Tuesday, November 25, 2014


There is something about being around someone who LOVES what they are doing - at that moment - whatever it is. I love the following illustration of Sharing the Joy in whatever you choose to do - from SIMPLE TRUTHS:

Barbara Glanz is a speaker and author. After speaking to 3,000 employees of a grocery chain on customer service and creating memories, Barbara heard from a manager on how his store employees began putting their own stamp on their departments. The manager of the flower department began cutting off her broken flowers and finding an elderly lady to pin it on. The meat dept manager loved Snoopy and would bring in his favorite Snoopy stickers to stick on the packages. He would then go out and laugh with the customers. It seemed people were finding ways to become personally involved with customers instead of just doing the expected or the "asked".

How did this begin? It all started when Johnny, a bagger at the store, called Barbara after her talk and said, "Barbara, my name is Johnny and I'm a bagger at the grocery store and I have Down syndrome. I heard what you had to say about service and I liked it! But I thought - what can I do since I'm just a bagger? Then I got an idea!

I love sayings and thought that each day I could pick out my favorite saying and my dad and I could print it out on the computer. I could cut out the strips and sign the back of each one. Then, I'd fold each one up, and the next day, I'd drop it right in the customer's bag and say "I hope you enjoy my quote for the day. What do you think, Barbara?"

Barbara told Johnny she thought it was a great idea and just a few weeks later the manager called back and reported that after seeing the line in Johnny's lane being three times longer than anyone else's and the customers wouldn't budge even when prompted to go to a shorter line. One lady said she used to come to the store once a week but now finds herself stopping in 2 or 3 times a week just to see Johnny's quote for that day.

When we bring our heart to the task, not only will those around us feel special and served, but they may pass it on too!

May we SHARE THE JOY in all we do!

In Joy,


Monday, November 17, 2014


"Love not the world, neither the...things...that are in the world." 1 Jn 2:15
"Know His will and approve the...things...that are more excellent. Rom 2:18 
"But the natural man receiveth not the...things...of the Spirit." 1 Corth, 2:14 
"Set your affections on...things...above not on the...things of the earth. Col. 3:2 
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the...things...of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the...things...of the Spirit." Rom. 8:5
"Let no man glory in man, for all...things...are yours," 1 Corth. 3:21 

After writing the last verse mentioned above Paul made a partial list of the things that were theirs. [The Corinthian Christians]  Paul/ Apollos/ Cephas/ World/ Life/ Death/ All things present/ All things to come..were on the list.

But I'm a little bit confused. What are the "things" of the world/earth/flesh as opposed to the "things" of the Spirit? Where do I get my list of each? And if "all things" are presently mine as a gift from God, to which list is that referring. What are we to make of all this?

I did a study of the "things" of the world and the "things of the Spirit one time and found something that was a bit surprising to me. It appears to me at least that they are ALL THE SAME THINGS.

During my study I remembered a couple of facts from scripture. One is that the word "world" and the word "flesh" both had a neutral and an evil meaning when used in scripture. The neutral use of words like world/flesh is seen when it is  referring to creation and people. "God so loved the world..." But both can refer to evil as well. "Love not the world..." shows this. 

However, that was not a "thing" in scripture but an "attitude about things." John referred to it as "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life." The key word here is "lust". It is taking some "thing" and using it for an illegitimate purpose. "Self" is that illegitimate purpose.

That brings me to the second point I had to bear in mind and that is "self" is simply independence from God. So any "thing" I use or view independent of who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the flesh. But any "thing" I use or view dependent on who God is, as He reveals Himself to be, is a "thing" of the Spirit.

So, here are some lists of mine that illustrate the point I saw in scripture. [A partial list only.]

The "things" of the world list.

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church attendance
My Bible reading

The "things of the Spirit list

My Job
My Marriage
My Recreation
My Food
My Church Attendance
My Bible Reading

Let me explain if I can. My Job, be it law, medicine, home making, or ministry is a thing of the flesh/world OR a thing of the Spirit/heaven DEPENDING ON MY MOTIVE. If it is a way to make money for things I want only or to get my strokes from people if I do well, or to show how good I am at what I do, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is, to me, a way of providing for my own and extending the Kingdom of God and enjoying that Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My marriage. If it is a "thing" that gets me sex, or security, or love, or comfort, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is to me, a "thing" that pictures Christ and His Church relationship, or a way to be a loving and gracious resource to another person, or a way of enjoying Kingdom reality, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My recreation. If it is a "thing" that shows off my abilities, or to get the praise of men, or to prove I'm better than anyone else, it is a "thing" of the world/flesh. But, if it is a "thing" that enables me to keep the Temple of God fit, or to accomplish personal/team goals that are healthy, or to enjoy a respite from work, it is a "thing" of the Spirit/heaven.

