Thursday, December 31, 2009

It’s Amazing What a Decade Will Do

December 31, 2009

Exactly 10 years ago we were bracing for the worst as we faced uncertainty resulting from glitches in original computer language. Can you remember the level of insecurity ten years ago? Who should we believe, the “experts” who said the glitches were fixed or those who identified all the possible things that could go wrong? On what should we base our judgment as this was completely new territory? Would planes really drop out of the air, power plants shut down and modern comforts disappear?

Some folks were mega-doomsayers, predicting the end of civilization as we know it. Others were saying there was absolutely nothing at all in any way whatsoever to be concerned about so go about life as normal. Most of us were somewhere in the middle. In fact, our family still has a white “Y2K” cupboard in the basement where we stored some food, water and gas masks (just kidding). After ten years we’re still calling it that. Hey, habits die hard with us!

Turns out about the worst thing that happened was 150 slot machines in Delaware shut down and bus validation machines in Australia failed to operate. Guess we didn’t need all those generators and caches of supplies after all. Oh, well, at least we still have a perfectly good cabinet in our basement with a very cool nickname.

Today we approach the beginning of another new decade and that serious fear is nearly forgotten. Amazing what a decade will do! Amazing what perspective will do. It’s easy to look back, laugh and wonder what the fuss was about. But on December 31, 1999 that perspective was hidden. It’s all in how we look at it.

Though the Y2K threat is history and amusing, the past decade has given us a host of real threats that could cause us to shut ourselves into that Y2K cupboard and never come out. Really. Or we can stick our heads in the sand and pretend that the threats are not really there, that we still live in Mayberry with Andy Griffith and everything will turn out right at the end of the show. Appears to me that neither works very well. Besides, there’s not enough room in the Y2K cupboard anyway.

There is another choice as we step into the new decade. Another perspective. Another way of looking at life. You see, it all depends on what we see is biggest. If the threat of terrorism, worldwide hunger, disease, illness, or economic disaster is the biggest thing in our lives we’ll run for the cupboard. But what if just maybe there is something bigger than it all. Something so big that it dwarfs all threats?

Job came face to face with the Being Who is bigger than all. (Read Job chapters 38-42 to begin the New Year.) After questioning God, God shows up! In the biggest bit of Biblical sarcasm I know, God challenged Job’s perspective, verbally pinning Job to the wall. As you read the account we hear God reveal how big He is and how very, very, very, very small all else is. And that GOD IS ON OUR SIDE WHEN WE CHOOSE HIM, dwarfing all else in our lives.

Job 42:1-2 (NIV) 1Then Job replied to the Lord: 2“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

Job saw differently after that. I’m guessing Y2K and any other threat would never faze him again. My prayer for you is the same. That you will really see God and allow all else to fade.

Happy New Year! Happy New Decade!
Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

It’s a Long Time Between Promise and Delivery

December 9, 2009

It’s embarrassing. It really is.

Been thinking about the many people in the Bible that were given promises and how long they had to wait for God to deliver on the promise.

Abraham: 25 years between the promise of a child and the (literally) delivery.

Moses: 40 years (at least) herding sheep in the wilderness from calling to deliver Israel from slavery in Egypt to actually confronting Pharaoh.

Peter: 3 years of hanging out with Jesus, and a lot of embarrassing statements and actions, until he was fully ready to go fishing for men.

Joseph: 13 years of being a slave after seeing God’s vision of being a ruler until God miraculously moved him from the dungeon to the palace.

Israel: 400 years of silence, not even a peep from a prophet, prior to Jesus being born.

Jesus: had to live in a human body for 30 years after Christmas before going about His purpose.

And we get impatient when God doesn’t deliver in a day!!

I think I’ll go apologize to God and try to get some perspective.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Thursday, December 03, 2009

What We Can Do for Tiger Woods

December 3, 2009

What do you do when nothing thrills anymore? When you’ve pushed, worked, sacrificed, sweated and finally reached that which you believe will satisfy, and it does… for a while… then it doesn’t?

You conclude that you were mistaken, that what you were expecting to fill the hole inside you was the wrong thing and thus it must be something else. You step back, evaluate (consciously or unconsciously) and aim for the new target. You push, work, sacrifice, sweat and finally reach it. To find that it satisfies… for a while… then it doesn’t.

