I’m Moving


I’m moving – to a new blog site address (URL for those in the business): www.jeffsaxton.com.

If you want to check it out, it’s still UNDER CONSTRUCTION, so make sure to wear a hardhat, watch out for broken glass, and don’t touch those bare wires!


I once reached out and touched some bare wires at a construction site. (In a previous life – I framed houses.) One morning the foreman told me to plug-in to power. At a new residence, you start framing on a concrete slab, with a line of power temporarily attached to a stick in the ground. It’s not the safest concoction in the world. And there was a 220 line. Usually the boss plugged into the 220 himself. Well, that morning, the boss wanted me to plug into the 220. So I happily agreed. (I usually do 220, 221, whatever it takes. #mrmomthemoviestillrocks.) At 7:05 in the AM, I’m not the most awake person in the world.

I rambled over to the 220 line half asleep and grabbed the plug (looks like your dryer plug. It has 3 plugs) and I put it into the outlet that sort-of dangled in the stick. It was still sticking out, and because it was not a super solid scenario, it required additional elbow grease to push it all the way in.

So I grabbed around it a bit tighter and pushed it all the way in. Mission accomplished. Only one problem – as I was about to let go, just like they tell you, I was suddenly LOCKED TO THAT PLUG for several seconds! I felt a powerful shaking going into my heart! I kid you not, my heart shook like a paint mixing machine! And then finally – it let me go. Or I let it go.

All I can tell you is this – I was WIDE AWAKE NOW! I was okay. After a minute of walking in dazed fashion ( I went to the men’s room / porta-potty) I was relieved to be just fine. And I think I did about a day and a half worth of work that day! I had twice the energy that the other guys had.

But I’m really nervous around bare wires now – I look like the cat that freaks out at it’s own shadow at night when I sense bare wires near.

So that’s a big digression for you today – all to say, please visit my new site and walk around it will be your new home one day. But be careful – and if you find any bare wires, don’t tell me! ha ha (no, please tell me what you think!)


There are several reasons for this – mostly because I’m moving on up, to the big time…

Just kidding. Well, I do hope making a shift to the new site will allow me to increase my impact and help more people. Also, I’ve got two buns in the oven.

No, not those buns. I’m not talking “babies,” at least not the kind you’re thinking of. I’m talking about my twin projects. Did I show you their pictures?

So cute! (but again remember they are newborn babies so there might be some maturing and tweaking needed)

Go to these sites (URL’s – for those in the business. Ha)

1. MY BOOK BABY – “The New Pharisee” at: www.thenewpharisee.com

The New Pharisee is ALREADY BORN as you know. It was first born as HARDCOVER few years back. I am so glad that it was a Hardcover first because it makes a great gift for people I want to bless. But it does cost over $20 retail plus shipping on Amazon. BUT TODAY I AM HAPPY TO ADD THIS NEW UPDATE…

We are now giving birth to A SOFTCOVER version and KINDLE! Again for more info on how to buy these MUCH CHEAPER versions go to www.thenewpharisee.com and there are freebies if you get on my email list at that website (URL…) like…


2. A FREE INFOGRAPHIC that explains the basic concepts of what THE NEW PHARISEE is all about in ONE PICTORAL COMIC-ESQUE VISUAL!

I love comic-esque visuals! (Infographics – to those in the business)

2. MY MOVIE BABY – “Heart of The City” at www.heartofthecitymovie.com

Heart of The City was first conceived (I’m so clever, aren’t I?) officially in 2008 at the Great Lakes Film Festival where it FIRST PREMIERED. Then it was featured at the 2009 Omaha Film Festival

It is now being prepared for RE-RELEASE in a full BLU RAY version – Again, subscribe to my email list for regular weekly updates, as well as special discounts and other goodies.


I’m not trying to be THAT SALES GUY – I just wanted you to know some of these reasons why I’m moving my blog HOUSE.

But the good news is this – I’m bring YOU with ME! Yep I got a guest house all prepared for ya – just tweaking and updating a few things.

Watch out for bare wires!

Please comment or email me with any new site advice, questions!

Until Next Time!



