Monday, April 30, 2012


Today, April 30th, 2012, is a momentous day.

More than ten years after terrorists rocked and destroyed the World Trade Towers in New York City, their replacement under construction, the Freedom Tower, surpasses the Empire State Building as the tallest skyscraper in NYC.  Workers erected steel columns on the 100th floor today, 1,271 feet above the street, to make it stand 21 feet higher than the ESB. 

It is a tribute to those who lost their lives on 9-11-2011 and indeed, to all of America.  Freedom Tower will ultimately rise to a symbolic 1,776 feet with 104 stories and become the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere upon its completion in 2014.

Proud to be an American.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Change is the new constant.  It's just true.  We need to get comfortable with it; it's here to stay.

It's true in society as well.  Things are changing and I love it.

Our youth pastor, Jon Brown, came onstage wearing a pink t-shirt today.  It had the name of our women's ministry, "SHE," emblazoned across the front.  He was promoting their upcoming 'SHINE' conference.  According to him, he was secure enough in his manhood to get away with it, entertaining us with some onstage swagger.  FYI:  He IS man enough to get away with it.

Remember the days when you walked into the new baby's room and if it was painted pink you knew for sure, 1,000% - that the baby was a girl?  No question.  But no longer, folks.  Oh, I know - most of you, including me - wouldn't paint your little boy's room pink for fear the little guy will turn into a chick, but the fact is it was not an issue either way until after World War I.  That was about the time we decided we'd assign colors to genders.  A 1918 newspaper editorial stated that pink was a 'stronger color ... more suitable for the boy; while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.'

Yes, you heard that right.  Pink was for boys; blue for girls.  It makes perfect sense.  Pink is the color of a manly raw steak, right?

And remember how they used to dress little boys way back then?  Like this:

Yeah, that's Franklin Delano Roosevelt - not some little girl.  He's the guy who was elected to the presidency four times.  Great start, huh?

It was not until the 1940s that the colors switched to pink for girls and blue for boys.  So I'm just saying I wouldn't get real hung up about pink or blue if I were you because things, they are a'changin.'  Then again, my kids are all grown -- and they were all girls.

"SHE" t-shirts for everyone!

I did not make this up.

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I love this thought from T. Henry from his book, 'Accidental Creative:'

What is the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning?  Do you grab your phone and check your e-mail?  Do you run for the coffee pot?  Check the news?  Here’s a simple morning ritual that can help get you off to a good start each day:

It starts the night before.  Before you go to bed each night, spend five minutes reviewing your day.  Think about your successes and shortcomings over the course of the day.  What did you learn?  Decide then and there when you’ll wake up.
In the morning, don’t jump out of bed.  Set your alarm five minutes before you really need to get up.  Spend the first five minutes of your waking day – while still in bed – answering three questions: (1) What am I excited about today?,  (2) What is my biggest priority, what will I do about it, and when?,  and (3) How will I know today was a success?

Spend your first fifteen minutes filling your well.  Grab a cup of coffee, then spend the time  reading something inspiring, reflecting, and ease into your day.  Don’t jump straight into your inbox or calendar.  

Why is this simple ritual important?  Because it is the inhalation before a day of frenetic exhale.  While many of us spend our days in uncertainty, trying to determine the right course of action in our work, this simple ritual allows us to reach a place of clarity about our expectations, our hopes, and our plans.
Give it a shot.
And be blessed.

Friday, April 27, 2012


Trust is hard to explain, sort of like love.  We all know we want it from others and want to give it to others, yet we find it difficult to fully explain what it is or why we want it, or even how to give it.

What is even more startling is that we often ourselves act in ways that end up eroding it.

Interdependence is a necessary and important part of living, even though trust is not 100% guaranteed.  When I was in Cairo last year, I handed my camera to a stranger to take a picture of Joelene and me.  I did an instant-on-the-spot trust meter scan of the person - it took 3 seconds - even though I didn't really have a clue if he would drop the camera on the sharp rocks or worse, run away with it.  I gave it to him with some degree of uncertainty and with a measurable lack of trust quotient.  (I got the camera back unharmed.)

'Trust is precious and valuable.'

