Monday, December 31, 2012


I don't know what to write on the final day of 2012.  

There's a ton of gratefulness in my heart.  An incredible wife who is the light of my life -- three amazing adult children -- two awesome sons-in-law -- two beautiful grandchildren and one on the way -- good health -- salvation and freedom -- grace beyond deserving -- friendships and community with tremendous people -- a great church ... 

'Thanks for letting me be part of this family.'

I'm excited for the year-to-come at KFA (  There is a lot laying ahead of us.  Some of it we know already, but another part we don't.  God hasn't told us or shown us yet.  That fills me with great enthusiasm and hope.

On a personal level, what did God do in you in 2012 and what do you want Him to do in you in 2013?  Are you walking toward Him?  Because at KFA, we're going to be bolder -- we're going to have more faith -- we're going to ask God for greater things than ever before.

I know not everyone who reads this is part of KFA, but now that I think about it, do you know what was maybe the very best thing about 2012?  It was that we got to do the whole thing together -- no big superstars -- just brothers and sisters of each other.  And yes, we argue and scrap now and then -- some of you don't like some stuff I do -- and I don't like some stuff you do, just like a real, dysfunctional family -- but I can't think of any other place or group of people I'd want to walk this journey with.  

Thanks for letting me be part of this family.

I guess I do know what to write after all.

Happy New Year.

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 30, 2012


How many CEOs or politicians or pastors or husbands have we seen fall apart on integrity?  A lot.  It's one of the things we have to keep high and 'above water' in our personal lives.  Without personal integrity, we don't have much.  So we have to have permission-giving systems built into our lives - we have to have people who can correct us - people who can probe with no fear of retribution - people who can periodically ask:  "Who was that? ... Why were you there? ... Where are you going? ... I see some chinks in the way you're leading your family ... at your work ... with your honesty ... "

Then we also have to do that at a Divine level.  Is God able to do that with us?  "Search me, O God; know my heart.  Try me and know my thoughts.  See if there is any sinful way in me."  (Psalm 139:23, 24)

Are we doing that on a regular basis personally?

We've had to do that with each other as a KFA staff.  I'm proud and thankful that we have men and women on our team who pay attention to their personal integrity.  We challenge each other on it regularly.

We've also had to give focus to our missional integrity.  As an organization, are we doing what the Bible calls us to?  Because being integrity-driven is one of our eight KFA core values.

You go to some fast food restaurant and they have their organizational core values posted on the wall.  They are:
Good Service
Nutritious Food
A Clean Facility

Great.  But you're standing there waiting fifteen minutes for a bean burrito squirted out of a caulk gun and the bathroom is nasty.  In that case, it doesn't matter what's on the wall.  There's no missional integrity there.

'We have to constantly remind ourselves what our mission is so we have organizational integrity.'

So at KFA, we have to constantly remind ourselves what our mission is so we have organizational integrity.  Our mission is to love the city of Kenosha and do whatever we can to give away the Gospel however we can at every opportunity to a world that's walking away from God.  We know our mission.

Join us in it.

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Time to rant.  Some of you aren't going to like this one.

Many of us tend to put professions into molds.  Think about what you and your friends talk about when the word 'policeman' comes up.  What about 'attorney?'  'Mechanic?'  'Over-the-Road Truck Driver?'  'Senator?'  'Used Car Salesman?'  'Taxi Driver?'  'Hairdresser?'

Come on.  You know you were thinking in a few stereotypical molds when you read some of those.

Let's try one more.  'Pastor.'

What mold comes to mind?  You won't hurt my feelings.  I can't be offended (anymore).

Wait.  You don't have to say it; I'll say it for you.

1 - Perfect
OK.  Maybe that was the last thing you were thinking, but a lot of people expect this, even if they don't admit it.  Pastors should be practically all-knowing - all-present - no personal schedule - love everybody - no weaknesses or character flaws - compassionate and grace-filled to a fault - unshakable integrity - faith like Noah - the kind found only in fiction and Little House on the Prairie.

2 - Medicinal
The Bible does say churches are for the sick, right?  That doesn't make all pastors doctors.  But folks expect you to make them better regardless of whether they take the medicine or not.

