Wednesday, February 29, 2012


How can you not blog about February 29th today?  It only comes around once every four years and so it's the most amazing day on the calendar.

I hear that at our Christian Life School ( they've mixed up the schedule for the students today.  Nice.

Some of my furniture was re-arranged when I came in today, so we're on a roll here in the KFA community on February 29th.  Keys to my office are highly limited, by the way, so the perpetrator list is quite short - just sayin.'

As for me, I plan to leap around all day.  Get it? 

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It was a very cool pleasure to speak at Cru at the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater this evening in front of over a hundred college students.  They asked me to speak on the subject of feelings vs. truth in the life of a fully devoted follower of Christ.

Great to be part of your worship time, Cru.  Enjoyed it very much.  Thanks for the invitation.

And be blessed.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Rock Church in San Diego recently posted a MANIFESTO for the new year, indicating that what had previously worked for their church would no longer work.  Some of the 'changes' were:

-- Their interactions would ooze creativity, dialog, innovation, strategy and support.  There would be no room for backbiting, complaining, cynicism or 'toxic immaturity.'

-- They would continue taking risks, think differently and move beyond existing comfort zones of thought and behavior.

-- They would grow more self-aware and others-aware and feedback would be marked by mutual truth and kindness.

-- They would flatten lines of authority.  The best idea would win, no matter who initiated it.

-- They would work harder and smarter, with greater discipline and focus.

--  They would not tolerate apathy.

Love it.  Thanks, Rock Church, for sharing.

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Today's blog is a follow up on yesterday's about healthy church trends.  How many of them typify KFA (  Here we go:

They have pastors who love the members.  
This love is obvious in their words - their actions - and their pastoral concern.  It does not mean that a pastor is present for every need of a member of a church member; that is impossible.  It does mean there is a system in place that cares for all the members.  Above all, though, you can sense intuitively when you walk into these churches that the pastor deeply loves the members, even those who may often oppose him.

They allow their pastors to spend time in message prep. 
The research confirms that pastors in healthier churches spend more time in message preparation than those in other churches.  For that to take place, the congregation must understand the primacy of preaching, and they must be willing for their pastor to forego some areas of activity and ministry so he can spend time in the Word.

They have a clear process of making disciples.  
They have a clear purpose and model of moving the members toward greater levels of commitment toward Christ.

They do less better.
These churches realize they can't be all things to all people and they don’t have such a flurry of activities that they hurt rather than help families.
They move members into ongoing small group life.  
A person is almost guaranteed to leave the church or become inactive in the church if he or she does not get involved in 'doing life' with others.

And be blessed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


I read about some trends for healthy churches awhile ago and wanted to share them with you.  The second half is coming tomorrow.  How many of these are embodied by KFA ( in your view?

They have a high view of Scripture.  
Healthy churches have leaders and members who believe the totality and inerrancy of the Bible.

They read the Bible daily.
We can no longer assume that all church people read their Bibles every day.  It was found that the highest correlative factor in practicing other healthy spiritual disciplines was reading the Bible every day.

They have a high priority on being outward-focused. 

This priority shows up in short-term mission trips, in care and adoption of the orphaned and widowed, in giving to causes, and in the number of people in the church who commit their lives to reaching others, both near and far, with the Gospel of Christ.  The sharing of the Good News is also natural and consequential.  There are constant reminders of this priority of reaching others for Christ.

They have a missional community presence.  

This is not quite the same as the priority above.  The leadership and members do not look at their community as a pool for prospects.  Rather, they love their community.  They serve their community. They have deep relationships in their community.

They have membership that matters.  
These healthy churches are high expectation churches.  Membership is much more than completing a card or walking an aisle.  Members are expected to serve, to give, to be in a life group, and to be accountable to others.

Look for the other trends tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I read some things by G. Surrat that so resonated with me that I could hardly sit still:

- That reaching non-churched people for the Kingdom should be a high priority.

- That just about any pastor who tries to do the above comes up against criticism from sincere, already-churched people that the Gospel is being dumbed down - that 'we want and need to be fed.'

- That the definition of Christian maturity needs re-defining - not measured by how much one knows, but by who one loves.

- That truly mature believers are almost impossible to offend because they always believe the best - they are patient with the growth process of others - they hardly notice when someone says or does something to rub them the wrong way - they rarely say a harsh word about another. 

