Thursday, April 30, 2009



Mowing my lawn for the first time this Spring - after it stops raining forever.

Sleeping in tomorrow.

Seeing my daughter graduate and speaking at her graduation ceremony.

Serving the homeless lunch this month.

Having a meeting with people pumped to join us at the new video venue service we're starting.

Taking my wife out for Mother's Day and for her MAY ITALIAN DINNER NIGHT OUT.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


S. Hipps writes:

In the late 90's, the Magic Eye trend swept the country. These Magic Eye posters were stereograms - two-dimensional images that gave the illusion of three-dimensions. On the surface, they seemed to be meaningless, repetitive patterns of shapes, letters or colors; but each picture contained a hidden message. By focusing intently, a viewer could see the magical appearance of an image that seemed to leap out into space.

That's a Magic Eye sample above - which you probably can't make out on this blog - but if you COULD make it out and you looked at it intently for a couple of minutes, what would 'rise from the ashes' and appear to stand out on top of the other letters is the message: "Stop wasting your life" and "Get a life." Nice, huh?

The Magic Eye has something in common with us. In order for their hidden messages to be seen, they need to be viewed in unconventional ways. Our eye has to be trained to focus beyond the ordinary surface for something deeper. It takes some 'practice,' but when we accomplish it, we'll be much closer to seeing things as they truly are.

The forms of Christianity change as people change. If they didn't, we'd all be reading the Bible in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek today. The same debate is alive and well in 2009. Take media, for instance. It's neither good nor bad as a vehicle. It is just a pipeline - a conduit - to channel information ... newspapers, television, radio, internet, email, etc. Like the plumbing in your house - it carries water from one place to the next. Not glorious. Not particularly evil. The pipes don't much matter unless they spring a leak or freeze up. The logic is simple, but that doesn't make it more accepted, unfortunately.

Here's another one. Come right up and touch your nose to the center of the image. Check to make sure your co-workers or family aren't watching you right now. The image should be blurry. Focus as though you are looking through the image into the distance. Now, very slowly move back from the image until the two squares above the image turn into three squares. If you see four squares, move back farther yet until you see three squares. If you see one or two squares, start over! Then ... when you clearly see three squares, the hidden image will appear. Once you perceive the hidden image, you can look around the entire 3D picture. The longer you look, the clearer the illusion becomes. The farther away you hold the page, the deeper it becomes. Have fun.

PS -- I hereby disavow any responsibility for headaches or emotional trauma as a result of participating in this exercise.

And be blessed.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Tonight was the 3rd out of 4 "LETTERS FROM DAD" meetings where about 70 men gathered together to learn about how to write a letter of honor to their mothers and fathers. We've already written to our wives -- and our children -- and now it's time to write to our parents. It will be one of the most important, yet one of the toughest letters by far for many of the guys to write.

Along those lines, I saw something not long ago that listed "20 THINGS THAT ARE ABOUT TO GO EXTINCT IN THE U.S." They were:

The Yellow Pages. What with the rise of the internet and all, I get that. My wife tells me I'm a Neanderthal every time I reach for them now.

Classified Ads. Ditto. Hello Craigslist.

Movie Rental Stores. Blockbuster is closing stores left and right and their stock is way down.

Dial-Up Internet Access. In 2001, they had 40% of the market. Today? 10%.

Phone Landlines. They will go the way of the Stegosaurus. The number of homes that only use cell phones jumped 159% between 2004 and 2007.

VCRs. Some of the people reading this blog ALREADY don't know what these are. 'Nuff said.

The Swimming Hole ... a.k.a. Public Neighborhood Pools. Thanks to our litigious society.

Answering Machines. This is directly tied to the decline of phone landlines.

Cameras That Use Film. Seriously. Already we're saying, "What's film?" Nikon, one of the biggies, announced in 2006 it would stop making film cameras. 75% of its sales are from digital cameras and related equipment.

