A friend of mine tagged me on Facebook on this post. It was written by Rene Cobb Cornette from Harlan, Kentucky. It is spot on. “Where would Jesus be?” she asks and then answers.

Let’s talk about where Jesus would be at in Harlan if he were walking this earth today.

He’d be at the BP and commissary ministering to the people wandering around downtown trying to get their next fix.

He’d be at the carnival in the midst of all the cigarette smokers, with the loud, worldly music playing, ministering to those who are lost.

He’d be under the bridges with the people who’ve lost everything to their drug/alcohol abuse and now have nowhere else to go.

He’d be walking up and down 119 ministering to the women who have resorted to selling their bodies to support their habit. I imagine He would be standing right along side them never giving a second thought to who might be passing by and see Him.

Jesus would be everywhere in Harlan where good, going Christian church folk are scared of being caught. He wouldn’t care about His reputation because like the good Shepherd He is, He wouldn’t stop going after the 1 till they were back home. He’d care about bringing the dead back to life, the addict back to sober and the forsaken back to forgiven.

We talk so much about revival coming to Harlan and this is the thing. Revival in Harlan doesn’t look like a bunch of church people shouting and amening for a few nights in a row. Revival is going to the highway and the hedges. Revival is my four and no more attitudes abandoned. Revival is seeing the lost saved. Revival is repentance. Revival is transformation. Revival is you and it’s me losing our stinky attitudes to those who aren’t living the way we think they should and instead having a heart to see them saved and actually doing something about it. Revival starts with us. What are we doing?

Lord, help us.

Jesus is walking the earth today…in me and in all who claim to follow him.

I became a free Uber Driver and this is a story of one of the benefits.

Several months ago a friend from The Block called and wanted me to come and pick him up and bring him to Terrell so he could hang out with some other friends.  Just so you should know: 1. He lives 32 miles away, 2. He wasn’t coming here to hang out with me, 3. He was bored and unemployed, 4. He was not going to reimburse me for my gas.

Counting the cost, I told him, “Sure, I’ll do it.”  I knew then that this was not going to be a one time thing and I was right.  It seems like every week I end up taking him to or from his house to here.  Some people let me know that he’s taking advantage of me like I don’t already know that.  I’ve known him for over two years and I really like the guy.  Even though he has no intention of hanging with me once I drop him off in town, I do get to visit with him for 30 minutes during the trip.  That becomes my opportunity to get to know him better.  He tells me about his family, his likes and dislikes.  I get to know what he likes to do.  I know a little about what his growing up was like. So in a sense I take advantage of him.

Most of our time is made up of small talk but this past Saturday was a little different.  He called and needed a ride home.  We set up a time and place to pick him up.  Once he was in the car he asked what I thought of the memorial services of Aretha Franklin and John McCain.  This was not going to be our regular type of conversation.  This was going to be a somber and serious talk.

We agreed that it was refreshing that two high profile individuals were remembered by so many diverse people as having lived respectable quality lives.  In a world where negative reputations surround so many, these two stand head and shoulders above most.  They each seemed to have navigated life so well that even those that disagreed with them or criticized them ended up sincerely speaking highly of them.  Everyone knew what it meant to respect them.

Our conversation neatly and comfortably turned to a discussion about the legacy we leave.  What is that will be said about each of us once we die? What will my family say?  Will it be unsupported flattering words because we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead or will it be a true positive picture of our lives and influence?

It became an opportunity for us both to face and reflect on what is it we want said at our funerals.  It became an opportunity to talk about the spiritual and Godly impact we want to leave.  I saw and heard that this caused my friend to consider choices he has made and is making.

He asked, “What do you want said about you?’

I told him my purpose in life is to reveal in action and words The Kingdom that in spite of what happens around me allows me to bring Heaven down to Earth.  I want people to say about me whenever my name comes up, “I believe that Don really believed what he said he believed because he lived what I believe he believed.”

I’ve know this friend for over two and a half years.  We have talked about God and His Son Jesus a number of times but I could tell this was a conversation that flipped a switch within him.  It was the kind of talk that seems to show up every now and then.  It’s neat, comfortable and yet just messy enough to change lives.  Both of us I think parted ways on Saturday a little bit changed by the Lord.  I left my friend in His Hands and trust our Father to continue His work in each of us.

I’ll continue to Uber drive for this kind of payment.

I went to Kaufman County Jail tonight to see my friend Clifford. The police picked him up two weeks ago on parole violation plus he had a baggie of powder on him. He originally went into prison at 19 and released on parole last year when he was 51. They sent him to a half way house in Dallas and at some point he left without permission and came to his home town of Terrell.

I originally met Clifford when a friend of his waved me down as I drove past an empty lot on the Southside. He introduced me to Clifford and told me he was hungry. I talked to him and ended up taking him to Serenity to get him food from our pantry.

Clifford made it known he wanted to get into a residential men’s program. I called several places but they were waiting for a bed to come available. This went on for about three weeks before he was arrested. During that time I got to know Clifford and began to hear his story. I have visited him in jail three times since his arrest.
In Matthew 25:36 Jesus said, “when I was in prison you came to see me.” I take that seriously and whenever possible I visit the guys I know who get locked up.

The first time I went to see Clifford he asked why did I come there. I told him that Jesus talked about a Kingdom that’s different than anything the world has ever seen before. It’s a Kingdom of Justice, Mercy, Peace, and so much more but it comes only to those who believe that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead. By making that one confession we get the Spirit of Christ in us.

