of miracles, and if we pay attention, we see them, quite a bit more often than we are even aware of at the moment the miracle occurs.

But in His day here, people couldn’t miss His miracles. So when Jesus spoke of other things, such as heavenly things, and spoke authoritatively, His deeds backed up His words. Sadly, for the politicians of His day, the Pharisees, their deeds did not back up their words. Jesus was a mirror to them, and what they saw disgusted them. They could not escape the fact that Jesus was everything they preached about, everything they were not. But for the weak, for the dogs, for the poor and the leaderless, Jesus was someone who stood up for them, against the very same Pharisees who oppressed them.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced something like this, but I recall as a very young boy witnessing a bully from my school being caught in the act by a teacher. I recall the discipline he received, and I remember feeling uplifted, cared for, and protected. Inside, I quietly cheered the teacher on. As we travel around the written gospel, we often see Jesus taking on the politicians and lawmakers (Pharisee, scribes, Rabbis) in much the same way this teacher took on the bully. I can’t help but believe that the oppressed leaderless were silently cheering Him on as well.

But there is more to being a magnet than just power, authority, and honesty. One of my favorite attributes of this particular Magnet is the fact that He meets the needs of the everyday man or woman. We received numerous accounts of this very fact in the written gospels, and I hear about Jesus’ ability to meet needs from the mouths of disciples today as well. I can’t count how many days I have not gone hungry. But on an even deeper level, I cannot recall the last time I felt hopeless, and to me, hope is akin to life. Jesus meets physical needs, and He gives hope to the hopeless. Yet another reason he was fantastically popular.

The final thing I want to say about the magnetism of Christ is that He must have been compassionate. To me, any leader who is not compassionate is not much of a leader at all. And rapidly, especially in this day and age, that kind of leader will not have a magnetism about him at all. Instead, if he is a leader at all, he will lead through coercion and fear. How many people in our churches get this “compassion” thing wrong? How many people opt for the fear factor, rather than the compassion factor?

If we are followers of Christ, then our compassion alone will be a powerful magnet for those who are hopeless, leaderless, and oppressed. There is no greater example of this than the very situation which occurs in Iraq everyday, between the US army, and the Iraqi people. Count all of the terrorist reports you want, but the VAST majority of the Iraqi people support, and are happy to have the US there helping them stabilize their new country. This would not have been so without compassion. First hand accounts from friends of mine who have served in Iraq all tell the same story, that compassion is winning the day, and the Iraqi people are being won over because the US army gives them something the terrorists don’t; hope.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Jesus’ magnetism was His compassion. He led people who were leaderless with mercy and compassion, knowing of their wretchedness, and looking beyond it, into the heart of the person, and setting a new Law in stone for all time, which is; “Every person deserves to be loved.” (Love one another) People were drawn, and are drawn to Jesus because He loves them, and that love isn’t just words, it’s genuine. His honesty, His ability to meet needs, and His compassion all flow from His love. We, who are His followers, do better to follow Him in this, than to lead people into theological expertise.



Having written briefly about Jesus as the miracle worker, I decided to touch a bit on why He was even able to be a miracle worker in the first place. I guess a simple answer would be, “He is God, that’s why He was the miracle worker”. You would be right if you thought that.

To me, there are several more complete, descriptive answers pertaining to why Jesus worked miracles.

The first reason is actually founded upon the fact that Jesus is God. But He is more than God in the sense that He is more than just a person to be worshipped, more than a person to be feared and loved. He is at once all of these things, and the creator of these things. Being “God” is true, that is what Jesus is, but somehow, our definition of God falls way short. Some think of God as a bearded older fellow, wise, kind, loving, and that’s about it. Honestly, we have such a disjointed opinion about God that we often inhibit ourselves from appreciating to our very limits His completeness.

Jesus is God, and as such, He is the creator, of all things. John said nothing that was made has its existence without Him, and all things that were made were made through Him. When thinking of Jesus as the miracle worker, why is it easy for me to believe His miracles? Because being the Creator, He would have absolute command of His creation, He would be intimate with His creation to levels we can only imagine.

An interesting “science” has appeared on the scene in recent years. It is that of sub-atomic realities. Imagine, there are things much smaller than atoms, and we can study them. Imagine Jesus, the creator of all these things, knowing all about these sub-atomic “particles”. Two thousand years ago, Jesus knew what makes up a man, what makes up a tree, and how to stop the wind from blowing. Can healing a shriveled hand on the Sabbath even be hard for Him?

