Sunday, March 28, 2010


Watch this funny video ... then read below ...

It might be kind of funny, but watch it a second time. This time imagine that was GOD trying to do that with you, but you just won't budge. No matter how hard He tries to get you up or pull you in a direction that will be beneficial for you, you simply refuse. You play dead.

Or worse yet ... reverse it. What if that was YOU trying to leash GOD, pulling Him where you wanted Him to go? How dangerous would that be?

Neither works.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


To follow up on Thursday's blog, since it got such rave reviews ... here is an excerpt from something I was reading yesterday that wholeheartedly clicks with me. These are things we have to continue to challenge ourselves with if we plan to go forward the with mission God has called us to in Kenosha:

I Corinthians 10:33 says: “I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.” (New Living Translation)

Fascinating perspective isn’t it? Typically, we don’t operate like that. We put personal conviction or preferences ahead of what may be best for others. Think about it…
  • It isn’t worship if the music is too loud or too fast or the wrong genre.
  • It isn’t discipleship if the content is delivered in a home or online instead of in a classroom or a sanctuary.
  • It isn’t missions if we help a neighbor who has wealth instead of focusing on people who live in poverty.
  • The message is good if it calls out the sin of other people, but when it’s our sin, we’re offended.
  • Rather than embracing the ministries that are impacting the most people, we want the church to embrace our personal projects and passions.
  • We’re more inclined to give when we can direct how the money is used.
Crazy. You’d think we’d be intentional about living out our faith to do what’s best for others. Instead, we make ministry decisions to try to keep people happy. That’s how we end up with churches full of happy Christians. That’s why churches stop growing. We start doing church for us instead of trying to impact the lives of people around us.

If we’re going to reach people outside the church and outside the faith, we’re going to have to be uncomfortable. And once we figure out what’s best for others today, it’ll be different tomorrow. That will involve change. That means we’ll have to get uncomfortable again. Doing what’s best for others makes life and ministry messy.

I'm ready to get dirty. You?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


There has been some discussion about churches who go for a 'TARGETED' audience. I understand the debate, but does having a 'target' and a 'focus' mean you're being exclusionary or prejudiced? I don't believe so.

Jesus said: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." (Matthew 15:24) Is that prejudiced? No. Jesus had to free SOMEBODY to win EVERYBODY.

In World War II, when the Allies invaded Normandy, it was the largest armada of forces ever known to focus on one small stretch of French beach. But was their objective that little beach? Not at all. Ultimately it was to free Europe. But they had to have a beach head before they could free the rest.

When WE do that, some call that nothing more than niche marketing. They say 'That isn't God.' But they're not allowing themselves to look at Scripture.

It's a lot easier to see this in business. We understand it then. The same hotel chain mother company owns Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn & Quality Inn. They often build two of those side-by-side. Sleep & Comfort - or - Comfort & Quality.

Why? THIS way they have to print all different towels - brand different signs outside - put up three different billboards. Why not just build one big hotel? Because they know they'll sell more beds with THREE than with ONE. They're not being exclusionary. If you have the money, you can get into any of them. But they market to different groups.

Sleep Inn? You just want a nice bed.
Comfort Inn? You're looking for a little more room - maybe a microwave and a small pool.
Quality Inn? A bit more class than the others - you need the internet and a desk - you're a business traveler, etc.

But there is nothing exclusionary there. You can do FOCUS without prejudice. If you are exclusionary, you aren't even Christian.

What do you think?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I'll get back to some serious stuff in the next couple of days for those of you who like that approach, but TODAY, not so much.

Our pastoral staff -- all 10 of us - did a video for an upcoming message on "SAVING OUR PLANET," approaching the subject of whether or not God is saying anything to us about being good environmental stewards.

One of our volunteer creative team members wrote a script ala the style of the famous SONIC commercial. I won't give any more of it away till you see it 'live,' but here's a pic from the day. And from there, it just got crazy.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I met yet ANOTHER KFA-er at the gym tonight. Several people from the gym have ended up coming to KFA on a weekend, to my great and joyous surprise.

At the same time, I continue meeting people there who are already part of the church on a regular basis. I am also repeatedly shocked at the number of 'in-shape' people who are part of KFA. I'm sure that has a lot to do with ME and what a great example I am in this area. Just kidding. Really.

