Monday, June 30, 2008


Please feel free to take the poll at left. It is based on the June 27th blog. Thank you.

This is a recurring theme in this blog, mostly because it is a recurring theme in life. Busyness. We ARE going to have to get a handle on it one of these days. What prevents us from getting a handle on it TODAY? Here? Now?

Employers? Church? Commitments? Family? Our own aspirations? What prevents us? We all complain about it and yet we all fall prey to it. Why?

Everything I'm doing seems wonderful, but there is always MORE. More meetings - more places to be at various positions on the clock - more opportunities to dive into - more people to see ...

But somehow, the more I DO, the more I feel like it is never quite ENOUGH. No one ever says that to me directly. They don't have to. I feel it all on my own.

I even start to think GOD wants me to do more. And there it is. I have somehow linked God's expectations with my own, making them one and the same. But are they?

Without even realizing it, I have carefully created a God I can never please. He is a God who keeps me busy with endless activity without equal purpose. Why would I do that? Who in their right mind would create, let alone submit themselves to, such a God?

We are born with an innate, God-given desire to please Him. But it is from a place of love and acceptance that I choose to serve God, not from sheer duty. Do you see the difference? DO YOU?

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 29, 2008


There is a new poll at left for you to take based on the June 27th blog. Feel free to participate. If you have problems getting it to accept your vote, don't worry - it's not accepting mine for some reason either. Not sure why.

Tonight I'm heading to the next installment of PRAY KENOSHA, held at Lakeshore Tabernacle. There is something to be said for six churches joining forces to worship and pray together. If we want the city to be changed, it won't happen with ONE church getting mobilized. It's going to pretty much take all of us.

If you're around and reading right now, maybe you can make it.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

BLUE F-250

After reading today's blog, please feel free to take the poll at left. Thank you.

Today I was driving in Kenosha on the new Road You Love To Hate - 75th Street - between Menard's and St. Catherine's Hospital, where both east and west routes have narrowed to one lane because of construction.

Driving west on 75th Street, you might not realize or remember that the road narrows until you've crested the hill and come eye-to-eye with a back-up of traffic scrambling to get into the right hand lane.

What can make the misery of that a little more manageable is what happened to me today. This scene is repeated 1,000 times during the course of a day in the spot I was in, I'm sure.

Cars are jockeying for position, merging to the right lane. Other cars are continuing on in the left lane as far and fast as they can in order to 'cut' in line way up at the front before being forced into the right lane by the traffic cones.

Some people don't like this. Today, around noon, there was a really big guy in a really big blue Ford F-250 truck directly in front of me who REALLY didn't like it. He was using his really big truck to maneuver back-and-forth, left-and-right, to block cars that were so insensitive as to try to pass most of us in order to get further on up the road more quickly. But Mr. F-250 wasn't having any of that.

He made me sea-sick watching him because when he would spy a car in his rearview mirror approaching in the left lane and then he'd quickly sidle over to block him. "You are NOT, I repeat, NOT going to get in front of me." Then, when he saw a car boldly trying to take the right shoulder around him (presumably to make a right hand turn way down at the light), he'd veer way over to the shoulder to block THAT person.

This went on several times back and forth. Sitting right behind him in line, I could see the steam rising from his collar. The guy was torqued and getting more torqued as the seconds went by. To tell the truth, watching him go to such lengths kind of made me grin, so I slouched way down in my seat thinking that grinning was probably highly frowned on in his opinion. Did I mention he was a really BIG guy?

At one point a young guy tried to pass on the right shoulder and the big guy in the big F-250 totally cut him off. The young guy had to veer off into a furniture store parking lot and -- well -- (clearing of the throat) - an lovely exchange of hands and fingers took place at about that time. Not to be outgunned, the young dude didn't give up. Two minutes later, he tried again and zoomed down the right shoulder quicker than anybody saw him coming - and while the really big guy in the really big truck made a valiant effort to cut off the young driver at the last minute, the challenger made it around the truck with a squeal of wheels, a huge kick-up of dirt from the shoulder and more lovely gestures.

