Monday, June 29, 2009

GROWTH 4

I was both thrilled and bothered on Sunday morning. I had everyone stand up to see who had started coming to KFA just in the past 5 years. The percentages were almost staggering to me. There were a LOT of people who stood.

There was excitement in my heart to see that -- and my second thought to was: How do we keep all these folks from quietly disappearing out the back door at some point?

I know what the primary ingredient for church sustainability is - it's been proven over and over again -- it's FRIENDSHIPS. Put simply, if people make friends, they stay. If they don't make friends, they don't stay.

One study says new members who stay beyond their first year made seven new friends that first year. Those who left made fewer than two (which I suppose would mean 'one' or 'zero' friends - not good).

So our goal for all these new people would be to get them connected with one another either (A) by serving with others -- and/or (B) in a small group.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

CHURCH

The truth is, a lot of people are bitter toward the church today. Some of their offenses have come because they have viewed the church as legalistic, having a religious spirit, Pharisaical, full of condemnation. Sometimes there has been a lack of love. But the church isn’t perfect because you and I aren’t perfect. On the other hand, there are plenty of times when God’s fingerprints are all over the church – as it reaches out … as it shows compassion … as it cares for people – and then, one moment later, someone does or says something stupid and insensitive that rocks us back to reality. It is then that the church becomes exactly what she is … a gathering of imperfect, broken people in desperate need of mutual healing.

That’s why, as followers of Christ, we have to be so careful to keep our focus on GOD and His love and His peace and His hope and His mission. Today, too many churches hold in contempt the very people Jesus would be most compassionate toward. Religion so often ends up putting rules and regulations ahead of loving people.

Jesus came to LOWER the entry bar, not RAISE it. He is the ultimate ‘come as you are’ Savior. Anything we do to unduly raise the bar sabotages the work He came to do. I guess I’m saying that I’m committed to keeping 'unscripturally high-bar Christianity' OUT of the church I’m called to help lead. We work hard to keep the bar where JESUS put it – not higher – not lower. We make every effort to avoid presenting cultural values, traditions, and extra-Biblical rules and regulations as if they’re on par with Scripture. They’re not.

And here is the coolest thing of all with what God is doing in the church today -- especially if you're already a believer. YOU, believer, get the most exciting job of all in the Kingdom. YOU get to be the one standing there with arms wide open, welcoming the hurting in here. That’s the best job on the list. We're the ones who get to stand up front and say:

Hey you – with the shriveled hand, come in here.
You with the prison sentence – come here.
You who struggle with your sexual identity – come here.
You – in bed last night with someone who wasn’t your spouse – come on in.
We love you – we want to help you, not condemn you – because Jesus calls people to the front that religion pushes to the back.'

And I challenge my church - KFA - that THAT would describe us every day.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

CITY

Today we took about 50 people up to Milwaukee to do servant ministry at CITY ON A HILL. City on a Hill is in the central city of Milwaukee and is a former hospital given to the Assemblies of God Wisconsin District for them to do whatever with. So they have transformed this HUGE building into a ministry center doing misisonal things for the city of Milwaukee.

We went up to clean up - wash City On A Hill vehicles - move filing cabinets - organize rooms of furniture - and whatever else they needed done.

A great time -- and terrific to see me and everyone else 'sweating like pigs' in order to help someone else.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

GROWTH 3

They say it's about 'felt needs' today. Most unbelieving people aren't walking down the street engrossed in what is going to happen to their eternal souls. But they ARE thinking about their JOBS ... their MARRIAGES ... their CHILDREN ... their FINANCES ... their HEALTH.

Once again, another survey comes out revealing that the reason 18-21 year olds don't attend church is that they feel it is irrelevant to their daily lives. And I don't really think that response is limited to that one age group.

