Sunday, November 30, 2008


We just said goodbye to our two daughters and sons-in-law who live in Minneapolis - heading back home in this sleet - so we're praying for safe travel tonight for them all.

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. We've always selected a live one. After years of Fraser firs and Balsam firs, we went with an old standard this year, the White pine. It stands at 8'11" - just nearly grazing our living room ceiling, but not quite -- just right.

While our kids were in town, we hopped on the METRA to Chicago and visited the Museum of Science and Industry. I couldn't even say what my favorite exhibit was there ... maybe the 775-foot long captured World War II German submarine ... or the 100 decorated Christmas trees from countries around the world ... or maybe just watching baby chicks peck their way out of their eggshell homes beneath incubators ... or it COULD be my favorite moment was at the "Fast Forward" exhibit, which showcases tomorrow's inventions and today's innovators. The pics below of Joelene and me were taken at that exhibit. Freaky, huh?

Hope you had a tremendous Thanksgiving holiday.

And be blessed.

Friday, November 28, 2008


I love Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday of the year. There is a 'stresslessness' about it. The whole family is gathered 'round and there is lots of laughter and sleeping in and game-playing and movie-watching. Our particular Friday-after-Thanksgiving tradition is taking the train down into Chicago and walking the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue and then eating deep dish pizza at Giordano's. Today, we broke that tradition a bit and went to the Museum of Science and Industry, which was a great time.

The other thing Thanksgiving is about ... even the day after ... is FOOD.

The whole country gets in on it. Some lucky 'gobbler' yesterday got his picture taken 1,000 times yesterday morning in Washington, D.C. - this one was from IOWA and named "PUMPKIN." That's right, they TURKEY had a NAME -- and it got a PRESIDENTIAL PARDON by George W. Bush. The Bush's then promptly turned around and went into their White House dining room where they had a DIFFERENT 25-lb. turkey already prepared by the White House crew -- cooked, basted and carved and sitting on their dinner table.

It's a rather fascinating holiday, isn't it? While the meal is arguably the tastiest of the year, yesterday it had some weird stuff you seldom see on the table the other 364 days of the year.

- I am hooked on green bean casserole with cream of onion soup and boxed onion strings thrown in. It's about the only time I get it, but I LOVE it.

- A couple of people in my family will absolutely devour that wiggly, jiggly, gyrating cranberry goo. Spaghetti sauce is a sauce; barbecue sauce is a sauce. Cranberry sauce is a goo. Like a memory foam pillow, it always returns to the same posture.

- I know some people who put giblets on the table at Thanksgiving. We didn't yesterday, but many people love them. Often they're chopped into mini chunks for the stuffing. One question. Aren't the giblets sealed in a body cavity bag to signal "stay away?"

- When was the last time you had marshmallows for supper? A good campfire isn't GOOD without them, but it's the only time of the year we slather them onto our carbohydrates.

- And ... sorry ... I have to say it ... turkey. Personally, I loved our bird yesterday - but historians can't prove the Pilgrims ever ate them. Do you eat it on your birthday, wedding day or any other celebratory time? Nope. Just at Thanksgiving. The homage to Christopher Columbus — and his big Italian eyes that discovered America — is an inscrutable, up-to-30-pounds, three-foot-tall game bird with a 'wattle' and irridescent body feathers that doesn't fly (True. Wild turkeys can fly but the turkey YOU ate today never flew a day in its life.) and forages on the ground for insects. Go figure. But we LOVE it.

And I'll be loving it again tomorrow ... and the next day ... and the next day ... on sandwiches after that ... then in sack lunches to work ... then in soup etc . etc . etc.

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It's real simple today. It's all about being THANKFUL and about the FOOD - in that order.

I want to be one of the ONES, not one of the NINE. Luke 17 tells the story. TEN are healed by Jesus, but only ONE returns to give thanks. 'Lord, may we always be among the ONE.'

Today, our ever-growing, extended family (two sons-in-law now) gathered at our home. We passed out the letters that spell the word 'T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U' to each person and they had to think of something they're thankful for that started with that letter. It was fun, moving and meaningful.

Then, we had PART I of the Traditional Taylor Family Thanksgiving Meal (courtesy of our personal chef, my wife, Joelene - T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U, honey!)

Thanksgiving Menu - Part I:
Veggie tray
Fruit tray
Olive-pickle tray
Crackers and mackarel dip
Cranberry Sauce
Caesar Salad
Small pieces of pork
Spaghetti with marinara sauce
Stuffed shells (a must-have at Traditional Taylor Family Thanksgiving Meals - and my personal favorite anytime)
Iced Tea and Sparkling Duck (yeah, it's not alcoholic)

Then we pushed back from the table for a bit and talked - eventually moving to the Taylor ROCK tradition. We've done it for years. In our home is a white bucket. It is filled with stones that, over the years, have been written on by us and placed in the bucket. They commemorate both prayer requests and T-H-A-N-K Y-O-Us. The Biblical story is in Joshua 4. Today, we all wrote something down on our rock that we were thankful for - talked about it around the table - then plunked our rock into the white bucket for safe keeping.

After that, we had PART II of the Traditional Taylor Family Thanksgiving Meal.

Thanksgiving Menu - Part II:
Everything from Part I, plus ...
Green bean casserole
Sweet potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Rice pudding

After Part II, we had a time of personal bloating - after which we all got up and washed and dried the dishes and put things away.

Then came PART III of the Traditional Taylor Family Thanksgiving Meal.

Thanksgiving Menu - PART III
Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pots de Creme (It's decadent and it's chocolate and it's required at our Traditional Taylor Family Thanksgiving Meals - that's all you need to know.)

PS - I didn't make ANY of this up. I promise. :)

And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I was listening to Andy Stanley the other day and he said, 'When we ask churches that are experiencing momentum, “Why?” they will often respond, “God is just blessing.”'

Now that is a good answer, but that is not a helpful answer. The follow-up question needs to be, “What is God blessing?”

God is blessing so much at our church right now and I feel that we have some definite POSITIVE MOMENTUM. Momentum is defined as 'forward motion fueled by a series of wins.'

There are some TRIGGERS that fuel momentum.

NEW is probably a trigger. Anything new, by definition, generates some kind of momentum. It could be new leadership or a new direction or new personnel or a new approach or a new ministry or a new idea or a new product or a new look or a new venue. Momentum is never triggered by tweaking something old.

IMPROVED is probably a trigger, in that the NEW must be a noticeable improvement over what was.

