Thursday, July 30, 2009

UP - 16

Well, it's after midnight on Wednesday night - and I've decided to stay UP all night with my youngest daughter. Yeah.

I have a flight out tomorrow and I have to leave here at 3:30 this morning, so I figured 'what's the use,' so we're just staying up all night long till I have to fly out in a few hours.

A day in the life ...

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

RUN - 17

We had the privilege of visiting David Wilkerson's Times Square Church in Manhattan several years ago for an actual service. Wilkerson was one of those guys we grew up on - our generation. He was known, and still is, for his fiery and prophetic and passionate calls to repentance. That day as we sat there listening to him preach, he seemed more to us like a benevolent grandfather than the 'turn the tables over' radical we had remembered. We counted it to mellowing so gracefully with age.

Then I came across this - not eight years old yet -- the Sunday after 9/11/2001, when the Towers fell. Wilkerson's church, of course, was right in the thick of the rubble of Manhattan that day. As I listened and viewed it, it made my heart churn and brought me to tears. It was part of a message at his church that Sunday after 9/11. It isn't actually Wilkerson, but it sure sounded like him - both his voice - his words - and his fervor.

Set aside 5 minutes to listen when you don't have to be distracted by anything else. Listen.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Christianity minus Christ equals religion.

Maybe the Pharisees get something of a bad rap in the Bible, I don't know. We pick on them a lot. Probably deservedly, but still ... what do we know about them?

They were sincere in their beliefs. That's good.

They were a zealous, enthusiastic, passionate bunch. That's good.

They were meticulous tithers and gave beyond requirements. That's good.

They upheld a strong moral code. That's good.

They believed in the full authority of the Hebrew scriptures. That's good.

They believed in miracles. That's good.

They were arduous prayers. That's good.

They were strongly Messianic -- they longed for Israel's redemption. That's good.

We might do well to ask ourselves what brand of Christianity most closely resembles this form of spirituality? To which we must surely answer, "It is Bible-believing Christians." US.

And the most frightening element left out of the above list is that THIS group is the one most responsible for putting Jesus on the cross. They were hell-bent on murdering Jesus! So there's the rub, eh?

They are us, or at least what we can become if we aren't attentive to the dynamics involved in the slow erosion of faithfulness down into 'religion.' They are living mirrors of what can happen to every well-meaning, sincere, enthusiastic, passionate, meticulous giving, moral, Bible believing, praying person who loses focus of the central issues of faith.

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

WAR? - 20

Excerpts from today at KFA ... the whole message can be listened to at starting Monday each week.

I'm at TARGET not that long ago and I'm listening to a dad getting an explanation from the guy at the video game counter about the new X-BOX game that's coming out. The dad is considering getting it for his kid. The game is all about slaughtering people. SERIOUSLY! The TARGET employee is explaining how they’ll be sold out of the item within 24 hours of getting in a new shipment. You can't believe the excitement people have for a game in which you shoot, maim and kill people. Does anybody see a problem with this?

Man is the most highly developed 'animal' out there. He is the smartest, most complex, most feeling of God’s creations. But that isn’t ALL we are. We are also made in God's image. Man is unique because he alone is capable of conceptual thought and ideas – he alone is equipped with imagination and creativity – he alone is capable of cooperating with God's Divine creative purpose - he alone is placed here with a vast degree of responsibility for the care and well-being of creation.

Man has a moral sensitivity.
Man has a sense of right and wrong – fair and unfair.
Mark Twain: “Man is the only animal that blushes … and has reason to.”
Man has the ability to be communicated to BY God and communicate WITH God.

So when we think about destroying out of vengeance or anger what is made in the image of God, we realize we’re dealing with something of tremendous concern. If God makes man for eternity and gives him the ability to function in relationship with Him … for someone ELSE to destroy that is to destroy God’s Divine intention for that person – almost as if to shake our fist in the face of the Creator God. If God brings someone into being – breathes into his nostrils the breath of life – for man to step in and terminate that existence … I’m just saying that has profound significance and can NOT be entered into lightly.

That is just ONE side of an extremely complicated matter, of course.