Get Real – Part 1

Get real, would ya?

I love it when I hear someone telling someone else some tall tale, or maybe even semi-accurate story and then the listener blurts out something to this effect.

I think sometimes we are walking around this planet in fear of being truly <em>real </em>- with others, and ourselves. It’s perfectly understandable why we are afraid to be real – because we live in a world where being real can cause great amounts of pain and heartache. If we open ourselves up to others, we risk rejection, gossip, betrayal, slander, false accusations…

“Wait a minute! I thought getting real was a good thing! ”

It is. But it’s also a very risky thing. Don’t fool yourself and don’t let others fool you… tread lightly from this point on – “Buckle your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

Most of us have experienced pain after being open and real with someone we thought we could trust; but alas, we couldn’t. They proved to be unfaithful confidants; untrustworthy counselors; back-stabbing acquaintances. You thought you could trust them with some deeply personal information and it ended up being the case that – you could not. They dropped the ball.

Many of us have learned a terrible lesson about life: those who are willing to betray friends, stab backs, pass along secrets, manipulate relationships or use others for personal gain are often rewarded; they often get the popular vote, the promotion, the social status they longed for.

And a funny thing happens to these people: they think God has rewarded them with for their craftiness and “leadership”. The truth is, Jesus often confronted such folks with stern warnings. But they didn’t like being called out like that; especially from a guy lower than them on the social/political ladder. So, they got rid of him. And you know what? They felt godly and righteous about this act.

I hate to get real like this with y’all, but it’s the truth. After all, this is TRUTHFUL WORD.

And let’s get even MORE REAL, most of us have been guilty of this kind of treatment that God hates.

In Proverbs 6:16, it says “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19) a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

This is a scary list. I can think of many “good people” who have lived a life of some of these things mentioned.

Have you ever considered how God feels when you take advantage of your relationships for personal gain? You may get they promotion. But guess what? That’s all you are going to get. And if your actions hurt others in any way? You will answer to God for it.

“Okay. I get it. Everything will be worked out in heaven. But that’s a long time a way and I have a long life to live, so I think I will just keep doing what I gotta do for me and mine. It’s dog eats dog, Jeff! Nice platitudes, but C’mon – this is the real world, Jeff! Everybody is doing it!”

I know, I know. I told you it wasn’t going to be easy to get real.

You still want to get real?

“What do I get in return for being a weakling that everyone else can run over?”

I don’t know that you have to get run over others when you decide to become real. In the coming posts we will look at all of the rewards for becoming an authentic person. In the end, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

And in fact, in the world of college sports for example, those coaches who decided to become real, found a nice side benefit; their players knew they could trust them. The result – the best players came out of the woodwork and joined these coaches. A few to mention would be John Woodson, Bobby Bowden, Tom Osbourne, Lou Holtz… just to name a few.

Success at the maximum level eludes the inauthentic leader. The same back-stabbing wanna-bee, once they get to the top, they are fearful and resentful of any greatness beneath them or in anyway close to them. (Think “King Saul &amp; David”) They don’t attract greatness; rather, they repel others who are great. They surround themselves with mediocrity so that they can be the standout. Or, they disallow greatness to be seen in their followers, with the result that greatness is never attained, only mediocrity at best. They are quick to dispel any and all adulation toward anyone else but them; because you see: they are totally insecure.

Insecure people cannot be real.

After all, they climbed to the top by creating and sustaining an image (even an image of real-ness, at times) using and abusing those who were more real around and beneath them.

However, if you become a secure person, you will not only have the strength to deal with the occasional side-effects of real-ness, you will begin to forgive and perhaps even correct those who are insecure. It really comes down to what a personal mentor of mine once said, “There are givers and takers in this world, Jeff; which one are you going to be?”

Next time I will talk about more blessings when we become real.

See you soon!


Now & Later – Part 4 of 4


If you have been following my “Now & Later” Series you have made it to the final post…

Congrats are in order!

Basically the notion that we can have good friends both for now and later is not that incredibly deep. Many people have best friends for a lifetime. I wish my life worked that way. I think a person could have a best friend for life if both parties live in the same area their entire lives.

