Thursday, June 30, 2011


I have a question for you. What kind of juice do you get when you squeeze a lemon? Lemon juice, right?

What about when you squeeze a grape? Definitely grape juice?

Cranberries or limes? Cranberry juice ... lime juice.

How about apples? Apple juice.

Carrots? I'm pretty sure you get carrot juice.

What kind of juice then, do you get from passion fruit? You don't get passion from it, that's for sure. I know that because I've already taken one and squeezed it over my head and ... nothing. Not from the fruit, at least. That's because passion is INSIDE you.

The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: en, meaning 'within' -- and 'theos,' meaning 'God.' That's a terrific way to describe the source of our passion. That passion is directed to those around us, but first it has to come from the source and that is God. God is our passion because we were first His passion. He loved us ... first ... and He is waiting for us to drink from the fruit He makes available and have our thirst satisfied so we can turn around and give it to others ... with great passion.

So ... squeeze.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It's fun to get rewards. There is a satisfaction knowing you have accomplished something and then, at the end of the run, there's a little prize waiting to say, 'Ya did good. Congratulations.'

But imagine a slightly different scenario. One where you were told: 'I have a huge reward waiting for you and I want to work closely with you - shoulder to shoulder - for you to receive it. The path is probably going to be trying at times. You'll be rolling up your sleeves and working hard a good amount of the time. You don't have to be perfect at what we do together, just passionate and real. And when you get tired or discouraged, I'll be there to help you. And at the end of all that, you get everything that belongs to Me. I'll pass it all on to you.'

I think we could all get excited about a proposition like that one. I don't know about you, but my next words would probably be: 'Where do I sign up?'

That particular proposition and reward is everywhere between the covers of your Bible - and more - and better.

We don't even need to stress and strain in order to be found worthy.

We are being left in this 'will' an eternal inheritance - one that is incorruptible and undefiled - one that doesn't fade - one that has benefits here and now.

You can't buy it, you can't get it by being good or by being better, you can't earn it by giving more. You can only get it by giving your life to God in full - completely.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Last week I was driving along the interstate in lower Michigan -- moving along in the far right lane going at least 65 (but not one mph faster), and I promise you, before changing lanes, I looked over my left shoulder. Seeing nothing, I began to move into the left lane when a Gold Wing motorcycle veered away from me within feet of being hit. My nerves were rattled for a couple of minutes thinking about the 'what if' of that whole scenario and also because I knew I had clearly glanced over my shoulder to check my blind spot -- but I still missed him -- which is why they call it a blind spot.
(And which is why I hope my wife doesn't read this blog because she was sleeping at the time and it only reinforces why she insists I wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle).

There is a correlating story about the cafeteria at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky where, as students were passing thru the line one day, they found a sign placed by the basket of bright red apples saying: 'Take only one please - God is watching.' As the students reached the other end of the line, they found a basket full of cookies. There was another sign, this one hastily scrawled, that read: 'Take as many as you want - God is watching the apples.'

That's kind of funny because we understand that God has no blind spot. He's watching the apples --- and the cookies --- and everything else. He's watching you.

How much difference would it make in your life if you operated with that message up-close-and-personal all the time? God is watching.

Maybe that sounds like a crushing burden. But if you really understood God's love and grace, you would know that not only is He watching you - He is smiling on you - and because of that, you would want to please Him every moment. And if God is really watching the person in the next cubicle -- and smiling on them -- you would want to do something to bless or help that person in order to please God even more.

There is no reason you and I cannot live with that kind of unsinkable view.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I'm not easily distracted. After a weekend speaking in front of lots of people, I might have somebody approach and ask:
'Did that crying baby distract you?' And I'll say: 'What crying baby? There was a crying baby?' I'm just focused and zoned in.

My wife can have entire conversations with me only to find out I was looking straight at her but not listening one whit. I'm just focused and zoned in.

I can be driving down the street thinking about something important and go a couple of miles past my turn before realizing it. I'm just focused and zoned in.

