Archive for February, 2016


February 23, 2016 2 comments

In the early Spring of 2005, I was 48 years old, and I had just come out of the most humiliating season I had ever encountered. More was to follow, but when I peered back over my shoulder, I wasn’t all that happy about what was behind me. There were bright spots (my wife had my back, my kids turned out better than they were raised, people that Patti and I were discipling were growing by leaps and bounds, and we had lots of friends, etc.) but, all in all, I didn’t want to continue on the same path that I had traveled in my previous ministry. I didn’t know what I wanted it to look like—only that it had to be something different.

That was about the time my buddy David Johnson in Minnesota introduced me to Richard Rohr. I had been very interested in the Men’s Movement back in the day, but none of that stuff captured me like Rohr’s teachings. I was the perfect age to ingest his material in Adam’s Return.

adams_returnI’ve heard a lot of people quote Rohr’s ideas about spiritual initiation, but I seldom believe those who pass on the words genuinely grasp the real core of the teaching. It’s easy to lose the purpose if your agenda is only to impress others with the chill bump of those five principles.

There is shock value in Rohr’s paradigm about spiritual initiation, but it requires a lot of integrity to set up the teaching in a way that genuinely exudes and conveys the very essence of the rite of passage. In other words, the Elders can’t exclude themselves from the truths of initiation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! As I said, the goal isn’t to shock and impress. The goal is to tell the brutal truth up front. If the candidate buys in up front, transforms his passion and direction, the purpose can always be revisited for the rest of his life. The mission becomes who he is as a person. Then, and only then, does he help ignite the next generation because he’s lived the whole cycle of initiation in his lifetime.

If you’re wondering, you can’t just outsource Elders to “do the deed.” Elders have to live and die with the truths of the initiation within themselves—no matter what it costs them. By the way, that isn’t a sexy gig. Glowing in the dark usually won’t allow for such nameless, faceless humility. As I mentioned, it takes a lot of integrity and stellar character to remain focused at keeping things that simple. That probably has more to do with why we don’t have a well-established initiation process in the first world. Our culture won’t stand for it.

Of all places, I stumbled across a reading at Christmas that reminded me that mankind (especially ministry types) faces the same temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness. That first temptation that Christ faced was a challenge brought by Satan to turn stones into bread (Matthew 4:3). Rohr likens our “bread” to our addiction to being effective, relevant, successful and noticed. It’s difficult to trust someone who takes those things for themselves while they’re doing ministry—yet, the temptation is very real. That’s also the reason why Jesus faced that temptation first. He wanted to help move us from what we want to what we really need. Jesus usually refused to be relevant for His own sake. He always pushed people to go deeper for what they really needed. “Man cannot live by bread alone.” (Matthew 4:4) It really is that simple. I can’t be reminded enough of that teaching.

I’ll try to conclude my thoughts next week.

Love you all,


Categories: Uncategorized

another scoop – heaven 1.02

February 16, 2016 2 comments

2scoopsI don’t eat just one scoop of ice cream. Frankly, it’s a ridiculous notion. You can’t even get your teeth dirty with one scoop of ice cream. You’ve got to have two to make it remotely legit. One scoop is tasting ice cream. Two or more scoops is eating ice cream.

There should be a two scoop minimum. Period. No exceptions. Can I get an Amen?

Last week’s blog got a lot of attention. It’s been almost five years since one of my blogs had that many eyes on it. I rarely pay attention to the whole metrics thing, but it’s strange to me why a blog about heaven would get that many hits and another blog focused on equally important spiritual topics barely get a glance. I just don’t get it. It probably says something about us.

Read Mike Paschall’s Blog Post: Heaven

Let me be clear about this: This blog was already on my mind before last week’s post materialized. But, it does feel like the right time to allow today’s post to surf on last week’s wake. Thus… another scoop.

Last June, I rode the Indian down to Wimberly, Texas, to connect with an old buddy of mine from days long ago. Mark Roye is the founder of Blood-n-Fire Ministries in San Antonio. He was in Wimberly to help with the relief efforts after a horrible flood. Our spiritual histories are definitely intertwined, but despite all of that, I just like the guy. He’s got a monster heart that’s filled with compassion for the marginalized and burdened. He and his wife Suzie are doing their passion to add value to the “least of these” and the outcast. That says a lot about who they are. As I said, I really love these people.