Incandescent Light Bulbs. Before a few years ago, the standard 60-watt bulb was the mainstay of every U.S. home. With the green movement crowd, the Compact Fluorescent Light bulb(CFL) is largely replacing the older, Edison-era incandescent bulb. And according to USA Today, a new energy bill plans to phase out incandescent bulbs in the next four to 12 years.

Stand-Alone Bowling Alleys. There are still 60 million Americans who bowl at least once a year, but many are not bowling in stand-alone bowling alleys. Most new bowling alleys are part of facilities for all types or recreation including laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, video game arcades, climbing walls and miniature golf.

The Milkman. Again -- WHO?

Personal Checks. 23% of consumers plan to decrease their use of checks over the next two years, while a net 14% plan to increase their use of PIN debit. Bill payment remains the last stronghold of paper-based payments.

Drive-in Theaters. Honestly, I hope not, but alas. During the peak in 1958, there were more than 4,000 drive-in theatres in this country, but in 2007 only 405 drive-ins were still operating. Exactly zero new drive-ins have been built since 2005.

Mumps & Measles. In 1964, 212,000 cases of mumps were reported in the U.S. By 1983, this figure had dropped to 3,000, thanks to a vigorous vaccination program. In 2005, only 66 cases were recorded.

Honey Bees. Perhaps nothing on this list of things disappearing in America is so dire - and so necessary to the survival of our food supply as the honey bee.

News Magazines & TV News. Please.

Analog TV. Hi-Def and BlueRay, baby.

The Family Farm. According to the USDA, 5.3 million farms dotted the nation in 1950, but this number had declined to 2.1 million by the 2003 farm census.

Hand-written Letters. Which is what brings me to this "LETTERS FROM DAD" blog tonight. Two million emails are sent every second in the US. I'm sending about half of those myself. In 2004, half-a-trillion text messages were sent. But we are fighting against that trend at KFA to revive the elegant, hand-written letter to say "THANKS" to those people we love - our wives - our children - our parents - in the pen of our own hand.

Try it with us.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


This morning was the second of three messages in our "AT THE MOVIES" series. Today was based on the film "SEVEN POUNDS," starring Will Smith. It is the story of a man wracked by personal guilt at having accidentally ended the lives of seven other people, including his own wife. The rest of his life is spent figuring out who to give a 'pound of his own flesh' to in order to absolve himself of guilt.

Guilt. It's pretty powerful.

Satan counterfeits everything wonderful from God.
God created LOVE; Satan counterfeits with LUST.
God gives magnificent ABILITIES; Satan counterfeits with PRIDE and ARROGANCE about those abilities.
God allows us to feel helpful GUILT to motivate us His direction; Satan counterfeits by heaping great SHAME on people God has already forgiven.

But God designed personal guilt to WARN you of spiritual damage so you'll stop and seek His help. That's how guilt can be good.

But - left to extremes - guilt can do terrible things to us. Will Smith ends up killing himself in the movie over his guilt (sorry to ruin it for you if you haven't seen it). And while your personal guilt may not kill your body -- it can kill your spirit -- it can kill your relationships -- it can kill your peace -- it can kill your joy -- it can kill your effectiveness for the Kingdom.

There is only one way to healing when you're experiencing tremendous guilt from something you've done wrong -- ONE WAY -- thru BELIEVING the words of Jesus and RECEIVING His forgiveness and acceptance.

Psalm 103:12 - "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Now ... measure that distance and tell me how far that is.

Jesus says to believe Him. HIM. Not your doubts ... not your fears ... not your history ... no one else. Just Him.

Do you deserve that? No.
Is your guilt and sin too big for God to handle? No.
Would God do that whole forgiveness thing for everyone ELSE, but not YOU? No.

See yourself thru God's lenses ... accept His forgiveness ... believe Him ... and by the power of the cross, be forgiven and healed today.

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I had salmon for dinner tonight. Not your typical Saturday evening meal for us. Joelene doesn't like fish, period, but every now and then -- more frequently as years pass -- she prepares it for me.