For me, it hasn’t really been possible to stay in the same place. I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried. Somehow I got the reputation of being a bit on the ancy side when it comes to longevity vocationally and locationally. But you know, God’s will is the result of what happens while we are making other plans.

I tend to make a deep friendships – more than many acquaintances. Not that I am shy or socially awkward. I can flutter and flit with the best of them. But I get bored with being merely a social butterfly, barely landing on an individual’s shoulder long enough to get beyond the surface. I like to get deep. Yeah, I like deep. I like to really get real, honest, vulnerable.

“How you doin?” “No… really. Come on man… talk to me.”

Good or bad that’s what I like about human interaction. I hate it when someone is listening to you but their mind couldn’t be further away from you. I remember one time, I was sharing with a prof in college about my classes and some frustrations I was having with another teacher, and my prof fell asleep at his desk while I was in mid-sentence!

He fell asleep!

So I stopped talking and just stared at him.

Okay. So what does one do in moments like that? Should I start yelling? Should I, slip out of my chair and twinkle-toe-it outta there before he wakes up? Should I pour water over his head? Maybe I should have called “911”. But instead, I just stared at him. I was miffed. Finally he awoke and saw me staring at him. He shot right up and said almost on cue, “Well it sounds like your on the right track, brother.” I wished I had been telling him I was a horrible addict with a huge record of felonies. That would have made for an amusing reply from him, assuring me that I must be on the right track.

In his defense, I found out later that he had severe sleep-apnea. Ya think?

You see I’m not out to take from others. I do believe that when it comes to relationships, people are either givers or takers – they are either looking to get, or looking to give.

Ladies, try to stay away from the guys that are looking to get from you. Instead, look for the guys that are givers. I know, I know… easier said than done. Well I have had so many life-changing experiences that have deepened me, stretched me, and really made me more of a giver than a getter.

Have you noticed that those who are ‘getters” tend to keep all of their relationships at the surface level? They are too self-centered to think about giving to others. It would be way too inconvenient for them to give without getting back. I think Now & Later friendships have to be built on an equal exchange of giving and getting. Kinda like withdrawing money from your checking account – you cannot make withdrawals if you never make deposits.

Think about your friendships today. Have you been frustrated with very small withdrawals lately in those relationships? Maybe it’s time to make a big deposit in someone’s life today. Take a moment and write down someone who really could use a deposit from a friend. We all have those special people in our lives that have blessed us in the past.

I think it is time to make a deposit. It’s time to be a giver to that special person

I really hope that once you make that deposit, you will see that friendship grow in fresh new ways! I believe you will!

And when that happens, you will be the NOW & LATER friend that everybody wants!

That’s the real secret of friendships – give to others, even if they don’t always give back. If you ARE a good friend, you will HAVE more friends that you can handle!

Until next Series,


Now and Later – Part 2 of 4

So, back to the spit…

It may have been superstition, but we believed swallowing a brother’s spit was akin to the grossest possible scenario – and always produced the automatic vomit trigger in the bowels of any sibling who ever tried such heretical shenanigans. If it was spit upon – then no matter how much it was wanted or desired by another, it quickly became poisonous dreck – and was shunned at once.

I digress for a moment to let you understand how gross NOW and LATERS were if ever swallowed by another sibling.

I know some people who will eat food like that; they will eat some at the coffee shop, wrap it up and save the rest in a napkin. Then a day later, they will pull the napkin out with the slightly crusty item and nibble some more. Then, two days later, they go to the movies with a friend and sneak that crusty, napkin-wrapped thing in with them to munch on during the flick.

Now I’m all for saving some goodies for later but, that’s just flat-out weird.

The thing I liked about NOW & LATERS was that you could, in theory, eat some now and wrap up the remainder for later, and no one would be the wiser.

I was thinking about this concept lately with regard to how we treat our friends. Many people today have friends for a awhile, and then when they are done with them, that friendship is basically discarded. You know, they are friends for NOW, but not for LATER. The excuse is often something like “Well I can’t be everybody’s friend.” or “I moved to a new town. What do you expect from me?”