Jesus is in command of all these things, from hands, to wind, to sub-atomic particles. Giving sight to the blind, in essence, for Jesus, may well have been just a matter of Him rearranging a few sub-atomic particles., each of which was under His authority. And that would follow, if we believe Jesus is God, and thus, Jesus is the agent of creation. In fact, it explains why He was able to do what he was able to do when He was here.

But there is another reason I like to ponder every so often. That reason is the relationship Jesus had with His Father. To say it in one word, perfection. God’s will was Jesus’ will, and Jesus did what pleased His Father all of the time. I think for the most part, that basically meant being “with” His Father in all things. It meant being reliant upon God for the answers to the sub-atomic question, as well as knowing His Father would give Him both the right answer, and the power and authority to perform it.

Looking fairly closely at the accounts of the written gospels, I find it interesting that Jesus did everything in His Father’s name, as if He were the Father’s “ambassador” to us. Not just God, but God’s mouth on earth, God’s hands, God’s feet, God’s human attributes that we tend to place upon our Father. Jesus was all of these things, in perfect unity with Abba. Being the ambassador, the Son, Jesus had all of the Father’s authority to do what He did here. And He did it all in His Father’s name.

There are other descriptions we could use that would help make the miracles Jesus performed seem more real to us, rather than the distant, aged “events” we read in the Bible. But these two reasons speak most loudly to me.

Coming to this point in my life, God has always before seemed distant. He has seemed “just out of reach”. Now, having this gift of grace in my imperfect body, and coming to know the Father more and more, He seems closer, a lot closer, than He ever has.

Did He move, or did I?



Who is this Jesus? This God-man who so many have believed in, and so many others have followed, who is He? Where can one begin when attempting to write about this perfect man?

I believe the best place to start is in my heart, where my love for Him grows. And if I start there, then you will begin to see a picture of how Jesus is best represented to me personally. Sure, I could start rattling off hundreds of Bible verses, and leave Jesus on the pages of a book. But I think Jesus is in my heart far more present than He is on the pages of the Bible. I do not always act or live as though He is strongly entrenched in my heart, but that isn’t His fault.

Starting in my heart then naturally lends itself to a far less than perfect “theological” picture of Jesus. But it does lend itself to something I value more; an intimate portrait.

I have heard and read and seen enough of theologian’s descriptions of Jesus to last a lifetime. I need no more, and I am guessing you don’t either. So let me begin drawing this picture, and filling the lines and spaces with color.

For myself, I have always been in awe of Jesus’ power. When I speak of power, I am not speaking of “authority” in the sense that a theologian would. I am instead speaking of miracles.

Jesus is the miracle man to me, the man with the attesting signs, performing things this world has not seen before.

Picture it if you will; a young man spends his entire life blind, his parents are unable to heal him, or to bring him to anyone who can offer more than words of comfort. This young man will spend his life destitute, unable to earn a living in the ancient world. Furthermore, because of the religion he was raised within, he will be looked upon as the son of sin, a misfit in a “survival of the righteously fittest” nation. If he begs, he will be spat upon. If he cries out to God, he will be called a blasphemer, raging against God’s just judgment of he and His parents. In essence, he may as well be dead already.

In an instant, in a moment no one could have predicted, he is cast from the land of the dead into the land of the living, by a man named Jesus. This blind man has never even heard of this Jesus, how could he, for he cannot travel around Judea and Nazareth, so crippled he is by his handicap. He is not welcomed in most circles; people are either uncomfortable around him, or will not touch him, as if he is an unclean leper, this young man born blind. But this Jesus touches him. The blind man heard Jesus speak from the temple the other day, but did not know who shouted so clearly amidst the columns of the temple. He only knew a man had angered the rulers and lawyers, nothing more.

Can you imagine what this blind man must have felt at the touch of Jesus? Can you imagine the gentleness in that touch, of such a quality the blind man had never experienced before, save maybe from the hands of his mother? Can you feel him tremble as Jesus closes his fingers around the man’s face, and begins to whisper something softly, an encouragement, a command, maybe a prayer? Who can tell what Jesus whispers at the time, with all of the noise surrounding He who embraces the blind man now?

Picture God now, as you have never pictured Him before. Include the long flowing white beard, the stern face of Michelangelo’s God. Picture the wrath you have heard about, the love, the POWER, the absolute Everything that cannot be described capably with our language, EMBRACING this blind man. Bring everything you have ever known about God into this embrace, and witness the result, God’s answer to years of crying, suffering, anguish, and pain. Picture a mean God if you must, but can you continue to see a mean God in this embrace of love?