A story is told of a centipede traveling across the grass. A mouse scooted up beside him and asked: 'You have so many legs, how do you know which one to put in front of the other?' To which the centipede answered: 'I don't know. I never thought about that before.' And as he began to consider all the possibilities, it distracted him so much he couldn't move forward one step.

I think sometimes the thing that distracts me the most is -- quite frankly - my pride. It wraps itself around my feet so I can't walk. It entangles my mind so I can't think straight.

Pride can take the form of entitlement, where we began to think we deserve things. It can take the form of over-confidence where we believe we're bullet-proof.

Humility isn't that natural for us humans - or maybe just for this human. In order for it to be developed in us, it must be intentionally planned and then consistently carried out until it becomes more natural. Humility is about serving and lifting up Christ. It comes when we discover the greatest joy is in giving life away.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am pumped to be taking a group of guys to Thailand on a missions trip in January. We met at our house today for lunch and talk and it's a great group of men, each with great hearts. This will be my second trip and three of the guys going are repeat guys from last year when we were there.

The ministry will happen in Pattaya and Bangkok and we'll be partnering with YWAM - MST Project under the direction of Chris Lenty ( The MST Project reaches out to men who go to red-light districts looking for sex and who are hurting and in need and trying to fill that hurt with love and intimacy.

We'll go out each evening until the early hours of the morning and start conversations with men on the street in hopes of seeing them move one step closer to faith.

Some other things we'll engage in are:
Prison ministry
Beach ministry to slum children
Church ministry
Pray for us.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


I don't mind at all borrowing from T. Morgan for today's blog posting. I talk alot about change on the blog, not because there isn't anything else to talk about or because I don't think our organization has changed - it has - but because I believe change continues to be difficult. I have said for some time that 'change should be the new constant' and we need to learn to become significantly more comfortable with it than we currently are. So here are some thoughts from T. Morgan on the subject that resonate with me ...

'I have a number of Apple products in my home, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be an Apple fanboy. I didn’t run out and purchase an iPad when they first came out (but) I still believe Apple offers incredible products and solutions.

With that in mind, it’s been interesting to watch the reaction of diehard Apple fans in the last week after they released the new Final Cut Pro X — it’s the software they sell for video editing ... Folks that have used the software in the past ... are in an uproar about the new release.

The situation is a good reminder that no matter how much your fans love you, they don’t like change. The crazy thing is Apple has proven time and time again how important change is to an organization. They’ve changed their product line up and focus. After products are released, they routinely make changes to improve their performance. Apple wouldn’t be what it is today if it didn’t embrace change … even though people don’t like change.

I thought this was an interesting quote from TechCrunch writer MG Siegler in today’s article:

“And perhaps it’s extra infuriating for some because it’s almost like these companies don’t even think twice about making such changes. And the harsh truth is that they shouldn’t. When you start to second guess yourself and let the masses dictate your product decisions, you’re done.”

That’s a powerful insight. And, believe it or not, it’s consistent with what Jesus taught. People haven’t liked change for a couple thousand years. Check this out:

One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”

Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.” (Luke 5:33-39)

Willingness to embrace change is a key difference between great organizations (including churches) and those that are willing to settle for mediocrity and eventually become obsolete. You may think you’re doing people a favor by keeping things the same to keep people happy, but many times what’s comfortable isn’t what’s healthy.

Organizations need to change. Relationships need to change. People need to change. We hate change, but we need to change.'


And be blessed.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I love soup. My favorites are New England chowder, wild rice, vegetable, minestrone, pasta fagioli and black bean. I think soups that are designed to be cold (vichyssoise, gaspacho) are a travesty to soup-dom. This week I had the opportunity to take advantage of a soup bar for dinner. And when I say 'take advantage,' that's what I mean. There is nothing better than endless bowls of great soup.