Hey, I understand completely. I have been a pastor in 6 different congregations, some of those were way over 1000 regular attenders. I have thousands and thousands of people who might be considered friends (even more if you consider Facebook. I have tried to keep those “friends” down in number on FB as it is) so I do understand that you cannot cultivate a hundred, a thousand, even fifty close friendships. You really can only build and grow a handful at a time. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot consider all of the other friends your friends.

For a few others, once a friend, always a friend. I like the idea of having a lot of friends. I don’t need to cultivate most of those friendships anymore. Once they grow to a certain point, friends for life; as far as I am concerned. Now everyone doesn’t need to be like me. You can choose to have as many friends as you want.

But here is my BEEF – those who use their friends when they are needed NOW, and then toss those friends as soon as their “usefulness” has passed, I really don’t think that is cool. And I know that friends who feel tossed to the side after a deep and mutually benefiting relationship had been built do not think that is cool either.

So the question is, when it comes to friendship, are you a “Now & Later” friend, or just a “Now” friend?

More to come in Part 3 and Part 4 of “Now and Later”

Keep smiling,


Christmas as Unusual

Christmas is here!

When I think back to previous Christmas Days, several memories come to mind. Of course I enjoy being with family, opening gifts, and eating delicious family dinners. Those are the “usual” activities that happen each year. No, I think it’s those unexpected unusual experiences that are most memorable.

I recall as a young single youth pastor I was once approached by some pretty college ladies in our church who were putting on a special Christmas event. Well, they already had my attention, so I was already going to say yes to almost anything. Somehow they talked me and two other single guys into dressing up like “Alvin & the Chipmunks” and singing AND DANCING a karaoke version of the “Chipmunk Christmas” song.

You have GOT to be kidding me – I actually agreed to do this!

So anyhoo, we practiced with the girl who was the director of the evening. She went through the choreography and song with us a few nights before. I was so embarrassed! How could we have allowed ourselves to do this?

Well, the night we dreaded finally came – and soon we were next on the docket to do our routine on stage – live!

I will never forget the look on my two buddies faces (I think I played Alvin) – There they were in full chipmunk costume, with their faces painted to look like Simon and Theodore, staring at me with this look as if they were saying, “I cant believe we were stupid enough to agree to this nonense!”

The song began and a ROAR of LAUGHTER came from the audience! They soon figured out it was us dressed as the Chipmunks. I wanted to crawl in a hole and stay their for a few months! But as we continued, the crowd started to sing along and cheer and clap and we were now really rockin’ it!

Well we went through the entire song and got alot of laughs and shouts and screams. It wasn’t so bad after all. We were the hit of the night!

Turns out many people remembered that crazy performance for years after that. I have had more people than I would have imagined stop me and tell me about how that memory has really endured in their minds. I don’t know how it became a fond memory instead of a nightmare, but there you have it. I do know, however, that I will never subject myself to a repeat performance this side of heaven!

But I do think of this memory with fondness in spite of it all because I saw how it bonded many people together.

We know that Christmas is supposed to be about giving rather than receiving. But I will never cease to be amazed how often I receive so much more when I do give to others. Sometimes that gift can even be a karaoke version of “The Chipmunk’s Christmas Song” in full costume, or something like it.

And when we give of ourselves to others, we truly let the reason for the season have the spotlight – we give because God first gave to us.

I pray that this Christmas season will be full of opportunities for you to receive as you give!

Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving Training Day


I went to Training School to learn my Thanksgiving skills.

I was schooled and sharpened; re-tooled, tried and tested by my own mother. She was a Thanksgiving Meal Master. She has been taught in the school of amazing Thanksgiving deliciousness by her mother – my grandmother, a Jedi Thanksgiving cook in her own right.

You could set the Thanksgiving Day raw ingredients in front of the average male, and they would croak under pressure, moan under total cluelessness. They could haul the giant bird up from the freezer and take the plastic wrap off. After that, they would just back away and watch football on the TV. The men in our extended family could lift and haul and peal, but they could not turn the frozen and uncooked elements into the fabulous food finale’ that my grandmother and mother could.

