The last post from The View from the Juniper Tree.

Payson, Arizona

I’m actually kind of sad about it but I have decided to not post any more to this site.  I will leave it up until I can figure out what to do with the content, but there will be no more posts to this blog after this one. Starting today I am  blogging at a new site called Life From the Juniper Tree.  The first post over there will explain my reasons.  So after 3 years, 397 posts and 111,000 page views I am moving on, in a whole lot of ways.  Thanks for reading and I hope you will join me doing Life From the Juniper TreeI’m actually kind of excited about it.


February 5, 2010 at 5:49 pm 1 comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol. 84 addendum

Sayre, Oklahoma

Not sure how I could have forgotten to include this item in my post yesterday.  The calf activity distracted me from finishing up our weekly activities.

Friday we were treated to a day in the city, Oklahoma City that is, by our friends Buddy and Lynnie Suthers.  Buddy and Lynnie both work at Trinity after long careers in the family race horse business.  At one time the Merrick Ranch was one of the largest quarter horse operations any where. While they are not nearly as big as they used to be they still love it and are keeping their hand in it.

So we went to the city for a big yearling sale at a very upscale, at least to me, sale barn.  You can read more about it HERE.  It is a very nice place and during the 3 day sale nearly 1000 horses were sold by auction.  While we were there one sold for $185,000.00 based, I understand on it’s breeding and potential.  It was quite a place and very interesting.

I had told our children and grandchildren that we were going to a horse sale and I was going to bid on some horses as an investment.  I was not serious and even thought the way I wrote it they would know it was a jokebut apparently they didn’t and thought Poppa had bought them a horse.  There were a few that sold for 2500-3K but that too is a little rich for me, since there is little room in our trailer for a horse.  It was a lot of fun.

From there we went to Remington Park,the OKC horse racing facility where Lynnie’s brother Joe Merrick had a couple fo horses running. It is a beautiful race track with indoor viewing from a beautiful restaurant and the Suther’s treated us to a great dinner and an insiders view to horse racing.  Linda did the wagering and hit it big when one of Joe’s horses won!  We even were invited to the winners circle with the owner and his family for the “win” picture.  That picture is posted on my facebook page if you are interested.  HERE

It was one of those days where everything we did was new and exciting and being with Buddy and Lynnie is always special because they are such real and regular people who have been has high up as you can go in the horse business and seen their lives radically changed to be Kingdom people who are also in the horse business.  Their family story is pretty cool to hear.

The last item has to be “my” Washington Huskies win over the mighty USC Trojans on Saturday.  It was on TV here so I was able to watch it all.  That sure was fun.  Whatever happens from here at least we know what it can be.

September 22, 2009 at 9:48 am 1 comment

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.84

Sayre, Oklahoma

I enjoy writing the meanderings each week because I get to see, right in front of me, what we have been up to.  It has also been a good way to fill our family and friends in on what we have been doing too.  So here is the 84th installment.

Item one.  It was a great first week back in Western Oklahoma and full of things one could only do here.  Got to go armadillo hunting for the first time (probably only time) which was an adventure.  These little creatures are not good for flower beds, nice grass or any other plant you like to look at.  They just rip it all up to get at the roots.  So they have to be removed and since I was right here on the “ranch” and I had a shotgun, I got the call.  One more task to add to my growing resume.

Item two.  Went with friend Yandy Yarbrough to put up a deer feeder which I wrote about already on the Juniper Tree.  Yandy works a regular job, is a life time cowboy, both working and rodeo, but what he really loves is hunting.  Riding with him in his truck is adventure because he never misses any animal that might be out there, no matter how much light there is.  One of the blessings of our life is the young families we get to enjoy relationship with here in Oklahoma.  It is so fun to be part of their lives and have a part in encouraging their relationship with the Father.

Item three.  We are beginning to settle in here, even though our regular spot is under construction.  We are having a cement pad poured to provide stability and a mud free place to park.  So we are parked nearby but without all our hookups.  It is just fine but we are looking forward to our “new” place.  Having these beautiful 100 acres as our Oklahoma home is really a blessing.

Item four.  Plans for Summit2 are well underway.  November 12-22 are the dates if you want in.  email me if you want information.  We are responsible for most of the administrative details of this conference and I do some teaching as well.  Here are a few summations of  summit1 speakers, I wrote after lasts years event: HERE and HERE.

Item five.  Jake the dog just barked me up to see a calf hanging out in front of the trailer.  Apparently an escapee from one of the pens here on the “ranch”.  We went out to try and herd him into one of the stalls in the barn but were unsuccessful.  Just another experience I rarely had in my past life.