The best soup I ever had in my whole life was a bowl of tomato bisque. Joelene and I were sitting in the Piazza Navona in Rome and supper was simply an amazing bowl of tomato soup. I'm still trying to decide years later whether it was the soup or the setting that made it so amazing. Don't ruin it for me.

All the soups I mentioned at top can probably be categorized as 'hearty' soups -- meaning they have substance. It's what my grandma used to say would 'stick to your bones' on a cold day.

It's also what God calls us to do in Colossians 3:23 when He says to serve Him in a 'hearty' way -- wide open - pedal to the metal - with passion - pouring out heart and soul.

Take the opposite of being 'hearty' for God ... 'He did it half-heartedly' ... 'Her heart wasn't in it.' That's no good. Who wants that said about yourself?

Nobody can determine what 'hearty' is for you - but you. We also have to make a distinction between momentary heart and everyday heart. Everybody has spikes of inspiration - flashes of zeal - mountaintop highs that last for a few seconds then fade.

You see the how-to guy on the TV commercial putting up a 4-car garage and you get motivated to call the 800-number and 8 weeks later you have delivered to your home four crates of building materials -- except that by that time you've lost the heart.

You come home from a retreat for couples inspired to start getting your wife up at 4:30 every morning to read a few Scriptures and pray together. You have heart. Then one morning you hit the snooze button a few extra times and the next week you skip a couple of days and before you know it, a month after the retreat, you're back to heart-less life.

When you try to maintain bursts of heart, you are more likely to end up having a coronary.

The key is 'hearty' - from your soul. Love God that way - heart and soul, mind and strength. Love your neighbor that way - with everything you have. But that only comes when you let your heart get refreshed by spending some time with God. Jesus tells us to live in those kinds of depths. That's hearty living - and it spills over.

Soup's on.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


After a few days off celebrating our 30th anniversary with a little jaunt up to Mackinac Island and then back thru the lower peninsula today to Holland, Michigan and the Indiana Dunes, I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow morning and start doing.

There is great merit to patience and rumination and prudence and waiting. But somewhere along the line, DO has to kick in. Action has to be taken. It is a primary distinctive of faith.

We can imagine a dream.
We can talk about a dream.
We can sing about a dream - pray about it - write songs about it - go to conferences surrounding it.

But the temptation always exists not to do.

Take evangelism. We do all of the above with evangelism, but we seldom move out into action with it. Instead, we turn around and become the teachers who tell others how to do it.

Sooner or later, or bias for action must kick in - not just for evangelism, but for everything.

Whatever God has called you to do tomorrow, just go do it.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


For the past couple of days in celebration of our 30th anniversary, Joelene and I have been on
Mackinac Island staying at a bed & breakfast enjoying ourselves. There are no cars allowed here at all, so we've been ...

Biking around the island ...
Walking to the sights - Fort Mackinac, museums, the Grand Hotel ...
Eating pasties ...
Sampling lots of fudge, an island tradition ...
Watching carriages and smelling horses everywhere (and being careful where we step) ...
Store front browsing ...
Spending time together ...

And be blessed.

Monday, June 20, 2011


I am a rich man. Today Joelene and I celebrate 30 years of marriage together -- 30 years to the same awesome woman -- together the parents of three terrific adult daughters. Over the past few years we've added two amazing sons-in-law, one grandson, with one granddaughter on the way.

Despite all the other things God has allowed me to attain, this is among the biggest accomplishments of my life, not because it was so difficult - it wasn't - but because it just doesn't happen all that often anymore.

I don't consider myself an expert by any means, but let's face it - I've finally reached the point in THIS area of life where I feel it's OK to give a little advice on the matter -- if you don't mind ...

