Your Inner Barney Fife


Inner Barney Fife

He made a pit and dug it out, And has fallen into the ditch which he made. (Psalms 7:15, NKJV).

That’s the theme verse for your Inner Barney Fife.  This is the corner of your soul that…

  • Shoots yourself in the foot
  • Insecure
  • Gloms onto others
  • Never succeeds
  • False bravado
  • Blowhard
  • An adorable loser
  • Accident-prone
  • Sees problems where there are none
  • Has a thing for Thelma Lou

If you’ve ever felt like your own worst enemy, you’ve met your Inner Barney Fife. He’s a charter member of the sinister menagerie lurking in your soul. Your Inner Barney Fife works tirelessly to make you an adorable failure. You are a champion of “almosts..”

  • You almost land that dream job…
  • You almost ask that good-looking guy/girl out on a date…
  • You almost apply for that job…
  • You almost put together a great resume…
  • You almost read your Bible and pray every day…
  • You almost launch that life-changing ministry…
  • You almost get involved at church…
  • You almost had a good marriage…
  • You almost had your song published…

messcoverWhen opportunity knocks, Barney makes sure you’re snoozing on the back porch rocker.  My Inner Mess book grew out of messages I first preached in 1996. I wrote three chapters, gave it to some friends, and got so-so reviews. I was so discouraged, I put it away for eight years.  It was a book I almost wrote.

It took some encouragement from Dave Meurer, an author who dragged me to the Mt Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, to get me over the Barney Fife hump.

What gets you past your self-sabotaging, foot-shooting, inept Inner Barney Fife? For me, it was coming to believe I really had something to offer the world. I had to own 1 Corinthians 12:21: “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.””

Your Inner Barney needs to feel valuable; not in a patronizing, “Mommy thinks you’re the best” way, but in an authentic, “new creation in Christ” way.  You need to embrace your true identity in Christ, as a uniquely gifted servant of God. So what if your dad called you good for nothing, your peers called you a loser. You are who Jesus says you are. You derive your identity from him–not from the crazy people who surround you.

You are who God says you are.

jesuswalkingonwatercartdotcomYou need to believe that however brightly you shine, it is for Christ. It is to radiate his glory.  It’s not about the impression you make; it’s about Jesus.  Only then can you take the pressure off yourself.  Only then will Barney stop shooting you in the foot.

Self-esteem is what happens to people who embrace their riches in Christ, and esteem Christ above all.

My cousin, Steve Hendricks, of Sundance Creative, drew Barney for me. He’s a great guy and an incredible artist.  He’s done some other caricatures, and I’ll introduce them here in the coming days. Inner Brat, coming up next.  Wait till you see her picture!

Book Signing!

prisonsigningIf you’re in Redding, please come to my first ever official book signing.  It’s on Valentine’s day, Feb 14, Saturday.  There’s a short time window, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  I’m a little jittery that nobody’s going to show up, so I’m asking you.  Bring a friend too!

Here are the details:

  • Where: Bibles, Books, and More… the new Christian bookstore in town, next to C.R. Gibbs on Hilltop Drive.  (click here for a map).
  • What:  a book signing.  That’s basically where a few authors (there will be four) hang out, chat with people, sell books, and autograph them.
  • What book: In case you haven’t heard, I was privileged to publish How To Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World thru a major publisher.  I’m excited, because this was a lifelong dream.  I’m more excited, because I am totally sold on the material in the book, and I believe it should be in every Christian’s hands.  One guy in my brother’s church told him, “I wish I had this book 30 year ago.”
  • When: Saturday, Feb 14, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • messcov3dWhat else: you can check out the book website at Complete with pretty whacked-out video. I’ve added some Inner Mess Character Profiles on the Characters page. Check it out.  I’ll be adding more soon.
  • One last thing:  I’ll have a couple of other local signings too, in the future, so if you can’t make this one, there’ll be others.  I’ll let you know.

Oh… of course, I’d love to sell out all the books.  But even if you have your copy, or don’t plan to get a copy, please stop by just to say hi anyway!

Hope to see you.  If not, I’d appreciate your prayers.  I’ll let you know how it went!

New Video!

Here’s a second fun video for the Inner Mess book.  Hope you enjoy it…  Thanks to Joe & Amy for their great work on this one!  Love you guys!

The website is now complete at  I’d love it if you’d help add “characters” on the Meet the Characters link.  Thanks so much, and Happy New Year!

Here’s the first video, if you haven’t seen it yet!

Inner Mess Book Site

A big thanks to Patrick and Michael for finishing the book site for HOW TO KEEP YOUR INNER MESS FROM TRASHING YOUR OUTER WORLD!