It visibly shook Mr. F-250 in that he was obviously outwitted, outlasted, outdriven and ultimately passed on the right. I slouched further down yet in my seat.

Now ... I don't know how you feel about this kind of thing and I'm very curious to know. I'll just tip my hand here and say that personally, I am all for believers standing up for what is right. But this particular behavior of moving to the left or right to block people from cutting in seems childish to me. Perhaps you disagree. You're free to.

I just think that if our motivation is to teach people lessons, it ought not make the teacher AND the student both angry. Most people I see who are classified as the STUDENTS in this scenario are not left happy. I'm wondering what particular lesson they're learning at this point. And if those classified as the TEACHERS in this scenario are really trying to instruct them to be less selfish and wait in line like everyone else, I wonder what OUR spirits are up to while we're giving that lesson. Are we thinking, "That wonderful soul behind me - he just needs to learn to wait his turn in line. I'm going to so kindly and helpfully train him to be more like Christ today." Or is our spirit more likely going: "You big $#%^*@! so-and-so -- you GET BACK IN LINE! If you think you're going to get around me so you can be LESS like Jesus, you have another thing coming!"

I don't know. It's just a thought ... something to think about.

So ... I've set up another poll so I can get a beat on human nature - because I'm SO inquisitive about this kind of stuff ... why do people do what they do?

Please participate with honesty (and anonymity) and help educate me.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I hate the word 'paradigm' (pronounced 'pair-a-dime'). Someone used it in normal conversation with me today and I cringed. I suppose I cringed because I don't even really know what it means. I've actually used it MYSELF and I STILL don't know what it means. I've heard it used frequently in the past couple of years - but honestly, the definition escapes me.

So I looked it up on Here you go: "a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline." OK. Yeah. Way better now.

Anytime anyone believes we need to change the way we think about something, they bring out the 'paradigm shift' sword - as if being the first person in the conversaton to use the phrase gives them the upper hand.

"Honey, this separating colors from whites in the wash idea is a big waste of time. I think we're ready for a paradigm shift on that."
"Oh! It's a paradigm shift!?? Well then, in that case, you must be right!"

But what I think I've come to understand is ... paradigm suggests a major change in theory or behavior ... what happens when events no longer fit the 'normal' way of doing things.

Ever thought that about Jesus? He had a pattern for destroying 'normal.' There is a whole list of things Jesus spoke in Matthew 5 where He says, "You have heard it said (such-and-such), but I say to you (something different) ... " PARADIGM SHIFT.

There is a new paradigm today in our Jesus-culture. It's called serving.

Serving through “small” acts — words of kindness, buying someone coffee or lunch ...
Serving through hospitality ...
Serving through “protecting the reputation of others” — refusing to gossip ...
Serving through listening attentively ...
Serving in secrecy — one of the most powerful and effective ways of developing humility ...
Serving through the giving of your time, talent and treasure ...
Serving ALL, not just whom we choose — friend and enemy, rich and poor ...
Serving through being available and vulnerable ...
Serving through bearing one another’s burdens ...

Did I say that was a NEW paradigm? Well, it's not. It's at least 2,000 years old - but I like what I'm seeing. Wanna get in on it?

Here's to my new friend, the paradigm shift.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Somebody tell me what we're going to do about the mosquitoes this summer? Were you outside more than ten seconds today? If you were, you know what I'm talking about. I need a solution. "My Kingdom for a solution!"

With all the rain we've had this year, they're out in full swing with no end in sight, I'm afraid. I know I saw one today the size of a small fruit bat. I'm tempted to get out a giant fly swatter or tennis racket and start committing random, mass mosquito harey-carey like a crazy person, but so far I've resisted that. I have a reputation to keep.
There used to be a part of me that thought it was just wrong to kill anything God made. Not that I'm against killing say, ants and roaches and the like. It's just that people who stand on a sidewalk and start stepping on 100 ants with such unabashed glee --- something just seems OFF there, considering the big world God made for our enjoyment with everything serving a purpose. It's not the insect homicide that bothers me so much --- it's the pure JOY of the killing. Who's with me on that?
But while it's true I said there USED to be a part of me that thought it was wrong ... THIS SUMMER ... the summer of 2008 ... and me with a daughter's wedding scheduled outdoors in my backyard? I say, "whack away."
And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


After lunch today with Ben, I've had the pleasure of spending some time with each of our three summer interns at the church ... Ben (youth intern from UW-Oshkosh) ... Steve (youth intern from North Central Univ.) ... and Colton (music intern from Central Bible College).