R. Hurley shows some graphs on the percentages of people who say 'most people' can be trusted.  Not very impressive.  He also provides information on the level of trust people have in Congress - in businesses - in the Press - and other organizations.  Dismal and steadily declining.  The one group he doesn't evaluate is the Church.  I wasn't sure whether I was happy or sad that we weren't in the study.  We're on our own to figure that one out, folks.

Trust is way bigger than me crossing my arms and closing my eyes and falling backwards 'hoping' the person behind me who has agreed to catch me WILL catch me.  Trust is precious and valuable.  Organizations and friendships that have a good level of trust and mutual confidence will be rewarded, because research shows that people gravitate toward those who manage trust well.  Where trust is high, members naturally move beyond their more narrow self-interests and commit to higher, greater and more powerful goals.  Within these environments, there is not the continual temptation to self-protect.

We are social beings and trust is critical and central to who we are as humans, if not instinctive to our well-being.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Our pastoral team has been at our Ministry Network District Summit the past two days in Appleton, Wisconsin.  It's an annual gathering of all the Assemblies of God pastors throughout our state.  
In his book, Jesus on Leadership, C. G. Wilkes shares six benefits of teams:
  • Teams involve more people, thus affording more resources, ideas and energy than would an individual.
  • Teams maximize a leader’s potential and minimize his or her weaknesses.
  • Teams provide multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal, devising several alternatives for each situation.
  • Teams share the credit for victories and the blame for losses.
  • Teams keep leaders accountable for the goal.
  • Teams can do more than an individual.
President Woodrow Wilson once said, “We should not only use all the brains we have, but all that we can borrow.”  
Today, I would like to introduce you to our amazing pastoral leadership teamwith whom I have the pleasure of working every week:
Dan Remus - Co-Lead 
Jason Held - Administrative Executive Team
Jon Brown - Student Ministries
Mat Angulo - Associate Student Ministries
Benny Ferguson - Worship & Creative Arts
Jason Lowe - Communications & Worship
Bob Griffith - Children & Family Ministries
Jonathan Foster - Associate Children & Family Ministries
Lisa Kurman - Life Development
Gabe Mills - Journey Ministry College & Fusion 
Susan Nelson - Christian Life School Administrator
And here is an extra shout-out to three of our pastors who received special honors at this year's  District Summit:
Lisa Kurman, who received her certificate of ministry -- Jonathan Foster, who received his Assemblies of God license to preach -- and Jason Held, who became a presbyter to our District, representing ALL the staff pastors of our entire state.
And be blessed. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


After crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel, who had spent 400 years in Egyptian slavery, wandered around the desert toward the land promised to them by God on a journey that should have taken a month.  But it took them forty years because of their disobedience.  God kept them out in the desert until they had learned their lesson.  And finally - after a whole generation of walking in the hot sun and sand, the big moment is here.  It’s Promised Land time.
So here they are, over a million of them, some of whom have waited all their lives for this.  It’s a crowd like Summerfest on steroids, only they’re sober.  They’re out in the desert, and all that stands between them and the Promised Land is the Jordan River - yet another body of water, like the Red Sea decades before.
Imagine the excitement and anticipation as their leader, Joshua, is giving them final instructions before crossing over.  He tells them when they see the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant into the river, they should just follow them; just follow the priests and walk on thru the river.
'You hold on.'

But the Israelites soon discover Joshua has left out one tiny, but very important detail: it’s harvest season and the river is at flood stage.  Any other time of year, they could have waded across, but it’s a raging rapids now.  So imagine how terrifying the Jordan River must have looked to mothers holding the hands of their three-year olds, or to elderly couples embracing one another getting ready to go in the deep water - and what about disabled people?
And here’s what happened: “The Jordan is at flood stage all during the harvest.  Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing.  It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam ... so the people crossed over opposite Jericho.”  (Joshua 3:15, 16)
Notice something: the water stopped flowing upstream at a town called AdamAdam was miles upstream from where the Israelites stood, far from where they could see.  It was a miracle, the source of which they couldn’t see because God performed the miracle upstream.
Here’s what we should understand about God and here’s what we need to remember when we’re going through times of disappointment and hurt and we wonder whether or not God is greater than that thing that interrupts our sleep — remember this:  Focus on the God who has already been good to you - the God who is greater than.  Focus on the God you can’t see right now, but who is at work upstream.
Because when He seems silent and you’re facing hurt or brokenness or disappointment of the worst kind, the God who is greater than is at work out of your line of sight upstream, preparing a miracle for you.
You hold on.
And be blessed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


