Saturday, May 30, 2009


A wonderful and emotional weekend.

Our youngest daughter, Olivia, graduated from high school. I was privileged to speak at her graduation and I talked about those three guys that got thrown in the fire because they wouldn't bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar's 90' tall idol,

Those three decided to follow GOD'S commands rather than MAN'S expectations. They decided to trust the TRUTH, rather than just the FACTS. They didn't just believe IN God; they REALLY BELIEVED God.

Then today was her graduation party at our house. The whole family is here to celebrate - and many friends as well. After an 'iffy' beginning, weather-wise, it ended up picture perfect and sunny.

An exhausting, but great couple of days filled with lots of love and warmth and excpectation for the future - and, looking back - very few regrets. So proud of our youngest.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Following up from a couple of days ago about what a 'mature Christ-follower' is ... of course, there is really no ONE answer to that, but here are some things to consider ...

A mature Christ-follower understands grace. The Christ-follower isn't a perfect person. Too many Christians see the imperfections in their own lives and are paralyzed from moving forward, knowing they have sinned or come short. But the great love and mercy and grace of God are understood by the mature Christian who can pick up and go on in the forgiveness that is ours in Christ.

The mature Christ-follower multiplies himself. He adds to his understanding of Christian doctrine and teaching in such a way that he can teach others. This is multiplying and causes the message of the Gospel to rapidly spread. "Lone Ranger" Christ-followers are ineffective.

The mature Christ-follower thinks long-term. The Christian life is not so much a "sprint" as it is a “marathon." As a result, the Christian needs a good foundation and an attitude that there is much to learn and experience and therefore to keep Christ at the CENTER of life.

The mature Christ-follower doesn't take short-cuts. The mature Christian loves the truth and lives by it. There is no short-cut to maturity. Here is a short list of principles that can be helpful in being faithful as a mature follower of Christ ... (1) Seek to do God's will in everything … (2) Be in the Bible frequently … (3) Be in prayer constantly … (4) Check with God on everything in advance … (5) Have an attitude that trusts God and His leadings … (6) Get counsel from others who also seek to do God's will … (7) Find what God is doing and join in … (8) Do what is right, not what is popular … (9) Obey God even in the small things … (10) Don't go where it is slippery.

The mature Christ-follower understands He has the government of Heaven behind Him. Because of the resurrection, we have authority to speak in His name and to live and die for Him because Christ is raised from the dead. We may have limits, but God and His Word have no limitations. Christ is alive and all the promises of the Bible are valid and we can base our lives on them.

The mature Christ-follower focuses on what is important. The mature Christian is careful to be sensitive to people, to be a friend, to speak timely words, and to focus on what is important, rather than majoring on the minors. The mature Christian knows that essential doctrine is important (the Trinity, doctrines of the Bible, sin, and man) but other things (diet, observing days, archeological matters, historical items) are not important enough to squabble over. Be strong and mature in what is important, and spend time teaching and learning the important matters.

The mature Christ-follower is a student of the Scriptures. The mature Christian knows how to handle the Word of God. He has an answer for his faith and knows essential doctrine. He knows the general will of God and has the ability to seek God out for His will in life. He lives Romans 1:16 daily: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God for salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It's another great round of interns we have with us for ministry this summer ...

*Zach - upcoming Senior at North Central University in Minneapolis -- studying youth ministry.
*Nate - from U/W Oshkosh - a friend of last year's intern Ben.

*Jonathon - workin on his Master's at Trinity in Deerfield in the area of counseling - his family used to attend KFA years ago before moving out of the area.
*Courtney - getting her Associates Degree in Teaching from Elgin Community College (power to the woman intern this summer!)

*Andrew - upcoming Senior at North Central -- his parents are on staff at an A/G church in Brookfield, WI. -- studying to be a worship leader -- guitarist.

Looks like a great group this summer.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I couldn't let an important day like MEMORIAL DAY pass ...

If you've never been to Arlington National Cemetery in the Washington, D.C. area, you are missing something very special.