What great guys they are. We've always had great interns, but these three are head-and-shoulders up. There is just a ton of potential there and it's going to be terrific watching them not only GROW, but CONTRIBUTE to things this summer. Pray for them.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 23, 2008


We received an email at home today about a new website called It's a website that will automatically send up to 62 e-mails six days AFTER the rapture of the church to friends of yours who you believe probably aren't going to heaven.

It is billed as being run ‘for Christians, by Christians,’ and if you’re wondering which one of those Christians is going to hit the “SEND” button after the rapture of the church, so was I. But apparently if three of the five team members scattered across the country fail to log in over a 3-day period (apparently they're guaranteeing that at least 60% of the 'team' is going to make it to heaven) - then a final 3 days are given to fail safe any false triggering of the system. After that, KABLOOEY! The pink slips are in the mail to 62 of your very best friends.

And my first thought was the same thing the original e-mail said: Why wouldn't you just tell your friends all of that TODAY? Tell them before going to bed tonight that there is another way than the way they're living right now that makes so much more sense -- a rewarding way full of purpose and joy -- peace and direction -- satisfaction and security -- why not just tell them NOW?

And as Pastor Jon Brown so poignantly pointed out as I was talking with him about this: I wonder how many of us even KNOW 62 unsaved people!

This is exactly where the church may have failed over the past decades - but where we must not fail in the future. We must be engaged in the MISSION OF GOD - 'to seek and save what is lost.' That must be our main concern and overriding objective - and not AFTER the rapture, but NOW. Today. June 23rd, 2008. Seven p.m. Central time.

We have to get our eyes out of the rear-view mirror. A healthy church will view outreach to the community as its primary mission. They will embrace the idea of God's kingdom being PEOPLE ... not a BUILDING, not a DENOMINATION, not a PLACE where religious services take place primarily to meet the felt needs of its members.

The truth is, I don't know what to think about that website. I don't know if it's a hoax or what. I am trying to decide if it’s a cool idea or not - or whether I'm just mad that I didn't think of it first. My youngest daughter thinks it is VERY cool, so maybe I should re-think it - or even participate. Did I mention there is a $40 annual subscription fee to sign up?

And remind me again --- how much does it cost for you to walk across the street and just TELL THEM NOW???

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Tonight we hosted PAUL WILBUR at our church. Paul is composer of songs for believers such as: "Roni, Roni, Bat Zion/Let God Arise," "Baruch Adonai," "I Lift Up my Eyes," "Ascribe to the Lord," "Shouts of El Shaddai" and more. His music is of the Messianic slant. A great time was had by all.

Thanks, Paul.
And be blessed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


The most interesting thing happened to Joelene and me yesterday while we were in Chicago celebrating Wedding Anniversary #27. We’re sitting at an outdoor restaurant enjoying the great, late afternoon Friday weather – and I noticed a big tour bus full of people turning the corner in front of us. A public taxi was parked on the side of the street and the giant bus couldn’t make the turn with the taxi there. I could see the bus driver’s face from where I was sitting and noticed he was clearly irritated at the taxi parked there … and though it was LEGALLY parked, it made it very difficult if not impossible for the monster bus to negotiate the turn in crowded downtown Chicago.

I could almost read his mind. “Should IShould I notShould IShould I not?” And he looked ticked off. It only took him 4 or 5 seconds to think it through – the pros and cons – the odds – and then he decided to go for it. “Way to go, man! ‘Atta boy! You can do it!” It was like I was cheering him on from the bleachers. He couldn’t just sit there in the middle of a downtown Chicago intersection and wait for the taxi to move. I’m sure that’s what he was thinking … along with some things I’m probably not allowed to publish here.