We always say God is ‘with us’ and while that is absolutely true, it goes much deeper than you might think.
Christianity is the only religious faith that says God Himself actually suffered.  No other faith has that.  We have come to understand that Jesus’ suffering was of great good to us because we are looking at the greatest act of love and grace in all of history.  God came into the world and suffered and died on a cross in order to save us.  
And when you experience pain or loss in some way today, you may be completely in the dark about the reason for it all.  But the cross at least tells you what the reason for your trouble isn’t.  It can’t be that God doesn’t love you;  it can’t be that He has no plan for you.  It can’t be that He has abandoned you.
'Jesus paid for your sins so God the Father would never abandon you.'

Jesus was abandoned.  He paid for your sins so God the Father would never abandon you.  The cross proves He loves you and understands what it means to have pain.  It also demonstrates God can be working in your life even when it seems there is no good reason for it all.
And I know when you go through the storm of loss, the Bible doesn’t say to pretend it doesn't hurt.  A lot of us grew up being taught that acting like it didn’t hurt was a sign of strength.  It isn’t. 
Remember playing ‘The Quiet Game’ when you were a kid?  You’d be traveling and you and your brothers in the back seat would start getting really fidgety and start making trouble.  It would get all cramped and sweaty back there ... and what would you ask your mom and dad?
‘Are we there yet?’
And your mom would say: ‘I have a wonderful idea.  Why don't you play the quiet game?  Let’s see who can be the quietest back there, shall we?  Whoever is quietest for the longest wins.  It’s a wonderful game.’
And you obediently - and naively - played it.  Until one day something wonderfully liberating occurred to you.  You realized you didn’t have to play ‘The Quiet Game.’  Remember that day?  You thought, ‘I’m 17 years old and I don’t have to do this anymore.’  
Even in the church we sometimes encourage people to play ‘The Quiet Game’ by pretending it doesn’t hurt and by showing how strong they are.  I don't know where that idea comes from, but it doesn’t come from the Bible.
God is not threatened by people expressing anger or grief over hurt.   Some of you have been playing ‘The Quiet Game’ far too long.  You have losses you have never mourned 
and tears you have never shed.  You need to stop running.
You need to find someone to share that with.  Get yourself in a life group -- get in a community that walks beside you.  Whatever you do, don’t isolate yourself with your grief.
Let’s turn that around 180 degrees:  Some of you know someone who is in grief right now; maybe you need to do something.  Write a note - make a call - invite someone out - make a visit - ask someone how they’re doing and really mean it.  Don’t let them leave until they tell you.
Realize the difference that makes in somebody's life. 
And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I would like to validate those of you with graying hair today.

I have a coaster on my desk sitting right out front and center for anybody and everybody to see when they come sit in my office. Sometimes I actually push it across the desk so they're sure to not miss it. It is engraved: "No wise man ever wished to be younger."

That is a quote by Jonathan Swift, an essayist who lived in the 17th century. He also said: "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into" ... and ... "One of the best rules in conversation is never to say a thing which any of the company can reasonably wish had been left unsaid."

Another of his quotes is: "I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing," so I guess he can't be all that smart.

But it is true that 'no wise man ever wished to be younger.' There seems to be a movement out there that old people are of little-to-no use today. I won't even define what 'old' is because it seems to mean such different things to different people. Most typically 'old' is anyone older than the person who is talking about 'old.' So if you're 32 and you're talking about someone who is 'old,' that 'old' person could be 40. If you're 19, the 'old' person might be just 30. If you're 7, then a teenager probably looks 'old' to you. If you're 60, then the 'old' person is probably in their 80s.

What I have come to find is that true wisdom is not just a matter of learning, but a matter of life. True wisdom isn't in our heads - it's further down - in our hearts. It is from traversing the course. It's from navigating boulders and getting cut. It's from fording rivers and choking on some water. It's from scaling hills and sweating the climb.