But no matter what your view is on war in the 21st century, remember that Scripture calls for the use and discretion of personal conscience in all matters. "Each of us will give an account of himself to God." (Romans 14:12)

Sometimes we immaturely lock our positions in. We don’t do any more SUBMITTING it to God. We … just … KNOW. But even when you come to a place of conviction one way or the other on something like war, you must be mature enough to respect people who hold different convictions. The Bible suggests that you stay open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. You stay open to future learning. That is very IMPORTANT in these matters. And instead of arguing and judging and devaluing others, we could say, “Would you help me understand how you arrived at your position? What in Scripture has brought you to the place you are? Because as a person with a deep faith in Christ, I want to be someone who can be led and taught by others.”

And then … LISTEN.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Last night was awesome. At the beginning of the year I had promised Joelene one nice Italian dinner OUT every month of 2009. So we drove to Chicago and ate at the ITALIAN VILLAGE downtown. After that, we went to the Chicago Institute of Art and looked at some pretty interesting stuff -- Monets, Gaugins, VanGoghs, Picassos -- and of course, this famous original "AMERICAN GOTHIC" by Grant Wood (pictured above).

We also saw THIS little creation (pictured at left). It's basically fabric wrapped around a frame with some metal piping trailing down the front. The artist has named it "Hang Out." Go figure.

On the spur of the totally random moment, we decided to stop into one of the Chicago Live Theatres that was playing "Jersey Boys," to see if there were any tickets for last night's 8:00 p.m. performance. They had some so we grabbed them. "JERSEY BOYS" is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons - with lots of their music. Lots of fun.

Hope your day was great too.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WAR - 24

Tonight, the FUSION group from our church had a cookout at our home. FUSION represents the young adults of our church - both single and married. ( What a great group. I'm just trying to fake being 'cool' tonight in the pic above. But I love hanging out with them - even if they did almost start the woods on fire adjacent to my house. Not quite, but almost.

I happen to be speaking on war and injustice this coming weekend and I thought it would be a good idea to get their thoughts since I respect their point of view and hoped it would shed some light on what their generation thinks about it -- not to mention probably stretch me personally.

Funny thing is: A) I thought they would all think basically the same way about war. They didn't. And B) I don't personally remember being as articulate or passionate about ANYTHING as these young adults seem to be about EVERYTHING. And I loved that. They spoke with conviction and determination about their thoughts concerning the 'rightness' and 'wrongness' of war in today's big world. I thought their views, though not all lined up with one another, were extremely succinct and well-thought through. I didn't agree with every view spoken, but enjoyed hearing their energy and appreciated their willingness to be transparent with a guy like me, who could probably be their father.

It just made me feel more confident that the people we're turning the world over to are some pretty concerned, intelligent, in-the-know young people. And now ... I have a lot more to think about before this weekend's message is completed.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I had my second guitar lesson today. Greg Simmons from our church is teaching me. He’s been playing guitar for 20 years and just came up to me a couple of months ago: “I hear you have learning to play the guitar on your bucket list. Are you serious about that?”


“Well, if you’re serious, I can teach you.”

So – with that – we started last week. It was awesome. I learned four or five chords and we did some rhythmic strumming. I think I’ll be a fairly quick study because of my musical and strong keyboard background – and I also played the cello for awhile a few years back. Poorly, but still.

I know the guitar is a whole different animal than keyboards and I think the greatest challenge will be getting the hang of strumming with some sense of decent consistent rhythm, fitting my big fingers onto only one string at a time ---- and grimacing till those guitar-based callouses arrive.

Should be fun. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Not your typical Sunday, but I loved it. Most of it.

Our sleep was rudely interrupted very early this morning around 1:30 to what sounded like a gunshot really close to our bedroom window. I figured it was just a car backfiring on the road but a few minutes later we looked out the window and discovered several hundred rubber bands of various colors spread all over our driveway and an exploded plastic liter bottle that had been filled with some mysterious, but highly combustible contents that left a nice bleached spot on our drive. (That wasn't the part of the day I loved.)

So, this morning around 6:30 - before heading to church - I was fogging the lawn for mosquitoes, anticipating a post-service party at our house -- AND sweeping up a thousand rubber bands into a big pile and stuffing them into a bag.

All BEFORE early morning church.

Church was great, the apex of the day being the opportunity to pray with so many people down front for so many needs present. You knew things were happening.

