Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 32


Hey I just realized it’s not a week until Easter. It is a week until Palm Sunday, Holy Week! Holy Week begins and my fast ends! How’d that happen? I thought I was fasting until Easter and here it is I will break on Palm Sunday! It’s like a shot in the arm!

Today I want to begin rehearsing what the Spirit of God has said to me over the last forty days.  Review is always good:

Lent Day 1-

1. Grace cannot be earned. It can only be realized and received with thankfulness. Anyone who desires it can have it.

2. Grace is God doing for me what I cannot do for myself. That does not mean there’s is nothing for me to do. I must do what I can.

3.Grace doesn’t kick in until I stop  struggling to do things I cannot do. Struggling in areas beyond my control is called pride.

Lent Day 2- A question: How do you think you will change when your God dream comes to pass? Is that scary? 

When I wrote this post I have to admit I was scared of how life was going to change for me. I was being called to a much greater level of discipline and structure. A month out I am actually excited about the functional structures God is building in me.

Lent Day 3- While I believe God has many ways to speak to us I do believe He uses our past circumstances to teach us deeply about the life HE longs for us to have. So what is God teaching me through my past about my future?

God has shown me that I am more that the sum of my experiences. He has shown me that gifts were put into me in anticipation of my experiences. How I use those gifts in light of my past determines my future!

Lent Day 4- What Scriptural confessions do you need to cling to in order to walk into God’s promises?

My Scriptural confessions are:

Philippians 1:6- being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13- I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Hebrews 12:1,2- Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Which of these lessons most grabbed a hold of your soul?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 31


We are less than ten days from Resurrection day now! It is hard to believe that Lent is almost over. I have been so blessed by this journey with Jesus!

Today’s question for meditation concerns integrity. John Maxwell writes, “When values, thoughts, feelings and actions are in alignment, a person becomes focused and his character is strengthened.

 Integrity is defined by dictionary. com  as-

1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2 .the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished
3. sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition
     I love all of these definitions but I think the second one best sums up why we would want to make sure our morality is pleasing to God. It is only when we walk in integrity before God that we are complete and undiminished. Understand, integrity is not for others. It is not something we want to possess so others will applaud our moral righteousness.  We need integrity in order to walk in an undiminished capacity. We need integrity to walk in power and authority throughout life.
     Integrity starts as an attitude. It presents as  a mindset, that we can, should and shall live right. It gives us the ability to let go of the past and look to the future fulfillment of God’s purpose in our lives. It is not perfection but it does seek it. Integrity gives us the ability to be honest when we fail. It gives us the ability to be honest with others about our shortcomings. More important it gives us the ability to be honest with ourselves.
So today’s question:
1. What are you not being honest with yourself about?
Quotes about integrity:
“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” 
― Harper Lee,
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” 
― Albert Einstein
“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” 
― Marcus Aurelius
“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” 
― Frederick Douglass

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 30


John Maxwell writes, “No matter how hard you try you cannot consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with how you see yourself.”

Who am I?  is the question of the day but maybe that is a little too broad to be answered easily. So let me narrow the parameters for you a bit:

What five words would you use to describe yourself (* you cannot use words that define what you do such as contractor, nurse, or parent)?

John Maxwell goes on to say, ” Your answer (to the question “who am I?”) will drive what you do and how you act. In order to protect our identities, the “face” we wear alone must be the same as the one we wear in public. Without consistency, our lack of identity will impact our character, and in turn-our talent.” 

When we do not have a proper understanding of who God made us to be then we shut down our potential to achieve the God-visions of our lives. If God has given us dreams then He has already put the potential inside us to fulfill it.

When you first realized what the God-dream was you probably said what I did “I can’t do that because I’m…”

You already filled in the blank didn’t you? That word you used (to dumb, too poor, too sick, too busy, too untalented) THAT word needs to go in your list of five words from above because it is how you see yourself in relation to God’s vision. That understanding of who you are is one of the things holding you back.

We need to start defining ourselves as, the people of the God dream. We need to realize that He chose to give the dreams to us because He already put everything we needed along the pathways we are going to travel as we pursue our God-dreams!

Is there as word in your list of five that God would have you work on?

How did you come to define yourself that way?

What needs to happen for you to see yourself differently?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 29


Today my meditational question concerns core values.  Let’s start by answering the question what is a core value?

“Core values are traits or qualities that you consider not just worthwhile, they represent an individual’s or organization’s highest priorities, deeply held beliefs, and core, fundamental driving forces. Core values define what your organization believes and how you want your organization resonating with and appealing to employees and the external world.

Core values are also called guiding principles because they form a solid core of who you are, what you believe, and who you are and want to be going forward.”  Susan Heathfield

As I write I am aware that my core values are going to be different from the core values of my readers because many do not share my beliefs. My role is not to change anyone else’s core values only to be true to mine.