Jesus, God, locked into the soul of a blind man, touching him, ON A SABBATH! What does this blind man feel, as Jesus gives him sight? Can he feel electrical charges pulsing through his head? Can he hear humming, or a high pitched whistling? The gospel accounts are silent regarding the feeling or the sounds of the moment. We can only speculate. But we do not need to speculate about the result.


A man born blind can now see. God, the Great I AM, has touched a blind man, the least of all those amongst Him. He came to be amongst His creation, and if that is not enough, now He is face to face, touching, embracing, healing what no one else can. And who could bring God to account for walking away from this man without ever talking with him, touching him, healing him? Who amongst us could ever accuse God had He not performed this miracle?

The power of Jesus is the power of God. This is what was on earth with Jesus. The same power that created all which we see is that same power which gave sight to the young blind man, healed the cripple, made new the shriveled hand of another fellow, and raised the dead, at least three times, not including Himself. (I may have miscounted, but I will not go into my bible, and count the number of people He raised from the dead. If you wish, you may tell us the correct number in the comments section, all to the glorious portrait of God).

If the Gospels are to be believed, Jesus must have nearly wiped out disease in Israel. John says He did so many things, that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. In actuality, I see a bit of foreshadowing in those words, don’t you?

But imagine the power! “If you will not believe on the basis of my words, at least believe on the basis of My works”. And what works they were, are, and will be.

This Jesus, who is He? He’s the miracle man, to whom nothing is impossible, and if all the works He did while He was here are not enough proof, why, He’ll even raise Himself from the dead.

Imagine God amongst us. What kind of power will He display? Imagine the creator, now in flesh breathing upon a blind man. Can you make the stretch? Can your distant God come down to earth, and touch you?

His name is Jesus.



Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to be writing a series of posts which consider who and what Jesus is. This series will not be a theological exercise. In fact, much of what I write in this series will not be stuff you will read in any Systematic Theology Handbook. This will mostly be my take on who and what He is. Because of that, please feel free to toss every last bit of what I write into the trash bin.

Why am I doing this? For several reasons. The first is because I have never thought all that deeply about the many facets of Jesus. This series will allow me to do so. The second reason is because I tire of always tying Jesus to his cross.

Rub your eyes all you want, but what I wrote is not a mistake.

Did you know that I have never met the believer who does not think the most important thing Jesus did was die for us? In fact, most believers I know say the cross is far and away the most important event in His life. I would argue that point.

If a man dies, so what? So He died for our sins? So what? Anyone can die. In fact, every one does.

Please understand I am not taking shots as Jesus here. I know the cross was important. But to me, what sets Jesus apart from everyone and everything else isn’t His death. Rather, it’s His life, before, and most notably, after His death.

We talk about the cross of Jesus far more than any other attribute of His life. Yet how attractive is a naked man dying on a cross? What draws people to Jesus? Forgiveness? Maybe, but I would argue that forgiveness is nonexistent if Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross, and proven by His resurrection that His Kingdom life was indestructible, and that the love He so often spoke of was also indestructible. Yet we tend to separate the cross of Jesus from almost every other event of His life. I wonder why. I don’t know why.

Here is what I do know. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith, not the cross. Why can I say this? Because if Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead, we have no hope. Yet this I would also say; we should not separate the cross from the resurrection, because I believe they belong together, in fact, I believe they are one and the same event, equally important, yet each one necessary to the other.

There is some hope in God dying for us, taking upon Himself our guilt. I believe that hope is multiplied, given perfect life, through the resurrection. And it is my intention to write in such a way that I will focus on the LIFE of Christ, what He did, how He did it, why He did it, and the type of life He talked about, which was proven to be indestructible through His resurrection. I believe there is more hope in someone rising from the dead, than there is in one naked man hanging on a cross. That may be heresy, but you’d be hard pressed to disprove it.

At any rate, I’ll be getting to work on this series, which I am looking forward to sharing with you, drawing from your ideas, and hearing your thoughts. Please feel free to leave comments liberally, as this is not a theological "pedigrees only please"exercise, but a labor of enjoyment and love. That being the case, everyone should be able to participate, if they wish.


IT'S NOT 74!

My weather channel box is lying....AGAIN!!!

It says 74 deg. F at 10:00 am. What an absolute lie! It's already mid eightees.

I wonder, can we trust the methods of measurement which are in this world?



I left the following as a comment at a friend's blog, and I thought I’d share it with you all. Not that I am tooting my own horn, but I think the question inside of this post is a good question each of us might ask ourselves.

Why do you think you aren't "where you should be"? Besides the fact that you envisioned some "fantasy" about where you would be as a Christian, where exactly should you be right now?