After church, a not-so-quick stop at Famous Dave's to pick up rib tips, chicken and the fixins for a gathering of 30+ pastoral staff families at our home. What a terrific group of men and women we have serving together. Great to spend time with them in a relaxed setting like home.

Hope yours was great today.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

VEGAN - 28

I am astonished at all the children -- yes, CHILDREN -- who are VEGANS these days. Astonished. Especially because a child can't really successfully be a vegan unless his/her parents say, "OK, you can be a vegan; I'll help you with that."

Remember the 'old days?' Family dinner was basic meat and potatoes. Mom cooked, Dad carved, everybody had seconds. Remember?? Kids cleaned their plates or else. Lassie got the scraps. Remember?????

Today, Dad might have cooked or Mom ordered Chinese. The kids barely stopped texting to come to the table - actually, they continued texting while they were eating. Lassie's over there sitting in the 6th dining room chair with a bib on, tongue wagging. But of ALL the changes since the 1950s, the starkest change may be that what's on the kids' plates is meatless.

About 2 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 8 and 18 are vegetarians. Know how many were vegetarians 50 years ago? Zero. Not one kid in the whole U.S. of A. was a vegetarian. Some are vegetarians at the encouragement of their veggie parents - but more frequently these days, they are rejecting 'food with flesh' on their own. Girls, in particular.

But wait. Wasn't spinach getting all the bad press not that long ago?

Even Burger King offers a veggie patty these days. Shameful. It's just not the world it used to be -- not when your pre-schooler comes home singing, "We recycle, we recycle ... " to the tune of "Frere Jacques."

I guess the good news is: nutrionists insist that a veggie diet can be just as good for kids as a diet-with-meat. And instances of heart disease and even dementia are vastly reduced among those who don't eat meat. So say the stats.

I guess I'm just a little worried now though. We're having the pastors and all their families over tomorrow afternoon and -- um -- the menu is rib tips and chicken.

Oh well - more for me.

And be blessed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

CYCLE - 29

The cycle of life is always amazing to me. It just keeps rolling on. After blogging about our soon-to-be-born grandson just yesterday (29 days to go) ... I was called to a local nursing home this morning around 9:30. A sister of one of our church members passed away. The family huddled together and it was a time of great grief for everyone.

Four hours later I was at the church leading a different group of people thru funeral services, after their husband/father/grandfather died earlier this week at age 92. The funeral attendees sat around tables at the luncheon in semi-reserved mode, feeling their way thru having laid their family member to rest a few minutes earlier.

Two hours after that we were off to a wedding -- new life -- a new family beginning -- dancing -- great food -- lots of laughter and noise.

An imminent birth - a celebratory wedding - a death - a funeral ---- some things begin; some things end. Cycle of life.

P.S. - Happy 4th Anniversary to our oldest daughter and son-in-law, Whitney and Sam.

And be blessed.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

BABY - 30

Well -- it is now officially THIRTY DAYS AND COUNTING until the scheduled due date of the birth of our first grandchild -- a grandSON, to be exact. Here he is below, at minus-one-month and counting. Isn't he handsome? So, during this final month, the NUMBER in the title of this blog, no matter the subject, will list the days remaining till he's scheduled to arrive, starting with '30' today.

In honor of the coming celebration, I give you this awesome video. It's not about the WATER, it's about the BABIES!

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Someone gave a challenge this week that we were not to love the world, but be separated from it. I've discussed this topic in this space before, but here goes again:

First off, you can't ignore John 3:16 -- "For God so LOVED THE WORLD ... " I should just stop with a big ol' PERIOD right here, but I've never been good at NOT expressing at length. (Ask our pastors who are consistently watching their egg timers when I'm up speaking.)

Before you say it, I know all about I John 2 - "Do not love the world or the things of the world" - and - "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." OK. Got me there. Almost.

Clearly John 3:16 and I John 2 aren't talking about the same thing.

When John tells us not to love the world, he isn't speaking about the world of PEOPLE, he's talking about the evil system that is the devil's playground.

John is not talking about the selfless love we must have that compels us to serve and speak the Gospel, he's talking about the self-indulgent love where our evil desires respond to the seductive temptations out there.

John means not to be infatuated with the values and lifestyles of the world and not to long after or indulge in those passions.

Some interpret the command not to love the world to mean we should draw apart and separate ourselves from evil culture and evil people and evil government in all aspects of life. But if we do that, then we refuse to emulate the life of Christ.