Our goals and dreams have to be run through our core values. We have to realize that any goal or dream that is in conflict with our values will probably never be accomplished, that is, if we are being true to ourselves. If we do accomplish those conflicting dreams we will do so only at great cost to our own personal health and well-being. Many a man has lost himself by going after a dream he was never built to believe in.

Quotes about values:

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” 
― Roy Disney

“Values aren’t buses… They’re not supposed to get you anywhere. They’re supposed to define who you are.” 
― Jennifer Crusie

“If you’re honest, you sooner or later have to confront your values. Then you’re forced to separate what is right from what is merely legal. This puts you metaphysically on the run. America is full of metaphysical outlaws.” 
― Tom Robbins,

“Don’t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth – don’t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency.” 
― Aesop

“The first principle of value that we need to rediscover is this: that all reality hinges on moral foundations. In other words, that this is a moral universe, and that there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws. (from “Rediscovering Lost Values”)” 
― Martin Luther King, Jr.


What are three of your core values? Is there any part of your life that is conflict with these values? What can you do about that?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 28


 We are just twelve days from Resurrection Day! It is hard to believe that in two weeks the year will be 25% gone! In the midst of the rushing of time God’s voice keep telling me to remain slow, constant and intentional in all things.

This morning in staff meeting our lead pastor brought a devotion entitled, “Going Beyond Talent: Four Cores Of Character.”

Those four cores are: self-discipline, core values, a sense of identity, and integrity.From it the Spirit brought forth four questions for me to meditate on as I consider the fullness of this journey.

Today’s question is:  What area of life if better disciplined will bring you closer to your goal(s)?

I thought about this in light of the current events concerning one of my prayer requests. I felt in January I was given a God vision regarding an area of my life. I talked it over with  the others involved in the concern and we all sensed a green light to move ahead. Now when I think of the term “move ahead” I think it means to actually… you know… MOVE! I set a time line of what I thought would be forward movement to completion of the goal. God laughed apparently. Today it appears the goal is a little farther off than I first assumed and smooth sailing in this case means slow sailing.

I admit I kefetched a little in my noon time prayers but God was good in showing me that in my case self-discipline means resting in God’s plans and not rushing ahead of Him. He reminded me that accomplishing the goal should not be my concern. Walking uprightly to the goal should be upper-most in my mind.

As I was praying I heard His voice say, ” Son, many times the goal is only one important reason for the journey. Sometimes it’s not even the most important part of the journey. In fact sometimes I only set the goal as a destination because of the paths you will have to walk and the things you will have to accomplish to get there.”

For me then one area I am being called to practice self-discipline  is to walk at God’s pace and not mine.

John Maxwell says, “Self- discipline is the ability to do what is right even when you don’t feel like doing it.” 

So what area of your life do you have to practice more self-discipline  in order to meet God’s goals?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 27

Brent Curtis asks, “If God is the author, producer, and director of this play, what kind of story is He telling?” The Sacred Romance. p. 54

There have been times in the course of my life when I have looked to Heaven and said “If this is the plan I think I could do better.”

The longer I have served Jesus, though, the better I have come to understand that His plans are often couched in the garb of  difficulty even faux-failure in order to set God’s enemies in disarray. Further His chosen path for me is designed to enlarge my life not my comfort. The life I would choose would keep me comfortable and happy but would do nothing to perfect my character or fulfill my potential.

It is the same with all of us. All of our hearts, plagued by sin, lead us astray and away from God’s intended purpose; So God weaves a story, a plan, around us that is large enough and tough enough for us to come to life in. We are forced either to run from God or submit to “God’s fierce intention to use both crippling and blessing to redeem us from our self-redemptive and purgatorial stories.” The Sacred Romance P. 66 

I see that the over large vision God gave me as 2013 began was ready-made to push me down a path towards healing. As I have accepted that the large story is just large enough for me to live in, the way is becoming easier. The strategies are becoming plain before me and I am coming to a new peace. The cost of the dream  does not outweigh the prosperity it promises.

Have you ever struggled with God’s plan? How did you work through it?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 26

What a wonderful day yesterday was. I started the day with a very productive blogging session; I spent some time  playing with the puppies and praying. I had time to practice piano and then I took my daughter to the movies to see Oz the Great and Powerful. I got home had some supper and was getting ready to do some reading when I noticed the letter on my table. It had come in the afternoon post. The return address was from the Mass State Department of Revenue. Since I have already filed my taxes and they were e-filed with a direct deposit I knew right off what the letter was.

When I am on the highway I generally set my cruise control. It saves gas by keeping me at a steady pace and with it  I can always be sure I am within the speed limit. You know those moments when you are in cruise control, when you know because you’re in cruise you are within the limits of the law? Yet even knowing that, as soon as you see a State Police car in the distance your first instinct is to slam on the brakes and slow down because you fear you still could be caught doing something wrong. That is the exact feeling I had as I opened the assessment letter last night. I have been responsible with my taxes. I have an accountant who knows clergy tax law. I keep records and they are easily reproducible. Yet my first thought last night was “I am being audited! It’s the end of the world! I will owe my entire life’s savings and be destitute…out on the street!”