A.N.C. is a military cemetery established during the Civil War on the former estate of Robert E. Lee's wife, Mary Anna (Custis) Lee, a descendant of Martha Washington (my personal family tree has both the Washingtons and the Lees in it, by the way).

More than 300,000 people are buried there in an area of 624 acres. Veterans and military casualties from every one of the nation's wars are interred in the cemetery, from the American Revolution through the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Pre-Civil War dead were re-interred after 1900.

The first soldier to be buried in A.N.C. was Private William Christman of Pennsylvania on May 13, 1864.

Today, Arlington National Cemetery continued the time-honored tradition of "Flags In." Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment along with service members from the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard placed a decorating U.S. flag one foot in front and centered before each headstone in the cemetery. This has been done every year since 1948. All flags will be removed Tuesday.

Enjoy your freedoms today.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


As a sort of follow-up to the May 19 blog ...

America may possess the world's largest infrastructure for nurturing human spirituality, complete with hundreds of thousands of houses of worship and para-church organizations, seemingly unlimited resources and experts --- yet a new study from the Barna group identifies underlying reasons why there is little progress with people's spiritual development. Many church-goers struggle to articulate a basic understanding of spiritual maturity. People aspire to be spiritually mature, but they don't know what it means.

The study showed some challenges related to people's spiritual growth:

1. Most Christians equate spirituality with following the 'rules.' Spirituality means 'trying really hard' to follow all the rules described in the Bible. Eighty percent of self-identified believers concurred with this statement.

2. Most church-goers are unclear what their church expects in terms of spiritual maturity. Forty percent were not able to describe how their church defines spiritual maturity.

3. Most Christians have a one-dimensional view of spiritual maturity. It is merely 'living a moral life' or 'being obedient' or 'possessing concern about others' or 'being involved in spiritual disciplines' or 'reading the Bible' and the like.

4. Most pastors are surprisingly vague about the 'chart' they use for people's spiritual maturity. If pastors cannot articulate it, it isn't surprising that parishioners cannot either.

Stay tuned for some answers.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I'm sitting on my patio this morning in some pretty nice late Spring hot weather - for 11 a.m. - and I'm watching the birds. There seem to be a million of them in our yard. An acre's worth of trees surrounding us doesn't hurt, I suppose.

But they're kind of random, aren't they? So busy. Quirky, almost. A cardinal was in our big basement window well this morning flying into the window over-and-over, pecking at it. He's never going to get in and he's been doing it for months now. I go down there to scare him away, but it's crazy. So, since I can't stand down there 24/7 and protect my window, I decided I would try a little experiment. I GOOGLED pictures of cats and then taped them to the inside of the basement window facing out. He's come back since then, but he's flown away without pecking at the cats. So far, so good. Here's to 'human brains' vs. 'bird brains.'

So now -- on my patio -- there is a robin fighting with the under-grass mesh. We had a new yard planted last spring and he's (or is it 'she's?') valiantly working on that stuff to pull some of the string out and build a nest for his youngins (I assume). That, or he is OCD in the bird world. I'm watching to see who is going to win, the mesh or the robin.

Then, just 20 feet east of him is a dark blue bird pecking at the remains of a pear I threw down there into the edge of the woods this morning. Looks like he's really enjoying it.

Ahead of me, not less than 20 feet, is a wren of some kind perched on the patio chaise lounge and - um - doing something I'm going to have to clean up before I move on with my day.

Beyond him, another 15 feet, is another robin flying in and out of the evergreen building a nest. I know because I've seen the progress on it over the past week. I don't think it's the same one that is fighting with the mesh either.

There are dozens of others chirping, mating, whistling, warning, fighting, playing.

This is all happening simultaneously - lots of action. It's a great scene and awesome testimony to our great Creator God.

Wherever you are, enjoy your day.

And be blessed.