Who loves that? 

Who wants to be that?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Sometimes this is what we say to God: “God, You’re the King, You’re the boss, You’re perfect, You know everything, You’re right ... and I disagree with You.”  Seriously?  Every time we sin, that’s what we’re saying with our actions.

He knows what He's doing - we should just follow what He says regardless of our circumstances, our feelings, our own best knowledge and wisdom, our friends' counsel -- just follow what God has to say.  No.  I mean, all of it.  Because already you have started to qualify that in your mind.  

You have already boiled it down to nine-out-of-ten commandments.  "My dad was pretty rough - gonna pass on that 'Honor your mother and father' one."   

You have already narrowed it to seven-of-nine fruit of the Spirit.  "It's just that patience one and that self-control one I'm going to have to think about giving 100% to.  Otherwise, I'm good."

“God, You’re the King, You’re the boss, You’re perfect, You know everything, You’re right ... and I disagree with You.”

Jesus talks about building a house so that when the storms come, it's built on something solid enough to withstand the torrent.  Otherwise it's like building on sand, and we all know how long that's going to last.  Same with your life.

And Jesus is saying: trouble, strife, turmoil, difficulty, hardship will come.  You might lose your job.  You might get sick.  That isn't me speaking what some call ‘negative confession.'  That’s what Jesus says.  'In this world, you will have trouble.'  Make no mistake about it.  But He goes on to say: ’Don’t fear because I have overcome the world.’ 

Because a storm will come.  And some people pay no attention to the foundation of their lives.  You don’t want to be standing in the rain trying to get the foundation under the thing when you’re in the middle of the storm.  It’s a little late at that point.

I want the very best for your life - but the truth is, it’s your life.  You can blame other people.  You can excuse yourself.  You can pass the buck ... or you can take responsibility and say, “My life, my foundation, my responsibility.”

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


My friend and partner in ministry - Mat Angulo (yes, it only has one "T") - shared this in our staff team devos today and it was so good, I asked him for permission to share it with you - jokes included.  Mat serves as our Associate Pastor of Student Ministries at KFA (  

Creativity is one of our eight core values at KFA.  Mat gave us ... 


1     Connect to the Creator
This is where you get Spirit-led innovation rather than mere imitation of what somebody else is already doing.

 2     Collect Inspiration
Mat sometimes goes around taking pics of things that motivate and inspire him to keep the juices flowing.  'Take inspiration captive whenever and wherever you can.'

3     Conceive Ideas
Resist getting snagged by 'Ugly Baby Syndrome' where you say, 'This idea won't have traction because it's terrible,' or 'It isn't fully developed,' or quite frankly, 'It's MY idea, which means it stinks.'  There are no ugly babies - everybody knows that.  Let the ideas flow.

4     Commit to the Process
Be willing to 'fight for your idea.'  Is it worth fighting for?  Is it a conviction for you?  But don't be so single-minded about that it you aren't willing to 'kill it' if you see it won't work.

5     Collaboration with Others
Ask another creative/innovative person: 'Can you help me take care of this baby (even though I think it's ugly)?'  Hand it to someone who can make it better than you.  Find people who can contribute to the maturity of the idea.

6     Contribute to Others
We have a mandate to give to the world what God has blessed us with.  

Great stuff.

And be blessed.

Monday, February 20, 2012


We don’t need behavior modification, we need regeneration.  You don’t just need to become a better person, you need to become a different person.  When God replants us in Christ, we become a whole new tree ... a new creation, a new mind, a new will, new emotions, new appetites, new passions, new pleasures, new affections, a new heart.

Jesus says life comes out of the heart - words come out of the heart - motives and deeds come out of the heart.  "Oh, I thought my words came out of my mouth."   No, they come from your heart.

'You don't need to become a better person, you need to become a different person.'

And the old heart ... the heart you get when you’re born, as a descendent of Adam, is a heart of stone.  It’s hard toward God; it’s stubborn and rebellious and defiant.

But when you become a follower of Christ, God removes the heart of stone and gives you a heart of flesh - not a perfect one, mind you - but a new one - a heart increasingly made to be more and more like Jesus.  And God doesn’t want you to just try to do better or try harder, He wants you to be completely uprooted, replanted and born all over again.

So if you’re trying to figure out how to get your life together, let’s not worry about your behavior just yet.  Let’s get you connected to Jesus, and He'll change you from the inside out instead of you trying to make your own behavior adjustments from the outside in.