So, he nudged the gas pedal and started moving forward. I remember thinking as I watched him pull around, “Boy, you're really cutting that close, but I'm still cheering you on, dude!" Then ... not two seconds later, we heard the ‘scrape-scratch-crunch’ of metal-on-metal as the bus took off part of the rear bumper, tire, hubcap and side mirror of the taxi.

The taxi driver laid on his horn to let the bus driver know he’d done a VERY BAD THING and had better stop. The bus driver did. And from there, they symbolically duked it out on the streets of Chicago the way two grown, mature men should.

So … what’s the application of that?

Nothing that I can think of. I’m open to suggestions. I just thought it was interesting that it happened right there in front of us yesterday – otherwise, there’s no real meaning -- except maybe you don't want me in the bleachers cheering you on for anything risky.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 20, 2008


I'm posting this right after midnight so I can have an actual entry on June 20th, my 27th wedding anniversary. But I'm taking the day off today to spend with my beautiful bride, Joelene. We're off to Chicago for the whole day.

"Our wedding was many years ago; the celebration continues today."

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times; always with the same person."

"True love stories never end."

Be blessed. I'M going to be today.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


No, that's not my open mouth, but it looks like it could be, doesn't it?

I don't know if you're impressed at all with this or not, but ... I've never had a cavity. Yep, that's right. Almost five decades of living and not one cavity in my head - other than my cranial hole. I had an appointment at the dentist today and it's confirmed once again.

Cavities aren't strangers to most of us -- um, I mean, to most of YOU. A cavity develops when a tooth decays or breaks down. It is a hole that can grow larger and larger over time if not taken care of. If your tooth develops a hole, we're (oops! rather, YOU'RE) always looking for someone to blame. There IS a villian. Blame plaque. Plaque is a sticky, slimy substance made up of the germs that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel. If you've ever had a toothache or heard someone complain about one, it may have been because there was a cavity that reached all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are - and if THAT happens - OUCH!

Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth. Here's how:
1. Brush your teeth after every meal.

2. Brush up and down in a circular motion.

3. Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy.

4. Floss once a day to remove plaque and food stuck between your teeth.

5. Limit sweets and sugary drinks.

6. See your dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

OK. Enough of that.

Relationship holes aren't strangers to most of us (and I DO mean, most of US). A hole develops when a friendship breaks down. It is a hole that can grow larger and larger over time if not taken care of. If a hole develops, we're always looking for someone to blame. There IS a villian. Look inside yourself. Inside yourself is a sticky, slimy substance made up of the wounds, scars and past negative experiences that cause relationship decay. The sins inside us make 'relational acids' and when those acids cling to others, they can eat away at the innermost layer of a person, called the soul. If you've ever had a relational break or heard someone complain about one, it may have been because there was a hurt that reached all the way inside, where the nerve endings are - and if THAT happens - OUCH!

Though relationship holes can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking CARE of one another. Here's how:
1. Work on your relationship with GOD above all else.

2. Realize relationships are two-fold - it takes two to tango. You cannot 'relationship' alone.

3. Do to others as you would have them do to you. It is the principle of reciprocity. Love others and they will love you - care for others and they will care for you - help others and they will help you.

4. Make the nurture and feeding of your God-centered relationships a priority -- husband to wife -- parent to child -- between siblings -- those in your small group/close friends ...

5. LOVE above everything in life. 1 John 4:19: "We love, because He first loved us."

6. Be willing to forgive at all turns.

Unlike cavities, after almost five decades of living, I've experienced more relationship holes than I care to think about. I'm still working on patching them up and closing up whatever wounds I've caused. I'm committed to that.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


I am in pain.

Hold on. Let me back up and explain. Stay with me.

I am committed to change. I'm not talking about moving the drums to the other side of the platform or putting a different flavor of coffee at the church cafe or changing the color of the lobby paint. I'm not against any of those changes, but that's not the kind of change I'm talking about.

I'm talking about the change God wants to do in ME, the pastor. Some of that change is painful. There is often a period of brokenness we go thru where God changes us ... where we look our own failings and inadequacies right in the eye and submit them to the Renovation of God.