3 - Therapeutic
... only less expensive than the 'real' counselor down the street.  Honestly, I've said it before but it's true.  I have a basic, three-step short method for counseling:
A - What's the problem?
B - What does Jesus say to do about it?
C - Are you going to do that?
I got no plan B.  Sometimes people are looking for expert advice with no ongoing obligation.

4 - Instructive
I like this one, actually.  It suits me, but it's still a mold.  I had a friend once say to me, after finishing a meeting: 'Do you have to teach all the time, even in meetings?'  I didn't know I did that, but maybe I do.

5 - Friendly
Some think the role of pastor is to be nice to everyone - hang out at Starbucks - laugh - be social and fun 24/7.  Joelene and I love going to people's homes - (I hope we continue getting invited) - but one of the frustrating elements of ministry is figuring out how to fulfill all the invitations to 'do dinner' or 'come over' or 'attend parties.'  I fear I end up disappointing too many people because I wasn't a good enough friend.

6 - Handy
Pastors fix things that are broken.  Anything.  Everything.  Problem with your student?  Call the pastor. Problem with your marriage?  Call the pastor.  Problem with your job?  Call the pastor.  Problem with your sink?  Call the pastor.  (It's happened.)  He can fix it.  I admit it feels really great to be needed, but I'll be the first to say I don't know how to fix all this stuff.

'May God help us be ourselves while endeavoring to be what He has called us to be.'

7 - Magical
Like Gandalf.  Pastors are people who have power to do all kinds of amazing and mysterious things.  We're closer to God than you are, everybody knows that.  Some believe we can exercise our spiritual power at will, snap our fingers, say a quick prayer, and voila!  Boom.  Done.  No.

8 - Multi-Tasking
People want pastors to provide visionary leadership, effective team management, be a whiz at handling budgets, look, dress and smell nice, know about cost-saving building innovations, be an architect and contractor, speak like Billy Graham, marry, bury, counsel, coach, understand what the fourth toenail on the beast in Revelation is all about, be able to predict within 3 days when Jesus is returning, and be the poster boy of the local church's best personal evangelist - and that's just Monday.  Not happening.

9 - Parental
Pastors are infused with a parental aura, especially if they are old enough to have grown children.  I like that most of the time.  I've grown into it.  But sometimes people project their parental 'stuff' onto pastors and that can be dangerously problematic, not to mention a no-win for everybody.

May God help us be ourselves while endeavoring to be what He has called us to be.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I've never done this before -- but here's what I got for Christmas today from some of my fam:

An electric shaver (really needed one, and my face is grateful)
A book by Richard Dawkins (it's a long story)
A watch (two actually)
A universal remote (every guy will understand this gift)
Armani cologne (really needed it - if you've been up close to me lately, you know that)
A brain-teaser game (my brain is teased out)
A set of headphones (my workout thanks you)
A coat (I bought that for myself, but still)
Various Chocolates (yes).
Lots of Grace.

It's true.  Grace.  Best gift of the day, hands down.  And by far the most expensive gift I received today.  No contest.  Not even close.

Chances are, if your family is anything like mine -- if your friendships are anything like mine -- that somewhere in your world there is a need for unconditional, unexplainable grace.  There is someone who doesn't deserve it - and God will call you this Christmas season to dig way down deep and give what might be your most expensive gift of all.

Because grace will cost you some pride - it will cost you some time - it will cost you some emotion - and even as you're reading this right now, considering it with 'that person,' something resistant starts to well up inside you.

'No, no, no -- they won't appreciate it -- they won't acknowledge it -- they won't receive it -- they won't return it.'  And it is at times like these we learn that grace is expensive.  In fact, it cost your heavenly Father the life of His only Son.

And here's my question . . .

Where in your world of relationships - friends - family - neighbors - is there that someone who desperately needs from you precisely what they don't deserve?  Where is there, in your world, the opportunity to extend grace to someone so that the people who know you and your situation best would gasp out loud -- where the person to whom you show the grace would be so taken by surprise?

