Thursday, October 31, 2013


You can't really tell how much faith a person has by looking at them.  It isn't like they have a big orange "F" on their foreheads or that they walk around doing amazing feats with the flick of their eyes.

Faith is inside you, and yet it also works its way out.

It's kind of like a sponge.  You find out how much is in you when you get squeezed.  When circumstances turn on the pressure, you spill out whatever you're full of.

If you're full of faith, then faith is what comes out.  If you're filled with uncertainty when the pressure is applied, uncertainty is what comes out.

You had a bad quarter at work -- terrible personal sales -- you came in under your boss's expectations.  What spilled out?

'When circumstances turn on the pressure, you spill out whatever you're full of.'

Bad news from the doc.  What splashed out?

A child who put you to the test with their rebellion -- it's breaking your heart and pushing all your buttons -- you spilled out what you're already full of.

You're going to be squeezed - make no mistake.

What's gonna spill out?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


This is a test.  For the next 60 seconds this station will conduct a test of the emergency broadcast system.  This is only a test.

When I was in school, I used to think tests were designed in the mind of people like my evil Science teacher.  His sole purpose in giving me the test was sadistic -- to watch me fail.

Not so.  The opposite, actually.

Tests were designed to make sure I'd mastered the material I'd been taught so I could move to the next step.

The same holds true for daily life tests thrown our direction.  They aren't put in our path to destroy us,
but to help us.

This is a test.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We usually say that doubt is the absence of faith.


I think doubt is a lack of confidence that God will keep His promises.

Maybe it's semantics, but it seems that real doubt is the mindset that keeps on saying, 'I don't know if God will really come thru or not.'

Let's put some sample promises on the table.

God has promised to provide.  'My God will supply all my needs according to His glorious riches in Jesus.'  But ... maybe He won't provide.  Maybe He won't.

God has promised to protect.  'No weapon formed against you will prosper.'  But ... maybe He won't.  Maybe something terrible is going to happen anyhow.

God has promised to prosper us as our soul prospers in Him.  'For God bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless.'  Your life won't lack one thing that could increase your joy if you walk in integrity with God.  Then again ... maybe not.

Doubt is a lack of confidence that God will keep these and other promises.  And when the questions keep on winning in our hearts, that eventually becomes a lifestyle where doubt rules.


And be blessed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


John MacArthur recently put together and hosted the Strange Fire Conference, peppered with notable speakers such as R.C. Sproul, Conrad Mbewe, Steve Lawson, Phil Johnson and others.

The purpose of the conference was to lay down what is seen as 'truth' by these regarding the role of The Holy Spirit in 2013.

These believe in cessationism -- that the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the first century.   Continuationism, as we believe at Journey Church, is that the gifts of the Holy Spirit continue in operation in the church today.

To borrow from T. Challies, 'It's the elephant in the room.  We can't all be right and we can't both be right.  Sooner or later there must be a discussion.'

The problem here - one of them - is that MacArthur and the rest assign what we believe as the legitimate gifts of the Holy Spirit (yes, there are abuses) to the devil.  If they truly believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit are of the devil, there is a deep chasm where even friendship - and certainly joint ministry - would be at serious risk.

In response to this question, our own Assemblies of God Superintendent, George Wood, spoke:

"Dr. MacArthur believes that the miraculous gifts of the Spirit ceased with the close of the Apostolic Era and that the Pentecostal and charismatic movements are therefore theologically aberrant at a foundational level.
By contrast, Pentecostal and charismatic Christians believe that “the promise [i.e., the gift of the Holy Spirit] is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). With this promise comes the evidential sign of speaking in other tongues and power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, 2:4, cf. Luke 24:49). Consequently, following the Apostle Paul’s teaching, we “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 14:1).
While there have been isolated aberrations of behavior and doctrine over the past century among those who self-identify as Pentecostal or charismatic, the movement as a whole has proved a vital force in world evangelization—a fulfillment of the promise Jesus made to His disciples in Acts 1:8. On behalf of the 66 million adherents and 360,000+ churches in the World Assemblies of God Fellowship, I thank God that the faith and life of the Acts 2 church are still being believed and experienced today.
The Assemblies of God celebrates 100 years in 2014 and remains committed to the full authority of God’s Word. As a founding member of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Assemblies of God has sought to cooperate in the Great Commission with Christians of like-minded faith, even when they are not Pentecostal and charismatic and we remain committed to that collaboration.
We trust the time will come when Dr. John MacArthur and those who share his perspective will acknowledge the great contribution that Pentecostals and Charismatics are making in the evangelization of individuals without Christ. We pray God’s blessings on their efforts to share His gospel with a lost and dying world. Pentecostals and charismatics are their co-laborers in this effort so we ask that they would similarly pray for God’s blessing on us as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission that God has given us all."

Thank you, Dr. Wood.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I'm from Missouri -- born and raised in Kansas City.

This is a shout-out to my home state for what's going on there right now in the world of sports.

