Thursday, May 31, 2012


The top three 'Day in the Life' blogs for the month of May were as follows - (thanks for reading and feel free to read again):

1)  Liquids - May 26 -
2)  Brag - May 29 --
3) Cry - May 3 -

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I have a giant 3-foot tall hourglass in my office.  I saw it at Marshall's one day and said to Joelene: "That is so cool.  I don't know how much it costs, but it doesn't matter; I have to have it."  I then cautiously lifted it up to the underneath side where the price tag was hidden to make sure it wasn't $1,000.  It wasn't.  Not even close.  I bought it.

I tip it upside down every now and then and start my stopwatch to see how long it takes for all the sound to fall from top to bottom - about 13 minutes.  Every time I put the clock to it, it's the same.  I don't know why I don't figure that out, but I don't.  I can't actually do the exercise all that often because I've found I can't take my eyes off of it when it's dropping sand.  There's something hypnotic about it.

It's almost as if I turn away, it will stop falling - or it will fall and I'll miss seeing a granule drop through the tiny hole in the middle.

It's the eleventh hour.  I know it reminds me of that too.
It's the eleventh hour for my marriage.
It's the eleventh hour for my ministry.
It's the eleventh hour for my faith.
It's the eleventh hour for my pride.
It's the eleventh hour for my heart.

The sand is falling.  Time is never on hold.  Time is almost up.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I'm not bragging when I say this - really I'm not - but I've always been the 'after' picture of being a Christian.  Know what I mean?  I never really had much of a 'before' picture.  I used to be jealous of the people who gave testimonies about being delivered from tons of alcohol, drugs and sex, but I've always been the perpetual Christian insider ... the teenage guy all the really good Christian moms would point at to their daughters, 'Why don't you date him?'  The teenage guy all the really good Christian dads would point at to their sons, 'Why can't you be good like him?'  

'I'm a Christian today because God chose to have a relationship with me ... '

Like I said, I'm not trying to brag.  Because of all that, I wasn't real popular with my friends growing up.  Weak smile.

I've committed near suicide several times by jumping off that pedestal but honestly, I think I crawled back on it in a few days -- or minutes.

My conversion experience, it seems, has not been so much about conversion as it has been about - as one author puts it - 'extraction, like peeling away the outer layer of traditional Christian expectations from the orange of my Christian experience, trying to determine what to keep and what to throw away.'

So I have this really sticky juice that squirts in my face and rolls down my arm - yes, even me - the 'after-only' picture guy.  I am messy too.

It would be great to say, 'I'm a Christ-follower because:
... my parents taught me the Word of God ... 
... I spent tons of hours in church ...
... so many Christians provided a good example around me ...
... I was in a great youth group ...

Those things are all great - valuable even - but the fact is, I'm a Christian today because God chose to have a relationship with me - and I, in turn, have chosen to have one with Him.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 28, 2012


If you do any communicating to crowds, large or small, here are a few tips/pointers to help you stay connected to the listeners ... 
BE REAL and HONEST - It's OK for people to see you're actually human.  Personal stories are the best way to do that.
TALK LIKE A REGULAR PERSON - i.e., Don't have a Christian accent.
BE FUNNY - I'm not really a funny person (although some people disagree - thank you).  I've found the best humor comes thru my every day life, which is a real riot.
DON'T TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK - Joelene corrected me on this years ago after giving a message where it was basically MY thoughts, not the Bible's so much.  "People don't care what you think, honey."  Uh -- thanks -- 'honey.'
AVOID THE SPIT SHINE - People may think you're overly polished - and that's bad - if you have every syllable down to a tee.  Leave some room for 'off the cuff' stuff.  (I think this may be my Achilles.)
TELL ME WHY IT MATTERS - Why should I listen to what you have to say?  How does affect me on Monday morning?
And be blessed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


I heard someone saying not long ago that the reason people should become believers in Jesus is that Christ-followers have more fun in life.

Well, I mulled that over for about 7.3 seconds and decided that wasn't true.  I mean, I don't know that we have less fun, but more fun?  Just because we decide to follow Jesus?  Hmmmm.