You can check it out at!

You can also check out the final Inner Mess video at YouTube

  • If you like it, you can embed it on your own blog or website…
  • You can click the “Share” button on the YouTube site, and email it to your friends.

If you like it, please tell a friend. I’d also like to thank everybody for your encouraging comments about the Inner Mess book. My dream is that it would be a huge blessing to each person who reads it. I pray it would set people free from the burdens of legalism, highlight the wonders of grace, reveal the power of the Cross, and enable every reader to rise to new levels of love and holiness.

Happy New Year!

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4, NKJV).

Inner Mess Book Trailer (video)


This is the beta (test) version of the book trailer for the Inner Mess.  I’m putting it up today to hopefully give you a laugh, and to get some constructive suggestions, if any.  This copy is low resolution; the end result will be high res.  Thanks.

(If the video doesn’t work, click here.)

You can order one today, autographed, here: click.


Please, if you order one, tell me in the COMMENT BOX how you’d like it inscribed, and I’ll sign it and send it.  For up to 2 books, I’ll pay for upgraded shipping (priority mail) so you have it this week.

Inner Mess Almost Sold Out!

messcoverA big thank you to everybody who picked up a copy of How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World. I’m almost sold out.  It’s really humbling and gratifying, especially since I kept fretting to Margi that nobody’s gonna buy the book, and I ordered too many.

I will have copies this weekend at church, and a fresh batch in time for next weekend.

I’ve got “my guys” working on three “book trailers.”  These are short videos to help promote the book.  I’ll post them here when they’re done… should be very fun.  

SPECIAL SHIPPING DEAL:  If you want to order books in time for Christmas, I’ll pay to upgrade the shipping to FIRST CLASS mail (or PRIORITY, my choice) so you can get them in time for Christmas.  I can only do this for orders of one or two books, and only if the order is placed through this site.  If you want more books, email me, and I can find out the fast shipping costs.  I can autograph or inscribe… just email me after you place your order (or use the comment box when you place the order).  This site lets you pay by YOUR CREDIT CARD or PAYPAL.

The Inner Mess website,, is almost done.  Check it out.

I really believe in this book’s message.  It’s a primer in living like Jesus… actually doing the WWJD lifestyle.  It teaches how to corral the crazy forces in our souls.  It shows how to “grace the flesh.”  And it outlines the entire gospel. Please pray with me that God will use it to deliver, save, and bless many people.



1.  Pastor John Stumbo, young, fit, marathon runner, really good guy, in our sister church in Salem, OR.  Mystery disease that has held him near death for a couple of weeks.  Click here.  

2. Randy Miller, young fit, strong, drummer for the Myriad.  Used to drum at our church before he became a rock star.  Great guy.  Bad cancer.  Uphill fight.  Click here.

3. Unspoken request (old-timers know what that means).

4. On Tuesday (Dec 9), another book proposal goes before a publication committee for consideration.  Please pray that they’ll want to jump on it.  Yet another is in the pipeline at other publishers.  Please pray for God’s timing TO SPEED UP. Actually, pray for God to graciously open doors as he sees fit. And for the Inner Mess book to do extremely well.

The Perfect Christmas Gift

messcoverI just got the green light to unleash my book on an unsuspecting world… The title is How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World. 

Here’s the pitch:

If you’ve ever wondered about your dark side, here’s the book for you.  You’ll find clear steps…

  • To tame the motley crew within:  your Inner Control Freak, Liar, Brat, and Manipulator…
  • To hit the W.W.J.D. target more times than you miss it…
  • To form satisfying relationships and a healthy family life…
  • To succeed inside so you can you succeed in the marketplace, at school, or at home…
  • To rein in the creepy forces that sabotage your joy…
  • To understand Jesus and the life he offers…
  • To get off the legalistic treadmill of duty, guilt, and shame!

It’s time to rummage through the world of your Inner Mess.  All our spiritual malfunctions spill out from a single debris-pile called the flesh. Few Christians know how to handle this raucous force within.  The more we fight it, the worse we fail.  You can change that today. How to Keep Your Inner Mess From Trashing Your Outer World gives new hope and fresh insight to draw on the incredible resources God has provided.  In a rare blend of real-life theology and quick-witted humor, this book helps any reader find the peace and happiness God created you for. 

The books have arrived in the U.S., from England, and are at the American distributor’s warehouse.  I will have copies to send out within a week.  

It’s really humbling and exciting all at once.  I have to say, that when the publisher sent me copies, I picked one up and read it.  You have to understand that I hadn’t read the book in months, almost half a year.  Some parts of the book, I hadn’t really thought about for almost a year–that’s how long the process takes.  So when I read the book with fresh eyes, I was totally pumped.  