The first few years, I was content to merely enjoy the deliciousness and experience the dining ecstasy. But the day came when I was now old enough to be trained. My mother had no daughters. I was first in line. My number was called, my draft card was issued. It was time to step into the Thanksgiving master cook arena. It was time to sink or swim! Cook or be cooked!

At the crack of Thanksgiving Day dawn, my mother arose. Since I was now in basic training, she burst into my room and woke me up. “Time to get the turkey ready.” Oh, she said it nice enough. But I knew what the stakes were. Anytime I had to get up before dawn, I knew it was serious. I was still half-asleep. But I looked into my mother’s eyes. Her countenance said it all. “Game on!”

I was amazed how easily my mother put together the stuffing – a mix of soft bread pudding with perfectly cooked celery and the most pleasantly aromatic sage and onion smell I had ever experienced. I watched her stuff the bird in holes I never knew existed. Turns out God designed this bird to be so perfect for this magical stuffing-manna from heaven. She had figured out a way to make the stuffing the night before so that it seemed to appear out of nowhere. And they say mom’s aren’t magicians!

Then we went to the potatoes. Two million potatoes (it seemed to me) were pealed and polished. The scraps filled up three full garbage bags, I think. Then the peeled potatoes were put into a gigantic pot and boiled for a long, long time. Our family tradition included making scalloped corn and candied sweet potatoes. I have no idea how she made those dishes. The corn was succulent and salty, and the sweet potatoes were rich and luscious. No mortal could create such divine offerings.

When I thought I could not take one more culinary wonder, my mother pulled out a light saber looking knife and went into the cooked turkey – cutting slices of meat so tasty, I could not tell if the juices that seeped forth from each bite were from the fantastic fowl or from my own salivating mouth. To add more insult to outlandish injury, she created a supernatural sauce so succulent, so pungent, I felt my heart skipping beats and racing faster and faster! Yes, she called it gravy, I called it “glorious.”

It was amazing to watch this feast come together on a great table – one that had to be specially built by commercial contractors just to fit all of the food on one place. We sat down for the meal. Dad would pray that we wouldn’t die from delight. And yes, of course we were thankful. Thankful to live in a country that could come up with a holiday so wonderful.

We ate and ate and ate. When the meal was over, paramedics would come and check our pulse, to see if we were still alive. If we were, as was usually the case, mom would then bring in the crème de la crème – The Pumpkin Pie!

No way! I was sure this was a secret plot to assassinate all of us. What a clever way to kill someone, and yet be totally innocent of any wrongdoing! The truth is, we loved it of course. The men looked at their huge stomachs, and for a moment had the sense to say “No way” to dessert just after total engorgement. But at the end of the day, resistance is futile. We all knew we would not only eat one piece, but two!

And just to make it irresistible, Mom would take her last trick up her sleeve – whipping cream! She would put that on top of the pie! A bright light would shine forth from her hand and it would totally wipe out all other sights or senses. We had no will left. Men, with five pounds of food undigested still in their bellies, would then eat even more pieces of pumpkin pie!

Mom had not eaten yet. She was the orchestrator of this great production. When it was over, everyone was slumped in their chairs, totally unconscious. If my memory is correct, at least once I saw her leap into the air, spinning sideways twice around (Yes, a 720!) and landed with the light saber knife extended – exhaling a victorious wheeze that would make Bruce Lee envious!

Perhaps I have exaggerated some of this in my distant memory, but that is how my ten-year old brain remembered it.

Because you see, I was trained in the fine art of Thanksgiving Day Feasts. This Thanksgiving, I will prepare the bird for the 35th time, I will perform the same miracles my mother and grandmother did. I am no chef, but when it comes to Thanksgiving, you better watch out. I got my game face on, and my light saber knife is all charged up and ready for some mean meat trimming!

Happy Thanksgiving!


I Got Your Back

“I got your back.”

I was listening to Jim Rome the other day on his syndicated radio sports talk show.

He was interviewing an athlete and said, “Hey bro, I got your back.” You know what he meant by that, right?