Fun isn't one of the fruit of the Spirit and I certainly don't find evidence for that point of view in Scripture - unless you count getting beaten, thrown in jail, stoned a time or two - fun.  Just being honest here, but I don't think we should ever try to convince those who aren't following Christ that the reason they should follow Him is because they'll suddenly have more fun in life.  Our job as believers isn't to compete with the world's pleasures so much, but to live out the life of Christ.  It certainly isn't devoid of fun or anti-fun, but fun isn't the reason we do it.  We do it because Jesus died for us and now showers us with grace that is practically irresistible.  (I say practically.)

'We have this sense that unbelievers live these utterly miserable existences.'

We also have this sense that unbelievers live these utterly miserable existences.  I don't know.  I find many who are disciplined, moral, great family people, generous, kind and at least as happy as the rest of us.  In fact, some of us who are believers might have something to learn from them.

What they lack is the understanding and faith that Jesus loves them, died for them, and that without Him, no matter how good they are or seem, there is no ultimate future apart from the grace of God.

That's why our job is 'to make it easy for people to find and experience God' ... not because we think it's going to be so easy for anybody, but that as followers of Christ we would exhibit lives that show peace in trouble, courage during fear, hope in collapse and endurance thru weariness ... and in showing those, our lives would make it easier for others to find Christ and Christ in us.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


If you are offended by Christians who overly link health to loving Jesus, please stop reading.

I have been noticing lately how much Americans drink.  I don't mean alcohol, I just mean liquids.  We were in a restaurant today and the group next to us at the counter ordered water, coffee, beer and mimosas.  Almost everybody in the group - all six of them - had each of those drinks.  And it was only 11:30 a.m.

I don't know what to make of it.  I ordered water.  It's free, cold, calorie-less, thirst-quenching, and it tastes like - well - like water.

Every 27 hours Americans consume enough bottled water to circle the equator with plastic bottles stacked end-to-end.  In just a single week, those bottles would stretch more than halfway to the moon.  This past year Americans drank over 25 gallons of bottled water per person per year - 10 times the amount we drank in 1980.  Add a few vitamins, minerals, flavors, colors and/or fizzies to it and we get even more excited.

But some have gone in the opposite direction.  Almost 6-in-10 Americans drink a cup of coffee per day.  Starbucks alone earned a phenomenal $5.3 billion just a few years ago.  Coffee shops say they're getting espresso customers as young as 10 years old.

Don't forget carbonated drinks.  They are now the leading source of calories in the average American diet, accounting for almost 1 in every 10 calories consumed.  Ten years ago, the leading calorie source was white bread.

When I was in college, the guys took No-Doz the night before the big exam.  One pill had about 100 milligrams of caffeine in it.  Today, you can get that with one Red Bull.  

We're killing ourselves.  We now have round-the-clock shopping and entertainment, 24/7 social media and non-stop communication availability via email, twitter, etc.  We sleep, on average, 25% less per night than we did 100 years ago.  Energy is at a prime in American culture.  For a population as old as it's ever been, we value vim, vitality and vigor like never before.  Gym memberships are soaring, in particular among seniors.  Plastic surgery is on the rise.  Use of Viagra, ditto - the largest use among men aged 18-45.

Is it possible that we have begun considering regular human performance as unacceptable?  Are we now satisfied with nothing less than super-charged, super-human, super-men and women?

I ask you, what good can come of that?

Let's all relax, go back to water, and see what great things we can do with clear minds, clear hearts, clear heads and clear liquids.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Well, all the reality shows are coming to an end with ultimate winners ...
Donald Driver wins Dancing With The Stars.
Arsenio Hall wins Celebrity Apprentice.
Jermaine Paul wins The Voice.
Jeremy Britt wins The Biggest Loser.
Phillip Phillips wins American Idol.

We're all going on a much-needed reality show fast now.  Thank God.

I watched the final show of Idol when I got home last evening - secretly rooting for Phillips, even though I am not a teenage girl.  There was a lot of glitz to it - streamers and confetti falling endlessly from the sky, lights flashing, cameras popping, screens lit up, back-slapping, crying, hugging - Phillips' moment of glory.