  1. Marry your best friend. Don't settle for someone you have to talk yourself into 'liking' from the get go.
  2. Don’t expect to change them. What you marry is exactly what you'll get.
  3. Take trips together without the kids. Our kids never really understood this - they're beginning to now.
  4. Laugh together - but without it being at the expense of each other.
  5. Talk about things.
  6. Go to bed together … every night.
  7. Flirt.
  8. Decide who does what and then allow each person to do it well within the marriage.
  9. Give the other one freedom to soar and be their biggest cheerleader.
  10. Keep it spicy (you know what I mean).
  11. Never say anything negative about them.
  12. Dream together.
  13. Play together.
  14. Pray together.
  15. Don't have secrets.
  16. Establish boundaries with the opposite sex - not because you're so 'hot' or so 'irresistible' - (you aren't) - but because it honors your best friend and because it is right.
  17. Go on dates and hold hands. We did today - on day 10,950 (not including leap year days).
  18. Decide together how to spend your money.
  19. Don’t let your kids or your job become the priority.
  20. Say “I love you” often.
  21. Commit to God first and her/him as a close second.
... and enjoy the fruit of what the years bring. Here's to the first day of the next 30 ...

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011



God calls us to live wisely and well in circumstances that can’t always be understood or changed. In John 17, Jesus is meeting with His disciples for the last time before He is crucified. He is praying for them - and part of His prayer is: ‘Father, I’ve finished My work down here. This world has been no particular friend of mine. I’ve loved it, but it hasn’t really loved Me ... but I’m going to leave here shortly.’ Then, He said, probably to the dismay of His disciples, ‘But My disciples will be left in it.

Jesus was praying about the fact that He would be leaving them in a world that was hostile to the purposes of God -- and one of the things we have to accept if we’re going to be disciples of Jesus Christ is this: The environment we’ve been left in is an environment that will not necessarily be friendly to us being disciples of Christ.

What many of us seem to want is an environment that is pre-disposed and hospitable to God’s purposes, but it isn’t --- and it isn’t going to be. Jesus said it wouldn’t be friendly to us. Yet ... He has left us in it.

That’s the first thing. The second thing Jesus said was: ‘You are left in the world, but you are not of the world.’ In other words - the challenge was not only to be left in a world that was less than wonderful, but there was a clear distinction between the life of the disciple and the culture the disciple was living in.

So - I’m left in it ... I don’t have to like it, but I’m here. Therefore, I’m going to try to find as many ways as I can to totally withdraw from it. I’m going to find as many ways as possible to build a buffer between this hostile world and me. I’ll box myself in; I’ll circle the wagons in this present world. Right?

Not quite. Not of the world, yet in the world. That’s the second thing. Then Jesus said there was a third thing the disciples (and we) need to know. You are also going to be sent to the world.

And so Jesus gave us this three-legged stool - this tripod - that immediately puts great tension on the follower of Jesus Christ --- in the world, not of the world, but sent to the world.

If it were just a matter of being left in the world but not having to be concerned about being of it, then we could say, ‘OK, I’m left here - and there’s all kinds of disgusting stuff down here I know God doesn’t approve of -- so I’ll isolate myself from this cruel, nasty world.’

And believe it or not, it is relatively easy to do this in the American church today. This is one of the reasons so many churches have over-full menus of programs -- that, if you wanted to -- you could live most of your life in an Evangelical Christian privatized sub-cultural bubble. That is one of the reasons we believe in staying true to our focused mission and purpose at KFA of discipling and equipping thru Sunday morning and Wednesday night discipleship small groups as well as weekly life groups - because we believe God has also called us to lifestyles that are relational - one of our church values - which requires time for every believer. We’re not going to provide something for you every night of the week - we want you out in your neighborhood on mission.

So if you just concentrate on the not being of it part, you can become isolated from the world. And if you concentrate on the left in it part, you can become very unhappy with God for leaving you here in all this mess. And if you concentrate on the sent to it part, you can become over-interested in identifying with a culture that is very much anti-God. And it’s easy to do any one of those three.

But we’re not free to choose any one of those - we’re called to stand on the three-legged stool and hold these in some tension and balance ... in the world -- not of the world -- yet sent to the world.

We are called to be separated by our values - and yet to be in touch with our society by understanding it and having relationships so we can be agents of change in it. That is the daily challenge of the Christian disciple.

