Thursday, September 29, 2011


We've all been caught in the big lie. It started at or before age 4 when we put our hand in the chocolate chip cookie jar when mom wasn't looking and had that nice smear of warm chocolate chip on our cheek when she asked us if we had snuck a cookie.

'Ummm ... no, Mommy. Why?'

That temptation to avoid the truth doesn't abate as we grow. Ask a teenager. Opportunities are endless. Homework, friends, dating, Facebook pages, money, drinking, sex. You could add more subjects to the list. The challenge remains: Should I lie to my parents?

Fast forward. You're an adult now. But we've conquered that now, right? Well -- not exactly.

We live in a world that provides little support for truthfulness. We're told by everyone that we shouldn't tell fibs and yet our world, in countless ways, seems to commend deception.

'Just slip that extra receipt in with your legit business expenses. You know they'll never notice.'

'Don't tell your husband what you spent on that dress. He won't find out.'

'Surrounded by so many versions of truth, we can't help but revise our own concept of it.'

We must be a community that encourages truth - models truth - and helps one another clarify what it means to speak truth in love.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Sometimes I catch Bill O'Reilly on his late night show, 'The Factor.' One of the show's themes is: 'The spin stops here.'

We all know spin when we see it and hear it, unless we're the one doing it. Then we seem blind and deaf to it.

I remember growing up to stories about the legendary
George Washington. It seems he chopped down his father's prized cherry tree and then freely admitted he'd done it. I, along with the rest of my classmates, was encouraged to be truthful, just like young George.

Had I been a little brighter at the age of seven, when this story was first told to me - and hearing my teacher say that little George was only six years old when he chopped the tree down - I might have been suspicious that a first grader would have the power to hatchet down a full-grown cherry tree. Duh.

' ... how deeply deception can become rooted ... in our own souls ... '

But no matter -- because this story never happened. There is nothing in the family memoirs or history to suggest that either the chopping or the confession was anything but fabricated.

It was an invented story, albeit edifying as well as memorializing - but alas, spin.

It might serve to illustrate how deeply deception can become rooted, not only in a culture, but in our own souls - and I'm not talking about cherry trees any longer.

We need to be watchful for 'spin' coming out of us. It's easy to spot it oozing from someone else; not so easy to spot it gushing from us. If we are to live lives of Jesus-style honesty, in speech, heart and action, we must spurn 'spin.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


We invited everyone at KFA to the Servolution Expo in the gym after services today. There, set up at booths, were local ministries that people could pick from to give their volunteer time. Some of the ministries represented were:
First Step
Care Net
United Way
Shalom Center
Genesis House
Youth for Christ
Salvation Army
Women's Horizon
Royal Family Kids
Walkin' in my Shoes
Sidewalk Sunday School Success Center

The various ministries of KFA also had their own booths for volunteers to peruse. It was a great day.

If the Gospel is true, it changes everything because it demands radical compassion - it demands radical service -- we aren’t living for ourselves, friends. We’ve died to all that. We live for eternal pleasures. We live for others.

This is the Jesus who commissions you and me to selflessly serve. In His day - 3 million people ... but today? 4.5 billion people who do not know this reward ... and how many right here in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois?

'For God's sake ... you are not your own, Christ-follower.'

The teachings of Jesus go against what most of us have learned. His way is not our way. His path does not parallel ours. God has not shrewdly created many paths that lead to the same destination. Every path but His is a dead end. And there is a reason His way is different from ours and from all the rest. It’s because He is different than all the rest.

His path is the path of servanthood - there is no two ways about it. Jesus said, ‘The Son of Man didn’t come to be served, but to serve - and to give His life a ransom for many.’ His path ... is our path.

I love our church - and when I say that, I don't mean I'm in love with our building. I like our building just fine - it's a nice building - but it's the church, the people, that I love. We have an amazing church -- but as great as it is, what could bring us down ... is a lack of serving. 'Servolution' is a way of life ... and it is the life of the Kingdom.

Jesus said to His disciples - and He says to us -- ‘The way I’ve lived, the way I’ve loved, the way I’ve cared for you, the way I’ve cared for hurting people -- I call you to do the same. Just as I have loved and served you, you should love and serve each other. That’s how people will recognize that you are followers of Mine.’

We read in the book of Acts that the early members of the church were called ‘Christians,’ not because they had given themselves that name, but because the people who saw them in action gave it to them. They gave it to them because they saw them emulating the life and service of Jesus.

