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A fractal rendition of a cold tree line in the snow.

The Journal for Jesus' Sheep - Volume 10, No. 1

THE WORD - A Mark Phillips Anthology, Year 2000

Published by:
Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.
1543 Norcova Ave.,
Norfolk, VA 23502

© Copyright 2002, 2010 by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.
The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.

Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, registered in the State of Virginia, USA.

Gerald T. Johnson, President
Gerald T. Johnson, Editor
Dar Johnson, Assistant to the Editor

Laura Olmstead, Assistant Editor
Jeff Hadsell, Contributing Editor


This Journal is dedicated to the work of Jesus Christ.  The goal of this ministry is to provide a vehicle for believers to improve their relationship with each other and with Him. 


"Only Christ can enable men to live in a right relationship with each other. It is this unifying power of His which must dictate your every decision, for you were meant to be one united body."
Colossians 3:15 BARCLAY


Each believer has faith and experience in Jesus Christ. This personal treasure multiplies in our sharing it with others. We invite you to write down what the Lord has given you. Send us your Christian poem or prose to encourage others in their faith in Jesus Christ. Please click here for details and more about Christian poetry on our website. 


From The Editor:
With this anthology we are honored to offer our readers these warm, blisteringly honest, sincere reflections from the heart of God's child, Mark Phillips.  Often, you will find yourself looking in a mirror as you contemplate the relevance of Rev. Phillips' mediations to your own life.  He is a poet, yes, but Mark is a child of God who has chosen to make his thoughts open to you - genuine and vulnerable.  This is a gift if you will listen with a child's ear and not that of a lawyer or a religionist.  Mark is not trying to be God here, so I urge you to resist the temptation to do so.  Mark is trying to echo to his peers the glimmers and songs and struggles he sees in His walk with the Master, Jesus Christ in the light of the record we have of His Written Word.  Let him try . . . and will you help him with your empathy.  You will probably be better for it.

On your first reading of these selections they may seem random and unconnected to you.  We ask you to please remember that these are snipits and snapshots from a poet's mind, not a rigid, chronological biography of a celebrity.

There is a theme in this collection that will stand out if you look for it.  These poems are not all about Mark Phillips.  NO!  NO!  NO!  These meditations and heart-glimpses are about Jesus Christ and who He is to Mark in His walk with the Master. We are offering you a priceless treasure here:   Catch a glimmer, a glance of your Savior, your Lord, your King thru your brother's eyes.

Most of all, we trust your view and your personal walk with the Savior is enriched by these poems.  Enjoy!

Gerald T. Johnson

Note: At the beginning of each poem there is a short comment by the author to help you grasp his focus for the piece.  I should add that all of these selections are dated in the year 2000. 



THE WORD -- A Mark Phillips Anthology, Year 2000


Each selection in this anthology is copyrighted ©, in the year 2000, by the author, Mark Phillips.  They are used in this publication by his permission.


Table Of Contents



The One You Love 

Note To My Friend

Christ in the Middle


Excess Baggage

A True and Lasting Peace

Who You Are To Me


Hammers and Saws


We Did Not Whimsy

Did We Ignore 

Fingerpainting is Messy

What We Will Do With Him

Heavens Gold

Dare To Die?

A Confection Rarer



No Mark Remains


The Ministry of Christian Concourse


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words span the distances of time, space and circumstance...




Words are bridges over time,
they span thought and dreams,
memory and means,
faces and words are bridges.

Words provide safe passage from lethargy to life,
from day-in-day-out rise, shine, and put in your time,
to sitting on lawnchairs seeking the perfect rhyme.
Words send us steamboating back to old friends,
laughing couches, burned chowder and grilled cheese,
fake bbq at Denny's, seeking the northern lights before the freeze.
Words warm us to when old friends are crosscountry,
and we've crossed from teens to twenties to forties.

Words sting us and make us cross from contentment to darktent pain,
uphill all the way over forgotten dragons once forgiven,
we cross a continent walking sprained on healed ankles,
because words made us remember scenes cut from Life.

Words move us, molecule by molecule, across the great divide,
to trusting the resurrected replay of Word; once, before, always 
and ever.

Word, louder than words,
Word, softer than curses,
Word, safer than chiding,
Word, truer than dreaming,
Word, spoken like thunder,
Word, whispered like raindrops,
Word, comfort like music,
Word, from heaven spoken to earth,
Word, on earth speaking heaven's view.

Word, transport my every thought, dream and passion
to canoe-stream rest in Your granite promise.