Is God surprised? And if He isn't, is there something wrong with Him, too? Or does He really see the real place you should be?

This Kingdom living isn't all peaches and cream, brothers and sisters. The last thing we need is to judge ourselves, badly. I have met so many who feel just like you do, that you should be this, or you should be that.

Well, what exactly should you be?

Possibly, you aren't going to like this answer I give you.

You should be a child. A child without pretense, a child who doesn't wear masks, a child who definitely needs her daddy so she can be fed, clothed, coddled, and kept alive, at the bare minimum.

Yet whenever I talk with believers, even many who say they are free, the common theme of their lives is, "I should know better", or "I have a lot to learn, too."

All these things are terms we use when we measure success. Tell me , does a child measure success? Or is she in it for the glory?

When my daughter was young, she only played when everything was alright, when she felt safe. In fact, I always knew she felt safe and loved, if she was playing. She stopped playing when things weren't right, and had to have them right in order to feel free enough to play. Otherwise, she had to be near me. She'd check in to see that I was there, or she'd plop right into my lap, and hug me for a bit, and I'd hug her back, and talk with her the way only Daddies can. Then, she'd be off playing again.

As her father, I never loved her less just because she left me to go play. In fact, I knew she felt secure because she played. I loved the moments when she would come see me, and show her love, but I also loved watching her play. I still do.

So, where should you be ?



This post is in answer to a question a good blogging friend asked me.

The question was, how is the mystery of the contradictions in the bible solved for me by the One who knows?

That question came as a response to something I said about not solving the contradictions in the bible by my own doing, but that it is done for me by One who knows.

This has all come about through a seemingly ongoing discussion regarding the errancy or inerrancy of scripture. Please be informed that I am not setting out to prove the inerrancy of scripture, I am only proving the trustworthiness of the modern bible, all of it. And I do not do this to sacrifice anyone on the altar of right. This was requested of me, and so I decided to answer.

So, how does God solve the mystery of the contradictions in the Bible for me? To answer that, I have to tell a bit of a story. Please bear with me. I do not believe my stories are worthwhile for you to read, but in this case, it is necessary.

I did not come to know Jesus through an “Evangelical” gospel. I pretty much came to know Him in a very lonely manner. Even before I knew Him, I started reading the Bible, the entire Bible, taking an intellectual approach to it. I wanted to know as much as I could about this thing we call the bible, you might say I was drawn to it. Since the first day I began reading it some seven years ago, I have not stopped reading it. It is always one of the books I read daily, even though the other stuff I read may change daily, the Bible maintains its place in my life.

Reading this book we call the bible isn’t a discipline, to me. As I said, I am drawn to it, and to not read it leaves me feeling empty. But don’t take that one sentence, and make that the thrust of this essay. Reading the Bible isn’t a necessary thing for me to do. It’s just what I do, and I can’t imagine not reading it. But I no longer read it intellectually. I no longer read it to learn of stories and psalms and prophecies, even though I certainly still learn from it. By now, I have read the thing so many times, there isn’t a story, a psalm, or a prophecy I haven’t seen many, many times, and most of the them I can photographically place on the page in my mind. But that’s neither here nor there. It just gives you a bit of background into my experience with this book.

As I said, when I first began to read this book, I didn’t really know Jesus. But I knew of Him. So I read the Bible, starting with Genesis, but also simultaneously reading the four gospels, because to me, the story of the bible is summed up in the gospel. I remembered that much from my learning as a young Catholic. It would have seemed like drudgery to me, to read the beginning of the Bible, and not get to the gospel for a long time. That is why I decided to read it the way I did.

Someone once mentioned to me that “No one comes to the Father except through me”. Upon hearing that, I remembered where I had read that, and was struck by how I could have missed the implications of that. Still not believing, I continued in my pursuit to read this Bible cover to cover, intellectually. However, something was happening. I began remembering things I had read for the first time, and how they seemed to fit with things I had read before in this book. I began reading faster, not wanting to stop, not wanting to miss out on the wholeness of this book I was engaged in. Prior to this, every attempt at reading the Bible had been drudgery, to say the least. It bored me stiff.

But now, I began to understand the things Jesus was saying. I began to see the truth He was preaching, and this mysterious Kingdom He kept talking about intrigued me to no end. So on I read, into Acts, into Romans, and into the rest of the letters of the New Testament, right alongside the books of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, psalms, proverbs, and the prophets. And I saw even further how it all tied together, not as individual pieces of literature, which is how I had always viewed this bible in the past, but as a whole, a one piece puzzle.