What do you do now? Take new aim and give it another go. Some people repeat it over and over again their entire lives, always reaching for something different because there is always something else to reach for. Others get tired of chasing a new target and give up by emotionally shutting down, medicating with something that dulls the pain or just end it all.

There are a very select few who run out of targets. They reach all that there is to reach and find that they there is NOTHING else to aim for. What do you do when you still want to pursue what satisfies and THERE ARE NO MORE TARGETS?

We hear about these rare people in the news. We common folk are baffled because we think, “If I had wealth, success, fame, family – all I could ever want and more – I WOULD BE HAPPY!” And we would be stupid to think so.

I don’t know any more about Tiger Woods than you do, probably less. But I’m guessing this has something to do with his recent struggles. What do you do when, at 33 years old, you have everything you’ve been told all your life would make your life meaningful… and it doesn’t? The human soul cannot live with that and will drive a person to do something, sometimes anything, to gain relief.

Many are angry because they would like to have what Tiger has.
Others are hurt that he has plummeted from the pedestal they had him on.
Some are mad at the hurt he has caused to his family and friends.

What would Jesus do if He showed up in visible form at Tiger’s house?

I have a Bible based hunch that He would put His arm around him and say, “I’m your friend, I am here for you and will not walk away. I am not your friend because of your wealth or success. I would be your friend if you were nothing by the world’s standards because you can’t earn or loose my friendship.
Now, what’s really going on? Whatever has happened (and we don’t really know) are symptoms, not the real issue. No matter how stupid your choices have been, we can deal with them. Let’s dig underneath it all to get to the hole in your heart, figure out how to fill it and restore your life and family.”

That’s what Jesus did in the Bible and still does. For Tiger or for you.

Instead of gossiping about Tiger and all the lesser known people we hear about, how about if we pray for them. Let’s put our arms around those that are close to us and help them figure out that the only piece of life’s puzzle that fits into that hole in their hearts is Jesus. If that happens, tragedies turn into the greatest triumphs.

“6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NIV)

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Grace That Turns Us into Puddles

December 1, 2009

I am blown away by the way Jesus reached into Peter’s life when he was at his worst. Jesus KNEW that Peter would betray Him, denying Him three times. At the time when Jesus needed His close friend most, Peter turned his back on Jesus in every way. Jesus KNEW Peter would but believed in Peter anyway.

Jesus erased the evidence that could have gotten Peter the death penalty when He replaced the guard’s ear.

Jesus prayed for Peter so he would have the strength to return rather than hang himself as Judas did.

Jesus made eye contact with Peter as the rooster crowed signaling the third denial, reminding Peter that Jesus KNEW it would happen and reminding Peter of Jesus’ instructions: 31“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV)
If Jesus had spoken anything, He risked Peter being taken prisoner as well. Mark Batterson states that Jesus’ was not scolding or saying “I told you so!” Rather Jesus’ look said, “Peter, look at Me. I forgave you before you even denied Me. I just want you to know that I haven’t given up on you. We’re still in this thing together!” (“Wild Goose Chase”, Mark Batterson, p. 108)

Following His resurrection, Jesus specifically restored Peter (John 21:15-19) with unconditional grace. And then the Holy Spirit used Peter and others to turn the world upside-down.


What is it within us that resists grace?

The undeserved, unearned favored position with God that causes Him to pour out His love, mercy and forgiveness without end. We don’t understand it, we can’t comprehend it, we have a hard time accepting it when it is extended and so we try to earn it. Often we reject or try to alter it because we believe it must somehow cost us something.

We grow up believing that you get what you earn; nothing is free in life; “If it sounds too good to be true it is;” there is a cost for everything and if someone is offering you a free gift you better check around for the catch. That’s true in the human world and works well in school, purchases and jobs. Not so good in relationships.

In relationships most of us have experienced conditional love – that if we want someone’s love there are conditions (act right, give back, live up to it, do what I want, etc.) It’s not that our parents tried to love us conditionally; it’s just what the whole human race understands and lives out.

That’s why it is so hard to catch, believe and embrace God’s grace. We have no point of reference for it. We have no experience that prepares us to accept it.