That’s the call to us today. You are not your own, Christ-follower. There is far too much at stake. For God's sake, and for the sake of billions of people who are headed to an eternity without Christ, tens of thousands of them right here in our own city ... you are not your own. The Gospel demands that we serve.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Today was a great day serving alongside some KFA-ers for the Kenosha Day of Action at the Shalom Center.

I ended up painting a bathroom. I thought it was interesting that painting is one of my least favorite personal upkeep type of things to do - and there I was - painting. It took me about 15 minutes to get over that while I was on my knees rolling blue paint onto the wall. I started praying for the ministry of the Shalom Center and that brought me to my servant senses.

I'm constantly amazed how often it seems to be about us instead of about others. Unfortunately, it started being about me today -- fortunately, it didn't end there.

I think sometimes we get so consumed with the trivial -- the things we gripe about ... there are thousands of people headed for eternities separated from God all around us every day. Let’s have our emotions wrapped up in that - not in who won the latest game - who got the credit for this or who was responsible for that. Those are all artificial battles.

Let's ask God to give us a consuming passion to serve others.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


I was asked a question on the blog yesterday and thought I’d just address it here today. Pride and low self-esteem are two sides of the same coin. They are at either end of a continuum that ranges from ‘I don’t need God,’ to ‘God doesn’t need me.’" Neither is true.

Many think the person who is arrogant, bragging and prideful actually believes their boasts. But arrogance, bragging and pride are not caused by too much self-confidence but by a lack of it. In that sense, their low self-esteem reveals their pride. If they were truly confident in who they were they would not have to be arrogant or boastful; they wouldn't have to tear others down in order to build themselves up.

A person who is sure of themselves doesn't have to prove anything. They are the opposite of that; they are humble.

Think back to high school. It wasn't the kid with the great self-esteem who picked on people and thought they were better than everyone. It was the kid who was longing for acceptance and popularity that took special pride in his looks or social status or athletic ability or money or circle of friends. He was proud and arrogant because down deep he was completely insecure with low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is what tempts us to the sin of pride.

In the Bible there are no instances of God encouraging someone to have a better "self-esteem.” But there are many places where God tells people not to think more highly of themselves than they should. Unfortunately for modern psychology, the Bible does not seem to support the particular idea that mankind needs to think more of himself.

We were each created in the image of God. This means we have a certain dignity, given to us not because of who we are, but because God was our Creator. But in and of ourselves, we have no real value ... we are merely the dust of the ground. But because He loves us, we become valuable.

Two things must be kept in view for us to live the lives God has created us for. We must always be mindful of our dignity and our depravity, but to go too far in either direction takes us into a path of pride.

When we lean to the dignity side, we become arrogant, and it becomes obvious we are dealing with a sin of pride. But leaning towards the depravity side also is a matter of pride.

Those with low self-esteem hate themselves for many reasons, all of which are focused on themselves. Sometimes, in order to prove how much they hate themselves, they respond in verbally, mentally or physically self-abusive ways.

But God knows us and He has already provided the cure. Jesus came to earth and paid the price for our sins on the cross. Each soul - yours and mine - had a price sticker on it that declared it the most valuable thing in the universe because it was bought by the pain and suffering and blood of Christ.

When we deny with our low self-esteem that we have value, we are in essence being too proud to accept the value God has placed on us. Instead of merely being grateful that God took someone who had so many flaws and weaknesses and yet loved us enough to die for us, we tell Him that His love doesn't mean anything or that He is lying when He tells us He loves us.

To climb out of this trap, we must retrain ourselves to see the truth. God says He loves us. Is He a liar? No. That means when you feel you are worthless, then your feelings are contradicting what God has said and either your feelings are a liar or God is a liar. Which do you think is more reliable?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I believe it was James Dobson who said, 'Your image of yourself isn't what you think you are. It isn't even what other people think you are. It is what you think other people think you are.'

A majority of folks have either an over- or under-inflated view of themselves. Our human tendencies toward both pride or low self-esteem (which may really be pride) is legendary. We have all acquired a mish-mash of both good and bad thinking.

Our bad thinking needs to be changed. The Bible calls that process 'renewal.' That means trading in old perceptions and opinions and ideas and thoughts and attitudes for a brand new set that God develops in us.

