Dear Mr. President,

I wish to begin by saying I have nothing but the utmost respect for the office you hold. Regardless of my personal political leanings, the office you hold demands nothing but my sincere respect. Respect is something in short supply in our nation in these days. I certainly wish there was more of it being shown. But I must proceed to the purpose and subject of my letter to you, Mr. President. It concerns your plans for the production of electric vehicles in the foreseeable future versus the production of internal combustion vehicles.

I want to first say that I am glad you show much concern about this creation. It is one of God’s many gifts to us–and it carries with it great responsibility. So I commend you for wanting to take better care of His creation. This is an issue that we all should share; and I share that concern with you. And though your solution of increasing production of electric vehicles seems like a valid response on the surface, I would ask you to go deeper with this proposal.

First, let’s look at your declaration that by 2032, two-thirds of all new vehicles produced must be electric. And to force Americans and American companies to buy electric vehicles, your administration is enacting emission regulations that would make it difficult, if not impossible, for auto makers to produce internal combustion powered vehicles. Looks good on paper, doesn’t it sir? Remember I am asking you to join me in thinking deeper.

Have you, or anyone in your administration, analyzed the impact this would have on our electric grid? In some areas when demand is higher than usual, electric companies are forced to have rolling blackouts. And even when everyone puts out their best efforts, brownouts still occur. Sir, with the elimination of nuclear plants, and the significant reduction of steam plants, there appears to be an energy crisis already present. Increasing the number of at home and on the road charging stations will only serve to increase the demand on a limited electrical grid. As the old saying goes, “There’s only so much to go around!” What might happen every evening when workers arrive at home and plug in their electric vehicles? If our electric grid cannot support current usage, then how will it be able to support this increased usage?

To show you that I’m not just a complainer, I do have a positive suggestion for you, sir. Before we move to electric vehicles, let’s increase the number of steam plants for producing electricity. Technology had helped significantly reduce the emissions from coal fired generating plants. And America has an abundance of coal. And then there’s nuclear power plants. Nuclear energy was proven to be safe and efficient–and we never had to import any nuclear fuel. But if the idea of nuclear plants or coal-fired generators leaves a bad taste in your mouth, there’s natural gas. Again, we have enough natural gas to last for decades; until technology develops a better and more efficient form of energy. You see, sir, I believe strongly in American ingenuity to tackle and solve any problem this nation might face.

Let’s continue going deeper. Many Americans live in rural areas. This means that they are often an hour or more away from many essential services. Your mandate, as noble as it may appear, will create issues for us rural Americans. It is reasonable to accept that we would have to charge our electric vehicles while in town, and then charge them again once home; provided there is electricity. Sir, we face the threat of tornados, and those tornados ignore our need for electricity. They demolish the power delivery lines. It takes more than minutes to restore electricity. It will take hours, days, and sometimes weeks to restore electricity to our homes. What are we supposed to do in the meanwhile when our electric vehicles cannot be charged? Sir, it is something to ponder upon; wouldn’t you say?

And while we are on the subject of charging batteries, are you aware, sir, that 75% of all lithium batteries are produced in China? Our current levels of imported oil are small compared to this number. Add to this our recent COVID pandemic. Many goods and products were delayed in reaching our ports–causing extreme shortages in many sectors of the economy. In our recent history, we did not need to import any oil; and were exporting oil at that time. Do we, as a nation, want to be 75% dependent on any nation? Much less a nation that doesn’t like our values? Sir, an economy is never healthy when 75% of needed goods MUST come from another nation.

And let’s go one step deeper with batteries. Where will the lithium come from? The majority of lithium reserves are in other countries. While we currently have the capacity to be self-reliant on oil for a time, we do not have the reserves to be self-reliant in relation to lithium. Currently lithium is also used for batteries in a myriad of everyday items; lights, laptop computers, tablets, phones, and other items. Sir, it does appear to be a very reasonable assertion that lithium batteries are not the quick-fix it appears to be, and it’s certainly not a long range solution.

Sir, before we begin increased production of electric vehicles, let first develop the technology and infrastructure that will sustain them. Then, let’s develop the vehicles at an affordable cost to the vast majority of Americans. And remember my earlier comment about “rural America”? Farming equipment that operates on electricity will fail to work. Many farmers work thousands of acres. Electric tractors and harvest equipment will not be feasible. So, let’s turn American Ingenuity on and allow the creative thinkers to come up with solutions for the future. Because, quite frankly, sir, your solution is a failure.

Respectfully yours,

Randy Burbank, American.


Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. ‘I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!’

Matthew chapter 10, verses 34-36; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Brand loyalty! Sticking with something no matter what. Ask Anheuser-Bush how that is working out with their recent soiree with the transgendered mafia. And ask the United Methodist Church how it’s working out in their (and my former) Tribe. There’s inexactness being spread around within the church community. I could start with any of a number of issues in this subterfuge. But there’s one particular misconstrual that’s been in my heart and on my mind for a long time.

It’s the idea that “Jesus wants us all to get along. Just love everyone and don’t say or do anything offensive. That’s just not like Jesus to be offensive and unaccepting!” Those of us who have left the United Methodist Tribe have been accused of being disloyal and even abandoning Jesus. They want us to think and believe that Jesus isn’t a divisive Person and Personality.

So, my Pro-Aggressive (for those who haven’t interacted with them, the term is ‘progressive’, but Pro-Aggressive matches many of their personalities) friends, address this opening passage today. How does that fit into your idyllic theology? Did Jesus mess up? Did Matthew misunderstand? Did Matthew lie about it? I’m not saying it’s our job as Followers Of Jesus to be divisive. It’s not. But neither is it our job to ignore and abandon The Truth for the sake of the bucolic beliefs of some. This age of being Politically Correct is simply another ploy of The Accuser to tuck away The Truth. Why would he do that? To keep people in bondage, rather than the Freedom that Jesus offers. And yes, Jesus was, is, and continues to be the most divisive Person on Earth.


How many of us have been taught and told this: “Respect is earned!”? This morning, much like the angel did at the Pool of Siloam, the Spirit troubled the waters of my thinking. I had been thinking about another potential blog when He interrupted my thinking. I hate it when He does that. Just messes up my whole thinking processes. Out of nowhere, I thought this: “Respect is earned!” And just as soon as I thought it, He troubled the waters of my thinking with that blessed question: “Is it really earned? Or should it be simply given?”