IMPROVING is also a trigger, where momentum is sustained through continuous improvement. Continuous improvement requires systematic, unfiltered evaluation.

I see us honing our vision in some real sharp ways right now. Our staff and key leaders are on the same page with a Simple Church philosophy where we are all more focused and aligned with one another - all thinking the same direction - more part of the greater whole rather than 'silo,' independent ministries - all looking out for each other. THAT is Simple Church.

We are putting our emphasis on small group life for connectivity, accountability, assimiliation, relationship-building, serving and discipleship more and more. Our heart to be 'missional' is increasing and many in the congregation have already caught that heart - in fact, they are way ahead of us in that. The Word is being taught every weekend and people are coming to Christ. We have plans to help improve how those people are helped and served that we're ready to implement.

It is all very exciting. Let's keep the momentum rolling. Join us on the journey.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have to say again how much I love our pastoral staff at KFA. These are men and women who are fully-devoted followers of Christ. They are fun to be around and know how to laugh (way too much) as well as get down and talk about business --- they can debate with passion and then agree in the end --- they are able to openly challenge and then walk away fast friends --- they are passionate about the local church and, as a group, we are learning how to prioritize what God is calling us to do here in Kenosha.

What a team!

Even as I am writing this, an e-mail from one of the team members pops into my inbox saying how thankful and appreciative they are that God has made it possible for us to all serve and work together. That's what I'm talking about.


I am excited about 2009. It promises to be a year when more people than ever will come to Christ as we focus on Jesus' mission - not only weekends, but all thru the week. It will be a year of steady but measurable growth in our faith as believers as well.

We are all on the same page - striving toward the same goals and vision - like never before.

Here are some things happening in 2009:

Missions trips to Mexico - Austria - Thailand (2 trips) - England - Jamaica - Honduras - Milwaukee City on a Hill - Minneapolis (elementary student missions trip)

Small Group Connections - Meet the Pastors dinners

Water Baptisms at Lake Andrea

Valentine's Day Couples Night Out - Kouples Kamp

Student Camps and retreats

Guest speakers: Sam Farina, John Bevere and Dr. Nick Yphanitides

More small group sermon-based tie-ins - fall '09 small group emphasis coordinated with message series

Message series on: Book of Romans - Confessions from your Pastors - Body/Soul/Spirit - God at the Billboard - Questions You are Asking

Benevolent and 'missional' outreaches

That's just the 'tip.' 2009 will be an awesome year. Pray for our church and our pastors, would you?

And be blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2008


The North Star. It served as a set point so navigators could determine their position on a map. In the 'old days,' nighttime navigation would have been virtually impossible without the benefit of the North Star.

Everybody needs a 'set point' by which to navigate. If we want to bring about change, we need to be clear in our own minds - not only what needs to be changed - but what the end result should look like. We need to determine our core agenda and make every decision in light of it.

We may not win every battle but if we strategically CHOOSE our battles in light of our core values and agenda, our North Star, we can win the war.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I loved the cardboard testimonies in church today. To see how God has changed people's lives so dramatically brought tears to my eyes. It was a feast of thanksgiving to watch them flip their 'before' and 'after' pieces of cardboard and give testimony of the work God has done in their lives.

I was blessed that each of them took such a bold step to confess former bondages like abuse, bulimia, loneliness, adultery, drunkenness, cutting, suicide attempts and other difficult things -- and then also remind us that God had delivered to each one of them the free life they are living today. That was very exciting.

And God isn't nearly done with any of them (or any of us) yet. Maybe that is the best part of all.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

JC vs. JFK

President John F. Kennedy was killed by an assassin 45 years ago today - November 22, 1963. He was 46 when he died. He has been gone just about as long as he was here. His memory lives on in lots of ways today.

When he became President in 1961, people were enthused about his ideas, passion, spirit, glamor and class. He had a symbiotic relationship with the news media and with television cameras in general. During his presidency, JFK had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis, pursuit of an out-of-control Mafia, a growing space program, miniaturization of the computer component industry and the exponentially rising influnce of television in the 1960's.

It ended far too quickly. Over the long weekend of his death, the U.S. would be confronted with the somber aftermath of it all ... Jacqueline Kennedy emerging from Air Force One, her husband's blood still visible on her dress - the visceral shock of the assassin himself being gunned down as he was being transferred between jail cells in Dallas - thousands of mourners paying respects as the President's flag-draped coffin lay in the Capitol building - watching Mrs. Kennedy kneel to kiss the flag - her five-year-old daughter Caroline holding her mother's hand and looking up to her as though for guidance - the horse-drawn hearse carrying Kennedy's coffin to Arlington National Cemetery - the President's three-year old son, John Junior, saluting the hearse as it passed by.

Even if you weren't born yet, you know --- you've heard --- you've seen.

But when you think of real greatness, is JFK one of the people who comes to mind? How about Michael Jordan? George Washington? Tiger Woods? Oprah Winfrey? Donald Trump? Bill Gates? Abraham Lincoln? Thomas Edison? Michael Phelps? All these people have made huge impact, but there is a distinction between "being great at something" and "being great?" Have any of them made a lasting impression on you that changed your life in a practical way? Has Tiger Woods bailed you out of a financial crisis? Did Michael Jordan come to your rescue when you were struggling with a personal decision? Did Bill Gates impart knowledge into your life that has shaped and molded you into the person you are today?

In Mark 9:33, Jesus was talking to His disciples and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and the servant of all." So here's how JESUS defined greatness ... the first needs to be last ... you need to be a servant. A servant is defined as "a person who executes someone else's plans."

The people who are great in your life are the people who have laid aside their own plans and have executed your plans to make you better. Did JFK do that for you - or did JC do that for you?

Being great isn't based on talent but rather on choice - a choice to lay down your life and make someone else's life better. Did JFK do that for you - or did JC do that for you?