My life, at that time, was getting more complicated. It seemed Jesus was everywhere, I could not escape Him. Even as I was intrigued by Him, I was bent on rejecting Him, believing I was sufficient, that somehow, I would figure out just how good I had to be to “earn” salvation. But He wouldn’t leave me alone. What I read during the day stayed with me at night, and what I read during the night stayed with me during the day. And everywhere, Jesus! At work, He was there, at home, in my car, outside, on signs by the road, on the medias, wherever I was, He was telling me something. I ran from it as best I could, but somehow, I couldn’t stop reading this Bible.

Having the blessing of hindsight, I now know that I was becoming a witness to my own salvation. Regardless of what I did to try and reject Jesus, I couldn’t complete the task. I thought the idea of one man dying for my sins, and thus saving me was ridiculous. But I just couldn’t put the Bible down, I couldn’t reject the truth I found, and no matter how hard I tried, I could no longer justify that Jesus wasn’t the only way to the Father. Nothing I did toward the end of rejecting Jesus ever worked, and I found myself steadily drawn toward Him.

I am a witness to my own salvation, not a participant in it. Having said that, maybe now you can understand that I am also a witness to the truth of the modern bible, not a judge against it.

I was asked how God solves the mystery of these contradictions for me.

I gave up.

Jesus drew me, I couldn’t fight it, and so I gave up. I didn’t choose Jesus, to say that would be a lie. I just stopped fighting the truth, it was wearing me out. But once I gave up, my eyes began to see more truth. I began to see that an intellectual approach to this Bible was only one way to read it, and that there were other ways.

I began to re-read the bible, not as an intellectual tool, but for enjoyment. And it has been this way ever since. Certainly, there are times I read this book to learn something, times when I want to know what a certain man said, or what a certain psalm says. But for the most part, I now read the bible for enjoyment.

And through that enjoyment, answers to the questions I have always come. "Contradictions" such as Jesus being God and man are not contradictions anymore,and lets face it, that’s the biggest contradiction in the bible. If you get past that, you can get past anything.

But let’s take this more to the physical aspects. When I tried to approach the Bible intellectually, all it did was blow me away intellectually. I couldn’t “figure it out”. I tried to make sense of places where I thought things didn’t seem to add up, and the harder I tried, the more confusing it became. I am not saying the book itself does this, I think instead, it is God who does this, because possibly He desires that any endeavor we undertake to know Him should include enjoyment, not fact gathering. If you attempt to put your hand on God, He will elude you. It is our heart that is the only place that can hold God. How strange this is, since the heart is such a small place, or so it seems.

So to approach the Bible with the mind of a man is not wrong, but it won’t solve any mysteries, either. If you want to know how to solve these mysteries, you are going to have to surrender your mind to God, and let Him flow within it. You won’t solve anything by taking an intellectual approach to the words written in that book. You may learn something, you may gather facts, but you will not solve any contradictions.

The word of God speaks as loudly to our heart as it does to our eyes and ears. I am living proof of that, this man who had one, maybe two people even mention what Jesus did on the cross. I am a witness to the power of that written word, which before it was written, was spoken to many before me. I think part of the problem with claiming that certain parts of the Bible are not scripture, while others are, is that we tend to intellectualize our approach to this book, and when we do that, our heart disengages, for whatever reason.

There are errors in the Bible. Let’s face facts. But these errors have not lessened the impact, or the truth of the message, as a whole. And if we can trust God, and what He says, those errors might just enhance the message. After all, isn’t He God who says that through weakness and imperfection, He makes perfect?

Trust that, but don’t trust your mind more than that. Trust God, and trust this one final thing, for it is the seat, the foundation of what I have come to know about the New Testament letters, which have been the basis for the ongoing discussion regarding inerrancy and what is, or is not, scripture. On the night before He died, Jesus made a promise to His disciples. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would remind them of EVERYTHING He said, and would teach them ALL things. This is a promise you can trust was fulfilled.

So, when the disciples wrote their letters, they didn’t write it with their best understanding. Rather, they wrote their letters with Jesus’ best understanding of what the gospel was about, because He had fulfilled the promise He made to them. There isn’t even a chance that this is not true. That’s how I start reading these letters, with trust, not suspicion.

If you have been looking for a “method”, I am sorry to have disappointed you. I don’t know of any method that will solve this problem for you. But I also don’t have to worry about contradictions anymore, the Bible truly does verify itself, for the one who is willing to accept it. Maybe that isn’t enough for you. I can’t help that. I know what my experience is, and it cannot be shaken. No amount of evidence can disprove what I know, because I did not come to know what I know through fact gathering, and intellectual exercises. I came to know them through the mind of Christ, just as His disciples did. So that's how God solves it for me, through the mind of Christ.