That’s how dudes tell each other they are loyal to them. I think it probably comes from the military idea of watching out for the other guy. You know, you are clad in your soldier garb, helmet, rifle and all – sitting in the foxhole in the jungle with the enemy firing all around. Your fellow soldier buddies are on all sides, shooting. It’s your turn to jump out of the foxhole and run over to the bullet-ridden army jeep that has extra ammo cases and retrieve them.

While you are literally running for your life, your fellow soldiers are supposed to “give you cover” or shoot at any and all possible enemy locations. In this way, they “got your back.”

I love this notion.

There is something ethical, moral and even spiritual about friends who “got your back.” That’s really what a true friend is – someone who has your back; in the midst of negative or critical comments or gossip, your friend is somehow able to say, “Yeah well I love that guy anyway. And I got their back.”

How do you feel when you find out a supposed “close friend” does not have your back? What do you do when a friend has perhaps turned against you in some way, or betrayed you in some manner?

Julius Caesar was totally shocked when his closest friend, Brutus, stabbed him in the back along with the Roman Senate. For some reason, in my mind it is easier to forgive Brutus for a political betrayal – after all, it wasn’t personal – just business! 🙂 I find most upsetting are the betrayals in which the motive is centered in jealousy, greed or fear.

When I see someone act like they are a close friend to someone, and then when not in their presence they clearly do not have their back, I really have a hard time with that. There are those who use friends like tools – they have their back for as long as they are useful to them in some way, but the minute they are no longer needed, suddenly they no longer have their back and they are dropped like a hot potato – put right back in the box of “I don’t have your back anymore”.

This is messed up. Right?

People who cannot keep any close friends often do this kind of thing – I think its a personality disorder. There are many “wolves” who stalk lonely women looking for someone to “have their back.” These guys come along and treat these women like they are queens, and then they drop them in the “I no longer have your back” box. Some men can juggle several women all at the same time in this way.

If you have a problem with this, I would take a good hard look inside – is it possible that you see others, including close friends, as a means to attain some kind of personal gain? If so, you know this is really a selfish way to operate. You don’t have anyone’s back.

Someday you will be in the foxhole and the crossfire will be more than you can bear. You will look back at your buddies and to your shock, you will be all alone with dead bodies. And guess what? They weren’t all just shot by the enemy – some you turned on and shot in the back when they were busy trying to protect your back.

And when the ammo runs out, you’re gonna have to get up and run. Good luck making it out of there alive.

Something to think about.

As always. 🙂



So that…

“Wanna hear the most annoying
sound in the world? Aaaaahhhhhnnaaeeeeyyyyyaaank!”

That’s a direct quote from the blockbuster comedy film “Dumb and Dumber” starring Jim Carrey as Lloyd Christmas. It was a very funny moment but I recommend the edited version.

I must admit I laughed out of my chair during that movie. But I think it illustrates a point – sometimes we think we are connecting and communicating positively and effectively with others when we might be making the most annoying sound in the world.

We live in a world of “so that…”

Most people today do what they do, so that:

~ their spouse does something in return.
~ they can get promoted.
~ others are impressed with them.
~ they can get a tax write-off

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with doing something positive to get something in return.

But I Corinthians 13:5 really sets the bar high when it says, “Love is not self-seeking.” And then at the beginning of the “Love Chapter” it says, “If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I’m like a… clashing cymbal.”

Can you imagine walking into a group of people who are clashing their cymbals as loud as they can in your direction?

That might just be the most annoying sound in the world – people who speak God’s truth to others but they have no love.

What is love? Well for one thing it is not self-seeking. When you love another, you seek to help them with no “so that” whatsoever. Also it is totally focused on the other person. Don’t you hate it when well-intended know-it-alls talk AT you or ABOUT you rather than TO you, or WITH you?

If we truly love our neighbor we will lift them off the side of the road, bind up their brokenness, bring the healing oil of compassion and grace and hang in there with them through their pain.

Why? Because love does without any “so that”. We don’t think about how our service might impress others, or how a good deed might benefit our reputation or political or vocational goals. We do simply because Love Does.