Maybe I'm overstating it, but it seems that what happens inside a pastor (ME) has a direct impact on the church. Before the church changes, the pastor (ME) must change ... and not without some pain. Maybe great pain. For both church and pastor (ME), and probably not in that order.

There are all these great bottled-up ideas out there - the next great church model - the next great book or magazine - the next great CD or DVD - but REALLY - they are all pretty meaningless unless the pastor (ME) is open to look inside himself first.

Surrender to pain. The pastor (ME) doesn't have what it takes to help us reach our potential - or get us to the next level --- so the pastor (ME) has to surrender himself to be changed before he tries to change the church.

I am committed to change. I am committed to pain. I am committed to let God change how I think about myself and the ministry. I have to do that before I even BEGIN to dream about how the church might change. In other words, MY life has to be re-tooled - who I am, what I think about, my motives, my relationships - before I can tell you anything that might make a difference in your life.

God has called me to be a pastor/shepherd of a congregation, which means what happens inside ME will be significant to those God is attempting to influence thru me.

I can bemoan the thought that I work my head off trying to create exciting and authoritative messages week after week and attempting to deliver them with spell-binding effectiveness month after month, yet it seems people aren't growing much. There are people who have been coming to church for years and the Fruit of the Spirit doesn't seem to be present much in their lives. There is judgmentalism of other believers, disdain for unbelievers and criticism of the way I lead. There may be some high-octane business leaders in our church who think I just don't know HOW to lead.

I may feel that I'm always 'on call' ... running to hospitals, setting up meetings, having breakfasts or lunches with people, trying to be at birthday parties and graduations, weddings and funerals. Since most people work during the day, I try to free up some evenings to meet with them, which takes me away from my family.

Volunteers?! We have the typical 20% of people doing 80% of the work. I'm tired trying to recruit people to do various ministries in the church. I'm tired of guilting people. Many are too busy today to do anything but attend on Sunday mornings.

And MONEY?! Man! We'd love to re-design some of the church interior, fix up much of the exterior, hire some people to do some family and counseling and outreach ministries - but though we are growing - the money doesn't keep pace all the time.

But I am committed to change ... and to pain, if necessary. But the primary drive is not to change the volunteerism percentage in our church - or to change the money situation - or to change the schedule of meetings or the work load -- but to let God change ME. The DEEP me.

The problem is ... people, including ME, rarely change until there is significant pain with the way things are.

God, bring the pain - and the change. I am ready.

Be blessed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I can't believe I'm actually blogging about this -- but our house was T.P.'ed Saturday night. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, T.P. stands for toilet paper. The idea, as its name suggests, is the act of covering an object (usually a tree or house) with toilet paper. This is typically done by throwing numerous T.P. rolls in such a way that they unroll in mid-air and fall on the targeted object.

This activity has become a popular tradition in the United States, particularly in homes where teenagers live. It is most often done in small groups at night and the result is T.P. covering trees and shrubbery (although one time, years ago, someone climbed on our ROOF and T.P.'ed up there as well). We were NOT happy.

I have a complicated tale about one of our daughters being involved in this activity that I won't go into right now ... or ever. Toilet papering is not necessarily an act of vandalism, but in some states it is a crime. However, it is rarely enforced.

The internet even tells you HOW to best T.P. a house. If you're interested ...
1. Get LOTS of T.P.
2. Pick a good time - preferably when the neighborhood is asleep.
3. Don't freak out if you make a little noise.
4. Smoothly launch the roll of T.P. up over the high branches. It should cascade down on the other side. Go over and get the roll and repeat as necessary. Make sure to throw it up as high as possible since you don't want it to be to easily cleaned up and you want your 'work' to last for a couple of days.
5. Rip off small pieces of T.P. and scatter them all over the lawn.
6. Wear running shoes and navy blue or black.
7. Park away from the house. Some houses have cameras.
8. Be quick, but don't leave without admiring your work.
9. Related websites: "How to sneak around at Night" and "How to walk Silently."

This is outrageous information - but like everything else - you can find it online under "How to Toilet Paper a House" --- and --- well --- you can find it here too now.