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it astounds me, God Himself, befriending men, real flesh and blood men...


The One You Love


"So the sisters sent word to Jesus, 'Master, the one you love so very much is sick.'" John 11:3 [The Message]


what is this divine affection that wraps itself
round mere man?
while we steal each other's thunder,
judge each other's doctrine,
eye each other's meaning,
and divide by accusing those we say would divide,
the Son of God befriends mortals
who find His company more dear than
honed arguments and enthroned songs.
Your sandals spit dust next to Lazarus'
on the chalky walkway evenings to dine,
Your arms, his arms, men-shouldered near dusk,
laughed at stories, tickled the children,
and complimented the simple fare of two
and a friend.
was the cadence of friendly banter
more soothing than unbelief masquerading as
know-it-all devotion?
were the giggles of children,
the smell of flatbread baking,
the exchanged family glances and nods
(befriending whispers)
more true than
high cathedral tones and lectures from
staredown religion?

While arguments raged in cloistered sessions,
deciding who to include, who to refuse,
who was worth God's elected attention--
You ate with a friend
and loved a simple man who found
Your company
not religious
but divine.


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This passage from Scripture has always astounded me...


Note to My Friend


"I'm no longer calling you, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father." John 15:15 [The Message]


some men make men
beg for Your mercy,
plead for Your grace.
some men make men
less than men and
worse than sinners.
some men make You
distant, long-arm's length,
barely reachable.

You made mere men
friends, not servants;
companions, not slaves.

You made sinners
saints, chosen before
time or world began.

You chose Your friends,
men who fail, men who falter,
men who flee calamity and
hide behind bolted doors.

You made us Your friends,
men who doubt half-time,
barely believe the rest.

You made us Your friends.
I will not beg my Friend for
Nor plead with my Friend for
But straightway ask my Friend for pre-given
For often being less than a
To Him.

Sometimes I wonder if You shouldn't have chosen
Your friends
more carefully.


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sometimes it takes *less* to be Christ to someone...


Christ in the Middle


"Dear friend, you have always been faithful in helping other followers of the Lord, even the ones you didn't know before." 3 John 1:5


one word of balm for healing,
one silent sitting when the sun won't shine,
one graceful look when groans disrupt coveted peace-in-sleep,
one spark of acceptance from enlightened eyes.
No questions asked,
No lectures on living,
No recitations on the length of restoration,
No debates on the better ways to pray.
All encouragement in your few words,
All riches from your overflowing soul,
All strength from your strength-in-weakness,
All joy in your quiet soft-worn tears.
While the world and the church exchange hand-grenades
I find
Christ in the middle
in the eyes of a friend.
All peace in the gaze of one who knows Him well.


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Tried to convey the way Jesus wants to enter into the part of our lives that sometimes seem to not fit...




"He sent this message to the sons of Israel, when through Jesus Christ He made known the good news of peace to them-He is Lord of all." Acts 1:36


Remember last year when no on was sure
whether the rains were
wrath or blessing?

Remember last month when memories were consumed
by nonchalant flames,
doing what fire does?

Remember last night when the baby's cry
Eden's sleep?

Our interruptions are well-deserved,
sandwiched between inhaling and exhaling.

Our corruptions are evident as
litter lining two-lane county roads.

Our presumptions are suspect concerning
judgment and reward;
punishment and freedom;
banishment and repatriation.

Slip Your dying breath into my puzzled pieces
of devotion,
Cast the shadow of Your third-day self
across my silent movies in living color,
Reckon with my disbelief when
cast-iron understanding misses Your declaration
of peace.

Daylight to first dusk,
First-bud to snowfall;
all is complete and declared whole-
overall; once and
for all;
Jesus Christ,
Lord of all.

Remember last year, this time, when I asked my brother

To wrap his friendship around my finally thawing heart-

And his silence nearly froze me in time; time again?
all is complete and declared whole-
overall; once and
for all;
Jesus Christ,
Lord of all.


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hope you forgive my adventure here...I tried to do more with emotion and image, and leave "meaning" secondary...


Excess Baggage


Breezes buffet our playfulness as
we skip on atmosphere in spiral
We dart at each cloud,
bolt after each butterfly,
surging and plunging in castoff
Until reminded we
are only balloons with broken strings
by monstrous freight trains.

How we seek surer air,
something to fill our lungs with deeper than
helium laughter.

We crave a certain substance that
makes breath meaningful,
oxygen rich, saturated, warm, moist,

We can play behind trains,
or share the air exuded by Love's laughter
sweetly filling new lungs with each intimate breath.

