Where Each Story Leads…

Over the past weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve shared a series of messages through the inspiring stories retold in Hebrews 11 called Incredible Faith.

Here’s the capstone message…

We revisit these messages from past weeks and the central theme behind each…

~Incredible Faith is Something I’ve Never Done Before.

~Seeking the Father Heart of God

~Incredible Faith: Noah

~Incredible Faith: Abraham & Sarah

~Incredible Faith: Joseph

~Incredible Faith: Moses

It all points to a powerful truth nestled in Hebrews 12:1-2

Photo by Bianca G. on Pexels.com

-What joy propels you? 

-What risk is before you?

Incredible Faith – Moses

In the life of Moses, we discover that we are called to live by faith, having the courage to…

  1. Follow the unseen plan of God (Hebrews 11:23).
  2. Identify with the people of God (vv. 24-25).
  3.  Embrace the mission of Christ (vv. 26-27). 
  4. Celebrate deliverance before it comes (v. 28).
  5.  Step out in obedience (v. 29). 
Photo by Mat Reding on Pexels.com

Incredible Faith – Joseph

If you had to pick one thing that stands out to you from the life of Joseph, what would it be?

In Hebrews 11:22, the Holy Spirit highlights one thing… one defining scene from the life of this hero of the faith. Before you look it up or listen to the message below, what do you think it is?

Hint: it may not be what you expected!

Did your Joseph highlight reel match what Hebrews 11 underscores?

Did “his bones” even make your top ten list?

What will you leave as your legacy for future generations?

Photo by Andreas Fickl on Pexels.com

“Go!” said the LORD.

I started this message on the incredible faith of Abraham & Sarah from Hebrews 11:8-19 with a retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6.

In what ways does the faith journey of Abraham & Sarah encourage you?

Which parts challenge you?

What is your “I will…” (your next step to “go”)?

Who will you share with what you discovered?

“Abraham, Abraham…” said the LORD.

“LORD, is that You?” Abraham asked.

“Yes, My child,” He responded tenderly. “I have something I want to say to you.”

With eagerness, Abraham shot back, Well, speak, LORD! I’m listening. I will do whatever You say and go wherever You ask me to go!”

“I know, Abraham. That’s why I’m calling you today. I have put that faith in your heart, so you will trust Me wherever I send you,” He said.

Bubbling over with excitement: “Thank You, LORD! Praise You, LORD! I do trust You. I love You. Thank You for speaking to me and thank You for calling me and thank You for loving me and…”

“ABRAHAM. Abraham,” His strong voice echoed.  “I am calling you… to leave your home country, the people you know, the land you’re accustomed to, even your father’s family – and go!”

“Go? LORD, go where?” the man of faith wondered.

The firm and loving One replied: “Go… to the land I will show you.”

Shaking but believing, His son said, “Go… Okay, go. And You will show me where to go. What should I do in this new land where You are sending me?”

Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Yes, LORD! I trust You with all of my heart,” Abraham immediately responded.

“Abraham, I’ll show you what you must do in this new land,” the ever-gracious One said.

Again thinking out loud as he wondered: “What about my wife?”

“Bring your wife with you of course,” the compassionate Father said.

Abraham processed aloud, “When we go to this new land that You will show us and we do what you will tell us to do, what will happen to us?”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

Abraham said, “Yes, LORD! I trust You with all I am. And then some… I trust You, because You have taught me and You help me to trust You!”

The LORD promised, “Abraham, I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever speaks against you I will curse. And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. I am going to send the Savior through your family.”

“LORD, I trust You,” the man of God confessed.  “I believe what You say is true. At the same time, You have given me no children, and I am already an old man. My body is as good as dead.”

“Abraham, do you trust Me?”

“Yes, LORD! Oh, I trust You,” Abraham said from the deepest part of his being.  “You are God, and You can be fully trusted always. Everything You do is good, and everything You say is true and right.”

With a gentle hand, the LORD lifted his son’s gaze heavenward: “Abraham, look up and count the stars. If you can…” He said with a love-laced chuckle.  “This is how many children your family will have. Every person who believes in My Messiah will join your family of faith. Because you believe, you are right with Me, and we are close friends.”

“LORD, let’s go,” His son Abraham responded, exploding with anticipation.  “I will listen. I will follow You. I will… Wherever You lead, let’s go together.”