The Kansas City Chiefs -- the last undefeated team in the NFL this year.

The University of Missouri-Columbia Tigers -- undefeated -- No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series.

The St. Louis Cardinals -- World Series bound.

Don't mess with Missouri.

And be blessed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


Friday night at Journey // Kenosha, SHE ... is BEAUTIFUL.

Five hundred ladies gathering for singing, community, challenge and inspiration.  God was there.

The ladies of Journey Church --- always classy, always passionate, always impactful, always -- well -- beautiful.

Beautiful, indeed.

And be blessed.

Friday, October 18, 2013


I'm so proud of our H2O Student Ministry for the response to their Friends Night this week.  This is what it's all about ... friends inviting friends ... students being impacted by the Gospel.

There were 400 students in attendance at the Journey // Kenosha campus and 77 at the // Burlington campus.  

Three cars got smashed (on purpose) - and 150 donated pumpkins were smashed (also on purpose).  I even got a little busted raw egg on my jeans from one that got dropped from a lift 50 feet in the air (again, on purpose).

There were 70 volunteers under the direction of Pastors Jon Brown & Mat Angulo (// Kenosha) and Greg Gross (// Burlington).

Best of all, 95 came to faith in Christ.





Way to go, H20!

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I've been offline for a couple of days, attending a Silent Prayer Retreat in Waupaca.

It's the first time I've done this -- gone off for three days and not spoken to another soul.  There were about 100 of us there and it was oddly comforting to sit at a table with three other people at a meal and not speak at all.  The directions were to walk slowly thru the campus as you were going from place to place - stop rushing, both mentally and physically.  There was also instruction not to even look at each other - almost monk-like.  Just put your entire focus on God.

There were session breaks of teaching from a moderator - but other than that, we were instructed to take some simple guidelines and use them to interact with God, meditate, reflect, pray, examine, read ...

Very meaningful time.

One of the 'alone blocks' was an uninterrupted six hours.  It was a challenge at first, but all in all, so beneficial.

Some of things that God impressed on me during that time:

- Prayer isn't a thing; it's a relationship.  It's just being in God's presence.  It's listening.  It's waiting.

- Live a life of true submission.  'He is great; I'm not.  It's HIS Kingdom come, HIS will be done, not mine.'

- I put my trust in You - my hope in You - my confidence in You - that You're able to sort out all the dumb stuff I ask for.

- 'Abide in Me, and I in you,' Jesus says.  What does that mean if not submission?  I surrender my wants.

- God is paying attention to me right now.  He's not reluctant to meet me or give to me.  He's closer than the air I'm breathing.

- Jesus is my real treasure - and I'm His treasure.  He says, 'I dote over you.  I watch over you.  I think about you.  (Have you ever heard a more exhilarating thought?)

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Reconcile in your mind that this Man named Jesus, who carried a cross on His shoulders - was mocked, beaten, whipped, had a crown of thorns shoved onto his head - did it 'for the joy' that lay before Him.

I don't know if you can make real sense of that.  It's hard.

But Jesus had a temporal perspective.  He had altitude.  We need to get that.

'Are you considering Him?'

Hebrews says to consider Him who endured such opposition.

It isn't about your circumstances - it isn't about what's happening at work on Monday - it's about have you considered what He did, and in light of that, are you considering how He's being worked out in your daily life?

Are you considering Him in your job?
Are you considering Him in your hobbies?
Are you considering Him in your giving?
Are you considering Him in your marriage?
Are you considering Him in your life struggle?

Yes, it matters that it's hard, but hard isn't the most important consideration.  God is the most important consideration.

Are you considering Him?

And be blessed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


There's a general belief out there that your own heart is a fairly reliable internal compass that will point you to happiness and your own true north.  Your heart will save you.


If our hearts are compasses, they're a lot more like Batman's JOKER.  They aren't benevolent; they're pathologically selfish.  If we do what our hearts suggest, every hope, every dream, every desire, every beauty will be perverted.

Our hearts won't save us.  We need to be saved from our hearts.

'We need to be saved from our hearts.'

Think about it for a moment.  Your heart has likely said things you'd never want repeated out loud.  Do you want to follow that?

'God's Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.'  (Psalm 119:105)

Follow that instead.

And be blessed.

Friday, October 11, 2013


The weekend is coming ... and I'm 'on.'  I still get a God-adrenaline rush of sorts to walk onstage and deliver what I believe God has given me to a congregation I love.  I enjoy that part of what I do.

But I haven't figured out the right number of hours to spend preparing to speak.  If I get it done in three hours, it almost seems like an irresponsibly meager amount time compared to what is at stake.  If I spend 20 hours, I could make a case that I've made the message an idol.

I know communicators who take both extremes of time to prepare - and even longer/shorter.  Somewhere in the middle is probably the right number.  I'm still searching for it.