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Have you been to the grocery store lately and seen the awesome “ITOS” aisle ... Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos?  And have you noticed how big the bags can be?  They really big ones are huge, like half the size of you.  And have you ever purchased one of these bags of “ITOS” when it’s actually full?  No, you haven’t.  You open it and there are a couple of chips at the bottom and the rest of the bag is basically filled with air. 

That’s what Jesus was talking about in Luke 6:37 when He said we should give pressed down, shaken together, running over. 

The way you would buy grain or corn in Jesus’ day was ... you would bring your own bucket or container to the market and you’d say, “OK, fill ‘er up with Fritos,” or whatever. 

And they’d fill it up and then say, “OK, give me your money.” 

And you would say, “Wait a second.  Shake the bag a little.  Stomp on it some.  Let it settle a bit.  Then put some more in there and shake it again, and stomp on it again ... then pour some more in there.  Now keep on doing that until it’s truly full - and then I’ll pay you.”

But until then, it’s just like a bag of “ITOS” -- mostly full of air. 

So when Jesus says give in pressed down-shaken together-running over-fashion, He means give in the same you’ve been given to by God.  Has God been generous with you?  Yes, He has.  He has been extremely generous.  You have everything you need.  Your life is blessed.  You have a roof over your head.  You can put food on the table several times a day.  He has given to you in pressed down-shaken together-running over kinds of ways.  How can we even consider turning around and giving Him in return a bag of “ITOS” that has a couple of chips at the bottom and the rest of the bag just full of air? 

So the next time you go to your local grocery store, you should open the bag of “ITOS” right there at the checkout and say, “Hey!  I’m missing ‘“ITOS” here.  I am requesting a bag that is pressed down, shaken together and running over.”

You have my permission to do that.

And be blessed.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


The Bodyguard star Kevin Costner released a statement yesterday about the death of his former co-star Whitney Houston, whose funeral was today, saying: “I let her down.  I should have been there, and I wasn't.  And now for the rest of my life I will have to live with that pain."  Continuing to speak about the roles they both played in the 1992 film, Costner commented, “I saved her then, I should have saved her now."

I wish he could have.  I really do. 

I wonder how many Whitney Houston's we have in our own lives - people who are desperately searching for something more real and fulfilling and just better than what they are currently living. 

I wonder how many times in the course of a lifetime each of us might be able to say something similar to what Kevin Costner said about his role in Whitney Houston's life - or have the opportunity to impact someone dramatically for the Kingdom.

Pray for doors of opportunity.

And be blessed.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I'm ready for a cruise.  I'm always ready for one during Wisconsin Winters, but even with this sluggish, awesome, Spring-like winter we've been having for the past three months, I'm still ready for one.  I don't have one planned at the moment, but it doesn't stop me from wishing I did or from blogging about it.

Joelene and I have been on a few cruises - some with friends - and one with all our kids last year which was a rad phat hoot blast, or whatever.  It was really fun, I remember that.  Every time we're together we're asking each other when we're doing the next one.

What I love is that there are so few expectations on a cruise.  In a life where there seems to be almost nothing but expectations, cruise vacations blow that apart.  Only three things are required on cruises:

Relax some more.

Everything else is an elective. 

I will confess that I excel at these activities.  It's Friday night, so I'm about to do them all without guilt --- right now.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


It takes some amazing supernatural junk to remain loyal to a difficult spouse - to an employer who sticks it to you - to a group that continually knocks you down with their words and actions - to mean-spirited folks - to those who are forever gossiping about you and slandering your good name.  Supernatural junk is what helps you get back up. 

So if you know what it's like to be spat on, cursed, rejected, ignored, rebuked -- wipe your face with the towel of Jesus, gather your spiritual, supernatural junk and get back up -- foe and friend alike.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012



Here's a test.  See if you can pass it.

Imagine you have a great friend.  He is a Christ-follower.  Also imagine that something comes between the two of you.  He does something that is not Christ-follower-like.  It is something you cannot comprehend that even a lost person would do.  It is so heinous it seems you would be justified with practically any response in return.

For awhile you stew on it.  You're kind.  You're nice.  You're gracious to him.  You do every religious and spiritual in-line thing you can think of.  Then new information arises.

