Monday, November 30, 2009


I was all set today to write about something spiritual and life-changing, but this got in my way. Come back tomorrow for that. I remember what I was going to say.

So anyhow ... today, first thing, I went to TARGET to pick up a few things I needed for church. I saw a couple of people I knew there and we chatted for a second or two. After that, I was off to STARBUCKS to meet some out-of-town ministry friends. We sat for about an hour and got caught up on what each other are doing. While there, a man from church came up from behind and put his hand on my shoulder and gave me one of these: "They let anybody in here, I see." I turned around to catch who it was and we shot some verbal barbs back and forth for a minute. After coffee, I went in to the office.

So I'm standing there talking to one of the staff when a pastor comes up behind me, lays his hand on my shoulder and says: "Do you always wear your shirts inside out?"


Yeah. All morning -- thru the TARGET conversations, thru the STARBUCKS breakfast, thru the hand-on-the-shoulder from behind, my SHIRT was INSIDE OUT - tags and everything! Embarrassing.

So whatever happened to you today that you wished had gone another way, I hope that makes you feel a little better now.

It happens to us all sometimes.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our little grandson, Elias Kevin Thulin, was dedicated in church today -- along with his parents, Sam & Whitney Thulin.

It's a great privilege and pleasure to be involved in his dedication as well as to see another generation serving the Lord and committing their futures to Him.

Our prayer for Elias is that he would come to know Christ at the earliest possible age and grow to be the man God has created Him to be ... that the Thulin home would be filled with God's grace and wisdom and love ... and that all God's good gifts would be manifest in his life as he grows and matures ... that, as was spoken of an OLD TESTAMENT Samuel when he was Elias' age: 'That not one of his words would fall to the ground.'

Be blessed, little man.

You be blessed, too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


The Taylor family Thanksgiving traditions continued today, as usual ...

Tree bought, put up and decorated.

Family movie together ... "A CHRISTMAS CAROL" with Jim Carrey.

More food.

Looking forward to a great day tomorrow in church before everyone has to go their separate ways home.

And be blessed.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Today, in keeping with the Taylor Thanksgiving Weekend Tradition (it's all very official because you can see how I have Capitalized all those preceding words) ... we took the train into Chicago with the fam - something we've done for many years now on the Friday following Thanksgiving.

It was an awesome time walking together down the Magnificent Mile - Michigan Avenue - going into various shops as well as enjoying all the Christmas lights. Food is always the centerpiece of Thanksgiving (see yesterday's blog) --- and lunch was at the famous Giordano's - Home of the Deep-Dished Stuffed Pizza (that's official --- "Capitalized Words," remember?)

After that, it was a short jaunt down to The Cheesecake Factory for mandatory dessert. Then more much-needed walking around Downtown to work it all off.

I love the Friday after Thanksgiving. Tomorrow will continue with more of the Taylor Thanksgiving Traditions.

I hope yours was to be cherished.

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving Day is all about awesome family and awesome food.

We have an awesome family, for sure. All three of our daughters and two sons-in-law are here for the holidays ... my mom is here ... Joelene's parents and eldest brother are here ... one of Olivia's friends, too. O yeah, and Elias, our grandson. Can't forget him. He's here, too.

So there are 13 of us. It's been great.

And the food ... is AWESOME! I'm figuring I've eaten somewhere between 3,700 and 4,500 calories today, give or take 3,000 calories.

Today's menu:
BREAKFAST around 10:30 a.m. today ...
Egg Fritatta
Sausage Links (I ate 5)
Fruit (pineapple, grapes, kiwi, orange)
Cinnamon roll (with lots of frosting)
Orange Juice

SNACK: Two Ho-Hos (I went to the garage and snuck them so nobody would know I was cheating in between meals, as well as a single-serving container of chocolate milk).

For fun, I played the baby grand today with my grandson propped up on my lap (That's us at left there). What fun that was. I can tell he's going to play the piano. Don't ask how; I can just tell. He's going to. I mean it.

SNACK: A couple of Oreos later in the day. OK, I had four.

CHEWING GUM. Does that count?

Joelene's dad led a meaningful pre-supper devotional about being thankful. I led the fam in a couple of 'thanks' choruses from the piano.

THANKSGIVING SUPPER around 5 p.m. (it's worth waiting for) ...
'Sparkling Duck' for an opening family toast (Relax, it's non-alcoholic)
Walnut/Pear/Gorgonzola salad
Veggie Tray
Olive Tray
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Dressing/Stuffing (depending on what part of the country you originate in)
Green Bean casserole
Rice pudding
Cranberry Sauce
Stuffed Shells with marinara sauce
Sweet potatos with praline sauce
Italian Sausage
Italian Steak
Turkey, Turkey, Turkey (dark and white meat both)

Crescent Rolls with butter
I drank water in order to stay healthy.