I leave you with these words from my good friend Steve Grace: I would rather be a poor man serving Jesus than a rich man serving my own means. I would rather be weary fighting the good fight than well rested in my own irrelevant accomplishments. I would rather die for the cause of Christ than live for myself.  (Steve Grace)

September 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm 1 comment

Parables from a deer feeder.

Cheyenne, Oklahoma

Yesterday morning I went with one of our young friends, Yandy Yarbrough, isn’t that a great name, to put up a deer feeder.  Yandy is the consummate Oklahoma hunter with feeders in half a dozen places around western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle and he loves everything about hunting and it shows in the way he goes about it.  His wife Bobbi and daughters Yaleigh and Y’leigh love it too.

Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I knew nothing about deer feeders but I learned yesterday how it works.  The feeder has a large hopper, filled with corn or grain that is placed about six feet off the ground.  There is a battery or solar powered unit attached to the bottom of the hopper that is started by a timer that turns on twice a day and spins in such a way as to throw the corn in an eight foot or so circle around the feeder.  (If you want to know more about it check HERE)

The idea behind a deer feeder is to put it in the very best deer country you can in the feeding pattern of the deer and “train” the deer to come by the feeder until hunting season and then from your near by deer stand you can have a good chance of bagging the deer of your choice.  (in open country like it is out here, you would never get close enough to a deer to shoot it, especially with a bow, so feeders are a popular choice) 

I am no expert in hunting from a deer stand, or any other way, so I may not be exact in my description of this method of hunting, but I think I am close.

Because the deer feeder we were putting out yesterday was in an area where there were grazing cattle, we put up a barbed wire fence in a 20 foot or so radius around the feeder to keep the cattle out.  The deer can get in because they are agile enough to jump over or go under the fence.

The deer feeder is placed in the very best deer hunting area and it turns on twice a day and feeds the very best corn around a very set area.  The goal is to attract the biggest, healthiest, strongest buck deer (male) possible to the feeder on a routine, daily basis for a period of time, until he is acclimated to the area and feels safe.  Of course until hunting season opens, he is safe.

While we were doing this task yesterday the Spirit began to speak to me about how all of this was a lot like how we have done church over the years and why so many people have been hurt, stopped coming or had trouble getting in our churches.

Every Sunday morning, for years churches have gathered in the best and prescribed places and served up the finest of “food” targeted at the people who meet the standard we have for that particular church.  The goal is to get as many people to come to your particular feeder, and to come routinely, every sunday and eat as much “corn” as they can possibly put away.  In fact churches try their best (with, I think, good motives) to get people to eat as much as they can, because there is a belief that the more you eat (know), the better and more fit you will be.

Over time, if you come routinely and faithfully to the church (feeder), take in more spiritual food (corn) then every one else, and you are a male (buck) you can become the most attractive person at the church and great things are expected of you.

As time goes on you begin to feel safe at the church (feeder) and more and more is expected of you. Routinely you are given more and more responsibility and tagged as the person most likely to be a trophy of God’s grace.

Then you make a mistake and hunting season opens.  The place you routinely came for the best of food and where you had felt so safe and secure is not so protective.  For the deer, the mistake is tripping the motion sensitive camera and having his picture taken.  The hunter sees the buck for what he is and starts to figure out how to take him. 

For the person who as done all the right things in the “protective environment” of the church one mistake can be deadly.  You don’t ever want anyone to see your picture on a camera you didn’t know was there revealing your flaws to everyone who sees the photo.  Sometimes eating all the right food, growing stong in the “faith”, passing all the prescribed tests and becoming a trophy of God’s grace can make you more vulnerable than you have ever been.  The enemy sits in his “tree stand” ready to pick you off and often the enemy uses the people who were doing the feeding to take you out. 

We want our trophies without flaws and like the hunter, looking at the pictures of the bucks at his feeder, churches often pick out the one who has the least imperfections to tag for his trophy.  But also like the buck they aren’t often safe.

As we were setting out the feeder in that beautiful setting yesterday, a large herd of black cattle (Angus, I think) came around to see what was going on.  These were the ones we were putting up the barbed wire fence for.  By the time we were about done there were cattle all around the circular inclosure.  It was obvious they wanted in, but our goal was to make sure they didn’t get in and ruin the feeding station for the big bucks we were after.  Some of the corn we had scattered around had landed outside the fence and the cattle were eagerly scarfing up any kernel they could find.