“Yes, Abraham, I will be with you every step of the way. I will always keep My promises to you – no matter what happens. I will speak to you, and you will follow Me. And you will speak My words to others. Let’s go,” said the LORD. “For I will be with you.”

(A retelling of Genesis 12:1-4 and 15:3-6)

Incredible Faith – Noah

What does faith look like? In fact, what in the world is it?

~Is it something etherial that’s near impossible to wrap our arms around?
~Is it just superstition, something we muster up in an attempt to be spiritual?


Or is it something quite powerful that we can experience, express, and walk out every day?

If you know me, you probably know my answer.

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

Today, I got to share a message about one of these everyday people, who lived with incredible faith, and how faith changed his life, his family, and the course of human history…

Artwork: “The Celebration” by Tom duBois

Hebrews 11 is chock full of examples of people who lived, loved, and walked by faith!

What stands out most to you from the story of Noah and his family?

How will you apply these discoveries in your life? Who will you share with?

Contrary to these Contrarians

“It is only the ignorant who dream that spirits are really winged men.”

~Dionysius the Areopagite, 5th century
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

To Whom It May Concern:

Some of the responses that I received to my initial posting were quite flattering.  Others included helpful follow-up questions and dialogue.

One question repeatedly asked—much to my perturbance—was about the cause of my current leave of absence of unspecified length. 

Allow me to state here succinctly what I found to be quite tiresome to send to many nosy inquirers. It is none of your business the reasons for my current state of employment or the lack thereof!  

I would instead encourage you to learn from my wisdom, gleaning principles which when practiced can help you secure your own employment status and avoid the risk of unnecessary absences yourself.

Now, to dig into the proverbial meat of our discourse… I hope you are wearing your sharpest incisors.

There are certain shrill voices in the world today whose canary-like calls are disturbing our peace and rattling the cages of many, who for so long have sat most comfortably in confinement of their own construction. This, of course, is of grave concern to us.  We must ensure these noisemakers are silenced—or at the very least stifled.

Photo by Ato Anthony on Unsplash

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries.

The business of religion and church as usual is our delight.  

Especially remember to concentrate firepower on those who seem to possess an undue zeal for genuine spirituality and exhibit a desire to influence or serve others out of a pure heart.

How weak and disgusting!

Contrary to these contrarians, we must reinforce the age-old word on the street and common sense practices that have proven so helpful to our enterprise in recent centuries…

As aforementioned, we must ensure religious mindsets are deeply entrenched.  Overtime, as ruts are embossed and reinforced into the soft material of human souls, they will deepen, eventually becoming an inescapable pit.

If we are to ensure this pleasant outcome, we must consistently trumpet, and at times, whisper these essential values into the ears of our clientele.

Photo by Kendall Hoopes

On the Acquiring of Much Knowledge

We must ensure the focus of our clients remains securely fixed upon knowledge acquisition.  Encourage incessant learning paired with insipid obedience.  

Keep them ever knowing and rarely if ever doing.  Flood them with multitudinous methods, materials, books, and conferences.  

Ensure you provide clients enough intellectual fare to gorge themselves for years—if not decades.  The exact topics and themes matter little.  Most anything will do as long as it “glimmers in the cup,” distracts, and draws attention away from our Enemy.

Again, it goes without saying that electronic media forms are just as useful as tried-and-true paper.  Never neglect videos, articles, e-books, links, and cross-references.

Whatever fuels a knowledge-based pursuit of mastery on any subject is to be embraced and made readily available in abundance!  With equal force, vehemently discourage applying what is learned to one’s life.

Analysis vs. Synthesis

Ensure any learning pursued focuses strictly on analysis, as opposed to synthesis, which lends itself toward application and problem-solving.  

An unfortunate side effect of learning—for some—is the dastardly desire to instruct others. Any dimwit can recognize this presents potential problems.  

Photo by alleksana

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

These dangerous ripple effects can be challenging to control once initiated, so my encouragement is: at all costs, prevent their initial impact from occurring.

This whole chain reaction can be easily diffused by one skilled in our trade.

When a splashing idea’s birth of influence increases, so does its potential to whet the appetite of a wider audience toward implementation of what’s learned and lasting life change.

Run from discovery!