That glory was all over the internet just moments after the big win.  It's in the papers today.  Phillips and company are trending on the web.  Glory.

That word used to be a strictly spiritual term way back - referring to God's presence.  That glory sent prophets and Israelites and disciples running for cover.  Today, glory is more about popularity and fame.  It surrounds pop culture figures and is viewed from a distance on little screens that glow.  We're all voyeurs of the glory.

But I hope we never confuse cultural glory with God's real glory.

"If the ministry that brought death, engraved in letters on stone came with glory so the Israelites couldn't look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, won't the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?"  --  2 Corinthians 3:7, 8

There is a glory far greater than what man can manufacture.  It comes from the ministry of the Spirit inside us.  Man's glory explodes all at once and then fades away - like fireworks - 15 minutes or less of fame.  The glory of the Spirit starts small and grows, brick by brick, from one level of glory to the next.  We become like Him one step at a time.

I'm happy for Phillip Phillips, but not overly.  His glory is meant to get old and be replaced by another.  That isn't God's plan for you.  He wants you shining brightly, representing Him, brighter today than you were yesterday.  Let the ministry of the Spirit be glorious in you.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I never know what to wear when I go places these days.  Dress codes have become fashionably unfashionable.  I wear jeans almost exclusively on weekends for church now, something I never would have done even five years ago.  Some people don't like that, I'm aware, but it hasn't hurt the telling of the Gospel or how many people want to be prayed for or the number who receive Christ or attendance in general.  I'm sticking with it now.

A few people have mentioned what prevents us then from coming in shorts and a tank top some warm weekend.  I don't know if that's a good argument or not - but I don't plan to (nor is anyone on our team going to).

I went to a wedding not long ago wearing a jacket over a pair of jeans - it didn't seem to raise an eyebrow.  Funerals - same thing these days, unless I'm officiating.  That's still black suit and tie, just like the guest of honor is wearing.

A few years ago, Joelene and I were in a mall with our family at the holidays.  As we walked by the Abercrombie & Fitch store, Joelene noticed they had a 'holiday model' out front, showing off their A&F clothing.  Only thing was, he wasn't wearing much of it.  He was young - very well built - and had only a pair of jeans on - no shirt - no socks or shoes - just jeans.  All A&F models in pictures - and evidently, real life - go shirtless.  I actually GOOGLED for a pic of an A&F model to put in this blog - just to spice it up a little - but I couldn't find one fully clothed.

Joelene was outraged that they would advertise in such a way at the holidays, or any time of year.  She thought the model was going to catch his death of pneumonia standing there like that, so she said she was going to 'Go over there right now and give them a piece of my mind.'  I was like 'NO WAY!!' and she was like 'WAY!' -- and she did.  She marched across the mall hall and gave that nice young naked man a good motherly talking to.  Then she proceeded on into the A&F store to speak to the manager.  He listened respectfully and said he would let the upper management know how she felt about it.  I was very proud of her and told her so, after I came out from hiding behind the rack of gray v-neck t-shirts, size small - proving that A&F does actually sell shirts.

Sometimes we want to dress up the Gospel, but it's just the Gospel, no matter how it's dressed.  There isn't anything to hide or change there.  It doesn't need argued for, debated about, striven for - nothing needs to be done to it.  Everything has already been done.  The issue isn't the dressing, it's how to make certain it's living in me and you - a much more challenging proposal.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


We don't spend enough time wondering.  We spend plenty of time talking and arguing and deciding - but wondering - not so much.

I took a walk outside today for awhile.  It isn't part of my regular day but maybe it should be.  I noticed things I don't usually notice.  I'm talking trees and water and grass and plants and flowers.  I know - big deal.  We see them every day.  But do you?  Really?  Have you ever really gotten on the ground and put your nose up close up to a blade of grass?  It's kinda cool.  I recommend it.

We don't spend enough time wondering.  We spend plenty of time trying to make sense of everything - but wondering - not so much.

