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Three New Posts - The Poor, Father, & Presence is Requested


In the last two weeks, life has been a blurry transition from a seemingly-endless January into a fast-forward February.

In case you missed them, we’ve posted 3 pieces of new content in the Commentaries section:

The Poor - Caution: The title contains a spoiler alert. This piece offers a reminder of just how important the “least of these” were to the heart of Jesus.

Father - For better or worse, our parental figures on earth shape our concept of our Heavenly Father.

Presence is Requested - The concept of ‘daily bread’ and its sufficiency is enumerated and applied.

Hope you find something that sparks some fresh thought.


© Revolworks 2019

Les Miserables


The French Revolution marked a unique firestorm of social and political turmoil. One might wonder if our current national rhetoric resembles the climate of that time more than our ideal of a civil discourse. Regardless of what the culmination will look like, the insights into human nature Victor Hugo makes in “Les Miserables” remain relevant. Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of my favorites.

“If the soul is left in darkness, sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness.” (p. 14)


© Revolworks 2019



As the interns gave their Christmas talks before the holidays, I was reminded just how important nonverbal behaviors are to communication. As we continue into the new year, I’d like to share a short thought from the author Gregory Spencer on our senses and how they affect our ability to connect:

“As silly as it sounds, we might improve authenticity by counting the number of human senses available in our communication — and "lean toward" the choice with the higher number. Face-to-face has the potential to include all five. A video phone call loses touch. A regular phone call loses sight. Voicemail  loses hearing. E-mail loses tone of voice. For all its benefits, e-mail has been the cause of untold confusion and conflict. Real presence understands that we are sensory creatures. The likelihood of misunderstanding grows exponentially with each sense lost.” – Gregory Spencer

The full article can be found here.


Ⓒ Revolworks 2019

Outside the Pressure Cooker


Beth and I just returned from a trip to Jamaica. It was heavenly.

Each day the temperatures would reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon and retreat to 72 degrees in the evenings. It would be difficult to find better weather conditions. While there, food and beverages were all-inclusive with a waving of our wristband. We both brought some terrific books. We soaked up the sun’s Vitamin D.

On three of the seven days we were able to take out the sailboat and enjoy whisking across the warm Caribbean waters. We loved every minute.

Yet perhaps the most surprising discovery was how well we got along with one another outside of the rush and pressure of city life back home.

We simply enjoyed one another in a way that we hadn’t in some time. We both commented about how we would love to stay longer in this Caribbean Nirvana.

Unfortunately, at the end of the week, we had to fly home. Reentry was a challenge, to say the least. Several conflicts broke out. I couldn’t help but wonder what changed from one place to the other.

The scriptures exhort us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).

I recently discovered that when I am anxious, my Parkinson’s notifies me with tremors in my left thumb and left leg. (Don’t ask me why.) Since that started, I’ve become aware of things that make me anxious that I never noticed before.

So now that I have a warning light, so to speak, I should easily be able to battle anxiety. Right? Wrong.

Paul’s prescription for this anxiety issue is prayer and thanksgiving. I believe he is right, but although his advice appears simple, it is entirely difficult. It’s a good thing that we have an entire lifetime to work this out.


© Revolworks 2019

Grace or Justice?


“Give me a break.”
“Cut me some slack.”
“Why don’t you just lay off a little bit?”

These are the pleas that we utter begging for grace from our fellow humans. Grace is so attractive, so forgiving, so life-changing, so freeing… We all crave it from the bottom of our hearts. And when we are given grace, or forgiveness, it is a feeling of freedom like none other.

I have heard grace defined as unmerited favor. How nice is that? That we could get favor, or reward, without having to earn it.

“I guess he got what he deserved.”
“I hope somebody knocks him down a couple pegs.”
“It’s so great that that guy got caught.”

This is how we talk about other people. We demand justice. Our words say that everyone should get his or her just reward.

But is this what we really want? Do any of us really want to get what we deserve?

What if we turned these two thoughts upside down? What if we actually wanted to give grace to other people, and absorb justice ourselves? Clearly this is counterintuitive. And personally, I like the first idea better than the second.