Every now and then I think about what it would be like to be a vegetarian -- and I think I could maybe do it. Those Castelvetrano Olives above look kind of yummy, don't they? If I DID become a vegetarian, I'd certainly be in fairly good company. is a website that lists over 500 famous vegetarians: Carrie Underwood, Chelsea Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Emily Dickinson, Johnny Cash, Mark Twain, Pythagoras, Ringo Starr and ... um ... Jesus. I'm not sure how they know at happycow that Jesus never ate meat, but ...

But I am often tempted to just live on varieties of veggies -- but then I drive by Famous Dave's or, like last night, have dinner at Red Robin and eat a 1/2 pound of burger and realize it'll never happen. I just like MEAT too much.

But if I DID give it up, pictures like these all-veggie entrees make me think it MIGHT be possible to survive and be happy. How about you?

Above: Marcona Almonds ..... Above right: Chickpea Fries with Herbs

And be blessed.

Friday, April 24, 2009


I heard this today and thought I'd share it. It's not from me, but here goes:

A radio guest was recently asked in an on-air interview by a host who was NOT a believer to defend Christianity. The guest said he couldn't do it - and didn't even want to TRY defending it. The host said, "Aren't you a Christian?"

"Yes," said the radio guest.

"Then why don't you want to defend it?"

The radio guest told the host he no longer knew what the term meant. Of the hundreds of thousands of people listening at that moment, some had had terrible experiences with Christianity, he said ... yelled at by a teacher in a Christian school ... abused by a minister ... browbeaten by a Christian parent. To them, the word Christianity meant something no Christian he knew would defend.

Stop ten people on the street, he said, and ask them what they think of when they hear the word "Christianity," and they'll give you ten different answers. How do I defend a term that means ten different things to ten different people?

Truth is -- I would rather just talk about JESUS and how I came to believe He exists and how I eventually came to faith in Him - and that He likes me.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I've said this forever: I believe the CHURCH is the HOPE OF THE WORLD. I still believe that 1,000%. There is nowhere and nothing like the church, especially when it is working as it should be. By 'the church,' I always mean its PEOPLE. You. Me. The church (you ... me) is called to mirror Christ - His love, His grace, His peace, His justice, His truth.

That said, there are several things the church definitely is NOT. These are worth considering.

The church is not a BUILDING ... even though it's the number one definition in Webster's Dictionary when you look the word up. But churches all around the world don't meet in buildings at all. They meet in HOMES or in FIELDS or under TREES.

The church is not a BUSINESS. It has to DO business, be organized and handle funds, but its mission is so different from that of a business. A business delivers goods of some kind in order to turn a profit; the church doesn't exist for profit, but for God's glory.

The church is not ANY ONE DENOMINATION. The church consists of all those who have connected themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and have been justified by grace alone thru faith alone in Christ alone. There are true Christians in the Anglican church, the Catholic church, the Presbyterian church, the Pentecostal, Reformed, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene and the Independent church, to name a few. Conversely, there are people who belong to Biblical churches who do not have a relationship with Christ. Only HE knows exactly which people are truly His.

The church is not the KINGDOM. Some believe the Kingdom is here - in its fulness - now. Others believe the Kingdom is exclusively future - something Christ will establish only at His return. But it is both. The Kingdom is here - now - already present in the church (that is you ... and me) and yet not fully realized until Christ returns.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Today began our "At The Movies" series, hooking into what our culture presently values by way of movies and seeing what God has to say about it.

The film we looked at today was "Wall-E."
Some excerpts from the day were: Everyone has a need for community with others. Nobody is an island. We all search for love, acceptance, belonging and caring. The best joy is giving ourselves away.
God is in the redemption business and He doesn't make any junk.
I don't want to just SURVIVE; I want to LIVE.
And be blessed.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Well - there's always a 'story' where the Taylor's are involved. We flew back home from Florida today. Joelene and I had a great time.