Emphasize much didactic instruction while steering away from a discovery process.

If this turn of phrase is unfamiliar to you, don’t bother wasting precious productivity to Google it.  The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.  

School of Athens by Raphael

Even our chief Enemy himself, during the years he walked the earth in the flesh—making it so challenging for our associates in a certain Middle Eastern locality to perform effectively—demonstrated a high regard for the power questions.

This can be observed in the disproportionately low ratio of questions he answered to those he asked.  Certainly, we are a far cry from being given to follow his example.

Photo by Sharefaith

The concept of discovery-based learning has ancient roots, tracing back to thought leaders throughout the ages, some our allies and some bitter enemies.

The power of narrow, leading questions

Of course, leading questions can be used appropriately to guide wandering minds in our direction; however, our organization has never supported the belief that our clients have the capacity as humans to ponder together deeply enough to discover truth.  At the very least, we have developed some convincing theories to explain cases that seem to suggest that disconcerting pattern.

Instead, we prefer to reinforce the influence of highly authoritative—dare I say, domineering—teachers who gather a following and effectively lead others astray toward their cause.

Photo by Lukas

Again, the specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy.

For key leaders like these, we feed and reinforce their pride in their teaching position or title.  Any traces of humility can be effectively medicated by excessive attention, praise, and promotion.

The specificity of the cause is of little import, as long as it impassions and emboldens attitudes, behaviors, and direction distant from our Enemy…

“Oh, Captain, my Captain!”

This dynamic creates a delightful dependency on human authority figures.  These captains, whom we have exalted, owe us immensely; with a little coaching, they can steer the ship in whichever direction best suits our larger global initiatives.

Photo by Ibrahim Boran

This is a peripheral point, but ethnocentricity is to be highly encouraged.  A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

It becomes quite easy to explain away some of the more radical “spiritual movements,” taking place in the earth today, which our organization is laboring feverishly to quench, when we can simply suggest: 

“Well, that’s a distant part of the world. If the stories are even remotely true, it certainly could never happen here!”

Photo by Aksonsat Uanthoeng on Pexels.com

A laser focus on one’s own cultural paradigms and personal experience nearly guarantees that outside-the-box thinking and cross-pollination between trouble makers will be largely thwarted.

Dangerous stories

Stories can be dangerous things when told from untrained lips and captured by the wrong ears.  Inversely, tales, whether true or embellished, can be told to inspire fear, devotion, and any ostensible outcome that a spell-binding oracle desires.

I suppose that suffices for a day’s post.  I do intend to continue extending my wisdom online to any and all who will listen, until my furlough is remedied.

Be advised that my services, including on-site consulting, are available at the right price or to the highest bidder, whichever would be more advantageous to myself.

Presently Available, Though Likely Not Indefinitely,

P. Sophresh,

Distinguished Former Department Head, Messenger of Light Inc.

(Currently on a leave of absence. Seeking opportunities. References available upon request.)

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

Seeking the Father Heart of God

In recent years, I’ve been invited to share 5 Father’s Day messages with 5 different local churches in Wisconsin and New York!

I think God may be trying to tell me something…

This message, a conversation with Jim Corbett of the Family Rescue Campaign, is one of my favorites. There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!

I pray you’re inspired to seek God’s heart. As you do, may you discover who He is in a fresh and transformative way!

There is nothing that can heal and transform our hearts like encountering the heart of our Heavenly Father!

Deal in extremes

It wouldn’t be helpful to anyone involved to go into all the details of where the content of these posts originated and how they came to us.  In rough sketch, they were intercepted on the dark web.  If it wasn’t for a friend who works in cyber security, we probably would’ve never stumbled upon them.

Our friend felt that these posts were important enough, even potentially helpful, for us to be aware of that he passed them on…

If you’d like to talk more about disciple making that multiplies, reach out to us...

Roy Moran
roymoran.com

Marcus Constantine
livingtruth2.wordpress.com

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. The sort of script which is used in this book can be very easily obtained by anyone who has once learned the knack; but ill-disposed or excitable people who might make a bad use of it shall not learn it from me.”

~Clive Staples Lewis, Screwtape Letters



To Whom It May Concern:

As I currently find myself on a leave of absence of unspecified length, I have chosen to make the most productive use of my time by typing and circulating my thoughts.  

