Friday, June 05, 2020

Get Beyond Protesting to Peacemaking

To protest is not equal to peacemaking and reconciliation.

That's what are needed today - peacemakers. I am praying for one to emerge out of the protesting.

For some good stuff on the hard, rewarding work of peacemaking and reconciliation, join my Zoom Bible Study today (6/5) at 11 AM EST.

Email me for the link -

(New Yorker, 6/5/20)

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Free Online Conference with Robby Dawkins and James Goll

Re-Envisioning 2020 (Login information coming soon.)

Enjoy a taste of the Holy Spirit Conference with this ONLINE, re-envisioned 2020 event. Seasons of challenge can carry the threat of defeat and destruction, but our hope and assurance rests in God who empowers His people to PREVAIL! Join us as we delve into the hope and future God offers us during life-altering times and beyond. We invite you to three powerful sessions for worship, and to hear from HSRM speakers from across the USA and guests
Robby Dawkins and James Goll.

Pass the word to your friends, family and church. Viewing online will be as easy as coming to this website ( and clicking on the event tab that will be provided on the homepage. Don't miss this opportunity to hear fresh words from the Lord, to be inspired, instructed and empowered, and to bless others too.

~~Free Event~~

JUNE 21-23
7:30 PM ET/ 6:30 PM CT/ 5:30 PM MT/ 4:30 PM PT


SUNDAY ----- 06/21/2020

7:30 pm EDT Conference Opening: Dr. Clayton Ford, HSRM Nat’l Co-Director
Worship: Hannah Ford D’Alessandro with Bouquet Canyon Church, Santa Clarita, CA
7:50 HSRM Speaker: Dr. Clayton Ford
8:20 Featured Speaker: Robby Dawkins
9:05 Q&A with Robby Dawkins
9:20 Ministry wrap-up with Rev. Ross Lieuallen, Billings, MT

MONDAY ----- 06/22/2020

7:30 pm EDT Opening: Dr. John Grove, Columbus, NJ
Worship: Worship team from Columbus Baptist Church, Columbus, NJ
7:50 HSRM Speaker: Rev. Pamela Wantz
8:20 Featured Speaker: James Goll
9:05 Q&A with James Goll
9:20 Ministry wrap-up with Rev. John Grove, Columbus, NJ

TUESDAY ----- 06/23/2020

7:30 pm EDT Opening: Dr. John Piippo, HSRM Nat’l Co-Director
Worship: Worship team from Redeemer Fellowship Church, Monroe, MI
7:50 HSRM Speaker: Dr. John Piippo
8:20 Featured Speaker: Robby Dawkins
9:05 Q&A with Robby Dawkins
9:20 Ministry wrap-up with Rev. Ross Lieuallen, Billings, MT


Inner Peace Has Power to Shape Environments

Image result for john piippo solitude
(Munson Park, across from our house.)

The more time we spend in solitude, silence, and listening in the presence of God, the more we are at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This is because peace is a fruit that is produced when we are attached, branchlike, to the Prince of Peace.

We carry this peace in our homes, and into the workplace. The peace that is ours affects the social atmosphere. 

Inner peace has power to shape environments. I know some people who carry such peace, and it affects me. 

Henri Nouwen writes about this in The Way of the Heart.

"It will be possible to move into the midst of a tumultuous world with a heart at rest. It is this restful heart that will attract those who are groping to find their way through life. When we have found our rest in God we can do nothing other than minister. God’s rest will be visible wherever we go and to whomever we meet. And before we speak any words, the Spirit of God, praying in us, will make his presence known and gather people into a new body, the body of Christ himself."

My three books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Encounters With the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)

I'm now working on...

Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend to write our book on Relationships.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020


Image may contain: indoor, text that says 'RENEWAL SCHOOL of MINISTRY FALL 2020 INFORMATION COMING SOON!'

Any Fool Can Judge Others

(The River Raisin)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

8:30 AM

It's going to be eighty-five degrees today. That makes me and Linda happy!

I'm sitting on our back deck. We live on three and a half acres, on the River Raisin. This river is supposed to be the world's most crooked river. Really? In all the world? Google says so. See here.

I have been on a wisdom quest for fifty years. That doesn't mean I have arrived. But, I have pursued wisdom, passionately. 

This pursuit to gain wisdom began when I became a follower of Jesus. In the spring of 1970. I was, at the time, in college, majoring in Music Theory. Upon my conversion, I changed majors to another sure money-maker - Philosophy. And I fell in love.

My love affair with wisdom has not stopped. Thus I am, this morning, on our back deck, with a cup of freshly brewed Tim Horton's coffee, listening to pianist Ralph Zurmuhle through my Bose Soundlink Mini speaker.

I begin reading Proverbs, chapter 18. I only get through two verses.

1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.

This is truth.

