People, Goodness, Love—Us and the World

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Here are a few more posts from what I’ve posted on Medium. If you missed the other posts on Medium since early May, check out Haiku for You! and Reaching Out

These were published in Publishous and cover a broad range of topics.

I hope you’ll enjoy the reads!


Photo by  v2osk  on  Unsplash

Photo by v2osk on Unsplash

As a young believer, I had to learn how to trust God.

It wasn’t natural for me. It isn’t natural for any of us.

Just as toddlers exert their free will before they can say it clearly, we like to “do it by our self!” American culture only reinforces this innate self-willed resistance to trusting God.

My worry chair

When my wife and I started our life together, we had a wing-backed, turquoise chair in our living room. Read more…


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A Humble Love

“What the world needs now — is love, sweet love…” was the recurring line in a popular song in the mid-sixties sung by Jackie DeShannon. It was and still is one of my favorite songs from the ‘60s. This YouTube video link of the song captures the innocent hope of the sixties for universal love.

Another favorite song of mine from that era became somewhat of an anthem for the peace movement of the sixties. Sung by the Youngbloods, the chorus of “Get Together” epitomized the search for a unifying love— “Come on people now — smile on your brother — everybody get together — try to love one another right now.”!

A naive hope seemed to die with the close of the decade and the beginning of the “Me Generation” of the ‘70s. Read more…


Photo by  Warren Wong  on  Unsplash

Photo by Warren Wong on Unsplash

The Need to See Beyond Ourselves

Agrarian economies still dominate a good part of the world, so planting and harvesting are important times of the year.

They impact the livelihoods of many people. How good the harvest is or isn’t impacts everyone.

Our economy in America is more diverse. In years past, we were considered an industrial economy with an agrarian backbone. But technology and its counterparts created an industry of its own.

Most Americans only see the effect of a good or bad harvest when it affects food prices. Read more…


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We Christians — genuine followers of Christ — need to stop moralizing the Christian faith. We need to quit portraying Christianity as a life of moral goodness.

Our effort at goodness is a weak facade for faith. It presents a false face like a veneer—an appearance of goodness as if it was faith. But this misrepresents genuine Christianity.

If you ask most people to describe Christianity, believer and non-believer alike, you’ll get a reply related to some form of moral goodness…

I try to be a good person, who does good things and is kind to others.

Read more…

Reaching Out

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As I mentioned in an earlier post on Thinking Out Loud, I’ve been posting to a few online publications on Medium. Here are posts and Bible studies I’ve revised, edited, and reformatted from previous posts on Word-Strong for the publication Koinonia.

Take some time to read, think, and respond if you’d like. Thanks for reading!


How is a Spark of Faith Ignited in a Person’s Heart?

What does it take for a person to become a believer in God? Is it a certain understanding?

How is a spark of faith ignited in a person’s heart?

I don’t know of one specific answer. In fact, when you ask a hundred different people how they came to believe, you may get a hundred different answers.

If you ask a theologian, he may give you one specific answer. But if you ask several different theologians and philosophers, you’ll get a gaggle of answers. Read more…


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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The Word of God in Person

My own darkness

The opening verses of the Gospel of John are important and significant to me. Though I believed in the existence of God from my youth, I had a nebulous, vague sense of God.

Throughout my teen and college years, I wandered in the darkness of my ignorance and whatever the world around me had to offer. Read more…


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How Acceptance of God Brings Acceptance and Inclusion

When does life begin — at conception or birth?

Before 1973, the obvious answer would be at conception but the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision changed that in America. That decision may have changed people’s opinions but it didn’t change basic biology.

In Asia, age is generally determined by conception and the lunar calendar. For centuries and centuries in the rest of the world and biologically, conception is seen as the beginning of life.


Stop Trying So Hard to Be a Good Christian!

Bob Newhart has a hilarious comedy skit as a psychiatrist. His therapy is a simple, two-word solution for problems — “Stop it!” If you’ve never seen it, click on this link–Stop it! for a good laugh, but keep reading!

If only solving life’s problems were that simple—to just stop doing something. Well, in some ways it is. But many difficulties in life continue to trouble us. But why?

Why don’t we just stop doing not-such-good things in order to start doing better things? Read more…

Haiku for You

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I’ve been posting on Medium to 3 different publications— Publishous , Koinonia, and Haiku Hub.

Medium was created by the founder of Blogger and Twitter. It is an online magazine but not a Christian one. However, there are a few publications that are Christian or have a Christian channel.

I post there to reach out to people who probably won’t visit my website on their own. Many of them are seeking, were former believers, quasi-believers, and some are solid believers.


