Thursday, January 31, 2013


There is an image in the novel, 'Catcher in the Rye,' where the hero, Holden, dreams that thousands of children are wandering thru a field of rye that has grown so high they can't see they are headed for a cliff.  They can't hear him screaming to warn them.  All he can think to do is run as fast as he can for the edge of the cliff in order to stop as many as possible before they fall headlong over it.

The clock is ticking.  There is a necessity to act.  Hell is hot and forever is a really long time.  We have to impact as many people as we can in as short a time as we can.

The church is the hope of the entire world.  In a sense, the world's fate is in the hands of the church.  The church doesn't save anybody, but it plays a pivotal role.

We must be intentional and aggressive - mean, even - about our desire and single-mindedness to reach our cities and the world.

Time is short - and precious - and urgent.

Don't stray from the mission.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The day of the superstar is over - or at least it is fading - fast.  God has little use for superstars to advance His growing Kingdom.  If you're 'real,' you'll do.

N. Cole has said: 'The church has become so complicated that to pull it off takes a rare person who is a professional.  When church becomes so difficult it is taken out of the common Christian's hands and placed in the hands of a few talented people, the result is a passive church whose members come and go more like spectators than empowered agents of God's Kingdom.'

Ministry doesn't require some great call or great gift.  It resides in us all.  When a church orients ministry around the professionals, the organization becomes imbalanced.  This isn't God's plan.  As a pastor moves toward equipping and preparing the 'real' ministers, the whole organization moves toward greater health and effectiveness.

This is the path of KFA (

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I've been personally debating of late the importance / necessity of contending for the faith.  I know the Bible talks about it, so there is a usefulness.  We're told to 'make a defense.'  It's a translation of the word from which we get the term, 'apologetic.'  

An apologetic isn't an 'I'm sorry' attitude - nor is it a defensiveness or antagonism against culture; it is a reasoned statement of belief.

The Gospel, therefore, should make sense in a world where things aren't as they should be.  We need a reasonable defense for our faith.

'We have to make peace with the fact that we won't have every answer to every question.'

But what we need as much as that - or more - is to make peace with the fact that we won't have every answer to every question.  Even more we should consider if having all the right answers is really the goal for us as followers of Christ.  Is possessing every correct answer really the expectation of Jesus for our lives?

I can't bring myself to say 'Yes' to that question.  We need Biblical clarity, but must everyone become a professional apologist?  I just don't think so.

Disciples of Jesus who are humbly secure are also extremely compelling to others.  That kind of faith is an apologetic in itself.

I have stomped on hearts before in order to impress minds.  But the Gospel of Christ is incredibly meek.  Our hope in Jesus keeps us from arrogance because we don't hang our worth on right answers.  Our worth rests in what Christ has done for us.

And be blessed.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Takin' a break from serious stuff today to enjoy the outdoors and the snow up north.  Enjoy your day.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Pope John Paul II said: 'All who live a just life will be saved, even if they do not believe in Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.  The Gospel teaches us that those who live in accordance with the Beatitudes - be poor in spirit - pure in heart - bear lovingly the sufferings of life - will inherit the Kingdom.'

The truth is, God has come down to save us.  We cannot climb up to reach Him due to our goodness, our graciousness, our humility or our man-centered attributes.

I won't give you my opinion on this; it's not worth that much.  But I can give you what the Bible says.

'There is only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.'  (I Timothy 2:5)

Jesus said: 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by Me.'  (John 14:6)

Fairly clear.

Jesus again: 'There is no salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved' - only the name of Jesus.

The devil has always tried to get men and women to trust their own reasoning.  Isn't that how the whole thing began in the Garden?  'Don't believe what God says.  Eat everything.  You and I both know it's the path to knowledge and enlightenment.  Bite.  Chew.  Swallow.  Enjoy.  Trust your reason.'

Bite.  Chew.  Swallow.  Enjoy.

He's still saying that in 2013 and doing a pretty good job of getting people to bite, chew, swallow and enjoy.  'You can get there through your reasoning.  Don't worry about the Bible.  Don't worry about God.  He's good, right?  And if He does something your reasoning defines as not good, well then ... I rest my case.  You don't really need God.  Just be the best you can be.  It'll all work out in the end.'

Bite.  Chew. Swallow.  Enjoy.

