Richard Exley Ministries


How Championships are Won
Posted on March 04, 2015

If you are not a fan of NBA Basketball I need to ask your forgiveness right up front because I want to begin with a story coming out of the NBA Finals a couple of years ago, which the Miami Heat won in seven games. If you know anything about the NBA you know that the Heat put together the best basketball team money could buy. They had the big three – Lebron James (arguably the best basketball player on the planet), DeWayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Unfortunately, a collection of superstars seldom win championships as the Miami Heat learned the hard way in 2011 when the Dallas Mavericks defeated them four games to two in the NBA Finals. Championships are won by teammates who sacrifice individual achievements for the good of the team. It’s hard for superstars to do that. Their egos are simply too big.

Yet the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship two years in a row (2012 and 2013). So how did they defy the odds and do that?

Great coaching!

Category: Ministry

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The Truth About God
Posted on March 03, 2015

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Category: Sermons

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Is Your Jar Too Full?
Posted on February 28, 2015

Has life lost its zest? Is your plate too full? Have you taken on more than you can manage? You can complain or you can do something about it.

I’m thinking of the Ivy League professor who opened the first class of the semester by placing a two and a half gallon glass jar on the table at the front of the lecture hall. As the MBA students watched he carefully filled it to the brim with golf balls. Looking up he asked the class if the jar was full. When they responded in the affirmative he reached under the table and extracted a bag of sand. Slowly he poured the sand into the jar allowing time for it to work its way in-between the golf balls. When the sand was level with the top of the jar he repeated his earlier question. Finally one young man said, “It looks full but I suspect you have another surprise for us.”

Once more the professor reached under the table and this time he produced a pitcher of water and carefully poured it into jar as well, filling it to the brim. “Now,” he said, “it’s full.” After a moment he asked, “And what do you think is the point of this demonstration?”

Category: Life

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In Memory of George Gentry
Posted on February 13, 2013

George was my friend and I looked forward to spending an hour with him from 4 to 5 PM each Tuesday afternoon. His illness prompted my first visit but it soon became secondary to the relationship we shared. That first afternoon, however, we were sizing each other up. He was tempted to view me as Joyce’s preacher, while I was struggling to see him as a man in his own right and not just Joyce’s son-in-law.

Joyce loved George and couldn’t bear the thought of his impending death. Knowing that all things are possible with God, she was eager for me to pray with George for complete healing. However when I asked George if he would like me to ask Jesus to heal him he said, “Absolutely not. My times are in God’s hands and I don’t think we have any business interfering with what He has planned.� I could have debated the finer points of divine healing but that seemed somehow inappropriate. As the weeks and months slipped by I would ask him from time to time if he had changed his mind. Without hesitation he would reply, “Let’s leave things the way they are.�

We became friends and I found myself looking forward to Tuesday afternoon each week. Joyce would meet me at the door with a bottle of water and I would make myself comfortable while George expressed his views regarding the latest “liberal lunacy� with Fox News playing in the background. Once he got that out of the way we turned to other topics – usually George’s favorite – himself.

Category: In God's Hands

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How Does a Pastor Become an Embezzler?
Posted on October 08, 2009

Corruption is as old as the human race and none of us is immune. If we do not guard our hearts at all times and practice absolute integrity in all things, even the smallest matters, we risk falling prey. One of the most heartbreaking examples of a good man who fell into corruption involves a former staff member of a Bible Church in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He went to jail for embezzling almost $42,000 from the church over a six-year period. When I first learned of his crime I remember thinking, How could a minister do such a thing?

I was tempted to conclude that he was an aberration, an impostor, an evil man masquerading as a minister. Such a conclusion made his sinful dishonest easier to explain and it made it less likely that I might be capable of the same thing or something similar. Unfortunately it doesn’t fit the facts.

More likely he was a sincere man. No better and no worse than the rest of us. Somewhere along the way he took a wrong turn. Probably it seemed insignificant at the time. Perhaps he padded his expense account or hedged on his income tax return. Or maybe he was short of cash and “borrowed” from church funds until payday. He intended to pay it back, but somehow he never got around to doing it. After a while it was easier just to pretend it had never happened.

Category: Perils of Power

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Don't Ever Fall in Love With the Deal
Posted on September 11, 2009

While watching President Obama’s speech on health care reform to the joint houses of Congress on Wednesday evening, I couldn’t help remembering something my friend Jack used to tell me. He was an astute businessman who almost never made a bad deal. Once, while having lunch, I asked him the secret of his success. With a slow smile, he raised his finger and pointed toward the ceiling. When I pressed him for something more definitive than divine help he said, “Never fall in love with the deal.”

“A deal,” he said, “is like a beautiful woman. Once you fall in love with her you lose all objectivity. Passion takes over, distorting your judgment. Now all you can see are the benefits. You maximize the upside while minimizing or ignoring the downside. You turn a blind eye to the risks.”