Being a preacher, pastor, and teacher, my knee jerk reaction was: “Show me in the Bible where it’s mandated I respect those who haven’t earned my respect!!!” I should have known better than to say that! Really, I should have, because HE, The Holy Spirit, knows The Bible better than everyone else, and He knows how to apply it. Nonetheless, I threw that question out. And because of my Respect for The Holy Spirit (because He has Earned my Respect), I had to listen to His answer. To do otherwise would make me the biggest hypocrite of all. And do you know what He said? I’ll show you:

So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

Genesis chapter 1, verse 27; from the New Living Translation; (emphasis mine)

I wanted to say to Him, “What’s that got to do with respect?”, but I knew better. I was already behind the 8-ball. Once those waters that He troubled settled down, I got a new perspective. Look at the definition of that word, Respect: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person”. And what does THE FACT that every human being has the Image of God inside them have to do with Respect? What’s the connection between Genesis chapter 1, verse 27 and Respect?

And here it is: The opposite of Respect is Disrespect! When we Disrespect any person, we are, in fact, Disrespecting God because His Image is inside that person. There are no degrees of Disrespect. Degrees are for colleges and weather. One of the words that is the exact opposite of Respect is Disdain! When we withhold Respect from any person simply because that haven’t earned it, we are showing Disdain for God. We are in fact saying: “God, you have to earn my Respect!” Do you really want to tell God that???

Respect isn’t something that is earned; it is something to be given–to everyone! And just in case you need a reason to show Respect, then here it is: The image of God is inside every person; and there are no exceptions! Dear, me. My ESPN just kicked in. One of you readers just asked, “You mean the image of God is inside Donald Trump?” And another reader just asked, “You mean the image of God is inside Joe Biden?” Oh, me. More of you are asking, “God’s image is inside gay people? Murderers? Pedophiles? Muslims? Hindus? Etc.?”

And THE answer (not mine, but God’s answer) is a resounding ABSOLUTELY! Because some people are unwilling to live into and out of that Image doesn’t mean it’s not there. And because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s nonexistent. Folks, there’s a lot of noise out there about the lack of Respect for and in life. And I can’t, I won’t, argue with you about that fact. If you want to see Respect for all life–then you need to SHOW Respect for all life–even if they haven’t earned it. Now, Trust is earned! But Respect? It’s to be GIVEN without conditions. And just in case you disagree with me–and want to know Jesus’ take on Respect, here it is. I’ll allow you to connect the dots.

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

Matthew chapter 7, verse 12; from the NLT


The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Galatians chapter 5, verses 17 thru 21; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

“You can’t take it with you!” This statement is all about what happens when one dies. They just can’t take the material stuff with them into the afterlife. Most everyone agrees with this statement. But what about in the here and now? There are many who want the New Life that Jesus offers–but–I said BUT–they also want to bring along their old life as well.

Progressive Theology wants us to believe that we can, though. Just bring the old you–whatever that may be–and Jesus will make that Old you right if we just will love others and love God. This is especially true in the real of sexuality. Before we accept Jesus’ offer for a NEW Heart, Spirit, and Life, we are under the influence and control of the OLD heart, spirit, and life. (By the way, it’s called SIN!) The Invitation from Jesus is to leave behind the OLD and then step into the NEW!

And we can’t step into the NEW if we are unwilling to leave behind the OLD! Why? Because the Two are incompatible. Just like Paul wrote here. The old wants what the old wants. The NEW wants the opposite of the OLD! What’s so difficult to understand about this? Trying to drag your old life into the NEW life is like trying to put water in your vehicle’s fuel tank and expecting that engine to accept that water and keep right on running. You cannot bring along your sexual preferences (or whatever your sin-of-choice might be) into the New Life! Either it is, or it’s ain’t a New Life! But it can’t be both!


A hard worker has plenty of food,
but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.

Proverbs chapter 28, verse 19; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Once again the issue of raising the national debt ceiling is making the news. This issue keeps coming up again and again and again. Makes me wonder: Why haven’t they figured out that fiscal irresponsibility ain’t working? Claims are made that if it isn’t raised, government will have to shut down. This sounds like a great upside and some really good news to me! I just looked at a website that does a second-by-second amount of our national debt. Currently it is 31.4 Trillion Dollars, and rising every nanosecond. In just 2 years it has gone up more than $3 Trillion dollars. In 2 years the government has spent more than $3 Trillion Dollars more than it has taken in revenue.

I cannot legally spend more money that what is in my accounts. If I do, I am charged a fee and expected to make good my overdrawn amount. The bank never says, “Tell you what, don’t worry about the overdrawn amount. We will even put a ceiling on how much you can be overdrawn! And when you reach that ceiling? Oh, we will just raise that ceiling! And what if the bank and every bank did that with every single account holder? The result would be The Great Depression on steroids and performance enhancing drugs. So why not take the overdrawn amount of the Federal Budget each time the government spends more than it has from the Representatives and Senators salaries, even the President’s salary?

OR. . .if I owned a business. Suppose one month I don’t have enough to cover my expenses. So I borrow money to pay my suppliers and employees. And suppose this keeps happening. What happens to my business? It’s not rocket surgery or brain science to know what happens. I close up. Or what if I buy a house with borrowed money–but then don’t make any payments on that mortgage? (This happens more than you may realize!) What will the mortgage company do? They are going to foreclose on that house and I have to get out! Hey! What if we kick to the curb all federally elected officials when they try to spend more than our government takes in? I kinda’ like this idea!

Point is, they can’t keep firing up the offset and Intaglio presses each time the government needs more money. Enough is enough is enough is enough! Raising the debt ceiling is a habit now–a habit that needs to be broken! Otherwise, this nation will go the way of the Dodo bird. These asinine decisions are nothing but fantasies–and unrestrained fantasies leads to disastrous consequences.