But tonight was another case in point. I met a 35-year old man who was in absolutely tremendous shape working out at the gym. He approached me with a big smile, which is always a sign of SOMETHING and sure enough, he stuck out his hand and said, "HI, PASTOR KEVIN." Been coming to KFA about 3 years with his wife and two small children. Wonderful.

He is also a competitive body-builder preparing for an 'all-natural competition' to be held in Madison in a few weeks.

It's great to see KFA-ers in all walks of life everywhere you go. I love that. Take care of yourself out there.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Annual church meetings aren't my favorite thing in the world - just being honest. Not because they're difficult (they haven't been), nor because they're stressful (they're really not). Truthfully, they're not particularly exciting. I suppose I actually prefer it that way. Excitement is good a lot of places. An annual church meeting isn't one of them.

But it was rewarding today when, for an hour or so, we reviewed our church year - our goals - our financial situation - our Christian school's outlook - celebrated some victories - and elected new deacons, including the youngest one in the history of KFA - a 29-year old man. Welcome, Levi.

This group of leaders should reflect the look of our overall congregation. This move took us in that direction and it was done at the will of the voting membership today.

What a privilege to serve at such a great church. You guys rock.

Be blessed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I was put on to this video by Joelene. It was played in Christian Life School chapel today.

Before you listen to it - just know - OK? - that Jesus really is your friend. He truly is. :)


And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


View this video and see what happens when CREATION and CREATED meet:

And be blessed.

Monday, March 15, 2010


It is with great pastoral pride that I notice one of the 11-year old girls from our church, Olivia May, had her head shaved this week to raise funds for children stricken with cancer for St. Baldrick's. Her donation goal was $500. She raised $2,700 with the shedding of her locks.

It was in special memory of her friend, Garrett Miller, also from our church, whose life was cut short a few years ago because of cancer.

Our praise and blessing on Chris and Heather May for having raised such an outstanding young lady ... and our love to Gary and Patty Miller who live valiantly with the memory of their son.

"From the mouth (and head) of babes ... "

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I ate 10 tacos yesterday. I don't know why I did that. I guess I needed a good sermon illustration today or something.

Usually I'm a pretty healthy eater, but every now and then, I get a hankering for a lot of grease. And this particular taco place accommodates that very easily. I bought the set of 10 tacos for the whole fam, but once I started eating them - and they were SOOOOO good -- and SOOOOO greasy - I couldn't stop. All ten. Right down the gullet. I promise you. Ten.

Do you believe I had 10 tacos yesterday? It doesn't change anything if you don't believe me -- but do you?

Some people doubt everything. They don’t have healthy skepticism. It’s just foolish skepticism … and you’ll NEVER be convinced of ANYTHING with that approach. And spiritually, it's the same. You must build your life on something positive. You must and you do.

Paul said: “We cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:8)

Is there anything you can do against the reality that I had 10 tacos yesterday? I don’t care what you think about that – well, maybe you think I’m a PIG – but no matter what you think, it's what happened. I could call witnesses for proof, but you could have such an unhealthy skepticism that you would say, ‘No matter what they TELL me, I’m not going to believe you. I don’t think you could get ten tacos DOWN.’

But here’s the great thing about the truth of the Gospel – Christianity has always been public. When Paul would preach in the book of Acts, he’d come to the crowds and say, ‘Listen … NONE of this is a SECRET. Investigate it if you want to.’ Have you noticed how many religious systems are clandestine and everything is under the covers? That's a warning of errors. covers? Christianity has never been that. It is out in the open - research it - look at it - tear it apart - test it.

As it was with my 10 tacos, so it is with the resurrection of Jesus. How's that for a parallel? But it’s the same. Do all you want to try to disparage one or the other, the bottom line is they're true and I'm not threatened by the evidence.

If you want to get at the truth, you have to be willing to ultimately embrace the real answers because there are some who just like to argue everything and never come to a conclusion. It’s time to get off the fence and say, ‘I’m willing to be CONVINCED.’

And here’s what happens with honest skeptics. After they get the reasonable information, they eventually say, ‘OK – I got it – I can believe … and NOW … I’m FULLY COMMITTED.’

You can’t just stay in question-and-research mode forever. Eventually you have to form some kind of conclusion and then say, ‘NOW I’m going to DO something in response to this information.’