JFK lives on today via the memories of his grace - his public policies - his energy - the football games on the White House lawn - JC lives on today thru YOU ... thru YOUR servanthood ... thru YOUR love for people ... thru YOUR hands, YOUR eyes, YOUR speech.
I have nothing against JFK at all. I'm just keeping it in perspective.
And be blessed.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Who says blogs by pastors are just about ministry and nothing else? Not me. Hope you agree.
I've managed to be in a lot of airports in the past couple of months - Palm Springs - Tokyo's Norita - Detroit - Manila - HongKong - Chicago's O'Hare - Washington D.C.'s Reagan (pictured at left). I just flew home from there today where I attended a faith-based initiative forum the past two days (see November 19, 20 blogs).
I absolutely LOVE going new places - new cities - new experiences - but I have found I don't enjoy the 'journey' so much. Flying is kind of a necessary evil today, unless you have the time to drive everywhere, and good luck with that, if you need to get over to Tokyo. You have to get where you need to go, but I don't find the actual TRAVEL part that exhilirating anymore - not like I used to.
The logistics of planning a trip can be hectic during the best of times - and it's become confusing depending on the airline you've selected. The base fare you pay may not be anywhere near what your flight ends up costing you, and once you've added in fees for your first checked bag, a second bag that might be over the weight limit, optional legroom and onboard snack, you could be way 'out there' price-wise. The assorted fees all vary by carrier, and they’re trending upward.
The whole process is stress-inducing: getting there in time - standing in ticket lines - going thru security where you have to come close to disrobing these days - waiting for planes to arrive and take-off - sitting in your cramped seat, a particular challenge for a guy 6'5" like me (On the flight home today, the ceiling of the interior of the plane was literally about 6'3" high - do the math).
Even what happens at home before you ever leave can be stressful. The packing. I usually get it all packed up and then turn around and see the seven piles I forgot laying 'over there' - and have to figure out how to get all of it stuffed in there. These days, Joelene comes along and practically does it FOR me and manages to get about eight times the stuff in there that I could.
So - after visiting seven airports in the past eight weeks - and getting some pretty good advice from my wife - here are some things to pass along that maybe you'll find helpful. Maybe not.
1. Distribute weight intelligently. Put heavier items on the bottom of your suitcase. This includes shoes, rolled jeans, blazers, jackets, etc. Lighter pieces go at the top.
2. Use bags to organize. Joelene puts a plethora of Ziplocs in there - small accessories - toiletries - cosmetics (um - hers, not mine) - gooey things - foodstuff - future dirty clothes - etc.
3. Roll your casual clothes. This approach minimizes creasing and maximizes space. Works great for lighter weight things like cotton shirts, khakis and jeans rather than bulkier items like sweaters. Also, roll smaller items like socks and personals and use them to fill in air holes.
Next time you fly, hope that helps.
It's just always so great to be HOME and sleep in your own bed.
And be blessed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DC - 2

Today at the Washington, D.C. forum on faith-based initiatives, we had the privilege of hearing several passionate speakers all talk about the plight of the homeless, the hungry, the underprivileged, the diseased and the uneducated in America.

It was a gripping time for everyone to hear of the depth of the problems right here in many of our own backyards. We are just beginning to understand the full scope of it in our own relatively small community of Kenosha.

We are not immune.

The speakers were Jedd Medefind, special assistant to the President and acting director of the White House Office of Faith-based Initiatives -- Dr. John Cook, director of the Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based Initiatives -- and Alison Young, director of the Freedom Corps.

We took a tour thru the White House, which is always moving and spectacular no matter how many times you've done it. We then went across the street to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, one of the most beautiful buildings in all of D.C. (and that's saying a lot) and had several meetings to hear about the above issues.

Over lunch our speaker was Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church here in Washington, D.C. ( His church sponsored a CONVOY OF HOPE event here in D.C. this past year that drew and helped almost 9,000 people. Eighty-thousand pounds of food and goods were passed out to people in need.

After that, I had a chance to zoom over to the Holocaust Museum and take a quick run thru it - not the way to visit that particular sight, but I didn't have much choice given the hectic schedule.
Be praying with me about how God wants us to be "Jesus with skin on" to our community.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

DC - I

Today was an amazing day. I am in Washington D.C. for a couple of days at a faith-based initiative forum sponsored by our Assemblies of God CONVOY OF HOPE ministry. CONVOY OF HOPE has done tremendous things both here and around the world to bring real help to those who are hungry, homeless, sick, under-resourced and diseased. The forum in D.C. is to help us all understand the plight of poverty, AIDS and other social ills in our U.S. society.

I sense my own heart and vision and passion and motivation being driven in these directions more and more as days go by. I believe our congregation back home is beginning to feel the same - some have for a long time already.

So today there were several speakers to enlighten us -- Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania and Steve Preston, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, were two of them.

A couple of other unrelated, but cool things happened to me today, too. I took a taxi from my hotel down to where the forum was being held. The driver happened to be the hippest 30-something Pakistani guy. This is what I absolutely love about places like Washington, D.C. It has such a wonderful international feel to it. My taxi driver, whose name I could not begin to pronounce, has been in the U.S. for about 15 years, but still had the thickest accent. He was a great conversationalist and we engaged each other non-stop during the whole 20 minute drive - 4-letter words and all (not from me, but from him). He has a wife and three children under age 6. He talked about how much he loves being in America, and yet it frustrates him that it seems we are so bent in the U.S. on 'work' and having 'stuff.' Very astute, wouldn't you say? He said over in Europe and Asia, people are more relaxed - they spend more time with family - they go on vacations - but not over here. Work, work, work, for stuff, stuff, stuff. Consequently, he said - to make ends meet - he has to work 10-12 hours per day, seven days a week. I was shocked at that and challenged him on it - I mean, what about his young FAMILY?! He said (with a couple of choice words) that he HAD to work that way just to keep their heads above water. He gets to see his kids in the early morning before he leaves for work and then he gets to see them sleeping when he comes home. Occasionally, he may have a few extra hours on a weekend when he can take them to Chuck E. Cheese or somewhere like that. My heart broke for him. Such a nice guy. I told him I would pray for him that God would relieve his situation. He seemed to appreciate that. The trip ended on a very UP note. I was wearing a suit today for the meetings and when I got out of the taxi - as I handed him a $20, he told me I reminded him of a MOVIE STAR! That's right - you heard it here first. I wanted to ask him WHICH movie star I reminded him of, but I didn't. I was afraid he might say Ernest Borgnine or someone like that. I didn't want to push my luck.

I also had the opportunity in mid-afternoon to sneak away from the forum for about an hour to get over to the Longworth Congressional Building (about 6 blocks away and directly adjacent to the U.S. Capitol Building) to see Representative Paul Ryan from Wisconsin. He represents our district in Congress. Paul has had a relationship with our church since back in the days of musical productions. He has attended several. I sat in his office area even though he wasn't there. His assistant took me down outside Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner's (R - WISC) office, where Paul was due to stop by for a meeting. His assistant, Ted McCann, graduated from Tremper a few years back and has been in D.C. for a couple of years now helping Paul. As Ted and I were standing there talking, a voice came from around the hallway corner: "That must be Kevin Taylor I hear," and into view came Rep. Paul Ryan. I guess he recognized my VOICE before he SAW me. Kind of cool. We chatted for about ten minutes in the hall before he had to go into his meeting with Sensenbrenner. It was great to see him. He's a definite 'up-and-comer.' Keep watching him.