Spirit, fill me with affectionate joy,
let hugs rule where propriety failed,
roars of laughter where gravity stuttered,
let Tears of solid-footed revelry replace
the moaning of lost balloons listless in their pretense.
Do not fear the affection of friends,
the warmth of touch,
the solid hand upon the sighing chest
or the callused fingers that tickle tears into

Shine with me, child,
walk with me, friend,
wrap your fingers between mine,
and when the temptation comes to again
fill my chest with helium delight
hug me back to earth again.


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written upon meditating on the events of Palm Sunday...


A True and Lasting Peace


("Then someday, I will heal this place and my people as well, and let them enjoy unending peace." Jeremiah 33:6)


We crave a savior king whose
steed pounds the ground in angry
retribution at wrongs overlooked too long.
We expect regal robes that flow
from the conquering crown, clouds upon clouds
Of glory heaped high.
Whether he triumphs by stealth, wealth,
scatter-bombs, siege-works, or brute force, we only
want to win.

So we name our bombs "peacekeepers"
and beatify defense budgets
and occupy no-man's land with
our Divine rights Manifest Destiny
as we colonize our opinions.
"Hail king of keep-the-peace,
Hosanna, injustice-of-the-peace,
Reign, ruler with iron hand, iron rod."


For there are those who embrace another Rider
Whose steed plods instead of stampedes
(if asses indeed can be named steeds).
There is Another who rides an unsaddled donkey
into occupied territory
and challenges armies without war,
crushes rebellion without police-state,
refuses to die-by-the-sword by not
and at last dies at violent hands of iron.


Few see or serve such a king,
and only a handful gathered to mark His coronation
just outside the city
on the hill that dark Friday.
Only a few crave the Savior
who conquers with his own wounds
and will not wound,
who will not fight to win,
who will shed no blood but His own
and is pierced by the crowds who could not stand
a Ruler who does no harm, does no war,
does not take arms against such evil and deadly foes.
And conquers by His own crucifixion
the masters of war who prefer
battles and battalions
instead of prayer, ashes, and peace.
He still calls every healed heart to ride at will
on saddle-less indignity where warriors fear to go.


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I need reminding, every so often, of who Jesus is to me...


Who You Are to Me


"You are who you are through this gift and call of Jesus Christ!" Romans 1:6 [The Message]


Distill my forgetfulness until my heritage
rises clear from the mist that insists on blocking
my view of who You are to me.
May I see the road rising grandly from the linen meadows
toward the lively mansions prepared prior
to seedling, sapling or dreaming.

Unmask my illusions,
confound my confusion,
irradiate my shadow pretenses
and let me see
who You are to me.
I see my world as my world,
I hear my voice inside heady reverberation
and think my pronouncements are fm-radio

Every call-in show reminds me of auctioneers
calling for another piece of heritage
or another box of junk.
So I wave my card with its number barely
high enough for the man on the buckboard
to see,
ready to waste my dollar on someone else's sorrow.

Then the mist clears,
(what mist remains at full-noon rapture?)
and I can hear reclear
the Singular invitation I knew when I
first entered the valley,
shadow of

You are with me (psalm 23),
And guide me, staff and rod,
beSide me, tethered free,
And give me, Shepherd God,
Of the Name You gave to who
You are to me.
My Liberty.


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seems like what's inside eventually comes out...




There is a cistern buried behind my
thin veneer of indifference.
Mock diffidence only masks the well
that receives every misplaced, mistimed,
unrhymed arrow full of voice poison.
I hear objections and raise my own,
I hear soft fictions and write my own,
I hear suggestions and wait the rain of
lectures, interjections, hidden laughter or
the recipe of mocking torture.
It rarely happens.
But, nonetheless, my cistern receives
every supposition about my imperfection
and waits for the earth to quake to
spill over in acid rain.
Holy Father, speak truth in passion to my
indiscriminate well,
so I hear sweetest tunes in brother-men's verses,
merry laughter in brother-men's curses.
So I hear pacified love in brother-men's views
of my imperfect reflection, less fearful to lose
my face or reputation than I am
the nectar of Your voice and Your springs
that freshly fill the cistern
of Your creation.


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what is unseen matters...


Hammers and Saws


"{Abraham} plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what he said." Romans 4:20,21 [The Message]


foolish trust is where He takes us,
save saving face for another day,
dying to live,
serving to lead,
impossibilities pronounce the Kingdom's sound.

