Tuesday, September 30, 2008



I am in Palm Springs for three days – at the Assemblies of God Trust Summit. The purpose is to discuss the future of the Assemblies of God in terms of how we deal with church planting, resourcing young missionaries who want to get into the field but can’t because of rising school debt that must first be paid off, and to talk about the future direction and vision of our denomination.

At our banquet last night, here was some of the information that was shared by the General Superintendant and Assistant Superintendant of the A/G (George Wood and Alton Garrison, respectively) ... I respect these men deeply for their intense desire to keep the church relevant and moving forward, particularly at the advanced ages that each of these gentleman are --

The life cycle of any organization will atrophy unless new and fresh vision is applied.

In a poll taken, 95% of Christ-followers believed the purpose of the church was for their personal care.

34% of the A/G in the United States is under 25 years of age.

2/3 of evangelical young people will no longer be walking with God three years after high school graduation. However, of those attending one of the A/G Christian Bible Colleges and Universities, 95% will retain their faith.

A video was shown promoting one of the trust funds that have been set up - called the "NEXT GENERATION" fund -- for those called to ministry and missions but who are hindered because of rising debt load, hampering and delaying they're entry into the field to which God has called them. Our very own KFA-ers Rachel King and Steve Campbell are the poster-children for this new ministry and were featured on the video. Both just graduated from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri and both have the call of God on their lives to be missionaries. (I was privileged to perform their marraige ceremony on the beach at Lake Michigan just a month ago.) They are the initial recipients of this wonderful new Next Generation Trust fund. Congratulations to you guys.

Tonight at the gathering, Rick Warren is scheduled to speak. I'll talk to you about that tomorrow morning.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 29, 2008



Yesterday was our THIRD weekend of the ONE MONTH TO LIVE campaign at church. In order to love others the way Jesus did, He calls us to LOVE COMPLETELY -- with all our heart, soul, mind and strength - and then, to love our neighbor as ourself. This includes scaling some mountains with regard to relationships --- mountains of misunderstanding, 'me first,' and mistakes --- something we all deal with almost daily.

Then ... Jesus calls us to grab a rope of acceptance and embrace people without trying to change them (God's job) --- get relational traction by expressing loving actions (talk is cheap - 'Where's the beef?') --- and be tethered to one another by forgiveness (remind me again how much YOU'VE been forgiven and then explain to me why you have trouble forgiving your brother or sister) ... ???

It was great sharing the stage with my wonderful, gifted and beautiful wife (not in that order) -- who is my hero on many levels. She did a great job communicating alongside me. Thanks, honey.
However, I must confess to you -- as much as all of the above was awesome --- the highlight for me was the ending. There is a BIG WORLD out there who needs love too --- they need it in the form of real HELP --- resources, food, education, housing, jobs, etc.

I know we can't do everything to help right all of that, but we ought not spend a lot of time talking about what we CAN'T do. The question is: What CAN we do?

So, at the end of the service -- right there in the main auditorium, with 1,000 people sitting there --- we turned and made small groups and asked ourselves the question, "WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP OUR COMMUNITY IN REAL, DOWN-TO-EARTH WAYS?" WHAT CAN WE DO? I sensed a ton of buzz and real intense, excited conversations going on. I can't wait to read the ideas that were shared on the handout pages.

We also encouraged our congregation to eat RICE ONLY for 2, 3, 5, 7 days - up to you - just to get into the head and heart of the person in our community who goes to bed every night hungry - or for that matter who is hungry and ALSO has no bed. Happy RICE EATING, everyone. I've done it already and will probably do it again over the next couple of weeks.

As long as THIS TEAM is leading KFA, we will not be a society or special interest group or a club of any kind. We are like those first disciples --- an ordinary bunch of sinners who are just grateful they got rescued by Jesus and are enjoying the fruit of His amazing love – and we’ll not be STINGY with it.

When you and I really believe God is working behind the scenes in people 24/7 in order to prepare them for their defining moment of redemption … when you and I really believe there is a powerful God at work … THEN we more easily and gladly give our lives for others. We serve with everything inside us. We help others. We sacrifice for a world in need – to people who are seeking – to people who are hurting – to people who are hungry – to people who are alone.