Some facts don’t need a response. “I had ten tacos yesterday.” That doesn’t require a response … other than, ‘Who cares?’ But for me to say: ‘Jesus Christ came as God in human form and ended up dying on a cross for your sins. And today He teaches what you must do to get right with God, which is to turn from your disobedience and make HIM the center of your life – because not only did He die for your sins; He rose from the dead on the third day so you could receive Him into your heart and have eternal life in heaven with Him when you die.’ THAT truth demands a RESPONSE.

And be blessed.

Friday, March 12, 2010


At right is a pic we took ourselves last month in Israel of the Qumran cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Today, we visited the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit showing in Milwaukee right now. It was fascinating.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the present day West Bank.

The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents. They are written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, mostly on parchment, but some on papyrus. The manuscripts generally date between 150 BCE to 70 CE.

ALL or PORTIONS OF every book of the Bible except for Esther were found in the Qumran caves. In Jerusalem, the Shrine Of The Book holds many of these manuscripts, including the entire book of Isaiah on a single scroll - the largest of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

If you get a chance to get up there before they leave town, I highly recommend it.

And be blessed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


We read that the Vatican recently released its list of favorite songs, streaming the tunes on its MySpace (MySpace? Seriously?).

The list is incredibly eclectic:
First, the obvious ...

A track from Pope Benedict XVI himself
Italian opera
A touch of Mozart

And then the unexpected ...
"Uprising" by Muse
"He Doesn't Know Why" by Fleet Foxes
"Changes" by Tupac Shakur

We cannot shake the mental image of the pontiff cruising the streets in a low-rider Popemobile with Tupac blaring out of the subwoofers.


And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


On my way to work today, I saw a man walking his beagle on a leash. The weird thing is that the beagle was really leading his owner, straining at the leash and all.

It isn't the first time I've seen a dog pulling his owner along. But not like this.

The man must have weighed 300 pounds - a BIG man - and the beagle was small - couldn't have weighed more than 12 pounds. Very mismatched.

And yet, the dog was pulling and straining, his two front legs practically up off the ground, trying to get into the oncoming traffic.

It struck me how often we try this one with God. We pull at our leash. We think we know where we're going. We insist we go our direction. Straining with all our might - veins popping - way up on our toes. Stretching the cable that keeps us safe. Into oncoming traffic.

How much safer and better to trust the eyes and heart of our Great Owner who loves us and cares for us more than anything. Stay 'attached to the Vine.'

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


John Calvin scathingly challenged expressions of faith that have to go 'one step further' to prove their holiness. The Colossians began by saying you shouldn't eat a lot of something - so therefore, you shouldn't consume part of that something - and therefore, you shouldn't even taste that something - then they made it criminal to even touch that something. In other words, there was - and IS - no end to new laws being daily added to old ones and new laws starting up from time to time.

Jesus never urges us that way. For instance, Jesus never explicitly commands His disciples to fast. He does suggest His disciples will fast. He gives guidelines for fasting properly. But these never take the form of a command. And Jesus categorically rejects a strict interpretation of the Sabbath, saying, "The Sabbath was made for man; not man for the Sabbath."

Certainly, Jesus assumed His followers would live disciplined lives while warning them to stay away from one-upsmanship of pious holiness, which is its own form of sin. Jesus wants us to fully engage in life, yet never fall captive to it - the ultimate balanced view of pleasure.

And be blessed.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Today our guest at KFA was Joel Hunter (pictured at left). Joel planted Northwood Church in Houston six years ago and today has spread thru three campuses in Houston and one in New Orleans.

We brought Joel in to continue pumping the vision of reproduction, outward-focus and church multiplication into our congregation - a direction we feel God leading us at KFA.

Strategic ... Systematic ... Syngergistic ... Seasonal ... Joel's four stages organizations run thru to get to multiplication.

Jesus modeled it for us. He spoke into the lives of 12, and then they sent it into the world. Multiplication is in God's vocabulary; addition, not so much.

I had a hard time sitting there in the front row listening to him talk. I kept wanting to stand up and take the mic and say: "LET'S GO!"

The truth is, we have to keep shining the light on Jesus. This is NOT for us. It's for Jesus and it's for THEM. We're not even in the top TWO.