We flew in and out of MIDWAY AIRPORT in Chicago this time, which we don't prefer because of the distance from home, but the ticket prices were too good to pass it up. Also, the flight left Florida this morning at 6 a.m., which is possibly another reason the price was so good. That meant we had to get up at 3 this morning to get ready to go by 4 a.m. to the airport in Florida. Brutal.

On the way, our driver (who shall remain nameless) realized the highway exit we needed to take to get to the airport terminal was CLOSED. Isn't it always the way? Of course, we were in a hurry and if we missed this last airport exit, it meant crossing a several-mile long bridge and having to double back with a schedule that was already very tight in order to arrive on time. Did I mention it was 4 in the morning? So our driver (who shall remain nameless) ended up squeezing the car in between the set-up traffic cones at the closed exit in order to ask the police officer sitting there in his squad car a question about what we should do now that the VERY IMPORTANT airport exit was closed.

Long story short, our driver (who shall remain nameless - but NO, it wasn't me) ended up getting a traffic citation for illegally crossing the traffic cones and venturing into 'restricted' area. I felt really bad and it seemed like authority overkill from the officer to me. We were just hoping to get information from him; we weren't trying to sneak our way into Forbidden Closed Highway Exit Land. But he was issued a citation nonetheless.

Once we got to the airport, we found out our flight was over-booked. We had scheduled a flight to Atlanta and then the second leg on to Midway. We had our tickets, but we couldn't get the automated seat assignment kiosk to work for Joelene. I had my seat for both flights, but she didn't have hers for the second leg.

So when we got to the gate in Atlanta, the ticket agent asked us, since the flight was over-full, if we would be interested in taking a slightly later flight to O'Hare in first class instead? HELLO?! YES! But that meant we'd have to take the "EL" from O'Hare to Midway, because our car was parked in long term parking at Midway. See how this works? It's never simple.

We decided we'd be adventerous and do it. At the very last second though, some people on the Midway flight didn't show up, and we were the last two people put on the original flight. BUT ... the ticket agent gave us two $200 vouchers for a future flight ANYWAY, just because we were WILLING! There's a sermon in there somewhere ... 'just because we were willing.'

So see? SOMETIMES thinks DO work out.

Now ... fresh off vacation ... since I've been up since 3 a.m. today, I'm dead tired. I'll see some of you tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Last couple of days have just been 'sun and fun' mostly. I am the required shade of red that one should be after spending a week in Florida.

We visited TARPON SPRINGS yesterday, which is a Greek fishing community. They are famous for their sponges. Lunch was at a Greek place where you heard the occasional "OPA!" coming from various corners of the restaurant.

Today - our final full day here - we're just going to laze around outside and hit the big strawberry festival - and probably end up surpassing the 'required shade of red' that one should be after spending a week in Florida.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Joelene & I were at the HOLYLAND EXPERIENCE in Orlando today. The attraction features a bunch of scenes from the life of Jesus acted out - the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and Resurrection - Centurion scene - etc. (Some of those things didn't happen today because it was rainy.) There is also the world's largest model of the city of Jerusalem. Very interesting.

We were in the Scriptorium for awhile - 14 dimly-lit rooms with some of the earliest known manuscripts of the Bible in them.

It DID rain, which was unfortunate and was only 69 degrees, which by Florida standards in April, was a chill, but we're not working, so it was still fun.

And be blessed.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Today was a lot of fun. Joelene and I are in Florida for a few days and we went to Celebration. That's the name of a CITY here. Right next to Disney. It's one of those planned communities that is a throwback to the 19-whatever's and most of the homes have porches. Behind the homes are alleys you drive down to access your garage. It's kind of a Stepford feel without the creepiness.