You are lied about.  You find your friend no longer believes in you.  Worse yet, the information being shared is completely made up.  You're called a Judas, a cheat, a loser -- all by a person you once considered a friend.

Stop now.

What voice are you listening to at this point?  Is it that little guy inside you who wants to mete out retribution?  Eye for eye, tooth for tooth?  At the very least, that guy wants to set the record straight.  You deserve that.

Stop again.

Walk up to the mountain and look thru the eyes of Jesus now.  Get the heavenly view - the view men in relational crises rarely see about their opponents.  What is that viewpoint?

Stop a third time.  Look closer.

Jesus is not offended by that brother.  You might be, but He is not.  He has not called down plagues on that man.  He has not damned him to hell.  He has not condemned him or decided to wash His hands and be done with him.  He is still kind.  He is still gracious.  He is still working in that man's life.

If that is what Christ is doing, what are you doing in concert with that?  At that dark moment, what are you doing?  Shall you respond less than Christ?  Remember, Christ is all you need and Christ is all you should get.  Nothing more.  What more is there?

Stop.  And see Jesus.

And be blessed.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Someone in church Sunday told Joelene that the pants she had on reminded them of Beyonce.  We’ve been saying since then that she got ‘Beyonced.’  I told her next week she might get ‘Latifah-ed.’  (Look it up.)

It got me thinking about what it would mean if we made adverbs out of people’s names like that. 

Like if you got ‘Trump-ed,’ it might mean you had a really bad hair day.

If you were ‘Cowell-ed,’ maybe you just got verbally hammered.

If you were ‘Bieber-ed,’ either you’re a really cute person or you’re really annoying - or both.

If you got ‘Gibson-ed,’ you’re having another baby (he has seven children).

If you got ‘Situation-ed,’ you need a time-out to cool down and relax.

If you were ‘Sheen-ed’ or ‘Lohan-ed,’ it would mean you needed some serious counseling.

If you were ‘Gates-ed,’ people would consider you a great charitable giver - or if you were ‘Jobs-ed,’ you would be thought of as tremendously innovative.

If you got ‘Tebow-ed,’ you would be a person who wears his faith on his shoulder.

If you were ‘Ga-Ga-ed,’ it might mean you were really unconventional and unpredictable.

Then again ... what would it mean if someone got (insert your name here).  If someone were ‘Taylor-ed,‘ what would it make people think of?  Would it mean they had style?  Would it mean they were blessed by words of kindness from someone else?  Would it mean someone had just criticized you?  If it was your name, would it mean someone was a great prayer warrior - or they had a positive spirit under difficult circumstances - or they had great faith? 

What would it mean to have your name attached to something where everyone thought about you when it happened?

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


The water baptism of 20 people over this past weekend was exciting, gratifying and empowering. This is one of those proofs that the church is on the move and that God's excellent power is being evidenced in it and through it in redemptive, forgiving, challenging and transformational ways.

The baptism tank may be 55 degrees inside and it might be leaking a little bit, but who cares - (although we'll fix that before next time)?  We have never declared that we have a perfect system, or a perfect tank or that we baptize perfect people.  They are all folks on the journey.  As T. Tenney says: 'Perfection is law; excellence is grace.' 

Some churches may patch up their cracks and mildewed corners just enough to look good on the outside.  But if you begin scratching at the surface veneer, you uncover the truth.  It is not what we see but what we don't see that matters.

It is not about appearing to have no needs or doing and saying all the right things.  It is about offering a scandalous tank-full of grace to those who are searching and desperate.  You and I cannot afford to go thru the motions.  Every day is a potential day of opportunity for someone far from God whose destiny it is to ultimately walk down some steps into water and come up brand new.

And be blessed.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


You've figured out by now I'm kind of a word guy.  So I was in a shop today and noticed on the wall menu that they had "smoothies."  I'm a big fan of smoothies, but I didn't know what "smoothies" were.  What's with the "quotation marks?"  Was it not really a smoothie?  Was it really just glorified fruit juice with a fancy name slapped on it?

You see this practice a lot.  For instance:

A sign at the fair:  Get your tickets "here."

In a parking garage elevator:  Do you remember where you parked your "car?"  Maybe they mean if you have a truck or a van, it's still really a 'car.' 

At a hotel:  Please hang towels "in" the lobby area.  Do they really want them IN the lobby?  Maybe ON the lobby - or UNDER the lobby.