I also had a chance to see Ebenezer's Coffeehouse right across from Union Station. It is the largest coffeehouse in D.C. and is owned and operated by Mark Batterson's National Community Church ( The church meets on weekends in a theater right in Union Station and during the week they meet downstairs underneath the coffee house. I sat inside Ebenezer's for about 30 minutes with a hot chocolate, big blueberry muffin and free wireless internet. Very cool.

I am excited about the forum tomorrow. It includes a tour and meeting inside the White House and other meetings in the famous Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where much of the inner-workings related to the White House takes place. Should be fun. I have to wear a suit. Good thing I kept all those.

I'll be in touch tomorrow sometime to give you a full report.

And be blessed.

Monday, November 17, 2008


What do all of the people below have in common?

In 1941, during the dark days of World War II, Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain, addressed his alma mater, the Harrow School. Some of his most memorable words came during that speech: "Never, never, never, never - in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in ... "

In 1903, at a meeting of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party, the qualifications for membership were debated. One man, Vladimir Lenin, demanded nothing less than total and complete allegiance to the Communist cause for life. Fourteen years later, when they seized power in the Soviet Union, there were only 14,000 members of the Communist Party - in a nation of over 150 million people! A handful of people took over one of the most powerful nations on earth and then proceeded to spread their humanist ideology to the rest of the world thru propoganda and military force.

All 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence knew full-well that they might suffer a traitor's death. Nine of them did die during the Revolutionary War ... five were captured and tortured by the British ... twelve lost their homes ... seventeen lost their fortunes ... two lost their sons. Despite all this, not a single man defected. Not a single one failed to honor the pledge he signed as stated in the final sentence of the Declaration: " ... we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor." In the end, despite the odds, they triumphed.

William Wilberforce, a member of the British Parliament around the turn of the 19th century, persisted for twenty years before seeing the slave trade abolilshed in the British Empire. During most of those years, his peers in Parliament derided him mercilessly. But eventually, Wilberforce stood on the shoulders of those who had opposed him, celebrating victory.

Twenty years ago, a young Christian couple living in an Asian country where proselytizing for the cause of Christ would be punishable by death, decided to tell the people of their country about Christ. At the time, there were approximately 500 known believers in the entire nation. Today, the Gospel has been heard throughout that country thru the persistence and tenacity of one young couple who committed themselves to following Jesus. Twenty-five percent of that nation are serving Christ in 2008.

All but one of Jesus' disciples died as martyrs (excluding Judas, of course).

So -- what do each of these people have in common? Answer: They were all willing to give everything for a 'cause.'

There must always be people who are willing to give it all - no matter the personal cost. Societies, like the people who compose them, resist change and often make the agents of change pay dearly for disrupting the status quo. But any substantive change in society comes with a price tag.

Just wondering what you might be willing to 'pay' to see that happen ...

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tell me – when you’re driving, is the windshield more important or is the road more important? When you get that little fly that smashes into your windshield and its little wing starts flapping at 90 miles a minute stuck there while you're driving - don't you find it hard to STOP looking at that and concentrate on the road? Yeah. But which is more important - the windshield or the road? Yeah. And putting my eye on the windshield rather than BEYOND it, on the road where it should be, can cause me to DRIFT – in fact, it can put my life at risk.

Yet, we have become experts at putting our eyes on the lesser things in favor of the greater things. So, I wrote a confession – it’s not PROFOUND, it’s just TRUE. Here it is: "I confess that I can easily DRIFT from Kingdom-first focus and Kingdom-first living."

But this is what Jesus does. He takes things that were lesser and He INVERTS them … they become greater. And He takes things that seemed greater and He INVERTS them so they become lesser in your life. He helps you see that HIS road is the most important thing.

We understand inversions, don’t we? In elementary school, girls had cooties. I never really found out what cooties WERE exactly, I only know girls were infected with them back then. Then, I remember the day I discovered the inversion – and for some reason, almost overnight, I started liking cooties.

Something was inverting. It happens all the time naturally.

What if the Spirit of God wants to do some inversion inside us? What if He wants to CHANGE the way we see people? What if He wants us to stop to really care about souls? We get concerned about people’s bodies, but do we also realize that – well or not – when they breathe their last – they then go into eternity, either lost or saved? The greatest loss is not a body – it’s a soul. That’s inverted faith – greater over lesser.

It’s time to get re-focused – stop drifting – stop watching the windshield over the road – in marriages, in finances, in careers, in relationships, with God - stop putting the lesser over the greater – stop honoring convenience over commitment. And start FOLLOWING.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Today was an amazing day. Our Hands of the Lamb ministry gave out almost 100 bags of Thanksgiving food bags full of groceries to families who could really use them.

As they came into the church to pick up their food, we had a chance to talk with each family and pray with them about whatever needs they had.

It was a rich and rewarding time for everyone. Hands of the Lamb is passionate about helping people in our community get a 'hand up.' Thanks to all on that crew for taking a 'calling' and making it a 'reality.'

And be blessed.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Blogging content should not be predictable - don't you agree?

I was out doing 'required homeowner stuff' today -- raking millions of leaves in my yard - blowing them into piles - gathering them onto canvas - dragging them to the street - rinse and repeat 100 times - picking up rotten pumpkins that had served as decorations - cleaning out gutters - etc.

And in the midst of it all, I heard one lone hawk sitting in a tree overhead squawking at me (or at something) - then a squirrel bounded up into the hanging plant outside our front door, ostensibly to gnaw on a mini-pumpkin nestled there - and there was a brand new mega-hole made by a chipmunk I hadn't noticed before - all signs of life still in November -- and that's when it hit me.

I did not remember the fall plague of ladybugs this year. Usually they inundate the sides of my home and somehow manage to make their way INDOORS, where I am scooping them off walls and windows every day for weeks. I mean, I saw a few not long ago, but not nearly the epidemic I've been used to ... unless I was in China and the Philippines or Palm Springs when they invaded this year and I completely missed it. I suppose that's possible.

But interestingly enough, I kind of missed the little guys -- er, girls -- um, ladies -- creeping around the house this year.