'Wait, wait, wait ... you don't know the whole story.  You don't know what happened between me and that person.'  But that's what makes grace grace.  It's the undeserving part that makes it grace.

Somebody needs you to show up - somebody needs you to listen - somebody needs you to stay one extra day - somebody needs your acceptance - somebody needs to hear you say, 'I love you.'  

'At Christmas our heavenly Father canceled all our excuses . . . '

But they won't say it back.

I know.  That's why it's called grace.

At Christmas our heavenly Father canceled all our excuses when He "demonstrated His love for us - in that while we were still sinners - Christ died for us."  (Romans 5:8)

That was grace.

Where you live, who is that deserves Christmas grace the least - and who is that needs Christmas grace the most - and what would it look like for you to extend it their direction?

Would you be willing to give the most expensive gift of all this Christmas?

And be blessed.

Monday, December 24, 2012


It's Christmas.  The cultural shift has been in full swing for weeks already.  It only happens in December.  

The music changes.  No matter what genre you listen to - folk, rap, hip hop, classical, rock, country - you name it - this time of year everybody's programming shifts and either the whole station is thrown out and does nothing but Christmas music or it finds it way sprinkled into all the genres.

The landscape changes.  There are lights on houses, fake deer in yards, huge inflatable snowmen in front of homes.

The food changes.  All of a sudden you're eating stuff you don't eat any other time of year.  Nobody says in July: 'Guess what we're having for dinner tonight?  Candied yams!  We're going to pour melted marshmallows on the green beans and wash it down with eggnog.'  Nobody does that.

Family changes.  They converge into one location from all parts of the country.  You shuttle from Place 1 to Place 2 to Place 3 over a few hours in one day just to see everybody.

So you have presents and trees and yards decorated and food and music and family that you don't have the other eleven months because we love Christmas.

'At Christmas what we really celebrate is God re-introducing grace to the world.'

But here's my fear . . . that for all the lights and presents, if we're not careful we'll concentrate on the shadows and miss the form -- that when everything is said and done, you'll just have Tuesday morning this week.  You'll just have a little more trash than normal, a little more debt that normal, a little messier house than normal.  But beyond that, that's all you'll have - just some memories that go away on Wednesday, and there's no substance to the most meaningful time of year.

Because at Christmas what we really celebrate is God re-introducing grace to the world.  When Jesus came at Christmas, God changed the relationship between Divinity and humanity.  He sent His Son as a baby in a manger and the rules changed overnight.

For that moment on, God said: 'I'm going to give you exactly what you need - but I'm also going to give you exactly what you don't deserve - a relationship not based on how good you are but on how good My Son is.  And if you'll receive it, I'll give you His righteousness - not because you deserve it but because I want a relationship with you.'

Can it get any better than that?

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Bellwether - n. --- 'a thing that shows the existence or direction of a trend; pacesetter; frontrunner, trailblazer.'

Today at KFA (, Bob Griffith, pastor of Families and Enthusiastic Service delivered the message.

It was ... a bellwether message.  That is, it laid down the vision and set the path for families to 'help themselves to the Gospel' by providing equipping tools for moms and dads to lead themselves and their children in Biblical pathways.

The church isn't responsible for making sure you get your three square meals a day.  If you think that, let me clear that up.  You're responsible.  The church is responsible for equipping you to feed yourself.  That's the plan of God for the church and for families.  The final command of Jesus to 'Go and make disciples' wasn't given to an institution, but to every believer in Christ.

So it's our task to provide families with tools and helps and direction and trails and challenge and encouragement and opportunities --- but you still have to get up off your bellwether and participate.

Pastor Bob and crew have put together a website at to help families thrive.   Under the 'FAMILY' tab you will find "HomePointe."  HomePointe gives you:

- An intentionality survey/assessment
- Pointers for various life stages from singlehood to marriage to disciplining children to school to young adulthood, empty nest and life as grandparents
- Guidance for special situations such as infertility, family finances, difficult teens, unbelieving spouses, addictions, children who reject Christ and much more
- A section just for kids

I wish this kind of thing was available when we were raising children.  I invite you to browse it and get going.