So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

Genesis chapter 1, verse 27; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Another state has made it a crime to assist with chemicals/drugs and/or surgery to reassign a child’s “born with gender”. Why do we even need additional laws criminalizing this horrendous form of child abuse? There are laws already in effect that make it a crime to abuse a child. Frequently we see in the news of some alleged adult abusing a child and they are arrested. But, a law to make it a crime for a physician and/or parent(s) to violate the laws of biology? Really??? Yet, here we are.

OK, do babies come into this world potty-trained? Do newborns come into this world with the ability to talk? Do babies learn to walk in just a few weeks after they are born? Are toddlers able to clothe themselves without any assistance? Are 3 year old’s able to tie their own shoes? Are 6 year old’s fully cognizant of science and its rules and laws? Of course not! And parents, families, and friends who encourage this kind of abusive thinking apparently do not know the laws of biological science. I wonder if they even know how to die their own shoes!

Then why are children allowed to determine their gender? A friend of mine once told me that his daughter, a kindergarten teacher, met with a parent at the beginning of the school year that their child might come to school one day as a girl and the next day decide to come to school as a boy. The parent expected this teacher to honor the child’s, call it, “feeling of the day”. She retired from teaching the next year. And who could blame her? Where in the world do children, adolescents, and even teenagers, get the idea that they “feel” like they are a gender for which they do not have the proper plumbing? And how in the name of all that is sane, do adolescents and teenagers determine they are “binary”?

Well, according to both science and The Bible, they (the children) didn’t just come up with it! Someone, an “alleged” adult, planted that idea into their little, not-yet-fully-developed mental thinking processes. A parent, a family member, a friend, a babysitter, a teacher, or maybe being placed in front of the boob tube watching the news–but someone planted that idea into their little heads that they can choose their own gender without regard to science–and without regard to God’s Word. Then it was nurtured and encouraged–either intentionally or unintentionally. Would a good parent let their toddler play with knives or cleaning products under the kitchen sink? If that child saw a skunk and wanted to play with it, would they let them? If that child wanted to reach out for a venomous snake would they say, “Oh, go ahead. It’s perfectly safe.”

Did you hear that? Right after I keyed that last sentence in, I let out a deep, woeful sigh. These alleged adults wouldn’t dare let that child play with a knife. Yet. . .they filled their minds with the swill they can choose their own gender. I guess it’s true. We need more laws to keep alleged adults from abusing children. The blame for more “laws” lie with those who permit and/or promote this horrendous abuse of children. And that, my friends, is why I just sighed!


“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Acts chapter 17, verses 24 thru 28; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

“It’s like the wild west!” That’s how some generations describe the culture when things go–well, just plain crazy. And I am convinced that a generation from now the expression will be this: “It’s like the United Methodist Church!” Case in point. This recent post from one of the preachers from my former Tribe:

Really? People in heaven get to “create” what heaven will be like? Oy Vey! What a schmuck! Meshuggeneh, I tell you! Meshuggeneh! It makes my head hurt–and my heart break! Why does anyone think that WE get to be in control of heaven? Where does this kind of dubious thinking come from? And how could anyone in the right mind–better yet–how could anyone with the mind of Christ think such a thing; much less write it down to teach others? Did you notice that 40 clergy members either liked or loved it? It’s not assuming that many others share this view. It’s simply an obvious conclusion. “We get to be in charge!”

Uh……… Pardon me, but wasn’t that the idea that Satan presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? And exactly how did that turn out for them; and for us? Leadership and many (but not all) seminary professors are teaching this muck and swill to their students. And those students who swallow this fool’s paradise go on and teach it to others. And the results are obviously eroding the church as well as those who imbibe this Jim Jones Kool-Aid. It is pure and unadulterated idolatry to think or say that WE make heaven into what we think or want.

There is only ONE in control of heaven and earth. There is only ONE who decides The Truth. There is only ONE who determines what is and isn’t right. There’s only ONE Lord! And He ain’t United Methodist! He’s Jesus! And until people stop drinking Satan’s Swill, the church will continue to lose its influence and continue to crumble. Folks, let quit being our own god. Let God be God!


Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.

Hebrews chapter 10, verse 29; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

This morning started out for me like nearly every other morning. I poured myself a cup from the fountain of life (that’s a coffee pot), sat down in my chair on the front porch, put on my headphones and started my music app. I chastised myself for not noticing things like I once did. After all, I want to be a Noticer. As the song Talking To Jesus was playing and I was singing, there it was! A meteor!!!

I don’t see that every morning! It was bright and moving fast across the sky; I mean really fast! I watched it until the trees and contour of the land blocked my view. I waited for a couple of minutes to see if that would be the meteor that would send us back to another Ice Age. Well, I’m sitting here writing; so I guess it didn’t! But. . .it did get me to thinking.

As a child, we called them shooting stars, even though in reality they weren’t stars at all. It’s just a piece of space rock that was trying to pass through our atmosphere. But this meteor was brighter than any star. What made it so bright was its encounter with resistance; the resistance of our atmosphere. As it encountered that atmosphere, it began heating up. For eons this piece of space rock had been moving across the universe, unimpeded by anything–until now. And now, it’s been consumed all because of the resistance of our atmosphere. (Well, maybe a small chunk made it to terra firma.)

Here’s what I learned from that meteor. We cannot resist God’s Truth without serious consequences. There are those who want us to throw out the tried and proven Truth of the Bible for an easier path that they vainly believe offers less resistance. They are teaching that as long as we love God by loving others (meaning we must accept as “truth” whatever they believe and want that “truth to be”), then nothing else in the Bible really matters. Life is easier when we do what we want to do–for a while.

So, they reject The Truth from the Bible. But their resistance to The Truth is like that space rock encountering our atmosphere. They make a really bright and exciting show–but sooner or later (usually sooner) their life is consumed by a lie and there’s nothing left to show. God reveals Himself through the Bible. And nothing outside that Bible reveals God and God’s plans. We can resist The Truth, but eventually The Truth will win. That meteor tried to push through the atmosphere and continue its journey unchanged. But that’s not how it ended.

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.

1 Corinthians chapter 3, verses 12 and 13; (NLT)

All of this swill and drivel about we don’t have to worry about the holiness of heart and life revealed in Scripture? That we are free to choose our own paths? That it doesn’t matter to God? That it won’t affect our eternity? Think about that meteor–and then–think again!


