Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Thank you for reading the blog.  It has been a personal outlet to share vision, group accomplishments, big wins, personal thoughts, randomness and thoughts from a day in the life of PK.

Looking back over 2013, my most read blogs of the year were:

#5 - "BURLINGTON" - 2/17 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/02/burlington.html -- We were so excited to collaborate a church merge with the great folks in Burlington, Wisconsin this past March.  The Burlington campus voted to become part of us in February.

#4 - "JOURNEY CHURCH" - 3/17 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/03/journey-church.html -- The day was historic in the middle of March when our congregation voted overwhelmingly to change our church name from Kenosha First Assembly to Journey Church.

#3 - "CONVOY" - 7/25 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/07/check-out-cbs-58-eye-to-eye-program-for.html -- Pastor Bob Griffith and I were interviewed on CBS' Eye-To-Eye program for the summer Convoy of Hope outreach in Kenosha.  The blog post featured a video of the interview.  An accompanying blog two days later titled "CONVOY2" featured a download of the great day with pics.

#2 - "HOOK" - 11/24 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/11/hook.html -- What will you build your life on?  This simple question along with a simple answer was the second most popular blog here.

#1 - "THANKSGIVING" - 11/28 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/11/thanksgiving.html -- A video featuring our entire family singing around the Thanksgiving table was, by far, the most read blog of the year.  Thanks for listening and for your kind comments.

My personal favorites … 

Now … for my PERSONAL favorite blog posts of the year, in no particular order.  This may be slightly self-aggrandizing, I realize, since I wrote them all.  But as I often say here, 'It's my blog.'

"STRANGE" - 10/24 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/10/strange.html -- A response to John MacArthur's STRANGE FIRE conference, which blasted those everywhere who believe in the power of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Here's to Christian brotherly love.

"ROBS" - 12/2 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/12/robs.html -- It was short, but sweet, following the Big Idea of my weekend message, 'The Great Question,' in late November.  Will it get you more of Jesus - or will it rob you of Jesus?

"DANGEROUS" - 6/2 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/06/dangerous.html -- The Top Ten Most Dangerous Places in the world to be a Christian today.

"INTROVERT" - 2/13 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/02/introvert.html -- It was so far back in 2013 that I barely remember it, but it was all about how much fun introverts can be, because 'I are one.'

"JUNK" - 11/16 - http://pksblogplace.blogspot.com/2013/11/wwjd.html -- I just liked it.

Here's to a great, supernatural, successful, harmonious, unified, effective, life-changing 2014.  I'll see ya here this year.

And be blessed.

Monday, December 30, 2013


The picture you see here is what I found under one of our living room chairs a couple of weeks after our kids and grandkids were with us for an extended stay.  Mrs. Potato Head finally got her eyes back.

I must say it was a little startling when I bent down to get under that chair for something and that was what stared back - a pair of eyes - very unsettling.  Not to mention the 'dead' goldfish snack lying beside.

God's eyes are always watching too, you know.  He never stops.

You can take that one of two ways.

Way 1:  He's Big Brother Extroardinaire -- like the lady at the department store who looks out of the corner of her eye the whole time you're shopping to make sure you don't put something under your jacket -- meddling in your business -- waiting till you mess up to lower the hammer -- you blow it, you get what you deserve.

That's one way to look at it.  But there's another - better - far more accurate way to approach that.

'God loves you so much He can't take His eyes off you.'

Way 2:  God loves you so much He can't take His eyes off you.  Remember that old song made famous by Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons - 'Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You?'  Some of the lyrics were:
'You're just too good to be true,
Can't take my eyes off of you,
You'd be like heaven to touch,
I wanna hold you so much … '

OK.  That got weird.  But He sees all your doings - good or bad - and still He loves you.  Still He adores you.  Still He wants to be with you.  He's the Parent swooning over you while you sleep, just as you've done with your own children, saying with pride:  "Look what I made.  Isn't he amazing?  Isn't she amazing?"

2 Chronicles tells us one of the reasons God watches over you is to give you strength.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, His eyes are watching.  That shouldn't cause you fear; it should give you comfort.

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


God has a mega-wonderful plan for every single child who loves Him.  One hundred percent of them.  No attack against His children can ever alter that plan.  He knows the sorrows, the struggles, the pain you're facing today.  He also knows the amazing things He has laid out ahead for you - the fruit you'll see - the joy and peace you'll experience - the victory you'll possess - the burdens you'll leave behind ---- for all who love Him.  One hundred percent of them.