Friday, May 22, 2009


S. Claiborne, in his book, "The Irresistible Revolution," surveyed a group of people who identified themselves as 'strong followers of Jesus' and asked them: "Did Jesus spend time with the poor?" Eighty percent replied in the affirmative, leaving a startling 20% who evidently thought He did not spend time with the poor. That this could be the case should give us an eye-opening clue as to the ignorance of those who call Christ 'Lord.'

But the more disturbing thing was that Claiborne asked the same group of people, "Do YOU spend time with the poor?" Less than 2% said they did. For so many there is almost a complete disconnect between our beliefs about Christ and our actions. This disconnection lies at the core of the problem facing the church today.

S. Kierkegaard said: "We possess Christ's truth only by imitating Him, not by speculating about Him."

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Well, there you have it.

Like the result or not, the Christian community triumphed this time, don't you think?

Congratulations to Kris Allen - the new AMERICAN IDOL 2009.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


It struck me today, as we were talking with staff about some issues within the church, is that we may have not made discipleship an actual condition of being a believer in Christ. Not that we haven't and aren't offering ways to become a disciple, but we may not be pressing the buttons continually and constantly enough so people know what God expects from them.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: 'One is not required to be a disciple in order to become a Christian, and one may remain a Christian without any signs of progress toward or in discipleship. Contemporary Western churches do not require following Christ in His example, spirit and teachings as a condition of membership ... so far as the visible Christian institutions of our day are concerned, discipleship clearly is optional ... churches are therefore filled with "undiscipled disciples." Most problems in contemporary churches can be explained by the fact that members have not yet decided to follow Christ.'

That probably says it better than I could. But discipleship MUST mean adherence to Christ because Christ is the OBJECT of our adherence. Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship -- and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Tonight was our final "LETTERS FROM DAD" night with the 60 men who've been tracking the past 4 months in that ministry. We've all written legacy & love letters to our wives, to our children, to our parents -- and now, on this last night, a FINAL LETTER. This one expressed our deepest desire for those we love and the future we picture for them.

Remember back in 2006, disaster struck the tiny, mining town of Sago, West Virginia? An explosion at the Sago coal mine trapped 13 miners for nearly 2 days. In a letter to the victims' families, Randal McCloy, Jr., the sole survivor, wrote some words recounting their last moments. The word was that for some of the miners trapped in a certain spot, they only had 12 minutes of oxygen left.

So - in keeping with that - we turned out all the lights in the room and began to craft the letter - as if we only had twelve minutes left to live.

What a powerful time together.


And be blessed.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Don't you know people who just seem to live bigger, grander, happier lives than you? Those are people who have a high expectation and a deep conviction that their future will be better than their past. They have an irresistible optimism and a contagious faith - this eternal hope that keeps moving them forward.

But a lot of us have lost the hope of our dream - particularly in this 2009 atmosphere. We've lost our spirit. We've lost our joy.

But Jesus said our joy would be complete. Some of us think joy is supplemental - it's an add-on. But it isn't. God says joy can be complete. That's how you know the world is not in the condition God designed it - because there are tons of people on the planet living with unbearable sorrow and loneliness - living the exact opposite of what God wants for them. They can't imagine a life that would bring them joy.

Is it possible there is a dream you were created to live that contains hope, love, joy and peace? I'm not a prophet, but I know God's plan for you. I'm just being scriptural. God's plan is for you to enjoy this life. It's the only one you've been given. And no matter how awful OR great your past has been -- with God, your future is going to be greater.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


They grow up. That's just all there is to it. Our youngest, Olivia, just before leaving for her formal last night - her final one. I couldn't resist 'bragging' on her. (The dude is 6'6".) It's the end of an era for us. Her high school graduation is in two weeks, where I have the privilege of speaking. You'll see her back here then most likely.

Until then ...

Be blessed.

Friday, May 15, 2009


As a boy growing up in church, I remember laying on pews and sleeping. I remember the pews were sometimes hard and other times they had nice cushy fabric on them - but either way, it didn't stop me from dozing during church services. I eventually learned if you caught the end of the row, you could use the wooden arm rest as a brace for your elbow and you could sleep 'sitting up.' Later on, my mother wouldn't allow it and would give a little 'cough' from the back row of the auditorium, which was my cue to 'sit up straight and pay attention.'