I had forgotten half of what I put in there.  It was a little bit like reading it for the first time.  I honestly thought, “If I were a pastor [which I am], I would be so excited to get this material into my people’s hands.”  Honestly thrilled.  If you follow the blog here, you know I get psyched about seeing Christians grow toward maturity. How to Keep Your Inner Mess from Trashing Your Outer World lays out a consistent, biblical, coherent, real-world theology and practice of spiritual growth.  Grace-oriented spiritual growth, I should say.

And I’d like to humbly, respectfully, and proudly suggest that INNER MESS would look marvelous under your friend’s Christmas tree.  

Unless INNER MESS becomes hugely successful, and God in his providence can certainly make that happen, there’s not a whole lot of money in books these day.  But I do want you to know that a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to our church’s ministry expansion fund (Building on Grace), to help create a strong home base to share Jesus with our region and the world for generations to come. Margi and I are still praying over the numbers, but we’re definitely stretching ourselves.  


Here’s the Table of Contents:

Part One:  Meet Your Inner Mess 

Chapter 1 Your Inner Mess 

Chapter 2 Your Inner Sinner 

Chapter 3 Your Inner Saint 

Chapter 4 Your Inner Jerk 

Chapter 5 Your Inner Dummy 

Chapter 6 Your Inner Brat 

Chapter 7 Your Inner Thug 

Chapter 8 Your CIA Agent 

Part Two: Make It Stop Trashing Your Outer World 

Chapter 9 Grace 

Chapter 10 The Cross 

Chapter 11 The Galvanized Life 

Chapter 12 Faith 

Chapter 13 Community 

Chapter 14 The Grace Drill 

Chapter 15 Two Scripts 

Chapter 16 The Secret Weapon 

Chapter 17 Frequently Asked Questions 

Chapter 18 Inner Mess Glossary 


The chapters on Grace (9) and the Cross (10) contain a clear gospel presentation.  Though I aimed the book at Christians, I tried to make it really clear that there is no sanctification with Christ, without salvation.  And I tried to make it as winsome and appealing toward seekers as possible.  

Oh… the Inner Mess website looks really cool; it will be up, hopefully, in a week or two.  You’ll be able to download a FREE 37 PAGE study guide.  It basically repeats the questions that are already in the book, but it gives you space to write in, and it looks cool.  I really wanted small groups or Sunday School classes to be able to work together through this stuff.  The website contains a lot of other stuff, and I’ll need your help to fill it in.  More details when we have the site up and running.  

One of my favorite parts of the Website (and the book) is a list of recommended resources for your spiritual growth: books, websites, and articles.  I’d like to ignite a fire for growth toward maturity among God’s people.  I might not agree with every author on my list, and they might not agree with me, but we agree enough that God’s people can and should be mature through His Word and His Spirit.  That’s good enough for me.

If you’ve read this far, then I feel good about asking you for two favors:  First, would you please pray for God’s power to rest on this book?  I really believe it has the potential to change lives and to deliver confused Christians from a lifetime of bondage, legalism, and frustration.  I also believe it can open the door of salvation for lots and lots of readers.  So please pray.

And, would you also please recommend the INNER MESS to someone you care about?  I don’t have a big budget to “market” the book, and publishers today expect authors to do most of the marketing. So, I’ve got to rely on “word of mouth.”  If you find the book helpful, please tell somebody about it.  Or ask your local bookseller to carry it.  (It should be in Barnes & Noble, Christian bookstores, and online sellers before Easter ’09.)

Here’s where you can order yours.


The Spiritual Life of Jesus Christ, pt 2

powerlift.jpegThis article is the 2nd of a 2 part series. Please scroll down for part 1.

We’re talking about the spiritual life of Jesus. It’s important because most people don’t think he had one. We simply assume that he was born full-grown, overlooking the shattering impact of the Incarnation. He really was a baby. He really thought like a baby. He really grew up.

And he did all of that as a human, though he at the same time always was and always will be true God. Continue reading

The Spirituality of Jesus, pt 1

jesus-healing-blind.jpgQuestion: By what power did Jesus exude such compassion, integrity, courage, strength, patience, grace, resistance to temptation, and love? (Multiple choice: pick one…)

A. Duh… of course he did those things, he’s God. His own Divine Power.
B. The authors of Scripture exaggerated his accomplishments; he didn’t have that power.
C. He was born that way; it was an innate power.
D. He grew that way by using the same power available to every child of God today.
E. None of the above.
F. A and C above.
G. C and D above.
H. Enough already.

And the answer is…

Continue reading