We are in the middle of a values-shift. Outward-focus is at the front and center of what God has called us to do here. We insist that LOST is greater than FOUND ... staying at the EDGE is greater than staying at the CENTER ... GOING is greater than STAYING.

We are ready.

And be blessed.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I'm probably just venting today, but ...

I have been going to the gym now for several years. I'm not trying to be hulk-like or anything. It wouldn't be possible even if I wanted that. I go for a few reasons:

It's a place I can interact with unbelievers on a regular basis ...

It's a way to keep in reasonably good health ...

It relieves my stress ...

It keeps what I have somewhere close to the place God originally started it all out.

When I first started going, I'll admit it was a little intimidating ... standing next to some 23-year old with muscles out to here ... then over there is a woman who is bench pressing 40 pounds more than me ... then there's the group from Parkside University wrestling team who gargle with nails for fun. Then, of course, there's me.

The UPside has been - over time - I've become a regular there. The gang knows me as a regular. As I'm getting dressed in the locker room, it has become customary for me to just say a quick prayer: "God, open a door of opportunity for me out there today to share the reason for the hope that is in me." And that's it.

Then, if God opens a door, I walk thru it with some normal conversation about Him. If He doesn't open a door, then I figure it's His fault and He doesn't want or need me talking about Him that day. See how that works?

And over the months I HAVE had several opportunities - MORE than several - just to have regular one-on-ones about faith. It's been cool. A few of the guys have even popped in at church. It's all in God's hands.

Here is really my only negative about going to the gym. I'll give it to you in a real-life episode that happened just this week.

The doorway going in and out of the locker room is only big enough for one at a time so it's not unusual for somebody to have to give way to somebody else to get in and out. So I'm coming out of the locker room while a young athlete is going in -- and he stops for me and says: "After you, sir."

Do I look like a 'sir' to you? Don't answer that.

Isn't "SIR" reserved for men who have miles of hair coming out of their ears?

But anyhow, that's basically why I'm at the gym ... to keep 'sir-hood' at bay as long as I can.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


We had a great meeting with our creative weekend services team tonight. They're the group at KFA that helps us plan those 'transcendent moments' that happen in many of our services - anything from tie-in songs, videos, dramas, human videos, readings, artistic 'stuff,' etc...

I'm excited about the next couple of upcoming series:

"THE BATTLE WITHIN" (talking about some of the people who had encounters with Jesus that didn't turn out so well because of the inner conflicts they were having) ...

"taboo" (some not-to-be discussed topics in church like 'demons,' pornography,' 'tolerance,' and 'saving our planet.' Get ready to text in your answers to some questions while the message is going on during this series) ...

"103" (an exposition of Psalm 103 over a few weeks) ...

"AT THE MOVIES" - four blockbuster movies (animated, drama & comedy) and what they are trying to say to culture - and what the Bible has to say about those things.

Can't wait.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Dan and I made a video today for the upcoming Annual Business Meeting (ABM). It was a lot of fun even though I don't think either of us are tremendously comfortable (or suave) in front of a camera. I mean, I'm in front of 2,000 people every weekend without breaking a sweat and there are cameras taping us --- but when the camera is ten feet in front of you, it just does something weird to you.

In the video - not to give it away - but frankly, most of you won't be coming to the ABM in 2 weeks - you just won't. So ... the three questions we asked ourselves on the video were:

What do you love about KFA?
What were the great successes of KFA in 2009?
What are the greatest hopes for KFA in 2010?

I won't reveal the answers right here, right now. In case you ARE planning to come to the ABM, I don't want to spoil it for you. But the point of this one is: the SCORECARD for ministry SUCCESS is beginning to change.

What we celebrate, we become. What we applaud, we do more of. Few questions are more important than asking ourselves, "How do we measure success?"

Certainly, one of the easiest (and wimpiest) ways to measure success is by numbers in pews and/or amounts in offering bags. There are better ways to measure it. I offer a few below for your consideration:

* number of church people that are sent 'on mission'
* small groups where spiritual gifts work their way out (and then are used beyond the small group)
* people serving in partnerships with city organizations, doing good in their city
* people investing hours in service beyond church walls
* finding ways to invite the community to make use of the church building (which is itself not really 'the church')
* conversations in which people outside are asking people within 'the reason for the hope inside them.'

Are there some other benchmarks for success that you can think of?

And be blessed.