That’s what the RICE CUPS will help us focus on in order to love completely. Stay tuned as the months go by to see how God would lead us to do more than just TALKING about it. We have a community to reach, friends. Let's go.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 27, 2008



I have been out of commission longer than usual over the past few days - just so busy and then involved in our Men's Breakaway at Camp Wonderland Friday all night and then again today all day.

What a great time we 60 guys had together. And what a great Core Team we have to put it all together ... guys who really love God and are committed to serving other men however they can. Proud of you guys. Thanks.

Aaron Cole, pastor at Life Church in Germantown, WI was our speaker. The theme was "THIRSTY" ... and the guys sure were. Aaron talked about cleaning out our heart garages and getting thirsty for GOD alone --- then he spoke about being thirsty for community/relationships --- and finally he communicated about being thirsty for other people who are far from God.

I love watching men worship -- they are so passionate. My prayer is that their hunger and thirst for righteousness continues on beyond this weekend.

Playing volleyball together late into the night is always a highlight. The camaraderie and 'smack' talk floating around on the court is a lot of fun. It's a 'guy' thing. Some of those guys should go into 'smack' talk counseling though. Personally, I think our team set a record for "MOST LOSSES IN ONE BREAKAWAY." Whatever -- it was fun anyhow. My legs hurt tonight though.


And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



Well, I wasn't going to share this, but yesterday was my 49th birthday. It felt kind of self-serving to announce it on my own blog, but with the pic at right floating all over the internet, at the office, on Facebook and who knows where else, I thought it only fitting that I post it here as well. For the record, the hat was a 'gift' from one of the guys who was at the Milwaukee Brewers game with me last night -- and it's way BIGGER than you can tell here. Trust me. It was smuggled in without me noticing. Next thing I knew, it was on my head. It is bright purple and kind of velvety - with a band of leopard-type spots going around it. Real classy.

The picture was taken by someone formerly known as 'a friend' - on his camera/phone at the ball game. (PAUSE: The Brewers won with a homerun by Prince Fielder with two outs in the night inning - great way to go out.) Practically before I even got home from the game, it had been e-mailed via phone to another person and then posted and 'tagged' on Facebook. From there it went on to several other places. Such is the day of instant communication.

So - in honor of my 49th birthday - join me in taking the "OLDER THAN DIRT" quiz below - and then take the related poll at top left before you check out here. Thanks.

Blackjack chewing gum
Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water
Candy cigarettes
Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles
Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes
Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers
Party lines
Newsreels before the movie
P.F. Flyers
Butch wax
Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive - 6933)
Howdy Doody
45 RPM records
S&H Green Stamps
Metal ice trays with lever
Mimeograph paper
Blue flashbulb
Roller skate keys
Cork popguns
Wash tub wringers
Using hand signals for cars without turn signals
Pant leg clips for bicycles without chain guards

OK -- here's the grading scale ... (I scored '12')
If you remembered 0-5, you're still young
If you remembered 6-10, you are getting older
If you remembered 11-15, don't tell your age
If you remembered 16-25, you're older than dirt!

So --- fellow baby boomers -- ROCK ON.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 22, 2008


God is able to do far more than we would ever dare ask or even dream of. The ability to dream is a God given gift. In fact, our ability to dream is what makes us different from animals. Animals do not have the power to dream. God has given us the power to be creative, to visualize, to plan. Napoleon said, “Imagination rules the world.”

Every great achievement that’s ever been done in business or ministry or any other area has been done because somebody had a dream. Nothing starts happening until somebody starts dreaming.

Someone had to have a dream to build the Sears Tower, DisneyWorld, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Biltmore Estate.

Albert Einstein – one of the smartest people who EVER lived – said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” That’s a pretty profound quote, considering who that came from – one VERY SMART GUY.