It is the life-long journey of seeing truth in the uses and activities of life and bringing that truth into our lives and making it ours.

It is the realization that we cannot do it alone, not without God. It is looking back over our lives and seeing that He has been there all the while.

"Old" is the time, more than any other in life, when minds and hearts turn toward more interior things. I would love to see more Biblical Calebs in the world today - 85 year olds who are pumped about life - ready to grab the sword and take on the enemy - fearless and reckless and full of faith - people whose bodies may have grown older, but whose spirits have grown younger. I hope that's me when I'm 85.

When you ask a 70-year old if he feels 70, he will almost always tell you 'no.' That's because bodies grow old; spirits, not so much. The person inside the body is still the same. And in this sense, we are all young. In relation to eternity, we are all in our infancy.

So buck up, 'old' people. It ain't over. Live. Laugh. Love. Learn. Let go. And if you're not 'old,' ease up, man.

I'm 52 and proud of it. A little gray up top in places, sure. I just hope I don't lose my hair altogether. So far, so good. But if that happens, I'm getting a Jonathan Swift wig. Just be forewarned.

Here's to life - and wisdom.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


T. Morgan explains that everything he says and does in ministry boils down to a few things. Here are some that resonated with me:

  1. Great leaders will leave your ministry if you focus on the execution instead of the outcomes.
  2. Stop promoting programs and events and start developing relationships and environments that lead to life transformation.
  3. Think people before tasks. Think strategy before structure.
  4. Churches continue to use their same systems, but they hope and pray for different results.
  5. Systems without purpose will keep people busy. Purpose without systems will keep people guessing.
  6. Leadership isn’t leadership if it isn’t released to others.

And be blessed.

Monday, April 16, 2012


What a great weekend at KFA ...

Our small group served lunch to some folks at First Steps on Saturday. Always a great time to be together serving.

On Saturday night and Sunday, our 'At the Movies' series began with Pastor Jon Brown speaking on 'father wounds' from the movie 'Real Steel' with Hugh Jackman. (Hugh wasn't actually there, but ... )

Altar areas were full all three services with people giving those hurts to God. So much healing going on.

Sunday night we hosted Veggie Tales Live in our main auditorium. 1,100 people jammed into the place with their kids to enjoy it.

And today - Monday - I got to come back and start a new week of work. Does it get any better than this?

And be blessed.

Friday, April 13, 2012


My name is Kevin Taylor and yes, I'm a pastor. 

I love my job but my startling admission is that I don't always like to tell people what I do for a living.  It seems to come up often in conversations and people seem to change their behavior when I tell them what I do.  I've come to find out many have had bad experiences with religious folk in their pasts.  

When I've been asked the big vocation question, I've thought about answering: 'I'm a veteranarian,' or, 'I make donuts for a living,' but then I figure they'll follow it up by asking something about baking or dog's spleens that I can't answer.  Not to mention it's a lie.

"I love my job but my startling admission is that I don't always like to tell people what I do for a living."

Sometimes I have almost said, 'I counsel people,' or 'I'm an executive,' or 'I'm a writer' -- all technically true, but shady nonetheless.

Once we start talking they seem to ease up a little and there is usually a good exchange.  I usually walk away praying there was a seed planted and that maybe the next time they encounter a believer, everybody in the conversation will have a better chance. 

My name is Kevin Taylor and yes, I'm a pastor. 

And be blessed.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


There is some terrible advice out there.  I've received plenty of bad advice in my lifetime and I'm trying to cut back on the amount I give to others. 

For example:

'Follow your heart.'  I think this is terrible advice, because usually it's all about how you feel - and everybody knows how you feel is unreliable.  Listen to your heart, but use your brain and let it have some veto power.

And then there is:  'Don't take NO for an answer.'  It could just be me, but I find that most people aren't fond of those who try to impose their will on others.  You've been on the phone with telemarketers who have the knack of forcing you to stay on the line until you've said 'yes.'  Or the person in the job interview who is so forward and persistent that you're thinking, 'If she's this annoying during the first impression stage ... '   Sometimes 'no' is the right answer.