On a menu:  We make homemade "french" fries.  So good to know they aren't Swedish or Mongolian, but of actual French origin.

I don't know.  Maybe I'm making a big deal out of nothing.  Probably.  Hope to see you at "church" tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Friday, February 10, 2012


There are times life doesn't wrap itself in a nice, neat package with a red bow on top.  Sometimes the pendulum swings and knocks you in the head - sometimes the horse kicks and you're in the way - sometimes the dog went right where you stepped next - sometimes the good guys don't win.

G. Surrat tells a story about a man who went to visit a teenage boy who had been in an accident and undergone multiple surgeries over several year's time, enduring months of hospital stays.  Every day brought new pain and declining chances of that changing anytime soon.  As he spoke with the young man, the conversation turned to God's role in his situation.  Did the young man think God had been unfair to him in all this?

Bracing himself for the worst possible response, what the man heard instead was, 'Not at all.  The way I see it, God has all eternity to make it up to me.'

Yikes (Interpretation = Yikes!).

'My eternal address is not where I'm staying right now.'

What if you and I really believed that?  What if it was our default perspective, not one we had to scratch and claw to get to?

You're probably way better than me in this, but I live far too many days without an eternal awareness.  My eternal address is not where I'm staying right now.

There's more, friends - and God is good.  Despite the pendulum swings and the horse kicks and the dog &*@#, God is good.  Good doesn't really catch the spirit.  English is so limiting for this purpose.

We know He's better than all the bad things, but He's so much better than even the good things.  Joelene and I have been blessed over the years to have had some of the most incredible life experiences.  We've witnessed the birth of three children and two grandchildren; we've sat on the beach at night and listened to the ocean in the Caribbean and Thailand and Italy; we've seen Mt. Everest; we've walked where Jesus walked in Israel and seen the majestic Rockies; we've walked our beautiful daughters down the aisle, choking back tears and so much more ...

But to think that the very best of those don't even make the top One Million List of what God has planned for us at our eventual address ... well ... that's just a great big Yikes!

And be blessed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Since I confessed yesterday that I am blind as a bat, I'll also confess I'm about as hard-headed as a ... well, I don't really know what is so hard-headed that it will make my point the way the 'bat' thing did ... but ...

We tend to see the things we want to see and overlook what we don't want to see.  That's not blindness, that's stubbornness.  We read God's Word thru a personal filter.  We catalog in triplicate all the pages that agree with us and mentally blackout all the ones that don't.

If you're sensitive, you search the Scriptures for all the verses that make Jesus look tender and compassionate; if you're prophetic, you look for black-and-white declarations; if you're a faith person, you look for all the 'power' verses; if you need healing ... you get the picture.

We look for what we already know is there and what we already agree with.

'We tend to see the things we want to see and overlook what we don't want to see.'

I once took a pair of scissors and cut a passage right out of my Bible and handed it back across the room to a couple who was considering divorce for unBiblical reasons because they insisted they were being Biblical.  They just didn't want to see what was there.  They had decided.  (I taped it back after they left.) 

We need to obey it all, not just the parts we like and already agree with.  We hand the metaphorical scissors to God and let Him do what He does best instead of us taking the scissors and cutting away what doesn't please us.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


I will confess I am blind as a bat.  I'm the guy who goes to the optometrist and sits in the big chair and looks at the wall where they project the series of letters and the assistant goes: 'Can you read the top line?'

'Umm ... not really.'

Then she pulls the big Magoo eyeglass machine thing over in front of my face and I realize it's the giant "E" that I couldn't see.  Then I dutifully get my updated prescription and walk out with my fresh year's supply of new-and-improved lenses.

It seems that we're all blind to some extent.  We all need vision correction.  When you put the 'glasses of Jesus' on, you see things in ways you never did before.  More like He sees things.  You find yourself getting emotional over things He weeps about --you find yourself getting happy about things that makes Him smile.  He just sees things differently.

'We're all blind to some extent.  We all need vision correction.'

Sometimes we lock ourselves away in our Christian subcultures - turn out the lights - lock the doors - close the windows - pull the curtains - and refuse to go outside because we're afraid of or disgusted by what's out there.  

If we're afraid of it or disgusted by it, we can't hope to affect it.  Jesus left a pretty nice home in order to debase Himself and enter our world.  It stands to reason we have to leave our world of pews and crosses and Jesus songs to affect the world we hear about on the news every night.