Don’t read this modern bible trying to prove something. Read it for enjoyment, enjoy the wholeness of it, how it interweaves within itself, and most of all, enjoy God within it. He is not bound by the words, but He will meet you within them, because He loves to talk with us. The Bible is just one of His tools for doing so.

And it is, in its complete, modern form, trustworthy. I know this like I know I have to breath to live. There is no doubt, and that kind of trust cannot be built through intellect. It takes something else, or should I say, Someone else? You can rely on your intellect if you want, but it won't get you very far when it comes to this modern bible. For the word of God is far deeper than the shallowness of our minds.



I am lonely tonight. I just had a good cry, and I’m not afraid to admit that, even as a man. I was expecting my daughter to be with me tonight, and she isn’t able to be. I don’t know what it is about expectations that can crush our spirit so.

I could say I should know better, but in the midst of my tears, I felt Abba whispering, “Let them all out, Tom, don’t hold back.” As if He expected this, and planned it. This is the first good cry I have had for a while, save for yesterday, which was only a steady stream of silent tears as I listened to a young woman who comes to my church building tell the story of her husband's death. So tears two days in a row. Not bad, considering I don’t think I have shed tears in many moons.

Actually, I was beginning to wonder what was wrong with me for the lack of tears. I was feeling as if I had lost some compassion or something, maybe I was becoming the same heartless, cold person I used to be around the age of twenty. But listening to that young lady tell her story opened up the valve a little, and tonight, the dam burst.

I feel better now, having felt God’s presence in my tears, not that the loneliness is gone, and sometimes I fear what I will do, what action I will take so I won’t feel lonely. But that fear lasts only moments; I know I will do nothing, the fear is merely a temptation.

Loneliness for a man can be a dangerous thing. There is no end to the trouble he can get into. Thank God with me, and for me, that He is here, not allowing me to believe there is any truth to the idea that “I am alone”.

Good hope to you all.

To my brother Jim, I love you.



I suppose I should write something, huh?

It’s been a while since I have blogged regularly. That is probably going to change sometime soon. Some of my projects are winding down, and hopefully, life will resemble something more than work and sleep most of the time.

Not that it matters, because life being what it is, you find joy wherever you are, if you are aware. I have been aware, lately, that joy is when I am working. I know, that seems strange, but it is true. I find myself not looking forward to going to work, and then, somehow, throughout the day, my spirit is lifted.

The three fellows I have working with me right now are wonderful to work with. They show up on time, and the key words in this sentence are truly, “show up”. It wasn’t always that way. As recently as three weeks ago, I had a crew that just didn’t want to work. Several fellows would work three, maybe four days maximum in the week, and the rest of the days, they would come up with a convenient excuse as to why they couldn’t be there. One fellow recently had his grandfather die for possibly the third time in one year. Seriously.

Poor fellow. I can’t imagine the grief.

But the guys I have now are salt, let me tell you. The youngest, Aaron, is a transfer from California. When I asked him why he decided to move to this sometimes very cold place, he answered, “My pregnant girlfriend’s family, and she, decided to move here because of a new job for her father, so I decided I wanted to follow.” Good for him. We all wait joyfully, hopefully, and expectantly, for the birth of their child, due any day now.

Aaron is a wonderful, quiet young man of twenty-three. No job is too menial for him, and by that, I mean, NO JOB. He will sweep floors, pick up trash left by other contractors around the jobsite, and if that’s not enough, tape cardboard to newly painted doorframes so they are protected from damage before the opening. Already he has protected over fifty doors, and there remain another fifty at least. He does it all with such a pleasant attitude, I am almost ashamed to give him these tasks. The trouble is, he doesn’t have much experience, but he is learning, as I try to have him help me every so often installing cabinets.

Then there is Casey, my partner in crime, so far as installing cabinets go. He is an admitted rock-star wannabe, complete with a Sammy Hagar look-alike haircut and bead necklace. Casey is going through a rough spot right now. His live-in, on again, off again girlfriend is playing games, and it is wreaking havoc on my forty-something friend. We talk almost every day about how he is feeling, what it is doing to his heart, and what he should do. The truth is, I don’t know what he should do. But I do hope he gets rid of that girlfriend, she sounds an awful lot like my ex-wife. The similarities are amazing, to say the least. No one should have to live with someone that judgmental.