The deer could go over or under the fence to get to the feeder but these cows were too big, to clumsy, to fat and besides they had flies all over them and dropped big blobs of poop all over.  (deer have very small and orderly poops) We did whatever we could to keep these big, fat, stinky animals away from our deer feeder.  They were not the species we were after.

More times than I care to admit, people came around churches I have been part of trying to get some of the corn laying outside the walls.  They found that food tastey so they came around eagerly looking for more.  It was obvious they were curious to know what was going on.  Sometimes what we were up to was so attractive we had people gathered all around the circle trying to get in.

But for whatever, of multiple reasons, they couldn’t jump the fence or get through the gate.  Maybe it was they were too needy and we just didn’t have enough corn to fill them up.  Perhaps it was the flies, or the smell or the color, or the fact that they were pushy, clumsy or too big to jump the fence.  Probably more often than not it was that their poops were not orderly or small but big and plopped all over everything.  Maybe they weren’t from the “species” we were really looking to attract.  Whatever, they didn’t get in.

All analogies break down and pushed too hard this one will too.  I don’t think churches intentionally shoot their wounded or leave them vulnerable to the enemies arrow but we do it none the less.  I don’t think we choose to reject those who are not like us or those who are too needy or messy, but we do it.

I love it that churches everywhere are trying harder than ever to be Kingdom churches, tearing down fences and making their feeders available to everyone.  One very attractive church I know about in Washington even shut their feeder down a couple of weeks ago and took their corn out into the community.  More than 1400 people left the feeder for a Sunday and without fanfare took corn to those who didn’t all look like them or weren’t as fit as they were and in doing so tore down fences that might have been keeping curious people from dropping by the feeder to see what was going on.  

For Kingdom people hunting season is over and our feeders are open to anyone.  But we need help understanding the fences we have built around our feeders so we can stop holding others from our tasty corn.  It also might help to stop thinking our corn or feeder was better than everyone else’s.

Any ideas?

September 17, 2009 at 11:42 am 3 comments

Monday morning meanderings. Vol.83

Sayre, Oklahoma

A young friend on Facebook, in a status update, made this comment: “I hate all blogs, all of them.”  So, if you don’t hate blogs continue reading the first meanderings in several weeks.

A lot has happened and nothing has happened.  After an eventful trip from Western Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest we hung out with your adult children and our grandchildren.  Went to the beach, the zoo, Northwest Trek, Seattle, camped with everyone for a week, visited a few friends, preached a couple of times, went to church with Brad and Summer and the time went by.  All the grandkids are growing and changing and doing well.  Summer is growing and changing with granddaughter #2 and grandkid #6 and she is doing well too.  While there are challenges in each of their lives they seem to be handling them well and living life with hope and confidence.  I am very proud of our children and theirs. Most of our time was spent enjoying and caring for our family.

Item one. The trip back to Oklahoma took us through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and back into Oklahoma.  We made stops outside Missoula, Montana at a favorite stopping spot for a couple of days.  We drove through the northwest gate into Yellowstone Park (up on of the steepest, windiest and narrowest roads we have travelled) and into Cody, Wyoming where we stayed on the grounds of the Cody Night Rodeo with our friend Dan.  Dan is from Sayre but was spending the summer announcing the rodeo in Cody.  He was our tour guide to the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum, one of the great museums in the west, in my opinion and around the beautiful Cody area.  He has become a Cody expert and it was fun to spend some time with him.

After Cody we drove up the Shell Canyon route to the top of the Big Horn mountains where we met my brother Mike and sister in law Vicky, for 5 days of camping and fishing in the most beautiful country anywhere.  We lived on the west side of the Big Horns when Mike and I were very young and then Linda and I and our family lived on the east side 20 years ago.  The Big Horns and the North Fork of the Tongue River are very special to all of us.  It was such a wonderful time and we really didn’t want to leave.  I would love to move back there again some day.  Just need a job!

The fishing was outstanding.  The North Fork is a meandering stream, through tall willows and so every corner is a new adventure. 20 years ago part of it was designated catch and release, barbless flies and lures only and it has turned that little stream into a monster cutthroat fishery.  We caught so many fish over 18 inches that the little ones (under 16 inches) were almost boring.  I caught 3-4 that were in the 22+ inch category, which in that river is a huge fish.  Probably weighed 3-4 pounds.  And, yes I did get a license!

There are moose every where up there as well and the four of us went “moose hunting” each evening.  Linda has some great pictures she will post somewhere I imagine.