We all want grace. None of us really wants justice. So how can we become better at extending grace?


Ⓒ Revolworks 2019

What It's Not About - New Post


“Love God, and do whatever you want.” — St. Augustine

We think much and talk some about purpose, mostly in an abstract sense, mostly in a mysterious tone of voice. We’re all trying to understand what we were meant to do on this earth. One of the new commentaries, posted today, offers a thought on what purpose is not about. It can be found here.


Ⓒ Revolworks 2019



“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” - Proverbs 29:18

Sifting through the pieces written in the past few decades, I’ve found a few that stand the test of time. Here’s a thought on the questions that still arise in my life when considering my purpose:

For at least a few years, my questions have remained essentially the same: what do I want to do?  Where will my life go? What is my personal sub-purpose within the larger framework of God’s grand narrative?  What do I have to offer? What should I do? Where do I belong?

Only in the last few weeks, and really in the last few days, have I realized two things: the first is that I haven’t looked into myself to find my passions. They’ve remained on the margins of my mind, though the catalyst for my heart.  This is dangerous because I know somehow my life is driven by passion. Maybe the name “Adam,” man of the earth, indicates this piece of me. My life depends, in some ways, on this discovery of where my passions lie.

The other thing I am realizing is that I really haven’t done much in the way of visioning or dreaming.  I can dream for a few years from now, but why not 15, 20, 50 years from now? My focus needs to rest on finding the larger picture that surrounds the details I’ve only glimpsed in my mind and dreams.


Ⓒ Revolworks 2019



This is something we wrote to kick off the Revolworks blog way back in 2006, but thankfully the words all still hold their meanings today.  The message remains pertinent as, in 2019, we attempt to breathe life into this project once more:

Words remain those magical little things that contain so much meaning. Each collection of symbols evokes a certain image, tone or emotion. They are the basic building blocks of communication.

“Oh, that’s just semantics,” people say as they write off someone’s thought. Well truthfully, everything is semantics. Words make a difference. And when we speak (or write) a word that is a second cousin to the intended one, we risk misunderstanding.

Enough of the sermon. Please pardon me. I’m a recovering newspaper editor.

The Old Testament stories reveal the importance of words to God. He spoke creation into existence (see Genesis, chapter 1). He asked Adam to name the creatures (Genesis 2:18-24). This was somehow important in the mind of God.

As we (once again) kick off the blog, we are reminded of the importance of words. Here are a few things to remember:

Not everything we read is true, especially on the internet, and including our website. I learned this very clearly in the newspaper and radio industry. Even with the full integrity of the writer, people sometimes get things wrong. So don’t believe everything you read or hear.

Some words mean different things to different people. The word “Christian” stands at the top of this list. So we’ll try to explain everything we can. If you still don’t understand, don’t hesitate to send your question to the writer.

As important as doctrine is, we don’t advocate any particular doctrine here. Some of our writers may discuss their particular views. We encourage this, as well as any healthy disagreements that may result. Be we adopt no particular doctrine here, save the words we read in the scriptures.

We ask our writers, as well as those of you who will respond, to write using inclusive words and to avoid man-made doctrines.

Thanks for tuning in.


Ⓒ Revolworks 2019

Post-Holiday Thoughts from Halverson


I hope you all enjoyed good holidays. I realize that not all do. If the holidays have been difficult due to loneliness, or the loss of a loved one, or another difficulty in life, our hearts go out to you.

I was reminded last week of a great quote from one of my heroes in the faith, Dr. Richard Halverson, former chaplain of the Senate. I tried to locate the original, but couldn’t. So here’s my paraphrase:

“What started in Palestine as a relationship, went to Greece and became a philosophy, then went to Rome and became a religion, went to Europe and became a culture, then went to America and became an enterprise.”

As we move into the new year, the quote begs the question: “What has Jesus become in my life?”