Over the years of teaching philosophy at our Community College, I have had students who were true wisdom-seekers. And, I've had students who thought they were wise. Some of these wise ones loved to start arguments. 

A few of these trolled me on social media. I discovered that any troll can ask a question. I let them troll me for a while, then, for a few of them, cut them off. They were masters of begging the question, the princes of disconnected rabbit trails.

Any fool can start a quarrel. Many fools are wise, in their own eyes. They judge, before they understand. The hard work of understanding the position of the other is too much for them.

I have written...

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Don't Love Peace, Make Peace

Torrey Pines

"Get away from a man who argues every time he talks."
- Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert

Do not partner with an argumentative person. They are not in touch with wisdom. Love them, but do not be influenced by them.

Enter not into the arguments of the argumentative person. They are fishing for a fight. Don't take the bait.

Relationships in the New Community are not to be like living in a court of law. Argue? Yes. Reason together? Yes. And always in love. Argumentative? No.

Don't go looking for controversy. Wage war against the devil, not people. If it has flesh and blood it's not your real enemy.

Don't love peace, make peace. Anyone can love peace. Peace-makers are God's active agents of peace. They are rare, are blessed, and are called the offspring of God. 

Lay down your sword. Beat it mercifully into a plowshare. Recycle your weapons into instruments of righteousness and peace. 
  1. Be at peace with God.
  2. Peace with God brings peace within.
  3. Peace within leads to peace with others.

  4. Or:
  1. Abide in Christ.
  2. Christ gives you his peace, a peace unlike this world gives.
  3. Bring this heart of peace into your flesh-and-blood relationships.
  1. As a Jesus-follower you are "in Christ."
  2. In Christ there is peace (everlastingly so, in the perichoretic Triune being of the Godhead).
  3. And thus fulfill the prayer of Jesus in John 17 to "be one" with others, as Jesus and the Father are one.

Monday, June 01, 2020

How to Communicate in Conflict

(Linda and I studied with David Augsburger in seminary. Here is one of the most important things God taught us through David.)


Ephesians 4:15 says: “therefore speak the truth in love; so shall we fully grow up into Christ.” Here we are told, in communication, to be both loving and truthful, caring and confronting.

Work at communicating both caring and confronting in the middle of marital or relational conflict.

Here are the attitudes to have and hold to.


Sermon-prepping, in Starbucks

I had a recent encounter with a person, call them X.

X: "I am against socialism."

Me: "Can you explain socialism to me?"

X: "No."

Me: "Can you tell me what socialism is?"


Me: "Do you find it odd to be against something you know nothing about?"

Politically, America is deeply divided. As a follower of Jesus, how do I evaluate this? What do I do about this? How shall I think about this?

Here's my approach, 

1) I identify certain guiding principles; and 

2) I keep studying and learning. This means disengaging from social media arguments, and finding the best scholarship available that can help me, in the first place, understand the issues. I am uninterested in people who want to argue political issues without first putting a lot of work into understanding those issues. This may not be you, but it is me.


  • Change hearts first. When hearts are changed, systems transform.
  • Focus on issues, not political alignment.
  • I must understand before I evaluate. This takes time. I hesitate to jump on someone's political bandwagon. Because, I don't yet understand the issues. 
  • Attack arguments, not people (no ad hominem abusiveness please). Evaluate arguments; formulate arguments. Love people.
  • Lift up Jesus, the one who changes hearts and minds, and from whom we Christians acquire our ethics.
  • Deepen your abiding life in Christ, as the first thing to do. All relevant, Spirit-led action comes from this ongoing attachment to Christ.
  • When the Holy Spirit identifies a socio-cultural need and burdens you with it, labor in the Spirit to achieve transformation. For example, my church family helped begin a soup kitchen that provides a meal every day of the year, serving 75-150 a night. For example, my church family has been involved in serving and raising support for ministries that rescue women out of sex trafficking. For example, Linda and I have, over the decades, provided free counseling for needy marriages and families (this is ongoing, to the very moment I am typing these words).
  • Study and grow in learning about the relationship between following Jesus and political involvement. This will assist you in transcending shallow, uninformed, hate-filled debating. Here are some resources that have taken me deeper.

SOME RESOURCES THAT HAVE HELPED ME (These are resources I have read and studied, and have helped me better understand the relationship between religion and politics. Surely there are more. What books have helped you?)

And, of course, keep saturating yourself in Scripture.

Study the ethics of Jesus. Read the Gospels. Check this out - The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics. 

Do I agree with everything written in these books? 

Of course not. I don't even agree with everything you say. 

And, I have said things that, upon reflection, have caused me to disagree with myself.


Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (a book I co-edited with Janice Trigg)

I''m now giving attention to Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart

Followed by... Technology and Spiritual Formation

Then, Linda and I will co-write our book on Relationships.

How to Lead Church In the Pandemic

How should a pastor and church leaders lead, in times like this?

Do this.