We drove to CHRISTMAS LANE around 8 p.m. to look at Christmas lights. We got out and walked the block. As I was walking I found 3 'Three Musketeers' bars in my pocket that must have been there since the last time I wore that heavy coat, which would have been last Winter. But they were still good.

When we got back home around 9 p.m we had THANKSGIVING DESSERT ...
'Pots de Creme' (think rich rich chocolate mousse)
Apple Crisp
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I will just SUGGEST that before bed I MAY have popped one more Ho-Ho. I'm just saying.

How was yours?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


It has been gratifying to receive a number of e-mails and phone calls and stop-bys talking about the message a couple of weeks ago about the importance of the BIBLE in our lives (November 15th blog here and podcast at

It makes my day to know people are going home with something to think about and then actually applying some of the Word to their own lives ... chewing on it ... self-feeding ... being challenged by God at home ... staying in the Word all week long.

Makes me want to get up and work another day.

There are really three ways to translate the Bible ... with your MIND ... with your HEART ... and with your LIFE.

I think a lot of us settle for the first - MIND translation. But the end result of that is just information and that's the last thing we need. Churches are full of people crammed full of Bible information for thirty-plus years but whose lives do not exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. So we know it's not information that changes us.

You can always translate with your HEART - the second way - and that seems an improvement over the first. It is closer to transformation at that point.

But then there is LIFE translation. That's when we become 'living epistles.' That's when the noun turns into a verb - doing over thinking about doing. And THAT is how we change a world.

Imagine a church full of people translating the Bible with their LIVES. Shocking.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I wish you could have seen the scores of people lined up at the end of the service today waiting to take a big whack with a hammer at the huge wall standing on stage.

It symbolized the Jericho-type things that invade and impact our lives -- and the power of God to bring them tumbling down if we trust Him.

What an unforgettable and moving sight (and sound) it was.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


I have been noticing more and more people from church at the gym I go to weekly. It's good to see people you know there, even though I've generally considered the gym a place I can rub shoulders with people not in the faith - (NOTE: We don't actually rub each other's shoulders).

Now I see that United Health Group has published a list of the Healthiest and Unhealthiest States in the Union. Wisconsin comes in at #12. Not bad. That means there are 38 MORE unhealthy places to live than here.

The annual ranking looks at 22 indicators of health, including everything from how many children receive recommended vaccinations, to obesity and smoking rates, to cancer deaths.

The top 12 are:
1. Vermont (that's pretty surprising considering they eat all that maple syrup up there)
2. Utah (all those Mormons and 'clean living')
3. Massachusetts
4. Hawaii (hula dancing will definitely thin the waistline)
5. New Hampshire
6. Minnesota (the constant state of 'frozen' keeps them looking young)
7. Connecticut
8. Colorado (they breathe in the Rockies)
9. Maine
10. Rhode Island (did you notice that all six New England states made the top 10?)
11. Washington (a lot of New Age young people out there who walk everywhere, I hear)
12. Wisconsin (Woohoo!)

So, I was pretty proud of us, despite the reputation we have for cheese-snarfing and beer guzzling in this state. Your body is a temple remember. Maybe we in the Southeastern part of the state could take it on ourselves to help Wisconsin move up into the top ten next year.

In case you're curious, the five UNhealhtiest states - all in the South - were:
46. South Carolina
47. Louisiana
48. Alabama
49. Oklahoma
50. Mississippi

And if you're from just south of the border here and wondering where the Land of Lincoln came in, Illinois was #29.

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


The Church is PEOPLE … people of all ages and all times. It was and always will be people who respond to Christ. The Church is people demonstrating life as God intended it to be. The Church is people under Lordship to Christ. The Church cannot be Biblical if it is not under the Lordship or headship of Christ.

Our best questions are often: 'What kind of music do you have here? What do you have for our kids?' But those questions relate wrong theology. The best question is: What does God want the Church to do?'

The mission of Christ determines the mission of the church. In the broadest sense, the mission of the Church is that of its Founder - Jesus Christ! The Church is to do the work of Christ in the world. "As My Father has sent Me, I am sending you."

The church is Christ's visible representation on the earth. The missional church, then, is a sent church. It is a going church, a movement of God through His people, sent to bring healing to a broken world. North America is as much a mission field as any other nation or people group on the face of the earth.