Here's what I do know.  God calls us to be out there with the folks.  If you spend too much time poring over a text to the exclusion of shepherding and leading, it will - ironically - make you a poorer preacher.  It is only thru doing 'people-work' that you become the communicator God calls you to be -- someone who knows where people are walking - what they're enduring - why they're celebrating - and when they're ready to give up.

Maybe being with people is actually good message prep.  I know it prepares me personally.

And be blessed.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Some of you know what it means to be in charge.  It's a pleasure - it's a privilege - it's a pain - at times it's a punishment.

J. Wilhite zeroes in on some real truths when he says the following:  Everybody loves you until you lead.  Then bullets start flying.

Hosea in the Old Testament is a picture of how much God loves His people.  He's actually challenged to marry a prostitute.  He loves her, but she continues doing what prostitutes do.

But God told Hosea to go back and love his wife again.  Excuse me?  That's the picture of God and us.  He loves us - we're unfaithful - He loves us - we're unfaithful - He loves us - we're unfaithful (ad infinitum ... )

In that regard, Wilhite reminds us to love the calling you have, not the one you wish you had.

'Love your calling.'

You may feel misunderstood - beaten down - taken advantage of - devalued - wrongly blamed ----- but what is your identity?  Who does God say you are?  What does God say you have?

We often question our calling when it gets rough.  Too many times we 'move on' way too early.

Hosea had to go find his prostitute wife and love her all over again.

You may need to do that with what God has called you to.  Your calling doesn't originate or end with you.  God put that in you - so don't let anybody steal your God-calling from you.

Go love again.  Love your calling.  Love the neighborhood you're called to.  Love the community you're called to.  Love the family you're called to.  Love the church you're called to.

And be blessed.

Monday, October 7, 2013



Love bears all things.
It bears the weight of misunderstanding.  'Love bears all things' says things like: 'It's what he said, but it isn't what he meant.  It sounded like what he meant, but it isn't what he meant.'

Love believes all things.
It believes the best rather than assuming the worst about what she did.

Love hopes all things.
It sees people not as they are, but as they will be by God's grace.

Love endures all things.
You can retreat if you want to, but I'm never going to back up when it comes to loving you.

'If this whole church thing goes south, God, help us to be able to say it wasn't because we didn't love each other.'

There is a church in Washington state that grew from zero to more than 4,000 in less than 14 years.  They made written and verbal commitments to each other when they first started the church.  What they wrote moves me when I read it:

'You will never knowingly suffer at my hand.  I will never say anything or do anything to intentionally hurt you.  I will always, in every circumstance, seek to help and support you.  If you're down and I can lift you, I will.  If you need something and I have it, I'll share it with you.  If I need to, I'll give it to you.  No matter what I find out about you, no matter what happens in the future -- good or bad -- my commitment to you will never change.  And there is nothing you can do about it.'

Love never fails.
Think about the implications of that --- love never fails.  'If this whole church thing goes south, God, help us to be able to say it wasn't because we didn't love each other.'

And be blessed.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


Love isn't jealous.  It doesn't brag.  It isn't arrogant.

So ...

I bless you, even when you're more successful than I.
I bless you, even when you're more prominent than I.
I bless you, even when you're more gifted than I.
I bless you, even when you're better looking than I.

I am for you.  I have always been for you.  I will always be for you.  I celebrate and rejoice in your success because I love you.

This is love that isn't jealous.

And be bless you.

Friday, October 4, 2013


One of Aesop's Fables read this way:

An old man and his grandson are traveling to town.  The old man walked while his grandson rode the donkey.  But some people said, 'Would you look at that old man suffering on his feet while that strong young boy who is totally capable of walking sits on that donkey?'

So the old man, hearing that, switched places and began to ride the donkey while the boy walked.  'Would you look at that?  A grown man taking advantage of a little boy like that.'

So they both got off and walked until they heard some people say, 'How pitiful, a perfectly good donkey not being used.'

The final scene shows the boy and the old man staggering along as they carry the donkey.

If a person's heart is to criticize and find fault, there is nothing that can satisfy them - and that's really a
heart issue.  It's so easy to be critical just to try to level the playing field and bring others down to where you are.

'Bless, don't critize'

Bless, don't criticize.

And be blessed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


A farmer stood by the road one day and observed a large wagon filled with goods moving his direction.  As the wagon pulled to a stop, the driver shouted: 'We're moving from Brownsville to Jonestown.  How much farther is it?'

'About thirty miles,' said the farmer.

'And what kind of people can we expect to find there?' asked the traveler.

'Well, what kind of people did you leave behind in Brownsville?'

'Oh, they were a cheerless, deceptive, ungrateful bunch, all of them.  That's the main reason we're moving.  What kind of people will we find in Jonestown?'

'The very same kind, I'm sorry to say,' said the farmer.

And he was right.

He knew the traveler would find the same kind of people in the next town as he had in the previous one.  That's because outlook determines outcome.  Two people can look at the very same circumstance and experience entirely different things based on the attitude they have chosen.

How are you looking?
What is your attitude?
Choose wisely.

And be blessed.