I post this open letter in hopes that I will increase the girth of not just my waistline but my influence, during this strategic season of my career.  

Through many decades of practicing my profession, I have learned quite a few tips and tricks of the trade.  I trust these principles will prove invaluable to those less experienced and less effective than I at shepherding souls toward the greater light—which some have so ignorantly called the darkness

Out with the old in with the new

An important update that I feel impressed to announce is that our organization has ceased use of the term “patient” and instead has replaced it with the more desirable designation “client.”  

After all, who would feel honored to know she is referred to as a patient?

It brings to mind the poking, prodding, and all manner of procedures that often accompany unpleasant medical tests.  Of course, while you and I may think fondly of such torturous treatments, most of our clients do not.

Photo by Anna Shvets

In a very real sense, we are here to please.  And so we must update our language as the higher-ups deem compulsory.  This serves both to address the changing tide of societal norms and to shift the sands of popular opinion in our favor.  

We do have a responsibility to do both after all.

We influence environmental conditions, inspire value systems, and establish human partners, which will instigate people movements toward our liking.  We also respond gleefully at times to the downward trends that the mass of humanity chooses entirely for themselves.

People do so often make deliciously destructive choices that propel them in our direction like swine over a cliff.

Photo by Leah Kelley

Tangentially, another deterrent of the word “patient” is its similarity to the term “patience.”  Though for different reasons, “patience” too is quite loathsome—both by virtue of its inherent power and how often it is asked of our Enemy, as in:

“I pray for more patience…”

How perverse!

Instead, our organization has wisely opted for the term “client.”  A memo has gone out to all high-ranking supervisors, which prominent department heads like myself had clearance to access.  And we have been charged to instruct our subordinates—those of lower rank such as I assume yourself—to amend our language immediately.

Lest you stumble over our specific choice of words, you will do well to observe that our work is as much art as it is science.

Photo by Pixabay


We do tend to deal in extremes.  Here is what I mean in 4 bite-sized points

Lest you stumble over our specific choice of words, you will do well to observe that our work is as much art as it is science.

1. Of course, it is useful to encourage a client toward viewing the world amorphously (think: The Blob).  


The less aware they are of a grander story, purpose, and connection in their lives, the more likely they will tend toward hopelessness, depression, and the insatiable pursuit of that which temporarily quiets their inner pangs for greater meaning.

2. If you cannot inspire a client toward viewing the world in extreme shades of gray, absolute black-and-white thinking can serve our purposes just as well.


Ensure your client is unable to see from another’s point of view and is fully entrenched in opinions he has held for as long as he can remember.  This will near guarantee his inability to learn, grow, or discover so-called truths that might pull him toward maturity and out of your tender, loving grasp.

3. Whether a client has an excessively fluid or intensely rigid view of the world, their denial of the tensions between most truths in life will lead them to a discomfort with themselves, others, and ultimately with the Enemy.

This will leave them no choice but to pursue numbing activities to lessen their perception of pain and the inevitable approach of their impending death—which cannot come soon enough from our perspective.

Sometimes their self-medicating will take the form of addictive behaviors that you are well aware of, such as substance abuse, sexual extremes, or overeating—to name a few.  However, equally powerful can be more subtle workaholic tendencies, religious extremism, or compulsion toward a certain brand of do-gooding.

Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas

4. If there is a road to be driven on, ensure your client falls into the ditch on one side or the other.  

This will keep her from safely arriving at a destination dangerously nearer the Enemy and the values of his realm.

Ensure your client either is so busy with what he deems important pursuits that he has no time for rest and quickly wears out like a threadbare garment.  Or conversely, that he so gives himself to leisurely pursuits that he slowly eats, drinks, amuses, and sleeps himself to an early death.

If there is a road to be driven on, ensure your client falls into the ditch on one side or the other. 

For those already given to religion…

Now, I will address those working with clients who are already religious.  

Ensure traditional and sacramental types are so off put by the evangelical claim to have a personal knowledge of God that they give themselves all the more fully to the ornamental and superficial.  

Ensure the self-proclaimed evangelical so emphasizes his “personal relationship” with the Enemy that he neglects meaningful connection with others and becomes all but deaf to the cries of the world around him.

Keep them all focused on buildings and budgets, dollars and donors, nickels and noses.

