Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I love seeing KFA-ers in their 'natural habitats.' Joelene and I had the opportunity to spend all day in a Chicago Federal Courtroom with KFA-er Sam Der Yeghiayan - Federal Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. The judge holds an extra distinction as being the first American immigrant (born in Syria and raised in Lebanon) federal judge in the United States.

He is an amazing mixture of grace, firmness, efficiency and humor on the bench. I was proud to know him and love that he is 'on mission' as a believer in his life with Christ - and it was great spending the day with him watching him work.

Looking forward to seeing many more of you out there 'on mission' where God has planted you. Wonder when and where the next "KFA SIGHTING" will be?

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


God doesn't need us to stick up for Him. He's doing OK with that. He does need us to represent Him, to be like Him, to look like Him and talk like Him, to be with people He would be with, to take the side of the 'missing' and 'uninformed' instead of those 'in the know.'

I wonder how God might lead us if we were more concerned about being 'friends of sinners' more than a friend to 'insiders.' My sense is that maybe people would begin having the same feelings for us that they did for Jesus.

What drew people to Jesus, surprisingly, was not a message so much. It was Him. His message often repelled people. Those who were drawn to Him as a man would leave after He let them in on His message. This is backward for most of us. We try to draw people in by soft-pedaling the message and end up repelling them by how we live our lives.

Get the message ... then go home and live it.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 28, 2010


Here are Nelson Mandela's Eight Principles of Leadership ... worth pondering:

1. COURAGE is not the absence of fear ... it is inspiring others to move beyond it.

2. Lead from the FRONT ... but don't leave your base behind.

3. Lead from the BACK ... and let others believe they are in front.

4. Know your ENEMY ... and learn about his favorite sport.

5. Keep your friends CLOSE ... and your rivals even closer.

6. APPEARANCES matter ... and remember to smile.

7. Nothing is BLACK or WHITE.

8. Sometimes, QUITTING is leading, too.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 25, 2010


The Gospel is the real life of God flowing into every nook and cranny of our everyday life. 'Blessing' doesn't mean financial cups are running over - or the absence of disease or pain. It means the 'other world' life makes a definable difference that can be seen and felt in this life. And when this 'other world' life shows up, even in the smallest form, it is attractive and people move toward it like thirsty horses stumbling toward a watering hole.

When a husband and father who has been struggling with anger and who verbally rips a hole in the heart of his wife and kids begins to let Christ win in his heart, the family should notice a difference.

When the materialistic businessman meets Christ and begins to re-invest his treasure for the benefit of others, there will be an observable difference in him.

It's always good news.

Our culture is starving for something, but this something has to be massive. It has to be scary; it has to be encompassing today for people to even notice.

Are they skeptical? Yes.
Are they jaded? Yes.
Have they lost their appetite? No.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Death can never kill an idea. Ideas are more powerful than death. Everything begins as an idea. History has proven that ideas cannot be destroyed. In fact, attempts to destroy ideas seem to serve only to make them multiply - because ideas incubate in places no weapons can reach: the mind. Ideas can be transferred and live on for generations.

That is why ideologies live on long after their makers pass on. Imperialism, communism, socialism, democracy, dictatorship -- all of them -- are ideas that can't be destroyed, even though their originators have died.

Thoughts control the world and we become our thoughts. This is the premise on which King Solomon, 3,000 years ago, said: "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he."

You will only change when your philosophy changes, and your philosophy will only change when your ideas change, and your ideas will only change when your heart changes.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I mentioned a few days ago on the blog that the fire alarm had gone off in our Seattle hotel room last week. It was annoying to everyone who had to go stand outside in the middle of the early evening, and yet - if it had been an emergency, we would all have been grateful for the noisy alarm.

Alarms are important and necessary, but we don't always appreciate them.

Most of us begin the day with some kind of alarm startling us out of a deep sleep.

The stove alarm tells us the cookies are done.

The dashboard alarm means you've left your headlights on.

The sounding of the car alarm in the crowded parking lot means someone is searching to remember where they parked.

The school alarm means this class is over and you have 3 minutes to get to the next one.

You may not hear it, but there is another alarm going off ...

On any given day, 700,000 people receive treatment for alcoholism.
Forty-six percent of all late teenagers in the U.S. have had sex at least once.
Fifteen-hundred children in the U.S. die every year from abuse or neglect.
Every second, $3,000 is being spent on pornography. Every second, 28,000 people are viewing it online.
Within two years of graduation, 96% of high school students leave the church. Less than 30% ever return.
Every day 146,000 people die. Every hour 6,000. Every minute 100.