We have probably been toilet papered 25 times over the years. As our children are getting older, we see it happen less and less. BUT ... we got it Saturday night. We used to be told it was an 'honor' to get T.P.'ed. It meant somebody out there LIKED you.

They never liked us well enough to come back and help us (meaning ME) clean it up, but ... it's good to know we have friends who love us. With friends like these ...

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


It's really the day before Father's Day as I post this. Actually this happened the Friday night before Father's Day -- but it all applies.

Do you like surprises? Typically, I don't. But I'll make an exception this time. I'm sitting in my living room with Joelene Friday night about 11 p.m. when I heard the garage door going up. I thought it was our youngest daughter, Olivia, coming in from having been at a friend's house - so I didn't pay much attention. But it wasn't her after all. I didn't realize that standing right behind the living room sofa I was sitting in was our two older daughters, Whitney and Allison - surprising me by driving all the way from Minneapolis in order to be here for the Father's Day weekend.

What a great surprise! It's one of the greatest surprises I could have hoped for. It WAY beat the other Father's Day surprise, which I was given tonight - just a few minutes ago - a super-duper deluxe outdoor grill that I can burn steaks on.

So today we all went down to the harbor to the Kenosha Farmer's Market and then to the newly opened Civil War Museum. Then we walked around the harbor for a little while and eventually ended up at a custard place for 'dessert' at 4 in the afternoon.

On Father's Day Sunday, we'll all be sitting on the front row in church together and then back home to enjoy a lunch cooked on our new grill by me. But that's OK. If I'm cooking for them, I don't mind at all.

So, I won't be blogging tomorrow (Sunday) in honor of our family time together.

Furthermore, this is as shamelessly self-serving as it gets on a blog like this, but the pics here are some of the family I adore. They were taken on a trip we took last year down the Mississippi River to Red Wing and Winona, Minnesota, where all seven of us spent the night in a Bed & Breakfast in the same room. It doesn't get any better than that. Thanks girls - and Joelene - for making me the proudest dad in the world.

Enjoy your day. And be blessed.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I was at a conference with some friends this week and it was a stadium full of artist types. I love artists. That's probably because I ARE one.

The question was asked: "What can artists do that others cannot?" It's not a real tough question - and because my brain is conference-fried right now, an easy question is what I need.

1. They can lead us into worship that gives a higher view of God. They show thru their art what the God of justice looks like - and the God of compassion - the God of love - of peace - of grace and mercy - and more.

2. They humanize the 'other' -- meaning that thru their drama or video or dance they help us understand the leper - the poor - the prostitute - the atheist - the Muslim - the Democrat (joke).

3. They humanize US. They remind us thru their artistry of our own compassion - mercy - caring.

4. They re-value Creation. They do it in song --- "Fairest Lord Jesus" --- "All Creatures of Our God and King" --- "This is My Father's World" --- "How Great Thou Art."

So this week --- HUG AN ARTIST - and thank God for them.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I have mentioned several times in this blog, if you've been steadily reading (and why wouldn't you be?), that my life seems to consist of one unfortunate incident after another. A good friend of mine used to tell me - actually he STILL tells me this - that between the two of us, God quite simply LIKES him better because this weird stuff never happens to him - just to me. I'm 68.2% sure his theology is a little warped on that one, but some days I DO wonder.

So this week we were returning from spending several days with Joelene's parents in Kentucky (see June 9th blog) and we're driving along at 70 mph somewhere north of Indianapolis, minding our own business, when all of a sudden our car started to lose power, slow down, sputter and eventually stop. Yeah - right there on Interstate 65. I had the presence of mind to pull over to the side of the road far enough to get to safety while cars and trucks whizzed by us, smiling those "God likes all of us better, too" smiles at us as they passed.

I admit that over the past couple of weeks I had noticed my fuel gauge acting strangely. It mysteriously ROSE once or twice when it shouldn't have - but I didn't pay that much attention. I just figured God was making my gasoline S-T-R-E-T-C-H during this wicked time of fuel prices, proving He truly DOES like me. So, when the tank went empty even though the gauge indicated it was over 25% full - well ... frankly ... because these things just routinely HAPPEN to me, no one was less shocked than I, except maybe for my theological friend.