So, in honor of the LADYBUGS I was thinking about today, here goes:
There are nearly 5,000 different kinds of ladybugs worldwide and 400 varieties live here in North America.
A female ladybug will lay more than 1,000 eggs in her lifetime.

A ladybug beats its wings 85 times a second when it flies.

A gallon jar will hold from 72,000 to 80,000 ladybugs.

Ladybugs make a chemical that smells and tastes terrible so that birds and other predators won't eat them.
If you squeeze a ladybug it will bite you, but the bite won't hurt.
The spots on a ladybug fade as the ladybug gets older.

Ladybugs won't fly if the temperature is below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The male ladybug is usually smaller than the female.

So -- there you have it. I don't know how that is going to find its way into a future sermon, but keep your ears open, OK? See you next year, Mr. & Mrs. Ladybug.

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


"Believing in morality while denying God's existence is no different than believing in the tooth fairy." -- BRAD BRIGHT

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist and historian. Through his writings, the world was made aware of the former Soviet Union's labor camp system called the Gulag and for these efforts Solzhenitsyn was exiled. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. His prophetic words, spoken more than three decades ago over the BBC radio network, have come back to haunt us today: "Since there are no higher spiritual forces above us and since I - Man with a capital "M" - am the crowning glory of the universe, then if anyone must perish today, let it be someone else - anybody - but not I - not my precious self."

We have pushed God aside and focused on self. And as we have focused on 'self,' we have lost the practical ability to 'love our neighbor' - a necessary element of morality. It is no accident that Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the two universal laws on which all the others hang are to love God and to love one's neighbor. If there is no God, then there is nothing in the universe that obligates me to love my neighbor.

But collapse of morality is not the issue, is it? It is nothing more than a symptom of a much deeper problem. Allowing abortion, homosexual behavior or any other moral issue to dominate the primary debate is like patching the cracked walls of a building that are sitting on a crumbling foundation. We'll be patching the walls right up to the day the foundation finally gives way and the entire structure collapses - patches and all. America has heart disease. Treating the symptom is no longer enough. Patching the cracks will no longer do.

We must begin re-building the foundation by making the God of the Bible the central issue of life in the minds and hearts of those around us. HE must become the dividing line of the culture. But we cannot make gains by stomping our feet that we're 'right' and by debating 'behavior' - not in the current cultural moral vacuum. We will not win that war. We have to face the fact that "Thou shalt not" just doesn't feel as good in our culture today as "Just do it!"

So - the ultimate debate is not about changing societal BEHAVIORS. Rather, it is about changing society's view of GOD HIMSELF. Our BEHAVIOR will be determined by our underlying view of GOD. If we FAIL to make God the issue, then we will most assuredly and inevitably fail on every other cultural front.

"It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible" --- GEORGE WASHINGTON

And be blessed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today is Veteran's Day. It used be called Armistice Day, after the treaty that was signed in a railway carriage on November 11, 1918, in France - effectively ending World War I, at least on the Western Front.

President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the FIRST Armistice Day one year later on November 11, 1919. An act approved on May 13, 1938, made November 11 the legal holiday - "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day.'"

In 1953, Al King, an Emporia, Kansas shoe-store owner had the idea to celebrate all veterans — not just those who served in World War I. So he began his campaign to turn Armistice Day into "All" Veterans Day. Mr. King received the backing of then-U.S. Representative Ed Rees and a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law in 1954 and Congress officially re-named it Veterans Day.

Locally, Sunday night there was a concert at church featuring barbershop quartet, men's chorus, Christian Life School choir, kilt-weaing/bagpipe-playing firemen and various soloists honoring veterans in our city.

Then - this morning - Christian Life School put on a nice tribute to veterans in music, pledges, honors and tributes. Very nicely done.

We are blessed.

Monday, November 10, 2008


OK - I admit it. Maybe I should just gloss over it and not even mention it, because sometimes actually ADMITTING something was noticed just draws more attention to it. But I've gotten some comments about it from yesterday - both 'good' and (I won't say 'bad') - 'curious' is more like it. So I guess I won't gloss over it. Besides, I have never been particularly great at 'glossing over,' so ...

Yeah - I admit it. I wore BLUE JEANS to church yesterday. It wasn't even a picnic day - or a motorcycle rally day - or even SUMMER, for that matter. It was just November 9th, 2008 - a day that will live in infamy as the day I wore blue jeans to service - and then actually had the nerve to get up and preach in them. If it makes you feel any better, I wore a nice corduroy-type, brown sport coat on top. And nice brown dress shoes. And a really nice tailored shirt. And the jeans were pressed and didn't have holes in them. And they weren't faded. They were a nice DARK BLUE color. But yes - I admit it - the fabric WAS denim!

I had one good friend approach and say she could just never do it. I tried to release her from any guilt or pain over the issue, but she said she just couldn't bring herself to ever be able to wear them to church. She didn't mind one bit that I did, but she didn't think she would ever get to the point where she could wear them. THEN I SAY, don't do it, my friend. Don't.

I will also admit I thought about it twice myself - or 10 times - before pulling them on Sunday. Kind of funny that you should have to put that much thought into it. It's just a piece of modest clothing, so what's the deal?

Well - the "DEAL" is that I was brought up being taught that blue jeans were not appropriate wear for church on Sunday mornings. Even BLACK JEANS might sneak thru, but BLUE ones? Uh-uh. Respectful people didn't wear them. OTHER people might, but WE don't. (I know my Mom will be reading this, so - sorry Mom - I broke the 11th commandment yesterday.)

When confronted with change of this nature, some churches cling forever to traditional methods that have been part of their DNA and history since their beginnings. When conflicts arise - and they WILL, because change is inevitable - leaders must be prepared to deal with it in a Biblical and strategic context.

Many Godly people tend to view changes in society from a negative perspective. Gone are the "good ol' days" when life was more stable and people prioritized and celebrated traditions.

Case in point: When the new pastor wants to incorporate a new strategy - such as a more casual dress code - (or maybe it's not even a new strategy - he just wants to be more relaxed, like 80% of the people he's talking to every weekend) - traditionalists hang on to their suit-and-tie traditions and deem the new concept heretical, or at the very least, semi-unscriptural. After all, THEY grew up getting dressed in their Sunday best.