It was a very peaceful and soul renewing time for all of us.  I remembered again why fly-fishing has been so important to my mental and soul health, over the years.  Life has been quite uncertain, in a lot of ways, the last 4 years but one constant in our lives has been the opportunity to travel and see places that have real meaning in our history and refresh our lives.

Item two.  What the future looks like here in Sayre begins to play out this morning.  Linda will go to work on some administrative details that have piled up related to the ministries we serve.  I will get some things rolling for Convergence and Summit2 and we will both begin getting back into the relationships that mean so much to us.  Things have changed here in many ways since we have been gone.  I am not sure what it all means or how it all works out but we have a Father who does and loves to see us happy and fulfilled so we will enjoy that blessing.

Seasons change and so do we.  That is the Father’s intention.  He loves to love us and He loves to have us dependent on Him and Him alone.  That is the hard one for most of us.  We have our agenda’s and our need to be in control but life works best when we are desperate for Him to lead us through each day.  That is where I am this morning.

Blessings on all of you who read this.  You can follow us on facebook (  and there will be some regular additions to the juniper tree as we move along.

September 14, 2009 at 9:38 am 5 comments

Hearing through covering.

Belfair, Washington

Four years ago or so, my friend and now one of my spiritual fathers Andy Taylor, asked me this question in response to my asking him what I should do about some situation: “what is the Father saying to you?”  It was a question that began to change my life, because for the first time I started listening to the voice in my heart instead of the voice in my head.  An essential part of the Trinity DNA is to point people to the Father as the source of their direction and decisions rather than handing out advice that may or may not be the will of their Father.  It is the right way, even though at times it is easier to dispense or receive advice, rather than to wait for the Father.

But like all good and right things you can sometimes get in the ditch by not recognising there is at least one other important way to hear and move in the Spirit.  If we are staying in step with the Spirit we must be, in most circumstances, in relationship with other Family members.  The Spirit walk is not to be lived in isolation.  Just like we are born naturally into a family, when we are born again spiritually we become part of a Family that is as important as any natural one.

Being part of a Family where you are loved, affirmed, valued, encouraged and free to grow and fail is called a covering.  Under the covering of a true spiritual Family you are known as you know, your heart is knit together by the Spirit with others, and just like there is no way to be separated from the love of the Father there is no way to be separated from His true Family either.

Under this covering there is safety.  There is freedom.  There is failure and there is success.  Under the covering there also must be direction.  Spiritual families have parents just like natural families do.  In a spiritual Family we have fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles and cousins.  Sometimes I am as close as a brother to my Family and we relate on that level.  I do not know all of my Family equally well and so relate to some more as I do my natural cousins.  Sometimes for my spiritual family I serve in the role of a father/mother.  And sometimes I am functioning as a son to someone else who is my father/mother.

Fathers and mothers provide direction to a natural family and they must also in the Spiritual family.  I am not suggesting they are always telling us what to do, as that would negate the first principle of each Family member hearing The Father for themselves, but where and when there are decisions that in one way or another effect the life of the whole Family, then under the covering there are is a place for the Family fathers and mothers to give direction.

When those of us who serve as fathers and mothers (which in reality we all do at times) refuse to give counsel by hiding behind the first principle of hearing the Father for ourselves, we miss one of the ways the Father uses to move the whole Family in the way He is calling all of us to go and we end up in the ditch, just as we do when we are always depending on others to tell us what to do.

No question, learning to hear the voice of the Father for ourselves is preeminent. Nothing is more important and without an ability to clearly distinguish the Father’s Voice from the myriad of other family members voices that try to give direction, we will end up going from one thing to another without direction or focus and we will end up doing what others think we should do at the expense of doing what the Father wants us to do.

But under the safety of the Family Covering there are times when we need to hear the voice of fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers and even a few cousins, to confirm or affirm what we are hearing the Father say.  There is also, in the safety of the covering, a place for our spiritual parents to tell us what they think is best for the whole Family, when one of us is faced with a decision that may affect us all. 

Hearing the Father for yourself is essential but counsel from under the covering is a complimentary way to hear Him as well.

August 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm 2 comments

Tune in.

Since we are both natural and spiritual beings we have access to both the natural realm and the spiritual realms.  (see previous post) Access to the natural is easy because we just do what comes naturally.   Access to the spiritual realm does not come naturally so how can we tune into the spiritual dimension?