It had been a while since Mark and I had really caught up and visited. While sitting under the shade of Texas live oaks, he spilled the goods about his stint in the hospital for a heart bypass not too long ago. I knew he had the surgery, but I didn’t realize the juicy contents of a story he told me. I’ve asked Mark to put it on paper. He has obliged.

My name is Mark Roye and I was 56 years old when I had an experience that has radically changed my perspective of life. My father had died at a young age due to heart problems. Because of my family history, my primary care physician began setting me for a series of test. In December of 2014 those test involved me having a heart cath procedure. After that particular test, I found myself facing heart bypass surgery. I ended up having 5 bypasses. I say all of that to share with you an experience I had post surgery.

In my second night of recovery after the surgery I was having a pretty calm night given the circumstances. My daughter Ashley (RN) was spending the night with me. At 2:30 in the morning, my heart began to go into arrhythmia. In other words, I woke up with a heart racing out of control. My daughter looked at the monitor and knew something was wrong. I won’t go into all the details, but things went south very quickly.

As I was in my bed, my heart going crazy. I began to experience the feeling that I was about to die. The thought of dying brought many things to my mind. My first thought was that I was excited to be going. I was so excited to see my family and friends that had already gone before me.

Then I began to experience something that I have never experienced before. I was on my back looking at the ceiling, and I began to see faces of people. It was as if they were pressing their faces through the ceiling. They were all in black and white. As I looked at the faces, I could see that they were faces from all different types of people—people from every tribe and nation—from all over the world! I was reminded of the scripture found in Hebrews 12:1 where it speaks of the great cloud of witnesses.

I am not one to see things like this, and it was an amazing experience. I feel like I experienced just how thin the veil really is between this world and heaven. It totally changed the way I look at life.

In talking to Mark, it was obvious that the encounter had narrowed his purpose, and minimized the fluff. Touching our sliding mortality is supposed to have that effect I think.

Last week I mentioned that there really must be a “great cloud of witnesses.” Not that I have empirical data on the subject matter, but it’s more of a hunch of faith. I know you Bible thumpers are losing your mind right now, but throwing your proof-text at every problem (especially the grieving) might not be helping the broken with their healing process.

When Mark was telling me this story, his eyes filled with tears and he could barely talk.  I too swallowed hard and batted away falling tears. It’s not all that uncommon for me, for I often find myself overwhelmed when I feel the tangible presence of God, and it just overloads the system and I start shutting down. Holding on with all my plastic bravery, my little kit of courage, and a genuine hope for a better today with no guarantees of tomorrow… well, it can all be quite exhausting. It helps to have a little breeze of hope—one more scoop of faith. And frankly, it’s just too crazy here to do life without some semblance of a comforting thought of more in your heart. Peace (The Ghost peace) in our heart goes a long long way. That doesn’t require chapter and verse.

So, yes, I’ll have another scoop. What about you?

Love you all,



Categories: Uncategorized


February 9, 2016 14 comments


Let me go ahead and just step in this little pile… I don’t peddle Heaven anymore. At least not like I used to.

Back in the day, that was my awkward question: “If you die tonight will you be in Heaven tomorrow?” That was the zinger. That was the jolt that got the conversation moving in the direction that I wanted. That was “me” taking charge of “your” eternal destination. That was back when I had the answers to most of your questions. It’s been a long time since I knew it all, and my “back then” is some of the reason why I don’t peddle Heaven in that way anymore.

Do I still believe in Heaven? Why yes I do. Very much so!

But, I don’t use Heaven like the added jaccuzzi package when checking into your favorite honeymoon resort. I don’t use Heaven while trying to convince you of the truth of how much God loves you. Jesus didn’t usually lead with Heaven either. He did mention Heaven (as a destination) while trying to calm his boys (John 14). They pretty much freaked out when he disclosed his intentions to depart this planet. They needed oxygen and a little hope. Heaven was that glimmer of hope.

Did I mention I believe in Heaven? Oh yeah, I believe in Heaven.

I do believe it’s a place. I do believe it’s real. I do believe it’s now. I do believe it is filled with people (people that most of us would never dream of being there).

Yeah, I most definitely believe in Heaven.

[This is where you need to familiarize yourself with the background for what I’m about to share with you. If you’ve not read the ’16 Update on my website, please click the provided link below and read my remarks about the Hering Family. You’ll need the data for all of this to tie together. Feel free to slide past all my preliminary remarks in the update. The Hering story is pertinent to where we go from here.]