And be blessed.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Today, according to the Mayan Calendar, is the final day of the end of the world.  It ain't midnight yet, so we'll see, but Jesus said this kind of thing would happen.  He said people would prophesy the end of the world - and then, people would prophesy that they were Him.

It's happened time and again.
Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism prophesied the end of the world in 1891.  Hello.
Ellen White, founder of the Seventh Day Adventist movement did it multiple times. All wrong.
The Jehovah's Witnesses have made at least such predictions over the years - wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong.

Others have done it as well, including several claims by Christians in very recent years.  Some of the claims have made national news.  But frankly, that kind of thing has turned Christianity into something of a laughingstock with folks.  'There go those crazy Christians again.'  

The Eastern Sky
Then Jesus said there would be people who would say that they were Him.  And again:
Arnold Potter from the 1800s ... Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church ... Jim Jones, who led the 900-person mass murder-suicide in Guyana in 1978 ... David Koresh, leader of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993 ... that's just the tip of the iceberg.

But the truth is, the one and only Jesus really came, really lived, really died, really rose, really conquered satan, sin, death and hell.  That is historically and factually true.  People got to see Him, touch Him, hear Him and speak with Him.

Then He ascended into heaven - and now, He's coming back.  We don't know when exactly but we know He will.

Jesus says, 'Nobody knows the hour or the day of My return.  No one.'  Do you know who that includes?  Everyone.

There's only one Savior and His name is Jesus.  Anyone or anything else we cling to, thinking that will deliver us, is false.  So the world may not end today - there is still 7 hours to go - but my suggestion is to keep your eyes on the Eastern Sky -- and wait -- and watch -- and through it all, be sure your hope is in Christ.

And be blessed.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


What my family and I have done for years is make up words.  Nobody else knows what we're talking about except us.  It's a bonding technique, and it works.  Yes, sons-in-law must learn some new language, but they catch on - in time.  Sometimes they even add to the family vocabulary.  Nice.

Don't think that I'm about to unravel years of family trust here in this blog by revealing the Taylor Lexicon.  No.  I'm just encouraging you to try it yourself.

Here, I'll give you some examples to prime your snarfle (see how easy that was?):

'I was feeling gypsa so I went to Jimmy John's and got a sub.'

'My wife asked me to stop at the store and get some milk and I replied, 'Maspeno, I'll be glad to pick it up.'

'I couldn't answer the phone because bidna was taking my time.'

'He needs some serious boostafazoo.'  --- Bart Simpson

'When that dude cut me off in traffic I got all squingocky.'

'We sat down at the table but realized we had forgotten the intstrals.'

'Lunch will be ready soon; the stew is simbergating.'

There you go.  You should try it sometime.  If nothing else, it makes you smile.  Now - I'll just tell you - at least ONE of those makeups above is an actual word my fam sometimes uses.  I won't tell you which one and don't ask or try to jarn me to tell you - but that was a teaser for you.  It's still our secret.

Hakuna Matata.

And be bloppish.

Monday, December 17, 2012


There's a tongue-in-cheek song from the hit musical 'Wicked' that's titled 'Popular.'  It's sung by the character Galinda to her fellow-'witch,' Elphaba.  

Some of the lyrics are:

"Whenever I see someone less fortunate than I, 
And let's face it, who isn't less fortunate than I? 
My tender heart tends to start to bleed. 
And when someone needs a makeover, 
I simply have to take over! 
I know exactly what they need! 

And even in your case, 
Though it's the toughest case I've yet to face, 
Don't worry, I'm determined to succeed! 
Follow my lead, 
And yes indeed, you will be ... 

You're gonna be popular! 
I'll teach you the proper poise,
When you talk to boys, 
Little ways to flirt and flounce.
I'll show you what shoes to wear! 
How to fix your hair! 
Everthing that really counts to be ... 

I'll help you be popular! 
You'll hang with the right cohorts, 
You'll be good at sports, 
Know the slang you've got to know. 
So let's start, 
'Cause you've got an awfully long way to go! 