Can you hear it? The alarm is sounding.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's Father's Day - but I also want to say "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY" to my bride and congratulate her on 29 years of marriage TODAY. Here's to 29 more, honey.

Real men ... real followers of Christ who are blessing the Lord with their mouths ... verbalizing what God has done for them ... end up saving their children. Nothing you do for your children will be more effective at establishing the covenant of God inside them - at producing the fear of the Lord in them - than you continually blessing the Lord -- SO THEY CAN HEAR YOU.

Let your children hear you bless the Lord for His sovereignty and Kingship.

So at the breakfast table - at the dinner table - when you take them to bed at night --- let them hear you say, “Lord, I bless You that Your Kingdom rules over all people -- over all governments -- over all weather systems -- over all animals -- over all galaxies -- over our family, God. I bless You, I bless You, I bless You, I bless You, Amen. Let's eat!"

Wouldn’t that be impressive to your children? Wouldn’t something go down deep in their spirits to hear you talk and pray like that. “Weather systems, Dad? Really? What are you talking about? God of the weather over KENOSHA?” YES!

Let your children hear you bless the Lord for His justice and righteousness.

Let them hear you say: “Lord, I bless You because you advocate for the poor and the weak and the oppressed - those being treated unjustly here and around the world. You are the Ruler over all and justice will be done, if not in this age, in the age to come. Amen. Let's eat."

Let them hear your heart, not just your brain. Because if you look like God doesn’t have your heart, why on earth should they give Him theirs? Let them hear you bless the Lord for His righteousness and justice.

Let your children hear you bless the Lord for His mercy and forgiveness.

This will be the most powerful thing your kids will ever hear coming from your mouth because it will just crush you to the ground - and they need to see and hear that.

Kids will hear all the do's and don'ts. That’s all Christianity becomes to them very often. But that's not what Christianity is at all. What a wonderful miracle to see them come to the place where they say, “Christianity is the fact that my dad says his sins are forgiven ... that dad says he has experienced God’s mercy ... and if that's true, God might forgive things in my heart that even my own mom and dad don’t know about.” What a wonderful gift to our children and families.

So yes, come to church ... go to all the classes ... get in a small group ... stand next to your children at church and let them see and hear you blessing the Lord. GREAT!

THEN ... go home and model this life for your family.

And be blessed, dad.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Gallup just released a new survey indicating a record-low honesty and ethics ranking of clergy in the eyes of the general public. It showed that at the end of 2009, only half of Americans considered ministers and priests to have very high or high levels of honesty and ethics. That was a 6% drop from 2008, the highest decline of any of the other 21 measured professions.

Around 3 in 5 Americans had a highly favorable opinion of ministers throughout the 1980s, reaching its peak in 1985 at 67%. For much of the past two decades, the rating of clergy has been in the mid- to high-50s, although it spiked to 64% as recently as 2001 (the year of 9/11).

Gallup was mystified as to why clergy ratings took such a tumble last year, lower even than the televangelist scandals of two decades ago - lower even than the Catholic priest sex abuse revelations of the early 2000s. The drop was across the board, too, including Protestant, Evangelical and Catholic churchgoers as well as non-attendees.

The new ranking put trust in clergy honesty and ethics at 55%. Even among those who attend church nearly every week, the ranking was 63% for clergy.

Clergy had plenty of company in the dropped rankings: In the wake of the outrage over Wall Street misdeeds, bankers (19%) and stockbrokers (9%) unsurprisingly dropped to record lows last year. Also in 2009, lawyers (13%), business execs (12%) and members of Congress (9%) received low rankings.

The only workers to receive gains in honesty and ethics were police officers (63%), pharmicists (66%) medical doctors (65%) and nurses (83%).

Despite the decline, ratings of clergy still remained relatively high, coming in 7th out of 23 professions listed.

We could use your prayers.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I confess I was proud of 'us' when I read this from Ed Stetzer this week:

'Denominations appear to have fallen on difficult times. Theological controversies over core Christian beliefs have weakened some denominations. Others have succumbed to classic liberalism. A handful of denominations have reaffirmed their commitment to theological orthodoxy, but even many once-growing conservative denominations have experienced difficult days. All in all, membership in 23 of the 25 largest Christian denominations is declining (the exceptions being the Assemblies of God and the Church of God).'

Keep it up.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Last night about 9 p.m., the fire alarm went off in our Seattle hotel. So there we all were - in various stages of dress (and undress) - standing outside under the carport wondering if all our stuff that we forgot to carry out with us was about to go up in flames. A few people had the forethought to roll out all their luggage with them. One lady brought her big white fan out into the rain.