Church was just conducive to sleeping back then (maybe now, too). The only time it WASN'T so was when the missionaries would come through. They'd bring slides of beautiful and exotic places and show pictures of half-naked National Geographic-type natives and bring 12-foot long snake skins and crocodile teeth and elephant tusks and other missionary paraphenalia. They would preach in these excited, big booming tones and walk around the stage flailing their arms, demonstrating some pygmy dance and such. Nobody could possibly sleep thru that stuff. It was absolutely riveting.

More than anything, what held me captive was their passion for the call of God and for life. Hoping the missionary would return the following week, it was always a little disappointing to find that our regular dull-by-comparison preacher was in the speaker's circle the next Sunday. Time for another nap. (Sorry if any of my formative years pastors are reading this.)

Today, in God's curious irony, I am a 'preacher.' I don't even like the term, yet it's what I am. But I am happy to say I'm in some pretty good company. Besides those spell-binding missionaries and me, GOD is a preacher.

As one writer says: "The first page of the Bible reveals God created the world thru speaking - in other words, the world began with a sermon."

Even Satan took a stab at it. He shows up in the garden to our first parents, Adam and Eve. His sermon included twisting God's words and even declaring that God's sermon was a flat-out lie.

In the Old Testament, God sends a bevy of prophets to counteract the false sermons of false preachers.

John the Baptist preached hellfire down.

Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount - the most famous of all preachers preaching the most famous message of all time.

Peter. Three words: Acts chapter two.

Paul. First he killed preachers, then he became one.

So - I figure I could do worse than be on the same page with all of them - men whom God has called to 'preach.'

I'll see you from the preacher's circle on Sunday.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Life is full of small blessings. We might fail to notice them, but they are there. Open wider and you'll see them.

The office I sit in every day has 30 feet of glass along one wall looking to the outside. There are trees and a pond with fountains and every spring and fall, special visitors drop in - just on the other side of the glass. I've sat there for 13 years now, but I never get tired of seeing them arrive. The trees start to bloom - everything turns green - the birds start pecking at the feeders I've hung on the tree branches - and the geese return. And with them come the cycle of life - goslings.

Sometimes there are 300 geese out there walking, sleeping, eating, honking, swimming, bathing, bickering, socializing and pooping. Today was especially fun because I saw a family of geese really up close and personal -- walking right on the other side of the wall of glass. Dad, Mom, and eight goslings. If my windows opened, I could have touched them - that's how close they were.

Maybe it seems like a very small thing to you - but it is testament to God's creation and creativity and care for all things living. I am blessed.

You be blessed, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I have to tell you how much I love the Hispanic community here at our church (KFA). Not long ago, they sponsored a dinner and invited the staff and hosted us like we were Champions. So gracious and warm. The food was as good as I've had anywhere. That's not why I love them - though it doesn't hurt.

The approach and attitude of our Hispanic members is so benevolent and I'm thankful for their hearts for God. We began in-ear simultaneous translation of our services from English-into-Spanish awhile back and that is going so well. Spanish-speaking friends continue to pour into the church.

It was just confirmed to me once again today as I met with someone from the Spanish-speaking community and they were telling me about their Wednesday night Spanish-speaking prayer group and what a great ministry it has been to those who come -- and now, a new small group for Spanish-speaking families is starting. That is awesome.


And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Our staff was discussing a great book today called "POP GOES THE CULTURE." In it, author Tim Stevens says:

'Our problem is not our hearts. It is not our intentions. We are just ignorant. We don't mean to be ignorant, but we are. We have a disease called, "The Curse of Knowledge."