O Lord, you are righteous,
    and your regulations are fair.
Your laws are perfect
    and completely trustworthy.
I am overwhelmed with indignation,
    for my enemies have disregarded your words.
Your promises have been thoroughly tested;
    that is why I love them so much.

Psalm 119, verses 137 thru 140; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Ships sometimes wreck. Trains sometimes wreck. In spite of all the innovations, regulations, and safety requirements, ships and trains still wreck. And it’s never a good thing, as we’ve been reminded over the past several weeks with multiple train wrecks. And in nearly every event, the cause can be linked to human error, defective material or equipment, improper maintenance, or unforeseen circumstances. What does all this have to do with the Kingdom Life and the shipwreck-and-train-wreck-all-rolled-into-one-culture in which we currently reside? Glad you asked!

Boundaries are important! Ships don’t dare interact with icebergs. Trains and train tracks must be inspected and maintained on a frequent basis. Rules must be followed; otherwise it’s a disaster about to happen. Shipwrecks and train wrecks are never a good thing. Ships and trains have their “boundaries”. They are called regulations. Operators and crews are never free to “adjust” those regulations. They operate within those regulations; and if they don’t, they face the consequences of willfully violating those regulations. Sometimes they end up in prison.

And the same is happening when it comes to the moral boundaries of life. There are those who want to throw out the tried and proven true regulations of life–otherwise known as The Bible. Some want to establish new boundaries because the old-but-proven regulations (that’s The Bible) are getting in the way of what they want. Rather than adjusting the course of their life, they think that if they simply move the boundary markers, then instantly what they want is perfectly OK!

No! It’s not OK! God has placed boundaries for our lives, not to deny us joy and happiness–but to keep us from heartache and misery. Same gender sex and gender dysphoria are only 2 examples of living outside the boundaries of The Bible. The drug addict; the porn addict, the abuser; the greedy; and the list goes on and on and on. Too many are teaching that we, as human beings (flawed human beings) are capable of coming up with our own morality and acceptable conduct. But the truth is we aren’t capable of such life-altering decisions. That’s why God has made sure we have The Bible.

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that you own 200 acres of land. Surveyors came out and established those property lines–i.e.–boundary lines. But your neighbor sees you have a nice 20 acre lake on your property. So he decides he wants that lake even though it is on the other side of that boundary line. So he goes to the courthouse and changes those property/boundary lines. Now the lake is on HIS property. How would that make you “feel”? Would that be fair and right?

You would probably argue (and rightly so) that your neighbor isn’t free to change the property/boundary lines just because he wanted something on the other side of the property/boundary line–something that wasn’t his to begin with. Today’s culture has done the very thing that God warned Israel NOT to do–they have trusted their reasoning rather than God.

“What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,”
    says the Lord.
“You make plans that are contrary to mine.
    You make alliances not directed by my Spirit,
    thus piling up your sins.
For without consulting me,
    you have gone down to Egypt for help.
You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection.
    You have tried to hide in his shade.”

Isaiah chapter 30, verses 1 and 2 (NLT)

Making an alliance with Egypt came from their human reasoning. It would be better to trust in Egypt at that time. Egypt would help protect them, and they would be happy. This made “sense” to them. I’ll let you read for yourself how that worked out for them. Today’s Egypt is allowing each person to choose their own form of acceptable morality. It’s at the core of progressive theology. And today’s Pharaoh is still the one back then–Satan!

Folks, we human beings do not have the wherewithal to establish boundaries for morality which creates our behavior. But God does–and His boundary lines are clearly drawn in The Bible. And again I say: God has placed boundaries for our lives, not to deny us joy and happiness–but to keep us from heartache and misery. Stepping outside those boundaries? Well, it’s a shipwreck and train wreck all-rolled-into-one about to happen. Getting what you want, won’t give you what you need! And getting the church to approve, bless, and sanctify what you want? It’s still sin. Plain old-fashioned sin! Disagreeing with me doesn’t make it right. It just means you’re still wrong.


Jesus told him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John chapter 14, verse 6; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

How wild does human reasoning go? I mean, is there a limit to how crazy human reasoning will go? Well, in my honest opinion, there seems to be no limit. It seems there are those who have the Nebuchadnezzar Syndrome–thinking that they are all great and powerful. Here’s another example from my former tribe (and yet another reason why they are my former tribe)!

Let’s begin at the beginning with good ol’ Fred. His reasoning dictates that there are multiple ways to heaven. Really, Fred? Your reasoning certainly is accommodating. But it’s more than accommodating–it’s giving the message that one doesn’t really need Jesus after all. I wonder how Jesus feels about that? I mean, He went through a lot to make a relationship with God both possible and available to anyone and everyone. Instead of taking several steps in showing the fallacy of your reasoning, I will give you just one reason why you’re wrong. You are stating that it was unnecessary for Jesus to die on the Cross. Fred, I hate to disappoint you and burst your fragile bubble, but it was necessary for Jesus to die.

Now, let’s look at Dorothy’s reasoning. She made a couple of statements that have as much theological soundness as a wet paper bag. First, her reasoning about what Jesus really meant when He said I am the way. (Amazing, isn’t it? That Jesus needs someone to explain what He meant!) Dorothy’s reasoning is that what Jesus meant was all about His teaching–in particular–His teaching on love. All we have to do is love. That’s what Jesus meant. Dorothy, I can’t argue or deny that we are supposed to love like Jesus. But Jesus taught more than how to love and what love looks like. Love without The Truth is mush; nothing but mush. Dorothy isn’t in Kansas anymore.

Her second statement was, well, allow me to copy and paste: The exclusivity of Jesus is certainly not my interpretation. Doesn’t sound like my Jesus.  A bit audacious and biggety, isn’t it, Dorothy? That your interpretation is the best one out there? And by your very reasoning, “your” Jesus isn’t the real Jesus. Simply because you don’t like that Jesus demands more than just loving others, doesn’t give you the liberty to create a Jesus that you like.