But everybody needs a dream. I have found one of the biggest problems in leadership is that when you get into ministry, you usually start off with these big dreams. But as you get into it longer and deeper, your DREAMS shrink to the size of the situation. As we go, circumstances tend to shrink our dreams.

So periodically, we need to be stretched. We need to remember how to dream bigger.
I have a dream for our church ... I believe it's a GOD-GIVEN dream. It’s a dream where the hurting, the discouraged, the depressed and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance, and encouragement. It is a dream of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with thousands of residents in S.E. Wisconsin and N.E. Illinois … it is a dream of seeing 1,000 small groups connecting people together as well as growing people thru Bible studies and seminars … it is a dream of sending out hundreds of career missionaries all around the world, sending 1,000 of our members out on missional projects every year … it is a dream of our church birthing OTHER churches … it is a dream of going into our community to educate, resource, bless, clothe and feed hundreds -- thousands -- of people who are hungry and in need.

I stand before you today and state in confident assurance that these dreams will be realized. Why? Because they are inspired by God.

THAT is the power of a dream. Some people might stand up and say back to me: “Hmmpfh! Fat chance! How in the world are we going to ever have 1,000 small groups or birth churches or make a dent in the hunger and poverty situations? That soundspie-in-the-sky.’"

But I’d have to say – in these last three years I’ve been leading – I’ve never DOUBTED it. I don’t know the TIMING … I don’t know how LONG it will take … but I’ve NEVER DOUBTED the dream would come TRUE – because it is from GOD.

I want to dream bigger dreams. Great things come from small beginnings when God is in them … but you’ve got to start with a dream. It doesn’t cost anything to dream. Everything that is possible now in our society was impossible at one point ... cars, computers, microwaves - you name it. Today's possibilities are tomorrows miracles.


And be blessed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Today was the second week of our "ONE MONTH TO LIVE" campaign. LIVE PASSIONATELY was the theme.

The main points were:
Do something drastic.
Expect something unexpected to happen.
Take action NOW.

After the service, in honor of this message's content in order to urge all of us to get up out of our seats and DO SOMETHING out of the ordinary - go out on a ledge. So, we had an 18-foot tall rock climbing wall in our parking lot. Several were going up it when I walked out of the building around 12:30. There was also a large trampoline for people to 'get out of their box' and 'live' a little. Several hula hoops were available to have fun with as well (refer to my blog of July 30). We were also encouraged to 'get up and serve' somewhere in church life. For many, THAT is a frightening concept as much as scaling a rock wall is.

I love being part of a church that isn't afraid to do some crazy and fun things occasionally. How great to be driving by on Highway 50 about the time 3 people are scaling a big rock climbing wall in the parking lot. Can you imagine people thinking to themselves, "I wonder what they're always doing over there at that church?"

That's exciting to think about. Let's stay on the "ONE MONTH TO LIVE" track. It promises to be a great ride for the next several weeks together.

And be blessed.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Today was the final day of the "INNOVATE 2008" conference in Granger, Indiana - where we've been with our staff and spouses for the past 2 days.

Here are some of the 'biggies' that I heard today:

"What is the Gospel JESUS preached?" Churches are full of well-meaning Christians who would give a different answer than Jesus would give.

The KINGDOM OF GOD - what does that mean? In the CHURCH WORLD, it usually means HEAVEN - something in my HEART. But that is incomplete. It is God's will being done ON EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.

And so, we have to go from saved SOULS to saved WHOLES. God has a plan for justice, helping the poor, health care, feeding the hungry, education to those in need. We must combine the VERBAL proclamation with the DEMONSTRATION proclamation.

We have to go from FLASHLIGHTS to LASER focus. We have to get 'up there, down here.' But we sometimes confuse the GREAT COMMISSION with the GREAT COMMOTION. Narrowing our focus dramatically increases our impact.

We have to go from PROFESSIONALS to full PARTICIPATION. How do we serve and minister to our own Jerusalem and Judea - not just to the outer parts of the world? (ROB WEGNER)

"An organization is a reflection of the leadership.

Be willing to 'get naked' / vulnerable.