Jesus began His conversation with the Samaritan woman on a topic of interest to her --- water. If we can do that with our community, we'll gain a hearing.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

GROWTH 2

Here's a bombshell for you (NOT!) -- Non-Christian people come to faith - and to the church - primarily thru relationships they have with believers. I know that sounds extremely elementary, but it's amazing how many people believe something OTHER than friends reaching friends will somehow create growth.

People reaching out to their unbelieving friends and family bring over twice as many new people to faith than all the other methods combined.

So -- make a list of the people in your circle of influence who don't know Christ. Pray for them - even for a MINUTE a day - and ask God for an open door of opportunity.

You may be the only connection to Jesus they have in their world.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

GROWTH 1

We're experiencing some growth in our church right now. It's exciting to see. It is not only growth numerically, but our congregation is diversifying in some beautiful ways - ethnically, linguistically, societally.

In conjunction with that, I was reading what one author's top five church growth principles are and how we stacked up in these areas. Here they are, stretched one-at-a-time over this week's blog entries:

1 - Disciple making
The longer an organization exists, the more concerned it tends to become with self-preservation - and the less concerned it becomes with its original purpose - making disciples. Our time, money, staff - even our prayers - begin to be more and more inward-focused. Matthew 28:19 in 'The Message' says it so beautifully: 'A church CAN do many good things. A church SHOULD do a few important things. But there is only one essential thing a church must do: 'go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life."

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

ARK


Today was the most amazing moment for all of us at KFA -- the presentation of the hour-long live drama, "THE ARK" - the whole thing set in a canoe on the lake. What a great morning. So beautifully and powerfully acted by the cast of five -- two men and three boys. Thanks to you guys for the passion of the drama and the gift it was to the men present on Father's Day. To leave a legacy to our children is our greatest gift as fathers.

It reminded me of something that happened this past week while we were in New York City. We were on the subway one afternoon and there was a man on there -- I'm not kidding -- he had to be 6'11" if not 7'0" tall. He had to hunch over just to keep his head from grazing the top of the subway car. I always notice people taller than me wherever I go simply because it is a little on the rare side to see someone so significantly taller than me, like this guy was. As people came and went, it just so happened that seats began to open up. He ended up sitting down at some point -- and about 3 minutes later, the seat next to him opened up and I took it. Joelene almost snapped a picture of the two of us sitting next to each other, but I had this look of horror when I saw she was going to do that and I gave her 'the look' to say, "PLEASE, NO!" Sitting there next to this literal GIANT of a man, I felt really small. His hands were enormous and his knees extended at least 4 or 5 inches past mine. I kept wondering what airline travel must be like for him. I have enough problems myself. I sit fairly tall in the saddle but he was half-a-foot taller than me in the sitting position. It was amazing.

And that's what reminded me of "THE ARK" today. There isn't anything I want to be more than I want to be a giant in my children's eyes. It doesn't come with inches --- it comes with character. And when they ask you why you believe in God, you don't have to have every answer. You just have to love God and let them see that.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY


Happy Anniversary today to my bride of 28 years.

Love you.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

MANHATTAN 4

What a great last day in Manhattan. This morning we took the subway to Southport Village, west of Wall Street on the coast. It's a fish market as well as a seaport shopping area. Just a really quaint part of the city that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

From there, we went back to the hustle and bustle by heading to Times Square and taking the NBC tour in Rockefeller Center which featured the set of "The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" as well as the set of "Saturday Night Live."

Joelene's sister and her husband happened to be in Manhattan this week for their 25th anniversary, so we had a chance to grab a bite to eat with them - just ironic that they were here the same time as we. Joelene's sister saw a rat as big as a small dog in the subway today.

We trekked up to the Central Park area to hit the Metropolitan Museum of Art (pictured above). The place is huge and filled with requisite modern art paintings of people who get famous by drawing noses on the right sides of faces and ears underneath chins and stuff like that. But it was still interesting.