Our biggest work is to trust Him.

How much should we trust Him?  One hundred percent.

Even when you have no strength left, trust Him.  Especially then.

You aren't going to faint - you're going to come out of your trial more victorious - you're going to rise from your burden stronger than you were pre-burden - you're going to look back and see the sovereign hand of God in it all ----- because your faith will have been tested and tried as gold.  And you'll see God fulfill every single promise He's made to you.

One hundred percent of them.

'How sure am I of that?  I'm 100% sure.'

How sure am I of that?  I'm 100% sure.

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


If you've ever felt condemned by Christians, they're the ones who sent the wrong message.  If you've ever felt condemned by the church, they sent you a wrong signal.

Because the message of the Gospel isn't:  "God sent His one and only Son into the world to let you know what a filthy, rotten, dirty, piece of garbage you are."  That isn't good news.

No.  God sent His Son into the world in order that the world might be saved thru Him.

Saved.  Rescued.  Rescued is - we were once separated from God and now we aren't.  Rescued is - I wonder what's going to happen to me when I die - to - Now I know what's going to happen.  Rescued is - I wonder what God thinks about me - to - Now I know what God thinks about me.

' . . . in that moment, God still loves you.'

Period.  End of story.  End of the Gospel.  Beginning of the good news.

I could never talk you into anything.  If you aren't convinced that Jesus came into the world as a baby - lived sinlessly - died on a cross for your sins as your substitute ---- then there's no point in saying you believe what you don't believe.

But -- you should know -- that 2 months - a year - five years from now -- should something happen and you begin to doubt your disbelief and have questions about your questions -- if it's your last breath -- if it's a moment of desperation -- in that moment, God loves you - He sent His Son for you.

It will still be true - there's no time limit - whoever - whenever - wherever - you place your trust in God's Son, you'll receive the gift of Jesus and become a child of God.

Whoever - wherever - whenever --- but why not today?

And be blessed.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


God loved this world so much that He gave His one and only Son - that whoever believes in Him . . .


You're invited into the story.  Whoever.  The child - the 70-year old - the criminal - the single mom - the college student - the 30-something couple with four kids - the 5th grader - the young adult with her whole life ahead of her --- everyone --- no distinction - Gentile - Jew - men - women - child --- whoever believes in Him.

Isn't that great good news?

And be blessed.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I want to show you a video of our grandson Elias as he opened one of his 12 Days Before Christmas gifts.  When our kids were small, my mother used to individually wrap one small gift to be opened one-a-day the 12 days preceding Christmas.  They weren't bank-breakers, but as little children, our kids loved opening that little trinket every morning as the big December 25th approached.  It was a warmer-upper.  Now that we have grandkids of our own, we've picked up the tradition.

Before I show you that video, let's talk 'real Christmas.'

God loved the world so much He did what people who are in love do.  He gave.  That's good news.

But in first century Roman/Greek culture, people saw things very differently.  They believed in a plethora of gods - none of them real.  Then when something happened, they'd say: 'Oh, it's the gods … the gods are angry … the gods are jealous … the gods are playing … it's the gods who killed our baby … the gods brought the storm … the gods destroyed our crops' … and so on.

'If we just stopped right there, that would be the most remarkable news.'

And into that culture, the disciple John writes:  "No, that isn't it.  God loved this world so much He gave His one and only Son."  (John 3:16)

This was such new news to the culture of the day -- that God was some kind of loving Father who sent His Son into the world as a baby - born of a virgin.  Then His Son, Jesus, lived a perfect life - never once sinning or being disobedient - tempted in every way like you and me.  Then Jesus walked willingly to a cross to give His life for our wrongdoings - standing in our place - as our substitute - to pay for the sins of a world that God loved.

And if we just stopped right there, that would be the most remarkable news -- that the Creator of the universe loved this world and gave His only Son for it.

Period.  End of story.  End of the Gospel.  Good news.

Now … as promised and enticed … here is a bonus video of our grandson, Elias, as he opened a pair of giant green play glasses -- his final 12 Days of Christmas gift on Christmas Eve.  It has no particular point other than that I think he's amazing and smart and funny -- and it's my blog -- so …


And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Today is the day before Christmas - Christmas Eve.  We've been counting down the 12 Days Before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 1 stands for A Partridge in a Pear Tree.