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


No one person leads another person to Christ. It may be that you eventually pray with someone who comes to faith or you may directly share the message of the Kingdom so someone makes a decision, but no one single person leads another to Jesus.

Other people dug up ground before you - others tilled that soil - some dropped seeds ahead of you - others watered. All the steps along the way were important.

We must never miss our true purpose as believers in Christ. We must never function as if our role is to convince the already convinced over and over again. I think when the day comes for me to stand before God, He'll ask me one singular question.

He won't ask me how big our choir was.
He won't ask how popular our church picnics were.
He won't ask what the size of our church budget or church building was.
He'll ask one important question: 'How many of My children did you bring home with you?'

Now is our time. We won't have another shot at this life. This is it. It's our run. We must never forget our assignment. Our energies, our passions, our strategies, our hearts, our planning, our activities must somehow always be connected to a soul.

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


We must be careful that we do not compartmentalize our passion. We can't become passionate about one-thing-and-only-one-thing and ignore the rest of the life God has called us to.

We can be in church whenever the doors are open. We can be diligent about prayer and Bible study. We can have read all the latest Christian best-sellers and hear nothing but Christian entertainment coming from our TVs, radios, CDs and internet.

All that is fine - but Christ-followers are called to be passionate about ALL of life. God didn't specially create 'certain church people' to live separately from others - or to live one life in church and another life outside of the church building.

God doesn't set His eyes only on the church either. His eyes roam to and fro across the nations, gazing at every single last one of us - looking for servants. He desires deeply to have community with you. If you ultimately follow your passion, it will lead you into the church building and lead you into community with believers - but then it will lead you into the world in which God has placed you. It might even lead you to Thailand - or Peru - or some other awesome and crazy place like that.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


'Whatever' is kind of one of those new annoying words/phrases people use for a variety of things these days. Kind of like 'kind of.'

'Whatever' can be used to mean - OK - I don't care - I don't know - yes - no - stop talking to me - go away - I'll take mine with cheese, please. Whatever.

The Bible uses 'whatever' in the same way - kind of.

Colossians 3:23, 24 tells us: "Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ."

'Whatever' is pretty broad there - like we use it today.

Whatever includes anything you must do - your responsibilities as a husband / wife / parent / child / citizen / employee / employer - whatever you must do, do it for God.

Whatever includes anything you choose to do - when you're not on the clock - at home - at leisure - when nobody's looking - during R&R -- do it for God.

Whatever means anything you're gifted to do, do it for God.

It means anything you're commanded to do - at the very least think the Ten Commandments as well as the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:36-40. Do it for God.

Whatever includes fulfilling your life purpose. Do it for God.

So whatever you do, DO IT. For God. And not just kind of.

And be blessed.

Monday, June 13, 2011


I saw a bumper sticker today - one I've seen hundreds of times before. It said, 'Carpe Diem.' That means, of course, 'Seize the day.'

That implies immediacy because the day, after all, is fleeting, isn't it? One moment of hesitation and ... it is gone.

But if you revise that bumper sticker just slightly, it could say: 'Carpe Deum,' or 'Seize God.' Immediately ... and don't let go.

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


One of the critical questions for those of us who have committed our lives to Christ is: 'Do I live each day actually trusting Him as my Savior?'

The Biblical idea of salvation is far more than saying a prayer and getting somewhere good after you die. It intersects your whole life - all of it - every relationship - every need and care - every problem - and everything good as well.

We have to be careful not to fall back to self-reliance after we come to faith - at the point where we said we would follow Him forever - when we said we would 'take up a cross and deny ourselves.' That's the direct opposite of self-reliance.

That means we can't look so much to self-improvement theories; we need to look to Jesus. If our marriage is hurting, we can try everything under the sun to fix it and make things right, but Jesus is where ultimate answers lie. Counselors can help; doctors can help; pastors and small groups can help. Jesus uses all those. But the decisive channel has to do with our primary trust. Our PRIMARY trust. When I struggle, in whom do I put my primary and fundamental trust? In myself? In my family? In some professional? Or in Jesus?