My Church attendance. If it is a way for me to get acceptance from people or God, or a way to check off a list that shows I'm better than those who don't attend, it is a "thing" of the flesh/world___you see the point___don't you?

So in reality, every "thing" I do whether attending church, preaching sermons, motorcycle riding, making money, reading my bible, eating with friends, has the potential of being a "thing of the Spirit" or a "thing of the world." Since "all things" are mine according to Paul the Apostle maybe the only question is why I'm doing it, not what I'm doing. That's the determining factor of its nature whether good or evil, flesh or Spirit, earthy or heavenly. 

So I'm just celebrating the reality of God as He has revealed Himself to be in every "thing" in life.

WOW, that means the lists can be forgotten as a standard of behavior and all of life is spiritual. It's my motive/heart in what I do that makes it evil or good [the issues of life thing].......I wonder if this applies to blogging??

Paul B.

Monday, November 10, 2014


This is an illustration someone else used with which I agree and have adapted and adjusted to my lingo and would like to now share with my blog friends.

Imagine three large pillows all in a straight line on the floor. Imagine you standing on the one on the far right and ________[any person with whom you desire to have a real relationship] standing on the one on the far left. This leaves A THIRD PILLOW empty in the middle.

The pillow you stand on is yours, the one the other person is on is his/hers. The third pillow in the middle is the one that will hold your relationship. This pictures your life [or pillow] and their life [or pillow.] The middle one pictures your relationship together. [Or our Pillow.]

You have total responsible for the pillow your standing on and they are totally responsible for the pillow they're standing on. But you are both responsible, together, for standing, together, on the middle pillow.

Remember, at no point are you to be stepping on their pillow or are they to be stepping on your pillow. But you can step together onto the one in the middle.

Now____Big-time Lesson___You're not to be stepping on their pillow in an effort to CHANGE them nor are they to step on your pillow to change you. Neither one of you are to try to force or guilt or shame the other into changing as that is "STEPPING ON THE WRONG PILLOW."

In a healthy relationship all one can legitimately do is stay on one's own pillow and ask the other the question, "Do we like the relationship we are building together on that middle pillow?" If the answer is "no" then the two of you together can suggest to one another what you [both] would like in the relationship and see if you can agree on wanting the same things.

But this takes mutually agreeing to hear what the other really desires and both weighing what is needed by each to adapt in order to make that third pillow a great one. After all, it's a MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP PILLOW we're talking about here.

In marriage, of course, it’s a lot harder because there isn't any easy walking away. In business, friendships and even dating relationships, you CAN just walk away when appropriate.

However, in marriage there is a covenant agreement. But that covenant DOES NOT RULE OUT this kind of respectful, difference sharing, and mutual personal adjustment and growing to make THAT THIRD PILLOW the very best it can be.

Be responsible for your pillow and "go for it." You might even call this "PILLOW TALK."

It's those THIRD PILLOWS that I believe Jesus was calling treasure when He spoke of LAYING UP TREASURE OF HEAVEN.

[Always remember that NO ONE can have a third pillow with EVERYONE. Even Jesus wasn't able to have one with Jerusalem for example. THEY would not. Even His Covenant relationship with Israel ended in divorce. If you say He didn't divorce Israel as His people, but did as a nation, I say the hair-splitting is unsatisfactory. A divorce happened.]

Paul B.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


I've noticed something. People are people. It generally doesn't matter if they call themselves Christians or atheists or Democrats or Republicans or ministers or Americans. They still act like people and with human nature being what it is, that's quite a story.

Case in point. Watch people angrily react to what they perceive as failure and go to the opposite end of the spectrum in order to correct it. Talk about overkill.

I've seen it in church life. A pastor is perceived as not a good people person [though he is a great bible teacher] and upon his leaving the church, the people go for a "people guy" with a winsome personality whose preaching is geared to feeding children, both biological and spiritual. No ability in the pulpit, but all the kids of both kind love him. It's wonderful. For a while. Then he's in trouble. [The attention span of children being what it is.]  He, of course, hasn't changed at all from what he always has been. He's just himself. But now he's not enough for the people. Overkill with it's harvest.