But when we see it, it takes our breath away. It will turn us into a puddle or make us run. Peter was a puddle; Judas ran. There was nothing short of total rejection that could prevent Peter from experiencing the incredible grace of Jesus. All he had to do was stay in the vicinity with Jesus. And grace washed over him like nothing he had ever known. When he expected Jesus’ rebuke, he got His unconditional grace. Jesus instruction was not how badly Peter blew it but was simply, “Follow me!” (John 21:19).

It’s the same for you.

God’s grace really, really, really is free and better than anything we can imagine. It is too good to be true, yet it IS true. For YOU!

I’m a puddle.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sheep Dung or a Burning Bush

November 17, 2009

Interruptions. A negative image. The phone rings… the email alert goes off… an annoying co-worker plants himself in front of us… the pile of laundry threatens to destroy the home… the alarm clock buzzes… Like a child who insists on attention, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY” interruptions interrupt often and loud.

There is a different breed of interruption.

A neighbor stops by, interrupting your busy day, “C’mon, let’s go. I’m taking you out for some fun.” Before you can object, the friend continues, “I’ve made arrangements for a babysitter and hired somebody to do your chores. The day is on me.” Would you welcome that kind of interruption? In a HEART BEAT!!!!

Those are God’s kind of interruptions. Really. If we open our lives to embrace them. Sometimes they don’t look like it on the surface, but if we give ourselves to what God has in mind (don’t whine, complain, resist) we will experience satisfaction and adventure.

Moses was in a comfortable routine and I’m guessing he didn’t like interruptions any more than we do. I don’t know when his 401K was due to kick in, but it had to be close with 40 years of service at 80 years of age. Then one day God interrupted, lit a bush on fire that kept glowing like a gas light, spoke to him from the bush, told him to give up his security and fulfill his life’s purpose. Moses balked, threw up objections and finally asked to be excused. To no avail. Reluctantly he went on the adventure of a lifetime – of several lifetimes. Never in his wildest dreams could he have concocted what God delivered.

An interruption.

I wonder how many adventures we miss because we refuse to go see what the burning bush is about. That’s all Moses did. Nothing heroic, he simply saw something that made no sense, “Hmm, that’s new,” and walked to where God was up to something. Interrupted. Could have been too zeroed in on his routine to see it. Or if he saw it, been too busy to leave the sheep. Or if he walked to the bush he could have been so enamored by the phenomenon that he missed hearing God’s voice. Or if he heard God he could have simply walked away.

What do you do when God interrupts? Dodging sheep dung or talking to burning bushes? Your choice.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Friday, November 13, 2009

When God Shows Off

November 13, 2009

It is incorrect to say “God shows up.” He is “omnipresent” (theological term that means God is everywhere all the time). God is always around us so it is impossible for Him to “show up.”

But sometimes God SHOWS OFF!

There are times when He makes it unmistakably clear that He is present. And it seems to me that He touches every part of us when He shows us that He is showing up when He shows off.

It’s one thing to know it with our heads. It’s quite another to EXPERIENCE it with all our being. I mean, you can “know” that God is in the room because He told us He is and not feel like it. In fact it can feel like God has stepped out for a divine coffee break just when everything comes unglued.

But there are those wonderful times when God shows off. That He is not only in the room but putting His finger on us. This week I watched God show off in our monthly prayer gathering. We sang. We read scripture. I started to share and something happened. I stopped talking (a VERY good thing to do when God is peeking around the corner ready to show off), and invited people to pray.

God reached out to touch our whole beings. Physically some knelt, some bowed, some raised hands toward Heaven and we all felt physically lighter afterwards. Mentally there was confirmation that this is God. In our spirits the Holy Spirit resonated like a singer who makes drinking glasses ring. Emotionally there were tears and laughter. Relationally we sensed a deeper closeness with one another and a stronger commitment to others in our lives.


I felt so honored and privileged to be in the room when He did.

Those times cannot be manufactured or forced, but we can put ourselves in a position to experience them when God decides to show us that He is showing up in tangible ways by showing off.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Get-To’s or Got-To’s?

November 10, 2009

As the holidays approach, let’s serve a helping of honesty to one another.