Or you've heard the advice: 'Never take crud from anybody.'  Sometimes you have to.  I've eaten my share of crow - undeservedly - which is pretty much the definition of 'eating crow.'  A better alternative is to choose your battles.

"I've received plenty of bad advice in my lifetime and I'm trying to cut back on the amount I give to others."  

Another piece of bad advice is: 'Face your fears.'  For instance, if you're afraid of public speaking, there's no good reason for you to walk onstage in the middle of your high school senior's graduation and grab the mike to prove you can do it without passing out.  If you're afraid of heights, just stay away from the Sears Tower elevator and forget it.  Don't bother facing it.  Go on with life and never think about it again.  Facing your fears is not always good advice.

One last piece of bad advice is: 'Don't pay attention to what others think.'  Really?  There are all kinds of things you need to consider the way others think about you ... job interviews or meeting your potential in-laws.  The worst thing in the world is the person who says whatever he wants and then follows it up with: 'I'm just honest; it's just the way I am.  If you don't like it ... '  There is a balance to everything, but turning ourselves into feeling-less beings where we stop caring about how our actions or responses impact others is neither Biblical nor endearing. 

Disclaimer:  Some of this may not be good advice.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


My home has been populated for decades by a wife and three growing-up daughters, so over the years I have endured my share of chick flicks.  I have sat thru the likes of:
The Princess Bride
Ella Enchanted
Freaky Friday
The Princess Diaries (#1 and #2)
Sleepless in Seattle
The Notebook
The Women
Gone with the Wind
Steel Magnolias
Titanic (yes, it was a chick flick)
... and anything and everything else starring Audrey Hepburn and Barbra Streisand. 

A few years ago when all three daughters were home at the same time, we decided to go out together to see a movie.  It was something we hadn't had the chance to do together - just the five of us - in years, and so I was looking forward to it.  Felt like old times.

I was kind of just 'along for the ride,' just enjoying the fam time together and didn't even bother to ask what we were seeing.  When you're down 4-to-1, you get used to that.  So we all ended up sitting in the movie theater together with our cokes and popcorn, getting ready for the big feature.  I glanced around casually and noticed a couple of ladies sitting behind me to the left.  Down right front sat a grouping of four women.  I didn't think much about it.  Over the next several minutes, more women came in and found seats together.  I turned to Joelene and asked: "What movie are we seeing, by the way?"  She answered: "Hairspray."

It was at that point I noticed I was the only man in the entire theater and I ended up scrunching down as far as I could in my seat and prayed for the movie to start so the lights would go out. 

This weekend commences our annual 'At The Movies' series at KFA (  We have, for several years now, taken a few weeks during the year and stacked the Word of God up against some of the major movies of the season - to see what the world says it values and how it compares to what God values and Biblical truth.

Some of the most powerful weekends of the year have come about as a result of this series, so I'm excited to be part of that once again this year.

What is great about this year's selections is that there are a couple of movies for GUYS in the pack.  So come on out starting this weekend - four weeks in a row - for 'At The Movies' at KFA - starring:

Real Steel
Mission Impossible
We Bought A Zoo
The Help  (all right, that one might be a chick flick, but it's good.)

And be blessed.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Today I got a call from the Kenosha Urban League.  They had happened by one of our KFA groups doing a community Easter Egg Hunt locally this past weekend.  We did about 100 of them around the city in neighborhoods everywhere.

They were so impressed with the folks who were hosting the hunt and wanted to ask if we would like to partner with them in service to our city in the days ahead.

The 'SERVOLUTION' is on.

So exciting.

And be blessed.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Me and some of the folks in my small group have been in The 60-60 Experiment for the past couple of weeks.  

You set your phone (or device) to 'ding' or 'vibrate' every hour on the hour and you just remind yourself at that moment that there is a God.  You don't even have to completely stop what you're doing right then, but you have a pause where you acknowledge that God is in the room and you thank Him for who He is.

It has been an experiment to counter a whole day passing without ever thinking about God.  We're so busy that we can spend an entire waking day unconscious of His presence.  

Now, at least there are a good 16 or more times during the day when there is a connection with the Creator.  

It's made a difference.

I highly recommend it.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Well, I found out today that a lot of my church thinks they can beat me up.  Yeah.  We have a very tough church.  Even a lot of the women.  But as powerful as they are, I'm glad I serve a God more powerful.