So we walked around there and had a great Italian lunch. Then we drove down to Ybor City, which is the birthplace of cigar-making here in the U.S. A big Cuban community began the city and still resides there. (No, I didn't buy one; no, I didn't smoke one.) Ybor City fell out of favor years ago and is now being renovated as one of those new projects to turn 'dilapated' into 'fashionable' again. We're going to hit it later this week and take in some great Cuban food.

It was in the 80's today. I hear it's kind of cold back home. :)

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Today and last night (Easter services at KFA) were amazing. Not just because of the crowds, but also because of the great spirit that was present … the excitement … the electricity of the day … great worship … awesome looking set with 8 doors onstage … beautiful lighting … and the presence of God to change lives. It's cool to see that many who are either devoted followers of Christ - or - they're interested and searching. There were nearly 3,700 who came to be part of our thing this weekend.

What a spectacular tribute and honor to the Risen Lord today. Since I wasn't the main communicator today, I got the chance to step over to see the west side of the campus to see what was happening with the Kidz in the House EGG HUNT. WOW! I don't have the figures just yet, but I'm going to guess there more than 2,000 people there getting on the early morning April grass to put 20,000 candy-filled eggs in their baskets. It was amazing.

Can’t wait for next week now.

And be blessed.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I'm a few days late with this because I've forgotten to update you. Back in the March 19th blog, I mentioned I was participating with the other 7 staff pastors filling out brackets for the College Championship Game. Of course, it's over now and we all know North Carolina took the title.

Each of the staff filled out TWO different brackets this year, so there were 16 brackets in all to compete with. I had said in March that my main goal was not to come in LAST - hopefully to get somewhere in the middle of the pack when all was said and done.

Well -- in one of my brackets I selected U Conn to be the winner. In the other one: North Carolina. So, all in all, I did pretty well. My two brackets came in 3rd place and 5th place out of 16. Not bad, eh?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Believers these days have come to think life transformation is attained thru external experiences. Many churches have gone to great lengths to manufacture these experiences for their religious consumers. Millions of Christ-followers trudge up the mountain every Sunday desiring an experience with God, which is precisely what the church promises.

The problem with these external experiences is that the glory fades so fast. By the time Monday comes, or even Sunday lunch, the event you were certain would change your life forever, turns out to be one more fleeting spiritual high.

This philosophy creates worship junkies - believers who leap from one mountaintop experience to the next - one spiritual high to the next - from weekend sermon to radio worship to TV messages - in search of a glory that does not fade. Ironically, these experiences are often failing to produce real worshippers.

What we are risking is making people experience-dependent. We lose the ability to do what we were designed to do - worship God in a vibrant, self-generating relationship with Christ. Instead, they find themselves dependent on their zookeeper-pastors for life and nourishment. As long as the captive and the captor are both satisfied with that arrangement, it is unlikely it will change.

But this marvelous transformation is not done except by the inner working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It is not done from the 'outside-in,' but from the 'inside-out.' We no longer worship the Father on a mountain or in the Temple, but in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH - by embracing a divine mystery - 'Christ IN you, the hope of glory.'

Let it be.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I've had a great time with our "EMPIRE" series over the past 8 weeks - taking on the book of Romans. It ended today but I'm looking forward to what is next ... Easter Sunday and then the "At The Movies" series.

The closing theme today was: 'YOU ARE ON GOD'S TEAM if you commit your life to Him.'

Is there a person among us who has not been broken? Is there anybody reading who has not experienced guilt or shame? If such a thing as grace exists, then grace was made for people like YOU and ME.

Is there anyone who feels unwanted? Come to Jesus and find affection and acceptance. Is there anyone tired or weary? Come to Jesus and experience rest and peace. If you think you’re unworthy, you are a brother and sister of ours. Because there are no strangers … there are no outcasts … there are no orphans of God. When you put your faith in Him, you are on God's team.

You belong to God. Every ONE of you do. It's so uncomplicated. You just come as you are. The bar isn’t raised any higher for YOU than it was for any of the rest of us who have already come to faith. Just as He did for all of us, when we were broken, God showed up and recruited the discouraged, the down-and-out and the hurting onto His team and into His Kingdom.