When I see depressing creatures, 
With unprepossessing features, 
I remind them on their own behalf
To - think - of 
Celebrated heads of state, 
Or specially great communicators! 
Did they have brains or knowledge? 
Don't make me laugh! 

They were POPULAR! 
It's all about popular. 
It's not about aptitude, 
It's the way you're viewed, 
So it's very shrewd to be, 
Very very popular 
like ME!"


That said, Christianity has to be extremely careful when it is popular.  Excitement captivates and draws folks.  We witnessed it just this past weekend in our area:  Packers vs. Bears.  Second service was way under-pewed since half of those usual attenders either came Saturday night or to Sunday's first service instead so they could be home by noon to catch the big game.

Guess we're less captivating than the Packers.  It's OK though; at least they came.  

This happened to Jesus, too.  He was really popular - for a time.  He would have made a great TV mini-series.  Crowds were growing larger and larger, following Him everywhere.  

But He also attracted shallow fun-seekers.  At one point they all started walking away, deciding this wasn't the gig they were really interested in.  That's because real disciples aren't attracted by glitz and glamor, but by the truth - by power - by the integrity of the message.  

So 'hang' popular.  Just dish out the truth with strong doses of grace and love - and see what happens.

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


'We're drawn to leaders who have the ability to articulate a future in a way that speaks to us and includes us.'  That's a quote by E. Anderson.  She says these kinds of leaders pull people out of their short-sightedness and into a hopeful sense of future purpose.

So good.

People want to follow those who look beyond December, 2012.  They want to have the sense that there's some kind of master plan bigger than what happened this past month or quarter.

I'd like to be that kind of leader ... the kind who sees what the greater good for the church and the team is - what is right for the organization - not just what is popular or easy.

I'd like to be the kind of leader who doesn't just see a future - but has consistency in moving toward it - a leader who personally models the vision for the church.

Pray with us -- and go with us on the journey.

And be blessed.

Friday, December 14, 2012


There is a new gameshow on TV called "Take It All."

I watched it this week - and, entertainment factor aside - it is a disgusting testimony to out-and-out greed.

The premise is - players are whittled down from 5 to 2 by trying to avoid taking the least valuable gift in each round.  The loser doesn't advance - until there are only two left.  Those two players may keep all the prizes they've won so far, including a large unrevealed cash prize they have chosen - with one fatal catch.

They must either play a 'KEEP MINE' card - or a 'TAKE IT ALL' card.  If both players play "KEEP MINE,"  both get to keep what they've won, including the final cash prize.  [This is the non-greedy option.]  If both players play "TAKE IT ALL," both lose everything they've won.  If one plays 'KEEP MINE' and one plays "TAKE IT ALL," the one who plays 'TAKE IT ALL' wins everything, including the other players prizes and cash winnings.  The other player goes home with absolutely nothing.

There is one final catch.  They are encouraged to discuss the situation out loud in order to convince each other what their final decision is going to be.  Then they secretly make their decision.  I've watched it three times now - aghast at the scenario - and it's been the same outcome each episode.  Each player begs, pleads and vows that they're going to keep their own stuff and not try to steal the other one's stuff.  We'll share and both of us will go home happy with what we've won.  They 'promise.'  They swear to God.

'Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.'  -- Gandhi

At this point the emcee, Howie Mandel, reminds the players and audience that lying is possible - expected - predicted - encouraged, even.  

Inevitably - in each episode - despite the heartfelt promises - one (or both) of the players has chosen to 'TAKE IT ALL" anyway - expressing in raw fashion the extent of their greed.  In none of the three episodes I have watched so far have both players gone the less-greedy route by choosing each to "KEEP MINE."

It is hard to imagine how one celebrates at the end of that particular kind of win, but the victor seems to manage it.  'It's just a game,' right?  

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

- "He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”   (Socrates)

“What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?  A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.  Who buys a minute's mirth to wail a week?  Or sells eternity to get a toy?"  (Shakespeare)

- "All man's efforts are for his mouth, yet his appetite is never satisfied."  (Ecclesiastes 6:7) 

- "A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him."  (Proverbs 28:22) 

And be blessed.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Today was a meeting with all the breakout speakers for NO REGRETS - a men's conference KFA is putting on as a multi-site of Elmbrook Church on Saturday, February 2nd, 2013.