It’s been six weeks since Rhett Hering departed from us. A family of five is now four. Jimmy, Lorna, Ryan and Mara are probably better than they should be. It would be a stretch to say they’re good. If the truth were to be known, they are bobbing in an ocean of pain and grief. Their world has been rattled to the foundations. This earthquake has dislodged and dismantled their lives, but they’re moving forward step-by-step, minute-by-minute, day-by-day. It’s been six weeks—six brutal weeks.

Two days following Rhett’s death, I slipped into Jimmy and Lorna’s bedroom to talk through the events planned for the day. Jimmy had made the funeral arrangements the day before, and we needed to discuss the visitation and the service scheduled the next day. I was sitting by Jimmy on his side of the bed, our conversation was low, but Lorna began to question me with tears of grief, “How am I going to do this? How?” I switched sides of the bed and just held her for a bit. Finally, we locked eyes. She patted my chest and asked very quietly, “Is it real? Mike, is Heaven real? Don’t lie to me… do you believe it?” I have never felt so dug into, so exposed, like I was in that moment. This wasn’t the time for canned preacher talk. Her eyes were searching for the glimmer of hope. Every breath was a war for her. Any waiver, any uncertainty, would surely be exposed. I can still hear her say it clear as a bell, “Do you believe?”

The good and workable notions of Heaven come when your seventy-six year old father has an incurable disease and you know he has suffered enough. Seventy-six is still young, but it’s a long way from 15-years old. Any grieving widow or widower has the right to be pissed if they want to. The same can be said for grieving parents. This kind of pain is unbearable and can’t be cured with topical balms and nugatory religious trinkets.

Heaven can be a soothing notion and it is a strong promise of the Christian faith, but Heaven as the residence of anyone so fit, so active, so good, so innocent, so beautiful, so sweet, so lovable… so YOUNG… it confounds the mind. Loss without closure is an agonizing nightmare. Please never say out-loud, “Heaven must have needed another angel.” I’m warning you, if you say it, you’ll deserve that bloodied nose your likely to wear on your face.

We can understand old and sick and feeble and miserable going to Heaven, but thirty-five year old cancer patients (with three small kids)… not so much. I told you I believe, but it doesn’t always make the grief any better. It just doesn’t.

Yet, I’m convinced that the grace and hope we hold on to involves the promise of Heaven. I believe.

A few days ago, Lorna called me to share a story with me. I was blown away. I immediately asked for permission to pass it on to you. So, here goes.

The wife of a McGregor City Councilman had an amazing dream or vision and passed the information on to Jimmy. Here is that dream:

I saw Jimmy and Rhett arm and arm, walking away together. There was peace and easiness. They were like Abraham and his son Isaac. They were walking alone on a purpose for a mission.

Along with the dream, she told Jimmy that she believed that God had something for him. He needed to get alone with the Lord to seek what that word might be. Later that night, instead of going to bed after the news, Jimmy went to Rhett’s room and lay down on his bed. He stayed there for a bit to pray and asked what God might have for him. Jimmy was asking for a visitation.

After a while, Jimmy went to his own bed and went to sleep. He awoke with this encounter. (Dreams need to be interpreted. I personally believe God gave Jimmy a night-vision, and visions are mostly literal. You’re free to believe whatever you will about it all.) Jimmy recounts the encounter he had that night while asleep:

I’m at my mom and dad’s house standing in the kitchen by the table. It is around lunchtime. Mom and Dad are there, but I don’t see them. Papa (Jimmy’s maternal grandfather, died 1999) walks into the house and into the kitchen. He is dressed like he always was with tan khaki pants, a collared shirt, a sweater, and a hat. About this time I know that I’m dreaming and feel a little anxious because I know that what is going to be a good dream will end.

 Papa didn’t say much except that he had some people to show me. I was immediately excited because I knew that Rhett would be one of them. He then said, “Mary Alice is coming in.” (Mary Alice is Jimmy’s maternal grandmother. MA died 2009) I walked out of the kitchen, turned toward the door, and saw Grandma walking in. I began walking towards Grandma and just as I was about to greet her, Jan walked in. (Jan is Jimmy’s sister who was killed in an automobile accident in 1989.) Jan was beautiful. She looked twenty-one years old, she was thin with long blonde hair, and she had on “the denim dress.” I was so glad to see her! We hugged for a minute, smiled, and we were so glad to see each other.

 We both knew that who I really wanted to see was Rhett. I excitedly asked her, “Have you seen Rhett? Where is he?”