Finally, there is Jim. When Jim first arrived on the jobsite, he was very quiet, hardly talked to anyone. Over time, however, we have come to draw him out a bit, and let me tell you, Jimmy is a character. He just has this way of saying things that causes me to burst out laughing. Recently, Jimmy’s name on this jobsite has changed. We now call him Jimmy The Doorframe. It’s a mafia spoof on the job he has been working on for almost a month now, stripping and sanding old metal doorframes so they can be painted. And Jimmy is very, VEEEERY protective of these doorframes. Now you know why Aaron has been taping cardboard to them.

I fully understand Jimmy The Doorframe’s obsession with protecting the doorframes. Each one takes half a day to bring to the point where it can be painted.

There is another reason he is called Jimmy The Doorframe. He is huge. He stands five foot ten inches tall, and weighs all of two hundred seventy pounds, little of it muscle. Lest you think I am making fun of him here, please be informed that Jimmy would be the first to say it’s true. He is jolly about his weight, and no one is going to tell him to lose any of it. There will be no silly diets in his future, so far as he can control things. He enjoys food, and to him, it’s all good for you.

Jimmy The Doorframe fits his name, and the mafia spoof is well portrayed, when you consider that many mafia hit men in the movies have been huge men who didn’t have time to diet. We kid him sometimes that if someone messes with his doors, they’ll learn the real reason he is called Jimmy The Doorframe. He just laughs in his unassuming way, and goes back to sanding. He is like the Terminator, he never, ever stops.

And then there is me, in this motley crew. I supposedly am the glue that holds us together, this foursome who works hard as we can for ten hours a day. I have a nickname, too, “The Hammer”. I don’t really know why I am called that, unless it’s my obsession with “fixing” everything with a hammer when it doesn’t work the way I think it should. Seriously, though, that really hasn’t happened more than three or four times on this project.

There was this one instance where a fellow named Gaylord, whom I mentioned a while back, blew up at me. Apparently, I was walking toward him with a hammer lazily swinging from my right hand as he berated me. Honestly, I remember the being berated, I do not remember having the hammer in my hand.

That’s us, my crew which is now charged with bringing this project to a close. It will be finished……oh yes….it will be finished….. or it will learn the meaning of the word “hammer”!

God bless us all, even Jimmy The Doorframe.



I have had some very touching, and interesting conversations these last few months with some good blogging friends, as well as some people here in the physical world as well.

Several of these discussions center around this idea that the “law” is dead, and that there is no such thing as sin anymore. I will attempt to answer just a few of the arguments regarding commandments and sin.

Is there law anymore? Is there commandment? Most certainly, there is, and I need only two sentences to refute the idea that the law, and commandments are dead forever.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34,35

The argument made by some who believe that the law is dead is that it died on the cross with Jesus, and that it no longer has any authority over us. I speak nothing of the rest of the law, I do not need to. For the law is summed up by the two greatest commandments, Love the Lord my God, and love my neighbor as if he is me. The entire law and the prophets are summed up in these two commandments, and if they aren’t enough, Jesus called His “commandment” a new commandment. It hardly seems possible that He would have given His disciples a new commandment, and then killed it immediately on the cross, making it completely redundant and ridiculous.

So, is there still law?

Depends on your opinion of what the law really is.

I will be called a legalist for writing this, if not out loud, then certainly, there are those who will think it. How’s that for prophecy? I say, they say it or think it because they do not understand, but one day, they most certainly will. God will reveal to anyone the truth, and the fact that Jesus’ new commandment is still a viable commandment is truth which cannot be intellectually argued against.

But let's suppose that there is no more law, that we are “free” to do as we please, and that God winks at everything we do. Oh, that’s maybe a bit strong, but, really, not that strong. After all, if we believe we can do what we want to anyone we want, and God is hostage to His love for us, then we do not think all that highly of God at all, do we? When we say there is no more sin, we call “evil” good. You can argue against that statement all you want, but you will never change the fact that evil is still evil, regardless of what Jesus did on the cross. And if we claim to be without sin because everything we do is now good, then we are liars.

The law being what it had been, was “summed” up by Christ on the cross, but He didn’t do away with it in the way you think. He defined it, married it, took the penalty for our breakage of it, and then put His eternal stamp of approval on the SUM of the law. Therefore, the law is still very much alive, and we, who are born of the Spirit, do not nullify the Law, rather, we fulfill it through Christ, just as Paul said.

So, is the law still in effect? Yes. Are the consequences of the law still upon us? No. For how could we face consequences of that which we have already fulfilled, and fulfill daily through Christ, by faith?