In the evening, we saw "West Side Story" on Broadway. It's a classic and was terrific. During intermission, I heard there was some pretty bad weather back home - tornado sirens and all - so I called my next door neighbor to make sure my house wasn't doing the "Wizard of Oz" thing or the "Noah" thing and he said so far so good. On my way back to my seat after intermission, I was sharing the turn of events weather-wise with Joelene just as Part Two of the show was starting. I really wanted to let her know what was going on since it was pretty important and the lady behind me at the show 'shushed' me twice. The nerve.

One of the things so unique about visiting Manhattan is that when you come out of the Broadway show at 11 p.m., the streets are absolutely packed with people around Times Square. The lights are as bright as noon day and there are hundreds of cars whizzing by. We sat in a cafe and had dessert until 12:30 pm (EST) and as we walked to our hotel 7 blocks away, the streets were still crowded and some clothing shops and stores and eateries were still open and going strong.

Sure love to visit -- wouldn't want to live here. Can't wait to get home to the relative peace of Wisconsin.
And be blessed.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MANHATTAN 3


All day today it rained like Noah's cousin in the Big Apple. Some of you who don't quite understand the logistics of being 6'5" tall wouldn't know that when you are 6'5" and you're carrying an umbrella at essentially a 7' altitude, there is so much body BENEATH the umbrella that the lower third of you gets wet ANYWAY. It's just how it is.

So the day today was all about shopping for the ladies - which I guess was a good thing because the day was a bust anyway with the weather, so you might as well do something you dread and put that cherry right on top by making that thing several hours of shopping at upper end stores complete with far-too-pretty and snooty salespeople (not all of them were though).

So there I am, in my torn-up-and-re-sewn-100-times-blue-jeans-that-are-wet-from-the-knees-down walking into these crusty fashion boutiques with my two ladies all day long. I'll admit we had a good time though - I even bought something - and the day was redeemed near the end when we took the subway down to Little Italy and Chinatown and walked around. We had dinner at a chic Italian restaurant to cap the night. That's the main drag of Little Italy in the pic above - Mulberry Street.

One more day to go. We have some really fun, cool stuff planned for tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

MANHATTAN 2


On our second day in Manhattan, we kicked it off with a bang by visiting Battery Park and the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island. Every time I see it in person, it gives me this big choked up feeling. It's quite the tribute to freedom that we all enjoy every day.

After that, we wandered north from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Wall Street Financial district area, and then just west of there to Ground Zero, almost 8 years after the fact. There is a new, stirring museum dedicated to the tragedy that wasn't there the last time we visited. And the new Freedom Tower is going up now - it's about 100 feet tall so far and will eventually rise to 1,776 (get it?) feet before it's finished - taller than the original towers. Other tall towers will join it along with a park featuring commemorative fountains in the center. Can't wait to see that.

After supper, we went to the Broadway show: "Shrek, the Musical." Very funny and very entertaining. I love the quality of Broadway -- the sets, costumes and extra effects are always amazing. This one did not disappoint.

One thing I enjoy about Times Square is even as you are strolling back to your hotel at 11:15 p.m., many of the clothing stores and restaurants are still open. One was enticing enough for me to stop in and get a big fat slice of pepperoni before I hit the sack. More fun awaits tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MANHATTAN 1



Eventful start to the day ... on the way to the airport with Joelene and Olivia ... and Olivia threw up in the back seat of the car. She had complained about not feeling well after eating cheese last night and milk when she woke up to get ready to fly at 3:30 a.m. this morning. So she waited till we all got in the car and were halfway to O'Hare before upchucking it all over. So that was a great start to our Manhattan trip.
Once here though, it was awesome. We took a hike to the Empire State Building, not far from our hotel. That's it up above.

Then we walked around and did some shopping (this trip is in honor of Olivia's high school graduation, so 'shopping' is in the plans - every day). She is snapping photographs left and right - like the one below -but it's good to see she's having a great time.

We had some New York style pizza and hit some really unique and trendy and quirky, out-of-the-box shops - no lack of those here.