And last, but not least, there’s Brad. Honestly? I can’t figure out his reasoning. By Brad’s reasoning, heaven–thus eternity–isn’t revealed through the Scriptures. Gee whiz, Brad. Why do we even need to have The Bible at all? Brad’s reasoning is built around what he calls Platonic spirituality. Platonic spirituality? I had to look that one up. Here’s what I found:

Platonic spirituality suggests that instead of trying to empty the mind from unnecessary thoughts, the spiritual path to enlightenment is more akin to a return to the spiritual source.

Platonic Forms: The possibilities and limitations of the emerging organisational spirituality movement

Brad, your Platonic spirituality came from this guy named Eric Voegelin. Eric Voegelin is identified as a political philosopher. Voegelin argued that spirituality is to be understood as specific religious experiences that valorize our habits of sense-making and thinking. The definition of the word valorize is “to raise or fix the price or value by artificial means, especially by government action.” Brad, you may be content with something artificial, or even governmental. But. . .thanks, but No Thanks! Jesus doesn’t need any artificial means to establish or increase His value.

Folks, this is just a sampling of human reasoning! The prophet Jeremiah warned us about human reasoning when he declared: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9; NLT) I looked up that word deceitful from the Hebrew and it means “sly, insidious, slippery”. Fred, Dorothy, and Brad certainly are slipping and sliding all over the place. Human reasoning is a slippery slope.


I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

Galatians chapter 1, verses 6 thru 9; from the New Living Translation; emphasis mine;

When human reasoning is allowed to run unrestrained, the result is. . .what’s the word? Oh, I know! Wacky! Deranged! Mad as a hatter! Nutty as a fruitcake! Of unsound mind! Out of one’s tree! Lights are on but nobody’s home! They don’t have a screw loose. They don’t even have a screw! And just when I thought I had seen every around the bend thought, I came across this one! (His name has been blotched out to protect his fragile ego)

Now, this man (allegedly a preacher/pastor) says that it’s unnecessary to believe in the Resurrection of Jesus’ human body. So, Rev. Bats/In/The/Belfry, what’s the point? What’s the point of Remembering the Resurrection of Jesus, since it didn’t happen? Should we then stop using the word Resurrection all together? You claim that “what’s important is for Christians is to embrace some concept of God’s power to bring about new life, to make a way when it seems like there’s no way, and to redeem the worst that we can do–knowing that Jesus and his legacy of love live on–no matter what.” Really? Some concept of God’s power to bring about new life? Without Resurrection, Rev. Bats/In/The Belfry, there is no power to bring about new life. That’s the point, kind sir!

And your next paragraph about some who believe that God doesn’t intervene in the world; that God doesn’t violate the laws of physics. To insist that people who believe that way can still celebrate Resurrection is like saying you don’t need wings for a plane to fly! You have made a mockery, sir, of all that Jesus did for us–dying on that Cross because we are sinners, and rising up from the dead. He didn’t die and then rise from the dead to bless and sanctify our preferred sin. He did this to show us how hideous our sin–all sin–really is, and that we need Him to change us from the inside out.

Where the Rev. Bats/In/The/Belfry came up with this, I don’t know. Perhaps he learned this in some Cemetery class. Oops! That should have been seminary class. In all fairness, I don’t know. Did he come up with this on his own? I suppose that would be a possibility. Wherever it came from–it didn’t come from the Gospel! And it didn’t come from Paul, either. Paul insisted that the Gospel is built upon and around 3 immutable truths–that God became flesh (and according to Matthew’s Gospel, Mary was a virgin)–that He died on that Cross–and that He arose from the dead! Any other “gospel” isn’t THE Gospel of Jesus Christ and The Kingdom of God!

This alleged preacher/pastor claims to be a United Methodist. He is supposed to be a leader. Question is: Where is he leading others towards? He’s leading people with an impotent gospel to a powerless end. This is the direction that United Methodist leaders are moving towards. And no spin can change that his gospel is impotent. The Resurrection is real! And it’s to be the power that lives in true Followers and Disciples of Jesus, which changes everything in them and about them.


Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Psalm 103, verses 1 thru 5; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

So, another Holy Week is here. For those not raised up with or familiar with churchese (that’s the unofficial language of churches), Holy Week is that time we are called to remember that week leading up to the death of Jesus–and, of course, His Resurrection. While some may call this practice pagan, I find it helpful to focus my scattered attention to all that Jesus did that week. Have you ever thought about how powerful memories really are? Whether they are good memories or painful memories. Their power is unmistakable and undeniable.

While there are moments we can’t remember why we walked into a room (that’s me!), or remember where we put our cell phone (me again!), still memories are powerful. The thing about memories is that they will help us–or they will hurt us. They will pick us up when we are ready to quit. Or they will kick us down and stomp all over us again; leaving us bruised and bloodied, making the memory feel like it just happened. Can’t speak for you–but that sounds like memories have a lot of power over us. And they do.

We can, and do, hold on to memories–both the good and the painful ones. AND. . .we can make new memories. And sometimes–yes sometimes–it is good, very good to refresh some memories. Especially when it comes to what Jesus did that week nearly 2,000 years ago. Remembering the “good times” is what David was doing when he wrote this song. We don’t know for certain what prompted David to write it.

Maybe he was having a good day and simply wanted to write down what he was happening in his heart. Or maybe–just maybe–he was having a really, really, I mean REALLY bad day. Yes, followers of God have really bad days, too. And in that really bad day, he also chose to remember what God had done for him. Look at that list, and it’s just a partial list but a really good one:

  • He forgives all my sins
  • heals all my diseases
  • He redeems me from death
  • crowns me with love and tender mercies
  • He fills my life with good things
  • My youth is renewed like the eagle’s

This Holy Week is the perfect time for each of us to take a stroll down Memory Lane. Every act and every word of Jesus was deliberate. Each day, starting with that Palm Sunday, He was thinking about you and me. It was ALL about you and me! Since His Holy Week was all about us, let’s make OUR Holy Week all about Him! Look and listen carefully to everything Jesus did back then. And then. . .Remember He Did It For You And Me, the sinners that we are!


This morning I am not writing as a pastor, but as a citizen. Sure, I’m still a pastor–but for now I am just another citizen of the world, who just so happens to also be a follower of Jesus and a pastor. But these words are churning in my mind and heart AS a citizen. And today’s musings are longer than usual. And you may be wondering about today’s title.