Or, take a pastor who is a great person but is as weak as motel coffee in those two cup packets in the pulpit. [That's weak, trust me.] He leaves and the people go after a "thunder and lightning" orator who disappears from Monday to Saturday except for those chosen few who are admitted into his presence. But it's wonderful. For a while. They are, after all, hearing real preaching now. [In their estimation at least, since a sane conversation by the man in the pulpit with the people in the pew on a Sunday morning doesn't qualify as preaching in their eyes.]  The T&L [tThunder and Lightning] guy has arrived. Then he's in trouble too, though he hasn't changed since his loud arrival. It's human nature being what it is.

[Though redeemed human nature does have the wherewithal to change behavior to reflect the Life of the Redeemer.]

But it's not just churches and church people. Observe the current political landscape as evidence. If Bush said it, did it, thought it, people wanted it different this time round with Obama. Now politicians of his party are running for office on the premise of being different than Obama. Trust them. [They say.] They will be different. They will be, human nature being what it is, I promise.

Then there is human nature being what it is with things that don't cost you something. Those no-cost things wind up being under-appreciated and abused. It's just human nature being what it is.

I remember when I first realized I had to begin charging a non-refundable registration fee for the couples attending a pastors and wives seminar that Mary and I taught in the eighties and nineties. On our first one we invited fifty couples who had responded to our invitation. We planned for them, registered them,  expected them, but half of the registrants didn't show up. This was when there was no charge for the conference at all.

So charge we did. The cost was a non-refundable pre-registration fee of twenty-five dollars a couple. We charged them. They paid it. They showed up. It was that simple. [They didn't know that we would be giving a twenty-five dollar gift certificate to the Baptist Book store waiting for them upon arrival.] It was just human nature being what it is.

The political/social realm is no different. Remember the apartments of the Johnson "Great Society" era? Built and given free of charge to many in the inner cities which became a nightmare to the people living there because there was no sense of responsibility in those receiving them for nothing. Those very apartments are now desolate, deserted and dangerous to all who have to remain.

Some were able to move to homes that they began to own courtesy of a low bar for borrowing.  But, knowing human nature as I do, I wasn't shocked when the bubble burst on those mortgages and the banks eventually had to repossess those homes. [With a resulting economic recession that lasts to the present] I see no sense in making sure a free ride is available to anyone. But that's just me. If you'll remember as mentioned above, I had a problem with pastors having free rides as well.

No one is saying the requirement should be large or poverty creating. It is wise however to recognize that human nature, being what it is, there doesn't seem to be an automatic appreciation or respect for what costs nothing. In fact, the reverse seems to be more the truth.

Finally, human nature being what it is, have you noticed that when people disagree with you on a point politically, philosophically, or theologically, and they can't persuade you otherwise, they begin to assign to you motives that, to them at least, justifies their argument on the issue being discussed.

Let me illustrate. I have come to a position of seeing the scriptures differently than I once did concerning women in ministry. My change is because of a new understanding of the text, historical context, and intention of the authors that I hadn't seen before.

But upon writing or talking of it with some people, I'm told that the reason I've changed my view is because of my being fearful of not being accepted by my culture. And, with that overshadowing desire in my heart, I will certainly one day wind up not calling homosexual actions sinful as well.

I think they have revealed human nature being what it is, again. Assigning a motive when the argument can't be won on the basis of thought or when theological in nature, the text of scripture alone. The fact that my heart is known only to God and is often unknown to even me and must be challenged by me regularly, doesn't matter. They just know what's in my heart.

Politically I see the same thing. The mid-term elections illustrate that quite well, human nature being what it is.

People seem angry and are going to the other extreme of what they perceive to be bad actions.

People are accepting what costs them nothing and will under-appreciate it ultimately.

People who are sure they know why someone holds a different view than do they and trumpet the motive of the one with whom they disagree as evidence for the reason to trust their own opinion on said issue.

I can let it go in politics. I really expect little else. But I'm thinking that judgment may need to really begin in the House of God.

I realize I'm drawing attention to the problem of human nature. The curing of the problem of housing and feeding the poor along with the pastoral needs of a church and a political race running from the last six years are all issues that need thoughtful and deliberate actions. But it's human nature that is the real problem.

So, while we work on all the issues I've mentioned above, whether that issue is religious, politically or philosophical, I'm not going to forget that human nature needs redeeming and that's the business of the gospel and whatever I do with respect to those other issues, while NOT insignificant, is secondary at best.

Those are my thoughts my human nature being what it is.

Paul B.