Now I KNOW I have this propensity for turning everyday mishaps into spiritual journeys - like LEAKY FAUCETS (see May 29th blog), CAR SHOPPING (April 19th & May 20th), HAIRCUTS (May 13th), EATING (May 3rd), etc. But honestly, the tie-ins are so OBVIOUS to me.
We pay lopsided attention to a lot of life gauges that turn out to be pretty faulty and unreliable. We trust in our FEELING gauge - which couldn't be LESS trustworthy. Our feelings are rarely in line with reality.

We trust faulty FACTS rather than TRUTH (Fact: The gas gauge said 'You have 1/4 tank of gas left.' I know because I was looking right at it while the car was sputtering down to zero mph. Truth: The tank was empty). Raw TRUTH always trumps mere FACTS.

We trust faulty RELATIONAL gauges -- things people say -- looks people give -- attitudes we read into replies. And to make matters worse, we filter comments and remarks others make thru our own crud.

The most accurate gauges are the ones we ignore. Take our PHYSICAL gauges, for example --- they scream at us when it's time to slow down, put there by the God who loves us in order to prompt us to stop, rest, recoup and breathe. Instead, we push ourselves into oblivion, ignoring the signals our bodies are giving us.

I am paying more attention to the right gauges in my life these days -- and when my own gauges are occasionally wrong or inaccurate, I am learning to stay connected to my Source (Father God) to keep my system from embarrassingly losing steam or shorting out in the middle of the action or finding my tank going drip dry right when I'm going strong.

So REALLY, this "running out of gas on the Interstate cool kind of stuff" never happens to my theological friend. And now that I think about it, I'm not sure God really DOES like him best after all.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 9, 2008


If you've been checking here for the past several days to find 'nothing new,' it's because I've been in Kentucky since Wednesday - and honestly, that shouldn't matter much - at least as it relates to blogging. Because you can blog from ANYWHERE, right? Except maybe from Kentucky.

America is amazing, don't you agree? Hardly anywhere else in the world can you just walk into a cafe in almost any town and find the capability to get online and do your thing. Only in America. Well -- and Canada. And most of Europe and the Middle East ----- and the major cities of Asia ----- and South America ---- and Africa. Hmmm. I guess actually you can do that pretty much everywhere except maybe for Antartica - and Kentucky. Wait. No. You can get online in Antarctica too, I hear. SO ... I guess KENTUCKY is basically the only place in the world that one could go and have a valid excuse for being out of touch blog-wise for four whole days.

Good thing that's exactly where I was, huh?

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Thanks so much to all those who voted in the poll about how people come dressed to church. If you want to read the original blog that prompted the poll, you can find it posted on May 30th.

Poll Results:
"The description that comes closest to the way I dress for church is:"

Suit & tie / dress or skirt & nice blouse ----- 12% of respondents
Dockers & shirt / nice dress pants & blouse ----- 61%
Jeans & shirt or t-shirt ----- 19%
Other ----- 6%

PS -- I'm just wondering what those who checked OTHER wear to church. C'mon. Spill it.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Still a couple of days to participate in the poll at left. I encourage you to take it. The poll relates to the May 30th blog. Thanks.

George Barna, pollster extraodinaire, has come out with a new study on internet usage ...

In the past week, 33% of computers have used instant messaging and 30% have sent someone a text message with their cell phone ...

23% of computer users have a personal webpage or a home page on a social networking site like MySpace or Facebook ...

14% say they have left a comment on someone's blog in the past week ...

10% of computer uses have a blog.

Where is the future of communication going? See the direction of these stats and then you be the judge. Let's stay current with the way our culture is moving so we can relate in meaningful ways.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Feel free to take the poll at left. Still open for a few days. The poll relates to the May 30th blog. Thank you.

I am privileged to be part of a small group of Kenosha lead pastors who meet together every Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. Well - it's a privilege, except for the 7 a.m. part. We involve ourselves in theological discussions, prayer together, reading a book and talking about it, and generally sharing our lives with one another. At times, it is rich.