When pharmaceutical companies develop new medications they run tests to see if it works. Volunteers become part of the research; some receive the developed medication and others receive a placebo such as normal saline solution. And we all know that saline solution will not produce the desired outcomes from this research. Now, on to this ordinary citizen’s thoughts.

Once again the news is flooded with the tragedy of another mass shooting; this time at Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. Three adults and three children were senselessly murdered. And once again, empty heads are talking about guns and “assault” rifles. And as tragic as the Covenant School shooting is, it’s not the only tragedy happening. Birmingham, Alabama has had 8 homicides in the past 9 days; the latest being a 16 year old female juvenile. She was the second one from the same high school in recent days.

And this week, Huntsville, Alabama Police Officer Garrett Crumby died after he and another officer responded to a domestic violence call. The other officer is in critical condition in a local hospital. These cities are within a hundred mile radius of where I live. And every day my son puts on the badge to protect and to serve–not knowing if the next call will be the End Of Watch for him.

And I haven’t heard anything on the national news about either of these “other” tragedies. And I would not be surprised that within a hundred miles of where you live, similar tragedies are happening there. But empty heads want to ban assault weapons, even handguns, because of the latest incident in Nashville, Tennessee and declare that this is the antidote for these types of tragedies. Take away the guns and the problem is solved.

Now, I’m not downplaying what happened in Nashville; it breaks my heart and has caused me to cry because it is a tragedy; one of many tragedies. And the news and talk about Nashville has been more about the 3 children than the 3 adults who were also murdered. Isn’t the senseless taking of their lives also a tragedy? I’m not comparing those adults to the children. Listen, senseless tragedies have nothing to do with the ages of the victims. One cannot compare the situations where human lives are ended violently. One is not worse than the other. Tragic is tragic is tragic.

But eliminating firearms is like giving a cancer patient saline solution rather than the medication and hope for the best. And before someone asks if I own any firearms, I admit I do; several, but I’m not a member of the NRA before you accuse me of that. I have handguns and long guns. Two of them belonged to my Dad. And yes, I do own an AR-15–but it self-identifies as a single shot bolt action rifle. Point is, each of my firearms has it’s own purpose and meaning to me. And not a single one of my personal collection has ever prompted me nor caused me to go out and senselessly kill other people. Maybe my entire collection is defective since they haven’t committed any gun violence.

Listen up, folks! We’ve got a problem here, but it ain’t the guns. The REAL PROBLEM is people; how they think and what’s in their hearts. What we have here in the good old U.S. of A. is the total disregard of the value of human life. What has led us to this point? As with all problems, there are multiple causes. Here are some of the causes that I see that led to this week’s tragedies. There are in no particular order of importance, except the first one!

  • Abortion! When the most vulnerable of any society are unprotected and considered just a mass of cells and tissue, then it leads to the attitude that NO life is important. Failure to protect unborn life has led to the disregard of “born” life. When one life isn’t considered as important as all other lives, well, we see the result.
  • Participation Trophies! Where there is no impetus to improve the quality of your own life, then it leads to that sense of entitlement. And when they don’t get what they want, then it’s unfair to them, or so they think. Others are their problem. There is no tools given to them to take action and improve their lives.
  • The Blame Game! Some are always looking to blame someone or something for their situation in life. No one is held accountable for their decisions and actions.
  • Pseudo Science! In the tragedy that happened in Nashville, news is coming out that Audrey Hale was being treated (unsuccessfully) for feeling transgendered. Hold on there, I’m not even suggesting that all transgendered people are mass shooters. I didn’t say or imply that; if that’s what you were thinking, the YOU said it, not me! But apparently the “treatment” she was receiving wasn’t resolving her feelings. Pseudo Science at it’s worst! And because of the HIPPA Laws, Ms. Hale’s condition could not be reported and added to the national background database used to purchase firearms. Had it been reported, then it is highly likely her purchase would not have been approved.
  • Failure To Treat Mental Illnesses! Again, I’m not even slightly suggesting that those with mental illnesses are future mass shooters. What I am saying is that it’s been a pi## poor job done when it comes to treating people mental illnesses. Many insurance carriers provide very little to help those with mental illnesses. My own state has eliminated the vast majority of “beds” for treatment of those suffering with some form of mental illness. There is only a small percentage of those with mental illness who are a threat to others. Most are a threat to themselves.
  • The Parents Who Want To Be Their Kid’s Friend Instead Of Their Parent! This has been going on for some time now. When I did something wrong as a kid, my parents never tried to defend me. They taught me that I made a poor decision and thus, I had to accept the consequences. They loved me enough to let me face those consequences. Parents who shield their kids from consequences? Well, they just don’t love those kids enough.

I could go on with more reasons why such tragedies happen every day. And they will continue happening until our society realizes that we’ve got a human problem. This problem we have did not happen overnight. It’s been incubating and breeding now for decades and generations. So, the solution won’t happen overnight, either. It’s going to take determination and a whole lot of bravery to challenge the empty heads who say it’s a gun problem.


But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not recognize it when God visited you.”

Luke chapter 19, verses 41-44; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Be like Jesus! That’s been the goal of every true follower of Jesus. At least, it should be. But did you know that Jesus wept? I’m not talking about the shortest verse in the Bible. I’m talking about His character and His heart. In today’s passage this is exactly what’s happening. Jesus begins to WEEP! Not just a single tear, but WEEPING! The Greek verb Luke used means: weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified: i.e. the cause of the pain and grief. What caused His pain and grief? Jerusalem–not the place on a map–but the people who lived there!

And it’s even more powerful to realize the point at which Jesus begins to cry! This is what is referred to as Jesus’ Triumphant Entry! You may know it better as Palm Sunday. And before the week is over, Jesus will die a horrible death. And He knows it! Imagine if you will, the crowds waving those palm branches while shouting Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord! The people lay those branches, even their cloaks to make an impromptu red carpet. Got this image? Great!