NOW ... serve Him with the same energy and fervor that you served sin.

(PS - I loved the amazing ballet performed this morning to the live song. So graceful and beautiful.)

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I couldn't get our home wireless to work today and it was frustrating. I've come to depend on this junk for daily living and I can't even begin to think what my life would be reduced to if I didn't have access to it 24/7. For one thing, I wouldn't be blogging right now.

It got me thinking about the toys I used to enjoy when I was a kid and how happy I was playing with things that didn't plug in or have antennas to make them work. Do YOU remember?


1. Matchbox Cars. The originals were created in 1952 by Jack Odell when he cast a small brass prototype and put it in a matchbox-sized container so his daughter could take it with her to school. No way these little guys could be anywhere but in first place for me. I had countless Matchbox Cars as a kid and I still have a case of about 40 originals that I treasure. They're in a closet at my house, never to be touched or played with - until my little grandson wants to, that is. Then they're fair game once again. I used to sit on one of those big oval braided rugs when I was 8 and push them around the 'track' one-by-one for hours. I have the one pictured in my collection, minus the original box.

2. Tinkertoys. Invented after a stone mason saw kids entertaining themselves by building things with pencils and spools of thread. I can still picture the things I made with them and can still remember hearing my mother telling me to be careful with those things because 'you could put an eye out.'

3. Play-doh. First sold as wallpaper cleaner. How's that for weirdness? You rolled it on the walls to remove coal dust. I just smelled it more than I played with it. It was one of those things you didn't think you were supposed to be smelling for hours, but you could get away with it without getting in trouble. And for some reason, it smelled nasty-awesome.

4. Trolls. Remember? Created in 1949 by a Danish fisherman (go figure) who needed a cheap Christmas gift for his daughter because he couldn't afford to buy anything. I don't actually remember playing with them, but they were freaky-looking enough to be cool and today I mostly see them swinging from car rear-view mirrors.

5. Slinky. Invented by Naval engineer Richard James. He accidentally knocked a spring off a shelf when he was working and it did what the slinky naturally does - it stair-stepped itself down to a stack of books, then to the table, then to the floor, where it righted itself into a cylinder. And -- voila! -- the SLINKY was born. In my circles it was kind of known as the 'nerdy' toy (of course, I WAS a nerd, so .....) but if you had one beside you right now, I guarantee you'd be messing with it. Don't kid yourself.

6. Legos. The 'chic' of cool. Invented by Ole Christiansen, a carpenter who lived in Denmark. The word comes from the Danish, LEg and GOdt, which mean together: "PLAY WELL." In Latin, "LEGO" means, "I put together." I could play with these guys for hours even today and never get bored. They've made a whole theme park out of it out there in California: LEGOLAND.

7. Lincoln Logs. Invented by John Lloyd Wright, Frank's son - a 'chip off the ol' block.' I never had a set - maybe they were too expensive, I don't know - but I LOVED playing with them whenever I went over to a friend's house who was richer than us. They always seemed to have them.

I probably missed YOUR favorite toy: Hula hoops, Raggedy Ann & Andy, Smurfs ... but this was MY list. What's yours?

AH, FOR THE SIMPLER LIFE! Hey, my wireless is working again now! Back to the grind.

And be blessed.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I have 21 pair of shoes. I'm embarrassed to say that, especially when there are people who don't have even ONE pair - but it's true. I counted them today. I've given pairs to Goodwill in the past, including an expensive not-very-old pair of tennis shoes once when I didn't mean to. I'm not really sure why I need that many pair. Of course, they include slippers, several pair of flip-flops, a few sandals, two pair of tennis shoes, work and snow boots as well as casual and dress shoes ... but still.

Then I checked the brands. Johnston & Murphy, Nike, Valleverde, Bachrach, Pronto Uomo, Aldo, Timberland ... I don't even want to KNOW how much they all cost when you add them up. The brands were important when I bought them.