What a great line-up, guys.  You gotta come out for it.  We've got 40 potential breakout sessions to choose from throughout the day.

Twenty-five bucks gets you lunch, great music, Kenny Luck from Saddleback on the giant screen, and four breakout session options with titles like:

* A Tale of Two Checkbooks
* Spiritual Warfare
* What Now for New Believers?
* Raising Boys
* Ultimate Masculinity in the 21st Century
* Dirty Little Secrets
* How Not to Be a Moron as a Husband
* How to Worship Like a Man
* Ten Things Every Wife wants to Hear from her Husband
* Dealing with Stress
* Transforming Addiction to Recovery
* How to Build God-Glorifying Relationships
* My Friend has a Porn Problem
* Bad Boys and the Christ Who Transforms Them
* The Two Marriage Choices every Guy has to make every Day
* Hurts, Habits & Hangups

... and a whole lot more.

Get your tix at today.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is 12/12/12.  That won't happen again - where the same two digit number repeats itself - for another hundred years.

Down thru history, numbers have been significant to people.  Some stake a lot of claim in the patterns and symbolism of numbers.  I suppose there may be something to it; just not everything to it.

Eggs come in a dozen.  The hours of the day and night are 12.  Donuts, roses, jury members, months, drummers drumming.  Lots of things are in twelves.

The Bible isn't silent on 12.  There were 12 patriarchs from Shem to Jacob.  Twelve Old Testament spies snuck into the Promised Land.  Jesus first appeared in public at age 12 and spoke His first recorded words; He had 12 disciples; there were 12 sons of Israel and 12 tribes; the measurement of the New Jerusalem will be 12,000 furlongs square, and the wall will be 144 (12x12) cubits.  It will have 12 gates of pearls, 12 angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel over the gate.  The wall of the city has 12 foundations of precious stones; in them are the names of the 12 apostles.  The number of the sealed in Revelation 7 will be 144,000.

There has to be something to that.

As to the depth and extent of the meaning of 12, it depends on who you ask.  In Hong Kong today, couples are lining up by the dozens to tie the knot on a day they say symbolizes love.  Las Vegas has them crowding aisles today as well.  Making the rounds online, the to-do over a boy who will turn 12 today at 12:12 p.m., suggests we're all crazy.

Then there's the other side of it:  Doom and gloom.  While the new 'end of the world' by the Mayan Calendar is adamantly scheduled for December 21, 2012, some have interpreted it differently, counting today - 12/12/12 - as the day the world ends.  Not so far - we'll see - there's plenty of day left for us all to cease to exist.

As for me, I'm encouraging you to go the totally opposite direction.  Celebrate this day.  We all need to do more partying and laughing and being with people we love.  12/12/12 seems like a great opportunity  to do that.  Go pick up a box of dozen HO-HOs and knock yourself out.
And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


'I don't care what anybody thinks.'  

That's what I've heard folks say in the church:  'I'm going to sing and dance and throw up my hands and do a jig -- and I don't care what anybody thinks.'

To which I respond:  'I was with you ... right up until the point you said you didn't care what anybody thought.  That doesn't sound like Jesus to me.'

When we say we want to be the kind of community that reaches out to people far from God, we're saying we do care what people think.  We forego what may be necessary for us in order to reach them.  This life of full sacrifice extends even to this.  I believe we have churches full of people who love Jesus - and that's great.  But I'm sorry; that's not enough.

If we don't think about the person who doesn't know God - who is searching for meaning - who needs to grasp faith - we are basically saying to them [if you'll forgive me] - 'You can go to hell.'

May it never be.  We have to care.

And be blessed.

Monday, December 10, 2012


I talked this past weekend in front of reasonably large crowds about cheating your activities or your hobbies or your friends or your interests so that you would not cheat your family.

Then I opened my Bible this morning and start reading in Matthew 10: 'I have come to set a man against his own father.'  Years ago, a family left our church because I spoke on this passage, where it continues on to say: 'He who loves father or mother more than Me (Christ), isn't worthy of Me.'  Sigh.  Really, God?