Who are the people in your family that you “got-to” visit? C’mon, you know the people that empty you of emotional energy. Like human vacuums they suck the life out of everyone in the family. The initiated play “rock-scissors-paper” in the kitchen to figure out who has to sit close. The newbies soon learn (the hard way) to jockey for position so as not to be the last one in the room one on one, captured. You feel emptied and bored by a “got-to” person.


Who are the people in your family that you “get-to” visit? You know, the people that cause everyone to light up and smile? Like a human IV they pour life into all around them. The family collects close to them. When laughter echoes through the house or someone needs a caring touch he/she seems always to be in the middle of it. You feel more alive and energized by a “get-to” person.

You would travel great distances to be with a “get-to” person and (except that you are a person of character) would avoid a “got-to” person if they lived next door.

When you think of your religious experiences, is it “got-to” or “get-to”? When you think of worship, prayer, Bible reading, serving others or other spiritual experiences, what does you gut say? Do you make excuses to avoid or do sacrifice to experience them?

HERE’S THE DEAL: when we experience Jesus, the real Jesus, (not the plastic imitation that some have confined Him to but the REAL Jesus), He is the #1 “get-to” person ever. Ever. EVER!

Boring was never a word those who physically walked with Jesus would even THINK of. He spoke words that resonated with their souls and they walk away ENERGIZED. He put them in adrenalin spiking experiences and they walked away THRILLED. He stirred them to tears when He healed and they walked away HEALTHY and MOVED. Their jaws dropped when He did His miracle thing and they walked away with HOPE. They bent over in gut wrenching laughter when they tried to picture a camel going through the eye of a needle and they walked away LIGHTER.

Jesus has not changed.

Now, back to one of those holiday servings of honesty. How come so many of us have the knee jerk reaction of “I’ve got-to .. go to church… read the Bible… pray… serving… sharing… learning...” Instead of “I get-to be with Jesus by going to church… reading the Bible… praying… serving… sharing… learning…”

Is it possible we have propped up a plastic Jesus in our lives that bores and empties us instead of truly experiencing the life of the party Jesus that the Bible actually describes?

Problem’s not with Jesus.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fort Hood

November 6, 2009

My heart ached as my friend Steve told me about the tragic news of the Fort Hood shooting yesterday. What a waste! What unimaginable sadness for the families! What a heartrending irony!

I awoke to more details of the appalling attack and the efforts of so many to DO SOMETHING in response. But most of us are too far removed to really do anything about such nightmares.

That’s a big part of why these events hit us so hard. FRUSTRATION because we feel helpless as we hear the ongoing news. FRUSTRATION because it makes us feel vulnerable. FRUSTRATION because things like this are not supposed to happen. FRUSTRATION because we want to do something, anything to help others and relieve what we feel inside.

WE CAN. Problem is that the thing we can do is something that we don’t really think makes a difference or we would not be feeling such deep frustration. We have come to believe it is something you do when you can’t do anything else. Instead we should believe and practice it as THE thing to do first… THE thing that makes a difference… THE thing that makes us powerful no matter the distance.


Be honest, if someone looked at your knee-jerk reactions and all the things you do before you pray, would they conclude that prayer is something you do when you can’t do anything else? Yet, it is THE MOST POWERFUL thing we can do. And should be the first thing we do.

We should pray first because it is POWERFUL. Prayer mysteriously moves the hand of God and transforms us at the same time. It is the one most powerful activity a human being can do.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has GREAT POWER and produces WONDERFUL RESULTS.” James 5:16 (NLT)

We should pray first because it will LEAD us to what we should do that will make a difference. When we act first we often do things that are not helpful or make matters worse. By praying first our actions can be most effective.

Let’s pray for the victims and families of the shooting at Fort Hood. And for all other circumstances. FIRST.

Let’s be powerful.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up on the bar to the right or at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Walking to Your Own Funeral

November 5, 2009

Imagine you get the dreaded phone call – your son/brother has been killed in an auto accident. Grief overwhelms you. Relatives go to the morgue to identify the body, glance, turn away, horrified at the brutal injuries.

The next day you stand in front of the casket, tears streaming down your face, thinking, “What a waste! We didn’t even get to say good-bye.” As you mourn, looking at the body, arm in arm with your closest loved ones, you look up toward the door to spot a man walking purposefully toward you. You blink, look at the body, look at the man, look at the corpse, look at the man, look at the dead, look at your son/brother walking toward you!