The difference between where you are and where God wants you to be is the PAIN you are willing to endure." (Lifechurch.tv team)

Signing off for tonight.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Today was a very long, but great day with the staff and spouses at the INNOVATE 2008 conference in Granger, Indiana. Have I said lately what a great staff we have? We have a GREAT staff ... very proud to be associated with them and grateful for each of the strong calling on their lives.

Here are some thoughts I wrote down from today's sessions ...

'Sometimes we let the "stuff" become the object of our attention. We must remember to not become more enamored with the "stuff" of ministry than we are with JESUS.' (Shawn Wood)

'The earth has both CENTRIFUGAL force and CENTRIPITAL force. CENTRIFUGAL force is when the earth's gravity pulls everything toward itself. CENTRIPITAL force is when things spin out from the earth.' (Granger staff)
The CHURCH has both forces as well. It can draw everything into itself like a magnet -- or -- it can fling itself outwards toward a world in need. The church needs BOTH forces, but if it it does not have CENTRIPITAL force, the church will die.

'Reality #1 - Most churches are NOT impacting their community.
Reality #2 - Spiritual interest among all people is increasing.' (Tim Stevens)

Lunch was kind of special today. I was privileged to be one of about 12 guys who had the opportunity to sit down with the pastor of Granger Community Church, Mark Beeson, and just talk and listen. Good 'stuff.' More tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today, we travelled with the entire pastoral staff and spouses to Granger, Indiana. We'll all be taking in the "INNOVATE 2008" conference together down here. This is a tremendous time for the staff to all be away together - build community - strengthen our relationships - as well as get re-filled with creativity, ideas and passion - and let the vision re-swell inside us. So it proves to be a tremendous time taking it all in team-style.

Our only hitch so far was the other van carrying some of our staff losing some of its tire tread and having to stop at a toll booth area to have the tire changed. That only slowed us down about an hour - we just arrived here at about 11:30 p.m. - time enough for me to post these few comments before pulling these nice white hotel sheets up over my head in about 3 minutes.

I'll talk at you tomorrow. Good night.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Today was my second and final day at the MULTI-SITE EXPOSED conference in Chicago. Great time.
One of the great quotes of the day was from Darrin Patrick, pastor of JOURNEY CHURCH in St. Louis: "Plans are good; but plans aren't GOD."
Here's a short download of the day:
A couple of the "PROS" about multi-site campuses are ... The neighborhood people will have their curiosity piqued and likely come to your multi-site if it is close to them. And when you only have ONE site, only the 'rock stars' get to be onstage. Having multi-site campuses releases openings for other volunteers with gifts to be used.
Multi-site is never about your building being FULL -- it is about your MISSION - your DNA. We're not just after a PREACHING center, we're an OUTREACH center.
The SEVEN MOVES to multi-site by Pastor Dave Ferguson were:
1 - Is it a GOD THING?
2 - Do you have a VISION to do it?
3 - Who is your multi-site campus LEADER?
4 - Who is your multi-site TEAM? (worship - tech - children's ministries - other volunteers)
5 - What is the FINANCIAL plan?
6 - Is your vision ALIGNED? (1 vision - 1 budget - 1 staff - 1 eldership)
Let's keep praying about how God wants KFA to be part of the multi-site vision.
And be blessed.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Today and tomorrow I'm in Chicago at the multi-site "EXPOSED" conference in Chicago - down by Midway Airport at NEW LIFE CHURCH - pastor, Brian Jobe.
Several hundred people gathered today to hear clinicians speak about the multi-site explosion across the country - planting other campuses to reach more people with the Gospel of Jesus.
We're praying about how God would want us to be involved in that kind of endeavor right here in Kenosha. We have a vision to get that kind of 'heart' into our church DNA and see our city won for Christ. Pray with us about that, would you?
Today, Dave Ferguson - pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois - was one of the main session speakers. Some of the things he said today were:
In 1990 - there were 10 multi-site churches across the U.S.
In 1998 - there were 100.
By 2004 - there 1,500.
Seven of the 10 fastest growing churches in the U.S. are multi-site.
Nine of the 10 largest churches in the U.S. are multi-site.
One out of four megachurches (churches over 2,000) are multi-site. By 2010, 50% of them will be multi-site.
The #1 reason to go multi-site is not that you're out of space, but because you want to reach more people for Christ. It's not about being "BIG" in your present location; it's about 'reproduction.'
Going multi-site takes a shift in your church mentality and values:
#1 - Seek the 'lost' more than the 'found.'
#2 - Start to love the 'edge' more than the 'center.'
#3 - Begin to prefer the 'going' rather than the 'staying.'
Food for thought.