How are people to see Christ today? Through the Church - through God's PEOPLE demonstrating life under Lordship. It isn't about THEM; it's about CHRIST. That’s why many were martyred – burned on crosses – it wasn’t about them; it was about Christ.

It's all about Christ.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We had our small group over tonight. The conversation took a lot of turns, all of them interesting ...

How do we respond at work when co-workers are off-color and vulgar?

How do we leave Godly legacies to our children?

Does the Christian walk ever stand still?

What takes the place of "GOD" in our lives?

How will our small group time become life-changing, rather than just information each week?

Great questions.

And be blessed.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Our staff is downloading some information we've been reading together over the past couple of months. My own take-away is this:

'When it comes to re-engineering an organization, the biggest barrier is actually the past success of the organization. Some American companies are now operating so badly precisely because they used to perform so well.'

For instance, a company like IBM became successful because it was uniquely designed for the time in which it prospered. Once that context changed, however, the previous insights and processes that once brought victory now guarantee failure. As a result, the problem with many of America's businesses is that they are entering the 21st century with companies designed in the 19th century to work well in the 20th century ... and the old ways of doing business quite simply do not work any longer.

What we need today in leadership is courage, determination and persistence - and over time, we can acheive the longed-for vision.

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is just proof that we have some fun at KFA on Sunday mornings. The pic was taken five minutes after I finished speaking today (message download is at

The great goal of the believer who picks up the Bible is to enter the Story himself/herself - to apply the message personally to life. We are called to look into the Story of the Bible and allow it to take over our hearts and thoughts and actions so that we enter into the Story in such a way that the Story enters us … to be so in tune with the Story that the Story shapes everything about us.

But here's what I’m afraid some of us have done. When we were young we rode tricycles. Great fun. And our parents would stand nearby saying things like: “Don’t go in the street ... Don’t go too fast, you'll tip over ... Be careful now."

And sooner or later, our idea of ‘riding’ moved from tricycle to bicycle. We did the whole training wheel thing and then our dads ran alongside to make sure we didn’t fall – and at SOME point, we took off on our own. There we went, cruising down the streets of our neighborhoods popping wheelies and riding with no hands.

OK, fast forward. How many of us still sometimes ride a bicycle as a grown-up? Sure. Most all of us. How many still have our parents running beside us to make sure we don’t fall?

Right. And here's the application. When it comes to the Bible, some of us are still riding the tricycle --- OR --- we’re expecting some other adult to run alongside us feeding us all the right stuff to make sure we don’t fall off.

But your BODY has grown …
Your BRAIN has grown …
Your THOUGHTS have grown …
Your SPIRIT has grown …
But you’re still riding your TRICYCLE BIBLE. It’s time to get up on your big fat Harley like a man and a woman and start doing some self-feeding of the Word into your own life and spirit and stop relying on the church to do everything for you.

Joshua 1:8 – “Study this Book of the Law continually. Meditate on it day and night so you may be sure to obey all that is written in it. Only then will you succeed.” ONLY THEN.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I'm at the gas station today, getting ready to fill up my vehicle with gas. As I got out of my car, there was a 20-something man in a very beat up minivan. He approached me and told me he and his family were stranded -- he said they were from Loves Park, Illinois -- there two babies in the van -- they had no way to get home -- their minivan was riding on fumes at the moment. I looked inside the van and saw a couple of very cute kids sitting in car seats and a wife in the passenger seat. She gave me a weak smile. The man said, 'Anything at all would be appreciated.'

Ordinarily, I would just say, "Yeah, I'm sorry ... I can't really help you." I don't know WHY I would ordinarily say that, but it is what I have ordinarily said on these occasions. But for some reason, I felt a bigness in my spirit at that moment. So I fished in my pocket to see what I had. I had a few crumped ones -- and a couple of 20s. Nothing else. So I pondered it for about three seconds while he stood there watching me, repeating: "Anything will help." And so I ended up giving him a $20.

He thanked me profusely and got in his van. I watched him pull into a gas pump slot about four pumps down from where I was. I felt good about what I had done. About ten seconds later, I saw them pull out into traffic and scoot on down the road -- without putting any gas in their minivan.

At that moment I realized I had probably been duped - which is probably why I ordinarily do what I do on those kinds of occasions.

However ... it reminded me of something one of our KFA benevolence team members said to me years ago when I challenged her about people who would come into our church off the street asking for money. I told her that I felt people were frequently taking advantage of us and that it seemed wrong of us to be 'suckers' for that kind of treatment. (Now, I will pause here to say that our benevolence team has a VERY good record and an excellent process of defining who needs help and who doesn't.)