That ONE reminds us of Jesus - the ONE and ONLY - who came as God's sacrifice to a world in sin - who lived sinlessly though He was tempted in all ways like you and me - who willingly went to a cross to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world that God loved.  He took our place - as our substitute - to satisfy God's wrath and bring mercy and grace to a world in need.

How wonderful is that?

And be blessed.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Today is the 2nd day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, the 2 stands for 2 turtle doves.

That reminds us of the Old Testament and the New Testament -- God's great gift to us all.

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Today is the 3rd day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 3 stands for 3 french hens.

That reminds us of the Big Three in I Corinthians 13:13 -- 'Now these three remain - faith, hope and love -- but the greatest of these is love.'

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today is the 4th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 4 stands for 4 calling birds.

That reminds us of the Four Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

And be blessed.

Friday, December 20, 2013


Today is the 5th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 5 stands for 5 gold rings.

That reminds us of the first 5 books of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch:


And be blessed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Today is the 6th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 6 stands for 6 geese-a-laying.

That reminds us of the 6 days of creation:

Day 1:  The heavens, the earth, light and darkness
Day 2:  Sky and water
Day 3:  Dry land, the seas and vegetation
Day 4:  The sun, moon and stars
Day 5:  Living creatures in the water and birds of the air
Day 6:  Land animals & man and woman

And be blessed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Today is the 7th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 7 stands for 7 swans-a-swimming.

That reminds us of the number of perfection in the Bible:  7.  It is a number that occupies so large a place in the Scriptures it could hardly be contained in one blog post.  It's used in a way no other number is used.

The root from which it comes in the Hebrew means "to be full or satisfied, to have enough."

On the seventh day God rested from His work of creation.  It was full - complete - good - perfect.  From it we get the word "Shavath" - to cease, desist - and "Shabbath" - Sabbath - day of rest.

Abraham received a 7-fold blessing from God.
God made a 7-part covenant with Israel.
There is a 7-fold qualification for service in Judges 6.
The promises to the Churches in Revelation are 7.
There are 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 vials, 7 horns, 7 candlesticks, 7 plagues of judgment at the end.
Jesus performs 7 miracles on the Sabbath.
Jesus speaks 7 statements from the cross.

There are hundreds of examples of '7' in the Bible.


And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today is the 8th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 8 stands for 8 maids-a-milking.

This gives us a reminder of the 8 beatitudes that Jesus spoke:

And be blessed.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Today is the 9th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 9 stands for 9 ladies dancing.

This gives us a reminder of the 9 fruit of the Spirit -- 

And be blessed.

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Today is the 10th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 10 stands for 10 lords-a-leaping.

This gives us a reminder of the 10 Commandments:

And be blessed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Today is the 11th day before Christmas.  In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 11 stands for 11 pipers piping.  

In the Bible, 11 is a number of incompleteness - disorder.

After Judas betrayed Jesus, the 12 disciples became 11 - incomplete.  There is a parable in the New Testament book of Matthew that speaks of workers coming to work in the 11th hour, creating disorder with those who'd worked all day for the same pay.  In the Old Testament, Jacob took his wives, concubines and 11 sons (Benjamin had not yet been born) and headed to confront his estranged brother, Esau.  Benjamin's birth brought Jacob's son count to 12, but Joseph (the 11th son) was sold into slavery, bringing the count back to 11.  There was much disorder and chaos in the family of Jacob during this time.

We can be grateful that Jesus has come to bring completeness - order - and peace to our lives.

And be blessed.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Today is the 12th day before Christmas.  Can't wait.

In the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, 12 stands for 12 drummers drumming.  We might relate that to the 12 disciples -- Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Thomas, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Thaddeus, Bartholomew and Matthias.

From these first followers of Jesus and those like them comes the Apostles' Creed, an early statement of Christian belief:

'I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried.  He descended into hell, the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead;  I believe in the Holy Ghost;  I believe in the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.  Amen.'

And amen.

And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Here's the definition of the word 'blur':  The period between Thanksgiving and New Years.  That sounds about right, doesn't it?

It's a 'blur' because during that time we do very little stopping or pausing, but we do a whole lot of blurring.

'Do a collective pause this Christmas.'