Back in the '80's, stories were circulating about how teenagers and elementary students were actually being killed for their sneakers. Shoes with the 'Nike Air Jordan' branding were in high demand. It was a nice shoe, but it was the picture of Michael Jordan leaping in the air with a basketball on the side of the shoe that was the deal. And if you lived in inner-city Chicago back then, you risked a bullet in your back if you wanted to own a pair. It happened more than once. Nike couldn't buy that kind of publicity and 20 years later, they're still benefitting from that special branding.

We regularly brand sermon series at our church. "THE EMPIRE," "HUMAN," "THE VOYAGE," "MONEY MATTERS," etc.

There is the big red "V" that denotes Richard Branson's VIRGIN empire brand. More than 350 companies are imprinted with the magic "V." The three-pointed star in a circle (Mercedes-Benz) ... the mouse ears (Disney) ... the big yellow "M" (McDonald's), where a study revealed that carrots, milk and juice in containers with a yellow "M" on them actually tasted 'better' to children than those without the logo. The children's sense of taste was physically altered by the branding.

In elementary school, A is no longer for apple ... B is no longer for ball ... C is no longer for cat. NOW ... A is for Apple computer ... B is for Burger King ... and C is for Cheerios ... and so on.

Like it or not - right or wrong - it's all about the brand today.

Is that what we have in religion? Brands? WWJD bracelets ... Icthus' on the rear of our SUVs ... 'Fruit of the SPIRIT' underwear (as opposed to "Fruit of the LOOM" - I'm not kidding!) ... but our brands don't contribute to the work of Christ inside us. No amount of religious product makes us Christian.

So, as one author says, rather than donning "Tommy Hellfighter" t-shirts and "Got Jesus?" bumper stickers, why not focus our energy and focus on 'putting on compassion, grace, kindness, humility, patience and joy?' That's where it's at; not by the brands we might display.

Jesus' true people are branded ----- by love.

And be blessed.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I was talking with someone today and they were unsettled - even aggravated - that people text and Twitter during meetings and that it really does seem rude, distracting, dishonoring, etc. I'm putting some words in their mouth when I say that, but it was the basic gist of what they were feeling, I believe.

I did not completely disagree. At least, I totally understood where they were coming from. I have sat in staff meetings with our own group when as many as five different people were on their gadgets 'doing things.' At first, it kind of irked me. "What are you all doing while I'm trying to talk to you?" Very often, when I'm done speaking on a Sunday and finally get to my cellphone, I find there are Twitter messages from one or more of them commenting on the message, texting a quote from the talk to others, etc. I don't know if I should be irritated or honored.

I have watched my teenage daughter fly with her fingers across her phone without looking while she texts a friend. She is doing this WHILE she is talking to me and looking right at me.

Culture watchers call them the "Thumb Generation," perpetually connected to the world via digital devices they navigate with their opposable thumbs. But they aren't just cell phones. You don't even CALL them that anymore. Subway riders in Korea wave their gadgets over the turnstiles in the train station to pay their daily fares. Others flip them open and rotate them 90 degrees to watch satellite TV. On the same screen they 'page' thru an e-book version of their school textbook followed by listening to the latest musical hits. They send an average of 66 text messages a day, snap pictures and send them to friends and play online games where they might run a virtual grocery store. They cannot imagine their lives without 'the device formerly known as the cell phone.'

It seems we need to learn to work with the new generation who has a thirst for connectivity and is plugged in like never before. 'Generation Y' is wired with all 10 fingers.

Technology isn't new, but this 'Generation Y' is immersed in a way different from earlier generations who grew up with calculators and Apple II Plus computers. This technology is as vital as one of their organs. Rather than push them away, we might need to learn to adapt to their way of doing things, conducting more functions online, multi-tasking, interactive everything. The availability of cutting-edge, high-tech tools will directly correspond to productive and happy people that work around us. Including my daughter.

And be blessed.