We ended the day with a Chinese dinner and then I left the girls at a women's clothing store a block from the hotel and headed back to the room around now (8 p.m.). I'm going to hit the gym downstairs before crashing. We've been up since before 4 this morning.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ELLIPTICAL

I have always had a touch of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Maybe it's a mild case. It's not "MONK"-style or anything, but it's still there.

When I was a kid, I would take my case of Matchbox cars and would set them all out on the oval braided rug and drive them one-by-one around the track the rug provided. No traffic jams allowed. All very orderly.

I'm the kind of person who sometimes feels it necessary to make sure the alarm is set at bedtime -- maybe 3 or 4 times before I can trust it.

I have my shirts in my closet lined up by the colors of the spectrum ... red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet - plus brown, then gray, black and white.

I have been at checkout counters waiting for the cashier to ring me up and - without thinking much about it - I'm re-arranging the display on the counter to help it 'make more sense.' Just trying to be a good citizen.

When the grips or ushers move the table and chair into place on Sunday morning for me to speak, if they aren't 'square' with the platform, I have to subtly move them so they ARE. You haven't noticed that, have you? I thought I was being subtle, I said.

So today - at the gym- I'm on the elliptical going at it and I'm listening to Nat King Cole on my ipod. And I found myself having -- I say, HAVING - to pump the foot pedals and handles of the elliptical to the BEAT of the song I was listening to ... down and up on every beat EXACTLY. When the song ended and a new one started with a different tempo, I'd have to adjust the ryhthm of my ellipticaling. It was a particular challenge on a couple of songs that were kind of easy and free with the tempo -- I found myself speeding up -- then slowing way down -- then going medium -- no, faster -- oops, slower now. It was a mess to watch, I'm sure. And when one of the songs had a really slow tempo, I must have looked like I was ellipticaling thru mud - or totally worn out.

I don't know if anyone was looking at me or not. I was just enjoying the music.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

IRONMEN

It's very cool when a routine 'meeting' turns into something more ... when a group of guys who gather to plan environments designed to benefit men end up spending most of the time caring, investing in each other, being accountable and transparent, and praying for one another.

That's what happened today.

Awesome.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

PAMPER

I don't know if my kids still religiously read this blog. I know they did when I started it ages ago. Occasionally they mention something in it that they've read, but that doesn't mean they read it daily. I guess we'll see.

I don't know how our children feel about how strongly Joelene and I pampered them when they were small. They would probably each answer differently, according to their perspectives.

In 1975, before any of them were born, the main publishing houses of American literature put out 57 books on parenting. Thirty years later, they published 12 times that many. There are hundreds of magazine (no exaggeration) and thousands of websites giving advice on how to manage your infant, toddler, tween and teen. The baby product industry sells $7 billion annually. That's a lot of Baby Wipes.

But there is pretty strong disagreement about how we should be raising our kids today. Dr. Spock vs. Dr. Dobson. Not planning to breast feed? How selfish. Breast feed in public? How barbaric. Your child sleeps with you in bed? How co-dependent. You banished your baby to a crib? How un-enlightened.

But there seems to be ONE thing all parents agree on - most parents believe they are strict. Fifty-five percent of parents believe they are tough on their kids. Fifty-two percent believe it's better to guide a child with 'discipline and structure' rather than with 'warmth and encouragement.' What is funny is that a remarkable 91% of parents say that other parents aren't pulling their weight.

So we have a slew of parents who think they're strict, but no one else is. I wonder where you put yourself on the 'strict' slide rule. And maybe even more importantly, I wonder how our kids feel about the Taylor's 'strict quotient' as we were raising them.

Weigh in.

Whitney? Allison? Olivia? Are you out there?

And be blessed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

TEXAS DE BRAZIL


This is more of a FACEBOOK or TWITTER entry - or maybe something appropriate for the Food Network - but I couldn't resist posting it.