That is nurtured by reading The Book and meditating on what you read. Out of that, gradually, comes a change in speech patterns, thoughts, opinions, perceptions and behaviors. As that gets renewed, we find out our relationships with others also becomes renewed. As that becomes renewed, our immediate world becomes renewed.

And it all begins in your mind - where you are not what you think you are. You can not become the person God created you to be by remaining who you are.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The Briscoes - former pastors at Elmbrook Church in Milwaukee - spoke at our area pastors meeting today. Both of them are amazing communicators. Here are some takeaways from today's session:

- What is the secret to a long and happy marriage? Keep your promises ----- and live a long time.

- We say 'balance' between marriage and ministry is vitally important. But Webster's Dictionary says "balance" means maintaining an equilibrium between two opposing forces. Are marriage and ministry opposing forces? They are not. Both are ordained by God; both are predicated on service; both are motivated by love.

- View your marriage as a ministry God has called you to.

And be blessed.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I've never met a person who woke up one morning going: 'I think I'd like to live in some turmoil today ... I think I'd be OK with the whole world collapsing around me today ... I think it would be great to have the rug pulled out from under my feet today.'

We don't need to say that or think it because that kind of thing seems to find us on its own. We don't have to look that hard for it.

Life is that way. There is no opportune time for trouble to hit. We walk blindly into hornets' nests and find ourselves nursing painful stings, vowing never to get hurt like that again, only to find we don't have the power to keep those dangers out of our path.

"God intends us to soar like eagles ... "

But this is exactly the point at which God ends up meeting us. He intends us to soar like eagles but we have so often become earthbound, miserable creatures who have lost the instincts to be who God created us to be.

None of us are capable of making it on our own efforts. We need God. Why should Jesus have endured suffering and death if we could do it alone?

And be blessed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I’ll admit I’m having a birthday later this week. No gifts, please. I’m OK with getting older these days. I still make a big ridiculous ruckus about it to people like I really do care, but it’s just to throw them off kilter - I’ve actually come to terms with it.

The only thing is - it happens to you a lot earlier than you think it will - getting older, I mean. I’m discovering there are actually a lot of positive things about it. I’ll write a blog about that when I think of what they are.

I know this ... my sleep schedule has changed. I’m waking up these days at least by 6 a.m. unassisted. I never used to do that. Time was I could sleep till noon with the neighbor jackhammering his driveway and I'd ‘zzzzz’ right thru it. Not now. I don’t even need to set an alarm as long as I don’t want to get up before sunrise.

My diet has changed as well. When I was 22, the word ‘diet’ was a word people who wanted to lose weight used. He wanted to be thinner so he’d go on a diet. She wanted to fit in her summer swimming suit so she’d go on a diet. My young metabolism was a beauty to behold, so I never thought much about diet. I’m the guy who would eat seven HoHos followed by a small bag of Oreos topped off with three S’Mores - before breakfast. My grandmother used to make me a nightly 9 p.m. chocolate shake just before bed and I’d sleep like a baby - till noon the next day - and wake up as skinny as the day before. A diet is what overweight people went on.

These days ‘diet’ refers to every last morsel I let past my lips. I have to eat right and work out just to break even. I confess I made a whole sermon out of eating ten tacos at one sitting last year, but it was all for show - even though I really did do it. But I lost my lunch two days later.

When I was younger, ‘joint’ was the place down the street that I wasn’t supposed to ever go into - flim flam types frequented ‘joints.’ Fifteen years later, ‘joints’ were something completely different. People rolled them. Today, I’m realizing I actually have joints. When I wake up in the morning - by sunrise - some days I think, ‘Wow, it can’t be that thing I did yesterday. I’ve been doing that for years, so it can’t be that.’ There’s a grimace in your joints. As D. O'Brien says: 'Your joints used to be your friend, but now they’ve turned against you. Twenty years ago if I told my doctor that I had a sharp pain he’d say: ‘We’d better see what that’s about and do something to fix that.’ Now he says: ‘Well, that’s just life.

So I’m having a birthday this coming week. Kind of proud of it. Yep. Don’t really care. Don’t care that I’m getting a little older. Not at all. Not one bit. I’m going to bed now. Sunrise come early.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Today we hosted
Mark Waltz of and Granger Community Church at a First Impressions seminar at our church (

So good.

Here is a download of some of the thoughts given:

- We forget how much we have in common with our neighbors. They were created by the same God as we were. They have a purpose, just like you, though they may not have accepted it or know it yet.

- A guest will show up at your church with an expectation of being valued - just as they would if they showed up at a department store.