And be blessed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


I was recently in
Morocco and, of course, had to pick up some goods for me and my family members. I bought some teapots, jewelry, knives (for the guys), candles, cloth placemats and a leather satchel (for me).

During the process I had to haggle to get them all for a price something short of highway robbery. I've never enjoyed the haggling process and I don't think - being such a nice guy - that I'm very good at it. Be it in any foreign country or here, I just don't like it.

Fortunately about the only place in the good ol' U.S. of A. where one still has to do this - other than at garage sales - is when you buy a new or used car.

I got a different car late last year (see October 22, 2010 blog) and I'll just tell you, I wish the price on the sticker in the showroom was quite simply what you had to pay. You don't go up to the cashier at Kohl's and say, 'I'll give ya $7.95 for this turtleneck' when the tag says $24.95 - but you have to do that at the car lot and it just seems like such a waste of good deodorant.

I'd just like to dispense with all of that and walk out with something fair to all concerned - something that doesn't depreciate to the value of a can opener once I drive it off the lot.

Not to mention, so many car ads seem misleading. I've gone into dealerships that offered, for instance, $119 a month for a car that looked pretty exciting according to the picture - only to get there and realize that the $119 didn't include the 'extras' - like a back seat or a steering wheel.

So the haggling begins. And I stink at it. And if you're not careful you can walk out with a vehicle you never intended on buying but did because you felt bad for the poor salesperson - whose sixth child needed braces really badly - and you ended up with something that cost $400 a month over a period of only six years. Lucky you. Lucky like the guest list of the Hindenburg lucky.

I'm sure my picture has been posted in some dark back room of a car dealership in something they probably call the Hall of Suckers.

I'm glad we don't have to haggle with God for the gifts He wants to give us. If He promises bread, He doesn't bait-and-switch that with a stone. It's true and real.

Next time I go buy a car, I'm going to take someone with me who is a ringer for this haggling thing. If you'd like to put in for the job, let me know.

And be blessed.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I would suggest, as Pastor Wayne Cordeiro says, that we 'live heart first.'

That's the opposite of living 'image first.' That means doing what we do - serving, working, living - with real and true passion. That means determining to travel down pathways God invites us to travel, rather than just walking down the ones we prefer.

Having 'heart' doesn't exclude competency or excellence within the church. We can use 'heart' as an excuse for being sloppy. But we don't want the 'image' to wear away and have people find we've just been lip-synching the whole time. We can have some crooked teeth and everyone may not sing with perfect pitch, but that doesn't keep people away -- because we have 'heart.'

And be blessed.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I love church. I love our church. At KFA we have stolen a phrase from comedian Tim Hawkins, after he was with us last year -- 'The church is now leaving the building.'

It's a great phrase. I know the term 'church' can also be appropriately used for the gathering point - the place - the building where people meet each week for instruction, connection, worship, equipping. Sure. I get that. And actually, that definition is also correct.

I am not asking that we forget that purpose of the church. We have taught at KFA that we have five purposes. Four of them are: Passionate Worship, Enthusiastic Service, Personal Growth and Authentic Community. You can find these, along with our mission and values at

But there is a 5th purpose -- Offering Hope. If the other four purposes are the main identity of the church - what we primarily absorb our time with - then we've missed the point because of the stated mission of Jesus - 'to seek and save those who are lost.'

It's pretty simple - if it was HIS mission, it has to be OURS. And when a church forgets her identity - or she becomes an end in herself - and the pioneer spirit is quenched - then WE ultimately become the lost ones.

We must never lose the mission -- seeking to live out our truest passion and purpose to reach a dying world for Jesus. Once pioneers become settlers, the end is near. The church must always - always - always - always - be a means to something greater than itself.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


We have to remember at all times who we are as a church and what God has put us on
Highway 50 in Kenosha to be/do. We may be called to do several things actually, but at the core of who we are is to be a group of people who are focused on people far from God. Our mission is Jesus' mission - 'to seek and save the lost.'