Joelene and I had dinner in Schaumburg tonight at the amazing "TEXAS DE BRAZIL CHURRASCARIA." They have 50 items on their salad bar - and not just things like cottage cheese. They had lobster bisque, chunks of meaty salmon, cold shrimp salad, lots of gourmet cheeses, asparagus, sushi - not your traditional salad bar.

But the 'piece de resistance' is the 14 different kinds of meats the waiters constantly bring around to your table on big giant skewers. They keep bringing them until you flip the green card on your table to red, meaning "STOP IT - I AM OFFICIALLY NOW A BEACHED WHALE ON TWO LEGS!"
I can't even remember all the different kinds of grilled meats they brought around tonight - but some of them were: filet mignon wrapped in bacon, pork ribs, rack of lamb, parmesan chicken, flank steak, pork tenderloin, lamb chops, sausages, other different kinds of steak.

We had been to a very similar chain in San Diego years ago called 'Fogo De Chao.' Same thing, different name, in Schaumburg at Woodfield Mall.

I highly recommend it.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

DUCK


I won a prize today at Associated Bank located inside Pic-N-Save. They had a puzzle posted on a dryboard on the back wall and offered a prize to whoever could solve it. Well ... the same puzzle has been there for the past 6 weeks. It hasn't changed. I've looked at it every time I've gone and I'm kind of a puzzle guy, so I put my brain to it. I had figured out most of it right away the first time I saw it, but there was one line that had me stumped. So today, when I saw the puzzle was STILL there, it just bothered me that NOBODY had been able to yet solve it and I was tired of looking at it, so I stood there for an extra couple of minutes trying to decode the thing. THEN ... all of a sudden it came to me.

So yeah - I solved it. And I won a huge green refrigerator magnet that you can clip notes to.

See if you can solve it.

'MR ducks. MR not ducks. OIC. CDEDBD ducks. MR ducks.'

That's it. If you don't want to see the answer, don't scroll down.


Here's the answer:
'Them 'er ducks. Them 'er NOT ducks. Oh, I see. "See de itty bitty ducks?" Them 'er ducks.'

And voila! A huge green refrigerator magnet that you can clip notes to is YOURS.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PEWS


I was standing in our church auditorium today just looking at it. It's big. That picture at right isn't it, but it seats 1,750 people packed shoulder-to-shoulder. It's impressive in size. It's not the biggest auditorium I've ever seen, certainly - but here in Kenosha or anywhere close by, it's right up there. I'm not bragging about that. I didn't build it. It just is what it is. But as I was looking, I realized -- it's so --- so ----- so -------- so orderly. You know? Nice straight lines and all? And that tells a bigger story than you know.

Did you realize that the printing press had been in existence in China almost 800 years before it made it's debut in Europe? And yet, it didn't have the same libertaing effect on China that did in the West. Why was that?

The simple answer is efficiency. Do you realize how many characters the Chinese alphabet has? Over 80,000 - and GROWING! Each symbol represents an entire word or idea --- think about that. It's dizzying. Imagine a computer keyboard with 80,000 keys.

That's why our own phonetic alphabet with 26 characters is remarkable. All you need for endless communication and variety is 26 letters. TWENTY-SIX.

abcdefghjklmnopqrstuvwxyz ... that's it.

An infinite number of thoughts can be expressed by arranging and re-arranging these 26 shapes. So here comes Johannes Gutenberg and he gives us the printing press. The printing press was the first assembly line, the arch-type for nearly every kind of mechanization to follow. It was efficent ... it was linear ... it was sequential ... it was visual ... it was revolutionary and had impact on many things other than printing.

The linear arrangement of church pews didn't even exist before the printing press. The medieval church didn't have pews -- just a wide-open space for standing. After the printing press, church seating began to mirror the page of a book.

It re-shaped the Gospel, too. It changed the way the Gospel was conceived.

Apologize for your sins + Believe Jesus = Go to heaven.