Photo by Viktor Mogilat

Ensure neither camp opens the Enemy’s dastardly Book.

If by chance you fail in this regard, and they are somehow exposed to its words, ensure they glance at it only ritually or out of obligation.  Discourage any sense of expectation to hear from the Enemy, or perhaps worse, to apply what is read in their daily lives.

The more lifeless the Book can appear to them the better.  The collection of copies upon copies in various versions and styles will be just fine, as long as they all remain largely untouched, unread, and dusty on some high, hard-to-reach shelf.  Even an occasional display copy on the coffee table is just fine, as long as it goes unnoticed like a forgotten carving in the woodwork.

Discourage any sense of expectation to hear from the Enemy, or perhaps worse, to apply what is read in their daily lives.

The dustier this Book remains the better.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood


It goes without saying that electronic versions are permissible, as long as they remain unread and forgotten once downloaded.  Ensure they don’t discover the ease of accessing the Book on mobile devices.  If by chance they do, ensure alerts pull their attention to other pursuits, which I like to call delectable distractions.

Abounding busyness is sure to set in again soon.

In short, keep your clients blissfully unaware, as they slowly lull themselves to sleep with the hum and whir of their many machines.

Ever Yours, a True Expert,

Preptor Sophresh,

Distinguished Former Department Head, Messenger of Light Inc.

(Currently furloughed. Seeking contract work. References available upon request.)

Photo by Sergei Akulich on Pexels.com

Keep your clients blissfully unaware, as they slowly lull themselves to sleep with the hum and whir of their many machines.

From Generation to Generation ~ Reflections of the Image of God

I’ve been moved in recent days to prayer and intentional action related to racism and multi-ethnic reconciliation.

My conviction is rooted in my belief that every person is created in the image of God and my broken heart over recent injustices, which has led me to reflect on a pattern of systematic injustices that have happened in our country over many decades.

I am praying King Jesus will bring healing to our communities as His people become first responders with His compassion.

I shared a message on May 24, 2020 for our Oakwood community called “From Generation to Generation” from Psalm 78 as part of our series called Reflections on the image of God.

I am praying King Jesus will bring healing to our communities as His people become first responders with His compassion.

Though this message wasn’t specifically focused on racism, the topic of multi-ethnic reconciliation is so important for us to engage in together in light of the image of God!

For those from a majority culture who are struggling to track with current conversations about racism and reconciliation:

I wonder if it would put things into perspective if we applied the same line of reasoning that some use to dismiss this important issue to other matters of justice and ministry that you may be passionate about like suicide prevention, mental health support, human trafficking, homelessness, ministry to those with special needs, or elder care.

How would you feel if every concern you raised was quickly dismissed, excuses were made, and the subject was changed?

“Others might have that attitude but not me!”

“It’s a victim mentality, looking for handouts!”

“It’s all politicized! Haven’t we heard enough bad news on this topic?”

There’s no place for dismissive comments like these in such an important conversation.

What if instead we listened to understand (instead of to respond)?

What if we sought to see from beyond the eyes of others and to take a walk in their shoes?

It seems to me: intentional conversations and proactive steps are needed to address vital issues of justice in our world like these. Right responses flow from rightly held values of love for God and love for others who are made in His image.

How does your relationship with God affect the way you love and interact with others?

Does believing that all people are created in the image of God change the way you view others who are different than you?

Right responses flow from rightly held values of love for God and love for others who are made in His image.

Something I’ve Never Done Before

Growing up, our parents would often send us to camp or on field trips with disposable, single-use cameras. I remember the excitement of waiting for the film to be developed and ready for pick up!

As I prepared a message from Hebrews 11 this Sunday (6/14), “Something I’ve Never Done Before,” part of a series called Incredible Faith, I reflected on the power of remembering that pictures provide us…

I took a walk down Memory Lane with a photo album, I dug out of a storage bin.

As a kid, I think I looked so longingly toward getting those pictures developed, because they allowed me to remember and to retell the stories!

What are some family pictures that are most meaningful to you and your loved ones?

What memories do you plan to hold onto, as long as you live? Are there any that you hope to retell in eternity?

As a kid, I think I looked so longingly toward getting pictures developed, because they allowed me to remember and to retell the stories!

Photo by Magdalena from StockSnap