It isn't God's way for you to be at odds with your neighbor or your co-worker or your friend or culture, but if and when you have to be, most of us can handle that.  But when it's your own mother or father or son or daughter, that's one rough road.

The one thing I didn't talk about this past weekend as I was 'laying down the law' about how we should treat our families, was that we shouldn't cheat God either.  Foremost, we shouldn't cheat Him.  And the hardest truth is this:  Your commitment to faith and Christ goes even against your love and need for family.

How many times have I heard a young man or woman say: 'I came to Christ and my family threw me out - they didn't want anything to do with me anymore?'  

One of the most tension-filled concepts in the Scripture is that when we turn our lives to Christ, we may be forced to make a choice between God and family.  The true disciple will turn from even them, if necessary.  The cost can be high.

Family cords are just about the most expensive thing we can think of here on Earth - but even that doesn't have the power that Christ's love has.  It's so strong that, now and then - sadly, it cuts family bonds.

I trust I'll never have to make that decision - and yet, it isn't a bad thing to think what you might do if you ever had to.

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


One of our mission fields today is inside the church.  Maybe I'm not saying that just right, but the truth is, we have to get our act together.

We have to stop saying what we are, and start acting it out.  Confession without obedience is a mockery.  It means nothing at all if we profess Christ but have no life to back it up.  That's not how we're going to 'make it easy for others to find and experience God.'

Repentance produces good works.  If that isn't there, it matters little what you say.

Time to show it.

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


I think everybody needs a life verse.  It is something that defines you - something that charges and re-charges you - something that keeps you on course.

A personal mission statement could do the same thing.  So could a personalized motto for your life.

Companies spend millions of dollars coming up with just the right statement or slogan so you will ultimately memorize it, remember it, and connect their products to it.

Some of my favorites are:
KFC - It's Finger-Lickin' Good.
IMAX - Think Big.
Volkswagon - Think Small.
Harley-Davidson - American By Birth.  Rebel By Choice.
United Negro College Fund - A Mind Is a Terrible Thing To Waste.
Disneyland - The Happiest Place on Earth.
Ajax - Stronger Than Dirt.
Yellow Pages - Let Your Fingers Do the Walking.
Kodak - Share Moments.  Share Life.
Hallmark - When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best.
Maxwell House - Good to the Last Drop.
M&Ms - Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hands.
L'Oreal - Because You're Worth It.
Energizer - Keeps Going and Going and Going.

Those are some great slogans.  They don't give you courage or hope or joy though.  They're just slogans.  Life verses keep you going forward when you're tempted to quit.  Here's mine.

"When David had served God's purposes in his own generation, he fell asleep."  (Acts 13:36)

That pretty much says it for me.

What's yours?

And be blessed.

Friday, December 7, 2012


"Christianity is for losers."  Those were the words of Ted Turner years ago.  In 178 A.D., Celsus, who avidly opposed Christianity and denied the deity of Jesus, wrote that Christians were the most vulgar, uneducated people in society.  
The truth is, God has chosen the weak of the world, those without strength or power --- He has chosen the base of the world, those without significance whatsoever, to bear His name.

Many are of the opinion that Christ-followers are nobodies.  It's true.

Years ago a story circulated about an uneducated mother who named her newborn Nosmo King.  When asked where she got that name she said she copied it from the No Smoking sign in the room.  There is the ultimate nobody, a Nosmo King, named for a no smoking sign.

'It is curious that God didn't plan for somebodies to be His emissaries.'

That's what you may be if you name the name of Christ --- a loser --- a nobody --- a Nosmo King.  Paul said God has chosen the lowly, the despised, the things that are not, to move the Kingdom forward.

It is curious that God didn't plan for somebodies to be His emissaries.  He could have whoever He wanted, but He chose Nosmo Kings.  

How many times have we heard it said if some really famous person would just come to faith, boy, the world would get turned on its ear?  If only an Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt combo ever came to Christ, watch out.