But she looked at me right in the eye and said: 'Pastor Kevin, we KNOW people are going to take advantage of us. We KNOW that. But our heart is to have the heart of JESUS -- and not worry about the ones that end up taking advantage. We know we're going to bless a lot more who really do need it' I've never forgotten that; and today, I remembered it in a fresh way.

And be blessed.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Every now and then - either because I'm lazy or because my life is truly as dull as they come - I just post what I did that day ... hence the blog title: "A DAY IN THE LIFE ... " I don't know why anyone cares -- but I usually get comments ... so here goes:

I woke up.

Answered twenty e-mails from some people at church over some breakfast yogurt.


Went to the gas station, where I saw a guy from church.

Went to the gym to workout, where I saw a guy from church.

Ran some errands. Stopped at a store to say 'Hi' to a lady from church.

Stopped by my favorite shopping experience - GOODWILL - where I saw a guy from church.

Came home and mowed the yard for the last time this year. Chopped up the leaves with the mower that had fallen from the oaks in the past week (see November 7th blog). Waved at a guy from church when he drove by and honked his horn.

Met my wife for dinner at Charcoal Grill. Saw a couple of people from church there.

Went to a couple of stores to pick up some items. Somebody from church facebooked that they saw me there, even though I didn't see them.

Went home and answered ten e-mails from people at church.

Watched a couple of recorded TV shows and tried not to think about anyone from church.

A day in the life ...

And be blessed.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


There is a song I love on the Broadway CD of the musical "WICKED." It's called 'Defying Gravity.' It's such a soaring song that describes what happens when you keep looking up and force down the bad and maintain the positive attitude and believe nothing on earth can keep you down. When I listen to that last line or two of the song, the power of it building to the final crescendo - the beauty of the music and the adrenaline of the soloist and ensemble backing her up - is exhilirating. I love to rewind and play it over and over.

There is something so scriptural about it.

If God is for you, who can be against you?
No weapon formed against you will prosper.
He will make your feet like the feet of a deer and cause you to walk on the high places.
You will soar on wings like eagles.

Defying gravity.

So it was with some curiosity that I ran across this video today called - 'Defying Gravity.' Enjoy.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Picture a different world. Imagine one in which two billion believers truly embrace the full Gospel -- each doing his part by placing his or her piece into the puzzle and completing God's stunning vision of a reclaimed and redeemed world -- the Kingdom, right here among us.

Might the world sit up and take notice of that? Would they ask new questions?
Who are these people so motivated by love?
Where did they come from?
Why do they sacrifice to help those the rest of the world has forgotten?
Where do they find their strength? And joy? And peace?
Who is this God they serve?

Can you picture it?

And be blessed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

V. V.

We were meeting with a couple of our staff today about our Video Venue (V.V.) that meets every Sunday morning in another auditorium across campus.

We're excited about this new opportunity to reach a brand new group of people who perhaps have given up on church 'as is.' It's hipper, darker, more casual - take a donut and a cup of coffee on in with you -- relax -- message is on video but worship is 'cool' and 'live' - the leadership is younger - etc.

The guys we've got overseeing it are really pumped about it - and that makes ME more pumped to see THEM pumped.

We've done this, in part, to respond to the number of out-of-college-aged people and young couples who grew up in church, and yet are now walking away from their faith - not to mention those young people in their 20s and 30s who have never HAD a faith and don't know what church is all about except for what they've created in their minds, none of which is particularly good.

The estimate of those who have walked away from their faith is rising into the 70 and 80 percentile. Staggering. These are not people who have grown up in agnostic homes; they've grown up RIGHT IN CHURCH ... but we're losing them.

It's irrelevant.
It's boring.
It's not for me.

A few of our mainline denominations now have as an AVERAGE age of their constituents nation-wide, age 60 or over. I wonder if any of them are thinking about what happens with their churches in the next 10 or 15 years ... all the while holding fast to their traditions and customs, insisting they are critically important and taking those traditions - literally - to the grave with them.

The bottom line is that the church is losing influence with two entire generations. This is a pivotal time in history when the church needs to re-focus its mission. Time to get those generations back - and not lose any future ones.

And be blessed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


One Saturday a year is "THE DAY." It's "THE DAY" I spend eight hours raking the 17 bajillion leaves in my yard that fall every Autumn. I love our yard the other 11 months of the year, but November ... well ... let's just say ... not my favorite month.

But today was 75 degrees and sunny -- awesome for southern Wisconsin in November -- practically unheard of. And to take it from good to great, three guys from my Saturday morning small group decided to come over and help me rake, blow, bag and move the leaves to the street, where the village will come pick them up this week.