Ⓒ Revolworks 2018

Armor Bearer


Picture the scene:

Jonathan, son of King Saul, summons his armor-bearer before engaging the Philistines, who far outnumber the men of Israel (I Samuel 14:6-7). And Jonathan wants to see if the Lord will act on their behalf.

The  “young armor-bearer” responds in a way worthy of note: “Do all that you have in mind. Go ahead, I am with you heart and soul.”


Any of us would search the world for a friend who would believe in us like this young man believed in Jonathan.

Do you have one? Two? Are you investing your time and energy accordingly?


Ⓒ Revolworks 2018

A Moment For Reflection


We lost a dear friend last spring: Jim Lightbody. Jim, who died at the age of 86, was a faithful brother. He resided in Lincoln, Nebraska. For over 20 years, Jim sent out a daily reading called, "A Moment For Reflection." I want to share this one, written from his notes by his wife, Donna, from just after his death.

I am often asked how my health is doing, ever since my Parkinson's diagnosis five and a half years ago. Jim struggled with multiple sclerosis, among other things, and his words rang true to me.

Here is his text:

Reflection for Today
Final thoughts penciled on a legal pad
by Jim Lightbody in 1969, 1973, and 1974

10/2/69: Thoughts again turn tonight to the many blessings that are mine and have been given to me. In addition, one’s priorities are reconsidered and some of the things that seemed quite important to you suddenly drop almost completely from your frame of reference. Small and common-place things and events suddenly become more important. 

E.M. Poteat made the following statement: 

“Count up your conquests of sea and land, 
Heap up your gold and hoard as you may, 
All you can hold in your cold, dead hand
Is what you have given away.”

It’s humbling because of the fact that one has given so little and contributed in such a small way. The commitment I must make now is to serve God and man in the most effective and substantial way I can. One needs God’s grace for such a commitment.

10/9/69: Keep hoping and thinking that I will begin to feel better, but still having considerable pain and soreness in lower left side. Am continuing to practice the “Presence of God Concept” as described and illustrated by a man known only as Brother Lawrence. Finding it an exciting and rewarding experience, and find it amazing that God can be so close!

I have still left the door open in my own mind that my health problem is something else — despite the disquieting symptoms toward M.S. Time will tell and until then I seek His peace and grace.

I have done some reading on M.S. in several medical books and I understand why Dr. Weston tells me there is a trend toward M.S. It was interesting to note that there is no recorded evidence of anyone recovering from the disease. 

I do not view that with alarm or concern because no matter what ultimately happens to me, I know there will be many who are less fortunate than I. 

I need to remind myself continually that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord. It is sometimes difficult to properly interpret the meaning of this, but I accept and through faith will believe it. JL

6/19/73: At approximately 12:30 a.m. I had the first experience of paralysis on the left side of body including both arm and leg. It hit suddenly and left suddenly. 

Note [from Donna]:  Jim continued to record more such experiences for a month— sometimes it happened several times a day. I am not certain when they subsided, but fortunately they did not continue, although his left leg was left very weak and often numb.

His last notes on the legal pad are 9/14/74 and 9/28/74 where he writes about his left leg giving him trouble as we walked to and from the football stadium. At that time we parked in the big parking lot at the City Country Building, so it was quite a walk. 

As I have told many of you, Jim never complained to me or anyone about his health issues in all those years — M.S., diabetes, cancer, myelo fibrosis, brain injury. In fact, no doubt there where times when he should have given me more facts.

I hope these few days of excerpts from his writings have given you some insight into how he handled his life. For someone who loved to play golf, tennis, handball, softball, and referee football and basketball, it must have made him sad inside. But he gave them up gracefully and with dignity when the time came that he couldn’t participate. 

And now I say, “Good-by,”
“May God Hold You all in the Palm of His Hand.”

Love in Christ,


A Word to the Wise


This morning a friend talked about words in our Monday group.

The discussion that followed was stimulating. You see, words have weight; they have density. Words linked together can become a curse or a blessing.