We are cursed with church knowledge. We know the basics of the Bible. We know where park our car in order to exit quickly. We know where the bathrooms are located. We know the songs. We know when we're supposed to clap after songs and when we should be reflective. We know what the pastor means when he says, "Just as in the days of Noah ... " We know God is faithful AND all things work together for good AND sometimes God answers prayers by telling us to wait AND when God closes a door He sometimes opens a window AND a thousand other slogans that look good on bumper stickers but mean nothing to people who do not know.

The problem is we have no memory of what it is not to know. And so our churches, led by people plagued with the curse of knowledge, provide experiences and design services that feel right to people who know stuff but totally miss the boat when it comes to people who don't.

The curse of knowledge keeps us from being able to see that we are not communicating. You say, "I'm speaking in English. Everyone in my community understands English. I'm speaking their language. Right?" Not necessarily. Speaking the right language is more than the words that are spoken. It is about context, timing, previous experience, and culture. Speaking the right language is about understanding filters.

Think about it. Someone who was raised in an abusive environment does not understand when you talk about loving parents. They have a family filter that is different from yours. Someone who was abandoned by a parent might strongly believe you are damaging your children if you spank them. Their parenting filter dictates their behavior and judgment.'

So that just gives me a ton of food for thought about how we DO things and SAY things.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 11, 2009


It can't get much more random -- or for that matter -- much more transparent than this. But I have a problem with mirrors. That's right. I have to look in one when it presents itself. I've always had an obsessive-compulsive streak and it manifests whenever a mirror is available. Joelene tells me from time to time when we're walking down the street to stop looking in the glass windows because she's knows I'm just looking at myself in the reflection. It's probably flat-out vanity - or self-consciousness - or something just as terrible.

Remember Snow White? It got her in some pretty serious trouble. It reminded me of a couple of uses of mirrors from my Greek mythology class in high school. I always liked that class.

Narcissus. He was blessed by the gods with supernatural good looks (and before you say it, "Yes, I realize that is not my problem"). All the women of the world adored him, but he never returned their love. Over time, that made the maidens angry and they asked the gods to punish him. The gods listened. Deep in the woods, they created a pool of pure, mirror-like, silver water. One day, after a day of hunting and thirst, Narcissus stumbled upon the pool. Leaning over to drink, he saw his own image mirrored, but he mistook it for a beautiful water spirit living down there (OK, so Narcissus was not only great-looking, he was also an idiot). And as he gazed at the bright eyes, curly locks of hair and healthy glow, he fell in love. But when he leaned forward to kiss the image, it 'fled' at the moment of contact. After a time, it would return and Narcissus would become enamored once more. He became so taken with the image that he could not sleep or eat. He could think of nothing else. Eventually, he withered away and died.

The traditional interpretation of the story is that Narcissus fell in love with his stupid self. It was a Greek warning against excessive self-love. Sigmund Freud later derived the term narcissism from this story.

The main error of Narcissus however, was not that he fell in love with himself, but that he failed to RECOGNIZE himself in the mirror. He couldn't perceive that the image was simply an extension of himself and that gave the image power to hurt him and ultimately kill him. If he had only understood the mirror was reflecting his own face, the power of the mirror would have been immediately conquered and he could have USED it for his benefit.

The other mirror story in Greek mythology tells the story of a young man named Perseus. In the land where Perseus grew up, a horrifying monster named Medusa was on a rampage. Anyone who looked directly into her eyes immediately turned to stone. Perseus courageously volunteered to destroy her (what a guy!). The gift the gods gave to help him was a highly-polished shield. When Perseus found her, Medusa was quietly sleeping. He approached her, being careful never to look her in the face. He used his bright shield as a guiding mirror, keeping his eyes fixed only on her reflection. Suddenly she woke with a hiss and glared at Perseus, but since he was looking at her reflection and not directly at her, he was unharmed. He thrust his sword and sheared off her head and ultimately offered it as a gift to the king and brought peace to the mythical land.

For one person - the mirror was a distraction -- something that gained power over him, leading to his own death. For the other, the mirror was an extension of himself that he controlled. That understanding allowed him to survive something that had claimed the lives and souls of many others.