It was Job in the Bible who said: 'I spoke once, but I have no answer ... twice, but I will say no more.'  I don't remember where it is in the Bible, but I know it's in there.  Trust me.

'We don't spend enough time wondering ... '

He asked God 190 questions in his book.  Did he get all those answered?  I don't think so.  Thousands of years later, we're still trying to get some of them answered.  He saw God though - and evidently that was enough.  'My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you,' Job said.

He spoke too soon.
He tried to get questions answered he had no business having answered.
He tried to explain life.
He didn't spend enough time just wondering.

We don't spend enough time wondering.  We spend plenty of time doubting and complaining and debating and explaining - but wondering - not so much.


And be blessed.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Every parent answers the requests of their children either, Yes, no, or later.  If you're a parent, do your children ask you for things?  Sure, they do.  Now, would you be a good parent to always say, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes?”

Bedtime?  "You want to stay up till 2 a.m.?  Absolutely, yes.  Totally.  You need a Red Bull and some bottle rockets?"  That should always happen at bedtime, right?  

‘Oh sure, you can date him.  Completely fine.  He’s almost out of rehab, right?  That’s a GREAT idea.  GO for it.’  

'In time we'll see that our Dad was right.'

A good parent has three answers: Yes, no and later.  

Now -- why do we completely get that when it comes to parenting, but we have a hard time with it when it comes to God, who is our Father?

‘My prayers aren’t working.  I asked the Father and it didn’t happen.’  No - it worked.  He said ‘No.’  Or, He said ‘Later.’  He hears and answers every prayer, it’s just that He has three answers: Yes, no and later.  And in time, we’ll all see that our Dad was right.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Some of us struggle in prayer because we’re too focused on prayer rather than on God - but our goal is to get to know God, the Father.  God, YOUR Father.  In the Old Testament there was not a concept of God being our personal Father.  It’s only said 14 times in all the Old Testament.  Then Jesus comes along, and on 60 occasions He says: “Father.”  
And that’s what He is to you -- your Father.  
Let’s say there is an abandoned child - she has been abused, neglected and orphaned.  But one day, a gracious, kind man comes to that child, gets down on one knee and looks that child in the eye with a big smile and says, “Today I have chosen to adopt you.  From this day on, you’ll be my child.  You’ll receive my last name and inherit everything I have.  You’re being adopted into a very large family so you’ll have a lot of brothers and sisters who will also love you and can’t wait to meet you.  I love you, too, and there isn’t anything you can do to make me love you more and there isn’t anything you can do to cause me to love you less.  And for the rest of your life, I’ll never abandon you or betray you or hurt you because I’m your Dad.’
Now, if that child has had a hard life, she may begin tentatively: “Is this Father really trustworthy?  Is He safe?  Where’s the catch?”  But as she gets to know him, she begins to realize: ‘My father really does love me.  Even when I act badly, He loves me all the same.  Every time I come to Him, He stops whatever He’s doing and makes me a priority.’  
And over time, that child is drawn more and more by the love of the father.  And it becomes very natural to talk to him.  “Hey, Dad, I really need help.  I blew it again.”  It’s getting to know God as Father.

'Dad loves me and I'm not afraid to ask him for a lot of things even if I don't get everything I ask for.'

Some of you - like me - don’t know anything of that with your earthly father.  He isn’t someone you could say any of that to.  But your Heavenly Father is.  
And I can tell you this as a Dad who has a different relationship with his children than my father had with me:  Children approach their fathers continually without any apprehension if they’re well loved.  You’ve been places with your own children and they go: ‘Dad, can I ride the Ferris wheel?  Can I have some cotton candy?  Can I ride a pony?  Can I have a cowboy hat?  Can I get a hamburger?  Can I go potty?’  And they just ask and ask and ask.
There is no pretense - no fear - no hesitation.  Your four-year-old doesn’t come up and say: ‘Dearest father, I beseech thee for a pony ride.’
No.  They pull on your pant leg and say: ‘Dad, look!  Snow cones!  Snow cones!’
And what they learn is:  My Dad loves me and I’m not afraid to ask him for a lot of things even if I don’t get everything I ask for.  Any time I want, I just walk right up to him and ask and talk and bug him. 
That’s your Heavenly Father.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I had a chance to speak at the Kenosha area Rotary today.  It was a great time.  I spoke about the importance of 'WHY.'