I haven’t done much in the way of poetry for a long time, so I thought I’d try my hand at some Haiku. So, here are a few of my Haiku’s for you! Enjoy!

Haiku for You!

The Long Drive

grey-black forest path

bridges…rivers…flowers…grass

interrupt boredom


Photo by  Robert Bye  on  Unsplash

Photo by Robert Bye on Unsplash

Deeper

Deep calls me deeper

Waterfall’s roar…is hushed as

waves sweep over me


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Art of Teaching

the art of teaching

make complicated simple

true complete in-depth


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standing at the edge

waves washing over my feet

horizon gazing

sedated calm thoughts

watching the sea…birds in flight

sand water sky meet

Listening to Podcasts!

© Lightstock.com

© Lightstock.com

The first 3 months of 2019 I found myself doing a lot of driving each weekend. As part of my work with Poimen Ministries, I’ve been assisting a young pastor dealing with some serious health issues. He and his young family moved to the Florida panhandle from So California to plant a church a few years ago.

Each Saturday morning for 3 months, I made the 4 1/2-hour drive to their area and back again Sunday afternoon. So, I put the time to good use by listening to podcasts. It’s been a blessing for me to come alongside this pastor, preach through much of the book of Hebrews, and encourage he and his family as we pray for his healing.

Thankfully, he is recovering his strength and health, so I’m only going out to help once a month. Also, it’s been great to see the church rally in support of him and develop fresh vision to see how they can continue impacting their community with the gospel.

A new podcast launched!

I’ll share more about the podcasts I’ve listened to but first— Check out the newly launched Poimen Ministries podcast—Strength for Today’s Pastor—hosted by our director, Pastor Bill Holdridge! Although our primary goal is to provide practical help and insights for senior or lead pastors, there are plenty of great thoughts for everyone to glean.

Here are a couple podcasts to check out—

So far, we have 6 episodes uploaded and each week a new episode will be released. You can listen to, subscribe, and download episodes from ITunes, Spotify, and Anchor.

Some other podcasts

Other podcasts I’ve appreciated and gained insights from include— 200Churches, Revitalize and Replant, and Making Disciples.

Here are some links to podcasts I liked and many be of interest to you, if not just because you might wonder what interests me…lol.

From 200Churches.com primarily targeting small church pastors but relevant for all pastors

From Revitalize and Replantfocuses on revitalizing churches and replants but relevant for pastors and leaders within all churches

From Making Disciples with Robby Gallaty this brother practices what he preaches and is quite knowledgable with great insights on disciple-making and disciple-makers

There are other podcasts I like to listen to but these stand out as a few of my favorites related to ministry, especially with Poimen Ministries. Give them a listen and let me know of any podcasts you like and why!

Catching Up!

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Since I’m working on a couple of book projects and other things, I thought it good to catch y’all up with some posts I’ve done in Medium including two haiku poems (my first attempts).

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


© Ed Henderson Photos (IG– ed_henderson619)

© Ed Henderson Photos (IG– ed_henderson619)

Starry Wonder

A child’s wonder

lost in nighttime starry gaze

endless universe

https://medium.com/@tkbeyond/starry-gaze-4f162167d911


Out of the Ashes

Beauty for ashes, gladness instead of mourning

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denny-muller-1260019-unsplash.jpg

Fire!

“Sir, Ma’am…fire!” We popped out of bed disoriented and pumped with adrenalin. In the early morning darkness, somewhere around 4 am, Susan and I ran out of our room and saw the fire’s glow at the other end of the building where 24 children under our care slept soundly.

I grabbed the fire extinguisher as I ran to the back bedroom and began spraying at the flames. I could almost hear the fire laugh out loud at my feeble attempt to put it out.

I threw the emptied extinguisher on the floor and helped grab the babies in cribs closest to the fire. It was chaotic…intense heat…overwhelming.

We brought the babies and children out to the lawn in front of our building. As I ran back to rescue more children, I could hear the circuit breakers popping and cracking as sparks lit up our kitchen area.

My wife cried out with desperation, “Leanna!” Our teenaged daughter was trapped in her upstairs bedroom. “Go! I’ll keep getting the others!”

Susan dashed up the stairs. As she took hold of the doorknob, she cried out in anguish to our daughter over the roar of the flames and as the doorknob seared her hand.

They stumbled and crawled down the stairs through the smoke to where we gathered the children on the lawn.

A wrenching reality

As we counted the children and staff, a sickening realization wrenched our gut. We hadn’t gotten all the children out!

As Susan started to run back in, the intensity of the heat and spectacle of flames made it clear—no one else could be rescued. As she cried out, “My babies!” I restrained my wife from a desperate attempt to save those missing.