After Jesus rises from the grave, He comes back in His glorified state and He says to His disciples, 'Don't be afraid.  It's Me ... Jesus.' 

I love that.  Fear not.  Why would I be afraid?  I’m on His side - I’m excited He’s that powerful.  If we’re believers in Christ, we want Him to be powerful, don’t we?  We don’t want Him to be a lightweight.  He determines who breathes and who doesn’t - and I’m on His side.  I have no reason to be afraid.

'We are looking at the greatest act of love, grace and mercy in all of history.'

Some of us live our lives in fear - we fear the future - we fear what others might say or do or think of us ... we fear the political climate or the economy ... we fear our own pasts.  If we just understood the great resurrection power of Jesus Christ, because He's the answer to all those things.  He has come to wipe out our fear ... He has come to bring peace to our trouble ... He has come to give us hope and a future.    

We are looking at the greatest act of love, grace and mercy in all of history.  God came into the world in the form of a man and suffered and died on a cross in our place in order to rescue us.  And then He completed the deal by showing us the greatest act of power ever known to man by rising from the grave. 

That’s my God.  He’s my Savior.  He died and rose again for me.  I'm not afraid of anybody in my church, even though a lot of them think they can beat me up.  I have nothing to fear.

And if you know Him, neither do you.

And be blessed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Author C.S. Lewis wrote, "The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self -- all your wishes and precautions -- to Christ."

Christ says 'Give me everything.  I don't want so much of your time or your money or your work.  I want You.'

He doesn't want just part of you - not a mere branch cut off here or there.  He wants the whole tree down.  It isn't just a tooth drill or a de-cavity or root canal, he wants it out all the way.  

I've been to the dentist.  We all have.  My dentist is a great guy - really great - but his office is one of my least favorite places to visit.  Sorry, Doc.  I go in for pain in one tooth, but he starts digging around in there some place else, where I wasn't planning, with teeth that hadn't started hurting just yet, and before you know it, I am made aware of other problems about which I almost wish I could just remain in the dark.

'I don't want so much of your time or your money or your work.  I want you.'

God is kind of that way, isn't He?  (See how I redeemed that, Doc?  Comparing you to God?)  You go to Him for one thing and He takes care of that, but he doesn't stop there.  You invite Him to help you with your impatience, but before you know it, He's working on your pride or your addiction or your lust or your attitude.

Again, C.S. Lewis: 'I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect -- until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with Me.  This I can do and will do.  But I will not do anything less.'

It is at this point that we wish He would just leave us well enough alone.  And that is the fatal mistake, because it is not about what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us.

And be blessed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Some days the only word I can use to describe myself is 'fool.'  I know the Bible says we're not supposed to use that word, but I think it's talking about a different thing than I am right now and I'm not sure I can't say it about myself.

When our girls were young, I tried teaching each of them to play the piano (yes, I play - probably above average), with lesser and greater success, depending.  At times, I got frustrated that they weren't picking it up as quickly as I had hoped.  Sometimes I scooted them over on the bench and said: 'It should be played like this,' and then proceeded to 'show her how' in a 20-minute solo.  She got the message - 'You're doing it wrong, wrong, wrong, all wrong.  Do it more like me.'  Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.

I looked up from my fantasy world to see her fighting back tears; and I realized, too late, what I had done.  I might as well have taken her head in my hands and beat it on the keys.


'I wonder how much crushing I've done in my life ... '

J. Fisher says, 'Three simple words will ruin any conversation:  "I know that."'  Most of us get better at this as we mature, exchanging the words for more subtle corrective behavior - a glance - a shake of the head - a rolling of the eyes - a downward look - a stiffened neck - but we still say it plainly and clearly: "I know that." 

I wonder how much crushing I've done in my life - how many heads I've taken in both hands and beat on that way - how many times I've assumed or acted like people knew nothing while I knew everything.

I've been a fool and I hope I never forget those tears forming in the eyes.  I don't want to be one who crushes; I want to lift up.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I don't think I've actually ever said a swear word in my entire life.  Don't worry, I'm not going to do it here in this blog or use Easter weekend coming up as my first stab at that.