Deuteronomy 4:29 says if we seek Him (God) with our whole heart and soul, then we will find Him.  Are there ways to seek God where He will actually make Himself more fully known?  Yes.

God is spirit, Jesus said and so if we want to worship Him we must do so in spirit. (John 4:24).  The woman Jesus spoke these words to was focused on the natural aspects of worship, finding God in nature, what religion was right, etc.  Jesus was calling her to change her focus from the natural to the spiritual, since as a natural and spiritual person she had access to both.  God is not flesh and blood, He is spirit so to connect with Him we must enter the spiritual realm. 

To worship Him (relate to Him, have intimate interaction with Him) requires us to use our spiritual side since that is what He is-spirit.  As I write these words I am in Washington state.  I am a citizen of the United States and my location is in the state of Washington.  If you want to talk face to face with me you must come here to Washington.  You can read these words but to have a conversation we have to connect here in Washington, that is where I am.

God has told us where He is located and it is in the spiritual realm and those who want a connection with Him must go to where He is.

How do we do that?  Remember what God said in Deuteronomy 4? (quoted above)  To find Him requires that we seek Him with our whole being.  What I think He means is that we must take everything we are and direct it, focus it, point it toward Him.  Just focusing our minds toward Him will not get us into a connection with Him.  All we can do with our minds is think about Him, rehearse facts about Him, remember past things about Him that are special and unique about Him.  Focusing our mind is a good thing to do and one step in the process but since we are body (mind), soul and spirit we must bring our whole being to the pursuit of a connection.

Preparing the soul is a key step in making a connection with the spiritual realm.  The Scriptures often speaks of the soul by using the word heart.  The heart is the place where spiritual connections take place.  The heart is the place where we are most sensitive, real and open to spiritual realities.  The heart is where the Spirit of God comes to live when we are born again and receive a new nature, one with a capacity for connecting.  So the soul/heart must be prepared for a spiritual connection.

A humble heart, the Bible says God will not despise (Psalm 51). In other words the Father likes humble hearts. Psalm 113 talks about a humble heart that  is focused on quiet, spiritual things and not taken up with things we can’t or don’t need to understand.  It goes on to say that the heart of a child is the attitude God seekers need to have.

Entering the spirit world requires a humble and quiet heart/soul.  Approaching God with a heart consumed with natural worries and philosophical ideas muddies the flow into the spirit.  There are things we cannot know with the mind and to try and figure them out keeps the heart from opening into the spiritual.

James writes: draw near to God and He will draw near to you (4:8)  We do that, James says, by leaving the cares of the world behind (1-4),  submitting our wills to Him (7), and cleansing our hearts (8).  We are also to lose the double mindwhen we come, which I think means we must stop arguing with ourselves about whether or not access to the spirit is available to us.  Preparation of the heart is essential to entering the spirit realm.

It is from a place of humility that we move into the deeper places of the spirit.  We must open the pathways into the heart if we are to experience the fullness of the Father.  As we direct our focus toward the Father our hearts enter into agreement with Him and our body (the temple of the Holy Spirit) fulfills it’s most natural function which is to house the presence of the Spirit and that presence filling me up begins to manifestto the entirety of the believer.

Last night at the healing room we spent an hour in worship before we began to pray for the people who came for healing.  I could have used more time because I really needed to get myself out of the way last night.  I needed to find humility and brokenness by emptying my heart of the stuff of my life.  I needed to get in tune with the spiritual side of who I am and to do that required me to be cleansed, to submit my will to His will, to get my heart in tune with His, to put away doubt and release faith.  Because I know my Father loves a broken and repentent heart, I spent time moving my spiritual side to that kind of position and by doing so I released the Spirit to take control of all of me, body, soul and spirit. 

Making a spiritual connection takes time.  Making a natural connection only requires me to know things about my Father, but when I want a spiritual connection I move from knowledge about Him into intimacy with Him and that usually takes more time than I think it will, but when I get there it is really worth the effort.

Sometimes I need to fast from things that I have allowed to be more important than an intimate connection with my Father. Often the pathway I take will start with reading the Word, especially those scriptures that point us to release and withdrawal from the cares of this world.  Singing in the Spirit, praying in our prayer language, listening to music, all help to create an environment that is free of distractions. Even getting my posture to a place that shows I am serious about this encounter and that I am truly humbled before Him opens my spirit up to connect with the Spirit.

When I take the time, as we did last night to tune in a connection in the spiritual realm is made and I take my seat in the heavenlies and encounter my Father.

More on tuning into the Spirit, next time.

August 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm 1 comment

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