Two days ago, we all spent the night in a Victorian Inn in Elburn, Illinois. We spent the 24-hour period talking, praying and fasting for our small group and our congregations and our city. Thanks to you guys, if you're out there, for your friendship.

Be blessed everyone.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Please feel free to participate in the poll at left. Open for a few more days. The poll relates to the May 30th blog. Thank you.

Yesterday, the subject in church was "NO COMPROMISE."

One of my fondest memories of childhood was sitting in a small classroom in a little church watching and listening as my Sunday School teacher told Bible stories via a flannel board with little paper Bible characters. My favorite story was one about three young guys who were tossed into a fire by the king as punishment for not bowing down to a gold idol - and then coming out without being burned or even SMELLING like fire. That was fascinating to me. The teacher told it with so much enthusiasm, as well as – I’ve come to find out – considerable literary LICENSE – and he’d slam those little felt characters one-by-one onto that flannel board to support the DRAMA of his point. That was and still is a great story.

It's a story about NO COMPROMISE.

It's a story about obeying GOD, not man. The three guys thrown into the fire told the king they didn't need to defend themselves. God would take care of them. They didn't take out a piece of paper and make a list of PROS and CONS as to whether they should bow down or not. Ever made a LIST of the pros and cons of a decision? I have. But sometimes, when we do that, there might be a time when the CON side has a long, intelligent persuasive list of reasons why or why not – and the PRO side has only one item on it – BECAUSE GOD SAID SO. But no matter how long the two sides are, you ALWAYS go with the side that ‘OBEYING GOD’ is on – because just focusing on PROS and CONS can lead you into a life of COMPROMISE. And when you compromise ONCE, it's so much easier to compromise TWICE. These three didn't. They obeyed GOD rather than MAN.

It's a story about trusting the TRUTH, not the facts. The three guys said, "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, our God will rescue us." What's the difference between the FACTS and the TRUTH? It is humanly impossible to walk on water – that’s a FACT. The TRUTH is - Jesus walked on water and so did Peter, under the power of Jesus. The FACT is, when you’re dead, you’re dead. The TRUTH is - Jesus didn’t stay dead and when He spoke to other dead people, neither did they. The FACT is, you’re out of money and in financial trouble – and there is more month left than money. The TRUTH is – Jesus is your PROVIDER. The FACT is, the DOCTOR says there is no hope. The TRUTH is - Jesus is the GREAT PHYSICIAN. The FACT is, your MARRIAGE is in big, big trouble. The TRUTH is - GOD is a God of RESTORATION. The FACT is, you face an impossible situation ahead and you don’t know what to do. The TRUTH is - all things are possible with God. We don’t look just at the FACTS, we focus on the TRUTH.

It's a story about believing GOD instead of just believing IN God. Even the demons believe IN God, so that is not enough at all. These three guys said, "Our God will rescue us -- but even if He does NOT -- we will still NOT serve the idol you have set up, O king." That is the deepest kind of faith - a NO MATTER WHAT kind of faith. If we lose our jobs and don’t know what to do, we’ll still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If we’re praying for our kids and they’re still going the wrong way, and the harder we WORK, the further they RUN, we’ll still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If we pray and pray and pray and believe with everything inside us that God WILL answer this prayer according to His Word, but for some reason He DOESN’T, we will still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If we’re praying for a friend to be healed but they’re not healed the way we think they should be, we will still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If someone we love and respect as a follower of Christ betrays and hurts us, we will still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If we ache … if we’re afraid and alone … if we’re persecuted for doing the right thing, we will still believe God … “NO MATTER WHAT.” If His Word makes me uncomfortable, I’ll do what He says … "NO MATTER WHAT." If I fail to get that promotion because I’m living for Christ and refuse to do some of the things they’re asking me to do just to get ahead, I’ll do what He says … "NO MATTER WHAT." If my girlfriend breaks up with me because I won’t sleep with her anymore, I’ll do what He says … "NO MATTER WHAT."

NO COMPROMISE. It's the only way to live.

And be blessed.