Your mind struggles to comprehend, “How does a person WALK to his own funeral? Is there a twin you didn’t know about? Is there a clone?”

Flip the story.

Imagine you are driving your truck home from another part of the country. You decide to stop, visit and spend the night with friends. You’re an adult; you don’t bother to call because no one is expecting you home. You get home a day late to discover that your family is at the funeral home. “For who?” you ask. “For you!” Realizing there has been a terrible mistake and your family is distraught (at least you hope), you hurriedly WALK TO YOUR OWN FUNERAL!

“Dead man walking.” True story about 59 year old Ademir Jorge Goncalves, a bricklayer from Brazil.

You don’t have to go to a funeral home to see dead people. They are walking all around us every day. Maybe you are one of them. Hearts are beating, lungs are drawing air several times a minute but they are walking around dead. They go through the motions but have lost purpose, joy, meaning, fulfillment, LIFE! Sometimes they are hard to spot because there are so many of them around. Other times you can see the glazed look and apathy. Maybe you see it when you brush your teeth. The walking dead settle for things that temporarily provide pleasure and then return to living graves.

Jesus said, "I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of." John 10:10 (The Message)

Don’t walk to your own funeral. Choose life. Real life. More and better life than you’ve ever dreamed.

Choose Jesus. Not once, but every day. Discover LIFE.

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up at on the right info bar or go to:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


November 4, 2009


He was probably fulfilling a life-long dream, riding shotgun with his friend in a fighter jet! As the plane rolled, he grabbed for something to brace himself. Turns out he did more than brace himself – he fulfilled a nightmare. Instead of the side of the seat he accidently grabbed the eject lever. In a nanosecond he was shot through the canopy 300 feet into the air by his rocket powered seat.

Now, what would you be thinking at that moment? Unless you were very familiar with jets, I believe you would be thinking, “I’m a dead man! I’m in the air on a SEAT with no wings or landing gear!”

After his ascension peaked, a parachute automatically deployed, gently lowering him to earth. Experts say he was lucky to escape unharmed, that if his posture had been slightly different at ejection he could have sustained severe spinal cord injuries or death.


How many times in life do we grab what we think will help us, provide security, buffer life’s jarring maneuvers only to find ourselves falling? How many times do we discover too late that the things that promise stability actually send us into helplessness? It’s not that we are trying to get into trouble; it’s just that we have not yet learned what we should be grabbing on to.

God shakes His head, smiles at our confusion, and provides a parachute to get us back to reality safely. There’s still a pretty jolt when we hit the ground, but we realize we survived that which we had no business surviving. Left to ourselves we should be walking away with serious injuries or worse. And He asks, “Now, what have we learned here?”


The undeserved, unearned, unwarranted, unmerited, unjustified favored position with God.

What will you do with God’s grace today?

Boldly, Herb

To receive blog posts directly to your email sign up at:
To listen to Herb via the internet go to

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sometimes God just doesn’t make sense

November 3, 2009

I’ve heard religious people attempt to refute this, but their reasoning clunks to the floor of the laboratory of life in pieces.

There simply are times when God does not make sense.

Tell me this thought has not occurred to you! Name the situation, the baffling circumstances, the challenging intellectual argument, the scientific deduction, the inexplicable relationship issue. I don’t care what anyone says; sometimes God does not make sense.

What are we to do with that? Let’s think for a second.

Are there things that make sense to you as an adult that did not when you were a child? Sure.
Are there ideas that have cleared up after you got more information? Yes.
Are situations that make sense in hindsight that were baffling when you were in them? Of course.
Even Garth Brooks sings “Thank God for unanswered prayers.”

Here’s the deal: there are some things that make no sense while we’re in them because we are not yet capable of understanding them at the time but make sense in looking back. Because God is timeless He can see the future but it would fry our circuits if He tried to explain.

A second line of thinking… Are there things that make all the sense in the world to you but others cannot grasp? And are there things that you cannot “get” that others seem to understand without trouble? Ever had a conversation with a rocket scientist? My eyes glaze over after about 30 seconds. Yet when I talk about relationships with them, it appears I am talking about, well… rocket science.