Rather, shouldn’t we obey the law effortlessly? Shouldn’t the law be written on our hearts, the voice of which is the loudest within our lives? And just what is this law written on our hearts?

It is the sum of the entire law, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, and soul, and to love our neighbor as our self, which is summed up in “Love one another”. For to love one another, we must already have the love of God in our hearts, otherwise, it is impossible for us to love one another, we aren’t even disciples if we have not the love of God within us.

How do I know this? Because any kingdom without law is not a kingdom at all, rather, it is anarchy. And how is God’s Kingdom described right within the pages of our bibles? It is a Kingdom of the government of Christ, which by definition, could never be then a kingdom without law. God’s Kingdom, you can rest assured, is an orderly Kingdom, and no kingdom without law will ever be anything but disorderly.

Try as you might, you cannot kill the new commandment Christ gave to us, which is to love one another, and you cannot kill the law written on our hearts, which is summed up in this new commandment. Christ came to fulfill the Law, and if we FOLLOW Him, then we FULFILL the law as well, through Him, or what else do you suppose it means to follow Him? How can we be crucified in Spirit if we have not this love Jesus spoke of? How can we be His followers if we have not been crucified? Didn’t He Himself say that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments?

How would it be possible for us to keep His commandments if He had killed that new commandment the moment He spoke it? No, His law is still alive, you can rest in it.

Yet you might say, “But Jesus Himself said He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it.”

I would answer that He said that right before He said this,” He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings, has One who judges him, THE WORD I SPOKE IS WHAT WILL JUDGE HIM AT THE LAST DAY”.

What is that word? Notice He didn’t say “the word I spoke is what will judge him every day in this age.” Or, “The word I spoke is that there is no judgment”, or, “the word I spoke is that there will no longer be law, therefore, there can also be no judgment.”

Rather, He said there is One who judges, and that one is His word. Now, only God in the flesh could get away with saying this, and still make sense. If I said it, I’d be saying I am two different people, and it would make no sense whatsoever. But the point is, if there is no law, how can there be need of any judgment whatsoever?

Here’s the kicker. You cannot get past this. Jesus fulfilled the law alright. He fulfilled every last bit of it, BEFORE he died. If that law was fulfilled, and then became nullified because He fulfilled it, then His death was absolutely unnecessary towards redemption. Unless……..unless…….

Unless He didn’t kill it.

Jesus fulfilled the law. He defined it, summed it up, and gave His eternal blessing on it as summed up by Him. We who follow Him are only able to fulfill it because of, and through Him. We cannot do it by our merit or our effort. We can only do it because He did it first, and if we follow Him, then we have that same love He has.

What is the sum of the law? Love! And love is not dead, for love is life, and without love, there is no life, therefore, without law, there is no life either. If you say you believe there is no law, then by that definition, you must also say that you believe there is no life, because you cannot have one without the other, you cannot have life without love, which is the law of God’s kingdom.

Deny this if you must, if you even can. But in argument, you cannot refute it. Jesus did not give His disciples a new commandment only to do away with that commandment immediately after He spoke it.

So how does this all fit in with grace? Perfectly. For without grace, love is not possible. Grace is not just redemption. It is more than that. It is God’s love poured into us, and overflowing out of us, onto others, those “one another’s” that Jesus spoke of. Didn’t Jesus call the water He would give us a river flowing unto eternal life? Doesn’t that make perfect sense, when you finally understand that the law of life in God’s Kingdom is indeed love, and that this love is poured into us from God’s grace? That is why our faith is not our own, why we cannot even brag about it, because without God’s love poured into us, none of us even knows what love is, and therefore, cannot pour out love onto one another.

The LAW is not dead. The Law is love, and as Christ lives, so does the Law He summed up, and fulfilled, and then gave to us, His disciples, as a new commandment. And that law was acknowledged and approved of by Christ when He rose from the dead, proving that you can kill the flesh, but you can never, ever kill love. We who follow Christ cannot die, because we have the love of our Abba abiding in us, which means daily, WE FULFILL THE NEW COMMANDMENT. That is why there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Argue if you must, but when you see the law of the Kingdom as love, then everything Jesus said about the kingdom makes sense. And we can never, ever fulfill that law with our efforts, or by our merit. We only fulfill it with love given to us in overflowing amounts from God. That is why I said the other day, "Look inside of your heart, and see the love God has poured out within you." God is always the initiator, and any efforts we make is but a response to the love of God within us. There is law in this Kingdom, that law is love, and the King of this Kingdom has provided it all.