So, MAN IN THE MIRROR, use the things around you for your benefit rather than letting them to control you (I told you it was going to be random today).

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Great day today -- child dedications --- Life Development Director, Lisa Kurman, spoke on "WAITING" --- Red Robin for dinner with Joelene and Olivia --- to the now-traditional Mother's Day plant nursery for Joelene to go crazy.


And be blessed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today our small group served food to the homeless at a place in the city called "First Step." We have been doing that once a month since the beginning of the year.

Today the menu was sloppy joes -- green beans with ham and potatoes -- chips -- fruit -- iced tea. It was great helping some of the people in our community who have found themselves without a home. Some have lost homes because of family problems, marraiges, out of work, foreclosures, etc. We not only fed them but talked with many of them and shared the love of Jesus. Great group of people.

One of the people served at First Step today was Wanda. Today is her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday, Wanda.

Every small group should be reaching out on its own to do something missional ("Jesus with skin on") for our community. Pray about what your small group can do. It's up to you. If you'd like to take a weekend as a small group to serve at First Step, we can steer you in the right direction. First Step is located at 1017 63rd Street in Kenosha if you would like to help with your small group sometime.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Remember Jamar Rogers? He's the guy from Milwaukee who made it into the top 54 on "American Idol" --- best friend of 2009 finalist Danny Gokey.

He was with us today at our Christian Life School doing chapel for the students. I was only there for about 15 minutes, but the guy was 'layin' it down' talking about Jonah and obedience. I was impressed with his intensity for Jesus and his passion for the students. He sang before the chapel was over and I got a chance to have my pic taken with him and our youth pastor, Jon Brown.


And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


We have a great staff at KFA. Sometimes I just like to tell you what went on in our weekly meeting. Like today.

We talked 'shop' for an hour but that last 30 minutes was sweet. Pastor Jon Brown led us thru a time of prayer together. First, we shared a story of praise that was happening in each of our areas of ministry -- lives being touched and changed -- small groups multiplying -- and then we prayed for each of those situations. Next we shared one or two of our "BHAG"s - which stands for 'Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals." Our video venue came up -- as well as new church plants in the future and 100% of our people in small groups -- financial health -- and more. Then we prayed for those. After that we asked for the power of the Holy Spirit to fall on our church and our people and our ministries followed by laying hands on everybody and praying for each other.

It doesn't get any better than that.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 4, 2009


When fires erupted in ancient cities, which they often did, the walls created a new and unintended vulnerability. The walls reversed into a veritable prison, trapping its residents inside where the danger was. Surveillance cameras, designed for our safety and protection, when there are too many that see too far, actually reverse into an invasion of privacy.

Every medium, when pushed to an extreme, will REVERSE on itself, revealing unintended consequences. For example, the car was invented to increase the speed of transportation, but having too many cars on the roads result in traffic jams and even injury and death. The internet was designed to make info more easily accessible - but too much info or the wrong kind of info REVERSES into an assortment of not-so-good info.

QUESTION: What would it look like for something like your cell phone to "REVERSE" and become something it wasn't intended to become?

The cell phone has become a physical extension of people today. I was having lunch with someone not that long ago and as we chatted, his phone kept ringing - interrupting what seemed like every other sentence. "Sorry, I have to get this," he would say. Every time I would wait, he would apologize. The last time it rang, he said with a sense of resignation and exhaustion, "I am a total slave to my cell phone."

The phone had REVERSED on him. I've never heard anyone say, "I am a total slave to my ear," and yet, that is the part of him the cell phone had become an extension for. He couldn't stop himself from answering it, so ultimately he ...

Hey, wait ... there's my phone. Gotta go.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Today was our final installment in our "AT THE MOVIES" message series using the film, 'Marley & Me.' It was our first stab at a series like this and I have to say, it's been not only a lot of fun, but also meaningful and transformational. The subject matter today was PARENTING.
What you sow as a parent over those God has given you responsibility for, reaps far greater consequences than you can ever imagine. That’s true for both good and bad. Parenting is your greatest opportunity to influence tomorrow. It’s your greatest opportunity to bring joy and peace and value to somebody in your charge by your example and leadership. God is entrusting you with the privilege of shaping eternal humanity, made in the image of God.