That kind of compression of the Gospel would not have been possible prior to the age of the printing press. Medieval cathedrals told the stories of the Bible in elaborate stained-glass. But now, thru the linear nature of the printed word, the Gospel eventually became a cornerstone for the modern evangelical expression of faith.

I just thought that was kind of interesting.

By the way - I don't know if you noticed - but in the line above with the alphabet in it, did you notice that I had omitted the letter "I?" Just wanted to see how closely you were reading.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 8, 2009

CONTAGIOUS

If you want to see an example of contagious joy, check this out -- something that took place at Central Station in Antwerp, Belgium not long ago -- when they played Julie Andrews singing "Do Re Mi" from "The Sound of Music."




And be blessed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

FEELINGS


Psychologists say a child’s personality is 85% formed by the time he/she is five years old and, generally-speaking, it is irreversible. Unfortunately, most psychologists never heard about 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, all things have become new.”

You’re sitting there right now with thousands of brain-habit pathways – GOOD ones and BAD ones – ranging from little cow trails (things you seldom think or act on) - to 12-lane super highways (things deeply ingrained in your brain). SOME of them are generated by that OLD MAN inside you that tries to get his needs met by cutting God out of the picture (That's me in the pic illustrating part of this concept with a hula hoop this morning).

But God is looking for us to submit this decision-making center to HIM so we’ll live by faith. Satan attempts to enslave the very same part of us by influencing us with carnal-sensation temptations that often involve our emotions.

Sometimes emotions are viewed as these pesky distractions that get in the way of logic. But cognitive, rational human beings are not ALL we are. God gave us emotions, so they must be good. I know I wouldn't want to live without mine. You can’t read the Psalms very long before realizing they are poems from the heart, not from the head so much.

But emotions are powerful governors of behavior. Even when they are wrong, they are not easily dismissed or denied. I have seen them ignored – and eventually, they can halt the whole train and start pulling it in another, completely DIFFERENT direction. I’ve seen emotions stuffed and then resurrected in the form of anger, withdrawal or addictive behavior. And it is in those kinds of moments we must rely on TRUTH, not FEELINGS, to steer our course.

I've heard people say: “I’ve asked Christ into my life to change me, but I don’t FEEL anything.” And unless they can FEEL it, they have a difficult time accepting it. But the Bible never says anyone will feel saved. Acts 16:31 says: “BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ and you WILL be saved.”

And even if God DOES give you a major ZING when you come to faith, I have to tell you – it only has a 90-day warranty. I don’t say that to be negative, but it’s going to dissipate. It has to, because God isn’t interested in increasing the 12-lane highways inside you that exalt emotion and feelings above His truth. This is a walk of faith – not a walk by sight. It’s not a walk of feelings - it's faith.

There is only one way God prescribes moment-by-moment victory – and that is by following His truth first. Here is a sign of a mature believer … someone who loves the truth and lives by it. Let your behavior and actions follow TRUTH - not the other way around. And then, like the stubborn mule it is, your feelings will come along. But even if they don't, it is Christ and His truth first, no matter what.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

HIS CHURCH

I heard Mel Ming give a presentation about Matthew 16 this week -- "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH!"

He used that passage to confirm that the church belongs to Christ, not to us! So true.

Christ is number one and He demands we make Him Lord of our lives ...
Of our vocations
Of our time
Of our money
Of our thought life
Of our relationships.

Some people say they want to see the Church grow and experience revival, but they want to run it and decide how it will happen. They have not understood Matthew 16, where this quote of Jesus comes from. It is God's Church and He is Lord of it. There is no church until He is Lord. After all that time of being with Him - the disciples finally got it. It was at THAT point that He could tell them about who He really was and what the Church was called to be. This is fundamental to our theology of the church because we so often think it is OUR church – OUR denomination. NO. It is His and He claims total ownership of it. We’re just along for the ride.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 5, 2009

CLAMS


We were at Pike's Fish Market last night in downtown Seattle to visit and eat after 9 hours of skull-breaking class yesterday. I needed the break. We ate at a very cool on-the-harbor-fish-speciality restaurant. I had, according to the menu - 'AN ACRE OF CLAMS' - which also cost 'AN ACRE OF MONEY,' by the way. But it was very good. Nothing like you would get anywhere close to home.