I suspect this is what happened in the last election, not that we had much of a choice. Barack Obama swept the starry-eyed idealists off their feet. They fell in love with the deal and denigrated anyone who dared to suggest that their idealized version of reality might be tainted by passion. Never mind that Obama’s resume’ was terribly thin and that his campaign rhetoric was heavy on style but short on substance. He was charismatic, he promised to change America and he was saying the things many people wanted to hear. Toss in an unprecedented economic crisis, a less than inspiring opponent, a biased media, and it is easy to see why so many Americans fell in love with the deal.

Category: Politics

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Does Steel Float
Posted on September 02, 2009

“For those who refuse to give up, who dare to see with both eyes, there’s something beyond the darkness, something beyond the pain and brokenness of our shattered world.”



Most people can overcome any adversity if they can be assured of three things. First, they must know that God cares. Then they must be convinced that He won’t forsake them. Finally, they have to know that God will redeem their situation. As rational creatures, the thought that a tragic accident or some other life-altering event might be pointless is simply unbearable. But if we are convinced that God will ultimately bring good out of what looks for all the world like a senseless tragedy, we can somehow bear it.
 
Do you remember the time Jesus and His disciples got caught in a terrible storm? Mark records it:  “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” (Mark 4:37,38).

“Don’t you care?”

Category: Grief

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Three Cup of Tea
Posted on July 31, 2009

Few things in life are more important than deep sharing with good friends. That kind of talking nourishes the soul and reaffirms our place in the world. 


As I prepare to write today’s blog three or four memories juxtapose themselves in my mind. In the first I am just a boy ten or eleven years old. It is a Sunday afternoon and we have just arrived home from church. Although I waste no time shedding my church clothes for tennis shoes and blue jeans, our company arrives before I can finish. They have come to share Sunday dinner with us. The guests vary from week to week but we almost never eat Sunday dinner alone. We might scrimp all week, as Mom used to say, but on Sunday we had a feast – huge platters piled high with fried chicken, heaping bowls of mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables from the garden, homemade hot rolls, and gallons of lemonade. For dessert there was always a variety of cakes and pies from which to choose.

When we couldn’t possible eat another bite, us kids disappeared outdoors, while the adults lingered around the table talking for an hour or two. That’s all they did – just talked. It seemed like such a waste to me then. Now, I know better. Few things in life are more important than deep sharing with good friends. That kind of talking nourishes the soul and reaffirms our place in the world.

A second memory now superimposes itself upon the first and I listen as our adult daughter bemoans the fact that no one entertains at home anymore. She and her husband tried it a couple of times, hosting small dinner parties in their home, but when several guests canceled at the last minute and no one returned their invitation they were forced to conclude that dinner parties are a thing of the past. “No one has time to be friends any more,” Leah says wistfully, “not with everything they have going on in their lives. Oh, I know my generation is into social networking – facebook and twitter and all that – but sending emails and instant messages isn’t the same as sharing Sunday dinner!”

Category: Friends

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What to Do When Your World is Falling Apart
Posted on July 18, 2009

"Your crisis may not come as a devastating medical diagnosis, but given time you will face things that will rock your world. So what can you do when your world is crashing down around you?"

Although medical science has made significant advances in recent years, a diagnosis of cancer still has the power to overwhelm. Let the doctor’s diagnosis include “Stage three,” and the level of fear ratchets up yet again. And should the prognosis include a life expectancy of less than two years the effect can be absolutely devastating. That’s what someone very close to me is facing as I write today’s blog. In two weeks time, her world has gone from safe and secure to one of fearful uncertainty and confusion. Needless to say my heart goes out to her and her family.

So where do they go from here? What do they do now? Of course, they’re going to get the best medical advice available before deciding on a course of treatment, but beyond that what can they do? For that matter, what can any of us do when our world is falling apart?

Category: Dealing with Crisis

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Am I the Only One Who Hates Change
Posted on June 28, 2009

"If I try to hang onto the past, to the old way of doing ministry, I will be left behind, yet that’s exactly what I’m tempted to do. Are there risks inherent in change? Absolutely, but the risks of looking back and trying to recreate the past are even greater."

I sometimes wonder what happened to the man I used to be. Friends and colleagues once described me as a man ahead of his time. Now I feel like a dinosaur. I don’t know if life is going faster and faster or if I’m just slowing down. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not throwing in the towel. In fact, I’m running as fast as I can. I’ve even managed to get a web site replete with pod casts and blogs. I’m on facebook and twitter, but every time I learn something new it’s already dated!

I’m tempted to think that I hate change simply because I’m getting older, but then I look back over my life and realize that change has always been hard. In 1980, I moved my family from Craig, Colorado to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to become pastor of Christian Chapel. Although there were a number of challenges I was excited. As far as I was concerned it was the chance of a lifetime and yet our early months in Tulsa were characterized by a profound sense of loss.

Category: Change

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