Being More or Less Like Jesus
I am trying to be more, more like Jesus. My guess is that you are too. So, what does that
look like? How would we know if we’re very much or very little like him? Would we know
by how seldom we cuss or drink too much or how many Sundays of the month we go to
church? Maybe, but if you ask me, there are more reliable criteria by which we can assess
our Christlikeness.

Remember the guy, who, in an attempt to trap Jesus, asked him how he could get eternal
life?  As he often did Jesus turned the question back on the so-called expert in biblical law,
“What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man knew the standard distillation –
love God more than anything else and neighbors as much as yourself – but like many
believers well versed in the Bible’s essentials he wondered where he might locate a
loophole of some kind. With wry smile he replied, “Yeah, but who exactly are these
neighbors I have to love?” In other words, how can I do as little as possible to clear the
Limbo bar?

So Jesus the storyteller responded with a with one of his most well-known parables. I’ve
never been entirely convinced it wasn’t an actual account of real people, the cast of which
consists of a mugging victim, a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. Whether fiction or
factual, Jesus wanted to illustrate how he showed his love for God and people. “If you
really want to know how to love, this is how I do it. I advise you to do likewise.”

Manna, Meat, & Money
An appeal for a less self-indulged and more Christ-centered Christianity. Read more...

I’m an “Amateur Christian.”

“Amateur” – 1. A person who engages in a pursuit on an unpaid basis. 2. Someone
considered contemptibly inept or unskillful at a particular activity. Origin: from amare 'to

Amateurs do what they do, not for pay but for the love of it. They’re not experts, but they
do their thing out of sheer enjoyment. That pretty much describes the kind of Jesus
followers I prefer to hang around.  

What Jesus Thought About Universal Victim Blaming
Bad people have bad things happen to them. That’s the way it works. If you’re good, God
always protects you from disasters. There’s obviously something wrong with you if God
brings or allows these kinds of judgments into your life. What goes around comes around.
It’s Karma, a Christian version of it of course. Right?

The Lord, His Law, and Those Who Love Him
  • What’s the deal with the “Old Testament” versus the “New?”
  • Does “Old” imply antique and outdated?
  • Do we still go by the Ten Commandments?
  • Does “The Law” have any relevance to us as New Testament followers of Jesus?
  • If Jesus lives in us, do we even need laws?
  • Did God have two different ways to save people in history – Law and then Grace?
  • Should we be following the Jewish food laws clearly defined in the Old Testament?
  • Are we supposed to be stoning blasphemers and adulterers?
  • What are the purposes and parameters of the Law in the Old Testament?
For a sincere stab at answers to those questions read more...

(Just) Enough Time
When I was first diagnosed with cancer I worried about dying before my story was
finished. I had, and still have, a number of things to achieve, people to reach, chapters to
live and to tell. It wasn’t the dying part that bothered me so much as living long enough
(and well enough) to complete my story (and complete it well). A number of things have
comforted me since then, not the least of which is the assortment of passages strewn
throughout the pages of my Bible – a selection of which come from John's Gospel.

Outer Circle Churches
The Church is at her best when she specializes in outcasts – the more outrageous brand
of outcasts the better. Jesus is not so much looking for Inner Circle favorites but Outer
Circle followers who are willing to collaborate with him in loving and serving the least and
the left out. His not-very-messiah-like-looking mission disgusted the favorite spiritual sons
of the day prompting him to challenge them to rethink their sequestration away from
undesirables and follow his example to engage with the cast offs of their society.

Outer Circle Christians
The Spirit of Jesus compels us toward the outer edge of our spinning earth and away from
the center of our own little world. He invites us to join him on his quest to heal a sick world.
But we tend to isolate and insulate ourselves by moving closer to the center – into suburbs
and other safe communities. As we fight his push outward, eventually the centrifugal force
becomes imperceptible. In our cozy churches we tend to lose touch with the reality of the
wider world and our sense of God’s compelling call outward. It leaves us deaf to the voice
of God, insensitive to his impetus, and feeling sick to our stomachs.