I can't say there haven't been times I didn't want to - or times I thought about it - or times just the first letter maybe slipped out but then I stopped myself - and I know there are some preachers out there who have become famous for doing it --- but I never have.

Not yet.

"We now seem so unconcerned with whether or not we CAN, that we don't stop to think about whether or not we SHOULD."

When I was a kid, there were these substitute curse words that seemed passable - things you could 'get away with.'  For instance, if you hit your thumb with a hammer and you said, 'Golly Gee Willikers, that hurt!,' you'd probably get a mild rebuke, but at least you wouldn't get the entire bar of soap down your throat.  So there were ways around the offense.

I used to hear this certain phrase in church growing up all the time; I don't know if it was a joke or not, but it stuck ... 'Don't cuss, drink, smoke or chew, and don't run with girls who do.'

I won't say whether I've managed to avoid 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100% of those things; you'll just have to stay guessing on those, but if you've ever had something so absolutely and unexpectedly frustrating happen to you, then you know the temptation to the tongue.  You know the thing that starts way down deep in your innards and starts working its way up, up, up, up, up - thru your esophagus and past the trachea - tickling your epiglottis and slapping at the tonsils - elbowing the soft and hard palate and then coaxing at the tongue to move in ways you don't want it to, in ways you know it really shouldn't.  You know what I'm talking about.

But let's not even get to that particular extreme.  Let's just talk every day language.  It seems to me that Christ-followers have sucked up (no pun intended) nearly all the vernacular used by the world.  All of it.  Nothing seems off limits now.

We now seem so unconcerned with whether or not we CAN, that we don't stop to think about whether or not we SHOULD.  And I'm just saying ... maybe we oughta think about that.

And be blessed.

Monday, April 2, 2012


I am not a puppet.  God's interaction with me is not Him pulling all my strings and me bouncing up and down at His whim like a marionette.

It is me seeking Him.  It is me participating in His plan.  It is me listening to Him.

I think Jesus' favorite body part was the ear.  He was forever saying, 'If you have an ear, then hear.'  Evidently a person can have ears and not hear.  Jesus is saying He's not necessarily going the extra twelve miles just to get that person's attention.  If you have ears and decide to do something else with them other than hear, well ... that's your deal.

'God's interaction with me is not Him pulling all my strings and me bouncing up and down at His whim like a marionette.'

But if there was ever a time to use them for what God put them on the sides of your head for, it's now.

HEY!  YOU!  Yes, I'm mean YOU!  He's talking to you.  You're not a puppet.  You have to engage in the process and listen to Him.

And be blessed.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It's April Fool's Day today, but this is hardly a joke.  Here are the list of the top ten atheist and agnostic countries in the world today.  Some of these won't surprise you - and then again, some may.  I would typically say 'enjoy' as you read, but not this time ...

1.  China
That isn't shocking, I'm sure, but China has around 150 million atheists.  That calculates to roughly 15% of their population.  Prior to World War II, more than 90% of Chinese were Buddhist.

2.  Japan
There are 80 million atheists/agnostics here.  This accounts for upwards of 65% of their total population.

3.  Vietnam
More than 60 million Vietnamese are atheists, accounting for 81% of the population.  The constitution of Vietnam, adopted in 1980, allowed for some freedom of worship.

4.  Russia
Introduced by Stalin, between 40 and 60 million Russians are agnostic today.

5.  Germany
The home of famous atheists, Emmanuel Kant and Karl Marx, Germany has 35 million atheists, or nearly half the population.

6.  France
Thirty million people - half the French population - are agnostic or atheist.    

7.  United States
Maybe it's startling, but then again, maybe it isn't.  While they comprise only about 7% of our population, the actual number of atheists here is approximately 20 million.  More men than women are atheists and those under 35 years of age comprise nearly all agnostics here.

8.  Great Britain
There are 20 million agnostics in the U.K.

9.  South Korea
Although many Christians live here, 40% of its residents are agnostic - right around 20 million people. 

10.  Canada
Our neighbors to the north have 8 million atheists, comprising about a quarter of Canadians. 

Pray for the salvation of many and for the ministry and protection of our missionaries all over the world..

And be blessed.