And be blessed.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Today begins our "ONE MONTH TO LIVE" campaign. One month of NO REGRETS living.

Living Passionately -- Loving Completely -- Learning Humbly -- Leaving Boldly. That's it.

If you knew you only had one month to live, you'd do some things differently. You'd say the things you'd always wanted to say to those closest to you -- you'd do the things you'd neglected doing for those closest to you -- you'd make sure ETERNITY was for sure in your life and in the lives of those closest to you. You would live just a little more on the edge.

God's favorite word is "TODAY." The enemy's favorite word is "SOMEDAY." Anytime -- just not TODAY. Determine RIGHT NOW to live these next 30 days as if they were your last. You may not actually have 30 days to live, but if you use these next 30 AS IF, then you will have truly learned how to live.

Join us on the journey at http://www.kfaog.org/.

And be blessed.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Well -- our second daughter is now officially married. She and her groom are off to Hawaii tomorrow morning for a honeymoon, after spending the night in a swank downtown Chicago hotel suite. Good for them.

As for the day - it was -- well ... it was EVENTFUL and hardly boring.

We were checking www.weather.com every 12 minutes throughout the day, predicting rain all day and hoping for a break in the clouds and wet - and getting none. We kept praying ... but the rain kept coming. At one point, we gathered in the bedroom with both sets of parents and bride and groom to make a decision. INSIDE or OUTSIDE? 'INSIDE' meant in our living room with 150 guests standing toe-to-toe. 'OUTSIDE' meant potentially drenching everyone. We chose OUTSIDE, flying in the face of everything my mother used to say when I went out in the rain: "You're going to catch your death .... "

Shortly after we made the decision to be OUTSIDE, I looked from my bedroom window to see one of the limos stuck in the ditch across the street - successfully blocking both sides of the road, preventing cars from passing in either direction. It was that way for a good 30 minutes, until a beneficent driver-by with an Excursion managed to pull the limo out of the ditch. More drama.

It rained pretty much all day ... but at least it didn't pour. And in the end, nearly every guest brought an umbrella for the anticipated outdoor event. Other than all THAT, the wedding went without a hitch, surrounded by lanterns hanging from a dozen trees and the fairy tale came to life in the enchanted forest that is our yard.

The bride was radiant - and the groom was appropriately speechless.

Seven huge and delicious wedding cakes (cappucino, chocolate fudge, marble, lemon, pumpkin spice, Italian creme and red velvet) were placed outdoors under tents and we were forced to turn our own garage into a reception area to keep everyone dry. C'est la vie.

But she's married now - it's OFFICIAL - and to a great guy. And the rain all added this wonderful, hard-to-beat ambience to the whole atmosphere. I won't look at rain the same way again.

Congratulations, Allison & Darren. You'll hardly care about any of the above while laying on the beach in Kauai this week.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Since it's wedding week for us - with our second daughter marrying tomorrow - here's some more wedding information, in case you're interested ...


1. White Is Not Right. It seems obvious and yet so many guests seem to forget. White is meant for one person only – the bride! End of story.
2. Skip the Shorts. Shorts at a wedding? It's just wrong; even if you dress them up with a blazer or a pair of heels. Guys, no matter how preppy you make 'em, and ladies, no matter how stylish Charlize Theron looks in them, shorts just won't do.
3. Keep it Classy.
4. Coattails Don't Cut It. Tap into your inner James Bond but keep it in check. All attention should be on the groom (and his honey, of course).
5. All That Glitters Is Not Gold. Stay away from lamé, sequins, shine or glitter.
6. Mad Hatters. Whether you wear a baseball cap to show your allegiance to the Brew, disguise thinning hair, or hide a bad hair day, a wedding is the last place to don one.
7. Give The Wild West A Rest. Bandanas, cowboy boots, and ten-gallon hats all make it onto the list of what not to wear. Unless the betrothed couple has planned a themed bash and requests that guests get decked out in ranch gear, save these for another day, pard'ner.