But we must help them see the difference between style and substance. There is not a Biblical mandate ANYWHERE for a particular Sunday dress beyond modesty, any more than there is for any other day of the week. After all, God sees us NAKED, right? He looks at our hearts, not our Dockers. The commands to 'revere holiness' were never fleshed out in the Scripture thru a person's clothing, but thru his heart and spirit. If anything, Moses was told to "TAKE OFF HIS SHOES," because the place he was standing on was holy ground - not put on a pair of black dress Aldo's.

People tend to link traditions to personal preferences and style, rather than to substance. In the short run, the preference of one person or one group becomes the style of the whole group. If this continues over an extended period of time, it becomes TRADITION and eventually rises to become INSTITUTIONALIZED. Given enough time, it moves to ENSHRINEMENT.

If we cannot clearly communicate that substance is far more important than style, churches will continue fighting battles over style - including musical styles. If we cannot change style while maintaining the substance of the Biblical mandates, we will never be able to contextualize and communicate the Gospel in a culturally relevant way. (*NOTE: If you don't think cultural relevance is important in 2008, then we have another blog to write and read.)

So -- if leaders are to succeed in developing churches that are missional - JESUS WITH SKIN ON - they must help people see beyond their own angst over WHAT WAS by providing a clear vision of WHAT CAN BE.

And don't worry. I'm not going to be wearing jeans every Sunday now. I'll wear them AGAIN, yes - but next weekend I'll likely swing the pendulum over and bring out my dark Brooks Brothers suit, just so I can really confuse the saints. The sinners out there don't even care.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


We often have a sense of the negative when we read God’s Word. When God speaks about finances, morals and values, commitment and relationships … something in us slightly RESISTS. Like, if you follow GOD, there must be a downside somewhere. It’s going to mean I have to let God CHANGE some things – and I really have my life kind of SET, so … if I can fit it all into what I’m doing right NOW, then I’ll consider it.

We approach what God says about a lot of things with sense of negativity. Something is going to have to be given up that I love very much if I take His road – it’s going to take me DOWN.
But … what if God is really like a trampoline? What if what we sometimes view as a DOWN-SIDE to the Gospel is only there for us to gain MOMENTUM – because ultimately, He’s going to lift us up and make us soar … if we put our FAITH in Him and LISTEN to Him and follow His VOICE?

Jesus says: “You don’t have to walk your journey in the dark. I have a VOICE. Listen to it. Bow to My voice." And the more you listen to His voice, the more you hear His voice. But the more you resist His voice, the more distant it gets … the more difficult it is to dial in – because the WORLD has a voice too. THEY’RE talking to us as well.

The WORLD is talking to you about marriage.
God’s voice says ‘Put your marriage partner’s needs above your own needslearn to fight FOR each other, not AGAINST each other.'
The WORLD says: ‘Serve one another? Are you foolish? Don’t do that! You’re going to get taken advantage of. You’re going to get hurt. Fight for yourselfget what’s COMING to you no matter whatif they don’t meet your NEEDS, DUMP themmove ON.’
But GOD says: “No, no, nolisten to MY voice. It’s about MUTUAL VOLUNTARY SUBMISSION in your marriage.
Whose voice are you listening to?

The WORLD is talking to you about your money?
Even in these economically depressed times, God says, “All that belongs to MEI'm just LOANING it to you. So HONOR Me with the first fruits. Acknowledge Me in this area of your lifemake Me the carrier of your financescome under My umbrella of provision.”
But the WORLD says: ‘You're kidding, right?! You're going to HONOR GOD in this economy? NO! You have to accumulate, you have to keep, not GIVE STUFF AWAY. How NAÏVE can you be?’
Because the world only sees us landing on cement, but we know because of God’s faithfulness, that it’s REALLY a trampoline and all we’re doing is gaining momentum – because God is going to be true to us in the area of money. He PROMISED He would supply all our needs.

How about in our jobs and careers?
The WORLD says: “It’s about YOU. Besides, your business has nothing to do with God. There are different principles in business than in spirituality. Let 'spirit' be the weekend stuff, but don't bring that in Monday thru Friday. Because if you follow God in your business, you're going to go "SPLAT!" right on the cement.
But GOD’S voice says: ‘Work for ME.’ In other words, your business – your job – is Kingdom activity. God's voice says, "Follow Me 24/7 - not just on Sundays - but EVERY day in your business and career."

You can’t figure out what’s bad and what’s good because God has His children who put their FAITH in Him and who are listening to the VOICE of the Holy Spirit – He has them landing on trampolines all the time. And whenever it looks BAD – all you’re REALLY doing is re-loading for another LIFT – in order to SOAR LIKE AN EAGLE.

I know why the world thinks we’re a little weird. they observe you listening to a voice you cannot hear – talking to a God you cannot see – giving your life to a cause you cannot control – sacrificing here on earth in order to sow in heaven – giving yourself away to gain later – dying to yourself in order to live – serving to be great.

But that IS who we are … because we know with GOD we are always landing on trampolines. And every promise of God will UTLIMATELY show that the HOLY SPIRIT’S INTENTION is that you SOAR.

Isaiah 40:29 – 31 … “God gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall (going DOWN); but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (going UP) (NIV)

Get on the TRAMPOLINE. It's a blast.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I had a meeting today with a bunch of great guys (about 15 of them) about a new ministry we heard about called "Letters From Dad." It's based on a book written by Greg Vaughn, who found some old items from his deceased grandfather in a fishing tackle box and re-discovered his family in it. It is a moving story and a great book. We're planning on being part of this ministry in early 2009 at our church - and inviting hundreds of men on the journey with us.
We all believe it will be a powerful time in the investment of men's lives as husbands, fathers and sons. Thru some amazing teaching, we are then asked to write legacy letters to our wives - to each of our children - to our parents - and then, a final letter, much like the 12 miners in West Virginia did when they were trapped in a mine with little oxygen a few years ago. What will your legacy be? And how will you express it to those you deeply love?
Imagine if YOU were to get a letter from your own father, expressing his deep devotion, love, care and dream for you. No matter your age, what would you give for a letter like that? Priceless.
It's going to be one night a month for four months, February thru May (last Monday of each month). Can't wait. If you're nearby, hope you'll join us.
And be blessed.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Five days ago, as I was watching election returns - and just seconds after the newscast declared Barack Obama the President-Elect, I posted some thoughts here about our Biblical duty to pray for those in leadership over us. I still believe that. We should pray for Mr. Obama and the new administration.

