"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


      My first impression of James David Jordan's Something That Lasts was along the lines of, "What an odd title for a novel." When I got into it, my impression changed with the simple addition of a modifier for the word "novel." That modifier was "dark."
      Pastor Dave was pragmatic, a results-oriented kinda guy who gained his affirmation by his successes. Only one thing was wrong with his idyllic life: It was built on his ego, rather than the Solid Rock.
      My original impression of darkness proved accurate when he gave into the kind of temptation that could trip any man. To make matters worse, his moment of weakness was revealed to the world at the worst possible time--in the middle of a Sunday service. The shame and calamity blasted his carefully constructed foundation to bits, causing his family and his vocation to collapse around him like so many cards. After the darkness of that hard lesson, Pastor Dave found the light of truth, and spent the rest of his life learning how to build on Something That Lasts.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

SQUAT, by Taylor Field

I copied a review of Squat, by Taylor field, for your reading pleasure.

      Have you ever been in a big city and noticed a homeless person? Did you cross the street to avoid him? Did you give him money thinking that he would probably go blow it on alcohol or drugs? Did you wonder if you should just take him out to dinner? Did you think about bringing him home to give him a shower, a warm meal, and a place to lay his head?
      Did you ever wonder how he lives? Where he eats? What he does during the day?
      Did you question why our government with all its projects hasn't helped out these people better? People with mental problems, health problems, alcohol problems, drug problems, or abusive problems? What about those who just need a helping hand to get them a job and a place to live?
      What about Christians? Why aren't we helping them more? Why are we ignoring the hunger pangs of the people in our back yard?
      Taylor Field has some answers to these questions in his novel, Squat, that came out September 1st.
      Squat brings you through 24 hours in the life of a homeless man named Squid. Taylor Field brings the reality of New York's inner city to light. He doesn't leave out the smells, squallar, and ugliness. He doesn't leave out the alcolhol, drugs, and self-abuse. He shows it like it is because he knows what it is like. Taylor Field has worked since 1986 in the inner city of New York, where he is pastor of East Seventh Baptist Church/Graffiti Community Ministries.
      The best thing about this book is that all author proceeds from Squat will go to Graffiti Community Ministries, Inc., a service arm of the East Seventh Street Baptist Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Field preaches.
      "We live in a squat. We don’t know squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat. People say we’re not worth squat."

If you want to know more, please visit The SQUAT Website!

To order Squat, click HERE.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Clean Dishes

      This verse is terribly easy for the reader to apply to anyone but the reader. In fact, Jesus was talking to all officious, moral technicians and sectarian purists. This is an indictment of external religion, human efforts at ritual holiness. Since the unregenerate world has always confused spirituality for formal religion, Jesus cut to the chase in this address to all self-appointed soul guards.
      "Cup and platter" primarily refer to religious equipment, but by extension, mean religious formality. This is not directed against the "cup and platter" themselves, but at religious emphasis on their appearance of orthodoxy, while ignoring their content. There is in fact nothing wrong with the practice of religious formality itself, as long as it does not conceal ungodly attitudes and practices.
      Of course the terms, "ungodly attitudes and practices," can be defined liberally enough that they mean nothing. To some, ungodliness is nothing less than the obviously sinful behavior of thieves, murderers and adulterers. To others it is anything less than perfect righteousness and holiness. Both standards ignore the inner motives and attitudes behind the behavior. But that's the problem with standards: their very existence demands policing. Yet, without standards, chaos reigns.
      The obvious solution to this conundrum is to yield enforcement of both personal and religious standards to the only Policeman who is qualified to patrol the invisible.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Foundational Attitude of "YES"

      I awoke this morning saying "Yes" to God. As I prayed, the phrase, "The power of yes," occurred to me. I felt the truth in it, and yes, the power.
      When "Yes" embodies our foundational attitude toward life, even saying "no" when necessary can be a positive statement. In fact, saying "yes" to God often means saying "no" to our felt needs and desires. And though that sounds harsh, it can produce the most positive of outcomes.
      Think of how maintaining a foundational attitude of "yes" toward your children can impact their feeling of wellbeing. Recognizing a conscious "yes" in your love for them shapes the whole relationship into something warm, comforting, and especially, strong. Feeling loved builds around your children's character a bulwark against the enemy's attacks. And until they become mature enough to apply The Whole Armor of God to themselves, that defensive structure is all they have to fend off the peer pressure, intimidation, and cruel name calling other children will most certainly throw at them.
      Of course it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that consciously recognizing the foundational attitude of "yes" toward ourselves releases the immeasurable power of God's greatest gifts: Belief in God's love for us! Love and deference toward others! Self-control! Divine wisdom! Human creativity! Intellectual curiosity! And old-fashioned, horse sense!

Monday, September 04, 2006


      Praise our analog, non-computerized God. In His wisdom He has allowed us to build vast, electronic brains that sometimes make life easier. But mostly, they frustrate us.
      When I clicked on Our Daily Bread's link this morning, the "absolute zero" message in this post's title confronted me, instead of the warm, familiar, comforting front page I was expecting. Most every day I open that devotional before pursuing other business. And most every day it rewards me with a pithy, or even convicting, message reinforced by a scripture passage.
      But not today.
      Okay, I know this is much ado about nothing ... much. But it left me feeling adrift, though I have plenty to get done today. Isn't God wonderful for always being available, for never giving us "SERVER APPLICATION UNAVAILABLE" messages when we approach Him in prayer. The All Loving, All Knowing, All Powerful, Self-existent, Eternal God faithfully turns His attention my way when I need Him.
     Bank on it.