We lean on the air and find
each molecule packed with the Presence
of the Voice
Who promised the Kingdom to little flocks.

We face the wind and find each breeze
is the flutter of angelwings nearby;
some are Captains, some are Comforters,
all repeat the Word of the Promise
of the Voice
we heard.

We dry our tears and find
the ointment of love they are,
saved in alabaster jars,
counted, remembered, like diamonds
around the Kingdom's own.

We count the stars on midnight mountains,
number the seeds of sand on daybreak beaches
and find
before even halfway through
We are filled with Fullness,
Enlarged with Holy Nerve and
take the plunge of faith
that sees the Kingdom in each well-placed star,
and worships the King with handfuls of sand
streaming between happy fingers.

And upon plunging, as faith takes our breath away,
we may hear the quiet sound of
hammers and saws inside our souls.


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some things remain left to say, some things remain best unsaid...




"Jesus said, 'You do not know what you are asking."' Matthew 20:22a


There are things left to say along the way
to acquaintances, companions, intimates and relations.

There are things left to say before
going on, passing on, trading places or saving faces.

When the unsaid stays unspoken hearts hastily
rearrange each thought and memory, reconstructing
each conversation that lacked apology,
suffered unforgiveness,
disguised self-seeking with best intentions.

Our mouths seldom wait for the
to lead us.

Our mouths do not wait for the final Word
that restores friends, unites brothers, mirrors love,
hones pardon.

Our mouths do not wait, but ask impossibilities:
glory without suffering, leading without losing,
living without dying, loving without pouring
our best upon the harassed.

While questions about greatness rise like smoke
from every cafe and conference table,
the Unsaid haunts minds like yesterday's dream
and guides wordiness down halls of quiet
to see thrones setup in corners of poverty
where true glory takes our words away,
leaving the rest


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a slave to God is truly free...


We Did Not Whimsy


"Now you have been set free from sin, and you are God's slaves." Romans 6:22a


we did not whimsy our way where we went,
but a Master mapped free passage and fully paid
what we overspent.
we did not melancholy the mountains where we pray,
but a Servant severed our handcuffed depression
exposed to noonday.
we did not tomb our tired corpse of sin,
but Life, enraged and impassioned, slew by dying
the death we lived in.
we do not errand awry our servant living,
but love, for Love, starts our hands and feet bowing
toward boundless giving.


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God is on the side of peacemakers...


Did We Ignore? 


"Peace, peace to you, and peace to the one who helps you! For your God is the one who helps you." 1 Chronicles 12:18b


did we ignore the roar of love that
grabbed the planets and stars and flung them
near and flung them
far for astronauts to explore
and poets to expose?
did we stroll into unknown paths
with heart murmurs at jungle noises
of unknown origin, while those indigenous
to holy love take every threat
in stride?
funds run out, fame grows faint,
wars are lost and won
(either way, men die)
fighting for god-and-country, flags
women weep,
children shed midnight tears
while God waits to help peacemakers.
did we forget the howl of peace that
grabbed the darkness and violence and flung them
far and flung them
far for east never to find what flew
ever west beyond the cross?
will we tire of our self-serving hands that
mix our metals for fashionable battles,
or will we melt every steely look in the
cauldron of Him who helps
carve peace?


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The kingdom of God isn't always as neat and tidy as we'd like...


Fingerpainting is Messy


"God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy." Romans 14:17 [The Message]


Fingerpainting is messy and
the more so
when it's God's finger
and my life.

The swirling colors are
dizzying and ticklish that
turn to sterling after the

It's a sloppy way to make a life,
or create art,
or serve God,
but it seems to be His medium of
Is messy
but mercy won't have it
any other way.

The swirling cycles,
circumstances, curtain calls,
callbacks and background noises
all blend on the Spirit's palette
to color our days that orbit
the revolutionary One bright Shining.

is messy
But necessary when my
canvas needs


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He quietly waits our response...


What We Will Do With Him


"Pilate asked them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?'" Matthew 27:22a


No power in heaven or earth can hold Him;

We hold Him in the palms of our hands,

and offer Him our hearts or offer Him the cross,
or offer Him our hurts or offer Him our loss

and cannot wash our hands so easily when
distracted by dreams or imminent unrest.
He stands in our hands as He stood before Pilate
who without judgment judged the Universe's judge,
and refused to rule yea or nay for the surely pure.

He stands in our hands, permeates our breath,
entwines our days and unlocks our nights,
and waits upon the silent porches of our souls
to see
what we will do with Him.