Some of our staff woke three of the older children but they fell back asleep. Two of the babies were consumed by the fire before we could reach them. We were stunned and in shock—mesmerized by the raging fire and tragic reality.

Thankfully, someone—a neighbor, a friend? We don’t know. But they backed the only vehicle we owned away from the building. It was an old car built to hold six to eight people.

We piled ourselves into and onto the car—nineteen babies and children and a few staff and our family.

As we drove into the darkness of the early morning, the firetruck arrived—too late to be of any help but to douse the twisted ruins of our children’s home.

As we drove out our driveway, dodging the firetruck and weaving through the onlooking neighbors, we headed to the only place of refuge we knew. All we had was each other and what we wore to bed.

We were stunned and in shock — mesmerized by the raging fire and tragic reality

Continue reading… Out of the Ashes


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raquel-pedrotti-775921-unsplash.jpg

Refreshed

fresh spring wildflowers

splashes of color refresh

reviving my soul

https://medium.com/haiku-hub/refreshed-92dbf48641b6


A Maligned Gift and Enduring Memorial

What do you have to offer Jesus?

Mary-anoints-Jesus Julius-Schnorr-von-Carolsfeld / Photo thanks to–  povcrystal.blogspot.com

Mary-anoints-Jesus Julius-Schnorr-von-Carolsfeld / Photo thanks to– povcrystal.blogspot.com

I read two posts a while ago about kindness and it got me thinking about how we may have differing personal views on kindness. This personal view involves our motives and intents — how and why we value kindness and perhaps what we consider as kindness.

A simple story found in three of the four gospels — Matthew, Mark, and John — reveals at least two different views on kindness. It also reveals the heart and character of two people — known for very different reasons.

I’ll give a synopsis of the story below but you can read it for yourself here — Matt 26:6–13Mark 14:3–9John 12:2–8.

A story of two hearts

Following the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, at the beginning of the week and before the Passover Feast, a woman named Mary comes to anoint Jesus with an expensive ointment as He reclines at a meal given in His honor.

Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead only a short while before this, reclined at the table with Jesus at the home of Simon the leper. Martha, the sister of Lazarus, is busy serving the guests as her sister Mary anoints Jesus with fragrant spikenard.

As the fragrance of the oil filled the room, it prompted a complaint and caused some dissension.

Why the complaint?

It was seen as a waste of money. Who complained? None other than Judas who would soon betray Jesus — the focus of this act of pure love.

Mary understood who Jesus was and expressed her love and devotion by sitting at the feet of Jesus as her sister Martha served. Once again, her devotion to Jesus caused some dissension. This time with her sister, Martha, who complained to Jesus about her workload because of Mary (Luke 10:38–42).

When Mary poured her oil on Jesus, it was an expression of love, a picture of true worship.

It’s as if she poured her soul out to honor Jesus. It was true kindness.

Continue reading… A Maligned Gift and Enduring Memorial


Spiritual Talk

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ben-white-131241-unsplash.jpg

Can someone really hear God speak?

When you hear people say things like, “The Lord told me…,” do you wonder how this happens or if they really hear from God?

Do they have some mystical connection with God or are they just hearing voices? Or, is this just some spiritual sounding talk?

I’m really skeptical of anyone who says to me, “The Lord told me to tell you….” And yet, throughout the Bible, we read of God speaking to people.

This is a test…

Years ago, when I took courses to be certified as a substance abuse counselor, I needed to take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Several questions dealt with hearing voices and God speaking.

The clinical bias of the test was that if you heard God speak, or heard any other voices, your mental stability was in question.

Since I understood this, I carefully picked my way through the test. And if you’re wondering — yes, I passed the test and my courses.

So, how is it possible to hear God’s voice and be in your right mind?

Continue reading… Spiritual Talk


3 Approaches to Cultural Shifts

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Finding a better way to approach cultural change

Culture is dynamic. Fluid. Fickle. Culture changes over time. Sometimes with extreme pendular swings. Popular culture is reflective of shared beliefs, values, and social norms.

Each swing of culture has its own trends like currents within an ocean or sea. These trends are movements within the larger cultural context.

People tend to respond in one of three general ways to pendular swings in culture — to reject, embrace, or engage each swing. Only one of these approaches is effective in bringing helpful change or productive dialogue.

These pendular swings have one fixed point — human nature.

Though these swings may be wide or wild extremes, it all pivots on self — our basic nature. Not our identity but our being — our innate essence which centers around self-preservation.

Cultural swings have one fixed point — human nature


Continue reading… 3 Approaches to cultural shifts