One friend described one such curse that was tossed at his friend by his father. The young man had moved away to work in a distant place, while his brother stayed home and worked for the dad. When the brother at home died, the other brother came home to work with his father. It must not have gone well. At one point the father flashed out in anger at the surviving brother:

“The wrong son died.”

Another in the group described a young Marine who pulled a piece of paper from his wallet. The paper was tattered and well worn. When asked, the Marine said the note was the result of an activity lead by a high school teacher. The teacher had asked each person to write something affirming about each of the others. The teacher then sorted the responses, typed them up, and gave each student a copy of what others had said about him or her.

James exhorts us: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”

This is good advice, considering the impact of our words.


© Revolworks 2018

What God Can Do With A Little Space


I was reminded last week of how many retreats I have attended. I keep hoping that I will go to just the right one that will truly make me a better person for life. The trouble is, after going to retreat after retreat, I still do bad things. I violate my principles. I think the wrong way. And I fail to turn my best intentions into good works.
I am finding out that the vision of the ”Good Brad” is just an illusion.

I am not any better, despite what my mother would tell you.

I’m beginning to realize that even when I am at my very best, some form of the following happens:

  1. I face a situation that overwhelms me.

  2. I realize that I am broken and, despite my best efforts, cannot fix it.

  3. I make a confession, or I release the matter, or I somehow stop and allow some space that I myself choose to resist from filling.

  4. I bend the knee to pray, inviting Jesus into the space I’ve just made for him.

  5. He performs his best works.

  6. Then I am allowed to watch what happens, much as Gideon did after sending most of his army home.

  7. Again somehow it seems like such a massive hurdle is reduced to a short step.

Oh, that I could find a way to make more and more space for Jesus in my life.


© Revolworks 2018

Billy Graham


Billy Graham died yesterday. Like millions of other people, I see him as a hero. So just like the other millions of people, I am going to drag out my Billy Graham stories for you. I hope you enjoy them.

I remember my episode like it was yesterday. I was a 20-year-old sophomore from the University of Nebraska. While performing my internship, I spent three weeks with the army of volunteers who planned the National Prayer Breakfast from their office in Roslyn, Virginia. I had two of the coolest internship supervisors any man could imagine. One was John Coe, 24 years old, tall, and as charismatic as any person I have ever met. The other was Lyston Peebles, a fun-loving and crazy thirty-something Young Life leader from North Carolina. (Lyston Clyde Peebles III is his given name.)

My dad had just driven me out from Nebraska, and I was going to spend four months in the “big city” – Washington, DC. When I arrived, things were hopping. Ronald Reagan had just won his first presidential election and moved into DC about the same time I did. As you may or may not know, the president has attended the National Prayer Breakfast on the first Thursday each February, every year since 1952. And if you’re familiar with the prayer breakfast, you’ll recognize that it is really more of a convention than a breakfast. All told, about 4,500 of your closest friends from 100 different countries are in attendance. All over the Washington Hilton Hotel suites are rented in order to host guests from all over the country, and all over the world. That’s enough background, I hope you get the picture.

Lyston was shuffling me all over the hotel, doing the things that interns do: call this person, and deliver this, pick up that, bring the speaker to his next audience.  At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the day before the breakfast, he told me to go to a certain meeting room and sit in on a meeting. “Don’t say anything. Sit in the back and observe what’s happening,” he told me, with some serious warning.

I found the room, and made my way to the back corner, as far from the main door as I could go. It wasn’t long before I noticed the room was full of church leaders and evangelists from all over the world. I recognized Louis Palau, Bill Bright, Charles Colson, U.S. Senator Harold Hughes, Doug Coe, the Reverend Richard Halverson, and I would say about thirty more gathered for their annual meeting. It seemed as though each person was taking turns talking about his (yes, they were all men) ministry. I think there was a five minute time limit, but no one paid attention. Each person was taking more time than he was allotted, so I assumed that everyone would not be able to share. Soon I heard commotion coming from the rear entrance. It looked like a mob scene, but I could see the tall Billy Graham in the middle. The other guests clamored for his attention. Billy made his way to the podium to give his address. It seemed as though it was his meeting, and I assumed he had invited all the guests. Billy’s remarks took all of about two minutes. He told men how much he appreciated them coming and offered his help in any way he could. He pointed out a few persons in attendance, and didn’t say much more. The entirety of his remarks could not have taken more than two minutes.