But listen … your children won't always be young.  So pause.
Your parents won't always be alive.  So pause.
Your family won't always be together.  Pause.

In fact, do a collective pause this Christmas.  Say: "This is it.  This is what matters this Christmas.  'Us' is what matters.'

Here's a suggestion weeks before Christmas gets here.  Our family has done this.  Before you make the mad rush for the presents, pause … pause to read the Christmas story out loud together.  This is what it's all about.  This is why we're here.

Remember where the wisemen paused?  They paused right over the place where the Christ child lay.  That's where they bowed down to worship Him -- where He lay.

The heart of this and every Christmas isn't about the temporal - it's about the pause to honor the One who made you and who died for you and who lives today for you.


And be blessed.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


It's Christmas time.  All month.  I don't want to ruin your pristine view of the Nativity story, but the Bible doesn't really provide us with that many details about Jesus' birth.  Over time a lot of elementary school Christmas plays and artist's renderings have filled in blanks for us.

I remember church musicals of the past where we used a very pregnant Mary riding a donkey in the middle of the night -- barely able to hold the baby inside herself -- he was going to pop out any second.  But the Bible doesn't tell us Joseph and Mary made it to Bethlehem 'just in time.'  It says: 'While they were there, the days were completed that she should give birth.'  Frankly, I doubt Joseph would have made that arduous journey with Mary on the threshold of delivery.

'We should never become so focused on the peripheral details of the account that we miss the most important part.'

Remember the pudgy, jovial innkeeper who met the happy couple at the door in a bathrobe?  There's no mention of an innkeeper who told them the inn had 'no vacancy.'  He's the most famous Bible character never actually mentioned in the Bible.

Then, a lot of people think the wisemen -- three of them -- showed up right next to the shepherds at the birth of baby Jesus because the Nativity scene often shows shepherds and wisemen side by side --- but the wisemen didn't actually arrive until many months after Jesus' birth.  And we don't know how many there were -- only that they brought three gifts.

Here's the thing:
We should never become so focused on the peripheral details of the account that we miss the most important part:  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came as a baby in the flesh -- sent by the Father God so He could ultimately go to the cross and die in our place.

And be blessed.

Friday, December 6, 2013


I thought back this week to the days prior to child-free living -- seems like a long time ago -- a couple of months shy of 30 years, to be precise.  And I asked myself:  'What did Joelene and I do with all our time before we had kids?'

We're actually back there now since our children are grown -- but the funny thing is, we're having less trouble wondering what do with our time now on the other side of children.

But I wondered where all the time went between then and now.  And the answer is … away.  It went … away.

'Your allotment of time is set.'

And you can't recover one moment of it.  You can't store it away - you can't save it for later.  It just goes … away.

It seems like just yesterday I was 25.  Seems like last week I was 12.  Where did my life go?

Your time equals your life.  You can run out of money and still have life left.  You can run out of friends and have life to spare.  But once you run out of time, it's over.  You can make more income - you can make more relationships - you can take more trips --- but your allotment of time is set.

Your days are ordained in advance.  Time has set limits you cannot exceed.

'Teach us, God, to number our days right, that we may gain hearts of wisdom.'  (Psalm 90:12)

And be blessed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


It was a great day today spent with the Chicagoland Church Planting Board - dreaming, vision casting together, targeting church desert areas and identifying prime targets for church planting and campuses.

It was so exciting to hold the meeting at Choco de Jesus' New Life Covenant Church in Chicago.  They're opening a brand new 1,000-seat auditorium this coming weekend.  Part of our day was a tour thru the almost completed building - finishing touches are all that's left.

New Life owns and operates 32 properties in the Chicago area -- most of which reach out to those who are hurting, helpless and harmed.  Great to see what God is doing thru New Life Covenant Church and glad to be part of what God is doing in the Chicagoland area.  Kenosha is part of that!

And be blessed.

Monday, December 2, 2013


We ask:  "Drinking … right or wrong?  Gambling … right or wrong?  The Bible's unclear about stuff, doggone it.  I guess I need to decide for myself since Jesus isn't helping me out.  Divorce … right or wrong?"

But the story of the Bible says: "Right or wrong isn't the question.  The question is, 'Does this get me more of Jesus or does this rob me from knowing Jesus?'

'If it robs me, maybe I should get rid of it.'

If it robs me, maybe I should get rid of it.

And be blessed.