I have to go shower for the wedding rehearsal now.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I'm departing from the usual church-related posting today - mostly because I have 'wedding on the brain' right now. My daughter gets married Friday (in my yard, if it doesn't rain). So, here are some tips on the subject, just because I'm in that mood ... if I post tomorrow, you're likely to get more of the same ...


1. Don't Be Fashionably Late.
2. Don't Produce Sound Effects. While at a wedding and reception, turn off your Blackberries and cell phones, put them on vibrate, or better yet, don't even take them!
3. Don't Talk Trash. Be on your best and most polite behavior. No complaining out loud about anything (including the RAIN if we still have it outdoors).
4. Don't Come Bearing Gifts. At least don’t bring it on the wedding day. If you do, they have to keep track of it and haul it home at the end of the night. Send the gift ahead of time, or after the actual ceremony. (Pay no attention to this one - bring all the gifts you want to.)
5. Don't Dress Down. Whatever you choose to wear, make the effort to look your best for the bride and groom. vThey'll appreciate that you got dolled or duded up for the occasion.
6. Don't Bring Mr. or Ms. Random. Weddings are intimate affairs and bringing in a stranger should be done with thought. And as much as you may love your kiddos, don't take them if children aren't invited.
7. Don't Steal the Show. Whatever the vibe, let the bride and groom set the tone and follow their lead. (You won't have to worry about this one; we have all the world's most gorgeous brides in our own home.)
8. Don't Pig Out. Avoid going back for thirds. Pick delicately or chow down, but don't gripe that you "don't like fish." Worse comes to worst, you can hit Burger King on the way home!
9. Don't Drag Out Skeletons. No tales about their dating habits or exploits. Have fun, but don't have it at anyone else's expense.
10. Don't Stockpile Party Favors. At the end of the night, as you're saying your “Thank-you’s” and “Goodbyes,” avoid the urge to hog all the super-cool party favors! You don't need to take some for people who weren't able to attend. You don't need extras. Just take one for yourself.

Hope that was helpful.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


In Matthew 17, there is a story where the disciples have been asked by a father to expel an evil spirit from his son – this is a spirit that drives his son to suicidal behavior. The disciples try to help, but can't. Jesus Himself intervenes and the disciples ask, ‘Why couldn’t WE drive it out?”

Jesus responds: "Because you have so little faith. If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. (v. 20)

Don't you find that very interesting? Jesus isn’t really interested in the rearraging the location of the mountains. It is the greed, lust, arrogance, oppression, racism and poverty He wants to re-draw. He wants the disciples to move mountains of injustice and cause new rivers of compassion to flow. He wants his followers to do this IMPOSSIBLE thing - to label as unacceptable, unnatural and changeable a world where homeless children beg outside the sprawling estates of the super rich – estates where the dogs inside eat better than the humans out on the streets.

It’s astonishing really that Jesus doesn’t simply say , 'Nothing will be impossible for ME' - He says, 'Nothing will be impossible for YOU.'

This is our call to action to move mountains and re-shape spiritual and social landscapes in our community. Think about it.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Well, all right - this was just INEVITABLE here, wasn't it? After yesterday, I couldn’t resist. Unless you were present at second service Sunday morning with KATHY TROCCOLI, you won’t exactly understand this one -- and that'll teach ya to miss church. But it was kind of FUN, and a little SCARY, to stand on the KFA stage and sing part of Barry Manilow’s “I Write the Songs.” It has been SUGGESTED in the past that I might bear a vocal resemblance to Mr. Manilow, during his very BEST days, of course. I don’t know if I do. If you were there in second service, you can be the judge. But it was fun to ‘let down my hair a bit’ and go out on a ledge to be part of that. The whole thing was so far out of my comfort zone I cannot even TELL you – and I practically had to blow dry the armpits of my shirt when I got home yesterday afternoon.