When he was done, Billy began to make his way toward the door. He probably had another appointment he needed to attend. The mob surrounded him again. Then, before I really realized what was happening, he turned his head to the back corner of the room. He made a left turn, leaving the group of glad-handers, and made a beeline towards me. I didn’t know whether to be honored or fearful. Billy Graham walked straight up to me and put out his hand.

“What is your name?” he asked.

”My name is Brad from Nebraska. Lyston sent me down to observe your meeting.”

”So what brings you to the National Prayer Breakfast?” he asked.

”I am an intern helping with the prayer breakfast. John and Lyston are in charge of my time.”

”And have you been learning a lot?” he asked. About this time, I felt like the most important man in the building. Billy’s genuine interest ignited a flame inside me.

"Yes, I’m just getting started, but I’m learning a lot."

Our conversation probably lasted three minutes or less. And I’m sure that the men in attendance wondered whom in the world Billy Graham had gone so far out of his way to address. As Billy talked to me, I got the feeling that there was no one else in the world he cared about except me. I’ll never forget it. After a short but intentional conversation with me, Billy Graham turned and headed back to the mob. He shook a few hands and exited.

My friend, Jack Campbell from Lincoln, tells a similar story about his Young Presidents Organization Group. These groups are comprised of extremely ambitious and successful young businessmen. While these men were waiting for their speaker, Doug Coe poked his head into the room.

“I have somebody here I want you to meet.”

Don’t ask me how Doug Coe knew who was in the group or where they were meeting, but Doug had the knack for connecting with all kinds of extraordinary people. When Doug opened the door, in walked Billy Graham. He made his way around the room, having intentional discussions with each person he met. He shook every hand, and repeated every name. And he left. When the person in charge walked into the room, he began making his way around the room and shaking hands, as Billy Graham did. But after a few handshakes, he gave up and said something like, “It will take too long for me to shake everybody’s hands, so I let’s just start the meeting." Under his breath, one of the men replied, ”That’s okay, you don’t have to shake our hands, but Billy Graham just did.” The room erupted with laughter. Everyone understood the joke except one.

Most people will remember Billy Graham for his immense speaking abilities, his worldwide travel, his massive revival gatherings, his relationship with every president in my lifetime, the books he authored, and the fame that he couldn’t avoid.  But the rest of us, and especially those who knew him best, will remember him for his spiritual leading, his love for family, and his immense relational skills. And though his health issues kept him from the limelight the last few years, this world will miss him.

I will look forward to time with him in the next.


© Revolworks 2018

Insights From Mortality


So here I sit… my mother-in-law, Karla, fighting for life.

We haven’t always gotten along, but somehow over these 33 years of sharing family, we have learned to love each other. I have learned much.

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Pleasure Sorrow Poem


Yesterday I was thinking about my entry on yesterday’s blog. My mind drifted to a poem I read recently by William Barkley, the great Bible commentary writer. He was discussing the Beatitudes, and specifically Matthew 5:4. As you recall, this is the reference to, “ Blessed are those who mourn…”

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In this morning’s, I read eight inspiring stories of survivors of the
World Trade Center attack of 9-11. I also happen to have read Genesis 11, the story of
the Tower of Babel. As I pondered whether there was any connection between the two
stories, several parallels came to mind.

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Signed Up to Suffer?


“They signed up to suffer.”  I never really thought about it this way.  My studies of the first century church have included the thought that Paul, Peter and their buddies endured hardships.

Hardships are normally unpredictable, so, according my former thinking, they blindly followed Jesus, and the resulting hardships caught them by surprise.



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Let’s talk about gratitude… an attitude of gratitude.

We have all heard talks through years about God’s will for our lives. We often ponder God’s will for us in the years ahead, expecting that we will be able to prophesy about our future.

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