Here is the irony of it all: If they saw the servant heart among us more, they would see more Jesus in us.  If they saw more of Jesus, they would let their hearts be changed by Him.

Exciting -- and doable.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


“His winnowing fork is in His hand, to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire."  (Luke 3:17 - ESV)

At harvest time the grain would be brought into the barn and something called a winnowing fork would be used to throw the grain into the air, and the grain would separate.  The heavier wheat would fall to the ground and the lighter chaff would blow away.  Jesus is saying, “Some people are wheat.  Some people are chaff.  Some people are fully devoted to Me, and some are blown away by temptation or false doctrine and deception.”
Here's my question to you: Wheat or chaff?  Which are you?  Because sometimes the misperception in our culture is that everybody in church is wheat and everybody outside the church is chaff.  But that’s not true: there's a lot of chaff in the church.  There are people who have not deeply committed to Jesus at their core.  They're about something other than Jesus.  They want to worship Him when it’s convenient or when it suits their purposes.  That’s chaff. 

Temptation comes: blown away.  Suffering comes: blown away.  Difficulty comes: blown away.  False teaching comes: blown away.

God really wants you to be wheat and not chaff.  But here's the good news.  There isn’t one person who would come to Christ to ask for help with this that He would reject.  Not one.

Wheat.  Not chaff.

And be blessed.

Monday, February 6, 2012


It was another great meeting today with our team of staff pastors - that's a regular occurrence.  The conversation was spirited, spiritual and intense - just the way I like it.

We talked about our model for doing ministry at KFA, and deep in that conversation was the topic of serving.  For some reason, we find it far easier to preach in order to prod people into the Kingdom than to love them into the Kingdom.

"Servanthood is not about how I can add value to my life, but about how I can add value to yours."
G. McDonald
Maybe that's because real servant-type of love gets ultra-messy.  We have to strip off our hard-won religious robes and replace them with looser garments of humility - sometimes those are practically see-through, humbling indeed.  They expose the most naked vulnerabilities and put us all on level platforms where the cross is concerned - where everybody is more important than you and me.

If it's real servanthood, it means all I have and all I am is placed at your disposal if it will bring you into God's Kingdom.

I cant say it better than G. McDonald: "Servanthood is not about how I can add value to my life, but about how I can add value to yours."

And be blessed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


The ministry of the church must become aquatic.  It’s time for the church to get wet in ways it has never before.  Unless we fashion a ministry out of ‘living water’ and understand water as a metaphor for ministry, we will not become the new wineskins Jesus was talking about in Luke chapter 5.

We know of the crisis happening right now in places like Sudan and Ethiopia and Bangladesh.  In some of these places, supply of water is seriously deficient.  In other places, they are starving because there is not enough fresh, potable water.

You die without water - both physically and spiritually.  It takes less than 1% deficiency in our body’s water to make us thirsty.  A 5% deficit causes a fever.  An 8% shortage causes the glands to stop producing saliva and the skin to turn blue.  Just an 8% shortage.  A person can’t even walk with a 10% shortage, and at 12%, we die.  Every day, 15,000 children around the world die from lack of water or diseases borne by polluted water.  It’s a crisis.

But the church is in the middle of a water crisis, too.  Part of our problem is bad plumbing.  Over time, our pipes can get rusty with legalism or clogged with tradition.  We must be careful that the rain that falls thru our church pipes is the fresh rain of the Spirit and not the rainfall collected by our ancestors.  That water, though good in its own time, can become stagnant.

We need fresh water.  We need people who are hungry and thirsty for something real.

Our mission is to lead people to water.  We can’t make them drink, but we can hand them the containers that hold the living water.  These containers are the new wineskins. 

Notice something about water: water fills the shape of any receptacle.  As long as we trust the water and don’t tamper with the recipe - don’t dilute the recipe or thicken the recipe or change the recipe - the content remains the same while the containers change.

Every generation needs a shape that fits its own hand.  Each generation needs a different handle from which to receive the living water of Jesus Christ.  Our God-given task is to pour the living water into anything anyone will pick up short of being sinful.  If we’re going to reach your 22nd century grandchild with the Gospel (because they will probably live to see the year 2100), we have to be willing and prepared to pour the living water into containers from which we ourselves would never be caught dead drinking - new wineskins. 