The world is full of evil reports. Evil reports are the threatenings and sometimes the realizations of trouble which a common occurrence in our universe. They are: the troubling doctors report, the divorce papers, the bad report card, the pink slip and a thousand other little messages that we are not safe in this world. Jesus went so far as to tell us..” In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33

The question is not, “Will trouble or evil reports come?” The question is “What will we do with them when they arrive?”

We have some choices. We can:

1. Receive the evil report and give up. This choice leads us to fatalism…doing nothing  because we believe that the evil thing  is inevitable.

2. Receive the evil report and worry. This choice leads us to fear. With this choice we help the evil report to grow into a monster that consumes all of our life and feeds on our hope until we are nothing more than burned out shells. In this scenario we become paranoid self-fulfilling prophecies of the terrible things we fear.

3.  Hear the evil report but refuse to accept it on the basis of God’s promises. This choice leads us to radical faith that wrestles with God until He grants us a blessing.

The world is full of evil and evil reports. But it is also filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Jesus did say that in this world we would have trouble but He also said “Take heart for I have overcome the world!” John 16:33

I am not going to allow myself to worry about the tax assessment thingy I have coming up. In fact I am believing that this is going to turn out for my blessing and for a witness.

What helps you to disregard the evil reports in your life?



Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 25


    It is hard to believe that Lent is better than half way over. I cannot wait for Resurrection Day. I am believing that God is going to do mighty miracles on that day to celebrate His victory over the grave! He is already performing so many wonderful things in my life. Everyday HE is bringing me some new form of healing or revelation.

 Today’s Scriptural meditation was from Titus 2: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good  works. Titus 2: 11-14 ESV

The grace of God is here with us right now. That grace is the power of God to do that which we could not do for ourselves. As we open ourselves to it grace trains us, schools us in how to live godly lives and those godly lives are for the here and now. You don’t have to wait until you get to Heaven to have victory over addictions or deep-seated wounds that cause bad behavior. The grace of God is present now to help you in this age. If grace can change me it can change you. Do not give up let His grace work on you a little while longer and you will see a change. You may have been born with a bent to sin but if you let Jesus in He will will tun you around so that you have a bent towards righteousness. No one is beyond His reach. No one!

Have you ever felt you were beyond God’s help? What did you do?

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 24

Winter Storm Saturn dumped another foot of snow on us last night; So the church office was closed this morning while we waited for our snowplows to arrive. Working from home gives me a bit more time to study, pray and network, a slower pace. Even being snowed in I found myself feeling rushed, pressed to accomplish more. Since the only rush this morning was to hurry up and watch the snow fall I think I must be generating my own stress. It begs the question, “How much of the stress I feel is placed on me from outside sources and how much is from my own expectations?”

Yet another matter for prayer…

How much stress do you place on yourself? Is any of that stress helpful?

Today’s quotes:

“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway.” 
―    Steve Maraboli

“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” 
―    Leonard Bernstein

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 
―    Fred Rogers

And my favorite stress quote of all…

“We must have a pie.  Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.” 
―    David Mamet

Pastor Wrinkles: The Lenten Journey Pt. 23

100_0220My daily dose of revelation today came during our morning intercessory prayer meeting. On Thursdays I run the sound board and Pastor Brad, our youth pastor, runs the meeting. We shared the needs from our congregation and missionaries.  Brad shared his devotional and then released us into private prayer for about 20 minutes before calling us together to pray over the needs.

As I settled into my spot in the sunlight I heard God tell me , “Just be still and know that I am God.”

As I wandered down the holy rabbit hole deeper into the presence of God the Lord began to show me that fulfillment in life comes from obedience to God’s plan and not from results. He showed me that I am called to the journey of ministry and that I am wired in my inmost being to receive satisfaction from obeying that calling. He showed me that when I pursue the calling, satisfaction comes from the proper pursuit NOT from the fruit.

All my life I have been taught that success and satisfaction lie in reaching the goal and the goal is to outdo everyone else. I see now when that relative said “J. will never be a success nor will he be able to take care of himself.”  He was speaking out of his paradigm that success and caring for oneself meant having the most and being better than everyone else; Because of this I have understood excellence only in the context of competition and so I had no need for excellence because I didn’t want to compete with anyone.

The Lord has shown me, though, that excellence is found not in reaching the goal ahead of everyone else or better than everyone else. In fact excellence does not deal directly with the goal at all. It deals with the way I walk this journey. Excellence deals with how fully I obey the calling of God. Excellence is found in being true to God in living. I see if I can just be true to the calling…if I can just focus on following God I will be satisfied and God himself will take care of the results. How liberating is that?!?