Here’s the deal: there are some things that make no sense to us because we don’t have the education and capacity to understand. Same with God – while we’re in the middle of stuff, it is not that He is incapable of explaining them. We are incapable of comprehending if He did.

BACK TO GOD: Would you really want a God who would make sense all the time. Think about this because it is a trick question. On the surface, we would say “Yes! Absolutely!” However, that would mean …
Our God would not be able to see the future nor would His knowledge be greater than ours.
We could be our own God because He would be our size, no greater than us.
God would not love us any better than our ability to love. (Uh-oh!)
God would not have any greater mercy and grace for us than we have for ourselves or others.

Seems to me that the fact that God sometimes does not make sense, that sometimes we cannot understand Him is actually A GOOD THING.

What do you think?

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Balloon Boy

October 31, 2009

It ticks us off when we get fooled.

It REALLY ticks us off when someone touches our hearts, gets us to pull for them and THEN fools us.

It REALLY, REALLY ticks us off when someone touches our hearts, gets us to pull for them, fools us and THEN we find out they did it for their own selfish intentions.

That’s what ticks us off at the balloon boy’s family. Thousands of people across the country were pulling and praying for this young fellow and his family, thinking he was frightened to his toes and in danger of losing his life. Then we discover that it was all a sham to get publicity and probably money for his parents. “How low can you get?” was a question being asked.

Sad. What must be going on in their hearts to go to all that trouble, risking everything for a moment of fame that would lead to money?

Same thing that goes on in our hearts. Okay, maybe we don’t send up a balloon claiming our kid is soaring into local flight patterns, but how many things do we do to get what we want at the expense of others? There’s a hole in our hearts we try to fill and we’re blind to it. You and I may never get the United States Air Force in our efforts, but it really is the same issue.

What are you doing to fill the hole in your heart?

Try this from Jesus: Gospel of John chapter 10, verse 10. (The Message) 10A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

And check with someone you trust before you launch the balloon.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just because it's hard or painful doesn’t mean it's bad

October 29, 2009

Our generation has a problem. Well, okay, we’ve got more than one, but a problem that seems to get us into emotional knots is that we have adopted a couple of incorrect life formulae. The first one: pain = bad. The second is not as blatant, yet can be even more detrimental to balanced living is this: hard (as in difficult) = bad. One of the worst parts of that formula is that it lies underneath the surface, unspoken yet driving our lives.

“Wait a minute, Herb,” you might say. “I’m okay with some things being hard.” You’re right. We’re okay with it when we can choose what is hard such as athletics or education. But when we don’t get to choose – relationships, physical heath, financial struggles, (name yours), we default, consciously or unconsciously, to the formula: hard and painful = bad. We want to choose the times when life is and is not hard or painful; we want to be in control. But life (grrrr) somehow doesn’t give us those choices.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Part of the problem is that we have defined “good” as easy, comfortable, pleasurable… what we naturally like. What is your gut response to this scripture?
James 1:17 (NIV) 17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Here’s my guess: when you read “good and perfect gift” your kneejerk reaction was “a raise, a promotion, a nicer house, a better car, kids’ success, health…” Am I close? I’m betting no one said, “pain, difficult times, hard things.” Am I right?

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

This week we’ve seen that one of the loving processes of Jesus is to disorient us to reorient us to truth (thanks Mark Batterson for that phrase!). Disorientation, without exception, means some kind of pain – emotional, physical, social, financial, circumstantial or otherwise. It also means it is hard.

Since God gives good and perfect gifts AND He sends us through painful and hard things, the conclusion we have to draw is that pain and hard times are sometimes His gift for our ultimate, greater good even though they cause temporary angst.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Have you noticed that a child who is exhausted, in desperate need of sleep, will often fight to stay awake? She cries, fusses, fights being held or rocked while we adults shake our head in wonder. “Man, I’d like to take a nap!” we muse. Why doesn’t she give in to this wonderful gift of rest? Because she doesn’t realize by trusting the “big people” to go where she doesn’t want to go and do what she doesn’t want to do she can experience something very good. Much better than how she is feeling now.

We are often like that child when we pain or hard things come. We fight against the very thing we need most, pushing against or pulling away, thinking it is bad. We don’t realize that by trusting the “big Person” to go through what we don’t want we can experience something so much better. We must give in to the journey that Jesus has us on even when it feels bad, TRUSTING Him in the middle of the pain and hard things.