And die.

See?  He never tells you that part.

Believe - and live.  Forever.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


This walk we call Christianity is not a religion; it's a lifestyle.  All the tradition, religious systems and protocols get in the way of the work we have been called to do.

R. McNeal said, 'As He hung on the cross Jesus probably never thought the impact of His sacrifice would be reduced to an invitation for people to join and support an institution.'

'What kind of clone are you?'

Jesus didn't die on the cross to fill big rooms or to see innovative programs established.  He died because He saw us in our sin, loved us anyway, and desired a living and vital relationship with us - in order that we would become, in the words of G. Barna -- Jesus clones.

What kind of clone are you?

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I'm not writing this in response to anything at all in particular today - it's just on my mind, so here goes.

Our church has adopted a 'come-as-you-are-but-don't-stay-that-way' approach to ministry.  That means people come with various life messes because we're not a spa or a gym or a rehabilitation clinic or a therapy room or even an outpatient ward.  We're a flat-out hospital.

Yes.  Filled with sick people who need help and who want to get better.  And because people rarely come to any of those places dressed-to-the-nines, we've also adopted a rather informal look wherever possible.

That has bumped up against my own personal history growing up in church where it was a Sunday evolution of really fat ties and wide-legged pants followed by bow ties (they're coming back - stay tuned) then leisure suits in various fruity colors - three piece suits - narrow lapels and skinny ties --- but very dressy no matter the decade.  It was fun.  And it was just what we did then.

Informal has been the pattern of the past several years and is likely the forecast for the future.  It is an encouragement for folks to make themselves at home.  There may be a downside or two to that approach, but the benefits far outweigh.

For the past few years I have worn blue jeans to church probably 90% of the time.  Of course I have had several people come up and say they really like it when I wear a suit.  Thank you.  But I have done it - not because it's cool or 'the thing to do' so much - but because the average American owns eight pairs of jeans, so they are at least a common denominator of fashion.

As D. Browning says: It communicates I'm not here to impress you, so you don't need to waste your effort trying to impress me.  Just come-as-you-are.

That isn't a superficial statement.  It's about a lack of pretense.  It's about breaking down classes and hierarchies and rank and position and systems where all those things are perpetuated.

One church shouts: 'Put on your Sunday best.  It's not a fashion show.  It's just church.'  Right.

That said, if you really like suits and fancy dresses and that's your 'thing,' suit up.  Wear what works for you.  Wear what you're comfortable in, as long as it's modest.  The point is you don't have to wear something special for us and you don't have to wear something special for God.  Come as you are.

So throw on your jeans and sweater and head on out this weekend to KFA ( or wherever it is you do church.  And if you don't do church (yet), give it a shot.  We'll meet you here in our jeans and sweaters.  It'll be great.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


The infamous 'Doomsday Clock' has just been set to five minutes till midnight - symbolizing the nearness of the predicted destruction of humanity.  It is based on world situations, events, climate, disasters, threats and hopeful outlook - or lack of it.

The first Doomsday Clock was set in 1947 when nuclear weapons became a big concern for the world.  It was set at seven minutes till midnight at that time.  With the weakening relationship between the U.S. and the then-Soviet Union, it was moved up to three minutes before midnight in 1949.  When the first hydrogen bomb was successfully tested in 1953, the clock ticked to two minutes to midnight.

Most of us going to elementary school in the early 60's remember the drills and parades from our desks to the designated fallout shelter within the school building.  We remember those black-and-yellow triangle signs indicating potential disaster right around the corner.

When the Cold War ended in the early 90's, the clock was set at a safer 17 minutes to midnight.  But with the new terrorist and nuclear threats, breakdowns in international peace talks and unrest worldwide, it's been moved closer to doomsday.

It seems right, then, to focus on the future for a minute.  And I don't really mean next Tuesday future.  I don't mean 2016 future.  I'm talking about the future future - because everything I do now is going to bring either reward or regret at the future future.  It really is.

The apostle Paul basically says, 'I'm going to live my relatively short life for one thing.  I'm going to spend this relatively short life for the moment I cross the finish line.  I'm going to be like a runner running a race, looking to the day I cross the tape and meet God face-to-face - because once I face HIM, I don't get a second shot at this race down here on Earth.  This is it.  One shot.  Just one.'