Here's a question for you: "Do we influence unbelievers toward Jesus or do they have more power to influence us toward their values and practices?"

And be blessed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Let's talk unity.

How important is it? It is critically important. Every breach in unity costs time, energy, emotion and momentum. It takes a lot of work to achieve it and a lot of skill to maintain it.

We need theological unity. This means we'll agree on what we will and will not fight over -- our non-negotiables. By definition, there are way less non-negotiables than there are negotiables. We'll fight for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our sinless Lord who died in our place for our sins in order to save us from an eternal hell and grant us salvation by grace thru faith. We won't add rules to what's already in the Bible and we won't remove moral limits that are already there. And Hey! That's really about it. Maybe a few more - but not many.

We won't fight over 'correct' modes of children's education or methods of Christian counseling or modes of dress at church or political party affiliations or end times fine points or the age of the earth.

We need relational unity. We don't wear matching t-shirts or anything - and I'm not sure every person actually LIKES every other person - but it DOES mean that people love one another and demonstrate it with cordiality, respect, and kindness in their interpersonal interactions.

We need missional unity. At its deepest core, what is the church's objective? To seek and save what is lost - same as JESUS' mission - and to glorify God in all we say and do. Case closed.

We need philosophical unity. Two people might love God, but if one wants a high-church liturgy with the pastor wearing a to-the-floor-Jedi-style robe with a handbell choir in the background and another wants 'three chords for the Lord' and one chorus that lasts two hours, someone will likely get the right fist of fellowship. But to have unity, we need agreement about how things are done, preaching formats, church building furnishings, worship music styles, discipleship and outreach. Without this kind of unity, the church quickly divides into factions that criticize and destroy.

We're not perfect, but I'm so glad we have unity.

And be blessed.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Excerpt from today (hear more at

Sometimes I have a leaky bucket between Sunday morning and Sunday night and it seems I carry all these great intentions, but then I get tested and I fail – and I promise God I’ll never fail again – only to fail again and feel worse after that failure than I did after the first one.

Ever feel that way about the sin in your life? This thing is just bigger than you – it’s impossible to overcome? My dad did it and his dad it – I’ve watched it all my life growing up – this generational thing. And it's like no matter how much you want to do better – promise to do better – pray you’ll do better – get people around you to do better – you still can’t get this thing working.

God isn’t content to just clean up your life a little bit – He wants to mess with everything in you that doesn’t look like Jesus. He wants to invade every dark spot – He wants to shine His light into every small corner – no room left untouched.

But the good news is that GOD IS FOR YOU. He doesn’t allow every temptation and every struggle in your life to go away when you meet Christ because if He DID, you wouldn’t need Him anymore. So, in order to continue the process of brokenness in your life, so you know that God is all you have and God is all you need, He allows challenges to come.

At some point in our lives, we are confronted with the fact that we are not the people we know we should be. Almost always, our basic response is to ‘pull up our boot straps,’ ‘roll up our sleeves’ and ‘turn over a new leaf’ in order to try harder to live according to the principles God has set down for us. But – as we have found out – that leads us to spiritual dead ends every time. You cannot do this by simply ‘putting enough elbow grease’ to it.

God says, ”I don’t want just this much of your time and this much of your money and this much of your life so your natural self can have the rest. I want YOU. ALL of you. So hand over all your desires, not just the ones you think are wicked, but the ones you think are innocent – the whole outfit. And I will give you a NEW self instead.”’

The only solution is not to simply change our behavior, but to re-orient and center our entire hearts and lives to Him. If I am a grass field, all the cutting will keep the grass less, but it won’t produce wheat. If I want wheat … I must be plowed up and re-sown.

Does that scare you? Does it sound restrictive? Remember this – if you don’t live for Christ, you will live for something else. That much is inevitable. But your career can’t die for your sins. Your children can’t die for your sins. Your spouse can’t. Jesus is the only One you can live for who died for you … and if He is the center of your life and you fail Him – He forgives you. Does THAT sound oppressive? No.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Exactly one month ago, on June 11th, I told you about figuring out the 'word puzzle' at Associated Bank. They put one up on an easel behind the counter for guests to try to solve. When someone solves it, they give them a little gift and then post a new puzzle. I solved it last month and received a little trinket with 'Associated Bank' printed on it. But the joy of solving the puzzle was far greater than the actual gift.