A prayer that Jesus told us to pray includes “let it be on earth as it is in heaven.” He also said the Kingdom is at hand or now. We don’t have to wait for it. So for those who have received His Spirit can now bring a little of Heaven to earth.
So tonight as we talked over the phone looking at each other through a thick sheet of glass he told me a story. And that’s why I wrote all this above. To qualify what he said.

He told me that he and another inmate read the Bible together each day and talk about that among other things. This friend of his would volunteer to wipe down the tables and the trays for other inmates. He was constantly looking for how he could help someone else.

However, Clifford saw his friend move another inmate’s belongings off a bunk and put his own stuff there because it was a better bunk than his. Not only did his friend take another’s bunk away but that other man was “special.” He couldn’t think straight and needed help understanding at times. Clifford’s friend had taken advantage of a weaker person.

Clifford struggled with how to confront his friend and ended up talking to him right before lunch that day. He told him, “I saw what you did. You took that man’s bunk without asking. You let him walk around confused without talking to him. That was cruel and you need to make it right.”

I told him he did the right thing. Then Clifford said to me, “that’s what I learned from you. That I need to bring a little bit of Heaven to earth. In Heaven there’s no such thing as injustice. So I did my best to bring justice for that other man.”

Wow! That’s it! Being behind bars doesn’t keep God out. He moves into the hearts of those locked up and frees them to live as Christ would if He was the prisoner. Clifford showed more of Heaven in a hellish place than some Christians show in their freedom on the streets.

Where are the voices that will encourage the downcast? Where are the hands that will bring food to the hungry? Where are the feet of those that will go to the sick and imprisoned? Where are the arms that will embrace the addicted? Where are the tears that will weep in prayer for those lost in this world?

I met Chris two and a half years ago through my son and a mutual friend. He was a drug user and a very likable guy. He was spiritually inquisitive and also spiritually disoriented. He liked the ideas of several major world religions and blended them together like a soul stew. He started hanging out and really liked the whole Jesus thing and thought this was the missing seasoning for the pot.

Chris is not only likable but also highly intelligent. He has good reasoning skills and could see that all of us have a spiritual hunger and saw how the world religions could be combined into something harmonious. But the longer he looked at Christ he came to realize that there can only be One God. It seemed to be a smooth transition for him once he saw the choice.

It seemed comfortable for him to put the drugs behind him and let the Lord continue working on him. The Lord is much better in changing people than we are so we let Him do His work.

Chris became active and still is with Serenity Church Terrell along with a couple of other churches. He attends services and Bible studies at two congregations and is now working as an HVAC technician, met a beautiful young woman and married her.

He is also an artist. He paints in bold designs and colors and has agreed to do several paintings for us.

This is a poem Chris wrote. Like some of the Psalms, it is like a conversation between Chris and the Lord. I hope you enjoy it:

” Dear Heavenly Father
I want to thank you for Your patience
I am a child of yours subject to sin due to worldly ways
but with You I am set free each day
my choices become Your choices
Your will becomes my will
and it is only that which will break the chains
and restore this temple made in Your image
The enemy fears this due to what you have called me to do
They fear those lost will be found
Not only found but made new
Not a better version of what is
but a new creation
something this world has never seen
for the things I speak are heavenly
and cannot be obtained with money or knowledge
but by truth and wisdom on your Father in heaven
No one knows their father better than his child
Every child is special and one of a kind
So he or she is taught differently
And undergoes different obstacles
In order to gain understanding needed to grow
morally and spiritually
So look not to another child for your Father’s acceptance
but to Him directly
for it is only you that can determine His works for you
It is only you that can build the relationship
not your church
not you pastor
It is up to you
and the choices you make
So from this point on I choose You
At times the road may seem rough
Things are not always as they seem
for I send One before you to guide you along the path
for which I have prepared
So worry not My children
I am here both in Spirit and in Heart
so that you may live in peace and unity
With the Love of God
all is possible
even the impossible through faith”

I’m in West Texas with a friend and co-worker this week and we were talking about the terrain out here. It’s flat and non-spectacular in most respects. However, the ground houses a tremendous amount of oil and gas and available to those who are persistent and work hard to get to it. It’s treasure waiting to be found.

It got me thinking about other treasures hidden in the earth and how they seem to be in harsh environments, tough locations to get to, and areas that seem useless in appearance. Yet for those who know that gold, diamonds, silver and jewels are there if you look deep enough, they will reap abundant riches.

Did God purposely hide the most valuable things in these ugly remote places most of us avoid? It is only for the persistent and diligent to find?

Could it be that way with our greatest treasures in people as well? The richest finds for me may be hidden in those that I am not naturally drawn to. The most value for me may come from someone too quiet, too small, not the right looks, not the right economic level for my circle of friends.

Could it be that God has hidden wisdom in those I think foolish and strength in those I think are weak?

Maybe I should go mining more.

I am sitting in the small food court area of Midland International Airport drinking coffee and eating a smores cookie. I am also currently reading a small book by Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son.  The book is only 150 pages and normally would be a quick read by me.  Surprisingly, I have been working on it for about a week.  I read a few pages, think and pray.  It is challenging me in a wonderful way.  It comes with my stamp of approval.

Read More