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The beauty of God's giving heart...


Heaven's Gold


"You know that our Lord Jesus Christ was kind enough to give up all his riches and become poor, so that you could become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9


My brief dreams are a fanciful alloy,
an unsteady mixture of iron and clay.
There is no alchemy which produces gold
from my elemental being.
But eternity resounds from her deepest core,
the nucleus of the universe where black holes
from there to here the King uncrowned, disrobed,
and unknown,
poured destiny back into my cup of theoretical prosperity.

Now the very air of life is gold,
the rivers are crystal and daylight full of windows and parables

of the wealth that trades crowns for crosses,
abolishes losses,

and dignifies previous shame-filled mortal fears.

I will cry at Your feet, O indefinable King,
dance at your gaze,
follow Your ways and sing the atmosphere full
with Your praise.

For the Mighty has become Meek,
the Powerful Poor for me who feared
forever going hungry and poverty's soul unfilled.
But my crudely shaped cauldrons once scalding
with mixtures of human fiction,
now overflow
with heaven's gold.


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still pondering how life springs from death...


Dare To Die?


"We face death all day for you. We are like sheep on their way to be slaughtered." Psalm 44:22


dare we die?
0r fight to live?
We receive nothing by dying,
become nothing,
are recognized by no one.
By dying we are as ashen as at
the beginning.
Why die?
Dare we live?
How many captives has your heart held
banging at the bars,
bellowing their presence,
counting the days of their captivity.
Is your heart still
a curious curator,
too slowly executing sentence upon the
prisoners sitting on death row.
Face death, stubborn fancies,
meet the executioner of your pretentious plans,
die in the lap of your luxurious architecture.
So live in us, gentle Shepherd, these lamb
following You to resolute slaughter,
that I might die at the hands of Love
and live where the bars once held cells
of inmates imitating eternity and breath.
Dare we die?
Die we must at Life's severely offered mercy.


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Just one look at Jesus crucified can put all of life into perspective...


A Confection Rarer


Why do you keep sowing the wind,
Reaping breathless, restless days?

Why do you reach daily for never
When now is offered free?
Why do you ignore the whisper but
Drink your laughter where shouts aren't heard?

Why do you enlarge your importance
When you're a spot on the dot of a planet?

Why do you hold your money, hug your position,
Kiss your pile of plastic, plaster, mortar and meetings,
Enhance your opinions; puff your position;
Spin your imperfection; then nod off when eternity
Suggests a confection rarer than your combination
Of exaggeration and fear.

Turn, impatient machine, to a slow and human pace,
Where creation sings with dew and mist,
Where morning rings with brisk and breeze,
Where rivers bring messages from God,
Where wheat fields fling praises abroad,
And every child plays free, every son of his Father
Finally unwinds beneath spiraling clouds and
Happy trees.

Look deeply into the face of Love hanging
Deliberately on the carpentered
And ask again
"Why do I sow the wind
When Eternity waits for my grateful return."


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Who's ready to trust like Caleb?




"Caleb calmed down the crowd and said, "Let's go and take the land.  I know we can do it!" Numbers 13:30


Why do some rise from a bed of pain,
unfolding like rusty hinges,
scarcely new enough to wink toward the east,
yet laugh at mountains,
challenge giants,
and create causes where others see blockades?
Where do the merest men find the time
to fearlessly face the monsters at the top
of the stairs
while basements are full of families huddling
in fear.

What fascination ignites new flights toward destiny
while others chew on blades of grass in discontented ease.

When will we warm the cold feet,
animate the petrifaction,
disarm the defensive postures,
calm the shaking voices and
start the quivering hearts toward
continents of grace afforded beforehand.

Wake, arise, follow the Conquering Lamb
into chosen pasture
And overflowing with milk, honey, cream and berries.
And with childlike gusto that trusts God's simplest word:


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Please do read this one *all* the way through...




"...without bloodshedding there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 9:22b


Who left this mess on the ground,
cutting people down to size,
piercing wounded hearts,
letting slashes crash through flesh and bone?

Who dismembered the foes,
beheaded the heretics,
left the failures in the snow alone?

Why do soldiers crack the necks
of independent thinkers
and rest after the bloodshed like virtuous|

Why do we proudly torture every liberal enemy,
contorting their bruises till we feel taller and
paint the town red with the blood we spilled
from their open wounds.