Well fans -- I'm happy to tell you that yesterday, I solved the NEW puzzle that was posted. (My wife hates to play word games with me.) This one was far easier and I wondered why no one had solved it yet. Last time, it took me several visits to the bank to figure it out - and that's why it was up for son long, I suppose. Nobody could figure it out. But THIS time it was the FIRST time I'd seen this particular puzzle and the answer came to me almost immediately. It probably will to you also.

"What is lighter than a feather, but almost impossible for a man to hold very long?"

Answer: Your breath.

So - once again - I received a little gadget with Associated Bank printed on the side --- AND --- the pride and joy of solving another dilemma.

And be blessed.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


There's a Vineyard church in Aurora, Illinois - not that far from us. They meet in a house on Sundays because they don't want to grow ... What?! Gasp!!

They explain that what they want to do is grow OUTWARD. They want to send people OUT to start things ... to be 'on mission' ... to plant new churches.

That is so New Testament that I barely recognize it.

But I love it.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Today - July 8th, 2009 - at just after 4:00 a.m. - something occurred that won't happen again until the next millenium.

At 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4:00, the exact time was:

04:05:06 07/08/09

Did you miss it? It was so cool.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I don't know if you've heard about the new SEARS TOWER SKYDECK BALCONIES in Chicago, but we all have to get over there and get up there. It sounds amazing to me.

The balconies are suspended 1,353 feet in the air and jut out four feet from the building's 103rd floor Skydeck. Their transparent walls, floor and ceiling leave you with the impression they're floating over the city.

Visitors are treated to unobstructed views of Chicago from the nation's tallest building as well as a heart-stopping vista of the street and Chicago River below — for those brave enough to look straight down.

The promo shouts that "it is the world's most awesome view, the world's most precipitous view, the view with the most wow in the world." The balconies can hold five tons and the glass is an inch-and-a-half thick. Sears Tower officials have said the inspiration for the balconies came from the hundreds of forehead prints visitors left behind on Skydeck windows every week.

Just thought you might want to know.

And be blessed.

Monday, July 6, 2009


The Pharisees in the Bible tried to please God with their strict adherence to religious rules and laws. Make Sacrifice A, recite Prayer B, abstain from Sin C - and God will bless you with Item D. It was 'Gumball Machine God.' Insert the right coin (make the right sacrifice), turn the knob (obey the right rules), hold your hand under the receptacle and voila! out comes the goody (your blessing).

That's why the Pharisees spent so much time determining the proper amount of dill or mint to be tithed and exactly how long their prayer tassels should be. But their intent was not motivated out of love for God, but by a desire to control the outcomes.

But the Spirit is not unleashed in our lives because we have the right values or employ the right strategies, but because of our intense love for Christ.

Institutions and organizations are not capable of loving. Real love can only exist between persons. The Spirit does not inhabit institutions; He fills people created in His image to be containers of His grace, glory, mercy, compassion and love.

And be blessed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2009


It's a holiday weekend, right? So it's partially, if not mostly, about eating, right?

So -- before getting on the train to go to Chicago for Taste of Chicago with Joelene, Olivia, Allison & Darren, I quickly snarfed down a bunch of grapes and a couple of hunks of banana bread while racing out the door to catch the train.

Once we got there, my 'personal taste menu' included:
Egg Roll
Chicken Tacos
Spinach-Stuffed Pizza
Beignets (Cajun dough with white sugar on top)
Harry Carey's Potato Chips
Prime Rib Quesadilla
Rice with Goat Meat
Pear Salad with Maytag Bleu-Cheese Dressing
Flash-Frozen Popcornsicle
Chocolate Covered Carmel Corn
Rib Tips
Key Lime Pie
Chocolate-covered Frozen Banana

When we got home in early evening, I had a giant Chocolate Little Debbie and a small bowl of peanuts ... followed by an ice cream sandwich ... and then a 'little plate' of cheese-filled ravioli, roasted chicken and spinach. And it's only 8:00 p.m. - so - the night is young. I know Joelene is making some homemade ice cream right now.

Are we full yet?

I'll worry about calories and working out tomorrow ... or the next day ... or Monday.