Jesus – A Middle-Class Messiah?
I propose that Jesus was / is not the exclusive possession of the middle-class. In fact, if
he leaned one way or the other it was in the direction of the most marginalized. It was the
poor, the outcast, the people at the end of their rope that Jesus typically rescued. He
came to change society, and instead of at the top, he began at the bottom. He spent his
days on the street rescuing powerless lepers, prostituted women, and disabled pariahs.
You wouldn’t have found him in the boardrooms of the rich and powerful or in Herod’s face
lobbying for the release of the Jews. He did his best work among those on the margins.

What God is Like (Musings on the character of God)
So, I’m going to tell you “What God is like.” Sounds pretentious, right? I can only draw as
clear a picture of God as I have to date; and I have no illusion that I contain in my puny
mind a particularly large percentage of what can be known of the God of the Bible. We’re
pretty much like tadpoles swapping stories of blue whales, ants discussing the elephant, or
pots pondering the potter!

Greater Than Our Hearts
This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his
presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he
knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence
before God... 1 John 3:19-22

My heart has terribly limited peripheral vision. Without the help of the Spirit my heart either
focuses on my flaws or my future, but not both in the same frame. I either feel shame
about the past or wishful thinking about the future, but unaided, I can’t see how one could
possibly lead to the other. Fortunately God can see more than one frame at a time. He’s
greater than my heart and knows everything.

The Antiphonal Song
God sings his beautiful anthem, a love song that he relentlessly croons to all his humans.
His song brings pleasure to all who stop and listen, is intended to elicit an antiphonal
response, wherein singers find other singers and sing in harmony with them in such a way
that non-singers are enticed to join the song.

Lessons of a Loser
I’m a huge loser. I’ve lost huge amounts of stuff, and I’m not talking about stuff like car
keys or socks (always just one per pair) in the dryer. I’m not whining or looking for
sympathy, I’m just setting the scene so you have some context for what I’ll share about
some of the lessons I learned through the losses I experienced. I’m not the only loser
around. Everyone’s lost something – a parent, a childhood, a friendship, a mind. What was
I saying? Oh yeah, I hope that something among these simple thoughts will help you in
some way as you process your own losses.

Making Adjustments
You can’t really plan for the unexpected, since by definition, you don’t expect it. We make
our plans, try to live as responsibly as we can, and trust God to do what he does.
Nevertheless, stuff happens in our fallen world inside and around our flawed selves that we
couldn’t have predicted. There’s the matter of the free-will experiment in which we’re
engaged (where we’re permitted to hurt ourselves and one another if we choose to). And
then there’s the factor of the clear and present danger of the dark spiritual world,
relentless in its hate for us and the God who loves us.  We make plans, some of which are
thwarted, others were foolish and were thus doomed from the start. Regardless of the
cause, we have to learn to make adjustments on the fly. Life isn’t nearly as predictable as
we would wish, so detours are a more regular occurrence than we planned when we
embarked on the trip. So we have to learn to expect the unexpected, bring our fears about
them to God and adapt to what happens.

Treating Timidity
Not to be harsh, but it’s my observation that a disproportionate percentage of American
believers in Jesus are timid in the expression of their faith. There are "don't-dare-miss-it"
people and then there are “don't-dare-try-it" ones. I think Christians should be more
courageous, not only out in the big bad world, but even among themselves in their
comfortable churches. Jesus has too many frail followers here – afraid to take any risks or
do anything for the first time. There’s something about our middle class suburban
spirituality that lulls us toward a tentative, rather than a forward form of faith.

How God Guides
… he will be our guide even to the end.   Psalm 48:14
Along with what I’ve found in the Bible about how God guides, I’m going to share a lot of
my own stories. This topic isn’t theoretical for me. I’ve been trying to follow his lead since I
met him on August 20, 1972. I’ve seen the Lord do some very cool things as I’ve tried to
hear his voice and have made tons of mistakes in the process. It’s been quite a wild ride,
and I’ll share what I’ve learned along the way. I hope that my stories are an
encouragement to you (both my successes and failures). I’m not implying that my
experiences are necessarily a precedent for anyone else. You’ll have your own stories,
some of which you might not have thought about as
“divine guidance.”