Let’s try to remove the “so thats” in our lives and start discovering what real love is all about.

Hey, you want to hear the most annoying sound in the world?

Until next time,


Pebble Time!

Hey there!

As advertised, I am formally announcing the ARRIVAL of my NEW BOOK – “Pebbles in the Pond – Wave II”… I am actually one of 20 plus co-authors. Each of us has contributed a chapter that tells a personal story of transformation from trial to triumph.


Here is the VIDEO PROMO of Pebbles in the Pond – Wave II

Pebbles in Pond Pic





Each of us is a pebble in the pond called planet earth. We feel so small, insignificant. But the truth is, one person can make a small ripple that can go to the ends of the earth. Pebbles in the pond is exactly that – men and women who are making a difference one person at a time.

This world is in need of hope, love, peace, togetherness, and mutual understanding. This book is really just another way of offering hope and encouragement to people.


Discover how you can turn your trials, temptations, tests into triumphs!

In or Out?

Are you IN or OUT?

What I mean to ask is, are you in the “in” crowd or the “out” crowd? If you answered “in crowd”, then you might want to re-adjust your focus and priorities. If you answered “out crowd”, ironically you may also need to re-adjust your priorities.

Have you noticed that cliques and certain social groups kind of naturally “pop up” in church? This is sad, but inevitable of course. I think most visitors today feel comfortable in churches where this kind of “vibe” is kept at a minimum.

But if you are trying to be part of the “in” crowd, what does that really mean? There is a balance of being open and vulnerable and wanting to have fellowship with God’s family, and yet also not wanting to create a closed social group that basically looks down on other people for not being “good enough” or “cool enough” or “spiritual enough”. I have found that whatever the variety of the clique, it ultimately becomes a negative and dangerous element within the life of a church.

Jesus said, “Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees!” (Luke 12:1) His disciples didn’t get it. But Jesus saw them begin to compete with each other and desire to be greater than each other. Jesus lifted up a little toddler and told everyone that “if you want to be great, you must become like this little child.” (Matthew 18:3)

At the end of the day, Jesus is not at all impressed with how stylish and put together you appear on the outside – he cares about your humility and purity of heart on the inside. Hypocrisy is that leaven that Jesus warned about.

It is hypocrisy to think you are “better” than anyone. God knows your heart. We are all the same at the foot of the cross. And we need to live that way if we are to avoid becoming leaven – which is like a really bad infection. Is that how you want to appear before God and all the hosts of heaven today? You want to look like puss is oozing out from within you? Yuck!

Here is a sure-fire way to tell when you are becoming part of a badly infected clique – if anyone in that clique tells you who you should hang out with, and who you should not, it’s time to run!

If you are part of a group that consistently invites only certain people, and at the suggestion of inviting someone new or different (not including someone who would of course actually be unhealthy to relate with) , you sense a negative reaction from them, it is time to find a new group ASAP. Whatever the social motivations, be sure that they are not motivated to be like Jesus. Because Jesus was the opposite of exclusive and pompous.

Jesus would leave that group, go hang out with that person, and begin inviting other people to hang with that rejected person.

We all KNOW that is what Jesus would do. But then why do we find these other desires inside of us that want to be part of a “higher class” of people?

I watch “THE HOUSEWIVES OF————” from time to time, I will admit. But they are pitiful to watch. They constantly ooze jealously and envy and pompousness. They always let us all know how great their social groups are and how this makes them more impressive as individuals. And then they tear apart one another on live Television with the most petty and immature behavior that you might ever see on TV.

Is that how you and I want to appear on God’s TV in heaven? We are surrounded by a GREAT CLOUD of witnesses! (Hebrews 12:1)

Guess what, you are in the biggest REALITY PERFORMANCE ever! And you have a wide audience, including the only important viewer – GOD!

I hope you and I can continue to keep relevant in our outward appearances, but within that we must keep our hearts humble and not simply hang with the “in” crowd.

After all, our Savior didn’t fit with the “in” crowd (Pharisees) of his day, and was rejected by them repeatedly and eternally.

Too bad for them.