As I was doing some reading, I ran across some other thoughts that also resonated with me. They are not all my own words but I am in agreement with them ... so I thought I would share a portion of them here with you - along with some of my own commentary:

'In my years of pastoral ministry I have worked very hard to not be political. I believe my job as a pastor is to preach and teach the Bible well so people make their decisions, including their voting decisions, out of their faith convictions.'

It seems evident that people are longing for a savior who will atone for their sins. In this past election, they were thirsting for someone who would atone for their economic sins of buying things they did not need with money they did not have. The result is a mountain of credit debt they cannot pay and a desperate yearning that somehow a new president will save them from economic hell.

People are longing for a king who will keep them safe from terror in his kingdom. In the Old Testament, the concept of a peaceable kingdom is marked by the word
shalom. In shalom, there is not only the absence of sin, war, strife, and suffering but also the presence of love, peace, harmony, and health. This thirst for shalom is so parched that every election, people cannot help but naively believe if their candidate simply wins, shalom is sure to come, despite sin and the curse.

The bottom line is obvious to those with Gospel eyes. People are longing for Jesus, and tragically left voting for mere presidential candidates. For those whose candidate won last week, there will be some period of euphoric faith in that candidate and the salvation his 'kingdom' will bring. But, in time, their supporters will see that no matter who wins the presidency, they are mere mortals prone to sin, folly, and self-interest just like all the other sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. The lie will be that it is always someone else’s fault and we’re always the victim of sinners and never the sinner.

There will be no call to repentance of our own sins which contribute to cultural suffering and decline such as our pride, gluttony, covetousness, greed, indebtedness, self-righteousness, perversion, and laziness. And in four years. we’ll do it all again and pretend that this time things will be different. Four years after that, yet again. And, we’ll continue driving around this cul de sac until Jesus returns, sets up His throne, and puts an end to folly once and for all.'

Until then - we have to preach the Gospel of Christ and repentance of personal sin. Only HE can truly atone for them. Only HE can truly deliver us. Only HE has a Shalom Kindgom to offer us.

So, we’ve still got work to do … until we see King Jesus face-to-face and voting is done once and for all.

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Who says the Bible is holy?

84% of U.S. adults

90% of women

78% of men

96% of Black Americans

83% of White and Hispanic Americans

54% of Asian Americans

90% of those over 4o years old

77% of those under 40

67% of those 18-23

38% of those who identify themselves as 'non-Christian'

I saw a comic the other day asking if the BIG TEN (10 Commandments) needed a make-over. It was funny, and yet, not. It seems that a lot of the things we formerly called 'sin' have fallen off the wagon today. Some theologians fear the concept of personal sin is almost lost.

A Reno, Nevada resident described sin this way: "SIN IS LIKE BRINGING CHEAP WINE TO A PARTY." Hmmmmm.

When Pope Benedict XVI said recently that in the contemporary world, "the notion of sin" is in jeopardy, he got "AMENS" from Protestant pastors as well. We still preach about sin today - we'll never stop - but it requires some extra explanation today - not because we don't believe in it - not because we want it watered down - far from it - but because the word "SIN" is essentially obsolete today. Tim Keller, who pastors a church in Manhattan, said 'sin' needs to be re-branded. Not re-DEFINED, mind you - but re-BRANDED.

For instance - a survey by Ellison Research shows that 87% of U.S. adults still acknowledge the concept of sin, but what is 'almost always wrong' is changing annually:

Cheating on your spouse? It's WRONG, but only 81% call it a sin.

Sex before marriage? It's WRONG, but 45% think it's NOT so wrong.

Racism? It's WRONG, but 26% don't agree that it is.

Gambling? It's WRONG, but 30% don't think it is wrong one bit.

In his Manhattan setting, Tim Keller says, 'Around here sin means self-centeredness. Sin is the one who lives for himself - for his own glory and happiness - someone who tears at the net of the fabric of humanity.' Nothing MORE - nothing LESS.

So you see then - "SIN" - as a list of tablet items and acts offensive to God is difficult to sell today. Sin will still send you to hell, but that makes it even MORE important that we help them see it, understand it, and embrace the change God wants for them. But it won't/can't be done the way we've always done it.

Think about it.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


"I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus ... ” 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NIV)

Selfishly speaking, a big 'pain' in my side right now is that this is the first time we've had a President of the United States who is actually YOUNGER than I am. President-elect Obama was born August 4, 1961, nearly two full years after I was born. And that feels very, very strange to me.
But now that we officially have a new President-elect, the next step is clear. We should pray for him. We are commanded by the Bible to respect our leaders - and pray for them. We should pray the hardest when it's hardest to pray.

Romans 13 says, “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but God's: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whoever resists the power, resists the ordinance of God.”

Daniel 2:21 reminds us that God “removes kings and sets up kings.” His will is accomplished in His time. God is not bound by the past or the future. He is the God of the present.

Praying for the change of a great leader, no matter who he/she is or what he/she stands for can effect the spiritual atmosphere for an entire nation.

Joelene and I were in India in 2006. We were told that in many people's homes were framed pictures of a famous deceased Indian leader from several decades ago. It was explained that when this man converted from Hinduism to Buddhism, almost immediately one million people also converted to worship Buddha. Think what might have happened had that man become a Christian instead -- would those MILLION people also have received Christ?

We should never underestimate the influence of one person. Along with leadership goes the great responsibility to be accountable to the people and to God. We must deeply respect the position of leadership, even when/if we do not agree with our leaders and even when/if they fail. The apostle Paul told Timothy to pray and intercede “for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:2-4 - NIV)

Prayer changes things. Let's get started.

And be blessed.

Monday, November 3, 2008


This isn’t that easy to write tonight. I’m embarrassed you will think less of me after reading it. I might lose some face here. But the TRUTH is – I don’t know how to do ANYTHING in the kitchen. It’s true. I couldn’t boil water if my life depended on it. I’ve just never paid attention to kitchen activities, nor have I taken one bit of interest in any of the processes – not to mention, I have a wife who is an amazing cook and very INTO all the kitchen junk – and three daughters, blah-blah-blah – so hopefully you can see why and how I have just never put my hand or head or heart toward anything in that part of home life.

Criticize me if you want to, but I’m just telling you it hasn’t been necessary to think about all these years.

Until yesterday.

I came home from church and no one was home. So I tinkered around for awhile WAITING for someone to come home. And when she did (Joelene), the conversation went something like this, with slight editorial license by me, but not much:

HER: “Have you had anything to eat yet?”