God's Passionate Pursuit of People
Some things have been changing in my thinking about God. For instance, I’m noticing his presence
and influence in more places than I used to. I’m used to seeing him in the Bible, in other people
(mostly Christians), in my experiences in the Spirit, in the Church, in sunsets, and such places. But
I'm starting to think he plants ideas about himself in more fields than I had previously thought. I’m
also becoming more aware of his passionate pursuit of people through those ideas that he’s sowing
throughout the world. I just don’t believe that God is sitting on his hands, waiting for people to come
to him or for volunteers for his sales team! I’m pretty sure that he’s already at work in every heart in
every place before anyone ever goes there to tell them about Jesus. Yeah, he’s patient but I don’t
think he’s at all passive. God is the ultimate missionary. He’s more obsessed about bringing his
children back home than we are in trying to convince them to do so; and he does something about
his obsession.

The Day I Got My Whatever Back
The core issue of my lost “whatever” was really a loss of trust. I simply didn’t trust God like I had
before. He’d let me down (at least from my vantage point at the time) and I wasn’t willing to expose
myself unreservedly to him again. “Whatever you want, Lord” was not going to proceed out of my
mouth again until at least we got some things straightened out between us.
Read more…

Loving An Unpredictable God
Over Chinese food my friend Joe asked me if my faith in God was in tact. I was getting divorced,
broke my neck, and was just diagnosed with cancer. He was concerned for me and wanted to know
how to best be a support to me in my dark night of the soul. I’d loved Jesus for nearly forty years
and had no intention of breaking up with him now. But I told him that though I didn’t question God’s
character, I wondered if he had very “good judgment.” I’d been Joe’s friend and pastor for many
years, and he wasn’t used to hearing me talk quite that way, but since he asked, I thought it best to
answer honestly. With flushed face he promised to pray for me, which I obviously needed and
gratefully welcomed. That horrific season of my life did alter a lot of my thinking about God – and as
far as I can tell – for the better. You can be the judge of that yourself if you decide to
read on.

Yet a few more “uncut” (though slightly “uncouth”) chapters from the
Some for fun, others not fun at all…

  •        Alcoholics Know How To Pray
    A few months into my hell of mercy, I ran across the prayer often used by Alcoholics
    Anonymous groups. The first “stanza” is the most familiar, but I’ve found the entire prayer,
    originally written by Dr. Rheinhold Niebuhr, to be super helpful to me. I memorized it and have
    prayed it over and over. I may not be an alcoholic, but I sure am a recovering sinner.
    Read more…

  •        Don’t Turn Out the Lights!
    Have you ever tried to sleep in the hospital? You’re in pain already and people keep coming in
    and out of your room all night long waking you up to see how you’re doing! If you have a
    roommate who's also in pain, his moans and groans are not exactly the sleep-aid you were
    looking for. Then there’s the noise in the hall, you’re not at home in your own bed, you have an
    IV pole that you have to drag to the bathroom. It all combines to make sleep problematic to be
    sure.   Read more…

  •        “Jobian”
    If you know me, you know that I like words. I like ones that you can find in the dictionary, and I
    like to make up some of my own when there just doesn’t seem to be one that adequately
    expresses the point I’m trying to make. I call these words, “Wigetisms.” “Jobian” is one such
    Wigetism. Here’s how it came about.   Read more…

  •        Divorce is Hell
    I heard about a group of divorced people that meets weekly for emotional support. As much as I
    absolutely hate being part of the land of the divorced, I began attending the meetings, hoping
    for some healing in my broken heart.   Read more…


  •        Road Work (Part 1) – Here Comes the King…
    This follows, “The Kingdom of God:  Foretaste to Fulfillment,” and speaks of the valleys that
    need to be filled, the mountains to be leveled, the crooked places to be straightened, and the
    rough patches to be smoothed for Jesus to have his kingly way in us and through us.
    Read more…