- Our job is to meet people right where they are. And to do that, we have to decide if it’s about us or if it’s about them.

- We don’t care why they come. We just want them to come back.

- What do you want guests talking about on Monday morning after they visit you on the weekend?

They didn’t hound me for money.

I want to go back next week.

I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something special going on there.

My child liked it.

They were friendly.

It wasn’t boring.

I could fit in.

It was clean and taken care of.

I didn’t feel judged.

There was a feeling of security.

Something related to my life.

- Identify the distractions before your guests are distracted.

- Think ‘one chance.’ There is no guarantee the person who comes thru the doors this week will ever come thru them again. When that person stopped going to church, they just didn’t stop going to First Baptist. They stopped going anywhere. We don’t want to be that church.

- RED rules are rules that cannot be broken. BLUE rules exist to maintain a smooth operation and overall organized system. There should be far less red rules than blue rules. “Use your judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.”

- Treat people with high value and respect in all situation.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Who is in control of your life?

That question is so important.

If you are controlled by your present situation, you can - at any moment - spin completely out of control. Those circumstances can change - up or down - in a heartbeat.

If some evil power is in control, you're in trouble.

If someone else holds power over you, that person may eventually disappoint or let you down in some way - because people are human.

If you are in control, let me remind you that you are also human.

But what if God is in control of your life? Then there is every reason to hope - every reason to feel confident - every reason to trust - every reason to move forward with great reassurance - every reason to believe for the best.

With God in control.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I picked up a person walking by the side of the road today. He was swinging a red gas can in his hand pretty good as he went. Because of that, I surmised he was walking to get gas, rather than walking back to his car. (Did you catch my keen powers of observation and analysis there?) Where he was walking was miles from the nearest gas station and I knew he would have a long hike each way, not to mention a very tired arm and shoulder by the time he got back with the full gas can.

I did what we all do in that moment. I thought about stopping to pick him up, but drove on. I was in a hurry (aren't we always?) and it's the kind of thing you see on a regular basis. And you just don't stop.

Within 15 seconds, conviction was talking to me. I decided to do a U-turn and go back to see if I could help. I ended up driving a few miles to the nearest station with him and it gave us a chance to talk. God opened doors of opportunity for faith-sharing in those moments.

When we pray for doors to open, God opens them. Let's keep on praying that prayer.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Jesus unapologetically and with no uncertainty whatsoever calls every one of His devoted followers to acts of servanthood. He says, ‘I want it to be a distinctive of those who bear My name. I’m asking My followers to look beyond their own petty concerns about status and titles and positions and wants and desires and turfs and preferences and what WE need -- and take up a towel.’

Because this is one of the most important decisions we’re going to make in our lives here on Earth. Are we going to keep looking for ways and shortcuts to gain the all-American dream of more money, more power, more applause, more fame, whatever it is? Do we think if we can just successfully gamble on the right box or curtain and ultimately get more, more, more, more, that we’ll feel blessed and live with a greater sense of inner satisfaction and peace and fulfillment? Is it more likely to come through those things?

Or is it more likely to come through towel bearing? This is fundamentally one of the most important questions we will ever ask ourselves or resolve in our spirits.

We have some amazing volunteers who serve at KFA. I am thankful every single day for each of them. They serve with boundless joy and hopeful energy. The Kingdom of God cannot advance thru the efforts of paid church staff alone. There is a ceiling on what they can accomplish. The church is the hope of the world, but that hope rests on the willingness of people who will allow themselves to be mobilized and used by God with great enthusiasm.

One of the official purposes of KFA is ENTHUSIASTIC SERVICE. It’s taken from Colossians 3:23 where Paul says - “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.”

WIthout the volunteers, countless wounds would not be tended, grieving and hurting people would not be comforted, broken marriages would not be restored, lonely people would not be embraced, students would not be nurtured, cups of cold water would never be offered in Jesus’ name. Not without the volunteers.

Thank you for serving.

And be blessed.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today, ten years after, we remember ...

And at left, the new Freedom Tower, scheduled to take the place of the World Trade Center towers in 2013 - at a symbolic height of 1,776 feet, taller than the originals ...

Never give up.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I love the way Mark Scandrette tells a story.  The following is from his hand and pen in the book, "Practicing the way of Jesus."  Very meaningful and powerful.  