Remember when your dad would tell you to do something you didn't want to do?  And when you questioned him about the reason, he said: 'Because I said so.'  And your response to that would be one word:  'Why.'

We are learning around KFA to get way better at what S. Sinek reminds us:  That WHY is so important.  He says every person or organization on the planet knows what they do -- 100% of them.  Some know how they do it.  But few people or organizations know why they do what they do - at least they can't articulate it very well to themselves or to others.
And I don’t just mean we exist to make a profit, even though many do.  That’s not the basement level of why you do what you do -- at least, I hope it isn’t.  I mean, what’s your purpose - what’s your belief - why do you or your organization exist?  Why do you get out of bed in the morning?
People don’t buy what you do - they buy why you do it.  If you don’t know why you do what you do - then how do you ever get anybody to respond to you - or buy what you’re selling - or maybe more importantly - be loyal to you and be part of whatever it is you DO?

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for you for money - but if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with their blood, sweat and tears.
Ask yourself, “Why do I do what I do?  Why does our church - or business - or company - or organization - do what we do?'  Ask your team; they’ll tell you -- if they know why.  Maybe you already know the answer to that question.  If so, I celebrate that with you.  If you don't, keep asking yourself into you’ve discovered it.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I was there the last time some famous guy predicted the world would end and Jesus would come back on a particular day at a particular time.  I was there.  I watched the clock with great readiness and anticipation.

He said it was going to happen this past October at 3:05 p.m. - on a Friday.  (It's always a Friday, isn't it? Like Jesus wants us to get in a responsible work week and THEN He'll come back.)

So that day, I was all abuzz.

6:30 a.m.     Woke up and brushed my teeth extra good -- took at least 4 minutes - twice the suggested amount of time.  Gonna see Jesus today.  Gotta have good breath.

7:45 a.m.     Kissed my wife goodbye.  Might be the last time I see her in this form, so ... 

9:57 a.m.     I begin to think about what happens if this thing really flies in just a little over five hours from now.  The potentially difficult appointment I'm about to head into in 3 minutes suddenly seems less daunting if it's really gonna happen.

12:15 p.m.    I head out for a little lunch.  Should I even bother?  Where do you go for your 'last meal' anyway?  Cracker Barrel.  OK.  Really?  I want the country-fried steak, but I order a chef's salad because I want to make it easier for Jesus to lift me off.  The man sitting over from me is having breakfast for lunch - munching on a piece of toast.  I wonder if he knows that in less than three hours, he's going to be one.  I should tell him, shouldn't I?  It would be the thing to do.

1:28 p.m.     My wife calls.  The sink is clogged at home.  I don't know why I care anymore.  Jesus is coming.  Let the sludge take over the house.  One hour and thirty-seven minutes and counting.

2:45 p.m.     I can't concentrate.  Jesus is coming back in twenty minutes.  I should go comb my hair or something.

3:03 p.m.     I stop all activity and just sit at my desk ... waiting.  The anticipation is killing me.  This is it.  If my office chair had a seat belt, I'd fasten it right now.

3:04 p.m.     I'm literally watching the second hand on my watch.

3:05 p.m.     Here it is.  Here we go.  Hold on.

3:06 p.m.     My watch could be fast.  Keep holding.  My knuckles are white on my chair.

3:07 p.m.     Nothing.

3:08 p.m.     Nothing.

3:09 p.m.     It was Central Time, wasn't it?

6:30 p.m.     I walk into the house - re-kiss my wife - sit down for supper (something Italian) - I shoulda had that country fried steak for lunch, but at least now I'm really really hungry - I'm still here - we all are - the guy was wrong.

After it didn't happen when he said it was going to, I read that this famous predictor postponed the rapture for another time -- this month actually -- May, 2012.