That's why our KFA mission statement is: 'Making it easy to find and experience God.' That is not to say we believe it will be ultra-easy for everyone to come to faith given their bondages and ruts and worldly entanglements; that is not to say 'taking up a cross to follow Jesus' will always be a snap; but our goal as KFA-ers is to live lives in such a way that people will see us walking thru difficult circumstances and facing uncertain times with such grace and peace and strength that they will be drawn to faith because of our lives - and in that way, we will make it easier for them to find and experience God.

Our focus must remain clear. When a church becomes busy with 'stuff,' it often believes it's doing the right thing. A church can be filled with activities and meetings and songs and margin-less calendars that don't lead anywhere near spiritual transformation.

A church's focus must never be more about 'come here' than it is about 'go out there.' It must never be about our own music, our own films, our own books or our own products. Some of those are helpful in educating and ministering to believers, but we must never become steeped in our own Christian sub-culture. We must never become 'safe.' We must never become 'settled.'

God asks that we be influencers in a 'crooked and perverse generation, in which we shine like stars in the universe.' (Philippians 2:14, 15)

And be blessed.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


I would guess everyone reading this is guilty at one point or another of harlotry toward God. (How's that for an opening blog sentence?) We are guilty of allowing our hearts to run after other lovers. Everyone has gotten his kicks from ambition - money - power - sex -- you know what it is -- you name it.

Yet God has not given up on you. He has not quit His wife of harlotry. He has not divorced her. In fact - despite the unfaithfulness, God promises to take you alone into the wilderness so He can show His love to you - harlot though you have been.

He says, 'Even though you’ve been so unfaithful, we’ll start over the way it was at the engagement - when you thought I was worth trusting - when you’d follow me anywhere - we’ll start over.'

The first half of 2011 can be wiped away. There can be paradise between you and God again. “I’ve always kept My Word,” God says. “I’ve always been faithful ... now you can be too.” He wants you back - He wants you all the way back.

It’s not: ‘OK, you can come live in the house, but because of what you’ve done and your terrible mistakes, that’s about as far as you’re going to be allowed to get - keep your distance - stay over there away from me. You take your meals over there; I’ll take mine over here.‘

No. God will not hold you at a distance. He wants you all the way back - the conversation - the affection - the intimacy - the togetherness - the most profound union imaginable will be granted to you ... if you will just come home.

That’s the meaning of the Gospel. God comes to welcome back His wife of harlotry. Even though His creation - the people He has made with His own hands have strayed so far and chased after other lovers, He sends His one and only Son, Jesus, to buy her back again at very great cost to Himself. And in spite of it all, He lovingly and graciously promises her great hope and safety and a future -- and He says, “We can start over.” We can start over.

God is relentlessly pursuing a wife of prostitution - that’s us - and the good news is that He knows we’ve sold ourselves for a song and a dance and yet He stands here today and draws you back. It is the most encouraging thing you will hear all year long.

God has a completely irrational love for you. Don’t try to make sense of it. Just accept it. He loves you and He keeps making a way for us to come back to Him over and over and over again, even though we have cheated on Him. That’s the story of Jesus.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I'm just in this track (rut) right now
(see last two blog postings) with the cities thing. I'll probably move on after this one --- but here are the top ten cities in my own present state of Wisconsin that I would kind of like to visit someday ...

Eagle River
Prairie Du Chein (I just like to SAY this city's name - I feel all French and everything when I do.)
The Apostle Islands
Black River Falls (I've driven by it on the interstate, but that's about it.)
Iron Mountain
St. Croix Falls
Platteville (I don't know; I just needed 10.)

Maybe tomorrow I'll list the top ten cities I'd like to visit in Kenosha County -- maybe not.

And be blessed.