A man once began a very long journey. Along the way, he happened upon a bag of gold. The bag was heavy so he hoisted it onto his shoulder and continued on his way, hunched to one side carrying the heavy sack.

Walking past a town, he spied a beautiful woman sitting on a rounded stone. They chatted for awhile and as they did, his heart skipped a beat, but after a time, she turned away. The stone she had sat on reminded him of her beauty and his longing for her, so he decided to take it with him. Bending forward with the heavy sack of gold on one shoulder, he began to roll the stone in front of him. Down the road he went, hunched over to one side with the bag of gold and stooping to roll the stone with his other arm.

At a desolate place in the road he saw a pig wander past, oinking. He always wanted to taste a juicy pig and since there was no one around to claim it, he claimed it for himself. The pig would not be led by leash so he tied the pig to his ankle and began dragging it with one leg down the road. There he went, hunched to one side with the heavy bag of gold, stooping to roll the stone with his other arm and dragging the pig tied to his ankle behind him.

One day, you too, my child, will take on the shape of your journey, by what you wish for and what you carry.

Walking past a field, he spied a blackberry bush. Famished from his travels, he greedily stopped to eat the berries, all the while scratching his face and hands on their thorns. Soon his teeth and mouth became stained purple and his hands became dark and sticky. Down the road he went, hunched over to one side with the bag of gold, stooping to roll the stone and dragging the pig behind him, his hands and face sticky with dark purple juice.

He continued on for many days - hunching, stooping, dragging and stained. One night he stopped to sleep but awoke to discover that all he had carried had been stolen - the gold, the stone and the pig. At daybreak he continued on his sad journey, but now empty-handed and free from his burdens -- but by force of habit, he continued to walk as if encumbered by the bag of gold, the stone and the pig, and still stained on face and hands by the blackberry juice.

A young boy watched as the man limped past, mesmerized by his peculiar gait and appearance. The boy turned to his grandmother and asked: "What makes that man look so odd and why does he walk so strangely?"

Looking at the man as he passed, the grandmother said: "The road is straight but the man is crooked, made so by all he tried to carry and the hunger he could never satisfy. One day, you too, my child, will take on the shape of your journey, by what you wish for and what you carry."

The invitation of the Master is to leave behind what can only make us weary and enter the rest of the Kingdom of love. We begin like the man, who though free from his burdens, continued with limp and stoop, scratched and stained.

We have been invited into a life with Christ to discover our identity as the Father's beloved, to find our security in the abundance God provides, to find freedom and peace beyond the limits of our understanding.

We are on a pilgrimage that will last until our final breaths. One day, our lives will have consisted of what we have wished for and what we have carried.

And be blessed.

(* My deepest thanks to the astute reader who caught the unintentional, yet egregious error in this post - and for notifying me and giving me the opportunity to correct it.  I am in your debt.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Some people are drawn to thoroughbreds. Others are drawn to mongrels. But almost nobody is drawn to misbehaving weirdos with a special gift for total oddness. Except Jesus. Only problem with that is, He expects us to do as He did.

Jesus' lineage was full of skeletons. So were many of His friends and acquaintances. He so surrounded Himself with the misfits and marginalized of His day that He made it a field day for the gossips of Palestine.

'If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.' -- George Bernard Shaw

If you bring it down to today and the world we live in, the best thing you can say about some of the people in the category Jesus hung out with is that they are round pegs in square holes (or vice versa). They don't do well in group conversations. A college education was not something they ever pursued or frankly, ever dreamed about. When the thought of exercise strikes them, they quickly lie down and elevate their feet until the thought passes. They don't pay their bills. They're messed up.

The truth is, we all are -- messed up, that is. All of us have a tragic flaw or a fatal weakness - or five. Not one of us is without spot or blemish. That messed up 'other' guy over there isn't cared for less by Christ than you.

If Jesus is to be believed and followed, there is no 'other.' There is only 'oneanother.' There are no outsiders because nobody is outside of God's love reach. Jesus taught us to see others not as 'others,' but as 'oneofus.'

The oneanother connection cannot be broken, it can only be denied.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Ministry is changing. There is a church in the Denver area called Scum of the Earth Church. I'm not kidding. Their website is

The name comes from I Corinthians 4:13 in reference to the ministry of apostles: 'We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.'

The church is ten years old and has about 200 people who call it home, mostly young adults. The messages on their website are by a lot of different people on subjects people wants to know about today ... homosexuality ... submission ... why do bad things happen? ... temperance ... eros vs. agape love ... judging ... female sexuality ...