I will confess there is a PART of me that wants to turn back the clock and wipe that from the KFA memory banks, but ALAS, it is now forever part of weekend service history. However, I WAS particularly gratified to see so many of you get into the ‘spirit’ of it by pulling out your cell phones and waving them in the dark while I was singing. You don't see THAT in church every day - and that's one of the things I LOVE about KFA.

And NOW, those of you who weren’t there yesterday for second service are saying, “What in the world!!?” But relax. We haven’t gone off the deep end. Not YET.

And be blessed.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This weekend at KFA, our guest was KATHY TROCCOLI (www.troccoli.com). Born in Long Island, Italian, gifted communicator, funny, warm, genuine, honest, natural - all surrounded by her tremendous music.

Saturday night, more than 500 ladies gathered to listen to her sing and speak. My wife tells me it was a spectacular time together.

And today - at both early and late services, Kathy blessed us again. Thanks, Kathy. It was a pleasure meeting you and hosting you at KFA.

And the rest of you ... be blessed.

Friday, September 5, 2008


"A Day in the Life" -- Today I was at the gym working out and when I was through, as is my 'sometime' custom, I drove to McDonald's to get two double cheeseburgers and a drink. After all, when you've worked out hard for 2 hours, you need to get some energy back into your body. And what could be better for that than four patties of greasy protein and two slices of yellow processed dairy sandwiched between four buns of white carbohydrate -- and some turquoise blue 'as-of-yet-unidentified' beverage?

So I have this little 'thing' I do of putting any and all change I get during the day into a little container in my car - for tolls, dry cleaning, snacks, etc. It's pretty handy and I feel like I'm getting away with something by not pulling out my paper money when I have to buy stuff.

So I went in to McDonalds with my container of pocket change to place my to-go order. Don't ask my WHY I went in to order to-go. I just did. I got my order, dispensed the blue liquid into my cup and walked out to my car.

As I was backing out, I looked over my shoulder to make sure the coast was clear to put her in 'Drive,' and there was a MAN standing right beside my window. It scared me to death. He had been in the line ordering behind me - and he held in his hands my trusty pocket change container. I opened my window to say 'thanks.' He didn't say much to me - just kind of extended his arms to give me the container - but I was so grateful he had done such a nice thing. It restored my faith in humanity and reminded me to keep my own integrity and honesty far above the water line.

So, wherever you are right now, sir -- THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. Sometime in the future, I owe you two double cheeseburgers and a cup of blue liquid.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


OK - to follow up on yesterday's blog ... I was blessed to have Draft Pick #1 among those I'm in the Fantasy Football League with (all of our pastoral staff actually). So, here's my team.

Quarterback - Drew Brees (New Orleans)
Quarterback - Jay Cutler (Denver)
Running Back - LaDainian Tomlinson (San Diego)
Running Back - Marshawn Lynch (Buffalo)
Running Back - Earnest Graham (Tampa Bay)
Running Back - Selvin Young (Denver)
Running Back - Ahmad Bradshaw (New York Giants)
Wide Receiver - Anquan Boldin (Arizona)
Wide Receiver - Santana Moss (Washington)
Wide Receiver - Brandon Marshall (Denver)
Wide Receiver - Roddy White (Atlanta)
Tight End - Dallas Clark (Indianapolis)
Kicker - Stephen Gostkowski (New England)
Kicker - Josh Brown (St. Louis)
Defense - New England
Defense - Chicago

So, tell me how I did. It's my first time. I'll keep you posted on my standings as the football season wears on.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Hey dudes out there -- I'm involving myself in a Fantasy Football League with the pastoral staff -- It's my first time and DRAFT PIC CHOICES are being held tomorrow night. I seriously need some tips and help if I'm going to keep up with this crew.