The goal of parenting isn’t just to make sure your kids aren’t holy terrors … just like the goal of marriage isn’t just to stay ‘un-divorced.’ The major goal of parenting is to have your children learn the way of righteousness and embrace it for themselves.

Scripture refers to children as 'arrows.' But by itself, an arrow is useless. An arrow only goes where you aim it.

You want to do something risky, but that will help you as a parent? Ask your kids what they believe you’re most passionate about –see what they say. Chances are, you'll get a wake-up call. And if you don’t like their answers, it’s time to put down your bow and figure out what new direction you’re going to shoot the arrow in.

Today, you are training your future masters. Proverbs says: "A wise child brings joy to his father." Do you know why that is? Because that wise child is going to rule over you someday. If you want your home and nation to be places where peace and righteousness prevail, aim that arrow in the direction of GOD, because you’re discipling your future caregiver, Dad – you are writing your own future story, Mom - by the way you’re raising your children.

You have been given the greatest privilege on EARTH to raise a son or daughter – and when the arrows are shot in the right direction, there’s nothing as satisfying and beautiful as that.

Quote from MARLEY & ME, with a slight 'tweak':
"A CHILD has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. A CHILD doesn't care if you're rich or poor, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he'll give you his. How many people can make you feel rare and pure and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?"

Kiss your family tonight.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


A beautiful day in southeast Wisconsin today, without a doubt. Picture perfect.

With all the rain, it's been the first day possible to get outside and start getting the yard back in shape. I didn't mow today - probably tomorrow. But the yard 'stuff' came out -- the patio furniture / umbrella ... the plants and trees-in-pots ... the hammock ... et al.

Joelene began the tradition of 'fluffing up' the mulch around the yard, which will take her a week to get all that done - and planting fresh plants began.

I journeyed around the lot to see how many branches had fallen over the winter/spring seasons due to heavy snow and rains as well as continue my losing fight with the buckthorn (pictured at right). I have scars today on my hands, arms, shoulders, legs, feet and face as a result of those buggers. I also burned a boat load of brush in our fire pit and ended up getting a pretty decent burn on my right forearm from getting too close to the flames. It's 'par for the course' for me. It smarts, too.

It felt good to get underway with all that. It has seemed like a slow start this year, what with the cold weather and the long rains over the last couple of weeks.

The weirdness that happened today was that we found a nice-sized pile of small rocks in our backyard gathered at the foot of one of the large landscaping shrubs. We could not figure out how they got there. We have rocks on our driveway, so we thought it might have had something to do with the 4x4 that is used to shovel our drive in the winter, but these rocks were too far away from where we push snow to have been from that ... and besides, the rocks weren't even the same kind of rocks as what is on the driveway. They looked like the same ones that lay in our big basement window wells -- and this pile was close to those wells.

My best guess was that it was the handiwork of our scoundrel cardinal. We have a redbird that likes to fly down in our big window well and fly over and over and over and over into the window down there head-on. Crazy. Hundreds of times a day. We hear its little beak pecking on the window all the time. So I'm thinking this was the cardinal's sweet revenge for not being able to get in our basement - to fly little rocks up out of the window well and stack them beside a shrub -- and then, force me to have to pick them up one-by-one and toss them back down into the window well. Touche, redbird.

And be blessed.


Tonight was a great performance by our CHRISTIAN LIFE SCHOOL drama cast of "Singing in the Rain."

Great to see the students tap-dancing, singing, playing fun characters and playing to the crowd.

My favorite part: The grips spritzing with water bottles over the edge of the balcony onto the unsuspecting crowd below during the 'rain' scene.

I'm glad I was sitting in the balcony.

Great job everyone.

And be blessed.