As Jesus walks the red carpet amidst all those Hosannas, He begins to cry! Not just a single tear, but a flood of tears. These are not tears of joy, but tears of pain and grief. He’s lamenting You can’t lament just a little. And those tears aren’t about the pain and suffering that clearly lies ahead. Nope! It’s for the people! All people! In all ages! In all places! That includes you and I. Jesus has that ability and power to see beyond the present–and to see much deeper.

Now, remembering this scene, here’s my question of the day! Are you being like Jesus? When was the last time you wept for our world–the people in it? I mean, just breaking down and sobbing where the tears just keep on coming and coming! Let’s face it, we rather be like Jesus in Luke’s next epic sage. You know, the one where Jesus makes a whip and drives out the merchants and money-changers in the Temple. Now, there’s a Jesus a lot of folks appears to really wanna be like!

I mean, look at how much complaining we’ve been doing. Please take note of the pronoun I carefully selected: WE! I think about some of my musings and rants about my former Tribe (the United Methodist Church). And I will admit that it felt real good pointing out their flaws and downright errors. But these past few days, The Spirit has been asking me a question; a question that I didn’t want Him to ask. This question has been fermenting in my mind.

And here it is: Randy, have you been crying over your former tribe? Did you cry over them BEFORE I led you to a different path? I’m not heartless. There were those moments a tear or two rolled down my cheeks. But lamenting in deep pain and grief? To my shame and dishonor, I must say that I haven’t. But if I really wanna be like Jesus–then this is exactly what I must do. Not only for my former Tribe–but for what lies before me: Our world!

And here is my final point: It’s time to stop making whips, and start crying our eyes out! For churches. For co-workers. For neighbors. For family. For the lost. For those who are being deceived. For those who hate us. For our enemies. And yes, even for Audrey Hale who murdered 3 children and 3 adults yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee. Just one observation here: we’ve been making whips and it ain’t helping. Maybe it’s time we started making some tears–uncontrollable tears. It’s what Jesus did!


‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “Listen,” he said, “and try to understand.  It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”

Matthew chapter 15, verses 8-12; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Ever given much thought to the words that come out of your mouth? That your words have an impact on others? Even your relationship with God? Some say, “It’s not what you say, but what you do that matters!” There’s no doubt about it, what we do matters! But did you know? That what you say also matters? It’s not what you intend to say, but what you actually say that matters! Jesus, Himself, said that what we say matters: It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.

It’s a given–we can be and are often Masters of Deception when it comes to our words. But eventually, sooner or later (usually sooner) our words will reveal our heart. That’s exactly what Jesus is saying. Let’s get the context of today’s passage. It all started over washing your hands. (Remember 2020?) But it was more than washing hands. It was all about their teaching; i.e. their words! The Pharisees were big on what they believed it meant to believe in God. If a person wanted to connect with God–and hopefully God connect with them–it was to be found only in their words/teachings!

Now, fast forward to the twenty-first century. The current Pharisees of our day is Progressive Theology. I seriously doubt that they consider themselves Pharisees. To the contrary, they see themselves as the liberators; liberators of ancient and out-of-touch-with-the-times teachings. But remember the true heart of the Pharisees: If a person wanted to connect with God it was to be found only in their teachings! It should seem to the rational thinking person, that progressive theology is built around a single verse: John chapter 15, verse 17: “Love one another.”

The words that come out of their mouths are that nothing else matters, except that we Love one another! Nothing wrong with love others, is it? Absolutely not! But. . .I said BUT–that’s not all the Jesus said, nor what The Bible teaches us. So their words are more about morality–but without salvation. Their words are more about connecting with God–but without dealing with our sin problem that prevents us from connecting with God. And thus they flung wide open the doors to what was taking hold people’s thinking in the 1960’s–the idea of situational ethics. The situation determines the ethos.

Their words are about being liberated! And who doesn’t want to be liberated? I sure do!!! But I have a serious question for my Progressive friends: How does the approval of a person’s preferential sin liberate them? Oh, and that brought up another serious question: You talk a lot about justice, mercy, and kindness. But how can this happen without admitting we all have a sin problem? You want to “fix” systems but ignore the root cause. I remind you of what Jesus said about the Pharisees of His day: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

Now, I know I’ve just struck a nerve with my Progressive friends. And some might want to say to me what the disciples said to Jesus: Do you realize you just offended the Progressives? And’s another problem in our culture. Everyone is afraid of offending everyone else. And Progressives would chastise us Traditionalists by saying that you can’t love if you offend someone’s feelings or beliefs. Umm…wonder what Jesus thought when his disciples pointed out the obvious?

And so I speak to all of you readers: Be both careful and wise with your words. The words that come out of our mouths carry weight–and have an impact on others. While Progressives talk only about love (by the way, the fundamentalists talk only about sin), their hearts are far from God. Words do matter. Choose your words–words that are filled with both Truth and Grace! And remember, that there will always exist and tension between The Truth and Grace. So, let God deal with that tension.


He must increase, but I must decrease.

John chapter 3, verse 30; from the King James Version (KJV)

Increasing and Decreasing are two diametrically opposed–call them ideas or concepts. No, scratch that first sentence! Increasing and Decreasing are two exactly opposite realities! Think about interest rates; they are either increasing or decreasing. The Dow-Jones Industrial Industrial Average is either increasing or decreasing at the end of each business day. Or gas prices! They are either increasing or decreasing–sometimes in the same day! To say they are diametrically opposed means they have nothing in common. Right? Of course I am. So what does this have to do with The Kingdom Life?

Thanks for asking this question–because it’s what I want to write about today! This morning passage hit me hard–I mean really hard this early morning. You see, I was struggling again with some of my stuff. Yes, Virginia, us pastors have struggles. It wasn’t some new stuff. The painful (to me) truth was that it was some old stuff. And true to my tendency–I was just talking it out. Not to myself, but to my best friend sitting beside me in the early morning darkness on the front porch.

And I wondered out loud, “Why am I still struggling with this old stuff?” I didn’t try to excuse myself. There was no excuse and never will be. So I began to expostulate some ways I could finally put this old stuff to bed and never have to deal with it again. And The Spirit just set there quietly as I tried to figure out what I could do! Oh, I had some good ideas of what I could do–at least they seemed good to me. And usually The Spirit allows me the freedom to keep on thinking about my ideas for the better life.