Better let Jesus know that -- but in any case, I'm having my country fried steak early.  Otherwise, I'm ready.


And be blessed.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It has to be about my wife today.  This morning I surprised her with 28 flowers - one for every year she's been a mom - each one stuck into a piece of styrofoam and placed around the kitchen island.  I did that because:

She's amazing.
She's smart.
She's a Godly example.
She sees the big picture.
She has vision.
She loves her kids and has been an amazing role model for them.
She challenges me.
She's thrifty.
She's a great chef.
She's a master decorator.
She's a great businesswoman.
She's beautiful.
She's sexy (it's my blog, so deal with it).
She's tender.
She's sensitive.
She has great common sense.
She's wise.
She's been a mom for 28 years and my wife for almost 31.

I love her.

PS -- I'd also like to wish a very special Mother's Day to my own mom in Kansas City, who has been another amazing woman in my life.

And be blessed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Our world is confused, to say the least.  It's what we have to work with as followers of Christ.  It's a challenge, but it's our calling.  "In the world, yet not of the world, but sent to the world."  There is some built-in tension there.

There is a website called  Their byline is 'The time has come to abandon Christianity.'  The site claims they are not a hate site, but a love site.  Go figure.  I was about to be offended by that and then I realized how often we say that about ourselves - that we're lovers, not haters - but the world sees us as the opposite.

UndoJesus believes the claims of the Bible are absurd - that human energy is being wasted thru the practice of religion - that Christianity is the source of death and destruction throughout the world today - that followers of Jesus are, essentially, killing us all.

How very different from the way we view ourselves.  Jesus said the world would hate us.  Let's not give them extra reasons to.  They've already thought of enough.

And be blessed.

Friday, May 11, 2012


We are sitting in DFW (Dallas/Fort Worth) airport waiting on our flight to take off.  It has been delayed a couple of times - now scheduled to take off around 10:00 p.m. tonight.  We were supposed to be HOME around 10, so we'll see.  You may see us Sunday, and then again, you may not.

But our time at Dallas Catalyst 2012 was outrageously awesome.  Our team scored it right up there as one of the greatest conferences they've been part of.  So it was definitely worth it.

The line-up of speakers this year was A+:
Andy Stanley
John Maxwell
Kirk Franklin
Jud Wilhite
Jon Acuff
Matt Chandler
Nancy Duarte
Judah Smith
Katie Davis
Randy Rasmus
Tony Romo
Bob Goff
Perry Noble

Music & Worship by:
Kari Jobe
Israel Houghton
Carlos Whittaker

Personal take-aways of the week:
'Concentrate on the beauty of Jesus above everything else.'  --- Matt Chandler

'Your job is to empty your cup and replace yourself.'  --- Andy Stanley

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Our whole pastoral team is having an amazing time together at Catalyst 2012 in Dallas, Texas.  Following are some one-line pullouts from our time here so far:

Andy Stanley:
'The more successful you are, the less accessible you become.'

'Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.'

'When you decide to do for one, you often end up doing for more than just one.'

'Don't be fair; be engaged.'

'Go deep rather than wide.
Go long-term rather than short-term.
Go time, not just money.'

John Maxwell on leadership:
To be a better leader, ask yourself these five questions ...
- What is the greatest lesson I've ever learned?
- What am I learning now?
- How has failure shaped my life?
- Who do you know that I should know?
- What have you done that I should do?
- What have you read that I should read?
- How can I add value to you?'

How to get personal success in life:
- Know your purpose in life
- Intentionally add value to people every day
- In your abilities, work on your strengths, not your weaknesses
- Follow the rule of '5' (every day do 5 things that will help you accomplish your purpose in life)
- Trust God every day with your lunch

One more day of awesomeness at Catalyst tomorrow before flying home.

And be blessed.

Monday, May 7, 2012


I remember the days when the math book had all the answers in the back.  You weren't supposed to look, but sometimes I did -- just to check to make sure I had the right answer after doing all the work, you know?  Just to confirm.  That's all.