Any suggestions?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Bottled water has practically taken over the world these days. You didn't even see it coming, but yeah - here it is. Every home has a well-guarded stash.

So when I recently read this about the myths of bottled water and found it so eye-opening and grocery-bill-reducing, I thought I'd share it in case you also wanted to take a big black marker and cross out one of YOUR regular Woodman's list items ...

No. While labels gush about bottled water that "begins as snowflakes" or flows from "deep inside lush green volcanoes," between 25-40% of bottled water comes from - guess where? - U.S. municipal water supplies. Sorry. That's not even a particularly BAD thing - but it's not originating from the exotic lush places you're imagining when you pour it down your throat.

Negative. The purest water - distilled with all minerals and salts removed - tastes flat; it's the sodium, calcium, magnesium, and chlorides that give water its flavor. The "off" taste of tap water is the chlorine; if you refrigerate it in a container with a loose-fitting lid, the chlorine taste will be gone overnight.

Not exactly. Vitamins, herbs, protein, and all the other additives to water — are a marketing ploy. They are a scant serving of what you need in a day. AND ... enhanced water usually contains sugars and artificial flavorings to sweeten the deal and can pack more calories than diet soda.

Water is vital for life. There is no more fundamental drive than the drive that extreme thirst produces. Some of you may have fasted food for a week – maybe longer - but three to four days is the absolute extreme limit of human endurance without water.

So when the Bible says, "As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the Living God," you understand how at-the-very-basic-core-of-the-human-heart thirst is. For a few, the cry is conscious. “I am AWARE that my deepest need and longing is for You, God - and so I vocalize this prayer OUT LOUD ... "GOD, MY SOUL IS THIRSTY FOR YOU." I consciously recognize this is my need.

But for MUCH of the world, this is an unconscious prayer. Their hearts are praying it, but their minds are only dimly aware of the real thirst underneath all the other thirsts they have. I believe people are thirsty for help that goes beyond themselves. I believe their SPIRITS, all the time, with virtually every beat of their hearts, are crying out Psalm 42 … “As a deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for YOU, O God."

There is no substitute that quenches thirst. We sample them, but none work. Psalm 42 is the main cog of Christ-follower worship. It is our intense agony, our desperation, our utter desert dryness that prompts us to cry out and draw near to God ... where, in C.S. Lewis' words, you ‘stop being satisfied playing in mud puddles and start believing that a beach with an ocean actually exists for you.'

Many of us have been taught that the Christian faith consists of little more than accepting Christ, getting your ticket stamped, and making it to heaven. But Christ came for more than just you getting to HEAVEN. There are so many Christ-followers in America who are satisfied with so little of God. If you go through the lives of all the great saints of the past, you will see this one common characteristic in each of them … EVERY ONE of them was discontented with their present experience of God and wanted MORE.

You hear it in the various psalms -- #27 ... #63 ... #84 ...

Thirst-quencing worship … REAL worship … springs from a desperation for more of God. John Piper says, 'The problem in our lives is not that we want too much out of life. It's that we are satisfied with so little. Regularly we try to quench our thirst with stuff that only increases our sense of emptiness. Worship is God's invitation to you and me to drink.

And you can't get that in a bottle.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I'm sure this is WAY more than you ever wanted to know, but of all the general holidays we celebrate, Labor Day is different in that most of the other holidays are, more or less, connected with conflicts and battles of one kind or another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, no race, no nation.

It is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday was first proposed in 1882 and by 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday. It is appropriate that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership -- the American worker.

As for me personally, today was a day that - I GUESS - was a fitting tribute to the American worker - by NOT working. So, THIS was my day today ...

Slept in
Ate breakfast on the patio
Sat in the sun for awhile
Thought about stuff
Worked on a couple of messages
Went on a bike ride to Lake Michigan with Joelene
Grilled and ate supper on the patio
Sat in the sun for a little while longer
Watered the lawn
Thought about some more stuff
Enjoyed an evening at home watching a little TV
Going to bed now

Here's to Labor Day.

And be blessed.