Who used the sword sickly today?
Who wrung the neck of the not-so-true?
Who wielded sickles like bludgeons in the fields?
Who strangled struggling souls and left
their bloodless carcasses alone unfamiliar?
While we bang our drums loudly,
shoot our guns wildly,
declare our perfection proudly
and step on the heads of the disobedient
The blood flows
That needs not flow
For the Blood flowed once
For all


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it's both scary and cleansing to come into the light...


No Mark Remains


"This is the crisis we're in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness." John 3:19a [The Message]


Late night, stealth flight,
ignite Your flame inside.
When the roundspun corners are more inviting
than broadstreet life, kill my instincts
for hiding in shadow's casualties.
Free grace, embrace
my face transformed by light.
When cruel thoughts, claustrophobia constraining truth,
infiltrate the sunny meadows You've made,
dismiss their swarming indictments with rays and warmth.

Pierce me, slay me,
place me open fearless.
Bowed and silent, no wind, nor storm, nor threat,
I ease my sticky wings from the dark chrysalis and
slowly wave them sunward,
bathe them showered in light,
point them brilliantly new,
use them freely in flight,
soar them from heaven's view.

Cell dark depart,
no mark remains, nor blot.


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So thankful for Jesus, my only Savior...




"I, even I, am the Lord, and beside Me there is no savior." Isaiah 43:11


I am not rescued by my gritted determination
swimming upcurrent against my constant streams
of consciousness.

One Ransom pays my slave price,
One Master sees me, calls me, buys me free,
One Lover casts His shadow over me,
One Savior, One Sacrifice.

Ransomed soul, banish your frantic grasps
at ungracious limbs overhanging the stream,
forget your anxious gasps at failure
and falling beneath the waves. 

Vanquished soul now vanquish each
doubt and nervous breath.

Beloved soul, now soothe the aching
where stakes were driven through still

Rest midstream below the waterfall where
clouds and sun paint mosaics in two-tone
Rejoice where He rescues,
Laugh when He sends you,
Embrace those who join you,
Invite those who struggle,
And weep wide-eyed
at the thought of the
Beginning and End
placing you in the middle of
His everlasting love.


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This issue of The Journal is copyrighted ©, in the year 2002, by Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.

Each selection in this anthology is copyrighted ©, in the year 2000, by the author, Mark Phillips.  They are used in this publication by his permission.

All rights reserved.  No part of this journal may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Christian Concourse Ministries, Inc.


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The Ministry of Christian Concourse


In the name of Jesus Christ, this ministry is dedicated to God for the development of practical tools with which we may harmoniously enhance our relationships and our service within the greater interdenominational Church. As the full-time Director, the President and the founder of this ministry, I seek to follow our Lord in each step of our progress. In prayer and consultation with other Christians, we have established an organization that is flexible yet faithfully focused on our goal of promoting The Good News of Jesus Christ and Christian Accord among believers.

To that end, our labor encompasses activities in three distinct areas:

Nursing Home Ministries
Christian Publications
Small-group Bible Studies

The long-term care facility arena is a perennial opportunity for Christian service. My wife, Dar, and I conduct "church services" in several care centers each month, and we have been instrumental in helping many others start. The ministry collects and distributes "care packages" for nursing homes year 'round.  There are over 130 facilities in Hampton Roads. It is our goal to see all of their Christian volunteer needs met.

The publication of "The Journal" answers our burden to offer Christian writers the opportunity to share their work. We minister to them by providing the opportunity to be in print and, in turn, they minister to the Christian community that reads them -- both without fees or subscription costs. We know of no other publication of its kind. The criteria for consideration of an article is that it should magnify Jesus Christ or encourage others in their faith in Him.

Our inductive Bible study format, Chapter & Verse, has been developed especially for interaction with a small-group. The type of study we have designed does not impose on someone what we think they should believe the Bible means. Rather, we guide the serious Biblical student toward discovering for themselves what God meant when He recorded it. We also present the Focus On The Family video series, "That The World May Know." This suite of seven volumes, with several lessons each, is a Biblical teaching tool for the spiritual growth of believers, using the historical, cultural and archeological settings of Ancient Israel.

All of our ministry is provided without cost. We are supported solely by freewill offerings.

As you can readily see, each of these areas of endeavor incorporate tools that bring Christians together in meaningful activities. I strongly believe that in God's eyes, though there are many assemblies, there is only one Church in each locality. And I am equally convicted that our Heavenly Father wants us to act like it! It is my prayer that these efforts will, in a great way, effect that reality.

Gerald T. Johnson
Director of Ministry



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