It turns out that a little girl pulled the alarm somewhere in the building. Nice.

For me, it was a sermon-in-waiting. One little person - one small action - had power to impact hundreds of people's lives. This can happen for good or bad. It was kind of neutral last night for us.

It was also a lesson on how people handle disruption. Some exited the building laughing - others were curious - some concerned - still others angry or wanting their money back. It was an interesting onsite study in human behavior.

Just for the record, Joelene and I handled it all with good graces.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 14, 2010


As much as I love what I do, I don't always like to talk theology or church concepts or tell you what exciting ministry things are going on. Since it's "A Day in the Life," sometimes it's just about the quirkiness of ME.

I used to read the World Almanac front to back ... every year. That's right. My mom bought me one for Christmas one year and I read every page. Every page. That's 700 pages of nothing but world and national facts and trivia. That's why, still today, I can tell you the order of when every state came into the union, the size of every state (in order), the population of every state (in order), the alphabetized list of all 50 states, not to mention an array of other meaningless facts.

Since then -- some 40 years ago, my mom is still buying me the World Almanac every Christmas. I don't read every page anymore, but I still peruse it in some detail. I don't why; it's just what I do.

In honor of that, and since I'm kind of feeling 'trivial' today, here's some things I have learned from reading one of my favorite books: The World Almanac.

In 1996, 315 entries in Webster's Dictionary were misspelled, including the word 'mispelled.'

The Guinness Book of World Records holds the honor of being the book most often stolen from the Public Library.

If you drop a raisin in a glass of fresh champagne, it will continuously bounce up and down from the bottom of the glass to the top.

The 'dot' over the letter "i" is called a 'tittle.' (This term is used in the Bible.)

McDonald's gets 40% of its profits from the sales of Happy Meals.

The country of Finland banned Donald Duck comic books because he doesn't wear pants (and you thought this list was going to be completely useless).

Upper and Lower case letters are named 'upper' and 'lower' because when original letters had to be set, the 'upper case' letters were stored in the case on TOP of the case that stored the smaller, 'lower case' letters.

During World War II when metal was scarce, the Academy Award Oscars were made of wood.

The name Wendy was made up for the book "Peter Pan." There was never a recorded Wendy before that.

Las Vegas gambling casino have no clocks in them (go figure).

There are no words in the Dictionary that rhyme with 'purple,' 'orange,' or 'silver.'

It took Leonardo da Vinci ten years just to paint Mona Lisa's lips.

A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it go instantly mad and sting itself to death.

Celery actually has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


It was great to visit Seattle's Mars Hill Church today. It's one of the most innovative churches in the country as well as one of the fastest growing. Currently they are in 10 different campuses all over Seattle and one in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Pastor Mark Driscoll delivered his message via video from Israel --- standing near the spot Joelene and I stood back in January. It gave me a few ideas when I make my next trip there in 2011.

I have great admiration for Mars Hill Church. They're doing a great job in the Seattle area.

I still like my own church best, but ... they're lifting up Jesus to the city of Seattle.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Call it ingenuity.

Call it just for fun.

Call it something you wish you could do.

Call it how fun can change people's decisions.

Call it an advertising gimmick

Whatever you might call it, you have to admit, it made you smile.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Yesterday I talked about some of the downsides of being in ministry nearly three full decades now. Some things have changed over the years - from decade one to decade two to decade three. But not all of it has been on the downside. Much of it has been marvelous and there actually several things I like BETTER about the third decade of ministry over the two decades before it. For instance:

My priorities are right(er). What a relief that I don't feel I have to 'prove' myself the way I used to feel I had to. I am learning to measure success more by obedience to God than by visible results.

My faith is deeper. God has been amazingly faithful to me and I recognize that. I want to serve Him in greater measure than I did 10 or 20 years ago.

I have some meaningful relationships. I have finally come to understand the power of having them.

There is an assurance of God's power. I used to think I had to forever be 'awesome' for people to come and stay. Now I'm just thankful that teaching God's Word and loving God's people seem to be enough to get it done.

I have a broader perspective. Nothing replaces experience. There is always talk about the 'old guys,' of which I have now become one. I have a coaster on my desk that I shove right out to the edge whenever one of the younger staff (which is now nearly everyone) comes into my office. It says: 'No wise man ever wished to be younger.' 'Nuff said.