I am a virtual fundamentalist when it comes to content - the Word is the Word and it does not change --- but I am a virtual libertarian when it comes to containers.  Containers are not sacred.

Jesus’ remarks about old and new wineskins remind us that we cannot make an idolatry of any form or container.  We must not elevate our personal, favorite form to the level of authority that belongs only to the content.  Too many will only pour the living water into something they like or something they would pick up. 

The mystery of the Gospel is that it is always the same (that’s content) ... and it is always changing (that’s container).  For the Gospel to remain in the hearts of the next generation, the containers have to change.  That is, the old, old wonderful story needs to be told in new, new wonderful ways.  New wineskins.

And be blessed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Today - one of the more amazing and powerful days in the history of MEN at KFA - with 700 men worshiping and listening together at the NO REGRETS MEN'S CONFERENCE.
Tony Evans on the big screen.
Fifteen area pastors and leaders teaching breakouts throughout the day.
Crazy-good worship singing.
One hundred volunteers serving the men.

Thanks to all who made it happen today.

'We express our commitment to men to help them become committed followers of Jesus Christ by connecting them thru spiritual training, relationships, personal discipline and active involvement.'

And be blessed.

Friday, February 3, 2012


If you spread this on, please make sure you spread it accurately ...

I picked up my car from a repair shop early this evening on my way to the No Regrets Men's Conference night-before meeting at the church.  I realized I had forgotten my computer at home and had to race there in order to try to make the meeting on time.  On the way, it seemed I wasn't getting any warm air coming thru the vents (which had not been the case prior to dropping my car off for repairs).  That caused me to glance at the coolant gauge, which I immediately noticed was edging up toward "H."

I kept an eagle eye on the gauge and it just kept going up and up. I made it home to get my computer and was headed back to my meeting, driving slowly, when the gauge just got too uncomfortably close to the 'red' and I pulled over.  I sat there for 10 minutes watching the needle edge back down to the safe zone.  I got back in traffic and it zoomed up to 'hot' in about 15 seconds.

This time I pulled over and put on my hazard lights, thinking I would have to most likely be towed.  Within about ten minutes, a Kenosha police squad car pulled up behind me.  An extremely nice fellow, we popped my hood to discover there was no fluid at all in my radiator or coolant tank.  Dry.  And it didn't seem to be leaking either.

All said - that isn't really the story here.  The police department was just down the street so the officer told me to get in the back of his squad and we'd go get some water at the station and that should at least get me back to the car place.

So we drove to the KPD and got a big bucket of water and were on our way back to my car, when we came to a red light.  We sat there chatting, the police officer and me.  I noticed a car pull up next to us on my side and I happened to glance over.  A lady from my church whom I recognized but whose name I didn't know looked over and waved at me.  I smiled and waved back ... and then ... I realized ... I'M IN THE BACK OF A SQUAD CAR!!!

She looked kind of puzzled but about then the light turned green and she was on her way.  So if you're out there, dear lady - or if you hear about me - THIS is the real story.  Honest.  It was just water and an overheated car.  That's all it was.  Please pass it on.

And be blessed.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Growing up, it seemed that the philosophy of church was 'behave--->believe--->belong.'  In other words, before you could really be part of us, you had to clean up your act some.  It didn't matter that the church was a hospital for sick people, we wanted them to get a little more healthy before coming in.  Once you did that, you needed to believe -- and after a sufficient waiting period beyond that, you could really become part of us.


Today, that approach has - thankfully (and more Biblically) been stood on its head.  Consider the philosophy now - at least at KFA: 'belong--->believe--->become.' Many people are coming to us and sitting and watching for months just to see if they'll be accepted in some way.  Tattoos, yes.  Piercings, yes.  Addictive behaviors, yes.  Adulterers, yes.  Abusers, yes.  Broken, yes.  Looking for love, yes.  In need of God, most definitely. 

After they realize we love them and that they can become part of us socially, relationally and spiritually - after they see Jesus in us - they believe and give their lives to Christ.  After that, God allows us to be involved in the most beautiful process of watching them become what He had planned all along.

I love ministry in the 21st century.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I mentioned at the end of the January 9th, 2012 blog that I had eaten scorpion (and grasshopper) during this last trip to Thailand.  

I give you undeniable proof ...

And be blessed.