But this morning was different. He interrupted me; how rude of Him! All He said was John the Baptist. I replied (in typical fashion), “Huh?????” Unfortunately for me, I have been known to be confused at times when The Spirit speaks. Not very often, but this morning was one of those mornings. Since I couldn’t figure out what The Spirit was trying to teach me, I chose to give the floor to The Spirit! (Wise choice on my part!) I listened as He said, “Remember how John described the relationship between him and his cousin, Jesus? Look it up!”

So I Googled it and the first thing that popped up was John chapter 3, verse 30! And it happened! I can’t call it an Epiphany because it’s something I already knew. But the lightbulb definitely came on! I need to decrease so that Jesus can increase! I need a whole lot less of me–and a whole lot more Jesus! And the only way that can happen is for me to surrender my stuff–and let Jesus fill me with His glory! This life I live isn’t about me–it’s all about Jesus! Life cannot be about what I want or can or cannot do. Life is all about what Jesus IS doing in me. My stuff–it’s gotta’ decrease–because it’s the only way His Glory, and thus His strength, can increase in me. Then I can put aside my old stuff!

And what about you, dear reader? Are you willing to decrease so that Jesus may increase in you? Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!


Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Galatians chapter 6, verses 7 and 8; from the New Living Translation (NLT)

Recently two banks failed causing Federal officials to take control–Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) (California) and Signature Bank (New York). And maybe you didn’t notice that 2 days before the collapse of SVB that Silvergate Bank (California) had also collapsed. That’s 3 banks in the span of 4 days. Now, answer me this: What do these banks and the decline of some churches have in common? Oh, yes, Billy Bob, there is a common thread.

One might could do a significant amount of eisegesis to determine the commonality and write a book about it. But that would miss the simple but powerful answer. At the risk of sounding like Alex Trebek, I say the common thread is, “What is irresponsibility?” The leadership of these 3 banks ignored what is typically called best practices and the resulting consequence is failure to do what they were intended to do–to provide a secure place for the funds of its depositors. Thus, not living up to and into their designed purpose.

And how does this relate to some churches? Those on the progressive side of the theological spectrum would, and do say that the decline of churches is the direct result of holding onto old fashioned and outdated views on the Bible. If it were Jeopardy, they would say: What is the traditional and orthodox views of unenlightened folks? Imagine, if you would, Alex Trebek saying, I’m sorry. That is not the correct question. The correct question is: “What is irresponsibility?”

While the alleged experts will give a variety of causes for irresponsibility, there is really only a single reason why people and corporations act irresponsibly: It’s the failure to recognize the consequences of our choices and decisions. One of the most basic rules of, call it life, is that you can’t grow watermelons using brussels sprouts–that you can’t plant saw briars and get grapes. Or as Paul put it: You will always harvest what you plant.

Planting a life outside of God’s revealed plan and will (BTW–we call this The Bible) bears with it consequences! I know, I know, no one wants to talk about consequences. But not talking about it doesn’t remove it from the equation of life. Feelings and sincere beliefs will never negate the consequences that comes from forming a life outside of The Bible. Until people accept that there are consequences for their choices and actions, failures will continue to multiply. You just can’t get around it.

Church, our Designed Purpose is to stand out from the world, not to blend into it. The collapsing of some churches is the consequence of being irresponsible to God’s Truth. Just as these 3 banking institutions ignored the consequences of their business decisions, so has declining churches ignored the consequences of trying to blend in with its culture. The times of greatest growth in the history of the church has happened with the church refused to adapt to its culture by standing with what The Bible teaches. And what The Bible teaches is more than true, it’s The Truth! Church, you cannot stand out in the world if you think like the world. To do so is to plant a Pine Tree and expect it to produce pineapples. It just ain’t gonna’ happen.


Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

Matthew chapter 17, verse 21; from the New King James Version (NKJV)

To see situations change or people change, is it more important to DO something different, or BECOME someone different? We all know the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, expecting different results! Right? So, if you want different results, then DO something different. Right? Not so fast, my friends. It requires more than simply doing something different. I’ve been in this “pastor-life” for decades, and I cannot tell you the number of events I’ve attended and books I’ve read about changing the decline of a church. Each one told us something different to do; and without exception, nothing brought about long-term change. Doing doesn’t seem to work.

Case in point: today’s passage. Remember the whole story with me. Jesus had taken 3 of His disciples to what we call The Mount of Transfiguration. He left the others behind. And while the others were waiting for Jesus and those 3 to return, a man brought his son afflicted with a demon to them, asking them to drive out that demon out. Well, they tried–but without success. When Jesus did return, that Dad brought his son to Jesus–and of course–Jesus drove out that demon. With me so far? Great!

And afterwards, those same disciples pulled Jesus aside for a private moment to ask: Why couldn’t WE cast out that demon? In other words, What do we need to DO different? Somehow as human beings, we think that if we just DO something different we can change the situation. For instance, my former Tribe. It has been in decline since 1968; actually even before then. And ever since then, they have been trying to DO something different. And the result is that it’s falling apart–becoming the very thing that John Wesley feared the most: a sect of people who have a form of godliness but without the power!

Perhaps it’s time we all become someone different. That word become means to change, or grow to be. And an enlightening synonym for become is to grow into! Rather than focusing on how to change situations and/or people–what if we focused on how to grow into the Image of the One who created us? Instead of doing something, ANYTHING, to change others and the world, what if we focused on ourselves first? Not what we do–but who we are becoming? Are we growing into God’s perfect image? Or are we just doing different things so as not to be insane?

And what does Jesus have to say? To the question of those disciples; to my question of the day? Doing the same things over and over while expecting different results is indeed, the definition of insane! But doing something different is a not a guarantee of a different outcome. So, do we just throw up our hands in despair? Not hardly! Listen to the answer Jesus gave them–and is giving us:

However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

Matthew chapter 17, verse 21 (NKJV)

Prayer AND fasting is about us–it changes our focus from doing to beingbeing in the presence of God. And in those moments we can learn how to become a real disciple and follower of Jesus! When we become a true disciple and follower of Jesus, the doing takes care of itself. After all, what many are doing right now isn’t working. And remember: Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!