I do the same thing today when I'm working on a crossword puzzle and it's a *'five letter word ending in "Z,"' and for the life of me, I can't come up with the answer.  I am prone to take a quick peek in the back of the book.  I only look with one eye open though.

I'm still sneaking peeks every day.  There is so much I don't know.  I wonder if all your questions are answered.  You've come to faith and now you get everything that happens.  Nothing is a mystery to you.  You've figured it all out.  The economy.  Terminal illness.  Tornadoes.  Birth defects.  Capital punishment.  War.  The fifth toenail on the beast in Revelation.  Evolution.  You have sixteen Scriptures for each of them and everything is perfectly lined up in your heart and mind.

Good for you.  I suppose your search is over then.  Boom.  Done.  I wish mine was, but it isn't.  I feel like it's just beginning.

U2 and Bono have a song that expresses the way I feel many days:
'You broke the bonds, you loosed the chains, you carried the cross and my shame.  You know I believe it but I still haven't found what I'm looking for.'

Don't get me wrong.  I know what I'm looking for is in Jesus.  I've found that; I'm completely thankful and I'm totally secure in that.  But that song expresses the question, 'You mean ... there's more?'

Yes.  There is.  It's all in Jesus, but there is definitely more.  Those who are satisfied with what they have, have what they have.

* Blitz or glitz or topaz, by the way.

And be blessed.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Today was the final weekend of our 'At The Movies' series, utilizing the movie 'Mission Impossible 4' with Tom Cruise.

I am fully convinced that no matter who you are, you have a gigantic mission to fulfill in this world.  It has your name on it.  But you can only fulfill that mission with the power of God operating in your life.
God’s power is so superior.  Why don’t we desperately seek it?  Because the great promise of God in the Bible is that you can go to Him and say: ‘God, I know You’re busy running the universe and all, but ... would You just come down and live in me and walk with me and show a little of your power thru me?’  

And the irony is that the great God of the universe will.  He’ll place His power inside you so you might have all you need in order to accomplish His purposes in this world.  
But He doesn’t just want to do something in us - or for us - or through us - He wants to do something with us.  And He won’t do something with us until He does something in us.  And He has to do something in us before we can do something with Him.  Our problem is we haven’t let God do anything in us and therefore we are impotent to do anything with Him.
'Why would we ever settle for "church" according to our own resources?'

My prayer is that KFA would be characterized by a sense of desperation for the power of God.  Why would we ever settle for Christianity according to our own abilities or settle for ‘church’ according to our own resources?  Why would we ever do that? 
And be blessed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


At some point we're going to have to come to the conclusion and face the fact that we live in a world that is R-rated, if not worse.

This R-rated world is contrary to what we believe.  It is contrary to the way we act.  It is contrary to our opinions and thought processes and end results.  It is contrary, period.

'How do you think YOU look to Jesus without the cross?'

Our task as believers in Jesus Christ is not take the R rating, or worse, and try to improve it to PG or G, as if that was possible.  Why would we?  We seem to have created a goal to frame a world where we are less uncomfortable as Christ-followers.

If Jesus would have treated us the way we treat the world, well ... golly (excuse my French).  It was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us.  It wasn't after we got our messiness cleaned up a little that He decided we were worth saving.  It was when we were yet in the depth of our filth - it was R-rated, and R would be gracious for some of us.

But here's where we get tripped up.  The guy at work who so casually throws the F-bomb around - the guy who uses it as an adjective for words like 'chair' and 'dog' and 'ice cream' - THAT guy - his sins were nailed on the cross of Christ along with yours.  No difference.

And if Jesus removed the barrier that separated Himself from sinful people -- all sinful people, not just the two of us -- and if I'm still encountering a barrier between unbelievers and me, then there is only one person putting the barrier there --- me.

How do you think YOU look to Jesus without the cross?  You look the same as Mr. F-bomb.  Exactly.

So my encouragement is for you to go out right now and catch an R-rated movie - the one living next door to you.

And be blessed.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I'm so proud of our KFA ladies tonight as they have planned and are hosting, as we speak, the first KFA SHINE Conference for women.  Right now the building is filled with 500 women singing, having community and donating shoes for the under-resourced.  