Then we stopped at the VERY FIRST STARBUCKS, located just a few blocks from where we ate. Old wooden floors and very small - quaint.

Afterwards, waiting for our car to be brought to us, I got into a short conversation with a lady I didn't know. She asked where I was from. When I told her, she finished our conversation with: "I could tell you weren't from here because you're awfully cute." I just had to share that.

:)

And be blessed.

INCARNATIONAL

In my class today, Mel Ming was saying:

Christ’s mission is redemptive. The mission involves living Christ’s life in front of others. Nearly all the missional literature will talk about being ‘incarnational.’ Here’s the problem. The Evangelical church has had the Gospel but no presence. Some of the Emerging church people have had the presence, but not Gospel. We need both.

If you have presence, but no gospel – nobody knows why you’re there or what you’re doing – you’re just human and caring. But Matthew 5 says we give light among darkness, not among other light.

The mission also has a MESSAGE ... the Gospel. Acts 20:24 in one translation says: “But I don't place any value on my own life. I want to finish the race I'm running. I want to carry out the mission I received from the Lord Jesus — the mission of testifying to the Good News of God's kindness.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

I need a message AND a way to communicate the message. We need both Gospel AND presence.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

INCIDENTS

Because I don't have my LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES big huge giant book with me at my room this morning to share some cool stuff with you about what i'm learning (I left it back at the classroom where we're headed in just a few minutes) - I thought I would tell you about two 'incidents' that happened yesterday while here in Seattle.

1 - I was taking a tour of the Northwest District Assemblies of God headquarters. They sublet part of their building to various organizations. One of them is a place children can hang out and play. So there is 'kid-stuff' everywhere, including low-hanging entrances that you have to duck to get thru. You see where I'm going, don't you? So, I'm walking along with my 6'5" frame, in the middle of the single file group that is navigating the children's area. And while I'm walking, I'm also texting (I call it 'multi-tasking'). So ... while my head is down, feverishly communicating with some lucky recipient, I walk full speed into the header of the little HOUSE I was supposed to crouch under in order to get through. It made quite the "THUD! and it stopped the whole group dead in their tracks. I heard about it from my colleagues for the rest of the day. I'll admit it gave me a bit of a headache for a few hours afterwards.

2 - When we got to our rented vehicle to go to supper, after 9 hours of class (and 3 more to go when we got back), our driver hit the "panic" button on the remote by accident. All the bells and whistles started going off. The Northwest District also rents part of their building to a church. It runs about 900. The minivan was parked right in front of the area where the church was meeting for their mid-week service, which was in full swing. The PROBLEM was: we couldn't get the alarm to STOP. We pushed every button and tried every door and couldn't make it stop. Four people ran out from the church asking us to "PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!" It's one of those new-fangled keys that won't fit into the outside lock - just the ignition. So we called the rental car company and they told us to slide the little lock on the outside of the remote. The key was hidden inside. When we did that, the little lock broke off. So there we were, four grown men fighting with a little remote to get the hidden key out - and four Washington church guys standing by frustrated that we couldn't do it. I have to tell you, eventually I came to the rescue. It was my fingernail clipper materializing from my pocket that finally managed to open the remote and deliver the key to open the car door and make the alarm stop -- after 10 minutes.

Just another 'day in the life of PK.'

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

SEATTLE

In Seattle all week, learning from Melvyn Ming - LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES. The classes are going from 9 a.m. till 9 p.m. every day and my brain is fried, but the information is superb.

The LDR promotes teaching churches how to develop their mission - purposes - core values - and strategies - to be me optimally effective in their personal cultures.

I'll share some real stuff from the class with you in the next couple of days. Just have to go to bed now.

And be blessed.