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

I have a hunch (no Biblical proof), that the storm Jesus and his disciples ran into (Gospel of Mark, chapter four) was Satan trying to keep Jesus away from His destination because even the devil could see the indications of all the good Jesus was going to do there. If Jesus had allowed the painful circumstances or the hard things happening to deter or distract, the good on the other side of the storm would have been lost.

Don’t let pain or hard things deter or distract from the good God wants to do in your life. Ride out the waves, endure the high winds, trust the One Who controls it all because…

Just because it is hard or painful doesn’t mean it is bad.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


October 28, 2009

I love the scene in the movie “Evan Almighty” when Evan’s wife, Joan, and kids are sitting in a restaurant distraught and disoriented after leaving Evan because they believe he is certifiably crazy. The kids go to the bathroom and “God” (looking an awful lot like Morgan Freeman) shows up asking Joan what is wrong. God shocks her by observing that her crisis looks like an opportunity to him. As Joan sits stunned, he continues to ask how she thinks God answers prayer.

"If someone prays for patience, do you think God gives them patience? Or does He give them the opportunity to be patient? If they pray for courage, does God give them courage or does He give them the opportunity to be courageous? If someone prayed for their family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings? Or does He give them opportunities to love each other?"
— Morgan Freeman in Evan Almighty

I’ve noticed that is EXACTLY what God does.

PROCESS. Disorientation to Reorientation. From where we are to where God wants us to be. Painful and thrilling. Frustrating and fulfilling.

When God wants to do something in our lives He takes us through a process rather than zap us. He starts with circumstances that are opposite of what we want, seemingly ignoring or abandoning us. Though we feel that way, it is NOT TRUE! In those moments God is closer than we can imagine, rooting us on to exercise our spiritual muscles to seize the opportunity to experience what we really want. Those feelings are intended to disorient us so that we are open to His reorientation.

Joan Baxter, Evan’s wife, was floored by this truth. Then she pulled herself together and went back to seize the opportunity God presented to experience what she prayed for. (Okay, it is a movie but is exactly what God does!). God is doing the same thing in YOUR LIFE. What will you do?

What are you praying for? What are the opportunities to experience it that God is offering that look like crises? I challenge you to get up and seize the opportunity TODAY!

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


October 27, 2009


Storms are those times when the waves crash over us and the winds threaten to blow us overboard, never to be seen or heard from again.

They come in lots of forms, but one thing is for sure: EVERYBODY has storms! Financial storms. Relational storms. Physical health storms. Emotional storms. Sometimes they are predictable, but more often than not they catch us by surprise.

We tend to think of storms as bad. And they are painful, no question. But it is in the storm that we see what is bigger… what is most powerful. Or should I say “Who” is.

When Jesus sent his disciples into the storm (Mark 4), He was deliberately sending them into a situation that would challenge their previous understanding of power. He slept while his followers struggled to row toward shore, all the while hanging on for dear life in the teeth of a monsoon. Finally, they shook Him awake, scolding Him for not caring about them. He calmed the storm and asked them why they still had no belief in Him. Their response? They were terrified that their leader had such power. They were so disoriented by the whole deal that they had to think things through in a brand new way.

Mark Batterson contends that Jesus must DISORIENT us so He can REORIENT us. I agree. Jesus must force us through circumstances that get us out of “whack” so that He can align us with what is true. The disciples believed that the devil controlled the sea; Jesus had to show them that He did. The disciples believed the storm was going to kill them; Jesus had to show them nothing could even hurt them unless He allowed it. The disciples believed that Jesus did not care about them; Jesus had to show them He did even IN the middle of the fiercest storm.

Truth is every storm we go through is a gift for future storms. Every time we come through one, having been disoriented enough to be reoriented to Jesus’ truth, we are more capable to handle an even bigger storm. And, believe me, they WILL come. If we never went through storms and discovered that we can survive and thrive, the mildest wind would destroy us.

So let’s not bemoan the storms that come, let’s look for the reorientation that is a gift from Jesus.

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )

Friday, July 31, 2009

"I KNOW..."