ME: “No. Not YET.” (Seismic hint)

Well, were you going to GET something to eat?”
“I don’t know. WAS I?”
“You could make a grilled cheese and warm up some soup.”

“Umm … OK … I guess I could warm up soup. But … make a grilled cheese? I’ll just warm up some soup.”

“No. Make yourself a grilled cheese.”
“Umm … I don’t know how.”

“You don’t know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich?”
“Is there an ECHO in here? No. When in 27 years of marriage have you ever seen me make a grilled cheese sandwich?”

(Rolling of eyes) “OK. I’ll show you how, but you have to do all the work.”

(Sigh) “I’ll just warm up some soup.”

(Rolling of eyes) “No. It’s so easy. I’ll show you.”

(Sigh) “WellOK.”

All right then. Get the skillet out.”
“Wait. Where is the skillet?.”

(Rolling of eyes) “Over there with the OTHER pans and skillets.”


“Now – turn the burner on to medium. While you’re waiting for that to heat up, get out everything you’re going to need – two kinds of cheese, two slices of bread, and butter. That’s it. While you’re doing that, to save time and so it’s all ready at once, pour the soup into a bowl now and put it in the microwave for two minutes at 70% power.”

“This is kind of complicated.”

(Rolling of eyes) “You can sit at your desk and counsel a person with the phone on one shoulder while having an e-mail conversation with four other people at once while reading a book and writing music on your desk – and you can’t do THIS? I don’t think you’re trying.”

“I’m trying.”

“Yes – you’re VERY trying.”

“Can we finish this, please? I’m hungry.”

“Yes. I think your grilled cheese is done.”“What? Already?”


“Oh. OK. That wasn’t that hard.”

“I tried to tell you.”

(Delivering the grilled cheese to my plate and taking the heated soup from the microwave): “Well, thanks. This is great.”

“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“I said, ‘Thanks,’ right?”

“Yes, but I meant the dirty skillet and soup container. They go in the dishwasher.”


So --- I learned something very valuable today – a new life skill. How to make a grilled cheese and soup lunch --- and how to put my dirty dishes away.

Thanks, honey. You're the BOMB!

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It is awesome to see how much our congregation is involved in spreading the Gospel and serving right here in our own community ... feeding the hungry ... providing coats to those without ... giving Thanksgiving baskets to people in need ... Adopt-a-Block ministry ... giving school backpacks to children who don't have any ... Operation Christmas Child, where gifts are given to children whose parents are incarcerated ... and more. So great.

Here are some more thoughts to help us think about this whole subject of reaching out ...

On a regular day, do you or your family have a savings account of any kind?
Does your family have two cars in any condition?
Do you have a variety of clothing to choose from?
Does your family own a house (or paying the bank toward owning one)?
If you answered “YES” to those questions, you’re in the TOP 5% of the world’s wealthiest people!

You may not FEEL wealthy – but that’s because you’re comparing yourself to the MEGA-WEALTHY. But you’re very wealthy by world-standards.

If the world was a VILLAGE OF 100 PEOPLE, the village would have:
60 Asians, 17 Africans, 11 Europeans, 6 North Americans, 5 Latin Americans and 1 South Pacific Islander.
82 would be non-white, 18 would be white
67 would be non-Christian, 33 would be Christian
80 would live in sub-standard housing
50 would be malnourished and 1 would be dying of starvation
36 would not have access to clean water or adequate sanitation
24 would have not electricity. Of the 76 that DO have electricity, most would use it only for light at night.
7 would have access to the internet
1 would have HIV
5 would control 32% of the world’s wealth – and all 5 would be U.S. citizens

We hardly ever think about the global, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual cause of God – and what His passions are for Ghana and Indonesia and Chile and Tanzania and Thailand and Kazakhstan and Algeria and Uzbekistan and Nigeria and Yemen and Finland and China and Siberia and Cameroon and Myanmar and Costa Rica – or the Hmong or the Cree or the Ojibwa Indians right here in America

But I want you to hear something – and this is SO IMPORTANT as we consider how we relate to the Kingdom ... I want you to see the MAGNIFICENT picture of the FINAL OUTCOME of God’s purposes in history: “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You, (O Christ), to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nations, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.’” (Revelation 5:9, 10)

And THAT should be what we DREAM about. We should LOVE to hear how the Kingdom of God is advancing all around the world … how the church of Christ is being planted among people who, for centuries, have been held by the powers of darkness … because there is COMING a day when we’re ALL going to gather together and worship the Creator in Heaven … UNDER ONE ROOF … WORSHIPPING ONE GOD … ALL PART OF ONE FAMILY.

We believe reaching people far from God is our mission. It makes no difference if that is HERE or in EL SALVADOR. Reaching people far from God is our mission. It is not our ONLY mission, but it is our main mission. If we had to put ONE core value on paper, at the very TOP it would say “reach people for Christ.” It would not compete with any other value, though a few others might be close behind.

Some would say we’ve done ENOUGH. I don’t know …
· There are 6.6 billion people on the earth today
· 1 billion live on 23 cents per day
· Every 16 seconds someone dies of hunger
· 14 million were orphaned because of HIV/AIDS
· $8 billion was spent on cosmetics in AMERICA last year
· $11 billion was spent on ice cream
· $17 billion was spent on pet food
· $105 billion was spent on alcohol

Have we given as much as we CAN? I'm not sure. All I know is … this is the reason God birthed the 20th century Pentecostal church - to be the GREATEST MISSIONARY-SENDING ORGANIZATION the world has ever known.

If we take care of God's city and God's world, He will take care of our church. When we do something extra for God's Kingdom, He does something extra for us. When we become interested in God's creation, we find that God becomes interested in our church.

So - give and don't look back. Give by faith, not by your calculator. If you can do it without God, you don't need any faith.


And be blessed.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


I just noticed it today ... how absolutely rich and beautiful the Autumn leaves are around my house. It's the first time I've lived in a place with this many trees out every window. Maybe I've just had more time to look rather than driving by them at 55 mph.

We had a REAL Winter this past year with tons of snow. We had a REAL Spring, wet and cool. Then we had a REAL Summer, hot and dry. And now, we seem to be having a REAL Autumn with the rich colors hanging on for awhile. (Let's hope the REAL seasons stop now, with winter coming once again.)

So again - it's a tribute to the God we love as we look out the window and see amazing greens, reds, yellows and browns on the trees. Just beautiful.

The pics in today's blog are of trees in our own yard or just across the street - our view from the various windows of our own home. I'm thankful.
And be blessed.