 She had her hands on both my arms and said with a smile, “Are you kidding me? I saw him the moment he got here!”

 I said, “Is he coming? Am I going to get to see him? Is he okay?”

 She laughed and said, “He’s great, but he’s not coming today; He’s too busy. He’s all over the place, but he’s great.”


See. There is a glimmer of hope. There is more, and Heaven is a place teeming with life, love, and activity. There really is a great cloud of witnesses. Maybe everyone is not on board with that, but I can definitely get good with it.

As amazing and wonderful as this encounter was, the ache of loss is still very real for Rhett’s hurting parents. There are too many unanswered questions—too many facets that will never change what has happened to their kid. Life itself is viewed through very altered lens. It’s going to take a while to adjust with equilibrium.

But, if you were at Rhett’s funeral, you saw what they did. Right? You saw it. They stood, embraced each other, lifted their hands, and sang from their pit of pain:

I need you Jesus, come to my rescue.

Where else can I go?

Capture me with Your grace.

I will follow You.

I will follow You.

That is where they are. That is their daily routine, and I think we all should all follow their lead.

Lord, help our belief and our unbelief. We need your help. Grant us the peace that supersedes our fragile understanding. Bless my sweet friends and their precious family. May they all tangibly feel your presence nearby. Thank you for your love. Flood them with your grace. Today… tomorrow… until we’re all together again… Amen.

Love you all,



Categories: Uncategorized

wrong question

February 2, 2016 10 comments

Can you help me get to my destiny?”

I believe it’s the wrong question. I used get asked that question a lot, and there is serious temptation to answer the question, but it’s totally the wrong question.

Here are 3 reasons why:  YOU ~ ME ~ MY

YOU – This whole destiny thing is 100% God’s business. I do believe that we are all blessed with certain abilities and potential to affect and infect those around us. We are each so unique, so divinely programmed and created, that it’s much too complicated a task for any one human to get any of us to destiny. Our choices, passions, gifts, and callings transition us from one punctilios encounter after another. Life is shifting all around us every second of every day. We just can’t orchestrate life in the way that we think we can. No one can. How you respond has everything to do with how, when, and where you land. Sure-thing decisions do not always work out the way they’re advertised. Forced decisions sometimes end up being the biggest blessing of our life. Risky/foggy decisions are laced with all sorts of potential. Again, it depends on you… not another person.

[For any person who has ever felt vibes from me that their big journey to a clearer path hinged on my involvement… PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE FORGIVE ME! At best it’s blatant arrogance. From there the description only gets uglier.]

ME / MY – Destiny is not a destination or a program. Destiny is the path you’ll realize after you’ve already gotten to where you’re going. If you possess the wild notion that reaching your destiny is like climbing the ladder of success… well, you’ve got a rude awakening on the horizon. Loss, disappointment, pain, betrayal, and ash will all play an equally important roll in uncovering who you really are. The romantics and poets can inspire you, but don’t be carried away by the sirens of charmed success. Success rarely teaches us anything productive about life.

A senior mentor reminds me constantly that I need to stop the whole destiny conversation about myself until I’m in my mid-sixties. He is an octogenarian. He says, “You haven’t lived enough life yet to make an intelligent observation.” He’s usually grinning and petting my arm like I’m his Golden-doodle puppy. It always makes me laugh, but honestly it stings a little. It makes me think that there are still some serious life courses to be taken, and I’m not a big fan of school.

If we’re called to service in any capacity, the whole me/my aspect is mostly wrapped up in self-centric thinking. How do we really give away what we have to give when WE are the most important consideration?

See? The question sets us up for bad form. Is there a different or better question?

I think so. Maybe. Try this one:

What’s the best way to add value to mankind?

This question gives anyone permission to get after a task or purpose without working for approval. Now it’s about the great “out there,” and there’s room for wisdom or inspiration to call out your greatness and release you to the masses without tethers. Now you can objectively calculate how to give yourself away without obsessing in personal care or concern for getting to the next level. (Whatever the crap that means?) Serving becomes the focus, creating for the benefit of others becomes the passion, and watching others ingest and receive the love is just the best.

One more thought and I’ll be done: Adding value can happen right here… right now… wherever you are. You don’t have to buy into any exotic notion that it’s better somewhere else. It’s not. The goodness and greatness happens wherever and whenever you spill you. I haven’t always believed that. I’m doing my best to align my head and heart to that notion now.

Love you all,






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