July 31, 2009

What is the first thing a child does when he gets hurt? Looks around for a parent, grandparent, or caregiver to run to and cry. When our children were younger some days they would return home from school, look for Sheila or me and burst out crying. He fell and scraped his knee. She was called a name. He was left out of a group. She was not invited to a party.

Do you know what they needed? To be enveloped in some big arms and to hear, “I KNOW… I know it hurts. I know what you’re going through. I know it is unfair. I know it makes you feel sad, alone, different.”

They did not need answers. Oh, they would need to talk it through later and get answers to go forward, but in that moment they needed someone to identify with their feelings and emotionally respond. They needed to know that someone bigger, who loved them dearly, could assure them it would be okay. They needed to know they were not alone. They needed to know someone else “knew” their hurt and hurt with them. They needed to know that someone will help see them through. They needed to hear, “I KNOW…”

That is one of the reasons the Bible tells us we need to become like little children, because when we face hurt we need to know the same thing. If we “act like adults,” pretending that life does not hurt, then it bottles up on us and we end up angry and depressed. In reality, we have the same needs as little children – God created us that way. We can “grow up” after we deal with this stuff.

Around 95 AD, the Christians in the church at Smyrna are going through incredible pain. They had been persecuted, their property confiscated or destroyed, slandered for their loyalty to Jesus, facing more pain and possibly death, feeling like they were less than others. They were coming into the house of God hurt and confused. What did they need? They didn’t need answers, they needed to hear “I KNOW…” from someone bigger than it all.

In the letter from Heaven that Jesus dictated while He appeared to the Apostle John, He did exactly that.

Revelation 2:9 (NIV) I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

Jesus wraps His arms around His children and tells them “I KNOW…”

We all get hurt. Life delivers pain to us with frustrating regularity. No one is exempt. What do you need, what do I need during those times? We don’t need answers right away, though eventually we will so we can go forward.

- We need to be enveloped in some big arms and to hear, “I KNOW… I know it hurts. I know what you’re going through. I know it is unfair. I know it makes you feel sad, alone, different.”
- We need someone to identify with our feelings and emotionally respond.
- We need to know that someone bigger than us, someone who loves us dearly can assure us it will be okay.
- We need to know we are not alone.
- We need to know someone else “knows” our hurt and hurts with us.
- We need to know that Someone will see us through.

And TODAY Jesus will do that for you if you run to Him. It is most often through another of His children – Jesus’ arms holding us through the flesh and blood arms of a human being. Sometimes it comes through His Word, prayer, or worship. But you can be ABSOLUTELY sure that if you run home to Him, He will be there with arms outstretched, tears in His eyes as you weep, saying “I KNOW… I KNOW…”

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet at )

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lent 2009: Repentance


One of the mistakes we make… one of the schemes of the enemy… one of the consequences of busyness… one of the results of focusing on ourselves is to take what Jesus did lightly. To be in relationship with God means that we take God seriously.

The Lent season is a traditional opportunity to take God seriously. It is much more than giving something up. Abstinence from something that we like is a great reminder, but not the focus. Doing without is worthwhile as it causes us to appreciate Jesus’ sacrifices and move toward Him.

Repentance is one of the themes of Lent. It is not another word for asking for forgiveness. It goes much deeper than that prayer and is CENTRAL to having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Repentance is “turning around.” When I sin I am facing what I want and I have my back to Jesus. Repentance means I turn my back on my sinful desires, turn my face toward Christ and walk toward Him. Repentance means I leave my sin behind me and zero in on growing closer to and in deeper relationship with Christ, evidenced in obedience.

Repentance is ESSENTIAL. Without turning around there is no forgiveness, no relationship, no Heaven.

Look at these messages from Jesus Himself to first century congregations.

1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: 2I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. 5Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:1-5 (NIV)

It doesn’t matter how much good we do if we are not fully turning to Christ and turning our backs on all else to REPENT.

1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you. Revelation 3:1-3 (NIV)

It doesn’t matter how good a reputation we have if we are not fully turning to Christ and turning our backs on all else to REPENT.

14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:14-20 (NIV)

It doesn’t matter if we have material blessing from God – they do not prove God approves of us – if we are not fully turning to Christ and turning our backs on all else to REPENT.

During this Lenten season, ask God to show you all areas where you have your back to Him, then REPENT!

Boldly, Herb

(To listen to Herb via the internet go to )