Evidently that wasn't God's point of view.  He said, 'Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many noble ... but God chose the foolish ... to shame the wise; God chose the weak ... to shame the strong.'

That's us.  Nosmo Kings.

And be blessed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


I was asking God for the city of Kenosha today ... all of it.  I know it's an absurd request, but God is absurd sometimes.

John Knox said: 'Give me Scotland or I die.'  Right on.

What else are we living for?

'I was asking God for the city of Kenosha today.'

I've come to the conclusion that I hate a lot of things.  I hate the fact that unbelievers die without hope.  I hate that the enemy of our souls seems to have his way more often than I think he should.  I hate that believers seem to have made truces with the world.

That said, I love a lot of things, too.  I love the fact that people are being brought to saving faith in Christ daily.  I love that God is working in unimaginable ways right in front of our eyes.  I love that the Gospel is being proclaimed boldly in marketplaces and neighborhoods and across coffee tables every week.

Let's not compromise the message.  When we do, we compromise the cost that was paid for it.

I was asking God for the city of Kenosha today ... all of it.  I know it's an absurd request, but ...

And be blessed.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The call to Christ is a call to denying oneself.  It's not fair but it's what it is.  Of all God's attributes, fairness isn't listed.  You have to deny yourself, take up a cross, and follow.  It's not a call to fulfilling yourself.

Lay it down.

Humble yourself.

Shut up and obey.

Simply follow.

Follow simply.

There are folks who don't really take the Bible seriously, but it's a pretty serious Book with a pretty serious Author.

'Now that isn't fair.'

A lot of people will tell you Jesus wants to make you a better mechanic, a better housewife, help you feel better about you, hit more home runs, give you a more healthy self-image, etc.

That isn't what this Gospel is about.  It isn't 'come and get what you want,' or 'come and get what will make you feel better,' but 'come and give up everything.'

You'd think that would be depressing, wouldn't you?  Not so.

Because what you 'get' in return for following Christ is:
A new heart,
A new mind,
New behaviors,
New goals,
New ambitions,
A new identity,
New desires,
A new Master,
A new life.

Now that isn't fair; it's just awesome.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I just came across this great blog post this morning by some guy named Jesus.  You should take a look:

'Don't judge other people or you will be judged.  You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.  Why do you notice the little piece of dust in your friend's eye but you don't notice the big piece of wood in your own eye?  How can you say to your friend, 'Let me take that little piece of dust out of your eye?'  Look at yourself.  You still have that big piece of wood in your own eye.  You hypocrite.  First, take the wood out of your own eye.  Then you will see clearly to take the dust out of your friend's eye.'

Pretty good post.  I may have to start reading this guy more often.

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


I don't know if you've ever been faced with a problem - a predicament - a difficult situation - where you  are pondering what to do about it and what you are strongly considering doing is the opposite of what God has told you to do -- and you know it.

When something really important to you hangs in the balance, how easy and natural is it for you to rationalize God's view away and stick to your own view despite what you know He says?

I've said it before, but I have a 3-tack approach with most folks when they come into my office for counsel:
A)  What's the problem?
B)  What does God say about that in His Word?
C)  Are you going to do that?

We might not get thru all three steps in 75 seconds, but ultimately that's where we're going.  Honestly, I got nuttin' else.  There is no Plan B.  I'm not rude or unkind about it, but the bottom line is, you're not going to get counter-Biblical counsel from me, even where your situation is agonizing or hard or 'so-unique-nobody-else-on-the-planet-has-ever-experienced-this.'  You'll get compassion.  You'll get empathy.  You'll get a hug and a prayer.  You'll get as many helpful, thoughtful solutions as I can come up with.  But you won't get what is opposite from Scripture.  You just won't.

I don't think you would want that from your pastor, would you?  Most people would say 'no' to that, until the situation is personal - then very often they're not completely sure.

The truth is, most of us want what's best for ourselves and we usually think we know what that is - because, after all, it's our life, right?  But the truth is, if you were to always act in your own best self-interest, you would do what God tells you to do in His Manual, even when it seems the opposite from what you are inclined to do.

Every time.

And be blessed.