I'm telling you -- this life is so short.  It's a wisp of smoke and it's gone.

People ask me all the time: 'Why do you have to be so intense all the time?'  

Because I don't know if this is going to be my last chance to say this stuff or not.  And I just want to look you in the figurative eye - because I don't know how all this will end up when it's over - and I don't want you saying to me a million years from now: 'PK, you didn't tell me about this -- you weren't sincere enough about it all' -- so I'll take my time now to be honest with you because this is a perfect time to say it to you.

Every ounce of energy you spend on something other than the investment in the future future is a waste.  And I'm praying with great hope that you think through how you're planning to invest your life -- all the things you thought about and worried about and spent time on and went after -- because a whole lot of them aren't going to matter at the end.

Because that time will come long before you and I realize it -- the Doomsday Clock may be a government idea, but it's not all wrong.

So think thru every decision - pray thru every decision - is this going to matter in the end?  My time - my passions - my resources - my attention - my energies - my money - my afternoon.  I just don't want it to catch you by surprise.

On the other hand, maybe millions of years from now - after you've lived your entire life here on Earth for something other than your own pleasures and we're having lunch together in heaven -- we'll look at each other and say: 'Doomsday, Schmoomsday.'  Because we will have told each other the way we lived on Earth was worth it and we didn't live for next Tuesday; we lived for a future future.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Now and then this blog gets really self-serving, ignoring all the unspoken rules of decorum, sophistication and humility.  Today is one of those days.

Apparently a co-worker of Joelene's was showing a picture to a friend the other day and the friend responded: 'Why do you have a picture of PK & Joelene (that's us)?'

So Joelene's co-worker showed her the picture the friend had mistaken for us.  I share it with you now.

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

Expect a return to humility tomorrow.

And be blessed.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


Religion is like government - it has a way of complicating everything.

One of the things religion complicates is prayer.  It makes it rehearsed, self-conscious, awkward.

Research has shown that while 8 out of 10 in the church feel comfortable asking for prayer out loud in a group, 8 out of 10 also feel uncomfortable praying out loud themselves.  In other words, 80% of people had no problem verbalizing their prayer needs, but the same percentage were uncomfortable when asked to verbalize the very same things directly to God when others were listening.

We need to change that.

Prayer isn't for God's benefit; it's for ours.  We approach God as our Father - sometimes you're talking business with your Father, sometimes you're getting instruction and direction, sometimes it's a heart-to-heart.  The relationship and interaction vary based on what's going on in your life.  All those conversations are valid.  One isn't better than another.  You want them all - the direction, the course correction, the counsel.  It's all good.

And be blessed.

Friday, January 11, 2013


I once shook hands with Ronald Reagan.  That's when he was alive.  It was at the Republican National Convention held in Kansas City, Missouri - my hometown - back in 1976.  I was 16.  Our youth group went to do some menial tasks for the convention and, lo and behold, I'm standing there and Reagan walks around the corner with an entourage and --- shakes my hand!

Once, I got on an elevator and right before the door closed a man got on and as I looked closer it was Tony Orlando (minus "Dawn").  Look it up.

Joelene and I were on vacation in Florida years ago and we were doing a little grocery shopping and she bumped right into Los Angeles baseball star Steve Garvey.  I might not have all those details exactly right, but it was definitely Steve Garvey she crashed into.

I was at a banquet when I was a freshman in college and Bill Gaither sat next to me.

My cousin is the best friend's brother of Brad Pitt's personal trainer.

That last one was just made up - but the 'name drop' happens more often than we realize.  Maybe the next time somebody does that in a conversation, we should bend over as if we're picking something up and say, 'Let me grab that name for you that just got dropped.'

I wonder if we've ever considered dropping the name Jesus in any conversations.

Oh well.  I gotta go.  Steven Furtick is calling.

And be blessed.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


God is sovereign.  He is sovereign over nations and rulers - sovereign over the devil and demonic forces - sovereign over trials and temptations - sovereign over natural disasters and moral atrocities - sovereign over disease and death.

He is supremely great.  Not only that, He is absolutely good.  There is no doubt.

And yet, we experience evil - difficulties - trouble - sin.

At times in Scripture, God prevents sin.  At other times He permits it.  Limits it.