I know what a great wife I have. I wish I would have come to this conclusion far earlier. She deserved me to. I know now what a great treasure I have in Joelene.

Here's to ministry decades four, five and six ...

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


There were some things I really hated about the third decade of ministry, which I'm in right now. Actually, I'm just about to close out the third decade and start the fourth, which is really frightening. I should probably be really wise by now, right?

But the third decade brought some unique challenges ...

Mistakes were more expensive. They impacted more people than mistakes in the first and second decades of ministry.

Values tended to erode. Others serving with me are doing work I used to do - and they're doing awesome. But it takes more work to guard the values and purposes of the church with so many doing their thing.

There were more personal demands. This didn't get better over the years; it got worse. A lot of people want a lot of things - and time, too.

Ministry baggage piled up. Church began to accumulate in the third decade. It became increasingly important to prune things that were ineffective or outside the vision.

The returns tended to diminish. Things that used to work like a charm didn't work nearly as well. Rather than saying, 'How do we make that old thing work better?' we needed to ask: 'What new things need to be attempted?'

I had to recognize my weaknesses. I'm learning to grow thru significant points of vulnerability, being surrounded by some people who are really good where I have never been good.

Tomorrow -- the UPside to the third decade.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 7, 2010


A new session of Champions began tonight at my house.

Twelve new men.
Once-a-month meeting for six months.
Six books to read.

A great group gathered tonight. I love these guys. Many of them I don't even know that well, but I'm looking forward to getting to know them all before we're done.

June's book: "Maximized Manhood" by Edwin Louis Cole. Great discussion.

You guys know what you have to do before July's meeting. You can do it.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Please be encouraged to take the poll at left, based on the Wednesday, June 2nd blog. Thank you.

Today in church we had some people come up and test the 'fake' against the 'original.' Is it a real COACH bag or an imitation? Is it a real bowl of Cocoa Krispies or a knock-off? Is it really Elvis singing on the recording or an impersonator?

That's the question we then asked about ourselves. Are we real Christians or are we imitation believers? Ephesians 5:1 says we're to be imitators of God. Tough gig when God is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent and eternal. Yet the Bible says it.

And in that passage it says the ways we imitate God are by walking in love -- by walking toward God and walking away from sin. But one of the reasons we end up with congregations full of bitter church people is because bitter church people walk away from sin - good for them - but they don’t walk in love.

So they’ve walked away from some of the worst things in life, but after 50 years of walking away - and this can happen to 20- and 30- and 40-year olds, too - now they find they have no love. All they have is what they’ve given up and they’re bitter because others haven’t given up what they’ve given up. And love has avoided them.

But Christ calls us to walk in love ... walking in love comes first. Love always does. It is the central piece to our life in Christ. GOD IS LOVE ... and ... WE LOVE BECAUSE CHRIST FIRST LOVED US.

That’s how the world knows we’re not a cheap imitation of a Christ-follower.

You will spend the rest of your life growing up into who you are in Christ - and you’ll do that by walking in love and walking away from sin. OR ... you’ll become a good religious person - you’ll be moral - and you’ll walk away from sin all right, but you won’t walk in love. You’ll walk away from the bad, but you won’t walk toward Christ. And the result is that you will actually do harm to your spiritual walk, your family's spiritual walk and you will prevent the possibility of darkness around you turning into light.

And this is so important because many of us are not intentionally walking in love - we’re not intentionally walking away from sin. Instead, we’ve kind of lulled ourselves into a spiritual sleepwalk.

It would be my dream for our city to say about KFA:

‘The people at that church just live differently. They’re normal, but there’s something about the way they live that is so appealing.’ AND ... ‘They sure do love people. They’re not imitation Christians ... they're the real thing.’

We’re getting there.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 4, 2010


I thought I would give you some good resources today -- according to, the Top Ten Christian websites out there. Doubtless you will have others you frequent, which we'd all love to hear about.










10 (Sorry - couldn't resist)

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Comparison will eat your lunch. I know, because it's happened to me. Today.

I've looked around at other pastors and said: "Why doesn't God use ME like that?" Or even: "Wow. I'm so glad I'm doing better than that guy."

Comparing our abilities and resources may seem natural - because everyone does it - but the truth is, it can be deadly.

The writer to the Hebrews instructs you to run YOUR race; not someone else's. Just run in the lane where God put you.

Please feel free to take the poll at left. Thanks.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I heard somebody state an opinion on this the other day and I was just wondering if my readers agree.

Take the poll at left to record your viewpoint. Feel free to comment here if you wish, as always.

And be blessed.