(OK. I'm coming back to amend this at 10:30 p.m. - add 'smores' and popcorn to the list for today - around the bonfire in my backyard.)
Hope your day was great, too.

And be blessed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


So much of life is subliminal, don't you agree (if you don't, you're unaware)? I'm sitting with someone in my office and the subliminal messages are glaringly obvious -- the adamant crossing of arms -- the glancing up to the ceiling -- the slight twitch at the corner of the left eye -- the fiddling with keys (is he watching me that closely?) -- all communicating 'stuff.'

We do this all the time without thinking about it. We say things - but what we don't say says even more. I don't know how people did it back in 'the day' - when they communicated everything without the benefit of paper and pencil. In fact, I had a way better memory before I learned to read and write. Old Testament and tribal people had to have remarkable memories in order to pass down culture orally. Think about it. Stories had to come down thru generations accurately and they had no way of storing all that information once they learned it outside of their own brains. They had to depend on the community to retain the information. This was done thru repetition - telling and re-telling stories in an oral tradition that spanned decades and centuries and tons of it was also passed on subliminally.

Imagine telling a four hour story to your children re-counting the lives of your great-grandparents (snooze), expecting them to remember it and eventually repeat it to THEIR children accurately someday (I didn't know Grandma was a Marine) ... not to mention the story of your GRANDPARENTS and your PARENTS -- and YOUR story as well. But it wasn't just the WORDS you were telling them, it was also the subliminal messages you were giving (Were they GOOD people? Did you say that sarcastically or did you mean it? Was there 'mystery' in the way you told that?).

Eighteenth century revivalist Jonathan Edwards often preached sermons that lasted four hours. I can't even preach 35 minutes on a Sunday morning without someone saying, "If you can't say it in 20 minutes ... blah blah blah." George Whitefield, a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards, once preached a sermon titled: "A Preservative Against Unsettled Notions, And Want Of Principles, In Regard To Righteousness And Christian Perfection." Try putting that on the church billboard.

I don't know how many people today could sit thru a four hour sermon (don't try it or we'll walk out), let alone be moved to tears by it and converted on the spot. But those 18th century audiences not only had the capacity to receive these kinds of sermons, but to prefer them. Those preachers were also masters at using subliminal skills to practically control people without their knowledge -- by the use of hands -- body movements -- positioning on the stage -- inflection -- staring right at you -- so that, almost regardless of the content, they powerfully shaped their audiences.

So next time -- quiz yourself. What might I be communicating subliminally (how do I know, if it's subliminal)? Know that there is power not only in what you say, but in what you DON'T say.

Witness this scene with a character called 'Mr. Subliminal,' from an old "Saturday Night Live" program ...
MR. SUBLIMINAL: A coke, please.
BARTENDER: Sure, sir. Here you go.
MR. SUBLIMINAL: Thanks (on the house). That was quick (on the house). What do I owe you?
BARTENDER: Forget about it - it's on the house.
M.S: Hey - thanks very much. You know something (free cash)? This place is real classy (free cash). First time I've been here.
B: Glad you like it. I've been working here for years.
M.S: No kidding (free cash)? That's great!
B: [opens cash register and drops cash on counter] Here you go.
M.S: What's this for?
B: It's free cash. Take it.
M.S: No, really (your wallet). I can't take this cash (your wallet).
B: Don't be ridiculous [drops his wallet on the counter]. Here, take my wallet - you can put the cash in there!
M.S: Well - OK - if you insist!

And be blessed.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This past weekend was a tough time for me to communicate from the stage. The subject matter was difficult, edgy at times, and just generally emotional for me (both times - almost as if 'on cue').

Many people spoke to me afterward this weekend - uncharacteristically so. Thanks for that. I sensed a connection with the people, despite the difficult words coming from me about our vision and mission.

So it made me think to tell you - at the risk of being self-focused - what you can do for US as leaders - to help us. Here's what ...

1) Love my wife and daughter (the one who is still here at home). They don't always get the best part of me because of the work of the church - and they deserve the best part of me.

2) Pray for us.

3) Allow me some uninterrupted hours during the day to prep for the next 'big teaching time.' Our crowd does this pretty well.

4) Give me constructive feedback on what you hear -- I said 'constructive.'

5) Serve to the fullest of your ability with as much joy as you can muster.

6) Speak well of others, including me.

And be blessed.