So guys - I can't thank ya enough. You absolutely rock.

If that wasn't grand enough, Joelene and I offered our home in the Christian Life School ( Romania Auction today. Guests bid on dinner for six at our home - 'A Taste of Italy.' The dinner went for $100.

Pumped up for a great day tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


It doesn't really matter what a church is right about if it is wrong about its relationship with God. God is more interested in the heart of a church than He is with its size or intellect. He is far less impressed by our ability to debate church structure or theology than He is with our willingness to touch those around us.

Our programs are not sacred. Our church is not sacred. What is sacred is the mission. You are called to shine a light and demonstrate God's love and grace to anyone who needs it. Our mission is not to preserve the church as it presently exists in its forms and models --- our mission is to be the church.

It's amazing when you think about it. If people looking in from the outside really knew your story - or mine - they'd probably question how we got this role. Even so, God has chosen us in spite of our messiness, or very possibly because of it. All along He has planned this thing called the church so we could send a collective message to a generation that needs to know Him. We are in this together only because God put us together to show how much He cares for a broken world, of which we are a part. That's His plan and only He could have thought of it.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


This is just a sampling of the kind of crazy things our pastoral team does when I'm trying to be completely spiritual and serious during staff meetings. They take pictures and post them around the globe on Facebook with the caption: "Pastor Kevin has the unshakeable feeling that someone is looking over his shoulder as he reads ... "
I think that's enough said on today's blog. LOL.

It's a great team to be on. I am blessed.

You be blessed, too.

Monday, November 2, 2009


We call them by different monikers --- Generation Y --- Millenials --- Next Generation --- and the NEW one: "NET GENERATION," so called because they are the first generation to be born completely within the internet and 'computerized' era (born 1978 or after). It personally came to bear the day I was talking to my youngest, born in 1990, about a typewriter -- to which she instinctively replied: "What's a typewriter, Dad?"


Three of our very own staff pastors are from this Net Generation, which brings a much-needed outlook into our process every week.

This NET GENERATION are so young that:
They have no meaningful recollection of Ronald Reagan nor do they know he was shot.
They do not remember the Cold War and have no fear of a nuclear war today.
They have only known one Germany.
They don't remember the space shuttle blowing up or Tiananmen Square.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
The compact disc (CD) was introduced when they were 2 years old (in 1979).
The TONIGHT SHOW has always been with Jay Leno.
The Vietnam War is as ancient history as World Wars I or II.
They have no idea that Americans were held hostage for 444 days in Iran.
Most have never used or even seen a rotary phone.

This group is not just a flash-in-the-pan. They are a larger group than the Baby Boomers -- presently 30% of our current population - more than 80 million strong. They are not just a few kids coming along with a few new trends. They are bringing a force into American culture that will have to be reckoned with.

More coming ...

And be blessed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


In Matthew 16:18, Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God and Jesus gives Peter a new name. He calls him a rock. Then Jesus says, "On this rock" -- and we understand that to mean on the rock of this kind of faith, “I will build My church ... and the gates of hell will not prevail against it."

We describe this principle as the ‘church militant.’ We don't hear that expression very much, but it’s a great one – the church MILITANT, victoriously standing against the gates of hell. This is huge. We often think of the church as being all huddled together in a little fortress while the powers of hell rage all around us. But Jesus turns that picture UPSIDE DOWN. He says hell is the kingdom that's huddled together behind iron gates and locked doors. And Jesus says, 'Here comes the church,' and He’s out front leading it and building it and He is battering the gates of hell. Jesus comes, and He is claiming human beings for Himself from the kingdom of darkness who would otherwise be separated from Him forever. He is saying: ‘That one over there – who will separate Me from THAT one? And this one here --- who will separate Me from THIS one?’ He is passionately reclaiming the people He loves … and the gates of hell are being battered by the power of Jesus and His church.

That's our mission … to batter the gates of hell ... to find people who otherwise would be lost for eternity --- apart from God --- and help them get to Christ. That’swhywe’rehere.

This is serious business. It’s not a game. Heaven and hell are as real as it gets.
Are you willing to be salt for somebody in your circle of influence?
Are you willing to share your faith with somebody?
Are you willing to pray for somebody?

THAT is the church militant. And God is calling our church ( to it and we're going to respond. We're going to pray and we’re going to see God move in amazing ways this coming year. We're going to fall on our knees and beg God for a mighty outpouring of His power, and we're going to reach out to people all around us -- people we work with, people we shop with, people we play with, our neighbors, our family, our friends.

And be blessed.