But in all of this He never sins Himself.  He never directly causes sin and never once in the Bible is He blamed for it.  God is not stained by evil in any way.  He is holy -- even when He uses sin.

Everything that is good is under His sovereignty.  Everything that is good is morally attributed to Him.  Everything that is evil is also under His sovereignty.  But nothing that is evil is morally attributed to Him.

God is sovereign over sin but we are responsible for sin.  So a couple of weeks ago, was God sovereign over what was happening when a gunman entered an elementary school and shot so many kindergartners?  Yes, He was sovereign.  At the same time, the gunman was entirely responsible for what he sinfully chose to do.

Evil is real - God is great - and God is good.

Where does that leave us?

We know that God is present in the middle of evil.  Where else in all of history do you see an indescribably good Creator taking on Himself the payment due evil creatures?  What love ... what mercy ... what goodness.

Out of that goodness God ordained the murder of His own Son as the means for our salvation.

And there it is again ... the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man in the death of Jesus.  Is God sovereign over Christ's crucifixion?  Certainly.  But who is responsible?  We are.

God took the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (the death of His Son) and turned it into the very best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (our salvation).

Evil is real - God is great and God is good.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Salvation is giving up your life and embracing Christ's life.  It is acknowledging who He is and what He did.

This is an invitation only the hungry eat.  It is an invitation only the thirsty drink.  If we don't, we are not yet starving enough.  We're full of the world and more than that, full of ourselves - satisfied with whatever food and drink the world promises, which spoils and perishes.

I can look at Jesus and kind of like what I see, but it's no good until I take it in - taste it - drink it.

When we're disobedient, the idea of that kind of food is actually distasteful to us, even though it's the best thing we could possibly eat.  The world's food looks so much better.  We push Christ away from the table.

But when we are broken over sin and we sense the void and feel the hunger of not having Him fill the gap, that's when we say: 'Be my bread.  Be my drink.'

'Be my bread.  Be my drink.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


'It was a fairy tale, no fooling.  It was unreality becoming real.'  That's a quote by R. Matheson.  

The church I grew up in - God love them - was, in several ways, unreal.  We wore clothes there that we didn't wear any other day of the week.  We went there to hear a style of music we didn't listen to the rest of the week.  We spoke and heard words spoken that we didn't hear spoken Monday thru Saturday.

'It was classic image management.'

We also seemed to act differently at the church I grew up in - God love them - than we acted the rest of the week.  We were ... well ... nicer on Sundays.  Nicer than we actually were.

It was classic image management.

The proposed solution to close the gap was to act just as weirdly Monday thru Saturday as we did on Sunday.  Maybe it's semantics, but I think the better solution is to act on Sunday the way we do Monday thru Saturday.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


What happens in the church (and I don't mean in the building) is the most important thing happening in the world today.  We can never lose the passion for the bottom line -- people who are far from God.

Soren Kierkegaard warned of the danger of the church losing its passion for the Gospel and for the Kingdom of God and treating it like it's just another piece of information.  The result would be like reading a cookbook to a starving person.

'What happens in the church is the most important thing happening in the world today.'

When people are checking out 'church,' they look around to see if the rest of us really believe all this stuff.  Are we just lip-synching or is this coming from our hearts?  We have to deliver what we advertise.

Transformation, not information.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


I asked Joelene to be a Guest Blogger here today.  Here she is:

"It's 2013, More or Less.

I'm not into making resolutions at each New Year; there's too much pressure and self-inflicted condemnation when I fail - and I always do.  The only resolution I have is to make no resolutions.

I may not make resolutions but I do get introspective.  The start of anything new does call for reflection and personal evaluation.

In 2013, I don't want it to be a good year more or less, but a great year, more AND less.

I want more stillness - less noise.  More quietness, more reflection, more dependence, (more 'cheating'). Less stress, less unnecessary activity, less technology.  Check it out / Psalm 46:10.

I want more contentment, less worry.  More OK with what I have, where I am and what I'm doing.  Less worried about things, provision, tomorrow.  Check it out / Hebrews 13:5.

I want more strength, less fear.  More boldness, more confidence, more victory.  Less intimidation, less reservation, less analyzing.  Check it out / Deuteronomy 3:16.

Hmmm, looks like more God, less me.

2013, more AND less - and no pressure.

Check it out / 2 Corinthians 5:17."