Guest speaker at SHINE is DeLynn Rizzo from Healing Place Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- co-author of the book, 'SERVOLUTION.'

This is the first of many great moments for women, not only of KFA, but of our region.

And be blessed.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I have been accused in the past of being unemotional -- aloof -- flat-lined -- look up 'stoic' in the dictionary and our pastor's picture is there --- stuff like that.  Kinder people have just called me 'composed.'  It's one step up from 'moron.'

Those things are as far from the truth as can be -- except sometimes I admit I may be a moron.

I don't think there's anybody more emotional than I; I'm just selective about what makes me emotional.

There is a societal belief out there that it's 'unmanly' to get emotional or cry.  I mean, take two guys in the movies who are out to save the world.  One is Bruce Willis; the other is Ben Affleck.  When faced with the daunting task of rescuing mankind, Affleck cries and Willis just takes off his shirt and delivers the Earth from the enemy.  Which would you rather be?  See what I mean?
Greek Model

But I read once that it wasn't always that way.  Evidently in ancient Greek culture, men were expected to cry - for instance, if their family honor was at stake.  One of the greatest signs of real masculinity was to shed tears.  But that's Greece, right?  I mean, you can easily envision this guy at right (Greek model) getting emotional if he has a sore hangnail, can't you?  The Greeks are the same dudes who competed in the Olympics without a stitch of clothing on, so ...

But even into the early years of American culture - or so I've read - men's tears were actually celebrated as signs of integrity and strength ... honesty ... as in, 'I actually give a rip' about something.

So I'll confess - I do cry.  Some of the things that cause me to get emotional are:

- When my kids call out of the blue for no other reason than to say 'hi' and 'love.'
- When my wife is hurt by me or someone else.
- When people discover God for the first time.
- When I see God doing such amazing things in peoples' lives that nobody but He could have pulled off.
- When someone consistently serving homeless, hurting, widowed and orphaned folks.
- When God speaks to me in ways that are unmistakable.

There's a bunch more I could share in this category, but I don't want you thinking I'm too big of a wimp.  And I apologize if you are Greek.  So see?  I can still be a moron sometimes.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Small group was wild tonight.  Our conversation focused on questions like:

* Once I'm a believer, can I lose my salvation?
* Does God choose certain people and not others to be saved in advance?
* Can a person fall from grace at any point?
* Is my destiny already sealed no matter what I do before I'm born?

So yeah -- wild.

I won't get into all of it here - and some things are mysteries - and I don't know with 100% surety about every subject - but some things I know for certain:
It isn't natural for a true believer in Jesus Christ to continue on in a life of sin.  We are new creations.  The true believer grows in Christ and lays aside sinful responses, realizing that continuing on in them will jeopardize his walk with Christ.

If we are saved only as long as we maintain flawlessness, then salvation is no longer by grace.

Does God demand perfection from us?  Hardly.  If He does, then the question must be raised: 'Is our standing in Christ based on our righteousness or on God's?'  If we are saved only as long as we maintain flawlessness, then salvation is no longer by grace.  We believe God doesn't let anyone go easily.

But there is a danger in going too far over HERE as well.  We do not believe our standing with Christ is so fragile that it can be shaken by the slightest mistake ... that a temporary lapse into some kind of sin automatically cancels everything God has done in us up to that moment.  And yet, we must take care that we do not fall into prolonged and profound sin that is consciously held without repentance and continued with no regret.

Stay the journey.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Today it begins.  B90X.

Many of the men of our church have set a goal using the B90X Reading Plan to read the entire Bible thru in 90 days.  It starts today.

Guys, you can attend a Sunday 9 a.m. gathering with other men in the North Commons of KFA to talk about what you read each week.  It's an open forum - just come and have some coffee and chat about the Word.

One of our guys, Mark Stofferahn, is also doing a daily blog for the run of the 90 days, notating his thoughts about what he read each day.  The blog can be found at: 

Happy reading.

And be blessed.