They encourage skeptics and seekers.

Their largest service happens on Sunday night, where they gather for a meal in the middle of the service. The smaller, morning service begins with breakfast together.

They are not a cult. They are not radicals - except that they radically love Jesus and those who are far from Him. Ministry in 2011 and beyond.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


When you read the biographies of the great saints down thru the centuries, you'll find one common thread for sure.  They weren't lazy.

It's one thing I've never been accused of - and we have to say that, don't we?  We have to remind everybody that we're not lazy, just to make sure they (and we) know it.  It's one of those things, above all, that we don't want to be labelled as.

'We can be hard at work and still be lazy...'

There are a lot of ways to be lazy, though.  We can be work lazy (I'm not though).  But we can also be mind-and-soul lazy.  Funny how, if we had to pick one, we would probably rather be categorized as 'mind' lazy rather than 'work' lazy (I'm neither one though, just so you know).

But sometimes we neglect the work of feeding our minds and hearts.  We stop reading - we stop dreaming - we stop thinking - we stop visioning - we stop resting - we mind coast.  And in the end, the mind starvation reaches our souls.

It is ironic that we can be hard at work and still be lazy - in the same way that we can be 'body still' before God and yet active.

We have to continue having conversations that feed our spirits.  We have to take care of our hearts by meditating on the things of God.  We have to read things that challenge and encourage our minds.  Because there is way more than one way to be lazy.

And be blessed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


A day in the life spent at the most excellent Minnesota State Fair in Minneapolis with the whole fam.  It doesn't get any better than being together just like this . . .

Today's menu, in part:
Pork Chop on a Stick
West Indies Spicy Beef
Corn on the Cob
Egyptian Koushari
Fried Pickles
Creamy Chocolate Shake
Fried Apple Pie with Chocolate Ice Cream
A bucketful of warm Chocolate Chip Cookies and a bottomless cup of fresh cold Milk

And be blessed.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Did you know there was such a thing as the Slow Food Movement?  It was launched over a decade ago as an act of resistance against the negative effects of globalization and the loss of cultural diversity.  

J. Pattison says the term 'Slow Food' was inspired by a rally against the opening of a McDonald's restaurant near the Spanish Steps in Rome.  Apparently the crowd present chanted over and over: 'We don't want fast food; we want slow food!'  (And if you've ever been to Rome, you would most certainly agree.)  

"Plant sequoias."

Slow Food isn't the only 'slow' campaign out there.  There is Slow Money, Slow Art, Slow Gardening and Slow Parenting.  While all these efforts differ in scope and strategy, they have something in common: they are in opposition to the 'cult of speed.'

Fast is busy.  It is aggressive, hurried, impatient, stress-filled, quantity-over-quality.  Slow is ... well ... slow.  It is reflective, calm, careful, still, quality-over-quantity.  Pattison says the church in North America seems susceptible to the speed demon.  

J. Dodson says, 'Time is a gift, not a burden.'  We may, as a church, begin work we won't see the end of. 'Plant sequoias,' as someone has said.

A Slow Church philosophy allows us to settle into the good, long labor of spiritual formation.  It is not growth in a microwave, but in a crock pot.  

I know there are people who come to KFA on Sunday morning at 10:30 looking for a deep spiritual experience, but they want it within the half-hour.  They want a light show, some great music and a dynamic speaker.  Boom.  Done.  But the 'walk' is about taking time over time.

Our challenge is taking well-meaning, great-hearted believers and helping them get depth and strength, sustained thru good times and bad -- to be faithful in whatever circumstances.  And that takes time.  Some days it's one step forward, two steps back.  It takes time.  Slow down.

And be blessed.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I continue to struggle with being a bubble resident. It turns out the Christian bubble is pretty thick and way tougher than most bubbles I've seen.

Person A will ask: 'Shouldn't we be close friends with other Christians?'

Person B: 'I just pray my kids will have Christian friends. It's so easy for them to be polluted by unbelievers.'

Person C: 'Doesn't the Bible say we're supposed to be salt and light in the world? How can we be light if we're in places that are light when we get there?'

The bubble may be one of those places that allows believers to be believers without being tested. Living outside of it might be one of those things we have to commit to day by day. Even though we know it is Biblically best for us to live outside the bubble, we may continually experience tugs back to its safety, comfort and convenience.

Let's make a pact to keep popping the bubble.

And be blessed.