  •        Road Work (Part 2) – Earth Movers…
    If we’re going to fill valleys, cut down mountains, straighten crooked places and smooth out
    rough places in our culture; we’re going to have to use the biggest and the best of what God
    supplies. Spiritually speaking we have access to graders, bulldozers, backhoes, excavators,
    pavers, etc. If we want to be world changers, we’ll have to use some big “earth movers”!   
    Read more…

  •        THE KINGDOM OF GOD - Foretaste to Fulfillment
    (A Brief Summary of the Bible's Teaching Concerning the Kingdom of God)   Read more…

Why 2 Corinthians?
To put it bluntly, 2 Corinthians saved my ministry. I’ve always said that there are two kinds of
spiritual leaders:  Aspiring and Perspiring ones, and in the mid-1990’s I was one of the Perspiring
ones! There are some people who want to be leaders, and then there are some, who at times,
wonder why they ever became leaders in the first place! I was in one of those dark-night-of-the-
pastor’s-soul seasons (I’ve had several of these over the years) when the Lord led me to take 2
Corinthians as a kind of prescription for what ailed me. I had planted three churches and was
leading two of them at the same time (don’t ask me about the sanity of this!) I was in the throes of
dealing with a bunch of my own inadequacies, some significant disappointments that I had with the
churches, and a whole bag-full of hurt feelings. Not only did I feel like a failure, I couldn’t seem to get
either God or people to do what I wanted them to do. I went away for a few days to seek the Lord
and try to get my head together. I was pretty bummed out about how things were going, when I
found myself reading this letter over and over. I began to feel as though I was attending a leadership
class taught by Paul himself. While I’ll never be the leader he was, from his letter and his example,
I've gleaned (and continue to do so) many valuable lessons about spiritual leadership.

The writing I was doing on my mountain retreat was a memoir from the last two years of my life. I
thought I’d put some of the chapters here in audio form. Sometime in the near future I’ll have the
whole memoir available in writing. Hope you enjoy…
· Diminutive Angels
· Body Guards at the Funeral
· Losers Make the Best Dancers
· The Neck Brace, Good Seats, and the Chick Magnet
· The Other Use for a Gator Aid Bottle
· The Pink Darth Vader Mask
· Unhooking from the Bumper – About Forgiveness

(An Encouragement to Endure)
Quite a few people have expressed to me their surprise, that I’m still following Jesus after losing my
marriage, my ministry, and my health. I’m just as surprised as they are that they are so surprised! It’s
almost like they expect me to give up on the Lord because he hasn’t given me what I want. Yeah, I’m
way grieved about my circumstances, pretty scared, and have had my moments of being ticked off
with him, but to stop following Jesus would be the height of stupidity. He’s my only constant. I have
no other hub around which to revolve. I may have very little idea about what he’s doing, and why he
allows what he does, but I know he’s with me and loves me extravagantly. Why in the world would I
leave the only purpose of my life now? I’m still following Jesus because he’s real and he’s still real
important to me.  

This a follow-up to "Foundations 101." In 101 we introduced six topics necessary for new Jesus
followers to study and understand in order to be strong in their faith. These same themes will now
be discussed here on a bit more advanced level for those who have been born again for a while.

1. THE CROSS - (on being forgiven by God)
2. THE INNER-CHANGE - (on being changed by Jesus)
3. THE INTERACTION - (on having conversations with God)
4. THE CHURCH - (on having fellowship with other believers)
5. THE SPIRIT - (on being empowered to reach out to others)
6. THE WORD - (on being a student of the Bible)
7. THE KINGDOM OF GOD - Foretaste to Fulfillment

In 101 you learned how to get started as a Christian; in 201 you'll learn how to keep going. The
approach taken here is still very much foundational and fundamental, but on a somewhat more
mature and challenging level.   
Read more…

Here are a few more “uncut” chapters from my Memoirs. Mostly for fun…
Dad, we gotta get us some tattoos!
The Grand Canyon, isn’t that in California?
Recovering from “Preacher Talk”…
New Stuff
New Stuff
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New Stuff